Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Kids become ‘makers’ at Wynwood summer camp

July 18, 2014, 10 a.m., Posted by Carolina Wilson

Above: Boys programming recorded music into a mixer. Photos by Carolina Wilson.

Wynwood Maker Camp has added a twist to the typical summer camp for kids. Children from the ages of 8 to 18 come together for two weeks, engaging with a computer science-driven and student-led curriculum.

The camp, held five times this summer, is housed at The LAB Miami and hosted by MIAMade, a nonprofit working to develop a local “maker” culture, and the Maker Education Initiative, an organization that encourages youth to develop an interest in technology. Recently, Knight Foundation announced $105,000 in support for MIAMade for its 2014 Miami Makers Initiative, which includes the Wynwood Maker Camp.

Willie Avendano and Nelson Milian, entrepreneurs who met at The LAB, head the camp. With the original intention of following a regimented schedule based on basic computer-science skills, the camp has evolved into a more personalized experience based on the interests of each camper.

“One of the things we wanted to emphasize was exposure to technology,” Avendano says. “We asked, ‘What happens if we gave the kids everything we have?’ We have the knowledge and resources, and we wanted to teach them about technology. There’s no reason to have boundaries.”

A vision for San Jose, Calif.

July 18, 2014, 6 a.m., Posted by George Abbott

San Jose, Calif. by Mike Boening (cc) on Flickr
Photo: View of San Jose with a view toward the airport. Credit: Mike Boening on Flickr.

San Jose finds itself in a unique moment in time. The Bay Area has a tremendous pull. It continues to grow and attract talented graduates from across the country and the world. Santa Clara County alone is projected to grow more than 23 percent in the next 25 years, and San Jose will add more new residents than San Francisco and Oakland combined.

However, where these new residents go, and what form the growth takes are critical to the long-term success of San Jose. If done right, San Jose has the chance to establish itself as the largest and most significant hub of activity in the South Bay.

To make the most of the opportunity downtown San Jose needs to become the cultural, retail, and employment nexus of the South Bay. Downtown is already home to the greatest concentration of cultural institutions in Silicon Valley, is at the center of a significant network of public transit links and offers the most multi-tenant office space south in the Bay Area. It is also home to the global headquarters of numerous firms, such as Adobe and Oracle.

Learning through making: 16 projects receive support to test ideas through Knight Prototype Fund

July 17, 2014, 9 a.m., Posted by Chris Barr

Photo: Analyzing geodata. Credit: (cc) Kris Krüg on Flickr.

Often, when evaluating ideas for our Prototype Fund we ask ourselves and our reviewers to consider, “What might we learn from this project?” That simple question combined with an eagerness to accelerate new solutions to information challenges energizes us to embrace experimentation as a pathway to learning.

The Prototype Fund offers small teams with an early-stage idea the opportunity to build key components of their project to test a critical hypothesis. While six months and a $35,000 grant might not always be enough to finish version one of a project, it can go a long way towards validating an assumption, developing a minimum viable product or identifying a need to revise  an approach.