STEAM Education Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

This is a guest blog post by Jessica Moyes, Executive Director of STEAM Education Centres! STEAM Education Centres is one of the Library’s Community Partners. Like us, they offer services that encourage self-directed discovery, community maker spaces and continuous learning. See Jessica’s post below to learn more!

STEAM Educations Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

It’s hard to believe but this fall will mark one year since the STEAM Education Centres opened its doors to bring new educational approaches to learning and making to the St. Thomas and Elgin County region. And what a year it has been! We have lead some awesome programming, participated in a variety of community events, opened a temporary pop-up location and have some exciting plans for the near future – and, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Programming with the Community

The STEAM Team and guest teachers have designed and lead some amazing workshops and school field trips, both in the Centre and in the community, for learners of all ages on topics ranging from coding, computer rebuilding and animation art using 3D design and printing, to Teen and Adult coding with Raspberry Pi and Maker CNC projects. We also took our programming on the road this summer to a pop-up location at the Elgin Mall! There, we lead four weeks of summer camp for kids – Music Maker Camp and Alien Investigations Camp – as well as a range of teen and adult workshops such as Make your own digital picture frame using Raspberry Pi (shown below).

Untitled
Learn to make a Digital Picture Frame using Raspberry Pi – Summer workshop for teens and adults at STEAM Education Centres pop-up location.

 

Making Connections

It was an active summer connecting with people out in the community for the STEAM Team. We kicked off the season with a free BBQ at the STEAM Centre and topped off the night with a screening of Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation. It was a fantastic evening filled with the sounds of laughter, discovery and summertime spirit.

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STEAM Centre Block Party guests screening Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation, June 2017
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STEAM Education Centres’ Summer BBQ and Block Party, June 2017

We also participated in the Canada Day festivities in Pinafore Park this summer. Kids of all ages learned how to program, or code, an Ozobot using colours, navigate a Sphero maze and made their own smoke ring machines!

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Kids learning to make smoke and smoke machines with STEAM Education Centres at Canada Day celebration at Pinafore Park, July 2017

Full STEAM Ahead

Looking to the fall, there are no signs of slowing down! We are currently busy organizing our first event called STEAM Mission 150 for September 30th! STEAM Mission 150 is an exciting new event that will test students like never before while honouring the history of the local community, land and Canada’s 150th! This one-day event will see teams of students between 12 and 15 years old diving deep into fun challenges that require creativity and collaboration while tapping into science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills. And, just for fun, a handful of brave teachers will be able to enter the Mission as well!  We invite everyone to join us for an unforgettable day, whether to participate, spectate or volunteer! With Mission sites scattered throughout the community and over 165 students, teachers and volunteers participating, Mission 150 is set to turn St. Thomas and Elgin County into a STEAM learning playground with a new adventure around every corner! For more information or to get involved as participant or volunteer, visit www.steameducation.ca/steammission

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We are also busy preparing our workshops for ages 7 and up, starting September 12, 2017. While most will be new themes, there will be a few repeats due to popular demand such as Kid Roboteers and STEAMKids 101! Stay tuned or enroll now at www.steameducation.ca

Finally, this fall we will welcome STEAM School in partnership with Thames Valley District School Board. This project will see seventy grade 10 students and four TVDSB teachers joining the STEAM Team this fall while students work to complete four regular high school credit courses through the lens of ‘making life better for someone else’. Students will undertake community based projects and work closely with the STEAM Education Centres staff to gain needed support throughout the fall semester. You can find more information on STEAM School at www.steameducation.ca/steamschool.

So, as we close out our first year and look ahead to the future, we wish to express our sincere thanks to the community that we support and has supported us, as well as the St. Thomas Public Library staff. It’s been a phenomenal year and we look forward to meeting more people, making more partnerships, and providing greater essential learning opportunities to our rural region of learners and makers!

Jessica Moyes

Executive Director

STEAM Education Centres

 

 

 

 

 

3D Printer Upgrade

St. Thomas Public Library has two brand new 3D Printers! Come in and check out our new Lulzbots. These models are an upgrade from our previous Cube models: You will find them easier to use, they can print using many different filament materials, and more colour options are available. You can even bring in your own filament and 3D print for free! (Prints normally cost 10 cents per gram).

