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Archive for November, 2008

My dad in France on a recent trip

November 28, 2008 Leave a comment

My dad sorting it all out with his cronies in Morgat

My dad sorting it all out with his cronies in Morgat

Categories: Creativity, family, Teaching Tags: , ,

Educational excellence in the Information Age

November 26, 2008 1 comment

What is needed?

What is needed?

As we look at curriculum as part of our annual review, we have to consider how do we accomodate as much flexibility as possible for students and instriuctors (with their variety of interests, expereinces, and needs) and the institutional requirement to have field grade officers competent at some level with managing the existing system.

What’s the trade off between educating on “systems as designed /operating” and “system as could/should be?” How much autonomy are we really giving students to design the educational experience they need?  We trust our officers with the security of the nation and the lives of our children, so why don’t they have more voice in their education?  This line of reasoning leads you to more electivess and more offerings, and let the market decide what is working.

Dr Chris Paparone’s thoughts in these areas are essential considerations for us as we design curriculum.  He in particular challenges us to question our reliance on science and scientism, systems engineering and quantitative approaches, and to engage critically with our own biases and metaphors in the construction of knowledge. These are non-trivial issues. I encourage you to reflect on his writings in Military Review and Army Logistician as well as his initial commentary in this blog.

One size fits all education isn’t education at all, but indoctrination. And how do we break the industrual age model which has identical “correct” curriculum being taught identically in identical rooms of homogenous staff groups? Ho do we get people up and out of their boxes to engage in dialoguie between staff groups and with the faculy at large, in settings that challenge our comfort zones?

Systems models for classroom learning

November 26, 2008 2 comments

I had an opportunity to spend quality time with Mark Prensky, examining the utility of the educational value of games. He made an excellent point that games designed by teachers to be educational are extremely boring when compared with commercially available educational games. It’s as if our children can sense that the teacher’s games are good for them, which eliminates any desire to play them. I strongly recommend you read his book  “Don’t bother me mom, I’m learning” available at Amazon.

In a recent force management class examining Planning, Programming, Budgeting, Execution (PPBE) the class and I developed a systems dynamics model for the Chief of Staff of the Army’s decision-making cycle. We wanted to understand collectively the kinds of decisions he made, and the information he required to make those decisions when competing against a thinking, adapting enemy and constrained by a world of uncertainty.  Using a whiteboard and based on our preparatory readings, we quickly sketched out the logic model for a Chief of Staff of the Army decision game which you see posted below.

Chief of Staff, Army decision model

Chief of Staff, Army decision model

This generated a lot of discussion and mutual understanding. It is an example of the kind of interactive practical exercise that a small group can use to create community knowledge and bring to life an interest to dry material. I strongly recommend the technique, when feasible. It develops the visualization skills that our leaders need to see and then describe the next end state in support of JOPP and MDMP.

We met the lessons terminal learning objectives and we learned a few other things along the way, namely:

  1. Games are a lot more fun than lecture.
  2. Systems dynamics models are excellent tools for communicating group understanding.
  3. The delay between information and action, and between action and results was an important feature of the model, contributing a lot to the dymaics and uncertainty
  4. The fact that the enemy was thinking and adaptive, and capable of deception put a premium of flexibility, robust sensing and information
  5. The absence of clut and dried, reliable cause and effect made us aware of the need for alternative points of view and caution
  6. We created learning that lasted, as evidenced by our ability to reference the process model and later classes.
  7. Systems models when converted into simulations, allow managers and leaders to practice decision-making under conditions of uncertainty.
  8. Student after action review comments rated this lesson as one of the best in the entire series because of its interactivity and effectiveness and communicating important information.

I am currently searching for a programmer who can take the process model as outlined in turn that into a web-based individual game that could be played at home or on the web as preparation for this lesson. The concept will be similar to that of the beer game, which is a systems dynamics model that illustrates the complexity of managing a multi-note supply chain. This is been used effectively at MIT in the Army war College already. If you’re interested in that game, you can google it up as long as you are prepared to spend two hours of humbling fun.

Keep going!

November 22, 2008 Leave a comment

There is a Moment in every closely contested  MMA or judo match when both guys think they are losing and are almost lost.  They have taken themselves right to the edge, and they can see what the other guy can do to win. 

It is not unusual for that moment to happen simultaneously in close matches. The win often (but not always) goes to the guy that finds a way to keep going in that moment of maximum uncertainty, to the guy who is fully committed to the moment.  That full committment is necessary but not sufficient; it is not a guarantee of the outcome.

All games worth playing have that element of dynamic uncertainty right up until the decision. It’s why we play good games, because that reality captures our sense of life itself. We don’t know how it will turn out in the close ones,in the ones that matter, the ones that pull us in to the Moment. That’s the moment you MUST make that full committment and then let Life have its way.  Trust in the outcome and Life will be Just.

Your rewards come from the act of committment not from the specific outcome. Life asks: can you find a game (any activity, purpose, project, goal, value) to which you will committ your everything? and in the moment of decision can you go all in? If you are engaged in games other than that, ask why? and then ask when? and why not start now?

My  under 10 girl’s soccer team is going to talk about this today before we go try to put a whuppin’ on Blue valley Soccer Club, a most excellent team to play against. They are strong, fast and skilled, and are committed to playing at their highest level. We aim to be a team worthy of playing them. We honor ourselves, our opponents and the game when we do that.

Keep going! and see what happens!

How can a trader be short term bullish in such a bear market?

November 22, 2008 Leave a comment

daily trading plan summary

daily trading plan summary

Ready, Fire, Aim for chaotic markets

November 20, 2008 Leave a comment

this picture and concept map reflects our emerging trading technique for chaotic markets, affectionately called, Ready-Fire-Aim  which takes measured action within a framework of understanding, with finetuning for position sizing once we are in the trade and it begins to unfold

Ready-Fire-Aim

Ready-Fire-Aim

Framing the market condition to support trades in either direction

November 19, 2008 Leave a comment

There is ample evidence to support both long and short side here.  Follow the logic to see why i am very willing here to be long intraday, but am prepared to quickly reverse and go short on evidence of resumption of weakness.  I believe this kind of market outlook will allow you to trade with the market on EVIDENCE OF PRICE ACTION IN THE “NOW ”

Market Health Check

Market Health Check