21st Century Education http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org Arthur's blog on ALFing Sat, 25 Nov 2017 19:07:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Kids Fulfilling their Dreams NOW! http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2015/06/21/kids-fulfilling-their-dreams-now/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2015/06/21/kids-fulfilling-their-dreams-now/#respond Sun, 21 Jun 2015 13:19:37 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=53 Not only the traditional educational system but our whole culture relates to kids more as potential than actual. Beings who may want to grow up to be SOMETHING, but for the moment are by implication NOTHING. One of the awesome things about Agile Learning Centers is that kids don’t have to wait to get real about … Continue reading Kids Fulfilling their Dreams NOW!

Kids Fulfilling their Dreams NOW! was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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Not only the traditional educational system but our whole culture relates to kids more as potential than actual. Beings who may want to grow up to be SOMETHING, but for the moment are by implication NOTHING.

One of the awesome things about Agile Learning Centers is that kids don’t have to wait to get real about who they are, they can start doing/being/having it now.

After going to the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC and playing these big multi-player games (meaning cabinets with controls for 8 – 10 players), they talked about them for weeks afterward. Our makerspace facilitator said, “Your know you could make your own game if you want.” And suddenly Game Team was born.

They named their game company Disgruntled Badger, and designed an Astronauts vs. Aliens game they called Galactic Nemeses. Three kids (a 15 year-old doing the graphic design and electronics of the controls, a 9 year-old programming most of the interaction/fighting, and an 8 year-old who programmed the game’s physics) built the game and launched it at a professional play testing event with lots of other NYC companies demonstrating their games at Microsoft’s fancy new Times Square offices.
 
They didn’t have to wait to grow up to be game designers. They can fulfill those dreams now.
 
Demonstrating Galactic Nemeses at NYC Playcasting event

Kids Fulfilling their Dreams NOW! was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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Answers are Truly no Better than Questions http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/25/answers-are-truly-no-better-than-questions/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/25/answers-are-truly-no-better-than-questions/#respond Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:19:36 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=43 Stated more clearly — the answers you have are limited to the quality of the questions you asked. This is a way bigger deal than we think. You see… Our culture, our institutions, and our educational system all teach us that it’s very important to have the right answers. The people with the right answers are the … Continue reading Answers are Truly no Better than Questions

Answers are Truly no Better than Questions was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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Stated more clearly — the answers you have are limited to the quality of the questions you asked.

This is a way bigger deal than we think.

Huge sign says Society for Asking Stupid Questions. Customer asks

You see… Our culture, our institutions, and our educational system all teach us that it’s very important to have the right answers. The people with the right answers are the powerful ones.

Well, there’s a big hitch in that equation. Having the right answers to stupid questions still leaves you with stupid answers.

On the whole, it seems to me that our bar is set pretty low on the quality of questions. You certainly shouldn’t question authority, or tradition, or science, or the establishment, or your elders, or your superiors, etc., etc…

Some of us have problems constraining our thinking to boxes of any size or shape no matter whose boxes they are. We have learned that asking unexpected questions is generally unwelcomed behavior. There are things that it is okay to question. And leaders are prepared with hefty and powerful-sounding answers to those questions.

But there are other kinds of questions that shake up people’s sense of reality. Questions that challenge deep and underlying assumptions we take for granted. Those kinds of questions tend to be awkward and uncomfortable because we don’t like hanging out in the unknown for very long. We rush back to the known and predictable like the folds of a mother’s skirt – safe, soft, warm and comforting.

Interestingly, although I have certainly done my share of offending people with what I’ve had the audacity to question, it turns out, that this kind of questioning has largely been at the source of the how I’ve made my living for the last 25 years. It has also been one of the skills hardest to replace in my organizations and hardest to train others to be really good at.

As a consultant, the core value I provide is be able to step into a setting and ask the right questions to see the nature of an organization’s limitations, problems or dysfunctions and discover not only where they’re planning or hoping to get to, but what kind of solution or plan they could actually fulfill on.

