Education Ecology         Blog

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Writer -- Educator -- Consultant -- Speaker

Writing has been an important part of my life for over 60 years. Before harboring thoughts that this span of time makes me comfortable as a writer, think about the words of Hemingway who said: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

As a college faculty member for 33 years, clarity of instructions and assignments were paramount; writing made that clarity possible. During those years,  writing was a constant part of lecturing and designing instruction, developing grant and budget proposals, providing faculty leadership, promoting computing for instruction, and carefully writing literally thousands of exam questions. For the unique self-paced laboratory experiences my courses provided, I published three manuals* I was an advocate and and a member of the evaluation team for a multi-year effort promoting Writing Across the Curriculum.

Following those decades serving higher education, I moved to northwestern Wisconsin becoming a consultant serving school districts, economic development and workforce development organizations, as well as several non-profit boards and small, start-up businesses with grant writing and business planning. For ten years my weekly blog, TGIF -- Taking Great Ideas Forward, was read by hundreds of subscribers who appreciated essays that focused on the busy intersection of ecology and economics with edgy commentary that emphasized education. One result was increasing attention on what I came to call Education Ecology. A 300+ page book with that title has been drafted and is in revision. Along the way I have become increasingly passionate about our schools and the critical need to offer a new paradigm for education in order for education to meet pressing social needs; and, every bit as important, for society to support education as a life long institution of society. Education should never stand alone and apart from the society in which it is embedded. Education change and reform efforts that remain separated from the communities and neighborhoods where people live, work and play will be lost and increasingly a waste of money.

I would be delighted to speak to your group. My talks include provocative questions and proactive remarks about education; but, I'm increasingly interested in the conversations and questions, which I hope my commentary will stimulate. Education Ecology, my theme and book title, is all about our relationships and how we can act together to do what is right for ourselves, each other, and for the future. Past is  not a predicting prelude but a stepping stone. Our planet needs many ideas to be sustainable and we need to be stewards of the best of those ideas. Trying what we believe will work is part of a process for discovery and learning; taking steps for better ways to work and learn. Working is taking action to do something that will make a difference. Our future is the total of the differences we will make. Innovation is taking new steps with a difference; inventing and reinventing to create a sustainable future. 

*Published Manuals --  1.) "BioMAPP: BioInstructional Objectives for Minicouses in Anatomy, Physiology and Pathobiology." 2.) "After 3 Billion Years: Exploring Contemporary Biology." 3.) "Life: The Fantastic Frontier," 

An Autobiographical Self

There are plenty of places to take a personal history spanning 81 years. What follows will outline some of what I hope to capture; what I currently consider important and worthy of sharing because it may be of benefit to someone, sometime, somewhere. The thing about teaching and writing is that you rarely get a glimpse of any impact, especially across a large span of time. 

Over 81 years confidence about who I really am has been elusive. Some of that comes from pushing the envelope without knowing the outcome in advance. Nevertheless, over the years I have managed to accomplish a few good things. What follows will be an exposition of my most recent thoughts on a broad range of personal topics from  a lot of years. 

Family -- a magnificent blend of biological children (Brent & Erika), step children (Mike, Mark & Jennifer) and grandchildren (Hunter, Sawyer, Wyatt, Kiera & Riley). Parents (Obed & Verona) and Grandparents (Frank & Amy (Johnson) Lindgren, paternal; Charles & Amelia (Mainquist) Peterson, maternal). A genealogy centered on, or at least flowing from Sweden to Iowa. The "Lanyon Lindgrens." Red Oak connecting Peterson's and Carlson's. Diaspora of children, grandchildren (my cousins) and great grandchildren. Religion via Iowa and the Evangelical Covenant Churches with too many ignominious twists that turned me from early faith and mostly unquestioned belief to skepticism and humanism with plenty of room for free thinking, tempered existential philosophy and a mild curiosity about why the world's great religions continue to be such a personally powerful and positive force, yet globally a destructive force, for so many lives. Recently my two brothers, Dave and Steve, have collaborated in setting up a family website: www.lindgrensonline.net. The site now indludes curated photography and documents as well as genealogical and demographic records. At group of about 15 including cousins and cousins' offspring as well as second cousins, has been meeting regularly via Zoom. Accordingly a rich trove of stories have been recorded.

