If you’re asking yourself, “How can I encourage digital citizenship, mindful cultural awareness in a digital age, and active leadership in my classroom and/or community?” – you’re not alone!Here are ten gems– my personal picks that serve as some of the active touchstones for me in these arenas. It’s a diverse collection, and certainly not comprehensive, as I have a virtual panoply of places that resonate! Many of them are classics that I constantly refer back to, like conversations with friends and mentors, reminding me that there are many facets of being mindful. These are not articles about mindfulness itself– rather, they are pieces that embody what a mindsets and learning communities can look like when various aspects of being Mindful by Design” are embodied– that is, using the 4 Cornerstones of a Mindful Classroom:
We talked about these 4 Cornerstones a bit in the Q2 resource blog post, and there is even more explanation about them in my book Mindful by Design. The following Ten Touchstones speak to the same values. I hope you enjoy, and leave a comment with your reflections and touchstones, so we can add to the list!
I’ll be adding more thoughts and commentary to these 10 Touchstones; for now, we’ll start with the basics of providing them, below, with a brief note about the why.
Thank you to all who joined in this dynamic discussion tonight for the #CorwinTalks #MindfulByDesign event – it’s been a pleasure and privilege!
1: WALK: Expand Horizons, Promote Agency, Curiosity, Awareness, Literacies and Sharing: The Out of Eden Learn Project
2: POETIC VOICE: Infuse creativity, emotional intelligence, cultural awareness and storytelling: Use Poetry. Poetry. Poetry.
3. COLOR: Use color with intention, to amplify emotion and meaning. Access Color Wheel studies, including Robert Plutchnik’s emotion wheel for emotional literacy:
4. BREATHE: Go outside at least once a day, if only for a breath of fresh air. Take three breaths. Begin to appreciate your breath for its quality to bring you back to the present moment. And, if you want to check out some resources on breathwork, you’ll find a lot of practices you can try. I like this one, for its gentleness, allowing me to get in touch with my breath and enter a state of calm focus. It’s useful for us teachers, who do a lot of public speaking, too!
5: LET STUDENTS LEAD: Encourage students to take the reins and lead their own conferences. Check out this great post by Rayna Freedman for some tips on how to make it happen in an effective, meaningful way:
6: BRING ON MINDFUL VR and AR! Use VR and AR as ways to amplify presence, meaning, connection and agency. These tools can democratize learning, engage students, and break barriers. Just take a look at what is happening at Ballard High School in Seattle, led by TuesD Chambers (@BeaverReaders) and others! Jaime Donally (@JaimeDonally) and the #ARVRinEDU community are trailblazers sharing away! And, AR in Action (@ARinAction) continues to post amazing talks, like these recent ones below, which involve AR, VR, learning and more! There are so many ways to engage with AR and VR, and using them mindfully is the key!
AR in Action: http://arinaction.org/ar-in-action-talks-jan-2019/
7: ARCHITECT IT! Use architects’ voices to inspire your cultural awareness and digital citizenship– how are you designing with other users in mind? One of my favorite inspirations is Danish architect Bjarke Ingels:
8: THICH NHAT HANH: I cannot express enough what mindful peace he inspires. I experience deep appreciation, admiration, and joy in reading his words and reflecting on ideas he brings up. It’s always a story, an image, a journey and a circle.
9: ACADIA: Can Acadia be its own touchstone? Yes. If you haven’t been, go there. It’s awe-some and wonder-full, inspiring thoughts about “a way to be in the world” as a leaders and digital citizen in every moment, even the ones where we turn our devices off: https://acadiamagic.com/
10: READ & WRITE: I already included poetry as a touchstone, and in this final Tenth Touchstone, I’m actually talking about the act of reflection itself. Of paying attention. Being. Attending to and with each moment. Being with each other, aware of differences and similarities, and finding connection. When we read, we imagine and enter a wonder-scape, and when we write, we project ideas for others to visualize and imagine. It could be similar in VR, with creation and consumption, and EXPERIENCE (!) and a great recent book by Jaron Lanier talks about this, too: https://www.npr.org/2017/12/02/564811230/dawn-of-the-new-everything-argues-for-human-centered-technology
At any rate, mindfully make time for yourself. Use your hands and your eyes and your heart and soul for expression, wherever and however it chooses to move through you, in art, in photography, through reading and writing and expression. Make your mark, and inspire those around you to be powerful, aware leaders.