Bucket #3 – Leadership and Creativity

This is the final bucket from the earlier post on creativity. Leaders should talk last in meetings. Often the opposite occurs. The leader will lay out their vision and say “What do you think about that?” This frames the rest of the conversation. Even if you’re disagreeing, your argument is relative to that vision rather than fresh. Everything is now focused around that vision. I can see how this might kill off different ideas, especially odd ideas. I can see this as a good idea most of the time but I can also see times when a leader wants to set that vision and have the conversation be about what they want. If they’re a good leader then they’ll likely know when to do this, if not . . . Reduce “insecurity work.” – “Insecurity work” is all that stuff you do that makes you feel good but doesn’t necessarily do anything good for you. He mentioned checking email, checking web stats etc. This work eats time and interrupts work flow. I think teachers and admins are definitely guilty of compulsive email checking. Our principals and many at Central Office all have Blackberries and it is an epidemic. I’m certainly guilty of checking stats, email, twitter etc. This usually happens when I have unpleasant work to do. I don’t recall […]

All Mobs Are Self-Selected

All mobs are self selected 1 – 2Mobs bully/attack other people3 but they do so because people have gathered strength from finding other people thinking/feeling just like they do. I think the Internet and all the social media tools4 makes it really easy to surround yourself with the echo-chamber, or a self-selected mob, and then it becomes much easier to start doing dumb things while still feeling like your ideas/actions have been vetted and approved by an unbiased crowd. I’ll also say that the Internet and social media allow you to do the opposite. That is you can surround yourself with vastly different ideas and people from very different backgrounds that will challenge your thoughts and ideas and help keep you from doing or continuing to believe stupid/wrong things. I think far more people do the former. It’s human nature. I try to fight it in two ways. One, I try to get lots of ideas from outside what I do. I try to broaden where my information comes from and both the kind of information and the view points on information that I’m exposed to.. Two, I try to find people who make me just a little bit mad when I read them but mad in a way that makes me think. It’s easy to find people that make […]

Encouraging Creativity at SXSW

Sat in a panel on encouraging creativity today. Thinking about it, it was a mix of creativity and productivity from a business view point. I think that’s good when thinking about trying to encourage creativity in the classroom. Both business and education seem to want a consistent, for lack of a better word, organized creativity.1 Here’s the my take on the presentation by Behance.com2 They say there are three buckets that influence the amount of productive creativity going on in a place.3 Bucket One – Productivity Generate ideas in moderation – too many ideas can be just as bad as too few. There might be a point where you want everyone throwing out all their ideas but you also need a culling process to focus things. They recommend having one person who’s job was not to come up with ideas but to look at them critically. Urgent vs Important – make the distinction and act accordingly. If we want teachers to be creative, that’s a big one for schools. They also encourage windows of “non-stimulation” to focus on doing the important things. Think of a teacher’s and administrator’s day. It’s all urgent and creates a kind of harried, unfocused scurrying that gets lots done but often at very shallow levels. I think of our administrators at any meeting. They are […]

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Flight or Invisibility

This clip from Heros would be a fun way to start a conversation about questioning, right/wrong answers etc. with some teachers or students.1 On the technical side, I had no idea you could do this on Hulu. A nice feature. 1 Yes, I know it’s not perfect but it’s a decent start.

Snow Day

While this post is a bit late. . . We’ve had some interesting weather around here. For VA this is huge, record breaking snow and it’s in March. We had some fun. Temps are now in the 70s. You can’t deny the weather around here keeps things interesting.

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links for 2009-02-19

10 Principles of Beautiful Photography (tags: photography hdr images beauty goodphotos) Canon XH-A1 HD Work Flow : Apple Final Cut Pro HDV-1080p24 (tags: fcp size xha1 canon settings) FileMaker Instant Web Publishing (tags: hcps fmp iwp database)

Google Forms Meets the Spaghetti Syndication Monster

Or – how I do things since I can’t program – but isn’t the first title much more fun?1 First off, thanks to Jim Groom for letting me bounce ideas off him, giving some technical assistance and for testing services rendered. Now to business. Here’s what I wanted- a web accessible form that would display the data as it rolled in right under the submission form. Just like comments for a post but we wanted multiple questions2 and we wanted to be able to divide the responses. So that, in and of itself, is pretty narrow and stupid but what this can do in the end is pretty cool and can have widespread power. Using Google forms and the selective publishing option you can embed all sorts of user inputted data w/o having a clue how to program- and I think that’s pretty neat. Obligatory Warning for WPMU users (WP single user should just work)- Some of the stuff I’m going to tell you to do is not a good idea if you’ve got other authors on your WPMU installation that you don’t trust. If it’s just you and people who won’t be doing crazy stuff then proceed under your own recognizance. To make this work in WordPress MU3 you’re going to need to install one plugin – Unfiltered-mu. This […]

Why use WPMU in K12?

I’ve been slowly migrating all of our individual WP installs into WPMU over the last few days. It’s going to really make life a lot easier around here while adding some real advantages. You’ve seen Jim showing a million reasons to use WPMU in the college environment and while most (maybe all) can be transferred over to K12 there are some advantages to using WPMU in K12 that are worth looking at a little more directly. Flexibility – WordPress can handle just about any web need I have in a school setting. I can of course use it to blog but it can just as easily be the backbone for my school’s website and act more like a CMS. And imagine a school website that was both current and easy for multiple users to updated without expensive software. The ability to quickly and easily change themes is attractive to users but it is also a key component in creating engaging web experiences for students. BlackBoard and other CMS options tend to pretend to give you control over how your particular page or site looks but real customization is not an option at the user level and it makes a difference. Being able to control all the aspects of the Richard III page made things far more professional and interesting to […]

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7 Things About Me

Since Milobo tagged me and I follow the rules of tag like a religion here are 7 things about me. As a general rule I don’t like schools or organized US education 1. I often wonder how I ended up doing this or if I even really belong here. On a positive note, I did enjoy Montessori school when I was younger. I have had 9 different full time jobs since I graduated in 2000. I’ve been hired by HCPS three separate times now and the University of Richmond twice. I’ve lived in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, South Korea, New York and Virginia. If it wasn’t for my extended family I’d move to Australia even though I’ve never been there. I like Steve Irwin that much. I used to chase rabbits a lot in my neighborhood- barefoot 2 I caught one once. Once. I hate that I have to sleep but like sleeping. I can’t help but think of how much more stuff I could do if I could just get by on 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night. As a result I’m always looking for ways people go without sleep and still manage to survive. For about a year I tried massive amounts of caffeine. It was normal for me to drink 3 Sobe No Fear […]

Working Hard at Being Lazy with Automator

We just got a few new beautiful MacBook Pros in our office. I hated to see their desktops get all junked up like the old computers were- some people cover every inch of desktop until files overlap. So to amuse myself and to play around with Automator I decided I’d make something that makes a folder for the current date in your Documents folder takes all the crap off your desktop and puts it there then deletes all the stuff on your desktop It took about 30 minutes to do, mainly because I couldn’t get the contents of the Finder to get refreshed before it selected what to delete 1. So I’d watch it copy to the right folder but then it’d erase the desktop and the contents of the Documents folder. It was strange but I eventually just broke the action into two parts 2. It’s my first time using Automator so constructive criticism is welcome. I’m running 10.5.6 so I’ll say it works on that if both the app files are in the Applications folder and assuming your Documents folder is in the normal location. I put it in my Dock with a soap icon from Fight Club. You could also have iCal activate it automatically through the open file option under alarms. If you’re interested in seeing […]