Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Curating ISTE2016 Data... Some Suggestions

This time last year I watched a BBC News interview with formidable startup lady Ramona Peirson who was being interviewed for International Women's Day. I tuned in on the interview so I could let the Minority Women in Tech #DigiDiverse #SXSWEdu presenters know about how Ramona was taking on Silicon Valley and Technology's Man Problem on... And was winning!

Today's post involves these same two groups as I thought I'd provide an update on my attempts to curate data from events like #SXSWEdu and ISTE 12 months after being introduced to this awesome team.

In the closing ISTE2015 keynote, Josh Stumpenhorst implored educators not to let the enthusiasm, the excitement, the wonderment dissolve on the plane ride back to 'normal life'    
This is a sentiment that I agree with (But also one where I know how and why it's easy to have this excitement in a setting with like minded tech enthusiasts, but may be a little more challenging to do in "normal life"). To help to keep the ISTE excitement alive post conference I have tried to curate some of the links from ISTE so people can explore and to build on any promising ideas back at the ranch in normal life..
During ISTE2015 I started to cuate conference data using the most promising platform that I've found to date, Declara.

Through curating this data I found 5 posts that make the effort of trying to organise all the links well worthwhile:

What's frustrating is wondering how many other links are being missed because thousands of educators are sharing their great ideas at a pace that's simply too fast to curate in any meaningful way... never mind trying to consume in real time!

I started to curate some of the links that were shared during 2015 on Declara and when Ramona heard what I was trying to achieve, her and the team automated the process for me. Obviously this was a fantastic development but, unfortunately, whether curating these links in excel (As I tried to do in 2013) or Declara last year... the data is too big for one person to be able to curate and make sense of.

With the ISTE sessions going live and with the early bird prices being available, I thought I'd do a little prep to try to figure this conundrum out, which led to some interesting pre-conference findings.

Did you know that...

The session descriptions for the 1,053 ISTE sessions include 671,950 words and 3,112 links as well as a number of references to books and journal articles etc.

The session description for the 1,368 ISTE2015 sessions include 876,731 words and 3,454 links.

But how many of these links are duplicated? Which sites are the most referenced? ...And how many delegates have explored the details of all these session and all the fantastic background information that the presenters have put together?

Kudos to Kevin Thomas, Pamela Redmond and Julie Lindsay who have been extremely thorough with their due diligence and have between 4,125 and 6,125 words for their sessions.

Online Global Collaborative Educators and Pedagogical Change

iKinder, Do You?

Hold the Phone! High School Students’ Perceptions on Mobile Phone Integration

Over the last few days I have been curating these ISTE session background links in these two collections

ISTE2016 Sessions - All Links
ISTE2016 Session Collections (Curated details from 100 sessions so far)
ISTE2015 Sessions - All Links

I've done this to try to figure out if and how Declara might be able to be used to curate the ISTE2016 links.

As coincidence would have it, one potential solution might be what I did for Sarah Thomas prior to the first Digital Diversity #SXSWEdu presentation.

When I heard about the presentation I mentioned that I'd read about a few studies that helped to raise the grades for minorities as well as some of the issues around technology's "Man Problem" as the New York Times article above calls it. I shared these resources with Sarah, and believe that some of the material was incorporated into the presentation.

During the three days of ISTE there will be so many links that are shared that it will be difficult to keep up, what if we spread this out a little bit?

Could any material that might be overlooked because of all the noise be shared earlier, which may even be incorporated into the presentation?

Could this lead to developing a relationship with the presenter and other attendees before the event?

Could this lead to more people attending the session?

If any post-session blog posts that were written about the session were all in the same place lead to more speaking engagements for the presenters?

Could the Declara collections I've curated help convince admins and superintendents to cover the costs of educators going to ISTE? How and why might this be the case? Let's ask Atari Founder, Nolan Bushnell:

"Too often, I hear about companies that frown on their employees spending time online. Pay attention to your work! Don't get caught up in the Internet trap!

This is wrong.

Your creatives cannot spend all their time focused on the one creative problem you want them to solve. The more their minds are allowed to roam, the more likely their creative juices are to flow.

