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  #1  
Old 06-29-2009, 10:09 PM
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Default In order to fix education - study Fleetwood Mac

Monday, June 29, 2009


I am attending the National Educational Computing Conference here in DC and went to the keynote address by Malcolm Gladwell last night. I was a fan of his after the Tipping Point. I have become a little less so in recent years – especially after reading Freakonomics and seeing a great second reason given for the reduction in NYC crime. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe anecdotal causal evidence should be suspect.

So there I was armed with a healthy dose of cynicism when Mr. Gladwell launches into a comparison of educating our children and Fleetwood Mac. Since many in the audience were from my generation, it was a good hook. The basic premise is that (he managed a quick plug of his book Outliers) we all think of Fleetwood Mac as a kind of overnight success but it took 10 years, 16 albums, many different musicians to get to that big. Note that the core group of musicians who produced the self titled album and Rumors were an overnight success. So it is a bit of a stretch from the beginning – but it was not too much of a leap.

So Mr. Gladwell states that “studies have shown” that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything and that it is almost pointless to rush that time like the 10 years for Fleetwood Mac. He then points out that on the TIMSS test (the math test where US students are horrible) there is a 120 question psychology survey at the beginning. Heinously long for any survey and most kids don’t like to finish it. Turns out that the kids that answer the most questions on the psych test are also the same kids that perform the best on the math test. His dramatic conclusion is that math isn’t about math aptitude but the patience and ability to slog through lengthy, time consuming work – 10 years just like Fleetwood Mac.

Now – his data can be questioned a bunch of different ways – but I do agree with his premise. Here in the US we have come to the “belief system” that you are either good at math or bad at math. And either way, more practice will not help. We choose to ignore the 10,000 hour rule while other countries that have gone way beyond us choose to give everyone a lot of math practice to master the concepts.

Then I got distracted for a little while because I was outside the hall in a viewing lounge and 15 different people were twittering on his talk – pretty funny to see all those computers up on twitter – half of this little audience were in full tweet.
The second lesson of Fleetwood Mac is that they didn’t really build on their initial success – they built on their failures. A capitalization strategy builds on success and a compensation strategy builds on failures. His theory is that people/groups (like Fleetwood Mac) who build on compensation strategies are much more successful. Thus we should let students fail and they will compensate by being better students. He then made it sound like only people who are dyslexic can make great CEO’s because of their compensation strategies.
Again – I kind of agree with the premise and believe that part of our problem over the last 15 years is raising the most pampered generation in history where no one can fail – everyone gets a trophy for participating and we socially promote kids that can’t read.

The final lesson from Fleetwood Mac is that they tried many different music genres before deciding on the California sound (huge leap here – they decided on that because Stevie Nicks joined the band and that is what she was good at). His conclusion is that student learning is likely a zig zag pattern and not a linear progression but all schools are set up on a linear focus.
Again – the data link is weak but the conclusion is sound. We need more individualized instruction and learning that is not structured on an archaic system but is based on the student’s ability to learn.
So I can agree with Malcolm. In order to fix student learning we need to fully analyze Fleetwood Mac - - but the leap it took to get to that conclusion was pretty lame.

http://abcte.blogspot.com/2009/06/in...ion-study.html
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:12 PM
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Monday, June 29, 2009
Day #3-Reflection of Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker for NECC 2009


Last night was the big kickoff of the NECC 2009 conference. The Opening Keynote was given by Malcolm Gladwell, whom is the author of several books that have landed in the best-seller list of the New York Times. He compared teaching to the rock band Fleetwood Mac, which was an interesting comparison, but really had no relevance to being an educator using technology. However, his point was that because of the band's perseverance, they built on their failures, not their successes.He does practice his notes well, because he spoke about the same comparison at a recent charity held this month. Charity Presentation by Malcolm

Some insightful things he said were the following:

"Success doesn't happen overnight! Sometimes it takes years."

"Effort: what you get is simply the function of what you put into it."

"Compensation strategies are better than capitalization strategies. Hunger and effort compensation strategies are better and more effective than talent."

"Failure isn't failure. It's learning."

"The struggle to learn something is where the learning lies."

"Meaningful learning is approaching a task with joy and excitement. It doesn't matter where the learning takes place, but how the learning takes place. We need to make a meaningful, learning environment."

Note: I think the presentation would have been better if he had started out with this last statement first and built upon that concept. I could have done without the Fleetwood Mac and NFL draft comparisons, especially since it had no relevance to educators and technology. Just sayin!!!!!

A tidbit of information. It was announced tonight by the ISTE president Helen Padgett that after this conference, future conferences will be referred to as the ISTE conference, not NECC conference. There is change going on everywhere these days. What does ISTE mean? International Society for Technology in Education. Did you learn something new today?

http://teachersrlearning.blogspot.co...e-speaker.html
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:23 PM
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Face-to-Face With Malcolm Gladwell at NECC 2009
Zachary Saale

The first keynote speaker of NECC 2009 was critically-acclaimed author Malcolm Gladwell. He wrote some bestselling books, such as The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. Gladwell chose a topic that seemed very special to many of the audience members, which surrounded the idea of “meaningful learning environments.” He discussed this topic in a rather unconventional manner; the popular band Fleetwood Mac served as Malcolm’s vessel in which he ferried the audience’s attention. Zach Goodwin was also on hand to live-blog the event and provide a litmus-test of the audience’s reactions.

