Category Archives: Education

Actions speak louder then words

A person, company, organization community can be judged on its actions and behaviours not its intents. Especially when the shit hits the fan. Its easy to be nice when the world is all good. Behaviours, the culture under stress shows the real capacity of the leadership.

Reflection on TEDx Vancouver

Did I learn anything? Yes. Was it a good crowd of people? Most definitely. Would you recommend it to friends? Yes. Were there ideas to spread? Absolutely.

The theme of TEDx Vancouver was “Frontier” this year.  This is my third TEDxVancouver and fifth TEDx event and it has being interesting to see it grow.

There are some who just go for the speakers, me I go to meet the audience, people who are willing to apply are already interesting and hopeful the speakers will intiate ideas for people to talk about. I prefer to learn and evolve through dialogue.

Thoughts on Speakers:

Reid Gower ****

The video was inspiring and keyed into hope, aspiration and the beauty of the planet we live on.

Nolan Watson ***

“Compassion kills”

“Don’t donate to Africa, invest in Africa!” .

“treating symptoms instead of effectively solving problems”

Spoke on how naïve compassion kills lives

Stephen Slen & Aaron Coret ***

“Pursue what gives you meaning…and what allows you to share your joy with everyone”

“Twenty years from now, the things you would be most disappointed by are the things you didn’t do, rather than the things did” – Mark Twain

A story, of force changed and how they dealt with it. Two snowboarders, one breaks his neck (and cannot snowboard anymore) both build a device to make learning snowboarding safer to learn, esp tricks.

Jai’ Aquarian & Erin Marcri **

The importance of expressing emotion.  It started off really well, that our society often represses our emotions.  But the actually case ‘the building of the a wooden temple to burn down’ (could you have built a house for a homeless family instead?) was interesting but only for people who could really afford it, so it felt self indulgent, when compared with the other stories.

Sean Aiken ***

“what matters is what makes you come alive”

“Those who are most passionate about their work, are those that are connected to the meaning behind what they do”

Jose Figueroa ***

A story of stupid immigration bureaucracy. Not the first one I have heard when you have a conservative government with a commitment to slow down immigration.

‘Canada has the obligation to respect innocent people’

I would have loved to hear this in spanish with a translated. Some people complained about the political nature of this talk, but I pointed out to them that anything involving humans and change inherently becomes politics.. hmm if politics comes from the latin – citizen + city does that mean it does not exist in the rest of the country 😉

Seth Cooper ***

Interesting speech about using games and gamers to solve some of the world tough problems, the examples were in bio chemistry.  For me this is old news.

Christopher Gaze ****

“Shakespeare is all around us. Alive and well.”

Excellent stage presence. I learned a lot of the metaphors I take for granted and are from Shakespeare. One drunk actress came up to me later to say that he had got one line wrong. Me I just respected him even more 🙂

Jer Thorp ****

“By placing data into a human context it gains meaning. These are our histories.”

A man who loves his data and knows how to use design principles to make it more readable.

Kara Pecknold ***

Saw her presentation at the Design Thinking conference, liked it.  She had definitely polished both her presentation and slides, so it was an upgrade in terms of presentation. Design process – Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver

Dr Kate Moran

“99% of life lives beneath the surface of the ocean”.

Really cool tech, sign up to see live data come in and watch the fish swim by from camera upto 800 miles out into the pacific. http://www.neptunecanada.ca/

General Romeo Dallire ****

Although the content was too much, I think he delivered some of the most important messages, where the whole audience could help.

“Inaction is an action”

“There is no way you can sustain status quo.”

“people that operate under ‘status quo’ are going to fall behind”

“The future of humanity is in the NGO Community and the youth will join them”

“That if the youth of today vote they will change politics forever”

My reflection from his:

Youth of 2day could change the political system by voting, say no to status quo or they cud let their inaction be their legacy 

Victor Lucas *****

I think in terms of content, emotion and presentation this was the best presentation, the context was = what advice will he give his girl when she is born and understands language, they are simply rules that any of us could apply to ourselves.

1. Don’t be a dick – People love people who aren’t dicks. Go light on the sarcasm. What people remember most about dicks, are that they were dicks.

