Updated: 29/08/2003; 11:15:00 AM.
Transforming Technology
Information of Technology that has transforming or disruptive potential

Friday, August 29, 2003

500 years ago the communications system in the west was owned by one organization - the church. If you wanted something in writing a monk transcribed it. Few knew how to read as a result of books being so expensive. Your network news was delivered from the pulpit. The system supported the status quo of the power of God's elect, the King and his henchmen the aristocracy and above supported the most powerful multinational enterprise the world had yet seen the church itself. The church was the largest landowner in the west at a time when land was the basis of all wealth. The barriers to competition were impossibly high.

I am sure that when Gutenberg built his first press that there was a lot of chatter about font types, about gearing and pressure and inks and about the best type of paper - the kind of geek talk that is central to all new things. This is where so much of the discourse is today about blogging - RSS etc. But the true power of the printing press was something else that went way beyond how it worked. It was how it was used that was to be important.

Within a hundred years huge numbers of people could read. It was possible to run off broadsheets - personal publishing very cheaply. So what happened as a result of this use of the new technology?

The reformation in Europe, the dissolution of the monasteries in the England the the redistribution of all that wealth to secular hands, the civil war and the end of the idea of monarchy being God's anointed. The modern world was created where new ideas based on observation - such as a new vision of the universe - could not be held back by the establishment in spite of persecution.

So this is what will happen with blogging. What blogging is, is an end run on the strangle hold of our conversation and on our mindset that the corporate and institutional world has established. Until now the costs of having a human voice were set impossibly high. Only Rupert Murdoch or a government could play. But now communication costs are ridiculously low compared to the mainstream media and communications in corporations and government. Not only are the costs low but the interactive element of blogging is so much more powerful than the broadcast technique owned by the institutions. Any one of us can have a voice and groups can have power.Institutions are frightened of this voice and will fight it because it means that they will die as a result.

As at the time of the reformation - the general adoption of blogging tools  will lead to the overthrow of the corporate and the institutional mind. In so doing it will release the vast treasure that it locked up in the costs of corporate and institutional  life. It will free men and women from being peons in a feudal state where they had to live as liege men and offer fealty to their overlords.

We are not only oppressed by those in power in institutional life, we, like medieval peasant, are complicit. We know of no other life. Knowing no other life, like those in Plato's cave, we cannot imagine what freedom from institutional life might be like. We fear freedom because we see no alternative to bondage.

Even simple blogging can help here. It offers for the first time to each of us the potential to find our voice. At first maybe to tell the world what we had for breakfast or to recall some work idea. But I have found in myself a huge change in the last year in my inner voice and in the confidence as I discover that I am not alone in how I think.

Until now people who think as I do have struggled alone. We are by nature are not joiners. Fewer of us every day work in institutional life and cannot use that voice. What "organ" do we have to speak with a human voice? Blogging By finding so many of us out there, we grow in confidence and our voice becomes less hesitant. I feel wonder as I read new blogs every week and see how close our thinking is. This is how power is created

Technical talk is helpful. It leads to better tools. But let's talk more about how we will use blogging to change our world. It is not about making the corporation better - this type of discussion would be the same as a group of monks talking about how printing was going to help the church. It is about how to we take the institution out of our lives.

(Thanks to Dave Pollard for getting me going this week)

11:14:24 AM    comment []

Enrollment for the media courses at our community college is way down this year. Is this part of the dot-com fallout or is something more going on?

What is on offer is a one year full time class based course that costs $10,000 and teaches you to create web pages. I asked my blogging friends on PEI, none of whom are older than 24 and most younger and all of whom are experts in web based communication, - note I did not say experts in web creation.- to tell me how they learned to be so good.

  1. They were all highly motivated and started to "play around" on the web when they were very young 
  2. They learned from each other and still do
  3. None of them see learning about a tool or a technique as being central - one said that when they see a resume that states that the person has mastered a set of named software, they bin it immediately - wrong approach. They do not take a product approach but a holistic approach

So who takes these courses? Maybe folks who have no talent but who think that the web is hot. What happens when they enter the workforce - they meet the web version of Miles Davis or Dave Brubeck with a high school band talent - result they are peons not masters.

So what do you do if you are our community college? Maybe you have to link those who want to learn to those that can teach rather than try and teach the sheep. This is a huge shift. Does it only fit with IT?

