My husband reads science and is a self-proclaimed geek.  I am not.  I am more of a "tourist" in the world of science and technology, coming and going randomly.  It is as a tourist that I sometimes pick up his books and magazines and read them.

I recently read the following paragraph in a book about math and how it affects our world:

“A way to wonder

One method we can all use to pour forth one creative idea after another is to begin with our everyday world, imagine some subtle property slightly altered, and then explore this altered state. Which features remain the same? Which features are different?  Exploration of a hypothetical world generates whole galaxies of new ideas. And we'll discover a synergistic interplay in which those new ideas will lead us back to new insights into our familiar, everyday world"

[Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making light of weighty ideas.  E.B. Burger & M Starbird, 2005, p 167] 

I was very struck with this idea.  This is an interesting way of finding new solutions, of increasing connectivity in programs and independence in students.

There are a lot of changes that we all want to make.  Educators in general and especially VI professionals are all about change.  The challenge is how to achieve it and where to put our efforts.  The task can seem daunting.

What if….

But what if we played the "what if" game?  What if we thought about our current world or that of our students and subtly altered it? What if this Louisa could travel to the playground independently?  What would the impact be? What would we need to do?  

Or what if all of the team picked a set of limited domains to focus on and what if we thought of "a galaxy of new ideas" to achieve it?  Or even 2 members?  A stellar idea!

Expanding galaxies

How will I use this in my job?  The Bring Your Boss to Work project is one way, VI professionals and administrators have a difficult time understanding each other. 

What if administrators and VI professionals had a better understanding of each other?  What would remain the same?  It would vary on the caseload and situation.  What could change? The options are endless including realistic performance evaluations, professional development options and more appropriate caseloads.

To advance this idea TSBVI and Texas AER recently hosted the Second Annual Bring Your Boss to Work week.  This project encourages VI professionals to invite their boss to spend 2-4 hours with them as they visit their students and share each other's world.  

The reports from people who brought their boss to work are amazing.  They speak of overwhelming success and pride in what they do.  So what if more people did this?  What if we hosted it again next year... but altered it slightly?  What could change?

Will this solve the issues of limited information and understanding?  I can't think so.  But not unlike the boy who saved a single starfish by throwing it back into the ocean, it could make it better for students in that district.

Expand your galaxies. Play “what if”, and then make it so.

KC Dignan, Ph.D.
Professional Development Coordinator