Blog Post

We're Storming! How About You?


Drumbeat Learning, Freedom and the Web Festival


or find out how to get more involved

Visit the HASTAC TENT, Storming the Academy, at Drumbeat Barcelona, Learning Freedom, and the Open Web, Nov 3-5, Placa dels Angels, Barcelona, Spain


This is a reblog and then an interview I did for the Drumbeat website

We are using lessons from collaborative open web development and peer-to-peer learning and assessment to storm the academy at the first international Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona, Nov 3-5. Surrounded by pioneering open source web developers and experimenters in online peer-to-peer learning, we are using methods of the open web to look back and at shake up traditional learning institutions. Were looking at four key areas that need storming: collaboration, syllabus building, assessment, and publishing (including peer review). Our chief idea is that face-to-face learning should not be taken as a given in education but as an affordance, as an opportunity not a default. How does thinking about the unique opportunity to learn together change the components of traditional learning? Where else do people come together to interact face-to-face and why? Going to movies together, watching sports together, participating in a Drumbeat Festival together: all are premised on the unique social conditions of collective, face-to-face interaction. Traditional education often forgets that crucial social condition and takes its collective opportunity for granted. Heres the mantra: If your classroom can be replaced by a computer screen, it should be.

Second, our other goal at Drumbeat Barcelona is to create a public voice, public representation, and public performance of the ideals and purposes of Learning, Freedom, and the Open Web that our developer-colleagues will be developing along side us. We provide critical and creative articulation of open web goals and believe that, without this articulation, the goals themselves suffer. You need both critical thinking and critical doing to keep the Web free and open. So we are planning a series of interactive creative and critical thinking activities for Festival participants. And, since we will be located in an actual tent out in Plaa dels ngels, the gorgeous plaza in Raval, between the Museum of Modern Art and the FAD, we will involve random participants traversing the square in our learning activities too. Students from Duke University will be developing a FutureClass website and class in a box collecting tools and responses to the Drumbeat Festival and making it available to all during and after the Festival.

In our tent will be several people from HASTAC (Haystack), a voluntary network of networks of about 5000 people dedicated to creative development of new technologies for learning and research, critical thinking, and participatory learning. HASTACs central infrastructure is based at Duke University and from Duke will be Cathy Davidson (one of HASTACs founders), Mandy Dailey (HASTAC Senior Project Manager), Nancy Kimberly (HASTAC Project Manager), plus five students (undergrad and grad in five different disciplines) from Cathys Future of Thinking tutorial (Nick Bruns, Robbie Curtis, Jade Davis, Sam Iglesias, and Whitney Trettien). We will also be joined by Anne Balsamo (another HASTAC founder, from USC) and Trebor Scholz (New School).

Were storming! How about you? Join us at the Storming the Academy tent!

Original post by Cathy N. Davidson.

Ideas online are often like needles in haystacks. You explore one and encounter many brilliant projects.

Cathy N. Davidson is the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English at Duke University and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is also the co-founder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). Pronounced "haystack": it is an international network of educators and digital visionaries committed to the creative development and critical understanding of new technologies in life, learning, and society. One of their projects is the Digital Media and Learning Competition. This participatory learning challenges young people to explore and engage using digital media - a more familiar landscape. With guidance from interdisciplinary experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, students create while learning.

Cathy hacks education and wrote a well-known piece: How To Crowdsource Grading. She is a leader inspired to alter our paths of education using collaboration that hacks stacks with needle precision.

We are honoured to have Cathy join us at the Drumbeat Festival and asked her a few questions:

What will you do at the Drumbeat festival?

We are planning to host a rolling, interactive three-day workshop on "Storming the Academy," where we engage in a variety of projects, activities, and contributive exercises to end up with a "class in a box," a toolkit that anyone can use to find ways that the methods and mechanisms of the Open Web can be applied back to make innovation in the academy. Whether peer-reviewing systems for grading, developing a tool for representing minority opinions in a crowd or a tag cloud, crowdsourcing syllabus development, or creating devices to aid students in their reading assignments or in building online reading communities as they read difficult works, we will be putting together the components of new forms of interactive, peer-inflected education that we will make public in process and, edited, later on and that we hope will help others to experiment and innovate.

Who are you looking forward to meeting?

My list is so long I don't know where to begin. Among others: Joi Ito! I know Mimi and have followed Joi around but never met him. But I'm also interested in the youngest, most quirky, most idiosyncratic of students. I want to know why they are coming, what they think they will learn. I learn from them.

What is the most exciting thing happening in education and the web today?

All the forms of open and peer-to-peer learning are thrilling. I'm also a huge admirer of schools using games and game mechanics to teach core subjects in K-12. In more traditional education, I am thrilled that Duke University has asked me and HASTAC to develop a new, visionary "re-professional" Master's in Knowledge and Networks (MAKN) that both looks deeply at the new forms of reading, writing, communicating, and interacting online in a historical and philosophical context but then also immediately offers students the challenge of applying deep learning to designing new communications systems for learning institutions, community organizations, and small businesses partnering with the program. The program is for computer scientists who have no training in the lived, real-world challenges of information dissemination today and for those in the arts and humanities who need to develop their skills in programming or web design. Were accepting comments for the new "re-professional" master's degree, Master's in Knowledge and Networks.

Cathy participated in Duke Universitys Ustream Office Hours in September 2010. Her session was titled: Learning in the Digital Age:


Really looking forward to meeting Cathy in person to storm with brains!

Original post by Heather Leson.


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