Saturday, May 26, 2012

Comment #2 on: Golda Lawson-Cohen Week 4 Reading Entry

Wk4 reading: Art of Possibility – The WE Story

Telling the WE story has me reflecting on my marriage. We have been together for 15+ years. Part of our success is the ability to communicate. We talk about everything including small talk. Topics will vary and sometimes we will argue. Even though we may argue about things, we tend to in the end come up with the possibility of agreeing to disagree. It is because of this philosophy, we find that we cannot stay angry at one another. Agreeing to disagree allows for mutual respect. It is this mutual respect that gives us our inner strength within our relationship. Another thing that made us stronger is that we were friends first and later to become best friends. Best friends do everything together and support one another in their endeavors. I truly believe that I would not have reached my goal of obtaining a second Masters degree if we did not go through it together. It was the support network that we had that enabled me to achieve this goal. Now we will go through the process of working toward me gaining employment once my goal of this degree is obtained.

My Comment

Golda, thank you for your personal reflection in telling the WE Story. Your daily striving for a continued successful marriage is wonderful. You are right on target about communication. You have apparently mastered what many only dream to do even once and that is “agree to disagree”. It’s hard to turn it off and stifle that calculating self when agreeing is not the thing we desire to do. You mentioned support; trust me we all needed that to get through this last year. Like you most of us got it from our spouses and friends but we also got it from each other. Remember back to our early days on the beach in Second Life now we are both faced with a new second life. Good luck in your search and remember you have all the skills and knowledge you need to make a mark on this world.

Comment #1 on: Irving Peralta’s Week 4 Reading Entry

Wk 4 Reading Art of Possibility: Graduation

This book continues to bring awesome memories back from when I was in Jr. High and High School and how everything I went through as a band member is now helping me to be a great leader. Seriously, we should have started Full Sail University reading this book. What I like about it the most are the stories. Most books are just what one individual thinks or his/her research, but this book contains substance by bringing us in the lives of real people. I love the story of the 10 year old from the ‘failing’ school who was given a chance to conduct the band. WOW! What a dream and all because a man was able to enroll others to see the positive outcome of what seem to be pointless. I now can relate to the feeling I get when our 4th graders graduate. For the past two years we’ve been able to take our kids to their actual future high school and have them walk the auditorium stage as they receive their diploma. We are the only school in our district doing this and believe me that it brings chills to know that they will eventually attend that school. From the proud parents to their bright smiles it is worth spending that money to rent the buses and purchase the balloons. We’ve enrolled ourselves in our community and have benefited from their positive feedback and gratitude. Sure, we cannot please every parent even when the place sat more than enough people there were still complaints. But as I learned from the book, when this situation gets on the board I have the opportunity to make the change and help solve the problem or make it worse. As they say, “the ball is in my court”. What I will do next time is choose a better framework. See this as an opportunity to make our graduation ceremony better the following year. Constructive criticism.

My Comment:

Irving, I agree with you that this book should have been at the start of our journey with Full Sail. I was surprised in my readings to find that the book was an easy read. Again I agree with you that I love the stories. The Zanders have a way of telling the events that keep you enthralled on every word. Their ability to read people and create or develop solutions and antidotes from their mishaps and shortcomings is a tribute to their leadership style. Your explanation of his ability was right on target. He has the ability to enroll others to see the positive (or the possible) outcome of what seemed pointless but only initially. I thinks its great that you have you are involved in planting sparks in young peoples lives that will ignite within them the same sparks that are within you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Week 4 Reading - Paying-Forward the Experience

In my weekly reading of The Art of Possibility this week I was attracted to the chapter on creating frameworks for possibility. After seven years in my current dream position I will be moving on to another dream position. I will be the Educational Technology Director for a PreK-12 private school. The school is a technologically progressing institution seeking advice, ideas, and leadership to be forward thinking and not downward spiraling in technology adoption.

I see my initial challenge, not yet knowing the political landscape; as working with educators some who may be reluctant to immerse themselves or their students into technology and others who are ecstatic. I will need to find the sparks that will ignite them. In fact I will be seeking the enrollment, for some, in something they may not have complete “buy-in” yet.

In applying what I have read, I have a ready-made game plan for entering my new environment. I will first need to have defined for me or define the school’s technology vision. Within the framework of possibility as defined by Zander, what are the vision’s elements? Equipped with this information I can then begin the steps to the practice of framing the possibility in my new position. First, make a new distinction by determining any downward spiraling and its cause. Secondly, I will submit to “what is” and seeing the possibility of the environment as it is. Lastly, I’ll develop “on track” and “off track” milestones in order to keep my finger on the pulse of the technology vision.

