Monday, December 31, 2007

When leaders admit mistakes

When this football season started, Quentin Groves was 4 sacks shy of beating the Auburn University's record of 26 sacks held by Gerald Robinson. Quentin made 2 sacks during the Kansas State University game--the 1st game of the season.

Two games later at the Mississippi State University, Quentin was still 1 sack away from tieing Gerald Robinson's sack record. MSU was able to produce on Auburn's mistakes throughout the game, handing Auburn a very disappointing loss on Auburn's home field. Simply, MSU did what they needed to do to create a win. Coach Sylvester Croom who has had his share of growing pains in developing the MSU Bulldog team is improving each year.

During the MSU-AU game, Auburn fans booed the quarterback and coaches. Geez, I will never understand why fans boo college players. What makes any fan believe booing his own team will make the players play better?

Fans continued to spout lots of blame and disappointment toward the Auburn quarterback and coaches during the following week. The one who stepped up to the challenged and brought a light of leadership to the team and to the public was senior defensive end Quentin Groves.

Quentin publicly blamed himself for the lost. Auburn led 14-13, MSU had the ball in the final few minutes of the game. Stopping MSU could have forced a long field goal attempt. On a draw play, MSU carried the ball 18 yards, setting up a touchdown. MSU won 19-14.

"It’s my fault," Groves said Saturday. "Shame on me."
Groves admitted he was more focused on pass-rushing than covering the run in that situation.
"Being the great pass-rush mind that I am - God forgive me - I lined up too wide," Groves said. "It hurt our team."
"It was third-and-12, and I was just like, ‘I know it’s going to be pass."
Groves said. "I should have been thinking like a coach: They just wanted a field goal to go up."
"I was being selfish."
Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said Groves went overboard in putting all the blame on himself. But that’s the kind of leadership the coach likes from his seniors.

I believe, like Will Muschamp, Quentin was too hard on himself. I also firmly believe that any game cannot be lost by one single play. Many plays--many decisions--could have resulted in any number of outcomes.

However, admitting the mistake seem to bring a new level of respect toward Quentin. It also challenged others to evaluate their own plays and decisions.

Why is important for leaders to admit their mistakes?
Leaders who admit mistakes:

Finally, in the book Good to Great, Jim Collins describes that leaders of the "great" companies take responsibilities when things are not going well and share the credit when things are going great. In contrast, the leaders of the "good" companies (sometimes companies that eventually become poor companies during the 30 year study period), the leaders blamed outside sources for failures and took much credit when things did go well for the companies.

My favorite quote on mistakes is found in the book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie.

When we are right, let’s try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong - and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with ourselves - let’s admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm. Not only will that technique produce astonishing results; but believe it or not, it is a lot more fun, under the circumstances, than trying to defend oneself.”
The rest of the Quentin Groves story
Quentin missed a few games because of an injury, but was able to tie the sack record during the Louisana State University game.

Quentin Groves has been awarded Bronko Nagurski Trophy, and the Pat Dye Leadership Award Chuck Bednarik Award (to name a few of his recognitions). At the end of the 2006 season, Quentin had the opportunity to play professional football during 2007, but instead he chose to stay at Auburn and finish his final year of eligibility. He finished his undergraduate degree in Fall 2006, and is currently taking graduate classes while playing his last year at Auburn University. Coach Tommy Tuberville describes Quentin as a skinny kid when he came to Auburn, he became a good player, then, became a great player during his college tenure.

We wish him well in his professional football career and wherever his future takes him.

Detailed explanation of Creative Commons

Since I started a discussion for uses of Creative Commons licenses for educators, I thought it is important to bring attention to a more in-depth discussion about Creative Commons licenses.

Larry Lessig addresses ASCAP's essay, "Common Understanding: 10 Things Every Music Creator Should Know About Creative Commons Licensing" by explaining in detail.

Though Larry Lessig explains Creative Commons as it relates to music creators, a lot of good information is provided to help others understand Creative Commons licenses.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sources of information: A Pew internet research report

Here are a few snippets of information found in the Pew Internet & American Life Project report on How people use the internet libraries and government agencies when they need help.
  • 58% of those who were seeking help used the internet, at home, work, a public library or some other place.
  • 53% said they turned to professionals such as doctors, lawyers or financial experts.
  • 45% turned to friends and family members for advice and help.
  • 36% consulted newspapers and magazines.
  • 34% contacted a government office or agency.
  • 16% consulted television and radio.
  • 13% went to the public library.
Those in the low-access (low-Internet access was defined as dial up or no access) group were less likely to report being very successful in their searches than those than those with high-access.
  • 63% of broadband access group were successful.
  • 61% of the dial-up internet access were successful.
  • 50% of those with no access at all were successful.
Those in the low-access group were less likely to have interacted with government in the previous year or visited a library. They were more likely than high-access users to say they consulted TV and radio as sources of information.

On average, each person sought help or information from 2.74 sources.

80% of internet users expect the government websites to provide what they need, compared with only 41% of those who do not use the internet.

