10 Aug 2017
Goals are important right? To be successful we need to know what success means.
Defining goals within an organisation is difficult, because goals need to be aligned with strategy. But they also need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic and Time-Based) right?
There are also different types of goals that you could have…
- Are your goals based around an outcome? Like for example hitting a 40% app retention rate.
- Maybe they are performance goals? Like delivering all of the scope on budget and within the time frame.
- Are they based on processes? Like ensuring quality code, collaborating with customers or maybe continuous delivery.
There are trade offs in all of this though. It is easy to link outcome based goals to strategy, but hard to see and plan exactly how they will be achieved. Process goals are focused, but they may fail to motivate, would you rather celebrate an extra 3% code coverage or being 20% up on app usage?
How do you set your goals?
03 Jul 2017
Recently I had the honour of attending the annual NZTech Education Technology Summit on behalf of Codeclub Aotearoa.
The summit is a gathering of educators, digital leaders, technologists and innovators. And the purpose is to share expertise and insights on education. There were two streams that ran over the two days, one on Tech and Pedagogy, and the other on Edtech for Export. My focus was on the Tech and Pedogogy, I hoped I could pick up insights for my Codeclub.
And I got some pretty awesome takeaways that I would like to share. The first was the way in which classrooms and the methods of teaching are changing. I kind of wish I was back at school. It was also cool to see the skills, values and content they are teaching. There is a far bigger push to teach the skills like adapability and autonomy that will help them in the future.
Teaching is changing…
And it’s about time, for a long time a teacher stands at the front of the class with rows of desks perfectly arranged. I heard from Nikki Urlich about the ILE (Innovative Learning Environment) they have set up at Campbell’s Bay School. Where the teaching is actually student led.
She talked about students that at the start of a week would go and pick their own learning objectives. Of course some Maths and Literacy is mandatory, but the students have free reign to plan their week. Some like to work with a friend on something fun in the beginning to brighten their Monday. While others will try to slog through the tough ones early to free themselves up later in the week.
In Nikki’s classrooms the teachers act as facilitators. They draw conversation out of students and remove blockers to help students get on with their autodidacticism. The students have a wealth of learning material and utilise tools like Khan Academy, Mathletics and Literacy Shed. The students just provide some evidence of their learning and they can move onto their next challenge.
Preparing the next generation for something that doesn’t yet exist
Right now we are in a time of rapid change and crazy growth. There was a lot of discussion about how to best prepare students for what is ahead. More than 65% of todays children will work in jobs that are yet to be created.
Nick Pattison at Kauri Flats School is preparing for this by teaching real world skills. The students at Kauri Flats turn their learning objectives into projects for the community. They use design thinking to work with their community and iterate to make something that can add value.
These students learn to empathise and define their customers needs. Then use those insights to ideate, prototype and test their ideas. It is important to teach that their is success in failure. You can’t expect to get it right on the first try. And that every failure is a crucial lesson that they learn through first hand experience. Practical knowledge of Stanford’s Design Thinking is sort after in the job market today. These kids half my age have a better looking CV than I do.
I don’t know if it was my rose tinted lenses or something else. But everything people were saying was “Agile, we need more Agile”. And I’m not saying that it is the solution to everything. But pretty much everyone there was saying something like “Technology alone won’t solve the problems in the classroom”.
Thanks for reading.
21 May 2017
One month ago today I received a 3D printer, it was something I have been wanting for ages and I researched a great deal before ordering it.
What I learned
- Bed adhesion and first layer is everything. If the first layer that goes down isn’t sticking then the print will fail, there is very little chance of recovery.
- Finishing processes in the world of 3d printing can make things look production like if you put the effort in. Techniques like acetone smoothing or simply lots of sanding can go a long way, and some nice paint will make things look super great.
- The limitations in 3D printing inspire a lot of creativity. I could write a whole blog post on this itself.
What surprised me
- I have been printing for weeks now and I still don’t think that I have fully grasped the infiniteness of 3d printing possibilities. Every time I go on reddit there is something crazy being done with 3d printing, whether it be building fullsize houses or making mouse ovaries.
- Designing mechanical parts isn’t terribly difficult, if you can take measurements you can make things that will fit into other things. Tools like Fusion360 and Tinkercad make designing parts incredibly accessible.
Where am I at
On May 9th my 3d printer would not print, I am writing on May 21st and there has still be no resolution. So I ordered another 3d printer because I have got the bug and can’t stop.
I have printed some seriously cool things in my short 2 weeks.
I made a 3d bust of myself for my boss who recently left the company I work at.
These first two were done using the camera on my phone and using some photogrammetry software called regard3d, however my lighting was pretty poor and the software could only map the front of the model.
There were quite a few iterations and wasted plastic, but I am so happy with the final one.
It was scanned using kscan3d and an xbox360 kinect, then I shaped the resulting model into a bust. Then I printed it in natural PLA and spent copius hours sanding and painting.
I printed a Buddha that my girlfriend painted and used to make a terrarium for her mum.
I have also been making bits and pieces for a custom keyboard build I am working on.
And I have designed a slot together terrarium that uses glass inserts. This will need to be glued together though so that it is water tight.
What is next
My queue of things to print is growing rapidly.
- I am desperately seeking costume parties to attend so that I can 3d print cool props.
- I also have an idea for a terrarium using tanks from WoT (World of Tanks) for a friend.
- My workshop (read bedroom) is steadily growing out of control, so the first thing I print is likely going to be some clips, hooks and shelves for storing tools and what not.