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Monica Mcgurk
Atlanta, GA
Recent Activity
The WSJ today profiles a a few digital resources for those seeking to improve or begin their practice of meditation, noting the benefits of meditation for dealing with stress and focusing one's mind. I know many people are skeptical of the application of digital tools to some of the more "enlightened" elements of leadership like this...or even the topic of leadership itself. I am not one of those people :) I jumped in this morning and signed right up for Headspace Meditation's free offering, sat down at the computer, and dove into the first lesson. The meditation itself -- and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2011 at Calling Tank
You know the rule of thumb -- developing real expertise requires 10,000 hours of deliberate -- e.g., goal-oriented -- practice. That is what separates a talented amateur from a real pro, say the experts. Getting this kind of practice is not so easy, though. Say you're a musician. How do you get the most out of that practice when the only "feedback" you receive -- other than your own cringing when your fingers sound a wrong note -- is a weekly lesson from your teacher? What if you have finally found the perfect teacher, but she lives too far away?... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2011 at Calling Tank
Today's WSJ highlights the increasing use of online data management systems. You can think of these as the K-12 version of learning management systems, giving students and parents direct and more up-to-the-minute access to data on attendance, assignment status & grades. Do these run the risk of enabling the so-called "hovercraft" parent as they micromanage every aspect of their child's performance? Absolutely. As a user of Powerschool I can attest to the temptation. But that is not the technology's fault; it is a reflection of human weakness. The best use of these systems not only support better communication between teachers,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2011 at Calling Tank
A short, interesting view on hiring Gen Z from Penelope Trunk. Not suprisingly, the impact and use of technology figures prominently. Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2011 at Calling Tank
Several months ago I noted that my son's school was in the process of adopting tablet technology for all grades. We are now over a month into the school year (yes, thank you DeKalb County schedulers) so I thought I would share some observations. Hiccups: Surprisingly, very few. My son's grade-level introductory training session came to a screeching halt when everyone logged in at once, crashing the servers. To me, this was funny for its predictability. IT worked round the clock with their service provider to fix the problem within less than a day. The use of calendar programs to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2011 at Calling Tank
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to open the latest issue of Harvard Magazine and find the Letters section filled with numerous rebuttals to M. Christensen and Michael B. Horn’s July/August article on "Colleges in Crisis." The future of the American education system is always a heated topic, and for-profit models have rightly come under increasing scrutiny for the value (or lack thereof) they provide to students. Among other complaints, the role of technology in these models has raised eyebrows and caused critics to point out that a “stripped down, online university cannot provide” the numerous advantages of the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2011 at Calling Tank
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just announced that they have converted their entire playbook to iPad format, with two main functions: play distribution and updating, and video review. Among the many advantages players and coaches are citing: being able to come into meetings having already reviewed the material being discussed, being able to put offensive and defensive footage of plays up at the same time for viewing the "addictive" nature of the device, its portability (which means you are more likely to refer to it), and the ability to have personal footage loaded to the device and with you at all... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2011 at Calling Tank
A recurring theme in this blog has been the opportunity to leverage technology to help people have fun again as they learn. Another is the way technology can support applied learning, and help learners derive meaning from what they do. We admit it -- we geek out about the tech aspects -- but the tech is just an enabler. These teachers, highlighted in the recent issue of the Oxford American Magazine, act as potent reminders of that fact. Their profiles are inspiring looks at teaching done well. Enjoy. Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2011 at Calling Tank
Interesting article highlighting the opportunities for collaboration, social learning and "gamification" from a recent Wharton conference called "For the Win: Serious Gamification." Good stuff. Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2011 at Calling Tank
evidence from a bevy of studies, cited in today's Wall St. Journal, that online interactions are good for the development of social skills. Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2011 at Calling Tank
I don't disagree with you -- technology just makes us able to create these experiences at a scale and level of consistency and sophistication never imaginable before. And maybe, just maybe, because of the expense associated with using technology, we are more thoughtful about the experience we are trying to create. Your simulation example is great -- I shuddered to think about the 8 hour presentation: we don't call it "death by PPT" for nothing :) What were you simulating?
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2011 on "Be a Gamer, Save the World" at Calling Tank
Great article at about how the internet of things is enabling real behavior change by putting into practice the principle of feedback loops. At first might seem hard to imagine the application in a corporate environment, but the sidebar on Rypple -- which effectively uses people as its "sensors" to create real time feedback, recognition and coaching -- makes the case. And there are all sorts of corporate environments where devices could provide useful feedback -- phone call monitoring in call centers, for example, or observation of where field sales managers are spending their time. The underlying theme and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2011 at Calling Tank
Usually, not much. But yesterday's WSJ article by Daniel H. Wilson, The Terrifying Truth About New Technology, makes the connection. While poking fun at oldsters unable to adapt to new tech, he reminds us of developmental psychologist Jean Piaget's observations about how infants learn by interacting with their environment in repetitive ways, called "schema." You learn by putting something in your mouth, and that way of interacting becomes your starting point for encountering new challenges and environments. Schema evolve over time, allowing people to be adaptable. As they adapt, they progress toward increasingly, not decreasingly, sophisticated methods and are hard-wired... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2011 at Calling Tank
Technology that fundamentally changes the instructional training process? That enables you to focus precious face-to-face time on issues with which people are struggling, or on higher-order concepts? Technology that seamlessly provides you data on how learners are progressing, so you can measure the impact of training and tailor instruction even further to meet their needs? Look at how blended or hybrid learning is working in these U.S. schools -- pretty inspiring. It's definitely looking more promising than previous (expensive) flirtations with technology in schools, too... I hope it is more than a flash in the pan. Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2011 at Calling Tank
People often tell me they think that too many corporate learners are unfamiliar with, and therefore will reject, the use of mobile devices and social media as part of their learning delivery. Data on uptake of said devices and tools proves this to be a red herring. I also sometimes hear the objection that use of these tools for real time job support and virtual coaching will be deemed too "invasive" and will never catch on. Today's article in the WSJ, "Check out the Future of Shopping", is a great example of how this doesn't have to be true. Consumers... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2011 at Calling Tank
I have written about mobile health before, so forgive me if I am repeating myself. But what do you get when you collide An aging patient population, increasingly beset by chronic conditions, and often unwilling to ask for help -- indeed, hiding their need for it -- from their geographically dispersed family members or caregivers Mobile technology, great bandwidth, remote monitoring and diagnostics, with the ability to hook them all up to your personal electronic medical record, and A high cost, stressed system that needs to improve care while cutting costs? I don't mean to be gushy, but the careinnovations... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2011 at Calling Tank
My son's new school has announced they will be launching a "Tablet Initiative," providing tablets to each student beginning in Grade 5. Reasons cited: better integration with other tools, like SMART boards, greater portability and performance than laptops, and the ability to directly provide content -- eventually replacing textbooks. I am curious if others out there are seeing tablets starting to pop up in educational settings, and what lessons we might learn from how schools are managing change to their instructional approaches? Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2011 at Calling Tank
Stephanie Simon's article in today's Wall Street Journal, "Medicine on the Move," is chock full of examples where cool technologies, from sensor studded mats that rest under a patient's mattress to "smart slippers" to other diagnostic systems, enable physicians and nurses to receive prompts reminding them of critical tasks, monitor patient health remotely, and generate data to convince reluctant patients to change their ways. Most of these are connected to some sort of mobile device -- sometimes unique to the system but many attached to smartphones. The relevance of these types of systems to learning is clear, with one catch:... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2011 at Calling Tank
I scrolled through the "training and development" discussion forum on and found listings on things like sexual harrassment, time management, leadership development, safety, etc. I scrolled through the "technology" discussion forum and found discussion topics like biometric and other timecard systems, labor scheduling, and lots of discussion of HRIS.... Mobile and social technology discussions all seem to be about recruiting and labor scheduling efficiency. Why is there so little discussion about mobile and social apps for learning? Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2011 at Calling Tank
All really great comments. To me, part of the shift also reflects adoption of a real growth or learner's mindset so that someone with different or even better information than you is not a threat but an inspiration. I find Dweck to be particularly compelling on this point. a world where learners have an abundance of resources at their fingertips, literally a whole world of information available for download and accessible at all times, as well as the digital networks to learn from each other? What does it mean when you are a physician and your patient comes in armed with a wealth of information and misinformation of which you are not even aware? Or your corporate training program attendees have already met in virtual space and determined that one among their number has a better framework/tool/approach than that being touted by the Corporate Center flunky --... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2011 at Calling Tank
Am a big fan of the RSS feed. I like kayak for travel comparisons; also use Trip Advisor. Love yelp for local recs/ratings on restaurants, etc. Used Kudzu periodically. Just for fun, I asked my team in teamroom what they use, and answers are 1) I don't (!)2) the McKinsey news alerts, 3) google news app, 4) Yelp (some times compare to Zagats), 5) Kudzu, 6) Trip Advisor 7) Kayak Things like Groupon are not quite the same, but we all noted in our little team room discussion that it does become a good source of new ideas of what to do!
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2011 on Enough with the brain freeze! at Calling Tank
I don't mean to underthink what is obviously an important topic. But as I read Sharon Begley's article in the March 7th issue of Newsweek I was struck by one assumption: that there is no intermediary between the ever increasing amount of available information and our capacity-constrained brains. This is a false assumption. We don't have to go thru a zillion different web sites and aggregate for ourselves the best flights, the best news, or the best jeans, that meet our search criteria. There are whole businesses, RSS Feeds and apps that do that for us. Taking advantage of them... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2011 at Calling Tank
In the Winter 2011 of the Sloan Review , Hind Benbya and Marshall Van Alstyne discuss what makes internal knowledge markets work. This is not a new area for discussion, but the availability of social media and the easy communication it unlocks certainly makes for fresh perspectives on the best ways to promote information sharing inside any organization. The authors take a market-based view of knowledge sharing and offer several practical insights into pitfalls that can befall any knowledge sharing system. One they point to is the “pricing” (or reward) for knowledge contributions, especially in the launch stage of any... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2011 at Calling Tank
I have had several interesting discussions lately with people who assert that mobile applications and social networking tools are fine for transmitting and reinforcing explicit knowledge – say, JIT product information for a sales person – but have no place in the realm of leadership development, which can only be effectively transmitted by intense, in-person learning. I have to say I find this puzzling. Too often, companies run big, event-based programs, put employees through a lot of navel gazing and generate a lot of rah-rah spirit, and then send them back into the real world with a wish and a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2011 at Calling Tank