1. Articles in category: Latest News

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    1. Millennials in the Workplace - Simon Sinek.

      Millennials in the Workplace - Simon Sinek.

      Tuesday, February 28, 2017

      One of my favorite interviews of all time on the subject of millennials in the workplace was this one that appeared on IQ - Inside Quest.  Simon Sinek is absolutely brilliant in his set-up of the (undeserved) reputation of the millennials. Roughly paraphrased, his comments were something like this: Millennials as a generation are a group of people who were born approximately 1984 and after.  They are tough to manage and they're accused of being entitled and narcissistic and self-interested, unfocused, and lazy.  But entitled is the big one.  And he then goes on to say that because millennials are so confounding to leaders, the leaders are asking them what they want.  The list comes back in many forms:

      • We want to work in a place with purpose;
      • We want to make a difference;
      • We want free food and bean bags;

      And yet with all that they're still unhappy.  Watch as Simon tells us all about the millennials in the workplace:



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    2. 10 Tips on Writing a Cover Letter That Gets You the Job

      10 Tips on Writing a Cover Letter That Gets You the Job

      Monday, February 27, 2017

      Did you know that many recruiters make hiring decisions based on your cover letter?  That's probably surprising, but this is where you're supposed to show yourself off and captivate the reader.  In fact, if your cover letter is creative enough, it just might even get you hired.  One industry expert said that she knew of a person who was hired based upon a very clever playwright-style script of the candidate and an interviewer talking.

      Although that might sound a little hokey to some of us, if you can match to the style of the company where you want to work, you're going to increase your chances of success significantly.  And the better you are at storytelling, the more likely you'll get placed in that high-priority pile.  Companies seldom hire a person based solely on requirements and qualifications.  They invariably make hiring decisions based on the culture fit and potential of the candidate.

      So with that as a simple overview, here are 10 quick pointers to help you "up your game" when it comes to writing a great cover letter:

      1. Start from scratch, and don't use a cover letter template.  Be a storyteller.
      2. Take the time to find out the name of the person who will be reading your cover letter and reviewing your resume.  Then address your cover letter to that person.  Don't use general labels like, Dear Recruiter, or Dear Search Committee, or To Whom It May Concern.
      3. State the job title or ID in the subject line of the cover letter or at the very top.  It shouldn't take up space in the body of your letter.  
      4. Begin the cover letter by telling the reader why the job excites you, and remember that the first line you write has to grab their attention - much like a James Patterson novel tries to grab your attention right away.  You want to drag them into "your story."
      5. Talk about your skills versus your past experience - that's what the resume is for.
      6. Highlight why your skills are the perfect match for the job that the company is trying to fill.
      7. Match the tone of the company to the extent possible, without coming off as too unprofessional.  Remember that they're trying to decide if your personality fits their culture.
      8. Don't talk about your salary expectations.  You don't know if you're going to be too low or too high.  That comes later.
      9. Use a strong call to action at the end of the letter.  "Please call me" doesn't get it done.  Be more forthcoming on setting up a follow-on meeting to discuss the role and your fit in more detail.
      10. 'Sincerely' is not a very strong or unique close.  Be more inventive, like "Warm regards," or something even more unique.

      Hopefully this will get you started in the right direction when it comes to making that first impression.  There are other things to consider like the proper length.  That might vary if you're applying for a marketing job versus an engineering job, but in general, short, clear, and easy to scan is going to get you the interview.

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    3. Reimagining education: MIT holds its first Festival of Learning

      Reimagining education: MIT holds its first Festival of Learning

      Friday, February 24, 2017

      On Feb 1-2, over 200 students and faculty gathered in MIT’s Building 10 to discuss and share recent advances in education technology. This first-ever — and first of its kind — “Festival of Learning” was co-sponsored by the MIT Office of Digital Learning (ODL), the Teaching and Learning Lab, and the offices of the deans of undergraduate and graduate education.

      In her welcoming remarks, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart called the festival an important gathering of scholars and researchers working to reimagine the way we educate 21st century students — from digital content creation, to flipped or blended classrooms, to cracking the learning sciences code. “Clearly, the MIT community is energized about the transformations and experiments happening in this space,” Barnhart said.

      The event included teaching workshops, presentations by MIT professors, poster sessions, and demonstrations. It also featured a hackathon that brought undergraduate and graduate students together to solve real-world challenges in digital education.

      Satya Nitta, global head and program director of cognitive science and education technology at IBM Research, opened the festival with a presentation about the Watson cognitive computing platform and its potential to power interactive, natural language tutors for students of all ages. Later that day, Andrew Sullivan, the creator of Quizlet, gave a talk about the capabilities of his popular online learning tool, and what it can tell us about teaching.

      “An extraordinary convergence”

      One of the highlights of the festival was the Teaching @ MIT Lightning Round, a showcase for some of the most imaginative teaching strategies being used in MIT’s classrooms. In a series of lively seven-minute talks, professors Lorna Gibson, Michael Scott Cuthbert, Dennis Freeman, Peter Dourmashkin, and Emanuel Sachs presented their favorite methods for engaging students, including blended learning curricula and cutting-edge technological innovations.

