Free iPad Apps

Lots of great apps available today!  Thanks to Mark Coppin for sharing these suggestions:

****  McGraw Hill’s Everyday Mathematics apps are free again today.

****  All of Assistiveware apps are 50% off today through tomorrow (4-4) in honor of Autism Acceptance Month. This includes Proloquo2Go!

Free apps
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Everyday Mathematics® Addition Top It – https://appsto.re/i67w4jV
Everyday Mathematics® Monster Squeeze™ – https://appsto.re/i67t3mP

Is leadership different in business than education?

road-1556604_960_720Pixabay – AidaGorodoskaya

As I reviewed my reflection on leadership, I began to think about how leadership shows itself in business and education.  Are the contexts so different that the actual concept of leadership is different?

Leadership is about inspiring a team to achieve a shared goal, which is made possible because of the social and intellectual capital of the group.  It’s about using the influence that you have built up within the group to add value and help not only individuals learn and grow stronger, but support the team in moving toward their shared vision.  All of the things that you choose to do or not do shape the culture, relationships and success of the team.

As an educator, I’m part of many different teams.  The teacher in a classroom has a unique opportunity each semester to support the development of a strong learning team by involving his/her students in the learning process.  Teachers work with other teachers, admin, parents, support staff and student support services professionals in a constant search to respond to the needs of the student in a way that creates the best learning environment possible.  As educators, we are all on the same team.  Our ultimate goal is to support students in reaching their learning outcomes in the best ways that we can.

As an entrepreneur, I’m also part of many different teams.  The world of network marketing and direct sales is built on teams.  Teams that work well together propel all of the contributing individuals towards their goals.  You can always work alone but the synergy that comes from being part of a positive, inspiring, cohesive team is revitalizing.

While the specific goals we are trying to achieve may be quite different, the concept of leadership is consistent.  Whether I’m working in education or business, genuine leadership makes a difference in achieving the outcomes.  Leadership styles will vary based on the specific leader, the team and the context.  How you get to the goals you set will be different, but the factors that support the coevolution of social and intellectual capital will be the same.

Granted there we be specific parts that may be more difficult in one realm or the other but the concept itself still holds true.  Take for example Jim Collin’s idea that before you can go anywhere you must first have the right people on the bus. Ensuring you have the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus isn’t always as easy as it sounds. As a teacher, you don’t get to pick the students in your class and often as a business leader you don’t have the authority to change your team.  The idea of starting with who is on the bus is still valid.  You have to know the people on your team or in your class in order to truly build a culture of excellence. It goes back to creating a shared identity, so that we are all working our our fullest potential.

Uniting a team begins by building trusting relationships.  Covey (2006) offered 13 practical ways to build trust.  While these trust building behaviours may show themselves differently in a classroom or an office, the behaviours are the same.  Purposefully, creating and maintaining trust within the network increases the likelihood of people interacting positively.  This in turn builds social capital which increases the chances of people exchanging knowledge.  As the social capital grows, so to does the intellectual capital.  As a community evolves shared stories begin to emerge, which help shape the group’s identity.  Daily interactions lead to shared language and codes which increase communication and build a resilient culture.

Creating a trusting environment in a classroom means that students will feel more comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone.  As a learner, they will be open to taking risks, trying new strategies and making connections to new information.  Students that trust their teachers will become more involved in the classroom, which creates more opportunities for knowledge sharing interactions and decreases behavior challenges.  The same is true in business.  In direct sales, for example, building a team matters.  If I’m worried about my upline’s motives, I’m less likely to work as part of team.  This in turn means that I lose out on mentoring opportunities and the chance to be part of a learning environment which could help push myself and my own team to new levels of success.

People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it (Sinek, 2014). Whether people are consuming an actual product or the act of learning itself, they still want to know why you are teaching it and that you value their perspective in the exchange.  We all want to feel valued.

Leadership style will vary from one situation to another.  How people inspire or scare others into achieving the desired goal of the group happens through different strategies.  You will find all types of leaders in business and education.  The type of leader isn’t mutually exclusive to one domain or the other.  The leader is ultimately shaped by his or her personal choices within the context he or she is attempting to lead.  The concepts that I’ve suggested to be common to leadership are foundational to leaders in both education and business settings.  Building trust, creating shared stories, shaping a common identity and context, enhancing communication and sharing knowledge are all significant in building a connected team.  So while the logistics and specific activities of developing team relationships may be unique to each setting, the path to becoming a leader worth following shares the same road.

usa-1556922_960_7201Pixabay – MarioSchmidtPhoto

 

goal more effectively because together the whole is stronger and better equipped

Leadership

Leadership Concept Map August 2016

This concept map is meant to visualize the different the different connections I came across while studying leadership.  The detailed explanation can be found in my blog post entitled Leadership Connections – A Reflective Look Back.

