He Flunked, Was Rejected, Went Bankrupt…And Then Founded The Walt Disney Company

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An actor, animator, filmmaker, and wildly successful businessman, its kind of shocking at first to hear that Walt Disney only had around 9 years of formal education.  He started school at the ripe old age of 7 and dropped out at 16 to join the military.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) for him, he was rejected for being underage and spent a year in France with the Red Cross instead.  After returning to the United States, Disney received his first job as a cartoonist in 1919, and the rest is history.

 

“Children have got to be free to lead their own lives.” – Sebastian, The Little Mermaid

small_2917335255Despite having strict parents, Walt grew up doing what he wanted when he wanted.  He was a shrewd businessman even as a child.  After his father, Elias, bought a newspaper delivery route, Walt was made to work for him without pay.  He knew how to make the best of his situation, though.  From delivering medicines for the local pharmacy on his route to selling extra papers without his father’s knowledge, Walt developed a thriving business of his own without any help, encouragement, or formal education.  This continued throughout his few years in high school and, of course, eventually led to exemplary management of the Walt Disney Company.

 

“The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.” – Timothy Mouse, Dumbo

Classes came second to work for Walt during his schooling years.  His exhausting work schedule left little time to study, which had a heavy impact on his grades.  Even as he worked such a demanding schedule and small_6635533755trudged through school, however, Walt always found time to indulge in his passion for drawing.  He traded his cartoons for haircuts, became the cartoonist for his school’s newspaper, and later submitted to magazines and drew for his co-workers in Paris – all learned from just a couple of brief stints in art classes.

All the work, discipline, and cartoons did very little for Walt’s grades as a child, but he grew up to build The Walt Disney Company – so it is difficult to argue against the merits of his childhood activities.  He learned how to run a business, work with colleagues, and develop a skill that would redefine animation and serve as a catalyst into a new age of cinema.

 

“If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” – Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio

Walt’s success can really be attributed more to his attitude than any form of education (and perhaps even small_2486345776experience).  “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”  This was the philosophy he lived by: to achieve excellence and watch the theaters fill up as his reward.  This attitude inspired Walt to take risks (like starting a business) that sometimes caused him to fail (he had to declare bankruptcy in 1922), but then he got back up again and made Alice in Wonderland.  

Teaching yourself anything can seem like an insurmountable challenge when you get a good look at just how much there is to learn, but the real magic is in the learning, not the teaching itself.  A teacher (whether its a person, software, book, or audio recording) can only teach as well as its student can learn.  Walt is an ultimate example of a sponge learner – he soaked up his experiences so well, he never even needed a teacher to hold his hand.

 

“You just need to believe in yourself.” – Rex, Toy Storysmall_9594201177

So basically: Walt Disney went to school for 9 years, flunked most of the time, dropped out of high school, never went to college, taught himself to be a businessman and cartoonist purely by learning while doing, and became the roots of one of the most admired companies in the world.  He must have done something right.

 

“Hakuna Matata!” – Timon and Pumbaa, The Lion King

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photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/expressmonorail/3108405260/”>Express Monorail</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>
 

Accredible Contest Hack #7: Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm

Brainstorming is a popular technique for finding solution to particular problems by generating multitude of ideas. The method was created in 1952 by Alex Faickney Osborn. 

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Image courtesy of Adi Respati.

Step 1. Formulate problem.
Everything begins with the right question to ask. Try to stick to one specific question, not lots of them.
For certificates and learning these questions might sound like:

How will I study for this course?

What techniques will I use for the course?

When will I study?

What kind of notes will I write?

What will I put onto my Accredible Slate?

 

Step 2. Take your time.

The main idea of brainstorming is generating ideas without assessing them. Quantity will transform into quality. Rather than finding one perfect solution for a problem, your goal is to discover as many solutions as possible.
You can use the
pomodoro technique for brainstorming. Set 15-25 minutes and think about the problem. Generate as many as you can ideas and write them down. No editing. No judging. No eliminating. Sometimes the most ridiculous ideas are the most insightful, original and interesting. An obvious reminder is to avoid distractions – turn off your phone and computer, since they might be detrimental to brainstorming.

