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Hacking Toys and Sparking Revolutions: #CLMOOC as a catalyst for creative and critical thinking

Hacking Toys and Sparking Revolutions: #CLMOOC as a catalyst for creative and critical thinking

Written by Jenn Cook
February 13, 2014

I have created this resource as a way to document and share our participation in #clmooc during last summer’s (2013) Rhode Island Writing Project’s Summer Institute on Teaching Writing. The NWP’s Invitational Summer Institute is rooted in a 30+ year tradition of bringing K-12 teachers onto college campuses in the summer to reflect on their writing lives, to bolster their teaching practice, to connect with scholarship, and to research new developments and effective trends in teaching and learning. At our site this past summer, we combined the efforts of our SI with those of #clmooc, and we had a truly transformative experience. Learn more about the NWP’s Summer Institute model here:

Last spring, I agreed to be the CLMOOC Tech Liason for our site, knowing that it would force me to “up” my tech game. And, it did. I came into this experience as a tentative tech teacher and user in the writing classroom. Sure, I jumped on Twitter every night after dinner, but what did that have to do with teaching? Bolstered and motivated by the energy of the eager tech folks around me, I experimented and played around and figured out a way to make swimming in the sea of tech tools not so scary anymore. So, I am eager to share with you our transformation in the wake of CLMOOC.

[Interesting aside: One of my favorite parts of CLMOOC was (no secret!) hacking toys and plain old messing around with toys in repurposeful ways. I am a self-identified Toy Hacker who, fittingly, lives in Providence, RI, home to Hasbro Toys, founded by Henry and Helal Hassenfeld in 1923, maker of Mr. Potato Head, the original toy hack created in 1952. So, these Rhode Island hacking roots run deep.]

I have posted samples of work completed last summer during the SI: our maker projects (digital intros, toy hacks, hack jams) and plenty of teacher-made vids (using Voicethread, Sparkol, YouTube). I have also included here a few essential handouts that helped frame our practice in terms of digitial citizenship and hacking/systems thinking. Finally, I have included, in my conclusion, some description and analysis of the impact that CLMOOC and the “magic triumverate” of hacking, connected learning, and making has had on our site in Rhode Island. 

Open Jenn’s Hacking Handout.docx Open G_Couros_DigitalFootprint.docx

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