Open Thinkering


Tag: future

The Future of Work: Trends and Toolsets

Last month I wrote a report for a client about the future of work. In my contract is a clause that says that, apart from anything commercially sensitive, my work for them is shared under a Creative Commons license.

I’m therefore sharing a much shorter version of the 23-page report I researched and wrote for them. There was some really interesting stuff I turned up in my research around organisational structure, culture, and retention, but that section was too intertwined with the client’s plans to be able to easily and effectively separate out.  


“Your best practices won’t save you.” (John Cutter)

The main trends around the future of work seem to be broadly twofold:

  1. Empowering individuals and teams to make their own decisions around technology
  2. Democratising the process of deciding what kind of work needs to be done

4 Kinds of Work in the Future

These two mega themes (taken from ‘uber empowered’ quadrant of the above Harvard Business Review digram) can be broken down into four, more practical, sub-themes:

  1. Demise of hierarchies
  2. Re-thinking the location of work
  3. Workplace chat
  4. Mission-based work

The following posts in this series expand and explain each of the above points. The original report made some recommendations for the client. Given I don’t know your context, I’m going to refrain from appending a conclusion to this series.

1. Demise of Hierarchies

After predictions of its demise, the traditional office structure is crumbling. Only 38 percent of companies in a recent survey say they are ‘functionally organized’. For large companies with more than 50,000 employees, that number shrinks to 24 percent. (Bloomberg)

Holocratic Organization

(image taken from this post)

The buzzterm at the moment is around holacracy, an approach in which “authority and decision-making are distributed throughout a holarchy of self-organizing teams rather than being vested in a management hierarchy”. This governance model has been adopted by Zappos, Precision Nutrition, and (until recently) Medium.

Self-organising is taken to its extreme, or logical conclusion, with Valve, the company best known for the Half-Life game series and ‘Steam’ store. Their handbook for new employees explains that they hire people rather than roles, meaning people are “hired to constantly be looking around for the most valuable work [they] could be doing.” Hiring, firing, and new projects are all managed via a completely flat structure.

Metaphors are important in organisational structure, and many futurists use the idea of the network to explain their ideas. Esko Kilpi, for example, states that “the architecture of work is not the structure of a firm, but the structure of the network. The organization is not a given hierarchy, but an ongoing process of responsive organizing.” In a post examining why employees become disengaged, Stowe Boyd coins the term ‘circumvising’ to explain the shift from ‘supervising’ to a form of work where, “instead of a manager you report up to and who directs the work of those below, the social context…will constrain and support the worker from all around.”

2. Rethinking the Location of Work

Skills for Success in a disruptive world of work

(image taken from this post by Tanmay Vora)

We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us. (Winston Churchill)

One trend of recent years that is universally slated in both the popular press and by futurists is that of open-plan offices. According to Stowe Boyd,

More than 40% of the respondents to a recent Berkeley survey reported that workplace acoustics make it harder for them to do their job, while other factors, like lighting, air quality, seating, etc, were rated as making it easier to work.

The assumption is that open-plan offices enable more serendipitous connections to take place. However, this is often at the expense of ‘deep work’ as noted by Cal Newport in his recent book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. It often leads to more introverted employees using headphones in order to concentrate and feel more comfortable.

Home working solves some of these problems and, indeed, many organisations have a ‘remote working’ policy, meaning some (or all) of their employees are based from wherever they happen to live. This, of course, requires a certain type of worker, with particular expectations around flexibility, availability, and digital skills. Implementing this kind of policy without training and explicit expectation-setting (for both office-based and remote workers) can lead to unnecessary misunderstanding and anxiety.

3. Workplace chat

Slack colours

So this is one megatrend: the widespread adoption of tools based on the chat design metaphor across the board in personal and work life. Chat is the new normal for communication, displacing both email and social collaboration tools. (Stowe Boyd)

The hot new technology that everyone is talking about is Slack, a ‘workplace chat’ tool with APIs meaning it integrates with everything. It is already a billion-dollar business, and this is for at least two reasons. The first is a desire for employees in most organisations to get out of their inbox. Another is that it supports the move away from a static org chart and is more responsive to the true power dynamic within organisations.

