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Blogs vs. Term Papers

Blogs vs. Term Papers | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"To raves and rants, blogging has become a requirement in everything from M.B.A. to literature courses."

 

"Of all the challenges faced by college and high school students, few inspire as much angst, profanity, procrastination and caffeine consumption as the academic paper. The format — meant to force students to make a point, explain it, defend it, repeat it (whether in 20 pages or 5 paragraphs) — feels to many like an exercise in rigidity and boredom, like practicing piano scales in a minor key.

 

And so there may be rejoicing among legions of students who have struggled to write a lucid argument about Sherman’s March, the disputed authorship of “Romeo and Juliet,” or anything antediluvian. They have a champion: Cathy N. Davidson, an English professor at Duke, wants to eradicate the term paper and replace it with the blog.

 

Her provocative positions have lent kindling to an intensifying debate about how best to teach writing in the digital era.

 

'This mechanistic writing is a real disincentive to creative but untrained writers,” says Professor Davidson, who rails against the form in her new book, “Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.'

 

'As a writer, it offends me deeply.'

 

Professor Davidson makes heavy use of the blog and the ethos it represents of public, interactive discourse. Instead of writing a quarterly term paper, students now regularly publish 500- to 1,500-word entries on an internal class blog about the issues and readings they are studying in class, along with essays for public consumption.

 

She’s in good company. Across the country, blog writing has become a basic requirement in everything from M.B.A. to literature courses. On its face, who could disagree with the transformation? Why not replace a staid writing exercise with a medium that gives the writer the immediacy of an audience, a feeling of relevancy, instant feedback from classmates or readers, and a practical connection to contemporary communications? Pointedly, why punish with a paper when a blog is, relatively, fun?"

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QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide

QR Code Classroom Implementation Guide | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) are just barcodes. There is nothing fancy about them.

Just like the grocery store clerk uses barcodes to look up the product and scan the price into the computer, your mobile device or computer can look up QR codes to:


- take you to a website,
- read some text,
- give you a phone number, or
- generate a text message.

 

QR Codes are barcodes of information that hardlink the physical world with the online world. They are considered a form of simple augmented reality.

 

QR Codes in the Classroom

For the classroom teacher, they are valuable for three reasons:

 

1. They can save us time.
2. They can save paper.
3. They provide a link to mobile devices that help students do their homework and follow along."

 

More here: http://goo.gl/wscUH 

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Presentation Zen: New: Presentation Zen (2nd Edition)

Presentation Zen: New: Presentation Zen (2nd Edition) | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

Four years ago my first book Presentation Zen was published by Peachpit Press. Since then I wrote two other presentation books and a sketchbook/storyboard book and a DVD (plus an additional DVD/Book just for Japan). Although a lot of time had passed, I was still happy with the original Presentation Zen. And yet, the original Presentation Zen book could benefit from a little freshening up in the form of a 2nd edition for 2012. This 2nd edition of Presentation Zen has the same look and feel as the original book and I still did all the design and layout myself. The biggest difference is the book is about 70 pages longer, and although the same high-quality paper is used this time, the price is lower than the original.

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Feeding The World Gets Short Shrift In Climate Change Debate

Feeding The World Gets Short Shrift In Climate Change Debate | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
Weather changes wreak havoc on the global food supply. But efforts to reduce the impact of climate change on agriculture haven't gotten much attention in climate change talks.
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More Agreement Than Disagreement on How to Assess Teachers

More Agreement Than Disagreement on How to Assess Teachers | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
"Disagreements between unions and politicians on how best to assess teachers are not as significant as the amount of agreement." "Where a great deal of consensus lies is around the ideas of a woman named Charlotte Danielson, who 16 years ago created a method for evaluating teachers that judges them according to four domains, each with numerous categories and subcategories: the quality of questions and discussion techniques; a knowledge of students’ special needs; the expectations set for learning and achievement; and the teacher’s involvement in professional development activities. The section for assessing the strength of the classroom-learning environment has 15 criteria — down to the placement of furniture. Ms. Danielson’s program, which also trains principals in how to properly execute the evaluations, is already being used in several states and on a pilot basis in 140 New York City schools (though in the experimental phase the outcomes will have no consequence). In November, a study out of the University of Chicago that looked at Ms. Danielson’s method as it was practiced in Chicago schools determined that it was not only a considerable improvement over an old evaluation system but that, just as significant, it established a shared definition of what good teaching was. Ms. Danielson, who runs her own educational consulting firm in Princeton, N.J., is perfectly suited to appeal to potentially opposing sides in the debates about education reform. As an Oxford-trained economist, she thinks both entrepreneurially and progressively. In the late 1960s she gave up research stints at the Council of Economic Advisers and the Brookings Institution to work as a teacher in Washington’s ailing public school system. 'If all you do is judge teachers by test results,' she told me when I visited her this week, 'it doesn’t tell you what you should do differently.'"
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The Effective Educator: Evaluations That Help Teachers Learn

