Build what?
Build-It-Yourself has developed an enrichment program based on research conducted at the MIT Media Lab that teaches kids to use art and technology constructively in a unique global laboratory - where they design and build toys, contraptions, websites, computer games and robots.

A novel and appealing project approach and state-of-the-art internet tools are used by qualified mentors to deliver a consistent, high-value, enjoyable educational experience that enhances traditional instruction.

BIY's programs help foster and develop the natural affinity that elementary and middle-school children have for art and technology, They challenge kids in a fun way that increases engagement and helps them grow socially as well as intellectually - all the while building skill sets and portfolios that will enhance higher-education and career prospects.

Discerning parents with an appreciation for the importance of raising life-long learners love the immediate and long term benefits; kids love the fun, yet challenging "non-school" approach.

How'd we get here?
In 2006, John Galinato, an engineer with a unique artistic vision, turned a life-long hobby into a passion-driven business and hung his shingle on a small storefront down the street from Harvard Yard in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Today that first Build-It-Yourself studio has evolved into a unique global learning laboratory, serving kids ages 8-18 in schools, after-school programs, summer camps and in their homes via our unique on-line Homecast program.

Along the way, BIY has built a team and designed, developed and assembled an exclusive and effective collection of enrichment tools - tools that it shares daily with enthusiastic young students connecting to its on-line lab from their worldwide homes.

Got kids?
Our primary customers are parents who want their kids to develop the skills to compete in a global economy and global community where math, science, and technology proficiencies are crucial. These parents want their children to be prepared for a world in which serious social problems must be addressed with creativity and complex new technology.

We also find that many parents are looking for after-school, creative, constructive and enjoyable activities that complement the in-school emphasis on rigor and testing.

Great. Here's what we've got . . .
The Build-It-Yourself enrichment program features four main components:
  1. Content - unique content, developed and kid-tested over a 10-year period, including:

    • a series of playful storylines built around relevant social issues or whimsical scenarios, followed by challenges to use art and technology to help solve problems. Each project or "Mission" incorporates an artistic element with a building element, as well as stressing the documentation and presentation of ideas and solutions. Mission categories include construction/contraptions (e.g. Rube Goldberg Machines, Soapbox Racers), software development (e.g. website and game programming) and LEGO robotics-based projects.

    • an online database of basic functional building blocks, developed in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, that enable kids to build complex solutions quickly and efficiently. Over 288,000 additional composite building blocks have been built from this database.

    • a growing library of multi-discipline presentations that teach kids valuable skills.

  2. Our Mentor Network - a network of workshop specialists composed primarily of engineering, computer science and art students from Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Mass Art and other leading universities. We regularly seek and train college student specialists who demonstrate technical knowledge, who can relate to, teach, mentor and engage children, and who clearly stand out as role models for the next generation of builders. We effectively reproduce the college teaching assistant (TA) model for elementary and middle-school students.

  3. Collaboration Tools - web communication tools and applications that enable workshop specialists to collaborate with kids wherever they are - at home, at school, at camp.

  4. Virtual Community - an online virtual environment/community, Invention Universe, that safely allows young builders to post and share their projects and collaborate with other builders from around the world. Invention Universe is also a serious place to build a valuable school resume/portfolio.
Here's how we use it . . .
Build-It-Yourself features two primary offerings for 8-13 year-old kids. Each of these two options is based on our creative, kid-tested Missions, designed to put artistic and engineering fundamentals to use in solving a specific problem presented in the Mission's storyline.

  1. Homecasts - a single Mission is presented in eight weekly one-hour live webcasts with 8-12 individual subscribing students, led by a BIY specialist. Homecasts are scheduled to cover after school hours and weekends.

  2. Workshops (After-School and Summer Camp) - a single Mission is presented in eight to ten weekly one-hour workshops or a 30-hour one week camp session with a group of 8-12 students, led by a BIY specialist, either on-site at or by webcast to the partner school's location. These schools and camps are primarily in the Boston, MA area, but have been conducted for locations around the world via webcast.

What makes it different . . .

Kids and their parents have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to after-school, extra-curricular and enrichment activities. We believe the Build-It-Yourself program offers several distinct features that set it apart.

  1. Our Approach - BIY's unique, playful and creative approach engages a broad range of kids quickly. Our blending of art and technology is unique and effective. The Missions and Homecasts are designed to be "fun with a purpose" - designed by professionals who are still kids at heart, kid-tested and kid-approved.

  2. Our Emphasis on Useful Skills - The basic skill sets we are teaching and fostering set our members apart from their peers and set them up for success in their future academic and professional paths. In addition to the specific building techniques and technological skills that form the basis of each of our projects, every Mission stresses collaboration and teamwork - and the social skills that are inherent in both. We're especially vigorous in stressing the importance of effectively presenting one's work, and every Mission requires and enhances the development of PowerPoint skills.

  3. Our Tools - BIY's exclusive database of functional Build-It-Blocks is a one-of-a-kind resource that allows kids to learn and apply the concept of modular building to construct complex solutions quickly.

  4. Our Team - BIY's well-developed mentoring model gives your child live on-line access to committed and skilled graduates and students from highly regarded engineering, computer science and art programs at the best universities. Expanding on the Teaching Assistant (TA) approach used by most universities, our specialists guide the kids step-by-step through their individual projects and provide positive, problem-solving, lifelong-learner role models