It’s been wonderful to read ideas and see projects from so many people over these last six weeks. I’m grateful to have learned so much from everybody.
One of many additional “P’s” I’ve been thinking about is Prototypes, or more particularly a Prototyping Mindset.
As a teacher, I’ve been learning that it’s helpful to not permit students to work with only one material, but rather to insist on at least an initial iteration in a different material than the final material (or to insist upon a second iteration in a material other than in the material first chosen). This is ensures iterative engineering and a prototyping mindset. I think this is particularly valuable with students who are, as one would say, more capable – i.e., capable of producing a very good product on the first try. Such makers, whether students or adults, miss out on the many important learning experiences that happen when one shifts media.
Accordingly, I’m pushing one of my very capable students – someone doing an individual making project at the wonderful Acera School in Massachusetts – to complete a series of prototypes in LEGO Mindstorms, to document those experiences, and then to create a second prototype using open-source hardware. (She is building a hinged door that opens and closes depending on ambient light.)
As a peer, I am pushing myself to rebuild in open source hardware something I previously put together out of littleBits. I used a cloudBit, wireless transmitter and receiver, dc motor and some LEGOs to create a freestanding battery powered sculpture that rotated whenever you-know-who published a tweet. That process was very simple (and the batteries wear out too quickly), and I did not really learn anything in the making. So, I am challenging myself to build a similar system using Arduino components, and to create documentation about the experience.
Last, as a maker of curricula and an education theorist, I am looking forward to reconsidering and re-evaluating the materials I license, and my theoretical frameworks, in relation to the tenets of LK.