Friday, 18 December 2015

Can Crowdfunding Pay for Edu PD?

What have the following Connected Educators, who have a collective following of over 237,000 followers on Twitter all have in common?

Shelly Sanchez (@ShellTerrell - 67,700 Followers), Nicholas Provenzano (@ -            51,800 Followers), Sarah Thomas ( -25,800 Followers) Joe Mazza ( -       20,100 Followers), Craig Kemp (@MrKempNZ -17,200 Followers), Susan Bearden (@s_bearden -     15,400 Followers), Sam Patterson (@SamPatue - 9,081 Followers), Zeina Chalich (@ZeinaChalich       6,869 Followers) Dan Ryder ( - 6,080 Followers) Julie Szaj ( -                            5,242 Followers), Jesse Lubinsky ( - 4,428 Followers) Allison Fuisz (@allison_fuisz -           2,449 Followers) Kevin Hime ( - 2,102 Followers), Jaison Oliver ( - 1,778 Followers)
Carina Hilbert (@CarinaHilbert - 1,678 Followers), Derek Larson ( - 1,301 Followers), Valerie Lewis ( - 1,037 Followers), Nick Patsianas ( -748 Followers), Kirsten Innes ( - 809 Followers)

They, along with another 40 educators and industry experts would like to attend the UK Digital Citizenship Summit on the 23rd January 2016.

These educators have also identified a number of companies from major tech companies like Twitter, Skype, Voxer and Google and well established EdTech companies like Schoolology, RemindHQ and Edmodo to up and coming startups like Declara and Buncee who they would be happy to advocate for during their visit to the UK.
It has taken 4 weeks to get the event organised but everything is now in place and the early sponsors have ensured that the event will be free of charge to delegates.

What I would like to do now is to explore the extent to which we can develop the #Get2ISTE model and to see if we can answer this question that EdWeek posed four months ago:

I believe that Crowdfunding can pay for educators PD and feel that it can be done in a way that it helps to improve and further develop relations with educators and EdTech companies. HOWEVER a little bit of work needs to be done in order to realise this.

There isn't a great deal of time left to explore this prior to the holidays and/or in time for BETT and the #DigCitSummitUK but I'm going to work with the educators who are keen to explore the idea to see what we can do.

We got a conference arranged in 4 weeks, why not see if we can make a dent in crowdfunding professional development and see if it can have a positive impact on Edu/EdTech relations. 

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

EdChat Moderators - Making Connections & Giving Back

This post makes an argument for how and why it might make sense for Twitter support the twelve EdChat Moderators who are looking to attend the UK Digital Citizenship Summit to present at the event.

Today at 2pm GMT/9am ET a Thunderclap will go out with the message

"I support #DigCitSummitUK on the 23rd Jan 2016 and think it would be fantastic if Twitter and Skype supported the event"

Whether we look at the story behind how this summit came about, the time and effort that EdChat moderators have put into developing their EdChats or from the perspective of what the twelve moderators looking to attend the event... Twitter supporting #DigCitSummitUK sure makes sense to me.

I wonder if others will agree.

EdChat Moderators - Passionate & Motivated
When you consider that educators clock up £7 billion of unpaid overtime AND THEN some also take to Twitter and moderate an EdChat (Or two... or three) on a weekly/monthly basis, it doesn't take a genius to figure that this is;

1) An extremely passionate group of people
2) Where, with the right culture, a lot of innovation and EdReform will come from

Over 400 EdChats that take place out of hours where educators self organise and discuss various edu issues of the day.

People have marveled at how much has been achieved in 4 weeks with the #DigCitSummitUK with EdChat Moderators Julie Szaj (#NT2T) and Craig Kemp (#Whatisschool) have achieved in the last few weeks with organising this event... with a little help from other moderators and people in their PLN.

It's amazing what a small group of passionate people can achieve!

EdChat Moderators - Selfless Givers
I hope the comment above details how selfless these educators are: they put in unpaid overtime, establish Twitter chats to assist their colleagues, will demo and advocate for technology companies without asking for anything in return (But, again, will give up their time to go to ambassador training and networking events).

Educators will also continue to do more with less as budget cuts have taken effect over the last few years and/or the issues affecting children's home lives enter and disrupt the classroom as the global recession has taken hold.

This selfless giving is commendable but, as Adam Grant highlights in Give and Take, it also runs the risk of burnout as educators end up giving too much.

To take on an EdChat and be available every week for the last 5 years is quite a commitment.

If we were to take the US salary guide and factor in an hour of preparation and an hour to host a chat each week this would come out at $15-30,000 if this leadership PD was part of the moderators day job.

Alternatively, if all 1,045 EdChat moderators attended their chat every week for a year this would come in at $3,120,000-6,240,000 based on the same salary scale.
How Much Teachers Get Paid State-by-State
Connecting the Unconnected
I don't need anyone to tell me how contentious it is to discuss the nature of educators selfless giving in monetary terms is, no-one seems to appreciate the discussion. So I'll turn my attention to the opportunity to connect the unconnected.

I may be biased, but I think that this project provides a powerful example of how a little bit of online chat can lead to massive real world collaboration.

I've come under a little bit if fire and faced criticism for making this summit US-centric, when the reality is that I reached out to everyone in my network to get their thoughts on (and get them involved with) #DigCitSummitUK, but it is US educators who got behind the event.

