I’m participating in MIT Media Lab’s experimental MOOC: Learn Creative Learning which is an exciting opportunity for more reasons than I can list ‘ . Opportunity to ‘Learn by making’ changed my life; it’s why I find Webmaker and the Maker movement so beautiful and worth championing.
For whatever reason this week – I experienced a a major case of ‘fraud’ syndrome while participating in education-focused community threads. Just because I want to teach, does that mean I can contribute something meaningful through teaching? Because I learned this way, does that mean I can explain to others why it matters?
Thanks to the first exercise in Learn Creative Learning, I was able to shake that feeling off (mostly)
Activity: Write about an object from your childhood, in the spirit of Papert’s gears
Without a doubt, my the gears of my childhood(and young-adulthood) were drumsticks, as a snare/tenor drummer in highland bagpipe bands.
first, I remember that no one told me to learn about differential gears
I was mesmerized by the drummers in my brother’s bagpipe band (he played pipes). I tried to decode what I was hearing, break it down into small pieces, and replicate. I would play recordings over and over again – recognizing patterns in sets. I would eventually just *sing* and hum patterns in place of those recordings.
When I finally had my own drumsticks, and lessons I played constantly. On my lap while watching TV, in the car on my practice pad – everywhere in between; time signatures , beats, double time, para-diddle, para-diddle, mama dada, mama, dada, patience and love. I carried them with me everywhere. I started writing my own sets, adding in variations of others until finally I was part of a drum core, composing, competing and playing together for a perfect sound. Although usually with the pipes, we also competed in a drummers only set – spinning sticks between beats. Eventually, at 18 I started teaching younger kids which was an opportunity to share the love, at least that’s how I saw it.
I can see (thanks to this exercise) how drumming was my gear, and that so much of that experienced provided me with learning I’ve built on ever since.
Writing music, learning and decoding drumbeats taught me so much about numbers: odd even, division (how many beats in a 4/4 bar) and logic of writing a score to fit a specific tune. I still sometimes count by ‘thinking’ in bars.
Remix and Reuse
Drum scores I loved, mixed in to make something new – changed a little. Reliable pieces for all occasions – I learned this through music first.
Drumming was an outlet for happiness, sadness and a good one for anger, but playing as part of a band removes the ‘me factor’. Working as part of a group towards a share outcome is something I learned in drumming. Definitely an early learning for Open Source participation.
Responsibility & Accountability
Competing as a drum corp, or with a band means if you screw up everyone else is affected. Focus.
I’m not sure I was very good at it , but sharing a love and passion with new learners is definitely learning I have built on – most recently with web literacy.