 

Step 3. Use different approaches.

You can use the traditional method – a simple list of ideas. However, techniques from completely diverse areas may be really effective.

 

Mind maps are powerful way not only to organize, but also to generate ideas. You can use them at the beginning to get more ideas, using associations and branches. You can also use it after initial brainstorming to organize your ideas. You can work on one branch or jump from one to another.

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Mind Map of creating study plan for Coursera’s Grow to Greatness 2: Smart Growth for Private Businesses course

 

 

The Method of 5 Why’s and How’s was originally used to identify problems and their causes. You can apply it to brainstorming, too. How does it work? Begin with a simple statement.
Example:

“I need to create Slate”
“How?”
“Using notes”
“How?”
“Writing by hand”
“When?”
“Right after each lecture, whilst watching the video or after one week of lectures”.

Questions may vary – the best are how, what, why who, when, etc. It’s very easy to reach a standstill during brainstorming. The method of 5 why’s will help you to start afresh. This method allows you to provide more concrete questions for your mind to answer. Use as many ideas and questions as you can.

 

Freewriting is a technique used by writers to overcome writer’s block and begin writing. According to Wikipedia, freewriting is completely different from brainstorming because  in brainstorming ideas are simply listed while in freewriting you deal with a text. However, it is indeed a fantastic technique to get your brain working. Freewriting helps you to collect ideas and thoughts on particular topic, using your associative thinking.

How does it work? Set 15 minutes and just begin writing about a course and the problems you need to solve. Don’t get distracted, ignore grammar and forget editing – just write down all of your thoughts. After the time is up, look through your notes and highlight the interesting ideas.


Rules:

1) Your goal is to create lots of ideas. Work for quantity not quality.

2) Don’t restrict yourself. Don’t eliminate some ideas because they seem ridiculous – every direction is good. Sometimes you’ll find unexpected, creative solutions in unknown territory.

3) No distractions. Brainstorming is a time when you and your ideas are meeting. Spend these 15 minutes offline.

4) Try no rules. If after 15 minutes you’re still full of ideas – don’t stop! Setting a time limit is more for you to begin working and doesn’t need to be strictly followed. If you find that mind-mapping doesn’t work for you and you’re better work with simply listing, or if you feel that freewritng helps you generate more ideas – go with it! The point is to find the most creative solutions for a particular problem.

Brainstorming is a powerful tool for discovering your inner genius. Moreover, it unlocks your creativity – a crucial skill in our modern world. In the next article, we’ll talk more about creativity.

Stay tuned!

 

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. How do you brainstorm? What other ways for getting ideas do you use?

Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter |Google+ or in comments.

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible

6. Skills ToolBox, an Overview

7. Filling Your Skills ToolBox: How to Brainstorm(current post)

Accredible Contest Hack #6: Skills ToolBox, An Overview.

There’s an old maxim that states “there’s a tool for every job”. Creating a great Slate without some tools may be difficult and sometimes even frustrating. In the last blog posts we introduced features which enable you to make perfect Slates. But it’s not enough for having fun with building your intellectual portfolio. Today we will share with you some ideas and review the skills which will be covered in future hacks to make building intellectual portfolio more fun.

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Tool 1: Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a very effective technique to find multiple creative solutions for particular problems. The rules are simple: for a particular problem, you try to generate as many ideas as you can without judging or eliminating them. Then, you look at your ideas and choose the best ones.


Brainstorming is a
powerful tool to get truly innovative and great ideas and solve even the most challenging problems in an original way. How to formulate questions? How to brainstorm effectively on your own? How can it help you to create awesome Slates? In one of the next blog posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into it.

 

Tool 2. Creativity.

Some people associate creativity with artists, poets and geniuses in general. Creativity is seen as a phenomenon, an impressive gift which ordinary people cannot possess. Others discard creativity telling that there’s no place for it in a practical world. However, creativity allows you to generate amazing projects and artifacts. There’s no mystery about it and we firmly believe that creativity can be unlocked in every person regardless of his or her age, nationality, profession or interests.

 

Tool 3. Planning.

