Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Curran Curran: Kindness & Homework

Two days before Christmas, no time for a blog post... or to talk shop. I could easily use the excuse that there's only 4 weeks before the UK Digital Citizenship Summit and there's lots to do. But that's not the reason for the post... this one is personal.

There's a young lad called Curran Dee who I need to apologize to because my crazy ideas have taken a good deal of his moms time over the last few weeks.

I'll be writing to Curran privately but I wanted to let him and others know the value of kindness and doing your homework... and the role that both have had in what has become a bit of a crazy month for the people involved.

#DigCitSummitUK: The first 4 weeks
  • A Tweet and Skype call has lead to a conference being organized by crowdsourcing by a growing group of educators
  •  Has lead to the establishment of “Connected Educator Appreciation Day”
  • An event being arranged on the 23rd Jan at Bournemouth University
  • Sponsorship from Barclay’s Digital Eagles so the event will be free to delegates
  • 74 people interested in speaking at the event
  • Over 4,000 Tweets about the #DigCitSummit since the first event on the 3rd October
That was before the Thunderclap earlier in the week that reached over 600,000 Twitter accounts

I've been trying to find a home for the ideas that I've helped to implement in the last four weeks for the last 3 years, but few people wanted to know or even took a moment to listen to the ideas.

I filled out application forms for grants and sent my CV along with these ideas to various organisations and reached out to the great and the good of the Further Education Technology Action Group to share my ideas and research.

After spending two years focusing in one area of education I moved on. Pitching in and helping with the #SaveEdShelf campaign made me realise that UK Further Education Colleges wasn't the best place to try to explore these ideas.

#SaveEdShelf 12 Months Later:
A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way
I try to ensure that I "Always Show my Friendship First" and do "5 minute Favours" as and when I can. I would also have said that the kindness of three people made the last 4 weeks possible.

Ramona Pierson
In March I wrote to Ramona Pierson the Chief Executive of Silicon Valley startup Declara which was about to launch their social learning platform.

Ramona who was kind enough to reply to my letter of introduction and my crazy ideas, she and her colleagues also helped me understand why some of these ideas were not being adopted and encouraged me continue to pursue them.

Ideas can come from anybody... and anywhere
Bob Baldie
In September I wrote a post that was intentionally a little grumpy in tone. The reason for this was to see if educators in Scotland were open minded enough to engage with someone who was being slightly dismissive of the parochial outlook and the apparent waste of money on expensive consultations when initiatives in other areas were working well.

Bob Baldie was one of the people who replied to Tweets on an Education Scotland account. Bob was able to see past the snarkiness and was keen to engage with me and understand my perspective.

This led me to wonder if the culture in Scotland would be a good place to test these ideas... I was soon to find that they were not, but it only took 3 months as opposed to 2 years to discover.

Marialice Curran
Curran, your mum may have been a little busy over the last month but she has been one of the kindest, most considerate and empathetic people that I have ever met while I've been involved with education... or anywhere for that matter!
I'm not sure where it will all end up but she's achieved more in four weeks than many teams would achieve in months.

No doubt the speakers and delegates at the UK Digital Citizenship Summit will be taking about social media and technology a great deal.

One on the biggest lessons that I learned about with social media is that it's not the number of followers that you have or the technology that you use, what matters is that you engage with people in a meaningful way.

Whether online or "IRL" I keep the words of Shackleton and Emerson in mind. 

 “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.”  Shackleton

"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded" Emerson

Based on Emerson's definition I can tell you that your mom has overwhelming succeeded!

The kindness of these three people will not be forgotten in a hurry, but I would not have been able to implement any of these ideas if I had not done my homework.

If I had not listened in on EdChats like #DigCit we might not have the results that we have today. I followed #EdTechChat for over a year and a lot of the ideas being implemented at the moment came from listening to what I felt the issues were based on listening to the experts.
  • I felt bad when EdChat Moderators were not able to attend Tweetups at events like ISTE
  • I noticed how educators were getting frustrated with suppliers at conferences, but the reaction to the TweechMeApp was very different to the reaction of other suppliers
  • I saw how EdReform was more likely to come from educators and technology companies than from our "Right Honourable" politicians  
  • I saw that current sales practices were becoming more and more unwelcome and that new models would be prevalent soon... I saw the value in attempting to reskill.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I saw that the pace of change was so fast and the education/skills gap so great that the best (and possibly only) answer to this challenge is that diverse groups of reformers and change agents need to come together to discuss their ideas in a SAFE, SAVVY and ETHICAL way where everyone's views and voice is welcome.