      To learn more about this event, please go to this MIT News link: (MIT News)

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    4. Must Watch: Sal Khan Video on Mastery Learning

      Must Watch: Sal Khan Video on Mastery Learning

      Thursday, February 23, 2017

      Sal Khan entitles this video, "Let's teach for mastery - not test scores."  He goes on to say, "Would you choose to build a house on top of an unfinished foundation? Of course not. Why, then, do we rush students through education when they haven't always grasped the basics?"  Yes, it's complicated to implement in our current educational system, but Sal shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace.  

      So you're probably asking what is "mastery learning?"  It was originally made famous by Benjamin Bloom in the 1980's when he compared classroom training, mastery learning, and one-on-one tutoring.  Mastery learning simply means that if you're learning a topic, you don't move on from that topic until you can answer questions about that topic correctly, or at least in the 90% percentile.  What made this type of training fashionable was that those students trained using the mastery learning methodology, outperformed 84% of the students trained in the classroom.

      But it wasn't until Sal started to create e-learning video vignettes which could be viewed over and over again by a student, that it became fashionable.  When Sal Khan made the Khan Academy site free to use, it started to change how people could learn new information.  Those people who were thought to be in the lower percentiles of learning, suddenly found themselves outperforming their peers.  This is a very good primer on the topic of "mastery learning," and a must watch for anyone developing a curriculum for their company.

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    5. Top 10 TED Talks of All Time

      Top 10 TED Talks of All Time

      Wednesday, February 22, 2017

      The Top 10 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time

      For those of you who are fans of TED Talks, here are the 10 most popular talks of all time, arranged in descending order.  If you're looking for inspiration, validation, or great entertainment, this is a list that will surely delight you.

      Ken Robinson 
      Do schools kill creativity?

      Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
      Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. (Note: Some of the findings presented in this talk have been referenced in an ongoing debate among social scientists about robustness and reproducibility. Read Amy Cuddy's response under "Learn more" below.)
      Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ...

      Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

      "Bonk" author Mary Roach delves into obscure scientific research, some of it centuries old, to make 10 surprising claims about sexual climax, ranging from the bizarre to the hilarious. (This talk is aimed at adults. Viewer discretion advised.)

      Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

      Tony Robbins discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.


      Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

      Cameron Russell admits she won “a genetic lottery”: she's tall, pretty and an underwear model. But don't judge her by her looks. In this fearless talk, she takes a wry look at the industry that had her looking highly seductive at barely 16 years old.

      In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
      We hope you enjoy all of these TED Talks, and that you will pass them on to your colleagues.  And remember to follow @2elearning for latest news, or like us on Facebook.
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    6. Must Watch: Ken Robinson - Escaping Education's Death Valley

      Must Watch: Ken Robinson - Escaping Education's Death Valley

      Tuesday, February 21, 2017

      Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them. In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational "death valley" we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

      The analogy to Death Valley that Ken makes is this.  Death Valley is the hottest, driest place in America, and nothing grows there. Nothing grows there because it doesn't rain. Hence, Death Valley. In the winter of 2004, it rained in Death Valley. Seven inches of rain fell over a very short period. And in the spring of 2005, there was a phenomenon. The whole floor of Death Valley was carpeted in flowers for a while. What it proved is this: that Death Valley isn't dead. It's dormant. Right beneath the surface are these seeds of possibility waiting for the right conditions to come about, and with organic systems, if the conditions are right, life is inevitable. It happens all the time. You take an area, a school, a district, you change the conditions, give people a different sense of possibility, a different set of expectations, a broader range of opportunities, you cherish and value the relationships between teachers and learners,you offer people the discretion to be creative and to innovate in what they do, and schools that were once bereft spring to life.

      He also makes a great comparison of our education system to Finland's. Ken points out that Finland regularly comes out on top in math, science and reading. He goes on to say, "Now, we only know that's what they do well at, because that's all that's being tested. That's one of the problems of the test. They don't look for other things that matter just as much. The thing about work in Finland is this: they don't obsess about those disciplines. They have a very broad approach to education, which includes humanities, physical education, the arts."

      Robinson adds, "Second, there is no standardized testing in Finland. I mean, there's a bit, but it's not what gets people up in the morning, what keeps them at their desks."

      The third thing Ken Robinson points out was Finland's dropout rate.  He begins, "and I was at a meeting recently with some people from Finland, actual Finnish people,and somebody from the American system was saying to the people in Finland, "What do you do about the dropout rate in Finland?  And they all looked a bit bemused, and said, "Well, we don't have one. Why would you drop out?  If people are in trouble, we get to them quite quickly and we help and support them."

      We think you will enjoy this video, and that you'll find it's certainly worth the watch:  Ken Robinson: Escaping Education's Death Valley.  

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    7. Required Reading: The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

      Required Reading: The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin

      Monday, February 20, 2017

      “Smart, important, and, as always, exquisitely written.” —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness 

      Readers of Daniel J. Levitin’s two previous New York Times bestsellers have come to know and trust his unique ability to translate cutting edge neuroscience into an informative and entertaining narrative. Now Levitin turns his attention to an issue that affects everyone in the digital age: organization. It’s the reason that some people are more adept than others at managing today’s hyper flow of data. The Organized Mind explains the science behind their success and—with chapters targeted specifically to business readers—shows how all of us can make small but crucial changes to regain mastery over our lives.