Friends -- across a lifetime there have have been may acquaintances that have shaped my existence. Someday, but likely with minimal public record I intend to list these people and make some note of the important years and events that have bearing on our relationship; at least from my perspective. Alpine skiing was an important part of my teen and early twenty-something years. With my brothers, Dave and Steve, I was deeply engaged with the National Ski Patrol System serving in several leadership roles with a base from Buck Hill in Minnesota. From 1955-1975 a lot of my life revolved around skiing and I made career decisions that put skiing first, including the decision to accept a position at what was then Normandale State Junior College and is now Normandale Community College, in Bloomington, MN. .

The Biological Sciences -- my engagement; past, present and future. My mentors and hero's, special interests, and the incredible history of biology after 1960 when I became engaged as an undergraduate finding fascination and motivation with molecular genetics. Graduate work propelled me forward with Biochemistry, Cytochemistry, Cytogenetics, Microbial genetics, Virology. and Tissue Culture. A focus on Nucleic Acid and Protein chemistry followed me into teaching. A fortuitous engagement with a student introduced me to Psychoneuroimmunology and the fascination that continues today with the amazing role of the brain-body phenomenon that is life in animals and is no less so for human evolution and development.

Philosophy -- Questions about life have, if not quite permeated, been an important part of my life. Seeking answers to questions about how human lives, and mine in particular, fit into the great theme of being and not being are hardly divorced from the biological sciences. Formal studies of philosophy when I was an undergraduate were important sources of questions and mystery that have never abated. Recently (past decade or so) more attention has been given to philosophical topics with some particular focus on education. Philosophers of Education, Dewey, Biesta, Illich, Banathy, have driven my reflections toward the nexus of ontology and epistemology as it is shaped by what happens to humans in the first decade of life beginning at conception.

Higher Education -- Mankato & Normandale colleges: The Faculty Positions, Teaching, Testing & Learning, The Courses, Audio-Tutorial Instruction, The Biology Learning Center, Lecturing, Course/Instructional Design, Laboratory Designs, Model Organisms, Experiential Learning,  MCCFA, the IDEA Consortium, the Electronic Academy, Video Production, Animations, MultiMedia Ventures, Microscopy.

Photography -- Scientific, Commercial, Industrial, Educational; Portraits and Studios, MCIPA. The Beginnings as a teenager. Richfield High School. 

Consulting -- Microbiology, Education (Workstation for physically disabled, Digital Village Application, Educational Technology), Promoting Economic Development (Leadership, Grant Writing, Workforce Development), Supporting Environmental Values and Institutions (LSBF, Advancing the Vision, CEID), Facilitating Dialogue -- Making Connections,  . . . 

Writing -- Grant Writing, Essays, Writing Across the Curriculum (Evaluation Team), Teaching for Thinking, Computing In Instruction. 

Published Manuals --  1.) "BioMAPP: BioInstructional Objectives for Minicouses in Anatomy, Physiology and Pathobiology." 2.) "After 3 Billion Years: Exploring Contemporary Biology." 3.) "Life: The Fantastic Frontier," 

TGIF -- Taking Great Ideas Forward. Essays spanning 10 years. This began in 2004 when I was president of the Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation. I needed a simple and effective way to remind stakeholders about meetings within and outside the corporation. An initial effort included an essay, a schedule and a joke. Followers grew to a list of several hundred, and I never missed a Friday Press Enter for ten years. By 2014 I found myself focused in other directions and moved on. TGIF Any Day ... is still the title for my occasional efforts to Blog. This blog is now embedded in this personal website and can be reached with the link above.

Recent Essay Writing.  Compilations-- The Blog(s). The Stacks -- My weekly amalgam of sourced ideas and personal reflections piled high and may even deep. Over the past four years there has been precious little that has been published in my new iteration of the blog: TGIF Any Day ... that continues to strive for a good look at the busy intersection of economics and ecology with continuing concerns for the role of education in life. Recently I have been interested in the way economics plays a role in the life of an individual's homeostatic (homeodynamic) protection and preservation of life itself; certainly a matter that can never be divorced from the individual's ecology -- an autobiographical study of where, why and how an individual  (who) lives (what & when)  out a lifetime. I'm becoming more convinced that "learning" is not a very useful term. Education may be much more about the economy of life than it is about learning as our imprecise uses of the term suggest but never adequately define. SEE MORE HERE.

The Book(s): Education's Ecology; Why Teaching, Testing, Textbooks and Technology are Not Enough (unpublished). The New Ecology of Education (in progress). 

Public Speaking -- Keynotes, Current Lecture Topics.

The Futures of EducationChange in education is inevitable. Schools and schooling represent an outdated framework for education. The futures of education will emerge and evolve as our biology affirms new social imperatives that assure a sustainable economy and communities of empathy that respect the worth and dignity of individuals.

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Revised and copy added: 2 January 2022.