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Drumbeat/events/Festival/Barcelona/OpenRaval

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  • Contact: Enric Senabre Hidalgo [esenabre at gmail dot com]
  • Team: Enric, Ingrid, Eva
  • Hosts: Mozilla and New Youth City Learning Network.
  • Proposed 'space' or theme: Local learning incubator
  • Status: Proposed

Contents

Towards an Open Web and urban learning toolkit repository

As you would see below, the OpenRaval classroom experience right after the Drumbeat Festival has evolved once feedback was gathered to something else. So the first part is a new proposal, more oriented to sharing learning activities designs, as cross-regional collaboration, the second one reflects what happened during the meeting and the third one proposes more activities to develop/test/remix/share.


We're thinking about a better name/title than OpenRaval accordingly. If you know the tale, "StoneSoup Repository" could be a better one, but suggestions are welcome! :)

Some initial questions

  • What is happening or can be done in informal learning scenarios when it comes to mixing youth and digital tools with Open Web resources and philosophy?
  • Which type of activities (in terms of best practices) can be shared, tested and defined among different institutions and actors locally, but also worldwide?
  • How can urban scenarios and culture play a role in engaging learners with Digital Media and critical thinking about their environments?
  • How can youth engage with digital resources and collaborative methodologies in order to have fun, learn and be creative at the same time?
  • When and how can formal learning institutions adopt innovative approaches with ICT in scalable ways, especially secondary schools?
  • How can we consolidate and define the benefits of computational, connective and social thinking, as strengthened by the Open Web?

All of these questions point to a certain lack of shared practices among education-oriented institutions when it comes to taking full benefit from significant learning contexts and exploring the possibilities offered by networked tools and web-inspired open methodologies. Addressing this gap requires a well defined strategy and map of alliances, as well as a practical/open toolkit of learning activities (which could be used at any time by anyone) and a rigorous process of observation and independent evaluation (in order to improve design and effectiveness).

A modest, initial prototype for such a strategic toolkit was created and tested during the last November OpenRaval meeting, which took place right after the 1st Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona. We consider this an important starting point for the development of a series of shared practices with similar goals. Although not everything went on as planned, and some of the proposed activities were merely short demos or design prototypes, the kind of people and ideas that gathered during this meeting have opened a unique opportunity for us to explore tangible possibilities in this area.

The Open Web

Considered a rich environment for interaction and the provision of tools for engaging learners and inspiring them to create and share knowledge (problems, discoveries, tendencies, culture), the Open Web plays a key role in this project as an origin or destination for learning. Here the Open Web spans the gamut from interactive maps where learners can find or create meaningful information to repositories of self-created tutorials based on new activities. Within the proposed toolkit, the main resources for finding or publishing these types of tools would be:

  • Drumbeat (especially video, mapping and writing tools)
  • Wikimedia (where learners can go to expand knowledge but can also contribute in different formats)
  • Tumblr (or any other agile web publishing tool for instant updates)
  • Let's add some more here...

The open, collaborative nature of the web and the free software dynamics of interaction should also be considered an important part of any design approach for activities. From initial drafts to final implementation, translation, forks, etc. all activities should be transparently shared. To achieve this level of visibility, a repository of practices will be created to act as its own toolkit for finding or adding new practices within the community. A blog-like space for reflection, sharing impressions, and linking to other related websites, etc. will be also needed.

The city

The other main focus for learning is the city and the many different expressions (and problematics) of its urban culture. Like the Open Web, we consider the city to be both a sparking point for acquiring significant knowledge but also a platform for gathering and sharing what has been learned or is understood. The urban environment is a playground for discovering places and people, often aided by the use of digital tools, but also for teaching in a distributed way using public spaces as platforms or stages.

The intersection between being a digital citizen and a urban learner provides a wide path for exploring, thinking and showing one's views about sustainability, conflict, context, aesthetics, and feelings. Via the screens of mobile devices or computers, in particular, urban streets can be discovered by learners in an entirely new way: as being full of data that is waiting for meaning.

