As humans, we have a long history of working in groups: families, local geographic communities, work teams. Today online technologies allow us to connect broadly using networks of all kinds. We might think of these forms as a range of deep (defined, focused groups) and broad (diverse, connecting and multi-domained networks). The question is, how do we keep these two forms usefully knitted together? What are the online and offline implications? Let’s explore the place of the “social artist” and the &quot;transversal“ in the context of teaching and learning online. Actually, more ambitiously, how are we changing our field of teaching and training particularly through our use of online environments? Of learning?
In the past month, I’ve been participating in one of the MOOCs, #Change11 ( http://change.mooc.ca/ ). I was the facilitator for week 8 ( http://change.mooc.ca/week08.htm )and my topic was very related to what I want to talk about today. So I want to thank and acknowledge them as thinking partners. There were also a few individuals who really both helped me clarify my thinking and show me the “sweet spots.” THANK YOU! For an amazing recap, see the work of Valerie here: http://bit.ly/sD3A0V and a few others http://zmldidaktik.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/are-we-social-artists/#respond My starting assumption is pretty obvious. We can’t handle the volume offered to us on the net alone. We can’t tap into the richness of networks alone. We can’t be all things to all people as teachers and learners working in isolation. And, in an era where we can connect widely, and across a lot of diversity, it is worth paying attention to HOW we teach and learn. It seemed to me that we need some attention on our behaviors as learners and teachers, some reflection on the informal roles we take on as we manifest our participation online and offline. So the MOOC was a playground. What I did in my MOOC11 week was a bit different than the previous weeks where the host facilitator posted an article and the group discussed it… a form we recognize from university seminars, eh? Well, to be honest, I have been on the road a lot these last months and just didn’t prepare a piece of writing. So I looked into the implicit invitation of the MOOC 11 title, Change11: Education, Learning and Technology. For teachers and learners, this is about experiencing the change and BEING the change. That rang a bell for me. Slap on top of that my recent interest in the roles of social artist and transversalist, I was beginning to find my hook for today’s talk. Now I do realize I bit off a huge chunk and that what I do here today with you may be more of a passing, overdosed blur. I’ll confess, I don’t do keynotes about things I’m totally clear and certain about. This is a rather selfish opportunity for me to learn with and from you. There is something amazing about speaking half baked ideas out to a room of 300 people (plus followers online via video and Twitter) that forces you to THINK, dammit. I love that. There is this edge of knowing, learning and improvisation. Bliss. So here we go… (at this point, the person following the Twitter stream gave the feedback that one Tweet wanted me to just “Get on with it.” Wise words. Thank you, back channel.
So what did I learn in Change11 that informed today’s tight rope performance? What happened with this simple, opening conversation about the experience of BEING change (with few slides, lots of whiteboards and a rather unintelligible set of artifacts for anyone who wasn’t there … see here:http://www.slideshare.net/choconancy/change11-mooc-session-october-31 )? We explored practices which help activate ourselves and those around us. How bringing our full selves to teaching and learning changes things. We benefit from ACTIVATING potential in ourselves to learn, do, engage, PRACTICE!
Pile on top of this fundamental need to ACTIVATE is the need for, for lack of a better word, COPING. And hopefully MORE than just coping, but productively working this tension between breadth and depth that has shown up with the blossoming of social media. We can belong to groups and networks in a dizzying profusion. Face it, multimembership is making it harder than anytime in the past 10 years to form and nurture these groups we’re apt to design into our learning architectures because everyone already belongs to SO MANY. Technology has changed what it means to be together and now we have this breadth of opportunity to connect. What is happening to depth? What is the fundamental need for depth in a learning contexts? As we are (constantly) reinventing our practices and our worlds nudged very strongly by this tension. So what do we do?
