Still undecided on your 2016 New Year’s resolution? Make a resolution to learn!

We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This, however, is a myth, according to an article in Forbes Magazine. When it comes down to it, it takes sacrifice and commitment to reach success with forming habits, which cannot happen in a matter of days.

This theory can also apply to your New Year’s resolution. Have you thought about what your New Year’s resolution might be? It doesn’t need to be driven by numbers or statistics (i.e. Lose 15 pounds, or Save $2,000). Why not make it your resolution to learn something new every day?

Whether it takes 21 days or not, make it a habit to build up your personal and professional development on a daily basis. Lifelong learning is a critical skill that we should all try to not only foster in students, but also in our own lives.

And, since 2016 has officially arrived, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite resources together in the Atomic Learning 12 Days of Learning to get you started. Need more ideas? Simply log into your Atomic Learning account using your institution’s method of access and utilize the ‘Discover’ tab to see some of the latest and greatest learning resources now available.

Happy New Year from Atomic Learning!

Safety Tip: Identifying a Threat Beyond Stereotypes

Safety is becoming an increasingly critical topic at schools, colleges, and universities across the country. This tip on how to identify a threat beyond stereotypes could save your life, and is worth watching!

 

Empower individuals with the skills needed to take ownership of their own safety—now, in college, and beyond—with a specialized online student safety awareness and prevention program focused on ensuring learners know how to trust their instincts, increase their observation skills, and develop an action plan for when faced with potential threats.

Interested in preparing your faculty, staff, and students with Real World Safety skills? Learn more.

More lifesaving tips:
The Right Way to Defend Yourself with Keys

A Night Vision Tactic Learned from Pirates

Safety Tip: A Night Vision Tactic Learned from Pirates

Safety is becoming an increasingly critical topic at schools, colleges, and universities across the country. This tip on using your own natural night vision could save your life, and is worth watching!

 

Empower individuals with the skills needed to take ownership of their own safety—now, in college, and beyond—with a specialized online student safety awareness and prevention program focused on ensuring learners know how to trust their instincts, increase their observation skills, and develop an action plan for when faced with potential threats.

Safety Tip: The Right Way to Defend Yourself with Keys

Safety is becoming an increasingly critical topic at schools, colleges, and universities across the country. This tip on correctly defending yourself with your keys could save your life, and is worth watching!

 

Empower individuals with the skills needed to take ownership of their own safety—now, in college, and beyond—with a specialized online student safety awareness and prevention program focused on ensuring learners know how to trust their instincts, increase their observation skills, and develop an action plan for when faced with potential threats.

12 Days Until the end of the Year – Make them Count!

With the holidays fast approaching and the year coming to a close, it can be hard to find time for professional development. We’ve made it easy for you to get the most out of the last 12 days of 2015!

Take a look at these twelve, quick and helpful articles on critical topics facing education.  Whether you read one-a-day or take them in all at once is entirely up-to-you.

12 Ideas to Foster Your Own Lifelong Learning

Investing in your own learning is the perfect gift to give yourself this holiday season.  Here are 12 ideas to get you started:

  1. Follow subject-matter experts and thought leaders on twitter such as:
    @AngelaMaiers, @gcouros, @joshmkim, @mcleod,@patrickmlarkin,
    @willrich45, @justintarte, and/or @DrBruceJ
     
  2. Find a blog—and keep up with it.  Lots of the thought leaders on twitter, like George Couros, regularly write though-provoking posts that are well worth a read. Pick a few from the top Higher Ed blogs lists from EdTech Magazine. 
     
  3. Sign up for a newsletter that appeals to you.  We're avid readers of Education Dive's Higher Ed newsletter and Inside Higher Ed.
     
  4. Subscribe to an education magazine (several are free!) such as University Business, Tech & Learning, THE Journal, EdWeek or The Chronicle.
     
  5. Get professional development tips and insights sent to your inbox.  Sign up for Atomic Learning's newsletter at www.AtomicLearning.com/newsletter.
     
  6. Check out a Twitter chat.  There's truly one for every education topic and every time of day. The Twitter education chat schedule is at https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-official-list.
     
  7. Network with educators and thought leaders in person at a national or regional conference. If getting away isn't in the plan, some conferences offer a virtual attendee option, including EDUCAUSE and ISTE.
     
  8. Build skills for self-improvement through Atomic Learning.  Here are a few to start with:
  9. Start a Faculty Learning Community in your school. Check out what Miami University is doing with FLC's to get you started.
     
  10. Take a bold step and present at a conference.  You’ll learn an amazing amount from the process and the attendee interaction. 
     
  11. Become a better digital researcher through the Literacy: Reimagined series on Atomic Learning.
     
  12. Be inspired through a TED Talk!  One that we hope every educator checks out is the YOU MATTER talk from Angela Maiers.  We believe in it so much that we partnered with Angela to create a series on the topic.
     

HAPPY LEARNING!

Don’t have access to Atomic Learning? Request information on how you and your entire campus can access these course and hundreds of others focused on college- and career-readiness, shifting instructional approaches, and other highly-relevant topics.

11 Lessons on Creating Better Presentations (from the late Steve Jobs)

Whether or not you’re a fan of Apple, it’s an undisputed truth that the late Steve Jobs was a great presenter and talented corporate storyteller. A Forbes article summarizes eleven techniques that Jobs utilized during the launch of the first generation iPhone—all of which are still valuable approaches for presentations today:

Express your passion.
Steve Jobs was passionate about design, he absolutely loved his new product, and he wore his enthusiasm on his black-mock sleeve. “It looks pretty doggone gorgeous,” he said with a big smile after showing the iPhone for the first time. Jobs often used words such as “cool,” “amazing,” or “gorgeous” because he believed it. Your audience is giving you permission to show enthusiasm. If you’re not excited about your idea, nobody else will be.

