Roanoke Mini Maker Faire

The very first Roanoke Mini Maker Faire is coming to the Science Museum of Western Virginia on April 22 from 1:00pm – 5:00pm, and I am beyond excited.

What is a Maker Faire? 

MF_RobotA Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects. We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.  There are many Maker Faires across the world, and it’s so cool that Roanoke will have it’s very own AND that our students will be able to attend and participate in this global movement!

What will you see and do at the Roanoke Mini Maker Faire?IMG_8095

Students from all over the New River and Roanoke Valleys will be showing off their Maker skills – from lip balm to an interactive ocean exhibit to a dancing troupe of robots and much more.  Other Makers will be there too, including the Roanoke Robotics & Makers Club with their retro arcade games and robots.  There will be a chance to make Milkweed Missiles with kids from Green Valley Elementary and talk to the Wind Turbinators from Valley Elementary, and all sorts of other opportunities for kids (and kids at hear) to build and make.  All ages are welcome to attend, and it’s FREE!

Big Thanks!

Karen Richardson from The Virginia Society of Technology in Education and Hannah Weiss from the Science Museum of Western Virginia have been instrumental in getting this event to happen in our own backyard, and I am so grateful for their expertise and hard work.  Checkout the website for the event, reserve your free tickets, and check out the list of Makers that will be there.

We hope you will bring the whole family and stop by to glimpse the future and get inspired at the Greatest Show and Tell (on Earth)!





Taubman Museum of Art

Photograph by Tim HursleyA group of ITRTs and Art teachers recently had the opportunity to visit the brand new Taubman Museum of Art in downtown Roanoke for a workshop lead by Scott Crawford, the Deputy Director of Education at the Museum, and some of his staff. Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to learn about ways the Art Museum is using technology. If you haven’t already checked out the museum’s website, I highly recommend it.

We had the opportunity to play around with a brand new tool for the Museum called WAIT. This tool allows teachers and students to

“…interact with various art works from the Taubman Museum of Art’s permanent collection at six different levels. Through this program, you’ll be able to share your thoughts about the art work’s description, emotional tone, symbolism, composition, and it’s relationship to other content areas.”

During our workshop, we worked with a 1945 piece called Pax Pacific, and learned how knowing its historical context helped us interpret its meaning. We also worked on some other pieces using the WAIT interactive tool.

While we didn’t have the opportunity to visit any exhibits because last minute construction was still going on (the museum opens officially this weekend), we did get to learn about some of the exhibits. As a technology person, the one that excites me the most is the Revo/Over exhibit, featuring an “interactive, digital art installation that uses visual and aural information to create an interaction between viewers and the work.” Pretty much the art work will respond to the viewer’s movements and sounds and location in the exhibit, thanks to technology. The piece had many artists…people collaborated from various departments at Virginia Tech and across the globe. I can’t wait to see this exhibit based on the videos and pictures we were shown of its creation.

Finally, we had a chance to preview the video conferencing capabilities of the museum which allow for virtual field trips. This service gives teachers and students opportunities to work with art at the museum, and the museum’s educational staff, without ever leaving the classroom.

During our visit, we did have the opportunity to tour the first floor of the museum and see the amazing architecture from the inside. The views of the city, Mill Mountain Star, and the surrounding mountains were beautiful, especially at this time of year. The Roanoke Times has published an extensive webpage on the museum, complete with video and interactive information, if you would like to learn more.

Photograph by Tim Hursley