Friday, September 30, 2011

Nearly 200 Websites to Find Out About Anything and Everything

Jane Hart, the founder of The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, has created a list of nearly 200 websites which provide information and/or instruction on a wide range of informational and educational topics. According to the site:
This is an alphabetical list of nearly 200 websites ... that include general reference resources, how-to guides, wikis, how-to videos, podcasts, courses, lessons, tutorials (including open courseware), e-books as well as other reference resources and places to ask questions both online and on your mobile.  The resources are suitable for learners of all ages: students as well as workplace learners and lifelong learners – as well as teachers, educators and trainers.
Click HERE to learn about the 198 sites that Jane has provided. I guarantee that you will find some new and interesting sites that you can learn from!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

7 Long Island Students Arrested in SAT Cheating Scheme

According to MSNBC: (9/28/2011)
A college student flew home to New York to impersonate high schoolers who paid him to take the SAT on their behalf, and even took the exam twice in one weekend under different identities, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Between 2010 and 2011, six students at Long Island's Great Neck North High School paid Sam Eshaghoff, 19, between $1,500 and $2,500 each to take the SAT for them, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.
Click HERE to read the article in it's entirety.
My first thoughts on this article concern where would a high school student get so much cash? Did the parents help with the payment? It does make you wonder doesn't it?

I know my personal outlook on things are more "black and white" because I believe you are who you are and you reap what you sow. Fortunately I'm all out of cliches at this point and I understand there is pressure to succeed and pressure to get into certain schools, but I really don't understand the rationale behind cheating.

There are obviously other reasons to cheat as well such as laziness or being unprepared, unethical behavior, and the hilarious excuse of not knowing right from wrong. Seriously, what is wrong with trying your best on whatever you are doing and accepting the result? If you know me, you understand how competitive I am. I would almost rather die than lose at anything and although losing eats away at me, I know I did my best and I can live with that.

I wish all parents and students would be able to accept this rationale because a test is simply a point in time reference and the result of one test should never shape your life. However, getting caught at cheating can shape your life as you get arrested and have a criminal record. That will definitely affect your college choices and potentially your career choices. Is cheating worth that risk? Not for me...

See related blog posts:
School Cheaters Often Have Personality Disorders, Study Finds
Cheating Our Character
Cheating Among Students: an Epidemic?
Cheating on the Rise Among High School Students
Schools Tackle Growing Practice of Cheating
Who Cheats? (list of blog posts about cheating)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Power of Learning and Forgetting Curves

Dr. Will Thalheimer provides an in-depth look at his work on learning and forgetting curves in the following video that you can access from his Will at Work Learning blog.

I think Dr. Thalheimer's work is extremely relevant in the field of career and technology education as we design and employ learning interventions. We need to analyze not only how we train our students, but what is the result of the training on performance? Did we engage the learner and build understanding during training? After training, did we provide additional learning, prompting mechanisms, reminding mechanisms, and applications for learning? Did we remember that measurement is also an important aspect in the evaluation of learning?

Please watch the following video to understand the power of learning and forgetting curves:

I hope you also took time to consider Dr. Thalheimer's "7 Step Training Maximizer Model" that is at the end of the video. This action item will help ensure that learning curves occur during and after training and the effects of the forgetting curve should be minimized.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Be Creative...Draw a Stickman

Draw a stickman and watch him come to life. Check it out:
(Customize the message that appears at the end of the adventure. Then share it with your friends!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - Turn Your Twitter, Facebook, and RSS Feeds Into Online Newspapers

The Cool Cat Teacher Daily Tweetpaper, the product of Swiss startup SmallRivers, allows you to easily scan the hundreds of valuable articles shared daily by the people you follow on Twitter, Facebook, and through RSS feeds. Articles are organized into topics, summarized, the multimedia is extracted and tweets are re-integrated into context. could have great applications for classrooms and also for businesses as a way of sharing information without blogging.

I recommend using along with Listerous. Listerous is a Twitter list directory, where you can find a list on almost any subject you can think of. You can take any one of those lists and create a newspaper out of it in For example if you like Technology, go to Listerous and find a list under the keyword Technology and create a newspaper out of that list. Now once a day, you can have a newspaper with all the major news headlines or the topics that interest you the most concerning Technology. As I mentioned above, the paper shows text, pictures and video. It even has a live feed of tweets that are coming in realtime from that list.

Alternatives are Flipboard (aggregates your twitter, facebook, and other feeds in a ten page magazine format) or Feedly (a news reader that allows you to read share the contents of your favorite sites) which you can use on your smart phone or tablet. The advantage to these options is that the updates occur in real time and not on a daily basis like All of these are great products, but the one that you choose depends upon your purpose.

