Assigning myself a learning challenge…CHANGEd: What If…60-60-60 #0

Last week, at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference, someone I deeply respect and admire essentially expressed to me that I blog too much. She told me that I, and a few other educational bloggers, overwhelm her with too many posts in a particular period of time. That comment has been bouncing around in my mind since that post-session conversation last week.

Ironically, for quite some time, this colleague and I have been discussing the nature of innovation, especially innovation in schools, and we agree that habits of questioning, experimenting, sharing/networking, and practicing are essential, necessary, iterative components to innovation. Among other purposes, I see my blog as a means to raise questions, experiment with ideas, practice ideation, and share/network with other educational thinkers and doers. During my brief blogging history, I have experienced periods of rapid ideation, and I have experienced periods of slump…frozen-fingers-on-the-keyboard. I imagine a frequency diagram of my blogging would be fairly sinusoidal, with some moments of high frequency and some moments of low frequency. So, maybe I do have some responsibility to monitor more carefully the idea-rich moments and my desire to share. I wonder what his responsibility is to develop a comfortable method for tracking the blogs that she likes to follow.

On another line-of-flight thought, I really like daily blogs like the 3six5 and edu180atl, but these daily collectives restrict their authors to a certain number of words in each post. And I really like the concept and practice of 50-word mini-sagas, too. Hmmm….

As I have continued to ruminate on my colleague’s comment, my love of short dailies, and my appreciation for a well-turned mini-saga, I have made myself more aware of others’ blogging practices, especially one blogger that I hope to emulate – Seth Godin. Particularly since the collegial comment last week, I have paid even more attention to the fact that Seth Godin blogs almost everyday, and he packs a lot of punch into brief, concise packages of posts.

So, in the spirit of learning out loud and learning in public, I have issued myself a learning challenge. I am going to try to synthesize a few of the contemplations summarized above, and I will attempt to do the following – I will post 60 ideas for educational change in the form of “what if” questions, I will do so for 60 days straight, and I will constrain my posts to around 60 words each (and maybe an image, an embedded TED talk, etc.).

I am thinking that I might set 60 drafts to autopost at a certain time each day. As I find a few minutes, I will enliven the template with an idea each day. Each post will start with the title, “CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 #X.” I plan to insert at the beginning of each post the logo that I designed for fun this morning. And I’ll add a new category to house just these 60 posts. More scaffolding may evolve along the way, but that’s my basic framework for now.

I imagine that I will strike out and fail miserably on a few days. I hope that I will hit a few homeruns in 60 days and 60 attempts. What I know for sure – I will learn from the experiment. I dream of helping others to learn and inspiring others to do. After the 60 days, I cannot wait to revisit with my admired and respected colleague – we’ll have so much to talk about.

See you tomorrow for “CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 #1.” It’s already in the hopper!

79 thoughts on “Assigning myself a learning challenge…CHANGEd: What If…60-60-60 #0

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  60. Strikes me that when the person said I feel overwhelmed by following your blog and others’ blogs, that comment reflects their state of mind. Maybe the guilt they feel not “keeping up.” Who are we keeping up with? I appreciate that you responded to their feelings and think you came up with a great idea to purse. However, in the end they can choose to follow or not, comment or not, follow only one blogger or follow many. My feeling is to do what feels good to you and what your feel adds to the conversation. Let the chips fall where they may.

    As one reader of your blog. I will probably not read it every day. I’m not that disciplined. It doesn’t matter whether it is 60, 90, 900, or 9000 words. It doesn’t matter whether it is with or without pictures and videos. I will read it when I have the time and make the time. If I don’t, it’s my loss, especially if the post I miss is good. But every day is different.

    So go where your heart leads you.

    Bob

    • Thanks, Bob. My heart leads me to try this little experiment. Ultimately, I will mostly write “for me,” but I also want to model being part of a team…a jazz group that improvs together by paying attention to each other’s needs and expressions.

  61. I love the idea! To be honest, I don’t have time (or at least take the time) to read your long blog posts every day, and I feel like I’m missing out. I can take the time to read 60 words…

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  65. There you go, John Burk! the Noschese 180 is the tile design that I am talking about. If the open source spirit adds to each idea, then each day’s thread in effect become an idea starter’s kit with people contacts and resources. That would be incredible. That is a great project.

