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It lets me be mobile and free to move. I teach from multiple places. And my laptop requires two hands, either you put it down and type or you balance it awkwardly and one hand type. iPad plus finger lets me flick through slides, pinch to zoom in or out and highlight relevant text.
The camera and Apple Pencil allow me to capture and document. I shoot whiteboard notes and student’s work, and any cool doodle I see. I draw arrows, smiley faces, and stars. Handwritten feedback lets me appear a bit more human in today’s digital world. Plus, it helps me connect and remember more about my students work. Apps like Office Lens let me scan and save anything to One Note, e.g., receipts, bills, flyers.
The Smart Keyboard adds flexibility. I tear it off or attach it as needed. If I need to provide more formal feedback, it snaps into place. In meetings or at professional development opportunities, I leave the laptop behind and carry less. Plus, I can write, draw, and type.
And yes, I need the laptop too. When I write for myself or need to create narrative comments, the extra screen real estate helps. I prefer to create screencasts and small videos on my laptop. Spreadsheets can be a challenge on the iPad. Occasionally, I do layout work where it helps to manipulate the entire page.
It comes down to workflow. I think a lot. I notice things and connect dots. The iPad allows me to capture, research, and play. The laptop enables me to digest and process the information I collected. Sure, I could get by one device. Fortunately, the school provides me both.
Ten years ago, laptops were our only choice. Now, teachers asked us why we use them instead of other devices? Based on dialog with teachers and school leaders, we created sandboxes where everyone could get in and play. Using iPad Pros & Apple Pencils, students and teachers took photos, sketched, marked-up worksheets, and wrote notes. We saw an increase in mobility and a rise in tactile learning. Students handled objects then photographed them. They jumped between pages, stretched text, manipulated objects, and drew Chinese characters. We found that the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil delivered more by design and intent than our MacBooks. If you are a flexible learner who is open to new ideas, please join us to learn why the change made sense for us. We will deliver a blueprint of how we changed the status quo. We promise to push comfort zones, go hands-on, and reflect on our areas for growth.
The above proposal will be presented at at an education related conference in 2019.
Is the replace not repair big store anonymous employees world we live a good model for us as a culture? Yes, prices are low, the selection is immense, & convenience is king. What of the minimized or entirely missed opportunities to make and grow personal connections, to learn about others?
I grew up in the “I know a guy” family. You repaired your car; changed your oil. You went to see Duck at the autoparts store. He did body work on the side too. If you needed something welded, you went Sipple’s. You went to Silverglade’s for cheese and Bolte’s for coffee and exotic spices. No, it was not always quick, yet it became a bit of an adventure in itself. If these guys didn’t have it, they “knew a guy” who would. If you needed if fast, well more adventure ensued as you set off to find what you needed.
Geniuses replace our electronics. Store get bigger and buy other stores. Or we avoid stores and order online. Again, I get it, low price, selection, and convenience. Where is the adventure? The stores I mentioned above were frequented monthly and often weekly. We knew who worked there. I learned of their families, their challenges, and could even get inspired. Jim, of Bolte’s, had a Solidarność, Polish trade union, connection. He told stories and handed out buttons. Who doesn’t love a rebellion against oppression story? Loosely put, we were collaborators. They gave us items we needed which we used for our families. We then went on to create our own stories.
Connections are messy, yet a good story though entertains forever. What do you value? In a world of fake news, comic book adaptations, sequels, reboots, we need our own adventures to tell. Can’t repair your own phone, prepare your own food. Frustrated by personal and public transport, design a better option. Youtube videos all the same, create a better one. Don’t own any quality tools, get to Sears before they go bankrupt. Be a flexible problem solver. I understand; life is hard, money needs to stretch, convenience trumps most everything, and we all feel entitled. My point, take action. Get out there, whether real or virtual, connect and collaborate. Create your own stories, learn more about yourself, and make new acquaintances. More important, tell your stories, entertain and inspire others. Be “the guy” others know and call when they need help.
Why should you care?
The days of the knowledge worker are gone. Automation will take jobs. Big data will make decisions. And we are going to live a lot longer. So, what will set you apart? Dan argues we need to pair right brained characteristics of design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning with the left brained proficiencies such as logic and order. Those who can master the pairing , which Dan calls high concept high touch, will succeed in the future.
