25 January 2015

Sunday Salon: What I Read Online January 12 - January 25

My bi-weekly Sunday Salon post is extra full this time of my favorite online readings. Let me know your favorites!


Technology & Innovation

Learn about next steps for Google Glass by reading Google Glass Leaving X Research Lab.

Impact International posted Top 5 Favourite TED Talks to get you thinking & they include Dan Pallotta who is coming to Kentucky in February. I first heard Dan on NPR several years ago, and was blown away about his take on how we should be raising money for charity. Makes so much sense. Listen to him & see him in person by attending Innovate: Educate in Louisville February 25th.

The Cruel Waste of America's Tech Talent is an op-ed in The New York Times that explains a sad situation of immigrant youth who have extreme talent yet are denied funding to attend college because their parents came to America illegally. Truly, a waste of talent to deny youth an opportunity to improve themselves and their situation because of decisions their parents made.

Two issues of importance to me (equity and technology) are captured in this news article titled Sheryl Sandburg Joins Global Women Leaders in Tech to Demand Gender Equality.

NASA Will Pay you $18,000 to Stay in Bed for 70 Straight Days caught my curiosity, not because I would ever do this but because it's interesting to read about how they explore what happens to the human body when muscles atrophy.

As I was preparing for teaching a class again at the University of Kentucky, this Youtube video caught my attention because it's just one more reminder for why we need to re-invent how we teach writing in our schools.

No More Worksheets--once again one of those topics all my readers know that gets me going. Seriously, we need more engaging learning opportunities for students in our schools. Most worksheets are low level thinking, wastes of paper, and busy work not suitable in our classrooms.


Business & Non-profit

Having worked in state government and local government (as a public school teacher) most of my professional career, I was surprised when I read this Harvard Business Review article about What Business Can Learn From Government with specific examples in the article coming from Louisville, Kentucky. More often than not, I've heard businesses complain about the ineffectiveness and inefficiency and nonsensical rules we often see in government.

Now that I work for a nonprofit, I have thrown myself full into exploring and learning more about the nonprofit world. Granted, I have previous experience as a board member on nonprofits, but now I'm seeing more from the other side as an employee. The Nonprofit Technology Network posted this article titled Engage, Inform, Recruit: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media to Recruit Donors and Volunteers. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a huge fan of social media for learning and networking purposes, so thinking about how it best serves organizations fascinates me.

A friend shared this Harvard Business Review article with me via Twitter. We Still Don't Know the Difference Between Change and Transformation by Ron Ashkenas.

I continue to be surprised by the number of people in the education, nonprofit and business worlds who question the use of social media to connect with students and other educators, or to advance a cause, establish a brand or connect with consumers, customers, or clients. Thankfully, there are people such as Marji Sherman who dedicate their work to showing us Why Social Media Deserves Respect

Hiking & Climbing

For a couple of weeks, I used social media and online news access to follow two hikers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, as they climbed El Captain's Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park. Their perseverance, diligence, determination, passion, and drive inspire me. One of the articles I read quoted the hikers as they reached the summit and explained how they hope to serve as an example to Open People's Minds.

And because my closest English teacher friends know how much I love the novel Moby Dick, here's another article about the climb. My favorite part about this article are the literary references to Melville and Hemingway.

A Backpacker Magazine article shared tips about how to train for a thru-hike from Appalachian Trail thru-hike record holder, Jennifer Pharr Davis. Last year, I read her memoir about setting the record.



Another New York Times article that caught my attention was an interview with Judith Butler about what's wrong with saying 'All Lives Matter'.

International humanitarian issues speak to me, and it's not uncommon for me to obsess over specific stories knowing full well for all the stories that recieve media attention there are many more that go unnoticed in our world. The story of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi sentenced to 1000 lashes and ten years in prison continues to bother me because of the violence and inhumane acts of torture against a human being. This article explores Badawi's writing and ideas.

This Map showing 16 states with more people in prisons than in college housing was disturbing to me.

Melinda Gates Wants Women at the Top of the World Aid Agenda also provides input on this topic of gender equality.

The 2015 Annual Gates Letter also highlights equal access to education and technology for women and girls. Previously, I also have written for Cake and Whiskey Magazine and blogged about education for girls and women around the world.

Writing & Creativity

29 Ways to Stay Creative by Vicki Davis is a short video reminding us of specific ways we can continue to express our creative side.

Over the past couple of years I've read this particular blog post multiple times. If You Teach or Write a 5-Paragraph Essay--Stop It! gets people fired up, and rightly so. Seriously, are we training kids to write formulas or are we teaching them to be writers in an ever changing world? Who in real-life writes 5-paragraph essays anyway?

Since I enjoy writing and have made it a goal to work on my writing more and more with greater intentionality this year,  I found this article about writing as therapy also intriguing and wonder about the use of writing for therapy in our schools as well. Why is writing in our schools often relegated to formulaic, 5 paragraph essays to practice for the state assessment? That's enough to make someone blue.

The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk had me thinking about the benefits of keeping kids active in our schools too. Often, kids are required to sit all day and only get active after or before school. You can read my take on keeping kids active here.

As an optimist I try to keep focused on the positive, and sometimes I, too, need a little reminder about how to Turn a Negative Conversation Around. You may have previously read my blog post about dealing with naysayers and the inspiration for that post came from the children's book The Grouchy Ladybug. 


Teachers as leaders

Now, we're talking...a topic of great passion for me is teachers as leaders, so I was thrilled to read this article about School Districts Turning to Teachers to Lead.

Friends and family know my commitment as a parent to be involved in my sons' schools and to be an advocate for my two boys at every turn. This article suggesting teachers keep in touch with parents was a great read. I long for closer relationships with my sons' teachers because I believe together we can provide what they need. Believe me, when I believe in what's happening, I'm the biggest advocate for my sons' teachers too because I understand my children aren't perfect.

A Country Where Teachers Have a Voice by Sarah Butrymowicz explores how teachers in the Netherlands have time and increased teacher autonomy--something we need more of here in America.

I ended my week writing an article on The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky's blog about why our organization supports teacher leaders.  This is something to which I remain steadfastly committed.