First new term: Reusable Reporting Objects - Make every document/ presentation/ report etc serve more than one purpose. Lots of links I need to follow up with other FLLs through the year emerged today as well. Frances Howes as part of her presentation got us to write a to-do list - I must post it up here to remind me. Off to dinner now!
To make sure that I get to the end of the year and don't suddenly have to scrabble around for documentation, I've pledged (?) to myself that I will update this blog on a regular basis. While I was away in WA (see here) I used my palm to compose posts and also attach photos.
Whilst talking through the direction and outcomes for the project, something in the path caught my eye - it seemed to confirm that everything would work, it wasn't crazy, but it would require the following strengths:
How does this translate to my FLL project?
Well, doing the research and developling my skills will be great, but the real benefits will only come from being able to share my learnings, and translate them into real outcomes for the people I work with. And this must be my litmus test - I must be able to answer "what will it mean for learners, trainers and teachers, for team leaders, for support staff, for employers, for TAFE Tas, for Tasmania?" Then and only then, will the project reach its full potential.
How will I know when I've achieved my project?
I'll have answered my research questions which are here in an old(er) post.
Add to share those answers I will/may have produced:
- the answers to 'life, the universe and everything' [not 42, I've decided, either that or I've got the wrong question]
- some case studies that describe the impact of solutions that I propose
- stories from people who are out there doing it well NOW
- report on the process by which I came to my conclusions
- some resources to help training professionals implement these solutions
How may this be presented? a website, cd-rom resource, paper based...
A series of four e-mail-based virtual conferences is being held in May and June 2004 as a lead-up to the Third Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning.
The current theme is 'Latest Developments' and here are ideas and thoughts that I've picked up so far.
The Hole In the Wall Project in India which showed that:
Groups of 6 to 13 year old children do not need to be "taught" how to use computers. In experiments conducted in India since 1999, [above], it has been shown that children can self-instruct themselves to operate computers. Their ability to do so seems to be independent of their:
Literacy levels in the English language or any other language
Social or economic level
Ethnicity and place of origin, i.e, city, town or village
Virtual Classroom set ups can provide a viable alternative to video conferencing.
Pro's of Virtual Classroom:
*archiving of presentations for retrieval later
*potentially better for low bandwidth areas
*combination of powerpoint, audio, video etc
Pro's of Video Conferencing
*people like face to face element
*no client-side software issues
Some interesting thoughts on learning from Ian Moll at SAIDE, the South African Institute for Distance Education. Could not find the report on the website so have sent an email request. Fingers crossed!
That's the end of the first of four virtual conferences. I'll be starting from the begining of the next one, the topic of which is 'Research and Evaluation'
link to the first page of a resource I developed for other Flexible Learning Leaders about blogging.
The session will be facilitated via a chat session, and afterwards I am planning to zip up the materials and offer to others to use. Need to look at Creative Commons licensing etc.
Beyond the Break starts tomorrow. see conference website here
Went for a drive around the Griffith Uni Campus to see what the location is like - it felt like driving through a bushland area, all the roads are lined with gumtrees so you don't really get a feel for the layout. That will have to wait until tommorow.
On the plane trip to Brisbane, I found myself immersed in a book that spoke very directly to me, The Springboard by Stephen Denning. Denning writes about his experiences in using story telling as a means of engaging people thoughout the World Bank in implementing knowledge management. He argues that arguing a case for change that is based on objective analysis rarely will be successful. By telling stories, we allow people to draw their own conclusions. "When the story rings true, it enables the listeners to generate a new gestalt in their minds, which embraces the main point of the change" (p38)
Denning writes that, "The more I concentrate on the analytics, the more I run into difficulty and resistance. The more I put the analytic thinking to one side and instead put forward the story, the easier things seem to be." (P52)
The difficulty of letting go of the traditional approach to presentations and communicating is recognised - you really feel that you ae hearing a real person from the way that Denning writes. How (or how not) to gather and share stories is also explored. This will be very useful as I start down this path.
'Connectedness' the story, however condensed, has to link to the audience with a positive controlling idea and a protagonist with whom the audience empathises.
'Strangeness' the Springboard story must violate the listener's expectations in some way.
'Comprehensibility' the story has to embody the idea so as to spring the listener to a new level of understanding.