I will attempt to get the faculty to enroll in the possibility I’m offering and what I’ll be offering will be in the support of the school’s vision. To do the support job of a school’s EdTech Director it must not be about me. It’s about the teachers and students that I will be serving. As I see it that’s what I’m going to do to pay-forward from my experience with the universe of possibility.

Image: eye.png, by Bill Harris, taken on 05/25/2012 
ImageThe-Art-of-Possibility-Zander-Rosamund-9780142001103.jpg, retrieved  on 05/25/2012
Image: zander.jpg, by Jurgen Banda Hansmann, 2008, and f-Possibility-Zander-Rosamund-978014200110.png, arranged by Bill Harris,, retrieved on 05/25/2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Week 4 Leadership Role Model Reflection

TechHelper's EdTech Hero: Meg Ormiston

Meg Ormiston
Published with permission
I met Meg Ormiston about six years ago at our annual conference and workshop, Week of the Young Child. The conference is conducted and hosted by the Middle Grades Department, College of Education, at Armstrong Atlantic State University. Each year the conference is held for pre-service teachers or teacher candidates to be introduced to a myriad of educational and academic related topics. One year we invited Meg as our Keynote Speaker and boy did we get a KEYNOTE speaker!

Meg is passionate about transforming teaching and learning thorough the power of digital tools. She is a high energy, animated, and motivating speaker captivating everyone within the sound of her voice or mesmerized by her podium presence. She addresses large and small audiences with the same enthusiasm. I have seen and auditorium with over 200 participants engaged in learning activities as though they were in a small group activity. Participants with eye wide-opened, hands flying up to indicate acknowledgment or an answer, and adults flying out of their seats in anticipation of a correct response. Her keynotes are full of content, examples, and information. No one that I know has gone into her workshops and has not come away with something useful in their own personal teaching library.

Meg travels nationally and internationally empowering educators through her dynamic presentations focused on creating positive change in the classroom. She has researched how curriculum aligned to the common core state standards can be delivered through the use of visual images, simulations and multimedia, coupled with real-time assessments. Meg has authored five books with the most recent winning the prestigious Book of the Year 2010 award. Its title is, Creating a Digital Rich Classroom: Teaching and Learning in a Web 2.0 World. What’s more exciting is that she is developing online professional development to engage staff anytime and anywhere.

In this blog post I wanted to look at individuals or organizations that I admired and spell out what it is that attracts me and how I might incorporate this [attraction] into my own leadership style. I did not have to look too far or hard. Ever since I met Meg and seen her every time thereafter I have admired the work she does using her talents to make her positive mark on education. That’s what attracts me to her. I desire to use my talents with that same burning passion to ignite teachers and educational leaders to “think outside the box” when it comes to technology integration and adoption.  To quote Meg, she says, “I’m not about technology, I’m about teaching and learning” and to it I add my personal phrase that I’ve said for years, “I’m not a techie. I’m and educator.” Meg inspires me to be a passionate educator in using my technology skills and I'm proud to know someone like her.

"Role Model" a definition:   

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Comment #2 on: Duwaine Jenkins’ Week 3 - Art of Possibility Reading

In reading this week, one phrase stood out. The conductor doesn’t make a sound. He uses the strengths of his orchestra to produce it. The first story that made me think about my classroom was with the Cuban and American Youth Orchestras. Due to unseen circumstances one piece of music was not given to one group. This almost ruined the concert until one conductor came up with an idea. Let the youth teach each other. This pressure caused them to think outside of the box for a moment. I want to say for a moment because when they saw a solution that worked they almost resort back to business as usual. How many times do teachers find that ah-hah moment and then resort back to the routine? In the next scenario, one viola blanks out during a crucial time in the performance. The violinist sitting next to him seamlessly plays the part on his instrument that is not tuned at the same pitch. The piece went off flawlessly. Wouldn’t it be great to be in a class and not be noticed? Not because you are ineffective, but because your students are collaborating so well that they embrace the assignment and make it their own.

