Utopian Restoration

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“This is a task for Delta Dog!” declared the idealist Imaginational Dabrowski.
“Here comes Delta Dog swooping in with utopian ideals, creative ideas and humorous ideation to save the safety, sanity and sense of Sprite and her friends at Sprite’s Site!”

Imaginational was concerned about the less than ideal atmosphere at Sprite’s Site recently and was determined to do something to lighten the mood.

He tried standing on his head and making silly faces but nobody laughed and Intellectual said “Oh, do be sensible! Can’t you see we have serious worries?”

So Imaginational sat down with his trusty mind map to brainstorm the causes of the glum moods and anxiety.

He identified the problems as:

  • Anxiety caused by Little Bully Black Dog and the Pair O’Noids
  • Subject matter in the World History topic Sprite was studying
  • The books in Intellectual’s pile of suggested reading
  • The approaching elections
  • Issues surrounding the extent of personal responsibility for situations not within Sprite’s direct control

By drawing in the connecting lines Imaginational could see that all the causes of the gloom were inter-related.

So he started to think about which of the causes could be eliminated or changed


Imaginational was happy to find that there were several things which could be changed. One change was already imminent. Next term the Social Studies unit which Sprite will be studying will be concerned with Geography rather than grim World History.
Imaginational could foresee that Sprite would be very interested in studying landforms and places such as Antarctica and the Great Barrier Reef.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Next Imaginational asked Paula the Physicist, Sprite’s mentor, to come with him to visit Sprite and to bring some interesting books to lend to her to provide some alternative reading.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Paula brought some beautifully illustrated books about astronomy and biology for Sprite to borrow and a gift of an adult colouring book on the theme of art and mathematics and patterns found in nature.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

She also organised for Sprite to spend some time with her in the laboratory looking at ripple tank experiments into the properties of light.

Watching the circles of waves which went out from the sources and the way they interacted with each other and with differing water levels was not only fascinating.
It also led to an interesting discussion about the nature of light and then to a philosophical discussion about the influence a single small spark of goodness or a random act of kindness could have spreading effects in a seemingly dark and wicked world.


New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week 2012 – TBA Post 3

“There!” said Intellectual Dabrowski “I have even made you a Mind Map using Tony Buzan’s iMindMap.
You have to click on it to see an enlargement.
It shows your three sections and the possible subjects for inclusion in them; and it shows how they relate to each other and who voted for each topic.

Nobody chose Testing or Assessment and you don’t know enough about Brain Research; so you don’t have to write about those topics.

I thought you should try to talk about Twice Exceptional gifted students and Teaching gifted students and the Kiwi and the Echidna have chosen their favourite books and articles on those topics.

Columbus Cheetah insisted that you talk about Acceleration and has suggestions for books and articles you can use.

The Kiwi and the Echidna both wanted you to mention the national and state gifted Associations.

The Twitter Birds will be bringing you some links to appropriate websites. I have personally sorted the material scrupulously and removed all red herrings.

Now all you have to do is write the post!”

“It seems very complex to me!” I said “Don’t you think Less is More and K.I.S.S. would work better?”

“Now you know how I feel all the time” said Sprite.
“Intellectual keeps on loading me up with information and telling me to write it down and spell it properly and cite the references properly and I feel really dumb if I can’t do it!”

Imaginational Dabrowski was chuckling to himself
“It’s not funny!” said Sprite
“Maybe not” said Imaginational “but the red herrings with parsley head dresses doing the can-can are pretty funny!”

Promotion suggestions

Having created mindmaps in iMindMap and Spicynodes and drawn up a Venn diagram with the results for addressing the  problem ‘How to improve SerendipEd and attract more attendees’ I have now drawn up another mindmap using iMindMap to chart possible methods of promotion for SerendipEd webinars.

Serendipity and Fine Focus webinars are ideal opportunities for  educators to share their knowledge and experience the sort of informal professional development that happens when people get together and network.
Those who would benefit most from attending are teachers from every education level and  all curriculum areas, student teachers and those seeking additional PD.