Let us know if you create a newspaper!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Up to the Challenge: The Role of Career and Technical Education and 21st Century Skills in College and Career Readiness

I recently had the opportunity to meet Tim Magner, Executive Director for The Partnership for 21st Century Skills. We discussed how the United States faces a “skills imperative” and how college and career readiness should be the new direction for K–12 education.

He later shared the following publication from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills and I have listed a few of the highlights from the publication. I hope you will take the time to read the document in it's entirety as it demonstrates the importance of CTE in developing a student's college and career readiness skills. Please read:
Up to the Challenge: The Role of Career and Technical Education and 21st Century Skills in College and Career Readiness (follow the link to read the entire publication)

Three developments make it possible to anticipate better student outcomes that are more tightly aligned to postsecondary, business and civic needs in the future:
  1. Consensus that the foundational academic knowledge needed for postsecondary education and for careers is virtually the same, with growing recognition that academic skills, and employability and technical knowledge and skills, are essential as well.
  2. Widespread agreement that lifelong learning and “learning how to learn” are key drivers of success in college, careers and civic life
  3. Collaborative efforts in states, districts and communities to strengthen their collective capacity to deliver results that matter
Shared understandings
  • All students need to be college- and career-ready.
  • College and career readiness requires both knowledge and skills. It’s time to abandon the false dichotomy between knowledge and skills.
  • How students learn has a decided impact on what they learn
 Action agenda:
  • Emphasize opportunities to master 21st century skills.
  • Prioritize strategies to engage students in learning and meet the needs of students with different learning styles.
  • Prepare students for STEM occupations and other high-growth, high-wage careers.
  • Give students opportunities to earn valuable credentials.
  • Foster productive relationships between students and teachers, employers and higher education.
  • Support transitions to postsecondary education.
  • Employ best practices for college and career readiness.
Again, I hope you will read: Up to the Challenge: The Role of Career and Technical Education and 21st Century Skills in College and Career Readiness!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Sigmoid Curve and "Messing With Success"

“If we did not exist, would we reinvent ourselves and, if so, what would we look like?”

I created the following post in 2010 but I wanted to revisit the idea of Charles Handy's Sigmoid Curve after attending several meetings during the last two weeks. When discussing educational technology, the predominant feeling consisted of helplessness and a hope for many administrators to retire so we could fully embrace educational technology.

I disagree with this line of thinking because I actually have hope for the near future and for administrators (most administrators anyway). Technology is becoming more invasive in our everyday lives and as students, teachers, parents, and administrators become more familiar with technology, their fears and negative thoughts toward technology will change (laws and regulations are another story).

I tend to think of things in more of a historical perspective and we need to retain our senior level executives as they are the foundations of our businesses, agencies, and schools. They are the reasons for our success and their experience is knowledge and this knowledge is a resource that should be utilized. The only thing that needs to occur is a change in philosophy.

What this means in practice is that we must constantly engage in second-curve thinking (Sigmoid Curve). We need to stay skeptical, curious and inventive, challenging the assumptions underlying our current curve and developing alternatives. We need to ask questions!

Please read more about the Sigmoid Curve and how we should "Mess with Success" below:

I have been thinking the last couple of weeks about my own personal learning habits, the CareerTech Testing Center, and on the "business" of education.

The last few days I began to think of Charles Handy and his Sigmoid Curve. This S-shaped curve can be used to describe the life-cycle of products, organizations, and even relationships. As the curve symbolizes the fact that nearly all of life’s endeavours start slowly, dip and falter through an experimental stage before rising to a pinnacle of success, after which there is inevitable decline.

To avoid such decline, decisions have to be made about further improvement at the point where success is still growing and before the entity/individual starts to experience this plateau. For many, this is a difficult thing to do. After all, if you have just survived the difficult and trying times, who wants to begin new sacrifices and give additional effort? Shouldn't there be plenty of time to relax and bask in your success?

I think good leaders and good learners know that this is the time to think about the next phase of change; resting on laurels will invariably lead to decline.

On its own, the S-shaped curve is a kind of depressing, and not particularly helpful. Is my life and/or my organization on the downward curve? What's left? Just thinking of putting your head in the sand and waiting for the inevitable end?

Actually, the power of the Sigmoid Curve comes when you begin to add a second curve to the original curve (see below). Charles Handy suggests that constant growth and development is achievable if we start a new initiative before the first one begins to decline (point X).

Paradoxically, this means making changes when the first curve is nearing its peak and the venture is flourishing. This is when an organization has the time, resources and the energy needed to see a new curve through initial explorations and floundering. Although there will inevitably be more motivation to change at “Y” when the first curve is in decline, at that point it takes enormous effort to move to where one ought to be on the second curve.

How do you make the second curve happen?

