Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

Bloom's taxonomy is a recognised framework for ordering the complexity of thinking skills. It's used all over the world in educational planning and assessments.

Check out the new Bloom's digital taxonomy which has an updated taxonomy (see pic). The revised taxonomy includes:
  • collaboration
  • Web 2.0

Notice also that 'Creating' is now considered a higher-order thinking skill than 'Evaluating'. 'Synthesizing' has also been removed.

Download the pdf. version and share it with your students and colleagues.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Working in a Group

Continuing the series of slides by Mr. Nelson Allan...

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: groups working)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Peer Support & Evaluation

Continuing our series of TLC workshops:

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: peer support)

Conflict & Conflict Resolution

The following few days will showcase some of the presentations TLC has been giving. The first one is something on Conflict & Conflict Resolution presented by Mr. Nelson Allan.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: conflict resolution)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marketing Exercises

Try these marketing exercises and test your grasp of brands, advertising and even website names.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"I Store My Knowledge in my Friends"

Last Friday, the SLATT class talked a little about connectivism, the cutting theory of learning which emphasizes, among other things :
  • diversity of opinions and the need to create and nurture new connections

  • connecting specialized nodes or information sources.

  • the capacity to know more as more critical than what is currently known
    nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning

A key catch-phrase is 'I store my knowledge in my friends', which reflects the shift in the loci of learning from ourselves (behaviourism and cognitivism) to items we create (constructivism) to other people (connectivism).

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Metaphors for Learning

1. Planting flowers -- A seed is planted in my mind which I nurture with water and sun in the faith that it will sprout and grow.

2. Playing cards -- I divide things into four categories and look for patterns across the suits until the logic and meaning emerges and I know which card to play.

3. Savings account -- I invest the time to accumulate data and information until there is enough interest that I can roll it over into the next idea.

4. Switching on a light bulb -- It's not until the light switches on that I have an insight or an 'ah ha'.

5. Eating -- You need to take in the basic meat and potatoes before you get to the mouth-watering dessert.

6. Being a detective -- It's all about uncovering the facts, looking for clues and asking the right questions until the whole mystery makes sense.

7. Peeling an onion -- I peel off a layer which reveals the next layer to be peeled off. Each time something teIls me I'm get closer to the core of the matter.

8. A quest -- I'm searching for that illusive something and every step I take brings me closer to what I need to know, but I never get there ... it's a continuous journey.

9. Sculpting -- You start with the raw material and shape it into a form that's pleasing to the eye.

10. Wrestling -- I struggle with the ideas until they're pinned down and I've captured them.

What other metaphors can you think of?

Shift Happens

Learning Theories

Dear SLATT participants,

It should be exciting for all of us to learn (and un-learn and re-learn?) from each other. Kindly download and browse the below summary of four popular learning theories and share your thoughts.
  • Which theory are you most familiar with or which best characterises the teaching and learning you've experienced?
  • What other theories would you recommend?

Good Ideas Have Lonely Childhoods

Hugh MacLeod has an upcoming book called Ignore Everybody, where he writes about the life of fresh ideas and idea-makers.

Here are some random points from his first chapter:

1. "Good ideas have lonely childhoods". When I say, "Ignore Everybody", I don't mean, "Ignore all people, at all times, forever". No, other people's feedback plays a very important role. Of course it does. It's more like, the better the idea, the more "out there" it initially will seem to other people, even people you like and respect. So there'll be a time in the beginning when you have to press on, alone, without one tenth the support you probably need. This is normal. This is to be expected. Ten years later, drawing my "cartoons on the back of business cards" seems a no-brainer, in terms of what it has brought me, both emotionally and to my career. But I can also clearly remember when I first started drawing them, the default reaction was "people scratching their heads". Sure, a few people thought they were kinda interesting and whatnot, but even with my closest friends, they seemed a complete, non-commercial exercise in futility for the New York world I was currently living in. Happily, time proved otherwise.

2. "Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted." The older I get, the truer this sentence seems to be. Especially in industries that are more relationship-driven, than idea-driven.

3. "Fight The Power". The good news is, creating an idea or brand that fights the powers that be can be a lot of fun, and very rewarding. The bad news is, they're called The-Powers-That-Be for a reason i.e. they're the ones calling the shots, they have the Power. Which is why the problem of selling a new idea to the general public can sometimes be a piece of cake, compared to selling a new idea internally to your team. This is to be expected: having your boss or biggest client not liking your idea and firing you, hits one at a much more immediate and primal level, than some abstract housewife in rural Kansas hypothetically not liking your idea, after randomly seeing it advertised somewhere. Which is why most team members in any industry are far more concerned with the power relationships inside their immediate professional circle, than what may actually be interesting and useful for the customer.