Can you get from New York to Los Angeles without seeing a roadmap or any signs along the way? Can you achieve a Big Goal without seeing the steps that will lead it to you? No.

Planning is one of the most important skills in our century. It allows you to be productive, successful and stress-free. You need a roadmap to achieve any kind of goals, be it creating a winning Slate, mastering code or getting a promotion at job. Slates can help you to enhance and organize your knowledge along with planning and achieving your learning goals. We will show you how you can create study roadmaps using Accredible.

 

Tool 4. Kindergarten Method.

Do you remember being a kid? Life was full of wonders, dreams, and new discoveries. Kids are fearless, inquisitive and fast learners. Unfortunately, children grow up and we, adults, forget many useful techniques, unique mentality and childish attitude which could be of a great help today, in the grown-up world. This tool is about recalling this sunny and careless period and learning to do many great things again. It’s about giving you a new pair of wings to fly.

 

Tool 5. Friends.

People are important in life. Friends and peers are crucial for learning. We learn not from books – we learn from other people. Most online courses are great not because of knowledge – information has been there before MOOCs. They are valuable because they gathera multitude of students with different background but similar interests in one place to share ideas and help each other. That’s why learning via MOOCs is so popular now and much more effective than before. However, peer-to-peer learning is not the only way to use society to learn in a better way.

 

Today we have shown you 5 important skills that will help you not only create a winning Slate, but also to succeed in your learning in general. In the next 5 hacks we’ll take a closer look at each of them.
Stay tuned!

 

If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What do you think – what skills are the most important for self-learner? What are your personal hacks to succeed?

Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ or in comments.

 

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview(current post)

Accredible Contest Hack #5: How to Make the Most of Accredible

In the last few blog posts we gave you some insights about general creation of Slates. Today we’ll show you how you can use all the features of Accredible to make truly Awesome Slates.

 

Step 1. Organize.

Like a book begins with a prologue, your Slate begins with aSummary. We’ve already talked a lot about it but it’s crucial for reviewers of your Slate to see the right Summary.
First of all, they should cover the most important points of your learning experience.
Secondly,
your Summary should be readable – people will appreciate your work more if the summary is pithy and clean. Try to include only the most relevant information and to use bullet points for dividing the knowledge/learning.


Work.One of the most useful features for organizing the work is the ability to move position. Put the most important, like Statement of Accomplishment or Diploma, at the top. If some documents are important, but you cannot place them in the top you can use either – change the size or highlight them.


Keep the similar docs together (like homework assignments in one place, quizzes in another, your reflections and essays in a third, etc). The alternative is to use labels for particular types of work. Earlier you could use only defaults such as “course work”, “notes”, “grades”, “extra work”. Now Slates have evolved and you can edit labels which makes your Slates more flexible and personalized.

 

Step 2. Beautify.

For making  beautiful Slates you can use the following ideas:

  • Position work wisely. Put one size docs on a row, larger size pictures or mind maps on another row. Highlight the most interesting and beautiful pieces of your Slate and place them in a particular pattern. When you are polishing your Slate, remember that people like symmetry.

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  • Edit the image of Slate. For formal and informal learning we introduced all the MOOC platforms and most universities. But what if you do a Slate for a skill you’ve learned but there aren’t any images in the library? Don’t worry, you can upload your own image which will make your Slate more creative and personal.

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  • Beautifying Slates- have fun! Don’t stick to one course of action or take beautifying as a requirement. Just play around with your docs, change the sizes of pictures, move positions, try different images. Some people already submitted Slates that impress us with a beautiful overall appearance.

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Step 3. Make it Accredible.

Some people believe that it’s impossible to achieve perfection. We believe that everyone can do their best and be exemplary. When you have uploaded all your notes, homework and statements, the only last piece that separates you from perfection (exemplary Slate) are endorsements. Share your achievements with colleagues via Linkedin, with family via email, with friends via Facebook or with the whole community (including the Accredible community) via Twitter.Show what you’re worth. You’re more than numbers or obscure lines in CVs and this is your chance to prove it.


Moreover, you can talk  about what you know.
It’s better one time to see, than one hundred times to hear. Grab your webcam and shoot a video of you explaining different concepts from your Slate. Or tell people about your work experience. Or what you learned beyond official syllabuses. That will sound persuasive.

