23 January 2009

Yellow Tree House

Was watching a bit of TV tonight and happened to take notice of a Yellow Pages advertisement for the Yellow Tree House.  I must have seen this ad a few times before, but never really followed it through.  It looked intriguing enough for me to "Google" it, sure enough I found the website and lots of other sites with pictures and information...Check out the pictures below, and take a few minutes to look at the information at this site.



13 January 2009

Lessons learned from Presentation Zen

I love the Presentation Zen blog, and always find useful information for my facilitation there.  This evening is no exception, although I have little knowledge for Jazz, I was intrigued at Garrs list on what he has learned from Jazz and Zen over the years. Garr writes "These lessons, all seemingly commonsensical, can be applied to presentation or to any creative endeavor -

1. In structure there is freedom and spontaneity.
2. Restraints and limitations can be great liberators.
3. Don't ever force it; be ever natural.
4. Good intentions are key. Sincerity is king, and yet...
5. It's not about you.
6. Listen more than speak.
7. Speak only when you have something to say, and then in the most economic way possible.
8. Your approach can be direct and subtle at the same time.
9. Fear is natural (and human), but work through it and past it. Don't let fear hold you back.
10. Mistakes are part of it (do not worrying about them).
11. Embrace the power of now, this moment.
12. Technique matters, but it's not the most important element.
13. Make no pretenses; put up no facades.
14. Laugh, smile if you feel like it — why not?
15. Share yourself with others; make a contribution.
16. Simplicity is supremely beautiful, yet difficult to obtain.
17. Emptiness and silence are powerful elements of expression.
18. Remove the clutter, strive for absolute clarity.
19. If you think you have mastered it, you've have already begun your descent.
20. Always be learning. Always be learning. Always be learning.
21. Curiosity is your greatest gift, nurture it (in yourself and in others)" (read fill post here)

Lessons that resonated with me include:

Listen more than speak - I attended the Art of Facilitation workshop delivered by Joan Dalton and David Anderson last year and learned this "commensensical" strategy. I never knew this would have so much impact on my work and everyday life.  Needless to say, I have learned more by listening than I ever did talking.
Listening ears

Laugh, smile if you feel like it — why not? - This is one strategy that  I definitely try to implement into my everyday work life and home life.  I was reignited by this concept when reading into the FISH! Philosphy  - The principles of this Philosophy are: Play, Make their day, Choose your attitude, Be there.  In the ECE Facilitators team at CORE Education you will often find out meetings with funny YouTube video, bubble blowers, lollies and move around activities.

Remove the clutter, strive for absolute clarity
- This probably refers to something more metaphorical that I do here, but I strive to have a clean desk and computer desktop “most” of the time.  I find that when I start work in the morning or late at night (depending on my schedule) a clean (like one icon) allows me to find clarity in the tasks at hand.  I have also tried to keep my inbox at zero, if they are not relevant to me at that particular time I file it, if they need attention or response I email  a response straight away, and if they do not relate to me at all or a spam emails sent by people I DO know I delete them.  I’m striving to maximise absolute clarity.

If you think you have mastered it, you've have already begun your descent - This is so pertinent to my teaching career, I have always been an advocate of this particular principle - once I think I have it, I know that I dont.  There’s a saying (not sure of original source) - “The more you know the less you know”.  Coming from the educational background of failing School Certificate and disliking school with all my might, then working through a Teaching Degree and a Masters Degree. I know that the more I learn the more I know I dont know.  Which in a very interesting way is exciting.

Always be learning. Always be learning. Always be learning - This follows on from the previous statement, I am always driven to learn more, and after completing my previous qualifications I have been contemplating enrolling in a random paper to stimulate my thinking.  Consequently, I took on a role as a Board of Trustee for my sons school, this in itself is an interesting learning process and inevitable I am learning so much in this role. Learning, learning, learning...

Im wondering if any of Garrs lessons learned resonate with others....Feel free to comment.

05 January 2009

Innovative WiFi

Scrolling through my blog roll this morning I came across one of Ewens posts with his infamous delicious links.  I always find some gems in these posts and this morning was no different, a few clicks led me to this neat innovation. Heres the swissmiss link, and another one at Epica Awards.
"Hollands largest chain of coffee shop is called CoffeeCompany.  CoffeeCompany wanted to attract more students.  So it installed WiFi in some of its stores near universities

The problem is, lots of students just come into the store for the WiFi but hardly look at the menu.  So THEY and CoffeeCompany decided to move the CoffeeCompany menu into the WiFi menu on peoples laptops.

They periodically changed the wireless network name from the normal "CoffeeCompany" to hardselling headlines.  So when students connected to the network, they were greeted with the headlines in their WiFi menu like "HaveYouTriedTheCarrotCake?" or "Mmm...YummyMufinsOnly1,99".

The best part came when people yelled across the room to ask the barista what the name of the WiFI network  was and the barista answered one of the WiFI lines like "OrderAnotherCoffeeAlready".

Now thats cool, mines just plain ol' Naketa....

How to create Māori Macrons in Pages

I have become accustomed to using Pages for everything now - lists, newsletters, documents. Making the transition from Microsoft Word to Pages was initially a bit difficult, I had created a number of shortcut keys for my most commonly used Māori macrons and found it quite annoying that i couldnt set these up in the same way in Pages.

I recently learned how to do this in pages, see below for quick tips on how to set this up.

Step 1: Open System Preferences and find "International"

Step 2: Click on "Input Menu"

Step 3: Find Māori, and click on tick box

Step 4: Also ensure that you tick the box at the bottom that says Show Input Menu in Menu Bar. This way you can change Input Language without having to go through this process.

Now in Pages, you can push the "`~" button in the top left corner along with your vowels to create Māori macrons.

ā ē ī ō ū