Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Are you challenged by synchronizing a slidecast?

Now that the +Jane Hart  10 tool challenge is safely behind me, I can admit to spending all day Sunday trying to create my very first Slidecast using Slideshare. I was feeling defeated by what seemed to be the simplest technology...I roamed the internet, viewing countless blog posts, and even slidecasted tutorials on how to create a slidecast...none of these addressed the function of how to manually set the synchronization.

I deleted and reloaded the slides and MP3 file countless times and each time my slides were terribly misaligned with the sound track. I decided to post the slidecast anyway hoping to find a fix quickly. Then today, I found this post buried deeply in Slideshare's help Center. I am sharing it here in hopes of saving someone else the frustration I experienced without finding this information. 

Once I found the missing instructions, success was within my reach and I present below the fruits of my labor...."ta-da!" 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wrapping up Jane Hart's 2013 Challenge

Here is my 11th hour update on +Jane Hart  10 Tool Challenge. 

Tool 5:  Word Press
We lost most of our websites on October 1st including our main site and its 10,000 pages of content. After grieving the loss, I've jumped into building a new site using Word Press. I have been thrilled for the ease of adding a page or button... but frustrated by its lack of tags, and finer formatting features I was accustomed to in the previous site. 

Tool 6: Slideshare
On our new site, I have been embedding slideshare presentations to help clients and potential clients learn more about our work and capabilities. In less than 3 months time, I was amazed to see that the slideshare I posted on our home page, featuring our Team of Choice Framework, has had 1515 views. What a great tool to share information:

A major initiative for me this past year, was to develop and pilot a Group Coaching process for the VA Healthcare system called Leadership the Engagement Factor.  The process spanned nearly a year and involved numerous technology tools to make it all work. 

Tool 7: iLinc
The first tool I used in Group Coaching was called ilinc - a synchronous virtual classroom tool that offered more affordances than standard tools such a GoToMeeting. I was able to use the tools whiteboard, web synch (allowed me to take participants to a site and while giving them control of the site to fill out forms or take a survey, etc), media uploads for use in session, chat, polling and survey tools to make the sessions more active and engaging. I was not able to use the break out room functionality due to the technology requirements on the clients end. I was able to use iLinc’s survey tool to do formative evaluation of the process at a half way point and make some great enhancements to the entire process. 

Tool 8: Yammer
To provide a forum for the application assignments that were completed between Group Coaching sessions, we set up a Yammer Site that was accessible only to the participants. Here I was able to repost documents related to assignments, pull in related You Tube video and get discussions going that supported the skill that was being developed. The goal for Yammer was to create a community of practice among the leaders enrolled in this process, but I do not feel this objective was achieved. 

Tool 9: Podcasts
One component of Group Coaching was a Book Huddle which enabled the participants at the 9 hospitals to get some face time with others at their facility who were enrolled in this process.  Participants would meet to discuss an interview which I had recorded with the author of an employee engagement book.  These recorded interviews were podcasted and available from either the Bookends Book club website, or from iTunes

Tool 10: 20/20 Insight Survey tool
Another component of Group Coaching was a monthly one question survey designed to hold coachees accountable to the action they contracted to take each month back on their team. To check in and have both the coachee and their upline manager report on progress, a survey tool called 20/20 Insight was used to collect data and share aggregate results each group coaching session. 

Thank you Jane Hart for the challenge!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Yapp Learning!

It is a good thing that +Jane Hart  has given us a full year to get this 10 Tool Challenge done. I am sure I am in the slow group, but I am enjoying the learning and am thrilled to report on the newest tool I have found to extend learning today: Yapp!

I am thrilled that in less than an hour, I have created my very own app to support a group coaching initiative I am facilitating for the Veterans Administration. I have been able to load photos into the photo gallery, create a news posting, and promote the upcoming events for this process.

I can see a great application to support learning with Yapp! I hope you will share ways you are using it with me.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

We Don't Tweet: Jane Hart's 10 Tools Challenge

I have been working to "get" twitter. Okay, it is not that complex…but please don't laugh, I finally made a job aid card. After rereading Chapter 2 of Jane Bozarth's "Social Media for Trainers" for the third time, I realized I needed to get it into my long term brain once and for all. 

