I feel a little funny about evaluating my PKM system because I feel like mine is worthy of an elementary school science fair…from 1997. Haha!
In the video that I’ve linked to this blog post (from Disney’s “Meet the Robinsons”), Lewis is applauded by his future family for his failure. I think I want to be adopted by the Robinson’s, too, but I think I need to give myself a break and stop focusing on the parts that are still lacking. I’ve grown… I am now on Twitter! I now blog! I now carry THREE apple devices with me on vacation. That’s progress.
So, regarding my PKM system, I have definitely streamlined some of my elements and I believe I’ve equalized the “flow chart”. When I first designed my system, I chose a “funnel” method that resulted in A LOT of information coming in (Capturing) through Twitter, Feedly, WordPress, EBSCO, Facebook, and other subscription services. Those articles and ideas sat in the middle of my design (Curating) as I thought about the information and how it could apply to my life and my career. Specifically, I employ Evernote to keep my reading organized and accessible. Between Evernote, Feedly, and Easybib (where I store my references), my curation process is pretty well stocked.
The biggest change in the system is that I’ve opened up the bottom funnel… opening the flood gates?… and I’ve increased my creation of material through my blog with Word Press, my Twitter account, and my other writings for classes, my dissertation, and my other social media such as Instagram and Facebook. I’m still a bit uncomfortable, but I am so appreciative of my cohort friends and professors who have read my thoughts and encouraged me with comments. I think that has really been the key to this final stage of the PKM. I really hope to teach this method with my high school students this year, giving them the support of an engaged peer group and an applauding teacher. That has made all the difference in opening up my creation/sharing of information.
I’ll be redesigning my PKM graphic to much more balanced. Just have to keep moving forward, right?
Today, I made a check on a “bucket list” item. I went up the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, escalating 2.5 miles to an arctic tundra habitat almost 11,000 feet above sea level. I’ve posted a video from YouTube, but I didn’t create or publish it. Anyway… it was worth every penny… and it wasn’t that expensive! Why haven’t I done it before? Lord knows I’ve been coming out to Palm Desert for over fifteen years! I think I was scared of heights? The ride? The cost? The hiking? The time? Lame, lame, lame, lame, and lame.
Well, I did it today, along with two of my daughters, and we had a wonderful time. I think I’ll be posting a pic to Instagram, so my readers will be able to see our adventure from my blog.
But what I really want to share with my readers today is a lovely poem by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and protector of our natural parks. No one will ever confuse me with an environmentalist, but I am thankful that our state and national parks exist. They are worth the taxes! Here is the poem I wish to share; it is spiritual… it is scriptural… it is lovely.
WALK WITH NATURE
Let children walk with nature,
let them see the beautiful blendings.
communions of death and life,
their joyous inseparable unity,
as taught in woods and meadows,
plains and mountains and streams.
And they will learn that death is stingless.
And as beautiful as life.
Hear Maya Angelou recite her poem “Phenomenal Woman” while you see images of her colorful life!
This last Wednesday, May 28, 2014, American literature lost a treasure. If you’d like to read about her life, I suggest that you click on her photo and you will be directed to her official website. What I’d like to reflect on is a particular story that I have the pleasure and honor to teach every time I teach 9th grade English. It’s very short and it’s called “New Directions”. The short story is about her grandmother who had the intelligence, determination, fortitude, and perseverance to create a thriving business in the early 20th century. I particularly love Angelou’s crafting of sharp detail with poetic detail. In fact, I often use this short story (only about a page or two) to illustrate how those two elements of voice (diction and detail) work together, but are not the same. At the end of the story, Angelou tells the reader the moral of the story when she writes, “Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”
This quote speaks to me. It tells me that I have the right and the responsibility to move in a new direction. This is what I’m doing with my life right now. Unlike Annie, Maya’s grandmother, I have a wonderfully supportive husband and my 3 children aren’t “toddling sons” but beautiful girls (17, 15, & 7). I am not poor and I am not an African American women in pre-Civil Rights America. Yet, I feel a kinship with Maya and her grandmother. I think she felt a kinship with any woman who tried to fly. She will be missed.
Today, I took a break from final exam review and showed my 9th grade English class a TED video on meditation as a strategy for relieving stress and staying focussed. I’ve attached it here. Then, I asked my students to respond to the following question by brainstorming on the whiteboard. “What do these people do or teach to help you cope with stress and mindfully live in the present? 1) Your parents? 2) Your teachers? 3) Your friends, and 4) God/The Bible? The responses were insightful and sensitive, but the most shocking response (to me, at least) was that NO ONE wrote ANYTHING under “Teachers”. I heard the silence LOUD and CLEAR! To these 14-15 year olds, I am a stress-causer, not a stress-reliever. I laughed a bit with them and told them I never intend to cause stress, but I know it comes with the job. I told them that we should all try to clear our heads for 10 minutes each day from now until the very last final! If it helped to relieve stress, then they would have to put me on the board.
That leads me to my own journey as a doctoral student. This week’s assignment/learning is all about a personal knowledge management system (PKM). I have so many new apps on my phone and my computer that I feel dizzy looking at my home screen! I definitely feel bombarded and “pushed” by new information and new voices. It’s getting a little loud, to tell the truth. So, what am I doing about it? 10 minutes a day, huh? That could a life-saver! What do you think?