“Re-Industrialize the Planet”. A quick summary:
* The web is creating a global infrastructure for collaboration (which leads to disruption and confusion)
* As a result, all of our institutions have come to the end of their life-cycle
* The current recession is a crucial punctuation point in human history – the point where we said that we need to reset, the point where the industrial economy has finally run out of gas
* This paradigm shift is creating a crisis of leadership
* The Digital Natives are inheriting this situation – and they think very differently
* Kids are now the authority on many issues
* We have 40 years to re-industrialize the planet
“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said headmaster James Tracy. (Mark Wilson for The Boston Globe)
There are rolling hills and ivy-covered brick buildings. There are small classrooms, high-tech labs, and well-manicured fields. There’s even a clock tower with a massive bell that rings for special events.
Cushing Academy has all the hallmarks of a New England prep school, with one exception.
This year, after having amassed a collection of more than 20,000 books, officials at the pristine campus about 90 minutes west of Boston have decided the 144-year-old school no longer needs a traditional library. The academy’s administrators have decided to discard all their books and have given away half of what stocked their sprawling stacks – the classics, novels, poetry, biographies, tomes on every subject from the humanities to the sciences. The future, they believe, is digital.
“When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books,’’ said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. “This isn’t ‘Fahrenheit 451’ [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We’re not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology.’’
Instead of a library, the academy is spending nearly $500,000 to create a “learning center,’’ though that is only one of the names in contention for the new space. In place of the stacks, they are spending $42,000 on three large flat-screen TVs that will project data from the Internet and $20,000 on special laptop-friendly study carrels. Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine.
Check out Peek – a great simple device to get your email anywhere.
Peek was born on a walk in the park when Amol Sarva and his wife, Ursula, were expecting their first child. At six months pregnant, Ursula couldn’t sit still and found comfort in taking long walks. But planning for a new arrival and a busy life besides, Amol saw that Ursula would return feeling behind. Emails were piling up. She had inbox anxiety.
A seasoned wireless industry entrepreneur, Amol had long been using smartphones for mobile email. With smartphone in hand, their long walks were actually a great way for him to stay on top of things at the office. Amol tried to get Ursula to use one, describing the many features: email, texting, voice calling, Internet, etc. But the bells and whistles are exactly what turned her off. She didn’t want a complicated smartphone with extras she didn’t need.
What she really wanted was a simple, nifty device that would let her do email on the go since email was how everyone she knew made plans, caught up, and shared news.
Amol thought a simple, fun, and attractive mobile email device had to exist. He asked his contacts at the cell phone companies, but they were dismissive. Nobody wants “simple”, they want “more”, they said. But Amol saw an opportunity, which he discussed with a few colleagues from earlier ventures. They explored the idea in the “real world”, closely observing real people using email at their desks and on the go.
Amol’s hunch was right; people really want a device that simply does email.
via Peek – About Peek.
Charles de Gaulle – “The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”
Crucially for Solvig—who needed to get back into the workforce as soon as possible—StraighterLine let students move through courses as quickly or slowly as they chose. Once a course was finished, Solvig could move on to the next one, without paying more. In less than two months, she had finished four complete courses, for less than $200 total. The same courses would have cost her over $2,700 at Northeastern Illinois, $4,200 at Kaplan University, $6,300 at the University of Phoenix, and roughly the gross domestic product of a small Central American nation at an elite private university. They also would have taken two or three times as long to complete.
College for $99 a Month
The next generation of online education could be great for students—and catastrophic for universities.
Times are changing.
As an idea person, I’m constantly amazed at the speed of which new ones seem to be entering the main stream. If ideas use to be “a dime a dozen“, they are more like “penny for a pound” today.
From tweeting stuff your older father says to discussing the life of a squirrel, these ideas seem to be finding an audience and gaining sucess in short timeframes. Today the New York Times released an article that showcased the case of a Twitter account named “shitmydadsays”. Less than 30 days after launch, this young man has over 200,000 followers, media coverage, market appeal, an agent and multiple book offers.
So here’s to the speed of ideas and to hitting that sweet spot that only the world can tell you about.
According to the New York Times Bits blog, a recent study funded by the US Department of Education (PDF) found that on the whole, online learning environments actually led to higher tested performance than face-to-face learning environments. “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction,” concluded the report’s authors in their key findings.
The report looked at just under one hundred studies that compared the performance of students in online learning environments (or courses with an online study component) to those who were given strictly face-to-face instruction for the same courses. What they found was that students who completed all or some of their coursework online tested on average in the 59th percentile, compared to the 50th percentile for those who received only classroom instruction, and that the results are statistically significant.
A kindred spirit and great personal resource, Jurgen Appelo. Jurgen is the CIO at ISM eCompany, a Dutch company that creates web sites and web applications for customers
Agile development has taken a number of concepts and principles from the study of complex adaptive systems. But since the birth of the Agile Manifesto, the study of complexity has not stopped. In this talk I give a number of ideas copied from complexity experts, and I will review what fitness landscapes, patches, power laws, and incompressibility could mean for agile software development.
- Hierarchies are not a problem, they are natural;
- Prediction of velocity includes an (impossible) estimate of unknown problems;
- Patches of Scrums can be an alternative to Scrum of Scrums;
- ScrumButs are natural and necessary;
- Agile management is an often forgotten but crucial part of agile;
- A project with many strong interdependent parts can behave chaotically;
- All we will ever have are a variety of imperfect methods;
- A self-organizing team with the size of 8 should better be avoided;
The brain’s “seeking system” is hard-wired to obsessively love Google, Twitter, e-mail, and other electronic communication devices, fueled by the opioid neurotransmitter dopamine, according to neuroscientists.
Seeking. You can’t stop doing it. Sometimes it feels as if the basic drives for food, sex, and sleep have been overridden by a new need for endless nuggets of electronic information. We are so insatiably curious that we gather data even if it gets us in trouble. Google searches are becoming a cause of mistrials as jurors, after hearing testimony, ignore judges’ instructions and go look up facts for themselves. We search for information we don’t even care about. Nina Shen Rastogi confessed in Double X, “My boyfriend has threatened to break up with me if I keep whipping out my iPhone to look up random facts about celebrities when we’re out to dinner.” We reach the point that we wonder about our sanity. Virginia Heffernan in the New York Times said she became so obsessed with Twitter posts about the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest that she spent days “refreshing my search like a drugged monkey.”