Apparently, I am not alone. I run into peers everyday that run screaming from twitter. It's short cryptic phrases, laced with non-sensical symbols, seem to annoy my verbose peers who can barely get out a hello out in 140 characters, let alone a whole stream of consciousness. 

But, it's not just folk from the Training and Development profession who struggle with twitter…no, no.
Last week, I spoke at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce's "Young Professional Network," a group of 'under 40' professionals from my local community. In working with the planning team for this event, the organizers wanted something "young, hip, and techie."

They suggested we build in "something" with twitter into the 90 minute presentation. We created a hashtag before our event and staged a "twitter poll" real time during the presentation. In launching the poll, I got a dose of reality…out of the 44 young professionals in the room, about four of them had a twitter account and were comfortable with twitter. Wow. 

So, why I am working to master this tool? Why does Twitter matter to me? In this world of continuous words and distractions, twitter seems very timely. Less really can be more. We can call out quickly, highlight the key idea, or share the nugget. One really good idea is actually much better than a day's worth of very average ideas. Twitter can deliver this idea for you and me. In Bozarth's book Social Media for Trainers, she walks you through numerous creative uses of twitter in the learning process:  pre-work, introductions, backchannel, intercession work, continuing conversations, talk to an expert, debate, role play and more! 

My brain is buzzing for possible twitter applications for learning. I am thrilled to be gaining more comfort with this tool, but even more so for having my eyes opened to the possibilities for learning. Thanks to +Jane Hart  for her ten tool challenge, to +Jane Bozarth  for her vision for this tool's potential and to Catherine Lombardozzi  for  the push. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Why are last year's new hires are planning their escape?

Last month, I saw Chorus Line on stage. It's music was memorable from 28 years back when I saw it on Broadway. But I found I had totally forgotten the storyline which is about an audition for a chorus line. Four women and four men are all that are needed, but more than that show up. The director must make hiring decisions. Sound familiar?

Organizations face similar situations everyday. Hundreds apply for a single position. Perhaps it is easy to whittle the applicants down to a qualified group. But does skill guarantee a happy marriage? How do we get to really know applicants in a short space of time? 

Zach, the director in Chorus Line, offered a serious lack of structure during the audition. He asked each of the dancers to "talk." Without any framework, the conversations moved from surface stuff to inner feelings and how their lives were affected by key life experiences.  

I walked away from the show thinking about how "canned" most interview are, often using a set of prescribed questions provided by some expert. And how is this working for most companies? Apparently not so well.  According to DDI, more than 51% of all the employees hired in 2012 have buyers remorse. Of those disillusioned employees, 88% are planning their escape. A big complaint among these disillusioned employees is that organizations do not accurately describe the work. 

Yes, we need to hire people who have talent. We need skills to do this effectively. But we also need to get to know each other. Applicants need to know the organizations to which offer their talents.  They need the truth about the job. If organizations can be truthful about who they are and what they need, perhaps applicants will follow their lead and reveal more about who they are and what they  can offer. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jane Hart's 10 Tool Challenge. Tool 2: Jing

Thanks to +Jane Hart and her 10 New Tools Challenge I am exploring Jing this month. Jing is a free, easy to use tool that allows you to do two key things:

  • You can create screencasts of up to five minutes in length 
  • You can annotate Power Point slides and manipulate the slides in interesting ways.

  • I created my free Jing account and immediately created my first screen cast. Besides the fact that I choose a size that was way too large to utilize in ways that I wanted, it was pretty near perfect on my first attempt. In sizing it down I encountered a further challenge in that I was unable to show the entire are of the website I wanted to show in the screencast. In order to see enough of the website I was featuring, the size is still a bit too big (as you can see below) for this blog post. I found that I could not shift the viewing area during the filming so sizing in this application could be an issue.

