Monday, 23 March 2015

A Pledge: Get Nikki To ISTE (#GetNikki2ISTE)

NB For those of you who have been following this ongoing discussion on my blog and are not in the mood for another essay, and want the short version please see: You Are Invited to Change EdTech… Like Nikki Robertson Did 

The interest in finding support for EdChat Moderators, podcasters and other educators who host weekly/monthly sessions and share best practice, has been extremely well received by all stakeholders. This is my fourth, final and, in my opinion, the most compelling argument in favour of this idea.

With four posts on the same topic it might seem to some educators that I am trying to force this idea a little now. This is not the case. I have listened to the educators in my PLN and any educators who come back to me with feedback. All input has been positive so I've continued to explore the idea.

But this idea is unchanged from 10 months ago, when I first suggested it. The only thing that is different is that "Group conditions has put 'social proof' in favour of the idea," which translates as Nikki's work was unobjectionable. Last year the detractors were the most vocal group, this time the proponents have been more prominent... So what now?.

It is time to ask, is this just "An interesting idea" but not interesting enough to do anything about? Do we leave it to others to explore? Just be an impartial observer and see what happens? Or does everyone pitch in and help out? Would you get involved if it only took you 5 mins to make a big difference? Here's my last and best attempt at;

"Taking the raw information to see if a substantial number of group members can be convinced enough to take action" Robert Cialdini

While I have continued to explore this, am actually impartial either way, I have a ton of other ideas to explore... and this one has already failed the stress test once before. Will it again? It's over to others after this post:

All feedback has been positive about the idea. However, I have heard some examples that makes the original proposal ie brands that educators like supporting educators financially so they can go to ISTE, problematic. Here are three examples.

Nikki Robertson (@NikkiDRobertson; EdChat: #TLChat) helped a startup who had no presence within the education community to become well known because she liked the services so much. Her evangelising was so effective that the organisation just might never need a sales person in education, as a result.

However, this is a startup she helped so may not be in a position to cover the costs. Nikki has had such a big impact on me that I simply must #GetNikki2ISTE, but I'm not even a startup... still trying to iterating my way to "Product Market Fit" (2 years and counting. Sigh). So I need some alternative options.

Louise Morgan (@MrsMorgansClass; EdChat: 2ndChat) has also demo'd products for startups and, while she thought that getting costs to ISTE covered by these companies was a good idea, she did not feel that any one of them had the money to pay $1-2,000. Oh! The life of a startup founder!

An Amazing Global Edu Race: Get Craig to ISTE
The solution I thought up for this has its origins as a throw away comment that turned into a "Big Audacious Goal" of getting a Moderator who is based in Singapore to ISTE (See An Amazing Global Edu Race: Get Craig to ISTE).

It turns out that this solution could also work for Nikki, Louise and any educator who did't like the idea of involving brands. Let's just do some crowd funding for these hard working moderators! This way anyone can contribute any amount: EdChat Participants and regulars, brands, schools contributing PD budgets, Superintendents to thank educators for going above and beyond.

On Pledge Cents website they say they are "An Educators quick and easy solution to classroom funding" sounds ideal for this kind of thing... and, just like Nikki did with Nurph, educators would be helping a startup.

But there is a huge barrier with this entire concept, the recipient most probably wouldn't open an account. They won't ask for, or accept, help. So what do we do? Give up? Have this sales person force the issue further? Nope, I think I'll take ISTE keynote speaker, Adam Bellow's advice;

"Acknowledge these are challenges and then see them as opportunities... that's what a Start up would do. It's a challenge... and we're going to over come it. 

And here's how... because we can continue to build the world that we want and we need, because nothing is impossible. Adam Bellow. ISTE2013 Keynote

Problem: Educators are "Selfless Givers" and don't like asking for help.
Solution: The people they support in chats also happen to be "selfless givers"

Both will want to collect on behalf of the other person and, if it can't be resolved, there may be a "Selfless Giver Stand Off" Stalemate! So we simply give any money generated to the moderators' class. 

We can Continue to Build the World we Want
Adam Bellow's keynote invited you to change the world. Well I want to see a world with decent EdTech in our classrooms. I want a world where educators spend less time on pointless calls for tech that clearly isn't fit for purpose, as it has to be "Sold" not "Bought"

I have a reasonable idea on how to do this, but it will involve a world that sees suppliers and educators on the same side! I also want educators to help with the sales efforts of companies who do great work, and sales people to be valued collaborators... And when I watched ISTE two years ago I was told nothing is impossible.

