One of my favorite expressions when I’m dealing with difficult situations is “Always remember the fundamentally cool thing about being you!” Whenever you deal with trying times you go back to the skills, knowledge, and personal characteristics that you should take pride in.
That said, every once and awhile its nice to have some external things that provide a nice prop. These life experiences and mementos act as little touch points on which to hang your hat. Well this week my external props got added to.
Several years ago, I had the chance to attend a reception with Stephen Hawking as a Physics teacher that was a pretty neat moment. I wrote about that in an article “A brush with Greatness” – which would have been a blog post if we had blogs then. In 2002, I attended a Cisco conference where Chuck Yeager was giving a talk and got him to sign my logbook. As a pilot that was a pretty cool feeling. Last Month, I attended a CFL game to watch my Edmonton Eskimos a team I have cheered on for 30 years. I took a picture of one of my favorite Eskimos Dan Kepley who is now a coach. That picture along with Coach Kepley’s signature sits framed on the Wall of my den.
I may not be a Nobel Laureate, broken the sound barrier, or won a Grey Cup, but I’ve gone out an experience life and got to meet the people that have. And that’s more than good enough for me. In the end it is the memory of the experience not the photo on the wall that makes it cool.
The football game was with my Dad, the Hawking reception was with my friend Wayne. Both pretty cool people in their own right. And this is three of a couple hundred experiences I think about, when I think about what’s cool about being me.
As a follower of all things Merlin Mann I was happy to see a new podcast http://www.kungfugrippe.com/post/166001923/inbox-zero
More importantly I love some of the concepts of InBox Zero and Getting Things Done (GTD). If I got nothing else out of it I still have a big white bin in my den where all of my “next actions” go.
A friend asked about my Master’s Thesis the other day. I was hunting through old computer files (c.1990) and found quotes that still seem to have a ring of reality.
My paper in 1990 barely considered networked computing, internet or anything like that. In fact it was sparked by a Presidential Commission on Instructional Technology that goes back 20 years before that (1970). In reviewing all the 1950s and 1960s era ‘technology’ that was applied to education.
In part it found:
1. Indifference or Antipathy toward Using Technology in Education
2. Poor Programs
3. Inadequate Equipment
5. Teachers Not Trained in Instructional Technology
6. Media Specialists Excluded from Central Planning
(Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970, 78-81)
“Today technology touches only a small fraction of instruction. Colleges, universities, and schools have been using television, films, computers, or programmed texts in instruction, but to a limited extent. The results are mixed, with some institutions making a creative and sustained use of the new media while others, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, quickly losing interest.” (Commission on Instructional Technology, 1970, p8)
As is was summarized in a presenation I heard in the late 1980s, “any technology will fail if it doesn’t tak into account the culture of the classroom”.
In the world of ‘social networking’ the message of understanding culture is more important than ever.