My worst nightmare.

Port Townsend, WA

Port Townsend, WA

Yesterday, a teacher at my formal high school of Port Townsend, WA was arrested for returning to campus after being placed on administrative leave (for a previous disruption).

This is particularly hard to read because (1) it happened at my high school and (2) the teacher suffers from bipolar disorder.

Fortunately, when treated, bipolar is a condition we're able to hide. After a manic episode in 2004, I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 disorder. However, through medication and mood management its been a disability I've been able to conceal from the public eye.

Though I've been fortunate to have never had a second attack, it's a cloud a fear that looms over every day. When you have bipolar disorder, you're constantly asking yourself if this feeling you're experiencing (excitement or sadness) is natural or something to be concerned about. Sadly, the stigmas associated with the disorder force us to keep it hidden.

I recognize the need for security and support the authorities for the actions they've taken. Student safety is everything. However, I ask that my community of Port Townsend show sympathy and compassion for the teacher who's going through this horrible moment in his life.

When someone is having a manic episode they lose all control over their decision making and are able to rational illogical thoughts.

I'm keeping Mr. Miller in my thoughts today.

A rethinking of sharing

I believe the value of digital artifacts that represent your work is only going to increase in value in the coming years. However, I've been struggling to find a balance. 

Frankly, I've been put off by what I'm seeing online. Many of today's posts are self-aggrandizing and hollow. There's only so many "look at the cool place I was invited to" status updates I can stomach.

Sadly, our community rewards such behavior...

As a learner and tinkerer, I'm always in search of a new project. Because my pervious 20% project has turned into my full-time job, it's time for a new one.  This year I plan on digging into the world of social media and online sharing. I believe there is a way to be super active on social media and not come across like a complete d-bag. 

I've started this journey with personal vlogging. Next, I plan on ramping up my use of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and possibly Snapchat. However, I want the majority of my sharing to be generative (showing my work) and not shying away from sharing real feelings (it's not always unicorns and rainbows). 

The only way we're going to prevent our digital world from sliding into a total mindless pit of photo-enhanced humblebrags and articles we share only for their titles and never take the time to read is to increase the amount of meaningful social contributions.  

Creative Output | Creative Constraints

In an effort to improve output and cultivate my creativity, I'm going to push myself to post to the blog on a regular basis. Many of the posts will be short, and will likely read more as a stream of consciousness rather than final draft. However, it's important that I begin to exercise that mussel, and stop making excuses. 

Each day of the week will have some fun alliterative theme, where I'll be able to reflect on a the past week and make some goals for the next. This will serve as both my journal and drafting table.  By placing creative constraints on the project the hope is that I'll be able to produce more. 

Schedule: 

  • Moonshot Monday: Where I'm reflecting on big goals and projects and the progress. 
  • Tinker Tuesday: This is the wacky lab portion of the blog. No idea too out there. Sharing ideas for future projects and examining other awesome stuff in the universe. 
  • Wellness Wednesday: My effort to get back into shape and live a more mindful life. 
  • Tube Thursday: A weekly video reflection. I love video and have always wanted to push myself to create a video blog--epecially as I've been traveling more and not keeping a journal.
  • Featured Friday: Featuring all the great stuff that I've stumbled upon in my web travels. This could be people, videos, blogs, or fun new products. 

 

Doing as if no one is watching.

It frustrates me how many false starts I've had with blogging and getting back into a healthy exercise routine. Those are the first two things to go whenever I get busy or am on the road for work. When I'm working from home, it's easy for me to develop a healthy routine and set aside time for exercise and sharing my ideas. Unfortunately, I'm on the road more often than not. 

Moreover, I never feel like what I have is good enough to share. I'm concerned that there will be some typo that causes someone to think less of me. Scared that some idea that I have will offend someone I don't know. 

I need to push through those doubts and work from within. Too often I will be thinking about how my writing will be perceived. Will my viewpoint offend some reader. 

It's a censorship trap and it's preventing  me from being the best version of me. 

It's time to write, create, share, produce as if no one was watching. At the end of the day, I have to live with myself, and I don't want to look back on this time of my life as a series of "what if?" questions... 

 

 

Showing My Work!

It's time to practice what I preach. In my keynote I talk about the importance of take small steps each day, failing, and repeating.  I believe I work hard, and I love tinkering on new ideas, however, I do a terrible job of showing my work.  Life is flying by so quickly and I'm not creating a digital achieve.  

In the past I would wait until I had a (what I thought was) good idea, a point that I wanted to make, before I would come to my blog.  For some reason I was concerned what others might think, whether my thoughts were "good enough" to be published. That's no way of going about my business. 

That's why, starting today, February 5, 2015, I'm going to do a better job of showing my work.  Some days it may be a stream of consciousness. Others, it might be a formal post that attempts to make some bigger point. Regardless, it's time to stop sitting around and start shipping.  

The author Austin Kleon talks about the importance of showing your work and illustrates how a small amount of work each day can lead to something much larger. 

The author Austin Kleon talks about the importance of showing your work and illustrates how a small amount of work each day can lead to something much larger. 

Winter Break Project Idea: White House Film Festival

Looking for the perfect project to challenge your students as they head off for the holiday break? The White House [student] Film Festival is just the ticket.  This year's theme is "service" and K-12 students from the United States are eligible to submit a short video (3 minutes or less) on the theme of giving back. 

Send your students to WhiteHouse.gov/FilmFest to learn more! All submissions are due January 20. 

Here are some of my favorite videos from last year's competition: 

How (and why) to Create Interactive YouTube Videos

As we begin to understand the strengths and limitations of online and video instruction, it is important that teachers are equipped with the skills necessary to create their own high quality educational videos. A transition to digital classroom models should not mean a reduced role for the teacher. By leveraging digital tools, teachers can augment their role and extend their instructional voices beyond the classroom walls. 

Here are ways you can use interactive YouTube videos: 

Create interactive books: In this video I've taken the traditional read aloud and broken it into four separate videos. When the student arrives at the end of the first segment they are required to make a make a decision. Once they select their answer, the second video in the playlist will load. 

Curate great resources: With iPads and smartphones, the days of a list of blue links are limited. In this video I've linked off to four other videos that help students learn about types of chemical reactions. 

 

Review critical questions:  In this video I've taken a single exam question and turned it into an interactive experience for the students. Anytime they get the answer incorrect, there will be a video of me explaining why it's incorrect before they try again. The entire experience is four videos. 

 

Here is a video tutorial on how to make your own interactive YouTube videos