Creative Connections

Creative Connections

One of the things I’m most proud of is my interdisciplinary approach to computing. Ironically, this used to be the thing I was most ashamed of. The academics among yoh will understand as academia is all about specialization. Take a narrow field and know it deeply. I did my master’s degree in renaissance literature, and while some scholars focused on a particular author, what I was most interested in was how literature intersected with religion and science and sociology. Literature, for me, was often where the confluence and conflicts of the day got expressed if not worked out. So when I came to think out composition and rhetoric in the digital age, and it was barely the digital age then, I considered that study not to be a narrowing of focuz, but a way of expanding how we think about each area. Technologies are influenced by who creates them and […]

What Support Looks Like

“Tell me what’s confusing. Explain what you’re thinking.” This is in response to “I don’t understand anything.” It elicits a solid question about the difference between one kind of parabolic equation and another.  “Yes? Keep going.” This is in response to a hesitant comment on Jane Eyre, coupled with a gesture indicating the soft-spoken student should speak louder. In a Chemistry class, every student has given an answer. Every student has heard, “That’s good. Great job.” These are just some of the interactions I see regularly, and it occurred to me that in combination, they represented a great support system. Students are regularly encouraged to speak out, to share their thoughts, however tentative. Incorrect answers are gently corrected or better yet, turned into questions to the student to help them discover their error and fully understand the material. We often think of support as something that happens outside the classroom and […]

Defining Balance

A few days ago, some colleagues and I were joking about what we’d had for lunch the last few days. Pretzels, cheese sticks, a diet coke.  Last weekend, a colleague texted me to say, have a relaxing weekend. What relaxing? I texted back. I’m at a conference. I’ve had more than my fair share of days that begin at 5:00 a.m. and don’t end until 9:00 p.m. I called my husband around 6:00 one day last week to apologize for being late and asked if I could pick up dinner for him. Late? he said. I wasn’t expecting you until 7:30 or so.  I laughed and said, let’s just assume 7:30 from here on out, and if I’m home earlier, it’ll be a surprise. No, this is not balance. Almost every woman I know that is invested in her career works like this. Is it a bad thing? Why do […]

Assumptions

You know that saying about assumptions? Yep. I’ve been seeing assumptions everywhere lately, and I find it interesting. Over the last several years, I’ve worked really hard not to make assumptions about people, situations, anything, in both my professional and personal life. When I think someone is making an assumption about me or a situation, I try to point it out. Just a couple of nights ago, I pointed out to my husband that when he asks about dinner in a certain way, there’s an underlying assumption that I’m expected to have a plan and not the other way around. Pointing that out can be painful in the moment, but helpful in the longer term. I think people make assumptions for a couple of reasons.  One, they are sometimes afraid to ask. If their assumption is wrong, their ego might be bruised, hopes might be dashed, or worldview shifted in […]

What I Learned from Music Class

Yesterday, I visited our chorus rehearsal.  I’ve seen our chorus perform many times, but I’ve never seen how it all comes together. When I arrived, they had been working for about 10-15 minutes.  Projected on the screen was the timeline for the day: 10 minutes on this, 10 minutes on that.  Cycling through 3 really different pieces of music in 1/2 hour. One might think that chorus is different from other classes. Everyone has to be on the same page, literally. If one person is off, it messes up everyone else. One might think that in other classes, it’s okay if not everyone is together or on the same page. But, in a way, it’s not that different for other classes, too. As a teacher, you really are conducting, in a way.  It was clear, for example, that the music teacher had set expectations for how things were to be […]

Leadership 101

Leading and leadership is something I think about a lot, and have thought about for the last probably 15 years. I have, I think, always aspired to be a leader, but not in the sense most think about, that is, being in charge of something.  Leading is more than that, and there are plenty of people in charge of things who are not leaders and plenty of people not in charge of anything who are.  Back on my old blog ten years ago, I wrote about how I perceived my own leadership: I see myself in a quieter, smaller role, leading a smaller group of people. I see myself doing what I did as president of the GSA: having conversations, guiding people, offering advice, saying what I think to people in power. I hope in some small way that what I do inspires and motivates others. I see some evidence […]

Maker Education

On Saturday, I attended EdCamp Maker Promise, a joint venture between the EdCamp Foundation (which I’ve been a part of for quite a while) and Digital Promise, where two of my former maker colleagues are working and doing great things. How could I not go! It was a little like a reunion.  The people I started out down this crazy path of figuring out what was possible in makerspaces were all there. We’ve learned a lot in the years we’ve all been trying to essentially remake education through this hands-on, hi-lo tech approach to school. But we’re still wrestling with some of the same issues, too. Too many of us still feel alone in the world, often the only person in their institution doing this kind of work.  Too many of us feel like we’re fighting an uphill battle with teachers or administration simply to understand what is so great […]

Hard Reboot

I decided to start a new blog. I’m keeping the old blog, found at the link in the menu, but I wanted a new title and new start so here I am.  I have thought sometimes about abandoning blogging altogether. After all, there’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and whatever comes next. But blogging for me is about thinking out loud, sorting out in writing where I stand on topics and what I’m thinking about in the moment. Although I connect with people here via the comments, it’s much more about my own thoughts. And while I love social media for connecting friends near and far, and quick, immediate conversations, both professional and casual, I still felt like I needed a place for myself to test out ideas. So as they say in the computing world, it was time for a hard reboot to clear out the memory banks and reconnect the […]