I wholeheartedly enjoy the ability to write and create my own materials in any situation I find myself in. Sure, I can write for the other guy, but when it’s just for my own pleasure, I like to give myself the opportunity to research and design materials based on my own creative needs, my own passions.
The same holds true for those of us who present to live audiences.
The same holds true for those of us who present in person, to live audiences; like teachers, lecturers, and public personalities, etc. It doesn’t matter which field you may be presenting on – all that really matters is that you enjoy what it is you are doing. You use life as your platform for new ideas and concepts. A platform that others may not be able to achieve.
I have witnessed what technology has done in the lives of those around me, and it has motivated me to want to continue to advance my own training skills using that same technology to help others learn how to reach their goals, and embrace life. Learning is not all about self-indulgence. In fact, learning is more about giving of yourself, and the ability to use your skills in an effective manner to help others reach their true potential.
Sure, learning is a philosophical journey – one that trains our minds to think in a more rational, clear, and meaningful way. It also teaches us to dream.
The ability to use your skills in an effective manner to help others reach their true potential
Regardless of what field we find ourselves in, we are all lifelong learners. We should embrace that – and learn as much as we can, as long as we can- in as many fields as we would like to explore.
I may never be a nuclear physicist or even a good cook, but I might read a book about it, or attend training or a lecture. I’m given that opportunity to learn because someone else took the time to write about what life has shown them. The experience I gain from their thoughts and passions provides me with the ability to be able to hold a decent conversation with someone like themselves. Knowing what questions to ask is important too.
The caveat for me in training others is that “I am an explorer”. I embrace the idea that life, designing, and training are beautiful metaphors that need discovery. You need to go out there and conquer your fears of that job, that relationship, that test, or even your presence on LinkedIn – whatever cranks your boat. Take an online class, attend a lecture, invite a public speaker to your business or educational facility.
Are you an explorer? “Join me – we’ll explore together”
Life and writing are beautiful metaphors that shape our perspective and teaches us new concepts. The real beauty comes when you take that life-changing experience and write about it – thus teaching others about the journey.
Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day. Turning 18 is a milestone in any young person’s lifetime. It is a time of celebration and joy. You will have met one of the longest challenges we adults face, K-12 education. You will be able to mark that off your bucket list as DONE! However, the road doesn’t end there. Neither does your bucket list.
GRADUATION! Turning 18 – Looking Forward To That Day.
That list branches off instead. There are so many more roads to travel. Picking that next road right out of high school is often the one that will truly lead us to that person we will eventually become someday. It will be that road that is one of the first adult crossroads you will encounter in your lifetime. Not the last, far from it, but maybe one of the most transformational ones.
I just went to my 40-year class reunion. Talk about a time warp! Wow! Nevertheless, getting the chance to listen to many of them talk about the paths they had been on over the years was enjoyable. There were a number of successful people in the group, a few sad moments as I learned of those that had passed away, and a few ho-hums. Some never left our hometown, yet here we are; just glad to be back, for this one special day. Together we have one connection, one bond – our youth. We didn’t stop being friends because we went to college, or started working – we were still bonded. Bonded in those friendship sealed years ago.
Looking back at all those goals we set.
College is a very short educational journey that helps set us up for the right path – and encourages us to choose better directions for ourselves and our future families. This is a decision that is NOT solely guided by our parents or our peers (friends). They aren’t going to take the tests for us, or turn the corners of pages either – that is left up to us. Only we, ourselves, can make those decisions, and take those actions. It’s a decision we choose for ourselves based on goals we set in K-12. Just having a “goal” back then, that was the first step in our journey. We didn’t know then what we were creating. We were creating our own futures.
We were creating our own futures
The time you will spend in college is very short, even if you ultimately go for a master’s degree or higher. When it is over, you will wish those college days were back!
