An Emotionally Intelligent Investment

Ever wonder how some people can remain calm and collected while others are ticking time bombs under the exact same situation?  That colleague or manager who takes his stress out on everyone else may get results, but at great cost to his team, the group moral and to his self-respect. We would all prefer to emulate the cool gurus, but just how do they engage others and foster respect?

Intangible qualities like emotional management skills are hard to set down in writing. If there was a secret formula we would have all cashed in years ago!

EIIn the global context which is the 21st century, people are collaborating under diverse socio-cultural paradigms. Every experience is as unique as the two people that enter into the exchange. The variables which distinguish each unique interaction have three basic considerations:

1. How you perceive others?
2. How others perceive you?
3. How you perceive yourself?

Then, discover how well aligned those perceptions actually are? It may surprise you.  Acknowledging your qualities and how these qualities serve your personal and professional goals is a critical part of the equation. You may see yourself as an honest and analytical individual, but your colleagues may interpret these same traits as abrupt and condescending… what now? Instead of taking the defensive stance, rather:

1. Start by taking time to process the message.
2. Try to remove the emotion- the catalyst to regretful words and actions.
3. Consider the reason behind the perceptual disconnect.

This takes practice, but practice teaches us how to get better at managing our emotions to our mutual advantage. The more you improve your emotional intelligence skills, the more you will defer stress and anxiety from the situation. In exchange, you nurture respect and admiration from others, as well as for yourself.  It’s a skill that’s worth investing in.

 

Personal Development Plan

stick_figure_meditation-202x300The 21st century has established itself as an environment of constant change, from the political and economic turmoil of emerging nations to the newest electronic device or application that infiltrates our daily lives. Adaption is key and, as we try to manage our professional and personal lives alongside, it requires a different type of mindset. Now, when we try to project for the future, individuals prepare themselves for a plan that is subject to change and this is a good thing. Reflecting back on my own life, I know I could not imagine to be where I am now, writing a blog and practicing as an intercultural trainer. In fact, back in grade school I did not know of such a peculiar profession as “intercultural communications trainer” existed and a “blog” was a word yet be invented.

It has not been a straight path. It took many turns and I suspect it may take many more both physically and psychologically. Spiral careers in comparison to linear careers can reflect a person that offers a broad spectrum of knowledge and a diverse skill set. It means that adaptability has likely been conditioned into their professional DNA.  Noe (2013) discusses having “boundaryless” plans or goals that include many personal and professional influences. By this, it means the ability to create positive partnerships that facilitate both parties towards reaching meaningful goals. After all, we are not on this journey alone and people need each other to get to wherever they are headed.

With this approach in mind, setting up a sound personal development plan has four simple steps (Noe, 2013): self-assessment, reality check, goal setting and action planning. Here is a look at my professional development plan which I have set up designed with my employer in mind as a complimentary partner in the process (see Appendix A for My Personal Development Plan Chart).

Self-assessment is a critical first step for understanding where I currently sit in terms of strength and weaknesses relative to my personal interests and values and those of my company. For me, this would involve identifying any knowledge and performance gaps related to the dual directions of intercultural communications and global leadership training (GLT) relative to the strategic needs of my company. Recently, I completed a Cultural Orientations Indicator™ designed by the Thunderbird School of Management which reveals work preferences that sit on a continuum to indicate polar strengths of opposing cultural orientations.

A reality check considers the results of the self-assessment. This could be done in a personal development interview with management to discuss which gaps can be addressed and are feasible within the strategic vision of the organization. Developing this relationship is an essential ongoing part of the process.

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Goal setting is part of that dialogue and they should be smart (meaning they are specific), measurable, relevant and timely (Noe, 2013). Goals set in both the short term and long term must be flexible enough to accommodate changes in personal and professional contexts. For example, if a performance gap is confirmed in group collaboration skills, my immediate goal may involve increasing my professional experience to enhance competencies in shared processing.

