Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Child is Father to the Man (ADE Institute Reflection #3)

From what I can see, the best scientists and engineers nurture a child-like mind. They are playful, open minded and unrestrained by the inner voice of reason, collective cynicism, or fear of failure. -- Steve Jurvetson

During the ADE Summer Institute I sometimes took very brief notes. Looking over these, I spotted "finding the inner child", certainly not a phrase original the session or the speaker. What is more, I can't remember the context. Was it about connecting learners with the "inner child"? I don't think so. If I had to bet, I think it had something to do with the "personal branding" activities we experienced. I believe we were being urged to connect with something deep and authentic within ourselves.

Regardless, I did have a realization about a desire deeply rooted in my younger self. I was trying to express why-- after 0ver thirty years of teaching high school-- I suddenly felt a strong urge to make ed tech presentations to adults. Examining this urge more closely I remembered that when I was young, I loved organizing activities for the kids in the neighborhood-- my peers. I set up little carnivals. I organized whiffle ball tournaments. I kept detailed statistics on our dice baseball card games. Once I got hold of a stop watch and recorded times of everyone's dash around the block. I enjoyed figuring out these systems, organizing the plan, and being in charge.
I still do! As I write, I have three presentations coming up in the Fall. I'm already up to my elbows in the plans. I'm not doing this because I am anxious and neurotic-- I truly enjoy the projects. I'm as happy as I was back when I had that stop watch in my hands.

The personal branding exercises culminated in a one minute video that was shot in a studio at Full Sail University. We authored our own one minute scripts. Mine ended with the statement, "I'm lucky to be teaching at a time when technology provides so many dynamic possibilities." For someone like me who loves to design plans and orchestrate, it seems like I get to stay out in the yard, playing with my friends.


"Child's Eyes" Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Joe Lencioni

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