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As the Visiting Fiction Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University I taught fiction writing to undergraduates and undergrads in courses titled Fiction Bootcamp and Writer's Workshop. These courses were craft-based workshops where my students and I pondered the big questions of how fiction is constructed and what makes it work. We looked under the hood, took the back off the clock, peered into the...
This was originally posted as a blog for Making Learning Connected 2014, otherwise known as CLMOOC. These reflections and connections come from the third week's Make Cycle focused on Making, Playing, and Hacking games by Joe Dillon, Denver Area Writing Project and Terry Elliott, Western Kentucky Writing Project.Image by Joe Dillon CC BY  Object of Play This game you've just unboxed this cycle is...
(This first appeared at my blog, Kevin's Meandering Mind) Inspired by all the remixing of Garfield comics, and the back page Caption Contest of the New Yorker magazine, I decided yesterday to remove the dialogue from one of my own webcomics for our Make Cycle around hacking writing for the Making Learning Connected MOOC, and open it up to people to add their own. Call it community hacking. First...
Thanks to a growing chorus of outspoken scholars and educators, our current discourse on English education is ripe with calls for critical literacy and engaged pedagogy; for English classrooms that base academic literacy on what students already know and then move toward the yet unknown, that have burst the constraints on how we define a text, that see educators as conductors of light,...
  It took me a couple of days, but I found the video I was shown at the MIT media lab last week in Boston. I don't have a lot to write. Instead, the video says it all. Here is a story of how studying the nature of blind silk worms and their quest to silk cocoons builds knowledge. When artists and engineers pay attention to the natural world and manipulate instinct, new creations are discovered. I...
The Making Learning Connected MOOC (clmooc) that happened this summer was a great experience for me and for many others. I came into clmooc as an avid maker. My love of digital tools has led me to many types of digital making. Living in an extremely rural place, making is a necessity; we have built our own house, keep a large garden, can jams and vegetables, make our own bread, and make many...
I've had several really positive interactions this week and last about some of the work we're starting in my school district around make/hack/play.  But in two conversations last week, I was struck that the folks asking me questions had equated "Making" (I'm using the capital "M" when I talk about Making the movement.  Maybe I shouldn't be.) with "building electronic circuits."  That's a bad...
(Re-posted from the Center for Make/Hack/Play, a new project I'm working on.  Find the Center for Make/Hack/Play on Twitter and Facebook.) Lenses are powerful tools.  With the right lens on your camera, you can see things very close up, or incredibly distant.  The right lenses can help you bring light to dark places, or shelter the darkness from too much intruding light.  Turn the lens on your...
This year I am teaching civics and economics as a middle school social studies teacher. While the content classroom brings new challenges and opportunities to student-directed learning, I'm working to negotiate content with students so that we can package a particular standard into work that holds meaning for them. For the gamers, this means learning about civics and economics through games....
Daniel Cook's recent Lost Garden post about the need for a new taxonomy of game criticism inspired me to catalog the genres of writing we use in our play- and game-based learning. This week's #engchat regarding struggling writers also prompted me to think about how our play- and game-based writing represents some of the work students and I share in discovering what it is we are willing and able...

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