Be at Graduate Student Fellow at CASTLE!

If you are interested in hangout out with CASTLE over a summer here in Lexington and you are an advanced graduate student, then check out the UCEA Summer Fellowship at Program Centers (which CASTLE is one). 

The fellowship provides $5,000 to cover expenses for travel and lodging during the fellowship. Dr. Helen Wang, now of Georgia State University, was a graduate student fellow last year. 

The deadline is April 4th, so act quickly. 

Our lovely city ... Lexington. 

Our lovely city ... Lexington. 

Digital Life in 2025

PEW, who does some of the best research on technology, released a new report in their series celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Internet. This report looks at Digital Life in 2025

There is a lot of fascinating thoughts inside the report, which Pew organizes into "more hopeful" and "less hopeful" with about equal distribution. 

The do talk about education in their "more hopeful" section - noting that the Internet should continue to generate efficiencies in the system. 

The less hopeful one worth noting to me is that privacy may increasingly become something only the rich can enjoy. That's concerning, obviously. 

Give the whole report a read when you get a chance and let me know some of your thoughts. Also, it is worth seeing who got the last word, by the way. 

Our Friends at Big Ass Fans and the Future for Kentucky

Our friends at Big Ass Fans have been receiving more and more publicity lately for, well, just being better than everyone else. We have enjoyed not only working with Big Ass Fans on design ideas for the various spaces that CASTLE inhabits but also just watching the growth of their company. A key driver of their growth has been a different kind of culture, one in which they truly value their employees. This culture is reflected in everything they do, including how much they pay their people which this recent CNN Money story profiled. 

Photocredit: CNN Money from linked story.

Photocredit: CNN Money from linked story.

Big Ass Fans are very much the poster child for Kentucky's future. It is techy, it is advanced manufacturing, it is great jobs that pay well, but most important is that Big Ass Fans represent the kind of culturally different approach to our future place in the world. Kentucky is a great place to live, to build things, to innovate ... but it is a working class kind of place. Big Ass Fans builds fans, not semiconductors. We build the Camry here, not the Tesla Model S. We can be the place that builds the things that average people use, just better than it has to be. Kentucky has had a deep and growing relationship with Germany. We have an operational office in Hamburg and our Governor is actually there right now visiting to discuss the potential VW expansion into Kentucky.

Kentucky doesn't need to be Germany but we can learn a lot of lessons from them in how their manufacturing sector has been culturally different. Big Ass Fans seems to have a good handle on that and I hope more Kentucky companies take lessons from them. 


Zappos is transitioning to a holacracy ... a place with no job titles, no traditional managers, and a highly distributed work environment. Watch the video below for an overview. And here is a good article from Forbes on how this would work and the history of it. 

Whether or not this will work for Zappos is still an answer that is years away; but, whether or not it works, Zappos as an organization is strong enough to even try something like this, and that by itself is a substantial statement. Do we know any schools that are strong enough to even attempt such a distributed model? None really come to mind for me, although a few are close.

It does make me reflect, though, that the schools that seem to function the highest are schools that are usually highly distributed where staff members are taking on various roles beyond their official titles. So, I hope this leadership method works for Zappos and that we can think about adopting elements of it into our schools soon. 

Is this something you would be willing to try at your own school? 

h/t to Thomas Sauer for the find. 

Smart Clothes and School Uniforms

Just make a note of it ... this is going to be a legal problem for schools. It might be a few years out yet, but it is going to be an issue. 

We are already placing RFID chips on students in many districts and so it is the next logical step to just integrate the technology directly into the school uniforms. 

If you want some more academic background on smart clothes and the current and future possibilities, it is worth checking out this symposium that was held at Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. 

What do you think? Any reason to worry here? Lots of folks seem okay with the RFID concept, so this just seems a logical (and perhaps acceptable) extension of that.