Join the Middle Georgia Makers Community

Maker Faire Orlando

Middle Georgia Makers Community

Our Vision

To build a collaborative community of artisans, entrepreneurs and technology professionals known for grassroots innovation, creativity, leadership and our passion to serve. We foster a diversified and thriving Middle Georgia economy through mentorship of entrepreneurs, hands-on learning programs, and providing creative spaces/tools to convert ideas into marketable products and services.

Join the Middle Georgia Makers Community

During this past weekend, my family and I had the opportunity to visit Disney’s magic kingdom.   The team of Disney is known throughout the world for their service and team of creative engineers and artists.   As I walked around the park, it was fun to consider the impact that Pixar and John Lasseter have had on the culture of Disney and technology.   Our little ones love the movies Cars, Toy Story, and Monsters Inc.   Most kids in America do!  Pixar, however, would not be possible if John Lasseter(a talented artist) didn’t have the vision of telling GREAT stories using computer animation.    I would encourage you to check out some documentaries on the history of Pixar.   It’s really cool to see how John and his team challenged the limits of great story telling, art, and computer animation.   As a leader, John Lasseter pushed the bounds of possible in computer science.    In order to create expressive characters and tell Pixar’s emotive stories, John pushed his technology team hard to invent new technologies related to computer rendering and animation.  Really cool stuff!

So… what would happen if we connected the creative technology community with the vibrant community of art and music in Middle Georgia?    I believe that we can expect that the community would create innovative ways to teach young makers.   I believe the community would help inspire a deeper culture of creativity.    It really would be fun to find out.  The bounds are endless!

To help the community connect to each other, our blog will be hosting a Middle Georgia Makers community.   If you’re a creative entrepreneur, artist, or technology professional, please consider joining our FaceBook group.    We want to foster a supportive community of creative professionals who are interested in improving their craft, their business, and “making” Middle Georgia awesome.

Join the Middle Georgia Makers Community

By joining the Middle Georgia Makers Facebook group this week, I will offer a free online webinar on social media marketing.  In this mini-class, I will share why “educational direct response marketing” is important to your cause and business, tools that help you build your platform, and connect you with other free resources.

Look forward to getting to know you!



So… What are you passionate about making?


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Why Community Building is Powerful


As human beings, we have fundamental need for connection to each other.   All thriving organizations that I have cared about seemed to have a strong sense of community.    Great communities are life giving, authentic, and naturally generate an impact.   You can try to lead by fear, intimation, or force people to follow you because of your ‘title.’   I’m starting to realize that one of the most powerful ways to promote positive change is community building.

Some events from this past week have “hit me on the head” and forced me to pay attention to this fundamental idea we call community.    In my church, I have had the opportunity to lead a wonderful music ministry serving our high schoolers.  (Check out their website at )     When I think about some of my favorite moments of living in Middle Georgia, I think of this tribe of passionate and talented young teens.  Even though our group plays once a month for church, it was so meaningful to hear stories of how they inspired our church members young and old.    I’m proud that they set an example of service and prayer by sharing their time and talents.   By learning how to make music together and prayerfully making something beautiful,  they lead people to a more profound place in their faith walk.   Through our relationships, I’ve been inspired to be more prayerful and be a better musician.    I’m truly humbled that the Lord gave me this opportunity to serve with them.  They really rock!

As we finished off this year and played our last songs, I honestly started getting “choked up.”  The sound of the teens singing a beautiful “Ave Maria” just really moved me emotionally.   It was like “someone” was hitting me on the head saying …. “Michael… You really need to pay attention to this moment.”

As I started doing some self reflection on some of my favorite experiences in life (in business, in family, in church), all of these experiences were connected to great cultures of community.   You can see the power of community in our best innovations and our most meaningful experiences.

