Sunday, September 8, 2013

Annual Post

The start of school us upon us again.  Teachers are back tomorrow and students enter the building Thursday.  The start of school each year brings with it a renewed sense of hope and promise.   At the beginning of school I return to the following post (third year in a row) by Will Richardson "What Did You Create Today?"  No matter what your goals are for the upcoming school year, let's hope our students reflect on and work towards addressing the following:

What did you make today that was meaningful?
What did you learn about the world?
Who are you working with?
What surprised you?
What did your teachers make with you?
What did you teach others?
What unanswered questions are you struggling with?
How did you change the world in some small (or big) way?
What’s something your teachers learned today?
What did you share with the world?
What do you want to know more about?
What did you love about today?
What made you laugh?

Worth Reading...

Passing along posts worth checking out on the eve of another school year.

1. Graphic Novel Depicts John Lewis' 'March' Toward Justice (Dirks)- graphic novel about the life of John Lewis 

The comic book tells the story of Rosa Parks' symbolic refusal ― but it also gives a detailed account of how to protest non-violently. It was a lesson Lewis took to heart when he staged sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville in the late '50s.

2. Schools That Practice Learning Literacy (Warlick)- ideas about addressing literacy and learning literacy

According to a 2010 Bowker report, 2009 saw 1,829 new books published in the U.S. about agriculture.  5,131 new books were published about computers, approximately 9,000 each about business and education. 14,281 brand new books were published about history – new knowledge about history.  As we gain more access to information and to each other, the new knowledge that we generate as a society not only astounds us, but it is forcing us to redefine what it means to be educated.  We have rapidly moved from a world of information scarcity to information abundance, and an education is no longer measured by what you can remember, but what you can learn and what you can do with what you’ve learned.
Teachers, who teach solely from their university experience do a disservice to their learners.  Teachers should model themselves as habitual and resourceful learners, and skilled artisans of what they’ve learned.  We must walk into our classrooms out of today, not from the day that they graduated.

3. Who Will Be Considered Literate in the 21st Century (Moore)- changing idea of what it means to be literate in an English classroom
Today, those who can code are the new scribes and the World Wide Web allows rapid sharing of skills and ideas. Parents and teachers do not necessarily personally need coding skills but should create the opportunities, wherever possible, to assist students pursue their passions, especially when our society will increasingly need their skills to solve our most pressing challenges.

4. You can find the most eye-opening things online. So why don't you? (Burkeman)- breaking out of an echo chamber on the web

But the offline archetype of the imaginary cosmopolitan is the person who feels proud to live in a diverse city or neighbourhood – while being forced to concede that his or her actual social circle is suspiciously full of people of the same ethnicity, social class or age range. (Does this describe you? Me too.) On the web, Zuckerman argues in his recent book Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans In The Age Of Connection, this phenomenon is amplified. We feel connected to distant corners of the globe – which makes it easier to ignore the fact that what we actuallyspend our time doing is chatting to the same kinds of people about the same kinds of stuff.

5. Work + Play = Freespace (Bowles)- notes from an experimental center in San Francisco

When a group of young people in San Francisco took over a 14,000-square-foot warehouse at Seventh and Market streets for June and July, they did what a lot of young entrepreneurs do with their spaces - made up a cool name (Freespace), got a bunch of 3-D printers and covered the walls in whiteboard paint.
But then they did something different: They turned the space into a pop-up community center, not only for laptop-toting entrepreneurs, but also for the homeless, high school students and artists - with events ranging from hackathons to parties to crafts programs for homeless teens.

Creative Workshop

Sharing some select excerpts from David Sherwin's Creative Workshop.

Well-seasoned designers understand understand that resilience in the face of repeated failure is the only path to success.  Improving as a designer requires us to consciously choose to explore novel territory as part of our daily work.

As  architect Matthew Frederick notes, "Being process-oriented , not product-driven, is the most important and difficult skill for a designer to develop.  Being aware of your working process as a designer and reshaping it to fit the problem presented to you is a lifelong process.

When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty.  I only think about how to solve the problem.  But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.

Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design

Things in the world move too fast for words. Sometimes they just need to be observed.  Sitting still, being present and noting people's behavior while withholding judgement:  These under-appreciated skills can have a powerful influence on our work.  They bring forth observations that give design a foundation in what we know, not just what we want or hope to uncover through the process of making.

If you're trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think.