School: Pre-Mortem analysis

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The new school year is starting up soon. So for schools and teachers, I’m continuing this series of posts on content from Dave Gray’s and Sunni Brown’s book Gamestorming, which contains a variety of business-development and business-improvement games for rethinking strategy and tactics… and how to adapt Gamestorming for an education environment.

Schools by their very nature are quietly conservative, no matter how progressive they are in philosophy.  Part of the reason for that is that schoolteachers work with kids — and what worked with one group of kids in past years is likely to work with another group of kids in the present.  Innovation is difficult.  (It’s part of the reason why it’s better to get teachers in the middle years of their teaching career — no set of philosophies or teaching theories is adequate to actual contact with actual children, so teachers with actual experience have more tactics and systems that work with students  “in their heads” and “in their hands”… but new things still surprise them sometimes, and they invent new strategies on the fly out of the fabric of their experiences).

The Pre-Mortem

Schools still get things wrong.  One of the most complicated things they get wrong is the happy enthusiasm at the start of the school year — all the teachers are moderately well-rested after a couple of months away (or not — teachers are sometimes frazzled in August after summer work taken on to pay for their teaching career). The administration and faculty have had a few months to remember their most difficult students with fondness, to let the rougher memories subside, to ignore any community challenges or failures experienced in the past year, and to otherwise let the previous year have a golden glow about them.  And, of course, summer is usually when new policies, schedules, procedures, and curriculum changes get rolled out and planned… well before those polices and programs have actually been tested by actual students.

So my inner Goth is always quietly pleased by the idea of the Pre-Mortem.  When using this game, a group of teachers and administrators identify all of the ways that this current year might wind up a disaster. Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 10.19.01 AM.png

In my example, you can see that I’ve created the sort of ambitious program that many schools roll out in the fall. There’s a set of big goals to achieve, and a variety of plans to achieve them.  By writing down the big goals, we can see the big picture, and identify the plans that help those goals get achieved.

Every single one of those plans has a person behind it.  Plans don’t come out of nowhere — a person uncovered the idea, and began to push that idea… and now their idea is ON.THE.LIST.  And none of those people want to hear how their program died, especially not at the start of a school year, before it’s even had a chance to succeed.

But.

Schools need to focus on the first item on their checklist, which is teach children and make a good-faith effort to keep them safe.  That’s the first order of business, and all other plans have to be subject to that particular standard. So anything else can — and should be — subject to a pre-mortem analysis, to make sure that it actually achieves its goals.

So once the the goals are announced, and the plan for achieving those goals is on the board… it’s time to do step three, which is to identify the things that go wrong.Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 10.49.41 AM.png

Many teachers, even ones who’ve spent their whole careers in one school or one school district, have seen the same kinds of issues again and again. Issues of communication, issues of leadership, issues of personnel management, issues of parent-student-teacher interaction, issues of curriculum, issues of trying to do too much.  The Pre-Mortem is an effort to gather and collect that collective wisdom, to write it down, to present it together, and to try to identify certain ways that a group project (like a really amazing school year) might fail before it’s had a chance to fail.

If you could identify what killed the patient before the operation even started (leaving a sponge inside, letting the surgical incision be open for too long, the wrong medication administered), you would do that.  In fact, Atul Gowande in his book The Checklist Manifestodesigned a process that derived from a Pre-Mortem exercise very much like this: “what are the top ten mistakes surgical teams make at the outset of a surgery, that then result in the death or further injury of the patient?  How can we avoid those mistakes?”

So maybe, instead of all the hoopla and celebration that accompanies the start of the school year in most schools, we should begin with a more gothic exercise draped in funereal black:

  • Imagine it’s early summer in 2018
  • What went wrong?
  • Why was it such a terrible year?
  • What could we have fixed earlier than we did?
  • What common pitfalls could we have avoided?

Imagination serves a useful purpose, even if the results are gloomy.  It gets us talking about our blind spots and our failures, which is difficult.  But if it allows us to make the year more successful for everyone, before the school year even starts, then that short few hours of gloom and doom will make everyone’s year that much better, by identifying some risks before they take root.

 

School: Horizontal/Vertical Sort

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A recent conversation with Dave Gray of XPLANE, Inc. got me thinking about his heuristic matrix from the book Gamestorming which he wrote with Sunni Brown. Once I thought about the matrix, though, it was easy to return to Gamestorming, and find other exercises worthy of using in schools.

