Thursday, 19 July 2018

Hustle While you Wait

"Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits" Thomas Edison

Is the quote I think of as I write this follow up to my Attitude of Gratitude post.

By no means did I want have a presence on social media... if there was a visual representation of my resistance to getting connected, it would be that of a toddler tantrum.

One of the things that saw me hit "Publish" on my first blog post was because I felt that my experiences meant I had some insights of value and a story worth telling... I've been working on the same story ever since I hit "Publish" on that first post... and feel progress is being made.

Through reading "New Power" I am in a far better position to both articulate what I was trying to achieve, and see that the ideas were not wrong... Just a case of "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," as one critical friend put it.

As I've highlighted in an early version of a Tech Story 2: The Wild West of the Internet, article which I hope raises awareness of New Power to educators... we're still getting to grips with social media, the impact of tech in the workplace, the gig economy etc.But

  • What happens when you want to bring your whole self to work (or in my case 'work')? 
  • What happens when things are not going to sell IRL? 
  • Do you just put a brave face on with your online persona?
  • Or do we take the lead from political leaders like Trump and shoot from the hip and don't mince our words?

Anyway, I'm getting praise for my ability to either connect people and/or get stuff done in a short period of time, here's an idea of the amount of effort that's gone into making some of the projects that have been successful "Just work" in the way that they have:

EdTech Report - Developing Relationships & Delivering Value                     9 Months
(Research & "Mind dump" only took 3 months but two complete rewrites took a little longer)

SaveEdShelf                                                                                                $30,000 (in 6 Weeks)

Edchat Resource Plan (And adding chats to Chat Salad)                              3 months

Get2ISTE                                                                                        5 people to ISTE

DigCitSummit                                                                                              2 months

Declara (Volunteer for 12 months)                                                               6 months

(3 additional months supposed to be paid but - despite being told 5 times by 3 CEOs that it would be = $0)

Curating ISTE resources                                                                               2 months (Over 3 years)

Pokemon Go in Edu Report                                                                           2 months

Scottish Schools on Twitter (2015 & 2017)                                                   4 months

Skypeathon & MIE Experts maps                                                                  4 months

Edcamp Maps                                                                                               2 months

Bloodhound Maps                                                                                          2 months

That's over 3 years of work - work that regardless of what others think about it - I've felt is important enough to do (And IS getting results) to forego the stability and security of a wage and, as Biz Stone might have put it I was

"Betting on my future self being able to pay for it all"

But it hasn't worked out quite as planned

I thought that the short term pain for getting out of sales and reskilling to community management would pay off, and it may still yet... I can certainly put a compelling argument (And references) forward for being able to demonstrate that I can get the same done in 3 months as it would for a full time sales person.

But it's all a little new ...and/or 
My ideas are a little ahead of their time... and/or
No one in EdTech has any money... and/or 
I live to far outside of the EdTech hubs... and Scotland/Glasgow isn't the best place for people to live 

But the new reality is difficult to accept/adjust too, not least because that:

1) The level of non-payment that I've encountered would be enough to resolve a rather pressing issue
2) The cause of this issue is one of the banks that got bailed out by politicians
3) At a modest rate the value for my time on these projects would be £90,000
4) I KNOW that what I am doing has value! I KNOW how incompetent government backed projects are

5) The system has made me and my efforts feel pretty worthless.

I wonder how much hustle I have left in me... Can't imagine there will be all that much when the only home our kids have known gets repossessed on the 2nd Aug. 

I wonder if it's too late to give a crowdfunder a try... if some guy can get $55,000 for potato salad?!

In the mean time, here's to the 'Leaders' in politics and the banking industry... Two professions that I hope my kids never get involved with, opting instead to take Chris Sacca's advice from his 2011 commencement speech and that they: "Be Helpful" 

An Attitude of Gratitude

This post to thank some of the people, organisations and projects that I've met on my travels over the last few years.

It is a post that's been drafted for over a month, but various stresses and strains - and a dash of procrastination - mean I'm only just getting around to it now.

I'm publishing it today due, in part to the #KilledByMyDebt program, that aired last night.

My World of Work has been an interesting journey and can best be summed up with the following questions I posed to all three of my kids recently:
  • A job with lots of money but a mean boss and nothing much to show for your work after 10 years?
  • Doing what you love, love what you are doing and being proud of the 'work' even if it doesn't make much money?
I'm delighted to say that all 3 of my kids opted for the latter... and not only that I've tried to give them permission to live a life of purpose and to find projects where you can bring your whole self to 'work,' I've done my best to model this for them.

One way or another things are going to change, in the less mindful/more angry moments the thoughts are along the lines of "I don't know why I bothered," ...that Malcolm Gladwell was right, family background is the only thing that determines life chances. But even in those moments, while I may be skint... I've never been bored, so it definitely beats this kind of scenario:

The diagnosis is boredom, a much underestimated factor in the explanation of undesirable human conduct. As soon as the word is mentioned, they pounce upon it, almost with relief: recognition of the problem is instant, though they had not thought of it before. Yes, they are bored—bored to the very depths of their being.

Why are they bored, they ask me? The answer, of course, is that they have never applied their intelligence either to their work, their personal lives, or their leisure, and intelligence is a distinct disadvantage when it is not used: it bites back. Reviewing their life stories, they see for the first time that at every point they have chosen the line of least resistance, the least strenuous path. They never received any guidance, because all agreed that one path was as good as another. They never awoke to the fact that a life is a biography, not a series of disconnected moments, more or less pleasurable but increasingly tedious and unsatisfying unless one imposes a purposive pattern upon them" Lost in the Ghetto

In the more positive moments it's more a case that I very much hope the change (Even at this late stage) will be the kind I've been waiting for, but even if it is not and it is more short term pain - I hope that we will either recover or, at the very least, my kids will benefit from the example I've tried to set.

"We don't often look back at what we've accomplished, but now seems like a good time to do so. Not only is nostalgia fun, but it's important to be reminded that anything is possible" Bill Gates via Inside Out - Microsoft in Our Own Words

I thought I would take a moment to thank a few people I have met along the way. I sincerely hope that I have not missed anyone out, my abject apologies if I have.

Education (By Education I Mean School)
I did not do so well at school, but I agree with Thomas Friedman in that you should take subjects of the teachers you like.

I did not excel at Biology, Craft and Design, English or Geography, but I did enjoy the lessons.

I have not used biology or craft and design much in my career, and doubt that I'd get an A for Ikea flat packs... But I have used English and Geography on a regular basis.

I don't think it's any accident that I use the subjects that included my favorite teachers

Thank you to all the educators - formal and informal - that taught me so much

Athletics & Leisure Industry
At 16 I took up athletics and gave this everything I had... with little or no thought of a back up plan, I was going to be a full time athlete.

I recall thinking when I got invited to an invite only international event

"This is either the first of many (And I hope I'm always this excited about each race)... or this is as far as I get and should celebrate the fact"

I worked at minimum wage jobs in the Leisure industry as I got time off to train and compete.

At 26 it was time to call it time. The real success of this period was

1) The people I was in contact with who had successful careers, and
2) Learning how to keep my mind occupied during long runs and spending 8 hours on pool side.
3) The discipline, will power, grit and determination that competing and running 120 miles a week provided

Thank you to all the coaches and athletes that provided so much sound advice.

Open University
When I finished School and was working as a Lifeguard I had the view that education was a snobby and abstract pursuit... not one for people like me. I was later to have the following belief:

"There are two extremes to be avoided: one is the attitude of contempt toward education, the others is the tragic snobbery of assuming that marching through an educational system is a sure cure for ignorance and mediocrity."

In 1999 my Wife got a prospectus for the Open University and, when I saw the Degree on Human Geography, it looked really interesting! When I looked at the individual courses I signed up.

I was not a great student in school, enjoyed the classes and was well behaved enough, but not the best results... nor did I read much for pleasure.

I got a Karl Marx biography, read William Cronon's "Natures Metropolis" and Jane Jacob's "Life and Death of Great American Cities" for prep before starting the course.

It was not until I was 29 years of age that I picked up a book and read for leisure... And that has made ALL the difference.

Today when packing up and moving out of our Vince-Cable-Government-Bailed-Out-NRAM-mortgage-withi-24-hours... packing the bookshelf up was really tough and one of the worst things about living in temporary accommodation is having so few books around.

Cold Calling
I worked in customer service for a while which was pretty much a dead end job and, with few options, felt that sales might be a good route to progression and took a job at £100 per week (Before minimum wage) and went up once you hit the set targets.

I went on to become the top sales person, but grew more and more concerned that clients were not getting value for money and were being misled... and as a mere sales person, had limited input regarding the practices employed.

I spent a year looking for the right job. I had 7 interviews and got offered every position I applied for... but felt that it would be more of the same.

Field Sales
I applied for a job in field sales and after 5 minutes of the first interview was told,

"I'm going to want to see you again... I've never seen anyone as organised as you" (The information I take to interviews includes lots of detail and evidence of projects I've worked on)

In the second interview I was told
"I could not have someone like you come through the door and see them go by... I don't have a role for your skill set, so I've made one!"

