Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 4 - Tuesday Night's Wimba

(screenshot from MAC613 Wimba Session Archive)

I heard something about OS Lion effecting Wimba at the start of this session, and I am assuming that this in my problem in trying to watch them.  I've been at it over 2 hours and I'm finally  through the 1st Wimba session;  It played for about 5 minutes and crashes and restarts me at the beginning.  

That aside, this format of presentation and feedback, seems very rewarding.  Catherine's feedback to Lania was insightful and helpful.  And I think Lania has a very clear idea of how to proceed with her goal of publication. 

Kris' CBR on Metadata seems incredibly useful in his instructional setting.  I like that when he was considering his project initially his goal was to make the project something that would be engaging and enroll his students' passion.  I also like that a big component of his project was having students present to other students and thus share their passion.  I like how this project is so pertinent to your students field of study and how much it will benefit them in practice once they enter the job market.  

Response to Alonzo

This week’s reading continues with chapters 5-8 of “The Art of Possibility” by Zander, R. and Zander, B. Chapter nine was entitled, “Lighting a Spark”. This chapter showed how we can inspire in those around us, action, creative expression, and contribution. Chapter ten, “Being the Board”, spoke of simply how we should all be 100% responsible for how things are going. Next was chapter eleven, “Creating Frameworks and Possibility”. This chapter gave me the idea of how we put this practice into reality, in the type of “world” we may live in so that we can make a difference. Lastly is chapter twelve, “Telling the WE Story”. This chapter speaks of how finally by coming from a “we” type of partnership. We can create a bridge that unites all divisions and people as one. This could be a real possibility for world peace from this point of view.
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Your concise summary of the chapters is good, however, I think that your summary of chapter 10 is a little oversimplified.  Perhaps I am complicating or misinterpreting the author's purpose, however, I think the example they use with the drunk driver states that its not about all of us being "100% responsible for how things are going," as you said,  but instead about not getting wrapped up in the blame game because it distracts from the end goal.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2011 - 03:06 PM

Response to Kris Knof

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wk4 Reading - Art of Possibility Ch9-12


Rosalynn said...

Loved the fact that you used a video for this one. Especially when talking about networking and see a person face to face. This wasn't a face to face situation, but it did make the presentation more personal. People often forget the importance of real life networking because of technological advances. Thanks for helping me remember, maybe I can use this in my workplace.
Kevin McLain said...
I think what you said is important. Meeting in person shows you're willing to go the extra mile. It generates that spark.

I like you interpretation of the story of the bike: "How can I use what I've got?" In other words, can what looks like a bad situation be reframed to benefit all involved. I must admit when I read the story, I felt like this is a long way to explain that you asked for 2 quarters - but I think after hearing your take on it made me reconsider that sometimes the easiest solutions are the most obvious but we sometimes fail to see them because we are looking at them through the blinders of what we believe is fair, right, acceptable. By allowing the men to give her the money, she was able to let them express their generosity.

Nice to hear you share a story about the St. John's River - my bedroom and balcony overlook the St. John's. Your story nicely summed up the practice of being the board. The gentleman you described was engaged in the practice without even realizing it.

I also liked the way you have you class create mission statements and make sure that they include in the the passion or the "why." I think this is a greg way to make sure that they aren't creating "visionless mission statements."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Art of Possibility: Ch. 9-12

Benjamin Zander


Reading Response:  The Art of Possibility, Chapters 9-12

"Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share."   from The Art of Possibility

This quote sums up the entirety of the concept of enrollment.  Ben Zander tells the story of his father taking the train to Glasgow to have breakfast in the train station to discuss an important meeting and he wonders why he didn't just use the phone.  He comes to see that passion must be engaged over fear.  Later, he is able to persuade a famous musician with a tight schedule to play a piece that was written expressly for him at the Evian Festival in Lake Geneva by following his father's example and meeting the gentleman in person.  He was able to ignite the musician's passion for the composers work.  This story is illustrative of the main idea of this practice - engage peoples' passions rather than their fears.  

The story of the students at the Dockland's school in London - I was especially taken with the 10 yr old boy who was asked to come up and conduct the orchestra for the finale of Beethoven's Fifth.  Zander was motivated by the boy's passionate movements in his seat to invite the boy to conduct.  The young boy's passion in turn motivated all the musicians.  Passion is contagious. 