4. Idea-Driven vs Socially-Driven businesses; which one are you in? The answer is, of course, both. "What you know" determines what kind of access you're given to people. "Who you know" informs what kind of access to ideas you're given, and when. Though all businesses tend to skew differently in either direction. My experience in the wine trade is a good example of an industry that's primarily socially-driven, at the expense of being idea-driven. I've heard a lot of wine trade folk over the years yakking endlessly on about "Innovation!" Why? Not because they necessarily had any actual new ideas worth talking about, let alone acting on, but because "Innovation" seemed to be a word that their big customers [the supermarkets] liked hearing. So they used the word whenever possible, gratuitously or otherwise. In other words, they were acting in a socially-driven manner. Primarily, they just wanted to be liked.

5. "I want to be part of something! Oh, wait, no I don't!" I've seen this before so many times, both first-hand and with other people. Your idea seems to be working, seems to be getting all sorts of traction, and all of a sudden you got all these swarms of people trying to join the team, wanting to get a piece of the action. And then as as soon as they get a foothold inside the inner circle, you soon realize they don't really understand your idea in the first place, they just want to be on the winning team. And the weirdest bit is, they don't seem to mind sabotaging the original idea that got them interested in the first place, in order to maintain their newfound social status. It's probably the most bizarre bit of human behavior I've ever witnessed first-hand in business, and it's AMAZINGLY common.

6. Human beings are messy creatures. I suppose the main thesis to this post is; the hard bit of having a "good idea" is not the invention of it, nor the selling of it to the end-user, but managing the myriad of politics and egos of the people who are supposedly on the same team as yourself. Managing the vast oceans of human chaos that all enterprises ultimately are, underneath the thin veneer of human order.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Will Machines Outsmart Their Makers?

Two links on artificial intelligence:

1. Minds of Their Own, from the Economist

"Throughout history, engineers have spent their lives inventing machines that were faster, stronger, more reliable or capable of greater precision than human beings. Whether they were Jacquard looms, combine harvesters or CAD-CAM gear, they were tools for amplifying some human skill or compensating for a weakness.

But always they needed human intelligence to function. That’s now changed.

Neuroengineers build tools that think for themselves, making decisions the way humans do."

2. Super-Intelligent Computers, from the Enterprise Resilience Management Blog

"Advances in artificial intelligence are creating machines with near human-like mental agility. Intelligence will be embedded everywhere -- even in our clothing, thanks to smaller, more powerful computers....The program will either scare you or assure about the future."

Online Mentoring for Teachers?

"The newest generations of teachers, like their students, have always connected digitally. As tech-savvy learners and communicators, they look online for inspiration and support.

In the not-so-distant future, educators will seek and find personal and professional support through online portals where mentors will offer time, energy, and advice to their less seasoned colleagues.

"These online mentors, functioning as colleagues and friends, will help weave another web of relationships to keep new teachers in the profession. The novice in an urban school with high turnover and budget challenges will benefit from a veteran's advice about the school's political landscape.

A new teacher with a classroom-behavior emergency will find help a few clicks away."

Read the full article.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

For Participants of the 6 Thinking Hats Class, 9/11

Dear 6-Hatters, thanks for the sporting participation at yesterday's session. Hope you find the slides helpful.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: thinking hats)
Do also check out this prelude post on how to apply the hats to your studies. See you on the 18th!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Winner of TechCrunch 50

Yammer is the new winner of the TechCrunch 50. It's Twitter with a business model.

"Created by an existing company, Geni, to scratch its own itch, Yammer takes the familiar Twitter messaging system and applies it to internal corporate communications. There is such a huge demand for this type of service that 10,000 people and 2,000 organizations signed up for the service the first day it launched on Monday.

"Anyone with a corporate email can sign up and follow other people in their company. But if a company ants to claim its users, and gain administrative control over them, they will have to pay.

"It’s a brilliant business model."

Read more about the competition, Yammer and the runners-up.

4Cs for Sparkling Results

"Great content is more than entertainment or a way to waste a few minutes. It’s even more than a way to build rapport with your readers. Great content is an asset that can be leveraged. Create valuable, sparkling content and great relationships, for the most enduring success with content marketing."

These 4Cs' are recommended for copy-writing and copy-blogging, but I'm sure they can't hurt for other forms of writing?

1. Clarity - Content is not king. Clarity is king.

Effective content must be absolutely clear if it’s going to persuade. There’s an old advertising saw: “The confused mind does not buy.” Whether you want your readers to subscribe, to bookmark, or to buy, confusion is the enemy of action.

