My Word: Make

I’ve seen a lot of friends on Twitter using the “one word” idea. It’s a simple but powerful way to focus in on a theme for the new year. Or maybe not so simple. I’ve struggled with a single word that is large enough to encompass how I want to approach the year and not so intangible as to be meaningless. I’ve settled in on the word “Make” for a few reasons.

First of all, I really got involved in learning more about the Maker’s Movement this year, through work with the National Writing Project. Our CLMOOC was focused on the “make.” I am intrigued by how helping students learn through doing, and creating things/ideas is coming back around again.

Second, I am not a physical maker. I bumble my way through any project you hand me. When I fixed the toilet in our house one day, you should have heard the cheers and seen the high fives we gave each other. I mean, I had fixed the toilet, for goodness sake. That was a breakthrough.

So, this idea of focusing on “make” is always a way to slowly get me out of my own comfort zone. I know I have students who struggle with writing a story but could take apart a car engine, and even put it back to together again. I know I have students who can make an engaging video, publish it on YouTube, and yet, they can’t quite write a paragraph with deep meaning.

I can’t say right now how this word “make” will make its way into my daily life. But I do have a wide definition in my head of what it means to “make” and I’ll keep mulling this one over. It’s digital, physical and internal, and I am going to “make” 2014 a year of diving in as deep as I can.

In that vein, one of the things I have been doing is pulling together a Flipboard magazine around the connections of making and learning, and Connected Learning. It’s a start, and I am making the magazine happen. (meta-make?)

Peace (in the word),

  1. Kevin, hope the holidays were the best. I have lots of new projects to work on and this sounds like a ds106-worthy daily assignment.

    When you mentioned how your mad skillz don’t translate to the physical plane, how your students can deconstruct a piece of equipment but not an argument, I was reminded of two words that have been rolling around in my head all the live long year–“Gutenberg Parenthesis”. It is the provocative idea that

    “… the post-Gutenberg era — the period from, roughly, the 15th century to the 20th, an age defined by textuality — was essentially an interruption in the broader arc of human communication. And that we are now, via the discursive architecture of the web, slowly returning to a state in which orality — conversation, gossip, the ephemeral — defines our media culture.”

    Maybe we are living through that era and we need to begin to think about words like ‘orality’. Thanks for post. I promise to return to your page regularly throughout the year. Best for the coming year. I have a neat project this spring working with five English majors on a collaborative network for our department that will use a lot of what CLMOOC taught us. And the beat goes on.

    • I’m always happy to see you hanging out on the architecture of this blog, Terry. Your words always enlighten and instruct me. Heading to the link now to check it out.

  2. We are also new to OLW idea. We have given ourselves a deadline of Saturday to find a word. We think make is perfect for you. You are incredibly creative in every sense of the word! We appreciate all you do to help us continually learn!
    Happy New Year!
    Clare and Tammy

  3. Kevin,
    It’s funny. I already think of you as a “maker.” I find your creativity inspiring. When I read your post, I saw there were ways you think you could be more of a maker. I’ll be interested to see where your journey takes you. I’m thinking we should all buckle in for the learning. I had to smile when you ended your post by telling us something you plan to “make” — your Flipboard magazine. You got started right away with your One Little Word.


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