Want an E-Ph.D. in Ed Tech?: An E-nlightening interview with Punya Mishra from Michigan State University
| Friday, March 05, 2010
|An E-Ph.D.? Anyone? Anyone?:
Do you offer an online doctorate in educational technology? If not, can you recommend a program? Just who offers online Ed.D.’s and Ph.D.’s? I typically get this question a couple of times on each trip I go on. I get tired answering this question over and over and over. There are several universities that I mention with an online doctorate in the field. However, none of them have the brand name of a Big 10 or Ivy league school.
Move Over Bob Dylan...Punya Mishra is Here:
Good news. As Bob Dylan can testify, “The times they are a-changing.” I recently received an email from my friend (no, not Bob Dylan but someone equally creative). The email was from Punya Mishra over at Michigan State University (MSU) about their newly designed online/hybrid doctoral program (see his note below; see his MSU homepage for more information on Punya Mishra). His fantabulous new program will focus on the evolving role of technology in learning. Sounds intriguing to me...especially with the potential for large enrollments from practitioners.
Here is that note from Punya Mishra:
Michigan State University is now offering its doctoral program in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology online with a new hybrid option focused on the evolving role of technology in learning. The blended four- to five-year program, which combines online coursework with summer classes on campus, is designed to meet a growing demand from experienced education professionals who want to earn a Ph.D. while continuing in their current positions. This substantially online program is designed for the bright, established professionals currently serving in K-12 schools, universities, policy centers, and research institutions, who understand how new technologies, including online learning, continue to transform education.
We see this as an exciting initiative by a nationally ranked program (MSU's College of Ed graduate programs are ranked #6 in the nation, by US News and World Report). This program is targeted at talented people in the field who have finished their masters, established themselves as effective educational leaders, and who would like to earn a Ph.D. but cannot consider giving up an influential job for four or five years to go back to school full time. Clearly there is a need for a high quality Ph.D. program designed for education professionals who are seriously interested in research, evaluation, and assessment of effectiveness of technology in school.
Students will have the opportunity to work with world renowned faculty in the College of Education at Michigan State University. These include, Dr. Punya Mishra and Dr. Matthew J. Koehler (developers of the TPACK framework for technology integration; more on Matt); Dr. Yong Zhao (author of Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization; more on Yong Zhao and even more), and Dr. Rand Spiro (developer of Cognitive Flexibility Theory).
Please feel free to contact Punya Mishra (email@example.com) or Dr. Robin Dickson (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want any more information or visit the following websites:
MSU Hybrid PhD website: http://edtechphd.com/
Postings on Punya Mishra's blog these Exciting New Opportunities:
I provide details of the program below. But before that Punya and I had a little chat about this new hybrid program. My ten questions and his insightful responses are below.
Interview with Punya Mishra, Michigan State University, New Blended Ph.D. in Educational Technology
Curt Question #1: What has you most excited about this new program and why?
Punya: The most exciting part about this, for me, is the fact that this program will allow us to work with the smartest and most energetic practitioners in the field. This is a chance to break out of the ivory tower. This is also an opportunity for us to think of new paradigms of research—research that is more closely connected to things happening on the ground, research that is informed both by the deeper abstractions of theory and the grounded pragmatics of practice. I have written about this on my blog – check out http://tinyurl.com/yk467my
Curt Question #2: What prior experience does your department have in offering such a program? I know you had mentioned some certificate and master’s programs (similar to what we have here at IU)?
Punya: We have been offering a variety of programs for practicing educators in the area of Educational Technology for years now. These include a nine-credit certificate program, a thirty-credit Master’s degree as well as the regular on-campus Ph.D. What is interesting is that, except for the Ph.D. (at least prior to this new hybrid version) all our programs could be taken in a variety of formats: online, face-to-face (on campus, off campus, and abroad) as well as hybrid combinations thereof. For instance, we have students who have taken some certificate courses over weekends, at sites near their schools, followed by some coursework on campus and online (over summer and regular semester). These students received their master’s by completing their courses with one final summer, abroad.
