-The follow will be earmarks in the exploits of a lifelong student trying to understand the world of education and the fast changing technology that affects it in order to become something else, something more.
Over the course of the past year, I have gone through a complete project investigating the coalition of collaboration and critique and its affects on Motivation on a small adult group. The group's prime focus was on education and the improvement of lesson plans. After processing all of Phase 1 and Phase 2, I shall finalize my findings and explore the possibility of a Phase 3. This has been such an eye-opening experience that I wish to share my findings with everyone. I believe that "there are certain things that should be done in person" and the presenting of my experience needs to be done by me, not to be left in the archives of the net, never to be seen again. This is important and I wish to share it with everyone. My topic can be shared in a broad enough circle, not only including education, but within the groups of business and technology fields. Since I have never done such a thing before I needed to find a place with a more willingness for inexperienced/first-time presenters. I have selected PodCamp Cincinnati 2012 for their welcoming approach to presenters and their broad range of topics, mostly centering around Social Media. Forums aren't enough anymore, as people (young and old) require an online platform with more features and a centralized location for resources.
So here is the last blog post for the Art of Possibility (Zander & Zander 2000) and I must say that it has been a very good read. It’s definitely going to be in a few Christmas stockings this year. I was particularly inspired in chapter 9 when the author spoke about working in the inner city schools. Newham is actually the first local authority I worked for and where I got started on the road of education. As a teacher it is almost a per-requisite to inspire, not only those we instruct but also those I work with. Empowering those around us in life to allow them to find their inner flame, facilitating a safe space to radiate their gift to the world, which is their individuality! How poignant, we are all co-creating the reality we experience around us! It’s never really just you or me. Just think about how dependent we are on electricity. Could we harness that power without someone turning that switch on? Another point to be mindful of is the choice we have over the quality of our experience. Once we take responsibility for our lives in this manner, we are then master of circumstance rather than victim. One thing I try to remember is this; imagine you start your life as a cup filled with water. After a while you need change the water. Putting in what you choose, dirty water or clean water. All of these fundamental truths have so nicely been put together in this book. It is easy to read, not too abstract and can strike a chord with so many different people. A Wonderful song for life.
Wow, what great insight you possess. You have taken pages and pages of text and summarize into a few quick sentences. Filled with such thought provoking messages and analogies. Hearing about where you started from and your relation to the story in the text must make it ever so much more meaningful for you and you must have gained a great deal more being able to relate to the text in tat fashion. I believe fully in "Once we take responsibility for our lives in this manner, we are then master of circumstance rather than victim", you are absolutely correct. I also wonder if it is possible to harness the power without having the need to turn on switch. Such great thoughts. Thank you so much for sharing.
This book for this course in previous weeks was a real quick read however, this week it seemed a bit drawn out with the examples the author used. I agree with him that they were necessary but I found myself hoping the concert with the young students would come and also end.
On a positive note, I thought the idea of avoiding the "downward spiral" by the use of enrollment was really quite good and also relatable. My job depends on how many students want to take the video/sound production course so this chapter gave me a sense of urgency for sure. I try to find the spark in the students and also those who come by to either shadow the class or even just drop in for a visit. I also try to look back at what my curriculum map has and be sure to update that each year in order to keep current with industry trends and also try to point those trends into the students interests. I can see how easy it is for people, teachers, and students can get into that downward spiral by saying no and not having a solution or even asking for a solution like the author did when he asked for the two quarters.
The other take away from the reading I had was "becoming the board." This was very interesting. Imagine how many of us could take some stress out of projects and life if we take ourselves out of the equations and figure out what the "player" was looking for. Cool idea and way of thinking. First I was a bit confused and list but when the conversation between yourself on how to get your boss to hear the ideas you have then made sense. For educators I am sure we are told too many times "no" on certain classroom ideas, but, if we find a way to bring up those ideas where we can show how it relates to the current school agenda or even state's changing standards then those conversation might actually gain more approvals.
