Business Expectations: Are You Using Technology to its Fullest?

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The following tips should help too. Before you start, stop. Fewer than 30 percent of people moving jobs take an adequate break between the time they leave one job and start the next. Don't leave your role on Friday and start your new one on Monday. Take at least a week off for vacation to decompress, unwind, and reflect. Recently hired leaders who have an open, trusting relationship with their boss deliver results faster and take bold moves to grow the business. Don't put off the "so how do you like to work" conversation until conflict or misunderstanding arises.

The Rise of Virtual Teams

Proactively ask your boss what makes them happy and drives them crazy, and then reciprocate. The Container Store gives every new employee hours of training in their first year to learn the business, products, and company. Their employee turnover is only 10 percent against an industry average of percent as a result of being Thoughtfully Ruthless with their resources.

Don't immediately jump into action; take your time to learn the business first. Just like houses are staged for sale, so are companies and jobs. Now you need to test the reality of the preview you saw. Make a list of all the insights you gained when interviewing and start testing and understanding them now that you are inside the company. I once spent three weeks sitting next to artists, animators, and watching developers code, I even recorded some voiceovers in the music studio for an early version of Perfect Dark Zero.

This was how I learned how video games were made when joined British games studio Rare to manage the post acquisition transition after Microsoft acquired them. Those first few weeks were priceless and gave me great insight to the games being made and the people involved. Identify five critical areas of your business that you could benefit from seeing from the floor. Take some time to answer phones in customer service, shadow an account executive on a sales visit, or sit through a technical design review. Go and shadow; meet and learn from those people and be curious.

Decide in the first two months if you have the right team. A new leader's success hinges on the strength of the team they inherit or the speed and effectiveness of repositioning that team and attracting the right talent to deliver their business strategy. Do your due diligence early and thoroughly on what capabilities you need on your leadership team, and assess who meets that expectation and where you may need to make changes.

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For example, in a banking simulation, students assume roles, such as the vice president of a bank, and learn about the knowledge and skills needed to perform various duties Classroom Inc. The interactivity of these technology environments is a very important feature for learning. Interactivity makes it easy for students to revisit specific parts of the environments to explore them more fully, to test ideas, and to receive feedback.

Noninteractive environments, like linear videotapes, are much less effective for creating contexts that students can explore and reexamine, both individually and collaboratively. Another way to bring real-world problems into the classroom is by connecting students with working scientists Cohen, In many of these student-scientist partnerships, students collect data that are used to understand global issues; a growing number of them involve students from geographically dispersed schools who interact through the Internet. For example, Global Lab supports an international community of student researchers from more than schools in 30 countries who construct new knowledge about their local and global environments Tinker and Berenfeld, , Global Lab classrooms select aspects of their local environments to study.

Using shared tools, curricula, and methodologies, students map, describe, and monitor their sites, collect and share data, and situate their local findings into a broader, global context. After participating in a set of 15 skill-building activities during their first semester, Global Lab students begin advanced research studies in such areas as air and water pollution, background radiation, biodiversity, and ozone depletion. The global perspective helps learners identify environmental phenomena that can be observed around the world, including a decrease in tropospheric ozone levels in places where vegetation is abundant, a dramatic rise of indoor carbon dioxide levels by the end of the school day, and the substantial accumulation of nitrates in certain vegetables.

Students in classrooms in nine states received opportunities to solve four Jasper adventures distributed throughout the year. The average total time spent solving Jasper adventures ranged from 3 to 4 weeks. The students were compared with non-Jasper comparison classes on standardized test scores of mathematics, problems requiring complex problem solving, and attitudes toward mathematics and complex challenges. With no losses in standardized test scores, both boys and girls in the Jasper classrooms showed better complex problem solving and had more positive attitudes toward mathematics and complex challenges see Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, ; Pellegrino et al.

The graphs show scores for Jasper and comparison students on questions that asked them to a identify the key data and steps needed to solve complex problems, b evaluate possible solutions to these problems, and c indicate their self-confidence with respect to mathematics, their belief in the utility of mathematics, their current interest in mathematics, and their feelings about complex math challenges.

Figure 9. Figures 9.

When Speed of Change Becomes a Competitive Advantage

Similar approaches have been used in astronomy, ornithology, language arts, and other fields Bonney and Dhondt, ; Riel, ; University of California Regents, These collaborative experiences help students understand complex systems and concepts, such as multiple causes and interactions among different variables.