Curran, when you're mom told me about her event and what it stood for I'd done my homework, I felt I knew what was needed and knew who to contact. I hope that my core values played a role to some extent in how the people in my PLN responded to your mom's #DigCitSummit.

I look forward to seeing you next month, in the mean time I hope you have a great Christmas and I'll leave you with the wise words of Max Ehrman.

    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible without surrender
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even the dull and the ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
    they are vexations to the spirit.
    If you compare yourself with others,
    you may become vain and bitter;
    for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
    Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

    Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
    it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
    Exercise caution in your business affairs;
    for the world is full of trickery.
    But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
    many persons strive for high ideals;
    and everywhere life is full of heroism.

    Be yourself.
    Especially, do not feign affection.
    Neither be cynical about love;
    for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
    it is as perennial as the grass.

    Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
    Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
    But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
    Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
    Beyond a wholesome discipline,
    be gentle with yourself.

    You are a child of the universe,
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here.
    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    Therefore be at peace with God,
    whatever you conceive Him to be,
    and whatever your labors and aspirations,
    in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

    With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world.
    Be cheerful.
    Strive to be happy.

    Max Ehrman

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. 

Startups, Growing Pains and Product Market Fit

"More organisations die of indigestion than starvation" David Packard

That's something that I have gotten an appreciation of this week as the UK Digital Citizenship Summit closes it's 5th Week. This post details how and why I'm going to be charting my own course for a few days in the hope that the #DigCit Ship can progress at full speed.

Two weeks ago there were 15 core supporters and today there are hundreds of people all rowing in the same direction. Today there are hundreds of people pitching in all rowing in the same direction but there can be the odd collision of people and oars as we all busy about getting stuff done.

When you've achieved product market fit then you'll scale quickly. Apple pay had 1 million activations in 72 hours. However, scaling quickly means there is a danger that the culture gets affected too and/or other issues arise.

For example, securing funding for 6-10 speakers at an event wouldn't normally be a problem... but when there are as many as 72 potential speakers 46 being from the US, it causes some challenges.
  • What's the perception from others when an event is this popular?
  • How do we deal with this and how do we short list the number of speakers? 
  • How do we find the support for those looking to attend the event with 5 weeks to go, including the Christmas break? 
Product Market Fit: Adjacent to what you're working on 
My involvement with the summit was due to me thinking of ways to assist with the Developing the Youth Workforce, an agenda where the Scottish Government's own document on the topic highlights that

"Throughout this plan it is clear that success relies on meaningful engagement with Scotland's education and employment communities"
"How to achieve better connectivity and co-operation between education and the world of work to ensure young people at all levels of education understand the expectations of employers, and that employers are properly engaged"
But when you try to deliver this and people question the motives without getting the facts and cite things like 

"This is starting to look to like an idea being led by an attempt to 'fix the EdTech sales process' as you put it, more so than advancing a socially beneficial agenda around citizenship, togetherness and ethics"

After spending 2 years playing politics in UK Further Education, as this is coming from an area of education which, on the week it ends it's consultation on Digital Learning sees educators discussing industrial action and the government coming under fire for budget cuts affecting education, it's perhaps best to leave the politics to the politicians. 

This political wrangling led to the organisers to see that Product Market Fit was adjacent to the original plan, as is so often the case. The Twitter founders started out with podcasting and Twitter was a side project.

Iterating to Product Market Fit
As the Digital Citizenship Summit is all about diversity the organisers realised that having an event around the same time and location as BETT would be ideal for UK and overseas educators, as well as for speakers and delegates who are non-educators. This is a decision that was taken two weeks ago and since then things have gone a bit crazy.

Scaling an Idea
DigCitSummit has already proven the concept that they have a great and unique event. Co-Founder Marialice Curran reached out to me to discuss scaling the idea. Rightly or wrongly I suggested that an event could be organised in a crazily short period of time.

We've done that. We've organised the UK Digital Citizenship Summit in 4 weeks... but scaling has had it's challenges.

I have tagged my interest in improving educator/EdTech relations onto this event by looking to see if we can use crowdfunding from suppliers to provide educators with professional development opportunities that would not otherwise be available to them. I've suggested that suppliers funding the travel costs.

I've seen the rationale as being both sound as it is based on "Finding the bright spot" with educators and suppliers and have seen this as part of Digital Citizenship... but it appears to have confused matters, quite possibly affected the Digital Citizenship brand and most definitely has caused some unnecessary delays.

Cost Vs Benefit
Some advocates of Digital Citizenship details crowdfunding is an impressive example of digital citizenship (See the answer to Question 5 in this article), so felt there was synergy with what I had seen at education conferences and this event.

