I’ve enjoyed getting to know (via my twitter PLN) and interact with a couple of individuals who are diligent curators of all information related to educational technology:

Most recently (pic above) I mentioned to Gust that I thought two important new skills were to “disregard and discard”.  He asked me to explain further…here goes.

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

The increase of social media, the explosion of Web2.0 technologies and their inclusion in search engine returns means you get more than “web sites” and tens of thousands of returns for any search.

A current Google search for “Mobile Learning” (in quotes) brings back 3,710,000 returns.

Even refining the search to “mobile learning instructional design” returns 548,000 returns.

NO way you’re going to ply through a half a million returns. Even the best searcher, using advanced will get thousands of returns. I’ve watched students spend much too much time “finding” resources. Learning how to “disregard and discard” is an important skill to deal with information overload.

Discard & Disregard the stuff you don’t need to get to the stuff you do need.

HOW DEEP DO YOU GO INTO GOOGLE RETURNS?

Internet marketers and niche businesses work hard and expend a lot of money and resources on search engine optimization (SEO) to improve their web sites page rank (PR) and get it higher on Google’s list of returns. The idea is that the higher they are to the top (the first page is the Holy Grail for any business, which includes the first 2 – 5 listed who pay for the top position), the more money they can make because most people won’t look beyond the first couple pages.

This means the first few pages in Google (or any search engine) might not be the best for what you want.

You got to dig deeper.

Discard & Disregard the stuff you don’t need to get to the stuff you do need.

DISTRACTIONS

I know that when I get up and go to the gym in the morning, I can NOT check my email. If I do, I’m sucked into a “time hole” that I never recover from and (in the past) never got in my work out.  For me, I must disregard my email in the morning, before working out.

Efficiency experts have many times for helping people best manage their time. If you’re interested in learning strategies/tips/tricks, I recommend following Marissa Brassfield (@efficient).

Facebook Google+, Blogs, videos, email, radio, news, twitter, instagram and more!
Michael Fitzpatrick calculated in a blog post last year that “Facebook Costs US Employers $28,000,000,000 per year” in lost productivity.

My wife’s company monitors all employee internet usage. Everyone signs a form acknowledging the fact at hiring. Prior to any employee review a report is generated and included as part of the review. It has not been uncommon to find an employee spending three or more hours per DAY on non-productive sites (Facebook, Craig’s List, ESPN/NFL, Match.com, etc..) .

With the advances of MOBILE technology and devices that contain apps for most anything–anywhere, anytime connectivity can be “good” and “bad”…and certainly their ease of accessibility can make them distracting. I’ve seen cell phones be a powerful tool for instructors in classrooms. I’ve seen them be a wasteful distraction for students who couldn’t manage their *productive* use.

Ever see a group of people (kids AND adults) with nobody talking, because everyone is on their cell phone?

The proverbial “double edged sword” of powerful technology REQUIRES us to discard & disregard.

PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS

With so much information and connectivity the overload of information can be daunting.

I’ve worked with a number of businesses and executive recently that have been paralyzed by all of the information and “expert” advice they’re inundated with. When looking to initiate a strategy it’s critical to focus on the priorities that help make decisions easy. The ability to hold a priority and focus on a goal can help drive productivity.

Even in academic circles, talking with those who feel pressures to meet student needs, I find they’re entertaining so many theories, approaches and vendor sales pitches, they get nothing done.

  • When do you wait so long that a window of opportunity is lost?
  • How long can you weigh the pros and cons of an initiative?
  • How do you create inertia in the face of conflicting information?

What are your priorities & goals–stay focused.  Discard & disregard everything else.

Curation of information is critical to help you wade through the vast overload of information and many distractions. Consider using tools like Scoop.it and bookmarking sites like Diigo. Importantly, add YOUR notations and meaning to the information/content you’re curating. As a professional you want to build and maintain your professional library. The aforementioned tools can assist you with that endeavor, so you have your resources at your fingertips.

Take control of your life.

And feel good about discarding & disregarding things that are not congruent with your priorities and goals.

Good luck!

“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist,
Using technologies that haven’t been invented,
In order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”

– Karl Fisch, “Did You Know”

How Do You Prepare Someone For Something That Doesn’t Exist?

How do you train a person for a job that hasn’t even been invented yet?  In the old days, the mantra of high school teachers was that they were “preparing students for college.”

With a trillion dollars in student-loan debt (the next bubble to burst?), 56% college graduate unemployment, and the rise of social-media engagement scores, college may not be a what teachers should be solely focusing on. (Few high school teachers I talk to are even aware of the r/evolution occurring in higher education)

65% of today’s grade school kids will end up at jobs that haven’t been invented yet
-United States Department of Labor- Futurework – Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century

Fifteen years ago I had the opportunity to sit down with individual leaders of major groups at Microsoft (MSN, Games, programming, education). We talked about their jobs and the skills sets and what students needed to be successful. We talked about computer science degrees and engineering majors. A student I brought asked them about THEIR degrees.

They looked at each other and went around the table: Art Major (Line & Figure Design), Dance, Literature, & Education. They were shocked: All Liberal Arts degrees! This lead to a great discussion among themselves about what their liberal arts degree provided for them and the conclusion was that it gave them a multitude of different ways of approaching and looking at problems and asking questions. One talked about the patterns she loved in dance and how she was drawn to programming because she “saw” patterns in the code.

I was reminded of the above while reading Jeff Utecht’s ebook REACH: Building Communities and Networks for Professional Development, where he shares a story on page four, about meeting an American in Shanghai who coordinated programmers from China & India. Jeff writes:

When I asked him how a person with a BA in Art ends up with a job in the computer/communication business, he talked about his interview with IBM. What IBM was looking for was somebody who could learn, unlearn and relearn quickly. The degree was less important than the skills he had as a communicator and learner.

Technology is rapidly changing the world, cultures and what it means to be “employed”. In his Mobile Learning Conference Keynote address, Google’s Education Evangelist Jaime Casap shared how Google didn’t even exist when he was in high school.

The Microsoft folks seemed to believe the best preparation was learning how to solve problems and “learning how to learn”. Jeff Utecht implies learning how to “unlearn” as well as learning, and communication skills are important to prepare students for the future….What Do You Think? 

 

Tools for Preparing for the Future: Educational Technology

I’ve been very critical of the snail-like implementation of “technology-as-a-tool” in education. I continue to be impressed with  educators at all levels who embrace the ubiquity of the Internet, devices, and developments to enhance, enrich and strengthen student learning. I admire administrators that allow staff to experiment and safely risk making those changes.

The leaps in civilization during the The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, & The Iron Age were made possible with increased uses of technology. The rapid evolution of the Internet in modern technological history has rendered very little advances in the systematic institution of education.

So, in preparing a student for a world we can only imagine, let’s start with envisioning the future classroom with a great infographic by EnvisioningTech:

 

Envisioning The Future Of Education

Source: http://envisioningtech.com
This visualization is the result of a collaboration between the design for learning experts TFE Researchand emerging technology strategist Michell Zappa.