Selfless Givers
Selfless givers don't ask for help, they can be unlikely to accept help when it's offered, they prefer to constantly play the role of the "giver." Obviously this is commendable... but it can also be lead to burnout. Does anyone who has been to ISTE think that this would be a potential cure for this? A chance to recharge the batteries and get energised by spending time with like minded people?

Moderators may like the sound of an "ISTE not bust" idea, and may even recommend other moderators to try it, but if my hunch is right... few will instigate this themselves.

So, as a salesman, what do I do? Look to remove the objection. How?

Simply bypass the decision maker and make the appeal to other selfless giver's in their PLN and present the idea to them instead! But how do I reach them? Cold Calling? Nah! It's too annoying and time consuming, and I wouldn't be able to find the "early adopters"?

Social Proof
This is my 4th post on this idea so I'm starting to feel meddlesome, and it's becoming time consuming too! I write about these crazy ideas, but I don't actually expect anyone to take them seriously! So I am now behind schedule with my crazy idea quota! Thanks a lot Nikki! Giving me all this extra work!
Lol ;)

OK, so what's the difference between this idea 10 months ago and today? Only one thing, other people got behind it. Nikki might not realise this but, by removing every objection possible, she "arranged group conditions" to a favour position.

"No leader can hope to persuade, regularly and single handedly, all the members of the group. A forceful leader can reasonably expect, however, to persuade some sizable portion of group members. Then the raw information that a substantial number of group members has been convinced can, by itself, convince the rest. Thus the most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favour" Robert Cialdini

Nikki did all the selling while I sat back and relaxed until the "raw information" was there, then I tried "to convince a substantial number of people" with the best "value proposition" possible (And it sure did beat cold calling! I had my feet on the desk while Nikki was out pounding the pavement).

Now, can we arrange "group conditions" for a second time so every moderator gets behind this? That's some "ask" you know! They are just too selfless. But, hang on a minute... what if, what if... We wrote to moderators and reminded them of the early says of their chat? And if that doesn't work, we can send a note to the chat regulars.

Dear Moderator,
Do you remember those early days of the chat? Remember how it was just 3 of you chatting amongst yourselves for an hour every week? It felt like pulling teeth some days, didn't it?

Can you imagine how much worse those lonely chats would have been without those "First Followers" who, Geoffrey Moore would argue, is just as important as you were with gaining momentum. We get an idea of this via the fact that almost 100 EdChats have been abandoned... Could this have been your chat without him/her?
Image result for geoffrey moore leaderships lessons from dancing guy
EdChat Moderators where would you're chat be without that loyal, invaluable 1st Follower?
Arrange a Pledge Cents account for them to go to ISTE if you don't want to
How about you subscribe to this idea, but let one of your first follower(s) go to ISTE? Yes? No? OK, Plan B.

Dear EdChat Regular
I have a bit of a challenge, your moderator(s) has/have selflessly given up their time each week/month to help support their community. The time and value of what they do cannot be underestimated, here are two examples, one around impact and one regarding the value of the free time they give up over the course of the year.

We'd like to reward your moderator for their hard work by contributing towards their trip to ISTE. We would also like him/her to be there so we can help drive the Connected Educator agenda forward by getting as many EdChat Moderators in the same place as the same time, for an EdChatMod Tweetup, where we will share best practice, lessons learnt over the last 12 months and discuss some ideas for the year ahead.

However... We understand that costs are an issue for some moderators, and they are so selfless that they would rather stay at home, than explore some interesting ideas to help raise the funds to get them here. So I was wondering if you might help us out with...

A Pledge to do us a "5 Minute Favour" 
We would appreciate it if you could open a Pledge Cents account (If you don't already have one... I know a lot of educators do), and open an campaign to send your moderator to ISTE...then share this with other regulars of the chat (Might want to do this without your moderator knowing, it's an #ISTE2015Pledge black op).

We have no idea if this will or won't work but, if it does there may be a chance that your moderator won't accept the funds raised for ISTE. In that case we will;

1) Ask the Moderator if he/she would like to nominate co-Moderators or regular participant
2) If neither accept any funds for an ISTE trip any money raised will be donated to the moderator(s) class(es)

I wanted to find a way of acknowledging EdChat moderators contribution... but I'm a rubbish salesperson! An educator has outshone me with her sales ability recently... So I thought you might be able to help we with this sales challenge too.