One of the best ways to do this is to encourage random walks through Wikipedia...Wikipedia enables you to look up new and different topics around the one you're struggling with.

Say you're thinking about abstract art for a marketing project. You then see a link to visual language, which you've never thought about before. That leads you to Gestalt psychology, which in turn leads you to cybernetics. The next stop is artificial intelligence, and suddenly you see a new way to create an ad campaign based on theories that you hadn't considered until you traveled your random wiki path" 

...Let your creatives open up the clouds of possibilities around any project by encouraging them to walk randomly through Wikipedia" Nolan Bushnell, Finding the Next Steve Jobs

For any delegates of ISTE2013 then this will sound a lot like Steve Johnstons "Slow Hunches" from his "Where Ideas Come From" research and keynote.

NB I am bearing Nolan and Steve's comments and research in mind as I curate this data and hope that people who will be attending a session and who check out the background links might also see which other collections the article features in, this (hopefully) will lead to them connecting with educators as well as industry experts who have a shared interest in the topic.

I don't know the answer to the questions above. What I do know is that there are so many links shared during the 3 day period makes any attempt to consume or curate the information a challenge.

There may also be few people who check through all the background links, the Declara format may mean that people may spend an hour or two scrolling down this collection and reading other people's insights... to "Encourage people to take a random walk through ISTE2016 session background research"

After curating these links I know that, if I were attending the conference this year, there would be a few sessions that I'd attend as a result of this background information which I may not have had a huge interest in based on a cursory glance at the top line session description.

I also know that you can't have duplicate links in a Declara Collection but you can see who else has collected a link, so new connections can be made through sharing an article.

And what could happen if two people with a common interest share an article? Well it just might end up with an international summit 2 months later. (See An Amazing Skype call with a Connected Educator).

I'm going to be breaking these collections down into 1,053 collections based on each ISTE2016 session and would welcome the presenters to either co-create or take ownership of these collections and to see if and how we can organise these ISTE2016 links.

I've no idea where this might lead but one thing is for sure is that, whether in an excel speadsheet (as it was in 2013), as a large single Declara collection or as 1,000 smaller collections, I won't be able to curate this on my own.

Once this has been organised it might set things up nicely to provide an infrastructure to both curate all the data that's shared during ISTE2016 and organise it in a way that allows us to bottle up the enthusiasm, the excitement, the wonderment of the event when attendees return to the classroom.
Anyone have any thought on this? Anyone feel like helping curate this data? www.Declara.com

PS Are you presenting or attending ISTE? Want some help with travel costs? Check out #Get2ISTE Rides Again

Friday, 4 March 2016

Get2ISTE Rides Again

Through exploring the concept of #Get2ISTE, crowdfunding educators PD by securing support for costs to education conferences and events, this post details how ideas takes time to develop and why I'll be putting in more hustle this year to see if crowdfunding educators PD can become a mainstream idea.

When I said that I would be exploring #Get2ISTE again in 2016 I was asked why this and crowdfunding PD for the UK Digital Citizenship Summit had limited uptake, my reply was that this has been one of the more successful projects that I’ve worked on.

The reason for this is because since working on the idea I’ve seen it go from:

2013 - Educators being resistant to the idea 

2015 - I was chastised for “Promoting my own stuff” on a popular Education Twitter chat hashtag, but managed to get support for 4-5 educators for Get2ISTE... but most of the support here was from friends, family and colleagues. 

2016 - Digital Citizenship advocate, Timmy Sullivan and #UTEdChat moderator, Derek Larson were supported financially via Rosetta Stone, Kyte Learning and ClassDojo not just for a conference but one that involved transatlantic flights.

ISTE have include Get2ISTE as a possible way of making it to the conference this year in their 5 Ways to Fund your Trip to ISTE2016 post as well as a few other initiatives.