It seems to me like consultants that come in with prefabricated diagnoses and turnkey solutions are really just salespeople selling a product. For me, there is something really sacred about seeing the unique personality and configuration of an organization to perceive what they most need and a realistic path for them to navigate toward changes they can sustain. And better yet, a course that will establish a trajectory that will take them places beyond their current imaginings without ongoing assistance from me or other consultants.

In fact, the salespeople masquerading as consultants are EXACTLY like our mainstream educational system, which operates like this: “We want to get every child to a particular set of capacities upon graduation. Some will be more successful than others at reaching that bar, and there are some that may need some special education attention and won’t quite make it. But surely that’s because they just aren’t equipped, aren’t bright enough, and that’s just a fact of life we have to accept.”

Don’t question if those “less successful” kids might have some completely different expression that they could be outrageously successful at. Certainly don’t question whether every child might have radically different goals they want to reach and should be supported in reaching. And don’t you dare question whether the prescribed capacity set expired about a century ago, or was really just a thin, false veneer on an agenda to have people become “sheeple” so they can be easily manipulated and live the rest of their lives being told what to do.

Don’t question who should be in charge of a child’s education. Clearly we should never think the child might be the best one for that job!

I’m not saying that teachers don’t mean well — I’m sure most consultants with prefabricated products do too, but it just feels to me like there’s so much more possible in asking better and better questions, than on settling on some old set of answers to somebody else’s questions. I’ve experienced the freedom of being able to ask my own, and I wish for all who want it to have it too.

[… but back to unimaginably powerful trajectories…]

You know that old Lao Tzu quote? “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

I believe this is pointing to exactly the kind of leader (or consultant as the case may be) who can help clarify where people want to go, help eliminate the impediments to getting there, help establish a dynamic and momentum that will get them there, and then disappear. Because it make all the difference in the world for people to get themselves where they want to go. The sense of accomplishment, fulfillment and empowerment to do it again rests on this factor. It can’t be about needing to find the right consultant when they want to do it again.

A really good consultant upgrades the fundamental capacities of a group, and ideally, gives that group the ability to pass along that upgrade to others. Isn’t that what we’re really shootting for? Surely, we’re not just looking for job security for consultants by keeping people fragile, weak and disempowered.

I for one am not concerned about that kind of job security. I know that even if we upgraded everyone’s capacities to fulfill their intentions, there would still be the next level of unimaginably powerful trajectories to discover and set ourselves upon.

And that sounds like a game worth playing.

Answers are Truly no Better than Questions was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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Hacking my Productivity http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/21/39/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/21/39/#respond Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:27:20 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=39 I just responded to Tomis’ post in his Agile Learning Center blog about how his time and work is structured. It’s a part of his own practice in the Learning Cycle we talk about in ALCs (Intend –> Create –> Reflect –> Share).  So he’s reflecting on his work and sharing what he’s seeing so … Continue reading Hacking my Productivity

Hacking my Productivity was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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I just responded to Tomis’ post in his Agile Learning Center blog about how his time and work is structured. It’s a part of his own practice in the Learning Cycle we talk about in ALCs (Intend –> Create –> Reflect –> Share).  So he’s reflecting on his work and sharing what he’s seeing so others can learn from it and be connected to him in his process.

I’m also trying to tune my work practices a bit, and have a new hack that I just responded to him about, so following his lead, I’m also going to share it here.  Besides, I need a place I can put the actual image. 🙂
[ === Comment Posted in Tomis’ Blog ===]

<Tomis,

It’s great to see your explorations in applying ALC principles to your own work. It’s so critical that the students see us authentically engaging in the same kinds of processes that they are.

Arthur's Kanban Backlog hackI’ve been exploring some of this for my work recently too.  I’m trying a 2×2-dimensional hack on the backlog in my main kanban to help me organize and prioritize my time and tasks (I know… you’re using Trello, I’m still using mini-stickies on one of our folding mag-white boards).