My skills were not where they needed to be and I lasted 3 months... but returned 12 months later in an operations role and excelled in every post that I held at an organisation with 5 members of staff but grew to over 30.

I spent 10 years with this organisation, worked in a number of different projects/roles and developed a number of skills and insights.

Culture & The 5 Stages of Decline
Education is a tricky business... not least because of the variances of politicians Every Child Matters (ECM) and National Indicators under Blair, Department for Education and Skills get replaced with BIS when Blair and Brown fall out, David Cameron scraps ECM for epic fail The Big Society.

In their infinite wisdom they bail the Too-Big-To-Fail-But-Not-Made-a-Profit-When-Money-is-Their-Job-in-Ten-Years-and-Just-Been-Fined-£3.6billion-and-Closing-Lots-of-Branches-#GoDo-RBS

These "Austerity" conditions made working in the education sector and decision making problematic and I was fortunate enough to see what it was like to experience conditions that I felt were consistent with Jim Collins' "5 Stages of Decline"

Painful to live and work through... but one of the best things ever to happen in a professional capacity.

For evidence of this just look at my insights re: The SNP being in decline two days after their record result in 2015... and being accurate about every election since 2014 too.

Social Nation 
Up until 2010 everything achieved was done using phone and email, I had no digital footprint. When setting new long term goals I included: Work at Major Tech org

A quick call round some education leads at Microsoft, Google and Apple the advice is:

Social Media comes with the job if you want to be in EdTech today

Social Nation - Barry Liebert
At the next AoC Marketing Conference I go to the complaint is

"We're being asked to do more with less, but are not able to use Social Media" 

Thanks to the advice from some Microsoft Execs I've been reading Social Nation and my first ever tweet leads to collaborating with the author on my Twitter in FE Report, which remains relevant (And the situation largely unchanged 5 years on: Because Edu & EdTech is tough).

Barry reviewed countless drafts over a 6 month period until the report was good enough to publish.

THANK YOU! Barry! I'm sure that other reports would not have followed if it wasn't for this support!!

Fake FriendsTwo former colleagues at the company above started their own company and asked me to join them on three separate occasions... on the third (And due to the company above down sizing), I agreed to join them.

I set out my career goals before joining them (Uncannily like Community Management) and when I left asked

"What is there here in my career goals doc that I have not delivered on?"
"Nothing!" came the reply... "We just didn't know what was involved"

The founders wanted me to bring money in from the Education sector but refused to provide the resources required as they were spending it all on other sectors

Not the best fit and I'll think twice before working with 'friends' (The more recent #DigCitSummit experience where I was a volunteer has added to this with: Today I look at the actions of friends and collaborators more than any flowery words they come out with!)

But the troubles from this 18 month period were worth it for the Informatics Ventures/MIT workshop
"Entreprenurial Product Marketing: Listening to the Voice of the Customer"

I got 8 out of the 10 recommended reading books on Bill Aulet's website after this event... And WOW!

A Lesson in Product Market Fit
I wrote my Business Development Ideas for FE in collaboration with Hubspot with 11 ideas that innovative companies were using that I felt could apply to education.

I had over 300 colleges come back to me after sending a single email about the "College Commercial Services" idea within two weeks.

At the same time I worked on a year long Social Norms pilot project with 3 colleges and, when the indicative results came out... had 5 local authorities committing £15,000 within 2 weeks (£75,000 in total).

Collaborating and co-creating with users + not scaling until "product market fit" had been achieved = the way forward.

These two project was the reason I felt at home when I found the #Cmgr community (And why The Community Manager Round Table State of Community Management 2018 is such a big deal!)

Market Research - EdTech Report
I took the experience of these books and tried to apply them to my EdTech Report - Developing Relations and Delivering Value.

I'm extremely grateful to the awesome authors for sharing their experiences in their books AND for kindly giving me permission for using the extracts from these invaluable books.

Every project that I have worked on since has it's basis in this report.

From exploring the companies who were part of the Imagine K12 EdTech incubators in 2011 I was aware of EdShelf and, because I was planning on doing something similar in UK Further Education, I wondered if we'd meet and collaborate somewhere over the Atlantic.

In July 2014 I saw a heartfelt post that EdShelf CEO had written to say that he was closing shop. I wrote a post in support of EdShelf and EdTech review sites... and pre-service teacher (And Twitter newbie) Alicia Leanard successfully secured $30,000 from a SaveEdShelf Kickstarter campaign.

I am grateful to EdShelf and for helping me see that the idea I had spent 2+ years on in FE were sound... the sector was not.

Despite having worked with over 50% of FE colleges in the past, the decisions of the banks and politicians that led to "Austerity" meant that the public sector budgets and mindsets were frozen.

Nurph & Chat Salad
I found out about Nurph and Chat Salad via a Community Manager Google Hangout #Cmgrhangout, had a few conversations with Neil Cauldwell about Twitter EdChats and pulled a few resources together.

It's sad that I've nothing to show for all the time and work put into curating all this information as the Nurph and Chat Salad apps are down... But I'm grateful that this work allowed me to establish a relationship with EdChat moderators.

Some of these connections and conversations - even if just a brief side convo consisting of 2-3 Tweets - REALLY helped. For example 40 companies being mentioned 400 times in the first few weeks followed by a convo with Susan Bearden during EdTechChat helped me to see that Educators would soon be taking roles that would traditionally have gone to EdTech sales people.

It was fantastic to be able to help get a few educators to ISTE through Pledgecents and #Get2ISTE.

I maintain that this idea could go mainstream and help with other education crowdfunding projects, but requires a little hustle.

At the end of 2010 I made some new career goals one of which was "Work at a hot shot Silicon Valley startup," through being an active member of the Declara community, I achieved this goal.

As someone who tells their kids that they can do anything they set their mind to (IF they prepare and do their best), I am extremely grateful to Ramona Pierson and James Stanbridge for helping me achieve this.

While the core values, motivation and friendship of the "Safe. Savvy. Ethical" #DigCitSummit Founders may have been questionable, I am extremely grateful to everyone who took time out of their busy schedule and got involved with this event through my recommendation.

It was also through this movement that helped me to write one of the best posts I've ever written:

Using Core Values to Find a Brands Voice

Through the Infomatic Ventures/Bill Aulet workshop I saw how and why my sales calls and emails were becoming less and less welcome.

Through reading books like Inbound Marketing, Social Nation, Crossing the Chasm, Why Startups Fail etc I discovered what to do about the fact that cold calling was dead.

The impact that #CmgrHangout and CMAD has had on reskilling from sales to community management cannot be underestimated.

Pokemon Go
Remember Pokemon Go? Remember the 6 weeks in which every man and his dog in education had an opinion about the role that this AR game was going to have in Education?

I sure do! Because I read hundreds of articles about it during that period and tried to make sense of what everyone was saying. They were not terms at the time, but I tried to make sense of all the 'Fake News' from the facts and to save educators time by organising and summarising what was being said.

This was a great opportunity to demonstrate how ideas get traction, and how companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple etc work 'Under the radar' and make the early version invite only - usually with techies before rolling the product or service out.

Pokemon Go became an overnight success after 2-3 years of serious hustle.

This also highlighted ideas from Crossing the Chasm regarding how and where the tech enthusiast educators can actually hamper the adoption of technology as well as progressing the use of tech in their schools and districts.

When you look at the data from events like the 2015 Skypeathon, where hundreds of educators across the world are connecting and collaborating... but only 2 in Scotland (Or 40 or so across the UK).

A little bit of work is required... and whose doing any work with this? The people who stand up at conferences and say "Educators need to collaborate more?" the "We want to empower educators" Education Secretary a role where it's a different person every 4 years who's record with the Attainment Gap, inspiring educators, literacy and many other areas = "Could do better" (That's an understatement!)

In 2010 I set out to work with Google, Apple or Microsoft and, as far as me telling my kids "they can do anything they set their mind to" is concerned, I'm calling this activity a win... I collaborated with, and got the attention of, Microsoft.

When Carrie Melissa Jones' CMX article came out about Edcamps and the fact that there was no central mailing list... I put my skills for sourcing sales leads to good use to go looking for as many Edcamps as I could.

The Edcamp Foundation estimated that there were 1,500 Edcamps. I found 2,100 but some of them may not have taken place... I plotted 1,900 on one of my Zeemaps

Through exploring Edcamps I got a sense of how much Flipgrid (Who I first heard about in 2014/5) had grown. As of 2017 they had not appeared in any ISTE or BETT exhibitor list, but they did appear frequently in Edcamp sponsors and supporters.

I suggested a pre-ISTE #FlipGridFever event in 2017 and met Ambassador Andrea Tolley and her Son Jayden and we've connected, collaborated and chatted with one another since then.

Andrea is the reason that I want to see more educators in Scotland connect via tools like Twitter and Skype... More to follow on this topic in a forthcoming "Skype Master Student" post.

@TolleyA has helped us out at such a horrible time... in more ways than I think even she knows, I'm extremely grateful to know people like her!

