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School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor
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Even In An Age of Uncertainty, Managers Still Must Decide

In an age of disruption, the only viable strategy is to adapt.
Sharrock's insight:

Greg Satell: "Since 1960, the average lifespan on the S&P 500 has fallen from 60 years to less than 20 and fully 87% of the companies on the Fortune 500 in 1955 no longer exist."


This statement and material that explore similar statements belong in history lessons and business courses at the secondary school and college levels (and they probably are). Such statistics drive home the lessons of  VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). 

Dismissal of VUCA is at the heart of some kinds of politics and political stances, but is also at the heart of the war against science and education. It is far from understood, in terms of education and the goals of education. VUCA is why educators need to promote resilience, the ability to adapt and to develop strategies, and should include approaches to design thinking, (open) systems thinking, critical thinking, and STEM fields where experimentation, modeling, and simulations can be used to solve problems. Problem solving should include the arts which promotes knowledge and insight from imagination and memory. 

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H.O.T. / D.O.K.: Teaching Higher Order Thinking and Depth of Knowledge: Difficulty vs. Complexity: What's the Difference?

H.O.T. / D.O.K.: Teaching Higher Order Thinking and Depth of Knowledge: Difficulty vs. Complexity: What's the Difference? | School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor |

Via John R. Walkup
John R. Walkup's curator insight, March 16, 7:04 PM

Another excellent blog article by Erik Francis of Maverik Education. This one discusses the difference between difficulty and complexity (rigor).

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Reading Sage: Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK) | Bloom's Taxonomy vs. Norman Webb's depth of knowledge

The Common Core Standards are the cornerstones of the Smarter Balanced and PARCC assessments, Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (scale of cognitive demand) and Blooms Revised Taxonomy (levels of intellectual ability) are the framework and the structures that will be used to evaluate students. Assessing curriculum, developing formative assessments, evaluation curriculum, and evaluation of students knowledge at the highest levels is being shared by two progressive cognitive matrices. Depth of knowledge, and complexity of knowledge is the heart of the more rigorous assessments being implemented in 2014. They share many ideas and concepts yet are different in level of cognitive demand, level of difficulty, complexity of verbs vs. depth of thinking required, and the scale of cognitive demand. Teachers need to learn how the frameworks are used to develop curriculum and how to use them to enhance instructions. Teachers and students can use Blooms Questions Stems and Webb’s DOK questions stems to create higher order thinking and improve achievement. 80% of the PARCC assessments will be based on the highest levels of blooms and the deepest levels of Webb’s DOK. Are you ready to use the DOK or Blooms daily in your class? 

 The links below are a great resources of Blooms Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.Levels of Thinking in Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of KnowledgeHess’ Cognitive Rigor Matrix & Curricular Examples | Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy | Webb’s Depth of Knowledge GuideDepth of Knowledge: Assessing Curriculum with Depth and MeaningBlooms and Webb ComparisonDepth of Knowledge ConsistencyDeveloping Higher Order Thinking Questions Based on Webb’s DOK andFCAT Content ComplexityPARCC Transition Information: AIMS Test and Common CoreDOK Question StemsDepth of Knowledge (DOK) LevelsINTRODUCTION TO WEBB’S DEPTH-OF-KNOWLEDGE LEVELSMathematics Depth-of-Knowledge LevelsDepth-of-Knowledge Levels for Four Content Areas

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Why Apologize?

Why Apologize? | School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor |
People often do feel better after apologizing -- though not as good as they do after being asked to apologize and refusing.
Sharrock's insight:

We receive conflicting advice on why we should not apologize. But the reasons listed for why we often choose not to apologize helps explain a few things about how insecure people feel. We choose to win an arguement more than we care if we are right. Effectiveness is another loss in such exchanges where sometimes winning the battle is losing the war. Especialy, when the war is a complex or wicked problem.

Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 8, 2013 7:15 PM

"The reason to teach kids to apologize isn't to make the wrong-doer feel better. It's to make the person wronged feel better. Secondarily, it's to make the wrong-doer feel worse, or at least, to make the wrong-doer understand that he or she has done something wrong and unacceptable." Take one step further and ask for forgiveness. It is an incredibly humbling experience.

