21st Century Skills


Arduino Watering System

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, Makerspaces | No Comments

In our makerspace, we many times need to design lessons, workshops, or programs that deal with innovative tools to boost learning and interaction. One of my favorite things is to use maker kits that are easy to understand and have students creating with. However, those kits sometimes are quite expensive, especially if you are in Brazil and want to multiply active learning.  Arduinos seem to be a good choice in terms of accessibility. But, if you are just like me – an educator learning new skills in order to understand tech and use this knowledge to design your lessons -, the Arduino learning curve could be a little steep. Luckily I happen to work in a space where we learn together. So, my learning path was easier because I could partner with Angelita Torres – our Computer Engineer who is everyday improving her own teaching skills.

First things first – Start with a real challenge

We all know that we need to make sure we use our planet’s water resources more carefully if we are to survive. So, making a low-cost water system is not only appealing, but also may trigger student’s curiosity. Start a vegetable garden at school and invite teachers, makers, and students to improve it by automatizing it.

Develop internal Expertise

The resource centers at Casa Thomas Jefferson are dynamic learning environments. In April, one of the activities counted with the expertise of Larissa Goulart, who found an online tutorial, trained teachers, and delivered a session.

I made the circuit, uploaded the code, ran it and came to the conclusion that the code was not quite right to what I needed. My project needed to be adjusted, for I did not only need the pump off (soil wet) or on (soil dry). Angelita taught me that I would need to learn how to use the soil moisture sensor in the analog mode so that I would be able to adjust the pump to the correct amount of humidity my plant needed. See below the code that we wrote together. One tip: one of the sensor pins will need to go to an analog pin like A0 in the Arduino board.

See a complete tutorial and the codes here

Makerspace & EFL | Unique Learning Experiences

By | 21st Century Skills, Classroom, English, Maker Movement, Makerspaces, Problem Solving, STEAM Activity, Testimony | No Comments

To solve the many problems we humans are bound to face, we will need to have people who know how to collaborate and efficiently put thoughts and skills to work together to solve challenges. So, it is phenomenal when teachers see their English Teaching practice as malleable and experiment with Maker-Centered Learning [MCL] within their curriculum so as to provide youth with exciting and dynamic learning experiences. Last week, a CTJ teacher, who loves seeing teens thrive and engage in the learning process, brought her group to the school’s makerspace. Her journey underlines some of the real benefits of adopting a framework for Maker Empowerment. What you will read below is Elizabeth Silver‘s testimonial of her class. Enjoy and become part of a growing number of educators willing to experiment and identify the  benefits of MCL.


“Want to do something fun and easy with your class? This activity is adaptable to any level and can be done in both the Makerspace and/or the classroom. The challenge is to see how much weight dry spaghetti noodles can support. This idea was inspired on 5B’s Unit 9 – Engineering Wonders.  To take better advantage of the content offered here, I went looking around in the internet for something to construct with my class. I came upon these two sources:

What you need in terms of materials

  • A couple of bags of spaghetti (the cheapies will do)
  • Styrofoam boards – about 3cm thick and 1 meter long (I used one for each group, but you could cut it in half)
  • Box cutters/craft knives/utility knives (whatever you want to call them)
  • Objects to put on top of the dry spaghetti to test strength
  • Baggage hand scale to weigh objects (I happen to have this, so I made use of it. You could just estimate the weight or even use vocabulary of comparatives and superlatives to talk about the objects).
  • Optional additions are LED lights and batteries, which give the students another level of making/designing. I also had on hand markers, paper, string, toothpicks and scissors – but NO glue, which would defeat the purpose of the activity.
  • Design Thinking form – the outline for this is on the PPT. I have the students copy it down, do some pre-design thinking on the objectives, materials available, how they plan to execute their idea and their expected outcome. Here is a perfect moment to include target language. After they do the activity, they revise their forms according to their experiences. Then I have them hand it in for basic corrections and as a way to wrap up their findings, thus leading to a class discussion. I also do this to stimulate critical thinking, reflection and analysis.
  • Slides


Figuring it out

They were so engaged! They took it upon themselves to divide into groups, got the material (even asking if other Makerspace material was available for use), and spoke only in English (this time I did not have to insist on that); they cooperated, collaborated and shared ideas. The final structures were so different, showing the diversity of thought among the students. The Makerspace staff, who provided support and ideas, readily assisted them.

Developing a sensitivity to design

The result of this experience was beyond expectations. We used the Makerspace, which in itself takes your class to another level – what I like to call a ‘shift’. The idea above is not in and of itself so innovative or technological, but the dynamic that took place with my students was phenomenal.

Learning from tools and from others

At one very cool moment, two  Makerspace staff members brought out a specialised tool for cutting styrofoam and demonstrated how to use it (less mess than a box cutter). The class stood around them watching how it works, and they were in such awe that they literally let out a collective “AAAHHHH!” The word we heard the most from them during it all was “satisfying”. Summing it up, we had fun – smiling, chatting, joking, laughing. It was akin to a social event. They are begging to go back… to be continued.”

Elizabeth Silver is a teacher at CTJ since 2012 
and is always looking for different ways to 
ignite the learning spark in her students.



CTJ Makerspace at World Water Forum 8 in Brasília

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Invited by Green Nation, Casa Thomas Jefferson Makerspace participated actively in the events held at GN Citizen Village in the 8th World Water Forum. The WWF is the world’s biggest water-related event and is organised by the World Water Council. Its mission is to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life.

This eighth edition was hosted in Brasília from March 18 to March 23, 2018. It is reported that the event brought seventy thousand visitors to the city in the first three days. Around ten thousand of the attendees were specialists who participated in the actual forum, but the majority were students and non-specialists visiting the free Citizen Village. The Forum counted on the support of  Green Nation to host experiential sessions that not only raised awareness but also created a growing movement of people who care to take action and change consumption habits.

At the Green Nation Citizen Village, CTJ Makerspace delivered four sessions that translated research into interactive experiences, appealed to people’s emotions and questioned the way we learn and the reasons we learn content matter. We offered participants two different types of experiences. The first one comprised two prototyping sessions, delivered to public school students and teachers and aimed to help them develop their creative abilities using Arduino. The CTJ Makerspace team and architect/maker/designer Lucas De Sordi helped people to understand the code behind the Arduino project – Thirsty Flamingo. The beauty of this session was that we could see families prototyping and learning together different ways to tackle everyday challenges. In the second experience, comprised two design thinking/prototyping sessions to reduce and/or recycle grey water. In these sessions two groups had the chance to build a proactive mindset as they learned about the tools, the movement of learning together to solve challenges, and the free learning opportunities awaiting them at our American Space.

Convidado pelo Green Nation,  Casa Thomas Jefferson Makerspace teve participação ativa nos eventos que ocorreram em sua Vila Cidadã da oitava edição do Fórum Mundial da Água. O Fórum é o maior evento do mundo sobre temas ligados à água. Sua missão é promover a conscientização, construir compromissos políticos e provocar ações em temas críticos relacionados à água para facilitar a sua conservação, proteção, desenvolvimento, planejamento, gestão e uso eficiente, em todas as dimensões, com base na sustentabilidade ambiental, para o benefício de toda a vida na terra.

A oitava edição do Fórum foi sediada em Brasília entre 18 e 23 de março de 2018. Relatórios indicaram que o evento trouxe 70.000 pessoas para a cidade nos três primeiros dias de conferência. Cerca de 10.000 desses visitantes são especialistas que participaram ativamente do Fórum, mas a maioria do público era de estudantes e não-especialistas que visitaram a Vila Cidadã. O Fórum contou com o apoio do Movimento Green Nation para sediar sessões experimentais que não só promoveram conscientização, mas também criaram um movimento crescente de pessoas que se importam em tomar atitudes para a mudança e mudam seus hábitos de consumo.

Na Vila Cidadã, o CTJ Makerspace realizou 4 sessões que transformaram pesquisas em experiências interativas, com apelo às emoções das pessoas, questionando a forma como aprendemos e as razões para a importância desse aprendizado. Oferecemos aos participantes dois tipos diferentes de experiências. O primeiro consistiu em duas sessões de prototipagem oferecidas a estudantes de escolas públicas e professores, e teve o objetivo de auxiliá-los no desenvolvimento de suas habilidades criativas usando Arduino. A equipe do CTJ Makerspace e o arquiteto/maker/designer Lucas De Sordi ajudaram pessoas a entender a programação do projeto de Arduino – Thirsty Flamingo. A beleza dessa sessão foi que pudemos observar famílias criando protótipos e aprendendo juntas sobre diferentes formas de combater desafios cotidianos. Na segunda experiência, dois grupos tiveram a oportunidade de construir uma mentalidade proativa em sessões de design thinking para reduzir e/ou reaproveitar “água cinzenta” (proveniente de uso doméstico), enquanto aprendiam sobre as ferramentas necessárias, o movimento de aprendizado em conjunto para solucionar desafios, e as oportunidades de aprendizado gratuitas que estão à disposição deles em nosso Espaço Americano.

CTJ - Green Nation Festival - 8º Fórum Mundial da Água


16 Days of Activism

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Empreendedorismo, Projetos | No Comments

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign takes place annually between November 25th (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and December 10th (Human Rights Day). During this period, governments, civil society organizations, and individuals promote initiatives to raise public awareness of the issue of violence against women and girls. This year’s campaign theme is “From peace in the home to peace in the world: make education safe for all!”.

