Archive for category teaching + learning

Online teaching? A great opportunity.

Putting all your classes online suddenly is a big challenge and a great opportunity to do things differently, i.e. better.

Give doctors the freedom to exercise their profession without interference.” (Dr. Marc Wathelet, Belgian virologist.)

What kind of world do you want to live in? We now have a possibility to reset things: not go back to how things were, but go forward, but not in the same direction we were going before.

In this blog post:

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I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Midpoint Collision

This is Max. A cab driver who keeps his cab spotless, memorizes routes and is a sympathetic listener and talker. A people person. He’s saving up to create his own limo company.

And this is Vincent.

Vincent is not a people person. He kills them. For a living. He’s a paid assassin who hires Max for the night to drive him from hit to hit.

Two unlikely and unwilling partners in a night of crime. Max tells Vincent about his dream: to have his own limo company. The story gets interesting when Max starts berating Vincent for what he does. Vincent turns the tables: “how long you been driving this cab? Twelve years??! Some day? Some day my dream will come! One day you’ll wake up and discover it never happened. It never will. And suddenly, you are old.”

Here’s the scene (sound quality is poor, sorry, it’s not my clip).

Max is always planning, dreaming rather, perhaps, and never executing. Unlike Vincent (ha-ha!). Am I like Max? Are you?

Is Max fortunate or unfortunate to meet Vincent? It is rare to meet someone who tells us the unvarnished truth; and rarer when that truth challenges us to become better people instead of staying within our comfort zone.

“The Midpoint Collision” below gives an analysis of the conflict between these two protagonists from a screenwriter’s point of view. (“Midpoint Collision” is a nice title, as you’ll see if you watch the first video “Carpe Diem” to the end.) The movie’s title is Collateral.

This kind of popular YouTube video is not the place you’d expect a Vincent to hang out, but I came across one recently. Someone uploaded a video of the kind pictured above. One of the early commenters wrote (and I paraphrase as I lost the original): “That’s right, you loser. You’d rather upload videos of great footballers than be a great player yourself.”

Midpoint collision. But of a slightly different kind. Harsh, but possibly the kick in the pants somebody needs, as Vincent is the kick in the pants that Max needs. In the YouTube football video example, the YouTuber is definitely executing (he’s making good quality videos), but perhaps he’s busying himself with that as a way to avoid the bigger and more rewarding challenge of being a great footballer himself. (I assume the commenter knows the YouTuber personally.) Am I guilty of that? Is writing this blog post “the easy way”, a way to avoid taking on a greater but more rewarding, interesting and fun challenge? Are you reading this as a way to avoid doing that more difficult yet potentially rewarding thing? Do you have people in your life who will challenge you and who you’ll listen to? Or do you avoid those people?

Charlotte Bronte went to Brussels and fell in love with a professor at the school she was studying at, and later worked at, but at first she hated him because he was always (as she thought) finding fault with her. Later, she gradually realizes that his apparent antagonism is actually helping her to overcome her weaknesses and to grow. She wrote a novel based on her experience: Villette. He was the (at first unwelcome) kick in the pants: he insists that she teach a class at short notice, and she hates him for it as she is a quiet, retiring wall flower and convinced that that’s who she is. But she does it, and though not an unqualified success, it’s not the unqualified disaster she predicted for herself. It’s the beginning of a change in her self-image.

Not quite in the same ball-park, but I was reminded of it so I’ll write about it anyway, is Tiago Forte’s idea of “You only know what you make”  Verum esse ipsum factum  (“What is true is precisely what is made”). Or, as I interpret it, ” It’s not true until you make it”, which he totally ripped off an Italian Renaissance philosopher with the cool name of Giambattista Vico. (Yeah, and that “m” is not, as I’d smuglythought, a mistake for an “n”.) This is not just an idea; it’s a challenge.