2. Don’t dick around – Touch the world. It takes work, planning, and goals to be happy. Don’t let dicking around be your goal

3. Don’t hang out with dicks – If you aren’t a dick, you’ll attract people who don’t dick around. If you hang out with dicks, other people will think you’re a dick.

4. Dream

They actually feel quiet Canadian?!

The Organization:

Venue + Crowd management

Amazing for presenting, bad venue for meeting people, no WIFI within the theatre. Crowd management was poor. $80 per person and 1000 people turned up not sure where all the money went considering how many volunteers  helped out

Food

Limited, they ran out of meat and I ended with vegetarian, its ok I can eat grass ;-). Apparently no vegan? The pop tart donut things were interesting if you could fight other people for them.

Presentation organisation

The presentation organization was smooth and professional.

Music

Billy the kid was awesome.  It would have being nice to have more than one performer.

Videograph

I love sailing, but the number of times they changed the camera angle started to make we sea sick (for those speakers whom did not use slides).  Though seeing the person on the screen was helpful as if you were one or two levels up those presenters were a mite small.

After Party

This was awesome.  The venue was very cool (Space Centre) as the whole venue was open including the laser show (which was cool but too long).  Looking forward to when the venue is in a place that does not need cash for drinks.

Suggestions for next time (I will add to these as my brain returns):

Help people network

Give people 10 random people they should meet, have ‘professional’ volunteer networkers whose job is to get people together to talk, have a lot of space so people can easily discover people, have games people can play based on the talks.

Call to Action

Stalls for each speech where you could pick up notes and ways to get involved and help. As well as find people who want to talk more about that talk 🙂

Forming Community

The president dude said that he wanted to form a community and I think it can become one.  So involve us in dialogue, before and after the event. Don’t just talk at us.

  1. Maybe start with the theme – crowd source it.  If you have courage get the community to vote their top five and than let the organizers choose.
  2. Let us all see the applications, this will allow us to choose who we want to talk to at the event. Not brave enough for that than publish the attendees list with our links.
  3. Have so many non-celebrity speakers and get some professional trainers to get their presentation skills upto speed (yes I would volunteer for that). OK after writing this I find out that you sort of did this but not with the TEDx Vancouver community but with another community (http://tedxvancouver.com/vancouverisawesome-com-helps-select-kara-pecknold-as-speaker-at-tedxvancouver-2011/)
  4. Have a  space where by skilled people can volunteer (see which skills they can offer), this will help you choose good people and also people may volunteer to be coached by an expert volunteer.
  5. Choose an online platform to keep the dialogue on-going after hearing the speakers (twitter is helpful for buzz not so much for dialogue).
  6. In the end community forms out of lots of interactions between people and the best is when you can watch the dialogue without having to intervene.
  7. Use the space on the name badges for something useful, yes your name helps, AND some unconferences have “Ask me about..” or “Three things I love…” people often just need an excuse to talk to each other, make it easier, especially for the shy types
  8. I wonder what you can learn from each talk, if you applied it to TEDx Vancouver?..

TED.com talks played on the day

These were interspersed during the day. Apparently to make sure we don’t go native or become to NIMBY and share in the global movement 🙂

Marcin Jakubowski: Open-sourced blueprints for civilization


http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski.html

Charlie Todd: The shared experience of absurdity

http://www.ted.com/talks/charlie_todd_the_shared_experience_of_absurdity.html

Mark Bezos: A life lesson from a volunteer firefighter


http://www.ted.com/talks/mark_bezos_a_life_lesson_from_a_volunteer_firefighter.html

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days


http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_cutts_try_something_new_for_30_days.htmlss

Whoops missed one (Thanks Chris Ryan)

What do you think?  I welcome your views both pro and anti 🙂

What does the future of post secondary education look like?

I was recently asked by a organization leader of an local education institute what my view is. Here are my thoughts along with some possible solutions in red.  The green boxes are what my startup Professional You is working on.

Why do I teach?