But when it's 46 educators looking to attend the event, I can see how this might be seen as more about generating revenue than about Digital Citizenship.

It is frustrating that I have either not articulated my experiences well enough and/or that critics have chosen to spend more time talking about me rather than to me.

I have made a commitment to the Digital Citizenship Summit team and to my connected educator friends. Therefore I will continue to support the summit and will continue with trying to raise funds so that some US Connected Educators can attend BETT and the summit.

The reasons for securing this funding and trying to get these educators to these events have been well documented and make sense to the educators who are supportive of these ideas.

Anyone who is not aware of this rationale is happy to get in touch, but you'll forgive me if it takes a while for me to come back to you... I'm going to be a little busy over the next few days.

I believe that #DigCitSummit Co-Founder will be writing a post to clarify the summits position on the issue of the event and crowdfunding.

I'm now going to spend a few days, independently of the Digital Citizenship brand to see if I can develop some ideas that I've had around crowdfunding and professional development. 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Connected Educators: The Greatest Team in the World

DigCitSummit Co-Founder Marialice Curran is a baseball and ice hockey fan so I'll open this post with just about all I know about both sports regarding where we are at with our plans for #DigCitSummitUK... and where we're going to be.

It's the bottom of ninth in terms of funding and just as a good hockey player plays where the puck is... a great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.

I've spent the last three years working on ideas in EdTech, not on where things are at the moment but where they are going to be.

It is my belief that Edu/EdTech relations could be better in a number of ways, and the level of collaboration between Declara, Schoolology and Buncee staff with #DigCitSummitUK is a great example of this.

Two years of exploring these idea were spent in UK Further Education Colleges where the ideas went absolutely nowhere... No one wanted to know.

Then I achieved more in 4 weeks with US Connected Educators than I did in two years in UK FE and I got an understanding of one of the many wise words of wisdom that David DeWald has provided me with while I've endeavoured to re-skill from sales to Community Management.

I've been criticised by a number of people and groups for making #DigCitSummitUK  a US-centric event, but this is my reason for doing this. In my experience, US Connected Educators use Twitter in a different way to many in the UK. 

People are welcome to disagree with this statement, but I can cite plenty of examples to back this comment up if anyone wishes to discuss this further... Including the fact that I sent the same information to my many UK Education contacts that I did to US Educators in my PLN. 

I wish some of these same people and groups the best of luck... because from what I can see there simply isn't a viable community, so can see their efforts not going very far... but is something that US Connected Educators could greatly assist with (Especially given the story behind this particular event).

If anyone wants to explore the difference I've found between UK FE and US/International experiences please feel free to check out:
Over the last three years there has been plenty of trial and error... and more failed projects that I'd care to mention. But not this time! Not this game!

We're Gonna Shut this one down!
What's different this time? For some reason that I can't quite figure out, people are listening to my crazy ideas and some have invested a great deal of time exploring and developing this one.

I said to Marialice that we could arrange a UK Digital Citizenship Summit in January to assist with Scotland Developing the Youth Workforce while BETT was on in January so delegates and speakers could attend and would give sponsors a presence at two events.

We've done that! We've done that in 4 weeks and with 4 weeks to spare... Thanks to John McAlaney stepping up when others were procrastinating, we have the venue.

The event will be free to attend thanks to the support of Barclays Bank and their Digital Eagles project.
We have 65 educators and industry experts interested in speaking at the event

We've created some noise on social media as a group of volunteer pirates have fitted the planning in around their day jobs... not to mention their Christmas plans and the extra-curricular activity that comes from being a connected Educator like Marialice Curran, Julie Szaj and Craig Kemp and 9 other EdChat moderators hosting their chats.

So while I may have failed with projects in the past, these projects have never taken up so many people's time as this one has.

Failing with this project will mean that a number of concepts will not be proven and opportunities will be lost. So, it might not be tonight... But,

We're Gonna Shut this one down!  

There's another reason that this one is different... Because I'm batting with and for one of the best teams in the world: The Team of Amazing Connected Educators.

Whether educator or supplier, watch this space re: How to get involved.

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 Marialice Curran (#DigCit), 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, 14 December 2015

#DigCitSummitUK: Sponsorship & Delivering an ROI

Today we embark on week 5 of the #DigCitSummitUK journey which started off as a two people sharing a post in Twitter, arranging a Skype call to discuss the area of shared interest... and then arranging a conference in six weeks time.

Last week was a case of assessing if the interest was there from a speaker and delegate perspective. Today we have 64 speakers interested in taking part, and notifications were pinging off all over the place last Monday when we announced the venue and speakers due to the number of ReTweets etc.