There have been many posts about the relative merits of workplace chat apps. Most futurists believe that adopting such tools is not a panacea to current workplace problems, but rather a way to demonstrate in a concrete way how teams can interact in a different way. For example, the theory of social crowding suggests that workplace chat is at its most effective when used by small teams of less than 10. This ensures that those who are doing the chatting are also the ones doing the work.

4. Mission-based work

Life cycle of a brand

Today, all companies need a constitution. No company should operate on implicit cultural rules that are based in a shadowy way on oligarchic myths. (Stowe Boyd)

Often cited as a something particularly important to ‘Millennials’ (those who reached young adulthood around the year 2000), futurists see mission-based work as key to ensuring employee fulfilment at any age. Loyalty these days is often to the job rather than to the organisation — so long as the job matches the ‘mission’ that the employee feels is central to their existence.

Graduates are queuing up to work for brands who match their outlook on life, often foregoing higher salaries elsewhere to do so. Recent research from Gallup included a survey of almost 50,000 business units which showed that employee engagement is a key indicator of business success. This is an important trend to consider.

Further reading

I put together an epic Google Doc of links and images to help with my research for the original report. You can access that here.

Banner image CC BY-NC-SA Daniel Foster

Questions? Ask in the comments and I’ll go into more detail about any of the above.

If you’d like my help in a consultative capacity, please get in touch:

What a post-Persona landscape means for Open Badges

Note: I don’t work for Mozilla any more, so (like Adele) these are my thoughts ‘from the outside’…


Open Badges is no longer a Mozilla project. In fact, it hasn’t been for a while — the Badge Alliance was set up a couple of years ago to promote the specification on a both a technical and community basis. As I stated in a recent post, this is a good thing and means that the future is bright for Open Badges.

However, Mozilla is still involved with the Open Badges project: Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, sits on the board of the Badge Alliance. Mozilla also pays for contractors to work on the Open Badges backpack and there were badges earned at the Mozilla Festival a few months ago.

Although it may seem strange for those used to corporates interested purely in profit, Mozilla creates what the open web needs at any given time. Like any organisation, sometimes it gets these wrong, either because the concept was flawed, or because the execution was poor. Other times, I’d argue, Mozilla doesn’t give ideas and concepts enough time to gain traction.

The end of Persona at Mozilla

Open Badges, at its very essence, is a technical specification. It allows credentials with metadata hard-coded into them to be issued, exchanged, and displayed. This is done in a secure, standardised manner.

OBI diagram

For users to be able to access their ‘backpack’ (i.e. the place they store badges) they needed a secure login system.Back in 2011 at the start of the Open Badges project it made sense to make use of Mozilla’s nascent Persona project. This aimed to provide a way for users to easily sign into sites around the web without using their Facebook/Google logins. These ‘social’ sign-in methods mean that users are tracked around the web — something that Mozilla was obviously against.

By 2014, Persona wasn’t seen to be having the kind of ‘growth trajectory’ that Mozilla wanted. The project was transferred to community ownership and most of the team left Mozilla in 2015. It was announced that Persona would be shutting down as a Mozilla service in November 2016. While Persona will exist as an open source project, it won’t be hosted by Mozilla.

What this means for Open Badges

Although I’m not aware of an official announcement from the Badge Alliance, I think it’s worth making three points here.

1. You can still use Persona

If you’re a developer, you can still use Persona. It’s open source. It works.

2. Persona is not central to the Open Badges Infrastructure

The Open Badges backpack is one place where users can store their badges. There are others, including the Open Badge Passport and Open Badge Academy. MacArthur, who seed-funded the Open Badges ecosystem, have a new platform launching through LRNG.

It is up to the organisations behind these various solutions as to how they allow users to authenticate. They may choose to allow social logins. They may force users to create logins based on their email address. They may decide to use an open source version of Persona. It’s entirely up to them.

3. A post-Persona badges system has its advantages

The Persona authentication system runs off email addresses. This means that transitioning from Persona to another system is relatively straightforward. It has, however, meant that for the past few years we’ve had a recurrent problem: what do you do with people being issued badges to multiple email addresses?

Tying badges to emails seemed like the easiest and fastest way to get to a critical mass in terms of Open Badge adoption. Now that’s worked, we need to think in a more nuanced way about allowing users to tie multiple identities to a single badge.


Persona was always a slightly awkward fit for Open Badges. Although, for a time, it made sense to use Persona for authentication to the Open Badges backpack, we’re now in a post-Persona landscape. This brings with it certain advantages.