 

Your Slate is a piece of you, which shows your intellectual identity. Also, it’s your chance to save what’s really important to remember. We live in a century when overabundance of information makespeople to forget significant things. Accredible is your personal wiki which allows you to remember everything that matters. In the next few hacks we’ll open you a ToolBox of skills that will help you to be in shape, unlock creativity, plan wisely and play with work.


If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What features do you like the most? What would you love to have? What are you struggles connected to self-learning?

Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ or in comments.

 

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible (current post)

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview

Accredible Contest Hack #4: How to Create Winning Knowledge/Skill Slates

In the previous blog posts we explored three types of Slates: MOOCs, Formal Learning and Self-paced learning Slates. You may find some similarities between them. Knowledge/Skill Slates are totally different from any of those. Because you are not given any kind of instructions, you can create this Slate  for everything: books, skills or even hobbies. Every type of learning should count, and this Slate is your chance to show who you are behind the traditional courses and ubiquitous lines of your CV. Moreover Knowledge/Skills Slates helps you to save all the learning you’ve ever done.

 

How to work with  Knowledge/Skills Slates?

First of all, you need to decide what the Slate will be about. The content of the Slate will mainly depend on the topic. The hobby Slate will be completely different from the skill Slate. Without clearly defined goals, working further on your Slate will be very hard.

Secondly, the Slate summary might baffle you. “What should I write in it, if I haven’t had any syllabuses or other hints?”. Don’t worry. Think about what you want to save and show the world. Most obvious solutions are not the best in this case. If it’s book learning you want to save, the table of contents won’t tell other people anything about your Slate. However, brief notes of the work you’ve done, skills you mastered or essays you’ve written will show much more.

We advise you to work on your Slate summary twice. The first time is when you are just start creating your Slate, since it’s a great way to think about what you can put into it, kind of like sketching a roadmap. The second time is when you’ve already put all of the materials into your Slate for your summary; be more complete and relevant, which will also give you more ideas on what you will work on further.


Thirdly, use different kinds of tools to help you. Here we list just a few things that may do it:

  • Mind maps for organizing thoughts and ideas.
  • Infographics for remembering data and visualization of information.
  • Docs on motivation and reasons for creating this Slate. Why is it important for you? Why did you decide to master this skill?
  • Plan for further development. Learning is never over and a roadmap might be very helpful for you to not be too distracted.
  • Presentations and videos.

You can put any kind of projects and essays into your Slate. The more methods you use, the more valuable your Slate is for both, you and community.


Pro tip 1.

Since learning is never over, your Slate may grow from just one skill to another. Try not to follow the plan too strictly. Sometimes you may get new ideas for your Slate – do not hesitate to change the direction. Learning is an unpredictable journey full of adventures and surprises. You should be flexible to get the most of it.


Pro Tip 2.

You can save not only knowledge and learning into your Slate, but also experience. Are you fan of Russian Literature and going to visit Moscow next month? Put into your Slate the personal reviews and photos of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Museum and travel notes on Russian Culture as a whole. Or maybe you’re learning Chinese cuisine – why not to insert pictures of your own Chinese cooking into it? Do not restrict yourself only to bookish knowledge, use every kind of learning, experience included, to show your expertise, enthusiasm about topic and proactivity.

 

It’s the last post of our sub-series on Creating Winning Slates (have you submitted yours to our AwesomeSlates Contest?). In the next sub-series we’ll explore the ToolBox of Skills that will help you to fight procrastination, unlock your full potential, and come up with great ideas. You’ll learn how to use Accredible to the fullest and make your Slates better.

Stay tuned!

 

If you have any question, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or drop a line to hello@accredible.com. What skills do you want to master? How do you plan not instructed self-learning? What are your personal hacks to turn your life into School?  Share it with us and Accredible community on Facebook | Twitter | Google+ or in comments.

 

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates (current post)

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible?

