CMK Reflections: Movements and Failure
There’s no great reason why I didn’t write and reflect all the way through CMK. Chalk it up to a combination between the pedestrain (heat!) and the presumtious (attempting to stay in the moment carved by the conference, rather than sliding back to the constraints and realities of school too soon). In any case, it’s a week later and I have an hour in a new coffee shop.
Here’s the surprising core of CMK – there’s a lot of teachers looking to bring the a “constructionist” ( Leah Buchley’s phrase) into the heart of the K-12 experience. I had wondered if CMK was “just” a 4 day makerspace for educators. Now that I have one under my belt, that’s not a bad description of the event. What was so amazing and revelatory was how many teachers came primed and ready for exactly that! The group that met last week at CMK12 seemed to each be the tip of a larger group, some regional, some internationally dispersed. These educators, who already shape their teaching practices around the principles of play and exploration that Sylvia and Gary espouse through CMK and Generation YES, work in very different schools and have different job titles, many free of the dreaded “technology” label. After 4 days of co-learning and coversation with my peers, I can look ahead and see I’m not just preparing for a niche elective class. In Arlo’s words, “friends, we got us a movement!”
Over the 4 days, I failed to build anything significant and new. I built two APC noisemakers (old), then explored their behavior using the ISMO iPad Oscilloscope (new) from Father’s Day. I got Scratch for Arduino working with an Uno and basic sensors (old), had a talk with Eric Rosenbaum of MakeyMakey to confirm that something larger than my incopetence was preventing S4A from working with Teensy and other Arduinos. I failed to cleanly trigger iOS touch events with buttons and tin foil (old), but might actually be able to explain how a capacitance touch screen works in human language.
I’m at peace with that list of failure. Everything that I left undone is something that I can finish on my bench at school/NovaLabs/HacDC. In every moment when I had the option to hunker down on my projects, or follow along with another educator on their learning, I chose the latter. The rewards were incredible.