Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Tue, 03/24/2015 - 2:25pm.

(Image: Screencapture from IDEO U homepage)

IDEO has launched its first online course under their new "IDEO U" series of courses aimed at helping anyone increase their creative prowess (for $399 a course). (Read more in this FastCo. article)

The first course, dubbed "Insights," which is a mix of multimedia content (mainly videos paired with text prompts) covers the following topics and was created to mimic the IDEO team's own well established creative insights process:

  • Observation without judgement
  • Lessons in extremes
  • Interview wisdom
  • Fostering empathy
  • Sharing insights

Most interesting to me is the connection to work EdLab is doing on mSchool and the potential to possibly collaborate with IDEO on this series in the future! For example, one of the organizers of the course describes his overarching hope for the courses in a way that is apropos to the mSchool mission:

When Workplace Learning is TOO Much Learning

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 11:22am.

(Image source)

As knowledge workers and skilled managers are continually expected to "skill-up" to meet increasing changes in technology, there is also an increase in workplace burnout and dissatisfaction. Or, at least, this is the premise of Harvard Business Review's recent blog piece, "When Learning at Work Becomes Overwhelming." As the author points out:

Many skilled jobs require a considerable amount of learning while doing, but learning requirements have reached unrealistic levels in many roles and work situations today. This phenomenon of “too much to learn” is not only feeding the perception of critical skills shortages in many sectors, but it can also accelerate burnout.

Plant Inspiration

Submitted by Meredith Powers on Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:54am.

So far, I'm liking the demo layout for D&R. After last week's presentation from the environment team, I can't stop thinking about plant walls! Here's a few that I've seen around town:

This wall lives at Atrium in Dumbo:

And this wall, located at Colonie in Brooklyn Heights, includes edible herbs mixed into the decorative plants:

(Article featuring more photos here, if you like this look!)

Better Education to Improve Economic Condition

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 11:25pm.

According to the annual State of Black America report, the economic condition for African Americans remain in a terrible condition. This reports highlights key issues such education, justice and unemployment. The annual reports also helps officials understand issues dealing with inequality in order to work on policy to close the gaps. One of the major sections of the report focused on how the education system provides unequal opportunities for improvement in different parts of the country. This shows that communities that are struggling with academic results and dropouts should have implement a different strategy or learn from other similar communities that are doing well.

The Ideal Student Athlete

Submitted by Malik Muftau on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 1:12pm.

Academic scandals involving student athletes is nothing new. The scandal at UNC Chapel Hill, where student athletes reportedly enrolled in fake classes has created a firestorm. However, several schools have indicated that academic scandals should not be generalized because they have measures to prevent academic scandals. It is quite evident that the scandals are overshadowing the concept of the ideal student athlete. The issue of whether "student athletes" really exist has been the center of criticism for some time now.

This article expands on this argument. Several schools ensure that student athletes take their academic work very serious. In order to prevent academic scandals, the athletic department is void of any role in the student academics. For instance, when students are supposed to take exams while they are away for tournaments, academic departments provide proctors. Student athletes are provided with study halls during tournaments, during practice breaks and even before games. Many argue that scandals involving student athletes doesn't change the fact that there are many who combine academics and athletics efficiently.

Getting Fired

Submitted by Santosh Kumar on Fri, 03/20/2015 - 8:55pm.

A couple of days back I stumbled upon Zach Holman's awesome post on his departure from Github.

I think he really nails it and pushes us to confront our touchiness on this subject. What's the big deal with getting fired? Everyone has been through that at some point and yet no one likes to talk about it. Obviously this is due to the fact that the feeling (quite rightly) is that no one will hire you. And I'm calling BS on that prejudice. I'm with Zach -- we as a society need to move beyond these outdated GE/IBM-era prejudices and accept that there could be situations where for some reason people just don't get along and this doesn't reflect badly on the employee that has to leave. It's just that they didn't get along.

Here is one thing that we could do without:
- Reference checks: This forces people to lie or put up with bad behavior. We need a better way to do whatever the reference check claims to be doing (startup idea?).

All About Open Source Tools Owned by Giants

Submitted by Panisuan Chasinga on Fri, 03/20/2015 - 10:40am.

This is just my opinion following Facebook's acquisition of Parse and Google's of Firebase, two leading backend-free database-as-a-service products for front end and mobile development.

I don't know about Google's deal, but there was an interesting analytic article about Facebook's decision to acquire Parse. Facebook doesn't want to end up buying another viral mobile app like Whatsapp with that amount of money again, so buying Parse will make sure it can oversee all the mobile apps using Parse's service. This means that if it sees a promising traction in one, it can quickly strike a deal with the startup early on without having to wait until it grows into another Whatsapp.

Now, that should reflect on how we are using open source technological tools owned or sponsored by these giants. They will have a huge say in the future of the tools and the direction of the users. To give you an idea of some:

- Angular.js and Go are Google's.

Early Childhood Education Creates Stronger Economy

Submitted by Ahmed Bagigah on Tue, 03/17/2015 - 2:06pm.

Early childhood education is the first step in a child’s development. It is also the first step for building the future workforce. Education is very important and many believe that early child education is as important as a college education. Over the past few years, a lot of business leaders have been working together to develop a quality early childhood education system that will improve the workforce in the long run. This issue has also made its way to Congress. Politicians believe that the first five years in a child’s education affect their academic achievement in the future.

As such, they are working on legislation to improve early childhood education. This legislation is open to new early learning opportunities for children around the country. Preparing children well in kindergarten can lead to excellence in reading and they carry it on through their educational journey. However, a poor preschool training affects children performance in kindergarten and grade school. This is one of the major reasons behind dropouts that affect the quality of the work force.

The Workplace Gets Gamified & Quantified

Submitted by Kate Meersschaert on Mon, 03/16/2015 - 11:38am.

(Image Source)

Everyone knows that wearables and fitness tracking software are helping users game the fitness and health fields, but, what if you apply the same leaderboard concepts, quantified "nudges" and dashboard metrics to the workplace? This is an emerging trend according to this, New York Times article. "Quantified work" is spreading through Silicon Valley and beyond thanks to software like Better Works. What is most fascinating to me is this idea of transparent goal setting that allows other teammates to view and "encourage" or "shame" workplace peers. This is a fascinating way to view teamwork though perhaps not the most helpful or healthy approach. As the article listed above cautions:

Daughter Sues Father Over Education

Submitted by Bismark Appiah on Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:13am.

For decades, natural, cultural and traditional beliefs have given parents in many developing nations a lot of authority to the extent that they sometimes forget their role as parents. However, due to advancement, such often held beliefs and cultural norms have slowly disappeared.

This is the case in Saudi Arabia, whereby a father has decided not to allow his daughter to complete her scholarship program. Although this is not necessarily about marriage, the father’s decision appears to be harsh and absurd. Perhaps some years ago, this would’ve been okay, but not in today’s world. Consequently, the child is suing her father because his reasons are not legitimate. I believe this is the right choice by the child because this is probably the only way she can override her father’s decision. Additionally, this demonstrates tha

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