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Teachers as makers

Written by Karen Fasimpaur
October 10, 2013

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 other things because it is easier and more satisfying than buying them. And of course, I am a writer.

Beyond the satisfaction of making though, clmooc taught me many things. First and foremost, it reinforced for me the value of teachers as makers. Cultivating a maker spirit in education is a part of connected learning – developing a production-centered learning environment has many benefits for teachers and learners. And there is no better way to embrace this spirit than to be a maker yourself.

While everyone doesn’t have the opportunity to attend a maker faire, everyone can participate in the maker culture through online communities like clmooc.

The success of clmooc inspired me to adapt the content for a mini-course I am creating as a part of the HP Catalyst Academy. Starting on Nov. 4, I’ll be facilitating Make/Hack/Play Together. This will be a short 3-week introduction to the maker movement for educators. Participants will be able to choose from a wide variety of real-world and digital projects to make.

This is but one of many ways that clmooc has lived on since it formally concluded. Some first year composition classes have been using and building upon the Make Bank. A group of us have been having monthly tweet chats every third Thursday at 8pm. Others are beginning to extend connected learning into their own learning settings.

I suspect that clmooc will continue to influence the work of those who participated and that many of us will remain connected and collaborating for years to come. That’s what connected learning is all about.

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