Adventures in #MSUHub Coworking

On January 12, 2016, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf
Who is coworking today? I am coworking! Thanks @coworkmyr - what a great space!
(Picture from the now defunct MYR Cowork)


I’m a big fan of CoWorking. Ever since the idea started to emerge, I would seek these spaces out when I traveled.  I prefer CoWorking spaces over coffee shops as they often provide “nooks and crannies” for different styles of work along with an increased potential for connecting with others.

CoWorking spaces provide room for “the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other.” (Wikipedia)

The MSU Hub is hosting a series of Pop-Up CoWork events in Spring 2016. The pop-ups are intended to be short term, relevant, just in time opportunities to work with others around campus. The pop-ups are completely open, unstructured and user-generated. It is my goal to get students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni to attend and work together.

It’s not typically the case that a coworking space would have a particular objective or focus, but, we’re co-opting some ideas here (combining cowork atmosphere with the pop-up movement) as we’re experimenting this semester.  For example, our first pop-up cowork on January 5th focused broadly on “Data and Analytics.” The group started out working together, then, as we were working ended up breaking off into other workgroups – which – was exactly what I had hoped would happen. I could feel a bit of anxiety/fear that we all had to stay together, but, that is not the point of the cowork space.  Often, I go there to work alone! It’s the potential promise in having creative people together at the same time and same place that makes the CoWorking space compelling.

As I was cleaning up from our first CoWork the day, I found these notes left behind:

Artifacts from #msuhub coworking event today

In digging through the digital detritus left behind, I found this tweet: 

This tweet was generated by a question posted by a Music faculty member working on a project with schools in Detroit. Mary is the Director of the MAET certificate programs.  It’s not very likely Mary & Mark would have been in the same place at the same time – the cowork environment helped to build the potential for this connection to occur. 

If you have not experienced a co-work space before, expect a coffee shop-like atmosphere, but, with people who are eager to talk and help each other.

We have 3 more pop-ups scheduled (and more to come) – you can find more info on The Hub Facebook page (working on getting this out on more social media/calendars.) You do not have to RSVP (but are more than welcome to do so) and if you’re not specifically interested in the topic at hand, you can still come and work on other things.

January 19: Pop-Up Co-Work #2: GTD (Get Things Done)
Location: 301 Nisbet Building (easy parking!)

Co-Work #2 will be an opportunity for you to bring your current challenges, ideas and inspirations to the table. If you need a quiet corner to concentrate, we have that! If you need to bounce ideas off of others, we have that too! Come join us for a few hours of Getting Things Done!

February 12: Pop-Up Co-Work #3: Composition
Location: 301 Nisbet Building (easy parking!)

Co-Work #3 will be an opportunity to focus on composing. Composing is a cross-disciplinary act that appears in rhetoric, writing, film, music and beyond. Come join us to create, experience & compose.

February 26: Pop-Up Co-Work #4: Feedback
Location: 301 Nisbet Building (easy parking!)

Co-Work #4 will be an opportunity to focus on feedback. Feedback is a crucial component of educative experiences. Join us to work together to discuss modes, methods and models.

Use the comments section here, or #MSUHub on twitter to suggest specific topics or creative cowork needs. In the future we will be expanding the coworks out of the Nisbet building and will be holding pop-up co-work opportunities all across campus.

I look forward to seeing you there!


My new, new job: #MSUhub

On December 12, 2015, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

At the beginning of the semester I started a new position, which, over the past few months has evolved and I have been appointed as the Assistant Director of the MSU Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology.

The vision of the Hub is to: advance Michigan State University by realizing a more active, engaged, successful, and valuable student experience.

The mission of the Hub is to: facilitate the passion and inventiveness of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders both inside and outside of MSU to create, identify, and accelerate new ways to collaborate, learn, research, and deliver instruction.

This initiative is embedded into Provost Youatt’s strategic priorities for MSU and is a catalyst and connector for enhancing student success.

As we are starting out our work, I have helped to facilitate a month of design thinking activities to give our team embodied experiences in the process.

