Category Archives: Education and Training

One of my favourite aspects of leading a team is education and training. I love teaching and coaching others to be better at what they do. I’m also all but dissertation on a Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Management and taught/coached in public schools for several years. That means I think about issues relating to schools a lot. This is where you can find my current thoughts and rants on the education system and ideas on how to improve it. I’ll also occasionally post things about pedagogy and andragogy here as related to adult education.

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

What is the Function of a School?

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

The Function of the School in Education

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values, impart wisdom, and hopefully, help them develop insight. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

The function of the school is to present the student with facts and information #education Click To Tweet

The Role of Parents in Education

I started thinking about parents I know and students I see at the school where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that many parents rely on the school to teach not only knowledge but to also values and wisdom. The trouble with that is that simply isn’t reasonable or wise.

It is not the school's purpose to teach your child a new set of values. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. You must have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That wisdom can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. Moreover, I do not think it is smart or wise to rely on strangers to impart a value system on my children. I want them to have their own strong, well-developed value system to the point that they can stick up for their own beliefs.  I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have actively involved parents.

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

What I am Doing

I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, music and museums.  Because of this, you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright and capable. They figure things out quickly on their own and are effective problem solvers even in unfamiliar situations. That is what it takes to be successful. and they can do this because they have actively involved parents.

What My Parents Did

When I was a kid my dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and built and repaired things. He spent a lot of time talking and teaching with me. This was not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful despite their lack of formal education. My parents owned my success and failure in life and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that anymore.

I have some BIG plans for my kids: backpacking trips, hunting, fishing, vacations, sports, church, volunteering, etc… varied experiences where they learn about themselves and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but god willing insightful.

For Further Study

There are two books I recommend parents take a look at if you are interested in raising smart wise, godly children. The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart and the other is Instructing a Childs Heart. Both of these books are going to challenge you as a parent to re-examine your thinking and make changes to how you do things. However, the long-term benefit of purposeful parenting is well worth the effort.

For Discussion

Without overtly slamming the public school system, I’m curious to hear what other people think about this idea. How are you helping to prepare their kids for life? I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Playing around with P2PU and Open Badges.

P2PU Logo from P2PU.org

Gamification and Badgifacation

Pretty much everyone who knows me knows I am very interested in games and how they can be used to influence behaviour. So much so in fact, that a BIG part of my Doctorate in Education work has focused around gamification. A very closely related field is badgification. I originally became interested in it when I noticed how I would continue to play an Xbox game I did not particularly enjoy JUST to continue gathering achievement points. I’m fascinated by the power badges and points hold to keep you engaged in a process that is marginally entertaining just to gather more badges. So, one of the things that has been on my mind for a while is this. I need to work on increasing my coding skills and what better way to do that than to experiment with badgification at the same time! By blogging, I have learned some HTML and CSS and I have studied JavaScript over at Code Academy. However, I stumbled onto P2PU and just HAD to play with their badge system. It looks so cool and it is fully integrated with the Mozilla Open Badge Program. As soon as I figure out how to share my Open Badge Backpack I’ll post a link here.

Anyways, I am now enrolled in the Webmaking 101 Challenge at P2PU. Part of this challenge will have me writing posts over here about things related to webcraft, coding, etc.  This work will then be peer review and eventually, I’ll be rewarded with some cool badges to show off my newly acquired skills. As I progress I’ll also share some of my thoughts about the program, its strengths and weaknesses, and how I feel it is preparing me to eventually create some of my own interactive media.

For Further Study

If you are curious about gamification and how it can be used at home, school, or the workplace I recommend you take a look at Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal. Jane is passionate about gaming and human behaviour and has written what is easily my favourite book on the topic. It’s entertaining, interesting and informative. Click here to get a copy.

For Discussion

Have you had any experience with P2PU, Code Academy, or any similar sites? What was your experience?

Why Do I Blog?

Why do I blog? Why do I blog? Why does anyone blog?  Well they are both good questions, but I can only share with you the answer to the first question… The real answer to the next one is hard to nail down because everyone has their own reasons. What I can do is give you some insight into mine.

When I started blogging back in 2006 on my first WordPress.com blog it was because I wanted to share my thoughts on sales and management with the goal of networking with some like minded people, sorting out my thoughts, helping other people and maybe picking up the occasional consulting gig.  To be honest, it worked fabulously! I met some great people, secured several consulting jobs, and even launched a social network and podcast called Sales Management 2.0!

My next blog was a health and fitness blog called Running For 365 Days. On this blog I shared my experiences as a runner. When I started this blog I was just starting my doctoral program, so it fell apart after a few months because I was simply too busy to write as much as I wanted to (daily). At the same time I was also trying to launch an education blog to share my experience in my doctoral program, but again it was all just too much.

That brings us to this blog: Just My Life in Words or The Uber Geek! This is the place where I am pulling it all into one place. It lets me blog about all the things I care about, but if it takes a few weeks to come up with something on one topic it’s no biggie because I have probably written something on at least one of the 15 topics I am covering.

Now that tells you what I have blogged, but not really why… Well it sounds silly, but in part to change the world. I think about a lot of stuff and I am a pretty smart guy so I like the idea of using the internet to leverage my voice and spread ideas. I also do it to help and inspire others. I hope that people will read about my thoughts on leadership, sales, and sales management and learn that the industry is about helping people and not making a quick buck off someone. I also hope they will learn that you don’t have to be a pushy jerk to be successful as a sales manager. I hope people will see how I lost over 30 pounds so far eating paleo and running and give it a go! I’m a geek and I like to share cool things and share games I think are fun! I’m also in the dissertation phase of my doctorate of education where I am studying gamification so this lets me flush out thoughts and network with others interested in my topic. Finally I have 2 beautiful girls who I love very much and I hope long after I am gone they will be able to read my thoughts and take a little something from it that will help them out some day, or maybe gain some insight into who I am as a man and not just as their father.

As you can see I am just one person and I have a LOT of reasons why I blog and I can promise you this is not an exhaustive list. So the real question is why do YOU blog? If you don’t why SHOULD you blog? Share your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to talk to you about it!

-Brad

PS: If your looking for a GREAT book on how to get started blogging I highly suggest you check out Pro Blogger by Darren Rowse! It’s truly fantastic and will help you with all aspects of blogging whether its as a career or hobby!

Can Tabletop RPG’s Make You More Confident And Successful?

When people think of tabletop RPG’s the first thing that most people think is “Wow… Huge nerd!”  I have for many years thought that there were countless uses for games as a tool for teaching children, developing skills, and developing quality real life relationships. So much in fact, that I have committed a lot of time and study to the idea, so it’s always nice to see that someone else agrees with you!

By the way he uses DnD as the example, but the case is just as true if you use Shadowrun, Traveller, World of Darkness, Mouse Guard, Eclipse Phase, or any other game you can think of. Honesty, I believe the more games you play the more this may be true, because it is teaching you to be flexible and uses different systems and tools to solve a similar issue.

Games teach imagination, problem solving, strategy, and social skills. They also encourage reading and develop strong long-lasting relationships with others. I honestly can not think of a single reason a parent would not want their kids to grow up gaming. I understand the argument about violence many people will make. To that I will say some of the best gaming sessions I have had have lasted 4-6 hours and not have a single combat. Fighting is not always the best way out of a problem and nearly every game has rules for negotiation and other alternative solutions many of wich are far more entertaining! That however is a topic for another post. 🙂

The question here is: What do YOU think? Can games make us better people?