Review: Switch by Chip & Dan Heath

Switch provided clarity to the need to dig deeper when faced with a change problem.  The bright-spot philosophy  (“What’s working and how can we do more of it?”) sums up my daily perspective.  Rather than dwell in the doldrums of ineffectiveness and doubt, I challenge myself to use counterintuitive thinking and maximize success.

Switch clearly articulates three surprises about change:

  • What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem – though we must realize the environment does not stand apart from hearts and minds (p. 5)

We must shape the path.

  • What looks like laziness is often exhaustion – we must realize that self-control is an exhaustible resource (p. 10)

We must motivate the elephant.

  • What looks like resistance is often lack of clarity – we must be specific and concrete – more like 1% milk and less like the Food Pyramid (p.63)

We must direct the rider.

I appreciate the action verbs in the chapter titles – such as Shrink the Change or Tweak the Environment.  This challenges me to take action to make a change.  As an instructional leader, I wonder how I can use what I know about change to help others… remove friction from the trail to make the journey more accessible, make the right behaviors a little easier and the wrong ones a bit more difficult.

My notes from my reading are below.


Review: Drive by Daniel Pink

Drive provided clarity to what makes me tick.  What is it about me that can’t get enough of the work that I do?  It is the intrinsic motivation that I experience when I am in flow, challenged with a Goldilocks Task and benefiting from the Sawyer Effect.

Drive clearly lays out the three types of motivation:

  • biological
  • rewards & punishments – this may cause a caffeine-like effect (an initial jolt that wears off quickly) and works best for algorithmic tasks.
  • intrinsic motivation – this is what drives open source work and works best for heuristic tasks.  These people find themselves on Vocation Vacations – when people use their vacation time to work on something engaging (p. 29).

Type I behavior (intrinsically motivated, devoted to becoming better and better at something that matters) depends on:

  • autonomy – this is the powerful 20% time that produced the Post-It note
  • mastery – this is when you find yourself in flow – that perfect spot between what you have to do and what you can do
    • assign these people Goldilocks Tasks – challenges that are not too hot and not too cold, neither overly difficult not overly simple (p. 116).
    • reap the positive rewards of the Sawyer Effect – practices that can turn work into play (p. 117)
  • purpose – think about Toms shoes charity <–> business

This is me.  Type I.  This is the niche I work toward and recognize when I am there.

As an instructional leader, I wonder how I can use what I know about motivation to help others… provide autonomy, become keenly aware of mastery and the gap between an individual’s knowledge/experience and that which is required by the given task, and think bigger picture – toward purpose.

My notes from my reading are below.



Keynote + Garageband + iMovie = Subitizing Video

Subitizing is the instant recognition of the total number of objects in an image.  Early in mathematics, children use perceptual subitizing to identify quantity – think about dots on dice.  When you see the three, you don’t count one-two-three, you know it’s three.cube-689619_1280.jpg

Later, children use conceptual subitizing to identify quantity as units of units.  That is, they see the seven as three-one-three (or three-three-one).dominoes.jpg

Read more about subitizing in this article by NCTM: Subitizing: What is it?  Why Teach it?

So, in my pursuit to challenge myself technologically and utilize some great tools from Apple, I created this video below.  Note: again, I restricted myself to one hour for this work.