Monday, 30 November 2015

CEduAD: We Are Better Together

This is an extremely emotional post for me to write and I hope that Connected Educators take a moment to read this as it details how a kind word can change the trajectory of someone whether students, colleagues, members of your PLN, a EdTech Startup... Even a random sales person.

Here is want a simple "5 minute faviour" that a a Pre-Service Teacher, A Connected Educator, a Hot Shot CEO at a Silicon Valley Tech Start Up (The Google of Learning, no less!) and an educator who took a moment to engage has had a big impact on me.

Before telling my story I'd like to share this one with you about Henry Ford.

What Value Does a Kind Word Have 
Henry Ford worked at the Edison Company and his line manager offered him a promotion on the condition that he would give up "wasting his time" on his gas engine.

After making his decision to focus on his car, Ford caught up with Thomas Edison at a conference. Ford told him what he was working on and asked if Edison thought there was a future for the internal combustion engine. He answered:

"Yes, there's a big future for any light engine that can develop a high horse power and be self-contained. No one kind of motive power is ever going to do all the work of the country. We do not know what electricity can do, but I take for granted that it cannot do everything. Keep on with your engine if you can get what you are  after, I can see a great future.” Henry Ford Autobiography - My Life & My Work

This encounter and these kind words were the start of a life-long friendship. I wonder what might have happened if Edison had echo'd Ford's manager's view and told Ford that he was wasting his time.

It Started with a #NT2T Tweet
In July 2014 I was getting pretty exasperated trying to make my plans work in UK Further Education Colleges, two years in and little by way of progress. 

I notice a random tweet about a company that I saw when their website was a holding page, the tweet had a link to a heartfelt post by Founder Mike Lee.

I then saw a reply from a sassy pre-service teacher, Alicia Leonard (@ilorax) who was a fan of EdShelf and was trying to rally people round to save the company.

I thought I could help by detailing my own experiences in support of Mike and highlighted how and why this model was the future of EdTech. This post was no better and no worse than my other posts but something weird happened.

The Connected Educator
Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheningersaw my post and asked people in his PLN to see if they could take a moment to help Mike attract some investor enquiries.

Everyone pitching in to help Mike out saw a successful Kickstarter campaign helping EdShelf out. 

Embedded image permalink

I have benefited in so many ways from getting involved with this call to action from Alicia, writing my pot and Eric then getting involved. Here are some examples of this:
Hot Shot Silicon Valley Startup
In March 2015 I met Ramona Peirson, CEO of Declara (Aka"The Google of Learning")  through a BBC report for international woman's day. Ramona was talking about how she goes out of her way to look for female developers, and how male dominated the VC investment was... But this lady had fire in her belly!

When I heard the topic I jumped up from my seat to get her name to pass onto the Connected Educators who were giving a minority women in tech presentation at SXSWEdu.

When I saw that Ramona worked in Education I sent an invite to connect on LinkedIn. We hit it off immediately! Something that I found strange was that I didn't have to explain my ideas to her, she just "Got it"... she also got my sense of humour too, which is an added bonus.

But before we got to know one another she inspired me with the simplest thing that anyone could, she had an inspiring message at the end of her email:

"Sometimes it is the very people who no one imagines things of that do the things no one can imagine.” Turing

Good Ideas can come from anybody, and anywhere
I cannot tell you how much seeing this any time I got an email from Ramona inspired me. After presenting to Barak Obama after 3 months of going live this links appeared and inspired me even more

Visionary, Really?
As we got to discussing various things I started to get some weird emails through saying how talented and visionary I was with my ideas. I dismissed the comments initially but they kept coming and these kind words started to give me more confidence. Confidence to test the ideas... to implement more instead of just writing about them.

Whether your a Connected Educator chatting to a Social Newbie or with your students in class I would encourage people to read these two articles:
Educators in Scotland and my PLN seem to wonder where I came from all of a sudden with these ideas, as you can see in this post the ideas were always being considered, but not always tested or pushed to far..

