#cmc11 Reflections on my creativity development so far

                I am at the very early stages of developing and rediscovering my creativity.  I’m new to blogging and being an active contributor to social network sites and sharing with others.  I’ve always used the internet to get information, entertainment or to conduct business.  I left the content creation to others.  However, this course has opened my eyes to the importance of connectivism, which I would define as being an active participant in the network of planet earth.  This includes contributing to the knowledge base available in the World Wide Web through contributing information, creating content and sharing with others.  According to David Gauntlett, it’s important to create or make things, because the act of creating usually involves a social dimension and helps to connect us to other people.  I’ve seen this during the course through my enhanced exposure to social media and the educational materials available on the web.  Contributing to the conversation, or offering ideas, thoughts, comments or encouragement to others helps us to be connected to others and sparks creativity.

                I’m much more aware of the creativity that exists around me, as well as the risks that people take to be creative.  It’s OK to make mistakes or to be wrong.  Learning comes from these mistakes. I’ve always been pretty risk averse, which hinders creativity.  I was very impressed and enlightened by the Kathryn Schulz TED talk “On being wrong”.  Ms. Schulz makes a great case for risk taking and taking steps to allows you the freedom to be wrong.  Sometimes being wrong leads to better results than if you’re not taking a chance.  I know I need to work on this and will.  I plan on making use of the structure Dr. Roger Firestien describes in his unleashing the power of creativity talk.  I’ve participated in brainstorming sessions in the past, but his talk provided me with a great overview of how to do this effectively if the desire is to spur creativity and innovation.

                I do enjoy being creative and need to take the time to just play around with things, if for no other reason than to just relax and have fun.  This course has helped me see that there are unlimited ways to connect with others, to learn, to share and to be creative.   I will continue on with this journey and appreciate the insights and ideas that everyone shared with me.  Thanks for opening my mind!

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Certain Slant of Light #cmc11

     I’ve been ridiculously busy as of late. My sister has been critically ill, so we’ve been going to the hospital every day to help and support her. My sister had been helping my mom with her day to day living needs, so we’ve taken that on as well. We’re likely going to take my mother in, so we’re looking to move.  This will entail buying a new house and selling our current home.  I have also been busier at work, as my new boss just came aboard and I have to get him up to speed.

     I’ve been able to stay connected to the course despite this, reading a great deal about trans-literacy and creativity. I decided today to sit outside to do some course work.  I love my yard and realized I’ve been so busy this summer that I haven’t had the opportunity to sit outside.  It’s a glorious Sunday morning, everyone else in my house is sleeping, so it was a good opportunity.

     I started looking at the creativity media from the course and came across the seven ways to cultivate your creativity article written by Ingrid Wickelgren for Scientific America. The article describes seven different brain sets, or mental frameworks, that facilitate original thinking, as well as exercises you can perform to cultivate these brain sets.  I was struck by the second exercise titled “A Certain Slant of Light”. The exercise requires you to take five minutes and simply observe your surroundings-take in the sights, sounds and sensations around you.  I realized that I never do anything remotely close to that. I always am distracted-whether by the radio, television, internet, other thoughts and other people. Because I’m so busy, I never take the time to just observe, reflect and think.  I decided to try the exercise.

     I used an I-pod as a stop watch as recommended for the exercise and for the next five minutes, I just tried to look, listen and smell what was going on around me.  I heard the hum of my neighbors air conditioner.  I live near a community pool, so I heard people and one small child in particular talking. I noticed the smell of the grass I just cut.  I observed tree leaves blowing in the wind, and the noise the leaves made rustling from the wind.  I heard a car door slam, as well the noise of other cars and a car horn. I heard the child in the pool again, who seems to be a boy asking his mother for something.  I heard some of my neighbors talking. I looked at the sky and observed the clouds, which were very still-almost stationary.  The clouds were mostly white, with some grey clouds.  The sky was a bright, beautiful blue.  I noticed the leave from the trees by the pool in front of my house, which were burgundy and were rustling slightly.  These trees were framed by the background of the forest down the block, which have green leaves and are much larger. Finally, I noticed a flock of birds flying in formation as the clock ran out.