The Effective Educator: Evaluations That Help Teachers Learn | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
"This is so much better!" commented Carla, a 4th grade teacher, following an evaluation conference with her supervisor: Carla's statement provides an insight into how we might improve teacher evaluation to better foster conditions for both teacher and student learning. Let's consider the deficiencies of traditional systems. These include Outmoded evaluative criteria, usually in the form of checklists. Simplistic evaluative comments, such as "needs improvement," "satisfactory," and "outstanding" without any consistency as to what those words mean. Many teachers end up being rated at the highest level on every item, with no guidance as to where they might focus their improvement efforts. The same procedures for both novice teachers and career professionals— no differentiation that reflects veteran teachers' experience and expertise. Lack of consistency among evaluators; a teacher might be rated at the highest level by one administrator and much lower by another. This makes it much easier to attain tenure in some schools than in others, a violation of a fundamental principle of equity. One-way, top-down communication. Evaluation is a process that's "done to" teachers, and it often feels punitive, like a "gotcha." Why Do We Evaluate Teachers? We can remedy these problematic characteristics by attending to some basic principles of assessment and teacher learning. First, it helps to be clear about why we even have teacher evaluation. Laws, of course, require it. But why are there laws? The first and most fundamental reason is because public schools are public institutions; they take public money, and the public has a right to expect high-quality teaching. But there are two more basic purposes.
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NEOShield to Assess Earth Defence

NEOShield to Assess Earth Defence | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
The new European-led NEOShield project will assess the threat posed by asteroids or comets and look for solutions to protect Earth from an impact.
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A Letter of Explanation: Pause on Avian Flu Transmission Studies

A Letter of Explanation: Pause on Avian Flu Transmission Studies | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"Despite the positive public-health benefits these studies sought to provide, a perceived fear that the ferret-transmissible H5 HA viruses may escape from the laboratories has generated intense public debate in the media on the benefits and potential harm of this type of research. We would like to assure the public that these experiments have been conducted with appropriate regulatory oversight in secure containment facilities by highly trained and responsible personnel to minimize any risk of accidental release. Whether the ferret-adapted influenza viruses have the ability to transmit from human to human cannot be tested.

 

We recognize that we and the rest of the scientific community need to clearly explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks. We propose to do so in an international forum in which the scientific community comes together to discuss and debate these issues. We realize that organizations and governments around the world need time to find the best solutions for opportunities and challenges that stem from the work. To provide time for these discussions, we have agreed on a voluntary pause of 60 days on any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses leading to the generation of viruses that are more transmissible in mammals. In addition, no experiments with live H5N1 or H5 HA reassortant viruses already shown to be transmissible in ferrets will be conducted during this time. We will continue to assess the transmissibility of H5N1 influenza viruses that emerge in nature and pose a continuing threat to human health."

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Anatomy Of An Idea: Steven Berlin Johnson

Anatomy Of An Idea: Steven Berlin Johnson | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"People often ask me about my research techniques. You would think this would be a relatively straightforward question, but the truth is that I have to keep changing my answer, because my techniques are constantly shifting as new forms of search or discovery become possible. Right now, I'm in that thrilling stage of writing-while-still-researching my next book, and I just went through a little episode of discovery that I think might be worth mapping out, as a case study of how ideas come into being, at least in my little corner of the world.

 

The subject matter of the book is not all that important here, but suffice it to say that I am currently working on an introductory bit that contrasts old, bureaucratic models of state organization with some new network structures that are currently on the rise. So my mind has been primed for anything that seems thematically relevant to those topics.

 

This particular thread begins with a random encounter on Twitter: checking out my @ mentions a few weeks ago (vanity will get you everywhere), I stumbled across someone mentioning my book to a friend, and also recommending something called 'Seeing Like A State.' (I can't track down this tweet, so can't give proper credit here.) I wasn't fully sure what 'Seeing Like A State' was, but it sounded up my alley, so a quick Amazon search revealed that it was, in fact, a very promising-sounding book written by James C. Scott, about the methods of state organization and control in modern history, and so within a matter of minutes, I was reading it on the Kindle iPad app. (I'm sure it is mentioned in many books that I've read already, but somehow I had missed it over the years.)"