I’m trying to keep myself focused on the activities that make the biggest difference, and let all the other ones drop away if needed. So I’m sticking the stickies into two different 2-dimensional spaces. The first focuses on the impact and reach of what I’m doing. Is it private? or public? Is it just for me? or to benefit many? How big is the impact of doing it? No big deal? Or game changing?  For example, writing an email response to someone may get prioritized below writing a blog post, because the blog post (when put in a a useful place) has a larger reach and impact. Information in email largely dies there and only reaches the person I sent it to.

The second space is about the maintenance stuff that I have to do in life, but this one is organized around how much it increases future efficiency and how urgent something is. For example, I could put “Pay X bill” in there near Urgent, if they’re due and get it done again and again. Or I could put “Set up automated bill payments near Future Efficiency and make it so I don’t have to waste much time in the future paying bills. This layout helps me be conscious that I do have to do hygiene/infrastructure work in my life, but that growing that infrastructure to let me waste less time on it in the future, let’s my shift my work to the other quadrant where I get to make a difference in the world.

I don’t know if it’s really effective for me yet, but I’m giving it a try for a bit.

Thanks for sharing your mapping and sense-making of your work domains!

-art

Hacking my Productivity was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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Those Kids and Their Darn Gadgets (grumble…grumble) http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/09/kids-and-their-darn-gadgets/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/09/kids-and-their-darn-gadgets/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 04:03:34 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=16 I consistently hear these sorts of complaints a lot from parents, grandparents, and random adults on Facebook bemoaning the decline of a sort of basic decency among today’s youth. “Kids today are addicted to being on their damn electronic devices.” “Kids don’t even learn proper spelling or grammar with their stupid text speak.” “Video games … Continue reading Those Kids and Their Darn Gadgets (grumble…grumble)

Those Kids and Their Darn Gadgets (grumble…grumble) was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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I consistently hear these sorts of complaints a lot from parents, grandparents, and random adults on Facebook bemoaning the decline of a sort of basic decency among today’s youth.

  • “Kids today are addicted to being on their damn electronic devices.”
  • “Kids don’t even learn proper spelling or grammar with their stupid text speak.”
  • “Video games and smartphones are like crack for young minds.”
  • “Kids today aren’t learning necessary social skills since they won’t pull their noses out of their devices.”

Most are said by folks who are very well-intentioned, really caring for the kids and wishing the best for them. But I am so sick of hearing this kind of blind and backward obliviousness to what is probably the most important type of skills and literacy for children today.

These complaints conjure images in mind. I can just picture our primitive ancestors complaining about how their kids are wasting their time playing with those silly sticks (bows and arrows) all day instead of practicing swinging big clubs and lifting big rocks for crushing predators and prey. “They’re never be able to survive if they don’t focus on the basics of rocks and clubs.” (As if they’re difficult to learn.)

And in early civilizations, I can see the angry parents complaining about kids wasting their time scribbling shapes in clay and on papyrus, when they should be learning the times, rhythms, and skills of planting. Meanwhile their child climbs the ranks of the priesthood or aristocracy by gaining access to the knowledge of the whole civilization.

Talk about anti-social behavior! Think of those terrible 17th Century youth spending hours a day lost in books and frivolous fantasy worlds when they should be plowing fields / weaving baskets / thatching roofs / planing wood / laying bricks / etc. “They just have their noses stuck in a book!”  Of course, then those lazy youth go on to create the Renaissance and lay the foundations of modern Science and Academics.

It’s interesting that most middle-class Americans seem happy about their children reading books. “Look how literate they are! They’re so well-read and knowledgeable!  Look how well they can navigate that important tool of past centuries that I idealize as a critical indicator of intelligence and worldliness.”  I even hear them fussing about how kindle/e-readers just aren’t good because they don’t have the smell and texture of books.  While true, this seems like a strong indicator of being stuck in a different era than the one that today’s children need to skillfully navigate.