I get it – not everyone wants to go to college
I understand that some are just work bound. They can’t wait. There is too much going on in their own heads to spend time in the classroom. To those, I say “good luck”. I’ve known many successful individuals who opted to not go to college, and they have done very well. There are others who are still not getting started in college or work. If you still can’t get started – go back to school! I do not care how old you are, or where you are in your life. Do it for you. Education will change you – for the better. Maybe it’s a certificate program, a construction trade training, associates, or 3-month training. Whatever – just do it for you.
So much fun to look forward too.
Did you know that most people develop many of their lifelong friendships while in college? It’s true. Those people, friends, your working network will be established while in college. It was true for me too.
The things you will be able to do while in college should both astound you and inspire you. There are so many events and fun happenings on campus. I wonder sometimes how much work goes into just keeping events going. There are lots of activities you can get involved in. You just have to be willing to participate.
The best time of your life will be while you are in college. You will be free to be that person you always thought was hiding under the surface. It’s an exciting time! Yes, there is homework – but its more directed toward your career now. That’s the difference.
The educational experience while in college isn’t like high school. There is freedom on the campus’. It’s the freedom you have been looking for. It’s the freedom to become that person you always wanted to be. Chances are, you may even meet your lifelong partner there. That isn’t such a bad thought when you think about it. Having someone who is just as likeminded as you are about their goals – is a win-win for your both your futures. Think about it.
Letting go – beyond high school
Anyone who keeps you from your goal is not your real friend. Your real friends will encourage you to get your education and reach your goals. Go to college, or technical training, and have some fun while you are young! Those college years are the best years of your life – don’t let anyone steal that from you.
Hopefully, many of your friends will go to college as well! You should encourage them.
College is a well laid out path. A good path. A fun path. Who doesn’t like fun?
Some little-trivia about college:
54% of students live at home for the first year while attending college (free food | free rent)
The closer you live to campus, the more successful you will be in college
Many students don’t even have a car or a computer. They use public transportation and computer labs on campus
Meet their lifelong friends and/or partner while attending college
Launch some of the most successful careers through networks you build during your college years. Use those networks years after you have left college
Make better lifelong decisions | you become better long-term thinkers
Enjoy your social life more
Are more productive workers | learn discipline
Have more money (to buy things like new cars)
Family relationships are better – because “YOU” matter in the decision-making process (you have a say)
Travel more in the summer when you learn about new places and events
Social experiences are more enriched (games and activities) It’s huge at college
If you work and go to college – you are amongst 70 or more% of those attending. If you are taking a full load, don’t work any more than 20 hours if you can. I understand that isn’t always the case – but shoot for that number if you can (20 hours). Many college students work on campus, doing campus jobs
Internships are available to help place you in jobs outside of campus that meet your degree requirements. So be looking for those opportunities
The number one thing to remember when you walk into your college or university is that “they were expecting you”! They were expecting you, and you are accepted there with all your faults, dreams, and aspirations. They will help mold you, and fold you into the person you will become.
At the crossroad. Examples of friends
Are you a real friend? Then encourage your friends to follow their dreams. Not your dreams – but their dreams. If you do this, you may end up one of those lifelong friendships I spoke about above. Your friend will remember your encouragement to do the right thing. They hopefully should also encourage you to follow your dreams, but regardless, they have to follow the path that leads toward their goals. If they want to be a teacher – their teaching skills are needed now. There is a young student in their future who needs your friend now. So you will be encouraging not only your friend, but helping someone else you don’t even know.
At your 40-year class reunion remember that you got there because someone in the crowd told you “Follow your Dreams”. That is your lifelong friend. Greet them with open arms, friendship, and love.
I received this great email from my alumni today ..
I just had to share a blast from the past. When I started out on my own educational journey, I was having, way to much fun. ITLS was the best degree experience ever. Because of this wonderful experience, I have even toyed around with the idea of continuing along those lines with a higher degree (EdD or PhD).
Just for kicks and giggles!