As Nate Otto wrote in his post Open Badges in 2016: A Look Ahead, the project is growing up. It’s time to move beyond what was expedient at the dawn of Open Badges and look to the future. I’m sad to see the decline of Persona, but I’m excited what the future holds!

Header image CC BY-NC-SA Barbara

A letter from the future

I came across this post by Chrys Bader recently. In it he writes a letter to his 23 year-old self. I thought it was great and it’s prompted me to do likewise.

Dear Doug,

Hello from the future! You’re 23 years old now and this is you in 10 years time writing to yourself. I want to give you some advice and general pointers. Having already been you, I know it’s likely that you’ll read this and then forget about it, but I’m going to do it anyway. For better or worse, I’m still as stubborn as you are now.

First things first: congratulations on making the best decision of your life in marrying Hannah! She’ll turn out to be not only a loving wife but a wonderful mother to your children. There’ll be some rough patches both professionally and personally over the next few years and she’ll be there for you. Go out of your way to be kind, gentle and loving towards her.

The next thing it’s important to highlight to you at 23, Doug, is maintaining relationships. This version of you at 33 sucks at doing that. You’re in a position right now to think about and use the manifold ways you can keep in touch with people. Relationships take effort and don’t thrive on conflict! Try to be agreeable.

There are two books I suggest you buy right now instead of waiting for them to find you:

Do you remember reading Sophie’s World for the first time and having your eyes opened to philosophy? Of course you do, it was only a few years ago. In a similar way, these two books will change the way you view the world and interact with others. Especially the first one. Trust me.

If I’ve got the timing right, then at 23 you’re busy with your PGCE so you can teach Secondary History. I’ll be blunt: you’ll want to drop out of this towards the end of the course. I can’t tell you what will happen if you choose to go ahead with that decision, but if you do then I’d highly recommend learning to code. There’s money in those hills.

Right now, you’ve got the least amount of money you’ll probably ever have. But, you know, this is also one of the happiest times of your life: newly married and living simply. Remember this when life gets more complicated – simplifying your life and reducing your expenditures means you have more contorl over how, when, and where to work.

You should travel. While the two of you have made vague plans to do so after five years of teaching, it’s likely that something (or someone) will come along to turn your world upside down. So do it now! Just go when you can. Remember how awesome backpacking around Italy and Canada was?

Finally, as I don’t want to turn this into an epistle, look after yourself. Learn to recognise how much stress is too much stress and get out of those situations. Money doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. Your health and relationships do. Focus on things that make you and the people around you happy. Exercise (more than you think you need to). Phone your parents, your grandmother, your sister. Keep up contact with friends. At the end of the day, your screens don’t love you back.

“Leap and the net will appear,” they say. Why not try it? What’s the worst that could happen?


Future Doug

Image CC BY-NC-SA il-la-lutz

Badge Camp 2013

I’m writing this from Amsterdam Schipol airport, where my flight’s delayed. Although frustrated at the delay, I’m excited to be heading to a workweek with my colleagues on the Open Badges team. It’s a week we’ve affectionately named Badge Camp where we’ll be hanging out, discussing, planning, playing the occasional game and doing some yoga in Maine, USA.

Chris McAvoy suggested that we write blog posts before we meet as position statements to ensure “great conversations instead of religious battles”. It’s a great idea.

There’s three things I want to get out of this week:

1. Team building & communication

We’ve grown quickly as a team and get on well, moving quickly and efficiently despite timezone differences. However, there’s always room to improve: the better you know people the easier it is dealing with them on a day-to-day basis. It’s the difference, I suppose, between working in an office where you can walk or lean over to ask someone a question, versus having to schedule a meeting or pinging them on IRC. Working face-to-face has its advantages.

Also, and it might just be me that feels this, but we use a plethora of tools in our daily internal communications. Some of these are standard across Mozilla while some are peculiar to our team. I want to get a sense of what we’re using, why we’re using it, and if there’s anything out there that could do the job better. Being out of the loop can feel disempowering, even if it’s accidental, when you’re working by yourself in a different timezone to others.

