How are you igniting #curiosity and wonder in your own backyard?

new perspective creates wonder and inspires us to become explorers in our own backyards.

This quote comes from Louie Schwartzberg’s TED talk “Hidden miracles of the natural world.”

And this one…

What is the intersection between technology, art and science? Curiosity and wonder, because it drives us to explore….

Schwartzberg’s films are beautiful. And they originate from curiosity, wonder, and… field work. Getting out and exploring.

Last week, speaking to a group of educational leaders, I said that the school campus and surrounding area may be the single most underutilized learning environment in the world. What if we explored our own campuses more – in the same spirit as Schwartzberg explores and discovers? We might just reignite the curiosity and wonder of millions of learners.

Go. Explore. Observe. Discover. Question.

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PROCESS POST: “Observe!” “Explore!” “Question!” as Homework

Last night, when I got home from an evening meeting, my nine-year-old, “PJ,” was incredibly excited. PJ, his younger brother, JT, and a friend of theirs next door had collected flowers during their afternoon playtime.

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PJ described to me, with great detail and enthusiasm, the shapes of the petals, the location of the flowers in the surrounding neighborhood, the apparent similarities and differences among different plants of the same species, the colors of the blooms and the insect activity around the flowers. He explained their exploration strategy, and he told me how they organized the flowers in different ways and searched for examples of flowers that would fill and complete certain categories of their organizational schema.

PJ talked for 12-15 minutes non-stop about the exploration. He had been mesmerized by his discoveries, motivated by his own sense of curiosity and momentary trying-on of amateur botanist.

What if this were “Homework?” And I don’t mean an assignment from a teacher that reads: “Go out in your yard and neighborhood and find flowers. Categorize them by features x, y, and z. Write a report about your discoveries.”

I mean this kind of assignment: “Go. Explore. Observe. Question. Be ready tomorrow to tell us what you discovered!”

Can you imagine the habits of mind that could be nurtured with such structured freedom and invitation to practice the Innovator’s DNA traits (observe, question, experiment, network, and associate) over time?

Some days, I imagine children might return to school the next day without something to report. But they would hear their friends and classmates report, and there would grow this communal “pressure” and encouragement to explore, discover, and bring in stories. Connections and associations would arise. Experiments could be proposed and designed to test hypotheses. Data could be collected. Engineering and design could emerge. Threads of history and lenses of various other disciplines would be woven together in more natural ways.

Your Homework: Go. Explore. Observe. Question.

Comfort and creativity – part of why I am compelled to explore, create, repeat

From Explore, Create, Repeat – an interview with Marco Cibola

I think it’s very important to never stop learning. There’s a tendency, especially when I’m busy and working for clients, to just become a machine that churns out work that builds a portfolio of clones. There’s a certain comfort and security with repeating what you know and giving the client what they expect. But it can also get boring and unsatisfying. It can feel stagnant. I think that curiosity and going into the unknown is what makes work interesting. I love problem solving, but not when I’ve already solved the problem.

Modifications in brackets made by me, practicing “association” as an innovation skill, and hypothetically creating a riffed quote for myself:

I think it’s very important to never stop learning. There’s a tendency, especially when [we’re] busy and working [in the ambitious school-calendar cycles], to just become a machine that churns out work that builds a portfolio of clones. There’s a certain comfort and security with repeating what you know and giving the [student(s)] what they expect. But it can also get boring and unsatisfying. It can feel stagnant. I think that curiosity and going into the unknown is what makes [school and learning and education] interesting. I love problem solving, but not when [we’ve] already solved the problem.