Source information:
Authors: Leigh Estabrook, Evans Witt, Lee Rainie
Title: "Information searches that solve problems, How people use the internet, libraries, and government agencies when they need help."
Source link:
Date: December 30, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Options beyond All Rights Reserved Copyright

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to someone speak to a group of educators about copyright. The discussion was a typical one, focusing on the definition of copyrighted works, the dos, and mostly the don'ts, of using products, publications, and information that were produced by others.

Often when you hear about copyright, you hear the extremes--control the content and products by using copyright or freely give it away without constraints.

Creative Commons licenses give options that fall between two extremes. Creative Commons licenses open a plethora of opportunities to use works and derive new products from existing products.Therefore, educators should not only learn about copyright law, but should also understand that there are other options.

Using other products and content under Creative Commons
When you find products and content under Creative Commons licenses, you have options the content based on the license that the creators of the content have chosen. Creative Commons licensed works enable you to take advantage of many resources to improve your programs and use your creativity to improve these products.

Using Creative Commons for your products and content
When you use Creative Commons license, you, as a provider of content, information and educational products, decide how you want your products to be distributed and copied. From the Creative Commons website:

Creative Commons defines the spectrum of possibilities between full copyright — all rights reserved — and the public domain — no rights reserved. Our licenses help you keep your copyright while inviting certain uses of your work — a “some rights reserved” copyright.
By "inviting certain uses of your work", you are encouraging your work to be disseminated and improved upon.

The choices within Creative Commons licenses are:
  • Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.
  • Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.
  • No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
  • Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.
Larry Lessig explains how creativity is encouraged by removing controls. The presentation is 19 minutes long.

By the way, the Creative Commons for my blog and most of the work I post on the web have the following Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License

which is Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Creative Commons license for my work tells me:

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature.

How would you like to share your work?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays

Christmas tree As I was thinking about ways to wish my colleagues and online friends a happy holiday, I thought of how, at home, we traditionally send Christmas cards and a photo of the kids, and sometimes, a letter.

Most of the cards are mailed to people we don't see very often. We also love getting cards, letters, and photos of our friends. It simply is a way to stay in touch with people we see way too little.

Online greetings
I have often described relationships, partnerships, and the learning process in the online environment are much like those processes and relationships in the physical office and learning environments. The processes online mimic the processes we have in-person.

My question became how do I send holiday greetings to those I know mostly online? Most of my online friends, I have met at conferences and see once, maybe twice, a year. However, through twitter, blogging, and even social bookmarking, I know these acquaintances much better.

What is an appropriate online holiday wish "card"? Facebook offers ways to send holiday wishes through wall posts; I certainly enjoy getting holiday wishes on my wall in Facebook.

For my online holiday greetings, I wanted my contacts in Facebook, Twitter, as well as others, to receive the greeting. I also wanted to utilize online technologies that enable expressions in ways beyond text and a single photo graph.

Blending family, work, and online activities
While there is a clear distinction between my family and professional life, there are also many reasons and ways to blend the two. Discussions at home about work and discussions at work about home help build respect and understanding among those we work with and those we live with.

I began the process of creating a video when I tweeted I was looking for Christmas music to embed in a animoto video, but having trouble finding music I could distribute. Daniel Maher of Yorkshire, UK, responded by sending his version Silent Night and Dreaming of a White Christmas on a mp3 file. Many Thanks Danny!

Note: the lesson learned is that Twitter works! I have never personally met Danny, but because of a few previous Twitter conversations, he offered his help. He contacted me through Facebook and then sent me the file through email. These systems that generate weak ties help create products and ideas, I have no doubt.

Among the season's celebrations and worship, this time of the year is also a time of reflection--a time to think about events, accomplishments, contacts, and learning that occurred throughout the year. The video is a summary of events, including family, work, and online activities. Although most of the images will mean nothing to you, you will recognize a few from my phatic Twitter posts or from the conferences we attended.

May you have a joyous holiday season and best of year ever!

Photos, images, and ideas for the video were provided by: Anne Adrian, Kelly Adrian, Mark Bransby, Deb Coates, Floyd Davenport, Jonathan Davis, Kevin Gamble, Virginia Morgan, Greg Parmer, Ann Beth Presley, Rusty Presley, Scott Snyder, James Robinson, and Jason Young. In addition to family events, ACE / NETC and Red Imported Fire Ant conferences are highlighted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

MS Office 2007 Terms

Not only does Microsoft Office 2007 look very different than newer versions, it also has new formats for its files, and it uses terms that maybe new to you.

Vince Verbeke, IT Specialist with Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences in Tech News offers a short list of terms for MS Office 2007.

Vince created his short list of terms from Mini-glossary: Office 2007 written by Deb Shinder of Tech Republic.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Simply said: Do what is right

In the junior high weight room, centered between the weight lifting schedules and expected routine--squats, bench press, dead lifts, and military press were two sets of instructions for students.

One set of instructions emphasized grades, discipline responsibility, effort, desire and education.

The other one is so simple, yet, so relevant to all of us.

