Actually, Wendy wrote a lot more, at her blog, and you should read her look at what she calls “reconstruction and remix.”
It begins with an openness, a willingness to share something out with others. In this case, Terry wrote a poem at his blog inspired by his work looking at seeds for the spring for his farm. He could have written the poem and not shared it. But he didn’t. He shared.
It moves along with an invitation. Terry invited folks to write responses, in the margins (with Hypothesis), in the comment box at his blog, in the Etherpad he had set up. He’s looking for collaborators. His invitation is clear and heartfelt.
It shifts when collaboratorsjoin in. For many, perhaps, this is the hardest part. The joining in. Terry will tell you that any sort of response was a good response. I left poems for him. But that’s what I do. I hoped to honor his poem with shoots of words.
It gains traction with acknowledgement. Terry sent me a quick one line email, thanking me for the poems. The act of acknowledgement seems powerful in this kind of work, to show you have another person out there, reading or listening or watching.
It sometimes won’t sit quiet. This is sort of a pivot point. Something about Terry’s invitation and then his acknowledgement, along with the theme of seeds, had me wondering about the poem. I gathered up my three poems and shared them in another space, Mastodon, as a #smallpoems (which Terry also is part of). It was small scale curation.
It takes further listening. Terry saw that in Mastodon, and remixed my poems. He was taking poetic responses to his own poem and remixing them into another bookend poem, with mine in the middle. I should note: there was no plan. Terry and I did not talk or organize any of this. It happened rather naturally.
It takes honoring the other. I was fascinated by where my poems and his remixes gathered together and splintered apart, and it seemed like I needed to find a way to show that. Thus, the music to capture the poems, and the video.
It takes openness. Back to the beginning. Sharing the piece out led to Wendy, listening, and adding notation to the Soundcloud of the soundtrack I had created with Garageband and Thumbjam. And Yin Wah, asking for how one might enter the conversation, and how it all came together (which is why I am writing this).
Along this path, there were multiple entry points. Some came with distinct invitations. Others were less visible. It is also something built on years of riffing with each other, as Terry and I go back. We are comfortable with our remixes. We trust each other.
Perhaps this trust is the most important element of all.
Terry wrote the other day of seed catalogues, crafting a fine poem and offering an invitation to write with him in three stems — in the comments, in an etherpad, and in the margins. I took him up on all three and then later added a fourth: Mastodon. He added another branch, remixing my four poems.
This is the sixth: a video interpretation, as I composed on mobile device four small pieces of music to go with each piece, calling them Seed, Seedling, Sapling and Stories. Each piece has two poems — mine and then Terry’s remix.
Process Notes: I used Pablo to make the poems visual, keeping the same backdrop for each variation. The music was composed in Garageband app or ThumbJam app, written each time after reading both poems for each section multiple times. I redid the Stories piece twice, and still am not sure it does what I want it to do. Ah. Well. The video was edited and produced in iMovie. I thought about using the plant theme in Animoto, but you can’t sync music to image in there, so I stayed with iMovie.
I have been facilitating a PLC group of elementary teachers in my school district on an inquiry into Project-Based Learning, and during our session yesterday, we spent a lot of time reading about teachers’ experiences with PBL with our common text – A.J. Juliani’s PBL Playbook. None of us have tried a full PBL unit yet with students, so we are all figuring our way forward, together.
Along with reading vignettes from the classroom, via PBL Playbook, I also wanted us to be able to hear from a teacher with experience using PBL, so I reached out to my friend, Charlene, from my CLMOOC network (and beyond). Charlene has been working with PBL concepts for many years now, as a teacher and as a coach. Her blog has been one of my resources. Charlene readily agreed to video into our session, and for about 30 minutes, she gave us her insights and answered questions.
For that, I am very grateful. Grateful that Charlene took time out of her day to share her expertise and knowledge with teachers she doesn’t know. Grateful I have built a network of people I can turn to when I know I don’t know what I need to know. Grateful I can learn from my friend, and that my friend is willing to step up to help us learn. Grateful that I can help connect those connections (from my online friends to my teaching colleagues).
My students created poster advertisements for their Hero’s J0urney video game projects. This allows us to think about visual elements of persuasion, deconstruct how we are targeted through advertising, and merge art and writing with game design.
What a find! This book — 100 Years From Now Our Bones Will Be Different by Lawrence McWilliams and Anand Vedawala — is a treasure and inspiration, as it weaves vignettes and epitaphs of a single fictional African American family over 100 years, with illustrations. The stories are powerful, with overlapping narratives that foreshadow stories and hint back to past stories, weaving the family tree in a way that a diagram could never do.
In here, you will experience the echoes of slavery, of discrimination, of family connections, of hope, of dreams, of tragedy. In short, it’s a family story, with all of its imperfections surfacing through the voices of the multitude of characters (the first, born in 1878, and the last, died in 2015).
There are many applications for this kind of fictional narrative, from historical perspectives to story writing. I am bringing pieces of it into a professional development session tonight, in fact, where our focus is on oral history, and I am going to do a roundtable reading (hopefully, I will record it for a podcast resource later).
And what’s cool, too, is that this was funded via Kickstarter.
Terry took the time to grab some of my questions about digital writing (see more at this post by Terry) and popped them into a collaborative Etherpad, and then joined those questions with thoughts of his own. I made my way back this weekend to continue the conversation, and Sarah joined in a bit, too. Maybe others have done so by now, as well. The topics revolved around digital writing, related to some riffing I had done off of a piece by Anna into the margins of the writing (see my original post).