Another exciting initiative we have started recently (apart from the Ph.D.) is what we are calling an “EduPunk Refresher” course. This can be taken for credit or no-credit and is aimed at people who already have a master’s degree but realize that the rapid pace of technology change means that they have some catching up to do. The emphasis is on what we call DIY Ed Tech, an intense hands-on week long workshop dealing with the latest technologies and how they can be integrated in teaching. We are offering this program this summer in the beautiful Rouen in France. Details of all this can be found http://tinyurl.com/ydw32rf
Anyway, the overall point I am trying to make is that, here at MSU, we have over 7 years of experience offering courses and programs in online and blended formats and have been quite successful at it. In that sense, developing the new Ph.D. was not that much of a stretch.
Curt Question #3: How does a blended or online educational technology doctoral program change the ballgame for ed tech programs around the country? How prevalent might online and blended educational technology program be in 5 years? How about in 10 or 20 years?
Punya: Well, we think that the trend is moving in that direction. I hate to make predictions but I do think that this is the wave of the future, for a range of reasons (many of which you speak of in your recent “The World is Open” book).
I think this is particularly true of practitioner-oriented fields like education. Think of the model that exists now. We ask people to leave their areas of practice, come to campus for 4-5 years, at which point they have lost that very intimate connection between what they are learning and what they do. This model is highly understandable for some disciplines (say engineering or physics) where doctoral research is about getting into a lab – and a lab can be expensive to maintain—so it makes sense to come to campus.
But in a field like ours, the labs ARE the classrooms. What this new program does, in my opinion, is to allow people to maintain a strong connection to their practice, even while engaging in the deeper engagement with ideas, theory, and research that doctoral programs do so well.
Combine this with how powerful and easy to use collaborative and communication technologies have become, and I think we have a win-win situation here.
Curt Question #4: What types of new students do you expect to attract to your new program? What niche market are you going after? Any enrollment projections, hopes, or dreams?
Punya: We are hoping for a cohort of 20 students – every other year. We came to these projections by extrapolating from number of the core faculty that we have who will teach these courses. One of the biggest challenges we faced was that we did not want to dilute in any shape or form the quality of our doctoral program. So, all our courses will be taught by tenure stream faculty...and as you know we have some really good people here at Michigan State. I feel fortunate to be able to work with all of them.
As for the kinds of students we would like to have, I think I said it best in my blog post (so if you will allow the self-plagiarism):
“This new program explicitly aimed at practitioners hopefully will change that. Moreover it seeks to bring together people who care strongly about education and learning and those who understand that newer technologies are fundamentally changing everything. We are looking for people who see the problems we face today and are interested in finding research driven solutions.
We are looking for the adventurous ones, the risk-takers, the ones who want to make a difference. And we want to bring them together, using the powerful tools we now have, to create, explore and share, to engage in dialogue and dissent, to critique research and to conduct research, to experiment with new technologies, new pedagogies and new content.”
Curt Question #5: What is the most unique element of this program?
Punya: The college of education at Michigan State has a long history of being at the forefront of teacher education and scholarship around teaching and learning. Think back to a few decades ago and the work done by Lee Shulman and others around the idea of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. More recently, Matt Koehler and I have taken that idea a step further to the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (also known as TPACK). This idea of TPACK structures almost every program we offer in my department (details at http://tinyurl.com/ydw32rf). So I think this unique coming together or bridging of educational psychology and educational technology within the TPACK framework really puts our program at a different level than most others. Combine this with the unique structure of our new program--the emphasis on theory AND practice—and I think we have a really good thing going here at MSU.
I think the other strength of this program is the faculty members who are part of the initative. I don’t want to start listing names here (check out the website for that) but, as I stated earlier, we have some really highly accomplished, creative, and connected minds here.
