Saturday, July 31, 2010

BECOMING A 21ST CENTURY EDUCATOR

I have stumbled upon a fascinating article, which shares 8 characteristics of a 21st century educator.

Here they are:

1) Adaptor:

- able to adapt the curriculum & its requirements to teach using digital tools;

- able to adapt software and hardware designed for a business model into tools
suitable for education and specifically for a variety of age groups and abilities;

- able to adapt to a dynamic teaching experience;

- able to understand & apply different learning styles: able to adapt their teaching style to be inclusive of different modes of learning;

2) Visionary:

- can look at other people's ideas & approaches and see how they would use these in his or her classes;

- can also look across the disciplines & through the curricula & make links that reinforce & value learning in other areas & leverage other fields to reinforce student learning;

- accept that imagination & adaptability are the key, crucial components of the visionary educator of today and tomorrow;

- can see the potential in the emerging tools & web technologies, & then grasp & manipulate them to serve student needs;

3) Collaborator:

- able to leverage collaborative tools like Ning, Blogger, Twitter, Wikispaces, Bebo, MSN, MySpace, Second life – to enhance & captivate learners;

- adept at sharing, contributing, adapting and inventing;

- adept at shaping conversation, refocusing discussion & leading by example;

4) Risk Taker:

- can take risks & is prepared to tap into students’ knowledge of technology;

5) Learner:

- embrace life-long learning;

- continue to absorb experiences& knowledge and stay current;

- adapt, change & learn as the horizons & landscape changes;

6) Communicator:

- fluent in tools & technologies that enable communication & collaboration;

- also know how to facilitate communication, stimulate & control it, moderate & manage it.

7) Model:

- can model the behaviors they expect from students;

- can also model reflective practice; whether it's the quiet, personal inspection of their teaching & learning, or through reflective practice via blogs, Twitter & other media;

- model a number of other characteristics, not necessarily associated with integration of technologies or the curriculum, but which are of equal importance. They model:

• tolerance & respect
• acceptance
• a wider view than just their curricula areas
• global awareness
• reflection
• human values

8) Leader:

- lead by example;

By the way, here's the link to the original article.

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

1. Are you creating wealth?

2. How highly do investors rate your company?

3. How efficiently are you investing capital?

4. How well are you using shareholders money?

5. How effectively are you managing costs & revenues?


[from the brilliant work of Tom Peters/Robert Waterman, based on the eight key attributes of business success, as originally outlined in their classic, 'In Search of Excellence':

1. Bias towards action
2. Simple structure and lean staffing
3. Continued contact with customers
4. Improved productivity via your people
5. Operational autonomy to stimulate entrepreneurship
6. Put emphasis on one key value
7. Stick to what you know best
8. "Loose-tight" controls]

Friday, July 30, 2010

AN INTERESTING... ALSO THOUGHT-PROVOKING... PERSPECTIVE ON BREAKTHROUGH THINKING

Go to this link to get the interesting... also thought-provoking... perspective from none other than thinkologist Dudley Lynch, my "mentor" when it comes to thinking elegantly & powerfully.

Sometimes you just got to learn to see things in a different light...

I have found the following snippet of information from a rather belated article by travel editor/commentator Ms Yeoh Siew Hoon [she runs SHY Ventures Pte Ltd., & her other writings can be found at http://www.thetransitcafe.com/;] interesting.

"Diana Ee Tan, the managing director of Raffles Hotels & Resorts, tells a story of how her daughter who was on a study trip to Cambodia was asked to locate a pair of shoes for a young Cambodian girl who had left them outside a temple.

“My daughter kept looking for a pair of the same shoes. When she couldn’t find it, the girl returned and she picked up two shoes which were different. My daughter said she would never forget that moment. It taught her about the things we take for granted in Singapore,” says Diana."

As Siew Hoon has put it, sometimes you just got to learn to see things in a different light.

[Readers can go to this link to read Siew Hoon's original article in its entirety.]

NOSTALGIA: VOICES FROM THE GRAMOPHONE



I am glad I have stumbled upon the following, which brings back some sweet memories of my childhood experiences in Yong Peng, Johor, Malaysia.

