Exploring Digital Culture

Entries by a MOOC participant

Disruptive Creativity

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“There’s something Happening here..What it is ain’t exactly clear…”

Last Sunday was the ‘official start of Creativity, Innovation and Change, a MOOC offered through the University of Pennsylvania’s Engineering Department.  The goals of the course, “to empower you to develop your creative human potential to improve, enhance, and transform your business, your community, and your personal life” intrigued me.

In this first week, part of the process is to identify with our own self image of creativity through different exercises.  The first exercise I chose was creating a LIFE RING, using the elements of the CENTER process, outlined by co-teacher Darrell Velegol  What is your driving force?  How do you invest your time?  What are your priorities?  The process of creating the ring allowed for self reflection, creativity, and a focus on priorities.


A second exercise was to determine your Creative Style by completing a Qualtrics survey by answering 10 ‘trick’ questions.  Co-teacher, Kathryn Jablokow, says that we are all creative, we just have different styles. By understanding your creative style, you are better able to deal with change and innovation.  My score indicates that I am mildly innovative.  This rings true, because, as an educator, I believe that digital learning and culture is changing the way we do the “business” of school.  My participation in MOOC cultures encourages me to design professional development modules for teachers that encourage the development of engaging learning experiences, not the Common Core.

I opted out of the third exercise, creating a paper tower out of an 8-1/2 sheet of paper, one which co-teacher Jack Matson tells us tests the theory of Intelligent Fast Failure.  Scores of images populated the Google+ communities showing successes and failures after multiple tries.  I chose to use the theory of failure to try my hand at creating animated gifs and clipping videos for another online class.  Here is one result.  (“This reductionist process to extract a few seconds form a larger work…to isolate movement to just a small portion of a frame…is a creative process.”)

Sound of Music

All three teachers shared their theories in the weekly class videos.  I took notes, but classmate Linda Saukko-Rauta did such a great job summarizing the ideas, I share her  sketchnotes.


In a previous post, Leaving EDCMOOC with a Digital Identity, I began the process of building my digital identity and my Personal Learning Network.  Along the way, I was fortunate to connect with many like minded individuals with whom I have been “making meaning”  in a digital culture.  Gardner Campbell explains it as a “deep experience of ecologies of learning that inform desire to make meaning of our experience together.”

It is this connectivism that is of critical importance to digital learning.  In the last MOOC, I became part of a group of “Fraingers”.  Without this connectedness, I doubt that my experience would have had such a profound impact.  In this MOOC, I am part of two Quadblogging Teams, one that is made up of a group of EDC alumnus and the second is a group I formed myself to spread the importance of connectivism and meaning making TOGETHER.

It is my intention through the exploration of my own creativity in this MOOC to join the ranks of those who through the use of digital technology and culture seek to transform the educational environment.

Blog picture is courtesy of fellow MoocMate, Douglas Arnold


10 comments on “Disruptive Creativity

  1. feliciasullivan
    September 8, 2013

    So Cathleen, I would like to hear more about the concept of disruption. What are you thinking about? How to use disruption? That you were disruptive? That creativity thrives on disruption? It is a provocative word and I’m interested to know more.

    Also, I hadn’t thought out taking a creative learning project in my current life as a way to explore the idea of IIF. I’m inspired to bring some reflection on this to just such and endeavor.

    Oh and I love that video on A Vision of Students of Today which I too have shared with countless people 🙂

    • cathleennardi
      September 8, 2013

      Do you remember Clay Shirky from #edcmooc? He started me thinking about creativity and disruption. “Once you see this pattern—a new story rearranging people’s sense of the possible, with the incumbents the last to know—you see it everywhere. First, the people running the old system don’t notice the change. When they do, they assume it’s minor. Then that it’s a niche. Then a fad. And by the time they understand that the world has actually changed, they’ve squandered most of the time they had to adapt.” From his blog..http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2012/11/napster-udacity-and-the-academy/. Add Sir Robinson to the mix with his video that I shared “Are Schools killing Creativity,” and it begins to appear that technology really can disrupt education. Look at how EDCMOOC, cicmooc, and DS106 encourage us to create, collaborate and communicate globally. We haven’t seen that in education before. And the feeling that we get when we participate in such a communal learning experience is intoxicating. It is that spirit of engagement that I would like to see emerge. Lets keep talking. There is another clip that I used to share in my seminars, but I like this updated one better.

  2. Dave Young
    September 9, 2013

    Hi Cathleen, Felicia, Keely – it’s me, Dave, from Zimbabwe. Thanks for this intriguing post and thoughts. I have been on another MOOC – Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence with Richard Boyatzis and Case Western Reserve in Ohio. Very different from EDCMOOC. More like an on-line classroom. Contributing to threads earned marks towards finals so contributions were largely uninteresting things like ‘I agree’ or (I’ don;t agree). I missed the threads of the over 60’s group on EDCMOOC and I missed in particular the voice thread and the Google hangout that we enjoyed and learned so much from. I am convinced that the real value of EDCMOOC was the student discussion threads and the virtual meetings. I am too busy working at the moment to get involved in another MOOC but the time will come when I do again. I have (I confess) also been on a long holiday to Europe with my wife and been reading some fascinating novels. Everyone I meet now I ask “Do you know what a MOOC is?” and I have yet find anyone who has said ‘Yes’ in answer. I tried to engage the former Minister of Education here but he lost his seat in the recent elections and his replacement is yet to be named. So I am planning on doing some private work to inform the Zimbabwean people that there are learning opportunities out there, that they can connect with other students on-line, that they can form a SOLE (remember Sugata Mitra and the Hole in the Wall?) That there are real opportunities to build their personal capacities. Back to work now. Thanks for the interlude and the ideas. Really enjoyed a Vision of Students Today.

    • Sorokti
      September 9, 2013

      So great to “see” you again Dave! Fun to hear what you have been up to and I am sure our paths will cross again. I am in a bit of the same boat as you. Really wanted to join #cicmooc but decided to stick to one online learning experience this fall – a seminar about Exploring Personal Learning Networks – Implications for Organizations (#xplrpln). Starts Oct. 7, 2013.

    • cathleennardi
      September 10, 2013

      Great to hear from you Dave. I am actually enrolled to take that Leadership and Emotional Intelligence MOOC when it is offered again in October. Based on your comments, I may have to reconsider. Do you think it was worth your time?? We look forward to seeing you again in a future MOOC! Thanks for checking in!

      • Dave Young
        September 10, 2013

        Hi Cathleen – the ILEI MOOC was really good for me – largely about coaching and mentoring which is what I do a lot of these days so real value for me. I think Case Western Reserve learned a lot themselves in presenting the MOOC so likely to be better organised the next time. Lots of discussion abut the ‘compulsory’ threading so they may drop that to encourage quality instead of quantity. some very useful work based assignments and insightful personal learning assignments. All in all, I recommend

        And great to hear from you again Keely. Go well

      • cathleennardi
        September 10, 2013

        Thanks for the advice. I will keep it on my course list. Watch for my blogs in October!

  3. maureen maher
    September 9, 2013

    Cathleen, I found it inspiring that you made an animated giff instead of building the paper tower. I was averse to doing the paper tower but need to think about why. However, I like that you wrote about your struggle to learn to build something else of value.

    So happy that your “disruptive” works involves teachers in the building of “the development of engaging learning experiences, not the Common Core.” We need more of this:)

  4. Pingback: Light My Fire! | Exploring Digital Culture

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This entry was posted on September 8, 2013 by .

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