Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Motivator: Brand New Ending

I thought this was a good inspiration graphic for both school, and for life too!

Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Motivator: Genius is...

Grant Snider is a fabulous artist, and he has created many posters inspired by reading and writing, and about the creative process in general. I really like this poster about "genius." Instead of the Thomas Edison adage about genius being "1% inspiration and 99% perspiration." I suspect Snider's breakdown is closer to the mark! For the full-size view, see Grant Snider's blog: Genius Is... His work is also available in poster-size to put on your wall!

Article: 6 Things You Learned in School that Don’t Apply in the Real World

I really liked this post from the blog:

6 Things You Learned in School that Don’t Apply in the Real World

The post provides a great list of things that are NOT TRUE but which you might think are true, given the way school usually works:

1. Failure is disastrous
2. It’s better to work alone
3. There’s always a right answer
4. Someone will tell you what you need to know
5. Education only happens in school
6. Only what’s in the syllabus is important

Be sure to read the original article to get some great insights into each of these items and why they are NOT true, and how you really need to get rid of those assumptions if you want to pass the test of life itself!

In that spirit, I thought this would be a great graphic to use to illustrate this blog post; it comes from Paul Bogush's blog.

And as my online buddy (and prolific author) Nathan Lowell remarks: "I didn't give final exams in my classes. I just told the students: There will be a test, but I'm not going to be giving it. It'll come sometime after you graduate. Good luck."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Motivator: Children don't have to be slaves of praise.

Found at Twitter.

If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don't have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.
- Carol Dweck

Article: Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out (Slate)

Kids of Helicopter Parents Are Sputtering Out (Slate)
Recent studies suggests that kids with overinvolved parents and rigidly structured childhoods suffer psychological blowback in college.
By Julie Lythcott-Haims


Madeline Levine, psychologist and author of The Price of Privilege, says that there are three ways we might be overparenting and unwittingly causing psychological harm:

  • When we do for our kids what they can already do for themselves;
  • When we do for our kids what they can almost do for themselves; and
  • When our parenting behavior is motivated by our own egos.

Levine said that when we parent this way we deprive our kids of the opportunity to be creative, to problem solve, to develop coping skills, to build resilience, to figure out what makes them happy, to figure out who they are. In short, it deprives them of the chance to be, well, human.

Motivator: Next Opportunity.

Found at Twitter. Dr. Abdul Kalam is something like an English Einstein, so I am not sure if he actually said this or not, but it does fit with his irrepressible spirit of learning!

If you fail, never give up because F A I L means "First Attempt in Learning." 
End is not the end. In fact, E N D means "Effort Never Dies." 
If you get NO as an answer, remember N O means "Next Opportunity."

Motivator: Learning is not a spectator sport.

Found at Twitter.

Learning is not a spectator sport.

Motivator: If you believe it will work out, you'll see opportunities.

Found at Twitter.

If you believe it will work out, you'll see opportunities. If you believe it won't, you will see obstacles.

Motivator: You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Found at Twitter.

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Motivator: Baby bluebirds, it is time to spread your wings!

From this blog post: Baby Bluebirds Time to Spread Your Wings!

Baby bluebirds, it is time to spread your wings!

Motivator: The key to success

From a tweet for Kathryn Venable's blog post: Growing a Growth Mindset, Part I.

The key to success is not simply the effort or focus or resiliency, but it is the growth mindset that creates them. 

Motivator: What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Motivator: There are no limits.

As you make your way through the semester, you can keep this motivational thought in mind: There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, there are no limits. :-)

Motivator: Life is a daring adventure

A wonderful quote from Helen Keller. This is actually a paraphrase; in context, here is what she wrote: Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Life is a daring adventure,
or it is nothing at all.

Motivator: Keep Going

I really like this graphic with an advice from Sam Levenson:
Don't watch the clock. Do what it does: KEEP GOING.

Motivators: If you don't like change...

I found this great cartoon at Twitter.

If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

An Inoreader Hub for Growth Mindset

In this post I'll explain how I am setting up a blog hub and combination RSS feed for growth mindset memes and reflections. I'm designing this for my students (here's the project I'll be working on with my students), but since it is conceived as an open project, it could go in all kinds of different directions based on anyone who wants to hook up via this blog hub. Here's how it works:

About Inoreader. Inoreader is an RSS aggregator (like Feedly, etc.), but it also offers some powerful other features. Specifically:
* it lets you share what you are reading with outgoing RSS, bundles, OPML, etc.
* the outgoing RSS can also be rendered as an HTML view (that's how I run this stream:
* you can create outgoing RSS by combining feeds and/or by Inoreader labels
* Inoreader labels can be assigned automatically by rules and manually
* Inoreader can also access content from G+ public streams (not communities), Facebook pages, and Twitter streams.