Knowing when to start a new curve is one thing and getting it started at the right time is quite another thing. Whether the second curve is a new product, a way of operating, a strategy or a culture, it will require fresh ideas and inspiration; and always be different to the first.

Handy believes that in an organization, the people who lead the second curve will also have to be different. Not only do original leaders need to keep the first curve going while the second takes off, they will also find it difficult to abandon their first curve while it is doing so well: there is a strong temptation to recapture past glories. What this means is that for a time there will probably be tension, confusion, chaos, backstabbing, anarchy (the area between X and Y) while new ideas and new people coexist with the old until the handover between first and second curves is complete. I recommend that everyone be as open as possible and just communicate. Develop feelings of mutual trust.

As Handy puts it, the paradox of success is that what got you where you are won’t keep you where you are.

When do we begin the second curve?

The key question becomes, “where are we on the first curve, and when do we need to start the second?” Handy suggests we will only know this for sure when we look back and, without hindsight, it is best to proceed by guess and assumption.

What this means in practice is that we must constantly engage in second-curve thinking. We need to stay skeptical, curious and inventive, challenging the assumptions underlying our current curve and developing alternatives. We need to ask questions like, “if we did not exist, would we reinvent ourselves and, if so, what would we look like?”. It is this kind of thinking that gives birth to second curves.

I think this is a different way of thinking for many of us and in reality, we should celebrate different points of view and different personalities. Our culture should be one that creates an attitude of messing with success.

In summary, the message of the Sigmoid Curve is that we need the foresight to start making changes even when it is not yet obvious that change is necessary, and the courage to switch from one curve to the next when the time has come.

In these trying economic times, the management philosopher thinks he can survive -- even prosper -- in the tough new downsized world as long as he understands the forces that are shaping it.

Now I ask that you will examine your personal Sigmoid Curve for learning and also where your organization (school/Agency/business) is on the curve?

Most importantly, remember to:
  • Courageously ask the tough questions.
  • Cultivate an attitude of messing with success.
  • Creatively experiment with new combinations of old ideas.
  • Celebrate different points of views and personalities.
  • Encourage and celebrate new ideas.
  • Remember that contraries are your friends and not your enemies.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About – 2011 Update

I found a great post on the EmergingEdTech Blog that I wanted to share with you. I agree that these ten technologies should be a topic of discussion, but they should also be a topic for implementation. The post contains numerous links to example apps and articles so you can learn more about each of the categories listed below:

1. Video and Podcasting Resources 
2. Digital Presentation Tools 
3. Collaboration & Brainstorming Tools
4. Blogs & Blogging
5. Social Networking Tools
6. Lecture Capture
7. Student Response Systems & Poll/Survey Tools
8. Educational Gaming
9. Open Educational Resources
10. The iPad and Other Tablet Devices

Please read "10 Internet Technologies Educators Should Be Informed About – 2011 Update" in it's entirety. It's a great resource for educators, especially for those that are new to educational technology.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Daniel Kraft: Medicine's future? There's an app for that

At TEDxMaastricht, Daniel Kraft offers a fast-paced look at the next few years of innovations in medicine, powered by new tools, tests and apps that bring diagnostic information right to the patient's bedside.

This video highlights the current state of mobilization in medicine and it's impact on education. I believe mobilization is reshaping teaching, learning, and workforce development and changes will continue to occur at a faster and faster rate. As Kraft states, we are in an "era of miniaturization, decentralization, and personalization" and I believe this has a significant role in the future of education.

Please take the time to view this video! If you ever had any doubts about the impact of mobilization in education then you need to watch this video! (Thanks to June Weis at SREB for sharing the video!)

Daniel Kraft is a Stanford- and Harvard-trained physician-scientist with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, biomedical research and innovation. Dr. Kraft chairs the Medicine track for Singularity University and is Executive Director and curator for the FutureMed, a program which explores convergent, exponentially developing technologies and their potential in biomedicine and healthcare.

Dr. Kraft is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Pediatrics following residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and completed Stanford fellowships in hematology/oncology & bone marrow transplantation, and extensive research in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. He has multiple scientific publications, medical device, immunology and stem cell-related patents through faculty positions with Stanford University School of Medicine and as clinical faculty for the pediatric bone marrow transplantation service at University of California San Francisco.

Dr. Kraft recently founded IntelliMedicine, focused on connected, data driven, and integrated personalized medicine. He is the inventor of the MarrowMiner, an FDA approved device for the minimally invasive harvest of bone marrow, and founded RegenMed Systems, a company developing technologies to enable adult stem cell based regenerative therapies.

Daniel is an avid pilot and serves as a officer and flight surgeon with an F-16 Squadron in the California Air National Guard. He has conducted research on aerospace medicine that was published with NASA, with whom he was a finalist for astronaut selection.
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