CC Photographer: LA(Phot) Rhys O’Leary
It’s the last post! No not that last post associated with a picture like above. But like that last post, this is an emotional goodbye. (Just to be clear, I have great respect for all men and women in the services. I just don’t respect the masters of war http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvr72uTd7kc )
Project communities has been one hell of a ride and although sometimes stressful I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I want to thank all colleagues and students but especially Nancy and Laura for all their work and patience.
What I liked is that both groups asked feedback on their video with less than 24 hours before the deadline. This is always a difficult thing to do , because you have just worked very hard and you are tired and don’t really want to change anything anymore. But you did ask and I pointed out some things and you did go that extra mile to make it better. So kudos to all of you and keep that up as a good habit.
As a first project we can see the ways of working and culture of this year group develop, What I really enjoyed is that we are starting to develop a culture were students are helping each other in their learnng and do a lot of their work in area 51.
For my groups: I’ll also give some direct feedback in the Facebook group pages.
I really learned a lot and I am immediately applying my learnings. For the minor smart life rhythms that I am teaching next module I am asking the project teams to report in a weekly blog. It makes sure there is weekly progress and it means that they don’t have to write a report in the end but can focus on building their solution.
I am also very happy that my dear old friend Sheila was very happy with the result.
I really hope to be able to join in the project again next year and am looking forward to another steep learning curve then!
Proud of Iris van Herpen
Iris van Herpen is a great designer. She won both the fashion award and the overall award of last week’s Dutch Design Week. She happens to be my cousin and we are all really proud of her. I love her work and it’s easy to feel proud of her for producing it. But I am even more proud of her for her focus on her work and how she is always deciding for herself what she thinks is important and what not. She could be on television way more often if she wanted to (and which PR people will tell her is good for her). But she focuses on her work instead. I wish for great succes for all of my students, but most of all I wish for them be able to stay true to themselves.
It was great to have a week off. I have still worked very hard around the house as we’ve moved the boys from 1 room into 2 rooms. But I definitely needed a break from the university. Too much workand not enough time, it’s one of those things. The wake-up call for me was during our last hang-out. One student made a comment that he thought a question in the assignment sounded like a question from 3 years ago. My own first thought was “Come on, discrediting a question because you are too lazy to really look into it, those tactics might work in high school or when you catch me unawares maybe, but can you please start acting like a mature student and not like a ….” But Nancy handled it perfectly, at the same time explaining the question very well and putting the student in his place in a mild way. That made me realise that if I had answered that question I would just have shown my annoyance, and nobody would have really learned anything from it. One of the side effects of stress for me is a very low irritation treshhold. When it’s hard to get rid of the stress, I try to remind myself to be generous. Because after all it’s not just about the results but very much about the way in which we achieve them. And to my amazement ‘be generous’ was one of the 7 learnings of the composer of my favourite newsletter: Brainpickings: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/10/23/7-lessons-from-7-years/ . The next 3 weeks will be again very stressful and I will be reminding myself to try and be generous. Generous to my students, colleagues, family and also to myself!
Our “client” the Gogorobí Foundation assigned us to find solutions to their funding needs as well as network expansion. In my opinion the latter point can be split in two. Network expansion within the foundation and external supporters which do not participate in the work but give support by donating, spreading the word and enjoying their work. So basically employes and consumers. So far every theme could be of use to address these issues. The use of crowdsourcing and especially crowdfunding seems to be the best ways though.
An argument in support of this approach is that a big crowd of people can make a bigger change than just a few people and the internet gives us the opportunity to tap this crowd very precisely. Volunteers from all over the world could be found to help the foundation do all the PR for example or give support with organizing, managing.
If enough people are convinced by the idea they will be willing to donate. Crowdfunding used right is a great way to reach a big chunk of the right target group.
Making this crowdfunding campaign viral would be the ultimate goal of course and would reach a lot of people, but even without it being viral there is a good chance that it would reach people that want to participate in the foundations work as well and build up community that way.
I think its really important to have our video with the advice as precise as possible just to make the impression that it is a plan that is thought trough.
My final solution would roughly look like this: First step for Sheila would be to find some volunteers online that would like to help her with creating media like a killer website, a crowdfunding campaign video and material. She should choose one project that she wants to do and try to market that. Start a crowdfunding campaign for this one planned project while expanding the local community by reaching out to the next target group: cultural interested tourists through travel agencies and tourist offices.
They Will Steal Your Idea. They Cannot Steal What Really Matters.
"If you were the inventors of facebook, you would have invented Facebook"- Mark "Jesse Eisenberg" Zuckerberg If you’re in the tech scen
Too ill to write today, but fortunately somebody else has already written it better.