6. Skills ToolBox. Overview

Accredible’s #AwesomeSlates Contest

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
- Benjamin Franklin

At Accredible, we believe that all kinds of education matter, whether it’s courses in traditional universities, certificates from MOOC classes or even reading books. We want to help you to learn, to show the world what you know. We are pleased to announce our #AwesomeSlates contest where you can show your learning by creating cool Slates, save and organize your knowledge, and even get prizes from us – vouchers for Amazon.

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The best Slate in each of these five categories will each win a $150 prize:

Why give you money for creating awesome Slates?

  • Motivation. We want you to challenge yourself, to explore new boundaries and discover new horizons. We want you to learn.
  • Help you to create your intellectual portfolio. Today employers and colleges want to see your knowledge, skills and talent. Your intellectual portfolio is the first step in standing out and demonstrating what you can do. Be the first, be creative and be credible.
  • Show you’re more than just a grade. We embrace your creativity, talents and aspirations, providing the place for you to show who you are. 

Today, on the 29th April, 2013 we are launching our #AwesomeSlates contest. The rules are simple: you create a Slate and submit it into one of 4 categories. The most creative, inspiring and beautiful slates of their knowledge, skills, or coursework will receive prizes and the chance to be on the first page in the history of digital education. Start building your slate now!

We want you to win! Every week we will post tips on how to create winning Slates, where to find ideas, and how to make your portfolio more effective.

The contest closes on 31st May 31st July (read about the deadline extension here) but remember, the contest isn’t about winning, it’s about your learning. As the talented coach and executive Vince Lombardi once said: “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is”. Try your best, be yourself and enter the contest. Start building your Slate now!

To submit your Slate and find the rules, go here: https://www.accredible.com/contest

Help about Accredible Slates:
Getting Started with Accredible Slates
What all can be added to a Slate

This post is part of a series on the Hacks to Create Winning Slates:

0. Contest Announcement (current post)

1. MOOC Slates

2. “Saylor category for self-paced learning” Slates

3. Formal Learning Slates

4. Knowledge/Skill Slates 

5. How to Make the Most of Accredible?

If you have any questions, ideas or feedback, feel free to comment or send us a line at hello@accredible.com

Make All Your Education Count: Redesigning the CV

With all the amazing innovations and developments within academia and edtech at the moment, one content area that seems to have been left behind a little is the common CV.

Education has evolved dramatically over the last fifty years yet things like CVs and certificates haven’t changed for hundreds of years. They are (at best) shiny pieces of paper with a name, grade and institution printed on them.

CVs tend to contain very pigeon-hole style of content such as ‘education’, ‘work’ and ‘interests’ which ultimately only create a very low resolution image of a person and one that is liable to deception.

For example, if you get a B in Computer Science does that mean you were generally ‘average’, or are you an exceptional programmer with a weakness in some other part of the syllabus that isn’t relevant to the job at hand? 

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Here at Accredible, we’ve been working hard to improve the way that credentials and certificates are generated across MOOCs, university courses also as wider learning by using peer-review and
reputational networks to determine and maintain quality.

By re-imagining the idea of the certificate to be more than just a statement, we can create a living portfolio of evidence that shows you have certain knowledge or skills. You can also get a much ‘higher resolution’ image of who a student is, what they can do and a list of evidence proving that.

And this is where we feel there’s a parallel between our work on credentials and CVs: rather than simply listing your achievements, we feel that you should be able to provide evidence to back up your claims, be they across your education, work or skills.

Below is an example of one of our MOOC slates giving examples about how this approach could be similarly used to demonstrate your personal capabilities on a CV:

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Unlike your traditional certificate or CV, you can create as many Slates as you like, each with a different course or program you studied to help build up a more rounded vision of your education.

Of course there’s also a direct benefit to your prospective employer as well as it gives them a much better chance to understand who you really are and why you really are perfect for their role. With greater transparency, comes better hiring decisions and a much lower risk of hiring the wrong candidate!

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the future of CVs and how developments in the EdTech space are changing the way we list our achievements. Is there still a place for CVs and if so in what sort of context? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Do you want brand-new CV of 21st century? Sign up at https://www.accredible.com 

Need inspiration or don’t know where to begin? Here’s some amazing slates to help you. https://www.accredible.com/gallery