 

Read the rest of the post here: http://goo.gl/xSiJ4 

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Edith Wharton, 75, is Dead in France, August 11, 1937

Edith Wharton, 75, is Dead in France, August 11, 1937 | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"Edith Wharton, American novelist, died yesterday afternoon [August 11, 1937] at her villa, Pavilion Colombes, near Saint Brice, Seine-etOise. She had been in fairly good health until she suffered an apoplectic stroke yesterday morning and did not recover consciousness."

 

The 150th anniversary er 150th 

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Edith Wharton Turns 150 Tuesday - Slide Show

Edith Wharton Turns 150 Tuesday - Slide Show | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
As the popular “Downton Abbey” proves, stories of Americans mingling with members of the British aristocracy titillate as much as they did when Edith Wharton wrote of them.
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A Challenge to Doubters: Do Something Impossible

A Challenge to Doubters: Do Something Impossible | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"Make Your Own List. Make Your Own Future.

 

The article '21 Things That Will be Obsolete in 2020' has elicited a range of responses from readers. One describes a school where much of the predictions are already happening, while others convey serious doubt that any of these will come to fruition — whether it’s due to lack of money or dedication to education, fixation on standardized testing, or just plain jadedness about the possibility for change.

 

I asked the writer, Shelly Blake-Plock, to respond to the comments. Here’s his thoughtful observation.

 

By Shelly Blake-Plock

 

I’ve heard the criticisms regarding how outlandish these predictions seem for low-income schools. And I think a lot of it has to do with the transition period we find our selves in as a society and I think a lot of it has to do with the seemingly endless failures that have shaped the view of many an educator when it comes to the word 'reform.'

 

And so when it comes to digital technology, folks say to themselves: “I’ve heard all that before. I’ve heard about how computers are going to change everything. I heard about how our offices were going to be paperless. Right. I’ve heard about the latest program that’s going to help my kids learn and I’ve seen all the computer games and seen money wasted on computers that are obsolete by the time they are plugged in.”

 

We’re not talking about computers anymore. We’re talking about the way that we connect to one another as human beings."

 

Read the rest of the article here: http://tinyurl.com/7vmlqqf

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The Six 21st Century Skills You REALLY Need

Given the work that I do, I’m a sucker for skill lists. As our work worlds grow ever more complex and challenging, it seems that the skills themselves become more complex too.

 

Increasingly, though, I’ve begun to believe that these lists are distracting us from the real skills of success. While working with big data, operating in virtual teams and”cognitive load management”all sound great, I think there are far more fundamental skills we should be developing first.

 

My 21st Century Skills List

 

I think there are 6 fundamental skills we need to develop for success in this or any other century. I would also argue that we are not nearly as good at these skills as we think we are.

 

In no particular order, my 6 21st Century skills are:

 

1. Self-Awareness
2. Asking Questions
3. Empathic Listening
4. Authentic Conversation
5. Reflection
6. Seeking and working with multiple perspectives

 

Let’s take a closer look. http://tinyurl.com/7qjza9r

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Teacher’s recommendations for academic uses of 5 fun free presentation tools | Emerging Education Technology

Teacher’s recommendations for academic uses of 5 fun free presentation tools | Emerging Education Technology | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
Course participants offer their ideas about ways to use these fun free tools in instructional situations and other academic applications.
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The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012

The 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in 2012 | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"It was ... a very busy year for hiring at startup companies, as you know, and it doesn't look like that will slow down in 2012. We've certainly seen opinions on both sides of the fence as to whether or not there is a tech bubble or 2012 will be another active year of investing. I'm an optimist and I believe the pace of investing will remain consistent. Yes, some companies will fail, of course, but others will scale and grow their teams at a steady clip.

 

Hiring the best of the best is an absolute must if you are going to build a successful company. You will need to be prepared to compete against big companies with deep pockets and other up-and-coming startups that also have blue chip investors and a game-changing idea.