In close collaboration with the American Embassy, Binational Centers (BNCs) in Brazil started a planning process, seeking to join efforts and have robust programs in the 16 Days Campaign. With this aim in mind, Casa Thomas Jefferson (CTJ) delivered an online Design Thinking session to theBNCs that accepted the Embassy’s invitation. In the session, we revisited the resources provided by the post and discussed how those links and ideas could instill meaningful and interesting programs in each community.

Below are the BNCs that have taken part in the 16 Days Campaign so far:

1.     CTJ

2.     Alumni

3.     ACBEU Salvador

4.     CCBEU Sorocaba

5.     ICBEU Uberaba

6.     ICBEU Belo Horizonte

7.     ACBEU Juiz de Fora

8.     ICBEU Manaus

9.     CCBEU Franca

10.   CCBEU Tupã

11.   ICBEU Patrocinio

12.   CCBEU Guarapuava

13.   IBEU-CE

On December 4th and 7th, 2017, CTJ held a two-day program about entrepreneurship for women who run businesses. We believe that being independent is a key issue for women who suffer domestic abuse, since they often fail to break free from their aggressor because they feel emotionally or financially dependent. As an educational institution, we feel we can contribute in this aspect.  Therefore, we welcomed 20 women who have suffered some kind of domestic violence and are now assisted by the NGO SOROPTIMIST to our Innovation Hub. There, they could connect with new ideas, meet people, find a support group, and use tools that are only available for them at our American Center to help them leverage their business, figure out differentials, reflect upon their audiences, and improve communication channels.

Our two-day program started with an informal exchange of ideas, inspired by Human Library sessions. We had a successful local businesswoman, a representative from the Ministry of Human Rights, and a martial artist sharing their life stories, the challenges they have faced, and how they overcame the struggles life posed to them.

Mariangela, a Capoeira martial artist, talked about self-defense. Jordana, an entrepreneur, talked about how to run a business and differentials. And, finally, Fernanda, from the Ministry of Human Rights and an Education USA alumni, talked about programs the Ministry has on the theme of entrepreneurship.

CTJ would kindly like to thank all the women who devoted their time to inspiring our participants to take charge of their lives and build a better future for themselves and for their children.

Inspiration – Gaining Confidence and Competence

After the Human Library inspiring talks, participants were split in two large groups, and we held concurrent sessions. One group had a session facilitated by our Makerspace staff members, in which participants were exposed to products that are presented well in terms of design. We showed them how simple things like tagging and packaging add value to the products they already make and sell. Participants reflected upon how they could use these ideas to improve their own products, and then used a laser cutter to produce tags for their products. The other session focused on the principles of low cost photography. Participants were given priceless photography tips by specialist Raissa Coe (@raissacoe) and learned how to produce good images to advertise their products in social medias.


On the second day, for the first two hours, participants who had taken the laser workshop tried their hand at photography and vice versa. Then, experts from Pupila (@pupila) held a session aimed at showing participants how to put up an online store on Instagram. This helped them perceive themselves as resourceful individuals who can muster the wherewithal to change their world through making and creating – people who have an I-Can-Do-It attitude.


The day ended with a wonderful talk about mindfulness and caring for each other. Author Beatriz Schwab shared her story and talked about (the) her book – Soco na Alma. She humbly talked about her personal experience with violence in her own home – a story that is depicted in her book and has inspired a soap opera on Globo, a major national TV channel.

Casa Thomas Jefferson’s 16 Day program plan will be shared along with all the other BNCs’ so that other American Spaces can replicate or get inspired by what we have done.  We truly hope that many of the women who participated in our program do feel empowered and come back to our innovation hub for support and learning.


16 Days of Activism


Prototyping for Disability Rights

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Maker Movement, Makerspaces | No Comments

Casa Thomas Jefferson (CTJ) hosted  (from August 30th through October 19th) a program entitled “Educational Assistive Technology”. The program aims at prototyping for disability rights to empower youth to shape their world and effect change in their community. In this program, visually impaired and non-visually impaired students learned about fast prototyping and how they can use it to find solutions to problems that students with disabilities face. The idea is to place people with disabilities at the center of the creation of solutions, as they test and act as main players in the design process.

This innovative makeathon received financial support from The International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI). This initiative demonstrated that sound program planning can attract the interest of partners committed to improving the Educational System in Brazil and it can also provide access to minorities. INELI’s main goal is to highlight libraries and innovation hubs that create meaningful and feasible solutions to social and cultural challenges that people in Latin America face.

The program itself was divided into a planning stage and three hands-on meetings. Af first, we hosted a preparatory meeting in which visually impaired students, teachers, parents and school administrators got together for an honest conversation about the challenges of teaching the visually impaired. During the first formal meeting, facilitators conducted an ideation session to help the non-visually impaired truly understand the challenge from the viewpoint of those who face it.  At each table, one visually impaired student informed the group about what he/she finds difficult to learn and why. The beauty of the event was that each table narrowed the obstacle down to one  challenge and started ideating to solve that specific problem.

Each group had the support of a skilled facilitator. They were:

  • Marcos Roberto – social entrepreneur and founder of Meviro
  • Fast prototyping specialists from 3Eixos
  • Luciana Eller – student and designer
  • Ana Cristina Alves – therapist and Universidade de Brasília professor

On September 28th, participants brought the first prototypes and the visually impaired tested and provided feedback on their usability. Based on this input, the whole group worked on finding better solutions, using laser cutters, 3d printers, arduinos, etc. – all the tools available at the makerspace. On October 19th, participants should return for the last meeting. Until then, they are welcome to  use CTJ’s  learning hub space to embetter their creations.

Casa Thomas Jefferson believes that running programs that place youth at the center and give them opportunity to think collaboratively and to use tools and resources for a meaningful purpose is what defines our spirit.

All the assistive solutions created by participants, using modern prototyping tools will be shared online soon.

Educational Assistive Technology with CIL 2 - Day 1


ACCESS Maker Camp

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, English, Maker Movement, Makerspaces, Sem categoria | One Comment

Imagine a place where youth learn about new skills, tools, and opportunities, a place where there is room for creativity and genuine intrinsic motivation, a place where learning a skill may lead to learning a competence that could influence the way you perceive yourself and your role in society. Such places exist, and are growing in numbers in Brazil. On July 3rd and 4th, CTJ Makerspace, in close collaboration with the American Embassy in Brasilia, had the pleasure to host a two-day Maker Camp for 30 extraordinary English Access Micro-scholarship Program students. The Access Maker Camp was specially designed to promote experiential learning opportunities for participants and teachers. For two days, thirty students from all over Brazil and three American interns participated in maker activities and experiences that may lead to their building a growth mindset and becoming more responsible for their own educational and professional prospect.


Inspirational Talk

Day one started with a brief talk about flexible learning environments and the educational system in Brazil, and about connecting with ideas and worthy information on the web. Participants discussed how schools are still trapped in a model that perceives learners as passive consumers, and how access to information may give them a chance to be more prepared to change that. We shared some valuable links and resources that may help youth become more digitally literate and have a voice or even come up with solutions for challenges in their communities.


In small groups, all participants attended five experiential stations.

  • Circuit Board  challenges
  • Strawbees
  • Goldberg Machine
  • Cardboard brain teasers

The goal was to have participants feel the thrill of learning by making and notice how simple materials can be repurposed into exciting learning prompts. Once the hands-on part of the activity was over, we opened a discussion on what they learned while engaged in each of the tasks. Many participants told us that they had learned how to listen to their peers and how to collaborate in order to succeed – precious soft skills to acquire. Participants also talked about how they could use what they had learned to improve schools or libraries in their communities.

Workshops – laser cutting and making circuit boards

Participants were divided into groups and attended two workshops. In a world surrounded by design, it is almost unconceivable that students go through high school without pondering what design is or even learning how to use image editors to convey powerful messages. The laser cutter workshop started with participants learning how to prepare files and use features in an image editor. They were told that all we need to do in order to learn something new is to be willing, do our best and learn from our mistakes. The second session gave participants the chance to make the circuit boards they had used during the showcase so that they understood how they work. Knowing how things work and becoming sensitive to design may promote understanding that the designed systems and objects are malleable, leading learners to become active agents of change. When asked what they had learned, one student said that he understood that sharing what you learn with your community strengthens everyone.

Human Library

For the Human Library session we invited two extraordinary women who had a very important message to give: we are responsible for our own future. Teresa Pires, a well known designer and entrepreneur, talked about her experience as a public school student, how lost she was as a teenager, and how her passion helped her understand what made sense for her professional life. Teresa opened her own instagram store and she teaches people how to bind books. She also told the kids about learning to use technology, available at CTJ Makerspace, to improve her business outreach, and shared her new Youtube Channel. Angelita Torres, a computational science grad and outstanding member of CTJ Makerspace team, inspired youth and told them about her experience as a girl in the STEAM field, where the vast majority is male students. We had a vivid exchange of ideas in English as participants were given the task to find three things Angelita and Teresa had in common. To wrap the two days of hard and, at the same time, pleasant work, Access students were asked to take a picture of something they found interesting and post it on their social media. You can relish what these smart eager learners had to say here.
Read about Human Libraries in American Spaces here


ACCESS Maker Camp


Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I See Tonight.

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Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I See Tonight.