Oracle & Spy Quest
Tech and EdTech companies have no problem in expressing their exasperation with how behind the times educators are and frustration about the lack of uptake for their exciting, shiny new gadget/gizmo.

But how many of them need to take their own advice when it comes to cold calling and sending spammy emails? How many employ sales and marketing people Vs community managers?

I had the privilege of collaborating with both James Stanbridge and Spy Quest author David Goutcher to demonstrate the value of pulling the relevant data together and present it in a way that educators can find and assess quickly and easily.

I knew James through working with him at Declara and found out about Spy Quest through East Kilbride MSP, Linda Fabiani.

One of the highlights of my career in education is the day that my son joined me in my work - and turned Pirate Spy Guy: Spy Quest Mission.

We tell our kids that their words are the most powerful things in the world, so it's fitting that one of my most prized possessions from my time in education is the comment at the end of the blog post above:

Hey William - you have a different eye; I constantly feel for you, the visionaries dillema is that just because you can see it so clearly, it doesn't mean translating for the blind is any easier... but still you plug away and I admire your rectitude. Wozniak is an interesting role model for you, but like Woz, you know that your mission is diminished if no-one knows what you are doing. Woz, despite everything, he has become a cultural icon, and many many people would identify as being 'on his team'; those he has and never will meet or be in the same room with share a set of values and aspirations and he becomes an accidental leader.

I think there is a simpler way to think about this; you can never lead by following. That defines a tough, sometimes impossibly lonely path.

These too are tough lessons for our Children, our instincts are often to guide them on the path of least resistance. But resilience is what got us here, so why wouldn't we pass that along too? Staying true to our core, standing up for what believe, being creative in the face of sameness. Why I mention these things is that Skype and Twitter and their ilk are the most dangerous or most powerful tools the difference being the user and their choice to be resilient or compliant to the crowd.

Thank you again for being the agent of debate, the facilitator or data and the connector of invisible dots - but most for role modeling resilience. James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge)

I'm doing what I can to help one more project on it's way... one that I hope will finally see my kids be able to make a Skype call with other educators, classes and industry experts in the hope that some of the people will help to inspire them in the way that many of the people I've met on my travels have inspired me.

The irony of it all is that I've longed to find a group where the sense of belonging that Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant achieved through the early online community The Well and just when it feels like I've found it, it's time to move on.

I knew the risks, knew the chances of success... The "Wild West of the Internet" is no different to the fact that for every one of the 49ers who struck it lucky there were as many who went home broke (And no doubt broken) - I tried to reskill to areas that I thought would be in demand when cold calling and bots replaced me in my old job, I don't think I was wrong... just a little too early, or perhaps it's because Bill Aulet was right when I met him in 2010: EdTech is tough.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

EdCamp UK - #NewPower Storm

This post details why I'm going to continue to do what I can to play a role with a UK Edcamp and, hopefully, establish a "Connected Educator Appreciation Day" (with the same format as CMAD)as and when I'm able to over the course of the next couple of weeks.

This is quite an important post, and for reasons that will be detailed in the next few posts, may be one of my last in education. While I might hope that this post could be done and dusted in a single statement:

"I want to organise and Edcamp in the UK - along with some pre and post event ideas - to replicate the Invisible Children's "Rescue" events... to create the same kind of #NewPower storm that will put the network effects and feedback loops in place to facilitate ideas that would not be possible without an event like this. 

This proposed event could provide the right kind of momentum, collaboration and cultural conditions... where other ideas could be built upon quickly and easily. There's potential for it to have a lasting impact"

This might only make sense to a few people who I hope will read and act on the idea. So... what to do to find the right words to be able to translate the "New Power" language of the statement above? But if I was to highlight:
  • The SNP and Prime Minister Question Time earlier in the week? and/or
  • Iceland and The World Cup?
A lot more people might have a better idea of what I am talking about.

The network effects have been in place for the SNP since 2014... but the feedback loops wane as and when the angry boycotters and politicos throw barbs at the other side, it's neither fun nor productive!

But people return on social media when there are stunts* like Ian Blackford's

"Scotland will not be ignored or silenced" 

Even more so when there is 'optimal distinctiveness,' 'othering,' and a bit of controversy as the party paints Westminster as the evil oppressors and the Tories as the big bad baddies (Pretty much exactly like Trump does with anyone who does not agree with his world view), and you get support and 5,000 new members and the kind of Braveheart 'Freedom' that creates a similar 'Intensity Gap' that the NRA does when gun regulation is proposed but the lobbying defeats the legislation, in spite of the fact that over 90% of Americans support the reforms.

But, I hasten to add, this does nothing to clean up the foul language or tone down the polarised views on Twitter.

These "Right Honourable," "Leaders" view when it comes to Digital Citizenship is put the blame and responsibility onto others. FELTAG 'genius' Matt Hancock argues that it's all down to the tech companies to do more to do what, exactly? To stop the very behaviour that MPs do little to quell when their own supporters are the culprits?!

Or they blame the other parties abusive behaviour... easier to lay the blame by "looking out the window" than try to fix the issue by "looking in the mirror" at your own support base, right?

Go find an offensive Tweet that's clearly in support of one colour of shiny badge or other... and see if anyone at the party they support reply to the tweet with comments like:

"Great you're supporting the party... But that's not how we encourage our supporters to express their support or discuss the issues online"

Ain't-gonna-happen-it-doesn't-exist, it's only the blame game that exists with those guys!!

(*The walk out was a very smart move. The reason I call it a 'stunt' is because I have been studiously ignored and cannot say that, although I live in Scotland, I've felt all that "heard" by the SNP on a local/personal or national/education or professional level)

Iceland and their World Cup Tweets and match reports will be all over the news and the number of people buying the "#SmiteTheWorld" T-Shirts and booking holidays to Iceland in the next few days. If I were in charge of the campaign, I'd make sure that Greig Kaj Robertson (@greig_kaj) and his colleagues at @rvkgrapevine got a monster wage rise before the next game!

How much value will this tech and social media savvy group of people have delivered for numerous groups before the end of the initial stages of the World Cup?

The Pre and Post UK Edcamp ideas that we are exploring would be used to try to encourage, teach and empower educators to consider these soon to be in demand skills for their school (With things like PTA, school fund raising etc) and for their students so they are #FutureReady for when the gig economy arrives in earnest.

Light a Spark... For the Sake of the Kids!!
If there is one phrase that unites the people that I've come to know and respect on the various projects that I've worked on it's this:

For the Sake of the Kids. 

I would love it if I were to say

"Get connected and become a 'Connected Educator' ...for the sake of the kids" 

Or to offer the advice I was given, "It comes with the job today" ...and it miraculously just happened overnight. But that's not how it works.

If, on the other hand, I was to say that not only have I had some amazing collaborations and established friendships as a result of being on Twitter, and secured some consultancy work with a hot shot Silicon Valley start up where the main communication channel was Skype... But also that

1) My 17 year old son was so animated and inspired after the Director for Skype for Good, Ross Smith, took a moment out of his busy schedule to provide him with some career advice and words of encouragement.

2) My 7 year old son turned Pirate for a Spy Quest mission that saw him model what David Ryan Polgar told me was the aims of the Digital Citizenship Summit that students "Act Locally, Connect Globally" by travelling 25 miles to Skype a further 2,500 miles and, in the process (with A LOT of help from his Dad), wrote his first blog post.

3) Over 50% of Scottish Schools are now on Twitter... or that in 2016 fifteen Scottish educators travelled over 150,000 virtual miles.

I would hope that other educators might be a step closer to getting connected.

Then perhaps, slowly but surely, others will get connected and share their stories like the ones I have above with their colleagues to encourage them to get connected too.

Patience for the Unconnected... But Urgency for the Economy
I love hanging out with the innovators and early adopters but, as a user, am a laggard so understand the arguments and concerns those less familiar/confident with technology have, something that I hope putting 'Social Proof' to work via the proposed schedule could help address.

While patience is needed for the unconnected, there is also urgency because of the horrible economy and the clear lack of leadership.

Our leaders are clearly at a loss for answers... evidence here can be found in the fact that in 2008 the banks were bailed out because they were "Too big to fail," only for the toxic culture to continue and for the very same politicians to say "We should have let them fail" in 2017?! Need more evidence? One word: Brexit!!

Every single week, if not every day, bad news about the economy... just this week

House of Fraser, Pound World, New Look, Rolls Royce. 28,000 jobs in retail have been lost so far this year. 4% of the Scottish and UK workforce are in call centers... these jobs will all but disappear in the next few years (And quite possibly all at the same time)

It's an early draft which I am waiting for feedback on from some critical friends but hope this:

Will help educators to see that there is potential, as well as reasons to be concerned about the wilder aspects of the internet.

Reddit Place is worth a look both from the perspective of how the "Wild West" will evolve and get 'settled,' as well as how messy elements of #NewPower can be too.

The Future of Work
Thought leaders like Sam ConniffMichael Wu, Henry Timms, Jeremy Heimans and John Abel highlight how the life of a company has shrunk from 60 years to 15 years and, on the current trajectory, this will be down to 5 years soon.