You need look no further than conferences like the recent Scottish Learning Festival or Association of Colleges annual conference and compare them with the chatter on social media with US events like ISTE to see the difference. 

Therefore, having connected educators who have given so much over the last few years to meet people in their PLN IRL and to advocate for the importance of being a connected educator at a time when a Tweet led to a summit being organised by three moderators and a bunch of volunteers within an insanely short period of time sure makes sense to me!

Skills/Education Gap
Everyone recognises the need for more business/education collaboration and whether we consider California's Circle the Schools, Scotland's Developing the Youth Workforce, UK Modern Apprenticeships, Canada's work on Learner Voice, Singapore and Australia's innovations this event has the kind of diversity that these initiative advocate for.

And if this group of passionate and highly motivated volunteers have organised all this virtually in four weeks, imagine what they'd do if they were in the same space for 3-4 days in January?! 

Sending out an SOS
However, to achieve this we need to ask for one of two things that selfless givers can be uncomfortable with.

1) Ask for help 
2) Ask for funding

According the Adam Grant's research, selfless givers will help anyone and everyone they can... but don't like asking for help themselves. Also, the suggestion that educators benefit financially for hosting their EdChat will be uncomfortable to the very people the idea is designed to help.

So getting this message right for all stakeholders is a near impossibility. So my conclusion is a cathartic one.
  • Any support that Twitter might provide will both be earned and will help with their growth looks to me like plain good business sense to me.
  • To suggest financial support for 12 moderators to come over to the UK could look like a big number in terms of financial support... but this figure pales in comparison to the time moderators put in if moderating their chats was part of their paid employment.
  •  The differences in the use of Twitter and social media by US educators compared with the UK is quite marked... conference data is a good example of this

I've done my best with this post and I've done my best with pitching in to pull this event together. To be 2-3 weeks behind schedule because of unforeseen delays out of a 5 week project truly is a remarkable achievement.

So we're now in a position were we need a little assistance... I hope someone gets and responds to this SOS.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Ships Log and Pirate Articles

Shackleton's leadership style was formed when working under people like Scott and vowing not to treat men they way he and his crew mates were treated. What he hated most about these jobs were pettiness, irresponsible bosses, insufferable working conditions and a lack of trust and respect among crew members. In the early expeditions which he led he learned that leadership that was rigid, remote, undemocratic, and uncertain didn't work. On the Endurance he focused on the one thing that that gave the best chance at reaching their goals: Unity"

On Boarding The Crew
3rd October: The inaugural Digital Citizenship Summit  is hosted

9th November: I share a post about digital citizenship with one of the organisers, they ask if myself and author of the post Malcolm Wilson can arrange a Skype call to discuss a UK Digital Citizenship Summit

16th November: Myself and the organisers arrange a to have a Skype call

23rd November: Craig Kemp (@MrKempNZ) and Julie Szaj (@Shyj) and Maria Zabala (@iwomanish) join the merry band

30th November:  In the week that was kicked off with the inaugural Connected Educator Appreciation Day we got the support from these awesome people:

Judy Artz (@JudyArzt), Buncee (@Buncee), Anthony Doyle (@Digucate), Mike Lee (@MikeLeeOrg), Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza), Nick Patsianas (@nickpatsianas),Ramona Peirson (@ramonapierson), Nicholas Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher), James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge), Carol Varsalona (@cvarsalona), Dan Whalen (@whalen

7th December: We have selected a venue which will be announced at 5pm today when the deadline for speakers ends. We already have over 50 speakers interested (Subject to availability when the date is announced... and funding).

We also have over 130 people ready to get involved in various ways.

Sign Up...
If anyone is interested in joining this event, simply read the information below and then just find something to do as and where you can. We have a series of 4-5 "20 second favours" that could make a big difference.

1) Share details about the event. 

Today (Monday 7th Dec) this included share the last call for speakers: Date & Venue Survey and any details the organisers share about the event on Twitter.

2) Follow Anthony Doyle (@Digucate) and Nick Patsianas (@nickpatsianas)

3) #BeTheDigitalChange with turning your Twitter profile Pirate

Educators who have changed Their Twitter profile

4) Follow the companies on this list Speaker Preferred Supplier List

5) Send some love to any of the companies on this list that you use. I understand that Educators are particularly keen to see Skype, Twitter, Voxer and Periscope involved and various people are engaging with their contacts at these companies.

6) Join #DigCit Chat and #WhatisSchool this week to discuss the event in January

Ships Articles
I dug out my copy of Life Among the Pirates and was surprised to find that the model that pirates used was extremely similar to the framework that I have been using as I make plans for my own startup, which is to:

"Identify your core values and align them with a noble cause"

We've already elected a Captain, we've asked people where we should sail to (Scotland or London), we are having a "First Council" over the course of today and will then have a "Second Council" over the course of this week.

How cool that we are using real pirate articles in an attempt to keep the Stage 4/5 culture that we've been working to over the last 4 weeks

The most significant difference between pirate and other ships was the manner in which the pirate company was organised, and the code by which the pirates operated. Unlike the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, or indeed any other institution in the 17th and 18th Centuries the pirate communities  were democracies. A hundred years before the French Revolution, the pirate companies were run on lines which liberty, equality and brotherhood were the rule rather than the exception. In a pirate ship, the captain was elected by votes of the majority of the crew and he could be deposed if the crew were not happy with his performance. The crew, and not the captain decided the destination of each voyage and whether to attack a particular ship or to raid a coastal village. At the start of voyage, or on election of a new captain, a set of written articles were drawn up which every member of the ships company was expected to sign. These articles regulated the distribution of plunder, the scale of compensation for injuries received in battle and set out the basic rules for shipboard life and the punishment for those who broke the rules. The articles differed from ship to ship but they followed similar lines.

