• new release: heavyweight trouble April 1, 2021

    I am very pleased to announce that my new record “heavyweight trouble” is out now on Bandcamp. You can buy it today, or wait until Bandcamp Friday tomorrow, when Bandcamp skips taking their cut and 100% of the proceeds will go to the causes discussed below. It’ll hit the streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and others over the next few weeks.

    Today I’d like to share the liner notes I wrote for this release.

    The word “trouble” can have a negative connotation –  being in trouble, causing trouble, being troubled. I have certainly been troubled living through the past four years of American politics. Being troubled has a relationship to being conscious of your surroundings and environment and sensing what’s wrong.

    The word “trouble” also has a relationship to stirring up or uncovering, however.  The traditional Black spiritual “Wade in the Water” talks of how God is going to “trouble the waters” – to stir them up, and make them ready.  The late Senator John Lewis talked about getting into “good trouble, necessary trouble” – taking a stand for your convictions and what’s right.

    As one way to let good trouble guide me, all proceeds from this album will go to fund the efforts of several organizations whose mission is to empower and bring about a shift in equitable access to electronic music.

    AFRORACK™: A Chicago-based audio arts organization with a goal of helping the community develop and thrive through technology resources.

    We are committed to providing children and young adults of color access to modular synthesizers and sound design.

    Underground Music Academy: a Detroit based hub, which aims to build the future leaders of independent electronic music.

    North Coast Modular Collective: working to increase the skill, knowledge, and accessibility of electronic music artistry through the development of music, instruments, and community.

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  • wishlist 2020 September 20, 2020
  • MACUL 2019: Making Meaning Through Making January 24, 2019

    Sarah Van Loo and I will be presenting the MACUL Conference 2019 in Detroit, MI, sharing both a 3-hour pre-conference workshop, as well as a 1-hour session during the main conference.

    Our workshop and session are both entitled “Making Meaning Through Making”. This session is aimed at educators who have already been using design thinking, constructivist thinking and making in their learning environments, and who want an opportunity to learn from and dialogue with educators who have experiences across the STEAM content areas. We will show high-quality examples of projects that integrate making in the STEAM disciplines, and give attendees a chance to dialogue about opportunities for instruction, integration, and student engagement through project-based learning and making.

    Sarah and I are really looking forward to working with other educators during these sessions. If you’re going to be at the MACUL conference, check it out!

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  • Presenting at PLTW Summit Indianapolis January 24, 2019

    I’m excited to share that I will be presenting twice at the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Summit in Indianapolis, IN, in February 2019.

    PLTW Summit Indianapolis is a three-day event packed with workshops, general sessions, and after-hours activities designed to bring together the PLTW Network and passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. It runs February 17-19, 2019.

    I will be presenting a session entitled “Extending the micro:bit for Computer Science for Innovators and Makers”, in which participants will learn about a number of new technologies that can extend the capabilities of the BBC micro:bit microcontroller. I’ll be demonstrating ways in which educators can use relays, RGB LEDs, 3D printing, and additional technologies to expand the possibilities of what they and their students can make.

    If you’re attending Summit, please check for my presentation! I will be presenting this session twice:

    Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 3-4 p.m. in JW Grand 1
    Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 2-3 p.m. in JW Grand 1

    If you’re attending Summit, please check for my presentation! I will be presenting this session twice:

    Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 3-4 p.m. in JW Grand 1
    Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 2-3 p.m. in JW Grand 1

    attribution: original BBC micro:bit photograph in featured image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/26146391212

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  • ambient guitar + tape January 21, 2019

    I love being able to get into the studio late at night to try out ideas and relieve stress. Tonight, it was some experiments with ambient guitar + tape, inspired by recent videos by Hainbach.

    See a few short videos from this evening’s experiments via the chromedecay instagram account:

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  • Photographing the Randazzo Dance company Nutcracker 2018 December 10, 2018

    On December 7, 8 & 9, 2018, I shot photos of the Randazzo Dance Company’s annual performance of The Nutcracker. I ended up shooting around 9,000 photos over the course of three days, and was able to publish & share these with families of the dancers.

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  • Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire – Saturday, June 4, 2016 May 26, 2016

    I’m excited to share that I will be presenting at the Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire on Saturday, June 4, 2016! This time around, I will be making several projects live, and shooting videos of the entire process, as well as showing examples of past projects and videos. 

    This year, the A2 Mini Maker Faire has changed locations to the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown branch. Come see how this process of shooting and editing video of maker projects can work! 

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  • DIY Custom Pedalboard from Reclaimed Wood April 27, 2016

    Check out my latest project video, in which I built a custom pedalboard for my guitar rig using reclaimed wood. The main body is made from two reclaimed bed rails, which appear to be maple. The shelves are from several pieces of reclaimed plywood. I tried making a bowtie (aka butterfly or Dutchman key) for the first time, and also used David Picciuto’s splined miter jig for the first time as well.

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  • Guest Interview on MakerCast, the Podcast for Makers March 4, 2016

    I recently had a great conversation with Jon Berard, the host of the MakerCast podcast. If you’re interested, take a listen to my MakerCast Interview.

    To say that Bill Van Loo is multi-talented would be underselling things. Though Bill has switched careers several times over, he is coming up on a decade of teaching. Bill works as a technology and engineering teacher at A2STEAM, a public K-8 school in Ann Arbor, MI. In his personal life, Bill is a photographer, musician, lifetime learner, and maker. This interview with Bill covers a range of topics, including:

    – STEM/STEAM programs and their role in eliminating the Skills Gap

    – Integrating different domains, especially engineering and the arts

    – Learning from failure (and being willing to fail)

    – Taking pleasure from small successes

    – The evolution of technology, education, and technology education

    – The role of community in the learning process

    MakerCast Interview with Bill Van Loo

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  • VAN LOO Workshop updates: Summer/Fall 2015 October 1, 2015

    I spent a lot of time over the summer and fall, taking on a major project of tearing out an old workbench, giving my workshop’s back wall a dramatic overhaul, and building a brand new workbench from reclaimed material. Check out the 3-video series below!

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