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Welcome to 8th Mighty Minds Newsletter!
Part 2 of the “Exploring Alternative Futures” is nearing completion. After a huge mental meltdown last week, I reached back out to Mike Courtney who helped me get unstuck. Sadly, there won’t be a simple “mad-libs” formula to make using this tool easy. It’s… more complex than that. In a good way, though. And I’m doing my best to explain by sharing my own learning journey. I’m in the process of sending out portions of part 2 for editing. The plan is to release mini-lessons throughout the week & weekend. And then be done with this topic! Not because this topic is not good and useful, but—whoa—this has been more than I signed up for. 🤯
Last week, we had our first Mighty Minds Club salon with John V Willshire. I think everyone in attendance, about 25 of us, would agree it was rather mind-blowing. There’ll be a sequel with John in the near future, as we barely got through discussing Artefact Cards and John’s A-space model, before time was up. Speaking of Artefact Cards, John set us up with a discount code - mightyminds - to use at artefactshop.com that takes 10% off anything you see on the home page.
Last week’s salon was a bit of an experiment, and… I’m excited to host more of these. 😃
Last week’s question of the week on what ‘new normal’ means to you got a lot of thoughtful responses. Check them out, if you haven’t already. With this week’s question, I’ve lightened things a bit. :-)
Polarity Mapping? Worked with it? Used this tool? Know someone who has? Let me know! Thats the next planned topic I’ll be turning to for September… (yes, originally planned for August!).
Someday, I’ll devote an entire newsletter to things I’ve picked up from public school K-12 teachers. But, this can’t wait: It’s a template for teachers to use to make synchronous distance learning video calls better (created by Stephanie DeMichele). I can easily see a version of this adapted for adult learning—online training, workshops, etc.
While we’re on the topic of education…
Wait, what? “From 1967-1977 the US government carried out the largest educational research project in history. The results of which were - effectively - buried. It’s a story of intrigue, ideology and education failure.” After reading this, I’m intrigued. For the history, yes. But more so because of how this might challenge my beliefs about constructivist learning. 🤔
Speaking of challenging beliefs, check out what grad student Shaun Cammack made to make sense of what actually happened with the Kenosha shootings and the various narratives that followed. As one person commented, “I would pay $5-10 a month for 1 of these a week, summarizing the way some major story du-jour is being massaged by different outlets.” Yes. And… What do you think, could this kind of artifact be used to bring people into meaningful dialogue around these events? A ‘thing to think with’ perhaps?
Fellow Mighty Mind Jorge Arango has written a great, short post on “What you can learn from board games about clarifying your project’s big picture.” Yes, I’m a sucker for anything that looks for lessons we can learn from board games. Oh, and a twitter thread about this post led Jorge to also share his Semantic Environment Canvas.
PLUG: if you like the kinds of curated articles I’m sharing here, Jorge offers a similar roundup that is ‘Worth Your Attention’.
The Atlantic has a short piece on How to Embrace Uncertainty in Pandemic Times “We are not fated to suffer when faced with malign uncertainty. We have a choice.”
James Royal-Lawson, also a fellow Mighty Mind, shared some great, brief thoughts on data collection, in which he distinguishes between data collection for measuring, learning, and exploiting. I found this simple framework very useful, if only as a reframing exercise. This way of looking at data asks the question “how can we measure and not exploit?” and also moves past the binary argument of data collection vs not at all; all built on privacy, ethics, & consent. Nice!
Like many people around the world, I am deeply saddened by the death of Chadwick Boseman. I’ve been trying to figure out why this particular death has troubled me so much.
There’s certainly the shock and surprise. To know that he was fighting cancer the past four years while playing these roles we’ve come to cherish—wow. I have no words. Also, he was only a few years younger than I am, which carries some gravitas. But the more I’ve though about it, the more I’ve come to believe Chadwick has, in many ways, become a symbol for many people. While it’s easy to conflate a character with the person, in Chadwick’s case, the lines do seem to blur. Maybe it’s the roles he played or the way he carried himself (this NYT article from 2019 comments on both of these things). On and off screen, we see a black man who stands tall and proud. Watching various clips as they came across my twitter stream, I saw so many good virtues: Leadership. Courage. Grace. Strength. Calm. Gentleness. Humility. He seemed like the kind of person we’d want to align with, and call a friend.
I recall being moved by this bit on Jimmy Kimmel, where folks are invited to share what Chadwick and Black Panther mean to them. “He’s just an actor who played a role” I recall initially thinking to myself, when I saw this; but even then I was moved by all that followed. Hearing what this film means and represents to so many people of color, wow. It’s clear this was more than another superhero film. Then, to see the humility and grace and care this actor showed with these fans—that was touching.
In watching this clip now, with BLM top-of-mind, I can’t help but listen—closely—to all that is said, and not said.
“A hero we need in a time like this.”
“Grace and poise and joy”
“Not a black movie, but a great American superhero movie with people who happen to look like me”
“My son’s childhood has been defined by Barack Obama and now Black Panther”
“Our stories need to be told”
“So inspired…that art can really change the world”
“Everything that represents me was honored”
“You got my whole name right”
“It was a big deal for me”
“Thank you so much for showing us that there are avenues for us”
“Representation is very important… it gives the kids hope”
“Words can’t even describe what this movie has meant to me and to other black people”
“The black women were strong on their own terms… They weren’t strong because they were hurt. They weren’t strong because they were angry. They were strong because they were strong.
There is so much hope and joy here.
With all that’s going on in the world, all the violence and divisions, I’ve thought a lot about who I am, who I want to be, and how I want to carry myself—at this point in history. There’s a part of me that wants to lash out at people I think are wrong, to speak out loudly against injustices, intolerance, and idiocrcacy. But… I’d rather err on the side of grace and hope. I’d rather treat people as people, not caricatures. I’d rather enter into dialogue than debate. If someone has a warped view of reality, there’s a reason, something to scratch at. A narrative. A trauma. An upbringing. A quiet struggle. Something created these convictions, and no amount of attacking or anger or will change this. My personal mission statement “to make learning the hard stuff fun” is as much about the inner journey as it is outward complexity. I want to contribute to a better world, but in a dignified and graceful way. I want to speak the truth, but do so from a place of “grace and poise and joy.” Like another hero of mine, I’m on the lookout for my version of putting our feet in the pool together, that small, defiant act that shows people—models for people—a better way to be, and be together. That’s the kind of positive force I wish to be in the world.
Which brings me back to Chadwick Boseman.
At the end of an interview, he’s asked if there’s “anything else you want to say from your heart?” I love Chadwick’s response to millions of young voters (and his hope about the victory that is to come). Yes, “get out and vote” and “vote for what you believe in”, he says. But, notice the grace with which he adds “I believe the majority of you can see what’s actually happening, and you want things to change.” Yeah, I want to be more like Chadwick Boseman. I’d agree “All along, the superhero was him.”
“Boseman told me his method of humanizing superhumans begins with searching their pasts. He’s looking for gestational wounds, personal failures, private fears — fissures where the molten ore of experience might harden into steel.” [SOURCE]