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EdTech Update





Humility builders


Here is the new garage door I installed this weekend on the "shed." Don't look too hard or too close. It's on. It goes up and it goes down. It looks much better than the one I removed. My skinned knuckles are healing nicely. The project didn't require a trip into town for more parts. Nobody called the police on account of bad language. Still this sort of project is definitely a challenge for me.

I woke up this morning wondering who got the "handy" genes in our family. My dad was very mechanical and my mom was a house painter, furniture restorer and the like.  My brother and sister must have lucked out. I know I didn't inherit one lick of ability in this area. Any project like installing a garage door, repairing a faucet, or putting together a toy raises my humility quotient by at least 100%. 

Which is a good thing.

I find that I get into the most trouble, act the most stupid, and embarrass myself the most when I am thinking too highly of myself. Getting knocked down a notch or two usually makes me a nicer person. At least for a while.  I know this.

Here are a few other humility builders (oxymoron?)

  1. Full length mirrors (see below)
  2. Stupid typographical errors or just plain awkward writing in work you've made public.
  3. Chewing somebody out, then getting all the facts, then apologizing.
  4. Reading others' writing that is more profound, beautiful and thoughtful than you ever hope to create.
  5. Watching yourself on videotape.
  6. Having an article rejected by a publisher. Or two. Or three.
  7. Being taken to task for something you've said by someone you respect.
  8. Getting a pointy-haired boss cartoon taped to your door.

There are plenty of others but these come to mind.

Why is it so difficult to be grateful for the things that do us so much good? 

Photo via Ian Jukes. Poster by Motivator.


"There is no plan" and other Bunko career advice

bunko.jpgAs readers of the Blue Skunk know, I am a Daniel Pink fan. So I was excited to get my very own copy of his latest book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need.

It's great. Period.

Published in manga format (and supported by a blog/website), the short book takes about 30 minutes to read and offers six simple lessons about achieving satisfaction at work and life. The first lesson is "There is no plan." You'll need to buy the book or find another source to learn the other five (like here). Don't expect a lot of depth, but a parable along the lines of Who Moved My Cheese.

Bunko would make an interesting discussion book for any high school career planning effort. I wonder what guidance counselors will make of it? More than a few mid-career adults will stop and ponder their choices if they think about Pink's advice as well.

I am anxious to get a "review" from my son who will be graduating from college this August and who is more in the target market for the book. As a manga fan, he might even read it.

Get a copy for your school's library - or the Johnny Bunkos in your life. 

Link here for a review by my 22-year-old son on this book.

Bunkopage5.gifimages from


Disillusionment Curve


The graph above represents my imperfect remembering of a concept I learned once upon a time - early 90s, I think.

The theory is pretty simple: the higher your expectations of a thing, the deeper your dissatisfaction/disillusionment when experiencing the thing itself. The lower your expectation, the less disappointed you will be. And the less deep your unhappiness, the sooner, easier and more likely your return to satisfaction.

I am sure there is an official name for and far better explanation of this concept. It's similar to Moore's Adoption Lifecycle or Gartner's Hype Cycle, but I believe it pre-dates either of these. If anybody can supply a name and more authoritative source, I would be much obliged.

A number of things brought the concept to mind this week:

  • I finally got a chance to study Jeff Utecht's Stages of PLN adoption on the Thinking Stick. I like that he adds perspective and balance to the path many take in learning and using social networking tools for professional growth. (He did forget denial, anger and bargaining ... oh, that's Kubler-Ross's stages of death. Never mind) Jeff's is a good "adoption" model.
  • Spring was here. My expectations for the weekend were very high. But there was an inch of snow on the ground this morning, it's now 28F at midday, and the winds are gusting up to 30mph. My satisfaction level will be rising very slowly.
  • My department has been pitching pretty hard all the benefits of the new student information system we're implementing next school year. How does one establish a balance between over-selling and working up real enthusiasm for change?

And for some reason, I woke asking myself: "What should be our technology department's priority: Making people happy or making people productive?" I recognize there is a correlation. But do we make people unhappy in the short term for productivity increases that eventually result in greater happiness?

As if I really had that much control anyway...