Tag: planning (page 1 of 2)

Do only yogurt-knitting vegans start co-operatives?

weareopen.coop

(image CC BY-ND Bryan Mathers)

Despite the best efforts of the London Underground to crush us into submission before we even started, weareopen.coop had a great first planning session at Ravensbourne in London today. John Bevan and Bryan Mathers were there with me in person, and Laura Hilliger joined us via the magic of appear.in from her home in Germany.

We’d come up with lots of questions in our pre-planning meeting, as well as some aims for things we’d like to get out of the day. You can see our planning Hackpad here.

Principles

Once we’d all arrived and we’d figured out the tech to allow Laura to participate fully (which involved my ever-handy Sony XRS-11 bluetooth speaker) we dived straight into the principles by which we want to work. John, Bryan and I worked on a nearby whiteboard, while Laura took a photo of the piece of paper she worked on:

weareopen.coop - principles (whiteboard)

weareopen.coop - principles (paper)

Riffing off Laura’s three-part structure, we formulated three questions to answer:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How are you different?
  3. What do you create?

The answers to these are on the hackpad, but I’ll share where we ended up after much discussion around the second point:

  • Nimble / Limber / Acrobatic
    • Experimental
    • Bold
    • Curious
    • Improv
    • Disciplined
  • Participatory
    • Collaborative
    • Co-operative
    • Share all the things
  • Co-operative character/spirit
    • Solidarity
    • Surplus, not profit
    • Anti-individualist
  • Knowledgeable
    • Considered
    • Competitive
    • Illuminating
  • Connected
    • Old/new ways of doing stuff
    • Inclusive
    • Eclectic

We particularly liked the notion of being ‘acrobatic’ (although without using the metaphor of a circus). There’s something about it that suggests discipline with flexibility.

Bryan + Laura

Toolsets

We spent some time both ‘silent hackpadding’ and discussing the questions we’d come into the day focused on, but this led quickly to considerations around tools. From that we found that a really nice metaphor emerged around tools in a workshop.

Tools in a workshop

We used the improv approach of ‘Yes, and…’ to build out the metaphor. For example, tools both old and new sit alongside one another in a workshop; there’s times when you need to ‘sharpen your saw’; and there’s times when you know you haven’t got the right tool for the job, so you have to borrow one from a neighbour.

Thinking of our own tools, we had a back-and-forth about what we should use to collaborate. The tension was between wanting to use Open Source technologies wherever possible, and recognising that clients will not always have the skills or motivation to sign up to a new platform. In the end, we decided to abstract away from specific tools to think about the type of technologies we need:

Those with an asterisk* come with a one-click install process via Sandstorm.io.

Telling the story

Bryan had to head out at lunchtime, so Laura, John, and I dug into setting up Loomio and helping tell our story through a basic pitch deck. We used The Writer’s Journey, which is a modified version of The Hero’s Journey:

After about 45 minutes of hacking and a spectacular brain dump from Laura, we ended up with this. We need to get really clear on our single product for new clients: the Thinkathon. This is a one-day facilitated thinking session that helps clients untangle problems, provides them with a ‘shopping list’, provides clear next steps.

Doug + Bryan

Next steps

A combination of factors meant that we ended up about 4½ hours of time together today. Still, that was enough to get a significant amount of work done towards building weareopen.coop. Things we need to do next include:

  1. Updating the website
  2. Creating a compelling description of the Thinkathon
  3. Setting up the tools we’ll use amongst ourselves and with clients

We’re open for business right now. Part of any new venture involves building the plane while you fly it; the difference is that we’re sharing that building openly. Get in touch if you think we can help you: hello@nullweareopen.coop

Quality Mountain Days 1 and 2: Lake District

Update: I created selfie videos to document each day as I went along. I then used a Sony app to create short highlight videos. You can view them here: Day 1 (Friday) / Day 2 (Saturday)


This evening I’ve spent some time planning my first two ‘Quality Mountain Days’. As I explained in The psychology of going up a mountain, walking on Friday and Saturday in the Lake District will count as 10% of the days I need to have under my belt before starting my Mountain Leader award.

I’m aiming to fulfil all of the Quality Mountain Day criteria:

  • the individual takes part in the planning and leadership
  • navigation skills are required away from marked paths
  • experience must be in terrain and weather comparable to that found in UK and Irish hills
  • knowledge is increased and skills practised
  • attention is paid to safety
  • five hours or more journey time
  • adverse conditions may be encountered

This post is to document my planning. I’ll update afterwards with photos I take and any notes/voice recordings I make!