I'm listing the steps exactly as Zander lists them in the book (directly quoted) because I think they are so useful:

1.  Imagine that people are an invitation for enrollment.
2.  Stand ready to participate willing to be moved and inspired.
3.  Offer that which lights you up.
4.  Have no doubt that others are eager to catch the spark.

The next practice that is delineated is the idea of "being the board."  "I am the framework for everything that happens in my life."  The authors state that this is the most radical and hardest to grasp of the practices.  I would agree because it seems entirely too simple that I feel like I must be missing something.    I feel like the crux is the story about the musician coming late on the Mendelssohn piece where another musician is going to rat out the culprit but before they have a chance Zander, the conductor, says "I did it."   I feel like this chapter was about not letting blame get in the way.  Once mistakes are made, they are done, playing the blame game simply takes more time and loses site of the ultimate goal.  When one assumes the role of the board rather than the player, they don't see themselves in relation to the the other players, and so there is no need to divide up fault and assign blame.

In the practice of framing possibility or being a leader of possibility, the authors outline clearly specify what it takes for a leader to create an environment where people feel comfortable to make mistakes without falling into the downward spiral.  This quote is rather meaningful to me because it acknowledges our innate nature and how we might transcend it:  "As a species we are exquisitely suited to thrive in an environment of threat where resources are scarce, but not always ready to reap the benefits of harmony, peace, and plenty.  Our perceptual apparatus is structured to alert us to real and imagined dangers everywhere."   The part about not reaping the benefits of harmony, peace, and plenty are particularly striking.  Its like we have to be constantly aware and open to the POSSIBILITY of the universe.  

Again (directly quoted) useful steps for framing possibility:

1.  Make a new distinction in the realm of possibility:  one that is a powerful substitute fo the current framework of meaning that is generating the downward spiral.
2.  Enter the territory.  embody the new distinction in such a  way that becomes the framework for life around you. 
3.  Keep distinguishing what is "on the track" and what is "off the track" of you framework of possibility.

Zander relates a moving story about an elementary school girl who has lost her hair due to chemotherapy.  The other students make fun of her and she doesn't want to return to school.  When she does, the next day, the teacher has shaved off all of her hair and now all the students think its cool and want to do it.  The teacher stopped the downward spiral by changing the board. She didn't negatively engage the students who were making fun of the little girl (at least that isn't shared in the story).   But she simply created a powerful substitute for the current framework and thus created a realm of possibility. I think that this is the biggest take away from the book so far - that we cannot control the actions of others but we can change the framework surrounding the players.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

wimba/free response week 2

Most of what was covered in Wimba I already talked about in some form or another last week (Fair Use, copyright issues, etc.).  The portion on publication and presentation does not apply to me so I don't have any comments on that.

So for my free response, I would like to talk about the death of Steve Jobs.  I think that while everyone is practically canonizing him it is important to look at how he sold out his original values and built a company on the backs of hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers whose working conditions he himself described after visiting the Foxconn complex, as unfair and inhumane.  As well, I think that in light of the discussion of copyright and who it is supposed to protect and benefit; the iTunes business model did nothing to support the creators and musicians and everything to benefit the distributor and the music industry.

Here is a great article on Foxconn:

Daily Mail Foxconn Article

Response to Sharol

Week 2 Required Reading

Education can be humorous at times. The idea is very basic actually- to convey knowledge to another individual for them to use and retain. It's not the basic idea that is in question but the method however. Michelangelo states that within every block of marble or stone is a beautiful statue. Imagine if every teacher, parent, and school administrator shared this ideal with education. Maybe then we could get back to the basic idea and see why students may have "road blocks" in their learning. Rather than comparing them to student "a" from district "z". Students like most humans make snap judgments based off of assumptions we've created in our minds from previous experience or what we've been told. I wonder how can we get our students to buy in to their own intelligence without having to test them to death? Just wondering....


Fari Lopez said...
I can't agree with you more. I really don't like it when, after all our efforts through the whole school year, our students' performance is just reduced to DATA ( a word I am beginning to dislike). That seems to be all districts and principals worry about where I live. They want us to implement 21st century skills in our content, but they still agree to measure students with 20th century assessments. I am glad I quit working for the district and joined a charter school.
Kevin McLain said...

