Feminist Maker Spaces

A post I wrote for the Taccle3 project output on STEM attitudes and encouraging girls and young women to engage in STEM…

I recently came across the article The Rise of Feminist Hacker Spaces and How to Make Your Own which describes the history and creation of Double Union hacker space in San Fransisco.  A hacker space is another term for a maker space, an environment in which people are encouraged to be creative and to make something from first principles, to build something from its most basic components. That something could be as ambitious as an all singing all dancing robot or it could be an item of clothing.

It got me thinking that there must be other groups doing great things for inclusivity, so I went searching for some. First I found Mz Baltazar’s Lab, and then an article about the rise of feminist hackerspaces in the US published by The Journal of Peer Production. The article explains the phenomenon in more depth than I ever could and is worth a read if you’ve got the time.

Here at Taccle we’re not expecting teachers to go out and start a maker-space, you’ve got enough on your hands as it is, but you may find inspiration for yourself, your groups and classes in the great projects below.  At the end of this blog post we have added links to some online resources to help keep your practice inclusive.

Mz Baltazar’s Lab – Austria

This intersectional feminist makerspace is an inclusive and accessible way for everyone to get involved with making and computing.

http://www.mzbaltazarslaboratory.org/about/

Hacker Moms – San Francisco

“We give mothers of every gender the time and space to explore DIY craft and design, hacker/maker culture, community workshops, entrepreneurship and all manner of creative expression — with on-site childcare. Our HackerSprouts program teaches children the creative process through educational childcare and STEAM-based workshops. HackerMoms creates families that build together.”

http://mothership.hackermoms.org/

Prototype – Pittsburgh

“Prototypers have access to shared tools, space, events, knowledge, and support. All genders and disciplines are welcome to join. ”

https://prototypepgh.com/

Liberating ourselves locally

“Liberating Ourselves Locally (LOL) is a people of color -led, social justice Maker Space in East Oakland. Led by a gender-diverse, majority queer and trans crew of hackers, healers, artists and activists of color,

LOL makes space and resources for community to come learn, play, experiment, and build skills while working on projects they love, for self-determination and community power”

https://oaklandmakerspace.wordpress.com/

Dragon Hall Tech Hub – London

Photo: www.taccle3.eu

This group is all about “Bridging the Digital Divide” bringing new technologies, coding clubs and opportunities to those who would not usually be able to access them, the focus here is on including marginalised groups including: learning disability; homelessness; mental health; LGBT, BME and young women.

“Dragon Hall has a strong track record of engaging the most vulnerable, disenfranchised children and young people in society, providing activities that promote inclusion, social justice and enable them to realise their potential”

http://www.dragonhall.org.uk/innovation/

Inclusive resources

There are a lot of great projects going on around Europe with the intention of teaching young people to code, to think logically, to make and create. There are a couple of well known schemes you can easily get involved with by signing up online such as Coder Dojo and Code Club.  There’s also Girls Who Code.

If you’re not ready or able to sign up for a club there are other freely available resources;

https://imagirlwhocodes.com/ This blog is written by girls and young women who are learning code and want to share their experiences and hopefully inspire other girls

https://www.madewithcode.com/ encourages learning through projects such as designing an emoji and mixing music. Other fun projects are showcased here including making games in Scratch. (The sew-electric projects look great but require additional materials)

Google’s CS First has some 1 hour activities and some longer projects designed to introduce Computer Science https://www.cs-first.com/materials

Lesson Plans

For lesson plans click on ‘Ideas and Resources’ on the Taccle3 Portal page or use the links below…

Taccle3 English language site

Taccle3 Welsh language site

Taccle3 Dutch site

Taccle3 Finnish site

Taccle3 Estonian site

Taccle3 German site

Taccle3 Spanish site

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TACCLE3 CODING Conference

On October 6th 2017 we are organising the Taccle3 project’s final conference in the Flemish Parliament in Brussels.

If you:
• Want to learn more about ‘computational thinking’ and the link with coding,
• Listen to some motivational speakers
• Participate in hands-on workshops full of practical class room approaches
… then mark the date in your calendar now!

Thanks to the EU’s Erasmus+ programme we are able to offer this conference free of charge including lunch.

The conference language is English but some workshops will be offered in Dutch. A formal invitation will become available shortly with details of speakers and workshops and with reservation instructions. If you want to receive a personal invitation for the conference and a limited amount of updates on the project then leave us your contact details via this form: https://goo.gl/forms/Dqsdn3d63u5cZX423

Taccle3 Coding is an Erasmus+ funded project coordinated by GO! The aim of the project consortium is to empower primary teachers to introduce ‘computational thinking’ and coding in their class room practice.

The project website www.taccle3.eu provides a lot of materials and resources for classroom teachers. The Ideas and Resources tab takes you to resources, reviews and lesson plans in six different languages.

For more information contact: jens.vermeersch@g-o.be and jenhughes@me.com

Wales National Digital Learning Event 2015

Jen and I went along to the National Digital Learning Event and Awards in Cardiff earlier in June. We handed out Taccle books and went to some workshops. There were a few to choose from but I attended a technocamps session which explored some ways of teaching computer science using lego bricks, (build a simple lego structure, now explain to your partner how to build an identical structure without them seeing what you have built) using people, (direct your person around the room using simple commands) and using Cargo Bot. I like what technocamps do, kit like Lego Mindstorms is pretty expensive, so they take the kit around to secondary schools and colleges across Wales for one day workshops. For lots of ideas about how to teach computing, coding and programming for the rest of the year you could check out the Taccle2 blog and the Babitech page.

In the afternoon I had fun playing with Sonic Pi , which uses code for composing and performing music, you can see me in the video below (just after the 2 minute mark) getting flustered because there was a mistake in my loop. Don’t let that put you off, it was really good fun and a great way to get instant and useful results form your code.

The best thing about the day was seeing the great things being done across Wales with Ponty locals Big Click scooping the Commercial Digital Project Award

You can see all of the other inspirational kids and teachers getting their tech on at the Hwb website with projects like e-safety, coding with minecraft, creating an interactive local map and staging a robot wars competition.

Keep an eye out for next years entries, Welsh kids are good with technology, the competition should be tough!