Saturday, September 24, 2016

Change as a Fulcrum for Innovation #IMMOOC


Change - it is sometimes welcomed, but more often feared as a negative impact on one's own environment. In fact, change occurs regularly whether we initiate it or not...and when you think about it, there's considerable value being a part of the change's direction and purpose, rather than being a 'victim' of it. 

With a resume of nearly forty years in the world of education, witnessing (and instigating) change has been the norm. While I welcome it - especially as an alternative to the 'status quo' - I much prefer to have some influence creating, molding, and guiding it. And, simply put, change is a prerequisite for growth, for innovation - it is the catalyst for creating our futures. 

After reading the Introduction to George Couros' The Innovator's Mindset, there were a number of concepts/writings that resonate. 
  • "We forget that if students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them."
    • Working with postsecondary technical/vocational and adult (GED) students, there is a strong and common characteristic of being disenfranchised from the 'norm'. The curiosity appears to have left their world long ago - at least in the traditional sense. Our students have not 'fit' into the conventional sense of education, but that doesn't make them any less worthy of learning. 
    • Perhaps we have failed them in the past, but with an incredible persistence, our students come back for more. We owe them an environment of inquiry and respectful personalization.
  • "Think about it: we have the world at our fingertips, the ability to connect and create with people around the globe through so many mediums. Yet what do most schools focus on when talking about technology? 'Cyberbullying' and 'digital safety.' Yes, these are important concepts that should be discussed, but we need to go way beyond that." 
    • Yes and yes! We definitely need to weave these concepts into our educational structures, but do it in such a way that global connections and creations are prioritized.
    • More than six years ago, Tania Sheko (Australia), Sinikka Laakio-Whybrow (Finland) and I (Naples, FL, USA) set up an opportunity for students to connect in an image posting/commenting conversation via Flickr. Though this is a blog post or two of its own, I mention it here as an example of connections being created across time zones. 
  • "When we tap into the power of we over me, we have the potential for what Steven Johnson refers to as the 'adjacent possible,' creating new aspirations and a powerful vision of what school could and should really be for our organization as learners." 
    • Love the 'adjacent possible' inferences!! But what is it (really)???
    • The process of reinventing ourselves - as teachers, as an educational institution, as a culture - is an ongoing challenge. The quality improvement cycle model is the basis for recreating ourselves to make our work/life/culture better - and it works when you are empowered (whether by others or internally) to see it as a priority. 
Change is both simple and complex - it is the fulcrum for innovation. Change is a daily part of life and thus, we can capitalize on innovation every day as well. 

Creative Commons licensed photo credit to Charles Strebor on Flickr


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Preamble #IMMOOC Creating and Empowering an "Innovator's Mindset"

After a long dormancy, a renewal (of sorts) is in the making here. It is not like I wasn't learning every day nor was my photography put aside, but the sharing piece was definitely amiss. I missed it, but was relieved of the pressure I created for myself. A focus for the next six weeks will be on my commitment to the #IMMOCC as related to George Couros' The Innovator's Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity

So on a day where our memories recount the unthinkable loss of 9/11, I reflect on the core values that impact the reason for living, the basis for my career, and the guiding forces for day-to-day decisions. A rarity to take the time to dig deep - and though, I will, it won't necessarily be truly expressed in my words - nor my image - but it will be imprinted and shared to some degree. My core values:

  • Lifelong learning (yes, a cliche, but I'm still a believer) creates positive change and with change, there is growth (despite the challenges). Without change/growth, we stagnate and eventually wither away.
  • Connections - not just the relationships one counts with regards to family, friends and acquaintances, but connections with 
    • people (virtual and face-to-face, including those spontaneous ones that etch an emotion in our hearts),
    • nature/environment (a true spiritual one that underscores the cycle of life and the respectful interdependency required for survival)
    • content/ideas/art (for lack of better words - being inspired by connected concepts that propel one's thinking)
    • history (our culture and heritage, our past and our learnings from the past)
    • ourselves (yes!)
  • Authenticity - I am guilty of using silence to avoid genuine interaction (often confused with my introversion) but I strive to create honest situations that are devoid of "niceties" for the sake of being nice. There is a certain amount of conflict for me here as I want to acknowledge those who need the external feedback, but I want to do so with integrity and that is sometimes difficult. 
Creative Commons licensed photo credit to colemama on Flickr

Why is innovation so crucial in education? How will it impact our students and ourselves long term?