Day 1: Friday 22 April 2016

Dale Head and Fleetwith Pike (Friday 22 April 2016)

Weather forecast from the Mountain Weather Service for Friday:

  • Wind? Northeasterly 15 to 20mph
  • Effect of wind on you? Small
  • How wet? Risk snow & hail showers later. Substantially or completely dry, but later afternoon and evening, risk showers, of soft hail, or above 600m snow.
  • Cloud? Very little
  • Sunshine and Air Clarity? Bursts of bright sunshine, mainly morning. The air very clear.
  • How cold? (at 750m): 1 to 3C, highest west Lakes in afternoon.

I get back home to where I live in Morpeth, Northumberland late on Thursday night, so I’ll be up early Friday morning to pack and then drive the 2.5 hours to the Lake District. I’m going to give the above route plan (created using a photo of an OS map and Skitch) to the YHA Borrowdale staff with the time I left and the time I expect to be back.

While I’ve walked up to Dale Head before (last year when I did the Mountain Skills course) this will be the first time I’ve been up there by myself. In fact it’s the first time I’ll have been up any mountain alone. I’m planning to push on, past Yewcrag Quarries and over onto Fleetwith Pike. It may be quite exposed and windy over there, so my backup plan is to abort that small circle part of the route and head down the dismantled tramway.

Either way, returning via Honister House should be pretty straightforward and the route should be reasonably flat once I’ve got down to Lowbank Crags. If I’ve worked this out correctly it should be about 14km. That should be quite enough to keep me going for the five hours I need to be out and about for it to count as a ‘Quality Mountain Day’!


Day 2: Saturday 23 April 2016

Dodd, Skiddaw, and Little Man (Saturday 23 April 2016)

Weather forecast from the Mountain Weather Service for Saturday:

  • Wind? Northerly 20 to 25mph, strongest Pennines
  • Effect of wind on you? May impede walking some higher areas. Notable wind chill for late April.
  • How wet? Snow and hail showers. Light showers or flurries developing, snow or soft hail to low levels, spreading increasingly from north by afternoon.
  • Cloud? Mostly very little
  • Sunshine and Air Clarity? Occasional bright sunshine. Visibility superb, but much reduced during showers and where also in cloud.
  • How cold? (at 750m): 0 or -1C

I want to get out, get up, and get home as soon as possible on Saturday — especially given the snow flurries forecast for the afternoon. I’m planning to park in Millbeck, then walk through Lyzzick Wood and up Dodd. This should give me some indication as to whether it’s safe to head up towards Skiddaw via Carl Side.

If it is, I’ll go that way, stopping off to test my micro-navigational skills by finding the cairn indicated on the map. Instead of taking the main path to the top of Skiddaw, I’m going to take the smaller track and see if I can keep on it. I’m hoping that visibility will be good enough to take some decent photos from Skiddaw Man.

After something to eat, if I can see the weather coming in, I may retrace myself and come down the track that follows Slades Beck. However, the plan is to keep going and make my way to Little Man, finding the two cairns shown on the map. From there I’ll follow the path down and round to Applethwaite, then back to the car. All told, that’s around 11km, but will be more challenging than Friday due to the weather.


Note: many thanks to Craig Taylor for responding so quickly and comprehensively to my Twitter DMs. I wanted to check that these routes seemed reasonable and he gave me some ‘old-timers’ advice that should ensure I have a safe and successful trip. Having done the Mountain Leader qualification himself (and been in the army) he’s been a great source of encouragement and support, loaning me some books last year to help with my understanding of what’s required!

An update on ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’

The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies

As regular readers of this blog will be aware, ever since finishing my Ed.D. thesis in 2012 I’ve been working on an iterative e-book called The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. I’m excited to announce that I’m planning to launch v1.0 on 27th June 2014.

This is an ‘iterative’ e-book because people have been able to buy into it ever since v0.1. You can find more about this ‘OpenBeta’ model here. Fundamental to the process is getting feedback from readers. I’m glad to say that you haven’t let me down, and the book is better as a result. Thank you for that.

The aim is for the e-book to be practically useful while not being shy about theory. People have said that it’s proving useful for use with trainee teachers and other undergraduates, so I’m glad it’s already having the desired effect!

My plans for getting to a v1.0 release of The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies are as follows:

27th May
Release v0.99 of the e-book. This will be textually complete and form the basis of a crowdsourced copyediting process that will take a few weeks.

27th June
Release v1.0 of the e-book. This will have benefitted from more eyes than just mine in terms of coherence and copyediting. Should they agree, these people will be given special thanks in the foreword. It will definitely be available in PDF, and I’ll work with people to get it available in ePub and Kindle formats.