Fleetwood Mac has always been known for its quick rise to fame after they released the album “Rumours.” This collection of songs proved to be the big ticket that this somewhat unknown band had been looking for. Gladwell told this tale, but then he made an enlightening observation: Not only had Fleetwood Mac made other albums before their self-titled “Fleetwood Mac,” and their follow-up, “Rumours;” they had produced a total of 15 previous albums.

This brought Malcolm to his first point; creating a masterpiece often takes a long time, and a great amount of work. Fleetwood Mac did not create their best-selling album on their first, or even second, try; it took 16 tries to get it right. The same applies for many of the world’s greatest artists and scholars. The pattern, as Gladwell explains it, is that it usually takes at least 10 years of experience to create a great work. The Beatles played 1200 live shows before ever becoming a big hit.

Learning and succeeding requires much more than just talent or “smarts;” it requires a great deal of work. Students who put more effort into their schoolwork generally succeed at a greater rate than those who don’t. KIPP school programs throughout the country have had great results in using the “more effort” model. Students enrolled in KIPP schools spend 60% more time in class on average than their public school counterparts.

Like Fleetwood Mac, students also need to experiment with ways of learning to find what works best for them. Strict regimental methods of teaching are ineffective, as every student is different and need to find their “groove.” Students also need to build on their weaknesses instead of their strengths; compensation will work much better than capitalization. More effort is required, thus making the student more likely to succeed, rather than slide by. Malcolm used entrepreneurs as an example; nearly 30% of all entrepreneurs were, at some point, diagnosed with a learning disability. Those disabilities forced these people to create the skills necessary to be succesfull in the business world. In place of reading and writing, different skills developed; such as communication, delegation, and problem-solving skills.

Finally, Malcolm brought all these points together with one closing lesson: Feedback is a necessary part of any successful learning environment. Timely and targeted feedback is crucial in creating an environment that nurtures meaningful learning.

http://www.isteconnects.org/2009/06/...-at-necc-2009/
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:26 PM
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The English Teacher Blog
Fleetwood Mac and Meaningful Learning
Monday, June 29th by Carla

What does the history of the 70s rock band Fleetwood Mac have to do with the future of American education?

According to Malcolm Gladwell, at least 3 things. Gladwell, author of Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, gave the opening keynote address at the NECC conference Sunday night. He used the band as a case study in what he called “meaningful learning.”

Many people don’t know that Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all time, was actually Fleetwood Mac’s 16th record. The band had been together 10 years by that time, long enough to complete an apprenticeship period and gain some maturity. They had seen good times and bad, had seen 16 members come and go. They kept working at their music, and finally they were successful.

Gladwell used that idea to illustrate his first point: “When it comes to learning, what you get is a simple function of what you put in.” A big indicator of future success is the willingness to sit still and focus on the task at hand. The belief that talent is more important than effort is, he said, “a terrible approach to learning.”

His second point focused on how people deal with failure. The first 14 albums, he said, were a rocky road for Fleetwood Mac. They indicate, however, that there are 2 ways to achieve success. In the first way, which he called “capitalization,” people become successful by building on their strengths. The second way, which he called “compensation,” is when people compensate for their weaknesses. Gladwell said that compensation is harder and it yields more failures, but when someone who compensates achieves success, it is a more powerful success.

Trying harder, he reiterated, is more important than innate ability. Compensation builds self-reliance. He encouraged the audience to have respect for the difficulties people overcome and wondered, “How can we create constructive disadvantages” in order to help students learn.

For his third point, Gladwell encouraged the audience not to confuse failing and learning. During the early years of Fleetwood Mac, not only were they improving as a band, but they were also experimenting with different styles of music. They began as a blues band and tried a couple of other styles before they came to California and developed the sound that lead to their success. A lot of trial and error was involved, but it wasn’t wasted: they were learning. “Sometimes,” he said, “the struggle to learn is where the actual learning lies.”

He closed with a challenge to educators to use their energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to make learning meaningful for students everywhere.

http://www.enotes.com/blogs/english-...gful-learning/
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:31 PM
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Sunday, June 28, 2009
NECC Sunday
Malcolm Gladwell - Author of - The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers

He doesn't talk about anything that his audience knows more about so he is talking about Fleetwood Mac. "A bunch of kids get together in a basement - there is magic and boom they become famous and rich" But that is not the reality. The formation of the band kept changing, they recorded multiple albums before they actually made it big. The band had a long history before they moved to LA and evolved into the band we know. This took about 10 years and 16 albums - it takes time to master something - this is not easy.

