|Co-Founder, Board President,
|| Rob van Nood is an Oregon licensed educator
now working as a Educational Technologist at Catlin Gable School.
He received his MAT from Lewis & Clark in 1995. Rob has always
taken a fresh look at teaching, tinkering with ideas to make the learning
experience more effective. On the first day of school a few years
ago, for example, Rob's kids were presented with a completely empty
classroom and were instructed to help him design the space. The idea
was that if kids had control of their space, they would be more willing
to work within it. This out-of-the-box thinking is Rob's signature,
and it's his pursuit of teaching through the use of narrative that
makes Tinker Camp such a unique experience.
|| After spending 25 years in the computer business,
half of which was running his own, Blake Swensen and his wife switched
roles. He became a stay-at-home dad on a mission to improve his boys'
elementary school experience. Being involved closely in the public
schools as a volunteer, PTA president and chess club coach -- to name
a few stints -- he discovered that, although public schools are good
at many things, kids whose learning strengths don't fit inside the
box often struggle. One of his sons is learning-disabled and Blake
wanted to create an experience where setbacks and stumbles didn't
damage his fragile self-esteem. More ....
Co-founder, Senior Designer Michael
|| Michael is a curious and engaged life-long learner
who loves exploring new ideas and gaining new skills. He believes
the best way to do that is right alongside his students. Michael is
a Technology Integrator at Portland Jewish Academy, where he works
with teachers and students to bring digital citizenship, media literacy,
technology and STEAM inquiry into the curriculum. Michael teaches
a Digital Arts course for middle school students, which ranges from
photography and video to podcasting and coding, and helps students
become responsible, collaborative and playful learners in his Foundations
in Technology course. When he’s not writing papers and lesson
plans, Michael loves to tinker with everything from boats to bicycles
to electronics. He will be finishing his Masters of Arts in Teaching
and Oregon Teaching License at Concordia University in the spring
||“Ms. Mac” opened the first maker space
in a Portland Public Schools (PPS) Library and organized three tiny
maker-faires for her school, replacing traditional Math/Science Night.
She retired from PPS in 2016 as a Teacher-Librarian and maker advocate
so that she can follow her maker passions such as wearable electronics,
stop motion animation and working with Tinker Camp!
Ms. Mac has a M.Ed. from PSU and is licensed to teach multiple subjects
up to tenth grade. She started her work career in media production,
primarily video. As an independent contractor she taught for the art
museum’s Northwest Film Study Center, Saturday Academy and NEA’s
Artist Residencies in the Schools Program.
| Community Outreach, Jinnet
||As an artist, environmentalist and educator, Jinnet
is intrigued by the complexity and creativity of all life with a special
allegiance to the well-being and resiliency of the planet’s
humans. She is committed to developing thoughtful makers with the
courage to take on complex issues and the humility to respect our
interdependence. With a Masters in Science Education from Oregon State
University, Jinnet mentors youth to think big, use science concepts
as a tool for creativity, and to develop an ecologically responsible
mind-set. Within Tinker Camp’s dynamic narrative, participants
not only develop collaborative skills as they work together, but are
challenged to think systematically. Many powerful learning opportunities
emerge organically from the scenario, when, for example, participants
start to develop a business plan for their arcade, or negotiate how
to use limited materials. Jinnet is skilled in helping make the connection
between these experiences and real-world issues that expands participants’
Jinnet’s commitment to building community extends to working
with other educational partners to identify ways to build capacity
and to creating inclusive learning experiences for all learners. When
not doing outreach, you will likely find Jinnet painting, hiking with
her kids, or improving her backyard habitat.
||With a background in teaching, team-building facilitation,
and interactive art-making,
Brian has always believed that learning ought to involve curiosity
and passion, not drudgery and fear of failure. That's why he is thrilled
to be working with Tinker Camp, where that’s a reality.
When he's not tinkering or instructing, Brian is a user
experience (UX) designer. In his spare time he enjoys documenting
the funny things his kids say, playing with words (especially spoonerisms),
going to the library, expanding his musical taste, playing soccer,
dancing awkwardly, and reading graphic memoirs.
||Denise is a Certified Master Recycler with a passion
for providing reuse and recycling education to her community, especially
school-age kids. An experienced marketer, she’s developed award-winning
marketing, communication and branding strategy for Fortune 500 businesses
and non-profits in California, Washington, Michigan, and Oregon. Denise
is currently a Board Member to Recycling Advocates of Oregon, and
previously held a board position at Picture Lab, a Washington State
non-profit providing hands-on art literacy education in public schools
geared towards students grades K – 5. Denise regularly presents as
a Master Recycler to business organizations participating in Portland
Metro’s Sustainability at Work Program. As an artist, she focuses
her work on representing material reclamation and spends time tinkering
in her studio at any given opportunity.