Make UniCycle #42: Hack and Remix and Make Change in the World

Welcome to Make Cycle #4 in the Making Learning Connected collaboration! Let’s give facilitators Joe Dillon, the Minecraft Explorer, and Terry Elliott, aka Captain Zeega a big hand CLAPCLAPCLAPCLAP for their dynamic engagement with gaming. HEY! CHECK IT OUT! I AM IN THE TEXT. JUST GOING TO WANDER AROUND A BIT. As we continue to discover new ways to learn through play and passion, we continue our focus on the Connected Learning design principles, exploring the connections we make in open networks around shared purposes. IF I EMBED MYSELF IN THE TEXT, AM I CONNECTED? WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WRITING WHEN THE READER CAN MAKE CHANGES AND ADD COMMENTS AND ALTER WHAT WAS WRITTEN? DOES THE TEXT LOSE ITS MEANING? OR DOES IT BECOME SOMETHING NEW?

Image from

This image borrowed from TheWriteFreeLance

Calling All Hackers! HEY! THAT'S ME!

In Make Cycle #4 we invite you to “Hack Your Writing.” ACCEPTED! Maybe you do not think you’re a “hacker” and associate the term exclusively with the most skillful and renegade of computer programmers. THAT'S TRUE. I DON'T. But this week we are encouraging a broader use of this term and a more open sense of its possibilities. MAYBE HACKER ISN'T EVEN THE RIGHT WORD. MAYBE A BETTER TERM IS "REMIXER" -- REMIXING MEDIA INTO SOMETHING NEW.

What does it mean to hack?

  • Hackers often undermine authoritative systems. Hackers crack systems for “fun,” pursuing civic or collective action. NOT GONNA CHANGE THIS ONE! IT'S TRUE! BUT DO WE VALUE OUR STUDENTS AS HACKERS OF THEIR EDUCATION? NOT SO MUCH.

It seems that now, more than ever, the affordances of new digital tools and technologies have opened up our understanding of what it means to write. THAT'S FOR SURE, AND WE NEED TO MOVE 'WRITING' AS A TERM INTO THE LARGER IDEA OF 'COMPOSITION' AGAIN, WITH COMPOSING MEANING TEXT AS WELL AS MEDIA. This week we are invoking a culture of remix and exploration. BOOYA! We propose that writing is indeed “making,” AGREED, ALTHOUGH WE NEED TO KEEP MAKING THAT ARGUMENT and we invite you to tinker with some writing to make something new. DOING THAT! RIGHT NOW! Remix your own writing OR remix other writing. I'M REMIXING YOUR WRITING, MIA AND ERICA. SUCH A NICE PLACE TO HANG OUT.


Image by cheers for all (thanks, Cheers for All!)

So Many Ways to Hack

We imagine there are multiple entry points for this week’s make cycle. One option might be to revisit something you wrote before and “dress it up” anew. If you have a notebook or journal that you’ve scribbled in, if you have jotted down a fleeting poem, or if perhaps you have penned an essay or article, this week’s make cycle might involve revisiting an old writing moment and breathing new life into a former work. Perhaps you might want to take several different pieces of writing and put them together to create a collage or compilation? Go for it!

Your own “hack” job might involve seeing something new in the everyday texts of your life. Consider taking some pieces of your written world, the everyday stuff like grocery lists, fortune cookie predictions, or your favorite quote that you have up on your wall in your home or office. Re-discover the words around you, refashion them, re-order them. The literary equivalent of a collage, found poetry, is often made from newspaper articles, street signs, graffiti, speeches, letters, or even other poems.

Image by Kevin Hodgson CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Image by Kevin Hodgson CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Your hacking exploration might bridge old methods of writing with the new. Consider hacking your own notebook. You can try “Paper Circuitry” as you light up your writing by creating circuits on paper using copper tape, LEDs, and some simple electronics (It’s Hack Your Notebook Day on July 9th after all!). What new composing practices might emerge from this hack? And what new meaning and understanding might we gain as writers or as readers?

In other words, you might put analog and digital texts into conversation.

  • Take some analog writing and bring it into a digitized universe.
  • You might take a traditional poem and layer a multi-modal interpretation via hypertext links.
  • Use the Scratch program to explore new ways of writing and composing (just press the remix button to reinvent or animate texts).
  • You can give the “Concept in 60” digital writing method a try by demonstrating skills in audio and video recording and editing to create a rhetorically effective text.
  • Have you ever transformed your keyboard and your writing process with a Makey Makey?
  • Or how about creating a real life treasure hunt driven by digital narrative? Use your cell phone, GPS technology, and multimedia content to enhance your reader’s connection to a given place by giving locative storytelling a shot.

In short, we imagine there are many ways to infuse your “writing hack” with new found interactivity.

Image from

Image from

Check out these resources:

An additional list of media tools can be found by clicking HERE.

This week we hope that by hacking some writing, you might also discover the underlying interests/passion you take to your own writing process. How can a “writing hack” draw out what is interest-driven in you? In addition, there might be collaboration in hacking. Can we harness new peer-learning experiences when hacking our writing together? How does the writing hack cast new light on production-centered learning? Finally, can hacking-as-writing lead us to more civically engaged work?

Places to share

Here are some handy links that might help you with your sharing and connecting:

If you make your map or any other creation offline please post an image of your make in one of these spaces. Sharing is vital part of the “make” cycle.

Live Events

On Tuesday, July 8th, from 7-8 p.m. EST, join us for a Google+ crowd-sourced hangout where participants share their early responses and ideas to the Hack Your Writing newsletter and reflect on the learning pathways they’ve been forging through CLMOOC so far.

New and Special this week: This Thursday, July 10th, from 1:30-2:30 p.m EST we’re hosting an on-air G+ Hangout, live streamed with a synchronous chat here at CLMOOC. Join “Thrive” author Meenoo Rami and the Kean University Writing Project team to discuss what it means to be a networked learner and educator. We will reflect on best practices for “Writing as Making” and “Hacking Your Writing” throughout the Hangout conversation.

On Thursday, July 10th, from 7-8 p.m. EST , our #clmooc Twitter chat will join with #literacies chat to reflect on our learning and work in the context of a discussion about demands and dimensions of contemporary literacies.

Need More Information?

Enjoy the hacking everyone! We’ll see you on G+ and Twitter!
Erica Holan Lucci and Mia Zamora, Kean University Writing Project

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