Action planning requires a schedule of staged specific activities that are needed to address the performance gaps. The plan must be structured sufficiently to visualize the goals, but sensibly open to interim assessment, training, networking and experience opportunities. Leadership activities could include a temporary job enlargement or a mentoring program with another GLT trainer.

As a final note, I would stress that constant communication and monitoring are key. It serves to cultivate a learning culture that is based on care and trust. Cameron (2008) suggests personal management interviews (PMIs) which occur monthly and follow agendas specific to both the employee and organization as an excellent vehicle for demonstrating commitment to the learning progress. It follows in the vein of creating a culture of positivity or positive organizational scholarship (Cameron, 2008).
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References

Cameron, K.S. (2008). Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Thunderbird School of Management, (2013). Cultural Orientations Indicator, COI™

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Appendix A
My Personal Development Plan

Name: Jude Lee                 Title: Intercultural Trainer                Manager: Mr. XXX

Competencies: Based on COI™, work preference orientations report in (TMS, 2013)

My three greatest strengths:
• interpersonal communications and relations
• analytical thinking and attention to detail
• time management and results orientation

Areas for improvement:
• single focused and sequentially ordered tasks rather than multi-focused
• individualistic sense of self over a group orientation

Developmental Goals:
• Long term: Accept opportunities leadership training experience that will enhance my competencies as a Global Leadership Consultant
• Short term: Increase my experience and skills in intercultural communication including seminars delivered abroad.

Next Assignment:
• Continuing half day seminar series with global R&D company
• Three day co-training seminar in culture and global leadership for global travel organization: Dec 2014

Training and Development Needs
• Increased training specific to organization’s program on global leadership consulting will enhance my multi-focus skills in delivering leadership and cultural content more effectively. Longer seminars increases my competency in facilitating larger groups.
• Doctorate courses or research related to current cultural or leadership issues allows me to respond to culture specific and specialized global issues in increasingly blended settings.

 

High Tech Training

Bottom line measures are becoming the standard gauge by which companies evaluate overall effectiveness. This presents a challenge in terms of evaluating levels of learning-training transfer which can provide measurable performance improvement as part of the ubiquitous business expectations. Technological tools are the most popular choice for obtaining this data more efficiently, but are not proven to directly impact levels of effectiveness (Stolovtich & Keeps, 2011).

New-Technology-in-Computer-Science-Internet-and-Technology

Inarguably, online learning has seen rapid acceptance over the last decade, and is seen as a viable option for organizations needing to address both centralized training standards and globally dispersed learners. It responds to the “connected” lifestyles that individuals already maintain. While they are checking their email or latest media ping, it is easy to follow up on their company’s most recent learning update. Online connection is also viewed as a supportive tool for increasing global access to internal and external satellite locations, exposing employees to different perspectives, professional norms and better cross-border knowledge sharing. In example, online access helps Nutricia-Danone connect their six main R&D centers and 55 local research branches to collaborate with over 200 scientific research communities representing 1500 scientists of 48 nations worldwide (Danone, 2014).

However, recent research by Jaggars, Edgecombe, Stacey, & Columbia University (2013) has shown that the quality and level of interpersonal interaction, especially with online instruction, is directly linked to performance and engagement levels of learners. They found that “creating a meaningful instructor presence through the effective use of interactive technologies appears to be a particularly powerful strategy for enhancing student outcomes” (Jaggers et al., 2013). Thus, it makes sense to select supportive technological tools which optimize overall learning objectives, efficiency of delivery, consistency of content, instantaneous feedback and response, increased engagement, flexibility and accessibility (Stolovitch & Keeps, 2011).

Learning management systems (LMS) and mobile technology both serve to increase presence and accessibility. LMSs respond to the realities of dispersed trainees and the need for organizations to centralize learning and track human capital management (Noe, 2013). This type of software enables an enhanced instructor presence by monitoring performance and providing diverse feedback channels through multi-media, practice and evaluative tools. When integrated to HR management systems it creates a more systemic approach to meeting business strategies.

moodle-logoMoodle reigns as one of the top open source LMSs used by Shell, Microsoft and N.Y. State University and the London School of Economics. It is a secure integrated collaborative learning platform supported by 60 member worldwide partnerships which meets LTI™ certification global technical standards of integrating learning applications.