  • Church impact: I have been blessed to be a part of many church families where I can really see lives changed for the better.  The Lord’s hands is community.
  • Technology impact: In a technology circle, I really love my Android phone.   This technology, however, would not be possible if a community developers had not decided to work together to share their talent and create a potent free operating system called “Linux.”   Linux and other free UNIX operating systems are the fundamental building blocks making our IPhones, IPads, and Android devices possible.   These pieces of software were created out of a love of the craft of software.  (not profit motive.)
  • Business impact: In a business context, I have had the pleasure of fostering a learning community we call the “EntreLeader book club.”   ( click the link for more details)  It’s a weekly event that I cherish.   It’s fun getting to explore meaningful business leadership books and support each other in growing.   So far, we’ve covered the following books: “EntreLeadership” by Dave Ramsey, “Beyond the Obvious” by Phil McKinney, and “Good To Great” by Jim Collins.   It’s been fun to see the innovations big and small from our team of EntreLeaders.  (Big high five to Dave Ramsey and Chris LoCurto)
  • Education impact: I am very inspired by my personal learning network of educators.   I aspire to have the “heart of a teacher” in all that I do.   So.. I love learning from the educators who are passionate about serving their students and making a difference.   Thank you teachers for all that you do to change the world!

I’m still growing in the art of community building.   I still have a lot to learn.    I wanted to close this reflection by sharing a free book that I’m reviewing.   Check out the “Art of community” by Jono Bacon.   While the book focuses on growing “technical” communities, it’s still offers great practical coaching that applies to every organization. (nonprofit, club, nonprofit)     Jono Bacon is a really fun writter too.


What are some of your favorite blogs, ideas, or tools for building community?  We would love to hear from you!













Beautiful Art and Projects at #MakerFaire 2014



It’s inspiring to see the innovation, creativity, projects, and art from #MakerFaire 2014. Enjoy these small clips from this awesome #maker event. Check out the #makerfaire on Twitter! What’s your favorite project from #MakerFaire 2014?

Posts From InspiredToEducate.NET

Create Puzzle-Based Code Experiences in Your Apps #javascript #html5

Scratch - Teaching kids to code

Thanks to programs like Scratch, MIT App Inventor, Hopscotch and others, students and novice programmers are getting introduced to ideas like sequencing, planning, simple logic, and loops. Instead of creating lines of code, students are introduced to the concepts of computer programming through the metaphor of puzzle pieces. In Scratch, students create amazing games and media experiences by snapping together puzzle pieces.

When I saw this for the first time, I wanted to include these puzzle-based coding interfaces into web apps that I create. Here’s the GREAT news. Using the open source JavaScript library entitled Blockly, you can build your own block programming interfaces in YOUR software. Meet Neil Fraser, the talented software engineer from Google, who created Blockly. Blockly was designed to help engage students in learning more about computer programming. When students start to learn to program, they are fighting problems of logic and problems of syntax. By using the puzzle metaphor, students can now focus on learning sequencing, logic, and iteration.

Samples from Blockly website:

  • Puzzle – Learn how blocks work while solving this simple country quiz.
  • Maze – Use Blockly to solve a maze.
  • Turtle – Drawing with Blockly.
  • Graph – Blockly’s graphing calculator.
  • Code – Export a Blockly program into JavaScript, Python or XML.

So.. Here’s a sample of how you can use Blockly in YOUR web application.

To start, download the source of Blockly from here:

Here’s the code for the sample. You’ll notice that this small application runs completely in the browser using HTML, SVG, and JavaScript.

Blockly Demo #1


Code from Puzzle:

In the header of your HTML file, include the following JavaScript files.

In the body of your HTML document, enter the following code. The “blocklyDiv” DIV defines the size of the space that will contain your blockly experience.
The xml document with the “id” of “toolbox” defines the types of blocks that will be available in your design space. To keep things simple,
I have only included a few programming blocks for “if” statements, printing to the web browser, and loops to get your imagination going.
The final JavaScript method(i.e. Blockly.inject) links your toolbox selections to your design surface.


As a developer, you would want to capture computer program represented by the blocks and actually run it.
The Blockly framework supports code output in JavaScript, Python, XML, and Dart . In the following code, we capture the puzzle space in JavaScript code.
We place the JavaScript code into a TEXTAREA so the user can review the code. With a little extra effort, you can execute the program.

function getCodeFromPuzzle()
var code = Blockly.JavaScript.workspaceToCode();
var txtCode = document.getElementById("txtCode");
txtCode.value = code;

So… how do you create your own blocks? How do I do additional customizations? Check out the Blockly Wiki for those details.

Check out other helpful resources from InspiredToEducate.NET