Learning Innovation with Lego

I had forgotten the creativity that comes from learning, then incrementing. Watching my son last night, I remembered. I was in his shoes not *that* long ago.

You get a gift of a Lego set. You build it {following the instructions carefully}. You play. Later you put it away or break it down. You forget about it.

One day you come back to it. This is when the fun and the invention begins!

I saw last night, in my boy’s playful building, the creative transformation that is possible when you take resources, dream a little and construct.

That for me is the heart of innovation.Fire Station - V2Fire Engine V2

A Midsummer Night’s (Rowing) Dream

I promised last night that I’d update my site for the first time in nearly 2 years! So I guess I had better hold my word even if it may be a rapid post.

Today was a special day in my rowing experience. I (along with 9 other friends from our club) took an exam as part of our training to become “Initiateur Féderal“, certified Instructors for guiding new-comers into our sporting discipline. With this validation we can take responsibility for welcoming, explaining, accompanying novices and safeguarding the security of anyone wanting to discover our club and our activities. My next step in coming weeks (if all’s gone well) is to further validate and become an “Educateur Fédéral” (“Educator”); quite a few months of groundwork have already been put in.

I realized again while revising, preparing and “swotting up” in past days, just how much I appreciate this sport, the values therein and the overall atmosphere around rowing and sculling. The fact that 10 young (and not so young) people out of our group of 70 members should volunteer to make the effort to become initial instructors demonstrates the strength and willingness to invest oneself in education and the sharing of one’s passion. We want to transmit our delight, enjoyment and motivation to others.

The test this morning went well even if the results “aren’t yet in” – so I can smile, satisfied with my efforts. In our preliminaries we covered in some depth the history, technical, materiel, pedagogical and institutional aspects of our sport so as to assure the transmission of this knowledge to future “rameurs”.

We were in fact at the renowned Société Nautique d’Avignon just down the Rhône from our smaller, younger Caderousse Club (SNC). Once the theoretical challenge completed, we had the added bonus of sharing a “verre de l’amitié” (a quick aperitif) and best of all of watching live over the internet the race of one of the Avignon club’s own champions, Jeremy Azou, who triumphed in Varese, Italy with his team-mate Stany Delayre in what was the second leg of the rowing World Cup 2015.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy back in September at our club : a gentleman, humble and accessible despite being one of the world’s top athletes. Meeting people like him, and also that day our friend Nathalie Benoit, just can’t help but inspire you to better things and to outdo yourself.

It’s that transmission of learning and sharing one’s passion which makes my heart beat at the moment. I suspect I’ll write more in coming days – without doubt about my “other passion” and pastime, being a Maker and more particularly the promotion of digital education through the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, FabLab… But all will be revealed with time.

In the meantime, the quote from St Exupéry in my last blog entry remains my paradigm.

PS: to practice your French whilst hearing me talk about the meeting of my two interests of rowing and technology/making, check this out : https://youtu.be/rvNVBSPbmvE?t=42s [The Open Ergo is from plans by Jim Flood (http://openergo.webs.com/)]

PPS: the other high point of this Father’s day was making “conductive dough” with my son with an “Electro-dough” kit he got from our friend Martin Evans. I’m lucky to have my folks here with me too right now. Then to finish off the evening I did some long-awaited playing around with a MakeyMakey “invention kit” =o) Fun!

10 months of rowing tomorrow

It’ll be ten months tomorrow since my first initiation into the world of rowing. This week has been one of particular intensity and serenity all at once. Rowing weaves a wonderful tapestry between people from here and further afield.

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

What’s a skiff?

On Saturday, 22nd September 2012 a new world of sporting passion and a physical discipline was opened to me.

4 months later and I’m still as intoxicated by the energy and magic of this sport, otherwise unknown to me up until now.

It’s with this in mind that I wanted to dedicate a site to my thoughts, discoveries, joys and trials and most of all to the learning experience that is this new-found, stimulating pastime.