Inspiration

Some teaching/learning experiences that we are taking into account as inspirations or precendents:

ToDo list

  1. Main: Identify and generate new activity designs, in a very modular way, and test them! :)
  2. Have an open, shared repository of activities for easy discovery or addition: goals, tags, prerequisites, skills to be learned, resources needed, detailed steps, outcomes, feedback.
  3. Produce a set of video tutorials that highlight some of the activities (especially those related to Arduino, DIY, hacking) so that they can be mashed up into OER with video tools.
  4. Establish a synchronization process among potential facilitators in parallel, but distinct, learning scenarios.
  5. Create a common place for updates, reflections, news, to enable aggregation (like a planet) or creation (a main blog) by direct participants.
  6. Produce a publication of some type to influence academic discussion around a good set of practices for Open Web urban learning.
  7. Create a virtual meeting type based on the idea of learning corners, where learners, facilitators and observers from across the world can mix and share their different activities with one another.
  8. Establish clear links with local Education departments in order to pilot activites within secondary educational environments following the "in residence model": http://www.enresidencia.org/

About the OpenRaval Classroom

The vision of the OpenRaval Classroom was a free autonomous learning zone for sharing, testing and showing how digital and open web resources--already much a part of youth culture--can be powerful tools for reshaping society and creating knowledge. As an experimental space, it had its first instantiation on November 6, 2010 in the heart of Barcelona's Raval neighborhood.

Goals

  1. To create a large open classroom around the idea of learning corners, where youth and learning experts can experiment together with some of the Drumbeat Festival's best approaches, philosophies and methods including edupunk and OER.
  2. To engage kids and teenagers from the Raval neighbourhood in an enjoyable, yet proactive and constructive, activity that celebrates their vibrant digital and multicultural citizenship.
  3. To turn the Raval area into a distributed, digital learning lab that facilitates the remixing of local projects and people from different initiatives and institutions and produces new synergies, new plans and new processes.
  4. To give local young people ideas, tools and freedom to act on their their learning interests, decide on their own terms about what they want to learn, and interact with others about their lives and environment.

Partners

  • Mozilla Foundation
  • New Youth City Learning Network
  • RavalNet
  • UOC's eLearn Center
  • STSI - Generalitat de Catalunya
  • Citilab-Cornellà
  • Amical Viquipèdia
  • MARF Informàtica
  • CCCB Lab

First activities tested

The initial prototype of the OpenRaval Classroom was based mainly on activities that already proved engaging and useful in the past (rather than create some of them from zero). However, they were all based on new visions for teaching and learning inspired by the Drumbeat Festival experience.

Beyond the day's activities themselves, with the ideas incubated in this original session we wanted to create and test new processes of collaboration and sharing experiences for future editions of open classrooms. We wanted to put the first pieces of mashup that allowed for open educational resources to be embedded into different pieces of a city at any given time, trying to bring together collective digital learning and networked multiculturalism.

The program for that morning was this one:

Saturday, Nov 6 – Venue
  Location
Learning Corner #1
Location
Learning Corner #2
Location
Learning Corner #3
Location
Learning Corner #4
10:00 – 12:00 Digital gymkhana I (Find) CC Collages Animation soup Touch and sound!
12:00 – 14:00 Digital gymkhana II (Design) CC Collages S4A Digital Orchestra Touch and sound!
14:00 – 14:30 Closing & snacks

This is a translation of the final schedule in Catalan

General feedback/report

Outputs:

Some photos can be find at the TEB blog, as well as a post from one of its facilitators.

Space, logistics and mood:

The main space in which activities took place was the coffee area of the FAD building. The room was big enough to allow the distribution of the different workshops (concretely, each activity occupied one corner which also fits with methodology used to organize the session).

Logistics were an invisible layer, in order to keep ambience and dynamics fluent and spontaneous.

Facilitation, timing and structure:

In general, facilitators went straight to the core of the workshop and tried to catch participants interest since the beginning. Their role was closer to technical assistants rather than teachers or educators.

Things happened as planned and the initial schedule was quite respected. There were a program and a planification, but there was flexibility enough to change things when necessary. At some point – concretely, at the end of the second session- participants’ attention decreased. This affected specially the scratch workshop as it required a bit more of concentration. The noisy ambient (not too much, but a bit) contributed to increase dispersion.

The activities of the Open Raval Classroom were structured around the idea of corners which means that each activity was realized in one specific area of the same room. This worked very well for the activities in which participants were really immersed. However, in some cases the noisy ambience generated affected the dynamics of the workshop.

Relationship between facilitators/institutions:

One of the important objectives of this approach was to have facilitators who were not involved as that, but as observers of the activities that took place. This way they could see participants that they usually teach directly involved in similar processes, but with other facilitators. Afterwards they were able to share reflections and ask questions to the facilitators that were responsible for the activities. These interchanges of information, among the around 10 facilitators in total that were around, was very dynamic and specially rich afterwards during lunch.

Things to improve in future editions:

The idea of using the same room as a common space where to develop the different workshops allowed participants to acquire an overview of what was going on. However, as a consequence, ambience was a bit noisy, overall at the end of the second session. Possibly, it would be good to rethink those activities that require more concentration in order to adapt them to these conditions – or rethink the use of the space.

