However, when those feelings of knowing tell you that you’re getting closer—when you feel the poetic meter slowly improve, or sense that the graphic design is being unconcealed—then you need to keep on struggling. Continue to pay attention until it hurts; fill your working memory with problems. Before long, that feeling of knowing will become actual knowledge.
— Jonah Lehrer / Imagine: How Creativity Works
Do you get it? Here’s another way to look at it:
Pay attention to the whispers of your soul. Trust them as you would a map, because that’s what they are.
— Andrew Heller
I’ll be sharing a tale of discovery in class today. Before getting to work, please re-read those two quotes at least one more time and think about what those words might mean in your own life.
And just in case you think these ideas just come from books I’ve read, here’s something from my own journey:
Home stretch. Six weeks plus finals. That’s all that’s left of the 2011/12 school year.
However, some of you remain apathetic. But the disconnected ones—the flatliners—though a visible presence in every class, are fewer in number than in year’s past.
Let’s cut that number by a few more today
Here’s the deal: Read the Code of Honor.
I’m serious. Read the Code of Honor and consider, really consider how each statement might apply to you.
Be a hero in your own life. Stand up and decide to try.
Code is Poetry.
— WordPress Motto
Imagine the first day of school next year. After finding their seats, the students are confronted with a teacher who simply smiles and points to the board.
On the board is login info and a directive to use a browser to find the Mac Lab Blog and follow the instructions found on the Week 1 post.
Once there, students are guided through the process of creating their own account on the blog. The final step involves logging in.
At login, several things happen at the same time:
- +10 XP appears in the upper right corner of the browser
- A progress bar/counter in the right sidebar registers the +10 XP
- A generic Gravatar with the student’s name appears at the top of the sidebar
There’s more to it than that, but the main point is that each student will have his/her own account on the blog and the blog will keep track of his/her XP and virtual currency. No more switching to Google Docs.
But that’s not all.
Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts with a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we’ve hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.
…The feeling of frustration—the act of being stumped—is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer—before we probably even know the question—we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach.
— Jonah Lehrer / Imagine: How Creativity Works
I’ve heard many of you say: I don’t know what to do. Or: I can’t think of anything to do. My stock answer is: Go to Inspiration (our digital morgue file) for inspiration but how many times have I also suggested you try re-reading the 5 Stages of the Creative Process?
The real questions for the frustrated among you is: How many times have you actually revisited the Inspiration pages or re-read the 5 Stages of the Creative Process? Saturation and incubation are part of the process.
I’m not immune to feelings of frustration. Heck, I’ve wrestled with one problem since 1988. But I’ve worked in creative fields virtually all of my adult life and I know every problem contains its own solution, no matter how long it takes to find it. Or, as Richard Bach says:
There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.
Satisfying work always starts with two things: a clear goal and actionable next steps toward achieving that goal. Having a clear goal motivates us to act: we know what we’re supposed to do. And actionable next steps ensure that we can make progress toward the goal immediately.
WoW offers a guarantee of productivity with every quest you undertake. The world is populated by thousands of characters who are willing to give you special assignments—each on presented on an individual scroll that lists a clear goal, and why it matters, followed by actionable steps: where to go, step-by-step instructions for what to do when you get there, and a concrete measure of proof you’re expected to gather to demonstrate your success.
— Jane McGonigal / Reality is Broken
Satisfying work. That is TAG’s target.
In this post, I laid out some preliminary ideas for a gamifying our classroom. During our open beta some of the ideas worked wonderfully while others crashed and burned. Don’t dismiss the latter result; I’m a firm believer in the positive power of failure. After all, out of our collective efforts we now have the beginnings of a self-contained Web 2.0 framework for the next version of TAG.
The 1.0 version of TAG will officially launch in the fall but we’ll be testing the new version very soon. No more XP Scoresheets to deal with. Everything (and more) will be handled within the blog.
More on that later. For now, let the Spring Break Quests begin! (Alumni and visitors are welcome to join in.)