HOW do we do this? What are our options? I’d say this is another area of abundance and one that is expanding before my eyes as I continue to explore the field of connecting and activating in learning and working. What I want to share today isn’t just about online. It is online and offline. It reaches across all modalities you might want to throw at me. In October I was at a conference of French and Italian free and open source software folks (fOSSa), doing a similar talk as I’m doing with you today (http://www.slideshare.net/choconancy/fossa2011-five-things-about-online-community-and-networks). I was this strange bird, a non-coder, talking about communities and networks. They were mostly talking about code and the politics of open source. I struggled to fit in initially and thought “boy, this is going to be a long three days and can I skip out after my talk?” Uh oh. Instead, I started taking sketchnotes of the other talks. (see http://www.slideshare.net/choconancy/fossa2011-sketchnotes) At first it was just so I could make sense of the talks. It was a lot of geek to me. Pretty soon, however, people started looking over my shoulder. I took quick snaps of the sketches and tweeted and tagged them and others in the room (and outside the room) started commenting and retweeting. When the next break came up, I was no longer the odd duck in the corner... I was in conversation with people – people I struggled to connect with earlier in the day. What happened? A few things. I made an offering. People found the offering valuable. The offering was a bit unique in a flow of words and ppt files –or should I say OPEN OFFICE files. It was visual. It helped bridge some of our linguistic and domain gaps. By the end of the three days, the organizers decided their 2012 conference would include visual practice (they are going to do a backwards look at their history and I suggested a visual history wall), and maybe just might include me. Mmmm, another trip to France ain’t bad. More importantly, I now have a network of very smart FOSSA coders, journalists, philosophers and what not as part of my network. All for a few scratches of pen on paper. From an offer. A gift. Please note!
This is about connecting. Connection. Whether we are using a visual path, or widely networked tools like Twitter and it’s in-boundary cousin, Yammer. George Siemens has a framing for education he calls “connectivism” which resonates with this call for connection.
Connect beyond the classroom. During and after courses. Use the technology at hand with more intention around connecting and finding the balance between depth and breadth.
This changes the moment. Changes the learning. Changes us. Dare we think, aspire, believe that we can also change the field. More on that in a bit, but hold on to the idea that we are revolutionaries for positive change in the learning world by believing and acting on the power of activation and intention through connection. Yes, powerful stuff. (At this point, I shouted “Occupy Education” in the name of all you who have been shouting this out in rooms and online spaces around the world for the past months!)
But wait! Is there a problem, Houston? Yup. One reason is the proliferation of ideas around the use of “communities” “teams” and related approaches. We value the pedagogical value of learning with and from each other, but often we try and “build a learning” community and we get, what? Empty forums, grudging posts, and at best, ephemeral connection. Is it because learning with and from each other is not a good approach or that we actually can improve our practices? I believe it is the latter and today I’d like to share is some design and practice thinking around this idea of connecting. Connecting meaningfully. We’ll look at some connective technologies (because, that is after all, part of the theme of our gathering at conVerge), connective roles, and connective practices. My theory and what I’ve observed in practice is that when we ramp up our awareness and use of these approaches, things work better. In a way, a bit of a revolution. Revolution through self awareness and a sensitivity towards design.
But wait. This is not a protest. Let’s not say “everything connected all the time.” The goal here is USEFUL connection. Not connection for connections sake. And since I borrowed this post from the Occupy movement, let’s borrow some of the connecting practices from them as well. And maybe look at them through a variety of perspectives – because they can become misunderstood or caricatures.. http://www.occupytogether.org/downloadable-posters/
Now, I took a bit of a diversion in the presentation and talked about the Occupy handsignals and engaged the group in using them. Here is the gist of what I said: Hand signals are not new, nor are they the invention of the Occupy movement In fact, many of them come from the deaf community. What is significant in their use in the movement is to create a means for participation in a way that scales across the context of occupying parks. Chanting and yelling is one way, but if there are no microphones or amplification allowed in parks (more on that later), a crowd yelling soon drowns out the conversation. Other noise might drown out the talk. Hand signals give people a way to respond and to impact the process – quietly. Today I want to invite you to use your hands to signal me and signal each other. Let’s look at the basics. Hands up, wiggling indicates agreement. (In the deaf community, it also means applause, I believe). If you hear something you agree with, wave those piggies. https://occupyboston.wikispaces.com
Hands down indicates disagreement or a request to stop. Yes, you can disagree with me. And yes, I want to hear why because a lot of what I’m going to talk about today is my own emergent thinking and processing. Those of you who know me know I’m not so interested in spouting about the certain, but exploring and giving voice to what I’m learning and what may be emergent in a practice or field.
Hands crossed indicates blocking. This comes from the practice of using consensus in the Occupy movement. We don’t have to come to any kind of consensus today, but if something is really troubling you, try it out. If you are way in the back, I may have trouble seeing, so help me out, folks.
