Portfolio Fan

PROLOGUE

Another sleepless after an EdCamp night. This time it was EdCampNavasota in Navasota, Texas. It could have been just about any other one though.

A GNOME DIPS HIS TOE IN #PEDAGOME

It began innocently enough, almost by accident. I happened upon a hashtag nine days ago: #PEDAGOME. They seemed to be discussing ways for students to share their learning using a portfolio creating app called Seesaw.

Screen capture of a pedagome question and answer about how the Seesaw app can make portfolios of work students can share with each other

Seesaw, I learned, makes it easy to create and share student portfolios. A student can take a graphic, a #booksnap of a page in a text, and annotate it with words or pictures or narration. The idea is to share perspectives among a community of students.

CAN YOUR LMS DO THAT?

At EdCampNavasota student portfolios came up. The sharing was fast and furious. The parts I was able to capture included Seesaw, making ideas visible and.. That was as far as I got. A lightbulb went off in my head.

How might we use portfolios in elearning? Enjoyably. I've seen sharing in elearning before. Usually it integrates with a business unit's blog. Someone learns something. Then they post a blurb about it in the blog under their byline. Sometimes there's a link to an external resource. Sure, it's functional. But it's flat, too. Stuff like that doesn't excite so much.

Sketch of ways to share learning among peers in real time

What if it were possible to take a screen capture of a bit of elearning content and mark it up (annotate it) using drawing tools? What if this snippet of learning made visible were shared, maybe in real-time, with others? But instead of going out on that blog the image, a #booksnap I've learned they're called, is embedded, sticky-note like, on the screen it came from? Or maybe it does go out to an external resource like Padlet?

EPILOGUE

I wonder how I could prototype this to share with my next client? Would they be interested? Maybe..

 

Zones of My Proximal Development

PROLOGUE

How do I self-motivate when the going gets rough, tough, boring or other? Someone asked me that the other day. Here’s my take.

Photograph of a tilted water tower

AND THE DIRTY LITTLE SECRET IS..

Reflection. I hold myself up to my existential bathroom mirror and take a long look. What does it feel like my eyes do when seeing something new?

Zones_of_my_proximal_development.jpg

  • Eyes rolled up 
    • I’m in my “Oh no!” zone. I don’t feel safe enough to start learning right away.
  • Eyes level
    • I’m in the “Let’s do it!” zone. What are we doing just standing around? Let’s have at it!
  • Eyes down (frozen on the spider/alligator/puppy-poop at my feet)
    • I’m in the dreaded “What the..?” zone. I’m having a problem fitting what I have to do with what I know has worked or not worked in the past (sometimes going back decades).
THE NEXT MOAN YOU HERE
 
The hard part, once I’ve reflected and figured out which zone I’m in, is not zoning out. That is, how do I overcome the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) Factor and apply some grit and adopt a growth mindset approach and get on with learning? It’s easy to fall into the woe is me trap. Speaking from experience, it can be a lot harder to level oneself and just do it.
 
What I do is remind myself that I’m [most likely] not alone. (It’s a little like the OODA Loop I learned and practiced in the US Navy a long time ago.) I have support and help available. All I have to do is ask for it. Sometimes it may not feel like it. Depending on how peers and managers respond can kick one back a few steps. I’ve occasionally asked myself if it’s really worth it to keep trying?
 
EMPATHIC (ME)
 
A while ago, I think it was towards the end of 2013, I stumbled upon a different way to do Professional Development (PD). What I tripped over in my dark was EdCampWestTexas, now in its third year. Basically it was K-12 teachers coming together on a wet and rainy Saturday morning in Abilene, Texas. In a few short hours I was exposed to new ways of knowing. While most of what I left with was skewed towards educational technology, the main takeaway, the jewel, was Design Thinking (DT). DT is a problem solving methodology grounded in empathy, reframing problems, and prototyping.
 
It makes me a little sad, when I reflect on my past years practicing the art and science of instructional design, how technical I was. I should have empathized with the people I supported more. During my first-pass at design thinking, at a law enforcement training academy, I began the analysis phase of instructional design with a soft-question: What did it feel like doing/learning this thing? It made for a more human/humane approach I think. It had some serious benefits, too. The rest of the process took less time. The team was more involved than ever before. A complaint I often hear from other instructional designers is how hard it can be for people to keep meeting and deliverable commitments. Once I adopted a design thinking approach that reluctance to contribute gave way to some serious collaboration. 
 
If the empathy, caring, is there then so am I. If it’s not, it’s time to ask “Am I in the right place?” Maybe it’s time to move on?
 