Let’s be clear – these self-assured statements are being made by Americans who spend an AVERAGE of 5 hours per day watching television, and send their kids to schools where they’re forced to sit and NOT talk to each other in any normal social way for 6+ hours of classes a day.

So, let’s look at the assumptions and assertions behind these statements.

Computer/Device use is
an Anti-Social Behavior

antisocial-computer

I hear this said by many people.  It is certainly said by parents who don’t learn to enter the world their child does when they use their devices. Just like kids reading books, if parents can’t talk about the characters, ideas, or themes in those books, it is difficult to connect to the world their child enters through them.  You feel cut off from their world because you haven’t bothered to enter it, not because it isn’t a social place.

In fact, just because they’re not interacting with you, doesn’t mean they’re not being social. For most kids, modern device use is naturally social. After all, we live in an electronically networked world. Kids at a very young age start having online identities, communities, and environments where they interact. Of course there’s email, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook, texting, etc. But there are also thousands of communities: from Club Penguin and PBS Kids to Minecraft and Roblox and World of Warcraft and League of Legends. Kids develop reputation and relationships in these worlds that most adults have never stepped foot into.

They learn extensive skills in collaboration, cooperation and co-creation in virtual worlds. Together they build elaborate worlds, machines, and creations in Minecraft, SIMS and other digital frontiers.  I regularly witness kids working out social tensions and dynamics in those worlds, where one destroys another’s virtual creation and they play out the drama of hurt feelings and reconciliation just as if it was a valued possession without any physical harm coming to anyone or anything.

Many kids actually discover a greater sense of belonging and acceptance for who they are and what they care about in online communities than in their classrooms, schools or neighborhoods.  And there’s nothing anti-social about this. Rather than becoming alienated and isolated because they feel different or don’t belong, they have an opportunity to find out there are others with whom they do belong. If only one out of a thousand people care about the stuff you’re into, that means there are literally millions of people you can find online who care about it too.

It’s not just about online interactions either. I watch kids at Agile Learning Centers, where computer use is not just about one person glued to a screen, but 4 or 5 kids may be gathered around a computer collaboratively solving a problem, playing a game, unraveling a mystery, exploring a WikiTrail, GeoGuessing where they’ve randomly landed in the world, or just about anything else you can imagine. Someone shouts and points on the screen finding critical information, another grabs the mouse and steers the group in a new direction, another jumps into the seat in front of the keyboard to type an answer – all the while navigating authentic social interactions and relationship dynamics with each other.

The Internet is simply more social than the media of the past. I was at a conference of Public Access Broadcasting folks who were complaining about anti-social Internet use and people locking themselves in their basement surfing the Internet for hours.  They were upset about losing viewership to the Internet, where people are just bouncing about from shallow meme to shallow meme. Finally, I just had to speak up.  “What medium do you think perfected the three second sound-byte? You produce a broadcast medium where people are just supposed to sit their living room and passively consume what you send? And they do this for many hours every day instead of interacting with their neighbors and community. How is their voice heard? How are they supposed to interact? And you’re complaining about the Internet… At least it’s interactive! They can be in dialogue. They can publish or broadcast their own ideas and creativity.”  It certainly stopped the griping about the Internet.

Don’t get me wrong. There is no question that interacting with someone face to face is different than interacting with them through email, chat, or some another tool. But that does not make interactions via tools LESS important. Both are important, and interactions via digital tools are becoming more important every day. Interviews for jobs or with journalists are happening over Skype. Work Teams are collaborating virtually. Employees are telecommuting. The world is fundamentally changing.

Just as parents feel it is important to learn to read and to learn to write even though leaving a note, or sending a letter is nothing like interacting in person, it has been viewed as a critical skill for centuries. Not being highly “literate” in modern communication media is just as bad as being illiterate in America 50 years ago.  You can’t really navigate a modern democracy without literacy in the communication tools by which it operates.

