Review of Digital Leader by Erik Qualman and TED Education

These articles were first published in print in Transitions magazine and Parent News magazine respectively…

Time to Relax- What’s Better than a Good Book and Great Coffee?

A Good Read- Digital Leader by Erik Qualman

                I’ve been reading this book for a while, so long that the publisher’s publicist has actually been checking in with me about the review. Don’t worry Ann. You’ve not been pestering me. It’s just that the book is so darn good I had to wait on the review until I could really digest the book.

My reading habits are odd, or at least I think so. I read about 100 books a year, which means that I read them fast. I’m still able to digest the necessary information, but I don’t waste any time and run through them really fast. It takes a lot for me to stop running through a book and go back to start over and read it really slowly. The book has to be really worth it. It has to contain information that is not only informative or entertaining but extremely relevant to my work or helpful to my coaching and counseling clients.

I did just that with Digital Leader. It struck a nerve with me that I really needed to delve into. So, a chapter into the book, I went back and started over. Now, the book is jam-packed full of underlined passages, notes in the margin, even drawings of stick figures that I doodled. Doodling helps me bridge both sides of my brain to marry the creative and analytical at the same time.

The book is not just about digital ideas or just about leadership. It’s about becoming a rock star leader in this strange and exciting digital world that we now live in. It’s about reconciling the fact that everything you do is out there whether you post it or not. It’s about being a leader in the digital spotlight and in the digital shadows that define our lives now.

I have friends who are completely open online. I also have friends who are so paranoid that they’re proud they don’t use social media to interact with customers, friends, and family. I’ve always been on the more open side, but never knew quite where the safe middle ground existed. The thing is, the safe middle ground doesn’t really exist, or, in a way of thinking, it’s different for each and every individual. The method for finding and defining a place where you feel safe in the digital world can be found in this book. Qualman shows us how to reconcile public and private, online and offline, paranoia and acceptance, and everything else, in order to not only make it through the day by day, but to become a leader in the digital age.

There are two great reasons to buy this book. Number one, it should be an integral part of any leader’s bookshelf.  Number two, it should be a part of the bookshelf of anyone who interacts online. I think between the two that’s pretty much everyone. It’s a really great book. Sit down with a pen, a ruler for underlining, and a highlighter handy when you start reading.

A Great Brew- Lock ‘n Load Java

We’re still quaffing offerings from Lock ‘n Load Java at our church The Pilgrimage. This week we’re jumping into the Double Barrel Black dark roast blend. Check these guys out. Every purchase also helps support military charities!

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Unveiling TED Ed(ucation)

                As a homeschool parent-teacher I’m always open to new opportunities. In my own personal journey of continued learning and the accumulation of knowledge, TED has been at the forefront of that experience. For those of you who aren’t familiar, TED stands for technology, entertainment, and design. It started in 1984 as a series of global conferences set up to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”. TED has since became a brand in itself and is virtually ubiquitous as a knowledge leader in many industries.

                My own experience with TED began as I watched the available TED Talk videos available at I was hooked. Short videos. Concise information. New ideas. I even hosted a TEDxMyrtleBeach conference in Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago where we showed TED Talks and presented our own. Now the Talks are available everywhere including the TED website, Youtube, and Hulu. I handpick certain TED Talks for my boys to watch as part of their homeschool.

In addition to all of that, TED just unveiled TED Ed. You can find it at I’d like to tell you everything that TED Ed can do for you and your homeschool, but it would take this entire magazine and more. To sum it up in a basic way, TED Ed is designed to take the TED Talks, which cover virtually every subject known to man, and help you convert them into a teaching tool. Kids will no longer just watch the videos. You can use the tools provided by TED to turn the talks into slide shows, quizzes, lessons, activities, and more. In addition, you can even use the tools to convert non-TED videos into lessons.

All I can really say here is that you have to check it out and use. It’s what I plan on doing. As I learn more and become more comfortable using TED Ed, I’ll be sure to write again about my progress.

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