Like Fari said, "I can't agree with you more." I think what you are getting at is the idea of seeing a student as a unique individual with specific needs rather than a number on a standardized test. I used to be of the mindset that data was great because it provides us a way as educators to track our progress and see our improvement and what is the downside to that? Now I see that such thinking takes away seeing the whole person and reduces individuals to a set of numbers. Numbers that are invented standards that when applied to a child define and confine them to those expectations

Response to Lania Clark

I think this book can offer a lot of insight for those involved in the arts, in particular.  I can’t say that I mind that it was written by a conductor.   “Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view.” (Zander and Zander, 2000, p. 14)  When I read this portion, I couldn’t help but think of our elementary coordinator.  She’s a fantastic example to me.  Despite all of the challenges she faces on a daily basis, she approaches each “obstacle as an opportunity”.  I’ve seen her turn messy situations into positive outcomes for everyone involved.  

“What might I now invent,
That I haven’t yet invented,
That would give me other choices?” (Zander and Zander, 2000, p. 15)

I love this approach.  It is problem solving through innovation.  In my life, I find that I favor having an excess of choices. I am never more frustrated than when I feel I don’t have enough options.  (My husband on the other hand prefers 2 or 3 strong options so he can make a decisive choice and move on. Clearly we need each other to keep balance!)  But I’m diverging from the book - the point is, this approach to problem solving is an attempt to burst open the box.  It allows more solutions enter the scene. 

This book has some interesting perspectives on perception of reality.  I would agree to the truth that seeing things from another person’s point of view completely changes the relationship for the better.  Empathy allows us to step outside our own needs and desires to consider someone else’s.  At points, however, The Art of Possibility sounds a lot like the “Positivism” mantra that has become so popular.  Change your lens and you can change your life.  Well, that’s somewhat true…but it doesn’t negate the facts, or physically change circumstances.  I think you need to have a balance.  At times it is appropriate to accept a situation for what it is.  

Chapter 4 is an interesting conversation about human worth.  What makes us valuable as human beings?  The “Art of Possibility” speaks about declaring yourself a contribution, rather than assessing your worth based on tangible achievement.  I have to bring up my mother-in-law here…she was famous for reminding my husband: “You’re a human being, not a human do-ing!” as he grew up.  When you’re naturally a hard worker, you need to hear that every once in a while.  There’s a lot to be said for viewing yourself and others as acontribution.  I think it takes away some of the self-invented stress and pressure to succeed.  Each day we have the opportunity to contribute to someone else’s life, and to receive what they are able to uniquely contribute.  Sounds like beautiful interdependence to me!  Well, I would be remiss if I didn’t further comment on the question of human worth.  Where does it come from?  Is it all mindsets or social structures?  I can’t read this chapter without being influenced by the Bible.  At the end of the day, our self-worth exists evenbefore our contributions to others.  It’s deeper than that.  I believe we have worth because we were lovingly designed and created by God.  And amazingly, there’s nothing you can do to earn that worth.  It’s already been given to each and every person.    

“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:10, New International Version).        

If I make my contributions the measurement of my worth, my value is going to change day to day.  Even when I’m trying to love others and contribute to their lives, I can’t do it perfectly.  Thank God my value is NOT dependent upon me.  Because God first gave me worth, I can joyfully live as a contribution to others.       

Zander, R. S., & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility. Boston, Mass:
             Harvard Business School Press.
Week 2 - Reading Response
Saturday, October 8, 2011
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I agree with your assessment and summary of the idea presented in "The Art of Possibility" in regard to it's all invented.  I agree that it can sound a little like Positivism and like just "ignoring" the negative facts. However, I think it is a little different than that.   I do not necessarily think it means ignoring the facts or simply putting a positive spin on things, I think it goes deeper than that.  Like the story of the gentleman who was number 66 out of 68 (i think) but then Mr. Zander gave him an "A."  He was told he was two different things and he chose to believe he was the better of those two descriptions.  I think such a belief probably allowed him to realize his full potential.   I think too when we see the world as an "A," it changes the way the world rises to meet us.  I think that people will live up to the expectations we have of them.