Innovation is change and it is crucial in ALL phases of life - a fundamental ingredient to describe 'living'! Without it, are we really living? It is not only essential for short term, but for long range as the change process is cyclical - how do we learn from it? And, just as important (maybe more so), is the institution of education itself in need of innovation - perhaps, the act of learning is a better focus and yet, innovation, education, learning, students and my core values are all intertwined. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sultry Strands 11.27.14

Rounded the corner to find this dripping Spanish Moss backlit from the bright sunshine and knew it was worth a shot. Noticed the dewy railing wire, the lichen-splashed tree bark and the near circular leafy texture of the coco plum in the background in post-production.

Subject & Background - The epiphyte is the subject, but there are certainly a number of competing factors...most of which complement the subject (rather than compete?)
Balance - Various tones weigh in well, but wonder if too much texture variety
Point of View - Slightly angled to capture the railing and tree trunk
Simplicity - Without the sunlit coco plum, there may have been better simplicity 
Geometry (points, lines, shapes) - The lines and curves - multidirectional - are most noticeable
Repetition - Repeating lines in the railing are the most prominent
Rule of 1/3s - Pretty much ignored in this shot....
Perspective -  Nothing particularly noticeable
Symmetry - None  
Depth of Field - Created more by railing lines
Intersections - Intersections within railing and also between Spanish Moss and railing
Freedom Park, Naples, FL

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Circumspect Chance 11.26.14

Chance's reluctance to be photographed is pretty obvious - he even looks like he's giving the 'evil eye', but he survived the snap of the shutter. ;)

Subject & Background - Chance's face/expression is the focal point
Balance - Some balance in tones and definite contrast in his dark nose and 'eyeliner' with white fur
Point of View - Eye-level meant squatting for me but much more natural, but wish I hadn't cut off his ears!
Simplicity - With the exception of the definitive subject, there's not much simplicity
Geometry (points, lines, shapes) - Points (nose, eyes, ears), lines (background, fur lines) and shapes (triangular head & ears, almond eyes, leaf-shape head fur marking)
Repetition - Though not purposeful, there's repetitive pattern in the background with lines leading to the focal point
Rule of 1/3s - In this case, no grid point meets the rule, but the left vertical line from the nose up the bridge between the eyes and his left ear absolutely draws the eye
Perspective - Captures an emotion as well as the physical object
Symmetry - Not except the eyes and ears! 
Depth of Field - Enough DOF to provide interest and focus on the cautious expression
Intersections - No evidence on this shot
Naples, FL

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Diverging Diversity 11.25.14

Palm trees are ubiquitous in my environment. People often have a stereotypical image of what a palm should look like...and, yet, there is incredible diversity in the number and types of palms (more than 2,500 worldwide!). Like palm trees, there are many diverse people and cultures in our world - all of which have value. Taking the time to see all facets of individuals and situations goes a long way in making decisions about thoughts and actions. 

Subject & Background - This seems obvious...palm frond subject to light (sky) background
Balance - May be off-balance with emphasis on dark and palm frond 
Point of View - Typically shot from the ground up, but the focal point of radiating spirals may add a twist
Simplicity - Love the long triangular shapes of the fronds - simple geometry complemented with the added spiral component
Naples, FL

Monday, November 24, 2014

Patchwork of Lily Pads 11.24.14

So many lily pads - choosing one was too difficult, so the montage it is! The left one - "the missing slice of pie" is the classical shape, but the others are intriguing with their reflective sunlight and turning pads.

Subject & Background - There's no doubt that the lily pads are front and center (i.e., subjects)
Balance - Light and dark appear balanced in each, as well as in the total picture - also texture of rough and smooth are reflected nicely
Point of View - Capturing lily pads in three different ways offer a number of perspectives
Simplicity - Lines and shapes against mostly solid dark background lend a nice simplicity
Freedom Park, Naples, FL

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reflective Rails 11.23.14

This is always a favorite sight and not sure I like the black and white version, but wanted to try it and reflections always get me thinking. ;) While walking out of the park, my thoughts went to the difficulties many of my college students have with the concept of 'inquiry-based lessons'. I know that some is due to the way they were taught and expectations of the same, but I also wonder how much is due to just not slowing down enough to think about what the concept means and how its structure could be beneficial. One more reason to continue to plug along with the reflective writing assignments as a scaffold for increased critical thinking.

Subject & Background - There are two different subjects - the boardwalk and the reflection in the water, but they move together
Balance - Tonal differences help to create balance, but the linear patterns of the boardwalk and reflections are nicely off-set with the round and scalloped textures of the lily pads
Point of View - The multiple lines are leading the eye in a prominent way
Simplicity - There's a fair amount of 'busy-ness' here, but the patterns and lines make it a bit more simplistic
Freedom Park, Naples, FL