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George Couros

George Couros's Public Library

  • So perhaps what is more important is not whether technology is making us stupid but if educational systems need to shift from teaching us what to think, to showing us how to think.

  • What Instagram is doing—along with the myriad other photo apps that have recently emerged—is giving newbies a way to develop deeper visual literacy.
  • I find it a lovely moment. Today’s tech is often blamed for producing a generation of people who stare at screens. But sometimes it opens up a new window on the world.

  • One reason students phone in their school assignments – and only halfheartedly copy edit and research them – is that they’re keenly aware that there’s no “authentic audience.” Only the teacher is reading it. In contrast, academic studies have found that whenever students write for other actual, live people, they throw their back into the work – producing stuff with better organization and content, and nearly 40 per cent longer than when they write for just their instructor.

  • Avoid Trickle-Down Tradeoffs. When team leaders fail to decide which old directions are going to be sacrificed in service of the new direction, the tradeoff doesn't magically disappear. It simply slides down the ladder. Instead of the team leader leaning into the discomfort and deciding once that the team is going to spend this quarter strengthening existing customer relationships, and not actively hunting for new prospects, each team member now has to decide for themselves whether to call on an existing customer or go find a new one every time they pick up the phone, open their email, or hop in the car.
  • To Lead Is To Decide. Making change decisions is a cognitively and emotionally taxing activity that the average person will go to great lengths to avoid. While I have discovered some techniques for increasing the consistency and reliability of our decisions, there is no proven way of completely eliminating the discomfort of making tradeoffs. That might be a key element of what makes great leaders great. Great leaders and change agents have come in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and personality types.

  • “Diffusion is essentially a social process through which people talking to people spread an innovation,” wrote Everett Rogers
  • Rogers showed, people follow the lead of other people they know and trust when they decide whether to take it up. Every change requires effort, and the decision to make that effort is a social process.
23 Jun 13

"But as we fast forward to today’s business world shaped by rapidly evolving technology and the far greater importance of institutional knowledge, creative thinking and sophisticated collaboration, the value of each employee has grown exponentially more important.  Companies are focusing on innovation and unique differentiation – and almost exclusively are looking at people, not machines, to provide it. 

As workers have become increasingly more critical to the overall success of their organizations, what they need and expect in exchange for their work also has profoundly changed.  Money no longer inspires performance as it once did.  Being paid equitably will always be important as a driver of job engagement and productivity, of course, but people across the globe now have aspirations in their jobs that were virtually unimaginable in an earlier age. "

15 Jun 13

"Would a person with good handwriting, spelling and grammar and instant recall of multiplication tables be considered a better candidate for a job than, say, one who knows how to configure a peer-to-peer network of devices, set up an organisation-wide Google calendar and find out where the most reliable sources of venture capital are, I wonder? The former set of skills are taught in schools, the latter are not."

  • Would a person with good handwriting, spelling and grammar and instant recall of multiplication tables be considered a better candidate for a job than, say, one who knows how to configure a peer-to-peer network of devices, set up an organisation-wide Google calendar and find out where the most reliable sources of venture capital are, I wonder? The former set of skills are taught in schools, the latter are not.
09 Jun 13

"As new digital marketing tools and systems are implemented they must be balanced by even more analogue systems than before. The ability to reach out, in a human way, to a Sara or Harry can quickly create either positive or negative momentum for your brand. That makes human interaction more important than ever."

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    Jack Andraka at The White House

     
     

    He’s just an everyday kid, 16 year-old Jack Andraka

     

    He’s the son of an engineer and anesthetist who has vaulted his way onto the main stage of science and innovation.  Jack’s work on developing a rapid, highly sensitive and inexpensive test for cancer has made headlines around the world.  I interviewed Jack in Feburary and Forbes editor Bruce Upbin  profiled his innovations in June 2012.  Over the past few months Jack has traveled the world, rubbing shoulders with political and scientific dignitaries at such distinguished places such as TED Conferences, The Royal Society of Medicine in London and even The White House.

     

    But with all the news and excitement about Jack’s scientific achievement, I was interested in learning what really drove him and more about two of the proudest people on the planet–his parents, Steve and Jane Andraka. As it turns out, this story isn’t only about Jack (and his parents).  But about the entire family and how Steve and Jane raised two remarkable boys.  While Jack has taken the spotlight recently, his older brother Luke has made quite a name for himself. Luke, 18 years old,  was the 4th place national winner of the SSP middle school science competition, MIT Think Award winner, 2 time Intel science fair finalist and winner of the $96,000 Sierra Nevada Scholarship at the Intel science fair for his method of treating acid mine drainage.

     

    The Andraka children seemed to be on to something.  And that something apparently hinged, in part, upon one key insight from Steve Andraka,  ”Teach your kids that most problems in this world are really opportunities in disguise, and innovation comes from discontent.”

     
       

    Another Andraka family adventure

     
     

    I had the chance to speak with Mr. and Mrs. Andraka and found the entire conversation fascinating and enlightening. They broke down their success into two sections–logical and practical. So, moms and dads, here you go…

     

    Th

  • “The coming capitalist era is that of the Facebook generation, in which the values and behaviours that pervade the internet and social media will also be adopted by innovative and disruptive businesses. With half the world’s population under the age of 25, this may happen sooner than many think.”

     

    Social media will break down the walls between a business’ leadership and its staff, customers, suppliers and other interested parties, the report predicts. The constant dialogue between these groups and the business via social media will result in them having a stronger and more direct influence on a businesses’ decision making and strategy than today.

08 May 13

"I had the chance to hear George at a MISA sponsored event about a month ago and found him to be a very engaging and entertaining speaker. This was the hook that got me to attend his session but the meat of the presentation was what got me to blog about it here. Coincidentally the subject was blogging which I obviously have started to do but his tips or ideas were amazing. I love the way that he was able to lay out the rationale AND the practical ways for making a blog a proper and almost required form of Instructional Leadership. It was so practical that while he was presenting I found myself frantically emailing myself notes about what I had to do to improve my blog. Utilizing categories and tags is a great idea and one that I will follow and expand on for sure.

The key message that came from George was that educators need to start doing this themselves and then look to see how to utilize this with their students. One comment he made was, “Don’t do this (blogging) TO students, do this WITH students.” Seems simple but very powerful and a great idea for all educators to take into consideration for most of what they do. To model behaviour is to teach behaviour and I think this is a great thing for anyone involved with young people to consider.

To expand further on this idea, I think it is imperative that educators look to utilize some form of social media to share what they are doing. This is imperative as we have the ability, thanks to technology, to rapidly expand our library of resources, ideas and networks. By sharing you make the profession of teaching stronger and that is the responsibility of all educators.

It goes without saying that I will pick any session that has George in it and advise all educators to see him. He is full of good and practical ideas and is a great public speaker, (another must when it comes to conferences as I cannot forgive poor public speaking)."

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