Category: Change

My 2012 Predictions

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By , December 21, 2011 2:00 pm

Hello?? Is this this on?

Moses, it’s been a while since I posted here, but I thought I’d at least get some thoughts down as how my predictions for 2011 went and to share what might come out in 2012.

So here are my ideas for 2011:

  • More mobile – who really cares what the latest computer is? Everyone is buzzing about phones. Between the fast revisions, portability and dropping price, the promise of capable computing in your pocket (as opposed to the office/den) is appealing to everyone
  • Social everything – we’ve seen how powerful Facebook has become, and it’s not going to weaken anytime in the future. There might be some ripples with Diaspora or other new services, but if they don’t use existing services as a rooting point, they are not going anywhere. To make change, you’ll have to convince a planet wide mob.
  • Bandwidth battles – net neutrality will come to a head again and there is going to be more available, but the providers are going to find more ways to charge for it
  • Text will still rule – even though video and audio will be easier to capture and transmit, people will still post and communicate using letters.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – well I can hope

So how did I do?

  • More mobile – I think I got this one pretty good. Mobile is eating everyone’s lunch as we go into 2012
  • Social everything – Occupy, Arab Spring and many more history changing events were enabled by our social tools. If people thought that social was only for loners and geeks, they should think again. I got this one.
  • Bandwidth battles – Almost. In Canada, we got a half solution, but we also are offered far more wireline based (including Wifi) than before.
  • Text will still rule – yup, got that one as well. txt messaging has only got bigger.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – Not being on the ground there, I don’t know how I didn’t but I don’t think any real traction was made there.

So what are my thoughts for 2012?

  • Even more mobile – cheaper and smarter, but not at the same time
  • IP Soap Opera will have some manner of climax – the litigation over IP and patents is embarrassing for everyone involved. I have a hunch though that something is going to wake the litigants up (including Apple) to this fact.
  • Social everything – more than ever before, it will be the glue that knits together separate experiences.
  • Social nothing – our social tools will become old… allowing them to get really useful.
  • Alternative interfaces – Between Siri and Kinect, I’m sure there is going to be some significant traction in the realm of data entry into systems that are increasingly ubiquitous.

So, hopefully I’ll post again next year to see how I did, but in the mean time, I’m still hoping to change this blog into one that is more photography oriented. The problem is of course time. Between work, family, and starting a business, there hasn’t really been time to reflect. I hope that will change, but if not. I’m still sharing all manner of thoughts on edtech, teaching, tech in general and photography on G+, Facebook, and Twitter.

Happy Holidays everyone!

My 2011 Predictions

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By , December 28, 2010 9:03 pm

Well 2010 was certainly an eye opening ride for me, moving between institutions not of my own will and looking to a future that may or may not include academia. But for all that, it has provided me with yet another way of looking at technology and the way that it is used to educate us and help us tell our stories. So without too much extra reflection, here are my points from last year:

  • Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
  • Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
  • Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
  • Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
  • Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
  • Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.

So how did I do?

  • Augmented reality – we are certainly seeing what the increase in GPS capable devices has provided. The boom of location based services, while not really “augmented”, is certainly an enhancement.
  • Increased power of mobile – well mobile payment is increasing and the sudden rise of the iPad shows that mobile is certainly something people were waiting for, even if they didn’t know it or know where/how it would fit in their digital life
  • Privacy erosion – Facebook anyone? Check this Google News link.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – well TV and terrestrial radio didn’t die out, but YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Boxee and many more certainly went main stream.
  • Casual gaming – Hear about Zynga? I doubt Google would have bought in if it wasn’t going somewhere.
  • Chrome – well I missed on that one, ChromeOS test platforms only now started shipping.
  • Short URLs – and Pro anyone – I think I got this one on the mark.

So what are my thoughts for 2011?

