Thursday, 30 July 2015

Patience with Curating ISTE Data

There's been something of a trend since ISTE2013. It is that directly after ISTE each year I review the issue of curating all the great links that are shared during events that create so much information, that keeping up with all the great links is like trying to drink from a fire hose.

This post looks at the importance of being mission focused and sticking to a task, and the way that perceptions appear to change depending on the context... despite the task remaining the same. 

If I had to name my favorite post then Thomas Friedman's Collaborate Vs Collaborate would be up there. I'm curating links from ISTE2015 at the moment and if I had to name my second favorite post ever, it just might be Sherri Spelic's "There is No App for Patience

Sherri's advice is spot on! I have seen people jump right in with various education projects and policies: entrepreneurship education, academies and with various technology idea. The lack of due diligence and/or scaling too early has led to significant problems and/or adoption slowing to a crawl (All of which are things that I discussed in April 2013 via "Startup Education").

Finding posts like Sherri's is the reason I have spent so much time exploring all these links, and why I think curating the data is a useful exercise.

As well as this project, I find that I keep circling back to a number of ideas from a few years ago... and the context and reception from educators can be quite different each time I mention them. Obviously it's great when others see the value in your ideas, but I've continued to scratch my own itch even when others don't.

Social Tipping and Crowdfunding Educators at Conferences...
Wasn't well received when mentioned for ISTE2014. 
Scratch Your Own Itch
In his book ReWork, the creators of the popular Basecamp offers this advice:

"The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use. That let's you design what you know - and you'll figure out immediately whether or not what you're making is any good."

"At 37 Signals, we build products that we need to run our own business... If you're solving someone else's problem, you're constantly stabbing in the dark. When you solve you're own problem, the lights come on. You know exactly what the right answer is" 

I had an itch in 2013 regarding all the great content that was going past the Twitter stream faster than anyone can read at ISTE and in EdChats. I favorited these tweets as a way of bookmarking for later, only to find that "later" didn't arrive until the link no longer worked.

Same Task Different Context 
I curated some data from ISTE13 and 150 EdChats over a 6 week period, I shared this data with people and was praised for taking the time to do this. The article I wrote that contains this data remains one of the top 10 most viewed posts I've written.

I was unable to develop some of my ideas for this because I could not find a platform that could store the data in any meaningful way, and excel wasn't ideal... so I shelved it until I found the right technology.

In 2014 I explored this again and explored a couple of platforms but, again, they were not ideal for what I was looking for. Post-ISTE2015 I'm trying again with these same ideas....I am looking to scratch my own itch with this data. 

This time I'm exploring my ideas using Declara. I am aware that I have been raving about this new platform a great deal recently, and wanted to remind people the reason for using Declara for this project is because I've had a bit of patience. Patience to;

1) Curate the data
2) Wait for the right platform.
3) Upload the links into a Declara Collection

Why mention all this? I am extremely interested in educator/supplier relationships. When I was curating some of the 2015 data I noticed the kind of negativity about "vendors" on social media that I have become accustomed to seeing.

While individual suppliers get a lot of love, if you do a search for #ISTE2015 and vendors on Twitter during the conference, many of the comments can be less than positive or flattering.

There are a number of reasons for me mentioning Declara quite a bit. For example, I know that educators can be challenging to reach and engage with, I know the best products are created in collaboration with users and I know that the way that suppliers engage educators need to change. I've spent a bit of time on the site and I like what I see, there are a lot of ideas educators could explore with this.

Anyway, as a result of noticing this vendor negative press,  I thought it might be an idea to remind people that I've been looking for ways to curate this data for two years now. I've explored a few ways of achieving this using free tools and "vendor" platforms. This is my 2015 attempt, and it's looking promising.

Will it work out? And if it does... what will happen once all the links from ISTE2013 and 2015 have been imported into Declara? Will I be able to find the time to import all the links? Will people want to view a collection with thousands of posts? The answer to all these questions is: I HAVE NO IDEA!

But what I do know is that doing things just because it is of interest to me and seems like a good idea leads to meeting some interesting people and can be the catalyst for new ideas to explore.

Curating these links into spreadsheets in 2013 seemed like a good idea at the time, so did waiting for the right platform before developing the ideas. By importing them into Declara I'm finding new people and new ways to achieve some old ideas that I had shelved a few years ago. So I'll continue to explore. Feel free to join me and a community of other knowledge seekers: 

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