A letter from Andy Walker
Hello, this is Andy Walker, Department Head of the ITLS Department at USU. I need your help (and it’s not even money!) After modernizing our curriculum and energizing our student association we are on the hunt for our next generation of future Alumni. We all have someone in our lives (maybe a family member, a friend, or a co-worker) who we know would make a really good instructional designer, technology specialist, corporate trainer, game or simulation designer, project manager, chief learning officer, UX designer, Library Media Specialist or one of the many other career doors your degree has opened up for you. Maybe they are already working as an instructional designer, maybe they have a love for learning and have always wondered what it is you do for a living. Take some time to think about who is a good fit and either talk to them yourself, or send me their name and contact information () and I will reach out to them. Better yet, if they wind up applying, being accepted to and starting the program we will donate $200 (no cost to you) in your name to a scholarship pool for incoming students.
What’s new in the department?
• We have modernized our master’s curriculum (MA, MEd, and MS) after 1) checking with some of you about how you spend your professional time, 2) with our current students about what they like and want to see in classes and 3) with prospective employers about what they look for in a new hire. Students can complete these degrees by relocating to the Logan campus or online anywhere in the world. In fact our online degrees are extremely popular.
• One example? We have expanded our already strong instructional design classes with a design thinking emphasis. Design thinking gives our students a chance to delve into user experience, interface design, and rapid prototyping. We have also expanded our research, evaluation, and assessment courses and added project management. Paired with our learning theory course and authentic project work throughout the curriculum, students walk away with a strong portfolio ready to advance their current careers or start new ones in the field.
Do you have someone in mind? I hope so. I would love to talk with them personally (contact info below), or they could chat with our graduate program coordinator (Deidri Nelson, , 435-797-2694) about our degree programs and how to apply. We are accepting applications by December 8th for a Spring 2018 start or by April 1st for a Fall 2018 start.
The market for students in our field has never been more competitive. At the same time our graduates have never been in higher demand. Thank you for once again making an important effort in giving back to USU in this important way.
All the best to you,
* 435-797-2614 * Department Head and Associate Professor
Making the Grade – It’s Crunch Time! Anyone who has spent much time at all in education might understand the term Death-Bed Repentance. I had another teacher spell that statement out for me this week as we were trying to motivate our one shared student to get his work done. Death-bed repentance, or simply stated:
– those last minute adjustments to assignments
-picking up on any late work
-actually showing up to class instead of just leaving your recorder there
-cramming information into our brains for quick purging
Loans and scholarships are all on the line now, and for a fraction of the time, all life stops in the fast lane. It’s death-bed repentance time – we are making the grade baby!
Making the grade baby!
I’m just as guilty as the next student, at least in my undergrad days I was; not so much through my masters. Taking our bodies and minds to the level of non-functioning, just for a little alphabetic character on a piece of paper – it’s insanity.
What makes us do that to ourselves? Unconsciously or consciously we fought sleep – up until 2:00 a.m. or later – if we slept at all. We then drug our unhappy selves to class at the butt crack of dawn. We lived for that college life- Right?
We lived for college life!
I’m a distracted learner through and through. I can sit in the middle of a room with nothing to do, and I will still be able to distract myself. I don’t need any outside help to do that either. If I have assignments in front of me, I will toss and turn any number of concepts around in my mind, making great strides – at least until I see something shiny on the floor. Focus? What focus? For a few moment’s I am in mental bliss, at least until I return to the task at hand – namely homework.
Something shiny on the floor
I am in the mindset of believing that maybe I am normal after all. I watch my 9th and 10th- grade students struggling with the same issues I had (and still do). Sitting in a hard chair with nothing in front of you but a cold table is really not anyone’s idea of a warm and fuzzy experience. I am the one with the soft chair, not them. My experience is different of course.
The best advice I could give to any teacher new or old – is to build in distractions. Don’t wait for your students to find distractive measures themselves, build those key distractive breaks into your curriculum. Twenty minutes of study equals 5 to 10 minutes of light to mild distraction. It could still be a learning distraction – just something different, or on a related topic.
