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Your Own Learning Probe

Share the process of creating your own learning probe, to assess your learning experience through this project.

Noodle School!

An informal Media Making and Learning Space   

Learning Probe: Mindful Layers

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Making & Career Exploration

High School students will engage in workshops and field trips to explore possible career paths and will form a dream book that will help them plan and dream big.

Pathways to Gender Identity

"Pathways to Gender Identity – A Service Framework to Foster Trans Youth's Personal Resilience to Change" is a proposal that utilizes service design frameworks to generate, facilitate, and advance the conversation about and exploration of gender identity in educational settings.

THE CONTEXT of this project is the complex multiplicity of gender identity, specifically the issues related to identity building for people with trans identities.

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THE GOAL of this project is to foster youth‘s resilience to change by focusing on experiential, behavioral and environmental implications of new gender identites.

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THE PROPOSED OUTCOME of this project is a set of tools that help teachers, university faculty, and students of all ages to engage in the complex gender conversation in ways outside of traditional training-frameworks. A guidebook, curriculum, class-plan, and conversation toolkit will be included within this proposal.

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MOMENTS OF TRANSITION for youth within the education timeline were identified as suitable for a fruitful gender exploration through this service framework.

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RESEARCH reveals that many resources for youth with trans identities are restricted to the academic/higher eduaction environment, only accessible for those with good education and financial fluidity. On the other hand, resources are provided mostly for urgency and acute need, when marginalized, often homeless trans youth seek help.

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THE PEDAGOCIAL THEORY AND FRAMEWORK applied in this project... (... is TBD)


Designing A Learning Game With Fourth Graders

Inspired by the works of Ackerman, Freire, Gaver, Dunne, Pacenti, Hucthinson et al, to name a few, my goal is to co-create a learning game with my students where we explore the application of content knowledge in different settings.  The content I have chosen to start with is simple machines, a science topic fourth graders are expected to understand, but my goal is also to help students locate learning opportunities for themselves and others both inside and outside the classroom.  Right now, you will see my initial rationale for what I hope to design alongside a portion of a probe I am working on with my students.  More information and work to be added as I progress in this project with my students.  

Engaged Workplace Learning

How might workplaces provide engaging and essential learning opportunities for adults? The ideal learning program/structure would be viewed as integral to work, not something extracurricular. It is of clear, demonstrable value to both the organization and the individual. It is worker-led, energizing, self-directed, informal, inclusive, focused on unearthing expertise within individuals (as opposed to above or outside them) and addresses inequity (either directly or indirectly). It strikes a balance between being structured and unstructured and has an appropriate combination of top-down permission with bottom-up direction/drive.

Real World Learning Lab

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Intergenerational Online Safety & Empowerment

I'm interested in developing a learning project that facilitates collaboration of people of all ages in developing safer online practices, critical understanding of internet ownership, and improving their ability to 'make' things online This could take the form of a series of workshops, a physical artefact (e.g. a phone case), or a digital artefact (e.g. an online safety pop-up). I am hoping to teach two workshops in the Bronx at the end of April with 12-14 y.o.s to put some of this learning into practice. I'd love to collaborate on this with anyone who has coding or online design experience!



The  Girl in the mirror

People in general tend to have low self-esteem, especially young girls. My project is  to empower, and encourage young  girls  around the world who has been constantly degraded, demeaned and underestimated to love themselves. My first step into this project I want to start off with a Podcast, I have two young ladies that's interested in particpating in my podcast and I also want this too be a  workshop.

A game for cultural inclusion

How might we foster inclusion in a classroom with students from different cultural backgrounds? 

Although many of us, as teachers, facilitators and makers thrive for diversity, and work towards creating an inclusive space for it, there are often social cues and cultural references that seem to be counter-productive to the cause. For an international student in particular, these references can often be a reinforcement of the insecurity that they do not fully belong to this space.

How might we design a tool to bring references from across cultures? How do we begin to curate content in a way that it speaks to everyone in the room?  

Narratives and Multimodal Learning - Visit to NYPL


Please read this paper on Zotero and share your reflections.

Connelly, F.M. & Clandinin, D.J., 1990. Stories of experience and narrative inquiryEducational researcher, 19(5), pp. 2–14.

We'll be meeting at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, part of the New York Public Library (NYPL), located on 40 West 20th Street.

Alexandra Kelly, Manager of Outreach Services and Adult Programming at NYPL and a New School Media Studies alum, will be discussing the Community Oral History Project and also NYPL's work on design for inclusion and disability. Please take a moment to look over their initiatives online in advance.

NYPL Visit

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Brain Storming on the learning project

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Young Filmmakers Circus!


