Shrink It & Pink It: Lady Leadership


Spoke & Hub

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. ~Audrey Lorde

Dear Readers,

I am going to return to recent events in a few days, but I need to finish this post first. Nothing is sweeter is to my ears than the Baltimore accent calling me “Hon”–male or female. You should read about the Bali Nine. Thank you in advance for reading my thoughts when there are far greater things to think about today.

Up until recently, I thought my husband had taught me the marketing phrase “shrink it and pink it.” When I mentioned it to him, he said, “No, I learned that from you. Remember when you got kind of pissy at a bike shop when everything was pink and pretty? Don’t you remember going off about the ways they shrink and…

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kgitch on inspiration

Find your element – Live a fulfilling life

Have you found your element? Do you find satisfaction in your life and what you do? Recently, I’ve been working on fully developing my own element and thought I’d share the links that inspired me this week.

As an educator and mentor, I have discovered that my element is creating a conduit of discovery. I am driven to provide an environment that ignites and supports this exploration. Whether it is providing classes that spark ideas, developing curriculum that encourages discovery, creating art with women that is meaningful or volunteering my time and resources to the young people in my life; my element is being a part of and seeing others light up.

Powerful Words:

On Monday, Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education, blogged suggesting that after years of Gallup research the new Bill of Rights for All Students should be:

Every student in the world, from pre-K to higher ed, needs: 

-Someone who cares about their development

-To do what they like to do each day

-To do what they are best at every day

This speaks to me on so many levels and doesn’t stop at education’s door.  I look to the people I interact with on a daily basis.  What can I do as a leader to care about their development? Do I know whether they are doing what they like and are best at? If I don’t know, then it’s time to do so.

Book love!  

Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life by Sir Ken Robinson with Lou Aronica is available for downloading/buying!!! You can read the full exert here.

If you know what your Element is, you’re more likely to find ways to make a living at it. Meanwhile, it is vitally important, especially when money is tight, for organizations to have people doing what is truly meaningful to them. An organization with a staff that’s fully engaged is far more likely to succeed than one with a large portion of its workforce detached, cynical and uninspired.

Find your element. Understand yourself and what you are capable of. Do what you are best at. Discover your purpose in life. Work in your element. This book is full of tools, thoughtful questions and exercises that focus on your own personal element. I want to do everything really fast to get to the end, but have slowed myself down and have decided to thoughtfully implement each of the guiding processes.

Food for Thought:

Years after his first TEDx apearance, Sir Ken Robinson gives us another inspirational talk. Shown a few weeks ago on PBS – TEDtalks Education “How to Escape Education’s Death Valley” focuses on how the current education model is going the opposite direction from of how human life flourishes. His humor, illustrative talking and ideas make this 19 minute video worth your time.
The real role of leadership in education should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control – creating a climate of possibility. If you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that you did not anticipate or expect.  … There’s a wonderful quote from Benjamin Franklin – There are three sorts of people in the world.  Those that are immovable (they don’t get it, they’re not going to get it, they’re not going anywhere), those that are movable (those who see the need for change and are prepared for it), and those that move (people who make things happen). If we can encourage more people, that will be a movement. And if the movement is strong enough, that is, in the best sense of the word, a revolution.
Leadership Inspiration: 
So how do we get there? How do we motivate others as innovators? George Couros (@gcouros) wrote 10 Ideas To Move Innovation Forward which focuses on how educators can create new opportunities for learning with these ten steps.

Have a clear vision

Model what you want to see

Break it down into smaller steps

Help people move from their “point A” to “point B”

Work with people 1-on-1

Promote champions

Share! Share! Share!

Model and promote risk taking

Find the balance of “pressure and support”

Always remember that we are in the “people” business

When I read that blog post this morning, I took the educator hat off and concentrated on how these ideas could enhance my role as a leader, a coordinator, a member of my community and as a person.

