We're at school, which, for better or worse, comes with its own vernacular. If you've found our site (welcome!) and do not go HGSE (see what we did there?), here's a quick glossary to get you in the loop with our reflections:


HGSE: The Harvard Graduate School of Education - where we're studying for the year. (Don't worry, we're shaking it up, MakerSpace style.)

TIE: Technology, Innovation, and Education - the program we're in at HGSE. It's pretty sweet. (And the best one. But we're biased.)

Gutman: HGSE's homebase, a library/study space/cafeteria/classroom building near Harvard Square.

T550: A class on constructionism at HGSE, called Designing for Learning by Creating, curated and facilitated by the inimitable Karen Brennan, modeled after a class she took while studying at the Media Lab at MIT. In her words, the class asks us to "investigate the theoretical foundations of learning and creating" and to "explore how to design learning experiences and technologies that support creating interactive media." GMS is our final class project. Learn more from their Twitter feed here. (We designed the background and cover photo for the page!)

Constructionism: This is a tough one. Constructionism is everything and it's nothing. Just kidding. But really. Basically, constructionism centers around the idea that learning happens by designing, makingbuilding, exploring, tinkering, and producing. It builds off of the learning philosophy of constructivism, which contends that knowledge is constructed through experiential learning (people construct mental models and gain knowledge through experiencing the world around them). Constructionism believes that learning happens best when people are creating meaningful products. Those products can be digital or physical. To learn more about constructionism, read anything by Seymour Papert.

Scratch: Scratch is a programming platform and authoring tool designed for kids, but super fun to play with as an adult, too. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarden group at the MIT Media Lab. As its website notes, Scratch is designed to prompt kids to "think creatively, reason systematically, and works collaboratively - essential skills for life in the 21st century." Most importantly, it's FUN. Saskia and Christan designed this and this Scratch project in T550.

MaKey MaKey: MaKey MaKey was also developed at the MIT Media Lab (they're kind of smart over there). MaKey MaKey is an invention kit that allows you to turn any conductive item into a computer key (either an up/down/side arrow, space bar, or mouse clicker). So that means you can turn a banana into a piano. Or tubs of water into a makeshift DDR machine. Or your cat into a space bar. Paired with Scratch, the possibilities are endless. It's the coolest.