Jobs for life will soon be a thing of the past, and the far less certain 'gig economy' will be a reality for many in the workforce in the next few years.

Iceland World Cup Football contributor Greig Kaj Robertson is a freelance writer, something tells me he'll be doing all right in the "gig economy"
  • How will your students get on? 
  • Will they have the skills to create a Twitter #NewPower storm?
  • Would any of your students have been able to do the same for the Scotland team and tourism as Greig did for Iceland yesterday?
For a very long time the following two articles have been the reason for most of the projects I've been involved with Lost in the Ghetto and Collaborate Vs Collaborate...and I have untilised the principles outlined in my EdTech Report Developing Relationships & Delivering Value.

I loved hearing about what Buurtzorg has done in health care and see no reason why this couldn't work in education... If Mr Swinney is serious about 'empowering educators,' then I have some ideas and know a few people who might be ready, willing and able to provide some assistance.

If implemented well the schedule that we are exploring for the Edcamp could be a step in the right direction to encourage more educators to get connected and to help students develop the kind of skills that will see Iceland hit the headlines over the next few weeks.

Interested in getting involved?
Those who have already expressed an interest in getting involved, more information will be in an inbox and/or DM convo near you soon ;)

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A day in the life of the internet? …Or the plot to a Toy Story movie?

Image result for you are a toy

The scenarios below sound like a typical day in the internet on a local and global level - whether the kind of things that educators and workplaces need to deal with, or the latest Twitter spat between world leaders and politicians with opposing views to one another.

In case some of the insults sound a little random, I'll remind you that "gammon," "salt," and slug have somehow all entered into the grown up political discourse somehow.
  • Friends falling out due to jealousy because a new member has joined the group 
  • A disagreement and misunderstandings between two strangers thrown together in the same space
  • A bully making life difficult for those who just want to play well (Which in Danish is: Legodt)
  • The need to break a few rules to deal with kids who are playing with matches and fireworks 
  • Leaving the play room that your comfortable with to go on an adventure… otherwise you’ll get left behind.

  • A grown up stealing kids toys and trying to sell them for a fortune
  • Being like a kid in a toy shop
  • Mortal enimies not only making up… but finding they’re related
  • Someone pretending to be a friend but only interested in themselves
  • Meeting friends that you didn’t know you had...some as loyal as a dog
  • Saving an old loyal friend from being stuck in a box.

  • Some dumb potato trying to pull off a great train robbery 
  • Trolls on a train
  • An evil tech savvy leader threatening to push a big red button that promises “Death by monkey” 
  • Some stupid pig using technology to terrorise law enforcement officers
  • Being labeled in the wrong box
  • Panic about change 
  • The promise of the sunnyside of a new place… only to find lotso trouble
  • ...But finding a new home and stronger bonds in the long run

Many of the areas above are things that either happen in schools all the time, people have differences of opinion in the workplace and/or are stories we read about in the offline world. 

But if it happens in the online world? It's all panic stations, and someone has to do something! 

Tech companies, politicians, educators, parents all need to be doing more...

  • Apart from blaming other people and groups... who is actually doing anything of significance? 
  • And however valiant these efforts are...will they be enough on their own? 
  • Or will it need a little more coordination and collaboration?

...And what happens if we change all the drama above and apply it to some fun characters and see how it all these arguments all panned out in the long run. 

When reading New Power there was the example of two people who discovered their shared interest in Star Citizen on Reddit, they decided to start a company together. 

When looking to reference some Tweets about this partnership it became apparent that was a disagreement with the young founders.

Do I say "Shame. Shame. Shame" here on these guys? That they write about how excited they are about a game, collaborate and start something? NO WAY!

Instead I ask, just as I do about educators who explore social media, Skype and organise edcamps etc, who was it that showed these guys how to collaborate online, run a company and other leadership skills? Good on them for giving it a go! 

Andy's playroom had plenty of disagreements, I'd be surprised to find a school that didn't have at best disagreements in the classroom (And maybe even the staff room), at worst serious bullying issues.
Falls also out happen with grown up Founders all the time too.

As the article Why Good People Go Bad Online highlights, we're still figuring some of this stuff out. 
Whether things like 
  • The RedditRevolt 
  • Helping anti-terrorist organisations to create an alternative narrative, or 
  • Making sure that young gaming fans and aspiring startup Founders play nice online
We all need to be doing more (Perhaps starting with modeling good Citizenship offline and online).

Why Good People Go Bad Online 

"We’ve had thousands of years to hone our person-to-person interactions, but only 20 years of social media. “Offline, we have all these cues from facial expressions to body language to pitch… whereas online we discuss things only through text. I think we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re having so much difficulty in finding the right way to discuss and cooperate online.”

As our online behaviour develops, we may well introduce subtle signals, digital equivalents of facial cues, to help smooth online discussions. In the meantime, the advice for dealing with online abuse is to stay calm, it’s not your fault. Don’t retaliate but block and ignore bullies, or if you feel up to it, tell them to stop. Talk to family or friends about what’s happening and ask them to help you. Take screenshots and report online harassment to the social media service where it’s happening, and if it includes physical threats, report it to the police.

If social media as we know it is going to survive, the companies running these platforms are going to have to keep steering their algorithms, perhaps informed by behavioural science, to encourage cooperation rather than division, positive online experiences rather than abuse. As users, we too may well learn to adapt to this new communication environment so that civil and productive interaction remains the norm online as it is offline
. Why Good People Go Bad Online 

Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication
"After these false starts, the United States began to realise it needed to take a different approach. CSCC coordinator Alberto Fernandez laid out a new direction, speaking to Congress in 2015:

"You need to find a way to form loose, open source communities of interest or swarms that can swarm back and push back against the ISIS message. It's not an impossible thing to do. It can be done"

The new inter-agency Global Engagement Centre is trying to make this happen. Discarding the top down hectoring tone of the Think Again Turn Away campaign, the centre is trying to build a "Network of positive messengers" to share not just counter narratives, but alternative narratives drawing people away for more extreme positions, amplifying the messages of its partners, from religious leaders to schools.

One promising effort is the P2P (Peer-to-peer) Challenging Extremism competition, which partners with Facebook and hundreds of universities around the world. The brief here is loose: students come up with creative ways to 

"Push back on online hate, prejudice and extremism while empowering their peers"

A group of Finnish students launched a movement of pop-up restaurants where asylum seekers shared their native foods with locals. A US team created a Snap Chat campaign. A class from Azerbaijan created a tolerance toolkit for teachers to use in the classroom. New Power

If you check out my #DigCit Vs the Trolls Post you'll see that I've had the kind of ideas that "Why Good People Go Bad Online" and what the CSCC suggests too.

I have some ideas if anyone would like to explore further...

What has Nature’s Metropolis (And ISTE2018) Got to do with the Internet?

Chicago Was Raised Over Four Feet in the 19th Century to Build Its Sewer

I don't know who's idea it was to decide to hold the International Society of Technology in Education Conference in Chicago this year, but I don't think I'll sleep very well when it's on... not because I will be there networking etc, but because I will be worrying about the safety of the 15,000+ delegates based some of the extracts below about the Windy City.
Image result for iste 2018

These reports are from almost 150 years ago and the point of including them in this post is to highlight the striking similarities between what people made of the city in the 19th Century and what people are today calling "The Wild West"... I am speaking of course of the internet.

Our popular culture glorifies upheaval, the days of the Wild West, the brave cowboys and sheriffs who organised posses to thwart the baddies... or the Pirates who had more fun than the Navy, and other counter cultures.

However, it's not quite so exciting when today's Wild West Internet see people who work in retail or call centres and they find that their jobs are lost because of the new frontier that is the Wild West of all things online.

... Nor can it be all that exciting when you are the Founder and staff at Friends Reunited, Myspace, Digg or Reddit when their plans and hopes for an internet gold rush heads south.

But just like the Wild West was tamed, so I'm sure the internet will too... if ideas like the ones in books like #NewPower are adopted.

However, this will mean doing a little more than FELTAG's Matt Hancock (What an astounding success that turned out to be!) or Alex Chalk saying 

"Tech Companies need to do more" 

(When their organisation is responsible for education and the politicians example online is hardly what I'd term as "Leadership")

Check out these extracts and see if you can spot any similarities with 19th Century Chicago and what people say about the internet and social media today.