Mobile technology also augments accessibility further by allowing unlimited contact to learning platforms, tools and resources at the convenience of the learner. Effectiveness depends on facilitating simple and meaningful learning that is conducive to the physical and technical requirements of mobile devices (Noe, 2103). Blended learning environments utilize mobile learning as a supportive tool. It makes sense for organizations to develop mobile applications which can support and connect to their central training networks and LMSs. It also opens up a door to convenience learning that is not available otherwise. One popular mobile application is TED talks which opens the global door to innovated and inspired thinkers with 104 subtitled language options reviewed in an earlier post.

We can fine-tune access and support even further with electronic performance support systems (EEPSs) which enable worker independence through enhanced performance levels. Integrated as a support tool within the current organizational software, they act as a learning assistant or trouble-shooting device to increase overall results.

logo_dpassociatesFor example, L3 D.P. Associates offer ISO certified integrative EEPSs that works with the organizational infrastructure to support engineering instructional design, acquisition, productivity and exploration through multimedia training approaches. Noe (2013) notes that they are meant for augmenting learning and may be best utilized in conjunction with a more formal training program. “To improve students’ performance and persistence in their courses, research suggests that online instructors should focus on providing targeted support for students to reach rigorous instructional goals” (Jagger et al., 2013).

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References

Danone (2014). Our research at a glance. http://staging.danone.com/en/for-all/research-innovation/our-research-at-a-glance/
Jaggars, S., Edgecombe, N., Stacey, G., & Columbia University, C. (2013). Creating an Effective Online Instructor Presence. Community College Research Center, Columbia University. Downloaded from the Walden Library. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED542146.pdf
L3 d.P Associates (2014). Training solutions for your workplace. http://www.l-3training.com/
Lee, J., (2014). 20 minutes of passion and panache. https://cybereduculture.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/20-minutes-of-passion-and-panache/
moodle certified services provider (2014). https://moodle.org/
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2011). Telling ain’t training (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Training: A Brave New World

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Unlike Huxley’s (1932, 1946) pre-programmed utopia totalitarian state that is void of humanness, creativity and personal history, training in the 21st century is moving towards a braver newer world which is quite the opposite. Effectively designed matrix organizations communicate across stratified levels, promote uniqueness over ubiquity, revolution over stagnation, sustenance over conformation and humanness over stoicism. In fact, it requires us to bravely and authentically connect across new global frontiers.

Noe (2013) and Stolovitch (2013) advocate thinking about training from a strategic perspective:
1. Nurture a safe learning dynamic and environment across all levels which instills trust.
2. Align the learning strategy to the organizational goals through learning initiatives and development activities.
3. Build on the rich human capital through responsive training, accountability, tacit knowledge and supportive integrated environments.

Training in the new global world asks us to move beyond the status quo, to risk making mistakes and to venture into unchartered territories for the possibility of greater knowledge, the greater good, the greater reward and the greater potential to reach new levels of communication, achievement and effectiveness. It is a learning culture that sets the successful 21st century organizations like Apple and Google apart to sustain them for future growth, and it is within this process of learning and knowledge management that will lead to new and unexpected levels of achievement (Noe, 2013).

References
Huxley, A (1932, 1946). A brave new world. Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. New York. ISBN: 0-89966-423-7
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2013e). The truth about training. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Culturally Diverse Finds

As an educator I am always keen on discovering resources which simplify and improve the quality of my professional and personal life—if they will do both, even better.  My current practice centers on a specialized focus of intercultural communication and global leadership rendering the quest for professional tools and insight less profuse. Afterall, even colleagues in my own organization have been known to ask, “Just what is it that you guys do?”