     I found it refreshing to just partake in my surroundings without distractions.  I will do this more often, if just to clear my head.  I can definitely see how this can help with creativity, as good ideas can come from just about anywhere.  Being observant and clear headed can help to inspire creative behavior.

 

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How is my personal learning environment impacting my networked knowledge?

     I am adept at using freely available personal web technologies, and have used organized folders to store and share useful bookmarks and sources of information from the web. I have had a personal learning environment (PLE) for years, I just never knew it under those terms. I use wikis, news feeds, pod casts, and smart people as resources in my network. I’ve always considered people resourceful who, when encountering a knowledge gap,use their PLE to search for information immediately.

     My work experience has been most in line with the Chatti integration of Communities and Services model.  We use Communities of Practice to share information, collaborate and to develop and implement process improvements.  Similar to Google +, we use Microsoft SharePoint as the web-based tool to collaborate.

     

 

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Seven Habits of Highly Connected People

     The Steven Downes article describing the habits of highly connected people was eye-opening. I find that I have some of these habits. I do look to cooperate with others, as I’m a strong proponent of teamwork and consensus.  Everyone has something they can contribute.  I’m also pretty good at RTFM, or reading the fine manual. I always look to find the answer myself before asking for help from others online.

     However, I can do a much better job in being connected to others by following his advice.  For example, I read many articles on the web and get a lot of different things out of them-information, advice, entertainment and different viewpoints and perspective on issues. However, I don’t always react to them when afforded the opportunity, whether to comment or simple say thank you.  I will make the effort to react more.

     I also find that I don’t ensure that connection comes first.  I do spend much more time reading and taking in information than I do in sharing and connecting with others.  I need to find ways to be more connected on a daily basis.  I don’t necessarily agree that I should reduce time reading newspapers or magazines to make time, but I can definitely cut back on watching television. Bottom line-I will use the advice provided by Mr. Downes to improve my connections online.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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#cmc11 First Post

     Hi-this is my first blog post.  I’ve learned a great deal in the Creativity and Multicultural course so far.  Mostly I’ve learned that I have a great deal to learn about social media, free technology and being connected to others.  I’ve always considered myself a pretty computer savvy guy.  I can work with Microsoft Office products, set up a home network, troubleshoot software and hardware problems and create audio and video files.  I’m the guy my family and friends will ask for help when they have problems.

      However, the big thing I’ve discovered so far is that I’m pretty much illiterate when it comes to using web tools and participating in the various forms of social media.  I have a Facebook account, but pretty much only because my son asked me a few years back why I wasn’t his friend. I’ve never seen much value in using social media and sharing with others.  I’m learning now that in today’s connected world, that’s not very smart.  I have been amazed so far at the tremendous amount of information and learning that occurs through the various web tools and social media sites. The power of the internet and in being connected to others is limitless.

     I’m also starting to have a better appreciation for the MOOC movement.  I’m getting a better understanding as to how MOOCs encourage more organic learning as opposed to the more structured, linear approach I’ve always been exposed to. My objectives in taking this course are to develop and open up my creativity and improve my ability to communicate effectively with a diverse group of people.  I will seek ways to become more connected with others and get more engaged with others to learn and share.

    Currently, I’m learning how to use the tools available on the web. I’ve participated in Google + hangouts, which I never knew existed. I’ve also participated in my first Twitter chat.  I had never used Twitter previously, as I believed that it was just a forum for celebrities to comment on things and promote themselves.  I see Twitter as a huge open AOL chat (I’m showing my age) with the ability to share multi-media.  I’ve become exposed to Pinterest, and am intrigued as to how pictures and graphics tell a story and can help improve communications without language.  

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