What have people been up to on the new printers? Right now the trend is fidget spinners. Print a cap and a shell and then add your own weights for a custom spinner that no one else will have! You can find hundreds of designs like these ones on Thingiverse:

Also exciting: You can watch what people are printing live on our new Twitch channel! The channel switches between our two printers so you can watch a 3D print in progress. See if you can guess what each print will be!

To learn how to use our Lulzbots, join one of our 3D Printing Certification Sessions. Check our online calendar  for session dates. You can register online with your library card, or drop by the Adult Information Desk to sign up. If you can’t make a Certification Session, we now have the option of booking a One on One Session. Ask at the Adult Information Desk and we’ll find a time for a staff member to assist you!

Stay tuned for more changes to Creators’ Community. We’re currently working on a Creators’ Corner, a welcoming work space to accommodate new classes and allow better access to our resources!

The Studio is OPENING!

St. Thomas Public Library’s very own recording studio is opening its doors on THURSDAY MARCH 31st!

A project in the making for the past six months…. St. Thomas Public Library is excited to finally launch ‘The Studio’, a fully-functional audio/video production suite equipped with state-of-the-art recording and editing hardware and software that will enable library cardholders to create professional-quality projects and gain valuable hands-on experience with industry-standard equipment!

Join us on Thursday March 31st, from 6-8pm, for a walk-through of the facilities, and get information on our upcoming training sessions.

What is The Studio?studio 2

The Studio will be a place where Library customers can create and edit audio, video, and photographic material.  Customers will be able to book time and use the room to learn how to use the multimedia tools.  It’s important to note that the room will not be soundproofed, so we will not be able to record drum kits or guitar amplifiers. However, drum sounds can be created using a sequencer, and guitars can be recorded ‘direct’.  The main focus is to provide library customers with the chance to learn how to use these tools.

What are some potential projects someone could do at The Studio?

  • Video Blogs (VLOGS), e.g. How-to videos, Unboxing videos, Podcasts
  • Promotional videos for small businesses or non-profit organizations
  • Family Photos
  • Photo colour correction, editing
  • Photoshopping, e.g. greeting cards, calendars, funny stuff
  • Editing / Compiling old home movies

What equipment will The Studio have?studio 1

Hardware:

  • Black Magic HD video camera
  • DSLR still camera
  • LCD lighting
  • Ableton Push drum sequencer
  • Arturia MIDI keyboard
  • Rode condenser microphone
  • Yamaha studio monitors
  • Zoom Portable Audio Recorder
  • Scarlett Audio I/O
  • 2 mic/line ins (for connecting microphones, guitars, etc)

Software:  We are excited to offer industry-standard software platforms for customers to learn on!

  • Abelton Live
  • Cuckos Reaper
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Photoshop
  • The Entire Adobe CC Suite!

When will customers be able to book Studio time?

Once you have completed our 90-minute certification session, library cardholders who are above the age of 18 will be able to book The Studio for blocks of 2 hours at a time.

Questions? Comments? Let us know!

Creators' Community with 3 Ds-SM

Creators’ Community – “The Studio”

Have you seen our billboard on Talbot Street? Have you heard the rumour about St. Thomas Public Library getting a “studio” where you can record real stuff? Bad news first: You have to wait a little bit. The good news? The rumours are true, and here’s everything you need to know about it.

The Studio Billboard

What is The Studio?

The Studio will be a place where you can create and edit audio, video, and photographic material.  You will be able to book time and use the room to learn how to use the multimedia tools.  The room will not be soundproofed, so perfect acoustic isolation will not be possible and you will not be able to record drum kits or guitar amplifiers (although St. Thomas Public Library may decide to do some soundproofing in the future, pending funding).  Drum sounds will be created using a sequencer, and guitars will be recorded ‘direct’.  The best part? You will have the chance to learn how to use these tools on your own time, at your own pace, without judgement. Experiment away! It will definitely be possible for you to create excellent final products.

What are some potential projects I could do at The Studio?

  • Video Blogs (VLOGS), e.g. How-to videos, Unboxing videos, Podcasts
  • Corporate videos
  • Band demo recordings
  • Family Photos
  • Photo colour correction, editing
  • Photoshopping, e.g. greeting cards, calendars, funny stuff
  • VHS to digital video transfer
  • Editing / Compiling old home movies

What equipment will The Studio have?

Hardware:

  • Black Magic HD video camera
  • DSLR still camera
  • LCD lighting
  • Ableton Push drum sequencer
  • Arturia MIDI keyboard
  • Rode condenser microphone
  • Yamaha studio monitors
  • 2 mic/line ins (for connecting microphones, guitars, etc)

Software:  We are excited to offer industry-standard software platforms for you to learn on!