Hello Everyone:  Have I put this Post in the Right Place?  Let me know (cause I don't think so!)  Anyway...  for now....   

A Circus! For Filmmakers?? What? I chose the image of a Circus because it represents Fun, Creativity, and Sharing.  

A 3 Ring Circus is a three "ring" (pronged) workshop, an informal space to play with Media. 

Ring One: A stop motion Animation space, inspired by San Fransico's "Children's Creativity Museum".  Visitors (aka "you") walk into a large space, with round tables and chairs. Along the wall are "cubbies" - shelving that holds soft clay, each color has it's own cubby, and there are lots and lots of them.  Choose some clay and sit at a table and begin to make some figures. Clay that isn't used goes into a growing pile in the middle of the table, to be recycled. When you're ready, choose from the rolling carts that each hold a different "set" (a haunted house, a city street, a bedroom, a schoolroom, etc.) and roll it to a space along the wall. A Museum helper will roll another cart, this one with an ipad on a tripod, and a remote, to face the "set". Now you are given a quck tutorial on how to use the software with the remote, and how much to move the figure for each frame. There is no time pressure. One set to choose from is a simple "green screen", you may like to choose a backgrounds from a large number of screen images instead of using a set.  Later, you can go into a voice over booth and select sounds, music, or record voices (with a little help from a guide). Your finished animation is immediatley screened outside the Space, on a wall monitor. You are sent an exported file to your email address as well.  I spent two full days simply observing in this Museum, some years back. I was interested to see how quickly the children figured out what to do, and how little help they needed, as well as how focused on thier work they were. They enjoyed working in teams as well. This space scales up to accomodate more sophisticated projects, requiring more time than a few hours - suitable for mini camps or multiple session work. 

Ring Two:  Is a Screening Space, and Classroom (Lecture) Space. Children's Films and Events, as well as guest artists, can be comfortably accomodated here. Posters of favorite Children's films throughout the ages line the walls.  A large wheel of Licquorice amazes and provides a favorite movie snack. 

Ring Three:  Is a Filmmaking Museum Gallery space, designed for Children. Exhibits such as the History of film,  "What is Editing?", "Take Two! - The Directors Role", "Special Effects", "Silent Film", "Optical Toys", "Women Filmmakers Aren't a New Thing",  "Composing for Films", "Story Mapping",  "Adaptation",  a film set where children can make films in special camps, etc....  Design of the exhibits is specifically for an audience of children age 6-14.  The space accomodates groups for workshops, and has a creative "studio" feeling.  There are many oppportunities for Interaction built in to the exhibits.  

The idea BEHIND it all is a constructionist one. Children make meaning given the right tools and minimal direction.  Children can engage with the Medium they love to consume - now as makers. They learn two things by this:  that Films and by extension all Media is in fact created - by someone - and that they too can express themselves in this way.  Opportunites to amplify Technical ("STEAM"), Historical, and Literary cocnepts abound; as well as a way to experience the Creative Process of a filmmaker / media maker for themselves...   Oh, and Adults get to play too, if they're invited by a child... or if they get invited as a featured Artist resident...      


Freire in the USA

A while back I initiated a film project at the Freire Charter School in Philadelphia. I was curious whether the school embodied Freirian principles of education. For 3 months I worked with one class on the project. Note: The school still bears the Name, but has DISASSOCIATED itself completely from the foundational Freirian principles. Can you guess why?


Cultural Probes

Readings for this week topic.

1. Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne, and Elena Pacenti. 1999. Design: cultural probes. interactions 6, 1: 21–29.

2. Hilary Hutchinson, Wendy Mackay, Bo Westerlund, Benjamin B. Bederson, Allison Druin, Catherine Plaisant, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, Stéphane Conversy, Helen Evans, Heiko Hansen, and others. 2003. Technology probes: inspiring design for and with families. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, 17–24.

Optional Readings:

1. William W. Gaver, Andrew Boucher, Sarah Pennington, and Brendan Walker. 2004. Cultural probes and the value of uncertainty. interactions 11, 5: 53–56.

2. Simonetta Moro, 2007, Peripatetic Box. 

Notes From Class -- Developing Project Ideas

In class on February 23, we spent a great deal of time, as Pauline put it so eloquently, "agitating our neurons," through discussion of individual project ideas.  Here you will see the notes taken to capture some of the ideas that we focused on.  Missed all of you who couldn't come, but hope this helps!

