Thursday, May 29, 2014

#QWR secret of success

Just felt the need to share this again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Slideshare posting...

After finishing up the last MOOC on Personal Branding for Educators, I thought I'd take a moment to share a few chunks of information online. It seems after many years of attending conferences, teaching classes, facilitating coaching course and, of course, coaching, I've got a lot of information accumulated on my hard drive. Might as well share that information, right? So, I started with Slideshare where I had previously shared one slide deck for my social media course last year.

Unfortunately, that first slide deck was really only labelled for the class (IDC4U) and certainly didn't have any information that would have generated any interest from a search engine or otherwise. So, I took it off the upload file...maybe I'll reupload the next time I teach the course....

This time, I decided to share some info on an area that is a particularly hot topic in sport across the world on Talent ID. There is a ton of quantitative information out there for individual sport Talent ID but not so much on Team Selection for team sport. This is an area I've been facilitating in the Canadian Sport Institute - Ontario for a few years and I had a (long) PowerPoint that I thought people might find interesting. So, I decided to give Slideshare another try and to upload that presentation, which I usually do over the course of an eight hour day.

In any case, I had no idea how much interest the Slideshare slide deck on Talent Identification and Selection in Elite Sport would generate. There have been 400 views in just over two days and this was definitely beyond the interest I'd expected. Really glad that there is so much interest in Talent ID and that for team sports that the selection is also an idea that carries significant weight. It was great even to get some verbal feedback from a coaching colleague yesterday! There are certainly a multitude of areas to consider as a coach and it's a great topic to discuss for a few hours.

I'm interested in feedback if you'd care to share - the slidedeck can be found at Talent Identification & Selection in Elite Sport. Comment here on the blog or below the presentation in the new window.

Monday, April 21, 2014

MOOC success!

The MOOC experiment was excellent. In fact, I've already signed up for two more. One I've just completed with Sidneyeve Matrix at Queen's University - it's called CDS605 Personal Branding for Educators. Sidneyeve is an incredibly connected social media guru who happens to have her ear to the ground on everything digital it seems. The other doesn't start until September (which is truly terrible timing), however, the course title certainly evokes connection to an area of passion in teaching; it's called "Sports and Society" with Dr. Orin Starn. I'm on the watchlist for this one and will connect as soon as enrolment permits.

Regarding the course with Cathy N. Davidson called "The History and Future of  (Mostly) Higher Education: Or, How We Can Unlearn Our Old Patterns and Relearn for a More Successful, Fruitful, Satisfying, Productive, Humane, Happy, Beautiful, Socially-conscious, Socially-Engaged Future." I thoroughly enjoyed it. Granted, I did think I was going to finish the course with all the assignments/discussions/annotations done. The optimist in me always thinks I'm going to get it all done; the realist in me really needs to give the optimist a kick to think a little more, I didn't quite get things done to the level I would have liked but I did get everything I wanted out of the course. 

So, my thoughts to those who are taking a MOOC in future would be this. Make sure you set some minimum expectations for what you'd like to learn and accomplish during the course that may not be everything that will earn a certificate of completion. By all means, attempt to complete everything and enjoy what you do along the way. I did that for the first week and was able to take something out of each portion I completed or participated in. 

The second week started off reasonably well. Then some unexpected life news happened so I wasn't able to complete the rest as thoroughly as I had planned. However, having completed the first week's worth of work, I felt like I could prioritize the rest of the course and still feel like I was getting lots of new learning and good reminders out of it, too. 

Perhaps if you are unsure whether a MOOC is for you, it would be a good idea to try everything that is available in the first week and then to reevaluate the most important aspects based on the course content and life as it happens. Hope this is helpful!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My MOOC experiment

After many exposures to the concept of MOOCs and other knowledge sharing platforms, I thought it was time to do a MOOC myself. Major influences in this were Alec Courosa and Sidneyeve Matrix through her Twitter account and her online course CDS502 (Online Strategy) through Queen's University that I was fortunate enough to participate in last year. As well, teaching an interdisciplinary studies high school course on social media last year has very much piqued my curiousity about learning online and in trying to keep up with all the changes to digital literacies.

The MOOC that caught my interest was Cathy Davidson's course from Duke University - of course, the possibility of being connected to the Cameron Crazies was a ridiculous but fun idea - called The History and Future of  (Mostly) High Education: Or, How We Can Unlearn Our Old Patterns and Relearn for a More Successful, Fruitful, Satisfying, Productive, Humane, Happy, Beautiful, Socially-conscious, Socially-Engaged Future. Needless to say, the English teacher in me was immediately attracted to the title! The hashtag on Twitter is #FutureEd if you are interested in joining or following the conversation.

Six weeks is the length of the course and the video lecture style is both engaging and very well put together with animated "chalkboards" summarizing Prof Davidson's main points. For a visual learner like me who likes to take notes while I read, this has been excellent. In fact, I'd love to know what program they used to put the videos together to make them professional but (hopefully) not too onerous. In this course there is not necessarily an emphasis on assignments and achievement on those assignments - these can be done and one would assume that the learning would be more solidified through the course by completing the assignments. The assignments are purely voluntary which appealed to me since in Ontario we are just starting up a new semester and I still have my many other involvements in rugby to deal with in life as well. This was helpful as I want to complete the course but wasn't sure of the workload and balancing with these other commitments. The fact that a student can earn a certificate of achievement simply by completing quiz questions as they come up on each video was enough for me to be able to say I've completed this within reasonable expectations.