Curt Question #6: Why are your colleagues at MSU excited about it? At the same time, what might they be cautious about or be monitoring carefully?
Punya: I think there is a great deal of excitement around the new kinds of students we will see in this program. Already inquiries from potential students have indicated that we are seeing a very different profile from the ones we typically attract. So I think this means that there is a great potential for us (as faculty) to grow and learn, to develop new areas for research, etc. So that is the cool part.
There are a couple of things we are cautious about. The first area is how we support virtual students. Doctoral programs have typically not done a good job of supporting doctoral students. However in an on-campus program the students have one big advantage, they can come and knock on our doors. That will be harder for these students – who are also busier, because of their jobs. So we are spending a great deal of effort to design and build in institutional mechanisms to offer this support. We are particularly looking at leveraging social media in this, but also trying to employ key people whose sole task will be to support and nurture these students as they move through the program.
The other point of caution is in regards to maintaining the quality of our doctoral program. We are proud of the program as it exists and want to make sure that these changes in delivery of the program do not in any way compromise its quality. We will be monitoring this quite closely as we move forward.
Curt Question #7: What programs will be the top competitors to it?
Punya: The design and need for this program did not emerge from a market analysis as much as it did from what we (as faculty members) were hearing from practitioners. So in that sense it is difficult for me to point to competitors. We do know that there are some EdD programs out there, as well as some Ph.D. programs from for-profit institutions. But we are a Ph.D. (which means a strong emphasis on research) and, of course, we are a land grant university (which means a strong emphasis on outreach and making a positive difference in the state and beyond). That combined with our strong reputation I think puts us ahead of most possible competitors.
Curt Question #8: Do you see any partnerships or joint offerings on the horizon? How about an emphasis or a strand in your program on global education with technology?
Punya: We see great potentials in collaborations and joint offerings. Global education is an important piece for a couple of reasons. One of the strongest advocates of global education, Yong Zhao, is right here in our department (and he has a new book on this out too). Also, a large percentage of our online and hybrid master’s students come from around the world, many who are already working in international schools.
Another series of conversations we have just started has been with people in our Ed Admin department. We are looking at developing emphasis areas that would attract administrators to our program as well.
Hopefully other collaborations will emerge as well. But right now our focus is on getting this program up and running successfully.
Curt Question #9: What was the most difficult thing to put in place to get this program started? Stated another way, what key challenges will others face?
Punya: I think the biggest challenge we faced was the faculty concern with quality. Can we deliver a quality doctoral program in a hybrid format? Most faculty members have “grown up” in the old model and it is often difficult for them to see new ways as being good enough. There will be a lot of convincing to do – and some people you may never convince. In that case, I recommend that people attempting something like this find the right team and just move ahead. One aspect of all this that that has been encouraging though is how supportive administration has been. You know the stereotype that higher education is slow to move and so on – but that has not been our experience. Hooray!
Curt Question #10: Will you be conducting research on it?
Punya: Absolutely. Research is something we do and in fact we are currently engaged in an evaluation of our master’s program – so that is something we would do with the new Ph.D. program as well. Of course this could be a great opportunity for doctoral students to do some really ground-breaking work.
Curt Question #11: Is there anything important I did not ask that you would like to add here?
Punya: No, I think we pretty much covered everything. I would recommend that people visit our websites (and my blog) to learn more about this exciting initiative. Here are some links that people may want to follow: Ph.D. Website: http://edtechphd.com/
A couple of blog posts that speak to my personal take on all this (more informal than official web-site language, and hence more accurate in some ways):
Punya Mishra’s Web: http://tinyurl.com/yk467my
More info from Punya: http://tinyurl.com/ydw32rf
Here are some program details:
1. Program Length: Intended as a 4-year cohort-based program.
2. Summer is Blended: Students take 7 week course in summer; 2 weeks of which are FTF and 5 weeks online. The first 2 summers are like this. Year 3 summer residency may be shorter and Year 4 depends on need.