How many literary or movie critics read many books or watch many movies, but never write their own book or make their own movie? Am I like that? Are you? Well, yes, I am like that, which is precisely why I’m so interested in reading more about Building a Second Brain, watching videos by with or from Tiago Forte, and waiting impatiently to sign up for his next course.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Learning Notion

Hi! In this blog post I talk about some new discoveries I’ve made in the world of productivity apps: Notion, (a way to organize digital information, part of “Building a Second Brain“), Active Recall and Timeblocking.

  1. Notion as an alternative to Evernote,  (Here’s my Notion tutorial playlist on YT.)
  2. PARA (only in passing, no details in this blog post as I’m still figuring out what it is – here’ s my PARA YT playlist)
  3. Active Recall and the Cornell Note System as a more effective way to learn new material than highlighting (here’s my Active Recall YT playlist), and
  4. timeblocking – a truly awesome yet simple way to make sure that those things you’d like to do actually get done (all those “Important but not Urgent” items). Link to my yt playlist

After watching a video by a veteran Evernote user on why he was thinking of moving over to Notion, I decided to check it out.

Particularly useful and helpful I found were the videos by Keep Productive (Francesco D’Alessio), Rebecca Ford and Marie Poulin (tho Marie is a power user and sometimes goes a little fast and sophisticated).

The key thing about Notion is, as Marie, Rebecca and Everyday Apple say, that it allows important info to re-surface and come to your attention more easily and effectively than Evernote. Evernote, of course, has its reminders, but in Notion you can created a calendar and put all your to-dos in there, and then created a daily calendar that filters only the tasks you have for that day. This is a huge advantage and though the learning curve for Notion is a little steep, the tutorial videos I found are very helpful.

“Unlike other apps that force me to silo different parts of my planning and task management system between different apps, Notion allows me to keep all of the parts of my system.”  (Rebecca Ford, “Task Management in Notion“, 23 Oct 2018)

Notion basically uses blocks, like the new WordPress interface (the artist formerly known as Gutenberg), but in a much more powerful way than you can in WordPress.

Keep Productive and Marie Poulin also offer Notion mastery courses which I plan to sign up for later this year.

Marie, Keep Productive, Rebecca Ford, GroovyWinks’ Maria Aldrey and super-productive Cambridge (UK) doctor Ali Abdaal have all mentioned another organizing principle which I am currently learning about: PARA (part of a larger concept called Second Brain). Marie Poulin and Maria Aldrey have both done videos on this. It’s different from GTD which I’m a little familiar with, so I’m finding it a little hard to get my head around these concepts, particularly Areas (is that like GTD’s “areas of responsibility”? And,“A resource is “a topic or theme of ongoing interest.” Say… wha???)

Dr. Abdaal also did a video on a study and review method he has used very successfully called Active Recall (video 1 and video 2). Shu Omi also did a neat and brief video on this.

Shu Omi’s video on timeblocking also helped me get over a major stumbling block: saving videos and websites and articles to watch or read later then never getting to that “later”. The simple solution: schedule a time or date to do just that. Well, duh!

So, today, I went through my “Read-Review” notes (because I’m dividing them into “ToReview” and “ToRead”), then I realized what’s going to happen: I’m going to re-tag these and then… probably never read them because I don’t have a way for those to pop up again right under my nose so I can’t miss them. They’ll be out of sight, out of mind. When am I going to review them? As I was already in Evernote, I decided, as well as re-tagging these, to use Evernote’s reminder function to fix a date and time to actually do these. I fixed a day for –

  • doing my weekly review (which will now include reading articles and notes on this topic)
  • working on my business (which will include reading my Evernotes related to business, marketing, etc)
  • working on a new website I’m building, which will include reading my Evernotes tagged with marketing or website
  • learning Notion, which mainly means watching Notion tutorial videos and reproducing that in my Notion sandbox
  • learning more about Active Recall which I’m using to study assignment design.
  • learning more about other memory techniques such as the mind palace (yup! I recently watched again BBC’s Sherlock.)