The question at the end of the first intro assignments leave multiple possibilities. I did the quiz which leads to the certificate - not sure if my motivation was to earn the certificate or to actually see what I had learned. Also, there is an essay assignment that will be peer reviewed on having to "unlearn" something. I'd like to do the assignment, however, I think that the time I've spent on this blog may preclude me from meeting the deadline. There are also other participatory assignments the most notable of which asks "who is your favourite teacher?"I do like this question, and I've answered it on numerous occasions in my coaching development education; only, I've done it on paper and not on video as the assignment suggests. In the MOOC, the best part is that I know I've done it and it doesn't matter if I submit the assignment. Even better since it just gives me a chance to solidify and remember the learning I've done and then mentally add to it with people who have influenced me since. And there are many! I am so lucky to work with people at school and in rugby who teach me by challenging, cajoling and straight up telling me to learn.

Anyone can be a teacher and anyone can be a learner. I LOVE that this course is encouraging teachers and anyone who wants to learn to learn. Learning for learning's sake is such a wonderful and laudable goal. Now, if only this course will help me discover the secret to making sure that others feel the same way!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More books for coaches or my reading list from 2014

A few more books for coaches and teachers that were part of 2013's reading pile:

Quiet - Susan Cain

Ever wondered how to connect with the introverts on your team? Or wondered why some people just aren't that into group work in a classroom? Or wondered if you have some introverted tendencies yourself as a coach or teacher? This is the book for you!

Quiet is illuminating in the sense that it give a powerful voice to those who don't always feel that using theirs is the most necessary idea. As an extrovert, it certainly helpful me understand about how to encourage the hard work, idea generation and focus that introverts bring to the table with others. We just need to shut up, give those introverts time to speak and then listen!

This was brought to my attention by a former athlete of ours at Queen's who self identifies as an introvert and it was on my list for a long time before I finally got to it. All of a sudden I feel more equipped to work with and to help introverts harness the strengths of their default operational mode. The world in general needs to recognize the creative ability and the depth of investigation that introverts can go to when given the opportunity!

And, if you're into TEDtalks - here's Cain's called "The Power of Introverts."

To Sell is Human - Daniel Pink

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pink's writing and was thrilled to see him speak in Ottawa back in fall 2011. His latest book published in early 2013, To Sell is Human, is another winner. He claims that 8 of 10 of us workers are salespeople. It's true that teachers and coaches are salespeople in that we sell ideas, we sell and help build the concepts of self-confidence, passion for learning, dedication, teamwork and all those things that allow athletes and students to be the best people they can be once they leave our programs or schools.

Let's face it - we can't get buy in from our athletes and students if we can't sell the ideas or team culture that we create. Pink's book can help us do it more effectively.

Smarter Than You Think - Clive Thompson

My airport treat is a copy of Wired magazine whenever I am travelling. This is where I discovered Clive Thompson's clever and informative reading and was fortunate to receive the book as an unexpected Christmas gift.

Thompson's argument is that technology is making us smarter and may actually end up rewiring our brains to make us even "smarter." There are plenty of people who say that the information age and it's advancements will set us up for failure but Thompson makes the case for technology in all it's new and unknown ways. In a sense, the book doesn't seem to connect at all with coaching and might seem that there are lose links to teaching. However, for teachers, this book is a must-read and there is an entire chapter dedicated to the technology movements in schools. Also, it just asks readers to thoughtfully consider that change might just be a good thing...and that is what every teacher and coach should encourage.

Selling the Dream - Ken Campbell with Jim Parcells

While I didn't find the information in the book earth-shattering, Campbell does come up with some impressive numbers and statistics to support his ideas on hockey at a grassroots level in Canada. The message here is that we're in big trouble if we keep doing what we're doing. Money is what drives hockey development in Canada and mainly those middle to high income families will be the ones who can afford to help develop a raw but possibly talented teenager. Lower income families and those who are from outside major urban areas will be shut out of the development system. And some Canadian parents are making mind-boggling financial and life decisions around the minute possibility of their kids either getting a hockey scholarship or making the NHL or national teams. 

Honestly, I don't know if I would have finished it if I hadn't wanted to use the book as a part of my Sport & Society class at SHS. However, it would be a great primer for those just starting out in the hockey machine or those who may want to justify avoiding it (and putting their kids in mini-rugby instead). Oops, just can't help to advocate for fun, games and great LTAD!

The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg

I really enjoyed the organization of Duhigg's book and the research he put into each chapter. First, he starts with how some people have changed their own habits and then he explains exactly how his Cue-Reward-Routine concept makes it eas(ier) to make changes to habits. If only he talked about cookies less, I may have not craved them so much when I was reading!

And, there is a teacher's guide (thanks, Charles!). I'm working on putting this into our Grade 12 College English at SHS since the awareness about habits is not always as obvious for teenagers as one might think. We all have habits we enjoy and that we'd really rather change. Seems reasonable to talk about it in a classroom and maybe combine the use of technology into helping us make a positive beahviour change...maybe we can use both Thompson's and Duhigg's expertise at once. By the way, they are both highly engaged in Twitter and will have a chat if you have something interesting to comment on or to ask.

I think that's it - hope this is informative and that you can find something else interesting to read in the near future that helps to make you that much better in your chosen field.