May be it would be good to have a virtual space where to see/share final products. Obviously, this is more utopian than something that should/could be done with such a limited amount of time. Take it as a suggestion. In my opinion, despite participants could take part in two workshops – so they could try out different activities – each workshop was completely independent from the others. The only moment in which there was a “common situation” was at the end of the video workshop, when the two boys participating sang one of their songs in front of the camera. Apart from that, - as far as I’ve understood – for instance, there’s no way to see the final videoclip of their song nor the address of the wikipedia/semapedia entries created by the participants of the gymkhana.

Other comments / feedback

Music as a key element at the time of working with teens. Video and the building circuits workshops were engaging because they integrated music. I don’t mean image is not a powerful resource, but I think it should be worked differently (need of finding links with participants’ interests. Video clip genre offers a lot of possibilities, but it requires more time and a different planning of the session.

In general, the focus was on technology rather than in reflexion, critical thinking. Obviously, time was to short to develop this properly. Here I try to concrete why I’m saying this:

  • In the case of the video workshop I’m not sure if after the session participants have acquired a fully understanding of how copyright affects them and how they can use alternative licenses. Of course, during the workshop these issues were raised, but quite fastly and taking for grant certain aspects (for example “what is a “copyright free image”).
  • In the drawdio building workshop, all the attention was devoted to the technical skills required to build a working circuit. Again, limitation of time was the condicionant, but it would be good to deserve some to experimentation and ideas exchange. Otherwise, it can end being just a “fun activity” – nothing wrong against it, I also was dying to participate in the workshop – but a bit of reflection could enrich the activity, because there’s a strong DIY philosophy behind this.
  • Although I wasn’t following the scratch programming workshop much, they dedicated some time at the beginning to introduce the programming language as well as some of its benefits (again the idea that sharing is good is taken for grant. May be I’m mentioning something very basic, but I think that it would be good to verbalize why is good – specially because once we all go out of the room, in general, we are surrounded by a non-sharing social attitude. If one of the goals of the workshop is to encourage a sharing culture, this point should be reinforced).

Digital gymkhana I (Find)

Following different clues in teams, find the exact portal, corner, sculpture or square where to take a very special photo in order to get points. Then touch base to receive more clues, and afterwards share your photos in Wikipedia Commons to check the results. What else do you know of those places or its history?

Skills: history | photography | orientation
Facilitation: Amical Viquipèdia

Feedback/report

What happened (Briefly)

Youth were given a list of instructions along with three different sets of questions, each of which related to a different area in the immediate vicinity of the FAD. Groups of three or four kids headed off in different directions, each going toward the area depicted in one of the three sets of questions. The questions were like scavenger hunt clues--specific enough to send kids looking for a detail in the street or on a building, but as I understand there was no one factual answer that was correct. Kids were asked to take photographs of "answers" to the riddle questions as proof of completing this portion of the activity and also to show progress in unlocking the clue. I am not aware of whether or not the clues need to be "unlocked" sequentially or not, but would be interested to know this.

It was not possible to follow each group, but the one I trailed had some difficulty figuring out the specifics of several clues. It felt like it might have been at too high a knowledge level for them, or possibly referenced something cultural that was not known to them. Eventually they were able to get through the clues. It appeared that other groups were able to understand the references more quickly and produce matching photographs with ease.

What did kids discover or learn?

The aim for the learning in the exercise was to have youth see new things in their everyday urban environment that they had overlooked before or never knew about. Some of that factual information was embedded in the clue or the theme of the gimkana. Other learning was motivated by going to a specific location and seeing what was there in situ. I have no evidence to suggest that anything was learned by the group I trailed; they seemed more intent on completing the photographing task than taking time for reflection in this part of the exercise.

What should be improved for this activity?

I would suggest three improvements for future iterations of this activity: 1) Better framing of how the photographs will be used in the second half of the activity. Got the impression that kids were out participating in one kind of activity (scavenger-type hunt) but being asked to do something entirely different once they got back. Figure out some way to make these two halves more integrated at point of discovery in the neighborhood. 2) Clearer way to get help when having difficulty deciphering the clues. Perhaps build in extra "points" for asking bystanders for help. 3) More competition among different teams--based on time, points, etc.

Digital gymkhana II (Design)

Walk in teams trough the streets sticking some codes that can send images and text to mobiles. We will have to upload some of the previous pictures to Internet and write comments on them, building this way bridges between the physical world and the virtual.