Each of the above now has a time slot and a day allocated to them, and that will pop up in both an Evernote reminder, and a calendar item in my Notion Master To-Do list.

I also watched Timeboxing: Elon Musk’s Time Management Method. Shu Omi said timeblocking is also used by Cal Newport, author of Deep Work. Here’s a blog post Cal Newport did on it: Deep Habits: the importance of planning every minute of your workday.

“Atomic Habits” author James Clear makes a similar point about the importance of intention (which timeblocking facilitates) in this clip.

Cal Newport’s new book is called Digital Minimalism.

On Newport’s blog, I found this article about learning and how these days, the hard work of developing good study habits seems to have gone by the wayside.

To Olser, it was clear that training a new generation of thinkers required teaching students how to actually put their mind to productive use, which is hard, and requires “bull-dog tenacity” before it becomes a “good habit.”

We don’t teach this any more.

Modern educational institutions care a lot about content: what theories we teach, what ideas students are exposed to, what skills they come away knowing. But we rarely address the more general question of how one transforms their mind into a tool well-honed for elite-level cognitive work.

He repeats this in this interview here: Don’t follow your passion (Do this instead.) |Cal Newport | Top 10 Rules. And at the end of that same video, rule #10, is timeblocking.

Dr Ali Abdaal in his video on Active Recall and particularly the part where he talks about why it works, why it’s effective, says it is the hard work, the difficulty of the task (trying to remember the answers to your own questions) that makes it valuable and helps the information to stick.

As it happens, Notion has an active recall template: Cornell Notes System. Active recall is very similar to a system of note-taking developed by a Cornell University professor in the 1940s.

There are 3 parts to the active-recall/Cornell Notes system:

  1. Read or watch or listen to the original, taking notes as you go. E.g. I’m now learning about how to design effective assignment sheets to teach academic writing to college students. As I read, I make the following notes:
    1. Your assignment sheet should:
      1. Link the writing task with specific learning goals
      2. Describe rhetorical aspects of the task, i.e., audience, purpose, genre
      3. Make explicit any constraints such as word count minimums and maximums
      4. Specify formatting requirements
  2. Create your own recall questions. E.g., for the above notes, my recall question is “What 4 things should an effective assignment sheet do?”
  3. Recalling, which involves looking at the questions only and trying to recall the original notes or answers.
    1. In his video “My favourite note-taking app for students – Notion”, Ali shows how to use Notion’s toggle-list function to hide your notes or answers to your recall questions. 
    2. It also involves, if you’re really trying to master a body of knowledge, repeating the recall step again after some interval of time. Here’s how Ali Abdaal used this technique to revise for his medical exams at Cambridge University.

This blog post briefly introduced the following productivity apps or ideas: Notion, PARA (a way to organize digital information, part of “Building a Second Brain“), Active Recall and Timeblocking. Thanks for reading!


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.
Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Making real-world-problem math curricula

Dan Meyer. A very smart, talented and enthusiastic young man who, despite our age-gap and the very different fields we teach (his is middle-school math, mine is college-level EFL), rarely fails to teach me lots. Not too long ago I spent happy hours reading and commenting on his blog. I just learned some more watching his 12-minute TED talk.

UPDATE: The video won’t play for some reason (“error #2032” whatever that means), and the same error occurs on the TED website. While TED is fixing this, you can download the video by clicking here: http://video-subtitle.tedcdn.com/talk/podcast/2010X/None/DanMeyer_2010X-480p-en.mp4
 


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Reader Story: I Quit My Passion and Took a Boring Job – Forbes

   

The message we are bombarded with is  do what you love (and the money will follow). But this story provides an interesting twist on it: Reader Story: I Quit My Passion and Took a Boring Job – Forbes.

It also provides more evidence that anyone who works in schools eventually is forced to

  1. become either a cop or an entertainer, and
  2. avoid the truth, to tell lies, to become a phony.

