Studying identity through structured serendipity. My start to #identity in 2013. #CuratingPurpose

This morning, while attending “Walking with Lucy School,” I studied identity. I didn’t pre-intend to do so, specifically, but the opportunity presented itself because of structured serendipity. I have structured my podcast app with about a dozen different podcasts. Each morning, while walking my dog Lucy, I listen to the somewhat serendipitous collection called the “unplayed” playlist offered by the app.

This morning, the playlist looked like this –

  • The Moth, “A Dish Best Served Cold.” A young man finds something of a true identity for himself – albeit temporary – by searching for the person who committed identity theft with his credit card. I love that he found his identity by doggedly pursuing something that mattered mightily to him.
  • Radiolab, “Solid as a Rock.” Trying to get to the bottom of what makes stuff, the podcasters challenge the listener to consider that the most basic components of things are composed of mostly empty space. With physics, this short plays with our sense of what makes a thing a thing – it’s reality, perception, and identity. It reminded me of two blog posts that I had written, so I went back and read them – here and here.
  • 99% Invisible, “Episode 69- The Brief and Tumultuous Life of the New UC Logo.” Roman Mars and crew examine a metaphorical anecdote about resistance to change by exploring the visual-identity debacle that the University of California system has undergone recently. Among other lessons, I appreciate that there are levels of design investigated in this piece. Maybe most importantly, the transformation itself was poorly designed, and I learned a great deal relative to the work that I now do with educational change and transformation design.

Additionally, a fourth “class” became a part of my structured serendipity on identity this morning. During our walk, I decided to take a detour to my parents’ house. After all, my own identity was initially and powerfully formed by these incredible people. So, Lucy and I changed course and walked to my parents’ house. They were very surprised to see us, but I think they were incredibly pleased. In many ways, I was thanking them for my identity which they helped create. And I started the New Year by telling them Happy New Year in person. A great detour for identity.

All in all, I’d say this was a great way to start January 1, 2013. Now I feel well primed for my identity work in the New Year.

What “classes” and structured serendipity are you pursuing this year about your own identity? How might you help the learners at your school(s) explore their own identities? After all, as Sir Ken Robinson says, it’s about “How are you smart? Not – How smart are you?”


Bonus (and paradoxically the real meat)! A few reads archived on my Diigo that this walk made me re-read … and a TED talk:


[Note for further investigation: I thought my “class” this morning was pretty great. I learned a lot. I am inspired and motivated to learn further. Much of my motivation comes from the fact that I curated my own learning here. I collected the podcasts; I pursued the follow-up, related readings; I returned to a TED talk connected to what I was thinking relative to identity (to me Zander is talking more about identity and purpose than classical music).

In fact, part of my identity is defined by what I have chosen to open myself to this morning … by what to include here. How often do we use school to facilitate students pursuing their own identities? Not within the peripherals of school, but among the core functions and operations of school.

I am developing a new hypothesis – there is actually an 8th C of 21st C. Learning, namely “curation.” Perhaps the other 7 Cs largely depend on the practices of curation. Developing communication, creativity and innovation, critical thinking, etc. may all be connected through curatorial endeavors. And in school, the teachers typically do most of the curation. If When students are allowed to curate more of their school, then they will more likely develop the 7 Cs … as well as more of their own true identity. As they explore and discover “How am I smart? Not – How smart am I?”]

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

While I have been reading with the social bookmarking tool Diigo for a couple of years, I have just learned how to auto-post from Diigo to WordPress – thanks to @Philip_Cummings! This post is my first iterative prototype, and I made a few errors to tweak in my experiment. I like the idea that a portion of my weekly online reading (that portion marked with the “#MustRead” tag) will circulate to a weekly post uploaded to my blog on Sundays (once I get the time stamp correct).

  • First-level bullets mark the articles read and tagged with #MustRead in Diigo;
    tags appear unbulleted, below article, indented

    • Second-level bullets share my highlighting with the highlighter tool in Diigo
      • Third-level bullets share my annotations if I add a sticky note in Diigo

Thanks, Philip. I have a good starting place, thanks to you.

tags: innovation mistakes experiments learning #MustRead

  • tags: PBL schools of the future authentic #MustRead

  • tags: citizens citizenship slacktivism PBL CBL #MustRead

    • The question becomes, how do we translate our students’ understanding of past actors into action by young people today? Whitney and I decided in March to chuck the traditional exam format and craft a project to help students make this connection.

      We wanted students to act on their growing knowledge and to connect with others beyond our school walls. With this objective in mind we focused the project on three components: student interest, sustained research, and engagement with peers in school and elsewhere who shared their interests or were leaders in one way or another.