  • Abelton Live
  • Cuckos Reaper
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Photoshop
  • The Entire Adobe CC Suite!

When will I be able to book Studio time?

We are still waiting for all of the equipment to arrive and we will need some time to get familiar with the hardware and software.  The Studio will be ready for the public in early 2016, possibly in Late January.  Although this hasn’t been finalized, the library will arrange a booking system for The Studio.  Customers will be able to book 2-hour blocks of time.

Need more info? Email us at info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca.

Creators' Community with 3 Ds

Stained-glass Marker Maker Project

At St. Thomas Public LibrarMarkerProject3y’s Creators’ Community, the fun doesn’t stop at the library doors…

Here is an idea for an art project for creators of all ages using Sharpie markers and wax paper!

Creating your own stained-glass art piece can be a simple and rewarding way to engage children using colour and imagination, or an exercise in relaxation for adults (as evidence of the surging popularity of colouring books geared towards adults.

MarkerProject2You will need a roll of wax paper, a black Sharpie marker for outlining, and a set of assorted coloured Sharpies for filling in your designs.

First you will need a design. It can be as easy as tracing a picture from a colouring book, or clipart printed out from the computer, or you can also draw an outline free-hand. Tape down the corners of the wax paper to the table and trace out your design with a black Sharpie using thick bold lines, which will make each panel stand out. Next, fill in the shapes with colours! Finally, trim down the edges of the waxed paper and tape it up to a sunny window and enjoy!

MarkerProject1Here are a few examples of various patterns of difficulty for ideas. Colouring is a wonderful activity that stimulates the brain’s areas of fine motor skills and creativity, and has a meditative effect that is proven to lower stress!

Looking for free printable pattern ideas?

http://www.mandala-4free.de/Mandala-pdf/Mandala_019.pdf

http://www.guidepatterns.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Easy-Stained-Glass-Patterns.jpg

Creators' Community with 3 Ds

Lego Mindstorm Robotics FOR ADULTS!

Lego Mindstorms Robotics - Adults - Facebook reminderMove over, kids! It’s the grown-ups’ time to play!

The Renaissance Robotics team from St. Joseph’s High School is hosting a special “Lego Mindstorm Robotics” workshop just for adults! This wildly popular workshop has previously been offered exclusively for children between the ages of 9 and 12. Adults have heard about and seen these astounding little bots from their children and from live demonstrations here at the Library. Many of these folks tell us how nifty it would be if they could get in on the Lego robot action. Well now they can!

THIS SATURDAY, August 8 from 10 AM until noon, the Library is giving ADULTS a chance to learn from the expert Renaissance Robotics team with this hands-on workshop (for free!) Team members will teach participants how to build and program the Lego Mindstorm robots and give them a chance to relive their your youth in a high-tech world. (Sounds fun, right?)

Space is limited, so register TODAY by emailing adultdept@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca or by calling the Adult Department at 519-631-6050 ext. 8013. DON’T MISS OUT!! Space is limited!

 

Creators' Community with 3 Ds

Technology Zoo – Printers and Vinyl and Robots – OH MY!

We’re launching our Creators’ Community with a Technology Zoo!

Creators' Community with 3 DsCreator’s Community is waiting for you to Devise, Design, and Discover with an all-day, hands-on open-house on the main level with new technology and library services. Live demonstrations will help YOU be a “Tinker Thinker” at ANY age! Visit three or more demonstrations to fill up your Passport to Prizes for chance to win a Kobo Touch!

CatalogueNew Online Catalogue – Demonstrations from 9 to 10 AM and 1:30 to 2:30 PM, Rotary Lounge, Main Level

Harness the full power of the library! Our online catalogue is changing in June – we are excited to offer an updated look and feel, as well as improved search functions.
Some things remain the same:

  • You can place holds on items
  • You can renew items online

Some things are improved:

  • Clearer search results
  • Easy facets to limit results by genre, format, or author

Some things are no longer available:

  • No advanced search
  • No “lists”

If you have questions or comments about our new online catalogue, the staff are here to help!

