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On-Line Educational Experences 
From in-class to on-line and at-the-fort, I have taught in many places, and under many circumstances.

Reviewing the results of decades of in-class consulting as well as on-line educational engagements with a prospective client recently allowed me to neuron-together a few interesting insights. I thought I would share them with you:


When comparing the quality of education received on-line with a traditional classroom it is true that - while classroom teaching is our classic model (and therefore understood by more people,) that on-line education requires allot more lower level, hands-on content. Why? Because impersonalized presentations simply cannot engage people long enough to keep an average student's attention!

Yet the demand to create allot of exercises to keep students engaged creates a classic case of a "top down," versus that "bottom up" approach... or perhaps a College, versus a Middle-School educational experience? (i.e. holding a student's attention for an average of 1 minute for every year-in life?)

Surely creating on-line versus in-person education also requires understanding that on-line students are usually allot more interested in a "how to," rather than the often-equally as-important "when to" and / or "why to." --Yet I believe that the problem lies with the delivery media. The problem seems to be engaging each student at a level that only an in-classroom educator seems able to achieve?

Simple Case Study

The USMC - for example - tried to save allot of money by not flying teachers out to students. Yet after less than a year of telling their students to "learn it all on-line," up-front & personal, instructor-lead classroom training is not only back, but it is becoming more popular than ever before.

Why? One reason is - when it comes to being taught - that people need an opportunity to participate, as well as to be mentored in terms that can be related to their problem domains. So while I "talk geek" on my Udemy training, I "talk financial" when teaching at financial companies, "talk military" when teaching at the DoD, and therefore turn on as many light-bulbs - as well as encourage as much classroom participation - as humanly possible.

Certainly those critiquing their own experience when comparing an on-line versus an in-room training experience may often discover that the mere potential of asking - or being asked - to participate if and of itself often encourages one to be more attentive & alert.

The "D Word"

So it is teaching on-line that tends to be the "knowledge dump" these days. Indeed, until 'chatbots get allot better ("Alexa, teach me Python"?) today one simply cannot mentor - let alone engage any student properly - en masse.

Hence the challenge with creating 5-star on-line education is to teach "knowledge," (a hands-on activity every 5 minutes is a good metric!) versus imparting "wisdom." Showing on-line students - whose attention spans are ALLOT less engaged - not only "how to," but also ramping-up to present those top-down / higher-educational concepts ... via a series of hands-on exercises ... every few minutes?!

Big changes, to be sure!

Interactive Video

Even when teaching students on-line and in real-time (WebEx etc,) allow me to observe that remote-only educational opportunities universally ignore the fact that the best educational experiences invariably connect with people in more ways than on-line educational experiences are presently able to provide. Without the ability to walk around & read the body language of each student, how can any instructor know if their message is even being received?

So perhaps in education - just as everywhere else - one truly tends to get no more than what one pays for?

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Pirates of Pi-stance 
I've just cloned my data collections from MySQL for embedded / stand-alone use on a Raspberry Pi (as well as Android, Windows, OS/X, Linux, and ... uh ... well ... virtually everywhere else!)
--Even Microsoft is planing on supporting the 'Pi Platform!

Best Of All?

We will be using the data collections on everything from PHP & Python to Java and .NET: You've simply gotta love Sqlite3!

To celebrate, allow us to share a modern re-versing ;) of an ancient programming-platform celebratory song:

We've built a better platform
for your data-needs in general

For data bases vegetable, animal, and mineral

The OS handles CPUs
with multiplexed complexity;

Our C++ compiler has impressive functionality...!

The storage system's better than
something with an old 'nt,

You never have to bother checking out
a bit's odd-parity;

There isn't any reason
to install non-static floor matting;

The boot-point has capacity for external disk-formatting.

I feel compelled to mention
what I know to be a gloating point:

There's lots of speed in memory
for variables as floating-point,

Which shows for input vegetable, animal, and mineral

We've built a better platform
for our data-needs in general!

(Note: If one cannot pick-up the beat after the first two verses or so, the above was designed be sung to the tune of the "Modern Major General" from the "Pirates of Penzance" ;)

Enjoy the Journey!


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Staples Asks: "Do you have a surprising tip for improving productivity?" 
I wish I was the first one to note it, but it was Thomas Monson who brought the idea that "when performance is measured, performance improves" into my bailiwick.

Yet to force people to be more obsessed with recording what they do is one very sure way to demoralize & intimidate just about everyone!

But to answer the question of how to improve productivity, on a PERSONAL level I have discovered that privately micro-blogging about what I do every day is the best way to ensure that I am always productive. Over time, voluntarily choosing to record what I do not only encourages me to do many more things, but in the technical world using tools like the "About Time" software allows me to diagnose though technical problems, as well as to generate the related reporting.

You can read more about "About Time" on the download page.

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