The places that they would be made aware of the existence of the excellent webinars are via Twitter, blogs and  websites, webinars, lists of resources and personal recommendations.

There seem to be formal and informal options for promotion of the webinars, InReal Life and virtual methods of promotion and real and virtual incentives.

As you can see there are several unlabelled branches on the map. These have been left without labels so that additional ideas can be added. What other suggestions  could be added?

Truly Serendipitous

After considering the two mind maps I made on the topic Attracting More Participants to SerendipEd I came to the conclusion that the SerendipEd webinars are well named. Jo Hart has often said that attendence numbers vary with the time of year (class times, holidays, daylight savings time etc).
By making a Venn diagram based on the mind map which was made with iMindMap we can see that the participants come from the fortunate group who have reason, incentive and most importantly available time to attend.

So to answer the question ‘What can be done to attract more participants to SerendipEd webinars?’ we need to look at what can be done to enlarge the areas of overlap especially the vital centre section of full congruence which I have shaded in violet because that felt like a serendipitous sort of colour!

I know that Jo Hart is doing these things already

To address the question of most suitable times
(i) Check comparative times with Time and Date World Clock Meeting Calendar http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/meeting.html
 (ii)check for clashes with other edchats and webinars  eg Cybraryman’s list of Education chats on Twitter http://www.cybraryman.com/chats.html
(iii) conduct a poll

To address the question of reasons and what else could be offered
(i) Ask for input  This already happens with the Wallwisher where topics can be requested http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/EdublogsSerendipity

To address the question of Incentive we need to consider that motivation can be intrisic or extrinsic See RSA Animate
Drive the surprising truth about what motivates us
adapted from Dan Pink’s address

 Most of the Incentives listed on the iMindMap are intrinsic motivators.
Are some concrete external motivators needed to attract participants?
Would making the webinars constitute part of training courses be an option?
This would lead to a whole extra set of questions in regard to certification and funding sources and time required and whether, if the webinars were completely formalised, they would still retain their Serendipitous nature. Another aspect of Attracting More Participants is spreading the word or advertising and that is another whole topic of discussion.

Mindmapping 2

I have made a slightly amplified version of the Attracting More Participants to SerendipEd mindmap
using Spicynodes http://www.spicynodes.org/index.html
My map is at http://www.spicynodes.org/a/eb5a93fefe55acbfe54dc760632df638?sms_ss=email&at_xt=4d859b20be484fca%2C0
Spicy Nodes is described on their website as
‘SpicyNodes is a way to visualize online information that mimics that way that people look for things in the real world. Bits of information — such as text, links, photos, and other media — are placed into “nodes,” which are then linked together in an appealing interface that invites exploration. SpicyNodes can be used for everything from mind maps and content portals to organizational charts and lesson plans.’

I found it an easy program to use which an gave attractive fluid action result. Here are some screen shots



During this week’s SerendipEd Fine Focus session http://johart1.edublogs.org/2011/03/19/edublogs-serendipity-webinar-overview-mind-mapping/  we discussed mindmapping and had a collaborative play with the free program bubbl.us https://bubbl.us/ 
We used it for a light hearted brainstorming of the problem ‘How to survive Easter without putting on weight’.
If we wanted to pursue mindmapping further, maybe experimenting with other mindmapping tools, Jo Hart suggested we could address the problem ‘How to improve SerendipEd and attract more attendees’. 

Here is my first mindmap on the topic; made with iMindMap http://www.thinkbuzan.com/intl/home

This mindmap shows up clearly the areas to be considered. I intend to make further maps to look at what is already being done to promote the growth and use of Serendip and suggestions for extra options.

Imaginational Dabrowski – Counsel for the Defence 2

With great trepidation Imaginational Dabrowski presented the results of the brainstorming session to Intellectual Dabrowski.

Intellectual demanded to inspect the brainstorming mindmap. If you click on the map you can enlarge it for easier reading.

To Imaginational’s amazement Intellectual became quite excited and declared it to be interesting and worthy of further study and actually volunteered to work on the research and the correct form of giving citations himself!