During those periods of growing pains, my entertainment often came in the form of Rediffusion broadcasts, playing His Master's Voice gramophone (imagine all those stylus needles & plastic records!), listening to music from the now-defunct Telefunken radio (running on hot vacuum tubes) & going to the open-air make-shift movie roadshow (once a month) as well as the one & only air-conditioned movie theatre in town (air-conditioning was a true luxury!).

By the way, thanks to a connection from my good friend, Dilip Mukerjea, which led me to the following.

Voices From The Gramophone takes us on a musical journey back in time to the 30s to 50s, from Old Shanghai to Hong Kong, from Tokyo to Hollywood. The genie of the gramophone, Grammie and his guardian encounters 2 musically feuding sisters and showed them that music, whether its from the present or the past, isnt all that different after all.

The music of Zhou Xuan 周璇, Li Xiang Lan 李香蘭, Bai Guang 白光 and Ge Lan 葛兰 lives on!

[For more information, please proceed to this link.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"The power of unconditional love. I mean, there is no power on earth like unconditional love. And I think that if you offered that to your child, I mean, you’re 90 percent of the way home. There may be days when you don’t feel like it — it’s not uncritical love; that’s a different animal — but to know you can always come back, that is huge in life. That takes you a long, long way. And I would say that every parent out there that can extend that to their child at an early age, it’s going to make for a better human being."

~ Warren Buffet, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway (in an interview when asked earlier this month by Huffington Post Senior Editor Willow Bay about the best piece of advice he had ever received);

[Watch the video at this link.]

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

• What is the time-lag between your confronting an issue & reaching a decision, & between having made the decision & taking action?

• Do you use the fewest possible people for the highest possible output in the most effective possible set-up?

• Are you in regular, personal contact with customers, & do you use the contact constructively to increase their satisfaction?

• Do you manage people policies in order to achieve rising productivity & employee satisfaction?

• Do you delegate fully & effectively, allowing your staff the freedom to do their best?

• Do you have one strong guiding principle?

• Do you concentrate on what you are really good at?

• Do you keep tight control over the "housekeeping", while allowing plenty of latitude in creative work?

[from the brilliant work of Tom Peters/Robert Waterman, based on the eight key attributes of business success, as originally outlined in their classic, 'In Search of Excellence':

1. Bias towards action
2. Simple structure and lean staffing
3. Continued contact with customers
4. Improved productivity via your people
5. Operational autonomy to stimulate entrepreneurship
6. Put emphasis on one key value
7. Stick to what you know best
8. "Loose-tight" controls]

Thursday, July 29, 2010

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"Creativity is essentially a lonely act. An even lonier struggle. To some, a blessing. To others, a curse. It is in reality the ability to reach inside yourself & drag forth from your very soul an idea."

~ Lou Dorfsman, (1918-2008), graphic designer who helmed almost every advertising & corporate identity aspect of the CBS Network during his time;

THE #1 HABIT OF CREATIVE PEOPLE

According to productivity expert Leo Babauta, writing in his famed weblog, Zen Habits, the #1 habit of creative people is "solitude". I call it "quiet thinking time".

The #2 habit is "participation". To me, this habit dovetails with the sage advice, "The greatest failure in life is not participating".

Readers can go to this link to read the original blogpost in its entirety.

[Leo Babauta is also the author of 'The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential, in Business &d in Life'.]

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

TODAY'S Q2P (QUESTIONS TO PONDER)

1) What have you been observing lately?

2) What are your answers to the "Why?" question?

3) What's running through your mind these days?

4) When is the last time you challenged your assumptions & tested their validity?

5) Are you prepared or paralysed?

6) What don't you know you should?

7) Do the people around you have the knowledge & the means, & most important, the opportunity to progress?

8) Have you spent any quiet thinking time lately?

[Source: 'The Prepared Mind of a Leader : Eight Skills Leaders Use to Innovate, Make Decisions, & Solve Problems', by Bill Welter & Jean Egmon. Please refer to my earlier post for a quick summary of the 8 skills leaders use.]

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"My theory is that a manager needs to be the string on which he puts one pearl after another."

~ Liu Chuanzhi, head honcho of Lenovo PC maker, sharing his management philosophy;

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AN INSPIRING STORY ABOUT THE SECRET OF SUCCESS

According to the book, ' The 10 Laws of Enduring Success', by financial journalist & CNBC anchor, Maria Bartiromo, who related the following inspiring story:

"Chris Gardner, the CEO of Gardner Rich & Co., whose remarkable story was the subject of the hit movie, 'The Pursuit of Happyness', [starring Will Smith & his real-life son, Jaden Christopher Smith] went from being a struggling salesman to losing his home to founding a multi-million $ Chicago investment firm - all while honouring a promise to always be there for his son.