EPILOGUE
 
I’ve been trying to learn something new for a few months now. I don’t want to get too deep into the details here. I’ve been in the “What the..?” zone for a while. I think I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel though. I’ve sought some serious help from some smart, dedicated and caring people. The hardest part has been learning by making mistakes. I still make some significant ones. Not giving up, continuing to pick myself up and owning the mistake, communicating clearly to clients and peers has made all the difference. 
 
How do I motivate myself to learn new stuff? Design thinking.

 

Joe Zombie

PROLOGUE

Sitting at your desk staring blankly at the computer screen wondering “What is this?” is a lament I hear often. I'm talking about people subjected to inhumane learning. At the moment I'm thinking of online learning. But what I call the Joe Zombie effect can happen in any modality: face-to-face (F2F), elearning, blended, social, or learning informally through close work with others.

JOE

Consider the new hire going through orientation. A recent interview subject described being parked in front of a computer for several hours. She completed several modules on policies, benefits, customer service, and other subjects.

popBomb photo of an abandoned school

At the end all she was sure she had was a world class headache. By the next day, most of what she'd been exposed to, like the flash of a camera, had dissipated.

ZOMBIE

I'm convinced learning requires an active participant. Meaningful activities where learners create something from what they are learning are best. My recent participation at EdCamps and CUE remind me of this each time I go.

EPILOGUE

I'm researching problems with the learning modalities listed above. I learned at the annual CUE conference that this is a good place to start.

 

#havpassion LBWA

PROLOGUE

In a gadda de vida, baby..” — Iron Butterfly, 1968

#havpassion

A week ago there was this #EduCon thing: a gathering of educators back east, Philly maybe. I wasn't there. Even so, thanks to the marvels of the Internet and social media I followed along via this thing called a backchannel. A backchannel, as I understand it, is the chatter that goes on among a presenter's audience whilst they're presenting. Only this chatter takes place online through apps like a Twitter.

One session on having passion resonated (#havpassion). My takeaway is that we, everyone actually, should try finding what brings us joy and fulfillment. Once found, we should integrate it into our lives as much as possible.

Screen capture of a hashtag have passion YouTube clip
LBWA
Learning by walking around (LBWA) listening and sharing with others has been the bulk of my professional development (PD) efforts the last 15 months. #havpassion reminded my that like #tlap (Teaching Like A Pirate) I should take courage to heart when I go into uncharted waters. Being a Navy veteran I know that at the end of an adventure lay an amazing sea story. Stories like ideas are at their best when they're shared.
We all learn when we share. This is true even when our understanding is incomplete. In A Gadda Da Vida was gibberish when I first heard it. Sharing my interest in the song with friends I learned the lyrics. Walking around and sharing has benefitted me immensely throughout my life.
EPILOGUE
While reflecting on #havpassion I came up with an idea. Told via Plotagon (animation and storytelling app) over several brief video clips, I describe an outline of what a new hire orientation learning activity might look like. Feel free to take a peek.

 

 

Kaizen Chasm

PROLOGUE

What’s the key to Kaizen? A: No door to put it in.

Sketch of a door-less cubicle

Engagement problems? Lose the door.

KAIZEN

My 2015 goal is to be un-ordinary. I have to change how I share: more effort on relationships, inviting tinkering to make ideas tangible.

I spent most of the ’80s and ’90s working with companies like Intel and Motorola. Each had their own version of Kaizen, a continuous improvement methodology. It has to involve everyone in an organization to have a chance at success now and in the future.

Intel did it right, at least in part, because there were so few office doors. It’s open-door culture was vital. Dave Marsing, then Intel’s New Mexico site director taught my Intel Culture class. Andy Grove, then CEO, taught my wife’s class. Who taught yours?

EPILOGUE

Having engagement problems across an organization? Bridge the chasm by opening doors.

 

 

On Onboarding

INTRO

A tweet reminded me of a past onboarding experience I had. It relied too much on technology to get me going. I’m talking about all the stuff a new employee has to do: HR paperwork, meeting manager and peers, picking IT stuff, and all the rest. The toughest part was taking all the compliance stuff online. Basically running new employees through the mill.Sketch of new employee running through a mill

Make It Personal

I see the onboarding process as more personal and happening in real-time. As for compliance stuff, why not learn it from other employees who, having been with the organization a while are practitioners. It helps the newbies learn the culture, too.

Sketch of new employee learning from peers

Meet and greet onboarding

Outro

Make learning more collaborative.