Sharrock's comment, April 9, 2013 11:42 AM
I like that, Ivon.
Ivon Prefontaine's comment, April 9, 2013 6:49 PM
Thank you Duane
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Argenta: Innovation consultants | Recognising and Responding to Complexity

Argenta: Innovation consultants | Recognising and Responding to Complexity | School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor |
Recognising and responding to complexity: the Cynefin framework, For large companies operating in very dynamic environments who need to define different ways of responding to the challenges they face, Argenta works with companies to install new...
Sharrock's insight:

First--I suspect I have using the term "complex" incorrectly. Second--I now need examples of the differences (distinctions?) of each quadrant term, mainly complex vs complicated. In a school, what kinds of problems does each describe? Answering these questions will help develop problem solving approaches.

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63 Things Every Student Should Know In A Digital World

63 Things Every Student Should Know In A Digital World | School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor |

63 Things Every Student Should Know In A Digital World

by Terry Heick

It could be argued—and probably argued well—that what a student fundamentally needs to know today isn’t much different than what Tom Sawyer or Joan of Arc or Alexander the Great needed to know.





How true this turns out to be depends on how macro you want to get. If we want to discuss our needs as humans in broad, sweeping themes, then food, water, shelter, connectivity, safety, and some degree of self-esteem pretty much cover it.

But in an increasingly connected and digital world, the things a student needs to know are indeed changing—fundamental human needs sometimes drastically redressed for an alien modern world. Just as salt allowed for the keeping of meats, the advent of antibiotics made deadly viruses and diseases simply inconvenient, and electricity completely altered when and where we slept and work and played, technology is again changing the kind of “stuff” a student needs to know.

Of course, these are just starters. Such a list really could go on forever.

Sharrock's insight:

The list of "changing things they (and we) need to know" is a "macro" list, just as the author states. For example, educators need to recognize that critical thinking is made up of many skills: focusing, information gathering, remembering, organizing, analyzing, inferring, predicting, elaborating, representing, integrating, and evaluating skills. It is the same case with creativity and persistence. Maybe some of the critical skills I have listed would cross over into creativity skills and persistence. In fact, it seems that the critical thinking skills I have listed might be involved in many of the "13 Categories and 63 Ideas" that the author has listed.  That's the thing about a macro list--there are pieces that make up a whole. And that issue for me seems to be the point about education. The skills students learn can be applied toward different outcomes. Some of the skills are taught and retaught in different ways in different classes/subjects with the different applications those skills can be most appropriately used.


My main suggestion is just that some of the outcomes may need to be reviewed and possibly reframed away from rote-goals into explorations of skills and experiences that may (or may not) guide the students to similar conclusions.  For example, "Popularity is dangerous" might ultimately get communicated in a lecture. You would not set up a lesson based on constructionist ideas since these ideas work on constructing knowledge but are basically exploratory in nature. The author might suggest that teachers offer learning activities exploring the "dangers and challenges of popularity" or exploring "celebrity" in the professional/political world or designing ways to maintain safety and health of public figures or politicians (or defining popular students with pros and cons then developing needs and protocols to address those needs).  My point is, the conclusion may then be didactic but problem solving might support the message that "Popularity is dangerous." We might do the same thing with rules and laws--by setting up students to experience a lawless classroom, they come to the conclusion that laws/rules are valuable. In secondary classrooms, an inquiry-based activity into the recent Bitcoin problems in Japan to come to the conclusion that rules and laws are necessary. 


However, I do agree that these are important lessons as skills to develop and for information to have. 


I was intrigued with the “Socializing ideas” section. The topics listed in this section includes “13.) The consequences of sharing an idea; 14.) The right stage of the creative process to share an idea; 15.) That everything digital is accelerated; plan accordingly. And this kind of acceleration doesn’t always happen in the brick-and-mortal world—and that’s okay.” These are powerful points to explore and reflect on. What are the consequences of sharing an idea? We are learning about the power of connectivism and social learning activities/environments (Vygotsky, included). But there are also dangers to sharing. Understanding that there may be an appropriate state in the creative process to share an idea (or not to share an idea) is another concept I would like to explore more. Is there research on this? I suspect the author is privy to this research. Very interesting.



The critical thinking skills that I have listed comes from a pdf "Core Thinking Skills Categorized By Intended Outcome for the Learner" which was in turn sourced from "Teaching Students To Think" by Dr. John Langrehr. 



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Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence And Entropy

Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence And Entropy | School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor |

The business news continues to be full of stories of large companies getting into trouble in part because of their complexity. 

So what is a leader to do when faced with a highly complex organisation and a nagging concern that the creeping costs of complexity are starting to outweigh the benefits?

