News – Khan Academy Partners with Samsung

November 6, 2012 by

For those of you that are looking at mobile devices as a way to enhance your learning environments for you clients or employees, here is a little something to keep your eye on.

Khan Academy Partners with Samsung

I have written about Kahn Acacdemy in the past and its impact it is having on the K-12 education system in the US.

They just announced a new partnership with Samsung that will provide the Galaxy Note tablets as part of a pilot program to Mountain View Whisman School District in California. The tablets will ship with a pre-loaded Khan Academy app that provides direct access to their extensive library of instructional videos.

The electronic device market has truely affected how we access information and thus how we learn and collaborate. The logical next step in this progression is moving this technology and its capabilities to our education system and making it available as a tool for our teachers to better educate our youth for the next generation of careers.

 As a side note to this story, let’s clarify the picture a little for you. This story appeared this morning in USA Today: Shift to Mobile Devices Causes Concern. The crux of this story is about how the shift in internet access from the desktop to the mobile device has created a serious wave that many of the current tech companies are having issues keeping up with. For example, Dell, HP, Intel, and Microsoft are all behind the curve when it comes to mobile devices – they are rooted deeply in the desktop or laptop environment.  Google and Facebook were able to conquer the online web space…in a desktop environment. However, both these companies have a revenue model that is weighted heavily on selling online ads. When you move to the mobile device, the screens are so much smaller, that you can’t just fill the screen with ads and both these companies have apps that launch what you need without ads. Now, new tech companies may step in to fill this void and figure out how to actually make money in this new space.

Personally, I find it very interesting how mobile devices have been able to completely change the world we live in. In this author’s humble opinion, we are about to see a new tech boom, much like in the 90’s around the web and in the 2000’s around search and social media. My prediction – apps and connectivity to learning content. I am pretty sure I am not the first to say this though.

Technology – Taking Advantage of “The Cloud”

October 28, 2012 by

Before we can even have a realistic conversation about taking advantage of cloud computing, we have to actually understand what this is.

Cloud technology, when applied to a learning organization offers:

  • Anywhere, anytime access to learning applications
  • Instant scalability to meet the size of your learner population
  • Seamless compatibility with social and collaborative platforms and tools

Cloud computing is essentially a series of hosted computing systems.

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Career Development – Future Workforce Skills

October 22, 2012 by

The Institute for the Future is an independent nonprofit research group. Their mission is to work with organizations of all kinds to help them make better, more informed decisions about the future. They take a global approach to strategic planning, linking macro trends to local issues in such areas as:

  • Work and daily life
  • Technology and society
  • Health and health care
  • Global business trends
  • Changing consumer society

Interestingly, a 2011 survey of more than 2,500 college students and employers reported that 65% of employers believe that the workforce skills keeping their company competitive today will be the same skills keeping them competitive 10 years from now. Only about 40% of our corporations are adapting their talent management strategies to develop a properly skilled staff. Workers with these identified skills will play a large role in bridging the gap in skill sets.

According to the Institute of the Future, there are ten skills defined as the key skills workers will need over the next decade. These are the skills that will help you thrive, even though radical technology changes, society changes, and the changing nature of work.

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Learning Theory – The Margins of Learning Management: How to Keep Learning Indispensible

October 11, 2012 by

Author: T M Stafford, MS MA

One of the key issues that needs to be considered in adult learning is the balance between the load of life and the managing power that one feels he has to counterbalance the load that he finds himself under. Consider this as an example, when one is sick, immediately the load of life becomes overpowering to the person to the point that they can no longer function in the same way while under this new load. This forces the learner to make decisions about what is expendable in this situation so as to help balance out the weight of being sick. For different people this list of negotiables includes: (1) missing work, (2) visiting the doctor, (3) taking an over the counter medicine, (4) going back to bed and a host of other options that each person can sort through while considering the weight of the load.  Howard McClusky captures this scenario is his, Theory of Margin, where he shows that the fulcrum of balancing life is the key for the adult learner moves variably between the load of life and the power of life to counteract that load. There are several significant factors that are critical to understanding how this theory affect eh adult learner.

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Webinars – 10 Tips for Wonderful Webinars

September 19, 2012 by

1 ) Scheduling is important. The best time for a webinar seems to be Tuesday’s between 9AM and 1PM. This allows everyone to be fresh. Monday is the beginning of the workweek, so people deal with all their beginning-of-the-week stuff. Friday afternoons are terrible because people mentally are out the door. 9AM allows people time to get in and check voice and e-mail messages. Ending by 1PM allows people to still get a reasonable lunch. After lunch, people get tired and attentions dip.

2) Have a backup speaker. What if your presenter has laryngitis or gets sick?

3) Have a backup computer and impromptu Q & A content. What if the presenter’s computer dies?

4) Have a backup phone line. What if the conference call line has an issue?

