Write stories with Storybird

I have picked and education oriented video about Storybird because this blog has always had a strong education focus. Storybird, though, can be for anyone who wants to read or write stories and provides a lot of support to help you achieve your aim to be a writer. There are so many aspiring writers out there. So many who have an idea for a book or piece of writing. There is also room for artists on Storybird too because people want their books illustrated and don’t necessarily have the skills. It then becomes a collaborative site and a site where you can encourage yourself  and others to write if that is what you want to do. It provides incentives for you if you want to participate in that kind of approach and ,yes, there is a paid section where you can actually publish your writing and get a print or digital copy. The prices are more than reasonable. It is a site which will guide you through the process of getting your writing into reality. How many never get to that stage? Change is action. If you want to be a writer , you need to write. If you want use your imagination and write creatively then the site will probably help you. There are quite a few other YouTube videos about the site. Children have to be 13 to join but can join at a younger age with parental permission. Commonsense media has a review of the site. There is also a teacher review here. It is a platform for all readers, writers and artists, not just a site for young children.

Taming technology

Simplifying our use of technology really is a first world problem. We are spoiled for choice with technology , whether we are talking about hardware , software or services. In global terms we are not really overwhelmed by the weight of technology in our lives. Truly, others have far more demanding issues to confront on a daily basis. Nevertheless, there are people who are genuinely becoming stressed by the constant demands of technology and there are people who are being pushed to the wall by the constant requirement to be connected or to access technology. We really need to use our critical thinking skills when it comes to technology and the video sums it up as these 5 steps:

Formulate a question
Gather information
Apply information
Consider implications
Explore other points of view.

The website Inc probably sums up the increasing encroachment of technology on our time:

“After you’ve checked SMS, WhatsApp, voicemail, email, your second email account, Facebook messages, LinkedIn messages, Twitter mentions, Twitter DMs, Quora messages, snail mail, and Slack for the third time in a given day, you’ve lost the opportunity to actually, ya know, get anything done. Narrow down the number of communications media you use, and batch process the messages that arrive, to reclaim your day,” suggests VC Patrick Mathieson.

The whole post about simplifying our lives talks a lot of common sense and it will probably strike a chord with you as it did with me. The tips recommended for simplifying your life can apply just as easily to technology as life in general. You do need to set boundaries. You do need to have reasonable expectations of others. Why should they respond immediately to your SMS or email? How many sites can a person reasonably belong to and check in a working day and if they have dependant children or older parents ? How does it help to be connected? What are the things which trigger bad responses to connectivity? How many devices do you need to use and why? Can you do more on one device? Why can’t you use the device of your choice? Have you explored the apps and sites which streamline your activities? Those are some questions to start your critical thinking.

I have been using my phone more because it is always with me. I have taken the time to learn its settings and I have improved how I do things on my phone. I check emails in the morning and again in the evening. I do not connect to emails on my phone. If I don’t want to be interrupted I turn the sound off. The pressure comes from the perception that technology is harassing you. When you feel like that and that your life is not your own you need to change the balance and make incremental changes until you reach that point where the balance of power is again in your favour. You have to change the point of critical mass until is flows your way according to your wishes. Popsugar has some nice ideas for simplifying tech use . Put the critical thinking time in so it works for you. We are lucky to have all this technology but it does need to be tamed.

Geocube

Geocube runs in English, Spanish, German and Italian. It would be good to get some more languages onto it because it is an amazing tool for learning geography. It makes good use of the visual and graphics capabilities of the internet and our current hardware . It presents material like a Rubrik’s cube. There are 54 pre-prepared topics and it really is a very appealing site. You need to play with it and see what it does.

