My Why- Maker Monday Challenge #ccourses

Before I enrolled in #ccourses (if one can enroll in a community of those who share your philosophy) I strived to bring much of what I have learned from lurking around Connected Learning spaces and  our efforts to develop the Web Literacy Map into my new class EDU 106 (yes the 106 is a h/t to #DS106).

The class fulfills a university requirement for tech fluency but for me the class represents an opportunity to stress a teaching philosophy beyond the state and federal mandates of testing and curriculum.

The class revolves around my “Why.”

Make. Hack. Play. Learn.

I want this philosophy permeating the class. I want students exploring, building and connecting. I want them to understand and utilize both the values and design principles of connected learning.

The class meets as a hybrid. We have a face to face session every Monday and then meet online the rest of the week. I was supposed to have access to a mobile computing cart. Instead we make due with the cadre of computers, tablets, and phones studends drag with them. Not ideal, but atleast it is device agnostic.

To incorporate the my “Why?” of Make. Hack. Play. Learn I added a twenty minute feature each week called Maker Mondays. The student walk in. I provide minimal instruction and I watch and interact as they create and redesign meaning on their world.

Maker Monday Challenge One:

The first challenge was relatively tough. I wanted to create a safe zone for failing. I wanted students to realize learning is often rooted in struggle, but failing is fun when we have a common goal. I also wanted to have a high ceiling to judge students “tech fluency.”

The students had to remix danah boyd article, “Why Youth Heart Social Media.” by using memes only. Basically they had to find a blank meme, edit the picture and insert into a class website using an anchor link.

Mission Accomplished. No group could finish the task. This let us have a frank discussion about the rule of failing in learing and more explicitly the role of failure in making.

In terms of judging tech fluency I also got a clear (but bleak) picture. Only two groups could make a meme. One group could add the pic to the class website. No group could link to the website. In fact when asked no one could explain in anyway what the letters, “href” meant.

Maker Monday Challenge Two:

In the next challenge I wanted to stress that making and connected learning do not take technology. The groups had to remix, boyd’s ideas of community without using technology. We saw Venn diagrams and even a few skits. The students really latched onto an idea that a summary in many ways is just a remix of words.

Make Monday Challenge Three:

The next week I began to focus on the Mozilla Web Literacy Map and the webmaker.org tools. I asked them the students to use Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker in order to create a class remix of our theme: Make. Hack. Play. Learn.

Maker Monday Challenge Four:

We have spent the last week or so discussing online collaborative inquiry. I have stressed that I do not believe learning or the brain has changed due to technology, but that the practices favored in a networked society have evolved. This conversation has centered around Jenkins’s idea of competencies for participatory learning.

This week we will continue to explore literacy in a participatory culture by socially annotating a reading from #ccourses:

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry is a teacher, researcher and scholar at Southern Connecticut State University.

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