Making your content clear isn’t the same thing as dumbing it down. For models of intelligence and clarity, start with Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, or Jane Austen.

You might find a readability scale like the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test useful. If your content scores above a sixth-grade level, take a look and see if you can simplify it. Shorten your sentences. Use simple, muscular words rather than the multisyllabic ten-dollar versions.

Clear, straightforward writing allows your brilliant ideas to shine more clearly. In fact, clarity is doubly important when your ideas are complex.
If you want a tougher test, give your content to someone who doesn’t know your subject. What seems straightforward to you may be hopelessly murky for your reader.

2. Cut - Great content gets to the point. A book reader might be willing to wade through pages of irrelevant description to get to the good parts. A Web reader is not. The more ruthless you are with that delete key, the brighter your copy will shine.

The first step is to look for extra words and flabby language. Clean up redundant expressions and wording that doesn’t directly get your point across.

Then make another pass to distill your ideas. Blog posts and online content work best when they focus tightly on a single topic. As a happy bonus, this not only makes life easier for your readers, it also makes search engines happy. The more narrowly you focus each individual piece of content, the easier your material is to find, to read and to act on.

3. Color - While you’re polishing and honing, make sure you don’t strip the color from your content! If your readers wanted the facts and nothing but the facts, they’d read software manuals. (Which, as we all know, no one does.) Your audience is coming to you for a colorful, lively take on your subject.

Color comes from two main sources: stories and details.

Storytelling is the most ancient human art, and arguably the most important for a persuasive writer. While there have been thousands of great articles and posts written on storytelling, here’s a quick tutorial: Put forward a main character your reader will identify with, make sure at least one interesting thing happens, and make sure there’s a point. Don’t be heavy-handed, but there should be a “moral to the story” somewhere, even if it’s subtle.

Once you have your story developed, make it shimmer with a few well-chosen details. Each detail should show us a little something about the main character or about the point. If your well-chosen details support those two, your glittering details won’t turn into dull, dusty verbiage.

4. Carats - What’s one of the key factors that makes a diamond really valuable? How much it weighs. All other things being equal, a single two-carat diamond is much more valuable than a pair of one-carat diamonds.

Lots of Web content is flimsy, weightless stuff. It may entertain briefly, but doesn’t have any real worth. It doesn’t build authority or a base of loyal fans.

Strategic content needs to have some weight to it. It’s fine (and a nice rapport-builder) to post something purely silly or entertaining from time to time. But most of your posts should contribute real value to your readers. Improve your readers’ lives on a subject they care about, and they’re much more likely to link to you, talk you up to their friends, and bookmark you on sites like Delicious.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by the ephemeral appearance of the blogosphere. Content of substantial weight and value can continue to bring you readers for years into the future.

5. Collateral - Square cut or pear shaped, these rocks won’t lose their shape~ Marilyn Monroe

If you’ve been reading me for any time, you know how much I treasure the relationship you build with your audience. I’ll never sell that love short . . . but as Marilyn sang so memorably, it’s diamonds that are a girl’s best friend.

Internet Impacting Our Reading?

Has the Internet impacted the way we read? As computers mediate our understanding of the world, has our own intelligence 'flattened to become artificial intelligence'? Find out more from two recent uploads:

1. The Google Generation

2. Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Online Plagiarism

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

6 Ways to Attend Conferences for Free!

Conferences should be a natural staple of a life in education. Go here for a list of conferences around the world. Unfortunately, registration fees can be a you-know-what.

LifeHack has some good ideas, summarised below but do check out the full essay:

1. Cover it for the press

2. Look for contests

3. Volunteer your services

4. Ask your boss to send you

5. Present at the conference

6. Ask for a scholarship

Directed Thinking for Planning, Analysis & Reflection

This was a session conducted for the Diploma in Engineering students.

Guys and Rebecca, I hope it helped somewhat. Keep planning and thinking, always.

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: thinking directed)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

The famous lecture which became a famous book. You can read the lecture transcript or, better still, just watch the video (smile).

Speed Read

Speed reading aims to improve reading skills by:

Increasing the number of words in each block: This needs a conscious effort. Try to expand the number of words that you read at a time: With practice, you'll find you read faster. You may also find that you can increase the number of words in each block by holding the text a little further from your eyes. The more words you can read in each block, the faster you will read!

Reducing fixation time: The minimum length of time needed to read each block is probably only a quarter of a second. By pushing yourself to reduce the time you take, you will get better at picking up information quickly. Again, this is a matter of practice and confidence.