3. Number of Courses in Summer: There are 3 courses in the summer over the 7 weeks. As with their traditional students completing 9 credits during a regular semester while working half-time, students will be fulltime students during the 7 weeks and complete 3 classes. This Punya says will be "intense and invigorating." These courses will not be separate sessions over the summer. Instead, they will be taught in an integrated fashion and students will meet each day in a FTF format from 8:30 am to 4 pm with, of course, a lunch break.
4. Regular/Residential/Tenured Faculty Teaching in Summer: The summer courses will be taught by fulltime tenure stream faculty with graduate assistant support.
5. Pooled/Integrated Summer Course Experience: The design of the summer experiences is critical. In a nutshell, the faculty at MSU are developing a curriculum pools together with content and ideas from these three courses to create a highly powerful integrated summer experience. Apparently, they have been doing something similar for their master's program for over three years (2 weeks face-to-face followed by an online option), so they have a track record that it works really well. By integrating or pooling across these three courses, they can strip out the redundancy among what were more isolated experiences.
6. One Course in Fall and One Course in Spring: In addition to completing 3 classes during the summer, students are expected to take 1 online course per semester--fall and spring 1 each.
7. Additional Residency Requirements: There is a flexible residency requirement in the fall semester of Year 3 – the specific details of which will be negotiated between the student and the adviser.
8. Dissertation Year: The fourth year is pretty open and focused on dissertation research.
9. Program Starts in Summer 2010: This program begins this summer. The final date of application for the first cohort is May 1.
10. Biannual Cohorts: This program will run every other year - so the next enrollment will be in 2012.
11. Entry Requirements: A Master's degree is not required for entrance. What IS required is that you are working full time currently as an educator (in the K12, community college, higher education levels, or in industry) and have extensive experience in your field. Having a master’s degree does not hurt your application, however.
12. GRE: Taking the GRE is required. However, there is no minimum score. Your score is one of many factors that are considered for admission. These include your transcripts, letter of intent, etc.
13. Building a Cohort and a Community: The establishment and support of this cohort of students is something they are paying particular attention to. Social media tools will play an important role in this community building as will a strong commitment to meeting students’ needs and requirements.
14. Some Relevant Links:
1. Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education: http://www.educ.msu.edu/cepse/EPET/
2. Overview of New Program:
3. Course Sequence:
4. Program Milestones:
5. MSU Hybrid Ph.D. Website:
If you want more information, you can always write to Punya at email@example.com. Hope you enjoyed this interview. The times are definitely a changing for the field of educational technology. Those who adapt will survive. Those who do not…may not. Which category is your program in? Where are you today? Where will you be tomorrow? Perhaps at Michigan State...or perhaps at Minnesota or Florida State or UT-Austin or Pepperdine or Nova Southeastern or Old Dominion University or Hanyang Cyber University or Jones International University or Walden or the Open University of Malaysia or ??? Time will tell. Right now it seems Michigan State is the one to catch. Or is it dear ol' IU?
Announcing the 2010 Virtual Symposium - Education for All: Enabling Access through Technology
|Are you bored? Needing something to do? You are in luck. There is a free conference happening this month that is related to virtual learning. Drexel University with help from Wainhouse Research and the World Bank's Global Development Learning Network in Beijing are putting on such a conference for the 2nd straight year. I know a bit about it since I am the conference keynote. The conference organizers send me some updated information on the conference in hopes that I might mention it in my blog and so I am.
My keynote will be March 23rd at 8 pm EST for 30 minutes (originally, it was to be at 7:30 pm but daylight savings time is earlier than they expected and so they are trying to be sure that the partners in China will be awake; hence, the 30 minute delay). The conference is called the 2010 Virtual Symposium - Education for All: Enabling Access through Technology. My talk will be on my recent book, “The World is Open.” It will be followed by a short response and Q&A session. The talk will be streamed live and also available online after the event free to the world. I will be coming in via videoconferencing from our Radio and TV Building.
