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Dave Stock
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Dr. McLeod, You should really think about doing a presentation to the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education and/or the University College of the Cayman Islands. They need your insight into learning and would benefit from the motivation you could provide. If you are interested, let me know.
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"When the entire focus is upon math and reading test scores, I'm seeing that other important areas like technology and information literacy skills are slipping into the background." Ah, that is the issue right there and I believe what he was referring to. You see if you can successfully get technology integrated these "problems" will be helped. So too often time is spent on trying to put out the fires and not preventing them. If I were an Administrator, the only way I would work for a school district is to tell them, "Hey, it is going to take a couple years to get the boat turned around, but I can promise you that after I get the boat turned around, scores will improve steadily and consistently, but don't expect scores to improve this year or the next." The focus should be on technology integration to help solve these day to day problems. As a person who worked in Silicon Valley I can tell you that technology allows you to do two main things. 1) Spend less time on putting out fires because it actually prevents them. 2) Allows more efficient use of your time to explore other items of interest. Case in point. If teachers can use technology successfully to facilitate in the classroom, they can spend more time helping students explore individually. The children benefit and the teacher benefits! It is a shame technology used so little in the classroom, just think if a student knows how to conduct internet searches effectively what they can explore, as almost everything we know is on the web. My two and a half year old knows that his Dad (when he doesn't know the answer) goes straight to the internet to find it. My purpose in this life is to "Facilitate success. Help them gain the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to move toward the desired destination."
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A great product manager is not just technical which is often overlooked. In my opinion, the product managers that I have worked with were very intimate with the customers. They didn't say, "Wow this is a great technological feat", but rather "Wow, this is a great enhancement/new product that our customers will use, and they have given us the green light to roll it out to everyone." This is why the "super smart, great communicator, fantastic listener", often comes from customer service experience (in some form or fashion). They have the ability to relate to the customer. They also have one thing that you missed I think, that is the ability to learn quickly. You can teach the technology, but you can't teach the intuitiveness or the creativity, as that is innate in a person. I believe this is why people who are entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have been so successful. If takes that combination of "super tech smart" and creatively/intuitiveness to make a company successful, as they must have both. There are numerous examples of companies who had one or the other, but the most successful companies have had both qualities.
Toggle Commented Oct 20, 2009 on why hiring a product manager is so hard at Summation
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Auren, you are spot on with your observation. I worked for PayPal when Elon was CEO, and then for Peter (one Elon left), and worked (in both Omaha and Palo Alto) from May 2000 to December 2001. As a midwesterner who moved to California (in May 2001) I didn't know what to expect, but let me tell you that living in Silicon Valley and working with supersmart (and hardworking) people change my life. The intensity of the Bay area was exhilarating. One of my engineers at PayPal was Steve Chen, who of course is a great engineer. I was most impressed with the networking that occurs and the huge amount of ideas (not just in hi tech) that come out of Silicon Valley. Unfortunately, after living in several other places across the US and overseas, I can tell you that excitement for change and innovation severly lacks most places. I hope to make it back to SF area soon, as that experience is amazingly good for the soul. Your article reminds of me the saying of "Fail fast, fail often." Keep up the blogging and facebook updates, they keep a lot us (me included) motivated to keep that innovation "fire" alive.
Toggle Commented Oct 13, 2009 on A Call for Transportation Innovation at Summation
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Thank you Dr. McLeod for sharing, these type of presentations are the ones where are learning occurs in the mind.
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