The triangle is to address a point of process. If we were in a fully workshop setting, this might be useful. But again, sometimes some of this is extraneous. So the hint is, use what is USEFUL. OK, are you with me so far? Up twinkle fingers for yes, down for no.
http://www.conversationagent.com/2011/11/connecting-at-events.html Now that we have a little feedback loop process in place, lets start right where we are now. I shared the story of how I was able to gain much more out of a F2F conference through sketchnoting and sharing. My question to you is how are you making the most of your time at conVerge? How about you extroverts? Raise your hands Easy, right? Maybe. Introverts, raise your hands -- invisibly. Maybe a bit tougher for you? Valerie Maltoni, aka “conversation agent” posted recently 30 times for connecting at conferences. If you had binoculars, you could read that list. The point is, some of us do this naturally, some of us just need a little reminder and some of us have to learn how to do this. So we’re going to “do this” a bit together now. Think of it as “yoga for your conferencce connecting muscles.
Just for a taste from that pile of text, here are a few examples from Valeria.
Here is my offer. Take any old piece of paper you can find, grab your pen and draw a picture – a stick picture -- of how you are or plan to meaningfully connect with someone else here conVerge. This is not an art contest. Just a no-text way of expressing of one way you have or will connect with someone else here. I’ll give you 90 seconds to draw. Then we’ll do a 30 second swap meet. You turn to someone, swap your pictures. Guess, discuss, laugh, whatever. Then you will take the image you received and swap it with someone new. Let’s see what happens…
As I get older, I realize the usefulness of simple practices. One of them is the power of the debrief. Take a minute to chat w/ your neighbors about our swap meet. What did you learn? What did you notice about the process?. Let’s hear a few from the audience now. And if we can we can watch the tweet stream for feedback. What did we learn about connecting w/ each other in terms of process? Content? Invitation? Hand signals?
So we’ve already explored several in-room mechanisms to communicate and connect. Yes, communication is a primary means of connection. They are examples of both connective technologies (albeit non-digital), roles (mostly mine so far) and practices. My next offer to you today is to explore the trio of technology, roles and practices as vectors for literally changing our field. Changing teaching and learning, no matter how, no matter who, no matter where. Now, I know this is neither complete nor a panacea, but opens the door for us to see all the cool tech we are exploring here in a larger context of people and processes. And to give us agency for this transformation.
I’m going to start with technology, which is both easy and hard. It is easy, because we can point to a tool and say “hey, Twitter is good for… X” “Moodle is fab for…. Y” – Shout it out. More specifically, technology gives us the means to connect with each other across time and space, across domain and practice.
The proliferation of internet based tools has expanded what it means to &quot;be together&quot; with others for learning, work and pleasure. How do we decide when to focus on the individual, the group or the wider network? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each? How does our choice inform our selection of tools and methods? And what about all the gray area &quot;in between&quot; each of these?
I don’t know if you have seen the stunning global choirs Eric Whitacre has assembled – with nary a face to face, of over 2000 singers from around the globe. It is stunning. Let’s take a look (if I can get the technology to work!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs The devil of this is that we have these oddly unreasonable expectations that technology a) simply works and b) works the same for all of us and c) if we just have the right widget, we are set. Eric and his choir had the right widgets, but clearly something much more.
Let’s explore then a typical path of bringing technology to teaching and learning. Learning happens through a series of activities that people do alone and with each other. What comes to mind when you think about this. For many of us, the first thing we do is list the tools, not the activities. If we flip and start with the activities, we might actually do a better job matching tools and tool practices with those activities. And that assumes we are actually THINKING about and designing learning activities.
Brian Solis helped move this conversation about activity with his conversation prism. http://www.theconversationprism.com/
In research for the book “Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities” (Wenger, White and Smith) we looked at a variety of communities of practice and noticed 9 general patterns of activities that characterized what we called a community’s orientation. Most had a mix, but some activity orientations were more prominent in every case. Image: Wenger, White and Smith, 2009 Meetings – in person or online gatherings with an agenda (i.e. monthly topic calls) Projects – interrelated tasks with specific outcomes or products (i.e. Identifying a new practice and refining it.) Access to expertise – learning from experienced practitioners (i.e. access to subject matter experts) Relationship – getting to know each other (i.e. the annual potluck dinner!) Context – private, internally-focused or serving an organization, or the wider world (i.e. what is kept within the community, what is shared with the wider world) Community cultivation – Recruiting, orienting and supporting members, growing the community (i.e. who made sure you’re the new person was invited in and met others?) Individual participation – enabling members to craft their own experience of the community (i.e. access material when and how you want it.) Content – a focus on capturing and publishing what the community learns and knows (i.e. a newsletter, publishing an article, etc.) Open ended conversation – conversations that continue to rise and fall over time without a specific goal (i.e. listserv or web forum, Twitter, etc.)
