NASA's Space Apps Toronto!

By Amanda Huang
Founder and Co-Director

On April 29 2017, NASA Space Apps Toronto held their annual Youth Program, which brings together Toronto's STEM/STEAM organizations to showcase activities and demos of all kinds! 

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Taking place at the Toronto Reference Library, Maker Tech School brought in an ultra-artsy take on technology, by introducing user interface design to the kids:

Starting out with paper prototyping, kids created space-themed apps, and then transferred their mockup designs over to an online software called Creately.

Want to know more about NASA Space Apps Toronto? Check it out here
We also have some exciting workshops coming up in May

Where Crafting Meets Technology

By Amanda Huang
Founder and Co-Director

Photos by Nadia Bermy

Bring in a group of crafty women and girls, with curious minds to design digitally and code --- and what do you get? A “Hack for Craft” Hackathon!

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Held at Shecosystem in downtown, Toronto, this 3 hour event was packed with endless ideas, creative spirit, and delicious snacks too!

The mission? To create a technological way to support international and local artisans. There are already some awesome apps and websites out there, such as Etsy, Brit+Co and Redbubble. Now it was their turn to create something impacting and amazing that can create a community for artisans through technology!

The girls and their mentors were divided into teams, and began brainstorming their ideas. They created logos and their presentations on an online design software. Later, they coded their designs on Processing using Java, on which they were able to have their presentations controlled by their keyboard -- almost like a slideshow!

Not only was this a fun-filled creative event, but it was a learning experience for everyone. Majority of the girls and their mentors have never used digital platforms, and have never tried computer programming. At the end of the event, everyone became a little more entrepreneurial and learned something new!

To find out more about our upcoming workshops and after school programs, check out our “Programs and Workshops” page!

Where Art-Meets-Technology at the TIFF digiPlaySpace!

By Amanda Huang
Founder and Co-Director of Maker Tech School

The TIFF digiPlaySpace is an annual art exhibition geared towards kids (but adults are welcome too!), held at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. What makes this art exhibition one-of-a-kind is the technical component. Not only do these art pieces entertain visitors through viewing or interaction, but there is a touch of computer coding and digital art that sparks something new for kids to discover. 

The TIFF digiPlaySpace is going on now, and ends on April 23rd 2017. It is a great family friendly exhibition to visit, and March break activity! 
From apps to robots, digital screens and more, the TIFF digiPlaySpace is compiled of artsy oddities that come alive through the power of technology. 

Do you know a child who wants tap into their creative side by blending their art skills with technology? Or know a child that wants to learn some creative coding?
We are having our March workshops that blend art with technology, just like the TIFF digiPlaySpace! Although our workshops will not exhibit your child's work at the TIFF digiPlaySpace, we can let you know that the experience will be much like what a TIFF digiPlaySpace artist has when they code and digital design!

For more details, check them out here

Photo credits

Valentine’s Day Tech DIY Ideas!

By Milica Marcovic
Writer and Blogger

Hey there, Techmakers! Want to give something unique and special to someone you really care about? This Valentine’s Day, we present to you some cute and creative DIY tech gift ideas for your special someone, friends and family:

LEGO® Rose
Using simple red (or whichever colour you want for your rose!) and green bricks, as well as your imagination, create a single pretty rose, or a bright bouquet that will last forever. For a little inspiration, you can find examples and instructions online. If you don’t already have LEGO® blocks at home, a standard kit from any LEGO® store or toy store that sells their products will do.

QR Codes
What’s great about these stylish little squares is that they can allow the user to link stored media with any physical object. For example, if you scan a photo with a QR code, it will take the receiver to the full online album or photo slideshow; alternatively, you can embed a personal video that you made on a QR code gift tag. There’s a ton you can do with this!

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Smartphone snail mail postcard
Send custom-made, personalized postcards to special people you don’t get to see every day using apps like Touchnote, Postagram or MyPostcard for a couple dollars or less.

Instagram photo strips
Instagram has some of the best filters around for your awesome pictures; if you’ve got an account, consider putting together strips or even printing out favourites from both you and your special someone’s galleries.