My reply to why this hasn't worked was that:
"Three educators heading to ISTE through alternative funding via #Get2ISTE has proven the concept could work and could be worth further exploration.But will the idea be successfully rolled out or adopted? As this is a new way of doing things, the odds are not necessarily favourable. This post looks at ways that educators who are interested in seeing this model work might want to consider using to put social proof to work at ISTE this year"
  • I explored why this hasn't worked again in 2016 as I was baffled at the general lack of interest at the #DigCitSummitUK proposal as I felt that the value proposition was quite compelling... and ended up wondering if I should be discussing this with suppliers or educators Company Vs Community Advocacy post.
"As long as educators are willing to deliver $20,000 worth of value to suppliers for the cost of a T-shirt, then crowdfunding projects like #Get2ISTE might never become mainstream"
While progress has been made and it's great to see the initiative getting a better response, the idea has still had it's critics this year.

When working on the UK Digital Citizenship Summit there were a number of criticisms about crowdfunding and trying to get US educators to the event and questioning why I was trying to involve overseas educators and/or why I would want to involve suppliers.

I'm sure that these detractors didn't appreciate something that I highlighted to people who took the time out to talk TO me regarding this... as opposed to talk ABOUT me:

In addition to this, as I've highlighted a number of times in my blog, thatAdam Grant highlights how educators can be "selfless givers" and how this can lead to burnout in his book Give and Take. With this being the case, to what extent would someone saying "To thank you for all your time and support we'd like to send you to ISTE" and meeting with colleagues in the summer help to recharge the batteries?

Would this form of support build stronger relations between educators and suppliers? Would this lead to more collaboration and co-creation between suppliers and educators? Would it lead to more word of mouth referrals and less cold calls? These are areas that I've been exploring for some time now and feel that #Get2ISTE could assist with in a way that is mutually beneficial for suppliers and educators.

I've had a bit of success with a few initiatives recently which I put down to understanding the importance of momentum and knowing when to test ideas, when to shelve and/or abandon projects... and when to put some hustle in. It's time to put some hustle into #Get2ISTE. Here's why...

The Free Ride is Over
In his blog post "Customer Communities Don't have to be Complicated" Bill Johnston suggests that:

"If your overarching community strategy is predicated on massive quantities of free labour from your customers, I'm sorry to say the free ride is over"

This is something that I agree with, it's one thing to help a struggling start up out but when companies are benefiting from work that see educators being out of pocket for... surely some questions need to be asked about the existing model. (See ISTE2016 Sessions below).

I don't think it's so much a case of understanding that the "Free Ride is Over" but more that they simply value educators time, but one organisation that seems to be ahead of the curve here is

Kyte Learning
As a proponent of the #Get2ISTE model I'm keen to ensure that the early supporters get a return on their investment and had the pleasure of having a Skype call with Kyte Learning Co-Founders Asher Sume and Brayden Wardrop recently.

I'll be discussing details of our discussion in a future post, but for the purposes of this post, it was obvious how much these guys value educators time... and Kyte Learning are putting their money where their mouth is!

When you agree to start working with them you are given the tools needed to produce PD courses AND they set money aside as a way of thanking educators for taking the time to produce PD material for others to benefit from as well as for educators advocacy work.

After finding out more about Kyte Learning, it came as no surprise that they were one of the first companies to prove this model!

ISTE2016 Sessions
Another project that I've been working on for the last 3 years and is gaining in momentum is curating ISTE data during the conference.

As part of my preparations for assessing if and how ISTE2016 data can be curated I've been looking at the pre-event information and see that there are a number of sessions where educators are advocating for suppliers services. Some of these sessions are "Sponsor Activities" where supplier reps are probably involved, there are other session where the company may not be involved.

When looking at the 2015 sessions I notice that there were a few sessions that were cancelled, how many of these were cancelled because presenters were no longer able to make the trip?

How much value do educators delivering presentations like this add to the company? Enough to justify a little #Get2ISTE support?

Does it make sense for educators to deliver presentations like this and covering the costs out of their own pocket while for profit companies benefit from the invaluable word of mouth referrals?

Is Bill Johnston right? Is the free ride over?

The value proposition for suppliers supporting educators in this way made sense to me 3 years ago and continues to make sense to me today, but the timing may be a little better this time around.

Therefore, I'll be putting a little more hustle in to assess if and to what extent the "free ride is over" because #Get2ISTE's time has come.

If you're an educator and are interested in exploring #Get2ISTE please feel free to complete this short Get2ISTE Educator Survey and we'll be in touch.