When I received this email yesterday from Todd Stone, who runs the Dallas .NET Micro User Group, I called my husband to ask for his support picking up our 5yo so I could take Katelyn, our 8yo, to this meeting:
- Shawn Weisfeld will demo a robot he built with Robotics Studio and a Kinect
- Harold Pulcher will present our Electronics 101 topic on Capacitors
- Hands-on coding time
Our meeting format will follow the following format:
6:00 – 6:30 Food and Drinks, Socialize
6:30 – 6:35 Meeting announcements
6:35 – 6:50 Electronics 101 – Capacitors (presented by Harold Pulcher)
6:50 – 7:10 Flash talks, show and tell, approximately 5 minutes per person
7:10 – 8:30 Agenda (presented by Shawn Weisfeld) and Hands-on coding time.
8:30 – 9:00 Show what you created tonight, door prize giveaways if available, pick presenters for next meeting.
We will have FREE food, drinks and a meeting room, courtesy of Improving Enterprises.The food will arrive by about 6PM which offers plenty of time to socialize before the event start time at 6:30PM.
Be sure to thank our sponsor, Improving Enterprises, a premier, Dallas-based training and consulting firm and please keep them in mind for your company’s training and consulting needs.
I worked through lunch so I could leave early enough to drive home from work in Dallas (23 miles) to pick her up at school in time to turn right around & head to Improving Enterprises in Addison (17 miles): in time for the 6pm http://dallasmicro.net user group meeting.
You think you know your kid, but sometimes they don’t react the way you hope (things parents want their kids to take interest in are sometimes boring to the kids). That was not the case last night.
The drive was worth it. The experience was priceless.
The interest & reaction in her eyes when Harold was explaining bread boards, resistors, capacitors, AC current, DC current, and batteries was just a pure joy. She was engaged. She asked questions, and it only got better as she wrapped her head around the concepts Harold was nice enough to explain. When he broke out the breadboard demos, she jumped right in (with his permission) & learned (first-hand) how one burns out an LED (and saw it turn red to warn it was about to be done). She thought that was very cool.
The 2nd half of the meeting consisted of Shawn showing this Kinect Robot he built. He had to buy the robot kit, use his laptop & add his Kinect to it – most expensive robot ever, but so very cool.
Shawn was then nice enough to let Katelyn drive it around Improving using the XBox controller. She would have stayed there all night if she could have.
Shawn then showed a few Kinect demo programs that showed distance, body part detection, etc. One demo app turned her head & hands into Incredible Hulk head & hands. She had fun with that.
The other one drew skeleton lines for the body. Luckily that was toward the end of the evening, since we actually had what I’m calling a “Kinect Casualty.” She was being so silly, watching that move with her actions that she totally bit it. I don’t know exactly what happened, other than I looked over & she was on the floor with a twisted ankle. If that’s not proof she was totally into it & had a ball, I don’t know what is.
As we were walking to the car, I asked her what she thought of her first User Group meeting:
I think it’s pretty natural to want your kids to share your interest. I’ve dreamt of the day I could share user group meetings with my kids since I started loving community events, but never imagined the first one would or could be this much fun (for both me AND for her).
I took her to this, just hoping she could keep up & that she wouldn’t be bored due to concepts going over her head, or too disruptive. I never imagined she would enjoy it so much that she’d ask if there was another meeting she could attend the next night, and would get sad when told it’s only held once a month, That was very cool.
HUGE thanks to Improving for sponsoring this, and to Harold Pulcher & User Group TV’s Shawn Weisfeld for their patience, for being such great teachers, and for making my 3rd grader’s first User Group meeting one she won’t soon forget.