AWMT nuggets and noticings

As We May Think Word Cloud

I am quite certain that I am not the first person to push the text of As We May Think through a word cloud maker (in this case Wordle). I am dashing off what will be a quick post on nuggets and noticings about the essay before a stretch where I will not be able to connect to #thoughtvectors except via Twitter. In fact, boxes are sitting here in my office waiting to be filled in anticipation of a relocation from temporary space. I am procrastinating in here instead.

So, back to the word cloud. I know using them is a bit tired, but I am still curious to see what happens when texts are examined this way to look for patterns. I’ve read this essay a number of times now. I still marvel at how prescient Bush was all those years back. It was such fun to watch this shared yesterday by Christina Engelbart (How cool is it that she is participating with us, and how did I miss this until now??)

Of course, capturing associative trails that Bush describes is an important noticing from the essay. I like to read between the lines a bit. I sense a yearning on the part of Bush to make sense of the death and destruction ‘science’ had just made possible by creating tools of war efficiency. He dreams of putting them (minds) to better use. There is a glimpse of his essential humanity in there/that. I believe he was searching to rejoin the soul with the work of science. (Parker Palmer talks about living undivided:

So what does this have to do with inquiry and learning and thinking and such?
Everything, imho. His thinking was absolutely colored by his (very) human need to find new meaning for what had just happened by suggesting ways to put minds to use in different directions.

I wish I had more time.
My intent for this part was a (digital) blackout poem of the essay. Maybe later.

For a while, I’ll see you all around Twitter!

Oh, another observation about the rhythm and ‘flavor’ of the course so far: I am struck by the personal in all of it. The personal connections of the ‘official’ faculty in the bits and pieces they are creating and sharing. The personal connections in the writings and postings and sharing in Twitter and blogs. The personal connections forming between and amongst participants. I believe (firmly) that when FACULTY/TEACHERS take this much personal interest in what they are doing – their relationships with the ‘content’ (for lack of a better work), with learners and each other – the result is magnificent learning. How can it not be? If you want students to engage and learn…be yourself and share yourself. #thoughtvectors faculty and leaders are showing us how. I am saying this as a perpetual MOOC dropout. This time I think I’ll stick around.



On thinking, part 2

By Daniel Stockman (Flickr: Paris 2010 Day 3 – 9) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, somebody had to (use an image of Le Penseur).

Back today with just a little more on thinking and feeling – and a few observations on the early rhythm of my thoughtvectors experience so far.

Thinking about thinking over these past few days has been an interesting meta experience. (And I’ll note here that it is something we rarely ask of our students, though we should).

I have enjoyed reading the posts of others in the community. (A quick aside on that rhythm part…although I know there is the syndicated ‘All Blogs’ location on the course website I find I am connecting first with posts shared to Twitter. Perhaps that is a function of my own time constraints where I am trying to engage in fits and snatches between work tasks…too much moving around to deeply dig into all of the feeds. I hope to do that, perhaps on the weekend)). I keep seeing words like ‘messy’ and ‘flow’ and ‘uncertainty’ and such in various posts I have read so far. I especially loved Gardner’s assertion that thinking changes you…your mind…the WAY you think.  I so identify with Giulia’s recognition of an array of possibilities that emerge from thinking too paralyzing to write about. There is Laura’s poignant story of thinking-feeling-knowing. Beautiful.

I’m still thinking.

I did have another observation/thing I wonder about…about thinking. For me, my thoughts and words/language are inextricably linked. Duh. Of course they are. I think… in words-mostly. I construct thoughts…in words. But, there are other ways of ‘knowing‘…aren’t there? Like muscle memory and playing the piano. …requires thinking, few words. Or sensing the mood of my family – something I think, intuit…eventually I NAME it something….but a different way of knowing. This is a messy description…but I wonder how much my thinking and the thinking of others with greater language facility than me think differently. Or do they? How much do we construct meaning, and eventually learn and know based on words/language?


How does it feel when I think?

(Image is in the public domain. Source: Wikipedia entry on ‘Mind‘)

Really #thoughtvectors?
Good grief. Nothing like starting off with a really simple question to get our feet wet!   🙂

Hmmm…I’ve been ‘thinking’ really hard about this….not really wanting to be one of the first to tackle the question publicly. (I’m listening now to @scottlo even as I write this. He was brave and put his ‘thinking’ out there. I’m noting his mention of his initial giddiness giving way to fear….Same here).