I used Sketchboard to create my concept map and one of the features was the ability to create a quick slideshow.  So I’ve created a short video from the screen capture of my Sktechboard slideshow.

Here’s a quick overview of what the leadership concept map means to me.

 

 

An Overview of “Situated Cognition”

An Overview of
Chapter 5 Situated Cognition
By Marcy P. Driscoll


Driscoll provided a straight forward overview of situated cognition and it’s connection to communities of practice.  In particular, I was interested in learning participation and how a learner’s trajectory leads to full participation and access to insider knowledge.  Being in a group implies legitimate peripheral participation because learning is only facilitated if you are actually part of the group.  Driscoll often cited Lave & Wenger’s (1991) work as she explained the diversity of apprenticeship in learning. Whether you are on the peripheral, inbound, an insider, on the boundary or on an outbound path, your learning is impacted and potentially limited by your participation in the group.  Driscoll skillfully connected situated cognition, apprenticeship, learning trajectory, and semiosis all while examining the implications of situated cognition for instruction.

 

Popular Culture vs Academic Writing

As with anything the way that I attempt to convey my message is dependent upon the message I am attempting to share, my purpose and my intended audience.  Mullen (2011) noted that persuasion is at the root of what we do as researchers, teachers and with our colleagues.  We are often trying to convince others of our intended purpose (para 1). He went on to explain logos as the use of argumentation to convey data, statistics and information in a logical format.  It’s research based.  Pathos, Mullen noted, serves to stir up people’s emotions and appeal to what Chip and Dan Heath referred to as the elephant sides of our brains while logos appeals to our rational rider.  Lastly, ethos reflects not only how you speak but the individual integrity you bring to what you are saying.  It’s your credibility based on your previous results (para 4-6).

As I look back on the leadership resources that I’ve reviewed they fall into two groups.  Resources that are more easily accessible may be considered more popular reading while highly academic pieces follow more rigorous standards and processes before they are published.  Does one have more value than the other?

I was certainly drawn to the page turning pop culture books.  They not only shared statistics and data they made it come alive by sharing stories and personal experiences.  It appealed to my logos and pathos side.  A powerful combination when you get both the rider and the elephant headed in the same direction.  Over the course of my ETAD program, I came to re-appreciate not only the ideas and data that come from more academic writing, but the rigorous process of publishing respected work.  It appealed to me on both a logos and ethos level; moreover, the academic work often forms the foundation for more popular books.

I noticed frequent citation of each other’s work within the more academic realm including both formal studies and academic articles.  If you hit on the right concept and trace the research back it forms a long chain of reference.   Daniel, Schwier & McCalla (2003), for example, often cited the work of Nahapiet and Ghoshal (1998) with regard to social capital. Even Google has run with this concept by highlighting the number of times an article has been cited.  I’m certainly drawn to the articles that have been cited many times.  It seems to reason, they are more credible.  It doesn’t necessarily mean those articles have the information I’m interested in learning more about.  To apply Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s concept of intellectual capital, the more connections between cited articles the higher the intellectual capital.

In reviewing, Covey’s Speed of Trust references, it’s apparent that Covey wants you to know where the information comes from and he has organized his references by chapter highlighting where he found the material.  His references range from interviews, quotations, conferences (i.e. Stanford Leadership Conference), many articles – some of which included newspapers while others included the Harvard Business Review; he noted formal studies, surveys and annual reports.  Overall, his resources pulled from both popular culture and academic sources as did Chip and Dan Heath’s in the Switch.

Not all of my pop culture reading and articles provided detailed references.  Some simply mentioned the reference in the context of the text.  They clearly stated who the information came from, but a list of references wasn’t included in the copies of the books that I read.  It is something that I’m more aware of since my return to grad school and it makes me wonder why they didn’t note their sources more directly.

