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Exponential awesomeness

Posted: - Modified: | education, teaching, web2.0


@smeech I recently built an entire workshop around Sacha Chua‘s Teacher’s Guide to Web 2.0: Watch/Do/Teach was our mantra

@sachac Sacha! Your presentation provided a perfect, low-stress, socratic & fun contextual frame for my day-long workshop. We had a ball!


kjarrett on Twitter

@sachac LOVE your stuff! I use a couple of your slideshares for an online Web 2.0 class I facilitate. GR8 job! Keep em coming!

jdornberg on Twitter

This is why sharing is so cool. Even if I don’t have the time, ability, or network to explore the opportunities opened up by what I’ve learned, I can share those thoughts with other people, and they can go and do something awesome.

I put together the Teacher’s Guide to Web 2.0 at School because I needed to make a presentation to kick off the school year for 90 teachers. Since then, it’s been viewed over 20,000 times. More than 150 people have shared it on their blogs. I haven’t explored it further. I haven’t even posted any notes. In particular, slide #25 probably needs more explanation than the few keywords I put on there to help people remember after my talk. But it’s enough to tickle people’s imaginations, and the simplicity lets them fill in their own insights.

I like this. The more I share, the more awesome things I get to see, and the more inspired I am to share.

What can you share so that other people can build on it?

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Every teachable moment

| geek, life, teaching


What is it like being a geek? It means being surrounded by opportunities to teach, even at the dinner table.

One of the LEGO magazine issues had included a pair of 3-D glasses. The issue had been tossed out due to a large number of jam stains, but the 3-D glasses were still on the kitchen table.

I put the 3-D glasses on. Things around me shifted from red to blue-green, depending on which eye dominated that part of my mental picture. I could influence which color I saw at a point by mentally favouring one eye or the other, but I couldn’t get the scene to be one colour unless I closed one of my eyes. Interesting.

I explained my observations to W- and J-. Curious, J- borrowed the 3-D glasses and put them on.

“Cool,” she said, looking around, as I told her about eye dominance.

Then I took a red pen from the pen holder and rolled it towards her.

“Wow! That looks white!” She switched eyes. “Now it looks black!”

Then I showed her a blue pen. She tried looking at the pens with both eyes, then with one eye, then the other.

W- and I explained a bit of colour theory along the way.

What is it like being a geek? It means recognizing that every little thing has a mystery that can be unfolded and explored.

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What can I help you learn? Looking for mentees

Posted: - Modified: | life, mentoring, teaching

Update 2013-07-17: Fixed contact form link

As awkward as “mentee” sounds (I feel like I’m looking for minty sweets), it’s the preferred word at IBM. Protégé smacks of the old boys’ club, I guess.

One of my priorities for 2010 is to share what I’m learning with even more people. The slow way is to reflect on what I’ve learned, write blog posts, and package that up as presentations and podcasts. The fast way is to find people who want to learn what I’ve learned (and am learning), braindump ideas in response to their questions, and make them responsible for writing up notes and further sharing what we’ve learned.

Mentoring people is much better than braindumping things on my own because:

  • We focus on what’s valuable to people
  • Questions prompt me to think
  • Questions mean I don’t skip over anything I haven’t explained well enough
  • Other people’s perspectives (like yours!) enrich the content
  • We can reach more people

Some of the things I’d be happy to explore through mentorship or peer-mentorship, roughly in order of interest (top interests first):

  1. Patterns and tools for community interaction through social media
  2. Presentation organization
  3. Presentation design
  4. Blogging (topics, editing/wordsmithing, exploration, general website ideas, but not technical help with WordPress)
  5. Presentation delivery (particularly remote)
  6. Visual thinking, notetaking, mindmapping, and information visualization
  7. Connecting and networking, particularly as an introvert
  8. Figuring life out, finding and following your passion
  9. Scaling up and getting better personal ROI on your effort
  10. Delegation, virtual assistance, outsourcing, and working with coaches
  11. Creativity and brainstorming
  12. Technology adoption and evangelism
  13. Editing and wordsmithing
  14. Productivity
  15. Cooking, baking, gardening, sewing, and other aspects of domestic bliss
  16. Getting on board as a new hire
  17. Getting used to life abroad
  18. Frugal personal finance
  19. Social networking (which tools to use when)

I can give occasional tips on Drupal and Emacs, but I’m not focused on Drupal development at the moment, and there are much more active Emacs geeks out there.

If you think of a topic that you’d like to learn about that you know I can help you with, suggest it too. =)

How it might work:

  1. Leave a comment on any relevant blog post with your question, use the handy contact form, or e-mail your questions to me at . No mentoring relationship required. =) I like questions! I get to think about them and blog what I’ve learned.
  2. Contact me with an introduction and what you’re interested in. I prefer to communicate through blogs, e-mail, or the phone (with blogs preferred the most). We can set up a 20-minute or 50-minute call and chat about what’s on your mind.
  3. If it turns out we’ve got lots to talk about and we mesh well together, let’s set up recurring calls and have an ongoing conversation. If lots of people have similar questions, it would be interesting to set up group conferences or a community so that we can all learn from each other.

“Pay me back” by sharing your thoughts and actions taken. =)  I don’t want ideas to disappear into single conversations. If so, I might as well just blog about it myself, and help way more people. Share as much as you can of what we learn. At the minimum, please send me your notes. Better yet, blog, podcast, videocast, or otherwise share what we talked about. We all win!

So, how can I help you or someone you know?

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A teacher’s guide to Web 2.0 at school [illustrated]

| presentation, teaching, web2.0
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Teaching energy

| life, teaching

Maybe it is possible to teach energy, because I can certainly point to some teachers who influenced me–all the way down to that rocking motion I do in lieu of actually bouncing up and down.

That was what he did: rock back and forth, swinging his hands, whenever he got really excited about something: Linux, computer science, mathematics, the joys of algorithms, the search for Rachmaninoff sheet music, the trials and tribulations of his students’ love lives.

In all our classes, he always smiled. I don’t know how he managed to sound happy even while expressing exasperation over test scores or proprietary software companies’ antics, but he did. And one of the best things about being on the “computer science varsity”–the training team for the programming competitions–was training with him and the others during summers.

Advanced happy birthday, Doc Mana!

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Social media and education

| teaching, web2.0

There’s an insightful 82-page PDF entitled Educating the Net Generation: A Handbook of Findings for Practice and Policy. Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. (And the report’s CC-Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike!)

Interesting bits:

  • Gen Yers aren’t all that likely to use emerging Web 2.0 technologies, and may not necessarily want to use those tools in learning. (p6)
  • Web 2.0 tools have unexpected benefits for engagement with subject material, peers, and community.
  • Teachers like wikis more than students do. (p10)
  • Lots of great case studies (p27-51)

Educating the Net Generation: A Handbook of Findings for Practice and Policy

If you’re in education, you should definitely check this out. Might be interesting to write case studies like this for the corporate world, too.

Thanks to Millennial Leaders and Ryan Coleman for the link!

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What teachers make

Posted: - Modified: | speaking, teaching

Someday I’m going to be able to speak truth like that.

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