      • This is a key way that I think Unboundary can interact with, influence, and enhance education. I think Unboundary is uniquely positioned to synergize its work with significance/CSR and educational transformation.
  • tags: PBL Projectbasedlearning problem_based_learning continua spectrum #MustRead

  • tags: PBL project based learning projectbasedlearning project_based_learning edutopia #MustRead

    • already a 1:1 laptop district that integrates technology effectively. Two years ago, teachers took part in professional development to learn more about PBL. Except for some isolated classroom projects, however, the shift away from more traditional instruction has been slow to happen.
      • Reinforces Aran Levasseur’s points in “Does our current education system support innovation?” in MindShift 7-18-12.
    • planned it as a team, we could all go down the road together, moving forward with our understanding of PBL,
    • teachers had two hours for collaborative professional development every other week to devote to planning.
      • For a school with aggressive approach to PLCs, there could be even more time – if school is serious about systemic change more quickly
    • Using flip cameras that the school provided or their own mobile devices, students captured still shots and video, which they uploaded to a Posterous site.
      • Like Synergy Observation Journals.
    • make it even better?
      • Brightspot challenge
    • mix of students from grades 9-12.
    • He wanted everything to be right.
      • When work is intended for “beyond the classroom,” students want to do their best work (and not just because of a grade!)
    • Mentors provided students with additional feedback, encouragement, and ideas from beyond their small community. “Our kids took to heart what their mentors had to say,” Parks adds, and students used technology in authentic ways to connect with them.
      • When schools are not scared of online policy, but instead embrace the educational possibilities, great coalitions of learning and doing form!
  • tags: innovation #MustRead

  • tags: change narrative #MustRead innovation Switch

    • pointed to the paramount importance of framing
      • Like a recent NPR Planet Money explained in relation to “Why People Do Bad Things.” Not so much character as frame of reference.
    • If we had the frame of the company as a family or a commune, people would know very different ways of working together.
      • I wonder what happens when we call ourselves “a family” but we run hierarchically? Seems confusing of purpose, process, etc.
    • the story must be simple, easy to identify with, emotionally resonant, and evocative of positive experiences.”
    • impact of reframing and telling a new narrative that’s simple, positive, and emotional
      • Change is narrative!
    • radical, sweeping, comprehensive changes are often easier for people than small, incremental ones.
      • Wow. This could really inform the ways schools orchestrate change.
    • tough, radical program saw quick, dramatic results, reporting a 91% decrease
      • So to justify radical, sweeping change in schools, we may have to show immediate, positive results. Those can come in many different forms.
    • “short-term wins”
      • So much of this article reminds me of Heath Bros SWITCH!
    • Xerox lagged in giving them the support they needed
      • Do schools “lag” in giving faculty, parents, students the support they need? Is this why change is so slow?
    • brain’s ability to change — its “plasticity” — is lifelong
    • drive lasting changes in the brain
      • Like the hot water on butter channels in Creative Thinkering on p. 12
    • Posit Science has a “fifth-day strategy,” meaning that everyone spends one day a week working in a different discipline.
      • “Play each others’ instruments.”
    • So ideally you deliberately construct new challenges.
    • Innovation comes about when people are enabled to use their full brains and intelligence instead of being put in boxes and controlled.”
  • tags: universities online #MustRead

    • experts wonder whether some colleges will find it harder to attract students willing to pay $20,000, $40,000 or even $60,000 a year for the traditional on-campus experience.
      • Increasing power and ability of online to capture relational aspect will help determine where price points make difference.
    • Residential colleges already attract far less than half of the higher education market
      • I did not know that!
    • Most enrollment and nearly all growth in higher education is in less costly options that let students balance classes with work and family: commuter colleges, night schools, online universities.
    • standard class will be a hybrid of in-person and online elements
      • Hybrid makes a lot of sense. Combining parts of residential and in-person with virtual and anytime/anywhere. How many learn now! Just not integrated “officially” yet.
  • tags: Innovation change richardson #MustRead

  • tags: edreform #MustRead

  • tags: 21stCenturySkills literacy richardson #MustRead

  • tags: online education Coursera colleges university #MustRead

      • Flipping the classroom. Using precious f2f time for more interactive, engaging, problem solving.
    • In a field changing this fast, we need flexibility,
      • This is fascinating – outsourcing the grading work to students who calibrate well with co-assessing work with professor. Sample size seems small.
  • Great post from @brholland “You have to let go of the wheel.” #edchat #edtech

    tags: edchat edtech #MustRead

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.