Hope Lives in Gobstoppers Left on Your Desk

<6 minute read


A role many of us know best is one of consumer, but it’s not our fault.


Much of our world was designed for us long before we arrived in it.


It seemed important to the folks designing for us to remove unpredictable surprises from their products and services.


(Makes sense to me.)


Occasionally finding a golden ticket wrapped in a chocolate bar might be cool, but no one wants their microwave to suddenly explode.


(A good surprise)



(A bad surprise)


Creators want their consumers to be safe (very important) and happy (who doesn’t want that?).


Creators don’t want consumers blaming themselves for something they didn’t have control over.


(Wait. Who has control?)


Getting things to be predictable is what creators do for consumers.


(Again, nothing wrong with safe and happy.)


But when creators work with other creators, they solve the unpredictable surprises together.


Creativity, spontaneity, serendipity, and hope all arise from unpredictable surprises.


(The things that make us human arise in the space of unpredictability.)





Hope lives in gobstoppers left on your desk.











What is a Maker Space? “I dwell here.”

<1 minute read


I realize important things when I am not focused on finding a solution.


Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Pittsburgh, 2018

“Showering, swimming, scrubbing, shaving, steering a car…all of these are regular, repetitive activities that may tip us over from our logic brain into our more creative artist brain.” ((p. 22 Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron, 2016))


What is the value of repetition?


“I visited this old man, a simple monk, in his hermitage and I asked him: “What do you do, Fr. Timothy?” to which he replied: “I dwell here. ((Prohegumenos Vasileios of Stavronikita and Iveron who retired to Iveron Skete. Ecology and Monasticism p. 13-14))


I visited a school, and asked a child, in her Maker Space, “What do you do?” to which she replied,


“I dwell here.”


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Space for Inner Speech

< 2 minute read


Messier 106, 22-25 million light years from earth 


Inner speech is not the interior aspect of external speech–it is a function in itself. It still remains speech, i.e., thought connected with words. But while in external speech thought is embodied in words, in inner speech words die as they bring forth thought. Inner speech is to a large extent thinking in pure meanings. It is a dynamic, shifting, unstable thing, fluttering between word and thought, the two more or less stable, more or less firmly delineated components of verbal thought.” (Lev Vygotsky, Thought, and Language, 1934. MIT Press, 1962) ((https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-inner-speech-1691070))


How to make space for speech without words at the boundary of what is known and unknown?


This is where hope lives.


A NASA illustration depicts the positions of both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, now outside the heliosphere. Voyager 1 left the heliosphere in August 2012, while Voyager 2 left at a different location last month. NASA/JPL-Caltech ((https://www.npr.org/2018/12/10/675324587/voyager-2-bids-adieu-to-the-heliosphere-entering-interstellar-space))


Healing Work

< 2 minute read


I believe that the work we do can be healing.


One person’s heart is not more valuable than another.


If there is a way to open hearts with the work that we do, how much better it is to open many than few. And if we can do this in a way that allows for the healing of our own hearts, then we have a mission and purpose to do good in the world.


The tragic shooting in Squirrel Hill reminded us that nothing is more precious than life itself. What matters is the heart of another. And when this is taken away, our lives are changed forever. All that we do must be aimed for healing.


I believe this can be done with the technology we choose in the classroom.


By choosing technology that allows students to create we provide tools for students to open their own hearts and minds, to work with others and to work in the world.


In the space of learning to design, I learn to value myself, to value others, and to make a difference in the world. If I do not learn how to design, I only learn how to consume what others have designed for me and so a power imbalance continues.


How do you teach a person to fish while being sure she doesn’t starve as she learns? You feed her a fish while you teach her, until she can fish for herself.


And even after she can, sometimes you bring her a fish anyway, because it is nice to share. And we show love through our sacrifices, through what we give with a pure heart.


The Zone of Proximal Development is where we meet people. It’s where they are – sometimes giving them fish while they learn, but always keeping our focus on teaching one to fish for herself – and for others.


I believe that through curriculum design and professional development we can feed folks fish, while we teach folks to fish, and make space for them to teach others to do the same.


This requires me to let go of my ego, to put others first, and meet people where they are.


I believe that the work we do can be healing.