Day 1

How did I get myself into this? I innocently sent my blog post to my family and the next thing I know I’ve committed to writing a “journal” entry everyday for the month of October. Leave it to Alex to come up with a challenge for the entire family.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited and glad to have a reason to write daily. I mean I have been wanting to write more. It’s just that I now feel a little pressure to produce. And in typical Brian fashion I’m fast out of the gate. I already have 4 or 5 blog ideas ready to go.

I have no trouble starting something, it’s the finishing I struggle with. But I have confidence this time. I trust my new process will provide results, I just need to trust the process and know that when day 21 or 22 comes around I’ll still have something to say.

Finding My Voice

It’s not what you think. I’m not searching for a way to advocate for myself, I think I’m adequate at that (although there is always room for improvement). No, what I’m talking about has more to with my desire to write more and finding my focus.

Again, it’s not what you think. Focus in the sense that I find a topic or genre to write about. A focus on a style. While I can always use more focus as in concentration, I’m really in need of a voice.

The question now becomes, how do I find it. Believe it or not, I have thought about the best way to make that discovery. Up until now my approach has been two-fold; 1) choose one, 2) fail miserably. I think the reason I have failed to write more is I continue to think I should pick one topic (like education) and write about it.

Why has this approach failed me you ask? Again, two-fold; 1) to many topics of interest and 2) I worry about the privacy of my classroom and the students in it. The result has been blank pages and frustration.

Another reason I feel this method has failed is my self doubt. I think, ‘Who would want to read what I have to say?’ I know, have more confidence, until I have an audience no one is reading and until I write nobody can read what I have to say.

In the interest of brevity, let me tell you what I have landed on as a solution…write more. Stop worrying about having a focus other than writing more. I believe by writing more, I will naturally ‘find my voice’ and as a result good things will happen.

Added to the writing more and as a way of spurring creativity, I am also employing a couple of strategies. One is to use a picture as a starting point and write based on what I see. This has the added benefit of encouraging me to do more of the other thing I want to more of, photography.

Also, to help my creativity, I will think of a title and use that as a spring board. I used this tactic to write this post. This also allows me to have multiple ‘topics’ by creating a list and not getting overwhelmed by blank page syndrome.

Finally (so much for brevity), like my previous post, I can just choose a specific topic and just write.

Regardless of how I get there, In order to find my voice, I need to write more to give me a creative release.

The New iPhones are Here!

Every year at this time I get excited. That is because this is the time of year that new phones get announced. There is the Samsung Note, the Google Pixel and my favorite, the Apple iPhone. I love shiny new things and I love electronic new things.

I’m not exactly sure why these things get me so pumped. I mean, after all, it’s not like I have to have the newest, latest, coolest, greatest next gadget to perform my job. Or that I don’t have a perfectly reliable and functioning iPhone (in fact I do). When it gets right down to it, my 7 plus is still awesome…but it’s not new and shiny.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the latest technology. From the wrist calculator to a Palm Pilot, I always imagine myself having it in my hands, doing the most incredible things. Maybe it’s the endless possibilities that draw me, or the simple tactile act of holding them in my hands, or maybe it’s the quest of new knowledge about the new “toy” that drives me wild.

When it comes to phones, there are multiple things I desire. From the Samsung Note, I dream of the stylus and the great notes I could take. The Google Pixel has an amazing camera and the “clean” Android experience. With Apple, it’s part ecosystem, part camera and part it just works.

In reality, when it gets down to it, my current iPhone is still awesome. It takes great pictures, it has good battery life and it does all of the things I ask it to do. But it’s not new. It doesn’t have two or three cameras. It doesn’t have a stylus. It doesn’t have a dazzling display. It doesn’t shoot 4k video.

The question becomes, does it need those things? Does it need the prospect of doing and being all of the things I imagine, or does my dull, perfectly functioning (and at one time the latest, greatest) 7 Plus still get it done for me.

In reality, I probably will never become an award winning photographer. Or an outstanding cinematographer. Heck, I still have home movies I have never watched and pictures in boxes that haven’t been opened in years. But deep down inside, I want to. I want to watch those home movies, catalog those old pictures and create amazing things.

Just like I want to write more, I want to look through a lens and see art, or at the very least the possibility of creating it. Just like my writing, in order to ‘create’ more, I need to do more. Do more photography. Do more video. Do more editing. Do more everything.

Now that I think about it, that sounds strenuous. Or at the least, time consuming. Time is limited and I do seem to waste a lot of it.

So what’s the verdict? Do I need that new shiny object? No, I don’t need it. To tell you the truth, until I show a greater propensity to create more, I really don’t need it. But I do want it.

Punch Those Darn Keys

Need to Write

For some reason I have it in my head that I need to #write. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to write a book on basketball. My problem has always been my belief that it needed to be great and the thought, “who would want to read something I wrote?”

Well, it doesn’t have to be great and nobody has to read it. Plus I’ve moved past the desire to write a basketball book and now I just need to write. I need a creative release.

So now I’m just ‘punching those darn keys’. At least I’m punching the keys on my iPhone and feeling relieved. The relief is from the burden of doing nothing and finally putting pen to paper (or actually thumb to screen).

To top it off, I’m using a writing app that I keep meaning to use and investigate. So many toys, so little time.

Is Minecraft the future of education?

The question of whether Minecraft is the future is may be a little specific, but I do believe it’s a great one. According to the article on CIO.com, the question should be, “The fundamental question we should be asking children as they grow up is no longer what they want to “be” but rather what they would like to “do”. “

I agree with the premise of both questions. It is my believe that games like Minecraft are the future of education. It is also my opinion that we need to focus more on the “do” than the “be” when it comes to the future of our students.

Why do I think Minecraft is the future of education? Simply put, games, especially video games, lay the foundation of a growth mindset and help to create the critical thinking skills that are so sorely needed in today’s youth.

How many times have you heard a student say math is too hard? Or I really don’t like Reading? To many to count I am sure. But give those same students a difficult task inside a game that requires math and reading and they will play until they figure it out.

What gives? It’s the “doing” that is different. When doing a math problem or reading a specific passage, there is no real reason to do it. Both lack a sense of authenticity that our students need and yearn for. Games give them that authenticity.

As for the “being”, I am in my mid fifties and I like to say I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But I do know I love to try new things and share my experiences with others. I also love helping others reach their dreams.

Sounds to me like I like doing over being, and our kids are the same.

Is Minecraft the future of education? No, it’s the present and it’s time for others to jump in the sand box and play with us!