Reflective Craft & Pop Magic
I’m really bad with paper.
As a student this was academically lethal. My life was a constant search through 3 ring and spiral binders, trying to match my (primarily visual) impression of where a particular piece of text lived in warrens of perpendicular notes.
As an adult, I structure my life around activities where I can ignore paper entirely, and activities where holding a pen and writing is a cognitive stimulant, but the content of the resulting paper isn’t important.
A side effect of my adult coping systems is that I’ll use the same notebooks for years. Sketches, math problems, conference notes (those are notes passed in a conference, not notes on a speaker) will eat away at the notebook a dozen pages at a time, dumped into the middle of the largest remaining section of blank pages.
This four hole Kukuxumusu notebook has Google Apps Script notes (Fall ’10), 6.002x homework (Spring ’11), and all the contact info for my CMK12 colleagues before they were my most trusted professional cohort.
The notebook is just about cached. When I was looking for empty space this afternoon (sketch for caster-mounts for Makerspace tables) I found this, scrawled in purple ball point.
Saying “who knows what X will be like in N years” does not absolve us from preparation. No matter what choices you make, when you have to pivot, there will be costs and conflict.
Treating your school like a startup means positioning your organization to pivot quickly and minimize those costs.
Schools, by historical practice and temperament, are slow.How do you prepare for a future you can’t see? How do you prep a school to pivot in an unknown direction?
+Trim and minimize org structure.
+Focus on and respond to student needs.
+Maximize student choice throughout.
The “who knows?!” future is the ultimate rebuttal to “being hit on the head lessons.” What do you imagine the learning experience / classroom environment looks like for the seniors of 2025? What are you changing about the lower & middle school learning experience / classroom environment now to prepare them for that?
I wrote that a few years back as a way to solidify a train of thought, but it has come to define my professional life. Some of the tone in that piece makes me thing I was trying to shift the structure of a school by arguing with and convincing adults. How appropriate that the next batch of pages is all Constructing Modern Knowledge,where Gary and Sylvia taught/reminded me that the way to change a school is through students first, faculty second, and administrators when it’s too late to argue.
Most of the time, I don’t write to convince others. I write to confer with myself, and set my own unseen/unconscious rudder. Even when a thought stays locked as set of purple squiggles, the experience changes me, changes my mind, and pushes (gently!) on the world. It’s not as dramatic or profane as Grant Morrison’s Pop Magic Sigils or Alan Moore’s Creation Performance, but it’s a power I can feel and track across the last decade.