There were 235 Tweets posted on #DigCitSummitUK last Monday (7th December), messages that were retweeted 1,175 times.

Since the first #DigCitSummit on 3rd October I sourced over 4,000 Tweets related to Marialice Curran and David Ryan Polgar's Digital Citizenship events with over 500 people Tweeting about these Digital Citizenship events.

Twitter & Skype Thunderclap 
Tomorrow at 2pm GMT/9am ET a message will go out to demonstrate how supportive the #DigCitSummit community is for Twitter and Skype to get involved with this event.

Not only are they the platforms that were the catalyst for this event, but they are universal tech toys that are part of every connected educators tool box.

Show your Friendship First... Or Delivering an ROI?
The synergy with these two organisations at the Digital Citizenship Summits is obvious, as is the story of An Amazing Skype call with a Connected Educator a compelling tale for connected educators to help with their on-going mission to get the unconnected plugged in. 

The organisers of the summit are keen to see diversity and collaboration.

When we added my assessment of what might be needed in Scottish Education regarding getting educators connected, Developing the Youth Workforce and my interests in Educator/EdTech relations (especially at conferences, see Mad Learning with a Connected Educator) we discussed who to invite to the Summit... and how to get them here. For me the quickest, best and most cost effective solution was to get some connected educators involved. But how to demonstrate the value of this?
  • Helping Anthony Doyle get a reach of 1.4 million people with his 300 followers (See DigCitSummit Twitter Reach and ROI), 
  • This Twitter/Skype Thunderclap 
  • Curating this #DigCitSummit Twitter data
We hope that we have been "showing our friendship first" while demonstrating our desire (and ability) to deliver a return on investment for any financial support for this event.

Edu/Supplier Relations & A Return on Relationship
When I heard about how different the atmosphere was at the first DigCitSummit, I had a fair idea of why it was a different experience... I also had a fair idea of how and why this would soon be lost if the sponsorship format was the same as other events with sales people invading the bloggers cafe etc. 

I thought I'd try something different... and ambitious.

I have asked people who will need financial support to name any companies that they would be happy to advocate for at BETT and the DigCitSummitUK.

We a list of 255 companies that overseas speakers and delegates would be happy to advocate for with a view to delivering a Return on Investment at BETT and #DigCitSummit.

What would this Return on Investment look like? I'm not about to speak on behalf of the #DigCitSummit brand or the 60+ Connected Educators about 255 tools, some of which I've never heard of... let alone used. 

So here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to lay out a potential value proposition and then encourage these educators to go and collaborate and co-create with these companies.

Value Proposition
It would be fantastic to get Connected Educators to two events in the UK and a lot of these educators have identified up to 20 companies that they would be happy to advocate for.

If 4 companies were to contribute £1,000 that would come in at a cost of £250 per event. If the company already had a stand at BETT then the Connected Educator would be able to stop by the stand for an hour or so and give a demo of their product. As word of mouth referrals are the best method of sales this could have quite an impact. 

Or, if the company is a startup and/or was focusing on US educators then this could be a cost effective way to get to BETT and find more UK educators and/or some early adopters if this was a relatively new solution to UK educators. A number of companies covering the travel costs for an educator is 

The best possible representative at the lowest possible cost

 And could be ideal for any US based companies who would not otherwise be at the event.  

Co-creation and ROI
We are encouraging educators to reach out to these suppliers to see if there would be an interest in supporting them with this event, and to then have a discussion regarding ways that any support could deliver an ROI. For anyone who sees this as an exercise in generating income is to miss the point.

Anyone who has followed any of my work will realise the extent to which I have seen the sales process in education is flawed and/or how important I feel developing relationships is... It is the start point for anyone aspiring to create EdTech products/services that are fit for purpose.

Working in this way ie Developing Relationships and Delivering Value for all stakeholders is what I have been working on for the last few years.

Underwriting an ROI?
At a cost of £250-1000 per event for two conferences over the course of 4 days, AS WELL AS the kind of results we have delivered online while planning this event, we are confident that an ROI and ROR is possible.

In case this is not achieved then maybe the DigCitSummit brand who have events planned in Spain and Australia could ensure that value is delivered. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

#DigCitSummitUK: Twitter Reach & ROI

This is the first post were Team DigcitSummitUK details how and where suppliers might expect to get a return on investment if they support some of the Connected Educators who are looking to set sail on the DigCit Ship in January.

Schoolology's Anthony Doyle, Director of Sales UK, had 0 followers on Twitter just over a week ago... today he has 300 followers and a reach of just under 1.5 million accounts.