Ongoing
I’m not the only conduit for ideas in this space, so I’m planning to follow the lead of people like Yochai Benkler and create a wiki to accompany the book. This will be structured in a similar way to the wiki that is a companion to Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks.


A few points to finish off.

  1. Now is be a great time to buy into the book. It’ll save you a couple of pounds compared to the price of v0.99 or v1.0 (you get the updates for free).
  2. This was never about the money. Yes, I’ve been able to pay recurring digital subscriptions from my Paypal balance instead of my credit card, but that wasn’t the aim. The financial element here was to get people to buy into the process early. Once this happened, I could ask for feedback – which I’m delighted to have received on a fairly regular basis.
  3. If you’d like to get involved with the launch, please do get in touch! Examples: the visual design of v1.0, translating the book into another language, or making Bitcoin payments a reality. I’m @dajbelshaw or you can email me at dajbelshaw@nullgmail.com.

A special thanks once again to those who have encouraged me and provided feedback over the last couple of years. You’re all very kind. We’re nearly there – just this last hurdle to clear!

More on this next week with the release of v0.99. 🙂

My next 100 days at Mozilla

Last May when I was just about to start working at Mozilla, Nick Dennis gave me some great advice. He said that I should thrash out with my line manager what I should focus on during my first 100 days, defining what ‘success’ looked like at the end of that period.

Boom!

For whatever reason, I didn’t take Nick’s advice and, indeed, felt a bit lost at sea by Christmas. That’s not anyone’s fault, particularly, it’s just that I was used to working in an institutional environment (schools/universities) and Mozilla’s, well… different.

sea

So I thought I’d take the opportunity when changing teams within Mozilla to belatedly take Nick’s advice and discuss with my new line manager Chris Lawrence what I should be doing from now until Christmas. Admittedly, that’s a little over 100 days, but it’s close enough. Here’s what we came up with – and what that includes, in no particular order:

1. Release the Web Literacy Standard v1.0 at MozFest

  • Work with Michelle Thorne to encourage session leaders to tag their sessions with skills and competencies from the Standard.
  • Work with Laura Hilliger on relevant session proposals relating to the Standard
  • Propose a facilitated version of the community work from calls.

2. Transfer the Web Literacy Standard to webmaker.org

  • Work with the Webmaker team to integrate the Standard across webmaker.org.
  • Liaise with Chris Appleton on the design work around the Standard.

3. Prepare for a Web Literacy Standard alignment contest

  • Aim for January 2014 and announce at MozFest.
  • Work with organisations who are interested in aligning before then.
  • Find people to judge competition.
  • Work with MozLegal and other people who will be able to help (like Chloe Varelidi)

4. Dive into Mentor Team-related stuff

  • Focus on breaking silos and making links with other teams.
  • Be a thought leaders post-Mozilla Summit for ‘One Mozilla’.
  • Work with the Mentor Team to bring Open Badges into their projects.

5. Set up a cross-Mozilla Foundation community working group

  • Focus on sharing good practices.
  • Systematise internal and external-facing processes.
  • Potentially take over running of the weekly Webmaker call.

Obviously, there’s other things that are assumed (like building up a collection of animated GIFs and deploying them appropriately) and other things that will emerge but, for now, I think that’s a great starting point!

Main image CC BY quapan

Structured procrastination

As any who knows me well will testify, I like structure. That’s partly because, as Cory Doctorow put it in his recent Lifehacker interview “habits are things you get for free”. I plan each day using my daily planner – something that I know other people have also found value in using. 🙂

So when I came across a reference to structured procrastination today I was intrigued. Was this a a joke or a real thing? I did some digging. As it turns out, it’s the latter. The ‘method’ (more of an ‘anti-method’) can be summarised easily:

  • Don’t keep a schedule
  • Work on whatever you find most important/interesting

I find it fascinating that people can use such a method successfully.

Having those two things as principles is all very well and good, but does it work? Well apparently it’s been fundamental to the success of none other than bodybuilder/actor/politician Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Want to meet with Arnold? Sure, drop on by. He’ll see you if he can. But you might want to call first. Sorry, he doesn’t schedule appointments in advance.

As a result, for 20 years he has been free to work on whatever is most important in his life at any time.

Those of you in California may recall how, once Arnold decided to run for Governor, he went into a blaze of action and activity that resulted in a landslide victory. The book attributes this in part to the fact that his schedule was completely clear and he could spend all day, every day on his new political career, without having to worry about distractions or commitments.

Wow.

It’s now got me thinking about lots of things. Whether such a approach would even be desirable. It’s got me thinking about the things that have to be in place before such an approach could work. And, perhaps most importantly, I’ve been considering the extent to which an individual’s ‘barriers’ to actually doing this are real or merely perceived.