“I shall never forget” wrote the novelist Hamlin Garland of his youthful first visit to Chicago in the 1880’s, “the feeling of dismay with which…I perceived from the car window a huge smoke-cloud which embraced the whole eastern horizon, for this, I was told, was the soaring banner of the great and gloomy inlands metropolis… tangled, thickening webs of steel. As he stepped out into the train station, he was confronted with crowds that seemed as dark and foreboding as the city itself. Writing three decades later about his feelings of fear and alienation at that moment, he sketched a frightening portrait of the hackmen who tried to grab his baggage and drive him for some outrageous fare to his hotel. Their eyes were “cynical,” their hands “clutching, insolent, terrifying,” their faces “remorseless, inhuman and mocking,” their grins “Like those of wolves.” Such were the first people he met in Chicago   

Garland’s language is literary and exaggerated, but it outlines the symbolic conventions of the Dark City – in counterpoint to the Fair Country… Repulsed by the dirty atmosphere, stunned at the “the mere thought of a million people,” and fearful of the criminal “dragon’s brood with which the dreadful city was a swarm” in its “dens of vice and houses of greed,” he and his brother spent less than a day exploring Chicago before continuing their railroad journey to the east. And yet, not all was negative about their experience. The tall buildings and the downtown were like none they knew back home, and at every turn they found things they had never seen… Garland concluded, Chicago “was august as well as terrible”

“The manufactories,” wrote Charles Dudley Warner of his visit to Chicago in 1889, “vomit dense clouds of bituminous coal smoke, which settle in black mass… so that one can scarcely see across the streets on a damp day, and the huge buildings loom up in the black sky in ghostly dimness.” Things were no better thirty years later. “Here,” wrote Waldo Frank in 1919, “Is a sooty sky hanging forever lower.” For Frank, the Chicago atmosphere was a nightmare of Dantes Hell, in which the dismembered corpses of the stockyards’ slaughtered animals descended the earth in a perpetual rain of ash: “The sky is a stain: the air is streaked with runnings of grease and smoke. Blanketing the prairie, this fall of filth, like black snow – a storm that does not stop… chimneys stand over the world, and belch blackness upon it. There is no sky now.”

“Exploding in two or three decades from a prairie trading post to a great metropolis, Chicago was among the proudest proofs that the United States was indeed “natures nation.” …Especially in the years following the devastating fire of 1871, when it seemed that the city had miraculously resurrected itself from it’s own ashes, Chicago came to represent the triumph of human will over natural adversity. It was a reminder that America’s seemingly inexhaustible natural resources destined it for greatness, and that nothing could prevent the citizens of this favoured nation from remaking the land after their own image. 

Image result for chicago great fire

Seen in this light, the city became much more compelling. The Italian playwright Giuseppe Giacosa, who had initially called the place “abominable,” finally admitted that its energy and industry had led him to see in it, “a concept of actual life so clear, so open minded, so large and so powerful,” that it made him think better of his earlier disgust. Chicago was destiny, progress, all that was carrying the 19th century toward its appointed future. If the city was unfamiliar, immoral and terrifying, it was also a new life challenging its residents with dreams of worldly success, a landscape in which human triumph over nature had declared anything to be possible. By crossing the boundary from country to city, one could escape the constraints of family and rural life to discover one’s chosen adulthood for oneself. Young people and others came to it from farms and country towns for hundreds of miles around, all searching for the future they believed they would never find at home. In the words of novelist Theodore Dreiser, they were “life hungry” for the vast energy Chicago could offer to their appetites.
William Cronon, Natures Metropolis (P9-13)

“During the next 3 years, the village of a few hundred grew to nearly four thousand. At the same time, Chicago’s real estate became some of the most highly valued in the nation. The mid 1830s saw the most intense land speculation in American history, with Chicago at the centre of the vortex. Believing Chicago was about to become the terminus of a major canal, land agents and speculators flooded into town, buying and selling not only empty lots along it’s ill marked streets… stories abounded of men who bought land for more $1-200 in the morning and sold it for several thousand before the sun set. Lots that had sold for $33 in 1829 were going for $100,000 by 1836. Such prices bore no relation to the current economic reality. Only wild hopes for the future could lead people to pay so much for vacant lots in a town where the most promising economic activity consisted of nothing more substantial that buying and selling real estate. Speculators dreamed of what the land might someday be, and gambled immense sums on their faith in a rising market. As the British traveler Harriet Martineau remarked, it was as if “some prevalent mania infected the whole people.”

When the bubble burst in 1837 and the banks called in loans that had little more than hope as their collateral, people who had counted themselves millionaires teetered on the edge of bankruptcy. The real estate market collapsed, so it became impossible to sell land at any price…The great boom years had carried Chicago ever so speedily away from its Indian past and toward its urban future on which the speculators had based their investments; but the end of the boom left the town stranded with its promise largely unfulfilled… after such dramatic early signs of growth, Chicagoans found it all too frustrating to watch the boom grind to a halt. And yet those who had lost their money in the collapse had little choice but to keep their land, earn a living as best they could, and hope their luck would change. They waited a long time. Another decade passed before Chicago began to fulfill the destiny speculators had dreamed for it during the mad years of the land rush.

The speculators urban dream extended to many more places than just Chicago. The land craze of the 1830s was nationwide, part of an upward swing in the business cycle and a dramatic easing of admittedly shaky credit in the wake of Andrew Jackson’s victorious assault on the Second Bank of the United States. As real estate prices skyrocketed, they fueled a manic search for new places in which to invest. Joseph Balestier, a Chicago attorney who had done well for himself by processing land titles during the craze, recalled in 1840 how the speculators had remapped – and redreamed – the Old Northwest until they had covered it with “a chain of almost unbroken of suppositious villages and cities. The whole land seemed staked out and peopled on paper.” Speculators looking for big profits invested in townsites, which always sold at much higher prices than mere agricultural land. Fictive lots on fictive streets in fictive towns became the basis for thousands of transactions whose only justification was a dubious idea expressed on an overly optimistic map. With wonderful irony, Balestier described how speculators scoured the countryside for any site that might conceivably serve as the seed of a future city. If they could find a stream, no matter how muddy or shallow or small, flowing into Lake Michigan – here was a future harbor from which all else would grow… In 1848 a visitor said The Chicago River was “a sluggish, slimy, stream, too lazy to clean itself” It nonetheless had two great virtues. One was its harbor: Bad as it might be, it was still the best available on the southern shore of Lake Michigan…and proximity to the divide between the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds. If investors could arrange to dig a canal across the glacial moraine at this point, an inland passage between New York and New Orleans might at last be possible. As early as 1814, Niles Weekly Register in Baltimore predicted a canal at Chicago would make Illinois “The seat of an immense commerce; and a market for the commodities of all regions” …13 years later Congress granted land to the state of Illinois to build the canal…the first mapping of city lots in Chicago in 1930, was a direct consequence of the canal surveys. So was the speculative boom that followed.
 William Cronon, Natures Metropolis  (P30 & 32)

Compare 1830's Chicago with the 1990 DotCom Bubble

“One 40-something grad student that I knew was running 6 different companies in 1999 (usually, its considered weird to be a 40 year old graduate student. Usually its considered insane to start a half-dozen companies at once. But in the late 1990s people could believe that was a winning combination). Everybody should have known that the mania was unsustainable; the anti-business model where they lost money as they grew. But it’s hard to blame people for dancing when the music was playing; irrationality was rational given that appending “.com” to your name could double your value overnight” Peter Thiel, Zero to One

Burning City... Meets A Burning Desire
The morning after the great Chicago fire, a group of merchants stood on Store Street, looking at the smoking remains of what had been their stores. They went into a conference to decide if they would try ti rebuild, or leave Chicago and start over in a more promising part of the country. The reached a decision - all except one- to leave Chicago.

The merchant who decided to stay ad rebuild pointed a finger at the remains of his store, and said, 'Gentlemen, on that very spot I will build the world's greatest store, no matter how many times it may burn down.' The store was built. It stands there today, a towering monument to the power of that state of mind know as a burning desire. The easy thing for Marshal Field to have been exactly what his fellow merchants did. When the going was hard and the future looked dismal, they pulled up and went where the going seemed easier.Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

In my post about the EdTechBridge Twitter chat, The Greenwich Village of EdTech, I mention how Jane Jacobs details how Boston's North End and Chicago's Back of the Yards District were unslummed.

I'm currently exploring the same ideas in that post - encouraging collaboration and co-creation with all stakeholders - at the moment in a few different ways and using ideas from Sam Conniff Allende's (@SamConniff) "Be More Pirate (And his example with Livity!), as well as Henry Timms (@HenryTimms) & Jeremy Heimans (@Jeremyheimans) "New Power" (@ThisIsNewPower) book.

To be kept up to date with some of these ideas please feel free to complete the forms on the following link:

In Chicago later in the month? Check these two articles out

Friday, 1 June 2018

ACEing Made to Stick - An Extensible New Power Essay

I picked up New Power (@thisisnewpower) earlier in the week, a book that came highly recommended to me by Tim McDonald (@tamcdonald) and have read the first four chapters.

What's the point of writing this post?
What is there of any value that I might be able to provide that all the professional book reviewers, thought leaders, successful entrepreneurs and business people have not already said? That's a great question!

My Twitter handle and blog are called EdTech Stories because of "Made to Stick" and because of an early attempt to tell a story I'm still trying to tell: Tech Story, where I borrow characters from Pixar's Toy Story.

Does that mean this is going to be a super compelling, concise, edge of your seat yarn? Unfortunately, probably not! (*Sigh*)

Will the post be too long? Include too many disparate references? Be too random ...or controversial? Will the ideas be too abstract? The answer to all of the above is: Quite Possibly! (*Sigh*)

But I also know that whatever the ideas and however the post looks today... the ideas will be so obvious to all in 6-12 months time that explaining them would be just pain silly!

