Sylvia Todd, super-awesome maker

The maker of Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Mini-Maker Show is an 11-year-old girl, reports the New York Times.

Sylvia Todd’s desk is not tidy. It’s cluttered with small robots (including a solar-powered grasshopper), motors, wires, resistors, a soldering iron and an array of other gadgets and tools.

More than 1.5 million YouTube views have watched episodes of “Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Mini-Maker Show.” She is sought after for speaking engagements, visits maker fairs and even addresses TEDx conferences. At the White House Science Fair, President Obama tested her latest project, a robot that paints.

“Ever since I was really young I liked destroying stuff,” Sylvia said. “I’ve always been interested in making and doing things hands-on.”

She went to her first maker fair at the age of 5 with her father, a Web developer who never finished high school. (Sylvia is 11. Her father is 29. “Do the math,” he says.) Two summers ago, James Todd began videotaping Sylvia’s demonstrations, as a summer project. Her mother got the idea for a YouTube show. So far, Sylvia has aired 19 episodes on making your own crazy putty (extended polymer chains), squishy circuit boards, electricity-conducting dough and more.

Technology for learners thrives out of school, writes Anya Kamenetz in Hechinger’s Digital blog.

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