In visually mapping these orientations, we could begin to explore the process, technology and planning dimensions of a community. Example: KM4Dev (http://www.km4dev.org) is a global network of practitioners interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing in international development. Over 1500 members are subscribed to the email list which had it’s origins in July 2000. It is both a well established but loosely bounded network that interacts primarily online, with once a year meetings that a small subset attend.
Now, lets also look at the connective nature of some technologies. Lets face it, some are more connective than others. A learning management system which segregates classes and cohorts, which manages data for the purpose of measuring progress and recording grades has less technological connective tissue than Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Some may say they are less chaotic than FB or Twitter which seems to show a pattern Some tools are designed for control. What I’ve noticed is the more controlled the technology, the less connective potential. The more rigid the roles and the higher the expectation for strong connections. There is also value in openness, diversity, and weak or light ties. Take this slide as me mucking about with this idea, rather than any sort of definitive analysis. But consider for a moment. How do the tools you use support openness? Connection? Focus? Control? Scaling of participation to larger numbers? This latter facet is critical in places where, for example, Universities demand far outstrips what it can supply. We need to design with a range of tools that don’t miss out on the connective power. Yes, this means giving up control. One of the most important things I’ve learned from the OpenEducation or “Open Ed” community is the power of letting go, of making things open. The challenge is how our institutions can scale as fast as these open initiatives which treat most institutional boundaries as irrelevant. Heck, we need to start with being simply conscious and attentive TO design!
Let’s look at the role of Twitter again in the Occupy context and the use of hashtags. You can view at the highest “Occupy” tag whch shows no geographic focus (i.e. “Occupy Melbourne”) This connects people around the movement in one way. It also shows opportunity for more specific connection by following people posting with the hashtag or conversation that emerge from within the tag stream.
Or you can search on an “Occupy_namespace” such as “OccupySeattle” By looking across and vertically, you can get a different lens on what is being Tweeted about Occupy. Twitter aggregates in a number of directions. It aggregates tweets across the people you follow, some representation of your network(s). It can also aggregate via hashtag which lets us connect across topic, or “domain” as we call it from a communities of practice perspective. It is both aggregation by topic and curation by the people in the network who care about something. It allows us to filter in different ways and make sense of the flow of information in ways we might not alone. This is a technology that supports connection, breadth, diversity and scaling of numbers of participants.
Twitter is not the only way to aggregate. Occupy Melbourne brings together information for local activistm. The aggregation and curation of content is another form of technologically mediated connective tissue. There are some sessions here around curation tools and practices. There are really cool technologies with APIs, application programming interfaces that allow people to mix, match and mash up content across sites. Aggregation can both show us breadth and depth. But neither Twitter nor other aggregating technologies do a great job at depth. To get content depth, you scan a lot of tweets. To get relationship depth, you hop and skip across many iterations of 140 charactures. Slow, thoughtful conversations on Twitter are a challenge for most of us. Comments on blogs may move us further along the continuum to depth. Sitting around a slow meal or a glass of tea in small groups takes us deeper. We need all of these to learn, to make meaning.
APIs, http://cc.fullcirc.com/ Thinkupapp.ca Other tools, like the topic focused pages Tony Karrer has engineered with a combination of technological and human curation, have more boundaries which may reduce and refine content, but also lose some of the wider perspective. Both are useful. Which approach to aggregation and curation are you taking when you want your learners to connect to the fountain (or firehose) of information availabile in their learning domain?
Occupy Café is interested in the process issues around Occupy and has been a source of inspiration to me, along with the writings of Tom Atlee. http://post.ly/4DYn3 His posts are a great way to both learn more about Occupy and look at the emergent set of ideas and practices that can inform teaching and learning.