The Teacher who Engaged
12 Weeks ago I watched Chris van der Kuyl's keynote and agreed with what he was saying and thought "I can create some momentum with this IF the culture was right".

I wrote a snarky post to see how people would react, would they be defensive and argumentative... or would they be open minded and interested in discussing it.

We got lucky, I sent a DM to an acct that was moderated by a few people and I was speaking to Bob Baldie (@BobBaldie), and he was both friendly and interested in hearing my views and even saw merit in my snarky attitude at the ridiculousness of some of the policy decisions.

Stop and think about this for a moment...
If it was not for Bob being engaging and friendly -> I would not have curated the Twitter data -> Would not have connected with Malcolm Wilson -> would not have engaged with the Digital Citizenship Summit.

Connected Educator Superstars
What kind of opportunities are missed any time people have encounters like this with a Connected Educator

Without mentioning names, I was disappointed by the actions of some "edustars".  This is by no means a gripe session, or pity me, but a hopeful wake up call to them. When I tried to speak with these individuals, I couldn't help to feel judged, deemed unworthy, and looked down upon. Perhaps they were having a bad day, were tired, or just didn't care. Yet, I couldn't help to think, has this "connected celebrity status" gone to their heads? I found it sad that the mindset of "look at me" overruled "we practice what we preach, and make a positive difference in all lives." Are we not educators who preach to our students to be respectful, don't judge a book by a cover, and don't forget where you came from? 

Yes, being "connected" is creating "edu-celebrities." Yet, I can't stress it enough: remember back to your college days when you wanted to be an educator. You wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, instead of seeking personal glory. The Great, The Good and the Sad. Glen Robbins

I'll leave you with Viktor Frankle and his experiences in a Nazi Concentration camp and the value of a friendly face in amoungst the crowd and remind Connected Educators that a RT and a friendly word from them

  • Can save companies 
  • Inspire those who doubt their abilities or ability to #BeTheDigitalChange
  • See someone stop by an pitch in for a moment and have the most wonderful butterfly effect
I know this because I have experienced them all and am the better for it. Thank you Eric, Alicia, Bob and my dear friend Ramona, words truly do escape me. Thank you for believing in me. I hope I can repay the debt somehow.

"Man is ultimately self-determining…in the concentration camps…we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualised depends on decisions but not on conditions"

The $1 Million Dollar Smile Vs Insincere Friendship
The expression one wears is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.

"Charles Schwab told me his smile had been worth a million dollars…Schwab’s personality, his charm, his ability to make people like him, were almost wholly responsible for his extra-ordinary success; and one of the most delightful factors in his personality was his captivating smile.

Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

…an insincere grin? No. that doesn’t fool anybody. We know it is mechanical and we resent it. I am talking about a real smile, a heart warming smile, a smile that comes from within, the kind that will bring a good price in the marketplace". (D Carnegie)

The Value of A Smile
It costs nothing, but teaches much.
It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and natures best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is in no earthly good to anyone till it is given away.
And if anyone is too tired to give you a smile may we ask you leave one of yours?

For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give! Dale Carnegie

A #DigCit Lesson: A Skype Call with a Connected Educator

2018 Update: Perhaps it would have been better for all concerned if this call never took place. The lesson I felt I learnt when I first wrote this post and met the DigCitSummit Founders, is a VERY DIFFERENT lesson to the hard won experience 3 years later.

Make sure that when you work with people that the values and mission are in sync with all members of the group!! 

Oh yeah, and make sure that if a person, brand or movement spout sound bites like "Safe. Savvy. Ethical" and "Be the same person online as you are offline" make sure they walk the walk and talk the talk instead of it being buzzwords... or are rather sophisticated Takers and Fakers.

Digital Citizenship Institute Tweets about EdTech Stories

Go ahead ask me why I think someone who went about touting about us being
#Shoulder2Shoulder 'Life Long Family Friends' blocked me...

This post details how sharing a great post led to a Skype call, and how agreeing to pitch in and help out with the Digital Learning Scotland agenda and #DigCitSummit has got us here today. 