We started on November 12 with the Virtual Crash Course in design thinking from Stanford dSchool. We have used this for many years in the MAET Overseas program with great success. Here are some highlights from our experience:

  Then, over the past 4 weeks, we released a series of asynchronous “Design Challenges” in our team Slack channel. These challenges were quite intentional – allowing for embodied experiences in design thinking (along with team building and sharing).


The next iteration of our work happened yesterday (December 11) when we engaged in the Hub “design day.” Architects and designers from Smith Group JJR came in to co-facilitate our work. We built the day upon the thinking and work from the asynchronous design challenges. For example, the playlist for the day was made up of the songs shared during week 1 and was playing when people walked into the room. We started out with the Ready, Set, Design activity to set the tone for the day then dove into many iterative cycles. We then worked through case studies (which were based upon the work happening around campus Maker Spaces) While the first job of the Hub is to create the Hub, it was the first time we were all able to collectively work on “real” work that would fall in line with “Hub work.”

The Hub is very intentionally bringing together different stakeholders to conversations (at the same time & same place) around learning and technology.  I am most proud of the way students are members our team. They are not “token members on a committee,” they are our colleagues, partners and leaders in driving conversations in and about the Hub (and thus, teaching and learning at MSU.)
We are also very intentionally working transparently and iteratively (this reflective blog post is an example – there is a lot more to unpack in the work we did over the past 4 weeks!) It is in our nature to start a project, determine a path to completion, finish and move on.  Shifting our routines (my own included!) to work in a connective, design based manner will take practice.   After our experiences yesterday, and over the past month, I know we are starting to equip ourselves with the knowledge and experiences to make this happen.
You can follow (and think and share!) along with us @msuhub and on social media with the hashtag #msuhub.

Thank you Kimberly Bryant #ald15 #adalovelace

On October 13, 2015, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

I love the annual tradition of blogging for Ada Lovelace day! (Add your thanks, it’s easy – see how below!)

This year I would like to thank Kimberly Bryant.  Kimberly Bryant is an electrical engineer and founder of Black Girls Code.  The mission of Black Girls Code is:

to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders, coders who will become builders of technological innovation and of their own futures.

Follow Kimberly here:
and Black Girls Code here:

I am inspired on a daily basis by Kimberly and by the work being explored, created and shared by the girls and women involved in the Black Girls Code networks.

Read more stories about other amazing women by visiting: #ald15 today.


Add your story!

On October 13th, 2015 write a blog post about your STEM heroine and add it to our collection: Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Write about a woman in science, technology, engineering or maths whose achievements you admire.
  2. Publish your story online.
  3. Add your story to our collection.
  4. Tell your friends!


2014 Post – Thank you MSU Women in Computing (WIC)
2013 Post – Thank you Dr. Kyla McMullen
2012 Post – Thank you Mary, Pam & Catherine
2011 Post – Thank you Dr. Caroline Haythornthwaite
2010 Post – Thank you Dr. Catherine Mohr


Prepping for #DLRN15

On October 9, 2015, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

Next week I’m headed to the The Digital Learning Research Network (dLRN) conference at Stanford.  The theme of the conference is Making Sense of Higher Education: Networks and Change. From the website:

This conference will be of interest to researchers, academics, and practitioners who are exploring the many nuances of the complex and uncertain landscape of higher education in a digital age.

Well, yes that is of interest to me! Given my new role at MSU, I will be engaged in, and will have my ear closely tuned to, the Innovation and Work strand.  I was first drawn to the conference through a series of tweets and links, which, started with this reflective blog post by George Siemens. Several tweets and article reads later, I registered for the conference.

The fantastic Virtually Connecting group is deeply committed to helping connect people who cannot attend academic conferences to these experiences and they will be embedded in dLRN15. I am excited to volunteer to assist in their efforts not only by tweeting, but by shadowing an on-site buddy for one of the sessions. You can find out more about how to Virtually Connect (in ways beyond twitter) to dLRN15 here:

This blog post is a specific call to my network of colleagues who will not be in attendance – looking at the schedule, what sessions interest you? What sessions are you particularly interested in and how can I help curate and gather information and connections for you to bring back to MSU to continue our contextual conversations on these issues?

