Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Picks of the Week: September 29 - October 12, 2013

Website of the Week -- KnowledgeWorks Foundation
KnowledgeWorks is a social enterprise that seeks to create sustainable improvement in U.S. student readiness for college and careers by incubating innovative school and community approaches, influencing education policy, and engaging in education research and development. Over the past ten years, KnowledgeWorks has transformed from involved grant maker to social enterprise.  Instead of writing checks and collecting grant reports, KnowledgeWorks supports the work of three education-focused subsidiary organizations, New Tech Network, EDWorks and Strive.  Each of these not-for-profit subsidiaries provides strategic assistance, coaching and other valuable services directly to school and community leaders across the country. The Foundation's work is funded in nearly equal parts from fee-for-service consulting work, a financial portfolio, and funding partners.  This mix of support enables KnowledgeWorks to achieve real impact on a national scale.   Go to: www.kwfdn.org 

Publication of the Week --  The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies by Scott E. Page
From the publisher: In this landmark book, Scott Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to one another. The Difference is about how we think in groups--and how our collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts. Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant individuals working alone? And why are the best group decisions and predictions those that draw upon the very qualities that make each of us unique? The answers lie in diversity--not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities. The Difference reveals that progress and innovation may depend less on lone thinkers with enormous IQs than on diverse people working together and capitalizing on their individuality. Page shows how groups that display a range of perspectives outperform groups of like-minded experts. Diversity yields superior outcomes, and Page proves it using his own cutting-edge research. Moving beyond the politics that cloud standard debates about diversity, he explains why difference beats out homogeneity, whether you're talking about citizens in a democracy or scientists in the laboratory. He examines practical ways to apply diversity's logic to a host of problems, and along the way offers fascinating and surprising examples, from the redesign of the Chicago "El" to the truth about where we store our ketchup. Page changes the way we understand diversity--how to harness its untapped potential, how to understand and avoid its traps, and how we can leverage our differences for the benefit of all.

Trend of the Week --  Who’s Not Online and Why
According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, as of May 2013, 15% of American adults ages 18 and older do not use the internet or email. Asked why they do not use the internet:
  • 34% of non-internet users think the internet is just not relevant to them, saying they are not interested, do not want to use it, or have no need for it.
  • 32% of non-internet users cite reasons tied to their sense that the internet is not very easy to use. These non-users say it is difficult or frustrating to go online, they are physically unable, or they are worried about other issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers. This figure is considerably higher than in earlier surveys.
  • 19% of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.
  • 7% of non-users cited a physical lack of availability or access to the internet.
Even among the 85% of adults who do go online, experiences connecting to the internet may vary widely. For instance, even though 76% of adults use the internet at home, 9% of adults use the internet but lack home access. These internet users cite many reasons for not having internet connections at home, most often relating to issues of affordability—some 44% mention financial issues such as not having a computer, or having a cheaper option outside the home. To download the full report, go to: http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2013/PIP_Offline%20adults_092513.pdf

Resource of the Week –  Advocacy Funding: The Philanthropy of Changing Minds
Grant makers tend to be cautious about funding advocacy, and for good reason — yet advocacy can play a crucial role in advancing a foundation’s mission.  In this Grantcraft guide, contributors explain that advocacy includes a lot of opportunities to improve public policy through work that is well within the limits of the law.  Whether your purpose is to advance an idea, argue a position, or enrich the policy debate, the guide offers resources and strategies for planning your work, reaching your audience, assessing impact, and more.  Go to: http://www.grantcraft.org/?pageid=1307

Tech Tip of the Week -- Use Text-to-Speech in Excel 2007/2010
Text-to-speech was not included in the Excel 2007 Ribbon. To use this feature in Excel 2007/2010 you must first add it to the Quick Access Toolbar.  Here’s how:
  • Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar arrow
  • Click More Commands from the drop-down menu
  • From the Choose commands from list, select Commands Not in the Ribbon
  • Scroll down and select the Speak Cells commands you want to use and click Add
  • Click OK when you are finished adding commands to your Quick Access Toolbar

Now you can select a group of cells to read back, click the speak button, and Excel will read your data.  Of course, you need speakers or a headset to hear it!  For more information on using this feature go to Converting text to speech in Excel.

No comments: