After Abbi’s keynote I was involved in a panel session. I didn’t stick too closely to my notes, instead giving more of a preview to what I’m talking about in my keynote tomorrow. As ever, I’m genuinely looking forward to some hard questions!
About this time last year, the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA) kindly invited me over to keynote their annual conference. I had a great time and presented on Zen and the Art of Digital Literacies.
Subsequently, I was asked to write it up as an article for the inaugural issue of the ILTA’s journal, which has been published recently. They’ve done a really nice job of creating a responsive, web-native, open-access journal that also include the video of me presenting.
Travelling to Plymouth by train, plane and automobile (literally) for PELeCON.
Attending, keynoting and running a workshop at PELeCON. The animated GIFs from my keynote aren’t so animated on Slideshare, so you may want to try this Evernote notebook. Photos are here (when they’ve finished uploading)
Next week I’m in Sweden keynoting and running a workshop at the Swedish equivalent of BETT. Better get planning…
Update: I feel like I’ve grown a lot since writing this angry post. I don’t feel like I’m the same person that wrote this, but have kept it up as an example of how sometimes I get things very wrong.
Last week I keynoted the DeFT OER dissemination conference. I enjoyed the event, received good feedback afterwards and thought it was well-received. Certainly no-one raised any major issues either in the opportunities for question-and-answer, nor during the rest of the day when I was visible and around to talk to those in the audience.
That’s why this blog post (on the official JISC-funded project blog) caught me by surprise. Now, I know that what I probably should do is ignore or perhaps downplay it. But I’m not going to, because I’m actually outraged that the author feels like she can get away with misrepresenting me in this way. You can find out what I actually said (I recorded it) by going to my conference blog.
I now have the ‘my mother test’. My mother reached the grand old age of sixty a few months ago and now if I can explain it to my mother, then I think that the average person can understand it. So I thought how could I explain ‘openness’ to my mother in a way that she could understand? Because ‘Open Educational Resources’ is kind of a supply-side term.
Note that I equate my mother with ‘the average person’. The author fails to quote me at any time in the post, claiming that I’ve ‘dissed’ my elders (particularly my mother). Why, she wonders, did I use a female example here?
I’ll tell you why.
I used my grandmother as an example of a digital refusnik because both my grandfathers died before I was five, and she’s the only person of that generation that I know well enough to comment upon. I used my mother as an example not because she’s female but because my father has perhaps slightly more advanced skills than others of that generation. I also showed a video at one point showing the (male) rapper DMX as an example of someone who’s less than digitally literate. But he’s black, so presumably I’m a racist as well as a misogynist.
Using the not-so-subtle device of rhetorical questioning the post goes on to ask whether it was fair that I implied that my mother was intellectually challenged. Really? Is this not just a case of someone getting on their hobby horse and riding it off into the distance (whilst I’m left stranded on a scapegoat)? I’m genuinely shocked that, if they felt so strongly about the issue, they didn’t raise it with me on the day.
So I’m not overly-deferent to my elders. So I don’t venerate academia. So I don’t engage in hand-wringing over the gender of the examples I give.
I’ve been at the PELeCON conference this week. After her keynote, Keri Facer mentioned in a couple of tweets that the Twitter wall being visible to the audience but not the speaker can be problematic. Everything was positive in Keri’s session, but this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone (see danah boyd example).
So it got me thinking about what I’d like, as a presenter, when doing a keynote. There’s lots of different reasons tweet about a session using the conference hashtag. For example:
To let those who aren’t there know what’s being said
To give a voice to the livestream audience (if applicable)
To provide links to what’s being discussed
For banter/puns/general merrymaking
For agreement, disagreement and questions
…and many more.
Whilst you’re presenting there’s no way you can keep up with the stream in the same way that you (potentially) can when in the audience. But it would be nice to know the gist of what people are saying in the backchannel.
Thinking about it, I casually remarked that some kind of Twitter screen in front of presenters would be useful. And if those tweets that had been retweeted (RT’d) several times could appear bigger, so much the better.
Chris Atherton mentioned this sounded a lot like Wordle and Pat Parslow riffed on the idea talking about the potential for sentiment analysis.
