Ms. Gwen Thompson

lwk_teacher

I discovered my love for project based learning (PBL) while studying early childhood education. I applied the project approach as an Atelierista in a Reggio Emilia style classroom at the Young School in Columbia Maryland. I taught and directed PBL preschool for over a decade both in centers and in my own in-home childcare business.

After having children, I went back to school and was accepted into the Integrated Media program at Mt. Hood College in Portland, Oregon where I studied Graphic and Web design. I fell in love with coding and all things techie while in the program. I had always been a maker at heart but being introduced to Web design, Html/CSS and javascript opened a new world to me that I am completely invested in sharing.

Together with my husband Dr. Jim Thompson, who shares a love for making, I founded a small business Wizzbangz LLC. that is centered around our mobile classroom/makerspace.

Wizzbangz is dedicated to teaching technology, coding and making through doing. I have taught hands on classes such as “how to make your own laser tag gun from scratch” to “build your own robot with 3D printing” as well as Lego Robotics at venues such as the Homeschool Resource Center and Cade Museum in Gainesville FL

I took the lead in founding the first Curiosity Hacked guild in Florida and am currently a guild leader. Our involvement with Curiosity Hacked allowed us to be involved in the filming of one of the prominent leaders in the maker movement Jay Silver (Inventor of the Makey Makey) who shared his vision of teaching creativity through making with our guild. Which can be seen on Edutopia. See the film here

I have been Google Maker Camp Affiliate three years in a row and am the Community Chapter Leader for LittleBits in Gainesville and have been a Maker of merit and educators pick at Maker Faire Orlando for two years in a row. I am currently involved in creating and teaching technology programs for Santa Fe College: College for Kids. Our sold out classes include: coding, Lego Robotics, Maker skills and our ever popular Minecraft inside-and-out programs which integrate minecraft and real world engineering and life skills.

I believe that we all learn best by doing and my goal is to demystify the black boxes of technology. I teach because I love to see students become independent thinkers, designers and makers who have confidence in themselves and have a greater understanding of the world around them.

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