This post will indeed pull in a number of ideas from different sources - including my own experiences - but hope it will be ACE enough for a few key groups and people to read... discuss... reach out to each other and (hopefully)... collaborate on the Summary & Solutions section at the end.

In New Power (@thisisnewpower) Henry Timms (@henrytimms) and Jeremy Heimans (@jeremyheimans) upgrade Made to Stick's 'Success' for the social media age by adding some ACE advice.

This post is an attempt to make the book "Extensible" and hope the ideas speak to either or all of the following three groups:

1) Educators
2) Policy Makers/Politicians
3) If the argument made is compelling enough I hope that #EdTech developers might see a development where young people, employees and employers could learn the kind of skills that saw AirBnB and the 2014 IndyRef movement thrive.

My last 3 posts have included references to Jane Jacobs, Ayn Rand and Stewart Brand's work. In a recent post I consider how much online dissatisfaction was a result of offline factors in

How the SNP could get back to Team56

This post will do likewise by asking a few questions about Glasgow's history and our young people's sense of belonging.

By the end of the post I hope that the idea of an Edcamp and an EdTech incubator with a strong #DigCit/#Cmgr aspect might be a serious discussion that a few key groups decide to get involved with.

...A Quick Word About Stewart Brand
I have been referencing "The Well" ever since I read Kate Hafner's (@katiehafner) book a few years ago.

I'm not entirely sure why I hadn't done this a lot sooner, but earlier this week I checked out what Stewart Brand (
@stewartbrandhas done more recently.

And boy! What a treat... Brand talking about his work, Jane Jacobs and - through discussing the shortcomings in the world of architecture - feel the hero (or, depending on your perspective, anti-hero) of The Fountainhead: Howard Roark, is represented in this article too.

Brand, Rand and Jacobs all in one article? What bliss!

"There's only two people I'd rather be than me: Brian Eno and Jane Jacobs...Brand's beef with architects is that too many of them make buildings which fail in their function and are actually designed not to adapt. A Highly Distinctive Brand

In 1999 I did an 
Understanding Cities Open University course and... given that How Buildings Learn aired in 1997, I simply cannot understand why such an awesome program wasn't part of this course!!

I binge watched all 6 episodes earlier in the week, what a great series!

We've all heard of the Homebrew Club, right?
The place where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak developed the Apple I.

But...did you know, Stewart Brand played a role in establishing the Homebrew Club?
No, neither did I?! Check this out: 1960s Rebels - Stewart Brand Tech Visionary

"Stewart Brand has always craved a sensation of wholeness, a feeling of belonging and authenticity" 
Fred Turner in Counterculture to Cyberculture via 

"Brand's natural optimism is tied to a very attractive contrarian streak... if everyone else agrees about something, Stewart always starts to wonder what you would find if you disagreed"

#NewPower Scottish School Girl Vs The US State Department
I have discussed the sense of belonging that The Well provided to many of it's members, the Well Beings (What a fantastic name for your community members!), in previous posts.

I also find that it can be useful to wonder if we disagreed with the crowd a little more often.

The only Scottish example that I've read in New Power is the story of Aqsa Mahmood 

"Who grew up in a moderate Muslim family in Scotland. She attended good private schools and loved Harry Potter. She was described as someone who didn't know which bus to take to find her way to downtown Glasgow...She became a "bedroom radical" and went to Syria when she was 19. Having been recruited into ISIS, she now turned recruiter, mastering the tools of online engagement and enticing others to follow her example...The US State Department's "Think Again Turn Away!" wasn't too effective. New Power

Offline Bullying ...and Sense of Belonging
There are a number of contrarian questions to be asked here, but I'd like to focus on the same issues as the one that Anita Sarkeesian (@anitasarkeesian) raises with the gaming community... And her observations whether her online harassment has it's roots in societies views about women offline?

deeann fitzpatrick
"Boys will be boys"
Westminster Must Take Responsibility for its Bullying Culture
Just as the ideas from New Power can be used to affect positive movements and change... it can also be devastatingly effective with spreading division and hate.

In his book "They F**k You Up" Psychologist Oliver James highlights how being social marginalised in some way can lead to people being innovators and over achievers.

This is something we see with the number of migrants in the US who are startup founders, or through The Farkas study of Post WWII Jewish migrants. Who succeeded because of their humble origins, not in spite of them.

The other side of the coin is the maginalised groups who turn to hate and violence. One key difference between 2nd and 3rd generation Jewish immigrants is that they blend in... not quite so easy for 2nd and 3rd generation Asian and Afro-Caribbean migrants.

There's a lot of concern about the risks of online bullying, but...

How much discussion is there about offline bullying at school leaving marginalised young people looking for counter-cultures online? 

In many cases these will be harmless spaces and communities - geeks, comics, gaming, sports, goths - other spaces may not be quite so harmless as young people look for the kind of solace & sense of belonging their school and fellow students should provide but, for whatever reason... doesn't?
Is this because it's easier for politicians to blame the tech companies... than a lack of #DigCit in edu? 

Or because it's easier for schools to think of the big bad wild west of the online world... than it is to question whether the school values of respect, inclusiveness, tolerance, and diversity may not actually apply to every single student?

If we need any evidence of this suggestion:

"The Reddit world is made up of its users, who skew young, male, and geeky, and do the upvoting, linking and commenting...In the months prior to the #RedditRevolt the CEO had tried to create new rules to shut down offensive content and hate speech on the site. Predictably, this had clashed with the somewhat outlaw, libertarian ethos of Reddit. Many suspected these efforts were not driven by a moment of moral awakening but rather were an effort to clean  up the site so it could be more easily monetised for advertisers. The speech that the CEO was targeting was extreme: Revenge porn, attacking transgender people, white supremacists... It was also easy to sense gender dynamics at play on a platform whose users were mostly male" New Power

How many many of these young male and geeky kids found in Reddit the sense of belonging that they were not finding at school? The 'outlaw ethos' being a result of anger at being bullied or marginalised at school?

"Brian recalls why he chose to become a volunteer moderator when the site introduced them 'You got to build a community. You build a policy structure that keeps it thriving, keeps it going. That's why Reddit was successful. You feel like you own it"

Courtnie talks about her identity as a super users like this: 'Reddit is my community center, it's my YMCA'"

New Power

How many hate groups tapped into this by going where your audience is to recruit and add fuel the the fire in forums like these? 

"Reddit also has a big impact on politics - research has shown that Reddit was one of the most important online spaces for Alt-Right Trump supporters to congregate and coordinate as they successfully wages the so called "meme wars" on social media during the 2016 elections...Reddit Co-Founder Steve Huffman estimated that users they looked to silence, the 'toxic 0.2%' who polluted the space for everyone else. " New Power

Many highlight the history of Silicon Valley as part of the magic. What of Glasgow?

Could it's history and attitudes have influenced Aqsa Mahmood's decision to turn to ISIS? 

Here are just a few points that might be worth considering if, how and why the history of places might affect people's sense of belonging today.

A (Very) Brief History of Glasgow
18th Century: 
Scotland's banks were a key sector and many trace their roots and/or early growth with the slave trade. 

Like many of the grand buildings, the balcony's of Glasgow's Modern Art details the history of the building and links with the slave trade. 
BBC Bitesize revision for Higher History
19th Century: The other period where grand buildings in Glasgow have their beginnings when Glasgow was "The Workshop of the Empire".

Jane Jacobs, Stewart Brand and, through describing Apple's offices, Jay Elliot highlight the way our built environment affect us... What role is Glasgow's past affecting progress? 

Will the success in the Industrial Age mean that we lament the past, which means it's slower to adapt to change compared to areas like Silicon Valley with their earlier, more innovative and collaborative history?

"The 20th Century was built from the top down Society was imagined as a great machine, intricately powered by big bureaucracies and great corporations. To keep the machine humming, ordinary people had critical, but small standardized, roles to play. Do your drills, say your prayers. Learn your multiplication tables. Serve your time. Sit for your year book photo. Many of us were relatively content to play a minor role in a larger process" New Power 

Before any critics decide to say "Stop harking on about the past" this stuff doesn't matter:

Exhibit A) Our football teams seem to be wrapped up in the past about a war that took place in 1690

Exhibit B) The Windrush arrived from Jamaica in 1948... it appears to be a topical political issue today

Exhibit C) "A startup messed up at it's foundation cannot be fixed" Peter Thiel

Check out the culture & attitude of a sector that grew because of the slave trade: banks... and how has their culture and attitudes affected people over the last 10 years?

Exhibit D) Politicians all celebrate the brave suffragettes and civil rights activists - It's right that these groups get celebrated - but which group caused and/or could have prevented this suffering? Their political predecessors?

So a contrarian question might be to wonder which marginalized groups politicians will be celebrating and/or apologizing to 100 years from now? 

Muslims? Iraqis? Migrants who lost their lives at sea on perilous journeys to escape whatever horror was at 'home' for them?  

When we needed more workers in times of prosperity we invite people from the commonwealth.