All of these technologies reflect a dynamic that is expresssed in one of my fundamental design thingies (I don’t know what to call this.”) Technology is designed for a group, but experienced by individuals sitting behind screens of all sizes. We create the experience for ourselves, and we create a sense of how others are experiencing the same thing in our own heads. I imagine (or not) your body language or tone as I read your tweet.
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/11/a-guide-to-the-occupy-wall-street-api-or-why-the-nerdiest-way-to-think-about-ows-is-so-useful/248562/ Nieman Journalism Lab on Nov 21 talked about Occupy as an “interface”, quoting from the Atlantic “A Guide to the Occupy Wall Street API, Or Why the Nerdiest Way to Think About OWS is so useful.” This gave me another lens to think about these challenges of how we connect online.
http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=API&i=37856,00.asp I f you are like me, you might not actually know what an API is. So this is for us proto-geeks or geek-wannabes!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/generated/4994039025/in/photostream/ This is a visual example of what an API can do – pull in images from Flickr and assemble them into a tree.
Here are some examples of “gets” and “posts” (from the geeky API language) from the Atlantic Article
A few more…
And a few more. You get the drift, right?
We can consider the specific things we take on to support useful connection. This might be “roles.” By roles, I mean we are consciously doing something and often others know or have asked us to do so. It is deliberate. Sometimes it is informal, other times formal. But most important, it is conscious!
What are our connecting roles?
Or is it conneTIVE? I’m still not sure about this language… ;-)
Here are some of the needs that have show up for me in my work. What they DON’T cover is the management side of things – but I’ll leave that to y’all!
This is ho they translate into some of the roles I’ve noticed. They include: facilitators, community leaders, network weavers and technology stewards. Plus a few more. Community leaders are a more familiar role, helping defined groups achieve specific goals over a period of time. “Helping” may mean creating conditions, supporting the emergence of relationships or individual and/or group identity, managing, etc. Network weavers are a new role (See the work of June Holley et al at http://www.networkweaving.com/blog/) – “people who facilitate new connections and increase the quality of those connections.” In between community leaders and network weavers are technology stewards. Independent thinkers is my effort to usefully embrace diversity, disagreement and in general, civil constructive criticism and thinking. Moderators are more like housekeeping in my mind, but others use the term as facilitator or community manager. The newest is a term I borrowed… Social Artist.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/spine/272900992/ What I’m NOT talking about is spam marketing and other practices which are also enabled by many of the current technologies. I’m also not focusing on broadcast or one way communications. These ideas CAN apply to marketing, but it is a form of marketing that values authentic interaction, muti way listening and generalized reciprocity.
In the MOOC experience I mentioned, I also talked about the Social Artist. http://www.michelemmartin.com/thebambooprojectblog/2011/11/learning-careers-and-social-artistry.html amplifies on a post I had written earlier for the #Change11 MOOC http://www.fullcirc.com/2011/11/08/reflecting-on-socialartists-and-change11/ which gives some good background. There are two definitions, on from Etienne Wenger and one from Jean Houston. Wenger’s is in relationship to learning (a social artist is a person &quot;enabling social learning spaces”), Houston’s is broader but the resonate with each other. Valerie did an AMAZING recap of the week here: http://bit.ly/sD3A0V watch it – fabulous! Here are a few more blog posts from the Change11 week on Social Artistry. See also the twitter hashtag #socialartist http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/28168/Tweets-from-change11-about-socialartists http://www.transgnosis.com/change11-social-artist-and-collectiveintelligence/ http://www.fullcirc.com/2011/11/08/reflecting-on-socialartists-and-change11/ https://worklearn.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/social-artists-ends-up-being-about-mooc-design-change11-socialartist/ http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/change11-social-artist-and-collective-intelligence/ http://juandomingofarnos.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/change11-social-artist-and-collective%C2%A0intelligence/ http://heli.edublogs.org/2011/11/07/884/ http://silenceandvoice.com/2011/11/04/i-am-a-nancy-white-groupie/ http://silenceandvoice.com/2011/11/06/glass-gandhi-ows-and-social-artistry/ (added Nov 10) http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-delights/p/628320308/change11-mooc-session-october-31 http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/change11-change-happiness-and-social-artistry/ http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/change11-patterns-fractals-and-conversation/ (should I have talked about network weavers? See http://www.bethkanter.org/network-mindset/ ) Finding social artists everywhere http://virtuallyfoolproof.com/?p=686 http://coachcarole.