In this STEAM project, children from 8 to 15 years old studied constellations and learned about simple electrical connections using LED’s. We used a video from Smithsonian Institute about stars to inspire them to research the constellations. After that, kids had to choose a constellation to begin the project. The suggestion was for them to work in groups, but they worked in pairs mostly. We suggested this configuration because we wanted to motivate collaborative work. And it worked just fine, since they organized their work very well. We had five sessions of thirty minutes to finish the project. In the first session, the children watched the video, chose a constellation and painted the cardboard. In the second sessions, they the holes, inserted the LED’s and identified positive and negative parts. During the third and fourth sessions, students connected and welded the wires to the LED’s. In the fifth session, we placed the on/off button and the charger to power the project. When the project was complete, we had an exhibition. The kids were really excited about the project. They called their parents and friends to come and see the exhibition. All steps, from choosing the constellations, painting the sky background and connecting the wires were made by them with the guidance of the Resource Center staff. Although it was a long project, they had lots of fun with us.




Strengthening Public School learning Experience

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There are many makerspaces in the world and many of them have something in common: Educators emphasize the importance of building maker competence and confidence. In the book Maker Centered Learning, the authors mention that educators involved with the Maker Pedagogy take a special interest in competence and confidence building and how these  character traits foster a tinkering disposition. People who make projects in makerspaces often become comfortable with the natural uncertainty of the tinkering process and become more willing to work in a project that involves content that they might have seen only in theory.

Maker centered competence and confidence may support the development of a tinkering disposition specifically but can also be seeing as building blocks for a wide variety of other dispositions. For example, as a result of the development of competence and confidence— and depending on the particular maker activities a student engages in— a student might develop a carpenter’s disposition, an entrepreneur’s disposition, or a hybrid disposition that draws on a combination of any number of maker competencies. Also, Students and educators  learn  to be patient, to recognize how their limitations guide them through the making process, to collaborate, to work with their peers, to respect the material and the tools, and to develop a sense of common, shared projects.

On Monday, May 15th CTJ Makerspace welcomed Unb – Brasilia`s  federal University scholars and public school students who take part in the initiative Catavento – a project that aims at promoting discussion and awareness of the consumption and production of renewable energy. CTJ makerspace staff members understood that engaging these students and educators in a maker centered activity would  help them build a maker mindset, practice English, and learn that they can use our collaborative platform to hang out, learn new skills, connect with people and ideas and become independent learners.

When students arrived, they were given a tour and we showed them all the free machine training workshops we offer the community (3D printers, laser cutter, plotter and sewing machines). After that,  they learned about simple circuit building thought LittleBits challenges. Then, students learned what a Goldberg machine is and started collaborating to build their own. Throughout the program CTJ staff members felt the thrill of  witnessing once more  what the book aforementioned advocates  as the most important benefits of a maker centered activity. Create opportunities for a mindset change, and consequently,  foster an I can do it attitude that is crucial to anyone who is involved in collaborative projects that aim at promoting the soft skills necessary to become  active agents of change.



Be the Change You Want to See in Educational Settings

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, English, Maker Movement, Sem categoria | No Comments

We invite you to consider the following questions:

  • What kinds of challenges will people face in 5 years?
  • What kinds of skills will people need to face these challenges?
  • How do educators and parents who believe in maker centered learning get prepared to foster a I-can-do-it attitude in young people?
  • How to develop a sensitivity to design and understand learning as experiences that should prepare people for the challenged that will appear before them in the future?

Perhaps the answer to the last question should be:  develop soft skills in ourselves first. In other words, educators should be the first to feel encouraged to notice opportunities to build, tinker, hack and design learning artifacts and systems in a ever changing world.

With this premise in mind, we designed and delivered two Librarian Training sessions 2017. The idea revolved around the fact that we strongly believe people, educators included, need to become sensitive to opportunities to activate their sense of maker empowerment.

On our first meeting, Casa Thomas Jefferson’s Resource Center team was invited  to think about what their patrons’ needs and interests are and how to design programs to cater for those needs. Then, the whole Resource Center team revisited what Casa Thomas Jefferson’s mission is and started writing the Resource Center very own mission statement.

For the second meeting, Resource Center staff members came to CTJ makerspace and got their hands dirty; we revisited the mission they created as a group and learned a new skill – we learned the technical part of using a plotter machine, but we had a purpose in mind: The team learned how to use the machine to make the mission statement visually appealing to everyone who visit our Resource Centers.

All in all, the two sessions worked on a maker skill as a secondary aim, for the most important learning outcome was to build confidence and build a maker mindset. As a result, we  have a shared vision as what a dynamic learning center is. Now it’s much easier to plan programs that engage people with ideas and tools to foster learning in the  21st Century.

Building Internal Expertise


Maker Centered Learning in Resource Centers

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In 2012, much was said and heard about the maker movement. Discussion about the benefits of making tangible or digital objects for pedagogical purposes abounded. Maker learning environment ranging from traditional classrooms to public libraries, museums, galleries, and even the halls of the White House drew lots of attention. Among the narratives to back this exponential growth some resonated well with Bi-National Centers: Creating dynamic learning environment where people could find opportunities to engage in innovative  programming, develop a sense of agency, and be inspired by projects, people and ideas.

In sync with the primary benefits of maker centered learning, all six resource centers at Casa Thomas Jefferson, offer monthly extra-curricular leaning opportunities with a focus on participants as content creators. In February, we had three of these activities: Blind Date With a Book, Read and Share, and Draw words.

Blind Date With a Book – To celebrate Valentine’s Day,  librarians selected and made available books. The catch was that people had to give the book a chance and could not judge it by its cover, for the book was wrapped up as a Valentine’s gift.



Larissa Goulart

Resource Center – Casa Thomas Jefferson Asa Sul

Read and Share - Reading is something magical and worth sharing. Librarians  encouraged participants to share their reading experience and asked them to make a video about their favorite part.

Larissa Goulart

Resource Center –  Casa Thomas Jefferson Asa Sul


Draw from Words - Participants had the change  to learn new English words and recycle the words they already knew. Participants also had the chance to use their  creative potential and develop spatial / visual intelligence. 

Thaíse Nogueira

Resource Center  - Casa Thomas Jefferson Águas Claras


Strengthening BNC Network

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, English, Maker Movement, Makerspaces, Sem categoria, Smithsonian | No Comments

Brazil is a country with nearly 50 American Spaces, mostly comprised of independent Binational Centers. BNCs,  well-regarded institutions in their communities for the seriousness of their education, and for the wide cultural programs they offer. Not surprisingly, BNCs easily understood the need to redesign libraries to provide  people with collaborative learning experiences. Aiming at strengthening Brazil’s Binational Center network, The American Embassy worked in close collaboration with Casa Thomas Jefferson  to implement The Achieving 21st Century Skills Project –  a Mission Brazil American Spaces education initiative.

Now on its third phase, 27  BNCs work together to design program plans so that BNCs can do more than teach English, offer cultural programs, provide EducationUSA services, open a library, and conduct alumni activities. BNCs  are  opening to the local community innovative learning hubs to engage people with topics related to social entrepreneurship, and enable them to inspire and be inspired by new ideas, people, skills,  and tools.

From 20 to 24th of March, 22 participants from eight different  regions in the state of São Paulo (Campinas, São José dos Campos, Taubaté, Sorocaba, São Paulo, Franca, Lins, Tupã, and Ribeirão Preto) met to learn new skills, plan strategic programs, fast prototype and learn new concepts and ideas to help them better design and deliver innovative program plans.  Glauco Paiva and André Vidal, local makers with great expertise to share, inspired teachers, administrative staff,  and librarians to challenge their own mindset and raise awareness on topics such as how to foster human centered learning, inspire change and connect people and ideas to promote social change. During the training, participants learned about design thinking, innovation tools, best outreach programming practices, the maker movement, and best reporting practices. To enrich the sessions, participants were engaged in hands on maker centered learning activities aimed at opening facilitators` minds and enabling them to design and  host pedagogically sound, effective programs in their own institutions. The session ignited collaboration and a sense of shared vision that will linger and create a positive effect in the BNC network.

BNCs  Educational sessions


Augmented Reality and Wildlife Conservation

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, English, Maker Movement, Sem categoria | No Comments

In March, 2017, 30 youth participants came to Casa Thomas Jefferson Taguatinga  to have a quite unique English learning experience. Participants made a customized sketchbook with an augmented reality cover. In the beginning of this program, we  talked to participants about encouraging environmental protection (such as wildlife conservation or response to climate change). We explored the concept of augmented reality and told participants they would make a sketchbook.

We used the app Floresta sem fim (Faber Castell) that  depicts Brazilian wildlife species and engaged participants with hands on activities. We had 30 youth participants eagerly working and practicing the English language out of the classroom through making a tangible object.



Thomas Griggs at “Centro Interescolar de Línguas”

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Thomas Griggs

The binational Center Casa Thomas Jefferson has a program called Thomas Griggs  aimed at preparing youth to become eligible to American High School certification. Students take complementary lessons on US History, US Government, British and American Literature, Computer Education, Health e Fine Arts. Also, students get prepared for Community Service.

CTJ Makerspace

CTJ has an innovation hub that offers students and people in the community unique and innovative english language learning experiences. We designed a program to promote collaboration between Thomas Griggs students during community hours and public school students.