One of my favorites — but also one of the ones most ineffectively used — is the horizontal and vertical sort.

This exercise consists of three parts.  The first is the generation of a group of ideas using Post-It® Notes.  That might look something like this, in a beginning of the year exercise.  The facilitator might say something like, “What does it take to make the students in your classroom have a successful year?”

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Doing this much of the exercise is nice, of course.  You get a lot of good/random ideas just by reading the Post-It® Notes, pretty easily.

But a horizontal sort is an essential part of the process, and shouldn’t be avoided just because there’s a lack of time.  Here’s how this gets sorted in one way, according to two horizontal categories: expensiveness in school budget, and expensiveness in personal time.

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Now, in a Punnett Square, from biology, these categories of school treasure and teacher time, would be arrayed against one another in a vertical/horizontal sort.  There’d be a chance to think about these things seriously.

But I’ve chosen to sort them this way, to point out that sometimes the teacher’s time and the school’s treasure should be weighed against other issues, like, for example, the school’s stated or guiding philosophy.  That might lead to a sort like this…

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It’s now clear which ideas can be discarded, at least for now.  It means that if a classroom needs to spend 2-3 class periods on the question of rules, it’s a good idea.  If the school has decided on a new mathematics curriculum — that investment should be made.

It also makes clear that the school should begin an ongoing conversation about the role of homework in the school, and that the question of pets or class animals is kind of a sticking point for a lot of folks.

I want to point out that this is a demonstration.  A #fakesort.  All I’ve done is create some generic Post-it® Notes in a word processor, and then sort them according to three categories.  Were this a real activity, you and your colleagues would each have generated Post-It® Notes for 5-10 minutes, then sorted them horizontally according to some relevant categories, and then sorted them vertically according to a different set of categories.

For example, instead of “School Philosophy” you could have made columns that said “individual action”, “Administration action” or “School-wide issue.”

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And I also want to point out that I was altering Post-It® Notes as I created these individual screen-shots, too. So this isn’t a true picture of any one institution. Rather, it’s a demonstration of what kinds of pictures of an institution or a school’s divisions or departments can emerge from a diverse range of inputs (the team writing the individual Post-It® Notes), and the decision to sort those Notes according to a given set of rules or themes.

It’s even fun to work with the same collection of Post-It® Notes more than once, in order to see multiple emergent patterns.

What you MUST NOT DO, though, is generate multiple sets of Post-It® Notes on the same themes or similar themes, over and over again, without processing them.  That way lies madness. You will overwhelm your team, and you will never actually decide on a course of action.  It’s far better to generate a small number of Post-It® Notes once, and then sort them multiple times, in order to develop themes for further conversation.

School: Redesign Homework

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Around this time of year, I always think about how I’m going to re-design my teaching for the fall semester.  It doesn’t matter whether I’m teaching or not, I think about it.

A recent conversation with Dave Gray of XPLANE, Inc. got me thinking about his heuristic matrix from the book Gamestorming which he wrote with Sunni Brown. A heuristic matrix looks a lot like the grid from a spreadsheet, and which I used several years ago to redesign homework.

That grid looked something like this…

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I identified a bunch of broad categories that I wanted my students to learn about.  In this example, based on the broad theme of teaching about Ancient Greece, I have categories like religion, and aspects of art history, politics, literature, philosophy, and science and technology.

I then identified a variety of styles that I wanted my students to learn to write in. These formed the individual columns of the heuristic matrix.    These included paragraphs dealing with compare and contrast writing, where the same paragraph alternates between two different viewpoints or styles. There was also descriptive writing, involving a top-to-bottom explanation of a thing or a place.  Narrative writing, the description of a beginning-to-end process, was another category. Persuasive paragraphs offer reasons for holding an opinion, and attempt to persuade the reader to accept a particular viewpoint.  Exposition attempts to define or explain a person’s ideas or opinions without forcing them on the reader.  Reading comprehension, on the other hand, asks students to engage with an actual historical text.  Self-directed research is another category — independent projects of various kinds.

I haven’t filled in the heuristic matrix completely. Some of this is left as an exercise to the reader (which is to say, perhaps, that I’m lazy or that I don’t wish to think all of this through, or maybe that I don’t wish to share all of my thought process at once).  But the overall structure should be discernible.