2. Giving people the tools they need

The Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) is a platform for innovation. As such, if we provide everything for people then it could potentially stifle innovation. We’ve held off launching a Mozilla-provided badge issuing platform, for example, so we could see the approach that others provided. However, my experience evangelising badges over the last year proves to me that people need something they can trust that’s Mozilla-backed. I feel strongly that we need to pivot the badge maker we made for Chicago Summer of Learning into a more general issuing platform.

I’m also excited by suggestions I’ve seen from my colleagues about a more developed badges dashboard within the backpack featuring discoverability and suggestions. This week I’m definitely looking forward to having more conversations about that. Also, ‘tools’ can also include things like case studies, good practices and the kind of things people need when they’re writing proposals. We should make it easier to find those things and, if they don’t exist, make sure they’re created.

3. Badging alignment with standards

To my mind, the OBI is a fantastic way to align with standards. I have a vested interest in this, of course, as I spend half of my time working on Mozilla’s Web Literacy Standard.

To be more specific:

  • I think we should re-visit Erin’s Badge Validation paper
  • Linked to the second point above, I think we need to include the ‘alignment’ metadata field in any more general badge issuing tool we provide
  • We need to do some evangelism/advocacy with standards bodies help them move to OBI-compliant systems


We’ve spent a couple of years moving from idea to execution and now have v1.0 of a technical standard that’s beginning to change the learning landscape. We’ve moved from people asking what? to why? to how? What we need to do next, I feel, is to keep innovating on the technical side of things, but to double-down on the where.

I think we should be showcasing people’s Open Badges success stories and pointing others towards well thought-out collections of resources to help them with their journey. Once an organisation has decided integrating with the OBI is a good idea we should make the process from decision to badge system as straightforward as possible.

Image CC BY-NC-SA rocket ship

Some of the team have also posted their thoughts:

On living in the future

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” (William Gibson)

There’s a known problem that (web) designers have, something that they have to consciously go out of their way to correct. The majority of them have large, colour-calibrated monitors displaying more pixels than you can stick a shake at. They use the latest tools and software. They’re aware of colour theory. They follow fashions within their community. This means, unless they’re careful, what they design on their super-high definition displays may look amazing for them but look really crappy on a three year-old beat-up laptop running an outdated operating system and browser.

Almost everyone I interact with on a daily basis lives in the future. They (we) have first world problems related to what are, in essence, luxury goods. They use alpha and beta versions of cutting-edge software and services. They’re looking for the next big thing. And by ‘they’ I include ‘me’ as well.

Let’s use the diffusion of innovation curve as a convenient hypocrisy. We all know it’s not a perfect model, but it serves a purpose here. The blue line represents successive groups of consumers adopting the product, service, etc. and the yellow line represents market share.

Technology adoption curve

Along with most people I know, I’m definitely to the left of that bell curve. But, interestingly, I’ve found myself moving steadily to the right as I get older. Part of this might be a natural drift* but I think there’s more than that. What I’m realising increasingly is that there are perils to shiny shiny educational technology and that sometimes it’s a good idea to be consciously (and perhaps, conspicuously) less shiny.

This year so far I’ve made two small steps in meeting people where they are: I’ve replaced my phone with an older one(!) and have resurrected my Facebook account. This means that, on the one hand, I’m using slightly ‘out of date’ technology and, on the other, I’m spending some of my time seeing the (online) world in the way that ‘most people’ do. It’s all very well having conversations with people who like technology, but often that’s preaching to the choir. To really change things and co-construct a positive future we need to convert people who haven’t yet ‘received the gospel’ (as it were).

So, over the next few months, I’ll be paying attention to my usual information sources – but also trying to participate in conversations and in places that tend towards the middle of the innovation curve. If you’ve got some ideas of (non-technical) places and (non-geeky) people I should be paying attention to, please let me know!

Image CC BY-SA Thomas Duchnicki

* I don’t necessarily agree, but Winston Churchill famously said, “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.”


Building a better future (despite the 1%)

Occupy Global

When I was in New York recently I didn’t attend the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. Whilst I respect the ideas behind the movement, I’m just not sure it’s achieving anything. The protest inspired by #occupyws in my nearest city of Newcastle is certainly a bit forlorn and is gently ridiculed by the media. What’s far more effective, I think, is to infiltrate and convert the mass media to the cause. Not only does this mean a much wider representation of the ideas behind what’s going on, but (hopefully) retains the purity of the message.

