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Monday, June 18, 2018

How to ‘sharpen the saw’ in a digital era? | People Matters

Photo: Parag Mehra
Here are a few helpful tips to navigate learning in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world, according to Parag Mehra, Sr. Director – Learning & Development working with an American Multi-National Corporation.

Photo: People Matters

A story of two workers cutting wood while working at the same place is one that most of us are familiar with. The words ‘same place’ is a reference to an economics axiom ‘other things are being equal’ meaning same working hours and conditions. Yet, one produces better results compared to the other. 

What is the cause of this difference in performance? 
If you don’t know the answer already, it is – the ability to sharpen the saw! 

Today, ‘Sharpening the Saw’ is more relevant than ever before. While many of us can put into practice what we have seen and done in the past and apply solutions that have worked for us before, we are stuck to the past. Our learning architecture involves learning based on our enterprise experience, intelligence on market practices, leadership & skill attributes, academic wisdom & past experiences. 

However, businesses today operate in a VUCA environment, and technology integrated solutions have become a new normal along with demographic shift with the influx of millennial population in the workforce. This creates a compelling need to change; a change in the existing learning architecture and engaging in new & innovative methods of learning to meet the ever-expanding demands of the evolving workplace. Our learning patterns need to evolve and enable us to acquire niche skills in multiple areas to remain relevant.

There is a need to invest in sharpening our saw with an enhanced variation. This means leveraging the power of ‘digital’ to multiplying the impact and to produce transformational results. Our traditional patterns of learning need to change significantly. Just as the tree cutting axe has changed over the years (nowadays there are over 30+ variation of axes for cutting specific trees), there’s a need to being in enhanced variation in our own development. Here are a few attributes that will help you in the process:

Source: People Matters

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Lakota Schools to lead national digital learning experiments | Hamilton Journal News

Michael D. Clark, Staff Writer reports, "Lakota Local Schools is now among a half-dozen districts nationwide picked to help lead all schools toward better digital learning."

Lakota Local Schools are now among a half-dozen districts nationwide picked to help lead all schools toward better digital learning. Lakota was recently chosen as one of six districts across the country to lead the Real World Learning Challenge Collaborative through Digital Promise s League of Innovative Schools, which the district joined last fall.
Photo: Michael D. Clark/Staff

Lakota was recently chosen as one of six districts across the country to lead the “Real World Learning Challenge Collaborative” through Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools, which the district joined last fall.

The goal of the Challenge Collaborative is to develop practices that have been tested in member districts and validated through research to enhance the real-world student experience in secondary education.

The appointment means Lakota will have first access to shared digital experimentation in other districts and in turn will be sharing its own innovations.

“Our district leaders have already begun working on a plan that will re-imagine the secondary-student experience, including real-world learning,” said Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller.

Miller said being chosen by the national league “reiterates the importance of this work.”

It’s the latest national honor for the increasingly digitalized school system of 16,500 students, spurred on by Miller, who was hired in part because of his wide reputation for modernizing traditional learning.

Source: Hamilton Journal News

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

18 New Music Books to Read This Summer | Pitchfork

From confessional punk memoirs to a self-help book by Questlove, there’s something here for every genre of music nerd.

Photo: Patrick Jenkins

Whether you’re lounging in a beach chair, perched under a tree, or taking refuge next to a blasting air conditioner, the summer months offer many opportunities to sit back and read for hours on end. In that spirit, here are some of our favorite recent or soon-to-be-released music books, ranging from expert surveys of jazz and grime to fiction inspired by the sci-fi fabulousness of glam rock.
Read more... 

Source: Pitchfork

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Finally, a worthwhile graduation book | Living - New York Post

"Graduation books generally come in three flavors: celebrity advice, children’s books for adults and macho tough love" says Matt Carlstrom writing for New York Post.

The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover
How the World's Most Successful People
Launched Their Careers
They’re often hard to relate to, condescending or pushy. (Please read the names of the books below while listening to a stirring round of “Pomp and Circumstance”: “Make Your Bed” “12 Rules for Life” “The Road to Character” “Nudge” “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” “Assume the Worst” . . . the list goes on.)

