Posts Tagged 'Rafi'

Synthesizing Workbook and Project Portal

As Christian and I have been going through all the various deliverables and the different elements that we’re planning on including in each, we realized that there was some pretty good overlap between our plans for the Design Workshop and Capstone Project Portal, so we checked in with the head honcho and got the ok for a combined approach, so long as we hit the requirements for each. Sort of a design challenge in it’s own right to make it work as both, but we think it’ll be fun. Wanted to post about it here since Kylie mentioned other folks might want to take a similar approach. So, feel free to poach this idea!



This Reflection Brought to You By the Letter “W”

As an activity to get into Schon’s Reflective Practitioner today, we were each given a toy. Here was mine:

photo 2

So I have the letter W as my object. The first thing that comes to mind for me is sort of theoretical – the letter W is a representation, so is implicitly about the process of making explicit through representation. The themes of implicit and explicit run through Schon’s work, most clearly in his discussion of three levels of knowing – knowing-in-action, reflection-in-action, and reflection-in-practice. To me, these three levels represent a spectrum of implicit to explicit, with the process of representation (and therefor my little W) becoming most relevant at the reflection-in-practice level, wherein a practitioner most actively is theorizing and communicating about their work over a longer timescale so as to understand patterns and regularities in their work. I can see the letter W really playing a key role in this process. : )

On dealing with critique

One of the things we haven’t touched on a lot yet in the course are the ideas of critique and feedback, ones that are both central to the discipline of design as well as to Papert’s theory of Constructionism. And of course, being a maker and a designer in a digital age means means being part of a culture where we share things we make regularly, and often with massive, sometimes invisible, audiences on the internet. This inevitably means that we’ll have to deal at some point or another with trolls, haters and general negative nellies. So, when I came across this wonderful video about how to encounter comments and critiques well online, I had to share.

And of course, feel free to critique in the comment section. ; )

SuperHappyFun time Game Lab Design 2.0

It was great to see everyone’s prototypes of the space in class. Testing the other prototypes, as well as receiving feedback about ours helped us to make some informed changes to our design. Below is a link to our revised prototype. Feel free to review it and leave us a comment on this post!

Current iteration of the prototype:



To give a brief of some changes we made and why….we didn’t want to rely on the florescent overhead lighting, so we are still wanting to use lamps, but more mobile lamps. Also the lamps are kind of an artistic accent of sorts. So pretty but useful 🙂 Instead of having one wall be a white board, whiteboard painted wall for the walls will allow greatest use of wall space. A little research shows that this could be done on the cinder-block walls if they are spackeled and painted with Kilz first. We thought through the access issues more as a group and decided to go with a key code secured lock box that holds the door key that  would be mounted outside the door (a big thank you to whoever mentioned the lock boxes realtors use!). It seems there will be enough space just inside the doorway to fit a minifridge with a candy jar to make things a little more comfortable. Then three more cosmetic changes are adding decals as decorations both in the hall outside the room and inside to add more color, getting some geeky front door mat for just outside in the hallway, and finally we thought about adding some artwork but decided it would be way better to have a giant digital picture frame that we could upload pictures to or just display rotating pics from the internet. We think all these changes along with some of the original features of the prototype will make an inviting and productive atmosphere for all users of the space.

To see a budget for this design go here:

-Andi, Rafi, & Verily

What happens when you’re asked to do a Scratch project during Quals

Click for the full effect. Props to Jackie for the original remixed image. I guess this might be a remix of a remix then?
Scratch Project

Is Making Learning? Considerations as education embraces the Maker Movement

Crossed posted from


Grinding New Lenses summer program at Depaul University.

Of late, folks in my corner of the educational world have been jazzed about the intersections of maker culture and education. I’m super excited too – and even pleasantly surprised. A couple of years ago the bigger trend in my world was about games and learning, and while that’s certainly not gone away, the prominence of the more open-ended, tinker-oriented maker work has had a serious surge lately.

Audrey Watters over at HackEducation called the Maker Movement one of the top ed-tech trends of 2012. The burgeoning ed-tech news aggregator EdSurge has managed a good deal of reporting on Maker and DIY learning amidst its usual grind of MOOC’s and Learning Management Systems. Mozilla has fully embraced the “making is learning” stance in positioning its Webmaker initiative, which I’ve written about before (and, full disclosure, contribute to on occasion). And my own lab here at Indiana University just last week publicly launched the Make-to-Learn initiative, a research focused collaboration including some fantastic organizations including MIT’s LifeLong Kindergarten Group, the National Writing ProjectInstructables and the MacArthur Foundation, among others.

Clearly, making and learning is hot. And as with all things trendy, it’s easy for the core message to get lost amidst the hype. That’s why I want to (briefly) address a question any edu-hype-skeptic should be asking right now: Is making, in fact, learning? 

The short answer: yes, but it’s complicated. The longer answer is that the best maker-driven learning is never just about the making. It’s about all the things that happen around the making. That initial spark of curiosity, the investigation and early tinkering, the planning and research that follow, the inspirations and appropriations from other projects, the prototypes, the failures, the feedback, and, perhaps most importantly, the iterations upon iterations towards a better make. All of these acts are done in and contingent on well configured social contexts, in communities of practice and affinity spaces. This all goes back to core ideas of Constructionist learning theory and the foundational work of Seymor Papert. And it’s why I prefer talking about the Maker Movement as having strong lessons for learning, as opposed to just making, which can be construed as more solitary. Making in and of itself can sometimes involve the sorts of steps I described here, but not always. That’s why the answer is complicated. I’m willing to say that someone is always learning something when they’re making, but they learn best when it entails the sort of process, community and well configured structures of participation I describe above.

When I went to the Maker Faire last September, I wrote about how a revamped pinewood derby was set up in such a way that it embodied principles found in well designed learning environments. I talked about things like multi-generational engagement, clear contexts for using what’s being created, multiple avenues to success yet transparent and clearly defined standards. All of these things are about the interactions that are possible within a larger culture of making. Obviously, it’s the act of making that ties all of these interactions together, but the story around how the learning happens is always more complicated than the simplified idea that “making is learning”.

My sense is that so many of the folks taking up the making and learning mantle are nodding to all the things I’m saying here. These insights are obvious to anyone who thinks for more than a minute about what it means to be making in a way that might support robust learning via real world contexts. And the initiatives I’ve mentioned reflect this understanding. Mozilla is dedicated to creating a robust mentor community around Webmaker. The almost 25 thousand folks taking the MIT Media Lab’s Learning Creative Learning MOOC will be getting a healthy dose of Papert as they learn about maker-oriented learning environments. And reading Audrey Watters’ recent post on the case for a campus Makerspace tells me that she gets what this is all about too. I just want to make sure we keep the complexity, nuance, and real power of this pedagogical approach in mind as we start to build a movement around it. It would be such a shame if we watered down the real power of maker-driven learning.

Unfolding Space: Fab Lab 519


Rafi and I have begun considering how we might be able to create a flexible space in CRLT’s room 519 that can function as both a Fab Lab/Hackerspace for the LS teams, as well as a place for the meeting of minds.

As we move forward in determining the possible uses of the space we will be inviting all of the LS students and faculty to participate in interviews to determine what possible uses of the space people envision. To help facilitate this process I have taken measurements of the room, and primary furniture such as storage units, and work table.



This information is being incorporated into the building of a scale model, which at this point needs only assembly. The model will be a hands on component of the interview process whereby participants will be invited to build and arrange furniture within the scale model space as they discuss their needs for the space. This will all be captured in video from an overhead perspective. Pics and videos of the model soon to come.