What can you do about it?
We are all designers! Sure the majority of our designs don’t get beyond imagination. Yet, we all sketched one out on a napkin. The point, we are all curious by nature. Even if your knowledge of design comes mostly from encountering “bad design,” that’s okay. Creativity is applied imagination.
Stories, we like them. One, they excite us more than facts and statistics. Two, they talk to us personally. The challenge, the sum of all knowledge is now available to us instantaneously and for free. If you can’t tell an engaging story or at least fashion context out millions of hits, you are just another statistic.
Connect and arrange the open tabs. Like an artist who draws/paints what s/he sees, you follow the links, connect the dots, and see the patters to synthesize relationships. Your symphony comes by corralling the pieces of the seemingly unrelated and creating knowledge.
Know what others feel, empathy. Don’t sweat the details of systemization, sequence, and logic. Artificial intelligence does this and processes staggering amounts of data quietly, quickly, and without complaining. Fortunately, logic doesn’t alway work with humans. So, it is better to be fuzzy around the edges yet attuned to desires and feelings. Those who can toggle between systematizing and empathy get the bigger picture.
Play is good. We succeed when we are having fun. Learning is not memorizing facts. We learn when we encounter interesting facts. We connect them to form an interpretation that creates knowledge. Play more and tap into the unlimited potential of the right brain to do anything.
We are born for meaning, not passive consumption. In this world of abundance with supersize drinks, binge watching, and mall after mall of the same stuff, it is easy to forget. Meaning rounds out the big picture and helps provide purpose. There’s no instant meaning in the future, yet you can draw upon design, story, symphony, empathy, and play to create it.
Cool brain image by by Austin Kleon @ Creative Commons
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. – Henry Ford
We are by our nature curious! We see patterns, ask questions, and draw conclusions. Occasionally we ask more questions. If we don’t get answers that make sense, we wonder. Not always for ourselves, for others too. We see things through their eyes. Often, we don’t stop there. We go beyond wonder and take action. We take a few notes, make a sketch, and connect a few dots. I would argue, we are all designers provided we work at it; else we risk becoming a group of passive consumers. We must care about design because the world does not need faster horses.
I never let my schooling get in the way of my education. – Mark Twain
We can no longer accurately predict the future. Social media strategist, blogger, data miner, drone pilot, who knew these would be jobs? 1 We are creating artificial intelligence (AI) that does the amazing, drives, writes, and grades. We replace TVs, phones, and computers, not fix. Cars run for ten+ years. The future looks good. Yet, if we eliminate more jobs then we create, what will we all do? This is why we need our curiosity, interesting questions, and our ability to care; it defines our “humanness” if you will. We need to focus our educational efforts on our uniquely human qualities, which cannot be duplicated; else what job is next.
Creativity & innovation
Repetition is the death of magic. –Bill Watterson
Self-driving cars, stores where you don’t line up,2 and AI that writes poetry3 all seem wildly creative and innovative. Yet, so many products are poorly designed or lack empathy. We wait in too many lines. And standardized tests still define our future. We are in an age of transition. We struggle with how to teach creativity and define innovation. The top ten grossing films in each year of the first decade of the millennium, seventy-four of the one hundred were sequels, adaptations of an earlier work, or based on comic book/video games.4 Going forward, we need to be comfortable with the dynamic nature of terms like original, inventive, fresh, surprising, risk, better, and useful. Algorithms/AI cannot yet solve complex problems, build social collateral, or be empathetic. Remember when we used to play in the sandbox? We build stuff, worked with others, and sought feedback from parents. Teamwork can be infectious, if we let it. The future needs creativity and innovation and people who question authority. Let’s get back in the sandbox and keep magic alive.
What can we do?
Every great design begins with an even better story. – Lorinda Mamo
Don’t wait! Curiosity, wonder, the design cycle, these are not top down movements. It is not going to come from admin, the school board, or even parents. We are all creative provided we give ourselves the permission. Celebrate good design when we see it. Call out bad design, but be prepared to ask questions, to step up, and offer insights and solutions based on research. Critics only and passive consumers need not apply. Stop just reading and discussing what defines creativity, innovation, and design and take responsibility for our future! Go create a story to own. There no shame in failing, so why not do it with a little style?
