Category Archives: apps

Growth mindsets and gaining feedback for self improvement

Growth Mindset Stretch Beyond

Growth Mindset Stretch Beyond

I was talking to the Vice Chancellor of The University of Bradford, Brain Cantor, about a business problem I had, and he surprised me with his remarks. He said “You can grow round that problem, can’t you?” At the time I didn’t really understand what he meant, but now I think I do. A growth mindset comes from the belief that intelligence is not fixed, and that it can be developed. Just as a tree needs water and minerals to grow, so too does the human brain. Some people give up when a challenge comes along, but others persist. Their are those who quickly become successful, but their fear of failure holds them back. People often take negative feedback in a defensive way, when actually they should learn from this criticism. Growth mindsets result in a higher overall achievement, instead of reaching a career plateau.

Show me any successful person and not far away you will see their coach or mentor. We all need real-time feedback on our performance. We need to “coach the coaches”, and using technology there are positive ways to iteratively improve the quality of what we do. Having just purchased an Apple Watch I want to know how many calories I have burnt today, I want to speed up my communication and always be on time for meetings. The feedback from my Apple Watch will allow this and hopefully (fingers crossed) will not be another distraction in my busy life.

Another example of this would be teacher-annotated videos on teaching best-practices, which could be shared with the teaching community. Teachers would then be able to learn from their peer group and perhaps teachers in rural areas could tap into the expertise found with teaching communities in big cities.

Learning platforms aren’t just for students they can be used for teachers. A teacher CPD portal can connect educators with each other and to educational experts. They can help teachers reflect on their own practice and provide educators support to master new strategies. Being online these resources are available on-demand. Furthermore, content can be curated online so teachers can find appropriate support and ideas quickly.

The classroom hasn’t changed that much since Victorian times, and embracing new technology to create more value for teacher satisfaction and student experience has to be a no-brainer. As Bill Gates says, the big issue in Education is the quality of teaching, so any mechanism that empower teachers to learn from the best will only help improve the life chances and prosperity of our future generations.

Productivity in the economy is the ultimate goal, and we need to catch up with the French and Germans by investing more in research and development, the quality of management and indeed lifelong education, if we are to compete in a global marketplace. By the time the French and Germans have hit Thursday afternoon it takes Britain until Friday afternoon to catch up. Let’s skill-up our teachers to the next level. For teachers to have a growth mindset we need to look at new ways of developing and leveraging advances in technology, be it learning platforms or Apple Watches. The reason I got an Apple Watch was to improve my time management skills and to gain more real-time feedback. Feedback can sometimes hurt, but without it we will keep on doing what we have always done!

Totara for Teacher Training

Future Decoded – Apps in the Cloud on any Device driving Big Data

Satya Nadella at Future Decoded Roundtable

Satya Nadella at Future Decoded round table

Visiting London Excel recently, I was lucky enough to meet the Global CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella at a business round table discussion. Much of the discussion centered around the cloud and how Microsoft want to be great at productivity software.

Three main product and services lines underpin Microsoft’s ambitions to be one of the mega vendors in the cloud computing space. Office 365, Azure and Dynamics are Microsoft’s big bets on the future where consumers can access their software and apps on multiple devices in anyplace and anywhere.

Satya believes the truth of the product and customer realities are important in the digital age. Microsoft allows some customers who are uncomfortable in moving entirely to the cloud a hybrid cloud alternative. However, with £5 billion spent on Microsoft Azure infrastructure and data centers in Dublin and The Netherlands, Microsoft is encouraging us all to move to the cloud.

Recent partnerships with Dropbox, Salesforce and others demonstrates that Microsoft accept customers will dual source their software. Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint are now available on iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads for free. So it’s no real surprise to see Word’s rise to number 1 in app download charts.

This new ‘horizontalisation’ of software represents a big sea change from the past when vendors, developers and resellers were either in the Microsoft camp or outside that in the Open Source, Linux, Google or Apple camp. 20% of services now delivered on Azure and the Microsoft cloud are Linux, which demonstrates that Microsoft does indeed love Linux. What Microsoft wants is 1st class product excellence – irrespective of the software stack in use.

Satya Nadella went on to explain how a mobile first, cloud first approach means people’s devices will come and go but all their data will be available anywhere and anytime on cloud. The world is becoming more digital and people want more responsive software. Whilst the cloud is becoming generally more accepted, Microsoft demonstrated how management policies can be set up to avoid people sending sensitive information outside of the organisation alongside mobile device security management.

I asked Satya how Microsoft would influence the future of education. The reality of the cloud and management console will allow teachers to act as IT technicians in schools. A new version of PowerPoint is to be launched and will allow teachers to bring PowerPoint to life in the classroom, with the ability to create quizzes and much more. For network managers using Active Directory, this can be taken to the cloud with just 5 clicks, making migrating to the cloud less daunting. Schools still need to be educated in the benefits of cloud computing, but over time this transformation will take place allowing teachers to teach and worry less about whether the technology works. IT will become similar to turning your gas or electricity on and off.

Webanywhere are already in the cloud. We intend to continue to offer our customers Office 365 integration with School Jotter. Like Microsoft, we understand it is important to ensure our software plays with others. Collaboration is more important than competition. We should move our software to the cloud and not have our heads in the cloud!