While I wait…

While I wait…
Faith Popcorn's Brain Reserve
Faith Popcorn’s Brain Reserve

Well, while I wait and prepare for a phone interview this morning, I zipped over to Faith Popcorn’s site, Brain Reserve.  I use Popcorn’s site both in my understanding of current trends and issues, as well as within the classroom.  I am all about the future and like the game of anticipation.  I love examining what is trending, what is going to happen, even predict the future, especially with technology.  But to know how technology is going to change or expound our dynamic world, you need to know what is going on out there; how people are changing.  That means trawling for information, dissecting the mass of words and envisioning, visualizing, what is going on.

Faith is predicting that women are on the cusp of cultural authority.  That they are again, stepping out of the shadows and taking the reins of most decision-making.  Hasn’t that always been the case, but were behind the gossamer veil that is the shoulders of most men.  Women were the silent child, eyes narrowed, always looking for the nuances of the world and stepping forward at critical times.  Now, even more so, we are exerting our voice, in better way than the feminist revolution of the late 60’s and 70’s.  We are exerting our brain power.

I agree and disagree with Faith on certain aspects. I know we are on a precipice of change, and we are exerting a great deal of energy fighting against the tide.  I have been at this precipice since 2003 or earlier, looking over into the differing shades of the abyss, or back at those that are behind me.  Technology has been a major player, a companion beside me.  The medium is prompting questions, making suggestions, and gritting its bytes for us to see potential and make the leap.  The early explorers (visions of the Life Cycle) have already leapt out over the edge and are navigating through the next generation.  Those active involvers that are still immersed in old technologies, are feeling the fingers tickling at their psyche’s to ditched the old and return to that fun first stage; throw caution to the wind and fly.  And those reaching the pinnacle and/or stagnating, afraid of what is coming, need to ask the question, that many do not ask themselves, “What are you afraid of?”

This could harken back to self-identity and self-awareness.  That there are those unwilling to even think about the opportunities and possibilities of the future because of the loss of something innate or even traditional.  But what is tradition?  Maybe the definition of tradition, the authentic needs to change.  Maybe it is not about the people, but about the action?  For instance, I had dinner yesterday with my Greek family.  We had a traditional dish of gravy meat and Greek noodles, called Stifado (I think).   The stew, much like my own mother’s ‘golfer’s stew’, had at its bedrock in wine, cinnamon and the cooking process.  I enjoyed it immensely and made sure I thanked the cook, several times.  At the end of the meal we had a traditional talk as the grandkids, nieces and nephew went on their way to play.  At one point, recipes were compared or I should say finished dishes.  What I am getting at, is this is a traditional dish.  Culture exists in its varied forms, and conveyed in different styles.  A simple recipe card passed down from one family to another is a tradition.  We don’t necessarily have to have the same customs present.  The dish is the tradition.  The act of sitting around that table is a tradition.  We don’t lose our identity with change.  As Darwin, expounds, we adapt, we overcome and we persevere.

If we jump off that precipice that is looming on the horizon, that edge that we are inching closer too, what are we afraid of losing, giving up, or see disappear?  Are we not ourselves, made better?  Are we not captains of that adventure, that journey that can control and not, the internal and external forces that push and pull at us?  We cannot be afraid of change.  We may balk at its first steps, but at one point, we need to turn the light on and throw caution to the wind.

 

What about tomorrow….

What about tomorrow….

I just got back from ICHRIE in St. Louis, MO and technology was a big part of the conference.  I found one video that encapsulates what I have been telling my lodging students for the past 7 years here at Eastern.  As well as the students I had in Glasgow.  Technology will enable us to greater proficiency, effectiveness and efficiency.  Traditional values will return, evolved into a higher art form.  Personalized service will take on greater depth with the application and integration of technology applications, both platforms and software.  We will not be tied to a machine, to one place.  Marshall McLuhan’s postulate that ‘technology will be an extension of ourselves’ will be realized.

In one of the novels I have just finished, technology is one of the support characters and plays an important role in catching the bad guy.  One line I wrote:

The movement of his eyes had the document scroll upward so he had uninterrupted viewing.