Since the ultimate goal of education is to prepare students to become competent adults and lifelong learners, there is a strong argument for electronically linking students not just with their peers, but also with practicing professionals. This trend provides both a justification and a medium for establishing virtual communities for learning purposes. Through Project GLOBE Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment , thousands of students in grades kindergarten through 12 K—12 from over 2, schools in more than 34 countries are gathering data about their local environments Lawless and Coppola, Students collect data in five different earth science areas, including atmosphere, hydrology, and land cover, using protocols specified by principal investigators from major research institutions.

Students submit their data through the Internet to a GLOBE data archive, which both the scientists and the students use to perform their analyses. Students in GLOBE classrooms demonstrate higher knowledge and skill levels on assessments of environmental science methods and data interpretation than their peers who have not participated in the program Means et al. Emerging technologies and new ideas about teaching are being combined to reshape precollege science education in the Learning Through Collaborative Visualization CoVis Project Pea, a; Pea et al.

Over wideband networks, middle and high school students from more than 40 schools collaborate with other students at remote locations. Thousands of participating students study atmospheric and environmental sciences—including topics in meteorology and climatology—through project-based activities. Using scientific visualization software, specially modified for learning, students have access to the same research tools and datasets that scientists use. Learners are first acquainted with natural variation in climatic temperature, human-caused increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and uses of spreadsheets and scientific visualization tools for inquiry.

These staging activities specify themes for open-ended collaborative learning projects to follow. Students then investigate either a global issue or the point of view of a single country. The results of their investigations are shared in project reports within and across schools, and participants consider current results of international policy in light of their project findings.

Working with practitioners and distant peers on projects with meaning beyond the school classroom is a great motivator for K—12 students. Students are not only enthusiastic about what they are doing, they also produce some impressive intellectual achievements when they can interact with meteorologists, geologists, astronomers, teachers, or computer scientists Means et al.

Many technologies function as scaffolds and tools to help students solve problems. This was foreseen long ago: in a prescient essay in the Atlantic Monthly, Vannevar Bush, science adviser to President Roosevelt, depicted the computer as a general-purpose symbolic system that could serve clerical and other supportive research functions in the sciences, in work, and for learning, thus freeing the human mind to pursue its creative capacities. As applications have spilled over from other sectors of society, computer-based learning tools have become more sophisticated Atkinson, ; Suppes and Morningstar, They now include calculators, spreadsheets, graphing programs, function probes e.

In the Middle School Mathematics Through Applications Projects MMAP , developed at the Institute for Research on Learning, innovative software tools are used for exploring concepts in algebra through such problems as designing insulation for arctic dwellings Goldman and Moschkovich,.

In the Little Planet Literacy Series, computer software helps to move students through the phases of becoming better writers Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, a, b. For example, in the Little Planet Literacy Series, engaging video-based adventures encourage kindergarten, first-, and second-grade students to write books to solve challenges posed at the end of the adventures.

In one of the challenges, students need to write a book in order to save the creatures on the Little Planet from falling prey to the wiles of an evil character named Wongo. The challenge for education is to design technologies for learning that draw both from knowledge about human cognition and from practical applications of how technology can facilitate complex tasks in the workplace.

These designs use technologies to scaffold thinking and activity, much as training wheels allow young bike riders to practice cycling when they would fall without support. Like training wheels, computer scaffolding enables learners to do more advanced activities and to engage in more advanced thinking and problem solving than they could without such help. Cognitive technologies were first used to help students learn mathematics Pea, and writing Pea and Kurland, ; a decade later, a multitude of projects use cognitive scaffolds to promote complex thinking, design, and learning in the sciences, mathematics, and writing.

The Belvedere system, for example, is designed to teach science-related public policy issues to high school students who lack deep knowledge of many science domains, have difficulty zeroing in on the key issues in a complex scientific debate, and have trouble recognizing abstract relationships that are implicit in scientific theories and arguments Suthers et al. As students use boxes and links within Belvedere to represent their understanding of an issue, an online adviser gives hints to help them improve the coverage, consistency, and evidence for their arguments Paolucci et al.

Scaffolded experiences can be structured in different ways. Some research educators advocate an apprenticeship model, whereby an expert practitioner first models the activity while the learner observes, then scaffolds the learner with advice and examples , then guides the learner in practice, and gradually tapers off support and guidance until the apprentice can do it alone Collins et al. Others argue that the goal of enabling a solo approach is unrealistic and overrestrictive since adults often need to use tools or other people to accomplish their work Pea, b; Resnick, Some even contend that well-designed technological tools that support complex activities create a truly human-machine symbiosis and may reorganize components of human activity into different structures than they had in pretechnological designs Pea, Although there are varying views on.

