Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Corporation Vs The Selfless Giver

This post looks at the whether any gaps between educators and suppliers is down to the different personalities that "The Corporation" exhibits and how this is different to the "Selfless Giver" nature of educators.

The reason for raising this now is because a few US educators have been so keen to support people in their PLN that they have booked flights and accommodation out of their own pocket. This "Selfless Giving" is such an admirable quality of educators, but do some groups take advantage of this personality trait?

The Kindness Agenda
As well as educators putting their hand in their own pocket to cover the costs of flights I've sent an update to people that I've sent each year for a couple of year now which is to ask How can I help you achieve your goals. Here's the reaction to the post when I first did this two years ago:

I thought that having spent the last 7 weeks assisting with a project that started out as a Tweet might demonstrate that this is a serious and genuine offer, so decided to try again.

There was still the odd "What's the catch" reply but there were also a lot more really nice replies too, and it looks like some exciting new collaboration might be a result of this in the not too distant future.

I also have a little more or an understanding as to why the Edu/EdTech gap might exist.

"The Corporation"
In the documentary "The CorporationDr Robert Hare, consultant to the FBI on psychopaths, highlights how a corporation exhibits all the symptoms and traits of a psychopath... except "there is no soul to save or body to incarcerate"
When we then add to this the findings from Kevin Dutton and his research on 10 Careers with the Most Psychopaths the top spot goes to CEOs.

"The corporate lexicon is full of bloodthirsty metaphors. Business is cutthroat; those who succeed are sharks; and they are making a killing. What better place for a psychopath to really shine? Lots of CEOs are perfectly lovely, I'm sure, but study after study suggest that 4% of them - four times as many people as in the general population - qualify as psychopaths" Kevin Dutton via 10 Careers with the Most Psychopaths.

When we throw the technology sector into the mix and the conversation about Technologies Man Problem and the issue of alpha male personalities in leadership positions, and controversies like when GitHub Founder resigns after investigation, we can see how there is a mis-match between "The Corporation" and some boardroom antics and educators.

NB With regard to the corporate lexicon and educators calls for EdRefom I argue that the sentiment is the same but the different language that is used to convey the need for change gets lost in translation in my Startup Education post.

Educators: Selfless Givers
One of the roles that you are least likely to find people with psychopathic traits is in education, here we tend to find people who fit the "Selfless Giver" profile.

"Selfless givers feel uncomfortable receiving support... they are determined to be in the helper role, so they 
are reluctant to burden or inconvenience others. Selfless givers receive far less support which proves psychologically and physically costly" Adam Grant, Give and Take.

The psychological and physical costs here for educators include leaving the sector due to burnout. I have discussed this with a number of educators, including EdChat Moderators and Connected Educators kindly agreed for me to detail what the value that this "Selfless Giving" has been to others.

We estimate that the time and added value that she has put into helping others could be in the $100,000 over a 5 year period.

EdChat Moderation
I've estimated in previous posts that, based on US Educator rate of pay, spending 2-3 hours on an EdChat would be $3,213-6,114 per annum, would be $16,065-30,570 over a 5 year period.

The value of moderators and their communities who support educators to prevent teachers from leaving due to burnout? Unknown, but probably significant.

EdTech Advocacy & Ambassador Programs
The connected educators I spoke to have been involved on a number of ambassador programs which have included;
  • Time to create and maintain resources on the tech platform
  • Travel to attend meetups
  • Advocating for the technology in her pre-service teacher lectures and her PLN
  • Creating opportunities that either would not have existed for the EdTech companies.

    Being a "Gold standard sponsor" at some conferences can be as much as $40,000. But an educator getting a presentation accepted to discuss how they use their faviourite tech could easily deliver more value than this kind of expenditure. 
  • Every semester for the last 10 years someone that I spoke to got her entire graduate educator class to explore and adopt a new tech tool 
Some people have done some of these activities for countless companies over the last 10 years.The value in terms of time put in and their saving the tech company on overheads and/or assisting with their sales efforts could easily be in excess of $20,000 per annum.

Digital Citizenship Summit
The first Digital Citizenship Summit took a year to plan and was up to 40 hours per week were put into the event US event, and the UK event has certainly been a full time job for the last 8 weeks!

Tech and Classroom Supplies 
This Forbes article highlights how Teachers Spend their own money on back to School supplies, but as a Tech enthusiast who's job involves discussing the latest technology with pre-service teachers this amount is in excess of this figure and I expect it will be for a lot of tech savvy connected educators too.

So you do all this advocacy work taking time out of your already busy schedule and add value to the companies AND THEN pay for tech out of your own pocket too?!

Unpaid Class Related Labour 
And last but by no means least, there is the unpaid labour that goes into all the TLC that educators give their students £7 billion in unpaid labour in the UK.

I don't think anyone will be surprised to see Civil Servants featuring on the 10 Careers with the Most Psychopaths list, if you expect politicians to care about educators in the same way that educators care about their students then, in my experience, you're in for a disappointment!

To hear that a few US educators have decided to pay for their flights and accommodation out of their own pocket, a completely unexpected cost so soon after Christmas, due to a project that I've been involved with is a bit of an issue for me... Particularly given my previous efforts with exploring crowdfunding educators PD with #Get2ISTE.

It is fantastic that members of people's PLN are willing to do this! It really is something else! And another example of how Twitter is not just some pointless random chat, but leads to meaningful collaboration.

I will do everything that I can to get these costs recouped somehow, and hope that planning the event around the BETT Show might assist with this.

These educators are also EdChat moderators and will have probably put in a similar amount of work detailed above, but this event has been schedule to coincide with the BETT Show to give every chance possible of any financial support to help these educators with travel costs would be recouped with a Return on Investment.

We are expecting to announce the first few companies who will be sending two people to the UK for this event, I'm off to engage a few other suppliers to see what happens.

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