Innovative English Language Programming

In March, 2017, 20 Thomas Griggs students did community hours at Centro Interescolar de Línguas. The program brought a challenge: create a drawing bot out of recyclables and Littlebits. In the first part of the workshop, students learned about American Spaces and the learning opportunities available for them at CTJ`s makerspace. Then, they were introduced to Littlebits and used their creativity to make their bots work. When this experiencial part of the session was over, students reflected upon what they had learned and how they could facilitate a similar session for 30 CIL students. Then, each Griggs student became a facilitator of a small group, and collaboration and genuine exchange of ideas abounded.  One of the highlights of this maker workshop was when the first projects came to live and participants started believing in their ability to make their project work. Soon enough the school was buzzing with excitement and learning. All CIL school community and Griggs students were invited to CTJ Makerspace for more free learning opportunities (to laser cut, 3D print, and use design software).

Thomas Griggs


“Maker Day with CIL – Prototyping for Disability Rights”

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Maker Movement, Makerspaces, Projetos | One Comment

As it happens to any living organism on the planet, some days are just better than others. When you get the chance to collaborate with great people to make dreams come true, motivate young people to learn technologies that can help others, and experience the power of a flexible learning space, its not just any other day at the office. It`s magical.  The history of the fight for the rights of people with disabilities is considerably new. However, nowadays we have some important advances in this area. At CIL 2, a public language teaching institution, there is a great community of people with disabilities – especially those who are visually impaired. CIL has become reference in Teaching English as a Second Language to blind people in Brasília. Despite their expertise, the students still face accessibility problems and lack of assistive technology. Casa Thomas Jefferson proposed to expand CIL’s reach by sharing its makerspace and hosting a program in which CIL staff and students had the opportunity to work alongside experts on fast prototyping. Participants learned how this kind of technology can be used to their own advantage in solving challenges faced by people with disabilities at their school.

The program 

“On Friday, September 23, in observation of “the Maker Week for Human Rights and Tolerance,” Casa Thomas Jefferson Asa Norte held a program for 20 public high school students and  3 students with a visual impairment.  All  students came from CIL 2 – Centro Interescolar de Línguas de Brasília  to collaborate, learn English,  and connect design with social change. Participants worked in teams, first interviewing the visually-impaired student to learn about some of the day to day challenges his or her disability presented, and then brainstormed ways to overcome these challenges.  Finally, they used CTJ’s Makerspace to draft up a design or prototype of their solution.

As a warmer, participants watched the trailer “Great Fight for Disability Rights”, which  documents the making of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to put themselves in the shoes of the visually impaired. The head teachers, who spoke only in English with students, used design thinking techniques to engage participants in creating empathy towards the difficulties visually impaired people face, and spot  challenges that could be overcome with a special type of assistive technology.  Students were divided into five groups of four; on each table there was either a visually impaired person or someone who could report from experience.  Participants easily identified with the topic, for CIL 2 has a strong community of people with disabilities.  At CIL there is a specialist who personally provides visually impaired students with sound learning strategies; Daniele Alves de Lemos was instrumental to the program, for she provided CTJ staff and facilitators with important pedagogical tips. Participants worked in teams, interviewing each other to learn about the challenges they face. At this point, visually impaired participants were eager to share their experiences, and participants brainstormed ways to overcome the challenges. The makerspace was bursting with discovery and creativity as students  learned about  manual and fast prototyping, practiced English, connected art and design with social change, and learned about digital artifact creation.


The partners 

The program counted on the support of valuable partners. They were: Four facilitators from 3Eixos, a company founded by students from UnB – the local federal university, who worked against the clock to guarantee participants designed feasible projects; Patrick Ramon, CIL 2 supervisor, who was extremely enthusiastic about the idea and supported students and facilitators throughout the planning and execution of the project; Daniele Alves de Lemos, who is a specialist with CIL and provided all people involved with great input; and Marcos Roberto, founder of, an outstanding accessibility project that inspired the program`s  narrative. The program also counted on the support of the director of the American Spaces project with the American Embassy, and of course, CTJ makerspace staff members who felt first hand the thrill of empowering people to use the space to promote economic and social change.

Participant`s projects

All facilitators had a back up plan (a feasible project) ready to share and inspire participants. One of the projects was a tactile map of the makerspace. However, participants were so touched and engaged that they came up with wonderful ideas of their own based on the real needs of the visually impaired people in the program.

  • 3D printed Tactile Map – central bus station;
  • 3D printed Bracelet – Identification of volunteers in the  school’s accessibility project;
  • 3D printed Tactile Map – from bus stop to school;
  • Arduino Super Cane –  to detect obstacles and improve accessibility;
  • 3D printed Outlet – to avoid electrical shocks.

CTJ makerspace staff members and all facilitators will visit CIL 2 in October to bring the projects and invite all CIL students to be part of our community. We are sure that CTJ will host more and more programs to inspire youth to build a better future.



Rereading Famous Paintings

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, English, Smithsonian | No Comments

Rereading Famous Paintings

On May 08th we celebrate the day of the artist in Brazil, so the Resource Center staff at Aguas Claras Branch planned a program to explore participant’s artistic potential and promote awareness related to  freedom of expression.

Three famous paintings were selected, and the librarians  did a research on the platform Smithsonian Learning Lab on Leonardo da Vinci so that they were better equipped to talk about him and his contribution to humankind.

To add a digital component and make participants curious, the  Osmo Masterpiece app was available to supercharge participant’s drawing skills. Then, participants used crayons, colored pencils, ink or materials to make  mosaics to paint their own versions of the masterpieces.  Both children and adults who participated in the activity had the opportunity to explore, create and recreate.

The Osmo app enriched the experience, for even those who could not draw very well felt empowered to do so. Now, participants who come to the Resource centers at Casa Thomas Jefferson find Smithsonian-inspired designs and the breadth of its engaging and high-quality materials to learn a new and relevant life skill.

Written by Thaise Nogueira & Lucas Marques

Resource Center CTJ Águas Claras 

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Releitura de obras de pintores famosos

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Português | No Comments

Rereading famous paintings

Em 08 de maio é celebrado o dia do artista plástico e e o Resource Center da CTJ de Águas Claras aproveitou a data para explorar o potencial artístico, criativo e crítico dos alunos, buscando assim oferecer uma atividade que promovesse a liberdade de expressão e também o conhecimento cultural.

Selecionamos três quadros de artistas famosos, sendo 1 brasileiro e 2 estrangeiros. O objetivo da atividade apresentar esses artistas, despertar habilidades artísticas e envolver os participantes no fascinante mundo da arte.

Utilizando conteúdo do  Smithsonian Institution  sobre Leonardo da Vinci, foi possível enriquecer o conhecimento passado aos alunos sobre esse artista.

Antes de começarem a releitura, as obras eram apresentadas para os alunos, informando seu título e autor. Utilizamos o aplicativo Masterpiece do Osmo, para auxiliar os alunos na produção dos desenhos. Com os desenho pronto os participantes tinham a opção de pintá-lo utilizando materiais diversos como giz de cera, lápis de cor, tinta guache e até mesmo colagem com papeis picados, formando mosaicos.

Alguns participantes se limitaram a tentar reproduzir a obra de forma mais fiel, mas a maioria buscou imprimir suas próprias interpretações criativas sobre as imagens. Em uma das releituras realizadas tivemos um Abaporu com 6 dedos, onde o aluno justificou que “ele era um mutante“. Em outra a tradicional Monalisa se transformou em uma moderna e alternativa jovem, com piercings e tatuagens. A obra mais surpreendente foi a da Nicole de apenas 6 anos que, com a ajuda do Osmo, foi capaz de reproduzir uma Monalisa colorida e definitivamente muito mais feliz.

Tanto as crianças, quanto os adultos que participaram da atividade tiveram a oportunidade de explorar, criar e recriar. O Osmo foi um grande diferencial na atividade, pois com ele, até mesmo aqueles que não sabiam desenhar, puderam realizá-la.

As obras ficaram expostas no Resource Center da Filial Águas Claras por cerca de duas semanas, após isso os alunos podiam levar sua masterpiece para casa. Confira as fotos da atividade aqui.

Escrito por Thaíse Nogueira e Lucas Marques

Resource Center Águas Claras


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What to do with your DIY studio?

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, English, Maker Movement | No Comments


Okay, so you’ve built  yourself a really neat DIY studio! You got at least 3 light spots made from recycled and environmentally friendly materials, a nice Chroma-Key wall, and there are lots of people eager to learn more about photography! Everything is nice! No?!

Having studio material, such as light spots, backdrops and softboxes, is just the first step to get your studio working. as many people find it very hard to get deal with the techniques and terminology of a photo studio. This little tutorial aims at  trying to solve some of these problems and making your little DIY studio work like a dream! Let’s Begin.

1. Choosing the lights

If you followed the instructions properly, you should have at least reflectors and a Chroma-Key wall. So, the next step is choosing the right light bulbs to get  your spots full operational.  The main rule is trying to find the strongest light possible in local stores. Many people would prefer using fluorescent lights since they’re colder and more economical. Hotter incandescent lights are also an option, since they’re cheaper and easier to find in higher wattages. Always try to find lights with equal potencies so that you can control your lighting from a distance distance or using dimmers. Avoid using LED lights, since many commercial lights in the market lack some color bands.

2. Preparing your room

Even if you get the strongest lights possible, there’s no chance  that you will be able to beat sun light  in a well lit room. Most pro studios don’t have any windows, or rely on blackout curtains to avoid sunlight interference. However, since we are dealing with DYI studios, maybe the best lighting conditions will not be available. In this case, try using curtains or closing your windows for better light control.  Another option is paying attention to your room and observing the position of the sun during the day to determine what the best time to use your studio with the least interference possible is.

3. Working at your studio.

There are many different lighting schemes for studios, but most of them will work with the Standard “Three-Point Lighting”.