Skills: mobile data | online publication | shared discovery
Facilitation: Amical Viquipèdia

Feedback/report

What happened? (Briefly):

Once youth returned from clue & photography portion of the gimkana, they were asked to upload their photographs and then to write reflections on each image. I'm afraid that I didn't follow specifically which audience they were expected to address or where they were planning to publish these reflections. I believe the initial location for pictures and reflections was in a Google Doc.

What did kids discover or learn?

The exercise might have helped them understand that it's fairly easy to upload images and insert them into Google Docs, but my sense was that they were already somewhat familiar with this.

What should be improved for this activity?

The intention to have youth feel open and secure making comments about images is a great one, but I don't think that they were comfortable with this level of autonomy within a structured exercise. There seemed to be some resistance to moving from participant to producer/creator. Anything that could encourage the creator motif from the beginning of the exercise would lessen this problem, I think.

I think it might also be an interesting experiment to ask kids to create clues for other kids based on the images that they'd gathered initially. This could be a sort of reverse-gimkana....or the images could just act as inspiration for a new set of clues.

CC collages

Find, print, cut, paste, collage, scan and upload again city images that you find amazing or terrible. But be careful with something called copyleft, which makes that possible without hurting anyone! Present and share your work with your online or offline friends (by the way, are they the same? :)

Skills: image sharing | copyleft awareness | remixing
Facilitation: Citilab

Feedback/report

What happened? (Briefly):

The initial proposal of the facilitator to the participants of the workshop was to choose a web page, find images to show them in the background, and explain their choices in front of the camera. However, all this changed once the participants expressed their main interest which was music, and more concretely, singing rap. The facilitator was flexible enough to modify the activity according to the participants’ interests, and they end preparing a videoclip.

What did kids discover or learn?:

The use of chroma was a good strategy for generating the need of images. From this point on, it was easy to introduce some notions about copyright and creative commons licenses. In general, the workshop offered the teenagers an introduction to audiovisual communication as well as creative commons licenses.

What should be improved for this activity?:

Participants were more interested in performing in front of the camera rather than in understanding and learning how they can make their own videoclip. It would be positive for further editions to find a balance between audiovisual literacy and performing in front of the camera (although learning how to communicate and act in an audiovisual medium is also a valuable skill). It would be interesting also to deserve more time for reflection and critical thinking about copyright issues, specially those that affect them more directly in their everyday practices.

Animation soup

Don’t eat the soup, become a short movie animation director. With soup pasta you can build a story, learn animation and Scratch programing, all at once! Let's create different team-made animations where you can be a writer, director and programmer at the same time.

Skills: programming | storytelling | design
Facilitation: Smalltalk.cat

Feedback/report

What happened? (Briefly):

I briefly watched this group, but did not pay extremely close attention. The session began with an overview by Jordi about what Scratch was, was Arduino was, and how kids could begin using Scratch to program Arduino robots like the one in a video hew showed.

In the time allotted for the session, kids began to start building with Scratch codeblocks to create a small animation on their screens. One or two kids were engaged with this task, but not many more than that. Some of the folks from Arduino were also looking on, but they were not involved in teaching or sharing their experiences from what I could tell. Overall, this was a somewhat subdued session.

What did kids discover or learn?

My sense is that kids learned 1) that programming wioth Scratch is easier than they first thought; 2) BUT that programming in general is slow and somewhat tedious process of trial and error; 3) that making robots move (the hook presented at the beginning of the session) requires A LOT of work--definitely more than could be accomplished in the OpenRaval sessions.

What should be improved for this activity?

I think this activity needs to provide youth participants with more immediate feedback somehow. I would suggest that some code for Arduino is already written and that kids are offered several options for alteration that allow them to make changes in the robot's behavior. This is an immediately recognizable--and cool--change, which is perhaps more visceral and captivating than the on-screen animation. An interesting alteration would be to build on a session where kids build something with Arduino and then learn via Scratch how to manipulate that in some way that they want. Basically, improvements should focus on increasing 1)immediate and big-impact feedback loops; 2) learning Scratch in the service of making something that the kids want to have happen.

S4A Digital Orchestra

Build your own digital instrument using Scratch and Arduino and become a musician of a digital orchestral. After learning and applying some basic we can perform together in an improvised “interactive-electronic orchestra”, as well as share the results online.

Skills: programming | improvising | music
Facilitation: Smalltalk.cat

Feedback/report

What happened? (Briefly)

The facilitator did a general introduction about scratch, what it is, uses as well as the existance of a community of developers who share and help each other. This let participants to acquire a general idea about this programming language. Following this, a more practical part started in which participants could use and experiment with the tool.

