Projects, Paradigms, Preconceptions & Survival??

A brief survey of the stuff that is coloring my decisions this 9 weeks in class & another plea for online community for my students...

Paradigms, Context, & Survival...
Now it's video clip time. I just want to share with you a bit of the context in which my thinking has been framed lately, before I talk about why I'm blowing up my curriculum and pursuing things that are driving me crazy. Many of you have seen this stuff before. If you haven't, watch these. They're good for you, like fiber & anti-oxidants all rolled into one delicious sweet roll:

Sir Ken Robinson.

Diane Ravitch - This video reminded me of  this article, which came across my Flipboard the other day, thanks to my awesome PLN... (supplemental reading)

Jane McGonigal

Projects, PBL, and Online Community
One of the awesome things about being Middle School BCIT instructor is the freedom I have to teach a skills based curriculum in whatever context I choose. I've been providing a projects-based curriculum for some time, as a result of my constant diet of Edutopia, ISTE, & the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Until recently, this consisted of a Sustainable Design project for Seventh graders and a Visual Design project for Eighth Graders.

As a result of my current pondering, reading, & media viewing, I've decided to open up both projects (plus three more, including Game Design) to both grade levels.

This is understandably a lot of work and requires an insane amount of management. The forward investment in screencasts alone is overwhelming! I was prepared for all of that. What I wasn't prepared for was how passive my students have been trained to be over the last six years of standardized curriculum. They're excited to try something that interests them, but many of them need to learn how to manage a project that someone else isn't micromanaging for them. Further, many students do not understand that online communities can be used to help them learn & succeed at new things. My WoW & Skyrim folks actually have the best understanding of this. What does it say when our system has trained students to be passive, while the video games they play outside of school teach them to be active?

The thing is, these students are BRILLIANT, and we need to tap that brilliance before it gets completely squashed by NCLB and all the associated evils. I want to do my small part, but I need your help.  If you have a class that can participate in community with my classes on any tech related topic, comment her or tweet me. If your students can benefit from Edmodo groups on the topics below, please join and get your students into the groups:
  • Graphic Design (ask for specific graphic design help: Ps, Ai, etc.)
  • Google Sketchup (ask for specific Google Sketchup help)
  • Yearbook (ask for specific Yearbook help)
  • Game Design (ask for specific Game Design help: Scratch, Gamestar Mechanic, etc.)
  • Product Design (product modeling, mood boards, branding, & package design) 
I have a lot of teachers so far, but very few students. My students want to talk to other students about the work that interests them. That's so exciting! Please Join us. I am willing to make more groups than this, jus as I am willing to consider more projects.


  1. I have a group of 10th grade students, many who are a part of the Cisco Tech academy at our school, who may want to participate. I am particularly interested in game design. Tell me how we get started.

  2. Hit me up on Edmodo & send a join request for the Game design Group. I have 7th and 8th graders. Currently, they're researching Game Mechanics & Analyzing some serious games. Most of my kids will be working with Scratch, Stencylworks, or Gamestar Mechanic to actually make the games. I have Adobe Flash, but it is not as popular. Even if you're using a different platform, I'd love to have your students in there.

  3. Hi Clint! I'm teaching Grade 5 at an American school in Vietnam. We're a small class, and the students have been captivated by Gamestar Mechanic and all of them want to be designers of some kind (computer, architect, and game designers). I'm looking to take my teaching and their experience of game design (especially) to the next level. Look forward to connecting with you.


    1. Ray, I sent you a message in Edmodo. I look forward to connecting with your classes!


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