Monday, 10 July 2017

Me and My ZeeMaps

Image result for zeemaps logo

I'm in the process of winding up my Education Experiences due to some personal issues that my decisions to stubbornly stay on task has caused.

I wanted one of my last posts to be about one of my favorite tools EVER! Zeemaps. Why is this one of my favorite tools? Because:

1) I feel that "social proof" is far more effective than the pointless sales calls that the "Education-needs-to-get-with-the-program-but-we-still-make-cold-calls" EdTech industry still employs.

2) I'll leave it with one of my favorite authors give the other reason why this is a favorite tool:
I think knowing that your work situation might be imperfect, option B then is saying, “OK, I can still find things on the market that are interesting and meaningful to me and build those into my job.” That’s called job crafting and we see people do this all the time. 
I know a teacher who always wanted to be a musician and he brings his guitar into the classroom and there’s a little bit more enthusiasm and joy as a result  students love having the teacher who plays music. Adam Grant on Job Search Resiliency
I have always had an interest in Geography even though, like many subjects at school, I didn't excel at it... But did read National Geographic cover to cover. In 1999 I did an Open University course in Human Geography and especially loved maps, cities and the impact that diaspora had on both the places people left and where they moved to.

If I had the money (There's an ironic statement!) one of the things I would collect is old maps. Since publishing the "Business Development Ideas for Further Education" in 2011, I have created a few education based Zee Maps.

So how did I find out about ZeeMaps? Well it was through a bit of a catastrophe.

How I met your Awesomeness... Through a Disaster

When working on my Business Development Ideas for FE report I noticed how FE Commercial services were sometimes labeled as "XYZ Towns Best Kept Secret" this is 2011... the impact of the global financial crisis was being felt across the public sector, this is no time for best kept secrets?!

I map these services out on Google Maps with lots of information that it's taken ages to source... then disaster?! Something changes somewhere, not entirely sure if it's human error (Don't think that it was) or some changes at Google HQ but the colleges are still on the map, but details that I added had gone?!

Whatever the reason was I annoyed about this? Had I spent AGES meticulously importing all the infromation? I sure was and sure had... But as always, I reminded myself that Google maps was a free to use service so what right do I have to get so annoyed?

Keen not to see the same thing happen again, I looked for an alternative. Mapping data seemed to be a hot topic when I explored this but ZeeMaps was my favourite

Welcome to ZeeMaps
I have created over 20 maps since discovering Zeemaps and includes sourcing and plotting information about over 40,000 schools/colleges, educators and education stakeholders. Below are details about a few of them.

Many of the resources below have been curated in my own time and based on ideas that few people seem to "get" but which I see as significant in the future of EdTech sales and the way that ideas gain traction.

If anyone would like to see any of the incomplete maps (Or the ideas generally developed further), please don't hesitate to get in touch.

FE Colleges Commercial Services

As I detail in my Business Development for FE report there were over 1,200 commercial services that UK Further Education Colleges offered. If marketed collectively this would be one of the largest retail chains in areas like Hair and Beauty.

Like most of the maps I've curated this one includes details about each services, logos, social media feeds and contact details.

 Scottish Learning Festival 2015 - Scottish Schools on Twitter
A number of projects that I am working on have their basis in Chris van der Kuyls' keynote speech at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2015 where Chris called for more collaboration within and across Scottish Education.

When I heard Chris' talk I thought "I know what is needed to implement some of these ideas" and got to work. In September and October 2015 this including finding out how many Scottish Schools were using social media.

Some interesting observations with this map was seeing how many Scottish Schools were active on social media compared with how many politicians are. There are lots of comments about online abuse targeted towards the political classes, who are responsible for education policy... are they doing enough to support our teachers and young people to become digital leaders and encourage positive digital citizenship?

Scottish Schools on Twitter research featured in TES Scotland
Digital Citizenship SummitUK
As a direct result of the project above I became involved with organising the second DigCitSummit and mapped people who spoke at the first summit and the one held at Bournemouth University on January 2016

Education Conference Exhibitors
For the last few years I have curated information about suppliers who attend major education conferences like ISTE, BETT and the ASU GSV Summit. 

Something that I found quite curious was the fact that exhibitors would attend one event but not the other. There may be a lot of reasons for this (Focusing on UK/US markets so not making the trip across the pond etc), but feel there is an argument to be made that this is an issue of costs.

We see this very clearly through the startups who attend the ASU GSV Summit but not ISTE and/or how it's mostly the big tech companies who attend multiple events each year.

I published this map when working with Declara on the 2016 ASU GSV Summit and started adding ISTE 2016 speakers when working on the ISTE data curation project.

Pokemon Go - Mapping US Community Colleges
When Pokemon Go came out there was a lot written about what this game would and would not do in education but there was a bit of a problem with some of these articles... they were written when school had finished for the summer so the only people who experienced the game when students were around when it came out was Further Education institutions.

We mapped out over 2,500 US College campuses and intended to do a lot more with this... with it being 12 months since the game came out maybe we'll pick up on this again soon.

Scottish Learning Festival 2016 - Scottish MIE Experts
When I attended the 2016 Scottish Learning Festival it was suggested that I check out what Microsoft is doing in Scottish Education.

I have kept an eye on ambassador and "super user" programs in the US and UK over the last few years and when I checked out the number of MIE experts in Scotland and the rest of the UK in September 2016 there was a bit of a jump.

In October and November I curated a number of UK and global MIE and Skypeathon resources.

Microsoft Innovative Educators UK

Microsoft Showcase Schools
2015 & 2016 Skypeathon
By the time I had explored all things MIE the 2016 Skypeathon was upon us and I noticed that only a couple of Scottish schools took part in the 2015 event... I wondered if putting "social proof" to work (And a little hustle) might get a few more people involved.

I mapped out the schools that took part, who they connected with and plotted the distance each school traveled in 2015. 

The aim here was to show how many schools were taking part in the hope that the popularity of the event would see others join in the 2016 event. 

In 2015 2 Scottish educators traveled 36,000 virtual miles, in 2016 15 Scottish educators went over 150,000 miles.

I started to curate a map of people taking part in the 2015 & 2016 event

NB Neither the 2015 or 2016 Skypeathon data is 100% complete... but have the data to finish it if/when we get the time and/or support needed.

January 2017 Fake News & DigCit - Mapping US Politicians 
In January 2017 "Fake News" became a thing and, working with the DigCitSummit Founders, we thought we could introduce some workshops aimed at critical thinking based around what we read and believe.

We curated all the offices and social media feeds for Senators, Congressmen and Mayors along with details of their regional and DC office addresses.
US Politicans

April 2017 - Edcamps
As I detailed in my recent post Who Sells Edcamps... And Eventbrite in Education? I detail the various resources that I've curated in the last few weeks around Edcamps.

Edcamp Map
I hope it is obvious by looking at some of this data that a great deal of time has gone into curating these resources and that, as CMX (And the Skypeathon data) highlights "social proof" can be very effective.

Instead of calling people about this product or that, I've explored the way that successful ideas have gained traction.

Instead of sourcing leads to make cold calls I've sourced information from social media to provide more complete data sets.

There's a lot more that can be done with this and am happy to discuss with anyone who is interested in finding out more and potentially, supporting some of this work.

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