The "Being the Board" chapter was also a great take away for me as well. It would indeed eliminate all the stress from the projects and keep yourself in check with one's responsibility and commitment to the project. For "Lighting the Spark", this was a given to me as one tries to motivate others' to be inthralled with the project there will be other who are not. But now I have a clearer understanding about the process and have gained some more tools. Thank you for your reading reflections.
The entire reading for this month has been so refreshing and enlightening. It has been such a great experience. Trying to refrain from my last Reading post, I shall leave it to a single chapter in which I can relate my experience to for it will suffice. The chapter of which held the most significance to is Chapter 10. Being the Board is such a profound expression that I shall hold within for as long as I am. By being the board, and not just the chess pieces it asks you to retain a state of responsibility at all times, or as often as your calculative self will allow. I know a great deal of responsibility and and accountability from a leadership camp I attended during High School. The camp experience was both zany and significant to who I am today and has taught me to lead a life that asks me to be responsible and show that to others as an example. However, the reading takes this ever so much more, a step further. For one can take leading by example as test to others or a stake to claim as it were, but this chapter asks us to eliminate to the example part entirely and to be responsible and accountable regardless of the situation. There is no right or wrong or a revamped version of the "blame game", but to entirely be acceptable of the moment, the present and to break the wall of the future and to open up to more possibilities.
As much as it pains me to not want to Publish and to miss the ISTE 2012 San Diego Presentation submission deadline by a few weeks despite my involvement with them I have come to this new conclusion. I have figured that due to my status of being a new Masters and the fact that I have not professionally presented at a conference puts my standings/rankings as a relative newbie; I have found myself looking at experimental conferences. One such conference is Podcast, which is the "unConference" of Conferences and is rather welcoming to new speakers. PodCast Cincinnati 2012 is accepting submissions for speakings and I do not see a deadline on the page. The fact it revolves around social media/Web 2.0 tools and the added benefit I can bring to its relation to Education is a plus and gives me a good chance at being accepted. This has a good feeling about it and I feel it is the best option available to me. Even though I do not think I will be accepted, I secretly hope I will be so that I can share my experiences with others so they do not fall into the same pitfalls that I have.
The Zanders wrote that sometimes people are confused between physical realities and abstractions (creations of the mind), and these abstractions prevent us from being wholly present with the way things are. We believe things that are not true and these things prevent us from growing and living in the present. I think also coincides with living in the past. We get caught up in dreaming of what could have been rather than dreaming of what could be and how to get there. We waste a lot of time putting out fires rather than living the dream. I'm not sure if maturity and age have anything to do with it, or if at some point in life you just have to say "quit taking yourself so seriously" and live. For me personally, I was tired of dealing with those who think they no what's best for me, so I quit them and took a chance on an education from Full Sail University. As I keep focused and see my dream of teaching in a university, I continue to work toward that goal and keep aligned with like-minded people. It's difficult to stay positive if you surround yourself with negative people. All anyone can do is keep plugging along and make the dream happen.
