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Archive for April, 2008

NCDD Conference: What Can Technology Do For Us?

I recently sent an e-mail to Andy Fluke, the Technology Dude for the NCDD Conference which he posted to the NCDD web site. I was responding to an e-mail from him in which he noted that he would give Twitter a try for 30 days, but would dump it if he didn’t get 50 followers during that time. My response was to try to broaden the potential uses of technology, specifically Twitter for the upcoming conference.

With my permission, Andy posted my e-mail to the NCDD web site. I thought I’d also post it here (with a few edits) since it reflects how I’m thinking about technology these days and some of the thinking that I can offer to my clients. I’ve even expanded my thinking about Twitter as a tool which I wrote about on my Scattered Leaves Blog.

Andy,

A few thoughts and insights on how technology can knit us together leading up to, during and after the conference…

1. Standard tagging: Through standard tagging, we can easily see each other’s content uploaded on Flickr, Blogs and elsewhere. For example, last August a Texas Forums co-hosted an event with the League of Technical Voters called We Are All Actors. People took photos that they uploaded to their own site on Flick and they wrote blogs. But no matter where they posted content, they tagged it WAAA2007. So on Flickr, you can see everyone’s photos at: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=waaa2007&m=text. You could do the same for blogs if you tag them with Technorati tags.

[author’s note: we have since implemented standard tagging for the upcoming conference as: NCDD2008]

2. Real time feedback: Twitter was used heavily at SXSW Interactive here in Austin to give real time feedback during sessions. I was there with a couple of colleagues and was able to see what they were doing and what they thought about the presentations they were attending. If I was in a session that wasn’t working for me, I could easily vote with my feet and go where something cool was happening.

(OK presenters may not like that, but we DO want to make sure everyone gets what they want from the conference, right?)

Also, you can get instant answers to questions. For example, I recently wondered (twittered, actually) about the difference between tinyurl.com and tiny.cc. within less than five minutes, I had two responses. I use twitterific so I get messages on my desktop as soon as the come in. (This is also one way I get good recipes, consumer guidance, referrals, etc.)

3. Drive traffic to blogs. I follow a very prolific blogger who writes for several blogs and a podcaster. Through the magic of microblogging (that’s what Twitter really is) I get one sentence from them along with a “tinyurl” If I’m too busy, then I can save it as a favorite.

For example:

Tom Parish tparish Posted my podcast with Dr. Nicolas Horney on “In Search of IT Agility” at EnterpriseLeadership.org http://tinyurl.com/2ukqd4

4. Lots of people prefer the microblogging of twitter. (See: http://twitter.com/Digidave/statuses/780610943) Below is snapshot of Twitterific and posting by David Cohn – someone I’ve never met, but who found me and found that we share similar interests.

5. You can send direct messages to people through twitter – much easier than e-mail AND it doesn’t clutter things up. You might think that being limited to 140 characters is a bad thing.

OH NO! It’s a VERY good thing. Twitter combines the best of e-mail and instant messaging. If people don’t have computers or can’t afford the wireless (it’s not free at the Renaissance, is it?) they can still participate with their phones – there will be plenty of people with computers on hand to sign them up.

6. Spontaneous meetings. Many of the geeks I hang out with in Austin (and elsewhere) don’t make appointments. They go to a coffee shop or bar, Twitter their location and people spontaneously show up. That’s how we all found each other at SXSW. Imagine you’ve just come from a stimulating session and want to keep talking about what you learned. You post a twitter with the topic and your location and people can join you. Think “Technologically facilitated Open Space”.

7. Mobile technology: Twitter works with cell phones – both receiving and sending. No need to be online.

[author’s note: This will be particularly useful at the conference since there is no free wifi. YIKES!! How un-Austin-like!]

8. Instant updates of changes: A speaker gets sick? You’re in a room that you thought would have a flip chart, but it doesn’t?

Post a notice. “Workshop A canceled.” or “Any flip charts not being used? I could use one in Serenade Room”

Response: “not using the one in Serendipity Room. Sending it over to you.”

Everyone tied into Twitter is empowered to contribute to the conference.

So the real power isn’t in how many people are following you, but in how many people are connected and ABLE to connect with Twitter!

I knew about the NCDD twitter NOT from an e-mail, but because Tim Bonneman twittered that he had just joined. I joined immediately. THAN I got an e-mail from Andy Fluke. But it took me 24 hours to respond and now I have to make a decision about where to file the e-mail!

E-mail and RSS feeds are just too cumbersome any more.

__________________________________
I’m not sure I’ve completely won Andy over, but I have earned the title, Director of Building Excitement about Technology and Libraries in my position on the NCDD Board!

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Dangerous Ideas: “What if…”

[Cross posted]

The recent Public Library Association Conference featured a session titled, “The Dangerous Ideas”. The idea behind the session was to stimulate a conversation about adaptation and change by posing the question, “What if…?”

