Skillshare: Your New Favorite Website

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If Lynda.com‘s hipper, artsier younger sister and a MOOC had a baby, that baby would be Skillshare.  Skillshare’s manifesto is as follows:

“Education is what someone tells you to do. Learning is what you do for yourself.”

Sir Ken Robinson delivered a TED Talk called “Schools Kill Creativity.”  Education is a stuffy classroom with a syllabus, rules, guidelines, and assignments.  A teacher at the front of the room lectures using slides filled with bullets.  After 10 minutes, the students’ brains shut off.  Little learning actually happens.  I believe Skillshare is giving “education” a great new direction to help remedy that.  Take a look at this short video to learn more about what the folks at Skillshare are doing.

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From personal experience, I know “learning” is much better than “education.”  When I was first introduced to Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds, learning about a new way to present information lit a fire under me.  My passion for the subject lead to countless hours reading, studying, writing.  I began this blog three years ago today because of the fire I felt for learning how to communicate and present successfully in the 21st century.  I was so fired up that I decided to go back to school to pursue a second M.A. in Communication.  While my education has been wonderful, my education was designed to mold me into a researcher and scholar.  My education was not something I could apply in the real world but something that would help me on my path to a Ph.D. in Communication.  The learning I was doing on my own resulted in a practical application at my job and helped me become a better, stronger teacher and communicator.  For me, the gulf between “education” and “learning” is wider than ever.

I had the wonderful opportunity to try a class for free on Skillshare.  Seth Godin has now developed two courses: “The New Business Toolbox: Help Your New Business Do It Right The First Time” and “The Modern Marketing Workshop.”  (Skillshare, you had me at “Seth Godin!”)  I am enrolled in the latter course, and I love it.

Skillshare focuses on teaching students the way that they learn.  I’m seeing short, 10 minute video lessons combined with activities to teach software and subjects like fashion, graphic design, and painting.  With such an intense focus on courses crafted by industry leaders and a commitment to practical application in the real world, Skillshare’s biggest appeal is that it’s current, relevant, and useful.  To learn more about Skillshare, check out their website here.

Have you taken a Skillshare class yet?  Share your experience with me!

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Seth Godin’s Fail Until You Succeed

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Earlier this week, I posted a great new Slideshare deck called “By What If I Fail?” by my favorite designer JesseDee.  The video below inspired the message of JesseDee’s deck.  Watch Seth Godin discuss success and failure below:

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Godin’s concept of success and failure goes back to Carol Dweck’s growth mindset, and I love his idea that if you’re not failing, you’re not doing anything.  Failure is an essential part of learning, growing, and living.

This relates directly to public speaking and presentation because people are typically terrified that they are going to fail in front of an audience.  This fear of failure and public humiliation prevents them from taking the risk at all.  According to Godin, we MUST take appropriate risks in order to be successful.

We can overcome that risk aversion by realizing it is a part of the human experience.  We must learn to embrace the growth mindset and to see failure as a part of the process as opposed to the fixed mindset view that failure is the end, the cliff.

How do you work out failure in your mind so that you take a chance and give a speech or presentation?

“But What If I Fail?”

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When we make our resolutions and our promises for 2014, in the back of our minds, some of us ask ourselves, “But what if I fail?”

When we consider public speaking and presentation, failure is often the ONLY thing we think about.

Slideshare superstar JesseDee released a new deck today which answers that very question:

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I love this Seth Godin quote, and I love JesseDee’s simply designed slides applying the picture superiority effect to support the quote.  One of my students asked me last week what Seth Godin book to read next.  I am a huge fan of Godin, and my favorite book of his is called Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?  I highly recommend it for the new year.

What happens if you fail at one of your 2014 resolutions?  What do you do when you have a speech or presentation fail?

Seth Godin on The Superteacher

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Seth Godin has a new, free book out called Stop Stealing Dreams.  This manifesto on the current system of education reads quickly because of its organization in short, concise “chapters.”  Godin questions the purpose of school and calls us to reevaluate what we’re doing in the classroom and what the role of the teacher and the student should be in the 21st century.

Before you read Godin’s book, check out his TEDx Talk of the same name:

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After reading part of the book, I found that these two quotes stood out to me the most:

“What we do need is [a teacher] to persuade us that we want to learn [new] things, and someone to push us or encourage us or create a space where we want to learn to do them better.”

“If all the teacher is going to do is read her pre-written notes from a PowerPoint slide to a lecture hall of thirty or three hundred, perhaps she should stay home.  Not only is this a horrible disrespect to the student, it’s a complete waste of the heart and soul of the talented teacher. Teaching is no longer about delivering facts that are unavailable in any other format.”

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Being a superteacher is very closely related to being a strong 21st century presenter, and the more I study public speaking and presentation, the more I realize the two are intertwined.

To read Godin’s free text in its entirety, please click here.

Review: Poke The Box

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Seth Godin’s Poke The Box is a quick, easy read.  Unfortunately, I felt after reading it exactly as I did after finishing Tribes: unimpressed.  Though Poke The Box has many rave reviews on sites like Amazon, I think the better medium for the short 83-pager would have been a blog post… or two.

I also feel the message in Godin’s Linchpin is overall much stronger and better written.  For example, the lizard brain concept is explained and detailed so well in Linchpin that I felt the short paragraph on page 18 didn’t do the idea justice.

While I do understand the need for a short read, Poke The Box, for me, was forgettable. What did I just read?  It was meant to be uplifting and inspiring, but for those of us who already have that “Go!” drive and Type-A personality, there wasn’t much new content or material to actually learn from.  Again, this is disappointing because I learned so much from Linchpin.

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My favorite reviews of the book come from Brian of GoodReads and Guy at Amazon.com.  To be fair, there are many more positive comments about Poke The Box than negative.  For example: “If Poke the Box communicates nothing else, it presents this one message with a megaphone voice: ‘Go!’ ‘Start now.’ ‘The worst thing you can do is nothing.’ Already, I find myself arguing, since I know that just doing things without careful planning first has led to many disasters. But I keep reading because Seth is so insistent, and he has such a large tribe following him, telling me that maybe he’s worth listening to” (Source).  If you lack motivation, as many people do, this may be the book that gets you up and moving.

If you’re already satisfied with life and your domination of it, I’d suggest, especially if you are a diehard Godin fan, that you check out Poke The Box from the library.  Save your $5 to purchase Linchpin instead.

Seth Godin Interview on Linchpin

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It’s no secret that I love Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?.  It’s one of my favorite books because it relates so well to the class I teach: Professional Communication and Presentation.  Godin explains the text and the big ideas in Linchpin here:

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Have you read Linchpin yet?  Do you recommend any of Godin’s other books?