What about automotive trades. Until now you could go to a college and learn how to fix a car. But what about Hybrids and soon fuel cells - who will stop the train for long enough to create a conventional curriculum? It can't be done. We will have to learn on the job as the job will be changing too fast. So what does the Community College have to do to create the learning environment. The same process is true for many areas - think even of construction - post Kyoto we will change radically how we build and the material will change very fast. You can't teach stuff that is 3 years out of date.

Who can we learn from? eBay I think. They have made a business through creating a safe community where people can do business with each other.

For me the big challenge is how can we create a safe community where we can learn from each other?

eBay have revolutionized retailing as a result. No inventory! You think that education has no inventory - think again - it is all about inventory - they are called courses and departments - they build and sell. Changes in inventory are exceptionally slow. But the pace of change is accelerating. Formal learning cannot keep up and will only fall behind.

It is also all so expensive. Canadian university fees were up 7% this year while inflation is about 3%. School costs are rising much faster than inflation and the degree is falling in value as more kids enroll. Student debt will be cancer on the next generation. But if you get out of build and sell you get out of your main costs - inventory.

So here is the challenge. What small place that knows it cannot compete with the large traditional centres will have the balls to set up the eBay of learning?

10:42:35 AM    comment []

Are blogs just a means of telling one' own story? Are they about developing software? or are they a cheap and very easy way to create community?

Why would creating community be helpful? Here is the first of a few short answers to that question.

Blogging and health - Follow the link and see the power of self help groups. The bottom line is that doctors are good at diagnosis and acute care but little else. If you have a chronic illness say diabetes, cancer etc the research is in. Joining a self help group is the best way to health for you.

This is not confined to emotional support - god knows you need it - but self help groups excel also in providing up to date information of a technical nature. Groups of fellow sufferers know more and get back faster than your doctor. Self help groups most importantly do not talk down to members Like Amazon, your peers supply you with the info in the most accessible way.

10:22:26 AM    comment []

New movements tend to stall when the "in group" want to keep the movement within the
"in group"

The same may be true for blogging. The number of people that know about what a blog is among my clients is very small.  Intuitively I would say less than 2%. What would put them off? Anything technical. Blogging has to be made really easy.

Why do I mention St Paul? At the outset of Christianity there was a huge debate. The "In Group" as lead by the surviving disciples of Jesus insisted that to be a Christian you had to be a Jew. This meant adult circumcision for the men and backseat behind a screen for the women. Quite a "technical" hurdle!!!. Paul argued that all men and women should be able to become Christians - guess who won? Pride in coping with the technical sides of blogging is a block for take-up.

The real opportunity is when a group of "Ingroup folks" maybe like "socialtext" really engage with organizational life and find the fit. Step 1 has to be"Easy does it" Easy does it demands that anyone who can type can set up a good blog and that there are a number of great templates. We are exploring Typepad to see if we can make it even easier.

Step two has to be finding the immediate felt benefit. This is more challenging and I think demands that we find parts of an organization where building a community will help - maybe in the entire support area. This is where the whole KM issue rears its head. The idea of content management is an exceptionally stupid idea that flies in the face of how we understand knowledge. Only a small fraction of knowledge is explicit - the vast bulk is implicit - ie it is ten times better to talk to someone about an issue than to try and find what he has written about it. Who wants a manual when you can be walked through? BP has been a leader here in seeing that their key system issues is to find a way of connecting people with questions to people with answers. Each employee has a personal website that amongst other things has a lot of info about what they know. The deal at BP is that if you have question you search for the person.

Why should we care anyway? Blogging is our path back to being human at work. Blogging reveals who we are to not only others but more importantly to ourselves. For the first time mankind - the great tool maker - who has used tool making ingenuity to make the world and himself into a tool, or a thing, has created a tool that renews and brings back what it is to be human.

So like Paul - we are faced with an historic choice. We can relegate blogging to geekiness and tool making or we can work to change our relationships back from machine to human.

What do I mean by this bold statement? We can change democracy by making it essential for politicians to be real and to listen to us. We can get the issues that make sense on the table other than spin. We can make management of organizations transparent and give organizations a human Cluetrain voice. We can change how we learn - from each other rather than from institutions. We can change healthcare by empowering fellow sufferers to help each other rather than to rely on the priests of medicine. We so change the world as Paul did.