In addition to the keynote, I will also give an invited talk on March 25th: “Best Practices for Online Learning: R2D2 and TEC-Variety.” This will be a shorter talk of like 23 minutes.
Note that the conference registration is totally FREE. Also note that there are already several on-demand presentations posted for this month long virtual symposium. Check out the conference information online.
There are some great speakers coming throughout the month. Among them are Dr. Rebecca Clothey from Drexel, Dr. Baiyun Chen from the University of Central Florida, and Alan D. Greenberg leads the Wainhouse Research Education and e-Learning Strategic Advisory Service. You will also find Dr. Qin Jiang Higley who is the Asian Projects Manager at WIDE World, a professional development program for educators developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Craig Bach who is Drexel University’s Associate Vice Provost for Curriculum and Assessment, Philip Karp who is Regional Coordinator for East Asia and the Pacific at the World Bank Institute (WBI), the unit of the World Bank, and many others. Sounds interesting? It sure is! More information on the conference speakers and participants can also be found online.
My invited “Best Practices” talk is scheduled for March 25th can already be downloaded in 3 different formats from my videostreamed talks page.
1. Small size screen: 41.3 MB MP4 iPod Video Download Link: http://trainingshare.com/video/Bonk_Best_Practices_iPodVideo.mp4
2. Medium size: 70.7 MB Medium MP4 QuickTime Video Download Link: http://trainingshare.com/video/Bonk_Best_practices_QuickTimeMedium.mp4
3. Large size: 153.1 MB Large MP4 QuickTime Video Download Link: http://trainingshare.com/video/Bonk_Best_Practices_Drexel_QuickTimeLarge.mp4
I hope you can parttake in the conference and, if you do, that it is enjoyable. Remember, nothing is as enjoyable as "free!"
Is Life Truly "Up in the Air"?: TravelinEdMan's take on George Clooney's masterful role.
| Wednesday, March 03, 2010
|Have you seen the movie "Up in the Air" which came our around Christmas Eve? If so, what do you think? I saw it on opening night when everyone else was going to Avatar or Sherlock Holmes. They missed out on what I think was one of the best movies of all time. A summary of the movie in Wikipedia is available.
On February 20, 2010, Lisa Neal Gualtieri from eLearn Magazine posted to the eLearn Magazine blog review of it. She argued that it is George Clooney's best performance. She also commented that much of what is covered in there relates to training problems. She commented on training performance issues, mentoring, training delivery formats (FTF or videoconferencing), and coping with the difference between academically taught theory and real world practices. Lisa is spot on in so many ways. Yes, this movie has much to tell corporate training folks. However, the connections I made were more related to one's life path. With some gentle nudging from Lisa, I commented on her blog post tonight (thanks Lisa!). Much of my response is below (though I expanded on it a bit here and reworked some parts).
This movie is filled with life questions that we all face. Some that we rarely, if ever, are willing to admit to. My son, Alex, and I discussed them on the way home after watching the movie. It has been 2 months since I saw the movie so remembering these issues may be difficult for me. Below are some that we discussed as well as some new ones I just thought of.
Themes or Paths in "Up in the Air":
1. "Major Career Goal(s)." He had a chance to hit the bigtime as a keynote speaker but at the last minute gave it up for love. It was his life dream and chance for a new career outside of firing people. That was, in fact, the pinnacle moment of the movie. We all have such life choices we face at some pt in our lives (some more often than others). Do we go for fame and money or love? Are career goals more important than family, personal, and emotional ones? What will you decide? What if you make the wrong decision? I mean to work and work and work for something and then to give it up for something or someone seemingly special that truly is not there. Totally blindsided by love or something new. Could something more worse ever happen to anyone? Can it? But if so, what would result to that person and his or her inner soul? What would happen to the passion and striving for something more meaningful or different in one's life? Would career types of goals forever vanish? Would the marrow really be sucked out of one's life? Where does Ryan Bingham go from here? Back on a plane I guess. Picking up another backpack of experiences. Oh that backback of his..that backpack we each carry around with us. Multicolored. Sturdy. Handy. Portable. Inclusive. Unbrakeable. Compact. Touching. It holds our identity. And our identity holds it...yes it holds it together at times by a final twisting little piece of string. Hang on "Ryan"...hang on.
