Monday, July 11, 2011

Education as a Workforce Sector and Its Competitive Idea

This slideshare showed up in Twitter today, shared by Jane's colleague Jay Cross ( It's Jane Hart's presentation to an education conference in South Africa.

I am a big Jane Hart and Internet Time Alliance fan. Their work makes so much sense, and I'm using two of their books in a grad course I currently teach. I've also joined Jane's list of professionals in the field--which brings me to a point. When you sign up at her site, she asks that educators sign onto one list, and Learning and Development Professionals (non-educational practioners, the dark side, for profit, business...). I have puzzled over this some as I work on both sides, but the real reason for the puzzlement is that education (pre-service, higher-ed, P - 20) are all members of a broad workforce sector, one who also sends future employees into the world.

If our current time is the "Conceptual Age" (See Dan Pink's Work:,  and our competitive edge is the use of ideas to provide the best that can be had, then education's preparation of learners who go forth in the 21st Century is the Competitive Idea. For this reason,  I am glad to see that she presented to this venue.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Organizational Trust and Social Media for Work

The Criticality of Trust 
As we continue exploration of new work, collaboration, and the technologies that develop these practices, our course reading in the Working Smarter Fieldbook 2011 emphasizes the importance of trust relationships--"competence trust" and "compliance trust" (p. 278). The foundation for collaboration is trust, foundational to the use of the tools. These types of trust display themselves in how top leaders support and expect middle managers to allow the use of social media tools by work groups, and the empowerment of several levels of an organization to manage or create content in the social-media environments. A condition of social media investment in an organization should also be justified by the results produced. (This summary is drawn from pp. 277 - 282).

Tools the Authors Share for Various Collaborative Purposes. These are the exact titles of the rich categories most certainly worth exploring (pp. 284 - 291).

  • Brainstorming
  • Mind Mapping
  • Collaborative Authoring 
  • Collaborative Reviewing
  • Collaborative Reflection 
  • Collaborative Commenting
  • Collaborative Annotation
  • Group Project Management
  • Collaborative Course Design and Development
  • Collaborative Learning

About Blogs
Tasks for this week are to create a blog and a wiki. I had used Blogger, explored Typepad, and returned to Posterous, thinking is would be the easiest of all. After mucking around in Posterous, I returned to my oldest choice, Blogger to write remarks for the class.

Aspects I like about Blogger: I can post to it from email, can quite easily embed video and photos in it, and easily push a post out to Twitter. I also like that the admin can add up to 100 authorized contributers. This makes it easy to share the voices that can contribute posts.

One of the drawbacks I have experienced when we moved Blogger onto a server at work was that we could only import the old templates, and not the new ones which allow the user to add a lot of widgets.
Perhaps this has changed.

An interesting blog article that showed up in Twitter this week was "Secrets of Bloggerhood" The post mentions a key component of popularity: exclusion. What does this negative word choice have to do with attracting readers to a blog? Good blog practices can capitalize on a synonym: selectivity of audience and selectivity of content for that audience.

About Wikis:
As for group work, the author for this section offers these insights: "...collaboration is the secret sauce of innovation....Conceptual work is inherently collaborative"(p. 314)

The description of wiki as a "group-editable website" and Google docs as "page-at-a-time wiki"(p. 315) are very helpful.

I am familiar with PBwiki, wikispaces, and wikimedia. Personally, I found PBwiki easiest to use a collaborative tool to support a face-to-face professional development event for adult educators:

The Wiki Matrix site helps you compare various features of wiki products and services:

The Data Elephant on the Table

I've been working on two evaluation reports for the past two weeks. These involve examining evidence that supports goals set by the grants awarded for educational innovation. The agency does say that whether the innovation succeeds or does not succeed, that partners should capture the data because it can save others steps if they implement something similar at a future time.

What has come to my attention is the unease at questions raised as participants look at their data. The questions raised by examining their data are valuable ones and offer the opportunity for improvement of their project in process.

In thinking about the reaction, it seems to come from the usual experience of being required to submit data for compliance, for agencies who provide funding, with the concern that anything the falls short of the named goal will result in some sort of penalty.

Many Ways to Learn: 3 New Roles for Learning Professionals Driven by Web 2.0 #LCBQ

I've added this blog to my subcriptions in Google Reader. This particular post names three category of activity for Learning and Development Professionals: Personal Knowledge Manager, Content Curator, and Community Manager. The last two categories are particularly pertinent as we explore blogs and wikis in the context of social learning for the 21st Century Training Technologies Class.

Many Ways to Learn: 3 New Roles for Learning Professionals Driven by Web 2.0 #LCBQ