Category Archives: Education

Craft, Process, and Thinking of Becoming

Today I’m working on taxes for our two college students’ FAFSAs and watching “Abstract: The Art of Design” on Netflix in the background.  Christoph Niemann is both in his story and telling his story about craft and life.  He is a character and an animated person with his character . . . and a voice.

Two of his statements struck me about the work I’m doing now on career and vocation exploration.

First: “Creating a process to do it allows you to do unembarrassing stuff on command is the only way you can survive . . . if you create an armor of craft around you.”  This makes sense from other work on creativity and boundary-setting.  We often can do better regular, daily work in creative spaces if we set hard edges around the work and create routine.  Having the skills and letting them work in focused settings then lets creative work have a place to build.

Yet Second:  “The one thing that is dangerous about working on your craft and the world around you is that it can keep you from asking the really valid questions . . . what is the real thing I’m trying to get good at?”

Intriguing question.  It isn’t “what am I good at?”  It is a sense of becoming in terms of craft, in terms of skills.  What stands in my way to “trying to get good at” something?  Fear?  Practice?  Focus?  Direction?
***
I just went to a friend’s 55th birthday party last night, and we told stories of how old we were from when we all met decades ago.  Travel and children were our benchmarks in the time road.  “How are things?”  “Great — I’m planning a trip to South Korea.”  Is how we are doing a postcard or Facebook post about the event-based measures?
The party was at an improv club, which added an oddly critical narrative layer to our gathering.  They quizzed the birthday girl about her daily life and then created an exaggerated parody of her life as a humorous struggle with time and interaction with others.  It broke away pieces of an interaction and circular time life.
None of us in our stories of the evening told stories of Becoming.
***
Two nights ago I had the honor of talking about the social impact of technology on music with a private group in Century City.  People stayed for hours, talking about our shared Becoming through streaming music’s transformation.  We talked about the Becoming from our work in the world — and continuing the conversation afterwards.
***
How do we talk about Becoming with others?  With ourselves?  Can we get caught up in so many of our busy metrics with time in a busy personal framing that we (and I) lose track of our shared Becoming stories?

SXSW 2014 Crowdsourced Panelpicker: Update with Results

Vote_My_Session        PanelPicker Vote

[Revised Jan. 22, 2014]

Back in August 2013, SXSW started its crowdsourced panel picking process for 2014.  Each year, thousands of people pitch great ideas to be voted on in a big crowdsourced process.  According to a recent email, 700 people pitched SXSWedu (education) panels for that conference.  More than 3,000 pitched for SXSW Interactive.  Who knows how many pitched for SXSW Music.  A person can only pitch one for each.

We submitted 3 pitches around innovation: educational, social media, and interpersonal:

  • SXSWedu (March 3-6, 2013): “To MOOC or Not To MOOC: Real Questions at the Core” (http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/22546).
    • Pitch: MOOCs (Massively Open Online Classes) have dominated the educational trade press in both 2012 and 2013, stirring both enthusiasm and anxiety. This session will look at their impact on higher education planning, economics, and “the rest of us.”  What have we learned from MOOCs?   How can universities use these learnings to create our own environments for the next decade? This session will frame ways to have concrete and beneficial discussions about learnings from these broadly MOOC-labeled experiences in our blended university environments. Questions can arise beyond the economics of learning at scale, focusing on the learning science, design, and differences in qualities, as well as the real learning outcomes. With this lens, we also can examine what “works” in the 700-person lecture hall and in more intimate distributed learning platforms.
    • Find a supporting Prezi at http://prezi.com/4v2xo7rreyur/to-mooc-or-not-to-mooc)
  • SXSW Interactive (March 7-11, 2013): “Pixelating Reality: How Smartphones Shift Now (http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/24245).
    • Pitch: Many of us carry smartphones wherever we go. Increasingly, we are leaning on them as active and passive gathering devices of data and images. Google Glass and other recording devices bring the question further front and center—how is our recording and perpetually digitally checking in affecting our everyday lives? How are those check-ins and recordings shifting our being “present” in our shared Now and Here? Are we increasingly taking the opportunity to be digitally Elsewhere and not Present?
    • Find my supporting YouTube video at http://youtu.be/VdTW_82j3G4.
  • SXSW Music (March 11-16, 2013):  “Building Your Digital Brand Using Social Media” (http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/24226).
    • This ties into my Udemy course and my UCLA Music course as well, plus benefits from work this summer in helping relaunch a long-time software product.
    • Pitch: The digital world for musicians continues to change dramatically. We can self-market and create communities directly with listeners and also can thrive in online communities with influencers and other musicians around the world. Digital has transformed not just the way we get the word out, but also how we create and collaborate. Internet marketing has morphed into Internet community crowdsourcing of rich relationships—a very different world for musicians and musical organizations. How can you – a busy musician and/or support team – use the resources of social media to use your time, energy, and money well to create your long-term audience and profitable Super Fans?
    • Find a supporting Prezi at http://prezi.com/apns-9wld0vo/building-your-digital-brand-using-social-media/.

We were thrilled that our favorite won: Pixelating Reality.  You’ll be able to join that session at SXSW on March 11 at SXSW Interactive.