Last week the CLMOOC Week #4 was about hacking our writing. I had a hard time grasping what that meant. On Wednesday we all shared in Hack Your Notebook Day (HYNB2014). It was super fun creating electrical circuits in a little notebook and creating little drawings that lit up. This didn’t have much to do with writing, but it was fun, and I think I might be able to think of ways to use it in my classroom. Imagine, you read a story with the class, and you want them to react in some way to it. Maybe they draw their “Aha!” moment, and then make it light up. Now that is a lot of work for one Aha Moment, but maybe I could come up with a way to make it worth spending that much time on it. Engagement, for one thing. I search for engagement with my students, always.
Beyond the notebook hack, however, I was kind of lost by the writing hack assignment. Is it creating something digital like a ThingLink to tell a story? A digital story of sorts as a way to make what you have to say more vivid and engaging? Maybe.
I thought about a poem I’d rewritten a few months ago. I took the poem “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” by Wallace Stevens and rewrote it as “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Classroom.” My friend and colleague, Tanya Baker calls this hacking a piece of writing. Lord knows I’ve done plenty of that. I love to find an interesting piece of writing and change it up. So this is hacking my writing? But what is new about that? Maybe I should take my hacked poem and further hack it by making it digital?
Creating this Haiku Deck of the poem was interesting as I discovered that the photo I chose for each card was a way of hacking the poem. The photo had the power to change something poignant to something a little funny. So then is this a multi-layer hack? From the original poem to my rewritten poem to a HaikuDeck presentation with photos?
But then someone mentioned that a hack by its nature needs to include an aspect of subversion, and I was gone. It has to be subversive? As in what? Examples, please. I didn’t find such an example, so I remained in a state of flummox. All week. Until today when I decided to try to sort it out by writing about it. And maybe I’m now a little closer to getting what I mean.