Very short and poignant, I am quite envious of your deep and thought-provoking post. It is so insightful, I cannot begin to put it into words. I wish to put all the questions you pose within your post, and place them on a coffee mug. They are excellent. My current slight concern is in regards to being surrounded by negative people. You realize that those people are also barriers and abstractions/distractions and that we must look beyond these as well. That is why I feel that social cliques and stereotypes aren't as beneficial as people think. Mankind has always been about labeling things and making things easier to understand, but when you do these things, it makes everyone a one prescription for all kind-of-deal, but humans aren't like that and can't be treated all the same. You should hold fast to your dreams, as they (to quote) "are a wish your heart makes". Be true to your passions and to yourself therein lies true happiness. You will benefit most from re-reading chapter 8 again. I do not wish to step on any toes, but I cannot ignore the fact that it seems to me you are just discovering who you really are and you are having trouble finding people to accept that for your current ties do not share the same but new visions and ideals as you do now. Please tell me if I am wrong, but know that you will always have someone to talk to in me. I believe we share many of the same views and aspirations. P.S. Your Voki made me smile. XD
I found the chapter on "The Way Things Are" to resonate with me. I pride myself on being a very creative, "out-of-the-box" thinker who can find new solutions for many of life's challenges and obstacles. I am also very determined and persistent about getting what I want. These qualities create a variety of effects; I often (but do not always) get what I want. When I don't get what I want I react in 1 of 3 ways; I find a new angle as a means to that end and try again, or I find a replacement goal and pursue that, or very rarely, I become angry and spiral into a black hole of loss of control. Being so adept at "controlling" my world also can have its backlashes; I have a tendency to WAY over-think things and second-guess myself into paralysis. Drives my mother crazy. I create too many options for myself which results in a condition I like to call FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). This is a Rule #6 moment; I am lol-ing at myself here... So I would say I have some difficulty with the practice of being with "The Way Things Are" (frequent yoga notwithstanding). Although the one exception to this for me is when it comes to other people and relationships in my life; I do not attempt to control people, I do not hold grudges, I do not often allow myself to be hurt by other peoples actions. This is another Rule #6 moment; people do not think about you nearly as often as you think they do, so don't imagine that their actions have anything to do with you. However the sum of these parts may actually be aligned with the practice of "The Way Things Are". The result is that I consider myself to be in complete ownership of all of my choices; that I have been lucky enough to have made every choice and had all of the control, which has landed me exactly where I am today. And I am not built for regret.
Regret is a perfectly viable human emotion and has its time and place. Please do not be so dismissive as regret can also be a form of reflection. It should be short and practiced sparingly, but to be completely ignorant of it can be rather dangerous. It is great to hear you completely own up to all your choices and this tells me you don't flop around with things and you are equally responsible and accountable (sorry was looking at some job interview sites). Being accountable is an extremely great quality to have and you should be very proud in that. Lastly, you should never have to "replace a goal" as you have said. When you replace a goal, you're changing the vision and compromising with the set reality. No one would have gotten anywhere if they just compromised. You should have a goal and stick with it, regardless of how hard or tough it is. A revision or a modification of the goal is one thing, but to "replace" it is completely mortifying to me. In any way, great post. Reading your blog has been a great reveal into who you are and how you intend to use what you have learned here.
Zander & Zander (2000). The Art of Possibility. The next set of chapters were even more wonderful pleasantries that I thought were obvious. But I continue to put myself out of my open shoes and into someone else's shoes who aren't so open. Someone who has gone through life letting their "calculative self" take hold of their actions. It is so easy to forget this valuable lessons in these readings and fall back onto old habits. I have personally been a practitioner of the ever vivacious "The Secret" when I saw the DVD back in 2006 and reading the book soon after. It followed the same concept of looking past the dreaded wall, the blaming, and all the other barriers that keep people from thinking about the other possibilities. It was nice to see this method back in action and myself being all to familiar with it. I cannot give myself to much credit, however I am one to never forget to give credit where credit is due and not blame others for my mistakes. Leading from any chair doesn't mean everyone can be a leader, it just means that by taking the ideas and opinions of others, it helps to improve the quality of the end result/product. I cannot help but see it all the time in kid's cartoons, though I seldom see it done outside of the cartoon world and into our own (minus the limited charities and food drives that get their five minutes of fame on the news). I had been recently researching successful business strategies for the 21st