Blogs for What Business?. Jimmy Guterman's new piece on business blogging (sub. required) is sure to cause a stir. He charges the blogging community as being "self-absorbed and elitist" and says its not essential for business. He cites a Forrester study to back up his claims:

You don't have to believe me on this. Finally, some data asserts that blogs are hardly a popular pursuit. If anything, blogging is more marginal than its critics contend. Forrester Research (FORR) conducted an online survey of 3,673 people and found that 79 percent of its respondents had never heard of blogs, 98 percent had never read one, and 98 percent said they'd never pay to read or write one. Blogs can be wonderful things, but if a mere 2 percent of Internet users read blogs, the pastime is far from mainstream. The Forrester survey notes that the typical blog reader has been using the Web for an average of six years. For the most part, blogs feature the Net elite writing to the Net elite. This continues to be the case only as long as the elite are underemployed.

I believe what Jimmy is saying is that there isn't a consumer market for blogging and that it isn't essential for businesses to address it. The problem is we are at the very beginning of a technology adoption lifecycle. Some serious companies have forecasted this market to grow and made their bets accordingly. Every time a journalist tries to wrap themselves around the existing market, what's visible are early adopters. What stands out are the leaders in using blogs for publishing, who benefit from preferential attachment as the earliest entrants. And if you take the innovator dialogue to seriously it looks like a one ring circus.

The other story folks pick up on is unclueful attempts by businesses and PR firms to market to bloggers as an emerging and influential segment. Any attempt to treat bloggers as a segment will fail. Today the influence of participants who act more as producers than consumers is the attraction. The number of participants is growing at 400% per year, and that's before AOL's entry.

But the real story in the consumer market is how increasing numbers of real people are using blogs , but as a way to communicate an form their own communities. Its that skinny tail of the power-law distribution that's going to wag the market. A way to share with friends, communicate post-by-post and remain open to new people joining your community. Conversational Networks provide the most value to your average Jane.

Rick Bruner does make the case that there are lots of businesses using blogs in the consumer market and points out this is like the web in 1995 and where the weblog as publishing market is headed. And many of them are making money. I agree that more evidence in this area would help, always does, but give it time for these new ventures to tell their story.

There is another story of weblogs and business that is less visible because the real action is behind the firewall. At Socialtext we are adapting weblogs for use within enterprises. Weblogs are one Enterprise Social Software tool, because they are necessary but not sufficient for communication and collaboration.

The enterprise market is entirely different than the consumer market. What is in common is an efficient, and dare I say fun, way of having conversations that contribute to productivity. Maybe its time we start telling more of our customer stories, but the distinction between consumer and enterprise needs to be made. [Corante: Social Software]

8:57:54 AM    comment []

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

More Great KM Stuff.
Collaboration is in the KM toolbox.

Collaboration is the new KM

Why collaboration? I think it appeals because its less fluffy than 'KM' - people intuitively think its good (few CEO's are crying out for their people to collaborate less) - and it taps a current need: in trying to cut costs by e.g. reducing travel, people are feeling the pain of projects failing and mis-communication. 'Virtual teams' as a term has been around long enough, but few companies are getting it right.

[from Intellectual Capital Punishment]

This snippet from the middle of Sam Marshall's comments hints at why collaboration has gained new attention: collaboration = faster throughput with the same resources. He also reminds us that for this to be done well, we have to prepare for it.

As part of his discussion on expert databases last week, John Chu shared a report on the topic from Outsell, Trend Alert: Connecting People to People - Expert Databases (abstract only). Outsell surveyed a number of companies with expert databases and said some things about knowledge management and setting up expert databases. It was the conclusion that was most telling:

In our opinion, the pain won't be worth the gain if collaborative work practices aren't already inherent within the organization.

It is relatively easy to set up the technology to run video conferences and webinars. But to create a culture that takes advantage of these technologies is much more difficult, and much more interesting in the long term. Beyond saving money on travel, what does the organization expect to gain from having NetMeeting or WebEx or iSight?

[Knowledge Jolt with Jack]

Not only is collaboration important and allows more productivity with the same number of people, but the final aspect, culture, is critical. Companies that do not already have collaborative cultures will not be able to utilize these technologies efficiently and will thus be at a tremendous disadvantage to companies that already are collaborative. Simply providing collaboration tools to a company that believes that knowledge is power, where restricting the flow of information is the way to advance, will result in unused tools. In companies that already value transparency and open communication, that want as many eyes on the problem as possible in order to find solutions, these tools will only enhance productivity. So, in my mind, it is worthless to try and provide the tools to a company whose culture will not allow them to be utilized. You might make a buck but your customer will not be satisfied. If their industry requires novelty, creativity and innovation to succeed, then they will eventually fail. In such an industry, not having a culture that fosters collaboration is a business model of failure. [A Man with a Ph.D. - Richard Gayle's Weblog]

Richard is hot! I am 100% with you Richard - the new competitve frontier is culture. Those who have a collaborative culture will learn and adapat more quickly and will overwhelm those that do not.

