Perspective: Expressing Inexpressible Experience

[Click here and I'll let you know when I publish future posts.]

Health brings a freedom very few realize until they no longer have it.

The Guardian article linked above reminds me of different times. I've not always had good health and in fact, I've been confined to scarcely more than a bed or couch for months at a time.

The x-ray below was taken on my 22nd birthday as I awaited surgery on my left lung for a second time. It shows a 15% collapsed lung. To add a little context, I had been in bed unconvinced but hoping it would heal for two weeks. This x-ray was a turning point--the moment I realized I would have surgery again. I spent the next four weeks obsessively researching from my breakfast-in-bed style table.

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Outdoor Inspiration and Students: Partnering with the Cottonwood Institute

Last term, I taught an Outdoor Education class for 11-14 year-olds in partnership with the Cottonwood Institute. It was a pretty amazing experience. I've written a guest post for the Cottonwood Institute that you can find here, and I've copied it below...

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Design EDU and the "Education Conversation"

 [Estimated Read-Time: 6.5 minutes]

I recently had the good fortune to participate in Design EDU, an event that brought together 50 education professionals including teachers, foundation heads, school founders, program directors,  CEOs, etc. from both the private and public sectors around the country. The structure is very similar to Startup Weekend, where participants rapdily design, prototype, pitch innovative projects/start-ups, and network with funders over the course of a weekend. Design EDU is slightly different as it's centered around innovation in education.

In the first section of this post I'll talk about the Design EDU experience; in the second I'll discuss some of the major problems I see with the conversation around education in America. Click here to be notified when I publish future posts.

The Design EDU Experience

Much like The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Design EDU experience was one part experimental, one part virtuosic. Their selection process yielded participants with very impressive projects/experiences who are dedicated to innovating in the education space.

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From Speech to Teach: Translating Metaphors in Education

This post was written when I was in the midst of philosophically re-designing an educative experience for the philosophy program that I started at a high school in Eugene, Oregon. It's a look at how the design of an amazing speech/presentation might be seen as an analogy to a good educative experience.

A modified design structure based first on this analysis turned out to be incredibly profound.


[Enter Nathan circa 2010]

I believe design is an extremely important aspect of any project, though unfortunately it is often overlooked, whether the project relies on conceptual, practical, visual, or any other form design. This seems to be especially true with real-world projects where the results are not only measurable, but visceral as well.

I rediscovered this video today and since he does an amazing job taking his live audience along with him, I thought I'd analyze what he's doing. It seems like translating and modifying his presentation's structural design could provide us with a great starting place, and a way to quickly make our ideas actionable. There's definitely some work to be done with this if we think there's stuff we can take from it though.

So here's the progression of his talk as I interpret it. It's a very good/entertaining talk anyway, so watch along, if you feel so inclined, as you read this. Each bullet point following a number states his particular execution of the point in his talk:

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Interview with The Circuit



I'm kind of obsessed with rock climbing. The Circuit, now basically my second home, is one of the largest bouldering gyms in the world. Bouldering is a style of climbing where you use crash pads instead of ropes, you also don't climb very high: 10-20 feet usually.

Anyway, The Circuit is profiling some of their climbers and my interview is first up, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

Here's a preview--you can find the whole interview at the link below.

How long have you been climbing?
I’ve climbed for about 3 years, but only seriously for about half of that.

What originally inspired you to start?
I started just recreationally climbing with friends at a gym in Eugene. Just about the time I started to get really obsessed, my left lung spontaneously collapsed (unrelated to climbing) and I had open chest surgery in February 2010. They cut my left lat completely in half to get through my ribs and open me up, so the docs weren’t too optimistic about my climbing prospects. They said that at best, I’d be able to do moderate exercise after a year or more. So I had surgery. After 6 weeks of post-op recover and literally hundreds of hours of climbing videos (seriously, thanks Sharma), I started legit training on the wall 6 weeks and one day after surgery, as per my medical release. So without a doubt, that experience has permanently embedded climbing in my DNA and I’m only even more obsessed a couple of years later.

Do you have any words of wisdom for others trying to recover from injury or long layoffs?
Don’t try to impress the... [keep reading here]