Goals/Strategies/Explanation: Clothing the Emperor & Dangerous Discussions
The challenges we address in "Clothing the Emperor" are Dangerous Discussions Issues that have been polarized and hyperbolized.
Goals for Clothing the Emperor
We try to reveal simple truths and useful options that may be disappointing to those who prefer the more dramatic and polarizing claims of zealous advocates of innovation – or the equally hyperbolic claims of their opponents who resist such changes most avidly. We are committed to providing starting places that are both interesting and useful enough to repair the damage that often results from more exciting and illusory activities.
We want our work to be more useful than useless, more harmless than harmful.
We are committed to finding those “intermediate” issues (issues with scope somewhere between setting foreign policy and resolving interpersonal conflict) where we have some credibility and some expertise; where we can make contributions that are both substantive and procedural; where we are most likely to be able to identify and engage others who have even more to offer; where we can help directly as well as by offering coordination and working in collaboration with others; by sharing our experience and expertise in this very rapidly changing part of the world where technology and education meet – where technology and education keep touching each other so furtively, tentatively, eagerly, and expectantly.
Framework for a Civil, Constructive Conversations
I. Anti-inflammatory Description
II. Polarizing Views or Questions
III. Worthwhile Results
IV. Evidence and Priorities
V. What do YOU care about most?
Deflate the hype and defuse artificial disagreements: restate the issue and the challenge in more realistic and less inflammatory ways.
Identify polarizing positions or questions. Restate them in ways that are least inflammatory, least pejorative, most likely to enable stakeholders who are initially committed to apparently opposing views to engage in civil, constructive discussion.
Identify mutually beneficial options.
Delay or stop if participants cannot achieve civil, constructive conversation likely to develop widely respected solutions [most likely, repeat the effort until progress resumes or seems impossible; if the latter, re-direct the issue to some other venue, some other decision-making procedure]
Develop, launch, support, and revise obviously useful actions with likely positive ongoing, cumulative, and long-term results.
Develop and implement improved policies.
"Clothing the Emperor" fits within our Dangerous Discussions Initiative, the goal of which is to engage participants in mutually beneficial discussions about important and controversial issues
- in problem areas where we can help them build something together,
to improve teaching and learning – with technology.
We recognize that Web pages CANNOT be enough by themselves for these purposes; but we hope that the Web pages we develop for this initiative - including this one - can be valuable resources when used effectively in workshops and other collaborative activities. We seek ways of using technology to support, not undermine, communication and collaboration.