Ships Log
While working on my startup plans and pitching in to help Education Scotland with their Digital Learning consultation, I've also been keeping an eye out for opportunities with innovative EdTech companies... but there are not many opportunities and I've still been in transition from sales to Community Management.

I notice on LinkedIn that Schoolology is hiring sales people in the UK, it's finally happened! Innovative US EdTech is making it's way over the the UK... I fill out the application form and send my CV etc off.

When all the EdTech incubators starting sprouting up I noticed that these companies were doing things differently and educators were expecting a different kind of engagement. With no community management jobs in Scotland and few EdTech companies, I've been reskilling on a voluntary basis.

Anthony Doyle (Director of Sales UK) invited me to connect on LinkedIn... Aye, aye thinks I, that could be a promising development.

Anthony asks if we could have a skype call on Friday 27th November for a chat, I ascertain if this has got anything to do with my job application or as a new connection on LinkedIn and to discuss my research in Scotland and/or the UK Digital Citizenship Summit.

The reason I ask this is because this is the end of week 1 of #DigCitSummit and I'm feeling a little woosy from being so tired.

Technology fails me twice, Skype isn't working as I've got a bad connection, and my old Blackberry isn't up for chatting today (It has off days like that).

What a Sails Guy!
I race home to have a chat with Anthony and it's one of those rambling chats about some of my faviourite topics. Anthony is in sales but he's also spent 15 years in UK Further Education colleges where he innovated on a number of projects.

Like many he found the pace of change slow and eventually jumped ship to join the world of Tech companies where he sold in a way that the best companies do, through co-creation and collaboration.

New toTwitter... But Not Anymore!
After the call Anthony gave me a mention on Twitter and he had no followers. Interesting thought I... Maybe #DigCitSummitUK could use this to show that there would be a Return on Investment to any companies that supported US Educators and speakers to attend the event.

Today Anthony has 300 followers... But guess what? As of today he has a reach of 1,472,464 people. That's impressive! Anthony Doyle's Twitter Followers (27th Nov - 8th Dec)

Reach Vs Hard to Reach Vs Marketing Gimmick
Now this could easily be nothing more than a "We'll get you 5,000 followers marketing gimmick" if it was not for two very important points;

1) Schoolology has been included in #DigCitSummitUK's list of companies that speakers would be happy to represent while they are in the UK and Marialice Curran and Jesse Lubinsky both included the company on the list.

Furthermore Marialice was one of Schoolology's early ambassadors when the company was starting out.

2) This is Anthony's target market, these are the people he would like to engage and connect with to discuss his product and any new developments with.

#DigCitSummitUK Reach & ROI 
So getting Anthony a following of 300 connected educators in just over a week has made it easier for him to connect with his target audience. This could save on marketing budget and the "cost per customer acquisition" and any savings here could be re-diverted into covering the costs for a connected educator to go to the event.

This is not to suggest that Schoolology do this... I saw this as an opportunity for a case study in one area of how supporting the #DigCitSummitUK Crew could provide an ROI.

Now Anthony has been an absolute star since he started pitching in with this event... I wonder if we can all pull together to get him up to 500 by the end of the day? ;)

This is one example of many... more like it to follow.

If you are on this#DigCitSummitUK's list please feel free to get in touch and we'll let you know more while we continue to get organised.

Monday, 7 December 2015

DigCit Ship: 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"

DigCit Ship: On Boarding The Crew
3rd October: #DigCit EdChat Moderator Maialice Curran (@mbfxc) and David Ryan Polgar (@TechEthisist)host the inaugural #DigCitSummit 

9th November: I share a #DigCit post with Marialice Curran, she asks in myself and author of the post Malcolm Wilson can arrange a Skype call to discuss a UK Digital Citizenship Summit

16th November: Myself and Marialice Curran had An Amazing 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 the #BeTheDigitalChange movement, 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 #DigCitSummit. 

Today (Monday 7th Dec) this included share the last call for speakers: #DigCitSummitUK: Date & Venue Survey and any details that Marialice shares 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 talked the #BeTheDigitalChange talk and Turned their Twitter profile DigCitSummutUK Pirate

4) Follw the companies on this list #DigCitSummitUK: 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
The culture with Team DigCitSummitUK has been the best that I've ever been involved with, creating conditions like this is relatively easy... a lot harder as we scale to 100-130 people this week, and a lot more beyond that.

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 (Marialice), 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 DigCit Ships articles? Will everyone sign up to whatever code that Captain Curran agrees with her crew? 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 Marialice & 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 Your Awesomeness: #DigCit

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 Marialice and Julie 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