Here’s To You [Video]

Here’s a quick video from the team at Pluralsight with a powerful message and how we’re trying to change the world with computer education. If you look closely you’ll catch a picture of Erin, Bethany and myself on Bethany’s first plane ride.

 

Comments ( 0 )

Changing How We Learn – 3 Tips Every IT Trainer Needs To Know

trainingindustry-logoI’m excited to share a guest blog I wrote for Training Industry. The way information is disseminated to students has changed dramatically in the last few years. With that change it is important that teachers, mentors and leaders are adopting with the times and technology. In the article I highlight three tips to help trainers be successful in today’s knowledge sharing word. These are tried and true ways to be a great trainer, but aren’t always emphasized in the training world.

http://www.trainingindustry.com/it-training/articles/changing-how-we-learn-3-tips-every-it-trainer-needs-to-know.aspx

Comments ( 0 )

The Future of Learning [Video]

The future of education is a highly debated topic recently. There is a boom in established educational institutions starting new ways of providing education (MIT/Harvard/UC Berkeley/Texas with EDx or Stanford with Venture Labs) and for profit companies like Grockit and Desire2Learn gaining traction an trying to shape the future of education. This has always been a passion of mine, but my outlook has recently shifted as my wife and I are now expecting our first. What does the next 20+ years of education hold for my future child? How do we make sure they have all the opportunities you wish for you child? I hope to be able to help shape this along with others passionate about the topic.

In conversation, it seems to be becoming a unanimous agreement that today’s education environment in the United States is broken. Where the conversation starts to differ is what’s broken and the ways to fix it. Some point the finger at the authorities, some at the curriculum, others blame the parents, and others blame the testing. It seems like we are approaching a precipice of formal education as we currently know it. That doesn’t mean there’s going to be a apocolyptic moment in our formal education system, but I do think there are big changes ahead in the next decade.

I will be blogging about this topic in more detail in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, take 20 minutes and watch this documentary recently released about the Future of Learning

 

Comments ( 0 )

A couple new posts on TrainSignal and MSDN

This past week a couple of articles I’ve written went live on other websites. I had the wonderful opportunity to head out to Microsoft’s campus a few weeks ago and discuss the new features in Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, and System Center 2012 with Microsoft team members. It was a great experience and here are a few articles that have come from the trip.

First is a post about the recently release Windows Server 2012 on http://www.trainsignal.com/blog/windows-server-2012-general-availability

Second is a review of SQL Server 2012 you can find on MSDN where I highlight a few of the big features new to SQL in Microsoft’s latest release. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/customer_reviews_of_stb_products/archive/2012/09/05/gary-eimerman-reviews-sql-server-2012.aspx

Comments ( 0 )

Great learning is almost always one-size-fits-one

I just came across a gem of an article over on Fast Company’s Co-Exist site. I’ve got a full blog post in the works, but didn’t want to wait to share the article until that ready.  In the article Cathy Davidson discusses how the current education system in America is a system built to test compliance and measurement of a limited range of intellectual topics. It’s over 100 years old and was developed to train a job force for jobs that don’t exist anymore (or a much more limited amount)

Check out Going From One-Size-Fits-All Education, To One-Size-Fits-One plus as an added bonus you can learn how to Moonwalk!

In the end we need to unlearn our education system if we’re to make it better for our future graduates. Think back to when you were a child and learned how to ride a bike. Did you study the laws of physics and and take a standardized test or did you just get on the bike and fall down the first few times until you got the balance right? It’s important that the training we provide in school properly prepares individuals for a profession. In today’s world where unemployment is hovering around 10% yet there are plenty of companies seeking qualified talent to fill opening it’s time to start making some wholesale changes to what and how we’re educating.

Comments ( 0 )

Pilgrimage to MCSE – Guest Blog Post on Born to Learn

This past weekend TrainSignal and I were made aware of a challenge Michael Bender had thrown down to a group on Microsoft Learning’s Born to Learn blog. He challenged other IT Pros and members of t#theKrewe to get their new MCSE Private Cloud by TechEd North America. Working at an awesome place like TrainSignal, we decided to get involved and help them out with their studies by giving access to our video training associated with the certification. As part of that, Veronica Sopher as me to do a guest blog post on the Born to Learn website. You can check it out here: http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/60days2mcse/b/60days2mcse/archive/2012/05/09/pilgrimage-to-mcse.aspx

Comments ( 0 )

What if 1 Billion Students Attended MIT & Havard?

What if 1 billion students attended MIT & Harvard? What kind of impact could top educational institutions have on the world if the same professors and curriculum that currently help shape some of the brightest minds were made available to everyone? That is exactly what MIT and Harvard Provosts announced today with edX.

It’s an exciting announcement from some heavyweight institutions but what will it actually accomplish?