1. 10 jobs that did not exist 10 years ago – Digital Marketing Institute
2. Amazon to open convenience store with no lines – the two way breaking news from NPR
3. Google’s AI has written some amazingly mournful poetry – Wired
4. Everything’s a remix part 1 – Kirby Ferguson
Tofu at breakfast? What was that the question again? Wow, yes, that sounds interesting, maybe next time, or are you kidding me. Yes, that used to be me too. I get it, many of us still view tofu as that dish you try out of politeness or its that once in a blue moon occasion. No dispute, there are a lot of unappealing tofu dishes out there. I see tofu more as a creative journey with health benefits, an adult chemistry experiment if you will, rather than a substance to swallow.
I got this recipe from my mother. Who got it from her mother. Who won it in a heated game of Crazy Eights from a Chinese widow who immigrated to the USA shortly before 1945. Actually no, though it would be a cool story. I did get the recipe from my mother. Originally it was a sort of tofu hash. This was the late 90s and my mother, who is always ahead of the curve, was experimenting with firm tofu. The turmeric colored the tofu yellow. To the un-expecting, my father, it appeared you were eating a chunky scrambled eggs. I believe he ate it once, maybe?
Okay, in case you are still skeptical, we will tart it up with sunny side up eggs and greens. And if you are still not sold, feel free to add as much of your favorite breakfast meat, e.g., turkey sausages. After all, you are eating tofu.
You need one large or two medium sized sweet potatoes, a packet of cooking tofu (firm), an egg (or three), and curry and turmeric for a bit of zip.
Drain the tofu and place it in a medium sized mixing bowl. Break up the tofu with a fork and then add the curry and the turmeric. I use two teaspoons of each. If you are eating with the tofu adversed, dial it up or back accordingly. Add the egg and mix.
Peel and shred the sweet potatoes. If you do not own a food processor, cut the sweet potatoes into thin long strips. Add the sweet potatoes to the tofu mixture and mix.
Turn on your skillet. Let it heat up for at least one minute before you add one Tablespoon of cooking oil. I usually wait for three minutes as I like my skillet hot, yet not smoking. Take a small handful or approximately 1/2 of a cup’s worth of the mixture and gently place it in the frying pan. Flatten it with a spatula so the pancake is not too thick and makes as much contact with the pan as possible. I fit three in my skillet. I set the skillet on high heat for at least three minutes and then reduce the heat to medium for two to three minutes more. Adjust the heat according to attain desired doneness: golden brown, extra crispy, or blackened.
After about six minutes you will need to flip them. I recommend a firm spatula and a swift motion. There is a chance the pancakes will break apart. Try adding a bit more egg next time as a binding agent. If all cooking oil has been absorbed, I usually add a 1/2 teaspoon on the flip. Fry the pancakes on medium heat for another five or six minutes.
Remove pancakes from the skillet and repeat the process. The ingredients should yield six pancakes. I place the pancakes into a bowl and cover to keep the heat in. Of course you can put the bowl in the own on warm heat if you have a lot of pancakes to fry.
While I am frying the pancakes, I usually stir fry a green vegetable too, e.g., bok choy, bell peppers. Today, I went with blanched asparagus. Snap off the ends and place them in boiling water for two to three minutes. To review numerous asparagus prep options, paddle on over to Jamie Oliver’s and check how to prepare asparagus.
What about the eggs? Okay, the asparagus is cooling and the pancakes are nearly done. I usually go with sunny side up and crispy. This allows me to let the yokes drain into the pancakes. Paddle over to Smitten Kitchen and check out Deb Perelman’s take on the crispy egg. If you have the time, forty minutes, try The Best Scrambled Eggs by Mark Bittman. While I rarely get forty minutes for anything, they look great, plus he learned from James Beard. How cool is that?
Assembly and presentation: I usually overlap two pancakes slightly, add the asparagus/greens, place the eggs on top of everything and tuck the turkey sausages in under the eggs.
Tofu sweet potato pancakes
Makes about six pancakes
2 medium size sweet potatoes (12 ounces)
1 packet of cooking tofu (12 ounces)
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons curry powder
cooking oil for frying