In Outliers he talks about 10000 hour rulem(about 4 hours / day for 10 years) for someone to achieve success. We think of prodegies but really there are many hours of hard work behind the success. What are the implications - behind learning there has to be an attitude about effort (I believe my effort is crucial to getting somewhere). It's not just about talent.

Math tests - are really about the willingness to sit still and focus - this attitude has to be communicated to students. The idea that doing well in math is based on talent is a self-defeating profesy - (i.e. working hard won't change your results). However, students who work hard, will do better.

The road for Fleetwood Mac was very rocky (members quitting, including the driving force behind the band) but they persevered. They don't succeed from success - they built on their failures. Compensation strategy - compensate for your weaknesses. When it succeeds - very powerful. Hunger plays a big role - the hunger to achieve something.

Large percentage of entrepreneurs have LD - connection between their dyslexia and success - they have learned to compensate. (The prisons are also filled with people with LD - didn't learn to compensate). They learned leadership skills - delegate (get people to read and write|) learn to talk and be persuasive, convincing, problem-solving - all skills that are part of being a successful entrepreneur.
We need to have respect for difficulty. Create constructive disadvantages in learning environments? Learn compensating strategies

Fleetwood Mac - over the course of their early albums - get better and better; they experiment with the kind of band they want to be. Trial and error to see what kind of music their talents were best suited for.

Experimental innovator - find their way to genius through a path of trial and error. For example - Cezanne was in his 50s before he reached the apotheosis of his career - needed a long period of experimentation. Feedback - timely and targeted is important to growth and success (e.g. Pisarro and Cezanne - Cezanne was learning from the master and getting feedback).

Preconditions to approach learning. Challenge - to use energy and enthusiasm and creativity to make learning environment as meaningful as possible.

http://susanvg.blogspot.com/2009/06/necc-sunday.html
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:36 PM
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NECC Conference
June 29, 2009 —

Last night, the formal portion of the NECC Conference kicked off in the ballroom at the Washington Conference Centre. The keynote address was given by Malcolm Gladwell. I had been waiting for some time in anticipation of this presentation.

As a presenter, I’ve often wondered how you prepare and deliver a keynote to an audience this size. There were thousands of us in the the ballroom, there was an overflow room, the Twitterverse was alive, and the presentation is being covered via a live blog. So, every nuance in your presentation will be covered and will be commented on within seconds of it happening.

So, what is the message that you deliver to such an audience? We’re all sitting in the audience, all armed with our SMART pointers, chomping at the bit ready to be motivated.

The presentation was delivered in story telling format. Alone on the stage, with a handful of notes, Mr. Gladwell gave reference to the success of Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles. In so doing, he draws in his “10,000 hours in order to master” theory. He takes us through the math and it equates to 10 years. Interesting. In context of this audience, I wonder what people were doing with technology 10 years ago. Maybe a walk through the historical exhibit is in order for them. Looking at some of the younger teachers, I wonder if they thought that Fleetwood Mac came before the iMac in the Apple product line!

Obviously, the 10 years analogy just doesn’t cut it when you’re talking about the actual technology. But, let’s forget that we’re not talking about technology; let’s focus on teaching. When do would-be teachers leave the profession? Generally, it’s in the first few years of teaching. How long does it take to get to the top of the pay grid? In our case, it’s 11 years.

The goal of a good keynote speaker should be to leave the audience musing about things with an eye towards change and/or improvement. For me, it boiled down to two points that I have honestly been mulling over in my mind.

The first is that success comes from hard work and not some sort of built-in ability. We keep circling back to Fleetwood Mac and that “Rumours” was not one of their first efforts. It affirms the message that parents and teachers have given us for years. In his speech, Gladwell draws evidence from success on Mathematics tests and IQ tests for football quarterbacks.

The second message is one of confidence. This, I found, particulary interesting. The message was that often confidence outpaces the actual skill. As an example of this, he led us to the recent events with the banking industry. As he’s talking about this, I’m flipping through the comments coming from Twitter on my iPod. There were negative comments flying about the content of the entire speech and I can’t help but think that he’s right on.

The comments, it seems to me, should be thoughtful at first and then embraced or discarded. However, if your confidence is truly exceeding your skills, the kneejerk reaction is to immediately turn off and make derogatory comments. I saw some of that and was disappointed.

The closing was perfect. There’s a panel discussion later in the conference about bricks and mortar. Gladwell beat all of the panelists to the punch with what we know will be the realistic answer to this debate “It doesn’t make a difference where, but how learning takes place.”

It would have been perfect to have us exit the hall for our cupcakes to the sound of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow.”

I am. Gladwell did his job as a keynote – I’m thinking. What more could I ask for?

http://dougpete.wordpress.com/2009/0...cc-conference/
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:49 PM
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Well that was one big, long, MacNugget, if I do say so myself.

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Old 06-30-2009, 11:32 AM
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To support the speaker's point, Lindsey Buckingham's devoted guitar practice was fundamental, as well as Mick's unending determination.
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