Its not the money, no I don’t get free courses or any discount on other courses.  Here are 15 reasons why I teach:

It turns skill into knowledge

I have always found the act of refining and teaching what you think you know, turns it into something more refined, more useful even.  It can make you think very deeply on a topic and for me; it makes me question the foundations of what I think I know.  It encourages me to seek alternative answers, sometimes before I have formed a question.  It allows me to reflect on some of the decisions I made in the ‘field’ and explore other options of a possible future from that decision point.  Whilst you can copy someone’s skill you cannot copy his or her knowledge, as I believe knowledge comes from a journey, which you have to travel and reflect upon.

 “Knowledge is the inoculation of information” Anon

I learn & and grow as much as my students

Helping others learn, if you listen to the students questions, can challenge your own thoughts and feelings on a matter.  The ‘tired’ teacher just forces the student to learn what the ‘agenda’ tells them, whilst an ‘awake’ teacher will explore with the student the path of understanding and together they can grow. Occasionally I will meet a student who does not receive my materials or teaching in the way that works for us, this keeps my thinking and rethinking of different styles, materials, activities I need to use to involve and engage the students mind.

Staying ahead and preparing for the future

To teach keeps me up-to-date with my domain expertise and it pushes me to understand the likely trends for that domain. I than have to translate that into my lessons and it explain to my students and prepare them for it. Of course at the same time I am preparing myself for the future.

Hubris does not take over

Some teachers think they know it all, not only is this naive in terms of knowledge but also in terms of communication/engagement. They are idiots. I need to remind myself that I am not an idiot! 😉

I test my assumptions

Working with people from different generations and history is really useful as your assumptions are constantly challenged not every Gen Y acts like a Gen Y or every baby boomer like baby boomer.  We often get surround by ‘shortcut labels’ or brands and start to believe that every women thinks’ shopping is fun or every teenage boy only thinks about sex. As you teach you get to see the next upcoming generation, how they think/feel, learn and make sense of the world.  On the counter side you get to see the older generations re-training themselves.

Prevention is better than cure

Effective education can prevent many problems in our lives, communities and society. Unfortunately we as a human race spend more time fixing problems after they have occurred, rather than preventing them with education.  If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

It helps me understand humans to a greater level

I am thirsty for works on memory, learning, processing, communication, interaction and risk.  All of this curiosity helps me explore, test and understand. Hopefully over time it improves my lessons and the students retention and ability to use the knowledge.

I believe in meritocracy

I am strong believer that our society has too much cronyism and nepotism and this needs to be balanced with meritocracy. Note I said balanced not replaced.  There are days when I would suggest that meritocracy should be then dominant force, but not completely replace.

I like partnership

For me I have a contract with each of my students.  They do their part and I will do mine.  Sometimes life intervenes and does not allow the student to put the work in.  I don’t have that choice.

I like accountability

In the end you get to see how successful you are as a teacher by the students work.  When did you teach well and when you communicated a concept that was unrefined or too fluffy. For me this holds me accountable.

The global need to share

Like most human beings I have the need for acknowledgement, to belong and be part of something.  Teaching satisfies part of that need.

It reminds me to be patient, understanding and compassionate

The most effective teacher will take their time and not hurry a student.  They will allow ideas and thoughts to grow in the student and I greenhouse them until they are ready to be challenged.  I don’t believe the Socratic method is always helpful, especially in early stages of knowledge development; it can force people down a path of believing in what they can defend.  It can be very aggressive which not all humans appreciate. Nature often reminds us that to allow something to grow, you have to wait. Don’t get me wrong, there comes a time for testing where the Socratic method is very helpful.

It improves my ability to explain and communicate

For every lesson I have to think of a number of ways to explain the same concept, so that students with different learning styles can understand the concept well and grow beyond it. Very helpful in business.

It improves my leadership & mentoring

My simply philosophy for my employed teams, is to help them out grow you and the organisation, so they move on.  I don’t expect anything to be forever.  If you want to keep people in your life you have to work at it and try not to take each other for granted.  Even so I think those people who work or play together for long periods have found a way to evolve and grow together. I have and do coach/ mentor a number of business leaders and politicians, I will cover this in another blog.

Teaching is not just in the classroom.

Mentor, Coach, friend, lover, colleague, leader, follower, we are all teachers.

“Those that cannot do, teach” Anon

Whilst I don’t agree with this statement, for many of reasons above.  For me teaching is part of my life not the whole of it, hence why I prefer to do it part-time.