Make. Hack. Play. Learn: The Benefits of Learning Out Loud

flickr photo shared by Schill under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

I am currently overlooking the frosted lakes of Michigan on my way to deliver a talk at he Center of Visual Literacies at the University of San Diego. I spent a night in Detroit stranded by a broken de-icer in Hartford. So I am in yesterday’s clothes, tired, and have to finish my talk. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Last night I watched ‘Nova finally reclaim a national championship on an amazing three point buzzer beater. I sat mesmerized by the game with Road Crew from Kansas and the baritone singer for the Spinners. Made me pine for the days when I worked as a stagehand. I got very close in my teaching career to leaving and wanting to be a Stage Hand. I chose a different stage.

I also let a random guy I met at airport crash in my hotel. Sleeping in airports is awful. Paying back all the floor space I used when on tour.

Rock and Roll and the music industry is enticing, intoxicating really.

As Audrey Watters and Jim Groom point out we need teaching to be a little bit more punk rock. We need an ethos of learning out loud.

So in today’s talk I am going to cover how as teachers we have the best job. Sure I am not building lighting stages and working thirty-five hour shifts…okay just not building lighting stages, but I still make  words dance and  ideas sing.

Learning Out Loud

We will cover my philosophy of teaching: Make. Hack. Play. Learn. Which means I will start with a Maker Challenge. I hope the audience was not expecting to be passive! We will then move on to the theoretical underpinnings of Connected Learning. Next I will describe how I encourage Open Learning with Open Source Tools. In fact I will be hosting my talk not using a slide deck but a slideshow I have remixed using Thimble.

I will close it out with a tutorial on using Medium as a way to connect with other writers and how to syndicate posts from your own site to Medium’s silos.

Why push a proprietary platform on a talk about Open Learning? Well mainly because the conference organizers asked me to, but also because I believe Medium is “open enough.” Ev Williams has democratized writing through Blogger, Twitter, and now Medium. You can check him talking about the role of private orgs supporting the open web with Joi Ito here.

I also believe the that the open web will need partnerships between private companies and public entities such as universities. Mainly though the open web needs you. Find a project to join. I personally contribute to Mozilla by developing their learning projects. Through open source contribution the last four years I have grown as a scholar and a person.

The point of Open Learning is not to “out open your allies” by demanding everyone use a Linux machine, running firefox, and only relying on open source software. You don’t waht to sound like a birkenstock wearing, granola crunching, Vegan advocate who can alwaya be just a “little bit greener” than you. Learning out loud is about leaving behind the shackles of publishing in the ivory tower. It is recognizing that our scholarship to be significant needs to focus on people and not p-values. Its about following in the foot steps of people like Alan Levine, Jon Udell, and Dave Winer.

Yet for me its less punk rock and more Grateful Dead. We need to trade ideas like tapes, we need an active and vibrant community.  When you learn out loud you make your thinking and making explicit. You decide what you will share openly and freely, what you will share openly but earn a few bucks, and what you keep private.

Taking the First Step

So for those attending my talk today I hope you expect something interactive. I don’t have a slide show. You will not see a Powerpoint laden with data. Instead we will explore a variety of open source and proprietary tools to help you to Learn Out Loud.

8 responses on “Make. Hack. Play. Learn: The Benefits of Learning Out Loud”


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