I've been focused on my work as a full-time professor these past three years. What does a professor do? Teaching, scholarship, and service. What does that mean? It means: Continuous improvement in human and program performance. I promise, I practice all that I preach in each of my classes to you, my students. By midnight last night, I submitted 1 faculty report, 1 program report, & 6 proposals; 4 manuscripts for peer-review to be published (a few thousand words each including data to support the theories and design cases); 2 for conference presentations; one in a supporting role; 1 role supporting students; all while teaching and building courses. What does the life of a professor look like? It is fulfilling with the ability to see the fruits of your labor, collaborate with GREAT colleagues and ambitious students. It is frustrating when you can't reach everyone or miss something in a proposal to get a rejection. It is VERY filled and busy as you try to improve each step of the way. It enables me to accomplish my purpose in life: Make a difference to better a life! Alone we are an island. Together we can move mountains. Life after graduation doesn't get "easier," it becomes even more fulfilled the more you use the talents you harness. #togetherWeAreStronger Keep stepping with a purpose TOGETHER. https://youtu.be/z6KWsVDfaMY What do I do? I...
God willing, the first step towards "Making a difference. Bettering a life." https://vimeo.com/247216728
So, for those of you who know me well, you can attest that my efforts continued forth in my quest of Instructional Design and Technology even though this blog was put on hold for a year. For those of you who don't know, here's a brief recap of the past year.
I achieved that long awaited doctoral degree last year, moved with the whole family to Tampa, Florida, and immersed myself into the University of Tampa ID&T Graduate program, the BEAUTIFUL University (campus and people) from which both of my children graduated. For the part of the story you may not know... Several years ago I decided to pursue my doctoral degree once I saw that my children were nearing the end of their four-year degree. Of course, I intended on using it to support myself and any family members who might still need my support no matter how old or young they were (especially since the family tends to live into our hundreds); but, my primary intent, spoken or not, was for a greater good. Prior to entering the program, I wrote down my purpose in life. It was to "Make a difference. Better a life." People say how "lucky" my children and I are to be residing in the same location we aimed to be, with jobs we chose. Certainly, luck does have something to do with it, but we also created the opportunities with intentionality, determination, hard work, persistence, care and authenticity in all that we did and all that we do. Of course, I am also daily on my knees in gratitude and continued prayer as I know the plan was clearly laid out for us. It was just up to us to keep getting up and moving forward, no matter how tired we were.
Thus, I write this for you, dear students, for my loved ones, family, friends, and anyone exasperated by the workload and worry on the plate today. I had a former professor who shared something to the effect on day one of our doctoral program that it was going to be hard; but, if it were easy, everyone would do it. My Chair, who I now refer to as my academic mother, promised it would be worth it. I didn't think too much of those words then. I just wanted the degree so as not be a burden to anyone as I aged, and I wanted the title to make a difference in others' lives. At the time, I didn't understand why research was so important or why I had to do eight zillion annotations and lit reviews.
What I can tell you now only through experiential learning is that pushing yourself further than you ever imagined produces rewards beyond the human language. Consider it like articulating love. Only after I held my first born in my hand could I look into the eyes of my parents to communicate my understanding of the unconditional love I had been given but now new. Likewise, only after all the sleepless nights and years of consistent focus went into achieving the terminal degree am I able to look at my peers and nod in understanding that we've all done it for a greater good.
Keep going to become the best version of you in mind, body and soul, dear students, family, friends, and anyone exasperated by what today brings.
I promise it's worth it.
In Creativity: A New Era in Educational Technology, Riza (2002) suggests three terms describe creativity as a product: Discovery, Innovation and Invention. What better way is there to elicit creativity from our students than with Web 2.0 resources to discover, innovate and invent? Consider the endless creations they can collaboratively build upon and unveil as they take advantage of Bubbl.us, Edistorm, Glogster, Storybird, YouTube, Toontastic, etc. The options are limitless. How will you invoke creativity from your students today? Simply put some of these resources in their hands to stop having them consume and start watching them produce!
Riza, E. T. (2002). Creativity: A new era in educational technology. TOJET,
I regularly see creativity in the students with which I have the pleasure to work. Doodling on textbook covers and artistic drawings demonstrate vivid and detailed imaginations; essays based upon fantasy or from personal perspectives; final digital projects aesthetically pleasing, functional and effective; creative company names, product ideas and marketing jingles when asking them to play the role of entrepreneurs.
Can we tap into these isolated sparks of creativity to problem solve? Well, let’s consider this. If college enrollment is down, how can we make it more inviting for future students? How can we market to future students?