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    8. Using a Math Algorithm to Create a Universal Personal Tutor

      Using a Math Algorithm to Create a Universal Personal Tutor

      Friday, February 17, 2016

      Every once in awhile, a great idea comes out of resourcefulness instead of enormous sums of cash.  This is one of those times. 

      Po-Shen Loh is a Princeton-educated mathematician, Carnegie Mellon professor, the head coach of the U.S. International Math Olympiad team, and now he’s created a product he calls "Expii."  Expii is a math and science education tool that might someday turn every smartphone or device like Echo into a personal tutor. Why is that important?  Well we know from Benjamin Bloom's research, back in the mid 80's, that people trained in a one-on-one fashion will outperform 98% of those students trained in the classroom.  So finding a way to get technology tp act like a personal tutor, is a way to scale personal-tutoring to serve everyone.

      What Loh did was to combine his mathematical expertise with crowd-contributing strategies from sites like Wikipedia and Quora to deliver free education to all of the world using a system that self-organizes in the same way that mathematics self-organizes from its basic assumptions. He hopes it will democratize education and be a learning revolution for those who could never afford a tutor. 

      To put this in easier terms, Loh is using math to make the lessons adapt to the student.  If the student doesn't understand how to answer a question (read: test), then Expii will use that knowledge to suggest the right reading material.  It's a brilliant idea, and we suggest watching the video to learn more: VIDEO LINK

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    9. YouTube Announces 1 Billion Videos Captioned

      YouTube Announces 1 Billion Videos Captioned

      Friday, February 17, 2017

      Google first launched video captions eleven years ago in 2006. Three years later, in 2009,  those efforts were taken to a whole new level with automated captions offered by YouTube.  Fast forward to 2017, and the number of videos with automatic captions now exceeds a staggering 1 billion. Put differently, people watch videos with automatic captions more than 15 million times per day.

      According to Liat Kaver, the product manager that made the announcement on YouTube's Official Blog, a major goal for the team has been improving the accuracy of automatic captions -- something that is not easy to do for a platform of YouTube’s size and diversity of content. He went on to say that a key factor in the success of this endeavor was improving their speech recognition, machine learning algorithms, and expanding their training data. All together, those technological efforts have resulted in a 50 percent leap in accuracy for automatic captions in English, which is getting YouTube closer and closer to human transcription error rates.

      Of course the wide variety of content on YouTube makes it hard to caption everything, but it also offers the company with a wide range of training data. But the real shot in the arm comes from the YouTube video creators. themselves.  When the YouTube community reviews and edits these automatic captions, that information then flows back into the machine learning process to make the system more accurate.  As a result of all of these factors, the service’s automatic captions currently support 10 languages. And that is a major step forward for all of us who have to teach global audiences.

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    10. Pixar Offers Khan Academy Class on Storytelling

      Pixar Offers Khan Academy Class on Storytelling

      Thursday, February 16, 2017

      When is comes to 'storytelling,' there are few organizations that can do it as well as Pixar.  The Disney-owned animation studio is known for its ability to consistently create world-class movies with captivating narrative and stunning visuals. Now, Pixar is helping others learn the secrets of great storytelling - for free - in partnership with Khan Academy, in a course called Pixar in a Box.

      This is the third installment of the series, and lessons are sourced from Pixar directors and story artists including Inside Out and Up director Pete Docter, Brave director Mark Andrews, Inside Out story artist Domee Shi, and Ratatouille animator Sanjay Patel.  Pixar’s previous Khan Academy courses include topics like virtual cameras, effects and animations, but this is the first to focus on the less technical aspects of movie creation. 

      The first lesson is available now (use this link), and will provide an introduction to storytelling as well as help you come up with a multitude of creatives, including setting and character. The lessons include videos and activities for budding storytellers to complete, and provides you with a general basis on which to build. The next instalment will focus on Character creation specifically, and others segments will address storyboarding, emotional appeal and more, with releases happening throughout 2017.

      Perhaps this will launch you on your next career?  Or at the very least, make your courseware a lot more enjoyable.

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    11. Negotiating Around Obstacles: 10 Tips for Getting Past 'No'

      Negotiating Around Obstacles: 10 Tips for Getting Past 'No'

      Wednesday, February 15, 2017

      Sometimes negotiations can come to a complete standstill.  Both parties are exhausted from trying to reach an agreement that seems impossible to achieve.  Frustration is rising and tempers are flaring.  Is there any way past this huge roadblock?

      Here are ten strategies to try when you find yourself stuck in a negotiation that doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