The presenters began by introducing Ten Dangerous Ideas:

1. What if we stopped cataloging?
2. What if we participated fully with the FBI in all criminal investigations that involved the use of library resources?
3. What if librarians individually and as a profession promoted, used and helped to develop Wikipedia?
4. What if we accepted open source software as a way of being more in control of the customer experience?
5. What if we embraced our iner geek and created immersive games that prompted cults of library junkies?
6. What if we required all library staff to have expertise using technology?
7. What if mistakes were expected and embraced and all librarians became mistake masters?
8. What if we didn’t make decisions based on fear or scarcity?
9. What if we stopped being passive/aggressive?
10. What if we didn’t make our customers work so hard?

I did not attend this session, but have been following the aftermath on the Transforming Texas Libraries Blog and the Web Junction Blog. Some of the provocative questions raised and documented on the Web Junction Blog are:

What if librarians would promote and participate in the development of Wikipedia?
What if we made decisions that are not based on scarcity?
What if libraries large and small invest together to adopt open source solutions?
What if teens in the library were our partners instead of our problem?
What if we learned to advertise the allure of libraries as successfully as soft drinks and junk food?

This discussion is continuing on “whatiflibs” wiki posted on wetpaint, a very easy to use wiki.

The question, “What if?” calls upon us to use our imagination and to push our thinking into uncomfortable territory.

Recognizing this, the presenters had follow-up questions for the workshop participants:

  • Why does this thought make me uncomfortable?
  • What are the opportunities in this idea?
  • What actions can be taken to pursue the opportunities?

I teach Change Management and Civic Entrepreneurship to graduate library students. I thrive on uncomfortable thoughts because that is where opportunities hide. Too many people retreat when confronted with uncomfortable thoughts. We don’t like ambiguity. We may feel threatened. We may feel insecure about what change will demand from us. But all of these are just the flip side of opportunity.

I’m sorry I missed this workshop. I would love to see this thinking brought into the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Conference taking place in Austin, TX October 3-5, 2008. The conversation starter could be a “What if…” related to the D&D community or democracy itself and how D&D impacts democracy.

How about it D&D-ers? Are we ready for some Dangerous Ideas?

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Learning to Read After Decades Brings Joy


From 1990-2000, I was the director of an adult literacy program in Santa Clara County, CA. One of my favorite projects was Digital Storytelling which provided adult literacy students with the opportunity to tell their story through
mini-movies. After moving to Texas, I sustained my literacy passion by serving on the founding board of the National Coalition for Literacy and still consult with NCL on various projects. So you can understand my delight when I learned about the following story from the NCL news release.

Volunteer tutor Michelle Miller (left) and her student, Joseph Buford, told their story in Nashville, Tenn.
StoryCorps
Morning Edition, April 18, 2008

Joe Buford, 63, has a high school diploma but kept a secret, even from his family: He couldn’t read. “I could memorize things,” he says. “I call it drawing the words …. Nobody in my family really knew how bad it was with me and how hurt I was over it.” Buford’s wife didn’t know about his reading problem until after they were married, he says.

“Some mail came one day and normally, she’s telling me what came and what [bills] needed to be paid. But this time, she gave it to me and said, ‘Here, read this.’ And so she found out that I couldn’t just read something from top to bottom. That tore my heart out.”

Listen to the rest of the interview
Write to Joseph Buford

Read the rest of Joseph’s story

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13th Annual Technology, Colleges and Community Worldwide Conference

This week I will be a facilitator for the TCC 2008, a worldwide online conference designed for university and college practitioners including faculty, academic support staff, counselors, student services personnel, students, and administrators. This will be my second time serving as a facilitator. I’m very excited about the content as well as the environment and technologies (Learning Times, Elluminate and wikis) that this conference uses to bring together people from all over the world.

The theme for this conference is: The New Internet: Collaboration, Convergence,
Creativity, Contrast, and Challenges. Here are some of the questions this conference will explore:

  • Within this global venue, how do faculty, staff, students and the communities they serve converge, collaborate, innovate and produce useful learning outcomes?
  • What best practices have emerged in teaching, learning and research?
  • Is Internet-based learning effective and worth the effort?
  • How can we efficiently assess student learning?
  • Which tools will work best for us?
  • How do we support faculty and staff?
  • How do we overcome our feelings of being overwhelmed?

I have signed up to facilitate these sessions:

  • Developing Online Peer-to-peer Mentoring Programs for Distance Degree Programs
  • Podcasting for School Media Specialists: A Case Study from Central Minnesota

I will be attending:

  • Web 2.0 Solutions to Course Development Communication Challenges
  • Making Audiobooks Using Podtext and iPods

I will visit the archive after the conference:

  • Using Moodle to Promote Collaboration and Community
  • Extreme Makeover: Course Edition
  • Oh heck, who am I kidding. I can’t possibly list all of the workshop archives I will try to access.