First Council: Preperation
One of the earliest descriptions of the pirates code of conduct appears in Exquemelins Buccaneers of America, which was first published in 1678. Exquemelin tells how the pirates called a council on board ship before embarking on a voyage of plunder. At this preliminary gathering it was decided where to get hold of provisions for the voyage. When this was agreed, the pirates went out and raided some Spanish settlement and returned to the ship with a supply of pigs augmented by turtles and other supplies. A daily food allowance was then worked out for the voyage: Exquemelin notes that the allowance for the captain was no more than that of the humblest mariner.

Second Council: Setting Sail
A second council was then held to draw up the code of conduct for the forthcoming voyage. These articles, which everyone was bound to observe, were put into writing. Every pirate expedition, in common with most privateering expeditions, worked on the principle of "No prey, no pay." 

The first requirement of the articles to determine exactly how the plunder should be divided when the pirate had their prey. The captain received an agreed amount for the ship, plus a proportion of the share of the cargo, usually five or six shares. The salary of carpenter or shipwright who had mended and rigged the ship was agreed at 100 or 150 pieces if eight, and the salary of the surgeon was 200 or 250 pieces of eight. Sums were then set aside to recompense for injuries. 

Early Medical Insurance
It is interesting to observe how this early form of medical insurance determined the value of different parts of a pirate's body. The highest payment of 600 pieces of eight was awarded for the loss of a right arm; next came the loss of a left arm at 500; the right leg 500 but the left leg 400; the loss of an eye or a finger were rewarded with a payment of 100. Once these sums had been agreed, the remainder of the plunder was divided out. 

The master's mate received two shares, and the rest of the crew received one share each. Any boys in the crew received half a share. The buccaneers were insistent that no man should receive more than his fair due, and everyone had to make a solomn oath that he would not conceal and steal for himself anything in a captured ship. Anyone breaking this rule would be turned out by the company.

Change of Leadership
 The application of this code can be observed in the journal of Basil Ringrose. In July 1681 they captured the Spanish San Pedro off the coast of Chile. She was laden with wine, gunpowder and 37,000 pieces of eight in chest and bags. "We shared our plunder among ourselves" Ringrose noted "Our dividend amounted to the sum of 234 pieces of eight to each man.

For most of the voyage the buccaneers were led by captain Bartholwmew Sharp

"A man of undaunted courage and of an excellent conduct."

 He was a natural leader, and was skillful at the practical and theoretical aspects of navigation, bit in January 1681, following weeks of storms and hardships, the men became mutinous. By a majority decision they deposed Captain Sharp and elected John Watling, a tough seaman and a former privateer. Sharp was compelled to relinquish his command and the crew signed a new set of articles with Watling. Three weeks later Watling was killed during an attack on a coastal fort, and Sharp was persuaded to resume his command of the expedition.

Battle Plans
Johnston's General History of the Pirates describes the similar role of the pirate captains in the early years of the 18th Century. As with the earlier buccaneers, the captain had absolute power in battle and when 'fighting, chasing, or being chased' but in all other matters he was governed by the majority wishes of the crew. Although he was given the use of the great cabin he did not have it exclusively to himself, but must expect that other members of the company to come in and out, use his crockery and to share his food and drink.

 The captains authority was further limited by the powers which were given to the quartermaster. He too was elected by the crew, and is described as being 'a sort of civil magistrate on board a pirate ship' He was the crew's representative and 'trustee for the whole.' His job was to settle minor disputes, and he had the authority to punish with whipping or drubbing. He was expected to lead the attack when boarding a ship, and he usually took command of captured prizes.

The pirates had no use for the ranks of lieutenant or mid-shipman, but they did elect men to do the jobs carried out by warrant officers and petty officers on merchant ships and naval vessels. In addition to the quartermaster, most pirate ships had a boatswain, a gunner, a carpenter and a cook; there was usually also a first mate and a second mate.
Bartholomew Roberts Pirates Code 
Several examples of the articles are drawn up by the crews of different pirate captains have been preserved. Those adopted by the men led by Bartholomew Roberts are the most comprehensive, and are worth quoting in full because the provide a revealing slant on the pirate's way of life. These are taken from Captain Johnsons General History of the Pirates

I. Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.

II. Every man to be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes because, they were on these occasions allowed a shift of clothes: but if they defrauded the company to the value of a dollar in plate, jewels, or money, marooning was their punishment. If the robbery was only betwixt one another, they contented themselves with slitting the ears and nose of him that was guilty, and set him on shore, not in an uninhabited place, but somewhere, where he was sure to encounter hardships.

III. No person to game at cards or dice for money

IV. The lights and candles to be put out at eight o'clock at night: if any of the crew, after that hour still remained inclined for drinking, they were to do it on the open deck. 

V. To keep their peace, pistols, and cutlass clean and fit for service. 

VI. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carried her to sea, disguised, he was to suffer death. 

