Presence: Bring Your Creativity to Class

The discussions going on during Week 1 of #HumanMOOC were really stimulating for me; the idea of presence is one that I think about a lot since I teach fully online classes. What I'd like to share in this post is the way that CREATIVITY can create a strong presence, as strong as or even stronger than a video presence. When I share something with the class that I have made, I am sharing a part of "myself," something produced by my imagination and thus something uniquely my own, something that is "me" — not literally me, but intrinsically me!

Even better, when I share with the class something that I have created, that paves the way for what is the most important part of my classes: the creative work that the students share with the class, establishing their own "creative presence" in the class so that we are call co-creators. (That is very much a focus of my classes, where students are blogging, writing stories, making memes, etc.)

I was thinking about this evening as I updated my "Growth Mindset Cats" widget, adding to the widget the cats I created in November and December. You can see that whole project at the Growth Mindset Memes website, and you can see the widget here; it displays a growth mindset cat at random, and there are over 100 of them now since I have been making them pretty steadily since back in June. If you are looking at this via the blog hub, the widget may or may not be functioning, so I've also pasted in one of my favorite cats below.

If you'd like to use that widget in your own blog or website, it works wherever javascript is accepted, and you can get the script here. There's a 400-pixel wide version which is good for a blog post as you can see here, and I've also got a 200-pixel wide version which works nicely in a blog sidebar.

The tool I used to make the script is, and it was built by a fabulous student whom I met my very first semester of teaching: Randy Hoyt, now a game designers (talk about creative presence!). The way RotateContent works is that you create an HTML table with the content you want to randomize, and RotateContent turns the table into a javascript. No coding required!

And, since these cats have a growth mindset, they are in touch with their creative side, as you can see here. This cat is a great example of collaboration, in fact, because the words I used to create the cat meme came from a student's blog: one act of creativity leads to another!