lifelong learning
The 10 most valuable career skills you can acquire in your spare time
Learn these skills in your spare time to boost your resume in a meaningful way.
By Trent Hamm, The Simple Dollar
  1. SAS (Statistical Analysis System) – 6.1% premium
  2. Data mining / data warehousing – 5.1% premium
  3. Search engine marketing – 5.0% premium
  4. Data modeling
  5. Contract negotiation
  6. Software development – 4.9% premium
  7. Strategic project management – 4.4% premium
  8. Strategic planning – 4.3% premium
  9. Technical sales
  10. Customer service metrics

#TeamALA Staff Profiles

Meet Alan Inouye, Director, Office for Information Technology Policy

What do you do at ALA?

I head public policy (officially, this means the cumbersome name OITP or Office for Information Technology Policy). This means advocating for the interests of libraries at the national level with the federal government, large corporations, foundations, and other powerful and influential institutions. The work involves policy issues such as telecommunications, copyright, and public access to information, as well as those areas in which libraries serve communities—formal education, lifelong learning, research, health information, entrepreneurship, services for veterans, and so forth.

What do you love about your job?

One of the best characteristics is the enormous range of the work. It ranges from the short-term, as in drafting and editing a press release, to the very long-term as an analysis of policy needs a decade out. Libraries are relevant to nearly every agency of the federal government, large corporation, and foundation. The challenge is identifying and focusing on those areas with the greatest opportunity to make real progress.

What do you like to do outside of ALA?

For many years, I’ve supported the Embassy Series. This group hosts concerts and dinners at embassies and ambassadors’ residences in Washington, D.C. The music and food will have some connection with the host country. I’ve lost track of how many countries I have “visited” in this way (the embassies are technically part of the country’s territory), but it could approach a hundred.

What are you watching?

Well, I’m a policy guy in Washington…  True to form, I like politically-oriented movies and television. I’m going through season 4 of House of Cards. In my viewing, sometimes I wonder what is fiction and what is reality. Over the years, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish!!

anonymous asked:

Top 5 ways to improve your competence?

1. read.

2. see tons of patients.

3. read about your patients’ conditions, meds, and procedures

4. acknowledge your mistakes and use them as learning opportunities

5. read some more. read outside your area of expertise. review things that are in your comfort zone. read things that challenge your current way of practice. read critically.

Aidan Sigman ‘13 (Chicago, Illinois): education for education’s sake.

I came to Reed after attending– and being sorely disappointed by– two other colleges: New York University and the Santa Rosa Junior College. I went to NYU right after graduating from high school, expecting to find a community of students who were as excited about their education as I was. Instead, I found a community of students who were interested in college merely as a means to enter the business world, to appease their parents, to find future spouses, or as an excuse to live in Manhattan. No one I met was interested in education for education’s sake. Nor was anyone I met committed to actually engaging with their class work. Further, I found most of my professors at NYU to be cold and distant. Whenever I went to a professor’s office hours to discuss readings, problems, or further conversation related to class content, I was seen as a brown noser— someone who was speaking to them simply to improve my grade in their classes. Finally NYU was incredibly expensive. I could no longer justify taking out the massive student loans required for my attendance. So I left. I moved to California and spent a few years working off student debt and taking classes at a junior college.

Why Reed?

Taking some time off from school gave me the opportunity to reflect on what I wanted from my college education. I realized that I wanted to attend a school that taught its students to think, not a school that taught its students how to perform a job. I wanted to be surrounded by people who believed that higher education isn’t merely a means to an end, but a lifelong pursuit. I was turned on to Reed by one of my aunts, who is a regular visiting professor at the University of Chicago. I asked her if there was still a college in the United States that prioritized the life of the mind over the life of the boardroom. She responded with a few colleges, including the University of Chicago and Reed. I read through Reed’s website and fell in love. Finally, a school that treated its students like adults, a school that prioritized learning for the sake of learning.

Reed isn’t perfect, but it’s what I was looking for. I still can’t believe how lucky I am to be attending this place.



From Big Think and Robert Greene: Making connections between fields, that is where the mastery is…but you have to master the basics of the whole thing which is building discipline, being able to practice at something over a long period of time, and being able to focus. Nothing we ever invent is going to change that.

Small heads-up: the video is short and good but it is a lead-in Big Think’s new Mentor program (advertising in the YouTube video description). Get Educated doesn’t necessarily endorse this one way or another but the video is worth watching.

Project Makeover - Rebranding Unlearning

As I starting thinking about this week’s question about unlearning, one of the first things I did was look up the common definition of the word “unlearn.” According to Merriam-Webster it means “to be unable to recall or think of.” Hmm, this doesn’t sound like the concept we are talking about in the MOOC. Unlearning is supposed to be a good thing. Toffler says it is a key 21st century literacy. So I headed over to the OED and there I found “ To discard from knowledge or memory; to give up knowledge of (something).” Again, the language is so negative. How could discarding knowledge be a good thing. I think I’m starting to see why unlearning may not have been embraced on a wider scale. It needs a makeover, some rebranding.

The process that we are exploring does require us to let go of old thinking. To re-examine it. This is different from forgetting or giving up knowledge, however. In my experience it is often about giving up control. In the past we learned that knowledge was power, something to be gathered and coveted. Then along came the Internet and the amount of information available exploded and it became more important to know how to find the information than to know the information and it became vital to learn who knew or knew how to find out.

Part of letting go of control is letting go of the notion of being an expert in the old-fashioned sense of the word. We need to remain open, questioning, and curious and embrace collaboration. We need to be in a continuous state of learning. We need to embrace the beginner’s mind. Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki said: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.” The complexity of the 21st century requires us to remain agile and adaptable which is only possible if we are constantly learning.

I was working as a technical trainer during much of the transition of the 20th century to the 21st. The number of computer applications that we used in the firm I was working for was about four when I started training people. It was fairly easy to become rather masterful in each one and giving people basic job aids with checklists and reminders sufficed for most instances after conducting classroom training. But today, at that same firm, many of the people I once trained are no longer there because technology made their positions obsolete and others have seen the nature of their positions change so significantly as to be barely recognizable as the same position.

It became impossible for anyone to become expert in all of the dozens of applications that now intertwine and are part of the daily operations of the firm. It also became impossible to restrict training to the classroom. It was a great adjustment for me when I went from being a “sage on the stage” to the “guide on the side.” I had to learn a completely new skill set for the job I had had for years and transform what it meant for me to be a trainer. I had no road map. I had no one to train the trainer. What I did have was curiosity and an ability to learn on my own.

And I had the freedom to fail. I wasn’t a great online facilitator right out of the gate. Failure gave me feedback to do better. Do things differently and adjust course. I was constantly reflecting and learning. I read everything I could get my hands on. I tried to find out how others had made the transition. I let go of the idea that I could be the main expert in all of the subject matter in the courses I was running. I had to help the learners adapt to this as well. They wanted me to be the expert and just tell them the answer but I stayed on my new path. Now I have started working with others to learn how to learn in the 21st century and how to develop their own personal learning networks.

So returning to Toffler I would suggest that the word unlearning is off-putting. Learning is an additive experience, a process, a journey. It is a path that continually forks and offers different options and suggests new questions if we are prepared to move forward. While it is a matter of semantics and unlearning really just means to reconsider and try things differently, words matter and I think the term unlearning is going to have a rough go of it.

I am still considering how the wording could be better, how unlearning could be rebranded to gain wider acceptance. So far the best I have come up with is to rewrite the end of Toffler’s quote and change “learn, unlearn and relearn” to “learn, remain curious, and continue to learn.”