Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So? Did You Take a Break From Social Media?

We didn't post or tweet anything over the long-weekend and we survived. How about you?

It was hard at first not to whip out the iPhone and check my Twitter or Facebook streams, but by Christmas I was almost completely weaned of my technological appendages...but now I am right back in the swing of things again...(good or bad?)

While I am a huge proponent of technology being used for life and learning, I am also a believer in moderation and appropriatness, which is why I bought my eleven year-old a motorized scooter instead of an iPod Touch like many of her friends. I think children should spend their childhood outside with friends not in front of a screen all many of us adults. She will have her fair share of hand-held devices throughout her life, but for now I like the notion of her playing with other real kids instead.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Even Facebook and Twitter Need a Christmas Break

So, are you going to give in and check your Facebook stream, favorite blogs, or tweets over the Holidays?

As for us, we will not be blogging, tweeting, or facebooking. We are calling it a micro sabbatical from the social media frenzy. Just food, family, and festivities.

Hopefully we will come back refreshed and ready to continue contributing to the learning explosion.

Maybe you should take a micro sabbatical from your social media friends too, and focus on the friends and family actually sitting next to you around the Christmas tree...just a thought.

Happy Holidays from Treion and Matt!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The formula for change.

When it comes to learning, do you really want to settle for status quo? 

If so, what you are actually saying is that the cost to switch to something different is too high.  That cost could manifest itself as more time, more money, more stress, or some other resource or pain.

You may not know it, but what you're trying to do is this:

That's the formula for Prospect Theory developed by Daniel Kahneman. Essentially it helps weighs risk against reward.  It helps answers the question, "Does it make sense to put forth more effort to achieve something different than what I currently have?" 

Do you want to:
  • Break out
  • Achieve something new 
  • Teach something differently
  • Innovate
  • Move in a different direction
If so, don't worry about the math -- just make it happen and leave the status quo behind. It's a choice only you can make and we hope you join us to do just that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Is technology making us dummer?

Photo by: Jimmie_Joe
Yesterday, while listening to the radio, I heard a reporter profess that technology is destroying our ability to learn. One of his poorly-formed arguments was that GPS technology is preventing people from developing spacial intellgence.

If you take his argument further, it's like saying that the printing press, or even computers, have destroyed our ability to learn.

We hold fast to the idea that technology is improving our ability to gain new knowledge and awareness. Technology is what separates man from beast!  Case in point: If not for electricity you wouldn't be learning from this (or other) blogs.

Technology advances our ability to learn, it doesn't repress it. Even more important is that technology begets technology. Said another way, technological advances build upon themselves. It's how we learn. It's how we grow.

Mr. Luddite, you are free to disregard today's technology. But what about that which was invented is years past? Can you disavow one and not the other?

Yet, I must confess that he may have a point in his argument.  Indeed I felt less intelligent after spending time listening to him through satellite radio technology.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Power of Pause

In today's technology-rich world we want everything mobile, relevant, and now. Even as you read this blog you are asking what YOU can take away from it that will be of value.

Here it is...pause more often. Give yourself and others time to think, contemplate, ponder, before jumping on to the next distraction. You'll be amazed how powerful pausing can be. Turn off the music, the phones, the television, the internet, and just think about one thing.

By the way, this is not new, in fact it is ancient. Meditation and prayer has been a healthy staple of religions and cultures for thousands of years. Like with many things, maybe we should learn from our forefathers and make time to pause more often.

Now think about it...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Live life and make time for technology, not the other way around!

Thanks to the tech. gadgets we carry around in our pockets and purses, being a good friend, father, mother, spouse, worker, or citizen requires a lot more work. We are slowly being conditioned to respond to the many reminders, chimes, tones, and other "notifications" that these gadgets enable, and unfortunately, at the expense of our relationshiops and jobs.

Think of how many times you have been talking to someone and before you know it you have your phone out, head down, and fingers ready to respond to the text you just received. How many times have you been on the receiving end of this kind of behavior? (Read this fun blog about cell phone etiquette)

Its time to start respecting your relationships and living your life. Especially this Holiday season! Be human again. We are not saying you need to throw your technology away (we love technology too much to ever suggest this), but we are encouraging you to use it in proportion to what matters most.

So, turn off the chimes, reminders, and notifications, and turn on YOU!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Repetition is the father of all learning

photo by: rosmary
Repetition is the father of all learning.

If you don't believe us look at the billboards on the side of the road as you drive into work today. Then look at the signs on top of the taxis and sides of the trains. When you read your news online notice the ads to the right. When you go home and watch the news take note of the 30 second spots.

Repetition is the father of all learning.

Odds are you will see the same thing advertised again and again -- whether it be fast food or fast cars. In advertising it's called an expandable campaign. You see essentially the same message repeated in different forms. The reason? So that you learn about it and when the moment to purchase comes, you'll remember that product.

Repetition is the father of all learning.

Learning other topics (like leadership, time management or how to build a website) can be done the same way. Attend a workshop on the subject. Then find a blog post to ready every day. Find a series of reinforcement videos on YouTube. Follow experts on Twitter and read their tweets. Then, when the moment to use your new knowledge comes, you'll remember what to do.

Remember: Repetition is the father of all learning.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Say it! Write it! Film it! Share it!

Photo by: fotologic
Create it!

It's as simple as that. 

Seth Godin's book, Linchpin, has some great advice to help you change from a cog in the machinery to an artist in your industry or company.

Seth writes, "You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must."

But so often we're afraid of creating. It's really scary to hang your ideas on the wall for others to critique. But that's part of the creation process. Accept the feedback from the people who have something constructive to say. Reject it from the naysayers...and there will be naysayers.

Seth Godin says it this way, "Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself. It's no wonder we're afraid to ship." (Read his full blog post's worth it!)

Our advice? When you feel like you have something to say, say it! Write it! Film it! Share it!

This is the basis of the Learning Explosion. It's how we all learn together.

Friday, December 2, 2011

3 principles to remember when learning online through common consensus

Photo: Steve L. Martin
You've heard of common sense. But have you ever heard of common consensus?

We are all moving so fast that it's sometimes hard to know what is real and what is fake. There are countless examples of impostor ecommerce websites being yanked from the web because they're posing as brand name sites, but are actually defrauding innocent shoppers.

But how many times do we hear of impostor information websites -- those that are peddling their knowledge but are defrauding learners? We would say it's rare that any of these sites are pushed off the web. As a result, you have to be careful what you trust!

One method of separating good information from bad is through the Rule of Common Consensus -- using multiple sites to verify the information. Here are three basic principles you should abide by when learning on the web:

1) Never trust the first response on a forum. WHY? If you find an answer to your question on a public forum, be sure there are multiple answers posted my multiple people. It will add clarity and provide a deeper answer.
2) Triangulate your information with at least two other sites. WHY? You want to verify the answer to your question through multiple independent sources to find the correct information.
3) If your second or third triangulation sources are identical to the first, find more sources. WHY? One of the authors may have found the same source as you and just copied it verbatim. You'll never know if it's correct information or not.

The Rule of Common Consensus is not simply to find as many similar responses as possible. It's to vet out all of the angles of the query and hear different viewpoints. Only when you have all of the information can you verify that the information is solid.

But, after all of this, don't forget the Rule of Common Sense. If what you read seems too good to be true, it probably is.