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/change11-listening-to-nancy-socialartist/ The Queen Has No Clothes http://edtech-insights.blogspot.com/2011/11/social-artist-doubts-process-and-feel.html but see also http://edtech-insights.blogspot.com/2011/10/have-processstructure-but-dont-kill.html “We will try a Technology for Learning Forum (T4L-Forum) to develop the pedagogy necessary, working with enthusiasts, wannabes and even perhaps skeptics, but always asking “where is the learning in this”.” http://serenaturri.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/change11-triangolare-tessere-e-connettere-il-nostro-apprendimento/#comments (Added Nov9) https://connectiv.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/change11-socialartist-why-small-things-matter/#comments (added Nov 9) http://gbl55.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/change11-how-now-sweet-cow-the-social-artist-who-disrupted-my-mooc-learning/ (added Nov 10 and wonderfully funny and spot on!) http://asaginu.com/blog/social-artistry-culture/ (added Nov 10) https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/the-power-of-passion-for-change / (added Nov 10) https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/social-artistry%e2%80%a6-a-new-idea / (added Nov 10) https://connectiv.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/cause-function-intention-change11-accident-coincidence-interpretation/ (added nov 10) Image Credit: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150473672076145&set=a.64231186144.83513.709226144&type=1&theater
http://www.flickr.com/photos/newzgirl/3175562284/ Article url: http://socialreporter.com/?p=474 This is a brief mention of Wenger’s approach to social artistry.
Here are Wenger and Houston’s definitions http://socialreporter.com/?p=474 http://www.jeanhouston.org/Social-Artistry/social-artistry.html
See the work of June Holley http://www.networkweaver.blogspot.com/
One of the social artist practices that has been most significant in my work are the little things.
http://www.positivematrix.com/2011/11/11/experiencing-the-broaden-and-build-effect/#more-23 Howard Zinn, 2004 While it may not be institutionally practical, attitude plays a terrific role in our success as educators. Apathy is a virus. As is “waiting for the perfect.”
Little things, though, often get lost in big institutions. So we are the agents of change to keep those practices alive.
Just think of the power of saying thank you!
When in doubt, keep it simple. And simple to me came down to another fundamental element of human interaction. Invitation! The act of inviting others into engagement with you and with each other, into engagement to think, do, learn, create, debate, play.
Ask great questions!
http://youtu.be/Pud46fxRlts http://ds106.us/ Uploaded by openedconference on Oct 26, 2011 Wednesday Keynote given by Jim Groom, Instructional Technology Specialist / Adjunct Professor, University of Mary Washington Be experiential (PBLs, internships, coaching, mentoring)
http://ds106.us/ Jim Groom’s course on digital storytelling is an amazing ongoing example of the power of little things
http://www.flickr.com/photos/billselak/2082535909/in/photostream/ Billaday http://techpresident.com/blog-entry/mic-check-and-occupiers-protest-framework Mic check is a process being used in the Occupy movement. If we think about technologies as mechanism that enable users to do specific actions, Mic Check is a technology. These are participatory gestures. Or social gestures. We do these online too. Think about a thumbs up in Facebook, a smiley in a chat, or a quick video cam to show how we feel as well as TELLING how we feel.
Now, let’s look at Mic Check beyond the hype of some of the videos we are seeing online and in the media. Mic check is used at face to face gatherings where no electronic amplification is allowed. People have to listen and relay. This generates a network effect rippling across the crowd. It also asks the speaker to be clear and brief. No wasting of words. It scales too, if you have enough time!
OK, on to the next role. Tech steward. Ten years ago, when someone wanted to set up a set of tools to support a community of practice, they called up IT. Install Lotus notes. “Give me a SharePoint set up.” And that was that. Communities rarely had control of their online environments. There was a gulf between designers and users. Unless of course, they were coders. Now we have access to a wide variety of tools, some of which are technically difficult to set up, and others that are available at a click of the button. Who is paying attention to these tools? Tech stewardship goes far beyond the traditional IT tech support. It is tech with a community attitude, attention to how to adapt a tool to a community’s quirks and practices. It is about seeing and representing the community perspective first. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maykesplana/270819284/
Technology stewardship is not a solo gig, but by, of and for the community. It is about that balance between control and emergence, between &quot;self-organizing&quot; and &quot;organizing on behalf of others.&quot; It balances the wisdom of the group, with the reality of getting things done.