McGonigal’s Super Better book, for example, provided a detailed chapter by chapter break down of the science.  In fact, she has even dedicated a website called showmethescience.com to share the research behind living gamefully.  In fact, McGonigal’s references tended toward the more academic side citing numerous journals and academic studies.  In fact, Super Better, itself has been involved in two clinical trials.  So while there is certainly differences in how pop culture authors cite the research, there is ethos embedded into the writing.  Sometimes, however, the ethos may come from their status in society not from the detailed references that they provided.

I did notice that Covey’s work was referenced on a few occasions in other pop culture books.  I think how often some of them cited each other depended on how recently the book was published. With regard to the concepts of leadership, different authors often mentioned the names of respected and well known leaders instead of citing other books about those leaders.

Having learned more about social and intellectual capital, it’s often what the pop culture leadership books are referring to or at least in part.  Again it depends on the message and the particular focus the author is attempting to convey.  As with anything, we need to acknowledge that while the main purpose of writing a book or publishing a study is to better the common good and increase what we as a society know.  There is a financial factor involved.  As a reader, it’s important to actively think about the material you are reading and it sources.  Citizens have to be able to make informed decisions and not just go with what sounds best.

Lastly, it’s about the audience.  Writers compose their text with a specific audience in mind.  Academic writing has a very specific audience and purpose, as does pop culture.  The latter perhaps to make the research more accessible to a larger group of people in a variety of social circles.  Perhaps how you write and the language you use defines the community of practice to which you belong. Shared language and codes help build positive social capital as does following the expectations and norms of the group.  Each group has a different form and standard of what’s considered acceptable when sharing information including different ethical responsibilities.

ETAD 898 has provided a unique opportunity to delve into the topic of leadership from both sides of the spectrum.  While some topics distinctly came up in each realm others were more subtly connected. Communities of practice weren’t formally mentioned in the pop culture books, however, the characteristics were discussed in relation to teams and various groups.  Researching leadership from both perspectives has increased my appreciation for the ongoing need for both types of writing.  In the end it’s about sharing our explicit and if we are willing our tacit knowledge with members of our group.  The more diverse our network and sources the more we can grow our understanding of the world around us.


Mullen, Lincoln. (2011).  How to Persuade – with Ethos, Pathos, or Logos? ProfHacker

Adult Learning Methods

Part of my ETAD 898 study in leadership was to examine my own philosophy of adult learning.  Here’s a quick overview of the resources that supported my reflection.

  • Chapter Two – Where Do I Fit In?  Articulating a Personal Philosophy (2015)
    • Creative Clinical Teaching in the Health Professions by Sherri Melrose, Caroline Park, Beth Perry used under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 international license.
    • This was a straightforward chapter that highlighted the five key adult education philosophies (liberal, behavourist, progressive, humanist and radical) along with the five key perspectives of teaching adults (Transmission, Apprenticeship, Developmental, Nurturing and Social Reform).  You can take the Teaching Perspectives Inventory to begin your reflections. Melrose, Park and Perry explained the significance of knowing your own philosophy so you better understand where you are going and how you are getting there.  They also provided suggestions for writing your own philosophy of education.
    • I appreciated the inclusion of the Philosophy of Adult Education Survey as it was helpful in beginning my reflection.  As Melrose, Park and Perry reminded your philosophy of adult education will evolve with your teaching experiences.  It is interesting to look back as a teacher and note how your beliefs have evolved.  The value in writing a philosophy of teaching is that it provides an opportunity for ongoing reflection.
  •  If you are interested in learning more about your personal style of learning, the Canfield Learning Styles Inventory offered insight into content, conditions, modes and expectancy areas of learning. It’s a straighforward survey and your results are promptly emailed to you with a detailed explanation of your preferences.  It was a great way to start reflecting on my personal style of learning.
  • Philosophies of Adult Education
    • Based on the work of Lorraine Zinn in Chapter 3 of Identifying Your Philosophical Orientation of Adult Learning Methods:  A Guide for Effective Instruction (1990).
    • The authors of this website added to the tables to provide more examples of details of Zinn’s work.  The resulting tables graphically organize key information.
  • Guba, E. & Lincoln, Y. (1994) Chapter 6: Competing Paradigms in Qualitative Research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp.105-117). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. https%3A%2F%2Fwww.uncg.edu%2Fhdf%2Ffacultystaff%2FTudge%2FGuba%2520%26%2520Lincoln%25201994.pdf
    • Guba & Lincoln delve into the major competing paradigms of qualitative research by focusing on Positivism, Postpositivism, Critical Theory and Constructivism.  By examining the ontology, epistemology and methodology of each, Guba and Lincoln explained the nature of each perspective and charged the researcher to know before they begin their inquiry.
    • This was an intense read and challenged you to think about the nature of how we come to know the world around us.  While it provided a helpful graphic organizer, it enabled me to start my philosophic reflection.  Deeper understanding of the paradigms would be fostered by further discussion and follow up reading.
  • Conti, G. J. (2007). Identifying Your Educational Philosophy: Development of the Philosophies Held by Instructors of Lifelong-learners (PHIL). MPAEA Journal of Adult Education, XXXVI(1), 19-35. Retrieved from http%3A%2F%2Fconti-creations.com%2Fphil_guide.pdf
    • Conti reminded of the dangers of eclecticism leading to inconsistent behaviours.  He also provided a 2 page overview of the different philosophies, which acted as quick reference to learning more.
  • Kumar, A. (n.d.). Philosophical Background of Adult and Lifelong Learning. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/education/aladin/paldin/pdf/course01/unit_03.pdf
    • Kumar provided a basic explanation and overview of Zinn’s work through both text and graphical ogranization.
  • University College Dublin. (2016). Open Educational Resources of UCD Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from UCD Dublin: http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Education_Theory/Constructivism_and_Social_Constructivism

