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Greg shares some things. Monthly.
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First Thoughts

I'm in education. I am constantly thinking about what to do with learning environments, instructional design, and the future of school (as a system). I know, I'm a total nerd. Part of this, of course, is thinking about the kind of world our students are heading into and even now are shaping (the rise of mobile apps, currently especially messaging/photo apps come to mind).

This month I wanted to think about the systems and structures that shape the way we do our work. Students often sit in the same seats in the same rooms next to the same kids 180 days in a row until they repeat the process all over again the next year. Is this the most effective means of learning and doing work? Are we still confined by/to a physical space? Are we trusted to get our work done? Are we assessed based purely on the quality of our work? Or are we rated based on our 'seat time' and how much time we spend at work? Below are three things to help clarify your thoughts: one book, one blog post, and one audio clip. Enjoy!

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Reader's Digest:

Remote - Office Not Required

Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson have written the definitive handbook to working remotely. Even if you can't work fully-remote, I'm willing to bet you still do work at home. Whether grading papers on a Saturday, checking email before heading to bed, or even just writing down a stray thought related to that big project you're working on, this book gives specific, practical strategies for working your best while away from the office. Also, your boss should read this. Christmas present, anyone?


Highlights: 

  • A remote workforce, under quality leadership, is more (not less) productive and more (not less) collaborative
  • A specific, structural assessment of the evolution of the modern workplace (moving away from brick-and-mortar and learning to trust employees)
  • Things to look out for (like working more hours than you normally would, thus leading to burnout)
  • Product and resource guides (!!) 

Key Quote:

“If you run your ship with the conviction that everyone’s a slacker, your employees will put all their ingenuity into proving you right.”

Here's the Amazon link to the book.

Around the Web

Batchbook

Batchbook has remote workers. And they have co-located workers. How do they manage their culture in such a way to be a great place to work and a place that does great work? As I read this article (below), I'm thinking about schools and how we often force learning to look and feel a very specific way. Some students would flourish if we let them learn in their own place, at their own pace. Others need the structure and routine of a physical building. The answer isn't one or the other, but maybe it's the flexibility to use what works best for the individual student. 


Key Quote:

"Technology should never replace human interaction. Instead, it should enable it in creative ways."  -- Read the full post here.

---
Desk as Creative Space

This short video (6 minutes) interviews various designers and creatives to ask about something as simple as, "where do you do your work?" Of course, I immediately start thinking about how we strip students of the ability to shape their desk into their own learning tool, asking them to move from room to room. (Extend analogy or line of thinking as far as you'd like. Some schools are already addressing this, too.)
 

Key Quote:

"Probably what's going to happen... the desk becomes more a state of mind, rather than an actual, physical space."  -- Watch the full video here

Worth a Listen:

The Meaning of Work - TED Radio Hour

via Tracy Clark

Why do you work? Is your work meaningful?
If it isn't, know that money and individual achievement aren't helping... Fulfillment in your job must be (and already is) tied to something else. 


Listen to the full show here. Each piece can be listened to separately or as one continuous show. See if you can follow the thread for the meaning of work.

Just for fun:

Too often, we confuse seat time for productive work time. That is, go to the office 40+ hours/week and you're a good employee. But your legacy can be cemented in much less time. Need an example? Darth Vader only has 12 minutes of screen time in Star Wars... #TheMoreYouKnow

A Small Request

If you're enjoying or getting something useful/practical out of this, would you mind sharing it with one other person? Just forward this email and they'll be all set! If you really want to up the ante, use one of the sharing links below.

THANKS!
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