Creative Fierce Laser EduShark 3

Creative Fierce Laser EduShark
I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet this year. Finding my stride in a new school has taken me a long while – much longer than I anticipated. However, that probably means I needed all this time to re-figure who I am and what I do inside a traditional middle school. In the next few weeks, through a ...

The #EduCon 2.6 #toyhack (online & off!)

The #EduCon 2.6 #toyhack (online & off!)
In just two weeks at this year’s EduCon, I’ll be facilitating a different kind of hack jam session around the #toyhack. A #toyhack is a new toy scavenged from bits and pieces of old ones. It’s an exercise in remix that help us understand and unpack hacking, participatory learning, societal gender norms, and the relationships ...

Low-fi coding as reading comprehension with “Lift Your Right Arm” 4

Low-fi coding as reading comprehension with
After a bit of a spark-draught, we finally hit a lesson today that mixed the right amount of challenge, reading comprehension, and multiple paths to success for nearly every kid in class. Yesterday we read Peter Cherches’s “Lift Your Right Arm,” a subtle and sinister poem about control and our acclimation to it. We ran ...

#teachtheweb: Holt, Minecraft, & doing better 2

John Holt’s How Children Fail remains an ever-present influence on how I view school and evaluate myself as an educator. In How Children Fail, Holt makes the case that school prevents kids from learning and being as fully as the naturally can because of the way formal learning spaces institutionalize external control through fear and ...

Together we are the Turtle Masters of learning

Together we are the Turtle Masters of learning
Just recently, our family’s copy of Robot Turtles arrived in the mail. Robert Turtles bills itself itself as “the board game for little programmers.” Players – or “Turtle Masters” – use cards to program their turtles’ movements turn-by-turn as they quest after “Turtle Gems.” Everyone can reach a gem and win. If a turtle runs ...

#teachtheweb take-aways from #nwpam13 & #ncte13 1

#teachtheweb take-aways from #nwpam13 & #ncte13
At this year’s annual meeting (#nwpam13) of the National Writing Project (NWP) and NCTE conference (#ncte13), I enjoyed facilitating and participating in a bunch of work around collaborative play. My time at these events in Boston – spent with friends and colleagues from a number of intersecting networks – reinforced my faith in participatory learning ...

Playtime at #ncte13

Playtime at #ncte13
A few playful opportunities (besides “Make. Hack. Play.”) for you at #nwpam13 and #ncte13 this fine weekend: Play-test Learning Alchemy. Antero Garcia and I have alpha, v0.2, paper-prototypes of our new fantasy-satire card game about US public education. It was best described to me last night by an onlooker who said, “Oh, so it’s No ...

Nagging thoughts 2

Nagging thoughts
The 2013 National Writing Project Annual Meeting is about to launch, and I’m sitting at a table in a room far off in a corner waiting for my game-design partner Antero Garcia (and others) speak about teaching in the connected age. Before disappearing into that work for a while, I want to make a quick ...

#mozfest: take-aways and bring-backs 5

#mozfest: take-aways and bring-backs
TL;DR version: I went to Mozfest, got inspired, and left with questions to ponder. From the official website: Our motto is “less yack, more hack.” We’re replacing darkened lecture halls with hands-on sessions and interactive workshops and there’ll be time to hack the ideas that emerge when hundreds of bright minds gather together in one ...

#teachtheweb: dungeons, dragons, and code 2

At #mozfest 2013, Jeannie Crowley and Marc Lesser had the idea to make a kind of D&D-card-game mashup to #teachtheweb. As I spent a lot of time imagining card games to #teachtheweb, I thought I’d take a few minutes to think and write further about the idea, which I love. As Jeannie and I talked ...