I tried to do something similar with a mathematics heuristic grid for a lower grade, perhaps grade 2, grade 3, or grade 4.

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I’m not a mathematics teacher, so you’ll notice that the grid isn’t completely filled in.  But you’ll see what I’m trying to do… I’m trying to come up with a variety of mathematics exercises and activities that don’t revolve exclusively around the traditional “do these 20 problems to learn a type of procedure” worksheets or homework lists.  This is about inventing new forms of assignments and identifying how these can be used to teach or refresh skills that lie outside the usual curriculum norms.

And it’s important to note that YOU don’t have to fill in a grid completely, either. You may only generate one or two useful ideas from a heuristic matrix.  Yet if a few of those ideas have the chance to reinvigorate your teaching, that may be worth i.

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Teaching: Visual Note-taking

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Visthink

Want visual notes? Make visual notes.

Back in August 2009, Dave Gray showed me that drawing was a secret superpower. I’ve written about his Semigram and other drawing tools on numerous occasions before, from teaching a lesson on design, to building a geometry notebook to teaching students about Zentangle.  And the goal of all this work was noble — it really was.  I was trying to help integrate drawing into my students’ experience, so that they recognized the power and opportunities that drawing afforded them as students to be transformative.

Didn’t work.

At least not entirely. Sure: kids in my classes worked with drawings and doodles that helped them understand Latin a little better. And kids in my computer classes learned quite a bit about making infographics and developing good graphic design. But that’s more or less where it stopped.  There’s an upper limit to how much information you can provide students in a class about Latin or about computer science before your kids shut down.  And if it doesn’t get picked up in other classes, they’re done.

More, there wasn’t much time or energy placed on how to develop pictures.  Sure, I showed the kids the semigram, Dave’s system for teaching adults some basic drawing skills in ten minutes at the start of a workshop.  Sure, later on I taught Mike Rohde’s method of five course shapes (see @left in the photo, and below in the sample drawings).  But knowing shapes isn’t the same thing as knowing how to draw. There’s a disconnect between knowing how to draw shapes, and how to create pictures.

Flash cards.  Duh.  That’s the idea I got from Mike’s new book, the Sketchnote WorkbookI think of it as the advanced practitioner’s manual, rather than the initial grimoire.

You do realize these books about drawing are grimoires, right? Even though they’re not officially about magic, Gordon is right:  All of the how-to books of ancient times, be they books about science or books about mathematics, are in a real sense also books about magic.  And knowing how to draw — even if it’s just a silly picture of a guy made out of a five pointed star, is a superpower in a world where most people only know how to read and write and do math.

SampleVisThink

VisThink drawings don’t have to be complicated…

Which is what most of the world’s students, and most of the world’s teachers, think is what you’re in school to learn how to do.  I’m pushing uphill against some particularly heavy stones, here.  Which is sort of the reason why I veered off into magic for a while, in public and as an adult, on this blog.  Reality has mass, and if you intend to move it, you’d better have some pretty heavy lifting tools on your side.  I thought I’d hit an important ball out of the part with my post on modeling creativity, for example, but it’s been a non-starter.  And there was another post on working with creativity within rules, right?  And for the magicians and teachers, too, I wrote this piece about working the Great Work within different modalities.  Yep, you guessed it: more or less un-read by anyone.

But Flash Cards, yo.

I mean, how did I not think of this before? We know — and by “we”, I mean that teachers have collated more than a century of data that shows that we learn language not from associating words with other words, at least initially, but words with pictures.  So why not have students write out flash cards with pictures as well as words? Why not have students engage their visual thinking skills at the same time that they engage their foreign-language acquisition skills? Why not have students build up a vocabulary of visual images to complement their Latin vocabulary?

Mike Rohde says that this is how you build your skills as a visual thinker!

I’m sure I’ll be doing more small versions of these posters that show students how to build a new visual palette of symbols and ideas that tell stories, that give them pictures to hang vocabulary on, and that have the capacity to help students, young people, go from simply knowing how to draw shapes, to how to create elaborate designs.

In other words, I think that Mike Rohde has found the right bridge to get my students over the chasm from knowing Dave Gray’s icons, to being fully-capable graphic artists.  And I think that this has real potential moving on from here, for helping to awaken the latent superpowers in us all.

