On gaps and belonging

The schema below is adapted from a 2013 post. It adds contour lines for the increasing amount of work needed for an exponent of a non-standard idea (or technology) to get to a place where it is possible to belong and hold onto the idea (or use the technology).
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Generating a mentoring relationship

Having volunteered to mentor undergraduate students in our Honors College, I now have to learn how to develop mentoring relationships that are helpful.  At this stage what is clear is: Read more of this post

Is there something we’re avoiding talking about?

As you part from a significant person in your life a common practice has become to say “I love you.” The phrase affirms your connection and insures against regret if the person were to be struck down by a bus, a heart attack or… —let’s not dwell on the possibilities.
Something different may be as important to say before you part: “Is there something we’re avoiding talking about?” Let me explain the two currents in thinking behind the suggestion.
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A possible course with more open inquiry even than project-based learning

I seek feedback on the idea of revising my project-based learning courses into something even more open to individualized inquiry. Following the lead of a friend, Mac Brown, I am thinking about a course in which students produce contributions to a book (or handbook) on the topic of the course in all its angles: what is known; how to gain knowledge – to move from a novice to someone with organized themes and examples; ways to pursue action, involving collaboration with various parties; lessons to teach or guide others; case studies or illustrations of themes; etc.
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“Changing Academic Life”: extracts from a nomination statement

[I didn’t receive the award, but it was helpful to assemble what I’ve done in relation to a possible path ahead.]
“Most workshops are dysfunctional—this one wasn’t!” read an evaluation from the first New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC), a 4-day workshop I have organized since 2004 around issues ranging from ecological restoration to public involvement in environmental health.[2] “I now know 13 other people I can go to for advice, encouragement, teaching help, ideas, collaboration, anything,” one 2008 participant wrote in her evaluation. Read more of this post

Against plenary sessions

Listening to what is said in a plenary session is my least favorite aspect of a conference or workshop. In fact, let me assert that there should be no time spent in plenary sessions, only activities that elicit reflection, making of connections, and new insights. Logistics and other announcements could be made in written materials or only after sessions in which participants have first experienced “connecting, probing, reflecting” (CPR).
Some suggested CPR activities follow:
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ThinkTank, a day-and-half model (updated)

An update on an earlier blog post, composed to suggest a way that participants’ interests and energies could be engaged over the day and a half of a ThinkTank on topic X. That post was prepared after looking back at what happened (and didn’t) during a “thinktank” that went from evening of one day to lunchtime a day and a half later. This update follows a similar workshop of the same length and qualities (i.e., ample funding, a diverse group of inspiring participants brought together to move ideas into [further] action,…)
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