Here is the Etherpad. You are invited to add to the mix, too.
I was fortunate not too long ago to be part of a discussion group with some National Writing Project colleagues that convened to share and discuss the possibilities of virtual and augmented reality for learning. We all brought examples from the field.
I shared out the Networked Narratives project — The Alchemy Lab. It’s a rich example of collaboration and storytelling, and how objects can inspire us to make media and to experience media in a virtual space. And now NetNarr is launching again …
I work quite a bit of writing into our video game design unit, and one of the final pieces of writing is a letter all students write to the folks at Gamestar Mechanic, explaining what they have enjoyed about the platform and some advice for features they would like to see incorporated. We did some class brainstorming of ideas first, as a way to guide their thinking.
Here are some of the responses:
In my ELA class we are using your website on a project to create games. We are working with the Hero’s Journey theme. My game is called Journey To Treasure. My game has 5 levels. The first level is the character finding a map of a ship wreck and buried treasure. The second level is the character on the journey to find the treasure. The third level is when the character found the treasure in an underwater cave and they have to fight enemies to get the treasure and go home. The fourth level is the journey home and the fifth level is when they are home and can take a relaxing vacation. What I like about Gamestar is that there are multiple quests and you can play other peoples games. There is also a wide variety of games within the quests. Some advice for making Gamestar Mechanics a better game is adding a multiplayer mode so that you can invite your friends to join so you can play together. You should also add more music so that the sound effects and music in the game helps you get into character in the game. Another thing I think you should add is an update so that enemies can drop rewards like more health or a key.
During class we have been working with your platform me and my fellow peers (our whole grade) have been assigned to create a game and do your quests. My partner Gabby and I had so much fun and were always looking forward to class. My game is about a wolf Sky and her journey to help a queen. Sky needs to fight all the king’s evil minions (the evil wolves and polar bears) and then the dragons.
What I really like about Gamestar is that you have to earn lots of things you might need as an example earning the publishing rights. I absolutely love the variety and the creative freedom.
In like every game platform there is some flaws. Lots of people and I agree that it should have auto-save during the process of making a game and all the time. I know some groups lost their games because of this. Another thing that should be ABSOLUTELY changed is the limit of words\text throughout the game I wasn’t able to type all of the messages I needed to making my game I was very upset to learn about this and so was my partner, my friends, and lots of other who had this issue.
Otherwise I love the platform it is so fun and lots of people including me think the platform is great for kids and adults alike.
In my class, we have been doing a project with Gamestar Mechanic. We have been making games and seeing how literature is incorporated into it.We were using the platform “The Hero’s Journey.” My game is called the Iron Fortress. It is about Ronin, a warrior, who has to find a magical sword and defeat the evil wizard Shakhar. Ronin travels through the Iron Fortress in his Quest to defeat Shakhar.
I enjoyed many things about your gaming platform. One of the things I enjoyed was the simplicity. Nothing is too hard to understand and the controls are simple. I also enjoyed the Quests. I like the idea of playing to earn blocks, backgrounds, or sprites.
One thing I think would improve Gamestar Mechanic is the ability to customize sprites and blocks. Even though you can customize backgrounds, I think it will take the game to a whole new level if you could customize sprites and blocks. You could make challenges that give you material to build your own sprites and blocks. You could put a section in the workshop that is purely for customizing.
I am a student in Massachusetts learning about game design in ELA. We have been playing quest to learn about the Hero’s Journey concept of all video games. We have also been making a game of our own using the Hero’s Journey concept. There are many things I like about Gamestar Mechanic, here are a few. I like how you can play Quest to learn how to create a game of your own. (play to learn) It is also very easy to use, I can switch between workshop and quest very easily. Even though there are many things I like about Gamestar, there are a few things you could work on. I think first person would be a great concept of this game. I think there should be more sprites and avatars to choose from. Finally, I think there should be more music, and I should be able to customize it. Thank You for reading.
I’ll be shipping these off to the Gamestar Mechanic office, in hopes some developer receives them and reads some of the insights.
So when our WMWP UMass intern Grace Dugan sat down to share her experiences in high school at a charter school based on the PBL philosophy, I was grateful to have an ear open (and I helped edit the video). I appreciated how Grace talked about her experiences, and how the inquiry model really shaped how she approaches learning and PBL has a resonance effect.
Sometimes, I ponder the possibility that I might just be naive in my digital spaces. (Does pondering about it, negate it?)
I spend a lot of time in digital platforms like blogs, Twitter, Mastodon, etc., in the hopes of forging new collaborations; entering new networks; and finding new, and strengthening existing, connections.
I really do see the power in the possible.
Then I read the news and follow stories, and I see how dark the Internet and social platforms can become, and I think: How is THAT (doxing, attacking, etc.) happening in the same places as THIS (learning, connecting, etc.) is happening?
But it is.
I guess our choices are to either leave those places or work to make them better, or passively hope for the best. I’m naive in this, I know, but I think small actions and people connections still count and can make a difference (this is the teacher in me, for sure, with the faith of seeds planted now blooming later on), so I keep on keeping on, hoping a positive energy and a way forward, step by step, might improve the whole.
The above animated quote — taken from a post by Sheri and created with an image by Sarah — captures a lot of this line of thinking that I cling to in my naivety, that we are indeed connected to the larger possibilities of learning. But this always requires positive action on our part to improve things.