So we have roles and practices. How do we put it together? Design is a good starting point. But let me say, design is just ONE part. We can’t leave out the DOING. The practices.
Sometimes we have to step outside of traditional elearning design boxes. In fact, I’d say we most OFTEN need to do this.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/josefdunne/4319306255/sizes/z/in/photostream/ I have a lot of faith in Safe Fail design. See Dave Snowden’s post http://www.cognitive-edge.com/blogs/dave/2007/11/safefail_probes.php
Often we are designing just for our students, for some curriculum requirement or even ourselves. We might consider instead of designing across bits and bobs. Across stakeholder group. We need to pay at least a little attention to the transversal. trans·verse /transˈvərs/ Adjective:Situated or extending across something: &quot;a transverse beam&quot;. http://www.flickr.com/photos/clotnatura/6177350876/
Let’s break this down a bit. When designing, managing and facilitating online communities and networks, we have to be able to work from at least three perspectives: the sponsors and their strategic goals and objectives, community leaders and facilitators with their attention to process and relationships, and finally, the members with attention to what creates enough value to make participation worth their time and attention.
The first perspective in institutional settings is the institutions. The boss. We need to design with their needs in mind, but not ONLY their needs.
Teacher and instructors, as facilitators and (along with learners) as community leaders are both key in making things happen in a community or network. Typically the facilitators have a clearly defined role, often supported in some way by their organization. Community leaders, on the other hand, are most often volunteers. Both play vital roles in a community and often they share a similar perspective. (However, when you go to a more detailed level of analysis, I’d split these apart!) Facilitators and leaders are task focused and thus value role and task definition. What should I be doing? How? By when. Sometimes this means training and support from more experienced facilitators. It means allocating time. One thing that is often missing for them is feedback on how they are doing and what value they are adding. This is critical for sustainability.
Finally, but most importantly, we have the member/learner perspective. There is no community without the members. No class without the students. No network. Today people can participate in so many communities that their level of engagement is spread thin. So the most important question we have to ask – and keep asking – is the purpose of our community valuable and relevant to members? Are the activities worth the time and attention it takes members to participate? Once we have achieved relevance for them, what kind of engagement is needed to help the community fulfill its potential? Each of these perspectives are critical. Sometimes they may be shared and sometimes contradictory. Sponsors may want members to do something they have no interest in doing. Facilitators may feel unappreciated by both sponsors and members. By being able to step back and consider each perspective, we are more likely to bring the shared desires to the forefront and minimize the disconnects.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rawnshah/2010/12/22/social-business-is-neither-vertical-nor-horizontal-enterprise-services-but-both/ This transversal pattern is also present in business today.
There are many forms that include this perspective on connecting. The MOOC form mentioned earlier. Communities of practice. Connecting diverse domains, open education, project based learning as well as many others. If you look at your teaching and learning practices, which are connective?
Sometimes I think we are too modest in our aims in great teaching and learning online. We can do more. Check out Don’s wise words.
Don Tapscott’s engagement strategies for new Open Cities collaborative. The man is on a mission, with clarity and audacious goals. What is our clarity? What are our audacious goals? How are we changing not only ourselves, our courses, our institutions, but the ENTIRE FIELD?
Summing up a few design principles.