Of course we still need to be able to talk to people in the same room, but I don’t know any kids who don’t have to do that a lot too. In an Agile Learning Center that is a major portion of everyone’s day. But I suppose you could send them to school where they’re supposed to sit in rows of desks and not talk to the people sitting next to them. You think that will help their social skills?  It may help them develop that vital life skill of staying awake through a boring and tedious lecture. Because that’s certainly how we hope they spend their lives.

Computers and devices are the opposite of anti-social.

They Won’t Develop Proper Skills

text-speakSarah: RU comn over?
     Jon: maybe l8r
Sarah: k TTYL

This kind of communication is like fingernails on the chalkboard to most parents. Prior generations interpret language shortcuts used in text messages, chats and occasionally email as indicators of ignorance and illiteracy. However, you might be interested to know that research indicates the opposite. Kids who play with language more, even condensing it for brief media, develop better language skills of the “proper” type as well as their new-fangled convolutions. XKCD has a nice illustration about why this may be (scroll down for a link to a study).

Regarding spelling… Look… I’m just going to go out on a limb and say something that is likely controversial. Who cares about spelling anymore? We all have spell-check on our computers and phones, and I would bet that sometime in the lifetime of these kids, they’re finally going to do a spelling reset of the English language with a sensible phonetic alphabet and get rid of our awful, awkward, antiquated and inconsistent inheritance from Auld and Middel English. We’ve evolved spellings in the past, (see previous sentence), and as English becomes a global lingua franca, the need to do so again is painfully clear. Today’s youth will probably need to learn another spelling for everything anyway within the new system, so it’s just as well that they don’t get too invested in or righteous about the old way.

Regarding grammar… Maybe I hang out with geekier kids than most, but it is my experience that kids today are stricter grammarians than even my English-teaching mother.  I speculate that it may have something to do with kids learning to navigate computational rule sets and program in multiple computer languages, each of which are absolutely unforgiving about the grammatical structure of your code. They not only learn the grammar of English, but of Java, Basic, PHP, C, and maybe even a foreign language or three.  And while they’re at it, they also learn the patterns of formal and propositional logic without taking formal courses in those subjects.

Look – let’s tell the truth. Typically, it is your (grand)children who teach you how to use your phone/tablet/computer. Notice that they do this without having taken a class at school. In fact, they’re usually not even allowed to use most those devices during the day at a school. By spending hours with their noses in those devices, they learn to dive right into new games, tools, environments, contexts, rule sets, and interfaces lightning fast — while most adults are stilling having tantrums because Facebook changed a few things in their page layout or confused because some icons changed their phone/tablet/computer screen.  The ability to immediately identify what context you are in, and determine how to navigate in that space, is a fundamental kind of digital literacy they only learn through ample practice.

So, we probably need to give up outdated pictures of what “proper” skills look like for today’s youth. And then we may discover that they’ve learned the old “proper” skills surprisingly well, along with a host of new skills that far outstrip our capacities in those domains.

Technology Use is Addictive

girls-playing-video-games

It’s true, there are many video games that are designed to create an emotional rush — that stimulate adrenaline and emotional engagement that keep people coming back for more. That is a goal of many game designers, to create a market for their game, its sequels and associated services. In some ways, it is akin to the emotional ride many adults get from spectator sports — watching football, hockey, basketball, soccer, etc. The game company and the NFL have similar reasons to keep you on the edge of your seat, being engaged and entertained — ticket sales, sports channel subscriptions, sales of gear and logo licensing, etc.

However, once again, the kids on their video games are arguably better off in at least one significant way. They’re not just watching. They’re playing! They’re developing hand-eye coordination, strategic thinking, design and execution of a plan, problem solving, teamwork and a heck of a lot more. My 10 year old son knows a lot of Greek and Roman mythology better than I do (and I’ve studied it) from playing games with worlds full of these kinds of characters, monsters and heroes.

