Hatching Free Range Ideas

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Having sisters makes people happier

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm

The New York Times posted a story today by Deborah Tannen about sisters. The article is less interesting to me than the idea, that people who have sisters report themselves to be happier. What about us only sisters? We adopt them. I adopt them in droves. So consider this a shout out to all you sisters out there, mine and others. Great job; keep up the good work!

If you need sisters, I suggest you adopt a few. And if you want to read the article, it’s at this link.


Don’t lose serendipity

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm

For the past month I’ve been working to understand the concept of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and learning ecologies. It’s a recent (last five years) buzz, mostly in non-U.S. academic circles that seeks to define what it means to have a network of relationships that enable your knowledge growth. The Canadians and the English seem to be leading these days.

And we’re all trying to figure out how to describe what it means for each of us. It appears mostly as mind or concept maps. Here’s one now.

Why do I want to learn

It’s pretty heady stuff, in the absolute sense of the word, often so abstract as to be less than meaningful. The simplest functional PLE tools are home pages, or collections of tools, web sites and web pages.

However, the more we are able to define it and lock it down, the smaller and more static our world becomes and the more information we are compelled to process.

I think pundits are striving for awareness at this point, that we each become aware of how information flows through us to become knowledge.

So, what about serendipity? How do random thoughts enter, fleshed out, into your learning ecology? Once the random thought becomes an intentional learning process, it’s a candidate for inclusion. But I’m thinking about the links that you follow, either in conversation or online, or down a library shelf, that intrigue you. When you get there, you find an idea so compelling that you follow it to some level of completion.

For example, in searching for a poorly remembered idea, I came across the concept of slow schools, which led me to slow cities. Slow cities!!! Who knew?

How do we map that kind of component? Or do we? Does that kill the butterfly?

Or maybe that’s what I am to you, a serendipitous connection? Thank you. That’s what you are too me too, a source of random interesting ideas. Or maybe that’s what my entire PLE is, good sources of interesting ideas.

What do you think? What are you thinking about these days?

If you read nothing else this week, read this

In Elders, How we learn and think on October 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Not this post. The local Democratic Party called me yesterday to ask what my primary concern was. How can I possibly answer that question off the top of my head. Today I know. This is my primary concern . . . remaining relevant.

Read this and then ask yourself, “Where do I go for expertise?” And, “Where do I not go?” And, “Where do I not know to go?”

If you missed TEDxSanAntonio 2010, don’t miss next year!

In Big Fun!, drawings, How we learn and think on October 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

If you didn’t, you won’t.

For those of you who have yet to hear of the TED conference, you’re in for a treat. It’s a conference of ideas, or actors on ideas, each presented in less than 18 minutes. TED video tapes and freely shares all of the presentations so you can find a wealth of thought provocation. You can subscribe to see what’s new. Each TED presentation that I’ve seen has gotten me to think in a new way.

Because TED has become so popular and is only held once a year in a global location to a limited audience, it has begun to expand its format to include independent, local, TED events. Hence, TEDx. San Antonio just hosted its first, led by a team of generous free-thinkers with a focus on quality experiences. We received 4 presentations in an hour and then had long, generous breaks to talk about what we were thinking with other Teddites.

You can see my notes on it here.  They capture only the stuff that piqued my interest at that very moment in time. On a different day, my notes would be different. But not to worry. . . you can see videos of the entire performances on YouTube.

Okay, the notes.


New England in the Fall

In Uncategorized on October 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

You can’t beat it. It’s like Texas’s bluebonnet season, a riot of color.

Plus, it’s cool. We were there for a week and the color got deeper and richer each day. It’s such a different world, the East from the West. Last September we spent two weeks driving to and from Yellowstone. We covered five or so states in the two weeks, often driving as much as 8 hours a day. This year we covered five states, often in the same day. Funny!

The  other thing that was noticeably different to me was the abundance of high-quality European-style food. Like this place:

Maybe the best chocolate ever, even tested against La Maison du Chocolat. This is their pastry box, which measures up to the glamor of the pastries inside. Burdick’s in Walpole. Wow.

And the BREAD!!!!  I could live on the crusty baguettes and raw milk cheese. Throw in a few olives, some Serranno Ham, a few cornichons. . . well, you get the picture.

So why was this a different place than Texas? I know you can get this stuff in the big cities, but you have to know where to look. Here, it seemed you had to look away not to find it.

One last food photo. . . from a dinner party we were lucky enough to crash.

I don’t have a good photo of the food from the tapas party. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you it was great to look at as well as to eat.

So, food, color, plus a teeny bit of culture from the Clark Museum in Williamstown. How fun is this work from Juan Munoz?

The morning we were leaving, there was ice on the windshield and we knew it was time to come home. Nice to have such clear signals. We both still remember New York winters. It’s why we came back to Texas. We miss our great friends in the cold Northeast and wish them a few Texas fall days in the midst of the gray. And we hope they visit when they need a break. We’ll treat ’em to some biscuits and cream gravy, and maybe a chicken-fried steak.