Creating an environment that promotes the best, allows life to flourish, and encourages sharing, risks, balance.  To me, this is a innovative way to live in my element.

kgitch share: Video – Connected Learning: Essence

I love my twitter feed.  This afternoon, DML Research Hub (@dmlresearchhub – Digital Media & Learning Research Hub based in California) tweeted out a link to a set of videos they commissioned in 2012 regarding “connected learning”.

After watching this short 7+ minute video, the thoughts that hit home to me and my role as an educator were:

We need to teach everyone, not just the basics, but teach everyone to be creative

The possibility of contribution is everywhere – in a cafe across the world, there are experts

More importantly, this is the question I am asking myself tonight:

How can I contribute in helping children possess a “burning need to know”?

You can also watch this on Vimeo (

kgitch on yielding


Ambiguity by Lori Greig // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

There is a shifting paradigm that is occurring in my days and with it brings change. For me, this means I’ve reached the metaphorical yield sign.  I have slowed down, I am looking both ways, adjusting to the speed of the traffic coming my direction and will have to turn left or right depending on the directions I am given.  Right now, as I write this post, I still am not sure which way I am going. Though my hand is poised over the turn signal waiting to see how bad the traffic is and how clear the road may be in either direction.

When I do turn, I’ll drop in and let you know where I’m headed so that you can see if you want to tag along with me.


When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves. ~Viktor E. Frankl

Change brings opportunity. ~Nido Qubein

kgitch on authenticity

When I joined this #etmooc, I asked the question “How, in the big picture of 1600 people, does one connect inside this MOOC?” @AlisonSeaman left a comment on my blog encouraging me to remember what it takes to get to know someone in real life and to allow myself the time to become acquainted. She was right. It takes time to develop friendships, connections, and trust.  It certainly wasn’t going to change in one hour session! I should have just posted a sign that says “Like me, I need a network!”

Suddenly I felt vulnerable, which I always think of as a bad thing, when it is not! My thought was that it was going to be a virtual miracle to find another like voice in the mix, to see a smile in the distance or find a person with common ground to relate on. So, I continued to just listen in, read all the thoughts, share the links and pondered my role in this course.

As I shared in my “Also kgitch“, I like to follow (both on blogs & twitter) people that share more than just one thing.  As in everything I do, I want to develop a network of people that I enjoy following for all of their thoughts – not just their stance on education. I like to see people talking, links and posts that are fun, thoughtful or spoken.

Yet this week as I pumped out my links & retweeting all the great #etmooc tweets, I caught myself being nothing but that person. The one that I don’t like to follow.

Chagrined… I realized that I need to be more transparent. I need to be more of an authentic person.

As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been challenging myself to let go of my vulnerabilities. You know, the little voice in my head that says I shouldn’t comment on that thought, or the one that worries “if I put a “smiley” face on something I won’t be taken seriously”, or being nervous to join a conversation in case they won’t like my point of view.

In a random twist, as I pondering this, I came across this fabulous video of @jonathanfields interviewing @brenebrown on the Power of Vulnerability. The points that fit here are these: “Get over the illusion of separateness.” and how she said “I trusted my professional self more than my personal self.”  “That there are stories to be told, songs to be played, and if everyone is afraid to share them, then the world mourns that loss.” There it was for me: 1) that I needed to stop thinking of myself as separate from all the other participants; 2) that I needed to trust my personal self as much as my professional self; and 3) that there is a story or thought I have that is worth sharing. (This is an amazing interview – speaks to academics, entrepreneurs and to each person who risks sharing themselves.)

This leads me back to this Connected Learning #etmooc and how to develop a personal network that I can both learn from and be authentic with.

Tonight, as I was typing this post, @AlisonSeaman shared a link to this article: The best approach to building relationships by @johnstepper, which identified five points in building purposeful relationships:

Generosity: thinking first of what you have to offer instead of what you need

Empathy: thinking of how the other person will think and react to what you say or do

Authenticity: being your true self

Intimacy: getting beyond small talk to things that matter

Vulnerability: offering up your own imperfections and need for help

I am reminded to be thoughtful and ask myself what I can share in this network that shows those traits. I want to ensure that I am giving as much as asking. And while I am looking for commonalities, shared likes, thoughts and methods. I am a human, not a robot. There are beautiful songs to share, videos that make you laugh or cry and photos to share. Post stories, thoughts, ideas. Have a bad day every once in a while, for pete’s sake, it happens.