1) It will definitely increase the number of people that have access to top tier classes from both MIT and Harvard. People who traditionally couldn’t afford, couldn’t travel, or couldn’t get accepted will all have free access online to the content.

2) The fact that they are open sourcing the platform’s code and allowing the community to not only use it in their own environments, but build on and improve it is an excellent move by them.

3) It continues to add legitimacy to online education. With big name universities like Stanford, MIT, Havard providing access to online training their brands are helping people realize that online education can be as good and better than classroom training.

4) It helps connect learners from around the globe. Today’s world is a global economy and its very important that students learn as soon as possible how to use technology to work together with people they may not see on a daily basis or ever in person. Currently I work with a team that is 30+ employees in our may office and 20+ scattered across the US, Brazil, and other countries. Additionally, I have regular contact with customers in Asia, Africa, and Australia. The skills you learn just from having to communicate with remote instructors and students will be valuable in the future workplace.

What kind of challenges are they going to face with edX?

1) A big one I see is kinesthetic learning. Currently it’s quite expensive to develop emulation software for web platforms. The technology is as a point where more and more options are available, but there are just going to be some lessons that if you don’t have access to the appropriate items you won’t be able to get the full immersion learning.

2) Motivation. There are many psychological triggers that help motivate students when it comes to education and a system like edX can absolutely incorporate some that aren’t easily incorporated into a classroom at Havard or MIT today, but one that is missing from edX is the monetary cost of attending a school of their caliber. When a person knows they are spending $38,480.00 (current annual cost for full time undergrad at Havard according to the website) there is a monetary cost to skipping a class or dropping out. You can’t get that money back. Knowing that, people subconsciously do a risk reward analysis and can be motivated to take action. When the sunk cost is $0 I would expect the motivation and completion rate to be much lower. No longer do people feel like “I better get to class or I’ll lose out on a luxury car worth of education!”

3) How do they attract the right people? A huge advantage that a school has with current models that allow limited number of students creates exclusivity. Exclusivity is an attraction to motivated and success driven A Players. Part of what makes someone successful after graduating from an elite school isn’t the schooling, but actually DNA and personality traits that got the person into the university in the first place. By opening the curriculum to everyone you are going to reach more of these motivated people than you could with the constraints of a physical school, but it will also allow others who don’t have those traits as well.

Overall, I’m really excited about this announcement and look forward to getting my hands on edX myself. It is great to see university pushing forward and utilizing technology to increase the availability of quality education. This isn’t MIT’s first venture into the arena and at SXSW I had an opportunity to talk to some of the team behind MITx and hear some of the early successes. It’s my hope that some of the “branding” and influence that Harvard, MIT, and Stanford have flows down the ranks into more K-12 administrators and teacher and helps improve the education opportunities to younger students as well.

 

Comments ( 1 )

Write It Down When the Inspiration Hits

I recently became aware of how poor of a job I’ve done posting content to my blog during a recent server move. It’s been almost a year since my last true post. So I started thinking, “Why has this been so lacking the last 11+ months?” Sure, priorities have been focused elsewhere, but always the case, this blog is a passion and hobby, not a profession for me. So then I re-framed the question. The past is the past, “What do I need to do going forward to make sure I’m posting more?” That’s when I concluded that when the inspiration hits just start writing.

I looked at my list of blog post ideas from the past year and realized the majority of them were inspired by another event, article, or conversation I had. Many of them are still relevant, but they never got down on paper(or digital text in this case.) I could still write them today, but they wouldn’t have the same voice, the same drive, and the same excitement that they would have had months ago when the inspiration was there. So going forward I’m going to put forth a plan that when an idea hits I just start writing. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be in the form of a post right away. It may just be sentences, ideas, research items to enhance the idea, but it’s going to be written. Then when the time comes where I have a block to work on a post it’s not wasted on seeking artificial inspiration. The inspiration has already been captured. At that time, it’s just a matter of making sure there’s a message to the post, refining, cutting anything that doesn’t enhance it, and adding anything that is missing. My hope is this makes for much better posts.

Let’s see how it works and hopefully you can be the judge in the coming days and weeks. I’m also interested to hear: How are you inspired to write your posts? Do you just sit down and grind it out? Or do you make notes of ideas and come back later?

Comments ( 0 )

Launched New Site Windows 8 Tips and Tricks

Windows 8 Tips and TricksI’m excited to announce that I’ve launched a new site. The new site is located at http://www.windows8tipsandtricks.com and will be a collection of free tutorials on the upcoming Windows 8 Operating System from Microsoft along with news and other goodies.
Check it out and let me know what you’d like to see on the site. You can also access it at http://win8tips.co for a nice and short URL.

Comments ( 0 )

Happy Independence Day

I just wanted to take a moment today to thank all of those out there who are and who have served this great country. We all appreciate your effort, time and sacrifice and today we all celebrate the rewards of your hard work.

Thanks You!

Comments ( 0 )