  66. Like everyone else, I really like this idea, but I wonder if the format of your typical wordpress blog really is the best way to showcase this project. Frank Noschese, outstanding physics teacher and blogger, started a daily teaching photoblog Noschese180, using Posterous. In it, Frank shares photos with minimal elaboration from his daily teaching. This blog has quickly morphed one of the most useful physics blogs I read.

    • John, thanks for spurring more conversation and thinking here. I really appreciate your insights, as you know. I respond to your Posterous suggestion in my reply to Jamie, and I may try an additional experiment of cross posting for a few days – to test design. But I really want to house the 60-60-60 and resulting comments, etc. in a central place, so I blanch a bit at creating two places for a few days.

      Thanks to you, I plan to include Frank’s photoblog in tomorrow’s CHANGEd. It is an ideal illustration to the 59-word post I had already written and scheduled. Your blog is another ideal illustration to my March 8 “tennis serve.” Thanks for all you contribute to the virtual faculty lounge!

  67. Interested and truly inspired experiment, Bo! (quietly smiling in Memphis)

    Imagine the wealth and the heft of 60 ideas for educational change listed out in the spirit of public learning. What if each idea were in fact treated as a “serve” like in tennis, the start of an interplay, an exchange, a building process. I will be watching and looking to add my extension and enthusiasm to the ideas your serve up. I could foresee a whole page with a tile design dedicated to the ideas where someone could look around and select an idea with a long thread of comments, listed resources, turns, and embellishments, or corrections. They could then walk away with and use this idea starter kit in their environments. I am glad to be the respected source of a new direction! Can’t wait to the next face-to-face coffee exchange!

    • Jamie, thanks for your encouragement and support! I love picturing your smile in Memphis, and I appreciate the catalyzing conversation that helped cause the chemical reaction of this experiment. I REALLY LOVE the idea of the tennis serve simile, and I hope that many folks will get on the court and hit a few back. Engaging in a lively rally would be superb – worth the experiment alone.

      You and John suggest a very interesting format with the tiling and Posterous. In Synergy, Jill and I use a tiled Posterous to collect and house the team’s observation journals, so I am familiar with the image. And I really appreciate what Frank has created with the Noschese 180. Nevertheless, I think I’ll stick with the WordPress format…for now. Maybe I’ll cross post the first week so I can see the compare and contrast. But I want this to be simple, streamlined, and convenient – in format, not necessarily in content or context – and I know I will struggle with cross-posting for design in the weeks after my spring break ends.

      I can’t wait for the next coffee either! Thanks for all you did at NAIS last week. The #Why2How session was really fun to work on, and I so appreciate being included in the Martin Institute – John Hunter – World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements festivities. I wish I could have cloned and attended the strategic planning session with you and Mark, but I will pipe into your wisdom and know-how another time. Talk to you soon.

  68. I also read Seth Godin’s blog each day, and also attempt to emulate his concise style in my own infrequent blogging.

    When I think of Seth, I think of fully formed thoughts, many of which align well with the work, art, and business of learning. His short pieces do not necessarily provide opportunity to observe the learning process behind his work.

    Your pieces often delineate a full line of thinking. I learn from following your process and comparing my own thoughts/conclusions/questions to yours.

    I also suspect you and Seth differ in audience and purpose (although you obviously share significant commonalities).

    • Ezra, thanks for your perspective on my blogging. I really appreciate having your view and perceptions – I value your lens a lot. While these next 60 days represent an experiment for me, I don’t intend to write only in one way, even after the experiment. I am just trying to grow more branches on my tree and “serve” some ideas for others to return and volley (as Jamie wonderfully suggests in her comments). Bless you for saying my pieces “often delineate a full line of thinking.” I count on my PLN for the fullness of thinking, and I am glad you are in that tribe.

    • Thanks, Grant. I loved working with you and sharing time with you last week. As for the list of 60 ideas…it will continue to live right here, and I would really enjoy spring-boarding from any of the ideas that emerge into fuller examples to include in the book. Talk to you soon.

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