      1. SEPARATE THE PEOPLE FROM THE PROBLEM: If the negotiations have gotten heated, it’s easy for either party to start taking things personally.  Make sure you are focusing on the issue and not on your personal annoyance with the individual across the table.
      1. CHANGE PERSPECTIVE: Put yourself in the other party’s shoes and try to understand their perspective.  Explore their motivations.  Try to discover what may be going on to influence their behavior.  What are their reasons, and whose agenda are they working in the interest of?
      1. CHANGE APPROACH: If doing things one way isn’t working, switch it up.  Break a big problem down into smaller issues you can tackle one at a time.  Or if you’ve been negotiating line-by-line, take a step back from details to see the bigger picture.
      1. CHANGE FOCUS: Take a break from a hot-button issue and discuss something else instead.  If you can’t solve this problem, is there another one you can solve together?  Working side-by-side can help you make progress, calm things down, and reset the tone of the negotiation.
      1. TAKE A BREATHER: If tempers are high, call a recess so people can get their emotions under control.  Intense emotions cloud logical thought and good judgment, and negotiations can be exhausting.  Sometimes a short break is all that is needed to refresh and get things moving again.
      1. BRAINSTORM: If we field every idea we can think of, we can then work together with the other party to select the best option. Avoid making assumptions about what the “right” answer is – there may be an out-of-the-box solution that will surprise you both.
      1. LISTEN UP: Make sure you are really listening to what the other side is saying, and try paraphrasing it back to check your understanding.  This helps the other party feel heard, and can clear up conflicts that are based on misunderstandings.
      1. BUILD MOMENTUM: Start with one issue at a time, preferably simple issues, and use them to build a collaborative momentum of agreement.  Even reviewing the items you have already agreed on can help get you past the obstacle, because it shows the amount of progress that has been made.  Each “yes” makes it easier to reach the next one, so we can create more agreement as we go.
      1. HELP THE OTHER PARTY SAVE FACE: It’s amazing how frequently this is all it takes.  If we can find a way to keep the other side from looking or feeling foolish, they will often settle down and become more cooperative.  Watch out for the “EGO” in “nEGOtiations” – and that goes for both
      1. DON’T DIG IN: It is essential to focus on underlying interests in order to achieve a win-win outcome.  Digging down into a fixed position will almost surely result in deadlock, because both parties will always have differing positions, or different perceptions of what they want the outcome of the negotiation to look like. However, often you will find that both parties have common or complementary interests.  If both parties take the time to explore the others’ interests, they may find a complete lack of conflict, and both may be able to get what they want without sacrificing anything at all.

      The keys to principled negotiations are to maximize the opportunity for a win-win outcome by leveling the playing field as much as possible, separating the people from the problem, and to always keep your sights on the interests.  Whenever a negotiation seems deadlocked, try some of these maneuvers to reach agreement around the obstacle.

      Reprinted with permission by Baker Communications, Inc.


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    12. Instructors Wanted: Pre-sales of Its Flying Car Begin - Only $400,000

      Instructors Wanted: Pre-sales of Its Flying Car Begin - Only $400,000

      Tuesday, February 14, 2017

      For those of you that thought teaching someone to drive was tough, imagine being the Driver/Flying Ed instructor for this baby. We can hear the screams already. Wait! Pull up! Pull up!  Watch that aircraft!  Bank right around that drone!

      Granted, the call for flying instructors may be a bit early, but Dutch company PAL-V is really taking pre-orders for it's new flying car.  Finally, the promise made so many years ago by Popular Science is about to hit the skies.  

      According to their website, the following is what they're touting for a mere $400,000 USD:

      Thanks to a number of patented technologies, the dimensions of the PAL-V Liberty do not exceed those of a regular car. It therefore blends perfectly with everyday road traffic, yet offers a new level of mobility.

      Among many unique features, the PAL-V Liberty has two distinct attributes that set it apart from all other concepts. The first is that lift is created by a wind-powered rotor, making the PAL-V Liberty float in the air. Taking this gyroplane principle to the next level is the secret behind the safest and easiest flying vehicle on the market.

      Another attribute of the PAL-V Liberty that adds to its uniqueness is the three-wheel design and the soft tilting motion in curves.

      As a result, the PAL-V Liberty is a joy to drive and to fly, with a matchless drive and flight experience, as well as unequaled freedom of mobility.

      This website is full of details about this revolutionary vehicle. Take a little time to absorb them, and you will soon be convinced that the PAL-V Liberty really is one of a kind.

      Batman may have a slightly more advanced model, but hey, we bet his cost a heck of lot more.  Hmm.  Wonder if it uses Google Maps?

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    13. Required Reading: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

      Required Reading: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

      Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

      Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.

      Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

      What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

      With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future. Elearning! Magazine highly recommends this read.

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    14. Listening & Watching at Light Speed - The Latest Media Consumption Craze

      Listening & Watching at Light Speed - The Latest Media Consumption Craze

      Monday, February 13, 2017

      Although more than 3,000 books are published daily, that number is eclipsed by the number of podcasts and videos that are produced.  Currently on YouTube there are 81,941,760 videos available.  Apple says that they have a billion podcast subscriptions, which are spread across 250,000 unique podcasts in more than 100 languages, and that more than 8 million episodes have been published in the iTunes Store to date. And to make matters more challenging, it appears that Natural Sciences Quill is a software product that automates the writing of articles and business reports.  How in the 'heck' are we even going to absorb a tiny fraction of that knowledge?

      Speed-reading and skim reading have been around for a while, but now some very creative entrepreneurs are starting to unlock listening and viewing speeds.  Most of us already know that we can increase the speed in which we can watch a YouTube video, by clicking on the settings icon on the lower right corner of the screen.  The same is true when you watch a Udemy or Lydia.com video.  You can usually crank those up to 2x normal speed and then slow it down when a concept is a bit more difficult.  Try it in small increments.  Eventually, you'll be able to double your viewing capacity as your brain learns to process the data faster.

      But this isn't only happening in the video world.  

      Podcasts are also consumable at much faster rates - without it going into "Donald Duck" mode.  One such app is called Overcast, which speeds things up by eliminating pauses.  But that still wasn't as fast as the 2x feature that video has adopted.