Alex Banayan’s “The Third Door” is a rare exception to this rule for one simple reason: Banayan is young. The son of Jewish Persian immigrants, the 25-year-old broke a promise to his grandmother and dropped out of college to pursue his dream of interviewing legendary achievers like Lady Gaga, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to learn their secrets. “Life, business, success . . . it’s just like a nightclub,” he insists. “There’s always a way in.”

Rather than the main entrance with its long lines and bouncers, or the VIP entrance reserved for the elite, Banayan advises young people to “run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen — there’s always a way.”

Source: New York Post

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10 New Books We Recommend This Week | Book Review - New York Times

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times by Gregory Cowles, Senior Editor, Books. 
Photo: New York Times

Debut novelists often have a hard time attracting attention, so publishers and critics look for the little things that set them apart. Are they casting new light on the old neglected story of Native American identity and displacement? Tommy Orange is, with his novel about characters gathering for a tribal powwow in urban Oakland, Calif. Are they bridging the gap between East and West, and testing the nuances of immigration and exile? Negar Djavadi is, with her story of a family of Iranian emigrants to Paris. Are they a former POTUS collaborating with James Patterson on a political thriller about a rogue president who goes missing in the name of national security?

O.K., Bill Clinton might not need the help. But here he is anyway, on this week’s list of recommended titles alongside worthwhile new books from Michael Ondaatje (a novel of war and secrets), Michael Pollan (a deep dive into the world of psychedelic drugs), Catherine Nixey (an exploration of cultural destruction among early Christians) and more.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

New Stanford education study shows where boys and girls do better in math, English | Stanford University News

Krysten Crawford, Freelance Writer & Editor notes, "A review of test scores from 10,000 school district finds that gender gaps in math and English vary with community wealth and racial diversity."

Researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Education discovered wide variations in how girls and boys in grades three through eight perform in math and English from one district to the next.
Photo: Getty/lisegagne

When Stanford Professor Sean Reardon and his research team set out to take an unprecedented look at how elementary school girls and boys compare in academic achievement, they expected to find similar stereotype-driven patterns across all 10,000 U.S. school districts: boys consistently outperforming girls in math and girls steadily surpassing boys in reading and writing by a wide margin.

Instead, Reardon and his team of researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Education discovered wide variations in how girls and boys in grades three through eight perform from one district to the next. In some cases, girls did better in both math and reading. In others, boys had the advantage in math and almost matched girls on English-related subjects.

The swings in math scores were especially striking. Looking closely, the researchers uncovered a pattern: in affluent, highly-educated and predominantly white districts, boys outperformed girls in math. In poorer, more racially diverse districts, girls often outdid boys in math.

In reading and writing, however, the researchers found no correlation with local socioeconomic status or racial makeup. In almost every public-school system, girls came out ahead in reading scores, though to different degrees across communities.

The study, published online as a working paper, marks the first comprehensive analysis of gender achievement gaps at the district level.

“Our goal was to map the patterns of gender achievement gaps across the entire country in order to develop a better sense of what kinds of communities and school districts most commonly provide equal educational opportunities for girls and boys,” says Reardon, the Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education. We hope this information will help educators and policymakers eliminate educational gender disparities.”

Beyond stereotypes
The findings were drawn from the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), a massive online collection of roughly 300 million math and reading test scores from every public school in the United States from fall 2008 through spring 2015. Reardon, one of the creators of SEDA, has previously found that school systems with large numbers of low-income students have average academic performances significantly below the national average. He's also shown that poverty alone does not determine the quality of a school district...

The paper’s additional co-authors were: Demetra Kalogrides, a researcher at CEPA; Rosalia Zarate, a GSE doctoral student; and Anne Podolsky, a researcher and policy analyst with the Learning Policy Institute.
Read more... 

Additional resources  
Gender Achievement Gaps in U.S. School Districts

Source: Stanford University News

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South Cariboo elementary bands’ year-end concert proceeds despite 15 absent musicians | Entertainment - 100 Mile House Free Press

Fifteen musicians were unexpectedly absent from the south end elementary bands’ year-end concert, titled Jubilation, at the Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School on Thursday, June 7., as 100 Mile House Free Press reports.