Racism was blatant! I wonder if there was a dismissive "Oh! it's just boys being boys" comment if anyone complained about the commissioning of programs with characters like Alf Garnet 

It's not the title the person who uploaded this video that's troubling... it's the group think and/or a sign of the times when the script writer, actors, producer, viewers etc etc all felt this was acceptable programming

Compare this with what happens when someone from an ethnic minority questions if Britain is air brushing the less welcome views and actions of our national heroes

2001 One thing I'll never forget about September 2001 is walking through Glasgow the day after the 9/11 terror attacks...and the body language of Muslims I saw. You'd be forgiven for thinking it was one of their family members who flew the plans into the Twin Towers.

Iraq, Libya, Syria... then follow this up with seeing pictures of people dying on rickety boats in an attempt to escape whatever misery (Whether economic or political) and see barriers - physical and political - being put up.

Then follow that up with Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins and fanning the flames with Brexit. 

For sure I think that Glasgow and Scotland are a lot more tolerant of migrants than what the media tells us happens in other areas of the UK.

But when even one teenager feels so out of place that they not only turn to violence, but encourage others to do likewise...questions need to be asked!

It's very sad that the only reference to Scotland in a book like New Power that gets a mention (From what I've read so far) is a case study in the savvy online efforts of a teenage ISIS recruiter who out maneuvered the US State Department with their (clunky) counter terrorist response.

I think (And not for the first time in the last 5 years ie #DigCit Vs the Trolls) it's a good time to consider

"Could we be doing more online - and offline" 
Or at least more than MPs saying either
1) 2015 What can we do? (In a helpless tone)
2) 2018 Matt Hancock (Who launched FELTAG in 2014)... Tech cos need to do more

Then there is the media, not in a Trump "Fake News" way... but with the genuine and concerned question of

"What's the value of a life" 

And, are the phone hacking, untrusted & politically backed media the best group to provide the answer to this question? 

21st Century Glasgow has reinvented itself as shoppers paradise with 4 of the UKs largest shopping centers in and around Glasgow.

With retail in decline, millennials being a lot less materialistic, the chances of a job for life employment (Full time complete with union representation and pensions... replaced with uninspiring prospects and zero hour contracts) and retail with their the inauthentic advertising... Do people who are different feel at home?

To what extent is Glasgow's "The Workshop of the Empire-turned-Retail-Hotsport" built environment in a time when retail is dying giving it's inhabitants an identity crisis? 
  • To what extent is Aqsa radicalisation "her problem" and the choices she made? 
  • What role did her environment affect her search for belonging 2,500 miles away?
  • How out of place do you need to feel to find belonging with terror organisations? 
  • To leave home, travel to Syria... but then to encourage others to do the same?
  • What could have been done to prevent this development?
  • Could the cultural conditions of #Indyref have helped? 
  • Could we see those cultural conditions of "Hope over Fear" and the promise of change return?
“From the early grades Steve Jobs had been something of a troublemaker. Then one teacher, Mrs. Hill, recognized he was really very bright, and bribed him to buckle down and study, using money, candy and a camera building kit. Steve became so motivated that he even ground his own lenses for the camera. In the Smithsonian oral-history interview, Steve said, “I think I probably learned more academically in that one year than I learned in my life.”

Quite a testimonial for how one teacher can change a students’ entire history. 

"I’m a very big believer in equal opportunity…equal opportunity to me more than anything means a great education… it pains me because we do know how to provide a great education. We really do. We could make sure that every young child in this country got a great education. We fall far short of that…I’m 100% sure that if it hadn’t been for Mrs Hill in 4th grade and a few others, I would absolutely have ended up in jail. I could see those tendencies in myself to have a certain energy to do something wrong. When you’re young, a little bit of correction goes a long way.” Steve Jobs via The Steve Jobs Way (P5)

It's great that people like Billy Connolly celebrate what Glasgow was like when we had ship yards and how he has a sense of belonging with the city, not a feeling that all residents have... How can they when they are living through such an uncertain (And in many instances, such a horrible) times.

I don't have any sense of belonging in Glasgow or Scotland (And I am white and was born in Scotland!)...But how could I feel like I belong given my experiences to date?

But I'm not alone, take a walk through Glasgow at rush hour and see how many happy people you see.

Senior VP of Apple, Jay Elliot, highlights that he never felt like he fitted in until he went to Stanford, Elon Musk and John Hanke also felt a need to get away... they headed west.

An aspiration that this I-am-not-my-credit-rating-the-banks-got-bailed-out... Scotland-is-not-a-great-place-to-be-a-JAM-and-try-to-innovate-in-Education/EdTech... get-me-to-Silicon-Valley-Scot share. 

John Hanke & Google Maps
In his classic "Bowling Alone" David Putnam laments the loss of community... but what about the fact that many of the institutions and rituals that he misses might have further marginalised those who felt out of place?

Check out the answer Google Maps and Pokemon Go creator, John Hanke gave to the following question

Why are you so obsessed with maps and location? 

"I grew up in a really isolated town in West Texas, so I kind of grew up daydreaming about other places.

And I think a lot of people who grow up in small towns share that feeling of 'I can't wait to go out and see the wider world."
 Inside the Mind of Google's Greatest Idea Man,John Hanke

Some Blue Sky Thinking... AirBnB
Just like with Sam Conniff Allende's "Be More Pirate," where he observes that Pirates were out of work sailors who were 'just trying to get by' during periods of unemployment...
The founders of AirBnB were just looking for ways to pay the rent on their apartment.

As the concept grew the brand voice was built to cultivate a sense of community and participation, and executives are betting that this will be a key source of competitive advantage.

AirBnB looks set to become a Unicorn company this year... 

How many Scottish businesses are Unicorn companies? Two?
How many see community as a competitive advantage? Not many I bet...

How many soon to be out of work call center staff get the time, resources or space space to reskill to #NewPower models? None?

In my Community Manager Resource Declara Collection, which I put together to share what I've learned about #NewPower from other #Cmgrs, there are a few great articles about AirBnB.

Here's what Jeremy Heimans and Henry Tims had to say about AirBnB and a post by companies Global Head of Community

What Have AirBnB & Scottish Politics Got in Common?
"AirBnB introduced a logo and make it more meaningful for a host's own purposes... It signaled the way AirBnB saw it's community - as a place you could both belong and be yourself. That's consistent with Marilynn Brewer's behavioural science concept of "Optimal Distinctiveness," which suggests that the right recipe for building an effective group is making people feel they are part of it and that they can stand out in it.

Along with the new logo, AirBnB retooled its corporate language with a manifesto more like that of an alternative living community than a Silicon Valley money machine

We used to take belonging for granted.

Cities used to be villages. Everyone knew each other, and everyone knew they had a place to call home. But after the mechanization and Industrial Revolution of the last century, those feelings of trust and belonging were displaced by mass-produced and impersonal travel experiences. We also stopped trusting each other. And in doing so, we lost something essential about what it means to be a community. After all, our relationships with people will always be the most meaningful part of our lives. You just need to get to know them.

That’s why Airbnb is returning us to a place where everyone can feel they belong

Belonging has always been a fundamental driver of humankind. 
Belong Anywhere

Culture! Culture! Culture!
"Our next team meeting is dedicated to Core Values, which are essential to building our culture. It occurred to me that before this meeting, I should write you a short letter on why culture is so important to Joe, Nate, and me.

After we closed our Series C with Peter Thiel in 2012, we invited him to our office. This was late last year, and we were in the Berlin room showing him various metrics. Midway through the conversation, I asked him what was the single most important piece of advice he had for us. He replied

Scottish Independence Referendum (#IndyRef)
  • In 2014 I got interested in politics. I felt that there was a real genius behind the #IndyRef #VoteYes campaign and people who knew what they were doing. I got involved. I wrote over 30 posts in support of the SNP #VoteYes 
  • In 2015 after #GE2015 I wrote this Ideas for MP/MSPs Ideas for 2016/19
  • In 2017 I had successfully predicted every election since #IndyRef
Let's compare what the New Power authors have to say about AirBnB with the 2014 #IndyRef.

1) AirBnB logo... and "Academics for Yes," "Asians for Yes," "Students for Yes" and the way the "Yes" message was adapted and adopted. These groups were part of it and stood out. 

Also, does Jeremy's experiences with GetUp sound in anyway familiar to people who got involved with #IndyRef? ...It sure sounds a bit 2014 "Yes Scotland" to me:

"The team thought of the GetUp brand as less as an organisation and more as an individual with a consistent and distinctive personality - a compassionate, smart, idealistic, but not too earnest person. They also thought about who this person wasn't - a political hack, a know it all, an angry fringe-dwelling ideologue.

When the team noticed people showing up to GetUp protests with their dogs dressed in bright orange GetUp Tshirts, and when the phrase "I am GetUp" surfaced on social media, it was clear that the identity and voice of GetUp had aligned with - in fact merged with - the identity of its members"
New Power

2) AirBnB's language of an alternative living community... The upbeat, non-partisan "Yes" Vs The SNP and

"A fair and just society"
"Bairns (translation: Children) not bombs" 

Is more like the the language of Gaskin and McClure's Tennessee Farm, the 1970s commune than the competing 2014 adversarial and decidedly political "No Thanks" message

3) The culture... The culture was well and truly "f**ked," as Peter Thiel might put it the weekend after the referendum when there was a #NewPower storm brewing.

