OpenSpace Phoenix Reflection

My first OpenSpace experienceandexposure to Scrum was fantastic at the very awesome environment at Gangplank in Chandler, Arizona. Alyssa quickly knocked out my initial grumpifications of wanting the bottom line immediately in the Scrum Workshop by making me realize that the journey of discovery with open-minded co-collaborators was as valuable (if not more) than the actual objectives of the learning.

The results of that workshop for me was:

So what? Higher awareness is critical to effective evolution.

Now what? I have a new challenge for embracing change instead of resisting or dreading it.

Not just focused on my own metacognitive reflection, but also the goals that I’d like accomplish on a more holistic level in my organization and industry are as follows:

  1. I would like the other campuses (learning formats) understand Online curriculum’s unique and agile delivery methods.
  2. I would like for online learning to be less of such a self contained bubble.

In the process of the workshop, I realized something interesting, that was later more strongly noted in the OpenSpace time. Education strongly follows the Waterfall technique, but it is a foreign concept to me. When I was taught ADDIE for curriculum, I was a bit mortified at the development time and the amount of corrections that were unnecessarily created. The experience in my organization focused on a much more just-in-time and agile approach to development so delivery could occur at every level, even if the early deliveries were much more skeletal. While Scrum guidelines and management techniques were not adhered to exactly, we followed most of the concepts of Scrum without realizing it.

The process of breaking down all of this information with collaborators from other industries and from my own educational industry was immensely valuable. The entire OpenSpace approach was the most ‘magical’ experience I have ever felt in a room full of strangers….strangers who quickly became partners of thought.

Below are some pictures to describe some of my experiences there.

Jasmina Nikolic and I were asked to put together the banner for this OpenSpace, which was intimidating to both of us because we are from the educational industry and assumed that art majors were required for this 🙂 However, we got very into the planning and decided that software understands and has refined Scrum to a point that it was very civilised for them. As such, the road became a cobblestone road the farther one went, with an eventual dirt trail through the wilderness. The goal with the sunrise on the water with the slight waves on the words was that Scrum and any management methodology was fluid, always experiencing new insights and evolution.

Well, that was our take!

I absolutely loved the attitude towards children in this environment. The evening before the actual OpenSpace started was prepping the environment, to which Elle was not only welcome to run around, but was given the impression that she was most helpful, which put her on a very special Cloud Nine!

Something rather awesome was the Marketplace that you see Tobias hanging above. For those familiar with OpenSpace, you know that this is where people select relevant topics to lead discussions. For me, it was an entire world opening up! Discovering Lisa Maurer’s (below) talk on Scrum in relation to curriculum design was a great connection as we were able to have a very fruitful discussion with a lot of input from others on the impact of agile techniques for curriculum design in both academic environments (university) and textbook courses provided by publishers.

Here is what Derek Wade put up as an action item for him, Lisa, Jasmina, and myself to put together. I don’t think we’ll meet our deadline, but am quite sure that we’ll pull our session together that will completely shock and excite attendees of an educational conference.

The biggest thing that I pulled away from this conference was the realization that I am not alone. Working remotely can sometimes leave you in a vacuum, and it is discouraging when your ideas are not always embraced or noticed. However, there is not an excuse now. It is our responsibility to go find those open minds and surround ourselves with that mode of thinking.

Suzanne, the facilitator, asked everybody at the very end what our final thoughts were…this cobbled analogy explained it best for me:

I feel that I took the pill of reality from the Matrix and woke up
in Magneto’s plastic cube, but I see the door!

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.

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