My Comment

Wow! Duwaine, you eloquently spoke the truth that many of us have seen or at least I have seen. Too often I’ve seen teachers in training get that “Ah ha!” moment in training go back to their classroom and apply their “Ah ha” solution with great anticipated success and not use that success to replicate it with other classes of students. This was a prime example of that. This worked because of what we know today, collaboration works. In collaboration students take ownership of their learning and sharing of that learning. Not in a way that is boastful but in a reassuring prideful way. They would seem to say, “I know what I’m talking about and the correct way that I just shared it with my peers confirms that I know what I’m talking about.”  You made an excellent point.

Comment #1 on: Kristen Mckernin’s Week 3 Reading Entry

This book is really moving me.  I think this book was the EXACT fit to have to read nearing the end of this long journey.  It is really helping me examine my own life and I find myself relating to it almost every page.  I have kept a Word document of my favorite quotes.  I have been so incredibly busy this past year, I have bought my first house and I will have completed graduate school all in the same year.  Both of these have taken up all of my time after work, that I have seemed to "loose myself" in the process.  I have been thinking for weeks what I am going to do next, since I feel like I am not going to know what to do with my time.  I think the next step will be to "find and improve" myself.  I am not unhappy in any way, but I know I can do and be better.  This book is so motivating and is just the right thing to start me on that path!  I especially need to learn to remember the Rule Number 6.  I think that I am going to pass on this chapter to my administration and see what they think about implementing it in our environment.  I think that it would be a great thing to remember throughout our very hectic days.  I have also realized that I need to find my central self because I almost always react with my calculating self.  I over analyze almost everything in my life and go back and forth questioning a decision a million times.  I always try have other people make decisions because I am always afraid I will choose the one that will make someone or others unhappy.  But I guess that leads to learning that you cannot please everyone. 

I hope others are finding this book as moving as I am....

Regardless of the changes I would like to incorporate in my life, here are some of my favorite lines that I feel will help me become an even better person:
“Humor and laughter are perhaps the best way we can ‘get over ourselves.’  Humor can bring us together around our inescapable foibles, confusions, and miscommunications, and especially over the ways in which we find ourselves acting entitles and demanding, or putting other people down, or flying at each other’s throats.”  (80)

“When we practice Rule Number 6, we coax this calculating self to lighten up, and by doing so we break its hold on us.”  (81)

“When one person peels away layers of opinion, entitlement, pride, and inflated self-description, others instantly feel the connection.  As one person has the grace to practice the secret Rule Number 6, others often follow.”  (89)

“Mistakes can be like ice.  If we resist them, we may keep on slipping into a posture of defeat.  If we include mistakes in our definition of performance, we are likely to glide through them and appreciate the beauty of the longer run.”  (102)

“Abstractions that we unwittingly treat as physical reality tend to block us from seeing the way things are, and therefore reduce our power to accomplish what we say we want.”  (108)

Downward spiral talk is based on the fear that we will be stopped in our tracks and fall short in the race, and it is wholly reactive to circumstances, circumstances that appear to be wrong, problematic, and in need of fixing. 

“Focusing on the abstraction of scarcity, downward spiral talk creates an unassaible story about the limits to what is possible, and tells us compellingly how things are going from bad to worse.” (108)

“The more attention you shine on a particular subject, the more evidence of it will grow.   Attention is like light and air and water.  Shine attention on obstacles and problems and they multiply lavishly.”  (108)

“Speaking in possibility springs from the appreciation that what we say creates a reality; how we define things sets a framework for life to unfold.”  (110)

“We start from what is, not from what should be; we encompass contradictions, painful feelings, fears, and imaginings, and- without fleeing, blaming, or attempting correction- we learn to soar, like the far-seeking hawk, over the whole landscape.”  (111)

My Comment:

Kristen we all need to remember “Rule #6” modified for some of us of course. I think that every time we react to our “calculating self” we are serious about our goals and our focus. I think that we become calculating because it becomes our way to survive in world where everyone seems to be calculating. But I see that’s why “Rule #6” makes people stop and take notice…it’s different from how others are acting or reacting. This difference causes a change in you, which in turn causes you to be different. In your response, I detected a little downward spiral in your conversation. You used “but” instead of “and”. You have accomplished so much in this extremely busy year “and” you bought your first house “and” graduating from Full Sail also. You are so alive with the enthusiasm of life. Keep telling yourself that. To quote or re-quote the source of one of the Zanders sayings, “Speaking in possibility springs from the appreciation that what we say creates a reality;…” source quote, Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue:…” Meaning; what we say positively or negatively out of our mouths will make a difference in positively or negatively affecting our lives. If you profess unhappiness then you will be unhappy until you profess something else. This is what the Zander’s are simply telling us.