2. "Family Connections." What about the reconnection with family? Being from Wisconsin originally, the VFW posts, beer pubs, wintry roads, former high schools, and little hotels in faraway places had me thinking. I remember those days ice fishing with my father on Lake Mendota in Madison as well as Lake Pewaukee nearer to home in Milwaukee and those much further to the north (and colder). I remember the dirty snow. I remember the endless beer and brandy poured out. I remember the accents (no, not Fargo-like, but close). And I remember moving away and now not wanting to live there again. It is just too cold. But will we all someday return home to celebrate who we are and find our identity in our family? What will draw us back? Will it be something accidental or purposeful? Is it destiny to return? And what happens to those who never do...who never come to grips with the fact that their current occupation is not or can never be the whole of who they are?
3. "On the Run" which some might call the theme of "Flight." Then there is the theme of leaving and being always on the run or on the go. We are flying here or there and just where "there" really is does not matter. What matters is the departure...getting on that plane. What are we departing from? Where are we arriving at? A new life for a day or 2 or a week? Some space? What happens to one's soul when there is no permanancy or place to call home except for 15 or so days of the year? Can home be up in the air? Can it be in plane? Can flying provide a sense of home? Can home be in the airport ala that movie Tom Hanks was in a few years back (The Terminal, 2004)? Can it be going through endless security checks? Just where is home for those road warriors? Is there a need for home that we all feel? Or are a select few excluded from it?
4. "Commitment." St. Louis one day. Omaha, Detroit, Las Vegas, Chicago, or Miami the next. What are people who travel so much running from? Commitment? Death? Stability? A sedentary lifestyle? Or are they trying to remain young or keep their future options open by not commiting to anything or anyone? Alternatively, might they be commiting to the world at large and trying to provide service to people spanning the far reaches of the globe instead of just those in a particular company, organization, region, community, neighborhood, or city.
5. "Love" and "Spontaneity." Love is certainly a theme. What happens when one shuts out love or emotion for years or decades and then finds it, only to have it quickly and without much warning shut on him or her? What happens next time? And can love just spring up spontaneously when on the road when one is avoiding commitments? In some ways, that word--"spontaneity"--is a theme as well. Much is preset in "Up in the Air" but so much more is happening on the "fly" or in a highly spontaneous and uncontrollable fashion. Do these two words--"love" and "spontaneity"--dance with each other throughout one's life? Do each serve in their own way to make one more creative and complete? Do they coalesce at some point to help one find his or her true volition...or, in this case, to potentially take a huge detour from it. As noted above, the paths we seek for years can come to halt when we meet what we think is our destiny in the form of a future soulmate or ideal project or new initiative. What new projects arise each month or week or day that take us away from our focus, goals, and life quests to make a difference in the world...or our slice of it anyway?
6. "Apprenticeship." Apprenticeship is a theme. One is coached and mentored by those with more experience and insights on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Such timely apprenticeship can take place face-to-face or via an assortment of technologies today (phone, text messaging, MSN, Skype, videoconferencing, etc.). Apprenticeship is all around us. A solid mentor can pull one through some rough times and send one on an accelerating trajectory. Sometimes, however, it is quite confusing to know just who is doing the mentoring and who is being mentored. The newbie at work just might have some creative insights into solutions to problems that have been perplexing management or a team leader for years. We each learn from the "green" people around us as well as those who are black and blue from all the bruising battles they have been in. Personally, I learn most lessons from people decades older and younger than me. Ryan Bingham is learning from a rich array of people around him in this movie. The more he mentors and apprentices others, the more they mentor him.