 

So, what are the most competitive areas for talent these days? Here's a look:

 

1. Software Engineers and Web Developers

2. Creative Design and User Experience

3. Product Management

4. Marketing

5. Analytics"

 

Go here for the details: http://goo.gl/exGn2

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Presentation Zen (2nd edition): A Quick Look Inside

Just a quick look at the actual Presentation Zen (2nd Edition) book to give you a sense for its look and feel.
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Indian TB cases 'can't be cured'

Indian TB cases 'can't be cured' | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
Tuberculosis which appears to be totally resistant to antibiotic treatment is reported for the first time by Indian doctors.
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The Framework for Teaching

The Framework for Teaching | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
The Framework for Teaching The Framework for Teaching is a research-based set of components of instruction, aligned to the INTASC standards, and grounded in a constructivist view of learning and teaching. The complex activity of teaching is divided into 22 components (and 76 smaller elements) clustered into four domains of teaching responsibility: Planning and Preparation Classroom Environment Instruction Professional Responsibilities Each component defines a distinct aspect of a domain; two to five elements describe a specific feature of a component. Levels of teaching performance (rubrics) describe each component and provide a roadmap for improvement of teaching. The Framework may be used for many purposes, but its full value is realized as the foundation for professional conversations among practitioners as they seek to enhance their skill in the complex task of teaching. The Framework may be used as the foundation of a school or district's mentoring, coaching, professional development, and teacher evaluation processes, thus linking all those activities together and helping teachers become more thoughtful practitioners. Domain 1: Planning and Preparation 1a Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy 1b Demonstrating Knowledge of Students 1c Setting Instructional Outcomes 1d Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources 1e Designing Coherent Instruction 1f Designing Student Assessments Domain 2: Classroom Environment 2a Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport 2b Establishing a Culture for Learning 2c Managing Classroom Procedures 2d Managing Student Behavior 2e Organizing Physical Space Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities 4a Reflecting on Teaching 4b Maintaining Accurate Records 4c Communicating with Families 4d Participating in a Professional Community 4e Growing and Developing Professionally 4f Showing Professionalism Domain 3: Instruction 3a Communicating With Students 3b Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques 3c Engaging Students in Learning 3d Using Assessment in Instruction 3e Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness
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Leap Second Decision is Postponed

Leap Second Decision is Postponed | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it
The decision on whether to abolish the leap second - the occasional, extra second added to the world's time - has been deferred to 2015.
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Scientists to Pause Research on Deadly Strain of Bird Flu

"The scientists who altered a deadly flu virus to make it more contagious have agreed to suspend their research for 60 days to give other researchers around the world time to discuss the work and determine the best way to proceed.

 

A letter explaining the decision is being published in two scientific journals, Science and Nature, which also plan to publish reports on the research, but in a redacted form omitting details that would let other researchers copy the experiments. The letter is signed by the scientists who produced the new, more contagious form of the flu virus, as well as by other leading flu researchers.

 

The scientists say their work has important public health benefits, but they acknowledge that it has sparked intense public fears that the deadly virus could accidentally leak out of a laboratory, or be stolen by terrorists, and result in a devastating pandemic. A national biosecurity panel in the United States has already taken the unusual step of asking the scientists to keep part of their data secret to prevent others from reproducing their work.

 

The experiments involve a type of bird flu virus known as H5N1, which rarely infects people but is highly deadly when it does. Since 1997, when the virus was first identified, about 600 people have been infected, and more than half died — an extraordinarily high death rate. The saving grace of H5N1 is that when people do become infected — nearly always from contact with birds — they almost never transmit the disease to other people. But the virus has persisted in the environment, infecting millions of birds, and scientists have warned that if it mutates to become more contagious in people, disaster could ensue."

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Preventing Pandemics: The Fight over Flu - Ten Experts Suggest Ways to Proceed

"A proposal to restrict the planned publication of research on a potentially deadly avian influenza virus is causing a furore. "

 

"Ten experts suggest how to handle information about a potentially deadly avian flu virus – and future lab-made pathogens."

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Heiresses of Wharton’s Era in Fashion on Her 150th Birthday, Tuesday Jan. 24

Heiresses of Wharton’s Era in Fashion on Her 150th Birthday, Tuesday Jan. 24 | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"As the popular television series “Downton Abbey” proves, stories of Americans mingling with members of the British aristocracy titillate as much as they did when Edith Wharton wrote of them. [Tuesday,] Jan. 24 is the 150th anniversary of her birth."