Oh and, just like Nikki did, if you were able to do this favour, you would also be helping a startup, who has been doing good work, to reach more educators too... Do you feel like helping Pledge Cents in the same way Nikki helped Nurph?
EdTechBridge Favour
Mr Isaacs, I wonder if I might be able to ask yet another favour. I would like to see if this crowd funding idea can get Nikki to ISTE. 

I'm not an educator so I would not be able to open a Pledge Cents account for her, please could you do this and, as you have connections within education and education suppliers, any chance you could raise awareness by making people aware of a #GetNikki2ISTE hastag that I've used when sharing this post?

I know that educators were extremely generous to EdShelf when Alicia Lenoard put in an "ask"... So I hope your EdTech supplier contacts will be equally as supportive with this. 

Also, I am not sure how convincing an argument I've put forward for individual chats to get behind this.Therefore, maybe you could organise a second Pledge Cents account, and collect money for some sort of #ISTE2015Pledge fund centrally. This way you could share any contributions raised with any moderators who are struggling with the costs?

You're Invited to Change the World
I wasn't at ISTE13 but I was mesmorised by Adam Bellow's Keynote, were you there? No? Couldn't afford it, huh? Can you imagine being there live? The energy? Wow!

Well I've done all I can with all this ISTE fund thing, I've put my best sales argument forward for why it's a good idea and have tried to address any objections. I've used all the wiley sales psychology I know.

So, if these selfless giving educators still don't want any help to get to ISTE, maybe the timing just isn't right. Did I mention I was quite patient and won't force any ideas? As I've mentioned, this is the 4th ISTE post now and that feels to me like I'm being a bit of a "pushy salesman".

So, I've one last thing to do. I am going to exercise some poor social media etiquette by "hashtag bombing" some EdChats, with a sales Tweet to see if EdChat regulars will get behind this. Then I'm off to focus on some of other crazy ideas, one of which involves some research and transcribing Adams Bellow's ISTE Keynote. Want to compare what I have transcribed so far, then compare it with what I have done to get support for this idea?

"There's an army here... The people in your social networks and your personal networks will be your allies" Let's take a risk and use some humour here, shall we? 

1297 Fighting Educator:"This is our army, to join it you must be a teacher"
Rebellious Salesman:"I give homage to students and "Common Cents", and if this is your army, why does it go"
1297 Fighting Educator: We didn't come to EdChats to talk to sales people
1297 Fighting Educator: "Go home you only care about pounds and pennies!"
Rebellious Salesman: "Sons of EdChats... I am a salesman!
1297 Fighting Educator: "Salesmen are smooth and smarmy"
Rebellious Salesman: "Yes I've heard, and pockets commission in the $100s, and if he were here he could sell Pearsons PARCC tests to you! I AM A SALESMAN! And I see a whole army of educators here on Twitter, will you help?

Nothing is impossible. Know where to ask for help, go to that personal learning network. Nikki Robertson has signposted how much of the impossible, is now possible. I've asked for help to build on this.

...over the last few days hopefully you've been able to meet, greet and grow those networks of people. Not if you were not there because you couldn't afford it, you didn't... 

Listen to people who not only agree with you but challenge you as well. I challenge you to come back with any objections you have about any of these posts or this idea.

Because I think that personal learning networks are great that way, you can accomplish anything. If you don't know how to do something at your school, Tweet it out, ask for help. I did but they didn't help!

Tom Whiby says that 200,000 people are on Twitter, active educators, so that's a lot of people, guys. (*Sound of Calculator* $10 X 200,000/ ISTE Costs = WOW!) 

There's power and safety in numbers ... you can tweet almost to anybody, but get out of the echo chamber, we have to leave the echo chamber we can't just talk to ourselves we need to collaborate. (CooWee... Over here, no we're infectious, we're just sales people)

In the real world cheating is called collaboration...You are only as valuable as the people you are connected to. What will we do with this potential, the we, the us. (Right all you lovely educator connections... How valuable are ya? Let's see the colour of your money! What? You're educators and you've no money? Well what value is that to a greedy commission obsessed salesman? ;) Could you reach out to any suppliers who have got loads of money

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