I’d love to learn more about how you organise yourself. What works best for YOU?

Image CC BY-SA nerovivo

How I plan my working days. [RESOURCES]

The great thing about working for an organization where you’re expected to be pretty self-directed is that you can organize your time pretty much however you want. The flip side of this, of course, is that it’s easy to fall into the trap of just doing whatever you feel like doing (rather than what’s important).

I iterated the daily planner below whilst I was still working for Jisc infoNet. I find it such an incredibly useful tool that I’ve continued to use it now that I work at Mozilla. You can print it out and/or download the PDF below:


The planning sheet was inspired by lots of different places I read productivity stuff, so if some of it looks familiar, that’s why. It’s fairly self-evident, but basically you:

  1. Circle the appropriate day, date and month. You can find this to the top-right of the planner.
  2. Add time-specific stuff to the ‘Morning’, ‘Afternoon’ and ‘Evening’ boxes. If you need to be somewhere or doing something at a particular time, add this before going any further.
  3. Think through the things you need to do today. Some of these may be things you didn’t get done yesterday or have written on a weekly ‘scratch pad’.
  4. Organise the things you need to do into groups. For example, most days I’ve got ‘writing’ and ‘reading’ as headings.
  5. Write down the tasks you need to do under the group headings. These will then have a number and a letter next to them – e.g. ‘1a’ or ‘3c’
  6. Add any other tasks to the ‘Emergent & other tasks’ box. These may be personal reminders or just less important stuff that needs doing sometime.
  7. Start adding tasks to your ‘Morning’, ‘Afternoon’ and ‘Evening’ boxes. I also schedule lunch and exercise. You can just write the appropriate number and letter to save space – e.g. ‘2a’ or ‘3b’.

You can experiment. You can change it. You can do what you like with it. Yesterday, for example, I drew different numbers of circles around tasks to represent time in a quasi-Pomodoro Technique style. Do what you like. Hack it.


If you find this useful, you could always donate to the #LettingGrow campaign.

What I got up do during #BelshawBlackOps11 (and what 2012 has in store)

Life never quite works out how you planned, does it?

Shuffling cards

The things I anticipated doing during my break from social networks and personal email during December and what I actually did were quite different. Here’s what I got up to:

  • Prepared for my viva voce (thesis defense)
  • Got my thesis rewrites done
  • Played almost no Battlefield 3 (but a whole lot of Football Manager 2012 Handheld)
  • Spent a lot more time with my children
  • Started tracking the food I eat
  • Took the time to read about the best ways to use Evernote (and started using it ‘properly’)
  • Completed the mammoth semi-annual Christmas pilgrimage to my in-laws in Devon
  • Read more physical (as opposed to Kindle) books
  • Started using Path with close friends and family
  • Compiled Best of Belshaw 2011
  • Redesigned this blog (as well as the Purpos/ed website and Doug’s Ideas Garden)
  • Set up ThoughtShrapnel.com
  • Watched more films in one month than I did in the preceding eleven
  • Re-assessed my direction in life
  • Started using a SAD light (early birthday present)
  • Chilled out a whole lot more than I usually do (Migraine count: 1)

What I really missed social network-wise wasn’t the constant stream of news but the positive reinforcement and support I get. This was shown by the number of messages of congraultations I received both in the comments of my last blog post and on Twitter.

Of course, the question I now get asked is: Now you’ve finished your doctorate, what’s next?

Well, I answer, I’ve got some exciting stuff coming up – I’m running a workshop with Prof. Keri Facer at Learning Without Frontiers at the end of January, and then March is a busy month, with me heading to San Francisco for the DML Conference, speaking at TEDx Warwick, and keynoting a conference for the first time (see my Lanyrd profile for details).

At work I’ll be supporting the JISC Developing Digital Literacies programme, updating the Mobile Learning infoKit and continuing to champion stuff around open education.

Other than that and a couple of other bits and pieces, I’m open to offers. I’ve been asked to submit a book proposal and things are ticking along nicely with Synechism Ltd. (on a part-time basis). Whilst I’m very much enjoying things at the moment, my focus is on doing interesting stuff that aligns with my values (openness, freedom, authenticity) and that allows me to spend as much time as I can with my family.

We’ll see where that takes me.

Image CC BY-SA Todd Klassy

Thanks for waiting! Dr. Belshaw will see you now.

Well, almost.

doctor minifig

I’m pleased to announce that I successfully defended my doctoral thesis at my viva voce on 12th December 2011. As expected, the examiners gave me minor rewrites but I managed to submit these to my supervisor before Christmas.