You can't buy this type of culture - so the leadership issue becomes critical

7:09:20 AM    comment []

Friday, August 22, 2003

Texting blamed for summer movie flops.

In this article, the Independent says that "in Hollywood, 2003 is rapidly becoming known as the year of the failed blockbuster, and the industry now thinks it knows why."

The problem, the executives say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films -- sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching - and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend.

Thanks to Michel Dumais for the pointer

[Smart Mobs]

I just love this. The movie studios know that even for a bad movie, marketing can buy them some attendance. The right marketing campaign could at least hold the hope of recouping some of their investment. Since word of mouth takes some time, the first weekend might make some money. But now the prime market, teenagers, is thwarting this process using cell phones and txting. Word of mouth is not measured in minutes not days. Obviously, this sends chills down the spines of movie moguls. No hope for bad movies. I expect this to have a big effect on the movies they greenlight. Look out for more sequels and pre-sampled pablum. [A Man with a Ph.D. - Richard Gayle's Weblog]

I also hear that boys are staying away from action moves in droves. Why? because they have more control in games.Crap is going to have a bad time.

8:43:17 PM    comment []

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Missing the Librarians for the Trees.

The Myth of Generation N

"For decades, social scientists and technologists have alternatively predicted the emergence of 'computer kids' or a 'net generatio'”—a cohort of children, teenagers, and young adults who have been immersed in digital technology and the digital way of thinking since their conception.

This new generation, the thinking went, would be everything that their parents weren’t when it came to technology: They would know how to type, partake in electronic communications, and be able to rapidly figure out how all this stuff worked. They would be so adept at using computers that calling them 'computer literate' would be an insult. They would see society as something to be mastered and hacked, not something that they need to fit inside.

Certainly, a lot of evidence supports a 'net generation' effect. Although there are no reliable statistics on computer literacy, good figures do exist on Internet usage, thanks to the Pew Internet Project. According to its survey released earlier this year, 74 percent of people in the United States age 18 to 29 have Internet access, compared with 52 percent of those age 50 to 64. Among the over-65 set, Internet access plummets to just 18 percent. And in my own age group, 30 to 49, 52 percent have some kind of Net access. These figures certainly argue for the existence of a 'Generation N.'

But the more time I spend with the kids who should be members of Generation N—today’s high school and college students—the more convinced I am that the notion of universal computer competence among young people is a myth.  And the techno-laggards among us risk being relegated to second-class citizenship in a world that revolves around, and often assumes, access to information technology....

Experts in human-computer interaction say that the real difference between teenagers and their elders is teens’ willingness to experiment with computers, combined with their acceptance of the seemingly arbitrary conventions that are endemic to contemporary computer interfaces. In other words, teens aren’t worried about breaking their computers, and they’re not wise enough or experienced enough to get angry at and reject poorly written programs. The teens just deal with computers, as they are forced to deal with many other aspects of their lives. These strategies, once learned and internalized, are incredibly effective for working with today’s computer technology....

...Unfortunately, with the changes overtaking our society, today’s kids who don’t have tech experience and tech aptitude are going to be left behind much faster than their elders.

And that’s the danger in believing that time will give us a population that’s completely computer literate. Remember, the Pew study found that 26 percent of young adults do not have Internet access. An even bigger determiner than age is education: only 23 percent of people who did not graduate from high school have Internet access, compared with 82 percent of those who have graduated from college.

Certainly, more kids today are growing up wired—but millions of them are not. Meanwhile, we’re rebuilding our society in ways that make things increasingly difficult for people who aren’t online. For example, people who don’t want to (or can’t) buy their airplane tickets on the Web now typically have to wait on hold for 30 minutes with the airline or go through a travel agent and pay an agency fee—sometimes as much as $50. When I needed to renew my passport, the local post office didn’t have the form: they told me to download it from the Internet.

This is a problem that won’t be solved through more education or federal grants. As a society, we need to come to terms with the fact that a substantial number of people, young and old alike, will never go online. We need to figure out how we will avoid making life unbearable for them." [Technology Review]

First of all, bad title because when you cite statistics such as "74% of Americans ages 18-29 have internet access," that's pretty much a "generation." Did every member of the "greatest generation" fight in World War II? No. Did every member of the "baby boomers" smoke pot and protest the war? No. But yet 74% of a generation that has internet access doesn't qualify as a critical mass.