      Max Deutsch, a Product Manager at Intuit has created an app called Rightspeed.co.  According to Max, in the past 4 months, he's listened to 23,478 minutes of audiobooks. Everything from Adam Grant’s Originals to The Big Short to the #AskGaryVee book. He said he's also listened to approximately 10,000 minutes of tech podcasts. It’s a lot of audio — which is mostly afforded by his long commute from San Francisco to Mountain View, and his preference to hear the human voice sped up at 2x or 3x playback speed.

      With all this audio being processed by his brain, he started to wonder whether he could train his brain to listen to audio at even faster speeds.  His dream was to be able to crunch through a 5 hour audiobook in 20-30 minutes without completely destroying his comprehension.  Max pointed to a 2010 study of blind patients, who with zero practice were able to comprehend 25 syllables per second, which is about 7–8x faster than the average audiobook speed. That was enough to convince him to build a prototype.

      So Rightspeed.co was born.  That's 'Lightspeed' with an 'R.'  But there was more to just being able to crank up the speed arbitrarily, Max wanted to train his brain to listen at increasingly faster and faster speeds, without giving up on comprehension.

      So he added what he calls the 'killer' feature.  Although he didn't call it the “Discipline Button,” the Automatic Speed Ramping (ASR) button in Rightspeed.co is designed exactly for this purpose. According to Max, every two minutes, if ASR is active, Rightspeed.co will automatically increment your listening speed by 0.1x.  Max says that this might seem super slow (at least to him it does), but this is what he found to be most effective when it comes to disciplining your brain to comprehend at faster and faster speeds. According to his findings, at this rate, during a 30-minute training session, you can work your way up from 2.0x to 3.5x, or from 3.0x to 4.5x. 

      So how has that worked for Max?  He says that every day, at the end of his commute, he surprises himself when he looks down and realizes that he was actually listening at 4.6x or 5.4x.  Max says that he is very careful not to make claims like Luminosity on brain training, but he went on to say that he was pleasantly surprised how trainable his own brain really was.

      All this seems really exciting.  But after training your brain to listen at light speed, one has to wonder what our tolerance would be for hour-long meetings.  And then there’s that whole notion of “social nicety” we call small talk.  Come on now, don't you just want to find out?  


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    15. Zuckerberg Shows Off Oculus Gloves for Typing in VR

      Zuckerberg Shows Off Oculus Gloves for Typing in VR

      Friday, February 10, 2017

      Mark Zuckerberg tweeted this out when he visited their Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington, while showing off how the Oculus Gloves could type in VR:

      I just visited our Oculus Research lab in Redmond, Washington where some of the best scientists and engineers in the world are pushing the boundaries of virtual and augmented reality.

      The team is led by Michael Abrash and focuses on things like advanced optics, eye tracking, mixed reality and new ways to map the human body. The goal is to make VR and AR what we all want it to be: glasses small enough to take anywhere, software that lets you experience anything, and technology that lets you interact with the virtual world just like you do with the physical one.

      Oculus Rift is already the best VR experience you can buy -- and the technology being built in this lab right now makes me want the future to get here a lot sooner.

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    16. Microsoft’s Cortana reminds you of the important stuff – even when you forget to ask

      Microsoft’s Cortana reminds you of the important stuff – even when you forget to ask

      Friday FEBRUARY 10, 2017

      Today, Microsoft introduced another, even smarter way for Cortana to help make sure nothing slips through the cracks with suggested reminders.

      Cortana already provides reminders for people, places and times, and helps you make and manage to-do lists so you don’t forget a thing.  As of this release, Cortana can now help you remember things you’ve said you would do in your emails—without you even having to ask.

      We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve promised to do something in email, like send your boss a report by end of day, or purchase tickets to the movies for your date night. But the day goes on, emails pile up, and you quickly forget. Now Cortana has your back. Using machine learning technology developed in partnership with Microsoft Research, Cortana automatically recognizes when you make a commitment in email messages and will proactively suggest a reminder to you to follow through at just the right time.

      Cortana does all the work in the background making this helpful feature incredibly easy to use. To get started, simply send emails as you would normally and when you’ll do something, Cortana will recognize that and save the details in a suggested reminder for you. If you’ve specified a deadline in the email, Cortana will ping you before it’s due and save it in the action center. Other suggested reminders will be in the Cortana home. No need to copy her on the email or change how you do things today, she will adapt to you.

      Cortana’s suggested reminders are available in the U.S. on Windows 10 with support coming to iOS and Android in the coming weeks. The feature will begin rolling out today and currently supports Outlook.com and Office 365 work and school email addresses with support for other email services   coming soon.

      To check the feature out for yourself, make sure you’re signed in to Cortana, and have given communications consent. Then check that either an Outlook.com or Office 365 work or school account is connected through the connected services section in your Cortana notebook. Try emailing yourself a commitment like “I will send you the report by Friday” and look out for that suggested reminder from Cortana.

      For those of you that got to experience this feature as part of the Windows Insider program, you’ll also notice some improvements like the ability to link to the email that the reminder is coming from and notifications ahead of a deadline. Microsoft also worked to improve their models for identifying the commitments you’ve made so Cortana’s suggestions are even more accurate.

