Getting back mySQL Data

16 03 2009

We had a box crash and it wouldn’t boot to a GUI, so using a few CLI tools and a lot of internet research, found a way to get to mysql via the commandline and dump out the data.  Read about it at Papers and Presentations


Ways to create a learning organization

15 03 2009

Often we hear about staff development sessions that aim to enhance collaboration.  These typically involve tapping internal and external resources to share experiential knowledge.  Applying concepts of andragogy from Malcolm Knowles of how to work with adult learners, we can grasp these four ideas:

1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

2. Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.

3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.

4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

As advocates to ensure teachers and other educational service personnel develop, we need to keep these in mind.  One of the hardest things to do is to step out of the role of “knowledge gatekeeper” and step into one of as “knowledge facilitator”.  Coupled with traits of high performance organizations, such as the Baldrige Education Criteria ( the goal is to move knowledge from being proprietary and in one person to shift into organizational knowledge accessible to all.

This is where I ask you to pause for a moment and think about what that really addresses.  It addresses current needs.  Don’t get me wrong, creating an organizational culture that is present-issue collaborative is hard enough.  Having an organization that supports reaching across subject and grade-level barriers takes a lot of effort.  There may be someone who is your go-to person on Interactive Whiteboards, and they lead classes to share how they use them in classes.  They may also collaborate with others on potential new applications.  Or, you may have teachers who have used podcasts; others with ComicLife.  The list goes on.  But again, these are all present-time related tools.  What happens when ComicLife 2 arrives and individuals need to know how to use it?  Or, when Office is version 2045? Or how about when students have an electronic device containing all their readings?

This is where my techie nuts & bolts view comes into play.  We may have the best tools out there in student, teachers and administrators hands, however it will sit idle and under-utilized until those who will be using it are trained or explore the technology.  Think about your school for a moment.  How many touch-points to new technology exist?  Seven people in your District that explore the new technologies and grasp enough to teach others?  Maybe 15?  30?  Think about that in relation to your organization now.  How does that relate to the percentage of people?  5% of your District has these individuals?  10%?

Technology and information are changing and being generated faster and faster, so that means the amount of information to acquire will increase.  Facing this information, there will be a point when saturation will occur and the only way to process more will to be have more processing points within an organization; i.e, the individuals who can process and learn new items.

This is the population of the District I think about.  How can the framework of exploration and knowledge discovery from this group be applied to others?  How does this get infused into the culture of the organization?  When I think of how I can play my part, it is to convey to users the process I use to fix their problem.  When they have a question on something in Office I don’t know, I may sit and talk through the process:

“So the problem you are having is setting custom margins?  I’m going to open the help menu and search for that to see what I can find”

“I’m not sure how to do that.  Let me go search on google and see what I can find”

“I’m don’t know the software too much, but let me hit some of the buttons and see what they do”

Now, how many users will pickup on this?  Maybe just a few, but it lets them know how I find information.  It is really teaching individuals HOW to learn and find information, and sometimes that gets forgotten.  A teacher will teach their students a specific subject, and that is based on what is already known.  Perhaps because of this experimentalism or realistic philosophy of education, it isn’t habit to reach into a more existentialistic philosophy where learning is done with what wants to be learned and is much more free-bodied.   When it comes to life-long learning, the process of learning itself is just as important as the skills obtained.

Alvin Toffler had a great quote, which, I think, summarizes this entire process.  Applying it to the 21st century and the overall ubiquity of knowledge, it is even more important.

“The illiterate of the 20th century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who can not learn, unlearn and relearn.”

I’ve always found it gratifying when I can stop into a teachers classroom and see them doing something I never thought of.  First, it opens my mind to new applications, but also, it helps me learn the process they go through to learn, which allows me to frame things in a different light.  When they share enthusiastically with me something they have done, that is where I feel good about what I do.  Whatever the changes are to make this happen, it has to be slowly worked into an organization.  Does it make some jobs obsolete?  It shouldn’t, but it may reform some into more supervisory.  Perhaps your evaluation now has a portion that is done by a “Coordinator of Professional Growth”.  These could be the individuals that assist in your learning process as facilitators.

And this is where I ask for your feedback and thoughts.  What are some ways you think the learning process can be included in staff development?  What are some ideas you may have to make it so you are not the only person who knows how to do something?