Oh, and by the way, fun always has a bit of an addictive quality to it. And it seems to be a well-established pattern for each previous generation to find fault and project the downfall of civilization onto the things that the next generations find fun. Your parents did it, They’re parents did it. If you are doing this for the sake of tradition, so be it. Just don’t operate under the illusion that it will be any more effective in changing their behavior or in building trust and relationship than when past generations projected their fears onto the next ones.

Guess what else has an almost addictive quality to it: Learning.  You likely spend many hours in your favored forms of it (NYT crosswords, trivia, Sudoku, golf swings, stock market speculation, historical fiction, remodeling/redecorating, or whatever else it may be).  There is nothing more valid about your recreational forms learning, than theirs.  Again, for the tools they’re going to need to use to navigate their world, video games are probably a lot more useful than NYT crosswords or even stock speculation. Do you really think there will still be newspapers, or even stock markets through their adulthood?

Let me clarify something about myself. I got my first home computer in 1979. This was VERY early for home computer use. I learned to program very young, hacked my schools’ computer and security systems, and have made a pretty easy living from having such fluency in these kinds of tools. I currently spend about 5 hours a month on my software company that pays my living expenses, and (as a bit of a workaholic) spend the bulk of the rest of my time on other non-money making businesses like Agile Learning Centers, social enterprise incubators, projects to create the next economy, and enabling the next steps of human evolution through social collective intelligence. So I speak as someone who immersed himself in his own path, play and learning and have benefited from it. I also speak as someone who is in the top percentile of digital fluency for my generation. Yet again, my 10 year-old son kicks my ass in this domain.  We started playing Civilization 5 together, which an extremely sophisticated and complex strategy game involving developing a civilization from pre-agricultural ages to modern space age and competing against other civilizations.  I played a prior version of this game in my 20s, so I had a huge advantage in understanding the complexities and strategies of the game, and in this domain I may still be able to out-compete him. However, he was immediately better at the user interface, interactions of the game, and intricacies of managing the elements within the game. This skill came from a lot of hard “work” that he invested in mastering electronic games.

The ready access to and temptations of video games are not going away in the lifetime of these kids. In fact, games will likely only become more engaging and alluring.  Delaying the lessons involved with finding their own healthy balance may just set them up to become more of an addict by never learning to establish their own equilibrium and reasons for participating or not.  [Link to studies about parents putting their kids on diets leading to lifelong eating disorders. Links to inverse relationship between authoritarian parenting and academic performance. Links to delayed drinking age leading to higher binge drinking behavior (including under-age) and alcoholism.]

[THIS SECTION INCOMPLETE].

Conclusions

digital-literacy

I’m definitely not suggesting “all screens, all the time.” As humans we need physical activity. Connection to nature by getting out in the sun, walking in the woods, laying on the green grass, and looking at the sky helps us be more balanced. Developing social and interpersonal skills… these things are all good… and needed. However, consider that the balance appropriate for a child today is not the same as in a childhood before computers were even available in people’s homes, much less in every kind of device around us.

Also, there may be developmentally appropriate stages for device and computer use. I don’t know that there’s a clear outline appropriate to all children, but you know your own child, and if you can set aside your own fear, discomfort and biases about technology, you can probably tell when they’re ready for more access.

Please don’t make yourself sound like a dinosaur or relic from past centuries (or millennia) by keeping your concept of “literacy” stuck in the era in which writing was a new invention. Kids today have a much larger repertoire of literacy skills than you may be acknowledging as valid.  I just hope more adults expand their appreciation of how much work kids are putting into developing the vital skills for their world… even when the skills don’t look the same as in the nostalgic days of yore.

The Networked Teacher
Are teachers keeping up?

