Sunday, April 26, 2015

Teacher's Pet

LinkedIn to Acquire
Mountain View, Calif. – April 9, 2015 – LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 300 million members worldwide, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire, a leading online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills to help people achieve their professional goals. Based in Carpinteria, CA, was co-founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin.
The transaction is valued at approximately $1.5 billion, subject to adjustment, in a combination of approximately 52 percent cash and approximately 48 percent stock.  Subject to the completion of customary conditions, the acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015.
Welcome to the LinkedIn Family,!

LinkedIn + Connect to Learning

Thank you, Jeff. Thank you Lynda and Bruce. You have made today’s blog post the easiest one for me to write since I started blogging Sunday mornings around five years ago.

For those of you who know me, since becoming the Executive Director of the my “battle cry” has been: EVERYTHING IS DISTANCE LEARNING. I have been selling telecom and technology since 1983. I have watched the worlds of business and education morph and become reinvented many times. 

I watched how a college campus would once be judged by the size of its library; now it is judged by the speed of its wireless internet. I watched “the stacks” and Microfiche readers become replaced by iPads and YouTube videos accessing sites such as Khan Academy. I watched Google for Education come to life, and the birth of the Microsoft Cloud. I was a witness to the smartphone revolution, and the voice-enabled personal assistant trend. 

Siri: Apple’s Siri is a fully voiced assistant that’s been available to iPhone users since the inception of the iPhone 4S, offering users the freedom to ask questions, set up appointments and reminders, and interact with the sassy digital diva by setting up a nickname and more.

Cortana: Microsoft’s assistant is based off of the character of the same name from Microsoft’s Halo video game franchise. Featuring voice actress Jen Taylor, Cortana is available to anyone using Windows Phone 8.1. In some cases, you’ll receive your results with a computer-generated voice that is, admittedly, a lot less interesting than Taylor’s.

Google Now: Google Now is all about easy access and simplicity. When triggering voice commands, you can simply say, “OK, Google…” and then give your command. Like Siri and Cortana, you can look up info online, but Google Now is also good at delivering personal recommendations based on your search history and preferences. With just a few words, you can pull up YouTube videos, or talks on just about any topic, and watch them from anywhere in the world. And don’t get me started about! What an amazing happy accident, as they say. No one could have predicted the billions of views talks have earned over the years.

 The worlds of education and business are now so deeply intertwined that you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. We are all lifelong learners. Knowledge, technology and talent have become the coin of the realm, now matter your age, your social status, or geography. You need all three to survive (and thrive) in today’s global economy. Knowledge, technology and talent. Two out of three is just not good enough.

You can observe a lot by just watching ~ Yogi Berra

I am one of LinkedIn’s first 100,000 members. I watched them grow into a company that can make a $1.5 billion dollar purchase without breaking a sweat. I watched companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft become household names.

Take the time to read the posts from Jeff and Lynda above. Watch the video from the CEO of LinkedIn, it is only a few minutes long. It explains why a company would spend $1.5 billion (and more) to buy a leading online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills to help people achieve their professional goals.

I guess “Everything Is Distance Learning” after all.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

TED Talks

Everything in life happens for a reason. Everyone you meet in life, you meet for a reason. Especially teachers.

If you did not know, is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

With over 32 million views, Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson leads the pack with the most viewed TED talk of all time. He challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. You can watch his talk here:

Onstage at TED2013, Sugata Mitra made his bold TED Prize wish: Design the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can explore and learn from each other -- using resources and mentoring from the cloud. His inspiring vision for Self Organized Learning Environments, earned him the prize. You can watch his talk here:

As the Executive Director of the I was introduced to the world of Alternative Education (or Democratic Education) via Tamra Excell, Board Member and founder of 

Inspired by her life, and acting in her memory, The Christa McAuliffe School of Arts and Sciences honors Christa McAuliffe by educating the next generation of leaders, scientists, philosophers, artists, and others to be fully-prepared for the dynamic world of the 21st Century. opened in July 2009 and is headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon and is the culmination of over 25 years of combined experience, knowledge, and perseverance in alternative education. They combine the latest in online educational technology, integrated various online curricula, with the Personalized Education Philosophy.

Sir Ken Robinson. Sugata Mitra. Christa McAuliffe.
Everything in life happens for a reason.

The AERO conference is a unique event. There is no other one like it in the USA. It is a gathering of people who are involved with revolutionizing education, and who already have some of the answers. They demonstrate and work toward a learner-centered approach, one that empowers students, teachers and parents. It is based on the fact, confirmed by brain research, that children are natural learners and do not need to be forced to learn. In fact, if students are forced to learn it extinguishes their natural ability to learn, something that, unfortunately, happens in 95% of all schools.
One of this year's keynote speakers is Sugata Mitra, the very same winner of the TED Prize mentioned above, famous for the "Hole in the Wall Experiment" in which he put a computer in a wall in a slum area of India. Over the next few months the children not only taught themselves to use the computer, but also taught themselves English!

Sir Ken Robinson presented at previous AERO events:

I am proud to announce that this year’s 2015 New York City Regional Conference shall be held in partnership with AERO. It will be my great honor and privilege to share the stage and give a keynote address with such amazing thought leaders in the world of alternative education. I will continue to blog on this as the event comes closer.

Don't Miss the AERO Conference, May 20-25 at LIU/Post University, near New York City!  See for more details.