Thursday, October 6, 2016

Creative Business English marketing concepts for Asian students

My Jiangxi University Chinese students are great at math problems and economics concepts--but for their Business English midterm group presentation, they have to conjure up a marketing scheme for a product. THIS is something they're not familiar with: how to brainstorm something and put it into a format (Powerpoint) whereby they can show the concept/idea and then put together a "let's sell it" plan. For one thing, they need to learn how to FIND an idea and how to see its potential. This is where I come in with Western thinking--and years of experience in marketing and sales--and what I call "Fluid Learning teaching strategies."

I found this video--and previewed it with them. It has five terrific ideas. They liked four of them, but didn't know how to see the "futuristic potential" of where they could take them as a marketing plan or direction. Again, this is where my Fluid Thinking style of teaching comes into play:

  • The first idea is like Ironman's Jarvis personal electronic assistant. That was easy enough for them to grasp its potential.
  • The second idea is a mini projector. They understood that easily enough too.
  • The 3D holographic phone really startled them, especially with its potential for viewing items to buy online and for playing games. (But I wasn't finished with that--and saved my ideas about 3D technology.)
  • The tablet-bracelet made them sit up in their chairs. THIS was the first one I viewed with them--and I noted, "It's WATERPROOF." They ALL wanted this one--but I added this idea to the "do later" list that I was building.
  • The ultrasonic cleaner also met interest by the girls, especially because they have no dryers in their dorm rooms (or my apartment!). 
And here's where I went with MORE ideas aside from these (I offered these as possibilities: THEY have to develop the marketing PPTs for the midterm). First: take the tablet-bracelet and make it 3D. That is a separate idea in itself. Next: take the tablet-bracelet in 3D and integrate it WITH THE mini-projector. My questions to them: "Where could you go with THIS IDEA?"

My responses: a 3D wearable tablet that can project onto a screen 100cm x 100cm. It's got potential for gaming, online viewing of merchandise--and even better, for simulated lessons for sports (soccer, ping pong, tennis, golf, basketball), and driving or even piloting lessons ON A LARGE SCREEN or wall. So with Fluid Learning, I showed them ideas, then expanded those ideas into new directions, and then showed them how to brainstorm these into possible further Powerpoint presentations for a marketing strategy for a new invention. 
And welcome to the Creative Classroom with Mr. Lopate!

Oh. The idea about the hydrosonic washer? I said, "How about a portable hair dryer just like the ones you girls are using: that uses the same technology--to dry your clothes instantly and without wrinkles?" Sign me up for one! Just let "Jarvis" remind me when I need to take my clothes out of the washing machine.

Monday, March 21, 2016

CFA Level I Study Session

CFA Level I Study Session: (open this link)

... III. Study Session #15. Topic: Portfolio Management - Risk Considerations. Instructor: Prof. John M. Veitch, CFA. Notes: Mark Ferrari, CFA

Friday, February 5, 2016

Gustave Eiffel's Private 300m-high apartment in the Eiffel Tower structure

This is about a lifestyle, history, architecture, art, and how it all came together in a most fascinating way. And here's another look of it: that's 90 stories up and living in a small space. Almost 1000 feet, or 300 meters. There's an apartment up there in the Eiffel Tower that was the private place for its builder. He entertained up there, and it was sought after (but refused) for rental to anyone by rank, title, or financial offer.
Eiffel Tower Secret Apartment for Builder

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Believe in yourself: You can Accomplish Anything

I use motivational videos for my students because they are struggling to learn very complex financial courses in another language (English)--AND also learn Speaking, Listening, and Business English concepts. It's extremely difficult for them because the subjects (accounting, economics, linear algebra, finance) are not what they would have chosen for their careers. Their parents and a very tough high school exam are the deciding factors. So this is dedicated to the sophomores and freshmen at Jiangxi University in Nanchang, China, many of whom have already seen this. Never give up--and believe in yourself. You can succeed in your coursework and your plans.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Lazy Chip Remote Door Opener designed by 4 Chinese Jiangxi University students

Remote-control door opener designed by Jiangxi University, China, students. International Accounting 145A. Holly (Hu Tuo), Daphne (Xu Li), Cathy (Tong Ying), Susie (Wu Yang)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

How the Platypus came to be so...? (a children's short story)

(Yes, I wrote this--and published it. Several years ago, but this is the short version.)

How the platypus became a… 
“What ARE you?!” animal

Poor Platypus! He was born with nothing special. No claws, no sharp teeth, no…nothing! He was just ordinary. And he was SO jealous of other animals! They had weapons--and special things—and he had NOTHING.

So…he called and called and called: “Oh, Mother Nature! Can you hear me? It’s Platypus!”

    And the wind blew, and the trees waved, and a voice answered, “Yes, I hear you. What is it you want?”

Platypus was SO excited! “I want a weapon!!” he said. “A weapon to scare other animals! Please-please-please!” And the voice answered, “Yes, it shall be tomorrow.”

   And the next day, Platypus woke up, and there on his foot: a sharp claw that had poison in it! How brave he was now! He dared all the animals to fight him, but they said no.

But that was not enough for him. And so… he called and called and called: “Oh, Mother Nature! Can you hear me? It’s Platypus!”

And the wind blew, and the trees waved, and a voice answered, “Yes, I hear you. What is it you want?”

And again, he was SO excited! “I want to be a great swimmer! Help me be the best in the water! Please-please-please!!” And the voice answered, “Yes, it shall be tomorrow.”