Whilst I can’t officially call myself ‘Doctor Belshaw’ until I’m on Durham University’s pass list (and even then I’m probably not your go-to person for emergency tracheotomies) I’m delighted with the culmination of six years’ work into digital and new literacies.

It’s great to be back on social networks such as Twitter and Google+ and press ‘delete’ on hundreds of emails (well, I did warn people…)

Image CC BY-NC-SA Johan Prawiro

A quick rundown of what I’m up to until Christmas.

Calendar

Whilst I no longer have six-week summer holidays or, in fact, nearly as much holiday time as I did when working in schools, I much prefer my current arrangements. Flexible working hours and being able to book my holiday for (pretty much) whenever I want make for a fitter, happier Doug.

I’m using up my remaining annual leave for this academic year by making this weekend a long one. Last December, for my 30th birthday, my wife bought me a ‘Supercar Fantastic Four’ track day that I’ve finally booked in, so I’m heading down to York today to drive a Ferrari 360, Porsche GT3, Lamborghini Gallardo and Suburu Impreza WRX. I hope this isn’t my last blog post… 😉

Stepping out the stream is a good time to reflect on what I’ve got coming up in the next few months. This overview post, then, is as much for my own benefit as to give readers a heads-up on some stuff I’m involved in.

Here goes:

16 August – 30 September: Semester of Learning on ‘Open badges and assessment’ at P2PU.org

6-8 September: ALT-C conference (delegate; launching Mobile Learning infoKit)

20 September: JISC infoNet Planning meeting

21/22 September: Scottish Learning Festival (delegate)

23 September: JISC OER Phase 3 meeting

28 September: Mobile Learning Symposium (presenting with Steve Boneham)

4/5 October: JISC Digital Literacies and Assessment and Feedback startup meetings

6 October: JISC Digital Literacies workshop (participant)

7 October: Future of Technology in Education (FOTE) conference (presenting)

19 October (provisional): JISC RSC Online Conference (presenting)

24-28 October: Annual Leave (Malta)

8 November: Century Challenge meeting with Prof. Keri Facer, et al.

14 October: JISC OER Phase 3 startup meeting

16 November (provisional): Google Apps workshop with DoDigital and Vital

19 November (provisional): Purpos/ed event

22-25 November: JISC Online Conference (presenting)

6-7 December: JISC infoNet planning meeting


Ongoing: #openbadges weekly IRC meetings (Saturday evenings, 20.00 UK time), EdTechRoundUp Weekly (Sunday evenings, 20.00 UK time)

To plan: #purposedassess meeting (September, with Tom Barrett), November Purpos/ed event (open planning model)

Hopeful about attending: Mobility Shifts conference (10-16 October)


In addition, I’m hoping to submit my Ed.D. thesis by the end of August and then defend it in September/October at my viva voce. Interest in working with me through Synechism Ltd.  is increasing; having worked with Greg Perry and Future Behaviour, I’m now meeting regularly with Zoe Ross and DoDigital to work on digital development as well as doing some work with Stephen Haggard for a faith-based organisation on digital futures (they wanted to remain anonymous).

I’ve got plenty to be getting on with until the end of October, but do get in touch if you want me to speak, write or advise you or your organisation. My main fields of interest continue to be Open Educational Resources, Mobile Learning and Digital Literacies. 🙂

Image CC BY DafneCholet

Weeknote #19

This week I have been mostly…

Planning

We’ve had our quarterly planning meeting at JISC infoNet. I wasn’t that involved in preparations for it but was absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer awesomeness of the video – called ‘The J Factor’ – that the Operations Team put together. Truly an inspiration to us all in terms of how something as potentially tedious as transferring files from one location to another can be made so engaging! 😀

Presenting

Before the first day of the planning meeting some of us met to present on a topic of our choice. I’ve explained the ins and outs of this in #uppingyourpresentation (including video of me delivering a presentation on dandelions!) :-p

Collaborating

The mobile and wireless technologies review I’m undertaking for the JISC e-Learning team is going to inform a publication in 2011. I was down in Birmingham on Thursday to discuss the latter publication with a range of people involved. It was an extremely positive meeting and I’m excited about the potential of the final result!

Caring

I took a day’s annual leave to look after Ben on Friday as Hannah was at work and my mother is visiting my father in the United Arab Emirates. He started school nursery this week, so it was my first time dropping him off and picking him off from the morning sessions he does. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it – he loves it! I really enjoyed spending the afternoon with him in park, wrestling and playing games. In fact, I’ve got him all weekend as Hannah’s off visiting university friends! 🙂

css.php