I can’t claim to have read widely on the literature around #occupy and their message that it’s the 1% of the population that are screwing it up for everyone else but this article in the Guardian by George Monbiot certainly includes a few home truths. Here are what I consider to be the highlights (my emphases):

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. The claims that the ultra-rich 1% make for themselves – that they are possessed of unique intelligence or creativity or drive – are examples of the self-attribution fallacy. This means crediting yourself with outcomes for which you weren’t responsible. Many of those who are rich today got there because they were able to capture certain jobs. This capture owes less to talent and intelligence than to a combination of the rutheless exploitation of others and accidents of birth, as such jobs are taken disproportionately by people born in certain places and into certain classes.

In their book Snakes in Suits, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare point out that as the old corporate bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, ever-changing structures, and as team players are deemed less valuable than competitive risk-takers, psychopathic traits are more likely to be selected and rewarded. Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family, you’re likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family, you’re likely to go to business school.

Chief executives now behave like dukes, extracting from their financial estates sums out of all proportion to the work they do or the value they generate, sums that sometimes exhaust the businesses they parasitise. They are no more deserving of the share of wealth they’ve captured than oil sheikhs.

Now they have almost bankrupted us. The wealth creators of neoliberal mythology are some of the most effective wealth destroyers the world has ever seen.

Whilst I agree with most of the ideas behind the above, one thing (perhaps because of space) that Monbiot doesn’t mention is that, financially, we in the west are pretty much all in the top 5% of the world’s richest people. I turn on a tap and water comes out. If I’m cold I turn up the heating. I can send my children to school for free. I don’t worry each day about violence to my family. I live in a democracy.

The trouble with messages such as ‘we are the 99%’ is that there exists huge disparity and diversity even within that figure. It comes across as mass individualistic protesting, with focus and definition provided by grouping around negative slogans rather than positive action. Whilst the 1% should be questioned and challenged, we all need to be doing more to create a fairer, more equitable society. Let’s not get carried away by political reductionism and slogans. We can do better than that. It’s trivially easy to retweet something or join a Facebook group, but what are we (myself included) actually doing over and above this to make this world a better place? I can’t help but think that marching and camping out isn’t enough any more. What (and where) are we building?

Image CC BY-NC Occupy Global

The myth underpinning ’21st Century Skills’ [Future of Education]

Rainbow over Tokyo at sunset

There’s nothing wrong with discussing concepts such as 21st Century Skills, ‘core competencies for the information age,’ or digital literacies. Well, at least I hope not – I’m 50,000 words into writing a 60,000 thesis on the latter! What is problematic is when such terms become what Richard Rorty terms ‘dead metaphors’: words that used to be understood as a shorthand for a whole barrage of beliefs, opinions and debates, but now only have ap place in rhetoric. Keri Facer explains the problem with that kind of rhetoric:

This myth goes as follows: Rapid technological change in the 21st century will lead to increased competition between individuals and nations; education’s role is to equip individuals and nations for that competition by developing ‘twenty-first century skills’ that will allow them to adapt and reconfigure themselves for this new market. But education and educators are ill-equipped to make those changes, as they have failed to adapt successfully to technological developments over the last 100 years. Educational change, therefore, needs to be directed from outside. This is the myth that pervades much of the thinking about education and its relationship to socio-technical futures. It can be described as a myth not because it is wholly fictional – indeed, there are elements of this story for which there is some evidence and empirical support – but because it comes to act as an unquestioned cultural resource, to function as a dominating narrative that allows educators, policy-makers, parents and designers, without too much reflection, to make decisions and take action in the present. It has underpinned the educational ‘modernization’ agenda across the world for the last two decades. (Keri Facer, Learning Futures)

The fundamental issue is that, whether politicians, teachers, parents or pressure groups, each group of stakeholders in education think that they should be setting the educational agenda. Ironically, the common shared experience of having experienced schooling counts against progress being made, I would suggest.

I’m all for flexibility in the labour market – in my 8 years in it I’m in my 6th job and 5th house – but we need to educate and equip young people to understand that the flexibility should be on their terms.

Image CC BY tallkev

PS If you’re interested in this, check out the #purposedfutured campaign!

Schools as resources for fairness. [Future of Education]

This post is another in a (probably fairly lengthy) series as a result of me reading Keri Facer’s excellent Learning Futures: Education, Technology and Social Change. It follows my previous post: On the paucity of our collective imagination.

