Friday, 31 October 2008

Twitter not fritter

In terms of trends for the future I do believe that web 2.0 and 3 and 4.... will continue to have a huge impact on our lives and our businesses. Yet with the vast array of resources available it is easy to be swamped with the choice in things which are supposed to make our lives easier.

Twitter is one tool that I thought I could do without. All I could see is twitter as fritter. Who cares what someone is doing right now? If someone, even if I know them well, is about to go to the bathroom or is having curry for dinner, do I really need to know? That's when I started thinking about what might be more powerful usage of Twitter and I started 'playing'. What I have discovered is that twitter can be a great way to extend your networks and to share really useful ideas. Now I check it out when I fire up my computer and link into some amazing people from around the world. They help keep me up to date by referring me to links in areas that I may never have discovered for myself - I have learnt heaps! Twitters that are of the higher order thinking variety are much more useful to me. They can be used really powerfully in an organisation and across networks, to share and develop thinking. So let's all lift our game and tweet intelligently. Otherwise we are wasting an awful lot of time! (Yes I do know that some people want to know the intimate details of every motion...I'm not one of them).

And if you want a good example of how twitter can be used as an effective educational tool (and even possibly help break down traditional silos of learning) the read the blog article on Using Twitter as an Educational Tool. This blog has good ideas whether you are in education or in business so check it out. Then twitter me with some great thoughts that will extend us both...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Using Wordle for Survey Themes

One school I work with undertook a community survey in order to prepare for their strategic visioning. They used SurveyMonkey for their online survey and produced a wealth of information, much of it qualitative. One of the ways to identify trends from this survey was to put results into wordle. One of the questions that was asked was: When you think of our school what is the first word that comes to mind? Here is the wordle showing what common words appeared:

All the students in the school were asked questions too. Here is an example of what the Year 6 students said in response to the question: What was special about your school?

On the same question of "What makes your school special?" here is what the Year One students (five year olds) thought was special:

Fascinating isn't it?
I think wordle has lots of potential for quickly identifying themes, so thanks to Matt Tippen for sewing the idea in my head. I can see it's use for personal evaluations and for quick client feedback. What do you think?

Monday, 27 October 2008

Ethics for survival

This morning I was reading about a woman who murdered her husband...only the couple had never met face to face. Their avatars were married - yes it was in an online environment. However the perpetrator is being investigated in the real world because it is alleged she gained illegal access to a computer and manipulated data so that her 'husband's' online character was eliminated.

This highlights to me the ongoing need to work in 'all worlds' to develop ethical ways of behaving. And it is supported by recent world wide financial events and by the behaviour of politicians... Leadership for the future must bring ethical behaviour back into focus. Mentor and colleague, Wilf Jarvis, suggests that while many businesses claim that "Our People are our greatest resource" they do little to build skills in leadership before throwing them in the deep end. The ability to understand our own values, emotions and motivations; and to reflect on the effect we have on other people must become a greater part of leadership development. And we must all understand that ethics is not just a 'real world' phenomenon, but also something that is important glue for online communities. In the context of schooling, there is an ever increasing need to develop high levels of digital literacy and information literacy with ethics and safety being important throughlines in learning.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The shrinking world

The use of web 2.0 tools has flattened the landscape as people begin to blog, twitter and skype etc more often. Many of the online environments I explore are still populated by many examples from the USA (eg You Tube videos) yet this has started to change, and with it a greater understanding that it's a whole new world. One of the websites I came across today, through twitter contact Angela Maiers was dotsub The thing I liked about this site was its ability to for you to translate videos into any language. The subtitles then appear when the video is played. As a New Zealander, I was thinking it would be great to read some of these in Maori. Or for students learning another language to add translations.

One of the examples is below. This video is an updated version of Karl Fisch's and Scott McLeod's 'Shift Happens'. It is called 'Did You Know?' It contains updated statistics and questions, and a new layout. You will see that you can add language subtexts at the bottom. Check it out...

Friday, 17 October 2008

Beyond 20th Century Education

Voicethread is a really useful web 2.0 tool. One of the voicethreads I came across today was a provocative question posed by Professor Stephen Heppell - "It simply isn't the 20th Century Any More, Is It? So Why Would We Teach As Though It Was?" The three questions posed in this voicethread are answered by educators from a number of different countries. It is worth listening to their comments and reading their thoughts.
Voicethread is a useful tool to use in all fields - business and education.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Leaders for Future Schooling

The ULearn conference highlighted the need for our schools to change and showcased many schools and clusters that are using information communication technologies to progress this.The following short video describes how school leaders need to develop the adult learners in their communities. This is the challenge for 21st century leaders. How can we be effective leaders of change through others rather than as the expert in all things...

This video is one of many appearing on EdTalks - a new site featuring short video clips for educators. Check it out at You can subscribe to these via itunes too!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Leadership for the Future

This week is the ULearn conference in Christchurch, New Zealand. I will be presenting a spotlight called "You're a leader -lead!" We need strong leaders in education - ones who have to courage to move forward while still having the wisdom to take others with them, and indeed develop collective intelligence. Leaders need to understand themselves as learners and to think about the impact they have on other people. They also need to relate to others - leadership is not an individual pursuit! Below this post you have the opportunity to undertake a short survey on Relating to Others. The survey has been developed in Google Docs and is based on the 'Relating to Others' key competency from the NZ Curriculum. If we are serious about the need for students to develop in each of the five key competencies (Managing Self; Relating to Others; Participating and Contributing; Thinking; and Using Language, Symbols & Texts) don't we have to lead by example? More than ever, ethical and moral leadership are critical to growing humanity. Yet we seem to be struggling to develop alignment between our espoused values and what we actually do in practice. Take time to reflect on yourself as a leader and who you are as a person.