On Wednesday I will present project communities during a workshop on blended learning. Blended learning means integrating ICT-enabled learning with live learning. The most common way of doing that is letting students watch (lecture) videos before the class and doing practical work under guidance during the class.
But in project communities we’re have a very different type of “Will it blend?”. And I am reflecting on what part of our specific blend it would be good to point out as valuable to the participants in the workshop. So far:
1) The hang-out meetings, specifically the recording in combination with the meetingwords. Yes it took some time to make it smooth but I think the way we can get Nancy and Alan involved is really quite amazing.
2) The blogging. Maybe not every student is as active, but it really sparks more dynamics and openness than just the offline conversations. I am generally not a big fan of forced reflections, but this works guys!
3) Confusiasm. (Which has nothing to do with Confucius). So you got thrown in the deep end. Do you want to discuss about the fairness of that or do you want to start swimming?
But these are just my first thoughts. Please tell me what is it that is essential to project communities that I should share in the blended learning workshop?
The question, why we have the theme “Groupwork” after we already worked in groups for actually 4 weeks, did not really come up because it was answered right away by Meggie in the lesson yesterday. The plan was to make the experience first by throwing us in at the deep end and then look at what we have done. That I guess is a part of the process of reflecting. So what did our group do ?
At the beginning of course we had no plan so it was really unstructured. By now we realized that working on something specific with 8 people is not possible. We have build task groups for that twice now and that was good. We created “edges” as we heard in this weeks video by Chris. And then we brought those edges together in our meetings. It is possible to have these with eight people if someone presides over them and everybody listens to each other and only one person speaks at a time. We experienced that, I think it went pretty well but there is still some room of improvements in the way that some people should let other people finish before they start talking. So to sum up this concept, I assume I have discovered, it is about creating edges by breaking up tasks and give them to smaller groups and then bring it back together in the meeting, have some discussion there, bring everybody up to date and then start the process over again.
What also occurred as a problem was that there were different assumptions about the actual tasks and it was quite difficult to get everybody to understand it the right way. There is a lot of discussion about the actual tasks involved. But I think it is crucial that everyone knows exactly what he or she has to do and to work on. This way you prevent that work is done without sense.
As I mentioned earlier we realized that it is impossible to work creatively with eight people. Our task groups we created consisted of four by now and it worked out quite ok but I would like to try this odd numbers like three for some brainstorming sessions.
One more thing. Nancy talked about having a way to track our progress/process visually. I really feel like I need that. I don’t know about my group yet but in the past weeks I had those times when I wanted to jump up and draw some sort of rough project schedule on the whiteboard. Maybe that will help us all to work towards our goals with more clarity.
In the coming weeks I will try to really do and say what I often have in mind, what I think could help our group go on faster. I will try to leave my comfort zone.
Yesterday I went into the garden to throw away some stuff in the compost bin. I saw a pigeon and tried to shoo it away but it just hopped away. Then I noticed that something was wrong with it’s wing, it couldn’t fly properly.
Dilemma time; what to do? If our two cats don’t catch it, one of the other neighbourhood toms surely will. Is a mercy killing in order? Do I have the stomach for that? I decide to leave it for the time being but thoughts of the pigeon keep playing on my mind for the rest of they day.
Arriving home late yesterday. evening I decide to check out the garden. No dead pigeon to clean up. Well I guess it’s been dragged off elsewhere.
But today to my surprise I find it again hopping around the garden. How has it managed to escape the cats? Strangely enough the cats look at it from a metre or so away and then walk around it. They have killed pigeons before, are they getting too old for the hunt? Or is there some unwritten cat sportsmanship rule that you don’t attack a pigeon that’s wounded?
Both the pigeon and the cats proved me wrong on my assumptions. I like that. Students can do that too. Sometimes great students suddenly don’t do as well as expected. Then it’s my task to be supportive but still honest in grading. Past performance doesn’t play a role there. And most of the time they’ll get back to being great soon enough. Fortunately also sometimes students do way better than you ever expected. That’s one of the joys of teaching. (after the plagiarism check of course ;-))
I am open to having my assumptions challenged. Even though sometimes it feels that it would be mercifull to kick you out, I am mostly ready to give a student the benefit of the doubt. Fortunately the decision is not up to my judgement. You just have to get those 50 credits in year one or you’ll be kicked out, broken wing or not.
For now, the pigeon has sort of flown off the fence into nextdoor’s garden. But I’ll keep an eye out for it.
When I was reading your blogs I started to think that I would like to know how you see yourselves in terms of these types. And of course if you expect anything to change during your first year of studying IDE.
Of course finding this Social Technograohics ladder again took some time, so please excuse me if your grades are late this week…..