I met the most interesting people at CMK11 this year.
Tinkerers. Makers. People who weren’t afraid to get it wrong in the process of getting it right. It was fun to be in a room full of people just messing around with stuff.
I enjoyed so many moments:
- Being in the midst of a computers/technology conference when the power went out. We had fully charged computers, but what we did not have was the hive mind of the internet. So we had to ask each other for competencies and expertise, we looked at books, we talked. It was a great way to start our collaborative work.
- Watching that bike charger for a cell phone emerge. In this project, I understood taking a positive (bike rider) and a negative (cell battery life) and combining them, how over-engineering can save time, and the joy of success.
- Hearing the question, “Are NASA photos public domain?” asked of no one in particular and having two people provide the answer. (Yes, if you are a US citizen. They belong to the US Govt and hence the people.)
- Watching the “Happy Dance of Success” move around the room.
- The Playdoh, LEGOS, and a bubblewand bubble machine.
- Meeting the Scratch Cat (sort of – he was made of LEGOS)
- Breaking out of the way too sterile presentation space at the MIT Media Lab, heading down the back staircase with friends for a little look-see.
- The soda-can one man band that grew at the table next door, complete with light show.
- Meeting new friends: Strange Brew, The Red Line, Pizzeria Regina, fish tacos, “Can I see some ID?”
- Why have I been ignoring Prezi? Fantastic interactive wall created next to me at my table.
- Making a cylinder recording device: we watched as a “fun” project of building an Edison cylinder recorder got two history teachers thinking about how weird and stilted their own voices sounded – and that got them thinking about how archival recordings sound, and that got them wondering if that is what people really sounded like.
So we need to tinker in my classroom this year. Tinker with words. Tinker with books. Tinker with writing stories. What do I need to make this tinkering come to life?