Some More Samples

Yet a couple more samples created while tinkering with Adobe products at the Foothill College Krause Center for Innovation classes. I used Illustrator on these to get an idea of its capabilities. Really looking forward to Flash classes the next two Saturdays. (Even though I know HTML5 might be the next big thing.) The teacher for the Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash classes is Janet Davis. Check out the front page of her website at . She is a fine artist as well as an instructional and graphic designer.


The Beach at Half Moon Bay

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More Photoshop Fun

Flying Fish on Mint Plant

Flying Fish on Mint Plant

Here’s a couple more fun photos from another Photoshop class yesterday. Looking forward to Illustrator and Flash classes in March.

Ocean at Half Moon Bay

Ocean at Half Moon Bay

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Ideas for Informational Malamute Website

I am beginning to work on an informational website for my Web Development class. The topic is going to be malamutes. I’m attaching here a PDF of the outline that I’ve previously developed on the content that will be included in this website. Let me know if you have any comments! Stay tuned for further developments….


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Instructional Design Training and Learning New Products

This blog has been pretty quiet due to the fact that suddenly — abracadabra — all the training that I desired materialized (along with the corresponding paperwork.) Yippee!! Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and Flash through Foothill College Krause Center for Innovation. Intro to Java Programming. And “Educational Multimedia Web Development” as part of the the Advanced Instructional Design Certificate through San Diego State’s Department of Educational Technology. Update 2/27: I will be taking Intro to Java at a later date. Need to catch up on building my website.

I’m attaching here some of the fun little work samples I created during the Photoshop and InDesign classes. This Saturday is the “Great Books with InDesign” class and I’m really looking forward to it.

3 Dogs Walking

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Mourning the Loss of a Yoga Studio

For about a year and a half, I’ve been practicing yoga at Soula Power Yoga. Sadly, the studio is closing as of tomorrow, December 31st. The teacher, Marta Weinstock, will be splitting her time at two studios, a new one called Breathe, and the well established Willow Glen Yoga. I really appreciated the heat in this studio,  and its contributions to strengthening my practice, as well as Marta’s emphasis on the breath. Many a class I actually sweated, and often I swum seamlessly into a meditative state during savasana. Something about the closing of this studio just does not sit right with me.  If anything, we need more yoga in the world, not less. Where will all the college students go to practice now? Willow Glen and Los Gatos are a little far for them to travel without a car.

Looks like I will have to choose among Breathe, Willow Glen, and YogaSource Los Gatos. Now I know that Silicon Valley is no New York City, but I still pine for the pure Ashtanga bliss I experienced at an all-Ashtanga, all-the-time, studio there.  It’s where I really committed to heart the starting chant.

I’ve tried Yoga is Youthfulness in Mountain View, and that was heaven. Truly ideal would be the opportunity to begin a Mysore practice. I guess I could always try the 7:30-9:30 Sunday morning. In any event, you can find me at a free yoga class or two this weekend. Eventually I would like to see what Jivamukti is like, since I neglected to do so while in NYC.

By the way, a good birthday present would be The Language of Yoga. I’m always seeking new models and “languages.”

Happy New Year, yogis and yoginis!

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Goal Setting, the New Year, and Multiple Capabilities

Juggling the patchwork of lifework (must I say careers?) that I am developing that lies at the intersection of program development, project management, marketing, communications, social media, instructional design, education, and educational therapy (not to mention my interests in policy and public service) is becoming a little bit of a challenge to my current time management and organizational systems. Since I am planning to start a business at some point, it behooves me to get a system in place that has the capacity to expand as I expand my bandwidth,  and the tasks I am capable of and interested in performing on a daily basis.

I don’t yet have a smartphone. And I don’t use a calendaring function on my computer. What I do use to organize myself is the good old standard paper calendaring system. Something about looking at the grid of a monthly calendar is pleasing. Perhaps it’s the visual thinker in me.

For the past several years, I have carried a two-page monthly calendar and penciled in daily appointments, tickler reminders, and dates bills are due. Lately, however, these pencil reminders have spilled out over their neat little rectangles into other days.