PVlogo2013

A few recent resources specific to this field have, in fact, contributed to improved quality of practice and may help to shed some light. Terri Hock of http://terrihock.edublogs.org/ introduced me to PhotoVoice. I was instantly compelled because I am intuitively a visual educator as well as a visual learner. It provides the teaching profession with a fresh angle to digital storytelling on more than one level. It bridges socio-cultural gaps by providing a communication channel where language barriers otherwise inhibit. The larger literacy message is also two-fold.  It empowers both people networks and individuals by giving them a visual voice that reaches across nations and divides. It teaches us that one person, one act or one voice can have impact.

Two more great discoveries for the field of intercultural communication were offered on www.aamiesmith.blogspot.com. Smith (2013) touts the merits of MIT Tech TV which showcases case studies on their LearningEdge site which incite debate and critical thinking related to topics such as leadership/ethics, strategy or system dynamics. The most salient point with this approach is the collaboration of learner-participants in sharing their life experiences through digital media.

https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/Pages/Case-Studies.aspx.

 

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Under the array of video topics offered,   I immediately zoned in on the Intuitively Obvious series from the Committee on Race and Diversity. This collection of candid collaborative dialogues opens your eyes and minds to the challenges confronting culturally diverse groups living in the hegemonic-framed global societies which covertly exist even within the walls of MIT. They serve as rich resources to enhance any intercultural communication and leadership course or training program. http://techtv.mit.edu/collections/crd/videos/5269-intuitively-obvious-volume-7

Academy bridgeAs I was perusing this Smith’s blog further, I took a closer look at the Academy Bridge open coursewaresite that is exactly as the title proclaims. It is an extensive collection of content level videos that covers several learning paths from core tertiary courses to specific master level topics. It combines academic and inspiring lectures or talks from universities, business schools, and business corporations. Thus, you can find instructional videos from a diverse selection of themed lecture series i.e. What is Organizational Culture? By Daniel Denison (2010), CEO of Denison Consulting from the corporate culture series; The Power of the Story sourced from the TedxTalk by Greg Power (2011). I consider this an invaluable academic resource that can serve to inform my practice or to be utilized in conjunction with a training course allowing learners to view the videos directly through their own devices.  In the age of communication, this presents critically relevant content in a highly digestible manner.  http://www.academybridge.com/          ________________________________________________________________________________________________

­­­­­­­­­­References

Academy Bridge (2013). http://www.academybridge.com/

Denison D (2010). What is organizational culture? [Video]. Denison Consulting. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rd0kf3wd120

MIT Sloan Management (2013). LearningEdge. https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/Pages/Case-Studies.aspx.

MIT Tech TV (2013). http://techtv.mit.edu/collections/crd/videos/5269-intuitively-obvious-volume-7

Hock, T (2013).  http://terrihock.edublogs.org/

PhotoVoice (2013). http://PhotoVoice.com

Power, G (2011). The power of the story. [Video] Tedxtalks.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iExl_rF7zgQ

Smith, A (2013). www.aamiesmith.blogspot.com

https://mitsloan.mit.edu/LearningEdge/Pages/Case-Studies.aspx.


Digital Citizenship 101

lessons-300x159Netiquette is a social code of conduct for the internet which by extension education netiquette is the instruction for acquiring the knowledge of netiquette (Networketiquette, 2013). It is one component of overall good digital citizenship. With billions of digital eyes scanning content every second, do not think for a mille second that poor online etiquette will not receive some sort of digital backlash! How could you possibly compete with those odds? The digital age has extended its reach of accountability. It expects that we model our individual lives in ways that demonstrate good citizenship consistently across domains and it applies to all professions especially those in any type of public milieu: educators, politicians, medical professionals, legal professionals, business people…

As professional educators, we can no longer separate our individual behavior from that of our professional conduct. Modelling these actions through our digital footprint will make a bigger impact on how to navigate these new mediums than simply lecturing to our students, colleagues and peer groups.  “Let your online behavior reveal to them how powerful online communities can be for positive, communal engagement” (Dunn, 2013)?