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Book Review – Great By Choice

September 17, 2012 by

I was listening to an audio book that really caught my attention. It is a book about some basic strategies and thought processes that go into being a leader that makes a difference. The book is called Great by Choice. It was written by Jim Collins and Morton Hansen.

The book is basically a study they performed on a series of companies during the time periods of the late 70’s to right around 2001. One set of companies (which they call 10X’ers) were compared to a comparable company during that time. 10X’ers are companies that surpassed the market by 10 times. Only 7 companies out of over 20,000 companies passed the test. So, the 10X’er company would be Microsoft and the comparable would be Apple (which was a 10X’er, fell without Steve Jobs, and became a 10X’er again when he came back). Another was Intel, compared to AMD. Yet one last example was Southwest Air compared to PS Air (which isn’t even around anymore).

The question laid out was “in a time of uncertainty, turmoil, and chaos, how come some companies thrive and yet others in the same market with a lot of the same capabilities fail?”.

They found some interesting patterns.

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Education – Massive Open Online Courses –MOOCs

September 13, 2012 by

Today, I saw an article in USA Today that was interesting and could be a game changer down the road. Here is a sampling from the article.

MOOCs have the potential to be a “pivotal development” that can revolutionize higher education. Questions remain whether these online courses can be profitable and whether traditional colleges will award credit for them. But if successful, MOOCs could lead to lower costs for families and access to higher-quality instruction for anyone in the world who has Internet access.

“The industry has operated more or less along the same business model and even the same technology for hundreds of years,” says John Nelson, managing director of Moody’s Higher Education. “MOOCS represent a rapidly developing and emerging change and that is very, very rare.”

Read full story: College May Never Be The Same

Webinars – Are we Due for a Redesign of Webinars?

September 9, 2012 by

We all have sat in or run a webinar. It might be WebEx, GoTo Meeting, LiveMeeting, or some other web conference tool. I bet you can describe the experience off the top of your head.

The event will last between 45 minutes and one hour. Half the registered attendees will show. Of those that participate, a large percentage of them will split their attention between what is being said, checking e-mail, working on a document, or surfing the internet. Much of the content will be a dry PowerPoint presentation. You might get lucky and have a poll or whiteboard involved.

  • Your organization probably uses webinars in one of these areas:
  • Compliance training – The goal is exposure to content
  • Blended Learning – This is usually a follow-up to a live or eLearning event
  • Corporate Communications – This usually allows opportunities for executives to interact with the workforce. This typically takes the form of a strategy change or a way to share more of the corporate culture.

As the economy has become worse, corporations looked for ways to cut travel costs. Today, in a distributed workforce, hosting and attending webinars is just a part of “how we do business”.

Here’s a novel idea…maybe we should consider redesigning how webinars work.

Let’s talk about a few ideas.

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Education – Kahn Academy & Computer Science

September 5, 2012 by

If you have children in school or want to learn a new topic yourself, you owe it to yourself to check out Kahn Academy.

Essentially, this web site started as a series of videos that assisted the owner’s niece and nephew in Algebra. Over time it grew in topics and in popularity. With a bump from Google and Microsoft, Kahn Academy is on its way to changing how education occurs. The goal is to flip the model – homework in class and lecture at home (via YouTube).

We have used this site at home with our two children. Every time our kids needed a little remedial information or a reminder about how something worked, they successfully got what they needed from this site’s library of content.

At our annual user conference for our customers, when we asked them what they wanted in the way of advancements in our Training group, guess what they asked for…Kahn Academy for our software.

Now, Kahn Academy is dabbling in a new kind of education – computer science. Check out the article that follows.

As educators struggle to motivate more students to take up technology-related majors, breakout online education startup, Khan Academy, has a novel approach. ”Computer Science is an intensely creative field,” says Shantanu Sinha, President of Khan Academy, which gave TechCrunch an exclusive look at their brand new education portal that teaches Computer Science fundamentals through interactive drawing. “We really wanted to focus on creating something that could inspire young children, and get them excited and motivated to explore CS further.” The portal’s interactive design is a major evolutionary step for a website that has since been almost entirely based on YouTube lectures (with over 178 million views). I rarely get excited about online education, which often just recycles our antiquated education system into a digital format, but the new Khan Academy Computer Science project is beyond impressive.

Read the rest of the article here:
http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/14/khan-academy-launches-the-future-of-computer-science-education/

Florida Economy – Are You Aware of the Florida High Tech Corridor?

August 26, 2012 by

When you say “Central Florida” to many people – even people that live in Florida – they think of theme parks, beaches, and Kennedy Space Center. They might even think of the University of Central Florida (UCF). What they are not thinking of is the fact that this area is a high tech hub in the US.

When you say “research and technology” most people think Silicon Valley, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, or Dallas. You need to add Orlando and Central Florida to that list.

The area that spans Florida – from just north of Daytona Beach to the area around Sarasota, with Orlando in the middle – is coined the Florida High Tech Corridor (FHTC). This covers 23 counties, within the Central Florida region. It has been in place since 1996.

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