Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Incomplete manifesto for Growth

I was just moved to reread Bruce Mau's An Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.  There are so many impressionable statements, but right now, the following thought is grabbing my attention and in particular, the second sentence about growth.

Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child). Joy is the engine of growth. Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Worth Reading...

Sharing a few posts worth checking out.  

1. Manifesto 15- thoughts about how education should evolve in the near future

“The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed” (William Gibson in Gladstone, 1999). The field of education lags considerably behind most other industries largely from our tendency to look backward, but not forward. We teach the history of literature, for example, but not the future of writing. We teach historically important mathematical concepts, but do not engage in creating new maths needed to build the future. Moreover, everything “revolutionary” taking place in learning has already happened at different scales, in bits and pieces, at different places. The full impacts for ourselves and our organizations will be realized when we develop the courage to learn from each others’ experiences, and accept the risk and responsibility in applying a futures orientation in our praxis.

2. Purpose of Education Is To Prepare Students For Life, It's That Simple- short but to the point post about making sure we prepare students for life and not focus on jobs that may or may not exist.

I agree with Ken Robinson. The core of our job as educators is to prepare them for "Life after school." It's really that simple. They don't need to be narrowly pigeonholed into existing jobs or jobs that "might" exist. They need the "mental, emotional, social and strategic resources" to live in a world that none of us really know about. Instead of rolling the dice with the lives of those we teach, we need to provide an education that allows them to face the unknown.

3.  Is Design Fiction the new Design Thinking?- the post explores he emergence of design fiction 

By making the familiar strange and the strange familiar, design fictions can ask questions about our everyday lives that other modes of designing cannot. While this may not be appealing to the pragmatists out there, it is a highly creative way of opening up some of our most challenging problems for discussion. 

4. The Future of Work and Learning: The Professional Ecosystem (Hart)- View on how professionals learn through a set of organizational and personal, interconnecting and interacting elements

There’s no longer such thing as a job for life; people are constantly moving around, and we are now seeing the early-stages of the so-called Freelance or Gig Economy. Individuals need to be ready to drop in and out of jobs with up-to-date skills and knowledge, as required. In order to do that they need to take responsibility for their own career development; they can’t rely on their company to support their career aspirations – so they need to be constantly learning in many different ways, not just for their current jobs but for their future jobs. This means they need a strong set of personal elements so they can learn continuously learn from e.g. exposure to people and from a flow of new ideas and resources. 

5.  Changing the Subject (Riordan and Rosenstock)- What Should Students Learn in the 21st Century?

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

I just finished reading Angela Duckworth's book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  I'm sharing a few personal highlights below. The book is a must read for those who work with children.  Duckworth shows anyone striving to succeed—be it parents, students, educators, athletes, or business people—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and I do think it’s related to staying true to our commitments even when we’re not comfortable. But getting back on the treadmill the next day, eager to try again, is in my view even more reflective of grit. Because when you don’t come back the next day—when you permanently turn your back on a commitment—your effort plummets to zero. As a consequence, your skills stop improving, and at the same time, you stop producing anything with whatever skills you have.

Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often. Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.

What I mean by passion is not just that you have something you care about. What I mean is that you care about that same ultimate goal in an abiding, loyal, steady way. You are not capricious. Each day, you wake up thinking of the questions you fell asleep thinking about. You are, in a sense, pointing in the same direction, ever eager to take even the smallest step forward than to take a step to the side, toward some other destination.

My own experience, and the stories of grit paragons like Jeff Gettleman and Bob Mankoff suggest that, indeed, grit grows as we figure out our life philosophy, learn to dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment, and learn to tell the difference between low-level goals that should be abandoned quickly and higher-level goals that demand more tenacity.

Hope does not define the last stage of grit. It defines every stage. From the very beginning to the very end, it is inestimably important to learn to keep going even when things are difficult, even when we have doubts. At various points, in big ways and small, we get knocked down.

Instead, interests are triggered by interactions with the outside world. The process of interest discovery can be messy, serendipitous, and inefficient. This is because you can’t really predict with certainty what will capture your attention and what won’t. You can’t simply will yourself to like things, either. As Jeff Bezos has observed, “One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves.” Without experimenting, you can’t figure out which interests will stick, and which won.

John Wooden, was fond of saying, “Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.