[ Cross-posted from Arthur’s blog. ]

 

Those Kids and Their Darn Gadgets (grumble…grumble) was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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GameShifting tools for Group Self-Facilitation http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/07/gameshifting-tools-for-group-self-facilitation/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/07/gameshifting-tools-for-group-self-facilitation/#respond Fri, 07 Nov 2014 04:25:31 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=22 This weekend I’m facilitating the community retreat at Quaker Intentional Village Canaan and Eric Harris-Braun and I just customized a GameShifting Board for Quaker communities to use during the retreat.  I’ve watched GameShifting perform magic with groups for kids and adults alike. So far, we’re off to a bit of a rough reception when introduced this evening, … Continue reading GameShifting tools for Group Self-Facilitation

GameShifting tools for Group Self-Facilitation was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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This weekend I’m facilitating the community retreat at Quaker Intentional Village Canaan and Eric Harris-Braun and I just customized a GameShifting Board for Quaker communities to use during the retreat.  I’ve watched GameShifting perform magic with groups for kids and adults alike. So far, we’re off to a bit of a rough reception when introduced this evening, but I’m still hoping it will play out well in use tomorrow.

This had me revisit, revise and update some of our GameShifting Documentation and parts of the Agile Facilitator Training Manual.  So, I’m going to post some highlights here.

Here’s the layout plan for the Quaker Gameshifting Board I made. (I still need to take photos of the real one we made.)

QIVC GameShifting Board


GameShifting Hand Signals

We use some hand signals to support the flow of verbal communication and productive group dynamics. When we speak one-on-one with each other, we rely on non-verbal communication cues that don’t always translate well to a group setting. Hand signals supply the group with this kind of instant feedback without interrupting a speaker. Hand signals make non-verbal communication explicit and deliberate by replacing subtle cues with intentional, well-defined ones. These are three of our most used signals:

“Delta  / Change-up” – a call to attention that the group process may need to be GameShifted or that the current process agreements are not being honored. A person can give this hand signal so others can have a chance to wrap up what they’re saying before they say what change-up they see is needed.

Sometimes the sign is enough to shift people’s awareness and behavior back on the intended track.

Twinkle Fingers“Twinkle fingers / This friend speaks my mind” – this signal is done with wiggling fingers and demonstrates strong resonance with what is being spoken.

 

Got ya“Got ya / You have been heard” – This signal is held over the heart and means that the listener has understood the speaker’s point. It includes a gentle nudge that the speaker may move on and release it to the group. It is often helpful when the speaker is repeating a point in different words. If they know they were understood, they know they can move on. For example, this explanation may have warranted a “got ya” sign a sentence or two ago. The explanation continues in order to be sure the point is driven home, but if someone was here to utilize the “got ya” sign, it would have saved us all some valuable reading time.


[ Cross-posted from Arthur’s blog. ]

 

GameShifting tools for Group Self-Facilitation was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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An Explosion of Writing! http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/01/an-explosion-of-writing/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/11/01/an-explosion-of-writing/#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 23:14:48 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=6 [[cross-posted from Arthur’s personal blog]] I’m painfully aware of the gap between how much value and insight I’ve been experiencing in the work that I’ve been doing, and how much I’ve been sharing and expressing that value in ways that others can access it. One of the central principles in Agile Learning Centers is that … Continue reading An Explosion of Writing!

An Explosion of Writing! was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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[[cross-posted from Arthur’s personal blog]]

I’m painfully aware of the gap between how much value and insight I’ve been experiencing in the work that I’ve been doing, and how much I’ve been sharing and expressing that value in ways that others can access it.

One of the central principles in Agile Learning Centers is that in today’s age, learning (2.0) isn’t complete until shared. There’s a whole learning cycle: intention, creation, reflection, & sharing.  Like all natural cycles it can get fractally convoluted at times, but that it’s important to develop our ability to acknowledge and consciously participate in each part of the cycle. I can definitely see where my participation in the SHARING phase has been constrained to interpersonal conversations, and the lid needs to get blown off so that I can complete a deeper cycle of learning by sharing more effectively on a larger scale.