The book is written in the present tense which creates a different feeling to being written in the past. It feels like you are sitting alongside the author as he experiences and reflects.
I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in getting a message across - it's not just about using stories for change management, it's about connecting with people, co-creating vision, and recognising the complexity of organisational life.
This weblog contains advance excerpts of Stephen Denning's next book, A Leaders Guide to Storytelling to be published by Jossey-Bass in 2005.
I really enjoyed Stephen Denning's book The Springboard and also spent some time recently in a leadershi workshop where we explored the power of story telling for creating myth, creating engagement and the 'what if' mindset.
Bryan Alexander writes in the Sept/Oct 2004 Educause Review about the effects that mobile technology is, and will have, on learning. The now/future he paints of learners who are now "creative, communicative participants rather than as passive, reception-only consumers" challenges current educational institutions and Alexander asks educational providers if they will be fighting against, or making the most of this tide?
The type of interaction a student has with a mobile device is more 'personally intimate' than they have with a desktop, and 'such machines become prosthetics for information, memory and creativity' (p30). Which is very much how I treat my mobile devices and make them work for me. I'd even put my blog into the category of mobile device - it is not tethered to a particular desktop computer but lives on the web, and can be updated from any internet enabled device. It is my mobile memory bank.
Alexander suggests that 'information literacy may change as students expand their multitaksing, mobile, learning-on-demand ethos' (p32). A critical skill in the use of any information is to be able to judge the worth and validity of that information - if the information is being accessed in the moment, then this aspect of information literacy will need to highly tuned and instantly responsive.
One flow-on of the 'connected world' is the speed at which information can travel through informal and uncensored pathways. 'Swarms' can form at any time, any where. Alexander's article ends with reference to Kakfa's cautionary tale "An Old Manuscript":
I am reminded of Franz Kafka’s “An Old Manuscript,” an account of a nomadic army arriving in an imperial city.18 The nomads arrive suddenly, surprising the urban population and appearing without warning in city streets, markets, libraries, and homes. Kafka’s tale focuses on the incomprehension of the city-dwellers, as well as on their dogged willingness to attempt living life as if the nomads simply weren’t there. The story charts their progressive decay and their slipping grasp on reality while the nomads build a new civilization literally in their front yard. It’s a very funny story, in Kafka’s unique way, but of course it’s also a cautionary tale, especially for those of us in higher education. At colleges and universities around the world, the nomadic swarms are already arriving.
Link to a presentation by Robin Good about Online Collaboration
Tools, in which he outlines new breeds of tools which are emerging and their benefits are:
Names that Good sees as fitting the above descriptions: Groove, Flash
Communication Server, iVocalize, InstantPresenter, Glance, GoToMeeting,
Eight features Good recommends you should look for in an online collaboration tool (slides 16-17):
This next issue is that the concept of knowledge sharing will generate little enthusiasm (and therefore action) amongst staff. In fact, when asked (or instructed) to 'share your knowledge' staff will typically respond with confusion, passive resistance or hostility.
The simple fact is that staff simply don't 'share knowledge', they conduct whatever work activities are required in their jobs. In our terms this may include sharing knowledge, but to them they are 'updating client details', 'discussing project schedules' and the like.
This is a mindmap of some options for workplace learning strategies. The ones marked with red dots are where I see some technology could be used. Click on the image for the full-scale version.
link to website
Author: Morrison, Don
Imprint: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Date Published: 14/03/2003
As part of some study I have been doing this year, I completed a project about barriers and drivers for teaching staff in adopting elearning for learner support and information provision. This has been based on a literature review and also consultation with teaching and support staff in VET in Australia. These are my conclusions about what constitutes the major barriers for the early majority. Click on the images for larger versions. Oh, and it was my final subject in a Graduate Diploma in Further Education and Training, so yippee!
link to website
"In this piece Helen Colley, Phil Hodkinson & Janice Malcolm provide a very helpful overview of different discourses around non-formal and informal learning and find that there are few, if any, learning situations where either informal or formal elements are completely absent. Boundaries or relationships between informal, non-formal and formal learning can only be understood within particular contexts. They conclude that it is often more helpful to examine dimensions of formality and informality, and ways in which they inter-relate with each other; and that attention should be paid to the wider historical, social, political and economic contexts of learning, and to the theoretical view of learning that is held by the writer."