And remember, it’s always the thought and care put into the gifts that matter! We at Maker Tech wish everyone a wonderful Valentine’s Day ☺

Story credits to: cnet.com and pcmag.com

Upcoming Programs in March!

By Milica Marcovic, Writer and Blogger

Hey there, Techmakers! We’ve recently announced three exciting new workshops happening next month – and we’d love to see you there!

Here are the events:

Techmakers Scratch Session – March 5th from 2-3:30 pm at Northspace (Toronto)
Whether you’re new to Scratch programming or a regular user of the software, we invite you to get creative with us and design your own interactive art, games and animations – all while learning how to code!
Intended for: youth aged 8-12, no experience necessary
Cost: Free

Graphic Design and Photo Editing Weekend Workshop – March 18-19 from 2-5pm at Northspace (Toronto)
Let’s have some artsy fun! You’ll be designing on your laptops using online photo editing and graphic design tools, a camera and a drawing tablet. Note: We will provide the camera and drawing tablet.
Intended for: youth aged 8-12, no experience necessary
Cost: Early Bird: $99
         Regular: $120

Hack for Craft Hackathon – March 26th from 1-4 pm at Shecosystem (Toronto)
If you want to make change and believe in keeping art, crafting, and creativity alive, you’ve come to the right place! In teams mentored by team leaders, you’ll be tasked with brainstorming ideas to support local and international artisans using various coding and design software. You will learn how technology can be life changing, as well as the value of the arts.  
Intended for: girls aged 10-13, no experience necessary
Cost: Free

Please review our Programs and Workshops tab for more information on how to register. Make sure to have fun, and bring your best Tech forward!

*A reminder that all registered students, regardless of the program, must bring their own laptops and chargers in order to participate in the workshops.
 

Why STEAM Learning is Important to Tech-Age Kids and Parents

By: Milica Markovic,
Blogger and Writer

New Year’s resolutions seem to be common among adults, and we believe that our young tech enthusiasts should create their own lists – with STEAM education at the top of those lists.

STEAM learning combines the sciences, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in academic and applied settings. The idea of this method is to introduce students to jobs related to these subjects, by having them work together on fun and challenging projects with their newfound knowledge in tow.
 

We know that kids are capable of preparing themselves for the future. After all, kids are the future – and the future is tech. However, we believe that parents are equally as capable of learning STEAM right along with them. Because STEAM is designed for accessible and interactive learning, parents can contribute to their children’s learning by participating in challengers and at-home activities with them. The important thing is to make STEAM an immersive and daily experience, even beyond the classroom.

Not only is it a great way for kids to learn new skills and get creative, but it also encourages them to pursue interesting and integrative subjects that can someday lead to extraordinary careers. Examples include coding, game design, filmmaking, and robotics.

Picture from METAXVI

Picture from METAXVI

Schools have been trying recently to integrate STEAM into the classrooms, however, it isn’t always possible due to rules and regulations. At Maker Tech School, we can help provide your child with STEAM-inspired skills through our various sessions. Check out our Programs page for more information on after-school workshops and classes. 

Blog Launch, and Dec. 11 Workshop Highlights!

By Milica Marcovic
Blogger and Writer

Welcome to our blog, Techmakers! Here is where we will post information and highlights from our programs and events, as well as useful articles about technology, education, digital skills, and more! 

We would like to debut our blog with exciting highlights from our very first workshop, "Winter Wonderland Digital Drawing", held on December 11th at the Village Hive in Markham.

The students explored a variety of digital tools to create their own winter e-cards. They also learned basic computer coding through Scratch and graphic design techniques using photo editing tools through Pixlr.

First things first: brainstorm ideas for our creations! We had each student come up with their own, unique e-card design that would start as a hand-drawn illustration:

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Then, everyone applied their drawings on to Pixlr, which allows for effects and edits to be made on any given image:

Finally, the kids transferred their work onto Scratch, an online programming language platform that lets users create their own games, animations and interactive stories. Here, our students were able to creatively code their holiday e-cards:

Want to find out how everyone else’s projects turned out? Search "makertechschool" on Scratch to view them!  

Happy Holidays!