How long have you worked at littleBits?
My one year anniversary is this week. 🙂
What led you to the position?
I wanted to work someplace that involved creativity, whimsy and art. It would also be a mission driven environment where ideas had the potential to shape the world in a positive way. littleBits *is* this amazing place! As a bonus, the Bits are the type of tool I had looked for to be able to incorporate into my own art.
Describe a typical work day.
I talk with educators from all around the world about the application of littleBits in various educational settings (schools, summer camps, museums, etc). I’m constantly in awe of the creative and inspirational ideas that our educators come up with in using littleBits with their students. I work to connect these ideas with other educators and encourage everyone to share via our website so that we can all learn from one another.
You have worked with a lot of teachers on a variety of workshops, can you tell me about some of your favorites?
One of my favorite littleBits moments was actually in a classroom but structured similar to a workshop. The students had in a previous class explored the concept of circuits. In the class I attended, the teacher passed out a one-line design challenge to each student and opened up several Kits for the students to share Bits. Watching the students brainstorm, talk with each other about their solutions to the challenges, cooperate in sharing resources and then refine their ideas through iteration was amazing! I was blown away by the creative problem-solving happening with this group of 7th graders. The next week, they finished by building their projects to solve the challenge. And to top it off, they posted their projects to our site.
What advice would you give educators who are curious about creating with littleBits?
I think that littleBits opens doors to students to be able to explore, innovate, and create with an ease to feel successful and gain confidence. The way Bits are made to align means that anyone, regardless of any skill set, can connect the Bits and create circuits. Add to this the fact that there is an inherent logic to circuits and the opportunity to “fail” (try something that doesn’t work) means that students are challenged to become problem-solvers. Regardless of where you end up in life, the ability to continue trying until you solve an issue will serve students well for their entire life.
What else are you working on besides littleBits?
I’m working on an interactive art piece using littleBits. I’m a sculptor who usually works with the medium of clay, but lately I’ve been building shadow boxes with found objects, organic matter and sculpture. I love the engineering challenges in creating 3-dimensional artwork. Working on shadow boxes and adding an electrical component has been a lovely challenge.
I work with a organic matter in my work, so creating a safe place to house Bits so that they aren’t covered in dirt has been extremely fun. Incorporating littleBits to add an interactive component to my art is something that I’ve dreamed of before littleBits came into my life. littleBits truly offers endless ways to add an unique expression to my own inner creative landscape. View Tara’s work here.
What Bit do you identify with?
The branch – I feel like a lot of information flows through me and out in different directions.
You’re based in Chicago. What’s your favorite thing about the city?
Lake Michigan and the bike path! I’m avid bike rider and having 30 miles of shoreline to bike along without worry of cars is absolute heaven. Chicago also offers many great cultural experiences like the Art Institute or Museum of Science and Industry, where I find inspiration.
Any advice for those creating with littleBits?
Read the Friday Tips & Tricks to have a deeper understanding of each Bit and sample circuits to experiment with.