century when I stumbled upon an article regarding the importance of employee morale and identity to increase productivity. Multiple times throughout this research there were multiple references to the Walt Disney Company and there practices and how they have had business "magic" in addition to bringing dreams alive everyday to their customers in their parks and through their products. They stressed that the Walt Disney Company has the best, in the world, business practices and are constantly sought after by other top business. Some of their practices include how they treat their employees. I have always wanted to work for Disney/Pixar as a kid, that's why I went into Computer Animation, but now as an adult I still have a reason too. Not only have the stipulations of employees shattered, but the norms and guidelines as well. The particular points I want to emphasize (I could spend a whole blog post on Disney Business Practices but I won't) are training, recognition, individuals and incentive. The Walt Disney Company stresses the importance of these four points by offering their "Cast Members" a weekly training sessions for new employees, a monthly "Gong Show" for the addressing ideas to company Heads and an easy incentive program to build up time and extras while you work. It figures a company that was grounded by cartoons would be able to embrace and use cartoon methodology in all their workings. But in all seriousness, why is this so easily lost in the real world? Then it hit me, because the calculated self is about survival and fails to take into account others succeeding with you instead of just yourself. I hate to hear/read that humans are selfish by nature, but it just seems that there is little proof otherwise. I for one try to change this caste and at least make more moves that are for the greater good and benefit more than just me. Rule Number 6, wasn't an actual rule until I realized that I had already been doing it without even knowing it. I am not one to constantly want comedy, I really need to be in the mood to watch it and I never tell jokes nor readily laugh when the occasion calls for it. This probably makes me look like a stick in the mud. On the contrary, it makes those moments when things are hilarious more special, and those moments where I am stressed more available to me when I need them to be. While I was reading this chapter, I couldn't help but thing about my final months of my Computer Animation degree. The last five months are the best equivalent to hell I have experienced, but a good kind of hell. Between the long hours of working, sleepless nights, constant critiques and the multiple amounts of technical failure, I cannot even begin to describe how stressful this kind of work can be. After going through it and being in retrospect it is not as bad, but looking back at some of my reflective writings during those months I'm surprised I didn't hang myself. In any case, during those long render times, I found myself wanting to laugh and I would constantly be looking for funny things to watch or listen to while I worked. Two things which kept me sane were Disney Parodies and Teen Titan clips (I have a strange sense of humor). I didn't realize until I read this book how I instinctively knew what I needed when I needed it. Due to the exuberant amount of stress, the best way to relieve such stress was through laughter and comedy, the important Rule Number 6. It is crazy how easy it is to forget laughter and comedy in a workplace. But it is important that being really serious all the time will eventual burn one out and you can find yourself in a downward spiral. This brings us to why being in the "Present" helps us get to our passions. No one wants you to fail (well this can be debated, but this is getting rather lengthy already) and its important not to get stuck in a rut or all the coulds, the woulds and the shoulds. One needs to not be stuck at the wall or the other barriers and just be able to find themselves at the crossroads of possibility. Think about what you can do, how can you make the most of what you have? It is as simple as that some time and our calculative self gets so wrapped up in this, that and another to be blindsided into thinking about the simple solutions that are right in front of us. Passion in it of itself should be the guiding light you should base all your decisions off of, but for the calculative self, its not so easy and we make more and more decisions not based on passion. I want to put that I have been facing this dilemma, although my drive has been geared for Passion, I can't help but think about the ifs and the buts. A Professor told me that if one is passionate about what they want, there will be a way, you just have to continue until you find your way. I remind myself these words quite often and have told others the same words to give them courage. True one can take the safe route in which they can survive but if you want happiness you can only find that by doing what you are passionate about and that means taking risks, unexpected turns and the occasional leaps of faith.
I have always been a writer, there is no denying that, but from what I have researched and read from my other classmates the matters surrounding Publish are rather scary to believe. Not only will I be unable to change what I have posted or updated, it means I will lose the rights to my work work as well. All emotion to aside, this does not seem right as there are new changes in technology and education that can affect my research causing for a change. So scientifically I can see why I am unable to to adapt my writings as it were. Finally being able to get published is one dream I have, but I do not wish to do it this way. Open Access allows you to keep an archived copy of your work that can be accessed by anyone.