3D Printer3D Printers – Demonstrations from 9 to 10 AM and 1:30 to 2:30 PM, Creators’ Community (near Adult Non-fiction) , Main Level

We are so excited to be launching our new 3D printing service! Two “Cube” 3D printers will be a available for public use at all times in our Creators’ Community space on the main level. Be among the first to know how to design for 3D print, use them and see them in action! 3D printers are all the rage, but what does it mean for YOU? Find out at our live demo where we’ll teach you how to set up the printer, use the basic provided software, and how to unleash the awesome power of 3D printing! Printing costs are the bare minimum: 0.10 per gram. Not interested in creating your own design, but still interested? We will have demonstrations to let you watch the 3D printer in action!

DatabasesOnline Databases – Demonstrations from 10 to 11 AM and 2:30 to 3:30 PM, Rotary Lounge, Main Level

The library has so many online databases for cardholders to use – but there are a few that are new this year! We now subscribe to Gale Courses (for online education), Consumer Reports (for product recommendations and reviews) and Britannica online (for research at any age). GALE Courses offers hundreds of free online courses for professional development, technology skills, and personal enrichment. We’ll show you how to search the course catalogue and sign up for these fun and interactive courses. Thinking of buying a new car, vacuum, or bacon? Consumer Reports  offers complete access to rating information from the Consumer Reports Magazine, Buying Guides, and more. Results of product testing are made available by the Consumers Union, an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We’ll show you how to navigate this database, and get the answers you need to help you make the best purchase decision. Britannica Library is the primary source for research – from elementary students to college students, from business professionals to curious seniors. Whether it’s frogs or physics, gardening or geography, Britannica Online Public Library Edition covers it all.

AncestryAncestry Library Edition & Microfilm Reader – Demonstrations from 10 to 11 AM and 2:30 to 3:30 PM, Local History, Second Level
Are you interested in doing some genealogical research? Our online database Ancestry.ca is an excellent place to start! Ancestry is easy to use, and has lots of full-text documents. Aren’t sure how to use it? Our knowledgeable staff can help get you going!

Did you know that St. Thomas Public Library has copies of old editions of the St. Thomas Times Journal on microfilm? We do! For example, you can read the newspaper from St. Thomas on the day the Titanic sunk. Both nifty and bone-chilling. It is easier than ever to take a look at old copies of the paper, using our microfilm readers! If you have never used a microfilm reader, now is your chance to get some hands-on training and practice using the machines, from our Local History experts!

ebookseBooks – Demonstrations from 11 AM to Noon and 3:30 to 4:30 PM, Rotary Lounge, Main Level
No late fees. No returning books. All of the books with none of the weight. eBooks and eAudiobooks are amazing. With access to over 50,000 eBooks and eAudiobooks, it’s no wonder our Overdrive Download Centre service is so popular!  Whether you have an iPad, Android tablet, or dedicated eReader, we have books for you! Our knowledgeable staff will be on-hand to answer any questions you may have, or walk you through the process of checking out an eBook, among other services offered by OverDrive digital service. Never used Overdrive Download Centre before? Give it a quick look-over before you get the full demonstration.

Vinyl CutterVinyl Cutter – Demonstrations from 11 AM to Noon and 3:30 to 4:30 PM, Creators’ Community (near Adult Non-fiction) , Main Level
Our vinyl cutter is a brand-new tool that the library is trying out! Do you have a small business and need some vinyl signs? Are you interested in using vinyl to decorate your home or garage? Would you like to create a custom bumper sticker for your car? Come on in and try out our vinyl cutter; costs of cutting are low at only five cents per square inch! We offer a variety of colours to use and the vinyl cutter is available during regular library customers on the main level in our new Creators’ Community space on the main level.

Lego RoboticsLego Mindstorm Robotics – Demonstrations from 1:30 to 4:30 PM, Magazine area (near Adult Non-fiction) , Main Level
Lego Mindstorm Robotics has been a staple program in our Children’s and Teens’ Department for a few years now – we thought it was time for them to shine and let people over the age of 12 see them in action! Come and watch the Robotics Team at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School put on a demonstration of Lego Mindstorm Robotics – who knows, you may discover a brand-new hobby! You won’t BELIEVE what these little Lego robots can do, and the St. Joe’s team is very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and absolutely brilliant!

MinecraftMinecraft Available to play all day, every day!
Did you know that the Library maintains its very own Minecraft server? Using a Minecraft EDU license, library card holders can log-in from any of the Children’s and Teens’ Department computers to access our Minecraft server. We change up the world every month, so there is always something new to discover!