Who I am offline is also an aspect of who I am online. I am Karin with my family; I am Karin with my friends; I am Karin with my coworkers. Who has time or the energy to be completely different in all those different roles?

Be authentic, be real.

And continue to share.

BTW: If you haven’t read anything on it, this is an excellent post by Erin Stark “On digital dualism (or why, in 2013, are people still fear mongering the Internet?) ).

kgitch on #etmooc week two


Reflections by Kevin Dooley Flikr via Compfight / Creative Commons

After a few days disconnected, (though keeping track of the “Bill of Rights” drama and reading #etmooc blogs), these are my reflections on this past week.

#etmooc Blackboard Cheers!

I am thrilled to see people learning to blog and use Twitter.  The Blackboard sessions were all about the basics to blogs, twitter and digital literacy.  Since I am familiar with these concepts already, it was eye-opening to see how many have never tried or used these forums. Honestly, I just thought I hadn’t found their blogs yet, not that they hadn’t written! New to me, is using the recommended WordPress for this course. It’s simple, quick and easy to use. But honestly, as I am a #googlegirl, my favorite part is the ability to like a blog. Perhaps that is very Facebook of me, but it gives me the opportunity to cheer a person on for what they wrote. Plus I can read on my Kindle and like with ease.

“Pardon me, ma’am”:

I have to chuckle every time etiquette questions come up. “So, how do we speak to one another on this thing called twitter?” It’s the same etiquette of life, my friends, just happens to be online. Share, converse and be open to learning/disagreeing/helping. Don’t shame, yell or be rude. When someone talks (writes): listen & think. When commenting: be polite, compliment and if disagreeing, be professional.  On twitter, if someone speaks to you, be polite and speak back. You are not committing to a marriage here, and you never know if this person might be a perfect member of your learning network. As in life, more specifically as a teacher in life, you know how important it is to acknowledge the person speaking without putting your own personal bias on them. They may not know everything, they may be confused, but you can still share, listen and be open to their thoughts. I’m a big fan of appreciating the retweets, shares or comments. Saying thank you goes a long way, especially in twitter world.

Nascar of Chatrooms:

Seriously? You #etmooc-ers can type!!! I’ve resorted to lurking on the #etmchat sessions, as it was difficult to keep track/comment as I sat in the hospital watching a nurse work with my mother. I’ve used Tweetdeck for several years, which is a brilliant application allowing me to read tweets in columns. My current columns are #etmooc, #etmchat, #edcmooc, #edchat and #lrnchat.  This past week the flow of tweets was constant! Even the die-hard regulars made comments on how insanely fast the chats were moving. I applaud all who jumped in to the conversations. My participation? I resorted to simply favoriting comments and statements that were meaningful to me, it was quicker than trying to post a comment that was 30 minutes too late.

“Can I have your Google Business Card?”:

Best information share from @courosa were his thoughts on your digital footprint.  (Connected Learning slides) The concept is simple: put the information YOU want out there – flood the internet with the news you create. You are in control of what is put out there. Yes, other people might have something about you, but if you are flooding the digital world with thoughts, articles, news, ideas and connections – guess what content is being pulled up? The stuff you put out there.


This week I added 25 more people on Twitter, found 12 more technology tools/websites to add to my “learn list” and linked about 35 blogs to my readers (I use both Google and WordPress).  The tools I am most appreciative of were the links to the free photographs on where the option to select ONLY Creative Commons is an option. The photo I used today came from there, and links directly to the photographer that allowed it.

Favorite Quote:

“Chance favors the connected mind.” Steven Johnson

Which led me to learning more about Steven Johnson and this fantastic video below.

Or if you like, his Ted Talk.