About a year ago, I attended a presentation by Pierre Khawand of People-OntheGo at an ASTD Golden Gate seminar/workshop on the foundations of the learning and development profession. (It was an extremely informative series of workshops, by the way.) I was so jealous when I wasn’t the lucky winner of a copy of his book, The Accomplishing More with Less workbook. As a smart marketer and knowing that people are looking to set goals at the beginning of a new year, Pierre recently sent out an email reminding his list of the products he has available.  So I ordered a copy of the book today. And no, I didn’t get the Kindle version, although I easily could have, and could have saved some money as well. (Although I am using the B&N gift card I received for attending a book club user research group, so it’s a “free” book anyway.) I just enjoy having a book in my hand. Plus, it’s a workbook that I might actually want to write in. Even though I don’t usually write in my books.

Mind you, I’m not opposed to the Kindle or e-readers or even e-books. If I had an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab (which at least displays Flash) you can bet that I would be spending some time playing with that. Rather, there are so many competing demands (mostly related to determining what are my goals, completing left over classwork,  as well as family issues) that I just don’t have the time to investigate where and how I can get the reading material that I want to read. Sorry, I just don’t want to read Pride and Prejudice right now, even if it is free. Mostly the books I read at this time are so specialized that they are not likely to be available in e-book format, if they’re not textbooks. The e-book marketplace is so new that it’s going to take some time to shake out. The implications for Instructional Design of all these mobile devices are of course really interesting. Check this out: Mountain View students have been using the iPad as a Magic Fiddle. And there’s an entire e-learning conference devoted to m-learning.

About the calendar, I’m going to buy one from Franklin Covey. Thinking about this one. Having space to actually write inside the calendar (what an idea!) instead of on multiple pieces of paper that I stuff inside my planner cover should help to keep things more organized.

And oh yes, there is also my Personal Marketing Plan.  I am very proud of this document, which I began just after Thanksgiving. I display it here for your perusal. It’s quite a blessing to be capable of so many things, but having multiple career paths also means having to make some challenging choices about what to pursue, and when.

Susan Neva MPA Personal Marketing Plan Dec 2010

Now I’m looking for workshops on goal-setting and goal follow through. I’ve seen several in the past couple of months but have run out of time to attend them (pun not intended). It’s time to develop an overall plan about what I want to do… several months ahead, 1-year, 5-year, etc. Any suggestions for good books or workshops? I’m already motivated, I just need some more tools.

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The Leaf

If I had to choose a personal symbol and style, it would be the Leaf. That’s one of the reasons you see mint leaves on this blog. I would like to decorate my house with leaves. You know how some people go bonkers over dog paraphernalia, especially their favorite breed of dog, or they collect all kinds of objects with mice on them, or some people like cows, or cats and that’s what they collect. Cow mugs, cow objects, cow plates, cow dog bowls… anyway, you get the picture.

I would get towels and shower curtains and plates and dishes and bedding and curtains with leaves on them.

And I would get a Nissan Leaf.

Today the first consumer received a Nissan Leaf. He’s here in the Bay area.

While I was looking for a car (my first car) last year, I became aware that the Leaf was planned for delivery in December 2010, but I needed to buy a car so I could not wait that long. While I had always said that my first car would be an electric car, I got a Honda Civic Hybrid. I chose it over a Prius for a few reasons (in no particular order.)

1)      No blind spots.

2)      Driver’s seat can be elevated to fit someone with a short torso.

3)      Body construction safer than a Prius, especially in case of rollover.

4)      More stable in windy conditions. It can get quite windy here.

5)      Cheaper.

6)      And, I did not know this would be such a plus, heated driver and passenger side seats.

Here’s an image of the car I got, and an image of the Leaf. Can you say trade-in?

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Kindle Counting

Around March of this year I was thrilled to be the lucky recipient of a free Kindle2, the result of putting my business card in a raffle at the DevLearn2009 expo. Now I want a Kindle3. The graphite color is so nice. Or at least the best and latest e-reader that Borders and Best Buy and Barnes & Noble and who knows who else is putting in the front aisle for you to see as soon as you walk in the door. Oh, and I want an Android too so I can tweet on the go. Santa, are you listening? I know I only just started texting and using Facebook this year, but I’ve been a good girl, Santa.