7. "Life Purpose." What is life is a theme. What is our purpose. In the movie, George Clooney (Ryan Bingham) thought it was to get up and go and never put down roots. At some point, he questions it. He thinks about that grand life choice. Seeing someone younger than him go through the emotions of a relationship definitely has him thinking. Life purpose is the big question eating away at each of us each day of our lives, and it happens whether we know it or not. This movie is one of many that put such inner life questions on display and they tug at the soul of the audience. That tugging is what raises films like this above most others.
8. "Reaching More Modest, Mid-Term, and Momentary Goals." Then there is the goal of having flown nearly 10 million miles and counting down to the ultimate day and flight. And when it happens, you are too distracted to really remember it or to focus on it. We are humans. As such, we are goal driven creatures. Goals sometimes dictate who we are and what we do...too often in fact. But after having flown so many miles each year, Ryan Bingham reaches his goal, and in a strange way, he does not care. The potential relationship and commitment overrides it. Love here once again has trumped those little goals that consume us all endlessly each day, each month, each year, without end. Teeny, tiny, little goals and narrow focuses get us through all those flights to Omaha and Las Vegas (though a few shows at night might help as well). But when one finds someone or something to finally commit to, those more modest, smaller, or mid-term goals are quickly forgotten or flow to the background of one's life. They are momentary goals and that is really all that they are. Why do we spend so many hours fretting about them? Well, perhaps we do this to give us the expression, "such is life."
9. "Change." Change is a theme. Change is a constant in the lives of everyone in the movie. Change, like the grim reaper, will creep up on you. You get fired. Move to a new address or city. Find a new job. Head to a new location. Get a different boss. Find a new lover. Learn to like a new song or dance move. Fly a different airline. Use a different rental car service. Some people cope with change better than others. Some cannot take change of any shape or form. How can such people be helped? Does firing them via videoconferencing soften the blow of losing a job? Does having a patented or preset answer to each question that may come up along the way really help someone cope such change? And what happens when several such predicaments or life stressors come in succession or waves? Do you want to simply ignore or, worse, strike out, at those with their forms, formats, and canned talk?
10. "Control." Parallel to change is the tenth theme of control. You think you control your life. But it is really the company, the economy, the pilot, the agent, the flight attendant, the neighbor, the sister, the niece, the co-worker, etc. They all have a piece of you and your life. So what do you really, ultimately control? Can you really control anything? Do you control any aspect of your life when you shut out most or all others from it? That is one way to view this film anyway. In actuality, I believe in some personal sense of control in one's life path--i.e., you can fly American (which I rarely do) or Delta/NW. Well let's hope for more personal control than that. What do you think? Do you control each step you take...each decision you seemingly make...each accomplishment you might list? Yes, personal control is a theme here all right.
These are 10 or 12 themes that I see in Up in the Air. I am sure that you will have your own themes or issues; this movie is full of them. As someone who gives 80-100 or more talks per year all over the globe, I can relate to much of it. However, I do not have any goal to reach 10 million miles anytime soon.
And for me? I go up in the air in 4 days to Oklahoma City and 4 days later to Atlanta and then Auburn, Alabama the following day. During the past few weeks, I have been to Fargo, Minneapolis, Frankfort (Kentucky), Indianapolis, Houston, Austin, etc. You can find those talks posted as color PDF documents at my TrainingShare.com site in the achived talks section. You can also find some video snippets I did for STARLINK in Dallas on their recent program on the Web 2.0 in Higher Education (which they filmed in Bloomington back in early January). They will produce another show later on this month related to motivation with technology (wherein I will make an appearance or 2 or 3 perhaps) using footage from the January filming.
For now, TravelinEdMan, is enjoying this 2 week reprieve from flying. How about you? Up in the air are you? See ya there then...see you there. And do bring along your backpack and show me a few things that you have in it. I am forever curious. I will bring my famed fishbag to show you...bought in 1994 during the AERA Conference in New Orleans, there are just a few threads holding it together.