#ISTE11: NWP's Inaugural Hack Jam

My first thought is that hacking sounds like an important idea, but really? Do we need another word that takes teachers out of the mainstream “common core” standards conversation? Does hacking get my students more college-ready? Like gaming, isn’t hacking just another thing that pushes the risk-takers into the margins, and makes risk-adverse teachers run? How do we find a way to be more inclusive in our language and processes? Is it just a language thing? What else might we call hacking? #

Later on, Paul continues3: #

So part of why we hack has to do with understanding our sources more deeply, and this is absolutely an academic concern. But don’t we need words like “analytical reading” and carefully sourced research? Right so what else might we call hacking? It’s about creativity, but it’s also about making new things by really understanding the old, and this is a traditional, academic exercise. #

And that’s what I leave thinking about.  Hacking matters.  Academic reading and writing matter.  And they’re not unrelated things.  Groups like the know an awful lots about good reading and writing practice, and are exploring thoughtfully things like gaming and hacking – but can they do so in a way that doesn’t scare off the “risk-adverse teacher,” as Paul asks? #

  1. Because it was a event, there were snacks.  Good ones. []
  2. And I know I’ve buried the lead, but that’s okay. []
  3. Read the whole piece.  It’s good and I can’t stop thinking about it. []

3 thoughts on “#ISTE11: NWP's Inaugural Hack Jam

  1. Very thoughtful post. To me, the connection of hacking to writing also includes a consideration for responsible and ethical behavior. I’m reminded about the idea that given enough time a room full of monkeys and typewriters (or keyboards) will eventually recreate the entire works of Shakespeare, but that also implies a lot of writing that would be hurtful, defamatory, or even destructive. A call to hack is a call to bring into question the rules of the road, it calls us to think about the way we think. That questioning puts us in a position to think, and in the classroom, that’s almost always a good thing. For those of us not attending ISTE this year, thanks for bringing us along and I for one am looking forward to your sharing the rest of the conference.

  2. I couldn’t help but think about the larger institution that houses formal and mandated, learning: schools. Schools are made: not given enterprises that arose alongside democracy, regardless of how we might want to situate them, romanticize them. So what happens when yo “hack” school, reveal the given truth as something less than given–something that might reveal “truth” as power. What if we deconstructed terms like “career and college-ready” or “common core”. What does it mean to be “career and college-ready”? Common to whom? Are these aims for education?

    Deconstructing, pushing against the edges of ideas, matters and perhaps hacking is nothing more or less than a way of (re)presenting such actions. I know of nothing more important than this to a democracy–that its young people learn to push, to reveal edges, to think nomadically, and situate themselves and us in ways that make us a bit uncomfortable, unsettled.

    Hack the system we call, school?

    If only.

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