Quilt making in digital world —— some thoughts out of learning and making from a “student’s” perspective

Doing he Quilt project which used Lynx was an interesting and enlightening experience. To do a learning project during packed working day actually brought me joy and gave me time to think and reflect in a “student”’s perspective.

To give students enough choices would result in more possibilities to their learning outcome. This could require enough yet not too much instructions, support from others when needed, and a heart for adventures!

At the start of the project, the participants were introduced to the Lynx platform and how its “languages” work. Then there were some examples showed us how to do the basic moves and some complex combinations, and then there we go! Honestly it took me a while to get into it because I don’t have a background of science or coding so I would not say that I was quite confident of what I would make out of the project. On the other hand, the quilt has always been a good way to show the creativity and art of a certain group of people. In this case, choosing a satisfactory quilt pattern also cost me quite a while (plus some traditional patterns look nice but quite hard for a beginner to make.) Inspired by several traditional “lucky patterns”, I first drew several possibilities on a paper, and then narrowed them down to one for trial.

In the beginning of the quilt making, I found the instructions quite useful for getting the Lynx language logic. On the other hand, there has already been some successful quit pieces already. The coding blocks helped me as additional examples to the basics ones. However, I still got a bit lost in the middle of the process as my pattern requires irregular curves. I tried many different moves but the parameter didn’t seem to be quite right as how I wanted. And since I missed the group discussion session, I failed to ask for timely help. Having said that, I still felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished my first quilt piece.

But even when I thought that I finished the quilt piece, there was still a little part of the pattern went out of the square. So I asked for suggestions from ICT teacher in other department. It’s reasonable but also unexpectedly, he learned the Lynx language so quickly! And he offered me a way which uses the bigger circle to form the parts of my pattern. The method was not that hard to understand, but for me, it was about thinking out of the box or actually thinking with a different logic. I’m wondering if both of our ways are right? Or if there is one way which should be considered as a “better” choice?

All in all, it is not only an individual project but also a group project which makes it quite distinctive. Several tips to my future projects planning are: 1) Try to give the least possible amount of instructions to give more room for students to dive in; 2) Timely scaffolding is essential for those who might not be so good at certain softwares; 3) Keep on reminding students to learn from each other; 4) encourage students to ask so that they might find ways to think out of the box; 5) give enough time to students but not too long so that they can keep the interest. 6) give student extended projects so that the fast ones can reach their potential. (Just like the fast fellows could make more quilt pieces and put others’ work together to make a bigger quilt.); 7) Project like this will motivate student to think and work on it even after it has finished. (just as there are so many other code blocks from other fellows that I wish to look more into.)

This learning experience also reminded me of digital art making trend nowadays. Maths logic is actually behind a lot of art work and it is an art itself. In retrospect, although the ancient people didn’t know much about maths, they could also make seemingly precisely calculated pattern with ancient wood sewing machine and also be very creative about different patterns. How did they make that happen? I’m very curious about it.

The original plan
What I actually made
Other teacher’s suggestion of the idea of the coding graphs

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