Coach Carole Ramblings

Celtic, Mythical and More …

being there – at the Alan Levine workshop 161007

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CogDogBlog – its only fitting that I blog whilst listening to Alan and enjoying the access to ‘toys’ and the ‘www’. Alan is the VP of NMC Community and has spent years promoting creative uses of technology in learning.

Title: Being There – in the unevently distributed future (a story of chance)

aha we began with a video clip from Peter Sellers film, “Being There” – where I got a clear message about the accidental innovator in this fast moving world of the future. I really don’t know anything. Alan really likes the serendipity of online information blending with real life – especially the quirky and left field stuff. Expertise lies within the networks we belong to. The network is more powerful than the node.

(Note: Alan noted that his images for presentation all come from Flickr through the Creative Commons.)

A nice quote from George Siemens reminded me of the notion of connectivism and how everything we learn is a network formation process.

Now for something different: Skyworlds – experience virtual worlds … wherever you are! Well that was a scam from Alan – there is no such thing – but he certainly had me interested. However some truths:

  • 120k blogs are being created every day
  • over 20 million blogs are tracked
  • 90% of US college students use Facebook
  • Facebook’s Aust. population grew by 80% in June 2007  is worth a look as an example of how quickly your uploaded anything can travel. Strong message from Alan, is for you to choose the social networking space that resonates for you. We listened to Gardner Campbell – about the power of computer use – kind of like a romance. You’ll find him at

Note: check Alan’s CogDogBlog for links to all of these websites.

Alan shared with us his Twitter Life Cycle – I still find it an amazingly ‘dumb’ thing to do. To me twittering is just like the word – it is like a whole lot of birds twittering in the trees, talking to one another, at certain times of the day, about nothing in particular. Now as much as I like conversations I still don’t quite get the ‘why’ of twittering in the online world. (I just heard a new term – the twitterverse!) Hmm, now I’m interested in the notion that twittering may be yet another effective collaboration tool. Because it can be done from  a mobile device – it is indeed a popular activity for those on mobile phones. (an idea sprang from Alan’s presentation that maybe twittering can save lives in natural disaster situations) and another way to write a collaborative story online. ( ) check this one out for TwitterLit.

Spontaneous collaboration in realtime – how twitter creates a social sixth sense – but what do you see? Is it just inane babbling? Is it done just because we can? Is it done because we like to make global comments for all to read? e.g. see slides from lynetter in flickr.

Now can you imagine just how quickly you can become a member of a community simply by uploading an unusual image. e.g. the vegie graffiti – a community who like to add graffiti to vegetables and plants . Alan did this after he published a picture of a cactus with graffiti.

USTREAM.TV – this is worth a look for those ‘who like to watch’.

Alan told us about many incidences of serendipity that really inspire him – and many of these happen when he has been delivering his workshops and using links to URLs and the person who posted a comment is actually in the room. (I need to let Alan know that this is all part of the building of critical mass – which is spoken of in the Celestine Prophecies. The universe is guiding and moulding us technologically so that we may approach critical mass under glass (on a screen) immediately.

Now Alan is talking about using digital storytelling in Second Life – my interest is sparked again and I need to go out at lunch time today and buy a new video graphic card for my laptop so I can happily fly around in SL. Just imagining how we can use a SL environment for the building of a digital story is blowing my mind. It is important part of critical mass to ‘leave tracks’ to document the minuteae of life inworld.

Okay time for a break! Back soon with episode 2 of being there….

After the break we had a brief look at the mobile phones we used only a few years ago – the big clunky ones – remember?

Then some treatise of Engelbart’s Organisational Layers – concepts of improvement capabilities. Bryan Alexander podcast explains this in detail. 3 levels in org; level a – the workers ; level b people who support level a; level c – improve improvements. This is like portions of the RIPPLES model of innovation where it is essential to have support from people to be innovative. These people who help the improvement of capabilities are the ‘champions’ whom we refer to in our educational organisations as the innovative leaders.

Alan now emphasises the need for R&D in educational technology. Take a leaf from the industry books where this is the norm – to enable a percentage of worker time for R&D. e.g. 3M and Google. Alan referred then to Mosaic that he explored in 1993 whilst at Maricopa – he was encouraged to be an explorer! Remembering now that this type of innovator is an important member of an organisation and enables leaps forward in innovative ideas. Note : 100,000 edubloggers – thanks to an idea from James Farmer

and now for a brief history of walls – Alan noted that we seem to have many, many walls to scale in technology – and showed how we have always built walls – and so we always have many people who seek ways ‘through, around or over these walls’. (Wall strategies = Wall repair) we run the risk of losing track of what is beyond the walls. Listen to Scott Lesie on “permeable organisations”. You can find him here:

“the wealth of networks’ – check out this book.

How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

by Yochai Benkler – Computers – 2006 – 528 pages

What would you list among the established technologies that learning-focus institutions should be using now?  soon and in 3-5 years?

This is now moving into the realm of ‘appreciative inquiry’ – the use of critical questioning to envision (dream), design and destiny. It is necessary to look now at the Horizon Report to see a graphical image of how technology trends are being manifested. 

Alan invites us to add to this wiki at: 

This site will enable collaborative input into what we see as answers to the questions posed about what technologies we should we focussed on exploring in education.

Some of Alan’s observations – Arizona State University – all students have GMail. – all support for them now done by Google not the insitution.

Learning from YouTube – Berkely publishing course materials freely on YouTube.

use of iPhone for viewing the web – a much more sexy activity.

virtual worlds safely housed within a network environment

facebook platform – becoming an application of many e.g. virtual learning commons at uni of manitoba – George Siemens.

Q. what would you list among the established technologies that learning focussed Australian institutions should be using broadly today?

Now Alan is presenting a possibility for Australians to collaborate in an Australian Horizon Report.

Fantastic, fast paced and future gazing workshop. Good on yer Alan.


Author: coachcarole

Coach Carole is the name by which many of you will know me - in my role as coach and mentor for teachers, project teams and networks facilitators. I work independently as an elearning consultant for my business Macro Dimensions.

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