Sketchnotes As a Changemaker

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Sketchnotes: learning and first experiments I’m aware that I haven’t been blogging much of late. My tai chi entries have been getting shorter and shorter; and there have been non-existent entries on other subjects. Part of it has been extreme busyness at work; part of it has been the truth that I’m spending a LOT more time in front of the computer at school, and the result has been that I want to spend considerably less time in front of the computer at home. Last night I read my first novel in more than two years.

Part of it has been that I’ve been turning back toward my pen-and-paper notes, and toward Mike Rohde’s Sketchnotes Handbook as a tool for driving change in my life, both personally and institutionally.

I think we see a lot of things which are computer-generated in corporate settings these days: typed agendas, technical documents, code documents, and so on.  There’s some value in hand-written stuff. And Mike Rohde’s book has (like Dave Gray before him) helped me shift my artistic practice a little bit, toward developing some new tools in my teaching arsenal — learning to include diagrams and pictures in my notes, and focus on big ideas, rather than every detail.

Sketchnotes: learning and first experiments I like to remind my colleagues and my students that the software in our brains for processing visual symbols is roughly 500,000 to a million years older than our software for processing writing. The result is that we should be teaching students to take audio knowledge (lectures) and process it as visuals as much as text.  We’re helping them build a broader range of connections than just simply text notes alone.

And this is where Sketchnotes come in.  As is usually the case, I had to give myself some training.  I took a day over Thanksgiving vacation to fill about half of a Moleskine sketchbook with diagrams and exercises from Mike Rohde’s book, and to attend some events where I had to make sketchnotes as I worked.  I’ve now had enough drawing training (thanks, Dave Gray!) that working through a new system of drawing was pretty easy and quite rapid, although my hand was done by the end of the process.

From there, it was a matter of practicing the skills.

Sketchnotes: learning and first experimentsSo I went to a funeral, and I took sketchnotes as a parade of people celebrated the life of Mr. Tony Dyer, a local hero of the public schools.  He, like me, taught history and specifically loved world history and ancient history more than modern history.  He made it come alive, apparently, in ways that I can only aspire to.  One of the commentators called him “a student’s dream teacher, but an administrator’s nightmare.” Isn’t this what so many of us aspire to be, sometimes?  There’s something of the radical involved in being a teacher.

I produced about four pages of notes that had both drawings and images in them from the funeral.  Some of them were great, some of them were awful. The page at left is a typical sample, in that it has a bunch of illustrations, but there isn’t an overall theme or organization, beyond the names of the people who spoke.

It was time to take a step forward, though, and introduce this to my colleagues.  So I produced a couple of pages of Sketchnotes ahead of an event, creating an agenda for a faculty meeting and one of the design exercises (from Gamestormingthanks again Dave Gray) as a way of introducing my colleagues to both Sketchnotes and Gamestorming in one blow.  Sometimes the medium is the message, and that was certainly my intention here.

Sketchnotes: faculty meeting and activity When I talk with some of my friends in teaching, particularly in other schools, we note the glacial pace of change in most academic settings. My friends S and J teach in college, my friend S teaches in lower school, my friend D teaches in middle school, my friend B teaches in high school. I think even (especially?) @tieandjeans experiences this.  It’s true of public schools; it’s true of private schools.  It’s even true of unschools — schools that pretend to be getting away from traditional school culture.  And all of us have experienced at various times the enormous resistance of school/academic culture to change.

So, maybe, what’s required or needed is little bomblets of alteration or transformation. An agenda printed sideways on 8×14″ paper, and hand-drawn with sharpie marker, rather than printed in clean 12-point Palatino on letterhead.  Maybe what’s required is introduction to Gamestorming games, and Dave Gray and Mike Rohde-style illustrations that are designed to communicate information differently to audiences.

Yesterday’s faculty meeting was more different than any event I can recall attending in an academic setting. Partly it was the material we were covering, and the workshop-like format of the event.  But part of it, I like to think, was the way I changed or shifted the culture of the meeting through the reorganization of the space and the representation of the agenda with Sketchnotes and Gamestorming-inspired uses of tools and materials.

Sometimes, if you really want change, it’s important to start with the most basic elements of the meeting format. Something as simple as an agenda can utterly change the structure of the event.

Thirty Days of Making: Illustration

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I’m in Day 23 of a short series: Thirty Days of Making. Every day for the next thirty days, I intend to make something, anything, that is in some way connected to school. There won’t always be pictures, and I reserve the right to credit myself for things that I help my kids make. But I’ve decided that I need thirty days of maker success and maker failure under my belt to be a better designer.