  • More mobile – who really cares what the latest computer is? Everyone is buzzing about phones. Between the fast revisions, portability and dropping price, the promise of capable computing in your pocket (as opposed to the office/den) is appealing to everyone
  • Social everything – we’ve seen how powerful Facebook has become, and it’s not going to weaken anytime in the future. There might be some ripples with Diaspora or other new services, but if they don’t use existing services as a rooting point, they are not going anywhere. To make change, you’ll have to convince a planet wide mob.
  • Bandwidth battles – net neutrality will come to a head again and there is going to be more available, but the providers are going to find more ways to charge for it
  • Text will still rule – even though video and audio will be easier to capture and transmit, people will still post and communicate using letters.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – well I can hope

So not as many this year as in previous years, but things are moving through a bit of a bottleneck right now and maybe in 2011 something will blow things open, or we see things crystallize in the nxt 8-13 months and then some real changes arrive in 2012.

Drums please… Introducing… My Intro!

By , August 6, 2010 4:11 pm

Well, this is not really edited at all and pretty much right off the brain, but it’s at the point that I would like to be able to pass it around before polishing it up to be included as part of my PhD application. I’ll be sending out to those who I’ve talked to over email and face to face, but this is for everyone else.

Seedsv4-Intro (Draft)

The technical side of the PhD.

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By , August 5, 2010 11:52 am

So the intro paper is almost done (and for the record, even if I don’t get in, I’ll be finishing the paper and posting all of it), but I thought I should share the basic idea of the technical side of my project. This is basically how the ideas I have would “physically” knit together. Of the various elements, I think this is going to be easier – the policy and attitude part is going to be the harder one.

The Wizard

Maybe it’s the money – nee Thoughts on Collaborate III

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By , July 13, 2010 8:26 pm

@idarknight my reaction to BbWimbaLluminate was more financially based than anything. how can we justify burning money with free options?less than a minute ago via Tweetie for Mac

@dlnorman I was wanting to include that as some part of the post, but the money arguement is a sticky one, so I’ve left it to bubble for nowless than a minute ago via Seesmic Web

Just after I posted yesterday about the knee jerk reaction, and I started to get hits from a number of sources (thanks to an OLDaily link), the bubbling that I referred to started to get going, and after the lighter thoughts had left, I was left with something odd at the bottom of my brain… maybe that knee jerk reaction has more to do with the impression that many people in the education world have of never having enough funds. It certainly seems to be the case with public institutions, as I don’t know many private educational organizations that are complaining too loudly about the actions of BB. In fact, they might see it as a net gain as they can essentially outsource even more functions to a single trusted corporation. But public education seems different.

In the public education world, people are happy with “negative zero” budgets – happy that they have a job and trying to make due with budgets that never really grow at any rate fast enough to keep up with anything, much less get ahead (if they even come on a regular cycle). Public education leverages open source – as D’Arcy mentioned today – to save those pennies (spending time over money, increasing that intangible worth of the organization) and when they do spend money, it tends to get spent on those smaller solutions (like Elluminate once was) that are kindred and sensitive to the plight of the education sector. Education doesn’t have a lot of money, so don’t expect us to pay very much for things (it’s a sad lament and an even worse comment on our educational priorities).

But then when a smart company comes by and starts to assimilate all those little dollars into larger sums, public education seems to take notice all of the sudden. But here is the catch, a smart company sucking up all those little line items into a larger one (plus a handsome little buffer for the convenience of a single bill), doesn’t fit into public education’s world of changing budgets and it’s ethos of growing small ideas into larger solutions. One large bill means that if you can’t make the payment one year, you may or may not be able to provide service that year. A number of smaller bills means that you can pick and choose what you want to pay. Perhaps not the smartest way of doing things, but that seems to be the case for public education. Public education likes to be “cheap”. It seems to revel in it’s ability to make do in spite of what the world thinks is “real”.

So maybe that reaction to Collaborate was because of the money angle. The assimilation of all those line items and the individualization that comes from having those options evaporated when the “suits” decided that all those little items were to be assimilated. We’ll have to see what happens over the next few months and years to see if we were just doing a Chicken Little or if there was something real to be concerned about. But in the mean time, I think this does move education one step further into one of two camps – one open and one closed. Determined not by the haves and have nots, but by how individual one chooses/desires to be.

