Tagged: purple cow

Shifting gears

Image via @gapingvoid - http://gapingvoid.com/

Image via @gapingvoid – http://gapingvoid.com/

Inspired by Zoe Elder’s post – ‘Why we continue to accept the challenge’ and Mark Anderson’s post ‘Be happy,’ here is a quick post with the start of a new term in mind.

2013 was a remarkable year. 2014 will be better. It’s time to shift gears.

Four tips to help you make this year even better:

1. Keep exploring.

2. Connect with others.

3. Share your discoveries.

4. Deepen your understanding.

Remember, you’re only human but you make an incredible difference.


The ‘Superman effect’ and ‘Purple cows’

I recently watched a video of Aral Balkan speaking about something he calls the ‘Superman effect’ which made me immediately think about lesson planning and designing remarkable experiences for the students I teach. If you haven’t seen it watch it now:

In the video @aral talks about something he calls the ‘Superman effect’ in design. How design is an art form that empowers, amuse and delights  people. Great designers have the power to changes lives and give users exceptionally remarkable experiences that make them feel like a ‘superhero’ – the ‘Superman effect.’

Aral goes on to say…

Our lives are a string of experiences. Experiences with people and experiences with things. And we, as designers — as the people who craft experiences — we have a profound responsibility to make every experience as beautiful, as comfortable, as painless, as empowering, and as delightful as possible.

Now read the quote again but replace the word ‘designers’ with ‘teachers.’ Perhaps as teachers we have a duty to make students uncomfortable and allow them to struggle in order to learn, but the rest of the quote really rings true with me. As teachers we have to recognise that every interaction we have with young people is an opportunity to have a positive impact upon them. Teachers are artists and lessons are our art. Being passionate about our subjects mixed with a continued desire to improve and develop our pedagogy is key to providing the ‘Superman effect’ for our students. How can we make students feel like super hero’s in our lessons? We need to make them feel more excited about entering our classrooms rather than leaving them. Next time you’re planning a lesson consider the ‘user experience’ and make it remarkable.

In Aral’s extended version of his talk (see below) he also talks about how design gets compromised when companies have misguided CEO’s who seek to dictate the journey to success and quite often get it wrong. How true is this in schools? How many times have SLT implemented policies / procedures with little or no consultation from staff (thankfully this doesn’t happen in my school, but I’m sure we’ve all heard a horror story in our time…)? The way to unleash potential is to ensure that leadership is distributed across the school and that power is dissolved to all staff.  Let the people who are closet to the action have a say in the critical decisions, empower them to lead.

Aral Balkan: Superheroes & Villains in Design from Thinking Digital on Vimeo.

Seth Godin talks about being remarkable in his book ‘Purple Cow.’ He talks about truly remarkable products / ideas and people or as he calls them ‘Purple cows.’ I believe teachers have a responsibility to be remarkable and provide remarkable experiences  for their students. ‘Good enough’ or ‘that’ll do’ or even ‘Very good’ is a one ticket to mediocrity. It’s not remarkable. You are an artist with talent waiting to be unleashed. Be creative. Safe is risky. Don’t be boring. Be remarkable in everything you do.