Makey Makey Engineers Week Webinar

February 12, 2019 (in honor of Engineers Week), I’ll be the guest on a fun, informal webinar with the Makey Makey team! The Makey Makey is one of my favorite tools for physical computing. It’s versatile, easy to use, and you’ll never run out of ideas!

There is a reason that the Makey Makey is on the cover of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, both the first edition and the new second edition. There is just nothing else like it for facilitating creativity at the intersection of the digital and physical world.

Engineers Week is near and dear to my heart. I have an electrical engineering degree and worked for a decade in aerospace. While I don’t work as an engineer these days, I still see the world through that lens, where challenges are just invitations to invent the future! The E in STEAM is often overlooked, or worse, misunderstood as something that only “some kids” can do. We will be talking about how STEAM can happen for ALL students in real classrooms, makerspaces, and libraries!

Join us via this Zoom link as we chat about the new edition, STEAM, and tips for starting a makerspace in your school on February 12th at 4:00 pm CST. For more details and to register, use this link.

But wait, there’s more!

Invent to Learn book

There’s a chance to win free books live during the webinar! To win your own copy of Invent to LearnThe Invent to Learn Guide to Fun, or The Invent to Learn Guide to MORE Fun, you must be live during the webinar! (Winning books must be shipped to US and Canada addresses.)

‘Ideas for Change in America’ competition

I typically don’t post all the emails I get asking for placement on this blog. I guess I should be happy that people think it’s worth their time! But this one seems like it should be the exception. Here it is in whole.

Hey Sylvia,

This is Maria Tchijov, Director of Outreach at I wanted to let you all know that we recently officially launched the second annual ‘Ideas for Change in America’ competition today, and I wanted to see if you’d be interested in posting an idea of your own. (You can see the site at

As you might recall, the first Ideas for Change in America competition was launched following the presidential election, inspiring the submission of more than 7,500 ideas and 650,000 votes. The purpose of the initiative this year is to empower citizens to identify and build momentum behind the country’s best ideas for addressing the major challenges we face.

We’re currently accepting ideas in 20 issue categories, and are looking for a few top bloggers in each area to post an idea that we can feature. To participate, all we’d need you to do is post an idea of a few hundred words or less describing a policy or program you’d like to see implemented. You can see the simple submission page here:

Voting is open to the public, and we’ll be hosting a large event in DC to announce the 10 winners of the competition in March. Most importantly, in the months following the conclusion of voting we’ll be mobilizing the growing team and our 1 million community members to heavily promote each winning idea and the people and organizations behind them.

If you have any questions at all, please let me know. And if this isn’t something you have the time to participate in but think your readers might be interested, it would be awesome if you might mention it on your blog.

Thanks for the support!


California educators: your help needed on digital textbooks

Just got this email:

California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) is conducting a survey of the Free Digital Textbook Initiative to discover awareness among educators, to find out whether educators plan to implement any of the books, and to inquire about the need for additional courses. We’d appreciate if you would participate and forward this message to educators in your area. As a reward, we’ll select two surveys at random for an iPod Nano.

Your assistance is needed:
On June 9, 2009, the Governor implemented the Free Digital Textbook Initiative (FDTI) making it possible for educators to access and download free high school math and science textbooks that align to the California Content Standards. The California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) reviews and determines the extent to which digital textbooks align to the Standards and then posts the information on the CLRN Website. Educators can go to CLRN to determine which standards-aligned digital textbooks are available. This survey is to determine familiarity and use of the digital textbook program by California schools. Your completion of this survey will help to determine the value and make improvements in the digital textbook initiative.

Go to the survey – California educators only!