The No Thanks camp decided to "celebrate" in the form of a BNP riot. The #VoteYes camp didn't go away... but the SNP leadership did. They took the weekend off.

"The art of turning someone else's crisis into your opportunity is far from new, but the new skill is doing it in an age when the opportunity to mobilize a crowd comes and goes in minutes. The American cookie brand Oreo understood this when a power outage in the stadium caused lights to go out for more than 30 mins during the 2013 Superbowl. Oreo struck quickly, tweeting a picture of a lonely well lit Oreo and the caption 

"You can still dunk in the dark"

The tweet went viral, 'won the superbowl,' and became the stuff of legends in marketing circles. Often left out of the story is the fact that Oreo had a 15 person team at the ready during the game for exactly this kind of rapid response. 

We don't all have Oreo's resources, but its handiwork reminds us that storm chasing requires infrastructure to do well. Anyone building a crowd should be on the look out for storms that might galvanize their base, and be prepared to act on them within minutes or hours, when the need is greatest and people's emotional response is at its peak. Many old organisations take days just to cobble together a press release. But organisations now need to be set up to move faster, to soak up the energy in the moment and turn that into new supporters. Byzantine bureaucracies requiring multiple sign offs aren't the right tools for storm chasing. New Power

Want to know where I was the night after the #IndyRef result... and the entire weekend after it?

On twitter DM'ing influencers in the #VoteYes camp encouraging to try to keep the message positive

"When they go low, we go high" 

And all that jazz. I also tried to get in touch with people at The SNP to try to get all the "Yes Scotland" Twitter accounts to take the lead, in a way that only they could have. 

This was understandable given how new everything is/was, but it did mean that the absence of the "Shapers" meant that others filled the void... and ended up taking a positive movement which had the potential to be fun and inclusive, and turned it all angry and political.

Leaders not understanding the process meant that people (Like me) who was starting to feel a sense of belonging with the movement and who spent 2 hours+ a day laughing at some fantastic banter in what had become the national water cooler... meant that it turned angry and political and people voted with their feet. 

#IndyRef New Power Meets Old Power
My first experience of New Power meets Old Power was during the 2014 #IndyRef, the public rallies felt like walking into a model Jane Jacobs space.

People I had got to know online - Btw many of who had great ideas but were marginalised in one way or another - suggested I join a party or attend a meeting. All The SNP ever said was 

"Join the Party! Join the Party! Join the Party! ...Become a card carrying Yes man" 

Erm, #NoThanks! 

I attended a meeting in Sept 2014 and the difference between public meetings and a private one was night and day - Old Power Vs New Power. 

It was angry. It was "political." It was militant. It's the kind of energy I imagine that the Nurenbrg Rallies fed off. 

I felt as uncomfortable as I do when a Glasgow Celtic Vs Rangers match or England Vs Scotland football match is on (NB That's not a comfortable feeling. We try to stay home on those days).

I left after 10 mins and as I left "Bye then... must be a 'No' supporter... a Spy in the camp" 

How very inclusive, thinks I.

In the 20th Century, participating in politics or social change could feel like a test of will. To join a political party, you'd often have to pledge your loyalty and support for a long list of policies, some of which you might not actually agree with. To participate, you'd have to show up to procedural meetings at your branch where your most exciting moment might be seconding the motion to approve the minutes from the last meeting. And for this privileged, you literally "Paid your dues" - up front and then at a regular interval.

...The single most important factor behind the early success of GetUp! was how easy it was for people (Frantic, information overloaded, but well intentioned 21st Century people) to participate. No member dues, no pledges of allegiance to a platform, no immediate requirement to take to the streets. Rather, GetUp! asked people, on joining, to sign a single petition on just one issue they cared about.

Image result for new power participation scale

...On the far left of the scale are the definitive old power behaviours: Complying and consuming... Many of our most important social and economic institutions still mostly run on them.

But if you're trying to build a movement or a crowd, you'll need to unlock a series of new power behaviours. You get people in the door via simple, low barrier asks toward the bottom of the scale - for instance asking people to consume and then share content, or by affiliating: In Get Up terms, by signing your first petition. Once you recruited these new participants, the job was to keep them engaged and to move people up the scale, toward higher behaviours like adapting or remixing the content of others, crowdfunding a project, creating and uploading their own unique content or assets, or, at the top of the scale, becoming a shaper of the community as a whole, with the capacity to influence the strategy, norms, and culture of the crowd, often without having any kind of formal authority. New Power

The New Power Participation Scale exemplifies the extract from the AirBnB "Belong Anywhere" post above... when we find belonging we get involved. 

GetUp (@GetUp)demonstrates that Old Power may be "Bowling Alone" but civic responsibility didn't disappear... it went online.

"New Power loves to affiliate, but affiliation in this mindset is much less endearing. People are less likely to be card carrying members of organisations or to forge decades-long relationships with institutions, but they are more likely to float between Meetup groups or use social media to very visibly affiliate with a range of causes, brands, and organisations, and rally their friends to do the same. They tend to opt in at particular moments, and then opt out again. We shouldn't confuse this with lack of engagement. Rather it's a different way of taking part. This shift has big implications for organisations large and small"

This paragraph perfectly articulates my involvement with politics. I am not an SNP/IndyRef devotee (Far from it!)

But I do check in on all things Politics and #IndyRef from time to time and offer input, observations and support from time to time (When the cultural conditions are promising).

I live in Scotland. My kids are in the school system here. I use what I've learnt and my skill set to try to encourage the change I see happening elsewhere, that I feel could work well here.

I have checked in on politics over the last few weeks, and am exploring the idea of an Edcamp that I feel could empower educators and deliver some positive outcomes.

Summary & Some Solutions?
So... as far as I can see #IndyRef, #GE2015, #GE2016 were indeed the result of "Network Effects" and "Feedback Loops," precisely as I had suggested in my earlier politics posts.

But I'm not so sure it was the genius campaign as I had thought in 2014... It appears to be more a case of one or two single strokes of genius (Which I now believe were more of a happy accident than anything planned).

1) The language changed "Yes," "Fair and Just Society" etc
2) Allowing people to use 'Optimal Distinctiveness' - to be part of #VoteYes and stand out with their customized and adapted "Yes" flags (The use of the Saltire can't have done any harm for nationalists either).  

Three things hampered the SNP's progress after this point:

1) They didn't "chase the storm" in the weekend after #IndyRef
2) They slide down Jim Collins 5 stages of decline from 2015-2017 (Which is understandable)
3) They used "New Power" methods to win fans over... but reverted to "Old Power" once in power

IMHO the polls will never be accurate again... that is until a party/leader comes along and actually delivers on the change that they promise they will on the campaign trail once in power.

But what of Aqsa Mahmood and others like her who lack a sense of belonging in Glasgow?

"I place a great deal of faith in our young people, they don't have as much trouble accepting new ideas" Jane Jacobs The Nature of Economies Interview

This is a sentiment that Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms appear to agree with and...The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication is starting to as well.

"After these false starts, the United States began to realise it needed to take a different approach. CSCC coordinator Alberto Fernandez laid out a new direction, speaking to Congress in 2015:

"You need to find a way to form loose, open source communities of interest or swarms that can swarm back and push back against the ISIS message. It's not an impossible thing to do. It can be done"

The new inter-agency Global Engagement Centre is trying to make this happen. Discarding the top down hectoring tone of the Think Again Turn Away campaign, the centre is trying to build a "Network of positive messengers" to share not just counter narratives, but alternative narratives drawing people away for more extreme positions, amplifying the messages of its partners, from religious leaders to schools.

One promising effort is the P2P (Peer-to-peer) Challenging Extremism competition, which partners with Facebook and hundreds of universities around the world. The brief here is loose: students come up with creative ways to 

"Push back on online hate, prejudice and extremism while empowering their peers"

A group of Finnish students launched a movement of pop-up restaurants where asylum seekers shared their native foods with locals. A US team created a Snap Chat campaign. A class from Azerbaijan created a tolerance toolkit for teachers to use in the classroom.

You can't help but wonder about the sense of not belonging had on Aqsa Mahmood's decisions

...Or what impact campaigns like Peer-2-Peer Challenging Extremism and other #DigCit initiatives could have had to channel her impressive online skills and energy to help other disillusioned young people to find ways to fit in instead of encouraging them to turn to violence.

To get a glimpse of what I think could be possible check out what Be More Pirate's, Sam Conniff Allende (@SamConniff) did with Livity (@LivityUK) & Live Magazine to empower young people and give them a sense of belonging:

I am considering organising an Edcamp that could assist with things included in this post.

I also feel that an EdTech incubator with a very strong #DigCit/#Cmgr element where young people (And others... Like soon to be unemployed call centre staff) can develop these skills and learn the power of New Power.

However, as The State of Community Management 2018 Report highlights, community professionals are susceptible to burn out... I'm running on fumes (Have been for a while now!)

I'll only be spending a few more weeks on this... and I'll need a little help.