Being Regular is Good

Being regular is good. In many ways. 😉

But in this case being regular is about trying to be consistent and persistent in sharing ideas and content. I realize one of the beautiful things about a blog or any online space is the freedom to publish whenever. Even though most of us don't publish as our primary jobs, we all understand the power and value of sharing. I've talked about that once or twice myself. 

Like spending enough time with good friends, I have this need to read and listen to my favorite people who happen to also be great thinkers and sharers. These people who have taken the time to set up shop and blog provide me with wonderful insights and ideas to mull over and pass along to others. I depend on their desire to share. And when they don't, I miss it. 

Being someone who is 7+ years into blogging and and even longer reader, I began to think of many of the early bloggers and podcasters who have either slowed down dramatically or quit altogether. For the majority I have no idea why but presume life got in the way and that's understandable. For others I Read the rest

Your Research Matters

Cross posted at the Huffington Post

John Spencer is quickly becoming one of my favourite reads. He’s clever, succinct and more importantly works with kids everyday. His recent post about why he doesn’t believe in research comes to me after experiencing a few issues around research of late.

Much of my own feelings about research are a result of reading a lot of Dave Weinberger’s writings. Weinberger talks about the changing shape of knowledge and that network knowledge is negotiated as opposed to traditional knowledge which was more accepted. Print and books are designed to contain and be the final word on truth. You don’t ask questions to paper. Now with work being online, our reaction is always to want to have a discussion around ideas. Of course this is extremely liberating both also problematic when everything is questioned and conversations involved many perspectives. Welcome to democracy. 

While preparing for an upcoming presentation I came across a slide I’ve used citing that our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Sounds impressive and useful for convincing folks to use more images to help understanding. The problem is the research, as far as many can tell is not Read the rest

Pimp My Slide

I like design and I like making slides. We know that images can increase recall and understanding. You don't have to agree and this post isn't so much about convincing you of that as it is about the wonderful ways in which collaboration and push back can happen online and actually make things better. 

I've been thinking about the phrase which I have come to dislike, "it's not about the technology" I wanted to capture that idea in an image and began thinking about the way musicians use their instruments. Trying to find a name of someone who would be most recognizable I chose Yo Yo Ma. You don't have to acknowledge if you've never heard of him before because the image I found tells you all you need to know about his love of music and the cello. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldeconomicforum/2297224410

 

​So I began with this:

 

After I posted it to flickr, Darren chimed in with this suggestion:

 

Try using a brown similar to the cello instead of yellow. You can use the colour picker in Keynote to do that.

Love the pic, and the quote.

I tried that and responded:

Tried your advice Darren

Read the rest

Playing with ideas at Educon

I don't go to conferences to get new ideas. I've been down that road. That's not to say that there's nothing for me to learn but as connected as I and many others are, it's rare that something will be shared that is completely new. I attend conferences to play with ideas. That's why Educon is a great conference. It fosters and encourages playing with ideas. 

I was involved in leading 2 conversations and both were learning experiences for me. Darren Kuropatwa and I led a session called "What's Wrong with This Picture?" I learned a lot during our planning stages and since Darren and I have never presented together before, it took some time to get our cadence and feel. We both felt there were some good things we did and also some things we would change if we were to present this again. Educon sessions generally focus around rich conversations using a variety of formats and strategies but the idea is for as many as possible to participate. Darren and I wanted to see if we could get our participants to play and explore with ideas around imagery. We were a little concerned it may … Read the rest

The Kahn Academy

I may be the last person on the planet to discover this, but even so, it’s worth showcasing. The Khan Academy is a website created by Sal Kahn who began it by wanting to tutor his nieces. (Reminds me of Darren K and Ellie.) What started out as a simple way to help them understand difficult math and science concepts is now a storehouse of over 1,000 videos. Listen as Sal explains why he did it and the power of this new form of learning. It’s well worth the 20 minutes.

I’m not convinced the idea of short tutorials works in all disciplines but certainly it does for Math and Science. As much as this body of work is impressive for the content, I’m more impressed by the passion and joy Sal gains from helping others learn. In addition the form factor here is worth exploring.  If you skipped the video go back and watch it and perhaps you can answer the following:

What are the implications here? Could a student learn Algebra with this without attending a high school class? What does it make us rethink when it comes to school and learning?… Read the rest