I’ve decided that artwork counts, but not writing (unless it’s part of the art, like calligraphy). Digital work counts, but it has to be useful or publishable.

Some days there will be pictures, some days there won’t be. Each blog entry will contain a list of some of the materials and tools, a quick review of the success or failure of the Making, and a reflection on what I think I learned from the endeavor.  (My friend Alicia is beginning a new series along these lines, 12 weeks of the Artist’s Way — I wish her well in her process, go check her out!).

Reason for the Project: 

Thirty Days of Making: illustrationTomorrow, my school plays host to a small workshop or conference on Design in Education — that is, the role of teaching design and design process to K-8 students.  I am the lead teacher on the conference. Actually, I’m the only teacher leading the conference.  I should have planned things with multiple teachers, but we’ll save that for next year, I guess.

One of the key concepts that I intend to teach is that drawing is a teachable skill, and that it is a vital one, too, for the designer. Back in 2009 in August, Dave Gray taught me to draw.  It’s a 7-8 minute lesson, one which I intend to teach tomorrow.  In January of 2010, I did this illustration.  I still don’t feel that I’ve mastered color at all, but I’ve made good progress on my linework.

Process and Result

One of the things that’s been particularly helpful to me has been the traditional astrological imagery of Picatrix, Cornelius Agrippa, and other 15th century occult texts.  Many of them will say something like, “the span of Libra is 30° across the sky from such-and-such a star, to thus-and-such star, and the image of the constellation is a scale with a giant thumb resting on the south pan.”  This is something that can be visualized, or drawn — and the act of drawing it becomes practice of the visual art.  For example, in this current illustration, a man and a woman work together in an alchemical lab.Thirty Days of Making: illustration

From such an image, it’s now easy to see what I still need to work on — formal two-point perspective is still an issue.  Female figures, still an issue.  Accurate male figures, still an issue.  The creation of an imaginary landscape is getting easier, especially when that landscape gets filled up with theoretical and imaginary objects. Even though the proportions and the layout of lines are wrong, it’s still recognizably a laboratory of some kind.  The presence of the globe and telescope, as well as the beakers and test tubes and burner, suggest a more thorough-going scientific education than might be expected.

The final version of the image, less a few strokes with a pink eraser, came out quite nicely, I think.  It’s a testament to that initial connection that Dave Gray gave me, and the way I’ve grown and improved my skills since then.  I don’t know that anyone is ever going to celebrate me as a great artist or illustrator, but I think I can hold my own now as a talented amateur.

Thirty Days of Making: illustration

This is the final version

Reflection on My Learning:

Apparently it takes four years of haphazard practice to make someone into an amateur illustrator.  Or maybe a year of dedicated practice to make someone into an amateur illustrator, and a couple of years to turn out a quality illustrator.

But a lot of it comes down to lines, angles, arcs, blocks of shading and ultimately color.  I still haven’t learned to use color effectively in either my paintings or my drawings.  It’s something I want to master.

But I’ve learned to give my linework meaning, I think.

General Learning Reflection

I think that the foundation of a Design Thinking program is rooted in visual language.  If we’re not teaching at least some basic drawing skills, it’s probably criminally negligent in a design program.  Diagrams, drawings, flow charts, mind maps, renaissance style one- and two-point perspective, drawing grids, medieval-style illustration, scrolling illustrations as in video games… It’s all essential to the aspiring designer, just as much as 3D orthographic drawing or isometric drawing. They’re mission critical skills.

Rating

Five out of five stars. Any day on which I can produce a picture is an awesome one.

A magician’s modern toolkit

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Over at Blood and Bone, there’s an article today about resources for Technomancers.  He (she?) is writing for a magical/occult audience, but there’s a powerful list of tools that make a huge difference it keeping yourself organized as the very model of a modern magic practitioner.  It’s an interesting list of tools, and I’ll be downloading some of the suggestions. As I’ve noted here, I find the ability to use the tools of magic and magical mindset to be very useful in thinking about alternate ways to be a teacher, and a teacher of design thinking. Not all of these tools are going to be useful to all my teacher friends, but I can’t recommend the first few from Blood and Bone enough:

General Software

  • Evernote is becoming absolutely critical to my process.  I drop all kinds of things into it: photographs I admire, graphs and charts, design process diagrams by other authors and other schools, scripts and lesson plans, to-do lists and materials-acquisitions list (for the DLab).  The ability to access ANYTHING in Evernote, almost anywhere – phone, web, iPad, desktop computer, is a godsend.
  • Paper by fiftythree.com is becoming my go-to drawing program.  Drawing and diagramming is becoming so critical to my creative process that I can’t imagine trying to be a teacher, or a design thinker, without drawing. If you’re not drawing, you’re losing half your audience. If you’re not encouraging your students to draw — on paper, on computer, wherever — you are failing to be an effective teacher (Side note: if you don’t know Dave Gray’s “Forms, fields and flows” yet, if you haven’t COMMITTED THAT LESSON TO MEMORY, so you can give it to anyone, anywhere in the world, in 10 minutes or less, you are failing to be a 21st century teacher.  In my opinion, not humble at all.
  • DayOne Journal app for iPhone, iPad, and desktop machine is my go-to journal application.  I should use Evernote, I know, but I find the process of starting a new document in EverNote for a journal entry to be clunky and difficult.  It’s probably the case that all of us teachers should be journaling a lot more than we do — which kid said what, on what day, and when, and to whom.  It’s difficult; we have other things going on; we have plenty of other demands on our time.  But we live in a digitally connected world, and we have to be prepared to justify grades, more and more,
  • Gradekeeper is my tool of choice for keeping a grade book.  The fact that I can have it on my desktop and my iPad is a godsend; if I could get both versions to work from a common iCloud file, or from a server cloud storage area like Evernote, that would be awesome. For now, I work files back and forth between two places.  Brilliant and useful, though I wish the reporting features were more robust. What magicians would use this eminently teacher-centric software for, I don’t know, but it’s tremendously useful nonetheless.
  • I also use the To-Do list program on my phone, as well as the voice recorder, for making recordings of things I’m trying to memorize, or to make audio notes while driving (and today I used to to record another chant, which I’ll post over at Tumblr shortly, as I did with the first [Hey, WordPress… Tumblr doesn’t charge me a fee to post or present audio files… you do.  What are you going to do about that?]).

Magical Tools

I use Astrolgo (http://www.gandreas.com/iphone/astrolgo/) as my astrological tutor and charting tool. It’s a little more expensive than using astro.com, which is free, but I find it very helpful, and it’s easier to set up for someone like me who’s trying to learn more traditional astrology.

I’m using Sleep Cycle (http://www.sleepcycle.com/) as a way of tracking how many hours I’m sleeping, and how close I am to dream state, and how frequently, each night. I’ve had a REALLY irregular sleep schedule for more than a decade, and I’ve found that I need to fix my sleep schedule in order to get good habits for dreams.

I use the Mindfulness Bell by Spotlight Six Software for timing meditations.

I use TouchTarot for iPhone so I don’t have to carry around a Tarot deck with me all the time. I find that it gives me just as many reversed cards (A LOT … more than anyone else ever seems to get) as a regular deck does, which suggests strongly that I’ve got some things to fix in my life, or in my relationship with Tarot, or both.

I use Brian Browne Walker’s version of the iChing for consulting the Book of Changes. I don’t like it as much as my casual paperback book, but it’s not bad.

What’s the point?

There’s a couple of occultists reading who are already thinking, how am I going to use a grade book program? Or even just a grade book? and not in an ironic or self-conscious way. That’s just the kind of people occultists are. They think through the implications of questions like that, and even if they never come up with an answer, they will have thought about it.

But I imagine that the teachers are hard-pressed to think of something they would do with any of the digital/magical tools I mentioned. What would I use a Tarot program for?  I can hear several of my teaching colleagues asking that question. Why do I need to know what planetary hour it is, or what a horoscope is?

Leaving aside the question of whether or not these things are useful because they work (because our scientific material philosophy argues emphatically that they don’t work), I’d argue that these magical tools are all useful ways of slowing our brains down. We teachers are asked to do more and more, often with less and less, and we’re rarely cultivating the kind of mindset that allows us to understand the data we’re collecting or seeing the big picture in a kid’s understanding.  The information provided by occult tools is not exactly random, and not exactly freeform.  It opens up new paths of comprehension and new ways of seeing things. A magical mindset, practiced well enough, fits together odd data points collected by the unconscious as well as the conscious mind, with a set collection of perceived wisdom consulted in a selective way, and the result is…

insight.

 

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