Monthly Archives: May 2012

” Gamification is a major buzzword in learning. Now, thanks to the support of AT&T, it has a marquee national initiative that will truly test the proposition of whether video games can motivate at-risk students to stay in school, raise test scores, and actually enjoy learning. “We decided we were going to aim for exponential change in education,” explains Beth Shiroshi, AT&T Foundation’s vice president for sustainability and philanthropy. With this reboot of its Aspire education initiative launched four years ago, AT&T has made a big bet on GameDesk, a nonprofit startup that grew out of the University of Southern California. They’re committing $3.8 million for GameDesk first to build a brick-and-mortar hub in Los Angeles, a “classroom of the future” where new, game-based curricula and processes can be demonstrated, observed, and evaluated. Then the company will broadcast that data through an online educational content portal for parents, students, and educators”

exerpt, read full article at


Understanding the brain, first

“The primitive brain and the limbic brain collectively make up the limbic system, which governs emotion. Within the limbic system, there is a structure called the amygdala, which leaders need to understand….When faced with a stimulus, the amygdala turns our emotions on. It does so instantaneously, without our having to think about it. We find ourselves responding to a threat even before we’re consciously aware of it.”

5 key Strategies

  • Establish connection before saying anything substantive. And remember that the connection is physical. Techniques to connect include asking for the audience’s attention, if only with a powerful and warm greeting, followed by silence and eye contact. The key is to make sure the audience isn’t doing something else so that they pay attention.
  • Say the most important thing first once you have their attention. The most important thing should be a powerful framing statement that will control the meaning of all that follows. Remember that frames have to precede facts.
  • Close with a recapitulation of the powerful framing statement that opened the presentation.
  • Make it easy to remember. Keep in mind how hard it is for people to listen, hear, and remember. One way is to repeat key points. I often hear from clients, “But I’ve already said this. I don’t need to say it again.” Or, “I don’t want to say it again.” Or, “If I have to say this again, I’ll throw up. I’m tired of repeating myself.” But leaders need to constantly repeat the key themes, within any given presentation, and in general as a matter of organizational strategy. It doesn’t matter if they’re bored with saying it. The audience needs to hear it, again and again. And again. As a general principle, people need to hear things three times if they are to even pay attention to it. And because any given audience member at any time may be distracted or inattentive, he or she is unlikely to hear or attend to everything that is said. So leaders need to repeat key points far more than three times to be sure that everyone has heard it at least three times. One of the burdens of leadership is to have a very high tolerance for repetition.
  • Follow the rule of threes. Have three main points. But no more than three main points; no more than three topics; no more than three examples per topic. Group thoughts in threes; words in threes; actions in threes. (See how I just used the Rule of Threes in that sentence?) Think of Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address: “We cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.”

Excerpts/ main points from a wonderful article by Cathy Davidson

“As progressive educational activist Alfie Kohn notes, great teaching isn’t just about content but motivation and empowerment: Real learning gives you the mental habits, practice, and confidence to know that, in a crisis, you can count on yourself to learn something new. That’s crucial in a world where, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, adults change careers (not just jobs) four to six times or where, as an Australian study predicts, 65% of today’s teens will end up in careers that haven’t even been invented yet….”

” Using digital technology to “flip” the classroom, [means their] students do the homework before class, typically reading course materials or watching videos of lectures online.” In some ways, the flipped model is an improvement In the full article Cathy Davidson concludes that, “We don’t just need to flip the classroom…. We need to make it do cartwheels.”

She particularly points to higher education instituions to set the standard, “When you decide to change higher ed with the purpose of changing the world, you aim high. Because of academic freedom–freedom of ideas but also freedom from having to produce an income or a profit–you can achieve what few other investments achieve:  a return on our society’s future, not just on quarterly Wall Street reports.

The cartwheeled classroom not only connects text books and classrooms to the real world, but it also inspires, uplifts, and offers the joy of accomplishment. Transformative, connected knowledge isn’t a thing–it’s an action, an accomplishment, a connection that spins your world upside down, then sets you squarely on your feet, eager to whirl again. It’s a paradigm shift.”

” The flipped classroom isn’t likely to change the world. Energized, connected, engaged, global, informed, dedicated, activist learning just might.”