Participatory gestures Debrief Visuals Social artists and transversalists Designing from multiple perspectives Connecting technologies Safe-fail design
30 ideas on connecting at conferences from Valeria Maltoni 1. write down at least three take aways for each session you attend -- there's a lot of experience hiding in the obvious 2. grab your seat early and engage with your seat neighbors -- more knowledge you can tap there 3. choose to provide constructive feedback to all -- your conference experience depends on your outlook 4. spend some time w/sponsors & learn about their products or services – you never know when information will come in handy 5. demo products, talk to brand reps about the services -- can you learn something about how to position a product better? 6. remember that thinking can be more powerful than doing -- you might discover you've been rushing to the wrong activities 7. ask specific questions of speakers, & keep the open ended ones for networking -- you're responsible of your own take aways, after all 8. use the information you researched ahead of time on attendees/topic -- as a foundation to build upon 9. be open to new ideas or new points of view -- it's actually more instructive and fun when people don't do or say what you expect them to 10. document what you learn to share with your team --others w/brimming plates end up covering for you. Provide value in return 11. have a good attitude , it's contagious -- really, we just saw that in the opening keynote, be fascinating , and the world will smile upon you 12. tweet less if this means you listen more -- can you really absorb information and learn while you're tweeting? 13. share connections w/ other attendees. Meet new people by introducing people, while you shift the focus away from you. 14. pay attention to non verbals -- during breaks, as well as the sessions, you can learn a lot just by observing 15. observe what people gravitate towards and make a note of it for your business --where's the energy in the room? What's captivating? 16. p rovide feedback to conf organizers. Will people have nice time? How does pgm need to flow? 17. participate to sessions actively -- body language is also participation. Focusing on your computer is hard on speakers & others in room 18. be willing to challenge your own thinking -- suspend your judgment, think possibility, or like Ben Zander, how fascinating 19. split sessions w/you rteam, & regroup -- often several good sessions are concurrent. Take advantage of the luxury of sharing notes. 20. meet the speakers during breaks. Speakers are the least courted people at breaks, no idea why, even at big events 21. make note of any follow up activities & follow through. Closing the gap between promises made & promises kept builds a solid reputation 22. seek out the new & stimulating -- …mix it up a little and you open new paths 23. bring your offline voice to conversations -- people may/not read your blog,follow you on Twitter, etc. Just talk to them and take it from there? 24. give yourself time with each new person you meet. Pace yourself/get to know more people. F2F is more precious than contact details. 25. volunteer to fill in for a speaker on a panel/session, it might be your lucky day if your expertise matches & organizers know about it 26. help out at the bookstore --provide some relief to conference organizers & meet more people at the book stand or store 27. partner with a speaker to greet people before the session and thank them after the session -- associating yourself the event and being 28. laugh with people -- for a reason, of course, otherwise it looks creepy. They say laughter is the shortest distance between people 29. remember people's names with their faces . Who did I remember? Those who made eye contact. 30. celebrate the success of others ..Those are perfect opportunities to recognize the work of others, which is supremely connective (I edited for brevity… nw) http://bit.ly/uAzcSA
1. write down at least three take aways for each session you attend -- there's a lot of experience hiding in the obvious 2. grab your seat early and engage with your seat neighbors -- more knowledge you can tap there 3. choose to provide constructive feedback to all -- your conference experience depends on your outlook 4. spend some time w/sponsors & learn about their products or services 5. demo products, talk to brand reps about the services -- can you learn something about how to position a product better? 6. remember that thinking can be more powerful than doing -- you might discover you've been rushing to the wrong activities 7. ask specific questions of speakers, & keep the open ended ones for networking -- you're responsible of your own take-aways, after all
Designed for a group… experienced by individuals…
Is there a human API* for connecting ? * Application Programming Interface
API ( A pplication P rogramming I nterface) A language and message format used by an application program to communicate with the operating system or some other control program such as a database management system (DBMS) or communications protocol. APIs are implemented by writing function calls in the program, which provide the linkage to the required subroutine for execution. Thus, an API implies that some program module is available in the computer to perform the operation or that it must be linked into the existing program to perform the tasks. http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=API&i=37856,00.asp
http://www.flickr.com/photos/generated/4994039025/in/photostream/ Thanks, Jared
enable people to… <ul><li>discover & appropriate useful technology </li></ul><ul><li>be in and use communities & networks (people) </li></ul><ul><li>express their identity </li></ul><ul><li>find and create content </li></ul><ul><li>usefully participate </li></ul>
"knowing how to use who you are as a vehicle for opening spaces for learning. It’s about being able to use who I am to take my community to a new level of learning and performance…space for becoming learning citizens“ – Etienne Wenger ". . . the art of enhancing human capacities in the light of social complexity. It seeks to bring new ways of thinking, being and doing to social challenges in the world. … Social Artists are leaders in many fields who bring the same order of passion and skill that an artist brings to his or her art form, to the canvas of our social reality. - Jean Houston
What the %&*# is a technology steward? http://www.flickr.com/photos/maykesplana/270819284/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/meaduva/3163258523/ “ Technology stewards are people with enough experience of the workings of a community to understand its technology needs, and enough experience with technology to take leadership in addressing those needs. Stewardship typically includes selecting and configuring technology, as well as supporting its use in the practice of the community.”