Schermafbeelding (15)

                   Screenshot: Curriculum: Understanding YouTube and Digital Citizenship

One well-thought platform was developed by Google in an attempt to guide educators in delivering a sequential and comprehensive program of digital citizenship through 10 interactive lessons that integrate Utube videos to demonstrate and clarify the relevant areas.  I consider it an excellent approach to introduce learners to digital policy, online safety, identity protection and how to flag questionable content. It teaches not only how to participate in good citizenship, but how to promote awareness.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VwUfep2yRmiRUSnbz_rdOAV6fE24XHNcNsvD7QW2KeU/edit?pli=1

Digital-Citizenship-infographicAnother clever digital tool along the lines of digital citizenship presents information  in the form of an infographic. It offers a teaching platform for new digital contexts and provides a quick visual reference to navigate through the maze with teachable moments and instructional content. I can easily see printing off a convenient copy to help remind myself as well as learners about the pros and cons with increased digital literacy in the class or training room. The graphic covers a range of netiquette domains using proactive guidelines (Lepi, 2013):

  • Read: digital literacy
  • Watch: digital health and wellness
  • Find: digital access
  • Record: digital etiquette
  • Curate: digital law
  • Connect: digital communication
  • Collaborate: digital etiquette
  • Create: digital rights and responsibilities
  • Write: digital communication

http://www.edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Digital-Citizenship-infographic.jpg

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References

Dunn, J (2012). 10 interactive lessons by google on digital citizenship. Edudemic, connecting education and technology.

http://www.edudemic.com/10-interactive-lessons-by-google-on-digital-citizenship/

Lepi, K. (2013) A visual guide to teaching students digital citizenship skills. Edudemic, connecting education and technology.

http://www.edudemic.com/teaching-students-digital-citizenship-skills/

Networketiquette (2013). The Core Rules of Netiquette. http://www.networketiquette.net/online_education.html

 

What’s the Scoop on MOOC?

curriki-logo-alt

In the wave of MOOCs (Massive open online courses) that are slowly making their presence known, it is important that the organizations do not lose sight of their original missions which all fall under the umbrella of providing increased access and learning opportunities in the name of equitable education for everyone. The largest MOOC provider is Coursera, providing 100, 000 + course offerings from 100+ affiliated universities (Symonds, 2013).  A student reported her experience with the program and noted two problems: the lack of meaningful interaction and the excessive plagiarism. The auditing professor constantly posted citation warnings which highlighted the gap in academic integrity for massive amounts of learners with no prior understanding or experience with this critical aspect. In spite of these pervasive problems, the benefits of open courseware will outweigh the negatives in the long run, which work towards increasing access to knowledge and transforming lives. Here are a couple of standouts in their efforts to contribute to his end.

Enviromental Science

Curriki OER for K-12 springs from the mission to promote technology as a fundamental player in bridging gaps in educational and economic divides. The difference with this resource is the wiki formula of content contribution that collaborates students, teachers, parents and content creators. They facilitate a best of strategy to cultivate continuous improvement in the quality of its learning resources and contributors that has expanded access to mobile devices which is really how the new generation is learning. It serves a community of 9 million glocals or globally dispersed learners in 193 countries and growing (Curriki, 2013) with locally bred chapters on the rise: Curriki Finland and Curriki Japan. Resources are aligned by content and by state standards following Academic Benchmarks for efficient digital deployment which can be rated internally via a star rating and shared externally via social networking sites.  They address a range of study topics at all levels including languages.  Educators will find this a handy resource for fresh approaches—it has brought new life into my grammar and ESL curriculum.

nroc_banner_leftThe National Repository of Online Courses (NROC) non-profit OER, funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Content is collaborated by a community of content developers from US academic institutions. This library of resources is quality ensured to meet “high standards of scholarship, instructional value, and presentational impact” (NROC, 2013).  Learner access to the growing repository of learning content is free, but institutional fees are required for broader content use. For this fee, organizations receive cross-disciplinary content, access to multi-modal teaching resources including white papers, conference presentations and domain specific forums for networking and resource sharing.

social sciences

This is an excellent source for higher learning at the high school, college and advanced placement levels.  I zoned in on the social statistics courses which are a love-hate subject for me. This is a way to initiate deeper learning in areas which may be of practical application in my future professional and academic research domains.