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With this standard, we achieved the following results in our own DIY studio:

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A single light source on, acting as the key light.

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Two light sources on, acting as the key light and the fill light

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All the light sources on: Key, Fill and Back Light

It is always important to experiment with position and distant, for every studio will have its own peculiarity. While dealing with light brightness, always remember that thumb rule: Light Intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. That means that the furthest you move your light, the weakest it will arrive at your object. Use this creatively to control your light intensity and try to achieve some of the results above.

One more thing to have in mind  is that light always travels in straight lines. So, always remember to point your spots exactly where you want light to be!

With those little tips, your DIY studio will surely work like a pro one!

Have fun playing with your lights,



Ivan Sasha is a designer and photographer since 2009 and is finishing his undergraduation in Communications at University of Brasília. Today he worksas an intern at Casa Thomas Jefferson’s Marketing Department.


Google Apps to Boost Productivity – Module Two – Google Keep and Calendar

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, English | One Comment


In the second module of the Increasing Productivity with Google APPS workshop, librarians, and teachers learned how to use Google Keep and Google Calendar to increase productivity at work, feel connected to peers,  and have time to enjoy life.

In sync with the Maker Movement, participants explored the applications in groups and together learned how to use some of the  features. Google Keep, a personal curation system, was an interesting surprise for participants. For the first activity with Keep, Carla Arena, head of the Technology and Innovation Department at Casa Thomas  Jefferson, asked participants to create three areas of different colors: the first for thoughts, the second for actions and the third for conversations. Then she proposed a reflection and asked people to list all the activities they were involved in in the last 24 hours. Participants were asked to categorize the activities in the colored areas. Some were surprised to realise that, throughout the day, they did not have time for themselves nor to talk to anyone.  As a result, everyone was eager to learn ,with and from the others, ways to use digital tools wisely to maximize work hours, become more productive at work, and be more content with their personal lives.


Aumentando a produtividade com Google Apps – Google Calendar e Google Keep

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy, Português | No Comments

Google Apps Invitation-01No segundo modulo da oficina Aumentando a produtividade com Google APPS, bibliotecários, professores e profissionais liberais aprenderam na prática a usar o Google Keep e o Google Calendar para aumentar sua produtividade no trabalho. A oficina começou com os participantes explorando as funcionalidades do Keep, um sistema de curadoria pessoal.  A iniciativa da Casa Thomas Jefferson em colaboração com a Embaixada dos Estados Unidos tem como objetivo criar espaços de aprendizado abertos e relevantes no mundo contemporâneo.

Em sincronia com o movimento do fazer, os participantes exploraram o aplicativo em grupos e ensinaram uns aos outros a usar suas funcionalidades. Logo na primeira atividade, Carla Arena, chefe do Departamento de Tecnologia e Inovação da Casa Thomas Jefferson, pediu que os participantes criassem três áreas de cores diferentes no keep: a primeira  seria dedicada a pensamentos, a segunda a ações e a terceira a conversas. Em seguida, propôs uma reflexão, ao solicitar que as pessoas listassem suas atividades no trabalho e na vida pessoal das ultimas 24 horas nas áreas coloridas.

O que se viu foi uma discussão muito interessante sobre a quantidade de tempo que dedicamos a cada uma dessas áreas, e sobre a importância de termos tempo para fazer atividades físicas, nos cuidar e conversar com pessoas, o que pode abrir oportunidades de troca e parceria.

E você? Esta sempre falando sobre quanto trabalho tem que fazer? Sente-se sempre muito ocupado? Talvez esteja na hora de repensar seus processos e conhecer algumas ferramentas digitais que possam aumentar sua produtividade no trabalho e, consequentemente, lhe proporcionar mais tempo e qualidade de vida.

Google Apps to Boost Productivity – Module One

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy | No Comments


Their own cell phones or laptops and lots of motivation. It was all a group of committed professionals needed to dive into the Google apps Google Drive and Google Docs to boost productivity. The event was held  at the American`s Embassy library, and the workshop was delivered by Casa Thomas Jefferson`s head of the Innovation and Technologies department, Carla Arena.

The program is divided in two stand alone modules. Module one: Google drive and Google docs. Module two: Google calendar and Google Keep.

For the first module, the audience was extremely varied, as we had public school teachers, journalists, and public servers among others learning together how to use Google apps to work collaboratively. Participants mentioned that although some of the features within the apps were familiar to them, they really enjoyed learning how to work on a single document with different people and got some ideas about how to start using technology to connect and become more productive at work.


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Virtual Tour – Smithsonian

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, English, Smithsonian | No Comments

Many kids and teens are curious about dinosaurs, but not many kids here in South America have the chance of visiting a Smithsonian museum and seeing first hand a dinosaur fossil and learning from it. To change this, the museum has been 3d printing many of its artifacts and making all the content available online. Having learned of such rich resources, the RC team at our Resource Center at Asa Norte branch organized a program departing from a Smithsonian Virtual tour. The whole RC was decorated with posters, Smithsonian magazine clippings, dinosaur toys and a thematic book display. We had iPads logged on the virtual tour, and we had lots of swabs cut into small pieces and worksheets with printed skeletons for students to cover  the design forming the dinosaur skeletons. Participants got small pieces of  flattened  clay and  pressed the swabs onto the it to print the fossils. During the activity staff members talked about the theory of evolution defended by Darwin and  the scientific importance of fossils. It was gratifying to see how well students engaged, got curious, and learned a bit more about the resources they can find at the Smithsonian, and how important archaeological findings are to science.   DiScreen Shot 2016-04-11 at 5.45.03 PM Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 5.45.13 PM  Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 5.45.41 PM

Vloggers Attitude – Smithsonian/Maker Activity

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Maker Movement, Smithsonian | No Comments

Cardboard boxes, scissors, aluminum foil, collaboration and creativity. That`s all  participants needed during the program Vloggers Attitude. People got together to discuss issues related to diversity, and learn about photography.

The idea behind ​​this program is a maker story worth sharing. The Resource Center staff at  the South Wing branch decided to run a program targeted at teenagers who already have vlogs with considerable number of hits and talk about themes that revolved around human rights, tolerance, and diversity. The goal was to encourage participants to create their own vlogs about their opinions on this matter s.

With the imminence of filming for this project came the idea / challenge, with few resources, set up a studioo to offer vloggers an option within our space.

So, we made a  D.I.Y. studio and made it available for everyone. Many people are already having fun taking pictures at the resource Center. To open the program ,the facilitator used beautiful photos that represented ethnical diversity from the  Smithsonian magazine. Vloggers exchanged ideas, discussed how to make interesting vlogs and shared their most popular ones. Participants left the library with a challenge. Post a video on the same topic of the conversation: diversity.

Participants  were invited to use the studio and learn about the art of photography and film by participating in talks and demonstrations delivered by some experts among CTJ staff members. All the talks, and studio, off course, totally open tho the community. Interested in making your very own studio? let us know on our facebook.

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Dribbble Meet Up

By | 21st Century Skills, Makerspaces, Projetos | No Comments

Depois de passar por varias cidades do mundo, o evento homónimo da plataforma mundial Dribbble chegou a Brasília e contou com o apoio da Casa Thomas Jefferson.

O Brasília Dribbble Meet Up, evento presencial organizado para fomentar a rede criativa dentro da universidade foi realizado de 28 a 31 de Março e trouxe atividades relacionadas a quatro áreas criativas: design, moda, programação e arquitetura, além de uma exposição de trabalhos de alunos e parceiros no decorrer dos quatro dias.

A edição de Brasília aconteceu na  galeria da Faculdade de Arquitetura da UnB e contou com mais de 26 convidados, um Maker Showcase conduzido pelo time maker da casa Thomas Jefferson, 5 palestras, 4 insights, 4 oficinas, 4 lives e muito entusiasmo dos participantes que engajaram em diversas  atividades com foco na integração das quatro vertentes criativas, estimulo a criatividade e a multidisciplinaridade.

A Casa Thomas Jefferson, ao participar do Dribbble Meet Up, divulgou a inauguração eminente do seu mais novo serviço: o Makerspace, um espaço aberto especialmente criado para fomentar inovação, desenvolver a criatividade e o estimular a experimentação. Levamos Osmos, Circuit boards, Google Cardboards, 3D doodlers. Nosso parceiro Rodrigo Franco da Protipe fez demonstraçōes usando impressoras 3D.

Visite a  página do Dribbble Meet Up e acompanhe o que acontece na Thomas acessando o nosso site.

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Dia Mundial da Agua

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Português | No Comments

Water Day LAS-01

O crescimento populacional, os avanços tecnológicos e industriais e o consumo desenfreado tornaram a demanda por água  cada vez maior e, por isso, mais da metade da população mundial poderá sofrer com a escassez de água. Muitas pessoas ainda acham que a água é um recurso inesgotável que podemos utilizar a vontade. Se não começarmos a consumir a água de forma consciente, ela será um recurso cada vez mais escasso.

Pensando em tudo isso, resolvemos elaborar atividades em nossas bibliotecas para estimular a conscientização sobre a melhor forma de consumo desse bem precioso para que ele não nos falte no futuro. Para falar sobre tema tao importante de forma divertida, criamos atividades nas quais as pessoas podiam explorar, colaborar, ter uma experiencia diferente e se surpreender.

Os objetivos Deepen Science and Technology e Deepen Health and Environment foram trabalhados para promover o conhecimento da necessidade de conservação do recurso hídrico. Para compreender que precisamos ter hábitos sadios e responsáveis, e que, ao não fazer nada para mudar, colocamos em risco nossas vidas.

