A Day of Making Media

We’re still a day away (maybe less by the time you read this) before the first official Make Cycle with the Making Learning Connected MOOC kicks off into gear (but you can join in when and where and however it fits your interest and schedule). Yet the Google Plus space and the Twitter hashtag (#clmooc) are alive with making, sharing and connecting.


It’s infectious, this creative energy that emerges from the CLMOOC. So even though I have some school work to be done and my son had a little league championship game, I still made time during the day to make some stuff. (I admit: I never got around to cutting the lawn.)

I began the morning with some remixing of a project by Greg, using a Star Wars scrolling page via Mozilla’s Thimble. I invented a whole fictional collective called The Ninja Poets. I don’t know where that concept came from. But now it exists. Become a Ninja Poet.

Ninja Poets


(Click on image to go to remix)

And then I took a screenshot of the CLMOOC map, which has about 200 folks pinned on it (some fictional pins, too, which is neat), and created a meme.


And then I thought, what if we remixed the map itself with some visual filters.


Terry began a collaborative poem, and I saw the invite to join in on Twitter. It’s a poetic response to the shootings at Emanuel Church called It Was As If … It took me some time to figure out a way into the poem, so deep was its theme and tone. I made some offshoots, links from the main hub, writing of writing poetry in the midst of loss. And I saw Terry wondering if the collaboration could be transformed into a spoken poem with music.

That got me into Garageband, trying to see if I could craft a somber soundtrack.

And yet, this all had me wondering: are new folks already overwhelmed? Riffing off a blog post from Joe Dillon, and channeling some concerns from Sheri Edwards, I made and shared out this comic, acknowledging some folks’ confusion and offering out a hand of friendship.


See you on the CLMOOC.

Peace (in the make),

PS — by the way, if you are wondering about the principles that ground CLMOOC, check out this site about Connected Learning. It informs and anchors the CLMOOC.

From Tweet to Poem and the Spaces In-Between

The drawing of this Constellation Conversation continues … as I engage in discussions about modalities and writing and mediums of expressions with Yin Wah and Anna, ping-ponging back and forth across these spaces.

I took a line from Yin Wah’s latest post, surfacing an important idea, which I agree with as a writer.

YinWah Quote

And then I decided to do some “line lifting” to build a poem around this concept of hers.


Notice how her writing piece influenced mine …. and how a tweet became a blog became a quote became a poem … and where does it go from here? Maybe nowhere. Maybe somewhere. Maybe you take the thread and extend it a bit further. Or not.

Peace (in this whatever it is we are doing),


Get Up And Dance (A Staff Act)

Talent Show 2015

At this year’s school talent show, I suggested the staff learn the song Shut Up and Dance, but change it to Get Up and Dance, and so we did. The other night, teachers packed the stage. I played the bass on the song, and I had to learn my part via YouTube (Thank you, YouTube).

Other teachers coordinated the whole thing — t-shirts, balloons, kazoos, etc, and it was a blast. Kids loved it when teachers left the stage to dance in the audience. I was tethered to my bass amp, so I stayed on stage.

Peace (in the chords),

Making a #Tomereaders Video Game

Yesterday, I shared out a game that I made in Gamestar Mechanic for some friends who are part of a book study group toggling between online and offline meeting. I am online only. In the book, Teaching Naked, the author (Jose Bowen) goes into detail about how gamification might change the way students in a college classroom interacts with material and enhance learning.

Note: I am not convinced on all of the merits of gamifying our classroom but I am intrigued by game design as a learning possibility, and teach an entire unit to my sixth graders on game design. I even did a K12 Online Conference keynote about it.

Some of us in the book group called #Tomereaders were talking about games and wondering how we might create a game for the book study group. That might still happen. I saw some sketches of game levels from Matthew Cook. He was making a point about engagement and design, I think, but I decided to take his levels literally and design a video game with his sketches as my template.

His design:

My interpretation:

tomereaders game

I decided to keep things simple, with limited enemies and treasure, and more of a discovery game of content related to the book we are reading. You can play the game, too.

Peace (in the mix),

Adding Commentary to #Tomereaders

The other day, I shared out a video collection of quotes from a book I am reading with a few others in a project called #tomereaders. The book — Teaching Naked — examines the use of technology in university learning spaces. I wanted to move beyond just quotes, so I took that digital story project and added in a layer of my own commentary/interpretation about each quote (ie, why I grabbed it and showcased it in the first place), and republished it (with a different theme, to differentiate between the two).

Peace (in the share),

#CLMOOC Book Recommendation: The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun

Josh Burker does a fantastic job of explaining, step by step, how to create and make wonderfully amazing projects in his new book, The Invent to Learn Guide to Fun (Classroom Technology Projects). I’ve had a Makey Makey set and a Squishy Circuit set sitting in my room for almost a year now and after reading Burker’s book, I feel like this summer, I am ready to break those puppies open and get making something.

From creating an Operation Game with boxes and circuits to making animated postcards to making light wants for Glowdoodling, Burker is a patient teacher and each chapter is handy with diagrams, and photos, and detailed steps. He also introduces various technology, from Scratch to Turtle Art to Lego WeDo to TinkerCAD and more, and is clear about the level of complexity for each project.

After reading about TinkerCAD, I went in and quickly made this:

CLMOOC with TinkerCAD

I wrote a more detailed review of the book for MiddleWeb and will share it out when it gets published.

For now, let’s get making … This book is a perfect companion for the Making Learning Connected MOOC about to start this week. In fact, let’s get making, together.

Peace (in the fun),

A #Tomereaders Story of Quotes

I am reading Teaching Naked  (about how best to use technology at the university level while maintaining strong in-class connections with students) with some other folks in and out of social media spaces, and while I will be missing Twitter Chats and face-to-face gatherings, I still feel connected in my own way.

This week, I saw and shared this post about Summer Reading Challenges for students at Educator Innovator, and sent the link forward. I haven’t perused all of the projects that harness video for understanding literature, and making cool stuff.

But I thought it might be intriguing to do a digital story with quotes from Teaching Naked that I have been sticky-noting (is that a word? No red squiggle there) as I have been reading, as my version is a borrowed library copy of the book. I turned to the easiest app (and it is free) I know to make digital stories: Adobe Voice.

But I am not done yet. It occurred to me that my own voice is missing, so I am going to work on layering in some commentary in a second version of this project later this week. I’ll see how it goes. The idea is to push technology in a different way.

Peace (in the quote parade),

What Student Interactive Fiction Story Maps Look Liked

Yesterday, I shared how we are using Google Slides as the platform for Interactive Fiction stories where the writer provides choices for the reader in the narrative. The most important part of that kind of writing the planning of the story itself. It’s easy to get lost in the branches. So, students have to really think through where each and every choice will end up, and storymapping is a critical component of composition.

This is the one that I shared as a Mentor Text with students, and we looked at a few others, too, from the Make Your Own Adventures series of books.

Story Map The Bike


Check out a few of the storymaps from my sixth graders:
Interactive Fiction Story Map1

Interactive Fiction Story Map3

Interactive Fiction Story Map2

Makes you wonder what those stories will turn out to be, doesn’t it?

Peace (in the branches),