Looking at the terms of presenting a Presentation in a public venue has garnered a lot of attention and seems to be more interesting to me and my findings. With the way technology is moving people would rather watch a TED video than reach a bunch of Research Papers. But with that in mind, where can I present for a newcomer like me? Looking through the list that was given to us, I recall seeing the name ISTE before. Looking through my computer for the answer, I found that I had attended a conference in Second Life and I had joined the group two years before. I am unsure what "validity" has to do with certain conferences, but the SITE Conference has a real conference and a virtual conference that sounds really promising. Though the expiration for proposals has past it will be something I will have to be mindful of next year. I really like the idea of doing a virtual conference and I am looking for more. The GAETC was something I had more possibility of going to since its only a few states away and was interesting to look at since it happened this past weekend. I couldn't find a place to submit my own presentation, but they talked about the types of Sessions they have which included: Bring-Your-Own-Technology (BYOT), regular, special, Birds-of-a-Feather and Smackdown. It was fairly humorous to read these names but the names are really about getting information out there. Hopefully once the hype dies down from the convention, they will a place to go submit for next year's conference. As often as I frequent to TED and would love to attend the TED Conference myself, I don't think I have any real criteria to go as a Presenter. My meager research is nothing compared to saving the world from itself. Since I think I will choose to do a Presentation, I still need to do more research on where to do it, I'd hate for all my hard work to be lost in the digital space.
In any case, I would like the opinions of my classmates before I make a definite decision. Please leave a comment, I will ask in my Facebook Group and ask the class during Wimba. Thanks again.
Reading "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander was enlightening, yet a repeat of ideas that teachers should base their classes on. Maybe I've been spoiled by 10 months of interaction with teachers and students in the EMDT program, but the ideas presented so far in this book seem like no-brainers to me.
In the section about Giving an A, the authors discuss the need to remove measurement from the equation, and thus take the fear out of failure in the students. While this type of idea is not well supported by our current education system, due to everything being based on graded outcome, this idea should be at the heart of all educators: Allow your students to flourish, teach them that mistakes are part of the process, and allow them to concentrate on the person that they become through the knowledge that is gained, not the grade on the test.
Edit: Sorry, apparently in my "copy/paste" I somehow only grabbed only the first two paragraphs, so here is the rest:
I love the idea of "line up with her students in their efforts to produce the outcome, rather than lining up with the standards against these students." In my lighting course, my final project allows the students to choose a song, and create a lighting design for that song using the technical programming skills that they have learned in my course up to that point. For years I struggled with this project, as it could very easily become a grade based on my expectations, rather than the students' efforts and growth in their abilities. About 4 years ago, I introduced the idea of "concept" into this project, where the students must submit their overall vision for the project, as well as what they hope to accomplish through this, prior to them beginning work on the actual show. I use this concept, much like the authors used the "Why did I get an A" assignment, to establish the expected outcomes from my project, and see which students push themselves to reach and possibly exceed their own expectations. This really has taken me out of the picture, removing any preconceived notions that I may have as to what the final design should look like, and allows me to grade students based on their progress and accomplishment of their goals.
You have such good insight Shawn, thank you for sharing. I find it great that you are already taking what you have read and found comparisons to your current teaching method. The fact you remove yourself from the learning process is great as I feel the learning becomes more connected and it will be something they will remember longer and further down the line of their lives. Its good you have found the balance of being there and knowing when to step away from your students. Taking the fear out of the learning helps so much and is one less thing they have to think about. If only we could bring education out into the 21st century, it would make things so much easier. Great job!
Zander & Zander (2000) Art of Possibility, put into words several concepts and ideas that I have not been fully able to express. I believe in thinking outside of the box. A concept often quoted but never fully realized by those of us who use that term. But I have, for quite awhile thought outside of the box, which is why I do the things that I do the way I do them. Zander & Zander (2000) stated, “all life comes to us in narrative form; it's a story we tell.” This is how we learn, from the stories that we are taught about the past, the stories that we hear, the stories that we tell others and ourselves. Zander & Zander also stated, “It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us.” I like this statement so much, and I think it’s a wonderful way to look at life. I also liked the idea of the paradigm shift, shifting the framework to allow for the outcome that you want.