      For more information: Microsoft Cortana


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    17. 375,000 Images Given to Creative Commons by The Met

      375,000 Images Given to Creative Commons by The Met

      Thursday, February 9, 2017

      As of February 7, 2017 The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) made all images of public-domain works available under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). So whether you're an artist or a designer, an educator or a student, a professional or a hobbyist, you now have more than 375,000 images of artworks from The Met collection to use, share, and remix—without restriction. This policy change to Open Access is an exciting milestone in The Met's digital evolution, and a strong statement about increasing access to the collection and how to best fulfill the Museum's mission in a digital age.

      The Met has an incredible encyclopedic collection: 1.5 million objects spanning 5,000 years of culture from around the globe. Since the museum's audience is really the three billion internet-connected individuals around the world, The Met decided to think big about how to reach these viewers, and increase their focus on those digital tactics that have the greatest impact. Open Access is one of those tactics.

      The images The Met is making available under a CC0 license relate to 200,000 public-domain artworks in our collection that the Museum has already digitally catalogued. This represents an incredible body of work by curators, conservators, photographers, librarians, cataloguers, interns, and technologists over the past 147 years of the institution's history. This is work that is always ongoing: just last year The Met added 21,000 new images to the online collection, 18,000 of which relate to works in the public domain.

      To help find these images on their website, they've added a feature that allows users to filter searches to only those works that The Met believes are public domain; all of these Open Access images are marked with the CC0 logo on their respective object page.

      The CC0 and Download icons circled below an image of Bruegel&squot;s "The Harvesters" in the Collection section of this website

      Alongside the images, they're also making available under CC0 each artwork's key information, otherwise known as tombstone data—title, maker, date, culture, medium, and dimensions—on all 440,000 artworks that the Museum has digitized to date; this data is now available as a downloadable file on GitHub. By making this information available in a clear, machine-readable format, The Met is making it easier for the world to search for, play with, and explore the breadth and depth of the Museum's collection. 

      Enabled by the Museum's move to open access, The Met also announced a series of major new partnerships—with Creative Commons, the Wikimedia community, Artstor, the Digital Public Library of America, and Pinterest. The Met will be blogging about these partnerships in the coming weeks, but one aspect they are particularly excited about is that they currently have a Wikimedian-in-Residence, Richard Knipel. Over the coming months he will be collaborating with fellow Wikimedians to help "Wikify The Met, and Metify the Wiki." Richard will also help host The Met's first events for the Wikimedia community.

      The Met expects these partnerships to become an ever-larger component of the Digital Department's work. The Met serves over 30 million visitors on their website each year, which they see as the canonical source for information about the collection; but they went on to say, "if we want to connect the collection to three billion individuals around the world, we know that they're never all going to come to metmuseum.org."

      To make the Museum as accessible as possible, The Met needs to ensure that the collection exists in those online locations where people already go for doses of creativity, knowledge, and ideas. That's why these types of partnerships are so important to the Museum, and why, by enabling these partnerships, the Open Access policy change is such an exciting milestone for digital at The Met.

      For more information, please see metmuseum.org/openaccess.

      The Met's Open Access initiative is made possible through the continued generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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    18. Virtual Reality Will Trick You In Ways You’ll Like – and Ways You Won’t

      Virtual Reality Will Trick You In Ways You’ll Like – and Ways You Won’t

      Imagine Virtual Reality 24/7 in a world that seems entirely real. This may be our reality in 5 short years.

      "I think in five years or so VR is going to be a really prominent platform for experiences, for business, for commerce, entertainment, and social," shares Kevin Kelly, author of  The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.

      If you've tried VR gear, you see only the virtual world. With Mixed Reality, MR, you'll see virtual objects in the real world. Both these experiences operate on a different part of the brain than when you watch a screen or Television claims Kelly. It's like experiences lived in real time. This is the panacea for marketers, entertainers and social collaboration.

      Watch the video at: 



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    19. 7 Life Lessons from Tom Brady

      7 Life Lessons from Tom Brady

      Monday, February 6, 2017

      When Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe went down in the second game of the season with a serious injury, a number 6 draft pick by the name of Tom Brady was tapped to fill the starting quarterback position.  Bledsoe, the number 1 overall pick in the 1993 draft, was a four-time Pro Bowler with an amazing arm and tremendous career stats.  But it was the personal attributes that Tom Brady exhibited, when fate gave him his chance, that can become life lessons for all of us.

      Determination and Mental Toughness

      If there are two attributes that define Tom Brady, it would have to be his unyielding determination, and his mental toughness under pressure.  When he sets his mind on the goal, he never loses focus.  In that first year, he led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.  The fact that he was a 6th round draft pick never shaped his own view of his capabilities.  Nor did it matter to him that he was only a back-up to Bledsoe.

      But he wasn’t done after that first year.  He went on to win four more Super Bowls after that, setting new records for himself, his coach and his teammates.

      Super Bowl Fifty-One was perhaps the best example of his determination and mental toughness.  Dropped balls and turn-overs piled up on Brady and his teammates. With his team behind 28 to 3, he still never accepted defeat as the outcome.  He went on to deliver 31 unanswered points, throwing the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time in its history. 

      Those attributes of determination and mental toughness enabled him to overcome seemingly impossible odds, and to lead his team to yet a fifth, record-setting Super Bowl victory. 