Making and Designing

In this topic, we examine the benefits of making and designing for learning, so we suggest reading the following articles to gain a good foundation:

  1. Blikstein, P. (2013). Digital Fabrication and ’Making’ in Education: The Democratization of Invention. In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLabs: Of Machines, Makers and Inventors. Bielefeld: Transcript Publishers.
  2. Ackermann, E. (1996). Perspective-Taking and Object Construction. In Constuctionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World. (Kafai, Y.,and Resnick, M., Eds.). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Part 1, Chap. 2. pp. 25-37.
  3. M Petrich, K. Wilkinson, and B. Bevan. 2013. It looks like fun, but are they learning? In Design, Make, Play, M. Honey and E. Kanter (eds.). Routledge, pp. 50–70.

Informal Learning & Play

In this topic, we examine "Informal Learning & Play" : we suggest reading the following articles to prepare our visit to the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) and share your reflections here. You can download them on Zotero

Required Reading:

1. Dicks, B. (2006). Multimodal ethnography. Qualitative Research, 6(1), 77–96.

2. Whitebread, D. and Basilio, M. Play, Culture and Creativity. In Cultures of Creativity. David Gauntlett and Bo Stjerne Thomsen (Eds.), LEGO Foundation Report.

Supplementary Readings: (skim or read any 1-2)

  1. Helen Quinn and Philip Bell. 2013. HOW DESIGNING, MAKING, AND PLAYING RELATE TO THE LEARNING GOALS OF K-12 SCIENCE EDUCATION. Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators

  2. David E. Kanter, H. Sameer, D. Ruth, and F. Adiel. 2013. Guided Play Games That Enhance Both Student Engagement and Science Learning in Tandem. Design, Make, Play: Growing the Next Generation of STEM Innovators

  3. Making Meaning. New York Hall of Science, May 2013.

NYSCI | Exhibits Analysis

Analysis of some of the exhibits displayed at the New York Hall of Science.

Objects to Think with

Consider an object you often use to "think with" or something you've discovered that helps you "think differently". Please plan to bring it to class on Thursday, but you can also share an image and a brief note about it here. 

For some background on how this relates to our topic this week, feel free to read this article by Edith Ackermann (on Zotero): Experiences of Artifacts: People’s Appropriations / Objects’ ‘Affordances’. Key works on radical constructivism. Ernst von Glasersfeld. (M. Larochelle, Ed). Rotterdam, Taipei. Sense Publishers. 2007. pp. 249-259.

Designer/Learner/Observer: Reflecting on roles' perspectives

Visual Group Reflections on the class activity.

What does it change to be the designer of a learning activity, the learner or the obsever ? What does it tell us about learning ? 

Learning and Development

In this topic, we examine "Learning and Development (Constructionism and Constructivism)" so we suggest reading the following articles to gain a good foundation for this topic. You can download them on Zotero

  1. Ackermann, E. Cultures of Creativity and Modes of Appropriation: From DIY (Do It Yourself) to BIIT (Be In It Together). In Cultures of Creativity. David Gauntlett and Bo Stjerne Thomsen (Eds.), LEGO Foundation Report.
  2. Ackermann, E. (2004). Constructing Knowledge and Transforming the World. In A learning zone of one's own: Sharing representations and flow in collaborative learning environments. M. Tokoro and L.Steels (Eds.). Amsterdam, Berlin, Oxford, Tokyo, Washington, DC. IOS Press. Part 1. Chap. 2. pp. 15-37. 
  3. Ackermann, E. (2007). Experiences of Artifacts: People’s Appropriations / Objects’ ‘Affordances’. Key works on radical constructivism. Ernst von Glasersfeld. (M. Larochelle, Ed). Rotterdam, Taipei. Sense Publishers. pp. 249-259.
  4. Seymour Papert and Idit Harel (1991). Situating Constructionism. In Constructionism, Ablex Publishing Corporation.

The first 3 pieces are written by Edith Ackermann. The first is very short 3-page article published by LEGO in a collection on Cultures of Creativity. The 2nd one on "Constructing Knowledge" is an in-depth piece examining the differences between Piaget’s constructivism, what Papert refers to as “constructionism,” and the socio-constructivist approach as portrayed by Vygotsky. 

The other piece by Edith on "Experiences of Artifacts" is a good preface to the assignment we asked you to do for next week, i.e. finding an "Object to Think with" and sharing in class why it helps you think (or think differently).

Finally, the last piece by Seymour Paper and Idit Harel on "Situating Constructionism" is a quick and easy read; it's optional but will complement the readings well.

Please share brief reflections that highlight any notable themes, questions or contradictions emerging in the readings (not a summary of the text) with any helpful real-world examples to illustrate the ideas (in 2-3 short paragraphs).


Learning about Learning

Videos, pics and notes of the first session, as well as resources presented during the session.

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