 

"In dramas about the British aristocracy we Americans await with tingly pleasure the inevitable moment when the family learns that there is no more money to run the estate, and everyone must retrench or — worse — the heir must get a job. Then, like the arrival of the cavalry in a western, all is saved — the footmen, the ancestral portraits, even the Georgian silver — by the imminent commingling of fortunes with an American kissing cousin who has daughters and dollars. The 'Upstairs Downstairs' details long familiar from novels, movies and television shows, and now from the popular “Downton Abbey,” seem to render us spellbound.

 

The English actor and writer Julian Fellowes, who created the PBS mini-series 'Downton Abbey' and wrote the screenplay for 'Gosford Park,' told The Telegraph that the idea for the series came from a book he was reading at the time, 'To Marry an English Lord,' by Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace. It was about 'American girls who had come over to England in the late 19th century and married into the English aristocracy.' Mr. Fellowes added, 'It occurred to me that while it must have been wonderful for these girls to begin with, what happened 25 years later when they were freezing in a house in Cheshire aching for Long Island?'"

 

"Edith Wharton, whose 150th birthday on Tuesday will be celebrated around New York — she was born on West 23rd Street — knew exactly what she was delineating. She was the ultimate insider, born into the New York upper crust, which she called 'a group of bourgeois colonials' transformed into 'a sort of social aristocracy.'"

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Edith Wharton News - The New York Times

Edith Wharton News - The New York Times | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"News about Edith Wharton. Commentary and archival information about Edith Wharton from The New York Times. 

 

A list of resources from around the Web about Edith Wharton as selected by researchers and editors of The New York Times."

 

"Highlights From the Archives

 

Edith Wharton's New York
By CHARLES McGRATH
Though born in New York, Edith Wharton spent most of her life abroad. In 1913, when she was 51, she divorced her husband of 28 years, the feckless, alcoholic Teddy Wharton, and settled permanently in Paris. The move was a conscious break with America and with her upbringing.
October 1, 2004

 

A World in a Raised Eyebrow, but How to Film It?
By DAVID GATES
The advent of film as a rival narrative mode to fiction seems to have left Edith Wharton's work absolutely untouched. Thank God. If she had felt honor-bound to observe the quasi-cinematic rule of ''show, don't tell,'' as fiction writers have ever since the movies started taking over, it would have put her out of business. Wharton's fiction isn't simply about characters interacting but about the rococo social structures they've built and inhabit, about their minutely elaborate codes of behavior.
December 24, 2000

 

Suffocating in Society And Unable to Escape
By MICHIKO KAKUTANI
The theme that would preoccupy Edith Wharton throughout her life was the idea of society and its power to shape (and destroy) individual lives. As the survivor of a stifling, upper-class childhood, and a socially correct but emotionally and sexually barren marriage, Wharton was familiar firsthand with the suffocating wages of convention. And in the course of an exceptionally long and productive career, she would turn this painfully acquired knowledge into enduring fiction.
April 6, 1990"

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21 Things That Will be Obsolete in 2020 | MindShift

21 Things That Will be Obsolete in 2020 | MindShift | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"This week, we feature the most popular posts of the year on MindShift. This one, which seems most apropos to review on the eve of 2012, took the top spot.

 

[Image from] Flickr: Robert S. Donavan

 

Inspired by Sandy Speicher’s vision of the designed school day of the future, reader Shelly Blake-Plock shared his own predictions of that ideal day. How close are we to this?

 

The post was written in December 2009, and Blake-Plock says he’s seeing some of these already beginning to come to fruition.

 

[Update: I asked Blake-Plock to respond to comments to this post. Read it here. http://tinyurl.com/8634rog]"

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What's an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever

What's an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever | Learning, Teaching & Leading Today | Scoop.it

"This classic 25-word definition pares entrepreneurship to its essence and explains why it's so hard. And so addictive.

 

As an entrepreneur, you surely have an elevator pitch, the pithy 15-second synopsis of what your company does and why, and you can all but repeat it in your sleep. But until recently, I’d never seen a good elevator pitch for entrepreneurship itself—that is, what you do that all entrepreneurs do?

 

Now I've seen it, and it comes from Harvard Business School, of all places. It was conceived 37 years ago by HBS professor Howard Stevenson. I came across it in the book Breakthrough Entrepreneurship (which I highly recommend) by entrepreneur and teacher Jon Burgstone and writer Bill Murphy, Jr. Of Stevenson’s definition, Burgstone says, 'people often need to say it out loud 50 or 100 times before they really understand what it means.' Here it is:

 

'Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.'"

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