There’s more thoughts on this below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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2012/02/27 18:03 – What It Takes To Make A Leader: Singh

When I heard that the University of Tokyo announced in January that it would change the start of its academic year from spring to fall, it reminded me of this last condition.

The announcement means more than just a change in the timing of enrollment; it is a trigger for debate on making Japanese universities more global. And it is important that not only universities but also each student have a global perspective.

If universities change enrollment to fall, students will need to figure out how they will spend the half year between high school graduation and college enrollment, and between college graduation and entering the workforce. I believe those six months will give young people more opportunities to build up experience in foreign countries through traveling, studying and other means.

Canadian Solar Inc. will build and operate megasolar plants in Japan. The Canadian company hopes to construct four or five facilities this year, each with an output of 500kw to 2,000kw. It will sell some of the power generated. This would be the first time that a major solar cell manufacturer from overseas generates electricity in Japan.

(President, Sumitomo 3M Ltd.)

via 2012/02/27 18:03 – What It Takes To Make A Leader: Singh.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Instructional video: Doceri on the iPad

This sounded good: how to use an iPad as an interactive whiteboard, using some software called Doceri. I thought, if I watched this, I’d learn what Doceri is and how to use it. Well, I watched 4 minutes of this 7-minute video, and after that time, I was really no wiser as to what Doceri is, or how you can use an iPad as an interactive whiteboard. Apparently, you hook it up to a computer, and you need a projector, and you need Doceri, and you need at least one other bit of software… after that I tuned out. And this guy needs not just ONE video but TWO to tell you all this and more. You still awake?

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65LbtDMriXU’]

If you want to know what Doceri is and does, I think we’re better off going to the Doceri website. I did get a tip on something called ink2go, which looks more useful for what I want to do.

The above video breaks a basic guideline for instructional videos: explain clearly in the first few seconds what the video is about and why the viewer should keep watching.


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

How (not) to make a video

A video I won’t be imitating any time soon, unless I ever want to put people off.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIUroPjgupA’]

  1. Altho the speaker is facing the camera, he has his eyes closed or looking off-screen much of the time. I don’t get the feeling he is really interested in talking to me. It looks like a self-indulgent rant.
  2. What’s with the weird animation? Is this a real person? A cartoon figure? Why am I wasting time asking myself these questions?
  3. Why should I or anyone care what Andrew thinks? He doesn’t provide a convincing answer within the first 10 seconds.
  4. He doesn’t provide any compelling reason within the first 15 seconds  why I should continue to listen to the remaining 7 minutes and 40 seconds. I didn’t.
  5. Is he the beast of “Beast TV”?
  6. He looks miserable. Maybe I’m weird, but I prefer to watch people who are either nice to look at, or who look like they’re enjoying themselves and believe in what they are talking about, or preferably all three. See below for some examples.
  7. Did I miss anything?

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONS33ukkTtE’]

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd1u3SykC_c’]

 


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Another short, well-made video

Here is another interesting short video. It is professionally made, and I don’t aspire to make anything this slick – it is not worth my time to learn how to do so. I like the background graphics. Watch for the ones that pop up when Ferguson says “Lehman Brothers”. I prefer a speaker on video to be facing me/the camera, tho I suppose switching to a side-view or some other view helps provide variety. But does a short video really need it?

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtLcalkHgyA’]


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Simple but effective videos

What do you think of this video as a teaching or a marketing tool?

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtRmS7q9DlM’]

I’m looking into creating my own instructional videos. If I could make something like the one above, I’d be happy. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »


I recommend the following digital products: WP GDPR Fix, a WordPress plugin that quickly and easily helps you make your WP blog GDPR compliant. Brett Kelly's "Evernote Essentials", Dan Gold's $5 guides to Getting Everything Done with Evernote and Springpad, and DocumentSnap Solutions' Paperless Document Organization Guides. Be sure to try DocumentSnap's free email course on going paperless first before buying his products. Sign up for it on his homepage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: My recommendations above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a commission. Your cost will be the same as if you order directly. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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