Create a Twitter-friendly headline.
Jobs used a technique I’ve labeled the “Twitter-friendly headline,” a one-sentence summary of a product that perfectly captured the main message he wished to deliver. Shortly after showing the new phone, Jobs proudly proclaimed, “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.” The headline, “Apple reinvents the phone” was the only sentence on the slide. He repeated the headline several times during the presentation. A Google search for the phrase turns up about 25,000 links, most of which are directly from articles and blog posts covering the launch presentation.

Stick to the rule of three.
Jobs instinctively understood that the number “3” is one of the most powerful numbers in communications. A list of 3 things is more intriguing than 2 and far easier to remember than 22. Jobs divided his iPhone presentation into three sections. He spoke about the iPod functions of the new iPhone, the phone itself, and connecting to the Internet. Jobs even had some fun with three. He stepped on stage and said, “Today we are introducing three revolutionary products. The first, a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second, is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.” As the audience applauded, Jobs repeated the three ‘products’ several times. Finally he said, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, they are one device and we are calling it iPhone!”

Introduce a villain.
All great stories have a hero and a villain. A Steve Jobs presentation was no exception. In 2007, why did the world need another mobile phone, especially from Apple? Jobs set up the narrative by introducing a villain—a problem in need of a solution: “Regular cell phones are not so smart and they are not so easy to use. Smartphones are a little smarter, but are harder to use. They are really complicated…we want to make a leapfrog product, way smarter than any mobile device has ever been and super easy to use. This is what iPhone is.”

Sell the benefit.
After expanding on the villain (the problem), Jobs introduced the hero (the benefit). The benefit included the new user multi-touch user interface. According to Jobs, “It works like magic. You don’t need a stylus. It’s far more accurate than any touch display that’s ever been shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It’s super smart. You can do multi-finger gestures on it. And boy have we patented it.”

Build simple, visual slides.
The average PowerPoint slide has forty words. In the first three minutes of Steve Jobs’ iPhone presentation, he uses a grand total of nineteen words (twenty-one if you include dates). Those words are also distributed across about twelve slides…

Tell stories.
Before Jobs revealed the new phone, he spent a moment to review the history of Apple, telling a story that built up to the big event. “In 1984, Apple introduced the first Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple. It changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod. It didn’t just change the way we all listen to music. It changed the entire music industry.” Stories can be brand stories, customer stories, or personal ones. In one very funny moment, Jobs’ clicker failed to advance the slides. After a few seconds of trying to fix it, he paused and told a short story of a how he and Steve Wozniak used to pull pranks on students at Wozniak’s college dorm. Woz had invented a device that jammed TV signals and they used it to tease students when they were watching Star Trek. It brought some levity to the keynote, the problem was fixed, and Jobs effortlessly moved along.

Prepare and practice excessively.
The clicker snafu that I just described teaches another great lesson for all presenters. Jobs casually laughed off the glitch, told a story, and got back to his presentation when his team resolved the issue. He never missed a beat and certainly didn’t get flustered. Jobs was legendary for his preparation. He would rehearse on stage for many hours over many weeks prior to the launch of a major product. He knew every detail of every demo and every font on every slide. As a result the presentation was delivered flawlessly. People often tell me, “I’m not as smooth as Jobs was.” Well, neither was he! Hours and hours of practice made Jobs look polished, casual, and effortless.

Avoid reading from notes.
The introduction of the iPhone lasted about 80 minutes. Not once did Jobs read from a teleprompter or notecards. He had internalized the content so well that he didn’t need notes. During the demos, however, he did have a very short list of bullet points hidden from the audience’s view. Those bullets served as reminders and they were the only notes he relied upon.

Have fun.
When Jobs first told the audience that Apple was going to introduce a mobile phone he said, “Here it is.” Instead of showing the iPhone, the slide displayed a photo of an iPod with an old-fashioned rotary dial on it. The audience got a kick out of it, laughing and clapping. They had been played and Jobs was enjoying their reaction. There were many funny moments, including a crank call. Jobs was demonstrating the maps feature to show how easy it was to find a location and call the number. He found a Starbucks nearby and called it. A woman picked up the phone and said, “Good morning, Starbucks. How can I help you?” Jobs said, “I’d like to order 4,000 lattes to go, please. No, just kidding. Wrong number. Bye bye.” The audience loved it…

Inspire your audience.
Jobs liked to end his keynotes with something uplifting and inspiring. At the end of the iPhone presentation he said, “I didn’t sleep a wink last night. I’ve been so excited about today…There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ We’ve always tried to do that at Apple since the very, very beginning. And we always will.

10-80-10: A Model for Leading Change

The 10/80/10 model (or rule) is a theory of leadership that addresses group dynamics, and, though the theory originated in the corporate world, it is highly relevant in education as well. In the model, all the people in an institution fall into three distinct areas, with the vast majority (80%) falling into a central neutral zone, with the remaining 20% splitting equally between those that will readily embrace a change and those that protest any deviation from the norm.

Anytime that leadership must guide and transition individuals through change, such as adoption of a new technology or a shift toward an online learning environment, these groups quickly come into focus. To better explain this, let’s look at each segment individually.

Positive 10%
These are the people that go above and beyond. If they weren’t the ones to push for change in the first place, they are the early adopters who, once you give them the tools (or they find them on their own) they’ll get straight to work. This group typically likes to try out new things, and is often willing to share their success.

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