Wednesday, October, 20, 2010 (10:25 AM)
For many, many years I have been working to help people understand the impact of technology on everything they do. Happily, some of these people have paid attention. Sadly, many have not.
The main reason people state for not integrating technology into their businesses, schools, lives is that they are waiting for broader adoption. Typically this is a delaying tactic used by people who are afraid of or uncomfortable with the changes necessary to do the technology integration. Basically, it is either a "head in the sand" feeling or a "we didn't do it that way in my day" feeling.
In either case, any case really, these people and their organizations are being bypassed by those who are willing to take the time and muster the resources to participate in a 21st century way.
We are, as a global society, hitting a true crossroads. This is much like the US railroads back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The companies, and their owners, who insisted on being the railroad business were crushed by the companies who understood they were in the transport business. The former are all long gone. The latter, including one Warren Buffett, are doing very nicely.
A news report by BBC from earlier this week tells us that 2 Billion people will be connected to the WWW by the end of 2010. Yes, that is Billion with a B. Aproximately 1/3rd of the entire population of the earth. Is this a clear enough signal for you?
What are you doing personally to use these connections? How are you adjusting your life, your school/college, your business?
Do you want to work for a railroad company or a transport company?
Think about. More importantly, do something about it!
Friday, October, 15, 2010 (02:34 PM)
Hello faithful readers.
My apologies for being away, but I was truly away. In the past 3 weeks I have been to the three main publishing cities in the world (London, Frankfurt, NY). All together, my flight miles surpassed 18,000 miles.
During this whirlwind adventure, I saw amazing things, had fantastic meetings, and learned a great deal. While these trips covered a mix of activities, a great deal of the time came back to what I am trying to accomplish with my work. As has been the case for over 25 years, I am constantly looking for ways to engage readers and learners.
Regardless of the technology (yes, print is a technology) used, the bottom line is that good stories make all the difference. This is just as true when trying to teach Euclidean geometry as it is when you are describing a crime scene in a mystery novel. By telling compelling stories, as fiction or as part of instruction, the content creator can engage the reader.
During my travels, I saw and read lots of interesting stories. For no other reason than these two are on top of my mental stack, I'm sharing a classroom instance and a consumer instance. It happens that both these focus on the iPad, but don't read anything into that.
Here is the classroom story. The focus here is on the iPad as an educational resource.
Here is the consumer story. The focus here is on the iPad as an engaging reader.
I can't remember the last time I have felt this tired. I also can't remember the last time that I felt as much excitement about where reading and learning are headed.
Monday, September, 20, 2010 (11:57 AM)
Along with all the other technology pressure on Higher Education textbooks comes this story that shows a legal type challenge as well. There is no doubt that more of these arrangements are being made and will we be hearing about them before too long.
When one considers the very new and different ways textbooks are being created and distributed (take a look at Inkling) and then considers all the pricing pressure (especially in CA) on the textbook companies, you really must consider the very future of the print textbook.
A few years ago, this conversation would have been handled by the Philosophy Department since the question was one to be contemplated and debated. Things like student acceptance, changes in professor preference, and the various possible impacts of "too much technology" on the students would have dominated the debate.
Now, this conversation is being handled in the Math Department since we need only Solve For X. The X being in what year will print textbooks no longer be the main learning tool in the classroom. This is true on campus and in k-12. It is even truer online. In fact, in online learning, the print textbook is already irrelevant.
This is not to say that print textbooks are not being used or that they will stop being used. With two sons in college right now, I have front line intel that says print textbooks will be around for some time to come.
This issue is in the math. All the players in the print textbook ecosystem (Authors, publishers, bookstores, etailers, etc) have built thier businesses around the status quo. In the new world of textbooks, or whatever comes next, can these same players adapt and survive.
This is an exciting time to watch and see what and who makes it to the next level.
Wednesday, September, 15, 2010 (01:21 PM)
Over the past 25 years, I have been trying to explain a few simple concepts to people.
1) First, human potential is limitless. If we would only take the time to get to truly know ourselves and our path in life, we can achieve anything. I believe so much in this idea that I named my company Full Potential Associates.
2) If we focus on the correct questions, we can solve complex problems with basic logic. Rather than asking questions that start with "Why can't" or "Why doesn't" we should reorder our thinking and reword our questions to start with "How can we" or "What if". This is not an exercise in word gymnastics. This is about intent and energy. If our intent, and the related energy, is about the problem as with the first two question starters, then we will focus on the problem. If we shift our intent and the related energy to the solution, then our focus will the there.
3) We can not continue to expect our 19th Century education system to serve the current needs, much less the future needs, of today's students. The need to change how we engage with our children grows greater with each passing day.
Here is a link to a great video of Sir Ken Robinson that is well worth the 18 minutes you will spend watching it. Hopefully his insights, complete with a lovely accent, will inspire you to do your part in what is necessary to help reshape our schools.
Thursday, September, 09, 2010 (10:12 AM)
My last post was about how Notre Dame has built a class around the iPad. The broader point was about asking what is the rest of society doing to prepare themselves for these students when they get out of college.
This week brings us news of another interesting iPad project. HMH has built a full curriculum Algebra App for the iPad. As the story explains, HMH will have over 400 iPads in the hands of students in California for this year long pilot.
Do I believe the iPad is the answer to all, or for that matter any, of our educational challenges? Simple answer..No. In fact, I don't believe that technology alone is an answer to any deep rooted and broad based problem.
However, there are three related things that I do believe. 1) Without an effective and integrated use of the technology it will be nearly impossible to address the myriad problems we have in today's schools. 2) If the existing educational establishment (from curriculum authors, to textbook adopters, to school adminstrators, and beyond) will not move quickly and comprehensively to meet the students in a way that engages them somebody else will. 3) Almost every employer needs to be buildling and executing a plan that integrates technology into most everything they do so that when today's 12 year olds become tomorrow's 22 year olds those businesses will be able to offer a compelling and challenging working environment.
It is very easy today to get a GED and any number of college degrees without even putting on pants and going to a physical school. It is also very easy to make a living without ever going to an office, factory, or warehouse.
Whatever it is you do you need to already be planning to do it differently so that you can be a part of the future that is already here.