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References

Academic Benchmarks (2002-2013). Common standards initiative. http://www.academicbenchmarks.com/

Choudaha, R., (2012) – MOOCs, BlackBerry’s lesson for higher education. October 2012 Issue No: 242. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20121003103557921

NROC (2013). National repository of online courses. http://www.montereyinstitute.org/nroc/index.html

Quacquarelli Symonds Limited (1994-2013). How Edx will revolutionize online learning. http://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/distance-learning/moocs-future-higher-education

Ciao, Ciao Rote Language Learning!

scientist-owlCan language learning be anything, but tedious rote learning? In my quest to find an application that did not take me to some surreal kingdom or adopt an avatar alias, I came across Duolingo–a language application that seemed to be all it was touted. So, what is different about this language application compared to all the other ones that are out there? Well, it has been in beta format for the last 3 months and the interesting thing is the creators have applied the wiki formula of aggregated data input to improve its acceleration and accuracy in development. This translates to (excuse the pun) to thousands of users creating content that is self-generating!  Now that it has been released to the public for German, Spanish, French, Italian and English, I tried it out to see if it was all it proclaimed. Guess what? It was and I had fun doing because of the learning game format.

It uses interactive activities that require you to select grammatically correct answers, input correct duolingo-lessonsspellings or words and verbally repeat pronunciations with voice recognition checks. You gain a heart for every 3 correct answers and lose a half a heart for every incorrect one which appeals to the stimulus-reward side of learners. After each level of learning activities, which build on the previous learning points, you receive immediate feedback, an overview of what you have just learned, charted progress reports, completion points and recognition via an animated diploma that pops up to acknowledge your progressive achievement.

I can see applying this as a collaborative activity by challenging teams or individual players to increase their skill level against the clock or monitor each other’s progress with combined or group scores. The elements of input, instant feedback and achievement markers will prompt participants to keep improving. The rote aspect is blended into the varied activities so you do not sense the repetitiveness, but just the incremental gains. It is an excellent approach to self-directed language learning!

“An independent study assessing the effectiveness of Duolingo as a language learning tool found that 34 hours of Duo lingo was as effective as 1 university term. In other words more productive based on output” (Vesselinov & Grego, 2012). http://www.duolingo.com/

Who am IiTunes offers up an interesting application that is meant to initiate thinking about cultural diversity. It is part of the Race awareness Project (Baran, 2011) which was designed to bring art, technology and education together. Who am I, uses authentic photos of people to reveal learners’ own assumptions about race and nationality compared to how the people in the photos self-identify. It is meant to begin conversations with learners about human “physical diversity and racial identification”, but contains many components to consider “about the world in which they live, making them more knowledgeable, thoughtful, and empathetic” (Race Awareness Project, 2013). It is a free application that would serve as a wonderful icebreaker activity for a cultural diversity or intercultural communications course which although is intended for younger age groups, in my opinion, is also suitable for adults especially ESL learners who may have difficulties expressing these concepts in English.

I t begins with a new conversational tip at the start of each game to prompt critical thinking on concepts related to identification and race. For example: Is Caucasian or white considered Guess Race Gamea race? You begin by selecting a photo. Your opponent must solicit questions in order to eliminate other face photos from the screen display to arrive at the selected person. The phrasing of questions and word choice are the critical learning points that are meant to begin analytical discussions.

“Taking the time now to broach these conversations will not only inspire productive conversation today, but will also open up a space for sincere dialogue in the future” (Who am I, 2013).  Its sister application Guess My Race costs $9.99 and increases deeper critical thinking levels.