I was excited with my Kindle2 for about 4 days. I tried downloading free books thanks to Andrys Basten, and downloaded a couple I knew I would never read. I emailed PDFs to myself using the required converting function. Never read those either. So what have I used my Kindle2 for? Again thanks to Andrys, who provides a bookmarks file especially for mobile, I have done the following: Surfing the web. Checking the weather. Checking the traffic. Reading the headlines. Checking my gmail. Checking my gmail. Checking my gmail.

Guess what, there’s something else to try… of course… games! And driving directions! This should cut down on the written paper directions I have lying around the car. There’s also for free RSS Feeds. Thanks for the tips, Andrys. I’ll check them out.

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DIY Education –> DIY Career

One of the blogs I read regularly is Maya Frost’s. She has a very interesting background in mindfulness training and global education and is currently living in Uruguay with her husband, but is soon to move back to Japan after having been there 22 years ago teaching young children. She has raised her daughters to be global citizens. In her book The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a TrulyInternational Education , which I would love to read, she describes how her daughters all lived abroad (with or without her and her husband) and also obtained great college educations in other countries, skipping ahead, learning languages, and in the process gaining a global mindset at a lower cost. Her term for it is Smart Education Design.

I read her latest post about what she’s going to be doing in Japan, playing with preschoolers, and her reflections on the self-regulatory behavior, self-talk and creativity she’s going to be fostering in them through her role in stepping back and offering loving support and very gentle guidance.

I was struck by her last comment: “Kids will figure out how to play if we provide the right environment and get out of the way.” Wow. Sugata Mitra told us the same thing in his keynote address Sunday night at Big Ideas Fest 2010. The Indian children were able not only to figure out what the computer hole in the wall was, but also how to use it for entertainment and learning, all without the assistance of any adults. When children would ask him, “What do we do?” his reply was “I have no idea. And now I am going to go.”

At one of the Action Collabs on Monday at Big Ideas Fest, we were asked to pair up in an improv exercise. One partner would name two objects for the other, and the other would comment on them, moving the scene and conversation forward. “Yes…and…” My partner told me that I was not that bad at being creative. It was reaffirming. Yeah, I guess I can be creative after all…

After returning home and reading Maya’s article, I began thinking about my own education history. My parents sent me to Montessori school at a very young age. I recall engaging in a lot of active, imaginative play even as an older child. I still sing silly songs to my partner today. Maya says, “Those who have spent years developing right-brain education techniques understand that children can be taught to maintain a strong right-brain orientation and that it is easier to do so if they begin the balancing act at between three and five years of age.” Wait a minute here. Maybe I need to nurture my right-brain orientation even MORE now as an adult. Why don’t I seek a work environment (or create one for myself) where the creativity that my parents allowed me to develop is rewarded and encouraged? Design thinking is needed now more than ever to solve some of the most intractable problems in education. In searching for my niche, I have realized that perhaps I just need to create my own. DIY education leads to a DIY career.

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Menthe and Mint Berry Learning

I discovered the photo of mint on this site with a quick Google images search. It only took three tries before I found the perfect image. Pretty, isn’t it?

At the bottom of the Wikimedia Commons page where the photo is housed, it says “Category: Mentha”, which covers all the various varieties of mints. So I googled “menthe.” There’s  crème de menthe. “Crème de menthe is a sweet, mint-flavored, alcoholic beverage.” There’s Creme De Menthe Brownies and a recipe from The Food Network. And there’s recipes for cocktails and cookies.

Strangely enough, I don’t really like the combination of chocolate and mint. I did purchase Trader Joes’ Candy Cane Green Tea. I do like mint gum and mint toothpaste. I love chocolate, both dark and milk, and flavored. I put berries (or bananas) in my morning oatmeal/Malt-O-Meal combination. And the name Mint Berry Learning just came to me one night as I was falling asleep. Somehow it just works.

Key learning from Big Ideas Fest: It’s okay to make mistakes.

Therefore, Trust the process. Something new is born.

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