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Greg shares some things. Monthly.
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First Thoughts

Confession time: I'm absolutely a neophile. I love finding and trying new things from apps and technologies to music to video. And given my track record, this includes learning (B.S. in Business, Masters in Education, and eventually a PhD in Design) and employment (I'm on my 7th job since graduating college... don't worry Amanda, I'm keeping this one for a while). You could argue it's because I'm young and needed to spend time exploring what I'm interested in or that I'm a 'digital native' because I grew up with technology or that I'm a Millennial, which means I don't know what I want, but I want it now. None of these particularly ring true for me. I do, however, often borrowed from Kevin Honeycutt in describing myself as 'tradigital.'

I take physical (analog) notes in a real notebook with a real pen. I prefer to read real (analog) books. I listen to vinyl records. I painted a wall in my office with dry erase paint and sketch out my thinking with markers. But I think this tendency towards analog is more than just the digital/physical divide; the same posture can be extended to my preference for single-cup, hand-poured brewed coffee (ideally by myself, but that's because I'm cheap) or even creating learning experiences that intentionally vary the way you'll interact with an idea: I am increasingly considering the process in equal measures to the outcome.

This hasn't always been true and doesn't preclude listening to Spotify or frequenting Starbucks, but it does represent that while the ends often justify the means, the means can be an end of themselves. I like making my own coffee because I care about each step. Nothing smells as good as freshly ground beans, except maybe the pages of an old book. I love the feel and sound of a quality pen on a piece of paper. And when I am inconvenienced by the need to flip a record over, it gives me pause and ensures I'm actually listening to what was created, not just idly consuming.

This month is about experience, particularly in the analog world. Print it out to read it if you need to, but take your time to enjoy it.

Reader's Digest

The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter

David Sax

Vinyl records, book stores, Moleskines, board games, and why computers will never replace classroom teachers. This book reads a lot like a guy who just eschews digital and wants to explain his personal research into the great analog by-and-by, but he actually does a nice job uncovering the underlying truths of why analog seems to be making such a comeback: humans value "real" things, not so much manifestations of computer code.

 

Key Quotes

"All digital music listeners are equal. Acquisition is painless. Taste is irrelevant. It is pointless to boast about your iTunes collection, or the quality of your playlists on a streaming service. Music became data, one more set of 1's and 0's lurking in your hard drive, invisible to see and impossible to touch. Nothing is less cool than data."


Bonus

He references this place and I really wanna go... Roadtrip?

Around the Web

W.E.B Du Bois was a Master of the Hand-Drawn Infographic

Meg Miller

In my role, I'm often asked what is the 'best infographic maker.' Typically, what is meant is a user-friendly Internet tool that K-12 students could use to visualize data. After seeing this impressive collection, I very well may just start handing out blank paper and colorful markers.

Here's the FastCo article.
Here's the Library of Congress collection.

 
 


Let's Stop Calling Them Soft Skills

Seth Godin

I don't know if you've noticed, but our culture is placing increasingly high demands (at least in rhetoric) for specialization. Our schools, for example, are being methodically, purposefully reshaped to be centers for skill development. We're seeing the rise of coding in the K-12 experience while we watch code replace many formerly-stable jobs in our economy. So what will differentiate you?

I love just about everything Godin writes, but this one especially stood out to me. More than manifesto, Godin wants to create and disseminate the 'real skills' that are required in our workplaces. 

Just for fun:


Keeping with the theme, it only seemed fitting to suggest a real-life toy that is more than just a new American Girl.

The Empathy Toy helps build language, empathy, and critical thinking skills. As the site describes it, it's "a blindfolded puzzle game that can only be solved when players learn to understand each other."
 
 

Bonus

This notebook company donates to schools. So if you're into handwriting your notes (like I am, along with a good portion of my coworkers), take a look at their beautiful designs!
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