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
How'd we get here?
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
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.
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.
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.
Great. Here's what we've got . . .
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.
Here's how we use it . . .
The Build-It-Yourself enrichment program features four main components:
- Content - unique content, developed and kid-tested over a 10-year period, including:
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.
Collaboration Tools - web communication tools and applications that enable workshop specialists to
collaborate with kids wherever they are - at home, at school, at camp.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 . . .
This is all very cool! What's the next step?
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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