I’m committed to having a personal breakthrough in this domain and becoming a much more reliable writer, poster, and general sharer of insights and value… no longer leaving it to gather moss in between my ears.

In the spirit of this, and in camaraderie with other friends (including students) who are writing every day for NaNoWriMo, I commit to write and post every day in November. I will be posting each entry in my personal blog, even if it is really an addition to the Ceptr Apocalypse, my Agile Learning Center blog, the Emerging Leader Labs web site, or whatever.

Even if I have to share something that is not fully polished or finished. The point is to share, share, share.

So… it starts now!

An Explosion of Writing! was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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Reflections on Convening an ALF Training http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/07/19/hello-world/ http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/2014/07/19/hello-world/#respond Sat, 19 Jul 2014 23:59:53 +0000 http://artbrock.agilelearningcenters.org/?p=1 [[ cross-posted from ALF Summer 2014]] Facilitating this fast, intensive, and immersive event has brought surprises both in the form of challenges and blessings. Our interpersonal bonding and connection happened quickly and pretty effortlessly. The “If you really knew me…” exercise helped us move into a space deep authenticity and vulnerability. The people who missed our first … Continue reading Reflections on Convening an ALF Training

Reflections on Convening an ALF Training was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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[[ cross-posted from ALF Summer 2014]]

Facilitating this fast, intensive, and immersive event has brought surprises both in the form of challenges and blessings.

Our interpersonal bonding and connection happened quickly and pretty effortlessly. The “If you really knew me…” exercise helped us move into a space deep authenticity and vulnerability. The people who missed our first morning seemed less able to be vulnerable with the group for the whole first week.

One challenge we faced was avoiding getting pulled into abstract tangents where people want to solve theoretical problems for imaginary children in some Utopian educational setting. We may have lost about 20% of our group work time to these sidetracks, and I intend to be much more diligent about interrupting those discussions more quickly. Luckily, things moved quickly into actual practice with the kids at the camp, and the abstractions have largely been replaced with actual relationships with children.

Agile Roots metaphor seemed to work well (even if initially only partially formulated in words), but we never finished the depiction of a whole Agile Tree for sharing about the model as currently implemented.  My attempt to use “21st Century Education” to convey some of the key things that differentiate us from conventional education models fell flat and sucked us into abstract-land way too quickly.  I will need to find a better framing for that in the future, or wait until we’re better grounded in practice.

Bear’s sharing of the soul archetypes has proven valuable in acknowledging the value and power of different personalities such that  some people have been able express themselves much more freely and feel appreciated for the nature of their contribution. I’m actually seeing the need to put in more information about pacing, defensive styles, order of processing, and maybe even decision-making styles for folks who are struggling with some of their differences in these domains.

One of the biggest challenges I struggle with (as is common) is the gap between what I see possible for us and where we are in fulfilling on it. There are places I want to go, and a speed at which I’d like to get there, that we just can’t do yet. Overall, things are really going perfectly. We need this level of direct experience to translate from theory to action and for everyone to integrate principles into their practice.

I’m really excited about the impact that I can see this is having on the Mosaic community. With 20 adults ALFing and practicing what we’re preaching for the kids, the pattern is getting set much more powerfully for the kids, for Mosaic’s current/future staff and even for the parents who are catching bits and pieces.

One of my personal goals was to see if we could get to operating as a “magical group” much more quickly than I’ve been able to do in the past. I think we’re doing pretty dang well, even though our rockiest meeting so far just happened yesterday. We recovered quickly, adapted our structures, healed the hurting people… basically responded quite agilely.

Now we face the reality of “certification” and what the heck that means and how to know who has crossed the mysterious threshold to being a certifiable ALF.  I’m confident we’ll conquer this challenge with more grace and grit in the coming week.

Reflections on Convening an ALF Training was written by artbrock and originally posted on 21st Century Education.

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