Monday, March 25, 2013

Remixing




Activity:
Remixing in Scratch
(1) Log on to Scratch. (If you’re to Scratch, go to New to Scratch?)  
(2) Explore projects in the Scratch website and find a project you would like to remix.
(3) Download the project and modify it in Scratch.
(4) Click the “Share” button to share your remix.
(5) In your project notes, explain what you changed and give credit.
(6) Add your project to the 
[LCL] Remix Gallery.




Go here to play if it does not load: http://beta.scratch.mit.edu/projects/10085699/

First and foremost, thank the heavens for the ability to learn from others on Scratch. Without the wonderful ability to look inside and dissect other people's work, I would most likely have nothing. Programming, even something simple like Scratch, is akin to brain surgery for me. It is a foreign skill. Until now, I never found it necessary, interesting, or important. I was never surrounded by friends or an immediate culture that held it in esteem. Now, as my intrinsic fascination with programming and computer technology grows, I wish I had a greater foundation of knowledge. Currently, I am playing a sick game of catch up.

In order to improve my skills, I basically have three options. I could go back to formal schooling, I could buy some books, or I could tinker with others online. Of the three, the latter seems very practical. The only question is, does it work? I would argue that of the three, the third is not only a practical process, but produces the most practical products. The third allows you to work with others to produce real products. The consumer/producer dichotomy is thrown on its head. For this reason, it appeals to me.

Something seems to be missing though. If I was going to put my finger on what prevents this online creative learning from truly transforming my knowledge, I point to time and perseverance. With my skills being so low, I need time to play, learn, and tinker. Not just a bit of time, but a LOT OF TIME. How can I possibly devote the amount of time needed to learn the skills when I start from such a low baseline of knowledge? It is true you make time for things you really enjoy, but finding the massive amounts of time for proficiency is daunting. When you have a mentor, teacher, or coach, they may scaffold learning to make skills improve quicker. Some may see a more direct line of improvement. Where to find the time and make the most of my time?

In my very amateur attempts to program and learn more advanced computer concepts, I hit a wall very quickly. I have visions of what I want to do, but upon effort it becomes apparent how far away I am from getting there. Lots of trial and error, learning, and frustration mark my attempts. I have to attack my learning with perseverance. It is very easy for me to give up. In order to learn this new skill, I have to push through my frustrations and embrace the ground that is not knowing. When the gap between effectiveness and skill is so large, it is very easy for one to give up. Perseverance is thus an immensely valuable and necessary component to learning in these new spaces. Without formal guides or guidance, one must be willing to encounter all obstacles and hiccups. This is not easy. The two variables, time and perseverance, are not stressed enough in formal schooling. Time to tinker, play, and learn autonomously is in short supply throughout the school day. Furthermore, perseverance is not stressed as one gets a test, gets a score, and one moves on. There is no place for failure in the school system. If you fail once, the whole world explodes. If we want people to feel more comfortable in these open learning environments, we may need to think about how we mold perseverance and how we use time.






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