Demos partida  neste aprendizado por meio de vídeo, holograma e figuras, nos quais alunos e pessoas da comunidade refletem e expressam suas idéias através de desenhos e frases. A reação é de espanto, tristeza, preocupação e esperança de um futuro melhor.

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Para incentivar o aprendizado interdisciplinar de atividades STEAM (ciência, tecnologia, engenharia, arte e matemática), preparamos diversos experimentos. O resultado – muitas pessoas engajadas e interessadas em repensar a maneira que usam água. Confira a movimentação nos Centros de Recursos nas filiais Lago Sul e Sudoeste nesse mês de maio.

Tensão superficial




Principio de Pascal



Reciclagem e conciencia ambiental

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Bouncing Bubbles


Water consumption Calculator

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A conscientização da população mundial em relação à água é fundamental e, portanto, precisamos colocar as teorias em prática. Ao planejar programas em nossas bibliotecas, buscamos criar espaços onde essas questōes são abordadas e onde o falar ingles é uma ferramenta importante de comunicação. Venha conferir o que teremos para o mês de abril. Celebre conosco a conscientização ambiental por meio de programas para Earth Day. Siga a Casa Thomas Jefferson no Facebook e venha nos visitar. As atividades são abertas a todos.


Atitude faz a diferença!


Teaching Code through Digital Media: Hour of Code and Beyond

By | 21st Century Skills, Classroom, English | No Comments

This year’s Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week (Dec 7-13) is about to start, and institutions willing to kick off simple and engaging makerspaces should learn how to design  learning how to code environment.  One of the main concern of parents and educators is the amount of time kids spend in front of their devices, and learning how to code can turn some of this comsuption into production time. The point of having coding events is that every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.

Last week, I watched a  webinar called Teaching Code through Digital Media: Hour of Code and Beyond. The ideas presented are appropriate for students age 10 and up and we learn methods to integrate coding into any subject area. To increase girls’ participation in computer science, Melissa provided an overview of Vidcode, a platform designed to teach programming by making video projects with code. Through a hybrid interface of block-based and syntactical code, Vidcode functions as a bridge between visual programming languages like Scratch and more complex text-based coding while tapping  into a hobby teens are already immersed in: video and photo sharing.

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Topics covered include:

  • How to incorporate code into other disciplines through creative projects
  • How to participate in this year’s Computer Science Education Week
  • Projects ideas for semester and year-long classes
  • Introduction to the Vidcode interface and curriculum and ways to get started right away
  • Explanation of continued training and support for both computer science and non-CS teachers

















Por que fazemos maker showcases?

By | 21st Century Skills, Classroom, Português | No Comments

Para fazer um maker showcase funcionar, trocamos muitos e-mails, fazemos toda a logística, nos certificamos de que todos os maker kits estão funcionando bem, colocamos tudo em caixas, saímos duas horas mais cedo para nos certificar de que teremos tempo para treinar um novo membro da equipe, colocamos tudo no carro e… Mais um showcase ACONTECE.

Temos uma rotina agitada, mas altamente reconfortante. Nós fizemos pelo menos dez maker showcases em escolas parceiras nos últimos três meses e podemos afirmar que o engajamento e entusiasmo dos alunos começa no minuto em que chegamos. Para todos os lugares que olhamos vemos pessoas:

  • Experimentando programação em uma plataforma muito amigável com Kano
  • Fazendo lindos projetos com Littlebits
  • Aprendendo conceitos de circuitos com Big Bits
  • Fazendo arte com Spinning art
  • Aprendendo sobre “physical computing” MakeyMakeys
  • Jogando para aprender com Osmos
  • Construindo circuitos impressos com Snap Circuits

Durante as nossas açōes do Mobile Makerspace, onde quer que olhemos, vemos pessoas que se deslocam alegremente de estação em estação aprendendo um conceito novo ao criar algo na vida real. Ouvimos perguntas como: Tem mais amanhã? Quando vocês voltam? Onde posso ir para fazer mais dessas atividades?

Um pai na semana passada me fez uma pergunta muito interessante enquanto eu ajudava seu filho a adicionar um dimmer no circuito que ele tinha acabado de fazer. “Você trabalha em uma escola de inglês, certo? Então, o que tem a ver o ensino da língua inglesa com coisas como programação, impressão 3D, circuitos e eletrônica?”.

Eu posso pensar em pelo menos três razões muito boas para um American Space fazer showcases. Makers representam conceitos da cultura americana, como: a busca pelo conhecimento, comprometimento, empreendedorismo; conceitos muito interessantes para se estimular em qualquer ambiente educacional. Ao participar de uma ampla gama de atividades em grupos, participantes apropriam-se (internalizam ou tomam para si) os resultados produzidos ao trabalhar em conjunto. Estes resultados podem incluir tanto novas estratégias ou conhecimento.

Mais uma vantagem de ter showcases é o fato de que temos pelo menos um mentor em cada estação para questionar os participantes e facilitar o aprendizado.  O conceito de Vygotsky’s de Zona de Desenvolvimento Proximal - área onde uma pessoa pode resolver um problema com a ajuda de um colega mais capacitado – pode ser facilmente observado nas interaçōes dos grupos enquanto trabalham juntos para superar desafios. Quando fazemos maker showcases, despertamos a imaginação das pessoas entorpecidas pelo genérico e o produzido em massa e convidamos os participantes a se envolverem com atividades que aguçam a genuína curiosidade. Todo American Space procura envolver participantes em atividades criativas e enriquecedoras para promover aprendizado e fazer a diferença na vida dos alunos e prepará-los para os desafios do século XXI. Agora, os American Spaces têm como aliado a força do Movimento do Fazer e todo o entusiasmo que o cerca.

Veja abaixo alguns momentos “maker” das ultimas semanas.

GRAFFITart + Maker Showcase @ CTJ-FAN  -

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Galois Infantil Águas Claras -

Mobile Maker Showcase @ CIMAN -

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Festival Literário do Colégio Santo Antônio –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Feira de Tecnologia do Colégio Cor Jesu -

Mobile Maker Showcase @  Leonardo Da Vinci Asa Norte –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Sigma Águas Claras –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Sigma Águas Claras –



Why Maker Showcases?

By | 21st Century Skills, English, Maker Movement, Smithsonian | No Comments

To get a maker showcase up and running, we exchange many mails, get all the logistics ready, make sure all the maker kits are running well, pack, prepare two hours early to make sure we make it in time to train some new staff members, get everything out and …

One more maker showcase is ON.

It’s surely a hectic routine, the one of our mobile makerspace, but highly reassuring. We have delivered at least ten maker showcases in partner schools over the last three months, and it’s safe to say that the buzz starts the minute we arrive. All we see is the audience:

During our showcases, wherever we look, we see people moving happily around, going from work station to work station experimenting the thrill of making something for themselves. People overcome their frustration and celebrate making. It’s just beautiful to watch the excitement and engagement and hear questions like: Are you guys going to come back tomorrow? When are you guys coming back? Where can I go for more of these activities?

Last week, a parent asked me a very interesting question as I was helping his kid add a dimmer to the circuit she had just finished.  “You are with an English school, right? So, what does English teaching have to do with things like coding, 3D printing, circuitry, and electronics?” I can think of at least three very good reasons for an American Space to have maker showcases. Makers tap into an American admiration for self-reliance and combine that with open-source learning, contemporary design, and powerful personal technology, which are great concepts to teach at any school. The interactive component of maker activities are worth pointing out, too. By participating in a broad range of activities with others, participants appropriate (internalize or take for themselves) the outcomes produced by working together; These outcomes could include both new strategies and knowledge.

Another advantage of having maker showcases and letting people experience making is the fact that there is a mentor in each station to foster learning. The activities are drop-in, but participants might be guided by the mentor who does not provide answers or a manual, but asks discovery questions and leads participants to “a-ha” moments instead. Vygotsky’s concept of the Zone of Proximal Development – the area where a person can solve a problem with the help of a more able peer – can be easily noticed as kids work together to overcome challenges. Hosting numerous maker showcases around town stirs the imagination of people numbed by generic, mass-produced merchandise and invites participants to engage with activities that sparkle genuine curiosity as to the English language.

GRAFFITart + Maker Showcase @ CTJ-FAN  -

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Galois Infantil Águas Claras –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ CIMAN –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Festival Literário do Colégio Santo Antônio –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Feira de Tecnologia do Colégio Cor Jesu –

Mobile Maker Showcase @  Leonardo Da Vinci Asa Norte –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Sigma Águas Claras –

Mobile Maker Showcase @ Sigma Águas Claras –

Creative Design

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, English, Smithsonian | No Comments



The project Achieving 21st Century Skills aims at creating synergy among the cultural and academic departments, Resource Centers, and the EducationUSA office inside the Binational Centers. American Spaces in general often host exhibitions that address issues like the environment, preservation, tolerance, etc. – issues related to the U.S. mission in Brazil. Exhibits and cultural events that already take place in American Spaces can be interesting opportunities to encourage people to participate in maker activities to learn a new skill and to interact in authentic and fun ways. Find below an example of how an art exhibition became the starting point for an extracurricular maker activity in an American Space.


