Over-coming my fears: Joining Toastmasters

July 28, 2010

In a previous post I urged people to practice what they preach.  I realize doing so is not always easy and may take some commitment. So I decided its time to do just that.  Everybody that knows me would know that I have many things to say about presentations, especially about people that cause “Death by Powerpoint”. Yet everybody that has ever listened to me would probably debate whether I have the right to talk about presentations… OK, I don’t think I am the worst speaker that exists, but I am certainly not the world’s leading practitioner as far as speaking is concerned. So the question is how to get better?

Read the rest of this entry »


Good presentations can’t salvage bad content

July 25, 2010

The number of presentations in the world must be staggering.  I would not know how to estimate it, but thinking about presentations made me think that we can classify any presentation in one of four quadrants: Read the rest of this entry »

What type of teacher are you?

July 23, 2010

In a previous post I contemplated what professors really do, what their main purpose in academia are.  I concluded that it is to provide learning opportunities to students.  Two kinds of schooling made me think…  Seth Godin identifies two types of classes that you can take, and I quote: Read the rest of this entry »

Videos to make kids maths interesting

July 19, 2010

Linchpin Laurie has sent me these videos that some Dr Math tutors from the University of Pretoria has made.  Well done!! Its an excellent example how one can do something small, yet possibly make a huge difference. And all it took was to ask some tutors “make up some short cute funny videos for kids that are suitable for cell phones”.

Watch the videos here.

You are free to share with your kids and teacher and schools, etc.

UPDATE: Now also available on youtube!

Straight Lines: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAZVNRhpWFs
Cutting Corners: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm9a6b5ap34
Signs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10vAKFNnva0
The Gods must be Crazy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsuKKVIp2O8

Its been tweeted, it must be true…

July 18, 2010

Mitch Joel wrote an excellent post entitled “Use Your Brain” (16 July 2010) where he starts off with the statement:

You probably learned this lesson early on in your education: check your sources.

He points out that one needs to be careful and skeptical of everything you read. Oh how I wish we could get that message further down into schools and the like, because if I see what some students (ok, luckily not all of them!) do, it is rather shocking. We need to realize that (another heading from the post)

The new Social Media-driven Web is not as much about black and white news as it is about opinion.

So, eventually It’s up to every individual to decide who can respect and follow, who you can trust…  Keep an open mind when reading tweets. Obviously the same holds for facebook, blogs, or whatever social media channels your life crosses.

There’s nothing wrong with being wrong… right?

Maybe, not as long as we learn from being wrong and don’t deliberately try and deceive others.

Go ahead, use you brain…

I recommend you go and read the original post from Mitch Joel here.

Practicing what you preach…

July 15, 2010

Talk is cheap. Do you believe everything you hear?  Probably not… [although it is amazing how often I wonder about some…] Shows you though: talk is cheap.

The proof is in the pudding! In fact I think it is the eating of the pudding 🙂  It should be more than look (sound) good, it should taste good too, it should be believable…

I (like most of us) like giving orders! When giving “orders” to students, say in the form of an assignment, I clearly require a professional looking document in return.  So do all my colleagues…  However, when I look at what we give the students… is that always perfectly professional?  Ouch, maybe some I my handouts from the past will now surface… and I will be, well, duly embarrassed.  And this is but one example, ouch two…

Do you practice what you preach?  Do you even try?

Life is give and take… I undertake to balance that better in my own life: I will align my expectations better with what I give… I expect you to do so too 😉

I intend taking more from life, so I will have to give back more…

So, there you go: expect less and give more! Help make the world a better place…

Sizing up my e-mail monster

July 14, 2010

When you are in a fight it is always a good idea to know exactly how strong the opponent is.  In my e-mail fight I have decided to size up the e-mail monster properly.  Unexpected my chance came yesterday…
Read the rest of this entry »