I’m beyond excited to be connecting with friends from my networks around the world who are also attending dLRN. In addition to the conference, I’ll be making a few special stops to see some MAET students and alums in action in the Bay Area and at Stanford, because Spartans Will!

Finally, I have never been to Silicon Valley, so, if you have any (culinary) tips (in particular) send them my way.


This morning I will be sharing (along with Mary Wever) the work we all have been doing in online, hybrid and face to face MAET programs at the Exploring the Creative and Innovative Instructional Makerspaces at MSU session at the Hive.

Much of the MakerSpace work in MAET centers around the course CEP 811: Adapting Innovative Technologies in Education. We don’t have our own physical dedicated Maker Space, we encourage our students to create their own “Maker friendly” environments in their schools or workspaces and to seek out existing MakerSpaces in their own communities to take advantage of these tremendous opportunities, spaces and communities.

Today we will be sharing:

bits and pieces from our online course:

our partnership with MSU Libraries for our hybrid program:

and our wonderful relationship with 091Labs in Galway, Ireland in our overseas program:

Annual 091Labs Visit

A few more resources:

Maker Education Initiatives: The View from MAET and MSU Libraries (Video)


Experiment #MSUFlyer

On September 21, 2015, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

In my new role I am lucky in that I get to meet people all across campus and I will get a chance to go into buildings I rarely get a chance to visit. As I returned to Erickson Hall for a meeting today I saw some great flyers for amazing events coming up in the next few weeks. Then, as I walked to my next meeting at the library, I saw more flyers for incredible things! I could not find some of these events replicated on other social media – which gave me an idea…while we’re waiting for an elevator or walking through buildings, can we take a minute help out our community and share flyers we find interesting? It could serve several purposes – connecting our community internally and also connecting to our online and hybrid students (who don’t get a chance to wander the halls) to these events as well.

SO, MSU friends, would you like to join me in this experiment? If you’re walking in your building and see an interesting flyer on a bulletin board or by an elevator, share it with the hashtag #MSUflyer. I experimented this afternoon and posted some of the flyers (with privacy settings set to public) on Facebook and they were shared! Just posted another to Twitter:


Let’s see where this goes! Thanks for sharing!


I had lunch with a friend (and great colleague) this afternoon and he asked me if I knew of any coding/technology communities for his 10-year-old niece.  She is interested in coding/making/tinkering, but, lives in a very small town. I checked to see if there was a CoderDojo in her area (they are popping up in the US!) but there was nothing close by where she lived. I also checked Kim‘s incredible Tech-Girls website to see if there were any opportunities there.  There were (not surprisingly!) some promising leads and virtual events – but nothing immediately struck me as filling the need for community and social collaboration my friend’s niece is searching for.

So I tweeted out to the universe:

And the wonderful universe replied (you can view the conversation thread here.)

SO here are my initial thoughts.  At first I asked about a “virtual CoderDojo.” But on my long drive home I was thinking that this may not be the best way to connect to a community.  I have been in countless virtual rooms (with video, audio, chat, all of the above) and I have found it hard to collaborate in the same way we have all seen at CoderDojos.  Then, I thought about recent work my colleagues in the College of Education have been doing with telepresence and the Kubi and Double “robots.” (See the full story here.)  I have had a few classroom experiences with the telepresence robots and they do give the virtual participant a solid presence in the room. You can turn and see who is talking, if you have the robot on wheels you can actually move around the room – all the things lacking if you log into a virtual space.

Which led me to two possibilities:

Thinking VERY big:

What if a few CoderDojos around the world were able to get funding to have a team of robots.  Remote/rural/homebound kids could find a directory of available slots and log in!

Thinking smaller:

What if, instead of the robot, a CoderDojo adult volunteer served as the telepresence? The remote participant could log into Periscope/Skype/FaceTime and then the volunteer could act as the guide/presence taking the participant around the room. Remote/rural/homebound kids could find a directory of available slots and log in!

In either case, you’re taking the remote participant and embedding them right in the action.  If they need help with Scratch, they can zoom over and find that affinity group, share their own screen, talk one on one, etc.  Has anyone out there in the CoderDojo universe tried this? Anyone interested in giving it a go?