  • Do what is right.
  • Do your best.
  • Treat all with respect.

Written by Jason Wright, Auburn Junior HIgh School Principal.

Great words to live by!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Resources to explain Web 2.0

In a recent post, Beth Kanter in her keynote: Nonprofits in the Age of Social Networks, has provided her slideshow for her keynote and the notes. Additionally, a wiki which holds notes for the conference is also provided.

Because I often struggle to articulate Web 2.0 tools and concepts, I find resources like these helpful. In particular, Holly Ross' keynote, Lose Control: Why and How Web 2.0 Matters to Nonprofits is an interesting way of presenting Web 2.0.

Have fun investigating these resources!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Advantages of Twitter

I have struggled explaining the advantages and purposes of Twitter. What's the catch? Why use it? The reactions to my explanations of using Twitter is similar to "That's the dumbest thing ever?"

There is value, but not value you can easily quantify or explain. The best way for you to to determine its value, in terms of value for YOU, is for you to try it. Reading your friends' (the ones you follow) tweets in one stream helps you engage more meaningful later when blogging or in face-to-face conversations.

John Dorner suggests:

The only way to 'grok' these is to get in there and try it for a couple of weeks. Find some friends and do it together.
For me, I find Twitter a great way to keep in touch with friends and colleagues. Personally, something is comforting in knowing that others have daily frustrations, too. Also, it's amazing how often in 140 characters or less, my friends make me laugh. Laughter makes work so much more interesting.

Simply, Twitter allows for connections with others in an easy and unobtrusive way.

Daily Blog Tips blog also suggests that microblogging, like Twitter, can help you become a better blogger.

Microblogging allows you to develop skills that will make you a better blogger. It’s also a lot of fun. What more could you ask for?

Interesting description of Twitter can be found on a Tale of Two Network Experiences.

A few possible advantages of Twitter are:

Twitter is not a save-all or a definitive profit making tool, but it does create opportunities for connecting and sharing. Twitter is a low-barrier application.

  • Sign up for an account.
  • Start following others.
  • Make friends on Twitter
  • Convince some of your co-workers to join in.

The tweets from your friends is what makes it valuable and fun. You will get more value if you send the messages to your phone via text (SMS) messages.

I asked some friends in Facebook what they liked about Twitter. Their answers are grouped below.

Keeping track of friends and colleagues

  • Maintaining relationships with friends.
  • Getting to know folks and having fun with friends.
  • Keeping in touch with friends - strengthening friendships - a good laugh (momku).
  • I enjoy seeing and hearing what people are up to. It's just fun. I also often pick up new ideas and appreciate the quick feedback. On the downside, I have very few close colleagues or people I actually KNOW who use Twitter.
  • Interesting way to stay in touch, although I have a hard time believing people really are interested in what I am doing when I twit.
  • I think its a fun way of telling a bunch of people what's going on in your life. For me, I use it more recreationally.

Functions of Twitter

  • The informality; private & public messaging; being able to CHOOSE who you listen to; quick & easy!
  • Funny friends. The "track" function. Cellphone availability.

Non (or seldom) user

  • Not sure yet, but can see how it could be useful, especially with hand-held. Maybe I need to explore some other outside applications for it.
  • I don't know. What's a twitter? Sounds like a skin itch . . . Oh no, I've got the twitters!I don't use Twitter. (Note: I am sending this person a Twitter invite and a link to this page.)

Other uses:

  • In the context of events.. it allows me to stay connected to individuals even though we may participating in separate events.
  • It has the potential to be useful in an emergency since you can send a message to a group of people at once, especially if everyone is using it with their phones. Unfortunately, the way some people use it discourages others from enabling the phone feature.
  • I have found it useful when used in the context of a project, an event, or in keeping track of colleagues I don't get to see often.
  • it's only 140 characters.
  • not very time consuming.
  • it's easy.
  • it's fun.
Just Twitter.

Monday, December 3, 2007

What is a blog? Continuation

The conversation of "What is a blog?" continues. John Dorner describes blogging slightly differently, in Do You Blog? or Why Blog?

He describes blogging as a:
  • Vehicle for self expression.
  • Time saver.
  • Replacement for "newsletters".
  • Way to help others.
  • Payment to others--a "Pay it forward" type thing.
  • Learning tool.
  • Money maker.
Check out his post for his full explanation.

What is a blog?

Lee and Sachi LeFever of The Common Craft Show have produced Blogs in Plain English an easy-to-understand introduction to "What is a blog?"

The video describes blogs as sharing news ("Isn't everything news to someone?"). Michele Martin of The Bamboo Project Blog says "The only thing I think is missing is a discussion of blogs as a learning tool."

I, too, want to expand their definintion of blogging. Blogs (for me) are more like conversations. I see blogging as a way to:

  • Share knowledge and thoughts.
  • Share my passion and interests.
  • Learn.
  • Support learning.
  • Provide continuous timely, pertinent, and response.
  • Build professional relationships.
  • Build professional reputations.

The video, Blogs in Plain English, is a nice, brief introduction to blogging. Enjoy.