Session 7 activity:

I am a member of my local makerspace and have been since last year. I am still new to a lot of what is going on there, but I am having a blast sharing learning experiences with others.

Projects - What kinds of projects are people working on? How would you describe the range or diversity of projects?

A few of our members meet every Thursday to build Geodesic AiroLITE boats and right now there is a massive boat hanging from the rafters. Another group that I am part of is developing a severely modified air hockey system. We have members working on 3D printers, we are at the tail end of a series of Arduino classes, several of us meet every week for a coding group, and we have seen a wide range of projects and activities encompassing arts, crafts, leisure, nature, tours, stained glass, tie-dying, locksport, and many other areas.

Interests - Where do the ideas for the projects come from? Are the projects based on individual, group, or community interests?        

The activities and projects come from a mix of individual, group and community interests. Virtually all of our members seem interested in coding, Arduinos, 3D printers, RaspberryPis, and similar tech-related activities and projects. From time to time, members and guests have offered their specific passions and expertise as themes for classes, workshops and projects. We also have had projects and activities arise from community needs such as accessibility to computers for youth.

Learning Community - Do people help each other learn?  Are there mentors in the space? Is there a trajectory of participation from newcomer to leadership roles?

The atmosphere at my makerspace is generally very laid back, but everyone seems eager to help at one time or another. Mentors tend to naturally surface depending on the subject matter and this seems to work well so far for us. There have been instances of newcomers adopting leadership roles at our space, and everyone is encouraged to try their hand at leading a class, workshop, project or activity. One of our members quickly became our resident PowerPoint master with a series of highly informative while entertaining presentations.

Values - How do people treat each other in the community? Are there community guidelines or values that are discussed or agreed upon?

The "Wyld Stallyns" motto from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure of "Be excellent to each other" seems to live at our space. Resolutions are often made carefully and without drama and our members respect each others' space, projects, ideas, opinions and needs. We have a pretty solid set of basic rules that is ever-changing based on our space's needs. These are set by our Board and major items are discussed by the group as a whole.

Space - Which aspects of the physical space support the creative learning process? What materials are available?

We have a number of materials available and we are working on expanding what we have. We almost have a functioning laser cutter, we have a shared 3D printer and several members have their own 3D printers, we have machining tools, woodworking tools, various power tools, dry erase surfaces on our tables, various measurement instruments, computers, a newly (mostly completed) electronics workbench, and the list goes on. We are fairly limited in size but plan on moving to a larger location later. A great deal of the space is open and free for people to temporarily rearrange within reason. We also work to avoid clashing projects. All these factors help with the creative learning process. For presentations and interactive workshops, we have a projector and speakers.

I am excited to see how our space grows over time to further encourage creative learning.

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I made a couple of games with my kids on Scratch based on math lessons they are reviewing in school. They had fun and it was easy to convert the younger child's game into a more challenging game for the older child. Both work with the MaKey MaKey, and we made a custom paper controller for them.


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I haven't remixed any Scratch projects from the LCL gallery yet, but here's a ScratchED resource I remixed originally titled "Archery" by Meredith Silburn: 

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I may be doing this wrong, but here is my (ambitious?) attempt at creating a Teach and Learn session. I am interested in learning about and teaching different aspects of music in a collaborative environment, so for this activity I have combined the two: 

My Experience with Stack Exchange (SE)

Reflect: What aspects of the experience contribute to a sense of a learning community? What aspects limit a sense of community?

There are many different aspects of functionality at Stack Exchange that relate to critical elements of a learning community, with pros and cons for each.

Knowledge is collaboratively-edited in a Creative Commons modality online. This is done through questions and answers, but secondary supplemental function can be found and collaboratively-edited in tag wikis and community wikis as well as other features. A pro is that an effective average of knowledge is reduced to a reputation-based peer review, where community members who prove themselves to be responsible and credible gain access to help forge ever-evolving versions of practically all of a community's resources and interactions. This encourages an inherent collaborative mentality. Without structure and self-policing etiquette between community members, the main purposes of the editable knowledge base would become reduced to in-fighting. To encourage resolution without derailing resources, each SE community is provided a meta area where group etiquette and general rules, guidelines and resources are discussed and planned away from more relevant topics as a separate but connected "meta" site. Still, this only dampens the side effects of the collaborative environment that may still be prone to credibility and objectivity issues. Effectively, this major factor of collaboratively-edited resources serves as an advanced socially-motivated hybrid between a fully credible academic or scientific primary or secondary source and a less reliable and open source tool. Elements of the permissions structure itself work to stabilize a sophisticated approach to collaborative resources using sociocentric psychology methods. A major benefit is self-learning and exploration of narrowed topics, and citations are often encouraged.

This brings up a major issue that is important to consider which is plagiarism. I am not sure about existing services optimized for helping educators identify plagiarism and to what extent they crawl and compare texts with prior edits of an SE page. It is also difficult to determine if any given SE content is itself plagiarized beyond relying on the community to identify such.

In the SE community I joined, a priority is community consensus and awareness about items such as correct tag use, appropriate questions and answers in the community, and other community considerations. In the community I joined, special consideration has recently been discussed to the nature of using broad tags versus specific tags. The focal point of these discussions have been to identify when which tag will be the most helpful. Careful consideration is being given towards questions and answers that may originally have been asked for specific systems yet could be easily applicable to most or many other systems as well. The community I joined displays a unified and steadfast ownership of responsibilities to making their community resources as helpful as possible, and this accommodation helped me to enjoy the experience as a new user. I have found myself taking on this role as well, working with others to edit tag wikis, participate in meta discussions, and explore needs for clarity in both questions and answers. 

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Here's my first attempt with the Scratch project. Let me know if you find some bugs :) 

I made it because of my love for coffee and vending machines!

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Here's my first Scratch game. A few bugs, and it is very crudely designed. I expect to update this game with more features. Is anyone interested in helping me remix this?

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Here's my first Turtle Art project. This was really fun. This reminds me a lot of making art using Q-BASIC, especially the random function. I think a really powerful idea here involves the ability to use technology to create custom scripts that can have varied results from the same script (general); the ability to control randomness by containing randomized variables (intelligible); and the ability to create random and automated yet unique art from a script (personal).. all in fell swoop. These images were created by the same script using some randomized variables.
6 Photos - View album

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My first Scratch project. This is a meta MaKey MaKey project. Help me remix this by making the different buttons and left click do different things!
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