Actually, I don't even think of kids ages 18-29 as netgens. My personal definition would be kids age 15 and younger. If you're generous and figure that the internet has been mainstream for six years, then you really need to look at netgens as kids that have grown up during that six year period and their younger siblings. I know the 18-29 age group came of age with computers, but the internet is a whole new ball of wax. Email, the web, and instant messaging are changing our society even faster than computers did. And these kids that grow up taking this stuff for granted are already ahead of my 35-year old self in how they assume and assimilate an interconnected world.

I know folks like Walt will sigh when they read that, but it's true. The way we take time-shifting technologies like VCRs and walkmans for granted is how these kids take the internet and wireless access for granted. It's just there, as it should always have been there. You mean it wasn't always like that? As I've noted before, my kids think every laptop can connect to the internet, and at high speeds, too. They have no idea that you might ever need a cable to do it, either. They think every camera can instantly display the picture it just took and pretty soon, they'll think that all cell phones can take pictures.

But what about the author's original point that 26% of this generation won't be computer or net-literate? Well, my question is how sad is it that he doesn't note the single most important support net for those people - libraries? Who could teach them information literacy in the digital age, either in school or in general classes at the public library? Who can provide them with free access to purchase that airline ticket or download that form? Who can provide them with the backup print resources that they need? Who can find information for them when they can't do it themselves?

The same folks that are there for every other past or future generation - librarians. And you know why the article's author encounters high school and college kids who aren't information literate? It's because politicians keep cutting library budgets, insisting that they're not important anymore. In some states, like California, they cut school librarian positions until there are almost none left. In some states, like Florida, they decide that critical institutions like the State Library are expendable and no longer need to be funded.

So how come Technology Review doesn't mention that?

[The Shifted Librarian]

I have been talking  about the low levels of traditional literacy on PEI. This article and Jenny's comments reveal an even greater need to be able to read. If you cannot read - you cannot participate in the online world. Soon there will be no alternative. Government services, business and social communication will increasingly go online and the alternatives will dry up. Maybe the Libraray will be the home of the illiterate? What a concept!

7:01:50 AM    comment []

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Penthouse comes unstuck. Media: The publisher of troubled Penthouse magazine has filed for bankruptcy, possibly spelling an end to the top-shelf title founded 38 years ago by the flamboyant Bob Guccione. [Guardian Unlimited]

Oh! Part of my boyhood gone. The first pubes I ever saw were in Penthouse. I suppose when you can see everything - I mean EVERYTHING -  for free on the internet, why buy a magazine like Penthouse. Does this mean that Playboy is a gonner as well?

9:09:07 AM    comment []