Reducing skip-back: To reduce the number of times that your eyes skip back to a previous sentence, run a pointer along the line as you read. This could be a finger, or a pen or pencil. Your eyes will follow the tip of your pointer, smoothing the flow of your reading. The speed at which you read using this method will largely depend on the speed at which you move the pointer.

Read(!) more.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

21st Century Illiterate

Futurist Alvin Toffler wrote, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Do you agree with him? How do you think it would apply to college?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Food Properly Combined

Healthy bodies make healthy minds. Watch your food combinations.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

10 Worst Job Tips

The Summary or Objective at the top of your résumé is the wrap-up; It tells the reader, "This person know who s/he is, what s/he's done, and why it matters." Your Summary shows off your writing skills, shows that you know what's salient in your background, and puts a point on the arrow of your résumé. Don't skip it, no matter who tells you it's not necessary or important.

Another piece of horrendous job search advice tells job-seekers to share as much information as possible. A post-millennium résumé uses up two pages, maximum, when it's printed. (Academic CVs are another story.) Editing is a business skill, after all—just tell us what's most noteworthy in your long list of impressive feats.

Any résumé that trumpets "cross-functional facilitation of multi-level teams" is headed straight for the shredder. The worst job-search advice tells us to write our résumés using ponderous corporate boilerplate that sinks a smart person's résumé like a stone. Please ignore that advice, and write your résumé the way you speak (, 8/22/08).

A very bad bit of job-search advice says "Whatever you do, don't ever miss a phone screen! Even if you're in the shower or or on your way to be the best man at your brother's wedding, make time for that phone interview!" This is good advice is your job-search philosophy emphasizes groveling. I don't recommend this approach. Let the would-be phone-screener know that you're tied up at the moment but would be happy to speak at 7 p.m. on Thursday night, or some other convenient time. Lock in the time during that first call, but don't contort your life to fit the screener's schedule.

Do bring up money (, 8/7/08) by the second interview, and let the employers know what your salary requirements are before they start getting ideas that perhaps you're a trust-fund baby and could bring your formidable skills over to XYZ Corp. for a cool $45,000. Set them straight, at the first opportunity.

Successful job-seekers use friends, LinkedIn contacts, and anybody else in their network to locate and reach out to contacts inside a target employer. Playing by the rules often gets your résumé pitched into the abyss at the far end of the e-mail address If you've got a way into the decision-maker's office, use it. Ignore advice that instructs you to send one résumé via the company Web site and wait (and wait, and wait) to hear from them.

I've been recommending sending snail-mail letters to corporate job-search target contacts for three or four years now, and people tell me it's working. The response rate is higher, and the approach is friendlier. A surface-mail letter can often get you an interview in a case where an e-mail would get ignored or spam-filtered. One friend of mine sent her surface-mail résumé and cover letter to a major company's COO in New York, and got a call a week later from a general manager wanting to interview her in Phoenix, where she lives. She showed up at the interview to see her paper letter—yes, her actual, signed letter, on bond paper—and résumé sitting on his desk in Phoenix (probably conveyed via an old-fashioned Inter-Office envelope). An e-mail might have ended up in the COO's spam folder.

You can't wait for companies to call you back. You've got to call and follow up on the résumés you've sent. If an ad says "no calls," use your LinkedIn connections to put you in touch with someone who can put in a word with the hiring manager. Don't sit and wait for the call to come. Your résumé is in a stack with 150 others, and if you don't push it up the pipeline, no one will.

Give them your résumé, your cover letter, and your time in a phone-screen or face-to-face interview. But don't give anyone your list of references until it's clear that mutual interest to move forward exists (usually after two interviews), and don't fill out endless tests and questionnaires in the hope of perhaps getting an audience with the Emperor. Let the employers know that you'd be happy to talk (ideally on the phone at first) to see whether your interests and theirs intersect. If there's a good match, you'll feel better about sharing more time and energy on whatever tests and exercises they've constructed to weed out unsuitable candidates. Maybe.

This is the best way in the world to get overexposed and undervalued in the job market. (Exception: If you're looking for contract or journeyman IT work, it's a great idea to post your credentials all over.) People will find your LinkedIn profile if they're looking and if you've taken the time to fill it out with pithy details of your background. If you're not employed, include a headline like "Online Marketer ISO Next Challenge" or "Controller Seeking Company Seeking Controller." Your résumé posted on a job board is a spam-and-scam magnet and a mark that your network isn't as robust as it might be. These aren't the signs you want to put out there. Use your network (vs. the world at large) to help you spread the job-search word.