I’ve gone back to school. Well, at the very least, you might say that I am enrolled in a course. In some places, one might see the class title listed as “Multitasking 101.” In other catalogs, one might discover the course name as “Mornings with Lucy.” Or, it might make the board as “Mix-alot Podcasts and a Cup o’ Joe.” You see, I’m not sure what to call the class – I am designing it myself. Here’s the backbone of the offering:
- Task #1: In the early morning, I take my pointer-hound mix on a walk. Her name is Lucy, and her whole body wags in anticipation. If I weren’t fearful of pulling some infrequently used muscle, I might wag my whole body, too. I love our walks, and we modulate between a stroll and a mild cantor for 30-90 minutes.
- Task #2: I enjoy a travel mug of house-brewed coffee. Leash in one hand, mug in the other.
- Task #3: Listen to a podcast on my iPhone. I have this great set of comfortable ear phones. Beats they are not. I think they cost $9.99 at Target, but they wrap ergonomically around my ear and provide some extraordinary listening pleasure.
All three task-strands weave together to make quite a braid. A bit of cardio in the pre-sunrise hours, a socially-accepted stimulant that thrills the tastebuds, time with my beloved, four-legged companion, and a chance to listen and think. Shear bliss. And not the ignorance is bliss kind, either. Real bliss.
A few weeks ago, at a workshop, a co-participant alluded to some research that claims that multitasking damages our IQs. I think my month long experiment could do some damage to this claim. I believe my IQ has increased during this morning line-braiding. I haven’t even tripped or mis-stepped, but, mind you, I haven’t added chewing gum to the equation. That would be the honors level course, I feel certain.
What am I listening to? What’s on the ear-syllabi? Here’s a smattering:
TED Radio Hour on NPR
- Africa: The Next Chapter
- Building a Better Classroom
- The Future of Cities
- Where Ideas Come From
- The Creative Process
- Fixing Our Broken Systems
- The Power of Crowds
- Food Matters
- The Pursuit of Happiness
- Our Buggy Brain
- The Little Lie that Rocked the Banks
- Does Medicaid Make People Healthier?
- What the Healthcare Decision Means for Peoples’ Lives
- The Cool Kids Don’t Want to Go Public
- Why It’s Illegal to Braid Hair Without a License (This one got me worried, given my course, but I don’t think they arrest you for metaphorical braiding. Thank goodness.)
- An Austerity Wedding
This American Life
While enjoying this morning syllabus of self-directed learning for the past month, I am also re-reading Michael Michalko’s Creative Thinkering, which tackles as its thesis the nature of creativity to be the combining and integrating of seemingly unrelated things. So, as I walk Lucy, drink my coffee, and listen to the chosen podcast(s) of the day, I play some of the games and thought experiments listed in Michalko’s work – I try to find and create connections among what I am listening to and what I have listened to in the past. I try to think of Education and Schooling through the lenses of the morning listening. For instance, I have wondered lately how School is like the health care issue, I have wondered how School is like the economic crises in Europe, and I have re-imagined Education through the lenses of many of the interwoven TED talks on the TED Radio Hour.
I am having a blast, and I am learning a ton. I wonder…What if we built in such self-directed discovery into the typical school week or school day? Minus the coffee of course. I just don’t know how I feel about kids drinking coffee. Do we allow for, support, and create enough space and time for young learners to decide on their own paths of schooling? Do we empower them to weave in these lessons with what they are directed to learn in school? How can self-directed learning methods inform the ways we think about and structure schools of the future? How are we hybridizing what school has been and what school could be? Are we rotating our crops and fields so that we continue producing good (brain)food? [Okay, that metaphor just jumped in from nowhere, but Michalko has encouraged me not to backspace out those thoughts while I am thinking.]
Have a good “walk” today! Where are you going to school? What are you learning? How are you multitasking and thinking creatively? I would love to read or listen to what you have to share!