Not exactly a blog hub. You may have participated in an online experience where there was a fully automated blog hub (ds106 is a great example, and Connected Courses also used a blog hub, and there's a blog hub going to for CLMOOC). The way I am using Inoreader is not quite the same thing: this is just my own personal feed reader which also gives me the ability to share publicly the content I am aggregating and curating. I use this for my online classes, and starting with #Rhizo15, I've been experimenting with how it can be used in other ways. I am really grateful to the programmers at Inoreader for creating a tool that has this power but which requires zero programming skills of any kind!

Growth Mindset Resources via Inoreader. So, here is how I will be setting up my Inoreader in order to collect and share growth mindset memes and other resources:

1. Share your blog(s). Let me know if you and/or your students have a blog you are using for growth mindset topics. It can be a blog dedicated to growth mindset OR you can use a blog post label (tag, etc.) to indicate which items in a blog are growth mindset posts. I will add that blog feed to my combined Inoreader Growth Mindset blog folder. Use this Google Form to submit your blog address.

2. Other online streams. Let me know if you have a Facebook page, Google+ public stream (communities don't work), or Twitter feed which is dedicated, or mostly dedicated, to growth mindset materials. You can also submit that at the Google Form.  Because these platforms don't have RSS labels, I cannot directly add it to my Inoreader Growth Mindset blog folder, but Inoreader can monitor those incoming feeds and help me find "growth mindset" items.

3. Tweet me / Plus me. I can easily reshare items via my own Twitter and my own Google+ into the Inoreader feed, so either "plus me" at Google+ or @OnlineCrsLady at Twitter if you have a growth mindset item to share.

4. Inoreader outgoing. I will share the Inoreader Growth Mindset blog folder as an OPML file and as a "bundle" in Inoreader. I will also label all incoming items in this folder so that they can go out via the Inoreader Growth Mindset RSS feed and be displayed also as HTML clippings. I've also created a display page for the HTML clippings at my website:

And, last but not least...

THANK YOU, INOREADER: It is really exciting to have all these powerful tools for following the topics that I care about and also being able to share what I find with others.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Video: The power of believing that you can improve (10 min.)

I found this TED video at a Mind/Shift article: Why Talking About the Brain Can Empower Learners.

by Carol Dweck

One of the themes of the talk is transforming the meaning of effort and difficulty: "In one study, we taught them that every time they push out of their comfort zone to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in their brain can form new, stronger connections, and over time they can get smarter."

Video: The Power of Yet: Janelle Monae and the Muppets (3 min.)

I found this Sesame Street video from YouTube at this Mind/Shift article: Preschoolers and Praise: What Kinds of Messages Help Kids Grow?

And yes, there is Cookie Monster!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Growth Mindset Challenges

In Week 1, you had a quick introduction to Carol Dweck's growth mindset approach; I am hoping you will want to explore the notion of a growth mindset this semester to see if it can be helpful to you, both in this class and in your other classes... and beyond school too. Try some "Growth Challenges" for one or two weeks and write about what you learn in your blog. If you find it useful, then you can do a Growth Mindset blog post every week of the semester!

Just how this evolves is up to you: it's a totally open-ended assignment. There are lots of ideas for "Growth Challenges" below, and looking at those ideas might also catalyze some completely new ideas of your own. Anything you want to try sounds good to me if it helps you to practice growth mindset and/or to learn more about what growth mindset means. Whatever you do with each post, remember to use the label "Growth Mindset" so that the rest of the class can share in your discoveries. You might also be interested in doing some related Challenges at the H.E.A.R.T. site too.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MINDSETS. Find a good online resource or check out one of the resources here — Growth Mindset links plus Growth Mindset videos — and write a blog post summarizing what you learned from that resource. Be sure to include a link to the online resource so that others can use it too, and find a good image (or video) to include from the resource you reviewed. You can repeat this option for as many weeks as you want, learning more about the growth mindset and thinking about the ways in which it can be useful to you.

GROWTH MINDSET MEMES. I've been making Growth Mindset memes during the summer as you can see here: Growth Mindset Memes blog. You can explore those memes and see if you find something that really grabs you; if you find on you really like, write up a blog post about it and include the meme in the post.
Even better: make your own growth mindset meme! There are lots of meme makers you can use. As you can tell, I am personally a big fan of Cheezburger and Automotivator, but there are lots of meme generators out there, including the seriously amazing Canva. You can repeat this for as many weeks as you want, using it as a way to explore the growth mindset concept and/or as a way to learn about different meme generators.

