Sometimes Overwhelming…

Over the past 3 months, I’ve been reading a significant amount of research literature around learning, development, cognitive science, literacy, assessment, and gaming as I’ve been writing my project framework.

I feel all over the page…. Like I’ve started too many projects around the house; none are finished, every room of my house is in disarray, and the chaos hangs over me. The weight of each of these is compounded by the desire to integrate them for the purpose of designing a game/virtual world for learning.  The truth is they ARE all connected and I must press through.  To see them separate would not only be too limited for this project, but would hold it back from being what it could.  However, to integrate them well demands ALL of me right now and I fear I have not moved fast enough for those University professionals I would like to convince to partner with us.

In the midst of this mental chaos, I’m reminded to use the very tools I’ve claimed other learners should use in their learning process. So I begin with the tool of confusion management.

One of the very cornerstones of my learning paradigm is that of risk. Risk demands you accept and manage confusion and ambiguity as part of the process, risking complete intellectual melt-down for the purpose of coming to some clear and improved understanding, because it’s inevitable.  Instead of running from confusion see it as a necessary step to growth and instead of quitting, choose how to manage it.  I see a child struggle with the frustration of confusion and I encourage them to take a deep breath, step away and let their subconscious work with the ideas, focus on something physical, relaxing, and enjoyable, and then return to take a fresh look.  Yet, I struggle to do this myself. Instead I stare at the pages of yet another article with different terminology and wrestle with assimilating it into my newly forming cognitive conceptual framework around gaming paradigms. Thus I stop…

I sit by the fountain; and I breathe. I let the sound of the water splashing over the edge of the highest pool and the faint mist that reaches my face absorb the negative emotions of confusion.  Instead of quitting, I give my cognitive muscles a rest. I smile and find myself imagining Newton frustrated with developing his own mathematical explanations finally resolve himself to go lay under a tree and rest.  The shade is comforting, the breeze is relaxing, and the apple falling becomes his epiphany.

I wait for mine…

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