Into the mind of …

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By , July 12, 2010 2:57 pm

Disaster? I don’t know, but if you want to see what I’m putting into my PhD paper, you can get a preview through my Delicious account. If you want to see what I’ve tagged so far – take a look.

Switching from Strike-well to Acme Hammers

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By , May 31, 2010 9:22 am

Well, there are many things in my new position, short as it may be, that I wish I could write about, but I can’t. But I think I’ve found a way to express some thoughts in a way that won’t really reveal what I shouldn’t be letting out of the bag. So with that in mind, I can tell you that change is afoot at the University (big surprise eh?) and that change has been brought about by factors that are largely not something that could have been controlled by, or anticipated by the powers that be at the University (I know… I’m really shaking the ground). So what is going on?

Well, for the last decade or so, the University has been both doing very with Strike-well hammers, for those who forgot (or didn’t know about) the time when we as an institution tried to use the hammer to drive a wooden stake into a steel plate. That bad decision, even ten years on has left its mark. As there are many on campus that have a bad taste, or absolute hate on for Strike-well for what happened as a result of the wood/metal collision and have vowed to never use a Strike-well product again. Some have moved to Strike-wells other product, the Tack Hammer, while in hushed tones and lurking in the shadows, others have found and been using Acme Hammers. Now granted, not all the Acme Hammer users have been doing so in secret, rather the opposite, some have been loud and proud about the new way that they have found to pound a metal nail into wood. Occasionally they find nails that are a bit bent, but with a little TLC, they have made sure that those nails are driven home and get their job done. Some others, who can only envy Acme Hammers from afar see this as proof that Acme Hammers are the only way to get things done. But it seems to me that they miss the point.

The University has been using Strike-well and for the most part, they are used to drive metal nails into wood, sometimes soft, sometimes hard. But on occasion, they get used to drive screws into wood or someone tried to nail jello to the wall. For these instances and many more like them, Strike-well gets the blame, and to boot, the small team that is supporting Strike-well has to support a truckload of these hammers without knowing who or how they are being used – as opposed to the Acme Hammer teams of users and on site back-end support that are pretty much served up support on a precious metal platter should they need it as a result of their relevant ratios.

So has it been fair to lay the blame on Strike-well for not being as good as it can be, or for having issues when people try to do things with them that they were never meant to, or that there isn’t always support available for the users or the tools? I don’t think so. People seem to think that switching to Acme Hammers is going to change things and that all the ills of Strike-well will be erased. But I don’t think they understand. If we want to get rid of the baggage of Strike-well, we have to take a look at what worked and what didn’t in the old system. We have to see what part of the Acme Hammer support model can be extended across campus. And finally, we have to understand that once the truckload of Acme Hammers is delivered, there are still going to be people who will try to drive in screws and there may be something just as misguided as trying to drive wood into metal in our future.

So what am I cryptically trying to say? Well, I just hope people can see the difference between the tool in the showroom and the tool on the worksite as they are two very different environments.

What are the new literacies that schools need to teach?

By , May 10, 2010 8:57 am

This came up this weekend talking to my wife. It seems that in her school, there is a cadre of teachers who think that kids need to learn “keyboarding” to be literate in the new reality that will be where they find themselves in the future. This remark was quickly retorted by another teacher who in her best mime-type impression of a crackberry addict gestured that the kids are not going to need to learn how to keyboard, they are going to be adept thumb typers. I don’t know where the conversation went from there, but after some more discussion, my wife and I were dumbfounded as to how some teachers are still so bound to the tools of communication rather than the process or the media.

Years ago, keyboarding was relevant because that was the only way that students could leverage these tools called computers, but what about accessing today’s devices with gesture, stylus or voice inputs? What about those devices with configurable keyboards? This is just the tip of the iceberg…

For my money, kids in K-12 today need to be literate in the ways and means to establish, maintain and explore connections (building their PLE/Ns as it were). They need to be able to create an identity online and understand what it means to have a valid identity and how to tell what parts of another individual’s identity might not be true. The tools that they will use to do this? I would not even want to guess, today they are Twitter and Facebook. Tomorrow… all bets are off… years down the road… same thing.

