The Kauffman Sketchbook: The Fire to Learn

(I’ve been digging through my draft blog posts in my draft post bin. How’d I get so many unused posts and book reviews in there? I’ll be sharing out some in the coming days, if only to clear my draft bin a bit. I’m using Alan Levine’s picture of Lego Bins at MIT to visually represent my blog bin. Don’t worry. I’ll try to make sure they are still somewhat relevant. — Kevin)

Bins flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

I stumbled across a video from this group that does interviews, and puts the audio to sketches. Very cool, and interesting from a viewing perspective (never mind the creating perspective — just think of the storyboarding that must go on here).

In this video, a fifth grade teacher talks about teaching reading, and the love of reading. I found myself getting lost in her words (in a good way) and I followed the sketchbook artists. What were they trying to complement in her voice with their pictures? That’s what hooked me here.

Peace (in the sketch),


Away on a Short Blog Vacation

I am away for a few days, so I won’t be doing any blogging.  I’ll probably be poking around the Interwebz here, and there, but only sporadically. Thanks for visiting.

Peace (and rest and rejuvenation),

When ‘Present You’ Reads What ‘Past You’ Wrote to ‘Future You’


The other day, I received an email that I first thought was some sort of spam that got through the filter. I almost deleted with the spam button. Then I realized, no, wait, it’s an email from “past me” to “future me” which is now “present me.” Ignore the space-time continuum for a second. It will all make sense.

The email was one I wrote to myself exactly a year ago, using a site called FutureMe, which archives emails and then ships them out at a given time. The catch is that it has to be at least one year into the future. The site allows you to designate the emails as private or public, so you can read what some people write (I have kept mine private).

This is the third time that I have done it (I realized this only after doing a search through my emails although the first time in 2011 was a very short one), and as soon as I finish writing this blog post, I am going to do it all over again, sending some words forward to myself in 2018.


Well, as I was reading through the email I wrote to myself, I realized both how much my world is the same and how much has changed, and how reading myself writing to myself was a sort of comfort. In the email, I am checking in myself and the family, and wondering how things have turned out. Oldest son off to college? Check. Writing songs? Check. Making comics in connected spaces? Check.

I even shared out my One Little Word from 2016 — “Remember” — and reminded me to keep that word in mind, and asked, what’s this year’s word? (It’s “Filter”)

We’ve used FutureMe as a Daily Connector activity with CLMOOC  (“Connect with Yourself!”) and Connected Courses but I don’t know how many folks have actually done it. You should consider it. A year from now (or further into the future), when you are reading what you wrote to yourself, you’ll be thanking me.

Peace (in the past and into the future),

Looking Ahead: What Obama Said

Barack Obama words

Last night, outgoing President Barack Obama gave his farewell address, showing once again a rhetorical fluency and call for seeing the larger picture, even as the immediate field seems to be cluttered with potential chaos and ethical dilemmas.

I know these very characteristics of his public persona in times like this are sometimes the very reasons why people don’t like him and didn’t like or trust Clinton, but I do.

Sure, he did not do all that I wished he would do during his two terms in office, and I worry about how the new administration will boomerang the important policies of the last eight years. I’m doubling my support for my senator, Elizabeth Warren, to be the critic I know she can be, and the voice for the middle class and struggling Americans. But Obama’s words about the larger ideas of America … I needed that.

When Obama first was elected, I wrote and recorded this song as a way to think about the promise of the years ahead. I’m not sure we got there.

Tomorrow’s Never Gone

Peace (in these words and more),

Charting My Open Learning

A few weeks ago, Greg McVerry interviewed me for some research he and Sarah Honeychurch are doing about literacy and leadership in open learning spaces. Before our conversation, Greg asked me to construct a diagram of the open learning projects I have been involved with, and gave me the ‘cartesian coordinate’ labels (involvement/learning) to consider playing with.

The diagram above is the best I could do .. I am sure I am probably leaving things out (Slice of Life? Is that open learning?) and I know that some should stretch more across time but it made the design of the graph ugly to do so as a visual. My ideas didn’t quite fit the grid. But it works for what it is, I think, which is a reflection point for myself

What I found interesting is my perceptions about what I learned in various networks, over time, and the corollary discovery which the graph shows me is pretty simple and expected, if you know me at all, and that has to do with the connection between agency and learning.

What the chart shows is that the open learning spaces that invited me to create knowledge, with freedom to explore (Rhizo, CLMOOC, etc), are the ones where I came away with a lot to think about, mainly because of the interactions with others (or it was where I was a facilitator with ideas on opening up the space to the emergent unknowns). The projects where it felt more like a structured class or course (Deeper Learning MOOC, IMOOC) were less “sticky” for me, in terms of learning. That doesn’t mean they didn’t have value. But the value was less fundamental to me as a writer/teacher than places where I had more agency to pursue my own interests in the company of others.

Peace (on the edge of the platform),