I’ve always been a teacher in some regard -as a mentor to visiting teachers, as a supervisor to the many interns I’ve nurtured through the years, and as a formal teacher in a classroom with a full curriculum. As an instructor with the Exploratorium Teacher Institute I would mentor students on how to navigate a great number of pre-designed projects, engage with each of them as they modified or reinvented the project, and ultimately teach them how to design their own working interactive experiences.
In 2004 I wrote and taught an interdisciplinary seminar at the San Francisco Art Institute called Interactive Color Seminar, along with my long-time collaborator Richard Brown, a neuroscientist. Here we took a color theory course and turned it into a seminar on using color, light and human sight as an interactive, open-ended and engaging experience. The class drew students from every department of the college, and we worked collectively and individually with them until each was able to produce an interactive experience based on light and color.
In 2005 I returned to SFAI with Nancy Spoelhof to design and teach a studio class in Drawing to pre-college students, called Intuition and Expression. Here I again designed a tight curriculum that paired open-ended studio practice with regimented exercises, as well as exposing students to leading practitioners in the field by slide shows, visiting speakers and field trips. I would later write additional proposals for classes at SFAI, and returned to campus to participate in panels for exhibitions and grants, as well as travel for student recruiting efforts.
In all my interactions with students I have felt a strong sense of connection and joy at their achievements, and have been met with great respect and engagement in return. Many of my students and interns remain friends, and many have gone on to jobs and educations at prestigious institutions like Carneige-Mellon, often with letters of reference from me as part of their applications.
Lastly: Teach me to Make was founded by Michael Shiloh and Judy Castro. It provides science workshops and classes for all ages. Their popular electronics and mechanics workshops for children encourage tinkering, using both an artistic and technical approach. In 2008 and 2009 I was delighted to teach their great workshop at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, Ca.