My name is Kelvin Yu and during the summer of 2014 I worked alongside my fellow Mouse Corps. students at gadgeITERATION. There we were able to hone our skills in engineering, circuitry, the iteration process and administrating workshops with others. Most of this would not have been possible without the mentorship of Louisa Campbell, Rachel and the student mentors. During the first few days of the apprenticeship Louisa seemed to know that some of us weren’t so comfortable with speaking publicly or to others, so she made sure that we became comfortable at our own speed instead of forcing us, which led to great partner collaborations on designs and everyone pitching in to help out with the gadgeITERATION camps. There was also Rachel (apologies because I don’t remember her last name), another mentor who was the highly energetic one who got everyone motivated when we were down or tired out. From these two I learned how to deal with the younger kids, properly lead the workshops and engineering skills that I will carry with me to the future.
When I first started my apprenticeship I was scared and nervous because I was in a new environment with new people (except the guys from Mouse) and I didn’t want to look like an idiot, so I kept my hand down and just listened. But, I soon learned that these guys weren’t so different from me in the aspect of being there to have fun and learn new things, because of that I was able to join in and share my ideas as well. Within a few days, I was already out of my shell and learned to just have fun while still focusing on the task at hand. For example, on the second or third day of my first week, my partner, Kaylah Mack and I had to build an invention of the future, and what we came up with was the I-Futon. We were really able to open up our imagination and have fun with it, so we came up with things that it could do such as projecting applications all around the bed (even hovering over) so that you could sit up and use multiple applications or even lay down and watched whatever you wanted to. (I forgot to mention it but it also has a touch screen sort of application to it so you could basically use any part of your body to click on the projections.)
During the second and third week we were at Brooklyn College Arts Lab (BCAL) where we hosted gadgeITERATION workshops for middle and high schoolers. Our task was to lead the workshop and mentor/aid the kids in creating their own inventions while incorporating the NoiseMaker 2.0. Throughout each day of the camp we would lead them in group activities such as Icebreakers, teaching them about circuitry and group challenges. I’m not the biggest fan of working with younger kids but with the gadgeITERATION workshops it definitely changed my view on them because they are far smarter than I would have imagined and some of the kids I worked with seemed genuinely interested in learning and working with technology, which goes to show that the future isn’t hopeless after all. By the end of the gadgeITERATION apprenticeship I felt much more confident in my teaching, leading and building skills as well as adapting to new places quickly.
During the beginning of the apprenticeship we worked on creating our own designs based on a certain topic such as futuristic invention or something that you would use in space. The first thing that I worked on was the I-Futon as i stated before and for the invention in space, Abraham and I created a sort of claw that would prevent something like what happened to Sandra Bullock in Gravity from happening. At the gadgeITERATION workshops I was able to work with the kids to create an Iron Man like repulsor, mutant singing moose/bear hybrid, a boxcar sort of thing and a light up refrigerator that plays music when it’s opened.
From this apprenticeship I was able to gain more knowledge on the design process behind an invention, circuitry and just being able to come out of my metaphoric shell quicker and enjoy or make the best of what I was doing. Also, just by working with the kids I learned that they aren’t so different from the rest of us and that they are probably nervous about being in a new environment, so the best thing to do in that situation is to get them enthusiastic about the topic at hand and get the motivated to work with others to create something awesome.