The hero has set his SMART phone down on a sink and has projected his emails up onto the mirror above the vanity.  He uses his eyes to scroll through his messages as he hastily scans the information.  His cousin has developed this app that highlights key words so the hero’s brain can process the information faster, filling in the blanks and leaving him with no question about what is said.  It is taking the acronyms used in texting to a new level, utilizing the power of the brain to formulate patterns of decisive thought using the visual dexterity that it is capable of.  These thoughts of mine are based on Human-Computer Interaction theory.

The future of technology and innovation
The future of technology and innovation

I really feel that the next few years will see an exponential growth of interfacing our day-to-day activities, physical and psychological, with that of machines.  Design and use will be more transparent given cultural specifics.  We will truly extend our abilities, capabilities by extending ourselves into our environments.  We will be linked physically into our environments, physical, natural, economic and social even more so.

Do I see a future as portrayed in movies such as iRobot?  Will the machine become more?  Yes, I do see it becoming more and I do see a time when the machine will have a brain.  Independent thought, yes.  Will they become a new species?  A new culture?  Sure.  When, I can’t pinpoint an exact moment.  But we are all evolving, immersing ourselves within this new cultural environment.

More later….

Addressing technology and education

Addressing technology and education
Technology
Examining technology and innovative culture–close up.

So as I await and prepare for an interview, I am thinking about technology and education. I strive to create within my classroom an innovative culture, where the students utilize several tools, techniques and traditional forms of technology to extend their book learning or foundations. The digital natives of today need to become proficient in collaboration, communication, and critical/creative thinking. I have probably blogged about this before, but I am revisiting this map with this interview in mind, my upcoming conference and several thoughts rolling through my mind.

I spent some time with my co-presenter while attending the National Restaurant Show and we had a rather heated debate about our forthcoming presentation.  He suggested a book to read, Generation on a Tightrope: A portrait of today’s college student.  I purchased the Kindle edition and started to read not soon after.  And I have to admit, given the understanding that it takes such a book at least three years in development and publication…well, I’m not sure…outdated seems the wrong word, insightful, sure; enlightening, no; helpful, jury’s still out.

I knew when I started into a true role as an educator, from my own personal experience within industry, there have always been problems faced by college students.  (I raise my hand with pride here, freely admit to being lumped in with everyone else.) We all need to have the initiative to attain to a higher level of collaboration, especially in such a diverse universe.  My education abroad opened my eyes to the need for understanding diplomacy and culture, even more so than what I thought before.

Communication must be constantly worked and re-engineered to become proficient at all forms.  Especially the written form.  This is has, I should say, been my hardest crux of my time in academic. Motivating my students to tackle writing, and not just writing for the sake of writing.  Critical and creative writing that conveys important thoughts and analysis to those requesting information.  Day two, after going over the syllabus and assignments, I dive into explaining why I do not conform to the tradition modes of multiple choice and true/false tests.  I can hear the groans now.  I simply state, because you will be required, out there in the real world to demonstrate your ability to effectively and efficiently communicate to your bosses about the current state of affairs of the business.  How do I know if you have learned anything unless you communicate through analysis and rigorous dissection of material and application your depth of knowledge and understanding as it applies to the material and your current state of awareness?

Nose dive right into the trenches from that point on.  Sometimes, I wonder if we shouldn’t hang the old traditional form of the syllabus out to dry and utilize some other tool to communicate need, direction, and expectations.  Is there another tool, technique, technology to deliver on the aforementioned areas?  Umm…

I have put forth and discuss my business environment:

A snippet of a bigger picture
Mind-map of business environment, main drivers information, promises, money both tangible and intangible

Proceeded to tell them that analysis, application and adaptation of the dynamic form could answer most of their questions, if they can synthesis each level of the form and evaluate to each guest and business contact point. This form could answer 75%-80% of their essays.

I even take a class period to explain mind mapping and the use of the tool in gaining greater awareness of what they are studying. So, students are one step ahead, or I hope.

Yet, I have to now address the educator. And I am having a hard time reconciling my thoughts to the task at hand. I’ve hit a brick wall, and realize that maybe, instead of examining the digital native, as in Levine and Dean’s book, we should also address one specifically for the educator. Maybe I am barking up the wrong tree. Maybe I am thinking too much. I have to let my thoughts coalesce and incubate for a while.

