Our last meeting reminded me of a reality TV show: This is the true story of six strangers picked to inhabit a windowless room and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start building a MakerBot.
It’s one thing to order a MakerBot kit, unpack it, and decide for yourself how you want to proceed. It’s quite another to negotiate building a long-ish term project with six other people.
A couple group members wanted to dive right in—that is, grab whatever parcels they fancied and set to work immediately. Other group members objected to this method, on the grounds that the goal was for each of us to gain literacy (of a sort) with each component of the MakerBot.
In the midst of it all, surrounded by plastic-wrapped bundles of hardware, I realized I wasn’t sure what my own goals are for the project. Do I want to be able to make a MakerBot from start to finish, all on my own? Do I want to be able to share technical skills I have learned? Am I interested in acquiring technical skills, or am I interested simply in articulating how I acquire technical skills?
A little background about me: In my house, if a light bulb burns out, I declare the lamp “broken.” If the battery in my watch dies, the watch retires to my junk drawer forevermore. To be perfectly honest, “defragging” sounds like something you do to get rid of a Fraggle infestation.
I know, I know… as an HCDE Masters student, I need technical skills in order to be competitive in the Real World. And so far I’m still figuring out what skills I need, let alone how I will acquire those skills. Community college coding classes? Electronics for Dummies? Informal tech communities?
At this point, my goals are best described by a HCDE buzzword: emergent. But the task of defining and pursuing my goals is rather more urgent.