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Amy Stornaiuolo
Feb 04 2013

Our Hackjam: Hacking the Story


Last month I went to the Educon conference at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia for the first time and was so excited to see all of the amazing work being done by educators to incorporate digital literacies into their practices and classrooms. I was particularly inspired by the hackjam run by Meenoo Rami and Chad Sansing (watch it live here or read about Chad's reflections on it here). Immediately I saw how this activity might be a generative one for my digital literacies class at the University of Pennsylvania to help us consider more carefully the ideas of participatory learning, composing as making, and hacker literacies.

One of the central ideas I was hoping we could explore was how play and Making can help to transform our teaching/learning practices. Hacking (or tweaking, reworking, or disrupting) dominant narratives and technologies is a kind of current participatory practice we have been contemplating this semester. So, as Chad recommends, we began with the material in order to then draw metaphors from this material work to the hacking of our own practices and broader systems (e.g., schooling).

So we hacked children's books! Some of the teachers in the room felt uncomfortable destroying beloved favorites:


but others found it liberating to deconstruct these narratives:


Small groups began by meeting and reading the stories and then considering how they could disrupt the narratives, the linearity of the print medium, and the ideologies of the stories (the group who explored Disney's Mulan text were particularly troubled by the essentialized gender and cultural tropes). Groups pondered a variety of material objects I brought to work with as potential tools for disruption (we were also located in a computer lab so they had digital resources also at their disposal):


Groups then spent the next 30 minutes negotiating how their revised stories would take shape, and they painted, glued, cut, and crafted their joint projects:


We then went around the room and shared the 'final' products, many playing with temporality, linearity, intertextuality, and revoicing:


All of the digital literacies participants are blogging this semester as part of the course, and some of them offer insightful reflections on this hackjam experience, like pondering "A change in Arthur-ship" or "Imagination."The link to all of our class blogs are below--we would love people to comment or offer suggestions/ideas for extending these activities. 

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<p>It's great to see these photos, Amy! Turning the beloved Arthur story into a zombie apocalypse tale was really fun, especially with our added Walking Dead quotes (thanks Chris!). I also really enjoyed reading Irene's blog post about it, which I hadn't seen before! Hopefully Erica and I can build on this when we do another hackjam in class a few weeks from now.</p>
<p>It's great to see the pictures from our Class Hackjam. This was a fun and enlightening activity, and inspired me to write about hacking on my blog:</p> <p>http://doctoralkindergarten.blogspot.com/2013/03/hacking-lalaloopsy.html</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
<p>I am not sure I thanked you for this post, but your ideas sparked a similar project with high school students this summer at our Digital Literacies Camp.</p> <p>http://digitalis.nwp.org/site-blog/hacking-and-remixing-stories-richard-sca/5338</p> <p>I appreciate the sharing that you did, and how your post planted a seed in the back of my head.</p> <p>Kevin</p>