New Opportunities

On July 28, 2015, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

I am very excited to share that I have accepted a new position at MSU as Director of Innovation Advocacy with MSU Global.  This is a tremendous opportunity and I’m very excited to continue to serve MSU and to continue to grow professionally.  (See the awesome job description below!) This excitement is certainly bittersweet as it means I will be leaving my role as co-director of the MAET program effective August 28th.

I started working with MAET ten years ago in the summer of 2005 as a graduate assistant, co-teaching with Punya in our East Lansing summer cohort. (In 2007, I moved into the role I have now of MAET co-director.) It has been a tremendous decade watching the field grow and watching the thousands of students I have taught & advised define the field in their own contexts.  MAET has given me the opportunity to see the world – our community has welcomed me into their countries, classrooms, and homes.  I would not be the teacher, scholar or person I am without MAET.  I have been privileged to help grow the program into what it is today – and to work with exceptional educators and colleagues who inspire me and those around them every single day.

This opportunity came about quickly and I’ll be working to be sure that a smooth transition plan is in place as I move into my new role. (MAET students, instructors and colleagues I will keep everyone posted on that plan once it is formalized!)  There will still be ways that I will be connected to MAET, so this is certainly not a final goodbye, but certainly a transition to a new relationship.

Thanks again to all of you who have supported and inspired me over the past 10 years – I’m looking forward to this new opportunity to continue to serve MSU – Spartans Will!


Job Description:

The Office of MSU Global seeks a Director of Innovation Advocacy to work with faculty innovation fellows and related projects to inform the conception and design process and expedite the adoption of innovative models and frameworks across academic units.

The Director provides administrative support to the Asst. Provost and Executive Director of MSU Global. The Director exercises independent judgment, and handles a highly diversified mixture of responsibilities in several specialized areas.

The most important responsibility of the Director will be to create an environment that supports idea generation and allows for the disruption and expansion of those ideas. The Director must have a passion for hatching, developing and executing ideas as well as an ability to effectively “stretch” the thinking of our faculty partners and clients.

His or her responsibilities would include, but not be limited to proactively seeking out and meeting with potential faculty partners; creating, co-developing and effectively disrupting and expanding ideas and concepts; project plan development and execution; working on collaborative faculty program development teams; securing internal and external funding; overall support for innovative activities of faculty and students.

The Director will also have responsibility for building and expanding networks across the university with faculty and organizations that have innovative interests or agendas. This responsibility would also transfer to external organizations where and when appropriate.  


The Twitterverse continues to inspire! A few months ago my friend Catherine received a message from Bonnie.  Bonnie had put out a call to action asking for interest in an asynchronous twitter chat connecting higher-ed classrooms & teacher educators (pre-service and in-service) via a common theme/article this coming summer.  A few direct messages and weeks later Bonnie’s vision has become reality.  This Wednesday – Friday (July 15-July 17, 2015) #MAETY2 students in the Michigan State University MAET Summer Cohort in Galway will be participating in the #ED1to1 chat to discuss Audrey Watters’ recent post: (25 years ago) The First School One-to-One Laptop Program.

While this is an explicit task for #MAETY2, I highly encourage anyone in the #MAET community at large to participate!

The other courses & professors participating formally are:

There will be a few guiding/prompted questions posted by Bonnie, however, the discussion will be organic and everyone will bring their own lenses, thoughts and questions to the Twitter table. A good place to start is with the question Audrey poses at the end of her blog post: So, how are schools doing with computing (and constructionism) 25 years later?

Make sure to use the #ED101 hashtag (and #MAET if you wish!)

See you Wednesday!


Thank you @091Labs

On July 9, 2015, in educational technology, by Leigh Graves Wolf

I want to take a minute to publicly send a sincere thank you to our friends at 091Labs here in Galway.  For the past 3 years you have welcomed our MAET students with open arms, hearts and laptops. You are so generous with your time, expertise and hospitality.  You are an integral part to our connection to the Maker Movement and our time here would not be the same without you. Thanks a million.
Annual 091Labs Visit