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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Practical Science

It’s Science Fair season and judges from the Junior Academy of the Washington Academy of Sciences were evaluating projects at Washington Mathematics Science and Technology Public Charter High School.

What has changed in 2013?
The baseline projects are getting better. There are books and websites for improving science projects and the students are using them. That created a similarity of how the projects looked and headings for communicating the research, but understanding what had to be captured for presenting the experiments, has led to better architecture and execution of the experiments.

Having a more detailed idea of expected outcomes leads to better experiments.

These students are comfortable using the internet. They were using and showing resources from multiple sources, more than I could ever get from a library, which was increasing the precision and understanding of their scientific terminology.

The students know more. My judging partner (President of IEEE USA) and I were treated to an explanation of how one of the students had typed a sample of DNA. I turned to him and said, “We used to do that in High School, didn’t we?” The future is right here in our high schools.

Now that the baseline has been raised because students are mastering so many basic science skills, what else is needed for great experiments?

For me, they are the ones that solve problems that are important to individual students. One scientist was explaining a baby food safety experiment she had imagined, executed, and reported. During her presentation, she offhandedly said, “Babies like cool food.”

I asked her how she knew that. She grinned and said, “I feed my niece and she likes cool better than warm.”

Now that unlimited information is unlocked by the internet, great science is practical science.

Read more at The Junior Academy.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Label Is Not A Solution

I hate when a CEO asks for an opinion of one of her people.

First of all nobody asks for my opinion of a happy situation. When it’s happy, they want to TELL me.

Not that we will disagree. How people are perceived is pretty straight forward.

However, if we come up with a different description of the same behavior, the chances are no action will be taken, so the situation persists. Paralysis by Analysis.

It’s better for me to get them to define their opinion of their situation. Then my value can come in recommending action to define a fix for our newly agreed situation.

Even if the fix is not the final fix, taking action notifies all concerned a change is gonna come, which they then generally create.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Check out Sales Lab Video. Enlightenment with grins.