VII. To desert their ship or quarters in battle, was punished with death or marooning. 

VIII. No striking one another on board, but every man's quarrels to be ended on shore, at sword and pistol. 

IX. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living, till each had shared £1,000. If in order to this, any man should lose a limb, or become a cripple in their service, he was to have 800 dollars, out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately. 

X. The captain and quartermaster to receive two shares of prize: the master, boatswain, and gunner, one share and a half, and other officers one and a quarter. 

XI. The musicians to have rest on the Sabbath Day, only by night, but the other six days and nights, not without special favour.

What will be the Ships articles for this event? Will everyone sign up to whatever code that everyone agrees with? Who knows... tune in next week to see what happens. With 6 weeks to go it is definitely going to be a case of sink or swim.

Here's Dave Logans' 90 day strategy framework
1) Do we have enough assets (time, money or people) to achieve our outcomes? 
If the answer is No: How do we build our assets?
2)  Do we have enough assets to achieve our outcomes?
If the answer is No: What assets do we have that we have not identified yet?
3) Will our actions and behaviours accomplish these outcomes?


Thursday, 3 December 2015

An Early Christmas Gift for Julie

This is a story of the night of the Nativity, when Jesus has been born and he, Joseph and Mary are fast asleep. 

A fox sneaks through the stable door. The animals clustered about the manger begin berating him for his thieving ways and propensity for stealing eggs and chickens. They demand to know what his gift will be for the Christ Child, as he has little to offer, they say, compared with them. 

He tells them he is giving Jesus the gift of cunning. The animals are aghast, but the Christ Child sits up and thanks the fox. "It is good," the Child says, "because it is not half a thing. It is whole. Who else among you has given me as much?" 

Such a gift that will surely end in the animal's death, he explains, for no wild creature can live long without its cunning. Cows, donkeys and other animals, He said, had given worthy but replaceable gifts: a manger, wool, a dove's lullaby and a donkey's back. 

But, "The fox has given me all he had," the Child continues. "Without his cunning, how will he find food or escape the snare? How will he live now, alone in the woods? His cunning is his strength; his cunning is his life. It is the only thing he has, and he has given it away."  

12 Days of Christmas for EdTech Sales People
Unrequited EdTech Love

How I Met DigCit Chat

I am a huge fan of EdChats but I don't attend many of them, the reason for this is because I know my strengths and feel that I can add value in different ways.

I would like to represent a post that I wrote after another instance where I was extremely supportive of the Government with the VoteYes agenda, but where I got frustrated at how a fantastic opportunity was squandered.

I wonder if the organisers who were supportive of the idea at the time feel this might be a little bit easier to implement today... Or, more accurately in January.

Can you imagine a group of people from all different sectors collaborating to shut all the Trolls down?

Many Twitter accounts make light work because we are: #BetterTogether to #BeTheDigitalChange

#DigCit Vs Trolls: I'm A Student Friendly Social Media Educator

Cherish Your Vision: Dreamers are the saviours of the world.

We had a few new people coming to pitch in and help out with the UK Digital Citizenship Summit crew yesterday, Carol Varsalona (@cvarsalona) who is an EdChat Moderator for New York EdChat (#NYEDChat) and poet artist extraordinaire and has become a member of the previously non-existant-but-now-established-because-of-this-sentence PR department.

The brief? Put the soul into the event... Some Techno-Soul PR Poetry.

Carol has continually tried to get me to write, draw or take aesthetically pleasing words or pictures... And I continually tell her how bad it would be... and she continually tells me that everyone is an artist.

I'm not sure about that. I've had cause to stop staring at the laptop today and went to the place I go when I want some quiet time: Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park.

As I'm reflecting on a few things and some recent experiences and we have a resident PR poet... I wondered if I could get my first art/poetry lesson and see what she could do with some of my faviourite poems. 

All Life is Suffering
Because of a number of factors I've felt that I've had to share some experiences that I'd rather not have. Amongst other things I am concerned that various groups may see and/or deal with me differently. I hope this doesn't happen. In an attempt to realise this here's the Buddhist parable of the Mustard seed

Suffering: At the Top of the Heap and in the Worst of Circumstances
A lady got in an elevator with Tom Hanks and couldn't believe her luck, but was starstruck and didn't know what to say and said 

"You're Tom Hanks... What's life like at the top of the heap?" 
His reply was "Lady, no matter where you are in the pile... there's always "stuff"

Regardless of experiences or how good or bad the conditions are we are 

"Ultimately self-determining…in the concentration camps. We watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualised depends on decisions but not on conditions" (Frankle).

Here are some of the things that have shone brightly for me during the worst of the "stuff" as Tom Hanks would put it:

"... For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, Wilson; for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen: and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time ... " 

By Endurance we Conquer
Shackleton Family Motto 
My wife gave me a picture of the Endurance as a Christmas Present and is waiting to be the first act if/when I open my own office. Under the picture will go the comment 

"When things get this bad... Then you can Moan!"
(Something that's needed in Scotland as there can be a moaning "A Hole Culture" that wins the day)

“Some people say it is wrong to regard life as a game; I don't think so, life to me means the greatest of all games. The danger lies in treating it as a trivial game, a game to be taken lightly, and a game in which the rules don't matter much. The rules matter a great deal. The game has to be played fairly, or it is no game at all. And even to win the game is not the chief end. The chief end is to win it honourably and splendidly. To this chief end several things are necessary. Loyalty is one. Discipline is another. Unselfishness is another. Courage is another. Optimism is another. And chivalry is another.” Earnest Shackleton

As Man Thinketh: Visions and Ideals
"The dreamers are the saviours of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them as they realities which it shall one day see and know.... He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it.

Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all, heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.

Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.

The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.

Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it. You cannot travel within and stand still without. Here is a youth hard pressed by poverty and labour; confined long hours in an unhealthy workshop; unschooled, and lacking all the arts of refinement. But he dreams of better things; he thinks of intelligence, of refinement, of grace and beauty. He conceives of, mentally builds up, an ideal condition of life; the vision of a wider liberty and a larger scope takes possession of him; unrest urges him to action, and he utilizes all his spare time and means, small though they are, to the development of his latent powers and resources. 

Very soon so altered has his mind become that the workshop can no longer hold him. It has become so out of harmony with his mentality that it falls out of his life as a garment is cast aside, and, with the growth of opportunities, which fit the scope of his expanding powers, he passes out of it forever. 

Years later we see this youth as a full-grown man. We find him a master of certain forces of the mind, which he wields with worldwide influence and almost unequalled power. In his hands he holds the cords of gigantic responsibilities; he speaks, and lo, lives are changed; men and women hang upon his words and remould their characters, and, sunlike, he becomes the fixed and luminous centre round which innumerable destinies revolve. He has realized the Vision of his youth. He has become one with his Ideal.

The thoughtless, the ignorant, and the indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, "How highly favoured he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!" They do not see the trials and failures and struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the Vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and joy, and call it "luck". They do not see the long and arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune," do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and call it chance.

In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized."

Monday, 30 November 2015

CEduAD: We Are Better Together

This is an extremely emotional post for me to write and I hope that Connected Educators take a moment to read this as it details how a kind word can change the trajectory of someone whether students, colleagues, members of your PLN, a EdTech Startup... Even a random sales person.

Here is want a simple "5 minute faviour" that a a Pre-Service Teacher, A Connected Educator, a Hot Shot CEO at a Silicon Valley Tech Start Up (The Google of Learning, no less!) and an educator who took a moment to engage has had a big impact on me.

Before telling my story I'd like to share this one with you about Henry Ford.

What Value Does a Kind Word Have 
Henry Ford worked at the Edison Company and his line manager offered him a promotion on the condition that he would give up "wasting his time" on his gas engine.

After making his decision to focus on his car, Ford caught up with Thomas Edison at a conference. Ford told him what he was working on and asked if Edison thought there was a future for the internal combustion engine. He answered:

"Yes, there's a big future for any light engine that can develop a high horse power and be self-contained. No one kind of motive power is ever going to do all the work of the country. We do not know what electricity can do, but I take for granted that it cannot do everything. Keep on with your engine if you can get what you are  after, I can see a great future.” Henry Ford Autobiography - My Life & My Work

This encounter and these kind words were the start of a life-long friendship. I wonder what might have happened if Edison had echo'd Ford's manager's view and told Ford that he was wasting his time.

It Started with a #NT2T Tweet
In July 2014 I was getting pretty exasperated trying to make my plans work in UK Further Education Colleges, two years in and little by way of progress. 

I notice a random tweet about a company that I saw when their website was a holding page, the tweet had a link to a heartfelt post by Founder Mike Lee.

I then saw a reply from a sassy pre-service teacher, Alicia Leonard (@ilorax) who was a fan of EdShelf and was trying to rally people round to save the company.

I thought I could help by detailing my own experiences in support of Mike and highlighted how and why this model was the future of EdTech. This post was no better and no worse than my other posts but something weird happened.

The Connected Educator
Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheningersaw my post and asked people in his PLN to see if they could take a moment to help Mike attract some investor enquiries.

Everyone pitching in to help Mike out saw a successful Kickstarter campaign helping EdShelf out. 

Embedded image permalink

I have benefited in so many ways from getting involved with this call to action from Alicia, writing my pot and Eric then getting involved. Here are some examples of this:
Hot Shot Silicon Valley Startup
In March 2015 I met Ramona Peirson, CEO of Declara (Aka"The Google of Learning")  through a BBC report for international woman's day. Ramona was talking about how she goes out of her way to look for female developers, and how male dominated the VC investment was... But this lady had fire in her belly!

When I heard the topic I jumped up from my seat to get her name to pass onto the Connected Educators who were giving a minority women in tech presentation at SXSWEdu.

When I saw that Ramona worked in Education I sent an invite to connect on LinkedIn. We hit it off immediately! Something that I found strange was that I didn't have to explain my ideas to her, she just "Got it"... she also got my sense of humour too, which is an added bonus.

But before we got to know one another she inspired me with the simplest thing that anyone could, she had an inspiring message at the end of her email:

"Sometimes it is the very people who no one imagines things of that do the things no one can imagine.” Turing

Good Ideas can come from anybody, and anywhere
I cannot tell you how much seeing this any time I got an email from Ramona inspired me. After presenting to Barak Obama after 3 months of going live this links appeared and inspired me even more

Visionary, Really?
As we got to discussing various things I started to get some weird emails through saying how talented and visionary I was with my ideas. I dismissed the comments initially but they kept coming and these kind words started to give me more confidence. Confidence to test the ideas... to implement more instead of just writing about them.