That idea look something like this with traffic light colours for sentiment:
The trouble is, that’s still too much to take in whilst you’re presenting. So, thinking some more, I reckon all that’s needed is the top three most RT’d tweets. Which would look something like this:
I’ve put this here just in case Donald doesn’t approve my comment over at his blog.
Donald, I was there in the audience at #altc2010 and, to be fair, was one of the ones giving you some stick. I was bitterly disappointed with both the content and condescending manner of the keynote. Having followed your work over the last few years I thought this was a real shame.
1. You don’t create a ‘sense of urgency’ by criticising something and not pointing to any solutions. You were asked twice in the Q&A to do so yet merely said that it was ‘obvious’ there were a range of options. Well ‘obviously’ not!
2. Evidence to most people, including me, involves more than sticking up a few book covers and a graph. I felt, along with many people in the backchannel, that you were presenting opinion as fact. I’ll cite two examples: your criticism of the Socratic method and Maslow.
3. You don’t have to ‘cut out’ to tweet whilst listening to a keynote. I, along with everyone else there, was perfectly capable of forming an opinion in 140 characters whilst listening to you. It’s not rocket science.
4. People were annoyed by your swearing because it seemed a desperate attempt at some kind of credibility. As one tweeter put it: ‘serious dad tries to impress hipster audience’
5. You criticised *all* Physics lecturers based on your own, narrow, experiences. You did likewise with schoolteachers because you’re a school governor. Having worked in schools up until this year, I found your undifferentiated criticism and lack of nuance unjustifiable.
As you well know, the opening keynote sets the tone for the conference. I’m not sure it was the best tone to set.
I don’t usually get involved with things explicitly concerned with education in the USA. But there’s been one issue recently that prompted me to reflect on a wider concern: the difference between ‘crowd-sourcing’ and just being lazy.*
In fact, it’s more than being lazy. It’s taking a concept and twisting it for your own ends to look like you’re doing something you’re not. It’s an attempted shortcut to being seen as ‘innovative’. It’s bandwagon-jumping instead of hitchhiking. 🙁
Crowdsourcing is a distributed problem-solving and production model. Problems are broadcast to an unknown group of solvers in the form of an open call for solutions. Users—also known as the crowd—typically form into online communities, and the crowd submits solutions. The crowd also sorts through the solutions, finding the best ones.
When done well, the results can be outstanding. Take, for example, The Guardian‘s decision to open up and make available the 700,000 documents involved in the UK MP expenses scandal. They received over 20,000 responses highlighting irregularities.
However, crowdsourcing is something that can be done very badly and for the wrong reasons. Take, for example ISTE’s decision to ‘crowdsource’ the Keynote speech for its 2010 conference. On the face of it, and for those involved with ISTE, the idea must look cutting-edge and innovative. It’s got a Digg-like voting system for proposals and has created a buzz about the conference on Twitter and blogs. However, although it looks as if it’s ’empowering’ people, it’s actually doing the opposite.
…I’m tired of hitching my carriage behind some writer’s idea of what could be in business but is designed for education since they’re the chosen keynoter. While research may say something, the fact is, research has been speaking up for years in school change and reform…and you know what? People aren’t listening.
Go and read Miguel’s post in full, but to summarize it briefly here, he says that expecting a keynote to change things at the coalface means putting faith in the following process:
Educators go away and learn how to use a tool to the extent that it becomes part of their practice.
The tool is appropriate to use within the context of their school and educators are free to use it as they wish.
Educators are able to get their school leadership onboard and stay at the institution long enough to make a difference.
Parents offer little or no resistence to flattening the walls of the classroom through the use of Web 2.0 tools.
Put in that way, it’s clear that ISTE’s decision is far from revolutionary. As Miguel states, it’s time for a ‘radical reboot’ in national and interational approaches to innovation in education. Isn’t it ironic that we use a lecture format to encourage teachers to be innovative and move away from such a format? 😉
So if you’re a leader and are looking to be innovative, please do look about you to see what others are doing. But once you’ve done that, go back and think about what the objectives of your organization/business/conference/whatever actually are. Then see if the process/innovation/tool that you’ve come across is appropriate. Ask yourself if you’re going through the process/using the tool for the right reasons.
Do you know of any other examples of thinly-disguised laziness?