It “will open your eyes, not only to racial issues, but also to a critical thinking perspective on culture and hegemony more broadly” to “foster respect, understanding and empathy” (Baran, 2011).

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/who-am-i-race-awareness-game

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References

Apple (2013). Who am I? Race awareness game. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/who-am-i-race-awareness-game/id372945923?mt=8

Baran, M (2011). The race awareness project. Cambridge Diversity Consulting. http://www.raceawarenessproject.com/

Vesselinov, R & Grego, J (2012). Duolingo Effectiveness. http://static.duolingo.com/s3/DuolingoReport_Final.pdf

Lewis, B. (2013). Fluent in 3 months. http://www.fluentin3months.com/duolingo

20 Minutes of Passion and Panache!

aac4ac4a-558a-474e-b9cd-b66f903f6b9fFrom the moment I caught my first personal videocast oration, I have been a big fan of TED—Technology Entertainment Design. It takes a lot of panache and passion to put your beliefs on the line for 20 minutes in hopes of moving a captive audience.  These lecture type informational talks share the speakers’ deep interests, drives personal and professional perspectives of  their “ideas that are worth spreading”.   TED has now enhanced this experience both cognitively and digitally with TED’s version 2.0 iOS application which allows you to connect that stream of information to your “i” device and all the connective learning conveniences that go with them.

“With this release, TED is the largest content provider to use iOS6′s new subtitle featureon its streaming video service” (TED, 2013) which offers 90 subtitled TED Talks at last count. This is a huge step for learners’ with hearing impairments. Similarly, the app for android devices has the same extensive range of informative videos from some of the most inspiring thinkers of our time. This makes it an excellent channel for augmenting educational applications.  “TED’s mobile app helps users get information for themselves and makes learning an easy, every day, on-the-go activity… In this way, mobile devices and apps open us up to learning when we otherwise couldn’t, in the spaces between daily tasks” tasks”  (Hornshaw, 2013).

For educators, connecting your mobile device to a projector or large screen television and you have easily transformed your training facility or classroom new-ted-iosinto an educational theatre that could effectively simulate being part of the actual audience. Engagement levels are bound to increase! The convenience of having a source of 1400 talks at your fingertips is globally smart–the point being, 1400 talks represent 1400 personal perspectives! In a globalized environment, staying informed and connecting diverse learners and thinkers from all different parts of the world provides a window into the many ways that we are culturally distinct and culturally compatible. It pens up new visual, acoustic, cognitive and create dimensions that are essential to the domains of enriched intercultural communication and global leadership.                      Tedstaff (2013). [Screenshot]. 

twohundredTake this one step farther by incorporating Mac’s iTranslate Voice and you have a hassle free and simple way to connect to speakers of other languages! Their voice input–output and voice recognition features do all the work for you. With over 40+ language working for you, language anxiety just met its match. Add the convenience of the dictionary and the tap response pasting, speaking or sharing features and you have  just connected your learning into one easy platform.   With the added AirTranslate feature, it gives you the additional ability to connect two devices running iTranslate Voice for synchronous conversation in different languages (iTranslate Voice, 2013).

best_trans_itranslate_voice_screens_iphone                          Figure 1: Kasmucha, A., (2013)www.imore.com [Screenshot].

Does this accelerate or stagnate learning?  In my opinion, language learning is about imitation and the easier we can make it for the learner, the faster the acquisition.  If you consider the pronunciation and vocabulary verifications, both learners and teachers  have opened up the classroom to a plethora of study and learning possibilities. After all, it is about using media to interact with content differently and not just as new vehicles for delivery (Low, 2009).  “Outside of a decent interface that’s just as easy to use as it is to look at, you can also tap on words to see their meanings and different forms” (Kazmucha, 2013).  Check out the videostream of instant translation in action: http://www.itranslateapp.com/

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References

Hornshaw P., (2013). TED and other pioneers in mobile app education. http://www.appolicious.com/tech/articles/13211-ted-and-other-pioneers-in-mobile-app-education

iTranslate (2013). http://itranslatevoice.com/

Kasmucha, A., (2013). Best translation apps for iPhone: Languages, iTranslate Voice, Google Translate, and more!http://www.imore.com/best-translation-apps-iphone-languages-itranslate-voice-google-translate-and-more

Low, L (2009). The genie in the bottle: unleashing the hidden power of personal mobile devices for learning. University of Canberra.

