Sheila B Robinson

Reflections of an everyday educator/program evaluator/professional developer…LEARNER


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Chart Changin’ Cha-Cha

As mentioned here, I’m learning about the art of data visualization and presentation, and am currently enrolled and engrossed in Alberto Cairo’s Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization MOOC*  and loving it.

Professor Cairo has shared a wealth of information graphics for my 4,999 classmates and me to study and critique as he enlightens us on principles of graphic design. New York Times Infographics  is one great site to explore the variety of graphics designers use to convey information.  Continue reading


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“They say that numbers never lie…”

This portentous first line inside the dust jacket of Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception by Charles Seife sets the hook for the reader. The author  then reels us in with a cynical assessment of how numbers are used to do exactly that. In fact, it might be said that Seife’s position is, as a variation of an old aphorism goes, “figures lie and liars figure.”

I don’t intend to provide a book review here; you can easily find them elsewhere. Instead, I will share just a brief excerpt of what I found particularly interesting and well-written. As you can see, this book passed the “tape flag test” for me, meaning there are plenty parts I intend to reread or share.  Continue reading


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Harnessing the power of the ULTIMATE evaluation resource

I’m adding a few letters after my name…GPS. No, not THAT GPS – Google Power Searcher! Did you know Google has not one, but two online Power Searching courses? I missed the first one, but found the materials here and am making my way through the course on my own. Much like other online courses, Power Searching includes a series of video lectures and exercises that offer the opportunity to apply and test your skills.  Continue reading


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What makes a good question GOOD? (cross post with actionable data)

Now, THAT’S a very good question!

Sheila here, writing with the fabulous Kim Firth Leonard of the actionable data blog.

We have been tweeting and emailing about challenges related to survey design and as a result, this is the first in a series of posts we have co-authored about our discussions.  Continue reading


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Evaluators are humans, TWO!

As part of his launch team, I introduced Daniel H. Pink’s new book, To Sell is Human, in a recent post (see Evaluators are humans, too!). Pink’s premise is that regardless of our chosen fields, we’re all in sales – even those of us in what he calls “non-sales selling.” As a matter of course, we must all move others.

Eagles Mere, PA

©2006 Photo by SheilaBRobinson

Especially engaging for an evaluator is Pink’s chapter on Clarity, one of the “new ABCs of selling” – Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. Pink sees clarity as “the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had.” What resonates with me is the notion of the value of problem-finding over problem-solving. The Information Age has given us access to all manner of solutions to our problems, but not necessarily to their identification. “The services of others are far more valuable,” claims Pink “when I’m mistaken, confused, or completely clueless about my true problem.”  Continue reading


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Evaluators are humans too!

Pink is the new black! I declare that with no reference whatsoever to disease, retailers, or fashion.

Today, I’m plugging a new and exciting read, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink, author of two of my favorite books, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, and A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. I’m honored to be part of Dan’s launch team for this new book, due out December 31. I receive no compensation for this other than an advance copy of the book so that I can help spread the word, along with the same free goodie package offered to anyone who pre-orders the book prior to December 30. More on this in a moment…  Continue reading