Mapped out the Dragon Fly Effect for upcoming conference

Mapped out the Dragon Fly Effect for upcoming conference
Dragonfly-Effect-and-the-Four-Pillars-of-Social-Media
Dragonfly-Effect-and-the-Four-Pillars-of-Social-Media

Presenting on multi-media and hyper-media use in the classroom at the Educational Academy at ICHRIE in St. Louis, MO this July and so, as per my usual, had to map out my ideas for creating an innovative culture. This mind map addressed the three prong approach of collaboration, communication and critical/creative thinking.  Wish me luck!

Crisis Management and Boston

Crisis Management and Boston
Crisis Management
Thinking about Boston and how to utilize in class

This past Monday’s tragic events at the Boston Marathon is a teachable moment for a host of classes. I covered crisis management in my lodging class just last week. I show the video Hotel Ground Zerohandout a case study on the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry in Washington, DC that was conducted by Georgetown University, after 9/11 and then, incorporate one aspect in their final assignment.  This assignment is constructing a job description and inserting five strategies that individual will be responsible in case of an emergency.

I wish I could do more in the limited time.  I have less than a week to educate the students to this important topic as I could spend a whole semester or more on the dynamic nature.  Since Tuesday morning was the first moment after the attack and we were discussing Event Planning, I was able to incorporate it into my Introduction class.  I showed the video again and then some video about the events.  Today, we discussed about event planning, the role and responsibility of event planners–typical intro information and then got intricate with the events happening around us.  My biggest question to them was how will our industry change  now?  How will this niche of the industry change?  How will event planners have to change to accommodate this incident.  Needless to say, we had a great discussion.

So the mind map is in its initial form from our discussion.  Now to do a bit of research…

Don’t throw the bath water out just yet…

Don’t throw the bath water out just yet…
Innovative culture part of the bigger mind map
Innovative culture part of the bigger mind map

Signed up for a course in the fall from the free database at Coursera called Creativity, Innovation and Change.  I am a stickler for innovation.  A friend and co-worker commented the other day about my use of mind-mapping that she had never heard of it before I arrived at my current local, job.  I am  not surprised by this, not many do use visual methods to solve problems.  I have always been a visual thinker and my parents can attest to that, having sneaked a box of crayons into my cot when I was a wee lassie and went Picasso all over my sheets.

I am envious, jealous, irritated, frustrated and astounded by the various forms of innovative techniques out there.  Again, choice I think has something to do with it.  I revert back to Marshall Mcluhan and Joseph Campbell when my brain goes into overload and is on the verge of ‘cracking’ as I call it.  That moment where you have a million thoughts going through your head and ‘bam’, like the computer, on overload, freezes and reboots.  I just can’t extract any more information or possible solutions without some means of shut down or stepping away, letting the thoughts incubate.

Maybe I should call it ‘fracking’?  I know the word is used by petroleum engineers to illustrate how water or fluids are forced into fissures in rocks to open them up further to extract oil and natural gas.  But think about it, are we not using innovation to open the cracks in the mind to allow for cognitive and reflective thought to illuminate various answers to problems.  If we want to be proactive in our thoughts about potential problems, would fracking be better term.  Does fracking have to be solely used by engineers?  This harkens back to my students and engaging them with the information that I know is embedded in their minds from four years of university.  How do I tap into those brain cells and open them up so that they can articulate their knowledge?

How do I challenge, push them to their limits to put to the test what they have gained?  I can see it in a few; how some have gone from a limited awareness to a greater awareness and employ that knowledge in written assignments.  But still, I need them to execute that knowledge.  Hence, frustration and irritation in myself.  “God, grant me patience but hurry.”

Another reasons why I have them examine my ‘Big Mind Map‘ and offer up their opinions.  I ask them if they can see the relationships?  Can they see the interplay of subject matter?  How can they use their own creativity to address problems that would slow down or create stagnation within the business environment?  It is not just about book learning, but about them going further, farther in their interpretation and application.  Why I have told them about this free course.

I want to, for a better word, push them over that precipice into a newer realm of thinking.

Podcast: The Business Environment

Podcast:  The Business Environment

Podcast: The Business Envirnoment

The Business Environment Podcast from B. A. Pudliner on Vimeo.

Podcast of lecture on the Business Environment

is a podcast about the business environment that I made back in 2008 for my classes.  To follow along, download the Powerpoint:  Podcast Powerpoint for business environment .

Transcript for Business Environment Podcast