    And the next morning: there were four wonderful webbed feet for diving and swimming, and even a flat big tail for splashing! Platypus dared all the animals to beat him in a race in the water, but they all said no.

But that was not enough for him. And so… he called and called and called: “Oh, Mother Nature! Can you hear me? It’s Platypus!” 

But there was no answer. So he called again—and again—and AGAIN! He really yelled now! “Hey! Hey!! Mother Nature!! Hey!!”

And now the wind began to blow HARD, and the trees began to lose branches, and a voice answered, “WHAT DO YOU WANT NOW? YOU ARE NOT HAPPY YET?! YOU HAVE A BIG MOUTH, PLATYPUS!”

And right there…in front of his face…a duck bill began to grow!! And he opened his mouth and began to say, “But I didn’t ask for this!”

But Mother Nature was REALLY mad now, and She said, “Oh, you didn’t, eh? Well, leave me alone! Go lay an egg or something and be gone!!”

And Platypus walked back to his home…where Mrs. Platypus was waiting for him. She said, “NOW what have you done? I have a surprise for you. I sat down for a moment—and look! I laid an egg! We are mammals—now with a mouth like a bird—and NOW we lay eggs? What did you ask for THIS time, you fool?”

   And all Platypus could do was wave his webbed feet in surprise and flap his tail and shake his duck bill in surprise…and that is why the Platypus is a surprise to all other animals. He doesn't know WHAT he is!

He is like many of them—but he is like nothing else but…a platypus.

(C) MDLOP8 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

East Meets West in Economics Theory and Astrology

Astrology in a Chinese University, Part II

So what do I use as a lesson with astrology in this situation? My students are focused on accomplishment and achievement because it is a principle of their culture to be successful. To this end, I will use ANYTHING I can access in my psychological-astrological portfolio ideas.

When I met my Monday II Writing class the other day, I saw they all were looking at a hand-out for an economics class about coping with chaos in the business world. I immediately jumped for a piece of chalk and caught their attention: “I can show you with astrology how each and every one of you—everyone on this campus—reacts to chaos by using your birth sign.”  Down went the cell phones—which is something I battle everyday with them: their attention span. THIS is something they want to learn: “how do {I} become better at managing myself and be productive?”

So I explained to them that they would be placed in teams. Each team had its own way of responding with a cause-and-effect to chaos: “how do you handle Life Challenges and Responsibilities?” What I would do is show them the groupings of Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable sign qualities.

And that’s what I did: I divided the blackboard into three parts, then broke down the signs by day/month. I first asked who in the class would fit this by their particular birthday, and then to listen and take notes about their Team Assignment in how they would handle Distractions and still be able to Focus on the Goal. In other words, how did they handle Chaos in Life and not be blown off course?

Team #1 would be the Pro-Active Response Unit of Aries-Cancer-Libra-Capricorn, who are willing to face Big Choices and Decisions head-on and stand up to the Tough Moments, even when they are rocked back on their heels by the impact. I then explained how this Team reacted on an individual basis: Aries by being self-motivated; Cancer by being concerned for the needs of others; Libra by looking for mutual support; and Capricorn for putting together a business plan as an objective and staying with it.

Then I turned to Team #2, the Fixed Group. Here, I explained, was a great deal of involvement with Financial Matters: both tangibles and intangibles. (Since these students are finance, accounting, and economics majors, I could use money principles here.) “It’s about Safety, Security, Stability, and Presence of Identity here,” I said. This group, I explained were like the Prudential insurance Rock of Gibralter image or a mighty oak tree: holding fast to the ground and staying rooted in the heaviest wind storms. Taurus, I explained, would be as strong as the Chinese zodiac ox in working hard to stay with tasks and be productive and not distracted, while Leo would be as powerful as a lion (and tiger, also a Chinese zodiac animal), displaying charisma and leadership. For Scorpio, I explained the concepts of insurance and the protection it offers to buyers, and also the rebuilding potential of moving ahead after a Life-altering event might otherwise defeat someone who is afraid and unprepared. For Aquarius, I emphasized the importance of friends and social networks for support when difficult times came up, and how group study efforts might help them learn together and get better grades. Staying with the job at hand and finding what works is your best quality, I explained.

And then it was time for the Mutables. “You are able to bend and yield like skilled martial arts practitioners,” I said. You have the mental agility to be flexible. You can perform intellectual akido, tai chi, and kung fu to overcome delays, obstacles, and limitations that are only illusions and distractions. Geminis, you have the power to use your mind to ask questions that no one else might consider. Virgos, you can analyze and find the flaws and see how to resolve them before they manifest into greater ones. Sagittarians, you know that philosophical truths are your personal tools to help see the wisdom beyond the current situation. And Pisces, you know that there is a Master Plan for all that happens. What is the Meaning and Purpose of Chaos and how does it help you gain Awareness?”

And then I asked them to write a short in-class essay about how they handled a situation where Chaos occurred in their lives. The results I received told of many struggles especially with the high school graduation test known as the Gaokao (“Gow-Kow”), and it was a huge hurdle for them. Their placement and score was absolutely crucial. Some wrote of the anguish of not getting better grades and the shame of their families, while others expressed the dilemma of whether or not to listen to parents who said that the best choice of life was to get a good-paying job and be rewarded financially—at the cost of giving up personal choices and interests.

But for me, I found that astrology helped me open a very narrow window: the willingness of these students to write and be productive in my classroom, but also to inspire and encourage them to see new ways of moving past hurdles and fears to open their eyes about the never-ending complications of Life. I am a very lucky instructor: I can teach with the zodiac in my classroom.