Agency, Voice, and the Maker Movement

Documenting my make: Koreung curry making 02/15/15 @seecantrill cc-by-sa
Documenting my make: Koreung curry making 02/15/15 @seecantrill cc-by-sa

Happy Sunday!

Over the course of the next six weeks I’d like you to keep following your questions and inquiry as we focus on each of the learning and design principles of Connected Learning one at a time. Throughout we will use the text by Garcia, et al. Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom as one of our guides. This text is divided into chapters, by principle, and draws together work and reflections by educators who originally shared their inquiries at the Digital Is website.

To start this off then I encourage you to first go back to the introduction to this collection by Antero Garcia called “Teacher Agency and Connected Learning.” Remember that I put a version of this introduction into Genius too — you can annotate it there (here is a screencast to get you started) while you also read this week’s primary reading: Chapter 4 by Clifford Lee about “Production-Centered Classrooms”.

I also encourage you to dive into some theory, going back to Seymour Papert — a mathematician, scientist and educator from MIT — who is known as the father of constructionism, a production-centered theory of learning made most famous in his book Mindstorms: Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas. His computer language LOGO (which I used when I was a kid) is often also referred to as the forefather of Scratch which is designed to be a constructionist tool for learning and creating.

Papert and Harel’s introduction “Situating Constructionism” from the 1991 book Constructionism gives a good overview of constructionist theory. If you are interested in reading more by Paper, the authors of Invent to Learn have curated a set here: Papert and Constructionism.

Today you are also likely to hear about the “Maker Movement.” Stephanie West-Puckett writes a nice overview of it here at Edutopia, ReMaking Education: Designing Classroom Makerspaces for Transformative Learning and Leah Buechley, formerly also of MIT Media Lab, looks at this movement with a critical lens and talks through its key promises and equity challenges: Thinking about Making.

Eyeo 2014 – Leah Buechley from Eyeo Festival // INST-INT on Vimeo

Finally, when you have some time to listen — maybe while you are washing the dishes, or something — tap into this hour-long Educator Innovator webinar called Making Space and Time for Student Agency and Voice @ Educator Innovator. We hear from a range of educators here about ways they are creating the time and space to support their youth in being makers.

And then, when you are done, take a moment to sit and watch the story of Caine’s Arcade. (Even if you’ve seen it before, I highly recommend watching it again!)

The week ahead:

Wednesday: We will gather via Google Hangout from 8-9pm ET on Wednesday. I’m still hoping some of you will share things that you made and I’ll be ready to model by briefly sharing something too. If we give 10 minutes per person who volunteers, that’s just enough time to show what you made and say a few words about why and how.

Our make this week: Make what you want to make! So far we’ve made several things … so this week you can choose to:

    • Build on what you started — remix it; revise it; take it to a new level …
    • Finish something you didn’t quite complete … or start something you meant to begin …
    • Make something new! (The Make Bank @ CLMOOC  and the DS106 Assignment Bank has lots of potential making ideas for you to explore.)

Blogging prompt idea: What are you making? And what you noticing about your making? What questions does it raise re: connected learning, equity, and teaching?

Seek and Search on Saturday or Sunday: Seek 6/7 things that inspire you to make and create.

Tech tips:

Scratch is not the only “visual programming” software out there — it is just the most robust in many ways. However there are other similar programs that work on tablets and are particularly geared to younger children, such as Tickle (in beta – you need to request access) and Hopscotch. Webmaker tools supports you in understanding web “coding” including HTML, CSS and Javscript. You can find more tools gathered for a range of coding at the Hour of Code website.

Genius is not the only annotation tool out there — others include Now Comment for documents, Vialogues for video, and Soundcloud for audio. (Note: Webmaker Popcorn can also be used to support multimodal annotation.)

Screencasts are a great way to show what you are doing on your computer to others. The tool I used above is called Jing but there are many others you can look up too.


In learning and connecting solidarity,

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