Whether your a Connected Educator chatting to a Social Newbie or with your students in class I would encourage people to read these two articles:
Educators in Scotland and my PLN seem to wonder where I came from all of a sudden with these ideas, as you can see in this post the ideas were always being considered, but not always tested or pushed to far..

The Teacher who Engaged
12 Weeks ago I watched Chris van der Kuyl's keynote and agreed with what he was saying and thought "I can create some momentum with this IF the culture was right".

I wrote a snarky post to see how people would react, would they be defensive and argumentative... or would they be open minded and interested in discussing it.

We got lucky, I sent a DM to an acct that was moderated by a few people and I was speaking to Bob Baldie (@BobBaldie), and he was both friendly and interested in hearing my views and even saw merit in my snarky attitude at the ridiculousness of some of the policy decisions.

Stop and think about this for a moment...
If it was not for Bob being engaging and friendly -> I would not have curated the Twitter data -> Would not have connected with Malcolm Wilson -> would not have engaged with the Digital Citizenship Summit.

Connected Educator Superstars
What kind of opportunities are missed any time people have encounters like this with a Connected Educator

Without mentioning names, I was disappointed by the actions of some "edustars".  This is by no means a gripe session, or pity me, but a hopeful wake up call to them. When I tried to speak with these individuals, I couldn't help to feel judged, deemed unworthy, and looked down upon. Perhaps they were having a bad day, were tired, or just didn't care. Yet, I couldn't help to think, has this "connected celebrity status" gone to their heads? I found it sad that the mindset of "look at me" overruled "we practice what we preach, and make a positive difference in all lives." Are we not educators who preach to our students to be respectful, don't judge a book by a cover, and don't forget where you came from? 

Yes, being "connected" is creating "edu-celebrities." Yet, I can't stress it enough: remember back to your college days when you wanted to be an educator. You wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, instead of seeking personal glory. The Great, The Good and the Sad. Glen Robbins

I'll leave you with Viktor Frankle and his experiences in a Nazi Concentration camp and the value of a friendly face in amoungst the crowd and remind Connected Educators that a RT and a friendly word from them

  • Can save companies 
  • Inspire those who doubt their abilities or ability to #BeTheDigitalChange
  • See someone stop by an pitch in for a moment and have the most wonderful butterfly effect
I know this because I have experienced them all and am the better for it. Thank you Eric, Alicia, Bob and my dear friend Ramona, words truly do escape me. Thank you for believing in me. I hope I can repay the debt somehow.

"Man is ultimately self-determining…in the concentration camps…we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualised depends on decisions but not on conditions"

The $1 Million Dollar Smile Vs Insincere Friendship
The expression one wears is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.

"Charles Schwab told me his smile had been worth a million dollars…Schwab’s personality, his charm, his ability to make people like him, were almost wholly responsible for his extra-ordinary success; and one of the most delightful factors in his personality was his captivating smile.

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

…an insincere grin? No. that doesn’t fool anybody. We know it is mechanical and we resent it. I am talking about a real smile, a heart warming smile, a smile that comes from within, the kind that will bring a good price in the marketplace". (D Carnegie)

The Value of A Smile
It costs nothing, but teaches much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and natures best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is in no earthly good to anyone till it is given away.
And if anyone is too tired to give you a smile may we ask you leave one of yours?

For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give! Dale Carnegie

Mad Learning with a connected Educator

In this post I detail how and why the collaboration between Susan Bearden and Mad Learn has been the inspiration behind the idea of suppliers supporting Connected Educators to get to the inaugural #DigCitSummitUK, how the partnership is still strong after 2 years and why both educators and suppliers should check Mad Learn out. 

2013 was my first attempt at curating ISTE data.

In my Connected Educator Appreciation Day Post I highlighted that I saw the future of sales after seeing the level and extent of Word of Mouth referrals.

So what did I do after joining EdTechChat for the first month? As this was a dedicated EdTech forum I wanted to see if this was typical. I tried to curate the Tweets from all the chats over the same 6 week period.

What was I looking for? Ironically, what I was looking for is what I found this week when I asked my connected educators who they'd be happy to represent at #DigCitSummitUK.

I was looking for the great companies that educators talk about so that I could:

1) Find out what they were doing differently, and

2) Send them my resume

I did manage to down load this data (It only took a month) but didn't do too much with it... There were over 200,000 rows of Tweets, in 6 weeks... In 2013 when there were 159 chats. I dread to think how big that sheet would be today.

It's certainly a good idea if you're in EdTech sales
 I finished downloading this data in June 2013 and there was an ISTE Thingy that people were talking about... What is this ISTE thingy? Asks I, to no one at all because it was the wee small hours.

Detention for the Naughty Teachers!
For those that don't know ISTE is a very pecular form of torture which I think educators who have mis-behaved during the year get sent to for punishment, a 3 day detention for teachers.

What's that? ISTE's a good thing, that educators voluntarily go to? 13 miles walked while attending 1,028 presentations and reading 500,000 Tweets... and that's educators idea of fun? 
OK we'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

Anyway, I follow this bizzare event on Twitter and let's just say I know what life is like for a wheel on a fruit machine because that's what my eyes were doing when looking at the Twitter stream.