Consider this. The decor of schoolrooms are often stark, bland, hospital-like. If we taught our students to use creative invoking techniques like personal analogy mixed with fantasy… I wonder what magical stories they could imagine for us to bring life to our walls? What if we partnered them with the art department and offered those students real-world applications? Could we make those walls tell stories of the walk of past students’ lives for future students?
For those students still working on descriptive and evidentiary writing, I suggest we hand them the marketing brochure, website, social media and say “go.” Write the story to inform future students about why they should attend this amazing institution.
Davis, G.A. (2004). Creativity is forever. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company.
So, Gelb (2009) hails “Da Vinci’s life was an expression of the ancient classical ideal of ‘mens sana in corpore sano,’ a sound mind in a sound body.
Do I think it’s applicable? Gelb offers an activity to measure one’s investment into the body called Corporaltia. I enjoyed checking off all the elements. Is this a surprise? Let’s see… Yesterday I posted: Focus on “Mind, body & soul… & Lovin’ life!” on Instagram after running the paths of Kentucky, spending a day of knowledge consumption as a doctoral candidate and engaging the rest of my waking hours with an amazing MSU cohort playing and praying. In the middle of my Master’s program, I ran my first marathon. When tragedy struck, my family went to Haiti to pay-it-forward and during the middle of my doctoral program I ran my second marathon… faster and stronger.
But, it’s not enough to reap the benefits alone. As an educator I brought students and teachers on board with DOE grant purchased Fitbits. This Get Fit to Persist design initiative was with the intention of improving our students’ bodies and souls, increasing their retention to improve their minds in our program. Pay it forward. Introduce it at your school to the concept and try it yourself!
‘Mens sana in corpore sano!' -Da Vinci’s
Gelb, M. J. (2009). How to think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven steps to genius every day. (Kindle Locations 2635-2636). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
So, if you’ve been following me since I began this blog feed in 2014, you’ll see the purpose for it was to discuss Educational Technology. I began by defining what exactly that meant. Go ahead, take a look (Educational Technology Defined). In brief, we found that a quick search confirms that the first part, "techne" may "be interpreted as skill or craft” and ‘logia’ the “comprehension of knowledge”. Technology can be seen as a process that is handed down through society to transform and improve our lives" (Selwyn, 2011). So now we’re looking at the essence of creativity. I suggest that without that, there would be no advancement in technology. Right?
So, how can we improve our creativity? I mean, aren’t we eventually going to run out of ideas?! And, that’s where we would be wrong if we answered “yes”. The brain has more capacity for amazing new creations than we can even comprehend. But, we can improve our capacity for creating. If you look at the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci paintings you’ll find endless creativity. Look at his work closely. You’ll see his imagination had him comparing the extremes in life. Michael Gelb suggest we can apply steps to improve our genius and be more like Leonardo da Vinci (Gelb, 2004). For example, in the Cultivate Confusion Endurance challenge he suggests we try to stretch ourselves to see the world just a bit differently by examining things that just don’t fit together. Examine opposite states then compare and contrast the relationship between them.
Here are some of mine.
Gelb shares: “Leonardo once wrote, ‘The highest happiness becomes the cause of unhappiness.…’” But, of course, the love for my husband was lost when he left. Life will come to an end. That unconditional love and joy with and for family, will eventually cause great grief at life’s destiny end in this life.
Gelb, M. J. (2009). How to think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven steps to genius every day (Kindle Locations 2147-2163). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
So, Michael Gelb (2009) offers us some cool assessments in his How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. His Sensazione test for each of our senses makes us consider just how much we use each of our senses. Have you seen the movie Limitless? A pill isn't the only thing that will help us fully utilize our brain. Some simple questions can make us realize if we're using our full potential or not also.
Because I'm the A Type personality, I had to take all the Sensazione tests. With a strong passion for design, from fashion to instructional to educational, I, of course assumed I would have a high aptitude towards visual design. Contrary to this believe, I found it to be my least used sense. I'm not 100% certain I know all my friends' eye colors, I don't look out into the horizon each day and I'm not a big fan of doodling or drawing. I'm a techie though, perhaps this isn't the only assessment that works in today's day and age (the book IS from seven years ago.) Does doodling on a computer count? Or scrolling through apps? Appears to me in this digital age, that's the visual question that needs to be asked in this era.
My hearing, smell, touch and synthesia score was above average though. Make sense to me.
A hum from a plugged in air freshener will drive me crazy;
the candle aroma has to be right depending upon my mood;
I don't want anything on my skin unless it's soft;
and, I can tell you what dot, dot, dot; foosah; and zip visually look like.
So, perhaps our spirit of design or lack of design is not solely based upon one sense. Seems to me we can work to make use of all our senses to design the most aesthetically pleasing version of our world. The Limitless pill may just lie within our minds already.
Time to tap into it.