2 x 2 Leadership Matrix

No claims to being able to explain the real mathematical import of a 2×2 matrix and its implications. There is, however,  work being done around 2×2 matrices for leadership. Even with a limited understanding of maths, the import of the 2×2 leadership matrix is worth exploring for its merit. A 2×2 matrix establishes the determinant of a matrix and is an inverted matrix which means it can reverse another function. It’s about balance and the relationships between the elements. Inverted matrixes can be used to decode or to help solve other mathematical functions. The argument for a 2×2 leadership matrix has been put forward by J.R. Bailey and it centres on the tension between good and great leadership and how that affects the power and impact of a leader . Leaders can be good or bad. They can be effective or not but to have vital, positive leadership the great leader needs to be held accountable by positive good leaders:

Great leadership is powerful, dominating, often overwhelming. It can sweep people along through sheer animation. Great leadership excites, energizes, and stimulates. It’s a rousing call, shocking complacency and inertia into action. It’s one of the most potent pulls in human history, and as such accounts for much of humanity’s progress, as well as its suffering. While it ignites collective action and stirs passion, its direction depends largely on those that wield its power. Great has no inherent moral compass, and thus its unpredictable potency can just as easily be put toward pugilistic and peaceful purposes.

Leadership is not a continuum. You can work on the skills but the outcomes are determined by the other elements of the matrix and how they operate. A very clear version of this is explained by Justin Bariso. The video about the 2×2 matrix on the Harvard Business Review site clarifies it further.

The key elements of leadership are discussed on the onlinelivingblog. The three elements which would impact positively or negatively on the inherent relationships within the 2×2 matrix would be:

1. your own motivation
2. transparency
3. responsiveness

aitsl has the downloadable leadership reflection tools so that you can work on:

locate your current leadership practice
identify strengths and areas for development
view your developmental pathway
access targeted leadership resources to assist your professional growth.

The aistl interactive leadership profiles also give you an opportunity to mix and match different aspects of leadership so that you can work to strengths and positives and notice the weaker spots you have . It looks at relational and systemic impact so that engagement with others is broadened and enhanced. That contributes to vital leadership and one that is in balance with the 2×2 matrix. The matrix gives you a way of looking at leadership. aitsl gives you the tools to do something about itso that you engage with others. Leadership is not in a vacuum nor is it on a continuum. It is in a matrix and as you work on your skills you have to be mindful that the impact of others with determine the sort of leader you are. The corollary is also true: the impact of leadership is the responsibility of others and so it is always important to develop the skills of others. It’s a  dynamic state.

2000 Twitter followers

Twitter followers

Thank you!

Icons from : nymfont

The good news is that these followers are real people with some impressive interests, involvements and skills. I enjoy engaging in the Twittersphere and Twitter has helped me a lot to develop my thoughts , ideas and to create a PLN worth its weight is gold. Many of the followers come from my blogging. I run different blogs, each with their own focus and they all pick up followers both from the blogs and  Twitter . I follow over 3000 people on Twitter and I have built my own numbers up by being there and providing content which others value. My handle @sally07 comes from  the days where we did not blog or tweet as a real person. We hid behind a pseudonym. It was part of the fun because the internet has always had a sense of the ridiculous in a good way. It used to be email addresses, then it was names on blogs and Twitter and it now has become the hashtags. Some of those hashtags become iconic and drive change. Twitter does not let you change your original name when you signed up unless you go through a big process and that would then mean losing all my followers. I run the account in my own name as I do my blogs. There was a day where I had to decide whether to stay behind a pseudonym wall or be a real person on the internet. I have found real works well for me. People need to know I am real and I exist and that has improved engagement. It’s how you get followers. Yes, you can pay for them. Yes, you can have a successful account under a fake name and then it comes down to your own values. My decision was I wanted to be able to make a real contribution as a real person. I am doing the same on Instagram. I have 163 followers now which is nothing compared with some but it’s so much better than the 6 followers I had at the beginning of the year.  If you want followers I have 3 pieces of advice:

  1. Be yourself and genuine
  2. Offer something positive
  3. Have a sense of fun

Not everything I do is funny or light hearted but you do have to lighten accounts up from time to time. I thank everyone for contributing positively to my Twitter account and to my blogs. I have had some sound help, support and encouragement. I have had some great discussions and input. The strength you can gain from social media is not to be underestimated. I’d like to think I provide some of that strength with my accounts.

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