      The lessons for us are simple: keep our eye on our goal, keep getting up when we’re knocked down, and have the mental toughness to listen only to our own inner voice.  If we do these three things we are on our way to shaping our own unique destiny. 

      Hard Work, Humility, Gratitude and Appreciation

      In the world of sports, professional athletes aren’t exactly known for being modest.  We remember Mohammed Ali proclaiming over and over, “I’m the greatest!”

      Brady seems to break that unbecoming mold.  With tears in his eyes, he carries his children up onto the award podium at Super Bowl LI.  Then, when asked whether he views himself as the greatest quarterback of all time, he deflects it and points out the hard work of his teammates and coaches.

      After his fourth Super Bowl victory, Tom gave up the truck that he was awarded as MVP to Malcolm Butler, a rookie cornerback.  Why?  Because Brady recognized that with Butler’s first career interception, he had saved the game for the Pats.  You could see Brady on the sideline jumping for joy when Butler picked off the pass from opposing quarterback, Russel Wilson.  Brady committed that he was going to give Butler the truck, and then he figured out how to make that happen.

      Hard work and humility can earn all of us a lot of respect in our own endeavors. If you’re a leader in a company, and you lead with these qualities, then you’ll be leading by setting the right example. Hard work and humility are incredibly infectious and people will jump at the chance to be on your team. 

      Showing gratitude and appreciation for team players is the icing on the cake. It’s the way great teams are built, and how we can inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things. 

      Love What You Do

      Brady loves what he does.  Even after his fifth Super Bowl win, and a chance to go out on the top of his game, he says he’s coming back.  Why?  Because he loves the game.  He’s 40 years old and wants to continue to play for as long as he can.  Let’s hope he sets the record for being the oldest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl.  When you add a passion for what you do to all of the other six traits, you have an unbeatable formula for success.

      So the seven life lessons from Tom Brady are to find what you love, and then sprinkle in a lot of determination, mental toughness, hard work, humility, gratitude and appreciation, and who knows what you could achieve in your lifetime.  Here’s to your success.

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    20. Apple and Adobe Battle to Win Academia

      Apple and Adobe Battle to Win Academia

      Tuesday, February 7, 2016

      Pro apps on a Mac can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re a student or a teacher.  However, Apple has just released a new app bundle with five different pro apps. It costs $199.99, but it’s just for students and people working in education.  There are 5 apps, including Apple’s two most important pro apps — Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X. These two apps enable users to do a lot when it comes to movie editing and audio editing. The remaining parts of the bundle include: Motion 5, Compressor 4 and MainStage 3.  You can order the bundle here:  Apple Student Bundle.

      Final Cut currently costs $299, and Logic Pro has a price tag of $199, so that makes it a pretty easy decision if you were already planning to buy one of these.  So who can buy the bundle? Teachers, faculty, staff, and college students, as well as K12 and Higher Ed institutions are eligible to buy the bundle.

      This is going back to an earlier strategy that Apple employed which was to get students 'hooked' on their software so that they would keep using these apps and buying Macs. Their prime competitor in this space is Adobe.  Adobe currently sells most of its apps with a subscription model.  That's been very effective, especially in academia, because you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars upfront.  

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    21. Your Body Talks: Nonverbal Cues in Presentations

      Your Body Talks: Nonverbal Cues in Presentations

      Monday, February 6, 2017

      When you speak before an audience, they perceive more than just your words. They see your clothes and your haircut. They notice how confidently you move, and hear whether your voice is calm or agitated. They feel a connection when you make eye contact. Consciously or not, they make assessments about your professionalism, and even your credibility, based on small things – a smirk, a hand in a pocket, or the way the hem of your pants leg is caught in the back of your sock.

      The first impression occurs even before you are introduced to deliver your speech, and the most crucial part of your presentation is the first few minutes. During that initial segment, the audience will be making critical judgments about you. Your listeners will decide whether you are confident, sincere, friendly, eager to address them and worthy of their attention. In large measure, they will base this decision on what they see.

      Your Appearance

      If your listeners will have on suits and dresses, wear your best suit or dress – the outfit that brings you the most compliments. Make sure that every item of clothing is clean and well tailored. Don’t wear jewelry that might glitter or jingle when you move or gesture. This might divert attention from your speech. For the same reason, empty your pockets of bulky items and anything that makes noise when you move.

      Know your material.

      By the time the audience arrives, your preparation should be concluded. You shouldn’t have to study your speech. In fact, you should know it so well that you don’t have to devote your mental energy to the task of remembering the sequence of ideas and words. You should prepare and rehearse enough that you don’t have to depend too heavily on notes. Many speakers will still need at least a few notes to stay on track, but don’t let them be a substitute for preparation and rehearsal.

      Establish a personal bond with listeners.

      If you have the opportunity before the talk, mingle with the audience, and project that same friendly, confident attitude that will make your speech a success. While speaking, select one person in the audience and talk to him or her personally. Maintain eye contact with that person long enough to establish a visual bond (about 5 to 10 seconds). This is usually the equivalent of a single sentence or thought. Then shift your gaze to another person in a different part of the room.

      Monitor visual feedback from the audience.

      While you are talking, your listeners are responding with their own non-verbal messages. Use your eyes to actively seek out this valuable feedback. If individuals aren’t looking at you, they may not be listening either. They may be having trouble hearing you. They may be bored or confused. Try to identify the issue and take steps to correct it. On the other hand, if your listeners’ faces indicate pleasure, interest and close attention, don’t change a thing. You’re doing a great job!

