Tuesday, December 22, 2009

FP's Top 100 Global Thinkers

Ben Bernanke is no. 1. Check out the other 99.

10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010

By TrendWatching.

6 Ways to be a Human Lightning Rod of Creativity

1. Make room. Often times the problem of a creative mind is not the lack of ideas, but an over abundance, says Don. “There are so many ideas swimming around in your noggin that you don't know which one to act upon first. It can get congested up there, and if you don't find a release valve your brain can get more clogged than a summer sinus infection.”

Your challenge is simple: Make sure everything you know is written down somewhere. You memory is a moron. Don’t depend on it. Get every idea down as soon as it comes to you. Don’t judge whether or not it’s good. Just get it down. Because if you don’t write it down, it never happened. And you can’t use what you can’t find.

2. Position yourself to be struck. The U.S. National Weather Service also reported that out of the thousand people that are injured by lightning each year (oddly enough, most of whom live in Florida, aka, “The Lightning Capital of the World”), one third of all injuries occur during work, another third of injuries occur during recreational or sports activities, and the last third occurs in diverse situations, including injuries to those inside buildings.

Therefore: The secret is putting yourself in the best possible position for lightning to strike. After all, you can’t expect to be zapped while sitting on your couch every day. Now, I’m not suggesting you relocate to Florida. But getting out of the house and into the world is crucial component to supporting, enriching, inspiring and informing your work.

You GET ideas, as the raw materials for your work are everywhere. You SHARE ideas, as you bounce them off other for feedback. You ROUND OUT ideas, as new experiences add new dimensions to existing thoughts. Remember: Real art can’t be created in a vacuum.

3. Become idea safe. www.StruckByLightning.org is a Massachusetts-based non-profit corporation that promotes lightning safety. Their mascot, Leo the Lightning Lion, says that prevention is key. “No place outside is safe in a thunderstorm,” he said. Now, he reminds kids and adults alike of this truth with a variety of memorable slogans. So, what I’ve done is flipped each one with a challenge question as it pertains to becoming more strikeable:

• “When thunder roars, go indoors!” What are the signs of a brewing creative storm, and how do you respond to them?

• “Don’t be lame, end the game!” Are you quitting too early during your creative sessions, thus preventing the best ideas from surfacing?

• “Don’t be a fool, get out of the pool!” How often are you swimming in your pool of ideas?

• “Use your brain, don’t wait for the rain!” Are you waiting on inspiration or depending on discipline?

4. Creativity is a function of awareness. In the Wikipedia entry about lightning
,, I also discovered this piece of trivia: “Pine trees usually stand taller than other species, which also makes them a likely target for lightning strikes. Additionally, factors that lead to its being targeted include: High resin content, loftiness, and its needles that lend themselves to a high electrical discharge during a thunderstorm.”

Pine trees know what they’re doing. They have all the characteristics of a strikeable plant. The question is: What attributes do YOU embody that make you a likely target? Don suggests awareness as the essential element:

“I used to believe my primary source for attracting creative ideas was curiosity. It turns out that attribute most of my idea generation to awareness – simply being attuned to what's happening around me and absorbing these influences and seeds of ideas into my mind.”

Therefore: Think of your brain as a magnet. Invite innovative influences as metal shavings, collect enough metal and you can create a helluva lightning rod.

5. Discard evaluative tendencies. Treat every idea, every experience and every thought with deep democracy. I learned this practice from one of the coolest books ever written on creativity, Unintentional Music. Author Layne Arye suggests we value everything whether it was intended or not. “Let all the different parts of the idea express themselves and influence your creative decisions. Be deeply democratic by listening to – and valuing – all parts.”

Therefore: Stop telling yourself, “Well, if I don’t remember it when I get home, it couldn’t have been that important.” That, right there, is the fatal flaw. That, right there, is where most people go wrong. If you make an appraisal of your idea before it’s even written down, you’re assuming and operating on the assumption that how good or bad an idea is, (especially in the early stages of that idea’s development), actually matters.

It doesn’t. Good or bad means NOTHING. Assigning value to your ideas before they’ve been brainstormed, explored and expanded is a creative block. This causes you to fall victim to premature cognitive commitment, which prevents your idea from blossoming into its truest and strongest potential.

The idea isn’t “good.” The idea isn’t “bad.” The idea simply IS. That’s it. No adjectives allowed. Stop judging. Stop evaluating. Stop appraising. Write everything down, as soon as it enters into your brain. Don’t worry how amazing, how ridiculous or how insane the idea sounds, just get it down.

6. Learn to strike out. In my research on lightning, the most fascinating story was that of Roy Cleveland Sullivan (February 7, 1912 – September 28, 1983). He was a U.S. Park Ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Between 1942 and 1977, Sullivan was hit by lightning on SEVEN different occasions – and survived all of them.

Naturally, he earned the nickname “Human Lightning Conductor” and “Human Lightning Rod.” Sullivan is recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records as the person being struck by lightning more recorded times than any other human being. Interestingly, each of Sullivan’s lightning strikes is documented.

