Agency, Voice, and the Maker Movement

IMG_3916Happy Monday!

As we transition into the second half of the semester, I’d like to do 3 things: introduce more explicitly the idea of “making” into our connected class, start working on a mid-course self assessment, and encourage you to follow your questions and inquiry as we focus on each of the learning and design principles of Connected Learning, one at a time.


This book, Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom will be our guide for the next six weeks. This text is divided into chapters, by principle, and draws together work and reflections by educators who originally shared their inquiries at the Digital Is website. This week we will start with production-centered learning and making.

This week …

Reading/Watching: Start with the introduction to this collection by Antero Garcia called Teacher Agency and Connected Learning. You can also make notes/annotate this chapter here at Then focus in on Chapter 4 by Clifford Lee about Production-Centered Classrooms.

Next, dive into some theory, going back to Seymour Papert — a mathematician, scientist and educator from MIT — who is known as the father of constructionism, a production-centered theory of learning. Papert and Harel’s introduction Situating Constructionism from the 1991 book Constructionism gives a good overview of constructionist theory.

Today you are also likely to have heard of the “Maker Movement” and making is part of the educational lexicon in various ways both in and outside of school … let’s explore more specifically what this is all about:

What about the makers among us? As we know, Happi is a maker … and it’s been wonderful the things she’s been sharing with us along the way. From my perspective, you all have been makers here at ED677 as writing is a act of creation and blogging is a way to share what you create.

Finally, Taylor Mali has his own answers to What do teachers make? just in case you ever get asked this question 😉

Making/Blogging: This week, I encourage you to “make” something new that goes beyond blogging with words; this week I’d like you to Make A Map!

What is a map? According to Wikipedia, “map” comes from the early 16th from medieval Latin mappa mundi, literally ‘sheet of the world,’ from Latin mappa ‘sheet, napkin’ + mundi ‘of the world’ (genitive of mundus ).

Start to make a map, or a world napkin, of your learning and thinking so far … a map could show a path you’ve taken or one you are thinking about, it can show places you’ve been and artifacts you’ve collected, it can pick up dreams you’ve had or ambitions you are fostering, or a map can support another in finding a way. Your map can start anywhere … and end anywhere … and like these educators from CLMOOC 2013, your map can be on paper, can be made with watercolor, it can be digital, it can be interactive, it can be textual, it can be chronological. It can even be a collage or a mash-up.

How and why you make your map is completely up to you.

Once you made your map, you can blog about what you made, how you made it, and what you notice about your journey so far. What the the implications for connected learning and teaching and equity?

Find 5: This week, find 5/6/7 things that inspire you to make and to create.

Amplifying the Teacher Perspective on Connected Learning by Nicole Mirra at DML Central

Over the next couple of weeks …

Since we are almost mid-semester, it’s a good time to check in and do a quick self-assessment. This self-assessment is the same one that I will ask you to complete, and turn in to me, at the end of the semester. This mid-semester one is not a requirement to turn in, however, but simply meant to be a tool for your own learning and reflection.

I would encourage you to do this over the next two weeks (note that this spans spring break). And note if your learning map is useful in this process.

The questions for the self-assessment include:

  • How well do you feel you met these expectations this semester?
  • Where do you think you could have improved?
  • How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your connected learning moving forward?
  • What else do you want me to consider when assessing your performance and participation over the past semester?

And here are the performance expectations as outlined in the ED677 syllabus at the beginning of the semester:

  1. Explore the key principles of Connected Learning, with specific attention to issues of equity, as demonstrated through weekly making, reflecting and sharing.
  2. Contribute regularly to our class discussions.
  3. Engage with others (another community, students, colleagues, etc.) outside this course each week and sharing that work with us.
  4. Document and reflect on your journey in support of your own assessment and reflection.
  5. Create and share something to support your own work as well as others in thinking about connecting learning in equitable ways beyond the life of this course.  

Wonderful work everyone — Cheers!

In learning and connecting solidarity,

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