It also wonders if educators doing a quick 5 minute favour could get some connected educators to connect the unconnected and help them meet members of their PLN for the first time for some real life collaboration.

#DigCitSummitUK Support
It's difficult to comprehend what impact accepting a Skype call with Connected Educator Marialice Curran on the 16th November is going to have on me (2018 Update: That comment was an understatement!) as we are all so busy trying to make a conference happen in two months time.

What I do know is that I sure am grateful that I took it and that she is a member of my PLN. (2018 Update: Back off man!)

In my post yesterday I highlighted how I have been exploring a number of opportunities and they sometimes need to be re-presented for a second or third time, I hope that we might be able to make #DigcitSummitUK work the first time round... including getting some Connected Educators across the pond!

As Connected Educators we are always trying to get others connected and let them know how online chatter leads to all kinds of innovation and offline collaboration.

I think my Skype call with Marialice is a pretty good example of this.
(2018 Update: Make sure you are not collaborating with any fakers who say one thing... but do another)

What is...
24th Sept
8-9 weeks ago I turned my attention to Scottish education as a result of Chris van der Kuyl's keynote on Raising a Digital Nation (You should watch his presentation... It's inspired). I write my first of 17 posts in support of the #DigiLearnScot agenda. These 2 Links have a summary of my 8-9 weeks with Scottish Education:
Dear PLN: Thank you for helping to make this happen...What a Result!
30th Sept
As I am not familiar with the Scottish Education community I do what I've done for the last 2-3 years, I curate data and am led be what the data tells me. I met Malcolm Wilson early in my data search as he sent me a link to his blog and I can see that this is a labour of love... A lot of work has gone into this.
As I kept exploring the data I kept bumping into Malcolm's work, the data told me that that there was a great culture going on there... and BOY! The data sure didn't lie!

2nd November
I meet with Malcolm (@
claganach) and his colleague Stuart Lennie (@IsItSwitchedOn) I knew I'd find something special, but I didn't quite expect this:

After this meeting I spend some time exploring Malcolm's blog because it is inspired with regard to the quality of the content and how supportive it is for teachers exploring the tech.

This blog is a treasure trove of education goodies that others would want to and should be made aware of:. I'd highly recommend scheduling some time to explore this blog: 

9th November
As I was exploring Malcolm's blog I come across his Walking Safely Along the Digital Highway

I think to myself "I know who would appreciate this Aladdin's cave of Digital Citizenship goodies" and Tweet it out to the #DigCit moderators and get this Tweet in reply:

16th November: DigCitSummitUK Week 1 
Marialice and I have a Skype call that has taken up most of our waking lives and has the connection go from member of our respective PLNs to firm friends extremely quickly. (2018 Update: After continually being asked to collaborate - DigCitSummit, Startup plans for Digital Citizenship Institute, Pokemon Go in Edu Report, asking for introductions and non-payment... I get blocked once this person and this movement has gotten all they can out of me... and I'm not the only one either #Shoulder2Shoulder 'Life Long Family Friends?')

When I wrote to the Education Minister Angela Constance about my ideas there was interest in my ideas and I was referred to Jim Fanning. Jim and his colleagues have been extremely supportive.

Dear PLN, The Education Secretary asked me if you'd help get Scotland Connected
I would be grateful if Connected Educators could follow Jim (@JimFanning3), Mairi Thomson (@Mskishine), Bob Baldie (@BobBaldie), Louise Foreman, Ian Stuart (@IanStuart66) and (@DigiLearnScot) please also say hello to Scottish educators by using #DigiLeanScot & #ScotEdChat.

Here's a list of Innovate my School's (@InnovateMySchl30 Edu Tweeters to Follow in Scotland hope people in my PLN will connect and get to know them before #DigCitSummitUK

Please also take a moment to have a look at the Governments Consultation on Digital Learning and Teaching

23rd Novemner: DigCitSmmitUK Week 2
Through a mixture of having to deal with an unexpected event, inexperience (Only my second week as a #Cmgr) we make some  minor errors in our approach but resolve them quickly.