Tedstaff, (2013). TED’s updated iOS app offers faster speed and streaming subtitles

http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/08/teds-updated-ios-app-offers-faster-speed-and-streaming-subtitles/

Don’t Take the Social Out of Networking!

If we can separate the “not a serious activity” associations, we may have with the word social networking, perhaps there may be less aversion to this form of learning and information exchange. Yes, LEARNING. The kind which thrives on the diversity of new ideas and perspectives.  Authentic learning is not an individual experience and social media networks are becoming a preferred method of communication for “knowledge cannot exist in the mind of one person (and) requires a different approach to creating an overview of the situation” (Siemens, 2005).

“Businesses are already coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy, and are seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic, and revenue” (DeMers, 2013).

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Linkedin specifically focuses on business and professional development networks and is now a decade old!  It is an ideal venue for staying current within your field of expertise. The daily articles, quotations and job postings can be tailored specifically to your professional interests, geographical area. It then directs contacts and career opportunities to your account that match your professional profile.  By classifying your first and second tier professional contacts for you, it enables you to visualize first-hand how the layers of connection actually function to expand your network base.  The latest stats estimate Linkedin users at 259 million (DMR, 2013).

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                Photo1: Linkedin (2013). Screenshot.

Some of the features include important news in your field of academia, word-of-mouth contacts that can create important leads or new relations and improved knowledge sharing and construction relative to the interest and groups with which you decide to engage. I am a member of Sietar Europa—Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research— which revolves around current discussions in the field that are stimulating critical exchanges between professionals and field experts.  For me, it has become a valuable professional resource.   http://www.linkedin.com

32f4e2dce13c0b983003eaa10efea6a5_bigger At first glance, literally, Pinterest may seem like just a big scrapbook of individuals’ dreams and longings. Personally, I find it a way to divert my attention which provides a distractive outlet—a form of escapism, if you will.  However at a deeper level,  Pinterest and other image-centric networks are a window into a world that says something about what interests, motivates and inspires people.

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                    Photo 2: Pinterest (2013). Screenshot.

On further exploration, there are practical commentary components which allow people to link off to the origins and supporting website from which the photos or images were originally sourced which offer validity and now being endorsed on Pinterest. It develops learners’ “ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill” (Siemens, 2005).  This type of endorsement captures the attention of visual learners and further credits the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words and there are many of us” and there are many of us–70 million users and 500 000 business accounts to be precise (DMR, 2013). Visuals can also stir an emotional element within us that may motivate people to explore further, to learn and to respond in a way that contributes to something better.

“We encourage brands to have an authentic presence on Pinterest that shows what makes their brand unique, and give people inspiration to take action offline with those pins,” Pinterest spokeswoman (2013).


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References

DeMers, J., (2013). The top 7 social media marketing trends that will dominate 2014. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/09/24/the-top-7-social-media-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2014/

DeMers, J., (2012). What is Social Media Marketing and How Can it help My Business?

http://www.audiencebloom.com/2012/09/what-is-social-media-marketing/

DMR (2013). Digital Marketing Ramblings: The latest digital marketing stats, tips, trends and technology. http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/pinterest-stats/

DMR (2013). Digital Marketing Ramblings: The latest digital marketing stats, tips, trends and technology. http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-few-important-linkedin-stats/

Linkedin (2013). www.linkedin.com [photo 1].

Pinterest (2013), www.pinterest.com [photo 2].

Roose, K. (2013). It’s Time to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/10/time-to-start-taking-pinterest-seriously.html

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, (2)1. Retrieved from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm