When disruption is a bad word…

One of the major hurdles I overcame as I started the DLL Masters program was learning that disruption is GOOD. I have learned that when a disruption is introduced in an environment, it throws everyone off at first. There are early adopters, the “innovators”, then slowly the curve rises while more and more people adopt the new strategy, learn to use the new product, or talk about how to grow.

But the word “disruption” still has a negative connotation for most. Especially in a year of a pandemic. Especially in a month of an historic devastating climate event.

But can we be innovators inside of devastation? Is there a way to see what no one else can see when disruptions first happen? To be early adopters of change, even if the change is “natural”? Can we choose to have a growth mindset when facing trauma?

Even when pushed to our limits, let us still make disruption GOOD.

Start With Why- ePortfolios?

I just finished reading Simon Sineck’s best selling book of the same name, Start With Why. Sineck effectively illustrates the difference in companies that motivate and inspire long-lasting change in the way we think and live. Companies that function more as movements that change the world.

His idea comes down to something very simple: The Golden Circle. This circle is actually three circles. The outer circle narrates WHAT; something that every company rattles off quickly, and is almost always in the lead. The second circle is HOW; the quick follow-up to the WHAT. The inner circle is WHY. Your purpose.

Sinek proposes that when WHY is in the lead, there is a message that is much more compelling. When we hear a motivational reason at the very start, it functions as a lit match, and the follow-up HOW and WHAT just burn brighter.

He even compares his visual of the circle to the biology of the brain. We can’t help buy love the WHY first because our brains are built to receive it.

I love it. I bought it. Not only that, I was able to identify my WHY right away.

I want to be the giver of favorite books. I want hundreds of people to remember middle school for what they read.

If that can happen, I believe they will have more meaningful, connected lives. That’s WHY I teach. The WHAT is that I teach. And my HOW changes constantly.

Maybe this space (ePortfolio, blog, website…whatever) can function as my own Golden Circle. It will exemplify my WHY, WHAT and HOW.

Maybe I’ll build it with blog posts remaining on the homepage, with my WHY to keep my focus on my purpose. Readers can click around if they are curious about what I’m reading, or what I’m learning about. This will be my corner of the internet to document how different learning environments are coming together, or how projects are going.

And here, on the home page, I will always start with WHY.

CSLE+COVA and Digital Lineage

I re-read my professor’s COVA book yesterday, about Creating Significant Learning Environments for learners where they have Choice, Ownership, and Voice in an Authentic way.

One part that stood out to me in his writing was the day the brakes locked up on his son’s truck. He was already running behind on a project of his own, so it would have been easier to call a mechanic and get the problem solved. Move on, no risk. But he didn’t do that. He served as a sounding board and a guide, leading his sons through the solution that they provided. 

As I was reading about that authentic learning experience he allowed his sons to have and grow from, I tried to think about how that could work for my 5th graders. 

This morning I was preparing to teach Session 7: Textual Lineage. The title of the prescribed lesson alone was heavy for a 10 year old. 

Maybe because Dr. H’s story was fresh on my mind, I decided to slow down a bit on my lecture. I took some time to let the kids figure out what that title might mean. They came up with “books in your past that mean something to you”.

The assignment dictated that they write a response about their textual lineage.

Instead, I asked them if they would rather tell me about their textual lineage with a slideshow. The answer was a resounding yes! I gave them a few parameters: one book per slide, include an image of the book and a few images that represented something meaningful to you from the book, a quote from the book, and maybe why you picked it. 

I gave almost no instruction on HOW to build a slideshow. But they flew. Maybe this generation intuits toolbar language? It seemed they could find everything. Not only were their fonts varied and colorful, their slides moved and sang and some were even animated. 

They suddenly cared about spelling. They cared about punctuation and capitalization! They were each others audience, they were their own audience, and they didn’t care about a grade. 

The Book became even more meaningful to them because they were creating in a significant learning environment with choice, one where they owned their learning, they used their own voice, and created something completely authentic. They understood their textual lineage and were creating a digital one.

Thibodeaux, T., & Harapnuik, D., Cummings, C. (2018). Choice, Ownership, and Voice through Authentic Learning (pp. 20-22). Creative Commons License.