Tuesday, May 22, 2012

By Force of Habit

Here's a neat infographic by Charles Duhigg, from his The Power of Habit.

As he says, there isn't a single formula that works for everyone, but thousands. And, negative habits are a particular part of why we fail at endeavors.

How does the science of repeated behaviors interface with our likelihood for turning to technology to solve problems? Is it our "know-how" or our habits that is getting in the way of school leaders utilizing technology to help people develop and to personalize learning? To what extent does our success in #edtech initiatives depend less on understanding #edtech and more on our habits related to instruction and leadership?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Students Test Educational Games for UW-Madison's Discovery Institutes (Guest Post by David Bell)

Recently, our middle and high school science students participated in important educational gaming research for UW-Madison researchers. Meagan Rothschild and Michael Beall of the Morgridge Institute for Research had students play the educational game Progenitor X. Progenitor X is a game developed to teach players about the relationships between cells, tissues, and organs, including the basic scientific principles of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell research. While the researches have spent countless hours developing the game, they also need middle and high school students to beta-test these games. The goal for their visit was to collect very specific data. Prior to playing the game, students took a short pretest to determine their background knowledge on the subject. While students played the game, analytics software monitored each movement that students made in order to better understand the choices students make while playing the game.  Following the game, students took a post test and were able to give feedback directly to the researchers.  The research collected will  help developers create a final version of the game that enhances the learning experience. Our students were able to learn about cells, participate in applied-science research, and discuss the elements of game design with professional game designers.  Later this month, intermidiate elementary students will be beta-testing Citizen Science, another applied-science, contextualized game. We are excited for the opportunity to partner with UW-Madison's award-winning educational gaming department (including gaming rock-star, Kurt Squire) and to participate in other play-testing projects in all content areas. 

Thank you to middle school science, high school science, and high school science/special education teachers for coordinating the experience.

Pictures courtesy of Kim Fanning

If you are interest in learning more about the Educational  Research taking place at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery a few resources are available below:

This is a guest post by David Bell. It is originally posted here

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Solving for "e"

Funny how we are so captivated with solving for “e” today, with e-harmony, e-banking, e-commerce, e-learning, e-news, and the list goes on. And in this algorithm of instantaneousness and data, what is it that we are actually solving for? What is “e”?

Recently, I heard Tom Thibodeau speak about servant leadership. He said (I paraphrase) that you never really know yourself until it’s within the context of others. It’s through relationships that we build self-awareness, develop self-regulation, show empathy, solve problems through teamwork, and consider variables when making decisions. It turns out that when we solve for “e,” it equals emotions.

Emotional intelligence and leadership styles that bear consideration for emotional intelligence yield capacity for stronger relationships—ones that give us capability to face adversity, ones that call us beyond ourselves, and ones that elicit civility and professional discernment.

From what I’ve read, developing emotional intelligence is a contemplative practice, and it always helps to start with a framework off from which to work. CASEL recently developed a detailed model for competencies in social and emotional learning.

After solving for “e,” the “e” in e-rewards or any other e-abbreviated word is actually emotion, and being conscientious about your emotional intelligence can not only facilitate environments that are safe, caring, and participatory, but also promote emotional competency such as self-awareness and better relationships. 

How do you solve for "e"? To what extent do you see the "e" in e-mail or e-solutions or e-cards connoting our awareness of our own emotions and how we recognize emotions in others? Do you think that an awareness of emotions in the age of "electronics" is important? How do leaders leverage electronic communication to increase our awareness of emotions? How are you solving for "e"?