Tie And Jeans

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.

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5 thoughts on “CMK Reflections: Movements and Failure

  1. I’ve got my eye on CMK ’13. We’ll see if I can build up more skills. I like, “free of the dreaded ‘technology’ label.” What were some of the job titles held by your peers? Hope you’re having a great convo with the DS106 folks today too. Can’t wait to see what you do with it at Flint Hill.

  2. tieandjeans on said:

    You should certainly look at CMK13. The job title range was pretty impressive, including lots of classroom teachers and several learning specialists.

    In the mean time, I’m planning on visiting NYC for the Intl. Maker Faire on the weekend of 9/28, and hopefully visiting many of the CMK teacher’s and their lab/spaces on the previous Friday. Then in October, I’m planning to take my MS kids( and their projects!) down to the MakerFaire in Norfolk. Come join!

  3. I may try to come to the MakerFaire in NYC. At the least, I think that we should try to arrange a meet-up. I’d like to encounter you face to face and take darshan with you. I think we’d get much from the experience.

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