How Dictation Benefits Cognitive Productivity

Whereas, in the past, the fruits of your ambulant mind dangled precariously on the dendritic branches of your memory organ, they can now be digitally harvested and processed. You can dictate while taking a stroll, running errands, jogging, working out, commuting, waiting for an event, or meditatively pacing in and around your home office. You can digitally capture your voice using a special-purpose recorder, a smartphone, or a computer. Nuance’s Dragon Dictate™ (Mac) and Dragon NaturallySpeaking™ (Windows) both do a great job of converting speech to text.
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A Zestful Response to Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar

And now for something different.

Have you recently looked back on a film and been amazed by how much thinking it provoked you to do? I recently attended a chef d’oeuvre by Philippe Falardeau, Monsieur Lazhar (based on a play by Evelyne de la Chenelière.) It has rightfully earned a nomination for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category (winners to be announced on Feb 26, 2012). After seeing the movie, you will know that, while it is a story through-and-through, it is woven with cognitive ‘pointers’ that get you thinking about important questions, issues and problems. In this post, I discuss some of them. 

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A Delphic Pronouncement Regarding Apple’s Upcoming Digital-Textbook Announcement

Over the last decade, I have been heavily involved in R&D to understand and address the requirements users should have when they attempt to learn from knowledge resources with technology. The major applications that are meant to support our reading and learning are still, for the most part, quite unsatisfactory. Yet users, young and old, in and out of academia, knowledge worker or not, specialist in e-learning or not, tend not to be very demanding of their cognitive productivity tools. Few seem to understand what we are all missing. I have disseminated some of the technical deficiencies publicly, some I have not. I have also of course been developing solutions to the core problems of learning with technology and cognitive science — workflows, documents, software, theories, etc. Continue reading A Delphic Pronouncement Regarding Apple’s Upcoming Digital-Textbook Announcement

7 + 1 tips for Learning in Order to Excel in 2012

Do your success and happiness depend on your reading and learning? If yes, then before you put the finishing touches on your goals and plan for 2012, you should ensure that you have satisfactorily considered your learning objectives. So please read on, as this post will help you develop Stephen Covey’s 7th habit, “Sharpen the Saw” (TM).
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Motive Generators in Major Innovators and Tweakers

Malcom Gladwell published an article titled “The tweaker: The real genius of Steve Jobs” in the  New Yorker (Nov. 2011).  He marshalled several examples from Isaacson’s book on Jobs to make the point that Jobs was more of a tweaker than grand inventor. Gladwell is close to the mark in saying that “Jobs’s sensibility was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him—the tablet with stylus—and ruthlessly refining it.”  But Gladwell’s own paper needs a tweak in the form of a concept which gets to the heart of Steve Jobs as innovator: As I argued in a post in August, Steve Jobs, like most innovative knowledge workers, had particularly developed motive generators.
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Steve Jobs and Cognitive Productivity

On the occasion of Steve Jobs’ passing, I am republishing (below) a couple of articles I wrote in 2010 for SharpBrains regarding Apple’s tablet. I also have a related anecdote to tell about Steve Jobs and some comments about his impact (past, present and future) on all kinds of knowledge work.
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A Note About Steve Jobs

Given (1) the topic of my earlier post today (a tribute to a cognitively productive mind), (2) yesterday’s resignation of Steve Jobs from his position as CEO of Apple (though fortunately he remains on Apple’s board and staff), (3) and the object of CogZest and my own research, it is perhaps understandable that I should say  a few words about Steve Jobs.
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Paper on Expert Learning Honouring Prof. Aaron Sloman

As a student and in my career, I have sought to work with and learn from the best of minds. I have had exceptional academic mentors: George Fouriezos, Claude Lamontagne and Aaron Sloman. The opportunity to work with Jim Roche (now head of Stratford Managers) led me out of academia into the Newbridge Newbridge Networks spin-off ecosystem (Tundra Semiconductor Corporation and Abatis Systems Corp.), where I worked with three of R.O.B.’s Y2000 “Top 40 under 40”  and several other truly top-caliber Canadian high tech people.
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Your Time and Your Cognitive Productivity

What would you do with the time freed up by applying the following technique? And what would you do with the additional expertise you would develop?

Identify the 30% of your reading time that provides you with the lowest return on your investment.

Take half of that time (15%) and put it towards something more important (your kids, your other projects).

Take the other half (15%) and put it towards productively reading documents that will extend your excellence.

You may be wondering about these concepts: “Return on reading investment? Productive reading? Extending my excellence?” Those are good, important questions. We have the answers.

Here’s a concept that may change your life: your cognitive productivity. That’s your effectiveness and efficiency in learning from information, so that as you learn you push the boundaries of your excellence. To be cognitively productive, you need to focus on potent information and process it well.

We will help you respond to the challenges and opportunities you face in being cognitively productive: Identifying and focusing on the most potent information, distilling it, learning what you choose to learn from it and applying it when you need to.

We leverage the most relevant findings and principles of cognitive science through our services (training, consulting, coaching) and upcoming publications and software. We help you use technology to help you learn the important stuff.

You have access to abundant information and sophisticated technology. We will help you leverage them to push the boundaries of your excellence.

How important, then, is your cognitive productivity?