In many fields, experts are using new technologies to represent data in new ways—for example, as three-dimensional virtual models of the surface of Venus or of a molecular structure, either of which can be electronically created and viewed from any angle. Geographical information systems, to take another example, use color scales to visually represent such variables as temperature or rainfall on a map. With these tools, scientists can discern patterns more quickly and detect relationships not previously noticed e.

Some scholars assert that simulations and computer-based models are the most powerful resources for the advancement and application of mathematics and science since the origins of mathematical modeling during the Renaissance Glass and Mackey, ; Haken, The move from a static model in an inert medium, like a drawing, to dynamic models in interactive media that provide visualization and analytic tools is profoundly changing the nature of inquiry in mathematics and science.

Creating the Best Workplace on Earth

Students can visualize alternative interpretations as they build models that can be rotated in ways that introduce different perspectives on the problems. These changes affect the kinds of phenomena that can be considered and the nature of argumentation and acceptable evidence Bachelard, ; Holland, The same kinds of computer-based visualization and analysis tools that scientists use to detect patterns and understand data are now being adapted for student use.

With probes attached to microcomputers, for example, students can do real-time graphing of such variables as acceleration, light, and sound Friedler et al. The ability of the human mind to quickly process and remember visual information suggests that concrete graphics and other visual representations of information can help people learn Gordin and Pea, , as well as help scientists in their work Miller, A variety of scientific visualization environments for precollege students and teachers have been developed by the CoVis Project Pea, a; Pea et al.

Or they can investigate the global greenhouse effect Gordin et al. As described above, students with new technological tools can communicate across a network, work with datasets, develop scientific models, and conduct collaborative investigations into meaningful science issues. Since the late s, cognitive scientists, educators, and technologists have suggested that learners might develop a deeper understanding of phenomena in the physical and social worlds if they could build and manipulate. These speculations are now being tested in classrooms with technology-based modeling tools.

For example, the STELLA modeling environment, which grew out of research on systems dynamics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Forrester, , has been widely used for instruction at both the undergraduate and precollege level, in fields as diverse as population ecology and history Clauset et al. The educational software and exploration and discovery activities developed for the GenScope Project use simulations to teach core topics in genetics as part of precollege biology. The simulations move students through a hierarchy of six key genetic concepts: DNA, cell, chromosome, organism, pedigree, and population Neumann and Horwitz, GenScope also uses an innovative hypermodel that allows students to retrieve real-world data to build models of the underlying physical process.

Unleash the Flow of Information

Evaluations of the program among high school students in urban Boston found that students not only were enthusiastic about learning this complex subject, but had also made significant conceptual developments. Students are using interactive computer microworlds to study force and motion in the Newtonian world of mechanics Hestenes, ; White, Through the medium of interactive computer microworlds, learners acquire hands-on and minds-on experience and, thus, a deeper understanding of science.

Sixth graders who use computer-based learning tools develop a better conceptual understanding of acceleration and velocity than many 12th-grade physics students White, ; see Box 9. In another project, middle school students employ easy-to-use computer-based tools Model-It to build qualitative models of systems, such as the water quality and algae levels in a local stream.

Students can insert data they have collected into the model, observe outcomes, and generate what if scenarios to get a better understanding of the interrelationships among key variables Jackson et al. In general, technology-based tools can enhance student performance when they are integrated into the curriculum and used in accordance with knowledge about learning e. But the mere existence of these tools in the classroom provides no guarantee that student learning will improve; they have to be part of a coherent education approach.

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Technology can make it easier for teachers to give students feedback about their thinking and for students to revise their work. Initially, teachers working with the Jasper Woodbury playground adventure described above had trouble finding time to give students feedback about their playground. The ThinkerTools Inquiry Curriculum uses an innovative software tool that allows experimenters to perform physics experiments under a variety of conditions and compare the results with experiments performed with actual objects.

Experiments conducted with typical seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade students in urban, public middle schools revealed that the software modeling tools made the difficult subject of physics understandable as well as interesting to a wide range of students. Students not only learned about physics, but also about processes of inquiry. We found that, regardless of their lower grade levels 7—9 and their lower pretest scores, students who had participated in ThinkerTools outperformed high school physics students grades 11—12 on qualitative problems in which they were asked to apply the basic principles of Newtonian mechanics to real-world situations.