Spring Updates

It feels like it’s been forever since I wrote here, and I apologize to any readers who follow this blog.

Truth be told, the semester was off to a very slow start due to the snow days, and I felt there was not much to share.

I’m happy to report that we haven’t had a major snowstorm in a few weeks, and things are starting to pick up. I’m currently on spring break, and it seems a little insane to me that I’m basically at the halfway point in the semester. Time is passing so quickly!

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

T560: I’m working in a team of three to further develop the UpTell project I had worked on in the HGSE Hackathon. It is a perfect project for the Universal Design for Learning framework. We’re still in the very early prototyping stages, but it’s exciting nonetheless to be going from a Keynote prototype to building out a website. My particular role in the project is media, which means I will be working on marketing materials that encompass our overall brand and mission.

T561: I’m working on the EcoMOBILE research team. My particular project is building out games in ARIS, an open-source platform for creating mobile learning games and experiences. I’m working with Nick again (I believe this is our 4th or 5th project together) to translate their current games into the new platform. We’ve ran into some tech issues here and there, but overall it’s been a fun learning experience.

T565: In this class, I’m working with someone from my cohort on a business plan for a digital K-3 math curriculum that generates content personally geared toward student interests. We are currently in the market sizing and research phase. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

T581: I’ve learned so much in this class, from furthering my HTML and CSS skills and learning jQuery. I’m working in a team of 5 to develop a social media site that connects teachers and technologists in order to improve the quality of educational content. We had originally started out as a social media site connecting STEAM educators, but felt that was too limiting. We’re in the wireframing stage, and will soon be building out our site.

In addition to class projects, I’m also doing an internship as a curriculum designer for the U.S. Department of State’s Resilient, Entrepreneurial, And Dynamic Youth (READY) Initiative. I’m working in an interdisciplinary team to co-design ten gender-progressive, professional development and global citizenship modules. We’ve only recently had our first meeting, but I’m eager to see how our work develops.

I really can’t believe classes are over on April 30th. That’s a little over a month away!

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A Remix Project

One of our assignments for our T550 class was to create a remix. There weren’t many parameters around it so I just decided to make something fun and wacky using Popcorn Maker, a web app that allows you to combine content from across the web.

I made a music video for 1-800-Zombie’s “I’m a Unicorn” song. I thought the following video was their original music video, but it looks like it’s actually a fan made video:

It’s not yet possible (that I know of) to embed Popcorn Maker content into wordpress, but this is the link to my remix.

I learned how to make gifs the other day at my internship, which was super awesome. I’m kind of obsessed now. I made some gifs from parts of the existing fan video:

unicorn2

To those back home: Yes, I am actually at Harvard.

Tinkering and Things

I find myself falling into a manageable routine now. I’m so happy and proud of myself for keeping up with readings, projects, and also going to the gym. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve actually got a handle on things. It’s a great feeling.

Today I started my new internship, and so far I really love the environment I’m in. It’s a really collaborative and creative space, and my colleagues are awesome. I also like that I’m getting to see the iterative process in action. There are some upcoming revisions in Scratch, and it’s great to see what goes on behind the scenes and the design thinking that goes into these revisions.

One of my first projects is to help standardize the current system and update existing content on the Scratch website. Once it is standardized, I will be creating new content for the website.

In my Designing for Learning by creating class, we’ve been creating design journals and physical models of constructionism. It was an interesting project assignment because our professor gave us intentionally vague instructions. The only instructions were to make visible the elements of constructionism. In some way, I feel the assignment was given so that we could engage in constructionism ourselves. We are each creating our own model of a constructionist learning environment based on our own ideas. I created tangible colored shapes out of cardboard and duct tape. To me, constructionism is all about creative experimentation. I remembered playing with colored blocks as a kid and building various things. There weren’t any instructions, and that was okay. I learned by experimenting with the different shapes.  Tomorrow we’re going to be able to explore each others’ models, and I’m interested to see how people will interpret mine.

photo 2photo 1

I just found out that I will be paired up with EdTechTeacher for my partner project in my Massive course. I’m not sure of the specifics yet, but according to the original description, I will be working with other students to create a structured self-paced online learning experience about technology for educators. Tomorrow I’m going to find out more details. I’m excited!

In my other classes, I’ve been learning how to create wire frames, prototypes, and social graphs. I don’t know if I will become a master of all of these applications by the end of this year, but I will at least have familiarity and be comfortable with using a wide range of tools. One thing I’m wondering throughout this experience is whether it’s better to specialize in one or two things, or if I am better off doing what I’m doing – learning the basics of many things, and then building specific expertise as needed.

In other news, the weather here is starting to get colder, and I’m realizing I need to shop for winter weather clothes sooner rather than later…