      Use controlled, confident movements.

      The way you walk to the speaker’s position is very important. When you are introduced, you should appear eager to speak. Too many speakers look as though they are heading toward the execution block. Walk confidently from your seat to the lectern. During the talk, move around occasionally – use the lectern as a point of departure, not a barrier to hide behind. Maintain good posture, and use controlled, smooth gestures while speaking.

      When employing visual aids, use three positions. One position is your “home” position and should be front and center. The other two positions should be relatively near the “home” position. Never stand in front of any visual aid.

      Remember that it’s not just what you say – it’s also how you say it… and your body does speak very loudly. It’s only when your verbal message is matched to a confident, powerful nonverbal message that you will begin to have real presence as a speaker.

      Reprinted with permission from Baker Communications

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    22. Microsoft Launches Digital Skills Initiative for the UK

      Microsoft Launches Digital Skills Initiative for the UK

      Friday, February 3, 2016

      Earlier this week, Microsoft launched an initiative to teach digital skills to people across the UK to ensure that the country remains one of the global leaders in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and other next-generation technologies. Microsoft UK Chief Executive, Cindy Rose, joined Chancellor Philip Hammond at the launch of Microsoft’s digital skills plan at the company’s UK headquarters in Reading.

      According to the announcement, Microsoft will train 30,000 public servants for free in a range of digital skills. This will allow those UK government and public sector entities to deliver better and more efficient services to people across the country, using more current technology.

      As part of the overall initiative, Microsoft has also committed to making sure everyone in the UK has access to free, online digital literacy training.  The hope is that this training will prepare them for a world that uses technology to transform how people in all sectors work.

       Microsoft is also launching a Cloud Skills Initiative, which will train 500,000 people in the UK in advanced cloud technology skills in the next 3 years.   Ms. Rose stated that her company believes that a fourth industrial revolution is under way – one driven by the transformative power of cloud technologies.

      Ms. Rose went on to say, “In the wake of the EU referendum vote, the UK is looking at charting a new and different path to its future and Microsoft is committed, as it has been for more than 30 years, to helping the UK realise its full potential. We believe maintaining the UK’s global competitiveness relies on a successful transition to a cloud-enabled economy.

      “At Microsoft, we aim to do our part by investing back into the UK digital economy to ensure people of all ages and backgrounds are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive into the future.”

      Microsoft also announced that it will recruit an extra 30,000 digital apprentices for its network of 25,000 partners in the UK. This initiative would add to the 11,000 apprentices already in place and significantly exceeds the 4,000target that was set in 2012.  Microsoft said that it will also ensure that more women and minority groups will be included and supported in these initiatives.  Microsoft apprentices welcomed the announcement saying that there was a stereotype that holds girls back from getting involved in STEM, but role models and events like Microsoft’s female coding event DigiGirlz can help overcome that.

      Chancellor Philip Hammond was shown a range of Microsoft products including a hands-on demonstration of a mixed-reality headset.  He went on to say, “This is further evidence that Britain is one of the best places in the world to do digital business. Microsoft’s commitment to training, technology and apprenticeships will ensure that we remain at the cutting-edge of innovation.

      “Our technology industry is fundamental to securing future economic growth and this government is committed to ensuring it continues to thrive. It’s a key part of our Industrial Strategy to back Britain for the long term, creating the conditions where business can flourish, driving growth for the whole nation.”

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    23. Intro 101 - Building a High-Impact Learning Culture

      Intro 101 - Building a High-Impact Learning Culture

      Tuesday, January 31, 2017

      A Short Introduction to Behavioral Styles

      One of the many challenges that Learning and HR Executives face when it comes to developing an effective culture is influencing how interactions occur between individuals in the workplace.  It’s at that one-to-one interaction level where cooperation and trust are built.  And it’s at that level where a culture can be created that can truly inspire ordinary individuals to achieve extraordinary results.

      But to influence those interactions effectively, your employees must first recognize that all of those individual interactions work like bank accounts.  Into those relationships people make deposits, and sometimes they also make withdrawals - from an emotional perspective.  There are a lot of reasons why these deposits and withdrawals happen, but the primary reason is that each team member wants to have an even greater amount of influence in his or her relationships.    

      Would it surprise you that an action - a deposit - in one relationship could actually end up being a withdrawal in another relationship?  

      The secret to helping your team build trust and positive interactions is to first give them an understanding of the key behavioral styles that they’ll be interacting with in the workplace.  From there, they will also need to understand their own behavioral style, and how that style can impact their relationships with people of the same or different behavioral style.

      Below is a link to a short video that tells you more about the importance of a person’s behavior style: Why Behavioral Styles Are Important.  At a minimum, it will add to your team’s knowledge of the importance of their own personal style and how it helps or hinders their interactions with others.   You can also allow team members to assess their own behavioral style, as well as receive a confidential computer-generated result of their personal assessment.  They can do that at this link: Behavioral Style Assessment.

      Once people understand how they are perceived by others, as well as how to be more effective in their work and personal interactions, your organization will have taken another step towards building a high-impact learning culture.  

      Video and assessment tool use courtesy of CloudCoaching International and Baker Communications

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