    • Provided a straightforward overview of Constructivism and Social Constructivism.
  • Adult Education Philosophies Practiced By Agricultural Education Teachers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia – C. Buckingham.
    • Journal of Agricultural Education
    • Volume 43, Number 3
    • pp. 37-48
    • Buckingham offered a concise summary of Zinn’s Philosophy of Adult Education Inventory in the context of her study of philosophies practiced by agricultural teachers.

Additional resources referenced in my final reflection.


 

An Overview of “Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice”

An Overview of the
Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice
By: E. Wenger, R. McDermott & W. M. Synder


Wenger, McDermott and Synder (2002) offered seven practical aspects to consider for maintaining and supporting the growth of voluntary communities of practice.   This is an interesting read focusing on the significance of generating sustainable energy within the group.   Communities of practice (CoPs) are voluntary and Wenger et. al. noted their success over time is dependent up “their ability to generate enough excitement, relevance and value to attract and engage new member” (p. 1)

They put forth seven key principles:

  1. Design for evolution
    – At first you design to attract group members, but overtime the needs and goals of the group will change. To effectively sustain a CoP your design must continue to evolve.
  2. Open a dialogue between inside and outside perspectives
    – A well connected leader will thoroughly understand the needs of a group and be able to invite relevant outside perspectives to help the group grow.
  3. Invite different levels of participation
    – People participate in groups at varying levels of intensity and frequency and that’s okay.  Each group member contributes in their own way.  What I found interesting was Wenger et. al’s ongoing reminders to purposefully design for interaction.  Just as you would place a park bench along a path to invite people to sit and talk, so to must you create those opportunities within the CoP.
  4. Develop both public and private community spaces
    – All interactions both public and private have an opportunity to benefit the group through the interconnected relationships of the community. The authors explained that conversations at formal meetings are important, but don’t underestimate the value of the conversations that happen after the meeting or at the water cooler.  Those formal or informal discussions will enhance the individual relationships within the community.
  5. Focus on value
    – People participate in communities because there is value.  Work to ensure that both formal and informal interactions add value to the community.
    —  What is it that draws people to the group?
  6. Combine familiarity and excitement
    – A familiar routine creates a comfort level which facilitates the sharing of knowledge; however, to remain vibrant a community needs some exciting events that draw members together in a shared sense of adventure.
  7. Create a rhythm for the community
    – All communities have a rhythm, finding the right tempo for your community ensures that people are not running to keep up or stalled when it’s time to move.  Wenger et. al. noted that “the rhythm of the community is the strongest indicator of its aliveness” (p. 7).

Connections:

  • As an educator, your classroom is an ever evolving community of practice just like a business team working toward a common goal.  Wenger, McDermott and Snyder offered 7 thoughtful practices to keeping the community alive in an easy to read format.  Regardless of your team’s context, reflecting on these principles will provide a framework to better support the growth of your community and in turn grow the social and intellectual capital of your team.

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. (2002). Seven Principles for Cultivating Communities of Practice. Retrieved from http://www.askmecorp.com/pdf/7Principles_CoP.pdf