Creativity comes from the spaces

Mountain_path_pagoda_for_relaxation_and_viewing

Earlier today, my computer was acting weird, so I decided to reboot it. Rather than simply restarting it, though, I shut it all the way down.

This is probably the first time it has been completely shut down in a month. I’m one of those folks who tends to just shut the lid and let it hibernate so that it’s instantly available when I need it, and since it’s a Macbook, it can be weeks before some software glitch causes enough of a problem to make me reboot compared to having to do that two or three times a day sometimes on a Windows machine (although I’m not really trying to restart that debate).

The sense of relief and relaxation I felt was remarkable mainly because I hadn’t noticed how tense I felt until then. Continue reading “Creativity comes from the spaces”

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Appreciation is not a political statement

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My dad was a paratrooper in World War II, who spent most of the last months of the war languishing in a German POW camp. (I told part of his story in The Greatest Story Never Told.) I remember him being disturbed at the way soldiers returning from Vietnam were treated. I don’t remember his opinions on whether that war was “justified” or not. I just know he thought it shameful that people would disrespect those people, who had already gone through so much hell, and that he was determined I not have to go.

Several recent conflicts have been compared to Vietnam, mostly in terms of quagmire. I tend to agree that our political leaders have involved us in the kind of foreign entanglements George Washington warned us against, a warning we have pretty much ignored. But I am glad that, as a country, we have seemed to recognize the difference between protesting a given war and marginalizing those who simply serve the nation.

You don’t have to agree with the politicians to support the troops. Continue reading “Appreciation is not a political statement”

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“But I worked so hard!”

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Here’s one reality of preparing a speech: there is no necessary relationship between how much effort you put into preparing for a speech and how well it turns out.

It is true that most people (in my opinion) underestimate the effort required to do a good speech, in terms of research, organization, rehearsal, and delivery. Nevertheless, it is also true that you can spend months preparing for a speech and spend joules of energy, and still have a bad speech. Continue reading ““But I worked so hard!””

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Teaching as curation

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There was an idea that audience members at the Roane State Ed Tech Academy seemed to find intriguing that we never developed too deeply: the idea of the teacher as curator. It’s an intriguing idea. Let’s dig into it a little more here.

This is not a new idea. I think I first heard the term from my colleague Audrey Williams speaking at an academy for the Tennessee Regents Online Campus Collaborative. It immediately resonated with me as a great metaphor for teaching in the information age. Since then, I have come across lots of references to the idea, beginning most prominently with an article and related talk by George Siemens in 2007.

As we mentioned at the Roane State academy, if we as teachers believe our primary values lies in transmitting information, we are in trouble–there are cheaper, faster, more efficient ways of doing that. That’s never been our primary role anyway, but when getting information was difficult, it was an important part of the mix.

Now, the problem isn’t getting enough information; it’s processing the firehose of information. Continue reading “Teaching as curation”

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Little differences in words make big differences

lightning

Mark Twain once said in a letter to George Bainton, in 1888, “The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

As we’ve said here numerous times, it’s not what happens to you but what you think about what happens to you that determines your experience. The different flavors of words shapes the way we think about our world, and therefore shapes our experience.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the difference between being humbled and being humiliated. Continue reading “Little differences in words make big differences”

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