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Philosophical Meanderings

#dlday 2013: a year into democratizing composition

For me, digital learning day (#dlday) offers the opportunity to assess myself against my students’ unique and idiosyncratic potentials. Given the scope of learning available to us – digitally, materially, in between, and back and forth – am I really helping all of my kids find themselves in their learning? Am I scaffolding authentic work? Am I participating in a democracy in my classroom, or running our community as something else?

A 2-player arcade cabinet

A 2-player arcade cabinet

A punk arcade cabinet in the works

A punk arcade cabinet in the works

Wiring a joystick

Wiring a joystick

We routinely work with choice and negotiation, but I am sometimes boss-like in cajoling kids to do more when I think they are doing less than that of which they are capable.

We use a variety of tools and materials in pursuit of learning, but in some classes I am more prescriptive than others – hoping to strike a convenient hypocrisy in holding a standardized curriculum in one hand and the fierce preciousness of our weird community in the other.

We listen to one another every day, though not always as well as we should, and sometimes I let what I think is happening short circuit my right curiosity about what is happening; sometimes I rush to say or do when I should be slowly listening.

A student-made Raku kiln built from an on-line tutorial

A student-made Raku kiln built from an on-line tutorial

Building art assets for variables in Scratch

Building art assets for variables in Scratch

Revising a contract for building a website and running an RPG

Revising a contract for building a website and running an RPG

Today is an clear and open invitation for me think about how committed I am in practice and reality to the ideals of teaching and learning I advocate and cherish – is my classroom open? Am I?

I am better than I was. In protecting certain parts of my work, I am too ready to compromise other parts. In articulating here, digitally, what #dlday means to me, I am better able to enact what I want to enact in my classroom tomorrow.

Prepping a materials photo for an Instructable

Prepping a materials photo for an Instructable

Setting up workflow desktop windows for each class

Setting up workflow desktop windows for each class

A student-generated Pulp-O-Mizer cover for a super-hero fan-fic

A student-generated Pulp-O-Mizer cover for a super-hero fan-fic

In a journey towards openness by many means, #dlday is less about drawing attention to what we have done than it is to imagining what more we could do – for ourselves and others – with all the connections, openness, and weirdness we are privileged to have.

There is a generation waiting to be born. It cares more for people than even we care for control. It may be that we are teaching its parents or grandparents;

I hope that what we share today reminds them of all we tried to do and inspires them to do more.

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About Chad Sansing

I teach for the users. Opinions are mine; content is ours.

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