What did kids discover or learn?

Time was to short to develop a project and the session was more focused on trial and experimentation with the tool. Rather than knowing how to program with scratch they acquired a general idea about the programming language and the philosophy that lies behind.

What should be improved for this activity?

At the end of second session, ambient noise and tiredness affected the participants attention. According to this, it would be good to value if this workshop requires some concentration and needs a separate space. Another think to consider is the definition of a concrete task, a goal that can motivate participants, otherwise, after the experimentation phase, it is quite easy that they loose interest.

Touch and sound!

Lose all your fears about electronics and hardware stuff mounting a Drawdio. It consists in a very simple circuit that will allow you to make sounds when someone touches you, or using a pencil, even touching water! Don't you believe that? Then take a look at the video :)

Skills: assembling | circuit designing | creating stuff
Facilitation: MARF Informàtica

Feedback/report

What happened? (Briefly):

The facilitator started the workshop showing the participants what they will build during the session: a drawdio, a circuit that allows users to make music with different objects. The activity was engaging since the very beginning. Even at the end of the second session when everybody was tired and attention started to decrease, it was the only workshop in which participants keep working until the end. The facilitator help the participants when necessary, but in general, most of the work was done by them.

What did kids discover or learn?:

The workshop introduce participants to some basic concepts of electronics and circuits. They also discovered that building a drawdio was something affordable without great knowledge of electronics, with a bit of patience and time. Despite it wasn't time enough to experiment with the circuit, the presentation realized by the facilitator showed them that music can be created by interacting with the environment.

What should be improved for this activity?:

Time was to short to end the drawdios and this was a bit frustrating for the assistants as they wanted to take their working circuit home (some of the circuits didn’t work or couldn’t be ended on time).

Activities to develop/test/remix/share

This should be considered as the initial list of potential activities, which of course deserve detailed preparation and description before taking place. Please modify, comment or add proposals freely:

Write with the world

Use buildings or rivers like letters to write your name or any other word and get the coolest sticker ever :) But you should prove first you know something about the places the satellite has found for you, just grab the browser and look for more information if needed.

URL resources

  • Object for eliciting: geoeye_renderings7.jpg

Outputs

Video (still in postproduction): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sks2xb4cWW8

Find the shortest path

Ever wondered what could be the closest relationship between two distant cities? Between your neighbourhood and another one in the world? Find the shortest path using Wikipedia (some people call them "degrees of separation").

Introduce your city

Shoot a short video of yourself talking about the things you like or dislike in your city or neighbourhood. Then find related webpages (pictures, maps, Wikipedia entries) for creating a living background for what you say. Now others can see exactly what you're talking about!

Virtual walkshop

Do a magic walk, seek someone who's your age in the streets of the world. Call him or her your friend, take a picture and try to imagine how's does his/her daily life look like. Why is he or she there? What's he or she thinking?

URL resources

  • Object for eliciting: google_street_view_car_bristol.jpg

One book in one day

Let's write a small book against the clock. In one session we will decide what is going to be about, then write it all of us together at the same time (yes, it's possible), upload it and print it right away so we can find spots to distribute it in our way back home. For example your own city guide, for others to discover what you think is important. Why not?

Hack stuff

Bring some old machines, we will try to give them a new use with our imaginations. Afterwards we will share our inventions online but also compare them to what can be done online with just code. Is it the same thing or not?

Be a goodwill reporter

Grab a mobile camera in pairs and P2P-walk the streets around you. One is the cameraman and the other one the reporter (changing roles is advised). Stop people randomly (except if they look too stressed, let this ones go) and ask them about their wishes, or about unexpected good things they have recently experienced on the street. Collect some of these stories and publish them online on the go.

Contribute to Frikipedia

Ok, Wikipedia is a serious thing, and has helped you so many times! But now think about all those articles about your city or area, and the way they could turn into serious jokes. Find, modify and paste Raval's or Barcelona related articles in Frikipedia trying to follow its guidelines for good humour. Is not that easy, isn't it?

Print hard things

Sprint-write a short text about some of your neighbourhood' memories, urban legends or problems (add pictures if you want). Then print the smallest book possible, as many times as you want to see it around different places. You're not the writing-type of person? Then print a small 3D thing no one else has in the world (or only a few).

Teach the teacher

Send a short video tutorial to a teacher or relative showing him or her how to skate, dress, dance, rap, graffiti draw or any other thing you do well and will make any teacher be cooler. Be as respectful as he or she is usually with you!