All these great resources but no one can read them all whether people are at the event or a group that call themselves #NotAtISTE (I know a hashtag for people who are not there! ...I think that must the stick that admins use for borderline cases, they have sit in class and are made to watch the Twitter stream until their eyes get so sore that they cry and the admin's message is "If you don't buck up your ideas next year that will be you!")

Curating ISTE Data
As with the EdChats I wonder, who's bottling all these links so people can review later? No one that I am ware of has effectively curating this data set and I've made various attempts for the last 3 years, and think I cracked it this year!

Patience with Curating ISTE data
(That post will pick up on the story from there.

The Good Guys of EdTech
My reasons for curating this was the same as the EdChats, I was looking for the good guys... Where are the bright spots at EdTech conferences?

I curated the ISTE data in 2013 and, as with the EdChats that's as far as it went, the idea was put on the "For Later" shelf (See 
An Iste Bytsie Post... with some Big Conference Data and Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom.
Lessons from Education Pioneers:
How to Lead Future Focused Change
However, I was to find the bright spot 12 months later... or more accurately, The bright spot shone so brightly that it was difficult to ignore and has been something that I have been looking to model ever since.

Tweeching Sales People
Like all Connected Educators EdTechChat Moderator Susan Bearden encourages other educators get connected, she had developed an app with her students and then thought if they can do it so can I!
Susan created the @TweechmeApp and launched at ISTE 2014.

As a salesperson who was researching the relationships between educators and EdTech suppliers looking for the problems and the solutions... Given what I was focusing on and all the research I had done this was by far and away the highlight of ISTE2014 for me!

If you don't believe me, go take a look at:

1) The Trouble with Conferences... Confessions of an EdTech Salesman 

2) How closely the #DigCitSummitUK model for getting Connected Educators to the event matches what the collaboration with Susan Bearden and Mad Learn looked like at ISTE2014.

The Future of Learning will be Co-Created
Collaboration and co-creation and then educator and supplier pitching in with the sales when "Product Market-Fit" has been achieved... The best possible advocate at an event and at the lowest possible cost.

I've kept an eye on Mad Learn since then and they have built on this successful partnership by taking a very different approach to sales...I can't imagine they put too many cold calls in.

Susan is a #DigCit Moderator and wants to come to the #DigCitSummitUK and Mad Learn is one of the companies that she would be happy to represent: Susan Bearden Fav Tech Tools.

#DigCitSummitUK's commitment to anyone supporting Connected Educators is that they'll do all they can to deliver a return on investment for this support, I would like to make a personal commitment regardless

Paying It Forward... And Backwards

Mad Learn whether you are able to support Susan with this or not, I'd like to "Pay it forward... And backwards"

I'd like to thank you for bring a bright spot that has shone so brightly that your example has guided me to here. I would like to "Pay it Backwards" by encouraging educators to take a look at what Mad Learn does.

I'd like to "Pay it Forward" by recommending to sales people and EdTech companies by suggesting that they take a look at your strategy with engaging educators.

The relationship with Mad Learn and Susan is at least 2 years old now, many working relationships might have gone sour by now... The proof is in this pudding and it appear to still be tasty, so go check out the recipe of the Mad Learn Secret sauce.

In case funding isn't forthcoming for my friend please encourage unconnected educators to download the TweechmeApp so that Susan's entrepreneurial spirit will get her here. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

#CEduAD: Thank You Connected Educators!

Five years ago I realised that the sales process was changing in Education. I noticed that tactics like phoning educators to discuss the services that I represented were becoming less and less welcome.

On the eve of the inaugural Connected Educator Appreciation Day I reflect on the instrumental role that EdChat Moderators and other Connected Educators have played with my professional development.

Connected Educators' input has allow me to achieve a lot of progress over the course of the last few weeks...without a single one of those phone calls that were proving to be annoying busy educators being made.

The last two weeks have been in the planning stages for the last 2-3 years. In this post I demonstrate how this is a direct result of Connected Educators.

Join Tim and the regulars of #KsedChat tomorrow at 8pm CST
Collaboration and Co-Creation
In 2011 I started to map UK Further Education Colleges as I wanted to make my time more productive for meetings, and also look at the idea of having an app that could help other suppliers to save time with sourcing contact details for colleges (The sharing economy is coming... EdTech may as well get #FutureReady for it).

The data and feedback from my college contacts took me in a different direction. I noticed that colleges had a significant number of commercial services and, if marketed collectively, would be amongst the largest retail chains in the UK. Instead many were marketed as "The Best Kept Secret" and during a global recession too?!

I wrote to colleges to see what they thought of some collective marketing. This email led to 230 colleges saying that they'd be interested in finding out more. I wrote a strategy document at the end there was a "confirm participation" button and would cost £500.

10 Colleges signed up to this within 3 weeks. Not a single phone call had been made and all enquiries after the first email were "Inbound"

Go Slow or Go Home
Around the same time this was going on, results from a pilot were coming through which was a small scale 1 year pilot with 3 colleges.

When we got some indicative results, we shared this with others who were interested in the initiative... The result of  sharing these results?

Five Local Authorities confirmed they'd commission a project that would cost £15,000. £75,000 was secured in 3 weeks, most of which was confirmed over the phone. Of the 1-2 meetings that I was asked to attend, we got confirmation that the project was commissioned within 1-2 days.