The artists Hermidia Metzler and Marcia Mazzoni invited the audience to Casa Thomas Jefferson’s art gallery in September, 2015 to take a look at their work and learn different ways of perceiving plastic and transforming what could be trash into pieces of art. The program ‘Design Criativo’ aims at motivating people to rethink consumption, calculate the impact they cause on our planet, and upcycle plastic bottles using one of the techniques the artists use in their work.  The program provides an open space for creativity and inspires the audience to come up with solutions, learn together in a very practical way, and establish communication among local artists and makers with the community in general.


5’ – Use the video from the National Museum of Natural History on ocean pollution to start a discussion on what kind of products people in general buy and the impact on the planet. Make sure you tell participants a bit about the video first (you will find info on the post to elaborate your talk).


5’ –Use the  video from National Museum of Natural History on ocean pollution to start a discussion on what kind of products people in general buy and the impact on the planet. Make sure you tell participants a bit about the video firs t(you will find info on the post to elaborate your talk). Ocean Trash: Marine Debris From Shore To Sea

15´ -Motivate participants to visit the site  Ecosytem on the Edge to calculate heir Nitrogen footprint. Invite volunteers to share the results.

2  hours – Hands on activity  -  The artists shared some techniques they use to transform plastic and guided participants as they made two decorative pieces for their home.

Keep in mind that this program could be a good way to build community and to do so, you should invite local artists to collaborate with you.




Healthy Living

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, English, Maker Movement, Smithsonian | No Comments

In September we celebrated healthy living with interesting  activities at our Resource Centers. Our staff prepared varied learning opportunities with an eye on  alternative ways to be mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. Our super maker American Space staff  prepared lots of activities for visitors  to give them a chance to practice English in very exciting ways.Please see below what was on our plate for Healthy Living Month.

Tip –  The project tutorial suggests we use old CD cases to make the projectors. We found them hard to cut (and a bit dangerous too), so we used acetate  instead. It works beautifully!


Did you know that…?

All branches had a “did you know” poster wall with tips that went beyond common knowledge. There was a curating phase on Google drive to gather relevant pieces of information to share. The innovation department prepared eye-catching posters that were displayed around school and on our social media. Would you like to read or revisit the material? Enjoy and share.

Did you know

Pedal Powered Blenders

Have you ever heard of  Pedal Powered Blenders? You probably have. Have you ever seen one? Come to our Resource Centers and you will! We we will keep two bikes going around in October. So, you can still come and make sense of this project. See how you can transform your body`s power into another source of energy that can go back to you in a very nutritious way.   

Healthy diet

People who attended   “Living happily  ever after with lactose intolerance” Practiced English, learned about lactose intolerance and tasted delicious recipes.

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Food Wheel

Our staff created a game that was a visual representation of a healthy diet. People completed the wheel and learned what should be eaten most often and what should be eaten least often.  


 The Pillars of A Healthy Life

Nutritionist Rogério Barros delivered the workshop “Atividade física e alimentação equilibrada: pilares para uma vida saudável” . Besides getting exposed to great ideas participants got a gift from the local health store Bioon and tried some delicious treats.


Healthy mind

Tai chi Qi Gong Sessions in different branches. People enjoyed a bit of calm in their lives and welcomed  our Tai chi Qi Gong teacher Soraya Lacerda, who delivered this relaxing experience in English.


Healthy brain

Magic cubes were in order. We had a Mini Workshop with contestants of the world championship during break time.


Stay tuned for more fun, discovery and excitement at the American Space – Casa Thomas Jefferson and come check out what will make October the spookiest month ever! Stay healthy,    

Arduino in American Spaces

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, English | No Comments



In a rapidly changing world, powered by social media and instant information, learning opportunities can be found everywhere. Just as traditional libraries are evolving into dynamic community spaces in the United States, American Spaces must be dynamic learning centers as well. To enrich participants’ experiences in the Resource Centers, CTJ American Space is eager to use non-traditional materials to design programs and become a community center, where youth can use digital tools to explore entrepreneurship, learn English, connect art and design with social change, and learn digital artifact creation. Nowadays, there are many materials that provide opportunities to do just that, but our staff needs to build internal expertise in order to take full advantage of such materials. In August, teachers, librarians, and resource center staff were invited to participate in an interesting hands-on session to learn a bit about Arduino and how to use them in some of our programs. So, What`s Arduino and why use it in a Resource center?

Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. They can read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. Arduino is the brain of thousands of projects and there is a huge community of makers (students, hobbyists, artists, and programmers) gathered around this open-source platform. Their contributions have added up to an incredible amount of accessible knowledge that can be of great help to novices and experts alike.

Why should we use Arduino in American Spaces` programs? First, Learning how to use arduino boards can enable people to find solutions to local problems. And Arduinos are extremely flexible as you can use them again and again for different purposes. Lastly, developing projects with Arduino will engage participants in a collaborative learning process and foster 21st century digital skills.

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Youth Innovation Camp

By | 21st Century Skills, Digital Literacy, English, Maker Movement, Programação, Smithsonian | No Comments

Logo-YIC (1)There are great ways for kids to spend their time off from school. If the activities enable participants to use their creativity to self-express, tinker, and learn new skills, it’s even better. Last July, the Binational Center Casa Thomas Jefferson, in  coordination with the U.S. Embassy, offered the community the chance to do just that. Youth Innovation Camp, Casa Thomas Jefferson’s very first summer camp, motivated participants to come to the main branch for five days and experience different learning possibilities. The themes varied from inventions, entrepreneurship, coding, 3D printing, making, and STEAM, and  all the activities offered participants the chance of engaging in rich authentic use of the English Language to learn a new set of skill and how to do or make something new. The CTJ task design team used as inspiration materials from the well known chain of museums The Smithsonian Institute to enrich participants experiences. We share here all the activities developed during the camp so that other language schools, Binational Centers, and libraries  and schools also offer little creative minds the chance to get creative and participate of the Maker Movement and redefine some learning spaces.

Youth Innovation Camp engaged participants with  immersive experiences carefully planned  by Casa Thomas Jefferson teachers  in collaboration with the  Maker Team from all  Resource Centers. During the five afternoons in each weekly edition, Casa Thomas Jefferson`s main branch effervesced Campers who were eager  to experiment with different possibilities of practical and playful learning. Various topics related to inventions , programming, 3D modeling, STEAM activities, entrepreneurship and toy making were explored. Day by day participants were wowed, discovered and learned in a playful and collaborative way. Participants realised that to create something new,  it takes just curiosity, inventiveness and not be afraid to try as many times as necessary. Our motto of the camp was: It`s ok to fail!

For the Youth Camp team, it was an immeasurable joy to have spent such creative time with the children, leading them in this adventure of discovery and the thrill of ‘learning by making’. It was very rewarding to have them with us these two weeks and notice their engagement, excitement and willingness to learn. And after the feedback received from students and parents, the feeling that remains is that we have a successfully crowned design. Hope to see you in the next Camp!

Young Entrepreneur 


Coding and 3D printing

Inventor Day


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Google Cardboard Apps to Boost Program Design and Learning

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Digital Literacy | No Comments

Google Cardboard and its apps offer the easiest way to experience virtual reality today. It’s a useful tool for English language learners and teachers, for they can take advantage of this technology to boost learning experiences. Whether you want to immerse yourself in an animation, go back in time, or stand on stage with a legend, Cardboard has hundreds of options to choose from.

Cardboard consists of a low-cost, DIY virtual reality headset that everyone can make, and a software platform that makes it easy for app developers to add VR support to their creations.


Once you’ve got your cardboard, you’ll want some experiences to try out. Here’s our pick of the ten best VR-enabled apps you can find in Google Play right now to learn English.


Experience your favorite artist’s new music video as if you were right there on set, base jump off a cliff from the comfort of your armchair, and so much more, with 360 video content and your Cardboard viewer.



Expeditions lets teachers take students on field trips to anywhere. If you’re an educator, learn more about bringing Expeditions to your school.



View creations made with Tilt Brush, a painting application made for virtual reality. Load pre-made sketches and watch them draw in as they were originally created.



Experience musical legend Sir Paul McCartney performing “Live and Let Die” in 360 degrees, with stereo 3D and immersive audio in Jaunt’s first publicly released  VR experience.



The official Cardboard app is your first stop for virtual reality on your Android or iPhone. The Cardboard app lets you use any  Google Cardboard viewer with any Cardboard app, and includes a variety of immersive demos like Windy Day, an interactive animated short from Spotlight Stories.





CTJ Youth Innovation Camp – Young Entrepreneur Day

By | 21st Century Skills, Smithsonian | No Comments

There are great ways for kids to spend their time off from school. If the activities enable participants to use their creativity to self-express, tinker, and learn new skills, it’s even better. Last month, the Binational Center Casa Thomas Jefferson, in  coordination with the U.S. Embassy, offered the community the chance to do just that. Youth Innovation Camp, Casa Thomas Jefferson’s very first summer camp, motivated participants to come to the main branch for five days and experience different learning possibilities. The themes varied from inventions, entrepreneurship, coding, 3D printing, making, and STEAM. Participants had a great time working collaboratively to learn how to make something new or learn a new concept.

The Youth Innovation Camp welcomed participants from 9 to 12 years old to immerse in experiential learning and use English as a means of communication and collaboration. With this post, we start sharing all the activities developed during the camp.

The sessions had really positive feedback from parents and students.  The “young incubator” was one of the highlights. For inspiration, the design team at Casa Thomas Jefferson referred to Entrepreneur Incubator – a curriculum that provides all the instructions and guidance necessary for American Spaces to lead programs on the entrepreneurial process. The material, originally designed by the Smithsonian Institution, provides participants with relevant experiences and skills so they are better prepared to start their own businesses. However, the material was written for native English speakers. So, adapting the material was crucial for the success of this activity during the camp.

