This collection of resources demonstrates the ways that middle school teachers at a high needs middle school in Eastern North Carolina are transforming their professional learning and teaching practices with Connected Learning frameworks.
From the Community
"Mommy, look what I made," is a phrase that any parent is familiar with hearing and can be applied to so many things. "Look what I made" can extend from a child's pride in constructing a mud pie, a scribbled drawing, a collage made out of paper towel cores, and yes, sorry, to whateve prideful bathroom success has occurred. After all, face it, in our society, we place a tremendous importance on toilet training. "Mommy, look what I made," is a powerful statement speaking to the sense of pride, self-efficacy, and downright joy when a human being, at any age, accomplishes something that they have controlled, thought about, worked on, and completed.
Soft Circuits: Crafting e-Fashion with DIY Electronics explores the field of electronics and "e-textiles," which involves making physical computing projects based in fabrics and other everyday materials. This volume incorporates microprocessors into these materials and programs them with an accessible tool called Modkit to further enhance e-fashions like light-up wristbands and t-shirts, as well as solar-powered backpacks.
Short Circuits: Crafting e-Puppets with DIY Electronics explores the field of electronics and "e-textiles," which involves making physical computing projects based in fabrics and other everyday materials. This volume focuses that exploration on the use of electronic hand puppets, sound-enabled storyboards, and DIY flashlight-enabled shadow puppetry in order to delve into literacy and storytelling.
Script Changers: Digital Storytelling with Scratch focuses on how stories offer an important lens for seeing the world as a series of systems and provides opportunities for young people to create interactive and animated stories about the systems around them. The projects in this book utilize the Scratch visual programming environment as a means to tell stories about how to effect change in youths' local communities.
Gaming the System: Designing with Gamestar Mechanic orients readers to the nature of games as systems, how game designers need to think in terms of complex interactions between game elements and rules, and how to pull out systems concepts in the design process. The core curriculum uses Gamestar Mechanic, an online game design environment with a strong systems thinking focus.
As has been my mode lately, I was watching the most recent video from the Connected Courses project in Vialogues (Thanks, Terry Elliott!) with Michael Wesch, Randy Bass and Cathy Davidson with my ear towards ideas that I might use in a comic. Of course, when you have smart people like that, interesting ideas float around like butterflies.
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 innards in order to study the formal decisions necessary for effective story-telling. Our inquiry included point of entry; character and plot; creating meaningful scenes; interiority v/s external action; exposition; the management of time; the position of the narrator; linear v/s modular design; dialogue and its uses; conflict and resolution; image systems and so on. In order to learn to "read like a writer," students tackled a collection worth of stories and paid attention to details like how sentences are constructed, dialogue is set up and narrative is designed.
These are assignments that students complain about doing and faculty complain about grading. They’re assignments that add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away.
Last night I made my professional writing students think about professional learning networks and begin the process of building their own. Even though it was a night class and I was exhausted, my head was so full of ideas I just had to come home and write about it – because writing and thinking are connected.