Sunday, April 3, 2016

Reflecting on a pop-up political make cycle and finding five fabulous folks

This last week Terry Elliott and I, with the capable and gracious support of some CLMOOC colleagues, led a pop-up make cycle about making political statements. We hatched the plan a few weeks back when we were talking about the possible connection between creative digital composition and social annotation. We both thought that floating a make cycle out to the CLMOOC community seemingly out of the blue was an experiment worth conducting, and we both felt we had a few memes or .gifs in us itching to get out. Strange that we both know what that feels like.

Interested to see if our idea stirred some interest or creativity in the CLMOOC community, I pushed out a communication that took the place of a typical CLMOOC newsletter. We then hosted a Make With Me Hangout on Tuesday, and a Twitter chat on Thursday. In the course of a normal make cycle, the week would end with a prompt for folks to reflect. Maybe this blog will prompt reflection for the audience it finds...

Anyone who has been following the #clmooc hashtag or the G+ community has likely seen evidence of meme making and political commentary in those channels. Though this pop-up make cycle made only a small pop in terms of participation, I look back at the week and the contributions of those who chipped in with no small degree of gratitude. What a kick to be able to send out ideas to a network of thoughtful educators and to wait and see what bounces back!

Every meme, Facebook comment, or tweet brought back for me the sense of community I have felt distinctly during the summer when the channels of CLMOOC are filled with chatter and digital splendor. My muscle memory from leading other make cycles tells me it is time to celebrate the contributions of five participants.

Five Fabulous Folks

First, Charlene Doland joined both our Hangout and tweet chat and was kind enough to share some student work. I appreciated her reflections about the students' interest in creating political memes and their knowledge of meme platforms.

Daniel Bassill shared his interest in social annotation during our tweet chat. He explained how marking up the news is often necessary in Chicago to tell the stories behind headline snatching violence. In his work, he tries to convey the importance of tutoring and mentoring. 

I think that Karen Fasimpaur's well-intentioned meme shows that the best ideas don't always go viral. Maybe this one just needs more time.

This collage about the #birdiesanders micro phenomenon from Susan Watson captured a playful moment in presidential politics. She also shared how an Internet search about the candidates and birds may have informed her vote. 

The meme below created by Deanna Mascle and shared to our Facebook group communicates a teacher's frustration with the budget decisions that are made at the state level. It also carries with it enough sarcastic humor to bring a smile to sympathetic educators' faces. 

Since this make cycle was a chance for me to follow my own interest in the pursuit of some professional learning, I appreciate how the contributions above speak to diverse political interests of teachers.

And a some final reflection...

Going into this experiment, I was curious to see how a pop-up make cycle might impact the #clmooc #clmooc Twitter feed, or the G+ community. For a MOOC, the impact was pretty small. Maybe that's an indication that teachers are busy (surprise, surprise), or that political memes aren't a topic of sufficient interest in our community to generate a lot of activity on little or no notice. Mostly, I think the jury is still out. I'm often interested in the interactions that take place in the channels of #clmooc when the MOOC isn't taking place. Going forward, if political memes and social annotation become more of a mainstay in those channels, then perhaps that will indicate some type of impact.  

Still, despite seeing a relatively small response, I'll hereby judge this humble experiment a success. From where I sat in front of my computer, interested in educators' interests, the creations and the thinking of 10 to 15 participants was intriguing. The small group that participated was more than sufficient to keep me writing, meme-ing, reading, annotating and learning. Consistent with other overwhelming MOOC experiences, I probably still haven't read every related blog post that showed up, so I have to be careful about calling the response small.

Finally, I'm thankful, as usual, that there is a #clmooc community where experiments like this are welcome, and especially thankful to Anna Smith, Kevin Hodgson, Karen Fasimpaur and Terry Elliot for lending a hand. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for organizing this and for your continued efforts. I included this in article I posted today at