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
Olivier Arnould's curator insight, December 1, 2013 3:40 AM

Une approche intéressante des organisations...

luiy's curator insight, January 17, 9:34 AM

1. There is a design process –the allocation of roles and responsibilities through some sort of top-down master plan. We all know how this works.


2. There is an emergent process – a bottom-up form of spontaneous interaction between well-intentioned individuals, also known as self-organising. This has become very popular in the field of management, in large part because it draws on insights from the world of nature, such as the seemingly-spontaneous order that is exhibited by migrating geese and ant colonies. Under the right conditions, it seems, individual employees will come together to create effective coordinated action. The role of the leader is therefore to foster “emergent” order among employees without falling into the trap of over-engineering it.


3. Finally, there is an entropic process – the gradual trending of an organisational system towards disorder. This is where it gets a bit tricky. The disciples of self-organising often note that companies are “open systems” that exchange resources with the outside world, and this external source of energy is what helps to renew and refresh them. But the reality is that most companies are only semi-open. In fact, many large companies I know are actually pretty closed to outside influences. And if this is the case, the second law of thermodynamics comes into effect, namely that a closed system will gradually move towards a state of maximum disorder (i.e. entropy).


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Cynefin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cynefin /ˈkʌnɨvɪn/ is a Welsh word, which is commonly translated into English as 'habitat' or 'place', although this fails to convey its full meaning. The term was chosen by the Welsh scholar Dave Snowden to describe a perspective on the evolutionary nature of complex systems, including their inherent uncertainty ("The Cynefin framework"). The name serves as a reminder that all human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by our experiences, both through the direct influence of personal experience, as well as through collective experience, such as stories or music.

The framework provides a typology of contexts that guides what sort of explanations or solutions might apply. It draws on research into complex adaptive systems theory, cognitive science, anthropology, and narrative patterns, as well as evolutionary psychology, to describe problems, situations, and systems. It "explores the relationship between man, experience, and context"[1] and proposes new approaches to communication, decision-making, policy-making, and knowledge management in complex social environments.

A more complete translation of 'cynefin' would convey the sense that we all have multiple pasts of which we can only be partly aware: cultural, religious, geographic, tribal etc. The word is sometimes used to describe an environment where a person feels they belong[2][3] or knowledge and sense of place that is passed down the generations.[4] It can also refer to fleeting moments in time: "a place or the time when we instinctively belong or feel most connected. In those moments what lies beneath mundane existence is unveiled and the joy of being alive can overwhelm us."[5]

Sharrock's insight:

This is how I understand complexity--many things happening at different times (sometimes in concert) to produce some kind of outcome. Those dynamic interactions are influenced by some kind of stimuli "outside" of the system. Those stimuli might be lost in the noise of the environment or we may only observe and measure a few of those stimuli. Since we can't account for all of those stimuli, we call a system complex when we don't understand the reason it is behaving the way it does. Within the system, we can do the same kind of thing: we may miss some of the interactions but observe and measure some of those interactions. This limits our abilities to explain the cause/effect relationships that led the behavior, resulting again in our categorizing the system as complex. Ultimately, the system is not understood. For me, the understanding is demonstrated in the ability to establish validity of the model: experimentation, study, simulations, other kinds of testing. If no one can prove a proposed model is valid, then to state a system is simple (understood) should be evaluated as an untrue/unsupported statement. So, true understanding breaks down the confusion of the complex system into the linear interactions of those related parts and simple activities. The issue of understanding adds to the definition of complexity, but doesn't change the fact that the system exists and does what it does, producing the outcomes it does, understood or not. It depends on who is observing the system, because their education and experience and their abilities to use the appropriate tools to explore the system impacts whether a system is complex or merely complicated or any of the other domains. 

So,  we know some things about a system that produces certain outcomes. But we don't adequately understand how all of those things, all of those parts and the characteristics of their interactions, in order to produce the observed outcomes or how to produce specific, desired outcomes. We don't see the whole picture. But we know what we want, what we like, and what we don't want and like. So, we, in effect, jiggle some parts, and watch what happens as a result. What were the outcomes and were they desirable? 

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Does Closing Underperforming Schools Help or Hurt Students?

Does Closing Underperforming Schools Help or Hurt Students? | School Leadership, Leadership, in General, Tools and Resources, Advice and humor |
Those on both sides of the debate believe they're championing civil rights. But there's no one-size-fits-all solution.
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