Creating and maintaining these relationships will require different skills, some will require adept long form writing, others will require micro form skills. Some people will need to have a full range of multimedia aptitudes, others will be able to specialize.

So if it were me giving a presentation to a school as to what the kids need to learn? I would say that they need to learn that there are different types of tools with different abilities. Some that sit on desks, others that sit in your pocket, others that sit far away. Each of these has a time and place to be used… now let’s start exploring those tools starting with…

Connecting the roots to the leaves – initial ideas for my PhD

By , April 16, 2010 9:11 am

Yesterday I met up with Terry Carson in Secondary Education and we went over some ideas and I’ve put them together and put them out there to see what everyone who cares to comment out there thinks. So here it is:

Problem that needs exploring:
How to get the rank and file of the University to feel that they are truly connected to the University Executive and to help the University Executive appreciate the triumphs and challenges of rank and file in a direct and ideally unfiltered manner. Currently the only vehicles that the two groups have to interact in this direct manner is through town halls and scheduled events. These events have participants who are self selected to attend and then further self selected to interact. This self selection is mediated by various factors ranging from personal to political that are fueled by power differentials. An individual’s perception of self efficacy plays a major role in determining how they attempt to address their peers and others in the more powerful or advantaged classes.

Social media has, to date, been shown to be a powerful democratizing tool and when powered by mobile technology that allows for ubiquitous access to the various streams of social media. Individuals often share through social media, thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be restrained by their position within the organization.

Using the Scholarship of Engagement as a framework and the Obama 2008 campaign as case study, an attempt will be made to understand the roots of the problem within higher education and suggest mechanisms for change.

Preliminary Title:
Connecting the roots to the leaves.

Preliminary Research Question:
“How can the emerging social media tools, driven by increasingly ubiquitous mobile technologies be used to connect executive leadership with rank and file individuals within an organization in a meaningful manner”

If I’m not working “for the man”, I might as well “work for mankind” and take this opportunity to do my PhD. I was planning to do it eventually and a few weeks ago I started poking around to see who I might work with. Now I’ve got a few names and I’m getting my application together. Strangely enough, if I hadn’t been laid off, I might very well never have been able to ask the question that I did in the town hall that was followed up by a candid conversation that identified this issue. So hopefully, in a few years, I’ll be able to look back at this and say that this was where it all started… great trees grow from a seed and fertilizer. It certainly seems that I’ve got the seed and the fertilizer, now let’s see what will grow.

GUI Design – the layer that propogates and prevents stories

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By , January 22, 2010 1:35 pm

This is something that I remember from my days in grad school taking a look at UI design – what goes into designing an icon. It struck me that even in this new age of increased definition, we are still trying to simplify the interface. This is a challenge that will continue and it seems to be at the root of many of the issues surrounding IT. Once people understand the basic vocabulary of the computer, they are able to understand what the little house looking icon might mean, and what the camera icon might mean. But for those who are coming from a different background that doesn’t share the same primary concepts that get distilled into icons, this simplification just goes to make computing more difficult. Even for the people who live and breathe in a computerized environment, a slightly different icon, even if it is the same theme can be problematic. I found this with my new phone. The picture icon isn’t a camera, it’s aperture blades. I don’t know about you, but even me being a computer and photo geek, it took me a couple times to “get” the new icon. I knew what it did, but I still had to do a mental double take, understanding the icon only by knowing what the other icons were and through elimination understanding the “take picture” button.

This simplification is certainly a double edged sword and it will be interesting to see how it changes now that we’ve got a new generation coming of age that has grown up with the icons of two generations past, it will be interesting to see what we will see in GUIs of the future. Especially when you consider that the majority of these designers will no longer have a North Atlantic background.

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