A series of bad breaks left him homeless at one point. He had interviewed at every firm on Wall Street & finally been accepted into the Dean Witter training program, but he wasn't the most polished candidate. He still didn't have an apartment home.

I ask him "Did anybody at work in the Dean Witter training program know about your dire situation? Did people know there were nights that you actually slept under your desk?"

"No," he answered, "& they did not need to know. What they needed to know was that I showed up at work every day & I lit it up. Everyday I started out in the business doing retail brokerage, & that level of the business is all about numbers. That meant 200 phone calls a day. I knew that every time I picked up the phone, I was digging my way out of a hole & creating a better life for my children."

When I asked him the secret of his success, Chris said, "I honest-to-God believe, with all of my heart, that you've got to find something you absolutely love. Something that gets you so excited that you cannot wait for the sun to come up in the morning because you want to go do your thing. Money is the least significant aspect of wealth.

I've got one problem right now, Maria, that some of the richest people in the world do not have. That is, I cannot sleep at night because my face hurts from walking around smiling all day."

Wow! I certainly admire his singular laser-focus & extremely positive mental attitude.

[By the way, in the heart-warming movie, the real Chris Gardner had a brisk cameo role. The final scene was showing the reel Chris walking with the son down a street. His son was telling him a funny story, when a wealthy businessman in a suit walked past. The reel Chris sort of nodded his head as the man continued on.

The man in the suit was none other than the real Chris Gardner.]

"The Boys are Back in Town..."

I have enjoyed rewatching the following two crime action thrillers many many times.

Besides the reasonably good plot, witty dialogue, & extreme gun-blazing action sequences, I never seem to get tired in listening to the same signature song/music routine, "The Boys are Back in Town...", by The Bus Boys.

For me, the song/music routine was the most memorable. Maybe I just have a soft spot for good music, especially one that has a rock & roll edge.

[Readers can go to this link to listen to the song/music routine by The Bus Boys.]



In a nut shell, the two movies essentially revolved around the adventurous exploits of a tough, maverick cop, Jack (played by Nick Nolte) who had to team up, somewhat reluctantly, with a wise-cracking, loud-mouthed convict, Reggie (played by Eddie Murphy), who was specially released from jail for 48 hours, to help catch the bad guys ~ in the first movie, a cop killer; in the second, a ruthless but mysterious drug lord with the nickname "Iceman". Reggie was privy to both cases.

POWER START YOUR DAY...


For me, I always power start my day with a good & hearty breakfast... comprising either steamed chee cheong fan [flat rice noodle rolls with sweet oyster sauce] or steamed yam cake or kway teow [rice noodles] soup or kway chap [flat rice noodles served in light soy sauce soup, with fatty pork, pig's innards, tau pok (fried beancurd), braised eggs & other side dishes, like salted vegetables] ... with teh-C to go... occasionally, either roti prata [crispy Indian-Muslim style flat dough-based pancake, normally served with hot chicken or vegetable curry] with teh tarik to go!

Once a week, I will throw in three half-boiled eggs with black soy sauce!

Once in a while, when my good friend Dilip Mukerjea drops in, we will often go for toasted bread with butter & kaya, plus teh-C to go, prior to our "pow-wow".

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: Just some fancy stuff that piques my attention...




TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"I'm focused on what I need to do. I don't aim to be popular. I aim to get my job done & to do it well."

~ Ms Lee Bee Wah, first-term Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC; former outspoken president of the Singapore Table Tennis Association for rather infamous reasons;

[Source: 'The Monday Interview' of 'Straits Times', 26th July 2010]

Monday, July 26, 2010

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: Marketing Innovation or Sales Gimmick?


This was supposedly a pilot run of a unique vending machine. With your smile captured on its video screen, by standing in front of it, you would be entertained with a free ice-cream.

At the time these digital snapshots were taken at the Jurong Point 2 shopping mall, the machine wasn't functioning well, according to the vendor's representative on the spot.

Sometimes, the machine just refused to bulge, & some kids, who had already given their smiles to its video screen, were very unhappy.



RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: The X Factor?

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: Engineered for Agility


Naturally, I am thinking about reengineering oneself for agility... learning agility comes to mind!

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: "Me-Time is a priority!"

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: "This year China will become the world's largest English-speaking nation of more than 300 million!"


We all know that the world's "lingua franca" is English, & an estimated two billion are trying to learn it as their linguistic passport to business success & global access.

Interestingly, China leads the pack, followed by India & Eastern Europe.

According to Mike Craft, CEO of Lingo Media Corporation, a Canadian specialty publisher of English textbooks for the Chinese Government, "This year China will become the world's largest English-speaking nation of more than 300 million!"

TODAY'S VIP (VERY IMPORTANT POSE)

"The future belongs to neither the conduit nor content players, but those who control the filtering, searching & sense-making tools we will rely on to navigate through the expanses of cyberspace."

~ Wired Magazine (March 1994);

"Innovation, Indulgence & Imagination ~ find it all at Iluma!...Inspiration at every turn!"

On Saturday afternoon, my wife & I took some time off from our busy relocation logistical planning [we are scheduled to move to Vietnam in mid-September] to do some window-shopping at the Bugis Junction.

Immediately after that, I remembered the newly opened Iluma shopping centre located just opposite it, & so we went across via the connecting air-conditioned overhead pedestrian bridge over Victoria Street.

According to a news report, Iluma is Singapore's first urban entertainment centre, targetted at today's yuppies in their 20's/30's, known more for their artsy & edgy pursuits.

To be frank, the entire multi-storey building looked to me more like a critical mass of crystal mesh, with its fancy theme of light & illumination - hence the name, Iluma - as envisaged by its Belin-based architects.

In a nut shell, there is the Colossuem@Iluma, a cybergaming centre [part of the larger Tornado integrated entertainment centre occupying the entire top floor] which touts itself as the largest in Singapore, with over 200 gaming terminals & 20 high-end Predator machines.

There is also the Filmgarde, Singapore's newest multiplex cinema chain.

Of course, there is the usual - should I say mandatory - bunch of retailers: wear apparel, sports goods, fashion knick-knacks, watches, costume jewelry, etc. There are also strategically located fast food restaurants & coffee joints.

On L2 & L3, there are the SCE-ARTS (which stands for Singapore Cultural Exchange of the Arts), which apparently provides generous avant garde spaces for the arts & cultural performances.

Naturally, while my wife zeroed into the retail outlets to look for bargains, I went snooping around for wonderful pictures to take.

The following beautiful digital snapshots captured the essence of Iluma's mini-arts resort, so to speak, with its catchy advertising blitz "Innovation, Indulgence & Imagination ~ find it all at Iluma!... Inspiration at every turn!".


The foregoing four Chinese characters mean "Indulgence".

The following twelve snapshots pertain to the winning poster designs, with King Kong as the major theme.













Unfortunately, the gallery showing the winning poster designs for 'Dracula' was closed during my visit.



The following three snapshots pertain to paper projects made out of 'Conqueror' paper. Probably, an artsy initiative from the paper vendor.




[More information about Iluma is available at their corporate website.]

Sunday, July 25, 2010

RANDOM SPOTLIGHT: DIN TAI FUNG & THE 10,000 HOUR PHENOMENON




These close-up digital snapshots of the outlet of the restaurant chain known as Din Tai Fung at the Tampines Mall somehow remind me of the 10,000 hour phenomenon made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers, not too long ago.

In my personal view, here is a really state-of-the-art steamed meat dumpling ('xiao-long-bao') production process. The elegant skills of the chefs in creating firm, elastic, transparent dough skins of the exact same size, texture & thickness, which don't tear or unravel, require mindful concentration, disciplined handiwork & extreme quality control. It's really a gastronomical masterpiece of precision & grandeur.

I have read a report that each delicious dumpling is always perfectly - & freshly - made with eighteen folds, which seal in the flavour & optimise the steaming process. Dipped in ginger & vinegar, the juicy dumplings burst with an appetising broth as you take each bite.

By the way, the legendary history of Din Tai Fung, which originated in Taiwan, goes as far back as 1958. For more information about their cuisine, please go to this link.

['xiao-long-bao' is my perennial personal favourite. I consider Din Tai Fung's version better than Crystal Jade's, at least from the yummilicious point of view.]