The answer is (at least for me) it (thinking) feels like …well like everything.

I am always thinking as long as I am awake. Some of my thinking is sound and some is not. Some is emotionally charged. Some is quite rational. I am having ‘lofty’ thoughts and mundane every-day thoughts. Thoughts in context and out. Some thoughts are worthwhile. Some are better left ‘un-thought’. I’m thinking this is a really, really hard question.

I follow ‘associative trails’ in my head ALL THE TIME. Oh, if only I could narrate and capture those trails. In my ‘mind’s eye’ I can see things sometimes that I cannot put into words when I sit and try. I wish for ways to capture those links and trails (not unlike the authors of the essays we are readying).

This, from VB:

“All our steps in creating or absorbing material of the record proceed through one of the senses – the tactile when we touch keys, the oral when we speak or listen, the visual when we read. Is it not possible that some day the path may be established more directly?’

Ugh. I am reduced to rambling and thinking and making not much sense. Looking for an inspiration, I searched for ‘mind’s eye’ and landed on the above image. It is Rene’ Descartes’ mind/body illustration from the Wikipedia entry on ‘Mind’. (I’m not a .gif-maker. Best I can do). And now comes the imposter syndrome attack and I’m stopping here and pushing out this very much ‘in draft’ offering.

More later. Maybe.


A Quiet Revolution

revolution fist









CC Licensed (BY-NC-SA 3.0
) shared by SpartanHedgey

Way back when….I was still teaching (pediatric nursing) in my first higher ed incarnation, I regularly used a video called “A Quiet Revolution”. The video was about the (radical) and innovative reconfiguring of the built and care environment for children in healthcare environments. The point was that children would be more cooperative and convalesce and heal faster and better in places where their particular characteristics were taken into consideration. The narrative pointed to exemplar institutions where intentional design decisions were made to create environments welcoming to children. I used this idea to frame everything we talked about in the course. Because children are different.

Fast forward to now. I am struck again by what appears to be (at least from where I sit) another ‘quiet revolution’. I am talking about the understandings we should all be reaching by now about the central importance of technology to the higher education teaching & learning encounter. (I don’t really want to quibble here as I try to get these thoughts down over what the essence or name or meaning of that technology really is. More on that later).

I wonder – daily – how it is that we can still be having conversations about things like the separation of IT and academic affairs. I wonder how we cannot reach a level of egalitarian regard for one another so as to agree on a collective mission that we all share – to prepare our students for their future. I find I am still needing to interpret what I do and where I ‘live’ within a broader network and in IT– as if these ideas are new and novel. I suppose that is what has me thinking of these ideas right now as revolutionary. Here’s a Google definition:

…a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it.

Yes. Preach.

The revolution I am thinking about here is the need to radically reconfigure learning environments to fully apprehend the affordance of technology (and EVERYTHING that means). Yes, “…a dramatic and wide-reaching change…” in the way teaching and learning works is needed. Thereby, we need to make intentional design decisions to create learning environments that are welcoming for our students.

And boy, are our learners/students ever different. Or are they? (Another ‘more-on-this-later disclaimer here).

To better and much more eloquently describe the revolution I am talking about, watch this:

Here’s the thing. Soooooooo many people I interact with (still) have little to no understanding of this revolution – while it is swirling around them each and every day. And sadder still – they are not interested in informing themselves and cling instead to the old order. That’s why I am thinking of the revolution as a quiet one (and you might not agree that it is quiet where you are. I am talking about my own circumstance).

Still a revolution though.

Today, as I write this I am weary of my own entreats to WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

I saved and wrote this on my office white board on January 19 a quote from this blog post by Seth Godin: GodinQuote





The trouble is that I CAN’T walk away. The revolution has not reached us here. I am trying to bring it. I am on my way to the bell tower.

That brings me to #thoughtvectors and the tantalizing opportunity offered to join the revolution on the front lines. I’m shaking the dust off the furniture covers in here. I have remained quiet and quiescent for far too long.

I have WAY more to say and share.

I am pledging here, today, June 5 – to participate fully.
I am ready.
I NEED to be a part.
I MUST use my voice more than I have been using it – like writing here in this blog.
And let me be clear. I am doing this first and mainly for me.
(Feeling quite convicted after reading Gardner’s post “Who is this for?”)

But maybe in the wonder, and thinking and messy writing I can make some sense and bring the revolution.

I am ready.
Yes, I am ready.