Redirecting My Passion Project: Leading a Prototyping Workshop

When we began to learn about the new wave of inquiry-based learning in school (and the tech tools that can help open the door to the inquiry process) I was struck by how lucky I’ve been to work at UVic’s Maker Lab in the Humanities for the last two years. During my time at the Maker Lab, I’ve been involved in two completed projects: The Early Wearables Kit and the Early Magnetic Recording Kit

Each project was prompted by a problem that couldn’t completely be addressed just by reading through the available historical and academic material on the subject. Using a variety of tools available to us at our lab, we prototyped these early technologies to get a better idea of how they may have worked and what kind of historical absences may be preventing us from fully understanding them.

Throughout my involvement in these projects, I encountered a variety of prototyping tools and methods, including

Last summer, I also had the privilege to co-teach a course on Physical Computing and Desktop Fabrication in the Humanities during the Digital Humanities Summer Institute hosted at UVic. My Co-instructors and I shared our lesson plans publicly on GitHub.

Previously, I planned to find an entirely new focus for my passion project in Ed Tech (#Edci336). However, after speaking to several members of my cohort, and gaining the approval of my supervisor at the Maker Lab, I’ve decided to host a workshop on a few of these prototyping tools instead. This workshop would allow me the opportunity to share a few of the things I’ve learned with members of my cohort. In addition, it could give me the opportunity to explore how some of these tools could be integrated into my practice as a teacher.

In my next post about my passion project, I plan to outline a specific lesson plan for the workshop. I will also track any tools I use to get information about my cohort’s interest/availability/feedback (i.e. Facebook poll, google doc, etc).

My Personal Learning Goals for EDCI 336

Valerie Irvine teaches our Technology and Innovation class. She’s a big proponent of student led learning and has applied this methodology to our class. It’s a great opportunity to practice the approach first hand, before we attempt it with our own students.

Drawing from “connectivism” as a learning theory, Irvine challenged us as students to guide our own learning this semester according to the learning goals outlined below.

Develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to

  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
  2. Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments
  3. Model digital-age work and learning
  4. Promote and model digital-age citizenship and responsibility
  5. Engage in professional growth and leadership

While she will be walking us through a variety of tech tools during class time and we are expected to pursue our own “passion project” throughout the term, the layout of this class has mostly been left up to us to develop. Below, I’ve outlined my vision for how I will meet the learning goals outlined above.

  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity: I plan to meet this learning goal via my passion project (which I will expand on in a future blog post). I’d love to get to a point in my own teaching where students could be deeply involved in their own learning, but want to model this method before I apply it to my own students. I also plan on assisting my classmates with tools I may be more familiar with (in this case, WordPress).
  2. Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments: I will write an assignment outline and assessment rubric to accompany my passion project. While I personally hope British Columbia continues its move away from the traditional grading system, I realize that I may be forced to grade creative works throughout my career. Ideally this will allow me to practice giving students creative license in the classroom, while also meeting curriculum and grading guidelines.
  3. Model digital-age work and learning: I’ll be posting weekly blog posts for this course dedicated to reviewing tools we’ve explored in class and/or outlining my progress on my passion project.
  4. Promote and model digital-age citizenship and responsibility: Throughout this semester I want to sort through my own internet presence to prepare a professional digital footprint. This will involve filtering my social media accounts (adjusting my privacy settings, deciding on what kind of lines I want to draw between personal and professional media accounts, etc) and developing this blog as a resource for myself and other educators.
  5. Engage in professional growth and leadership: I plan to attend EdCamp Vic and establish a more involved presence in the communities of educators on Twitter.