This conference is always exciting because of the diversity of participant experiences (Nutritionists, economists, librarians, physicists, attorneys, anthropologists, psychologists curriculum development specialists) and geographic location (Japan, Hawaii, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Alaska, California, Georgia, Vermont).

At $99 ($69 for early registration that has already passed) this conference is a bargain and you retain access to the archives after the conference ends.

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[I wrote this last fall, but apparently it was never published. It feels a bit dated now, but I’m posting it so that I’ll at least have the record of what I was thinking at the time! I frequently have troubles with Blogger, but have been too lazy or bus to move this blog over to WordPress.]

I recently nudged my colleague, Andy Fluke who is the technical support for the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation about working on ways to use technology to create a buzz prior to, during and following the conference. He agreed to twitter, but said he would cease if he didn’t get 50 followers in 30 days. Wrong approach! Here’s my response.

Andy,

Since I’m the “butt-kicker” in the group, let me offer a few thoughts and
insights on how technology can knit us together leading up to, during and
after the conference.

1. Standard tagging: Through standard tagging, we can easily see each
other’s content uploaded on Flickr, Blogs and elsewhere. For example, last
August a Texas Forums co-hosted an event with the League of Technical Voters
called We Are All Actors. People took photos that they uploaded to their own
site on Flick and they wrote blogs. But no matter where they posted content,
they tagged it WAAA2007. So on Flickr, you can see everyone’s photos with that tag. You could do the same for blogs if you tag them with Technorati tags.

2. Real time feedback: Twitter was used heavily at SXSW Interactive here in
Austin to give real time feedback during sessions. I was there with a couple
of colleagues and was able to see what they were doing and what they thought
about the presentations they were attending. If I was in a session that
wasn’t working for me, I could easily vote with my feet and go where
something cool was happening. (OK presenters may not like that, but we DO
want to make sure everyone gets what they want from the conference, right?)
Also, you can get instant answers to questions. For example, I recently
wondered (twittered, actually) about the difference between tinyurl.com and
tiny.cc. within less than five minutes, I had two responses. I use
twitterific so I get messages on my desktop as soon as the come in. (This is
also one way I get good recipes, consumer guidance, referrals, etc.)

3. Drive traffic to blogs. I follow a very prolific blogger who writes for
several blogs and a podcaster. Through the magic of microblogging (that’s
what Twitter really is) I get one sentence from them along with a “tinyurl”
If I’m toobusy, then I can save it as a favorite. For example this twitter from Tom Parish:
tparish Posted my podcast with Dr. Nicolas Horney on “In Search of IT
Agility” at EnterpriseLeadership.org http://tinyurl.com/2ukqd4

4. Lots of people prefer the microblogging of twitter. (See:
http://twitter.com/Digidave/statuses/780610943) Below is snapshot of
Twitterific and posting by David Cohn – someone I’ve never met, but who
found me and found that we share similar interests.

5. You can send direct messages to people through twitter – much easier than
e-mail AND it doesn’t clutter things up. You might think that being limited
to 140 characters is a bad thing. OH NO! It’s a VERY good thing. Twitter
combines the best of e-mail and instant messaging. If people don’t have
computers or can’t afford the wireless (it’s not free at the Renaissance, is
it?) they can still participate with their phones – there will be plenty of
people with computers on hand to sign them up.

6. Spontaneous meetings. Many of the geeks I hang out with in Austin (and
elsewhere) don’t make appointments. They go to a coffee shop or bar, Twitter
their location and people spontaneously show up. That’s how we all found
each other at SXSW. Imagine you’ve just come from a stimulating session and
want to keep talking about what you learned. You post a twitter with the
topic and your location and people can join you. Think “Technologically
facilitated Open Space”.

7. Mobile technology: Twitter works with cell phones – both receiving and
sending. No need to be online.

8. Instant updates of changes: A speaker gets sick? You’re in a room that
you thought would have a flip chart, but it doesn’t? Post a notice.
“Workshop A cancelled.” or “Any flip charts not being used? I could use one
in Serenade Room” Response: “not using the one in Serendipity Room. Sending
it over to you.” Everyone tied into Twitter is empowered to contribute to
the conference.

So the real power isn’t in how many people are following you, but in how
many people are connected and ABLE to connect with Twitter! I knew about the
NCDD twitter NOT from this e-mail, but because Tim Bonneman twittered that
he had just joined. I joined immediately, then I got this e-mail. But it
took me 24 hours to respond and now I have to make a decision about where to
file it! E-mail and RSS feeds are just too cumbersome any more.

Taylor

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