When it comes to the best products, people want to buy them. 
Great sales operations are no substitute for product-market fit!

Death of a Salesman
Compare this with the sales model I had been working on, and that my then employer wanted me to continue with:

1) Identify the right person to speak to
2) Arrange a phone call to discuss the idea
3) Secure an appointment
4) Present to SMT at a follow up meeting
5) Wait for a decision

This whole process could take anything from 3-6 Months or more, and has significant overheads as wages and travel costs are accrued and need to be covered.

More significantly than this, if you have a product that takes two meetings and 6-12 months to deliberate over,

How much of a "Must Have" Tech Toy is this? 

How significant is the problem that the solution promises to solve and/or how well does the companies solution solve the problem?

I asked what educators thought of the various reports that I had produced and these approaches compared to the traditional methods. The feedback was unanimous with everyone... except my then employer.

In April 2012, while researching my EdTech Report: Developing Relationships and Delivering Value, I joined the inaugral EdTechChat.

After 5 weeks I saw that my experiences were set to become mainstream. I didn't know it at the time but was later discover were inbound marketing, content marketing, social selling and community management.

My experiences in the first month of EdTechChat was that over 40 companies were mentioned 4-500 times without a sales call or rep in sight! It was all peer to peer word of mouth referrals

I cannot stress just how instrumental EdChats and Connected Educators have played with me re-skilling from Sales to Community Management.

I hope that some of these posts demonstrate the value that me being connected and listening to connected educators has been. Thank you all SOO MUCH! 

(NB A word of warning if you're new to my blog... there's the odd good idea in with some bad writing. Lol)

Mar 2013: Twitter Edchats - Chat or Change
May 2013: #EdChat Idle Twitter Chatter...Or Great CPD Forum
April 2013: Startup Education
June 2013: Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom
July 2013: An ISTE Post... with some big data
Aug 2013: Death of a Salesman...And New Edu Models
Aug 2013: Who Sells Free in Education
Sept 2013: How Online Engagement Leads to Collaboration
Oct 2013: Was Henry Ford a Connected Educator?
Oct 2013: The Connected EdChat Modarator
Oct 2013: Live Tweeting - Engaging Policy Makers and Students
Dec 2013: #StartupEduChat Meets #EdTechBridge
Jan 2014: Collaboration in Education - How can I help you achieve your goals?
Jan 2014: The Trouble with Conferences...Confessions of an EdTech Salesman
Jan 2014: Community Appreciation and Gratitude for my PLN... Esp When Going Round in Circles
Mar 2014: Community Building in FE & EDU - Building EdTechBridges
Apr 2014: The Greenwich Village of EdTech
Apr 2014: EdTech Startups & Beta EdChats - Lone Nuts or Visionaries
June 2014: EdTechBridge: Sales Matters in EdTech
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - Record, Rewind & Replay
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - Death of an EdTech Salesman
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - No Country for an Old Fashioned Educator
July 2014: Don't Leave Startups on the EdShelf
July 2014: EdChats by Numbers
July 2014: EdChat Moderators ISTE or Bust
Mar 2015: Online Abuse - I Blame the Politicans
Mar 2015: Digcit Vs the Trolls: I'm a Student Friendly Social Media Educator
Mar 2015: I'm An EdChatMod...Get me out to ISTE2015
Mar 2015: Nikki D Robertson: Bringing Tech Stories to Life
Mar 2015: An Amazing Global Edu Race: Get Craig to ISTE
Mar 2015: A Pledge to GetNikki2ISTE
Mar 2015: EdTechChat - How I met your Awesomeness
Mar 2015: EdChats... Getting Competitive?
Mar 2015: Connected Educator Day: Suppliers
June 2015: Get2ISTE2015 - Any Last Minute Support from Suppliers
June 2015: Get2ISTE2016 - Ways to Get Support During 2015
July 2015: Telling Tech Stories: Self Promotion, Self Doubt or Selling
July 2015: Blogging, Sharing New Ideas... Or Selling?
July 2015: Patience with Curating ISTE Data

Thank You Connected Educators! You Rock!

A Community Managers Best Friend
At the inaugural Community Manager Europe Twitter chat #CmgrEMEA the question "What's your faviourite #Cmgr tool" Christie Fidura gave an inspired reply "Your Ears"

Add to this that many community managers see empathy as a "must have" attribute for successful community management then the future might finally be looking a little brighter than it has over the last few years, because my Community Management training and early experiences will ensure that I never forget the value that a little Empathy can have.

Dear EdTech suppliers, 

I feel my training is complete... please give me a call if you have a great culture and product, if you listen to your users and appreciate the value of empathy and are currently looking for a "newly qualified" EdTech #Cmgr. 

A Message for the Unconnected: Paying It Forward
If there are any startups, suppliers or sales people starting out on their connected, inbound, social selling or community management journey, you may find some of these posts useful.
 If I can do anything to help with your digital journey please don't hesitate to get in touch.

PLN Please Help!
Dear PLN, If you know any suppliers who could support some of my friends with the costs to get to the UK for this event please let me know.

I've also asked my Connected Educator friends to let me know which companies they would be prepared to represent at the event


So if you are on any of these lists please get in touch to discuss the details, we think you'll like the proposal:
If you are a connected educator and are looking for funding for any projects... please get in touch and we can discuss some options.