On the first day of class, I express to my students as we review the syllabus that they all start out with A’s and they decide if they will maintain them. It works for a shore time but the students still begin to be stressed over assignments and grades. I appreciated how the “A” concept was articulated and feel even more confident that I can relay the “possibilities” to my students so that they are empowered. I thought that the exercise of having the student’s write a letter from the future was brilliant. To gets students thinking about themselves in a different way, they write the script, and this gives them more control. It gives students the opportunity to verbalize the best of what and who they are. Zander & Zander also stated, “The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.”
All of this leads to the chapter on “being a contribution.” Deciding, making a conscious decision that you “have worth” and have something significant to contribute to the world changes how you function in the world. Understanding that your presence makes a difference in the world. It reminded me of George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. Clarence the angel who had to earn his wings shows George what the world would be like without him. We often feel that if it’s not some front page, 10 pm newsworthy thing that we do, it’s insignificant. But I have found that just saying hello to someone you pass on the street makes a world of difference. “The only grace you can have is the grace you can imagine.”
Agreed with Shawn, you have done a splendid job at summarizing this book up thus far. I have to say that your metaphor to "Its A Wonderful Life" was a great comparison to the book. Teaching your students to look past the grades is great and prepares them better for the real world. Who gets graded in the real world? Its only used within schooling. Everyone can make a difference in this world, or make a world of a difference to a single individual and you, I feel have done both. Thank you so much for sharing with us your thoughts on the selected reading.
Zander & Zander (2000). The Art of Possibility. I have always been considered by others and myself as a "smart-pessimistic" meaning the fact that I think too much about everything. I can spend hours thinking about a particular one thing or action. While others are losing sleep by being reckless and partying, I lose sleep by thinking about how other things affect other things. I do not mean to be vague, but by things it could be a multitude of different subjects. I could be thinking about my dreams, the world news, the suffering during some war, a book, a different driving route, people (old and new) and the list goes on. This book, how often that I read and pause to think about what is happening and why it is happening... It really is a stand-alone. It doesn't require me to stop what I am doing and look up something in Wikipedia. I don't need to look at one of my other books to see what it relates to. I don't have to call someone I know to discuss the themes of the book. It really was such a nice book to read, and that fact it is my textbook means more. This is to be learned and not just to be shelved, or forgotten in the memory of my computer. The authors of this book have such a way with words. Not being too complicated or simple, telling what they need to tell without overdoing it ( a problem I still have apparently ). They way they intertwine their stories with the text. Its all rather nice. And the misconception most people have about this book, and I myself at first, is that they aren't really about being "optimistic". They have said it multiple times about "not because we have done a measurable amount of good, but because that is the story we tell" and they do that very well (p.56). We add the connotations of something being good or bad. We assign what an "A" means. We assign what a "F" means. Society takes something and we immediately have to categorize it as something bad or something good. We have evolved beyond basic primal instincts of survival. We have evolved beyond the need of living in homes of caves and trees. Why haven't we been able to look past the need to categorize things has good or bad. We need to believe that we have evolved far enough to know that by defining this labels we hurt ourselves i the process. We need to be thinking about how it is and why it is. The story themselves are nothing without reason, and we make it that reason. Our contribution as educators and teachers affect everyone we meet, whether we teach them in a classroom or on the street. A bit more worldly, even though we have been hired to be "teachers" our job doesn't stop like normal jobs from 9 to 5 and not everyone needs a license to do it. As we take it upon ourselves to stop being just teachers in a classroom, we need to be educators teaching others and "life-long" learners when we are being taught. There are men and woman out there doing it everyday. We need to think past passing and failing and be more aware of "progress" and "contribution" for they are both without sides. The writers have done such a great job at explaining how to take good and bad out of the equation and simplifying thinking even more so. By "inventing" new ways to see the world has given me a great deal to think about, though not as I usual do. I will start every night before I sleep with "how have I contributed today?". I should sleep more soundly. The cure for insomnia isn't pills or warm milk but mind resolution, instead of thinking about the what-ifs and the worry of tomorrow, think of the possibility and what you can contribute.