STORIES ABOUT GROWTH. You can explore the message of growth mindset in the stories you are reading for class each week! For this challenge, find a story or episode in a story that you read for class this week (or in a previous week) and see how a character in that story demonstrates a growth mindset and/or see how a character in the story demonstrates a fixed mindset. Is there something you can learn from the character(s) to apply to your own life...?
Even better: create your own mindset story. When you do your storytelling for the week, make it into an example of growth mindset! Tell a story where you emphasize how the main character does (or does not) have a growth mindset, and then talk about how that works in your author's note. Then, in your blog post for this challenge, explain how and why you chose the story and the changes you made to the story to bring out the mindset theme.

GROW-YOUR-WRITING-STYLE. Try a totally different storytelling style this week. You could choose a style that you saw another student using, or you could dream up some totally new approach that you have not seen anybody else using in class. Check out the Storytelling instructions; there is a randomizer there that pops up new storytelling ideas! So, find a new storytelling style you have not used it before, give it a try, and then write a Growth Mindset post where you evaluate the results. Was it challenging? What did you learn? Would you use this storytelling technique again?

GROW-YOUR-WRITING-PROCESS. You could also try a totally different writing process. For example, if you usually do the writing in the evening, try writing your story first thing in the morning. If you usually compose on the computer, take a notebook and go try writing outside, etc. There are also Editing Challenges you can use (these are the same challenges as in the Project Revision weeks, but you can also use them anytime). Then, in your Growth Mindset post, assess your writing experiment: are you happy with the results? did you learn some new writing strategies you can use in the future?

GROW BY WATCHING OTHERS. I'm hoping a lot of students will be interested in this option, and you can view the stream of "Growth Mindset" posts to see what others are doing.. One way you can come up with your own growth mindset challenge is by looking at what other students and doing and writing about, and then apply that in some way to your own circumstances, seeing what you can learn from them. So, browse the growth mindset posts by other students in the class and curate them: bookmark and save the ones you like, and pick out a few favorites. Then, write those up in a blog post, providing a link and some comments about why you really liked them. Even better: you can also leave a note for the students on their blogs with a link to the post that you write and see if a conversation gets started.

GROW IN YOUR OTHER CLASSES. Every class you are taking this semester probably presents its own challenges, some of which are easier to manage and some of which might be much harder. Take a few minutes to focus on the most exciting challenge in each of your classes... and then see if there are any interconnections between the challenges in one class and another class. Can you find ways you can work on a challenge in one class that should be helpful as you face the challenges of another class? Maximizing your effort across classes can be a really powerful strategy for moving forward!

TALK ABOUT MINDSET. Take a few minutes to talk about the growth mindset concept with a friend and write up a blog post about your conversation. Had your friend already heard about the growth mindset idea? Are they applying growth mindset ideas already at school and/or at work? Try finding a child to talk with about the growth mindset and see what insights they can offer. If you have children of your own, that might be a great conversation!

SCHOOLS FOR GROWTH. For this blog post, think BIG about the university and the ways in which it does (or does not) promote a growth mindset among students and also faculty and staff. Where do you see OU helping everyone to learn and grow? Where do you see OU holding people back? If President Boren called you up and asked you to name one thing you would like to see done differently to make OU a better learning environment for everyone here, what would you tell him?

GROWTH BEYOND SCHOOL. One of the most exciting things about the growth mindset approach is that it applies to all kinds of learning, not just the formal academic learning that you do in school. So, think about that: where do you see yourself doing the best job of applying the growth mindset in your own life...? Maybe you are a serious athlete, or a foodie, or a musician, or a traveler... so many possibilities! Think about the aspect of your life where you see the power of the growth mindset at work and write that up as a blog post.

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES. Carol Dweck's growth mindset is about growing your intelligence... and Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard, has studies the many different kinds of intelligence that we have. For this challenge, read about Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, and share your reaction. Which of these intelligences do you think you are able to grow in the classes that you are taking this semester? What intelligences would you like most to grow in the future?

Help me to improve this assignment... Please let me know how I can improve this assignment (for example: more ideas for blog posts!) and/or how I can do a better job of promoting the growth mindset in other assignments for class. An incredibly important part of the growth mindset is getting good feedback from others, and that means your feedback is really important. Pretty much all the good things in these classes are from ideas students shared with me in the past, so take this opportunity to share some ideas. I would be really curious to hear what you think!