Beth Munro (left), Max Kalmakoff, Dylan Pasemko and Corey Harding, all of the Mile 108 Elementary Grade 6/7 Bandband, loosen up before the start of their year-end concert.
Photo: Beth Audet

Don Bennett, music teacher and conductor of the performance, said he knew a few students were unable to attend but that the number of empty seats was a surprise. Several of missing musicians carried fairly big parts, he said.

“Some of the kids were really nervous because their bandmates were missing,” said Bennett.

He quickly added, “it’s actually a good thing,” since it shows them how important each member is to the team.

Bennett stalled the show for a few minutes, in hopes of late arrivals, but ultimately proceeded with the performance, earning a chuckle from the crowd upon admitting the empty seats were making him “a little stressed.”

The attending musicians powered through renditions of Furioso, by R. W. Smith, Drums of Corona, by M. Sweeney, Dragon Slayer, by R. Grice, Chronicles, by L. Clark, Nature’s Fury, by J. McBride, the Theme from Jurassic Park, by J. Williams, arr. M. Sweeney, Offenbach Back to Back, by J. Offenbach arr. J. Compello and a bonus performance of Ode to Joy, by Beethoven.

When the concert concluded, Bennett said he was happy with the final showing.

Source: 100 Mile House Free Press 

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Local students elevate and learn how to produce music | 13abc Action News

Check out this video below. 

Watch the Video

"Local students are learning how to write and produce their own song" says Kristian Brown, been a member of the 13 ABC News Team since 2002.

It's all thanks to a week-long unique summer camp.

Source: 13abc Action News

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Summer Reading Program: Week 4 programs include robots | Community News - Journal Advocate

Sterling Public Library has lots of activities and programs for all ages this summer, continues Journal Advocate

Titan Stumpf, left, helps Kyle of The Party People make a handkerchief reappear by waving five magic wands of various sizes over the magic bag during a special Summer Reading program at Sterling Public Library Thursday.
Photo: Sara Waite / Sterling Journal-Advocate

The Musical Monday program on Monday, June 25, at 2 p.m. is Music Around the World. Children's Librarian Denise Ladd will explore music in different countries. Following stories the kids will make a maraca.

On Tuesday, June 26, at 2 p.m. our STEAM program will feature Denise Ladd. She will spotlight the Spirograph. You won't be doing any math equations but as kids try the various combinations used with the Spirograph they can develop mathematical and scientific intuition. Ladd also has some everyday items that you can use to make your own Spirograph and then they will make one giant art piece.

On Wednesday, June 27, at 2:30 p.m. kids ages 10 through 15 can explore a hobby. This week Brian Kailey will be here to introduce robotics.

Source: Journal Advocate

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The divide between art and science | Opinion -

"Educational funding in this country has always come with a narrative: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) is in crisis, and that’s what we hear in order to push funding toward new computers, new textbooks and better teachers for the sciences" according to Vinu Casper, PSU Vanguard Journalist. 

Photo: The Imaginary Foundation

This is all acceptable until you realize it’s pulling away from other departments that also require funding.

The current administration is proposing to slash funding to liberal arts endowments entirely and add an additional $200 million to promote the sciences. I understand education in general is underfunded and any money coming in is a good thing, but most of it is being funneled into one department. I understand innovation is perceived as literal magic, and STEM is given priority of importance because of the possible technological developments and solutions to widespread problems—cures for diseases and tools for our needs. And yes, I understand science is pushing us forward.

However, this doesn’t mean art is not also pushing us toward something greater. Similar to how scientific breakthroughs impact the world, it is undeniable that a work of art can be just as influential. Expressing ideas in new, meaningful ways that exceed mere words is the very definition of art. These ideas affect us as a society, just as the ideas of science affect us as a species; as science defines the world, our art defines us. 

It is the arts that shape our society, our perception of our successes and of our shortcomings. An idea, presented in a creative way, can spark a hundred more. Inspiration runs wild in the arts, and finding ways to look at things differently—to see from angles we hadn’t before and to try out new things—are common ground between the sciences and the arts. And funding one and not the other is simply not justified.
Read more... 


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