    A bigger limitation of Jing is that the screencast must be no more than 5 minutes in length. Of more concern to me is that you cannot post directly to You Tube without upgrading to Snagit. Today I learned about a tool called Screencast-o-matic. Screencast-o-matic allows you to create screencasts up to 15 minutes in length and does allow you to upload to You Tube. It is exciting to see the free tools that are available to help you extend or enhance learning.

    Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

    Sunday, February 17, 2013

    Wisdom from Alice's Restaurant

    Not far from our office is Alice's Restaurant, a local eatery that seems oblivious to their name sake. You can be sure, however, they are serving up more than hot meatloaf sandwiches.  Mary will dish out advice and matter of fact feedback if prompted, much to your surprise or delight, depending on your attitude. 

    On my last visit, I carefully ordered the bowl of Chicken Orzo soup, a broth based dish with a side salad and fat free dressing. After giving Mary my order, I  commented that I had made a good selection and I was in complete control of my food choices. She looked at me carefully before commenting…."we'll see how long this lasts." 

    Mary knows how hard it is to change a habit. She works around food everyday and has the advantage of watching people make choices. She sees the result of diet observing her patrons as they make their way to their tables out of breath, struggling to squeeze into the booth.  Then she notices their choices as they peruse the practically endless menu available at Alice's Restaurant. 

    We only need to note that obesity is a national health issue to confirm how hard habits are to change. But isn't most of learning about developing a new habit that will make us more effective? Charles Dehigg has written a great book, The Power of Habit, to help us to crack the code behind our habits once and for all. Get the essence of his model in this short film and take the first steps to building the habits you desire.

    Sunday, February 10, 2013

    Jane Hart's Challenge: Tool One

    My first tool for +Jane Hart's 10 Tool Challenge- Go Animate. This is amazing. Free and easy. I literally created this short animated film in about 10 minutes - with an edit! I never even watched the tutorial, it is that easy.

    Cynthia and Fred: Different work styles by stamms on GoAnimate

    Video Maker - Powered by GoAnimate.

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Who feels your culture? Everyone.

    You ever feel something before you see it? When culture is not "right" my antenna goes up right away.  I'm on high alert trying to figure out what is contributing to how I feel. I think most of us have the same experience, but after spending time in a given culture sometimes employees become numb to their surroundings. This can be observed on their faces.

    Recently, I was invited to launch a leadership development process for an organization and after arriving my culture warning indicator began beeping.The President, obviously a passionate person, took the floor and began quizzing the leaders for answers.  For 10  minutes he drilled them with questions he expected they'd know and did not hide his frustration if they did not "get it right" immediately. Standing in the back of the room I chuckled out loud a few times amazed at his strong approach, but I noted quickly, I was the only one chuckling. The numbness had set in on this group. Or were a few of them feeling something else? 

    Afterwards, the HR leader shared details of a poor performing leader with me in low tones, while members of the leadership team (probably peers of the leader in question) came in and out of the break room to get coffee...only a few feet away from where we were sitting.

    Top leaders create culture, but they struggle to see the culture they are creating. The often miss that they are sending cues through their daily actions that permeate this culture. Yet, there it is, for all to see. Really want to know about your culture?  All you have to do is bring in an intuitive visitor and ask them to spend a little time and they'll tell you about your culture…if they are honest, and if you are really interested in the truth. 

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    eCollaboration meets the Luddite

    A new semester has begun and my enrollment in an e-collaboration course at La Salle University has ended my excuses to take the plunge into the new world of social learning. For years, the little orange RRS artwork at the bottom of blogs have been a mystery. How do they work and why are they there? I have struggled since the beginning of Twitter to compose a total of 10 tweets and I have long gaps in making posts to this very blog. But no more...

    Today, I make the pledge to join +Jane Hart,  and learn about 10 new eCollaboration tools.  I join Jane  in  the 10 tools challenge and will make this year's 'new year's resolution' one of exploring these tools. What a fabulous way to reduce the mystery and fear of these tools.  Won't you join me in this challenge?  If a self-proclaimed luddite, can take on this challenge, so can you!