Fairness Zone

We need to start thinking now about how schools can act as resources for fairness if children bring highly diverse digital, social and pharmacological resources into the classroom. We need to start thinking now about how schools can equip students for democracy when technologies of surveillance are expanding and new networked public spaces are emerging. And we need to start thinking now about how schools can act as resources for building sustainable economic futures when networked globalization promises increased polarization, radical inequality and environmental degradation. (Keri Facer, Learning Futures)

One of the main objections I have to Free Schools is that they allow parents to extract themselves from the conversation about schooling. And they allow this (usually for the benefit of the upper middle-class) at the expense of taxpayers. I’m opposed to (most kinds of) independent schooling as well, but at least in this instance parents have to put their money where their mouth is.

For better or worse, whole lives are defined by experiences between the ages of 4 and 16. The experience of schooling defines most people’s educational experiences – and therefore what goes on within schools cannot be underestimated.

Before reading Keri Facer’s book, I was verging towards the Deschooling movement. I now see how getting rid of schools would be a tragic conclusion to the rampant individualism that defines our age. And it would lead to a more unjust society, not a more egalitarian one:

I want to argue that the potential for socio-technical changes to massively amplify social and economic inequalities in the coming decades is significant. This means that, more than ever, we will need schools that are physical, locally accountable organizations, committed to building viable and sustainable futures for everyone in their communities. (Keri Facer, Learning Futures)

The UK has a wider gap between rich and poor than it did 40 years ago. There are huge gender pay gaps and people living in poverty. In 2011. That’s unacceptable. And it’s no good throwing our hands up in the air at our current education system’s seeming inability to close that gap. Instead, we need to strengthen and re-commit ourselves to schools as places where people abandon their ghettos – be those class-based, religious, or otherwise.

As I mentioned in a reply to a comment on my previous post, we can’t be defined solely in opposition to hegemonic power. We need to pre-empt important questions. One of these, for example, is the inevitability within the next 20 years of so-called ‘smart drugs’ which will allow the enhancement (either temporary or longer-term) of human cognitive abilities. Given high-stakes testing regimes it’s inevitable that those who have the means to provide these to their children will do so in order to gain economic advantages.

We cannot wait for problems to arise and then define ourselves by opposition to them. We need to have pre-emptive conversations. We need to come together.

We need schools.

Image CC BY PatrickSeabird

Weeknote #14

This week I have been mostly…


It was time for the annual pilgrimage to the inlaws who live in Devon. We fly the rest of the time (Newcastle –> Exeter) but once a year we go down for a bit longer with the car. This time, instead of doing the 6 hours or so in one day, we stopped off in Doncaster and then again at a National Trust property. It made for an enjoyable journey!


Whilst there was nothing particularly wrong with my portfolio page at when I came across this free ‘personal branding’ WordPress theme I couldn’t resist updating. I like the result. 🙂


I’ve decided that listening to music mainly by album on Spotify is slightly anachronistic. So I’ve been reorganizing my playlists into ‘Running’, ‘Train’, ‘Deadline’, ‘Working’, etc. I’ve kept the album-focused playlists for the moment, but situational playlists seem to be the way forward!

Considering the future

Whilst I’m only four months into my new job (and greatly enjoying it) I’ve got to think about the future. I’ve got a two-year contract with JISC infoNet. Specifically I’ve been considering:

  • What (if anything) do I want to do with my Ed.D. when I finish it?
  • Is Northumberland where should we bring up Ben and his sister (when she’s born)?
  • Do I want to stay in the FE/HE sector, move back into schools or do something entirely different?

I haven’t made any decisions and, if past experience is any guide, things tend to come out of the blue when you least expect them… :-p

The sublime and the ridiculous.

There’s a fine line between the sublime and the ridiculous. Take the following in response to a retweet I made about potentially giving learners Google-like ‘20% time’ to pursue their own interests:

My initial response?

Ridiculous. That would never happen!

And then…

But perhaps as a vision statement for 2020 that could work.

Which got me thinking:

So what would we need to do to make that reality?


  • Mobile phones seen as learning equipment.
  • Availability of secure GPS-enabled school environment.
  • Learner autonomy.

So actually, an offhand statement can serve as a vision to work towards. It’s good to mix things up sometimes. :-p