Coder blogs

I really like this video by Chris Hawkes. He is a competent , successful coder who has taken time out of his busy schedule to take us on a walk and discuss his ideas about what he thinks the fundamental issues are with regard to contemporary coding . We can walk with him and listen to him unfold his thinking. Coding requires a very disciplined mind and thinking but it also requires a capacity to keep up to date. Chris Hawkes puts forward a very strong case for coders to be able to be efficient and capable researchers who share and discuss their knowledge. We no longer have the answers, the way, the method, the procedure. We live in 2016. We can’t just use Google a quick solution to something. We can’t spend our time reinventing the wheel . We need to have people who know how to get quality information which will move  a project and thinking forward. People need skillsets and knowledge but they need to be able to quickly update their capacity to function now, today. Coders have communities to build their skills and knowledge. They learn to connect , share and problem solve. Nobody can know everything any more and one thing will suddenly become obsolete. Programmers need to be able to learn on their own and they need to now how to do quality research and find things out. They need to be interested, self directed and lifelong learners. Communities develop best practices and share their updated knowledge and tackle trouble shooting and problem solving . It takes teamwork to solve complex problems. Coders are sharing their knowledge in lots of ways. Huffington Post published 25 best coder blogs. Makeuseof has recommended 7 coder blogs for student programmers. One of my favourite coder blogs is codercoach because Kristi Pollard (Stanton), RHIT, CCS, CPC, CIRCC gives such a personal insight into coding , the life of a coder and issues with coding.

Write a novel

Yes, write a novel. Just do it. Why not? The internet is full of great ideas, tools and information to get that novel written. I am writing this post by way of follow up to the Storyboard post. You really can do anything you want to these days. There is no way you are short of help, advice, tools, templates, tips. Everything is there to get you on the road to learning whatever you want. We live in a world where writers like Trevor Schmidt, Major Geek, is willing to just sit down for a few minutes and take the time to help you -anyone- to realise their dream and be a writer like him. You don’t have to sit and think about it . You can just start because the internet gives you so many ways of starting. That is all you have to do. Take the first step. Writerswrite has 5 top online tools to help you organise your writing. The Snowflake method is worth exploring a little more deeply because it is one of the most popular ways of getting yourself into writing these days.  It is a method which seems to be having a great deal of success. If you want some tools and templates then allindiewriters has some very good recommendations for you.

Lifelong learning

Teachers do not take skills learning for granted in their students. They might, however, take them for granted in themselves. I read an article How to Transform Your Next Conference Takeaways into Real-Life Results and it made me think of myself and the teachers I had known who had been off to really thought provoking and enlightening conferences and then could not always find a way of implementing what they learned or allowing others to know what they knew. Sharing those newly learned skills. There is a way of learning new skills and applying them. In recent years I have always used social media to show and grow my ideas so that they become part of my thinking. There is the Conscious Competence Ladder by Noel Bursch which makes sense once you see it:

Unconsciously unskilled – we don’t know that we don’t have this skill, or that we need to learn it.
Consciously unskilled – we know that we don’t have this skill.
Consciously skilled– we know that we have this skill.
Unconsciously skilled – we don’t know that we have this skill (it just seems easy).

The video by Thomas Frank explains neurological developments as we learn , offers some good links and explains new skills acquisition and application well. He is also quite clear about the fact the skills and knowledge you acquire from effective teaching at school can be applied to lifelong learning.  I was laughing when he got to the bit when actually standing on the skateboard nails it! It’s true. Sometimes you have to make the obvious first step and working that out takes a bit of planning sometimes. No teacher will overlook that when they are teaching.  You have to download the app, send that email, work out your first sentence or simply turn on your laptop.

It’s important to have a plan for applying a strategy if you want to learn something or you want to teach someone else.

1. What is the first step?
2. What practice do you/they need?
3. What are the benefits, the positives, the good impacts of knowing?
4. Do you/they need to find more help on a particular thing?
5. Do you/they know what you/they don’t know?
6. What are the road blocks/potholes/implementation dips?
7. Master the first thing first.
8. Have a plan for getting to the next thing.
9. Map out your/their learning journey.
10. Reward yourself/them along the way.

AND THEN…look back and see how far you have come. Find a way to document the journey. Might be a diary, journal, video, images, blog but make sure the learning journey is clearly documented along the way because that is the biggest reward of all: seeing how far you have come. Reflection is how you know you know.

Gaming Grandma Shirley

“I’m trying to get the idea across to people that gaming on YouTube isn’t just for young boys. It’s for girls and for older men and women, and I am here to stay. Just think all those young people who are gaming now — when they get old it will just be a natural thing for them to be there on YouTube.”

Aging with attitude: Gaming Grandma Shirley Curry

Isn’t that what lifelong learning is about? Giving people the skills and confidence to be able to go out there and learn whatever they want? Shirley Curry is doing more than that , though, if you read the article linked above. She is a highly successful gamer who works to her strengths. She likes talking and connecting with others and so she plays a social, leadership  role in the gaming community. Her videos get thousands of views and she has an impressive fan base. She is herself . She is learning. She can articulate her learning gaps and understand what she needs for the next step. She can see the value of her being an online gamer. It utilises her skills , it grows her skills but she can see she is helping others in different ways and one of the things she is currently advocating for is to use her model of online video clips to help vision impaired people become part of online gaming. She describes a lot in her videos. She is walking and talking her way through game plays very effectively. It means she is engaging others in an inclusive way and then she collaborates with them. She wants to vlog now and that is getting  that off the ground slowly. She has no fear of failure and doesn’t see skills lack as meaning she is inadequate. Just a fact. She needs to learn how to edit. She wants to learn how to vlog and knows there will be hiccoughs and problems until she gets it right. She knows how to reach out and get help. In turn she helps others . She understands the value of networking and connecting with others to grow knowledge . She worked with others to develop an action plan for learning both for herself and them. She can set goals and achieve them. This is what lifelong learning looks like. Shirley Curry has used her natural curiosity and love of talking with others become the cornerstones of a dynamic way of repackaging her skills so she can grow them. What is abundantly clear is that at 80 years old she is a happy learner.

Steve Jobs

I cannot ignore the fact the universe has changed and we have noticed. Steve Jobs is proof that people are not replaceable. He has inspired so many and his firm belief is that he has trained his team so well they will carry on without him. As teachers and educators we can learn a lot from this man who had the capcity to change the whole way we looked at everything and could value all he learnt. His speech at his commencement at Stanford University gets it very clear about how education and learning are to be valued and that lifelong learning is unique. He talks about loving what you do and doing what you love and within that he shows , as he speaks, how learning leads you to a life you love.

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