Sunday, August 10, 2003

We live today in one of those periodic times, when shifts in beliefs and in communication technology drive a fundamental change in how power is defined and exercised. What are these trends and how do they manifest themselves in the lives of universities? How can universities, with their unique cultures and management processes, cope and even prosper in this type of environment?
What is going on? What are these trends and what do they mean for managing a University? In particular, what do they mean for the social and human aspects that HR will have to plan for?
  • A revolution in demography - By 2020, most people in the developed world will be over 50. This is a unique demographic event in the history of nature. This aging of society will affect all aspects of the social and work world. It will be especially challenging for organizations that rely on a stream of young customers or those who rely on the young to replace the old as participants. Universities are vulnerable in both ends of the age spectrum. Who will teach? Who will be the students? How will we attract and retain staff and students? Our previous assumptions about the answers to these questions will have to be revisited.
  • A revolution in values. There is a pronounced shift in organizational values in the developed world. The shift is from an acceptance in organizations of a top down and process driven approach toward a new set of values that built on self-expression and dialogue. This values' shift is proving a challenge to all organizations In particular, all "customer" interfaces in every field of service delivery are being challenged by this new values set. There is no reason why institutions of learning should be exempt from this shift. where the managerial culture is authoritarian. For academia, the shift is especially challenging as it demands also a shift in pedagogy from where the teacher and content is the centre piece to where the student and dialogue is the centre piece. What is meant by this shift? What is the right course to take? How will we get there? Our current approach to delivery and to teaching itself has to re-evaluated.
  • A revolution in technology - It is not an illusion, the pace of technological change is accelerating in a non-linear manner. The web revolution has however only just begun. The impact on society will be similar to the advent of the railway which radically changed how and where people lived and worked in the 19th century. We can expect no less of a revolution today. While the new design for society is not yet clear, the new design for service delivery is emerging with some clarity. New technology enables the customer to access the service provider on his terms and at times that suit the customer. The new manufacturing process, as developed by Dell, has turned the Ford model of make and sell on its head. The adversarial customer relationship of the transaction economy, is being replaced by a community and relationship based model as exemplified by eBay and Amazon. How will this affect education? Many say that education is different. This may be a dangerous assumption. These technological and cultural forces are located already on the edge of the Academic world and are becoming ubiquitous. They fit the new values and they fit the new service/cost criteria as we are seeing in the airline industry. They will bear down on how universities operate. What will happen to high cost, place and content based universities when an educational equivalent of Southwest Airlines or EBay emerges? Other organizations in other sectors that have not thought about this threat now face extinction. 
  • A revolution in educational costs and service expectations - A generation ago, post secondary education was an elite process. Now it is expected to be accessible to most young people. This has lead to a massive expansion in the scale of universities and to a new and challenging relationship with government. Governments, in many parts of the developed world, see universities as engines of economic and social development. As Governments pay many of the bills, their social and economic expectations are becoming important parts of the university agenda. In response, Universities have had little choice but to adopt many of the features of the industrial workplace. Mass production of content and mass processing of students has enabled student participation to rise but at the cost of a significant increase in infrastructure costs and a corresponding reduction in organizational flexibility. Development and fund raising have become critical skills of the President. Coping with Unions and labour relations has become an important Presidential skill. As a result, the culture of business is seeping though the academic world. Paradoxically, as more students participate and as the direct and indirect costs of education rise for the student, the value of a BA is devalued in the work place. The average student can no longer afford a 4 year term at university away from home. Something in the cost mix will have to break. The current system cannot deliver the price and the quality that the student can afford and that the staff can tolerate. The result is a growing conflict between the internal stakeholders. All the stakeholders intuitively sense that something has to give but have circled their own wagons to defend themselves. How can Universities break the deadlock between their constituent parts? Is it likely that the conventional process of fighting this out at the bargaining table will work? What new process would give us the chance of reconciling the fears of the competing groups?
What operational issues will be exposed by these trends? -
  • Bearing in mind, a very small pool and a huge demand, how will we attract and retain the key academic and specialist staff that we need? Rank this issue in importance? Is this a survival issue or just a tough one to deal with? What are the financial implications of getting this wrong? What are the reputational issues of getting this wrong? 
  • How important will dealing with the subset issues such as pay and work place culture be to the attraction and retention issues? Is money the only issue? What can you afford bearing mind the pressure on the cost front?
  • Is transforming our costs merely about finding new cuts or will they come from a redesign of how we do things? How will conventional cuts affect the ability of the university to deliver? What will happen to morale and to students? What will increasing risk of more internal conflict mean?
  • Will finding more effective and ways of teaching more for less be about the application of new technology or is it about finding a way to change our mindsets about how to do this differently?
  • Is affecting change itself an issue of power or is it an issue of understanding how we change from a psycho-social perspective. How important is being able to change?
  • How important is it to reduce the centrifugal forces that are affecting our university? Can this be done as a matter of power or are there social and organizational design issues involved?
  • How can we reduce the inertial and complexity drag of our union environment? How important is this in a rapidly changing world? Can we use power to do this?
  • Our health and benefits costs are growing at a non linear rate. How substantive is the threat to our financial health? Is solving this issue a matter of power or design?

More here

4:32:51 PM    comment []

Thursday, July 31, 2003

collaborative learning and institutional culture. There have been a few interesting posts lately about collaborative learning. Many of them spout the relentlessly cheerful “we tried it and it was amazing and I wish more teachers would shift their paradigms because the students love it so much” line. (Hmmm. Perhaps my frustrations are already leaking through, eh?) Happily, Seb Paquet pointed me to Martin Blanche’s post on “Obstacles to collaborative learning.” (Permalinks are broken, alas, so go to his main page for now.) I’ll take the liberty of quoting them here: * Students and lecturers are more familiar with a knowledge-transmission model of education and don’t... [mamamusings]

More good stuff on the shift or not the shift to a more collaborative learning model. One thing I am sure of, try the transmission model on adults who have been away from school for a while. They hate it!

12:56:10 PM    comment []

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