Having a young audience in mind, CTJ team adapted lesson plans to keep kids tuned.  The Smithsonian material used as reference is based on content pyramids, and each of the five Content Pyramids focuses on a different theme that is integral to the entrepreneurial process.  For the activity designed for the Youth Innovation Camp, we focused on the Development Content Pyramid. Each Concept section teaches business fundamentals while challenging participants to create sketches of their original product ideas.


See detailed lesson plan here.

Mentors thought a strong lead-in was needed; and the door in was having campers explore Google Cardboard, which is a relatively new way to experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and affordable way. Participants were very curious and energized, so we were ready to explore important concepts.


We explored the product (Google Cardboard), its innovative features behind the concept of the product, and the brand GOOGLE itself. We analyzed demographics, aesthetic, innovative feature, core audience, mission statement, logo, etc. Having all students on board, we moved on to a brainstorm session. We had participants call out names of innovative and successful companies (e.g., Twitter, BMW, Red Bull), and for that we made a list of those brands on a large sheet of paper and posted it on a very visible area.

We moved on to a part of the lesson that  kids enjoyed tremendously. We divided the campers into groups of three. Each group received two cards with two of the listed brands on them. Participants had to choose one to represent the brand and another to define the product they were supposed to create. For example: McDonalds x Nike – participants had to think of sneakers to be sold at McDonalds or a snack to be sold by Nike. Each group worked collaboratively to define aspects such as product description, differential, distinguishing feature, and logo.

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We wrapped it all up by teaching participants how to make a video for an advertisement campaign for their product using stop motion, and it was a great pleasure to see them come up with ideas and learn storyboarding in such an enthusiastic way.

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Allowing students at American Spaces to participate in engaging activities and immerse themselves in authentic use of the English Language showed us that Makerspaces in Binational Centers serve the purpose of preparing our students to succeed as they learn new skills and work collaboratively.








Families that make together…

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Classroom | No Comments

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The semester has come to an end and we must prepare our Top Kids students for the end-of-term party, when they show their loved ones what they have learned throughout the semester. We prepare songs, play games and shows the pictures taken during classes. The kids are dying to show off, the teacher is apprehensive and eager to please and the parents are passively waiting to see their money’s worth. What the parents might not expect though, is to have the opportunity to learn themselves something new with their kids. Yet, that was my idea when preparing the following activity.

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Me and the kids had been working on parts of the house, and tired of gluing and coloring, I decided to challenge my students to make a cardboard house with different rooms. Of course, they stepped up to the challenge and it was awesome. So awesome we decided to paint our houses the following class. They loved making a toy of their own, with their own touches and details. Every class they would me if they could they could take it home and I said they had to wait for the glue or the paint to dry, but that was not entirely true.

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Finally, it was the last day of class, they knew they were going to take their houses home, but little did they know I still had plans for them. After the circle time and the presentation of the songs, I asked them to come closer and pick one item from each box: a LED light and a button battery. Surprisingly, most of them knew what they were and their parents knew how to turn on the light just touching the battery. I told them we needed to finish our house with something that was missing and they got it: a lamp! I showed them the materials at hand (paper, masking tape, play doh, popsicle sticks, tin foil and paper clips) and the two prototypes I had previously prepares and I told them they had to make one of their own.

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To my surprise and amusement, not only did the parents help the kids, but they also enjoyed it a lot! They sat on the floor, explored the materials and tinkered until they reached a satisfying result. And the results were many, not one of the lamps was remotely similar to the models. It was just amazing to realize that no matter how old we get, we all have a kid and a maker inside of us, and they like a challenge!

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Helena Galvão

Paper Month

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Maker Movement, Makerspaces, Sem categoria, Smithsonian | No Comments


May brought a lot of color, excitement and hands-on learning to our ‘Resource Center’. We started the month hosting a local artist called Falk Brito who taught our Resource Center team a bit of origami art. With properly trained staff, our resource centers received students, families and community to create beautiful flowers and cards for dear mothers. The school was very colorful and lively with students interested in learning the ancient art of origami. During the next three weeks, the center offered varied activities that encouraged the exploration of the renowned Smithsonian museums network content, curiosity and collaborative work. The calendar of extracurricular activities was disclosed in our social networks and shared in our schools so that everyone could enjoy the extra-curricular learning opportunities and practice the English language in different contexts. Here’s a short description of some of the activities of  Paper Month.

A Night and A Day at the Museum – Participants were invited to virtually visit  the ‘Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’ and use an Apple kit called Osmo to draw something they found at the museum. This activity was very well received by all who attended and many people were delighted with the designs that they could do using the Masterpiece application (chosen by Time as best invention of 2014).


How Things Fly – Students, families and communities explored some games about flying on The Smithsonian Airspace Museum site and learned about aerodynamics and aviation. To put the knowledge into practice, participants made their own paper airplanes and used the ‘launcher’ to fly high.



Makey Makey (Hip Hop) – With Makey Makey kits, developed at MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students learned about hip-hop and learned how to close circuits with graphite and paper and make music!

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Ensinar a Programar

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces, Sem categoria | No Comments

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Barack Obama e Bill Gates alertam: “aprendam a programar”! Google, Apple, Microsoft e Amazon apoiam a campanha Hour of Code que motiva alunos de todas as idades dos Estados Unidos a começar a programar.  A iniciativa, liderada pela organização sem fins lucrativos, estimula professores ou mesmo os próprios estudantes a usarem tutoriais de apenas uma hora para se iniciarem na programação. O slogan diz: “qualquer um pode programar”.

Aprender a programar não é só importante para o seu futuro, é importante para o futuro do país. É por isso que estou pedindo que você se envolva. Não apenas jogue um novo videogame. Faça um. Não apenas baixe o aplicativo mais novo. Ajude a criar um. Não apenas jogue no seu celular. Programe o jogo Barack Obama.

O aprendizado da programação tem efeitos multidisciplinares e melhora a capacidade de resolver problemas e lidar com desafios. Essas habilidades são importantes para a vida como um todo.

Mitch Resnick, criador do Scratch, um projeto do Media Lab, do MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), ensina alunos a partir dos 5 anos a dar os primeiros passos em programação. Compara-se a importância de aprender a programar com a de aprender a ler. Durante o TEDx Beacon Street no ano passado, Mitch falou que, ao aprender a ler, pode-se então ler para aprender e, ao aprender a escrever códigos, pode-se escrever códigos para aprender. Em um artigo publicado no EdSurge, completou: “Vejo a codificação (programação de computadores) como uma extensão da escrita. A capacidade de codificar permite “escrever” novos tipos de coisas como histórias interativas, jogos, animações e simulações”. Pessoas passam de consumidoras de conteúdo digital para produtoras e desenvolvem varias competências digitais e cognitivas no processo.

Nos Estados Unidos, escolas públicas atendem ao pedido do presidente e incentivam o acesso a programação. No Brasil, já se fala da  necessidade de disseminar a cultura da programação e existem muitas iniciativas. Para começar, não se precisa de muito. Alguns sites e apps, uma comunidade de pessoas que queiram aprender juntas dentro ou fora do ambiente escolar e determinação são os ingredientes necessários para codificar. Caso precise de ideias e materiais para programar com amigos e filhos, ou mesmo começar aulas na sua escola, visite o nosso site.



Webinar on Creating Stories with littleBits

By | 21st Century Skills, American Spaces | No Comments


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Information is everywhere, and it just could not be different when comes to makersapaces. To learn  about how Littlebits support learning, I attended a webinar on Creating Stories with littleBits with Kylie Peppler, Brian Pichman, and Allison Vannatta. I highly recommend it if you are trying to understand what pieces of technology to offer people to engage them in creative learning processes. Brian Pichman highlighted why libraries need to evolve and foster collaboration, innovation, and interaction. It`s a must watch to ensure our makerspaces are democratic and help people develop powerful learning skills.

Some tips were very useful

  • Use bright colors
  • Have cool pieces of furniture
  • Encourage your patros to move the furniture to fit their needs
  • Have furniture on wheels
  • Let people see the covers of the books
  • Have standing self help
  • Have cool equipment – Sphero; Littlebits;
  • Design challenges with 3D printers and robotics
  • Promote design challenges
  • Encourage open ended making



Sharpen Presentational Skills

By | 21st Century Skills, English, Sem categoria | No Comments



Nowadays, information is everywhere, and learning is also a click away. With enormous amount of possibilities within anyone’s range, it’s high time  libraries redifined their roles and became lively, interesting, and colllaborative learning spaces. The public that comes to a resource center might be looking for an opportunity to learn different skills and socialize. In English schools, students come to have an experience; they come to learn how to communicate for fun, and for business. Modern libraries within English schools might offer students the chance to boost their digital skills, and offer them the chance to become competent users of the target language in different settings. If you are interested in running a workshop at your institution that aims at sharpening your audience’s presentation skill, this post might come in handy.

What we give you:

Lesson plan - varied multi media plan to wow your participants. Students will watch a catchy video on how to present like Steve Jobs, dive into interesting resources that will trigger lots of interaction, and plan their own presentatiopn using the tips explored throughout the lesson. Teachers guide

What you’ll need:

Invite your students via social media, posters, and formal invitation in their classrooms

Choose a time that you believe students will be able to come (before or after class)

A teacher to deliver the session

English speaking librarians to interact with participants

Ipads, computers, or participants own devices to connect to the web