Some would ask how I would assess this distractive learning paradigm. I look at this way. If students who do not normally turn in assignments or have at least a passing GPA- all of a sudden start looking like the average student – guess what? You get to go to the front of the class!
Then comes the question, what about those students who can’t refocus? Or those students who are already self-lead learners and like peace and quiet. What I have done with my students is to switch out the quiet time with bird sounds, ocean and/or anything peaceful found in nature. I have obtained good reaction from both pairs of students. Any group is going to be dynamically different. You just have to find the right built-in distractions without losing the motivational aspects of learning.
Sounds are a good distraction, but so are those upbeat pieces of information that help students readjust, recenter, and perform better. Types of distractive information might include:
-Word of the Day
-Piecewise brain twister
-Notice of an upcoming celebration on how well they have performed
-Or just something fun that is about them, and something they take to heart.
The human mind can learn more than one thing at a time. If you allow your brain short breaks from the tedious routines of study, it tends to reflect better on items it has just learned. Use pre-designed breaks as a scaffolding tool for learning. This following statement is a no-brainer statement – I understand. But, you retain more when you aren’t stressing out over a problem.
Experiment with this distractive styles of learning. If you are already in a quagmire wondering how to motivate your students – this might be a helpful resource. Back away from the idea that you have to stain and look like a zombie to be successful in your studies. Look at something shiny on the floor, and then come back to your primary focus. Come back gently. The problem isn’t going to go away, but if you allow your brain a short power break, you might find you come back with a solution. Solutions are always much better than problems anyways.
Good luck. I wish all educators success as they venture into the “new”.
Trait theory is focused on recognizing and assessing individual personality characteristics.
Fear is a Trait
In talking with a young college student just recently, I learned that she is preparing to present to a group of kids who are incarcerated in a regional detention center in our area. She was trying to determine which methods to use to teach these students about learning, and now asking “questions” is specific to all things in life. At first she was going to use the analogy of a McDonalds Big Mac with Coke and Fries, versus a kid’s burger with no condiments on it, as a representation of future goals of the good life.
I asked her if her students were Native American. She didn’t know. Were they white? She didn’t know. How about Mexican? She didn’t know. I asked her if any of her students had the ability to rock climb or act as a guide like she does? She didn’t know.
I suggested she use a cultural – historical approach (her own) and draw from everyone’s community value system of “fear”. Fear of the unknown. We all have individual personality traits, and each of us reacts differently to fear, but we all have it – fear. Each culture has it, and each culture has a different approach to dealing with it. The social culture of these young detainees she will be presenting to, dealt with each of them by placing them in a detention center (DT). That was their method of correction and control.
I recommended she use her story and discuss goals. What ladder will they each need to succeed to get to the next level? What challenges will each of them face? Personality traits don’t count in situations like this. This is dire, and you have to work as a team to get out; to survive. Her objective is how to get this group to bond and work together; and then to help motivate each other. She needs to help them determine what questions will they need to address to set goals and find the ladders.
“focus on understanding developing individuals and changing communities, making first guesses about patterns and seeking confirmation or disconfirmation to extend what is known” ~Gutierrez
Her story is a frightening one. But to those young minds locked up inside a juvenile facility, her story is going to be alive and intense with fear – yet motivational in fostering drive and encouragement. It’s the human condition, uncovered and vulnerable.
I suggested she use this cultural and historical approach (her mountaineering lifestyle), to teach these kids about building ladders (setting goals). Right now each of them is on a ledge (inside DT). They have to make choices; they need to focus on what is right in front of them. Each decision must be cautiously made. The wrong decision and the person on the rope below could bring you down, and vice versa.
In telling her story she will be able to cross the cultural divide of each participant in the DT center. She will ask the students to work together as a team and find a way out, to help each other off the ledge they are on. They have to be focused and determined. It isn’t possible for one to get out without the other, at least not in this scenario.
Put them on a ledge, because that is where the lesson is. Is it fear or is it an adventure now?