Why Don't We Value Teachers?

From GOOD Blog:

A new piece by Arne Duncan, the United States Education Secretary, starts out fairly predictably: He praises the fine, difficult work teachers do, repeats the sentiment that they "deserve" better pay, top-notch training and more respect, and so on. Then he asks the predictable follow-up question: Why don't teachers get the respect, admiration, and compensation they are owed? Then the piece gets interesting.

He proposes that part of the problem is that the whole system is stuck in the "factory model of the industrial age. Students, in classrooms that look uncannily like the classrooms a century ago, move through 13 years of schooling beginning at age five, attending school 180 days a year, and taking five subjects a day in timed periods similar to what the Carnegie Foundation recommended in 1910."

He also says that a big part of the problem is the way we churn out teachers the way McDonald's churns out burgers. Instead of encouraging excellence and creativity and innovation, teachers are run through a factory-like training, then spit out the other side without the professional development, mentoring, a sense of preparedness, fair and honest evaluations of their work, and so on.

Finally, he also kind of sort of (but never explicitly) seems to think unions are also to blame. He stops short of saying unions are to blame for bad teachers keeping their jobs (thus lowering the status of the profession as a whole), but there are undertones there, at least in my reading.

What do you think?

Kawasaki's 6 Twitter Types

Which category do you fall under? (See full post here)

  1. The Newbie. “What am I doing?” The Newbie signed up for Twitter less than three months ago and thinks it’s all about lifestreaming: “Watching my cat roll over.” These people quickly progress to a different type of use or abandon Twitter when no one pays attention to them. Motivation: curiosity about Twitter. Recommended approach: understand.
  2. The Brand. “What can I get away with?” The Brand balances the tension between using Twitter as a marketing tool and socially engaging people so as not to appear to be using Twitter as a marketing tool. Motivation: greater brand awareness. Recommended approach: observe.
  3. The Smore. “What’s in it for me?” The Smore (social media whore) sees Twitter primarily as a self-promotion tool to get something from people although a transparent Smore (“Bubbles”) is often a delightful person. The delusional ones are the pains. Motivations: making a buck off and gaining followers. Recommended approach: tolerate.
  4. The Bitch. “What can I complain about?” Despite deriving this name from female dogs, this is usually an angry man who envies people who generate content. They can be briefly amusing in a “shock jock” kind of way, but their bark is greater than their bite, and their bite is greater than their insight. Motivation: generating angry reactions. Recommended approach: block.
  5. The Maven. “What’s interesting in my niche?” The Maven is an expert in a field such as recruiting, marketing, or web design. If you’re interested in their field, following them is a rich, rewarding, and time-saving experience. Motivation: getting retweeted and recognized as an expert. Recommended approach: follow.
  6. The Mensch. “How can I help?” Mensches are few and far between. They lurk in the background until people need help and then they either know, or know how to find, the answer. They are seldom well-known or highly followed, but they save you tons of time and effort when you want to know something like the ideal dimensions of a profile background. Motivation: helping others. Recommended approach: adore.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cooperative Learning

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Why do an M.Ed?

Elona Hartjes shares why she decided to do an M.Ed - what about you?

As long as I can remember I have had a passion for learning. My Mom tells me as soon as I could speak, I drove everyone crazy with questions about everything. I needed to know why and why not. Fortunately all my years of formal education have not changed that. Living is still learning; learning is still living.

For quite some time now, the Internet has fueled my passion for learning. If I have a question, all I have to do is Google to find some of the answers I seek. Of course, that need to know extends to my teaching practice. I am always asking how can I better meet the needs of my students. Why are things the way they are? What can I do to change them? While I have found the internet useful for keeping up to date on current issues in education and for finding strategies and resources to improve my teaching practice, I have come to realize self directed study may not be the most efficient way to do this. That’s why I have decided to pursue a Master of Education, and that is why I am taking the course I am right now.

I have not been disappointed. The course I’m taking not only provides me with direction I seek, but perhaps even more importantly facilitates my learning by providing me the opportunity to be part of a learning community that reads, discuss, writes and reflects on a wide variety of topics related to education. I intend to share here some of my reflections that come from the readings and discussions we have had over the duration of the course.

I’m just finishing my final paper for this my first course. I’ll be honest and say I’m ready for a break.I’ll have some time so I’ll be able to blog more often. I’m not happy about cutting back on my writing here, but I can only do so much. The next course I’m takng starts in January. I’m looking forward to it even though it means I’m super busy.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinking Hats for Doctoral Studies

Dear Participants of the UUM-CAS Workshop,

Thank you for the lively participation yesterday. Do not hesitate to ask questions or share your comments regarding the session, the hats, application and so on.

Feel free also to browse around for topics related to thinking (you may start here if you wish but the Search field is yours to fully exploit).

We certainly look forward to hearing from you.


View more presentations from Alwyn Lau.