[hackerspaces] CC-licensed Maker Pedagogy (Lesson Plans, etc)?

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Mon May 23 09:09:46 CEST 2011

A long time ago in a city far far away when NYC Resistor was young, several
of the members got together and put together a grant proposal for a
MacArthur grant.  We never got it.  But ultimately the idea boiled down to
setting up a training program to get adults / parents of kids involved with
the space with the goal of giving them the tools to run a sort of STEM young
persons scouts event in their communities.  A lot of the discussion related
to this was around formalized methods for reaching out and drawing people
into a sort of introductory pedagogy that would hopefully inspire others to
continue on their own unique path to success.

I think hackerspaces fill a very real growing void in education in the
United States.  There is a seriously increasing lack of emphasis on kinetic
learning.  Make, and Hackerspaces seem to draw a lot of their success from
the fact that many successful people in the areas of technology and science
( as well as associatively art and a million other things ) are or were not
the best in school, not because they weren't brilliant, or driven but simply
because they needed to get their hands dirty and make mistakes before they
could get their head around the knowledge they wanted.  I feel like I am one
of those people myself.  And, one of the weird cool things I see in classes
taught in hackerspaces is that we are experimenting with techniques that
either are not in common use today, or are sometimes underrepresented in our
own communities.  Additionally we sometimes find ourselves forging new and
gloriously crazy new paths.

It's definitely exciting stuff.  However, I've always fallen on the skinner
side of education philosophy when it comes to letting people choose their
own path.  Educators and students alike need freedom to teach to their own
strengths and learn to their own strengths.  The informal and largely
overtly voluntary nature of hackerspaces allows for this to happen almost

Once you attempt to map the pedagogy of one hacker spaces community onto the
other you may see some serious issues arise simply out of culture clash, but
it's also entirely possible there may be simply larger issues in play that
result in non analogous learning curves.  All very cool stuff to delve into
if you are into the whole educational research thing.

All of this being said, I think initial pedagogy that should be focused on
are the low hanging fruits.  Events such as mitch's much  beloved soldering
workshops are somewhat distilled to their base essentials and really do
reach large audiences with a high degree of success.  Additionally the serve
the needs of the greater good outside of our individual communities, and
even may inspire more stalwart houses of education to begin to open their
minds to the idea that maybe their current formalized processes are not as
functional as they thought they were.

I once had a grant professor on a technology based grant I used to work
with.  She used to tell me that it was always her C students that were the
most successful.  I don't know if that was true, but I'd like to think that
it may have been only because there are so many possible routes one can take
to succeed that only a few happen to match up with the expectations of a
rigid curriculum structure.  The whole point of DIY and the hobbyist roots (
actual etymology and historical ) of hacking were to embrace the fact that
we are all different and our approaches regardless of their differences are
judged solely on their results.

If you can build a pedagogy without losing that I am all for it.  But I fear
there may be some pretty serious hurdles in doing it, and even more hurdles
in opening up that resource to a larger community for continued contribution
and adoption.

Just a few thoughts.

- Matt

On Sun, May 22, 2011 at 11:02 PM, webmind <webmind at puscii.nl> wrote:

> A similar idea was popping up here:
>  A lage database of community lesson material, assignments and the
> sort, passive, interactive.
>  A platform where to select and structure them into a curiculum
>  an interface to use that curiculum on a pletora of devices, laptops,
> android devices(touchpads for instance), ipads, all the sorts
> With math we think that interactive/visual material is very important,
> here in Amsterdam there are some schools which focus a lot practical
> teaching, that is by visual reallife examples, but few use computers for
> math (languageclasses seem more common).
> As I've said earlier, there is quite a lot of community material being
> made on geogebra (oss and all that), but I haven't heard of it being
> used in class a lot overhere besides as a drawing program or alternative
> powerpoint.
> cheers,
> On 2011-05-23 07:14, Jerry Isdale wrote:
> > I think the time is coming for this idea - its popping up in several
> places.
> > Today there was another panel at maker faire on "Hackerspaces: future of
> education" hosted by the folks from schoolfactory.org   that partially
> answered my question - there are people working on getting shared teaching
> resources by/for hackerspaces.  Lets keep it going!
> >
> > One discussion in the after-faire dinner mentioned the issues of classes
> at spaces, a lesson from Noisebridge... much of the teacher learning is
> passed by oral tradition.  As one teacher has developed a class, they pass
> it along to another (at same or different space) via face2face meetings and
> talking.  A distributed system makes that a lot harder.  Meetups will be
> important in the future for this.  Maybe some of the hackerspace meetups
> will have teacher sharing tracks/time.
> >
> > Jerry Isdale
> > http://MauiMakers.com
> >
> > On May 22, 2011, at 8:15 AM, Marc Juul wrote:
> >
> >> On Sun, May 22, 2011 at 1:05 AM, Jerry Isdale <isdale at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> Has anyone done or seen such works out on the web?
> >>
> >>> Where are the open source class materials, with teacher manuals and
> support forums, for teaching various aspects of Maker/Hacker activities?
> >>
> >> I think the answer is that they're spread over many different sites.
> >>
> >> We (a small group from the Labitat hackerspace and the Institute for
> >> Informatics and Mathematical Modeling at the Technical University of
> >> Denmark) are working on something called the Universal Primer. It's in
> >> the early stages right now, but it will be a platform both for live
> >> teaching and for sharing teaching materials. We're focusing on video,
> >> text and images right now. The idea is to let people browse the
> >> material by organizing it using a crowd-sourced loose dependency
> >> system, such that the system will suggest what you might need to learn
> >> before learning a subject, and related  subjects. We'll be presenting
> >> what we have so far at the CDIO conference [0] this summer, and we're
> >> looking for funding in order to have a couple of full-time programmers
> >> working on this in the fall. The first thing we'll have ready for the
> >> public will be the live lecture software, which I'm hoping to test at
> >> CCCamp this summer.
> >>
> >> [0] http://www.cdio2011.dtu.dk/
> >>
> >> --
> >> Marc Juul
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> Discuss mailing list
> >> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> >> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
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> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> --
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