Julie Szaj (@Shyj) and Craig Kemp (@MrKempNZ) become super involved (2018 Update: These guys are the real deal... nothing would have happened with the DigCitSummit I was involved with without their involvement) and, in my humble opinion come up with some solutions and ideas that could be the making of everything that's gone on as we enter week 3 of #DigCitSummitUK planning.

Their fresh perspective (fresh pair of eyes physically and metaphorically) has been significant. Thank you both! 

30th November
Here's where we are at on the first Connected Educator Appraciation Day:

1) A Conference being organised in 3 months time which has the added complication of

2) The bold goal of not just trying to get the two organisers from overseas to the event... but we're exploring ideas that could help get 20-30 Connected Educators from another country so they can meet with members of their PLN IRL. In 2 months? 

That's gonna take some hustle! I better get on the phone and make some calls! I make this reference not because I have experience as a supplier and have sales experience. I say it because sales is a vital part of the EdTech ecosystem, but not in the way they are employed today.
Dude Cold Calling is for Losers
I am in sales and I used to hate it, I couldn't wait to reskill and leave it behind. Today I am proud of my sales experience because I use those skills to help educators. If this last 3 months of pitching in with #DigiLernScot and #DigCitSummitUK isn't enough evidence, I hope this is: Sales in Edu - The Fox of EdTech

Equally if people are wondering about "Why the focus on companies with this" I would ask you to bear with us, we are in the start of week 3 of #DigCitSummitUK planning and we will provide a clear and well thought out rationale.

In the mean time I would like to make you aware of the source of the current suggestion/model/idea. As with my exploration of Scottish education 12 weeks ago started with using the data to identify the bright spots I did the same with suppliers at conferences at ISTE in 2013 and again in 2014.

         #CEduAD: Mad Learning with a Connected Educator

3) As well as suggesting Connected Educator Appreciation Day to thank the many EdChat Moderators and connected educators I wanted to demonstrate the comment that Julie uses often #BetterTogether

Through listening to educators there appears to be a desire for more collaboration and less sales calls and/or sales reps at conferences with their scanners.

So taking all the information together I wondered what would happen if Connected Educators did what they already do, which is share the the tools that they love with their PLN, as I found in the first month of #EdTechChat.

  • As we are #BetterTogether what would happen if Connected Educators gave a big shout out about the tools that they love? 
  • Would this save on the companies sales and marketing budgets and allow them to contribute to replicating the conference bright spot of ISTE2014? 
  • Would it encourage other suppliers to sell less and collaborate more until "Product Market Fit" achieved and the service was bought... not sold?

I don't know the answers to these questions but I do know that I don't see too many sales people get many positive comments on social media for educators and especially at conferences.

I also know that I was the only supplier to be invited to the video hookup to celebrate EdTechChat's frst anniversary celebrations... So I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

#DigCitSummitUK: An Amazing story

I don't know how this story will end (2018 Update: It's too depressing to disclose... But Drama Alice seemed to do alright out of it all!), I don't how many people will be speaking or attending this event.

I don't know how many, if any educators we'll get to the event, my attempts at getting funding for ISTE has failed twice now... once because educators didn't like the idea and this year because suppliers didn't seem too interested.

Regardless what happens I think that suppliers and Connected Educators see the value in getting connected, and that educators have struggled to encourage the unconnected to get connected. 

I hope that the best of educators, their ability to reach enough people to get a conference to this stage in Two weeks, the innovation of tech companies and the Fox of EdTech giving everything he's got will give you a good story to tell about how


I don't know about anyone else involved with this but this is the biggest kind of strangest "I don't know why I bothered" collaboration I've ever been involved with, and how did the story start? It had 3 simple ingredients that anyone can do:

1) There was a random Tweet based on sharing an interesting post
2) There was a Skype to discuss the post further and how to develop the idea
3) There was the offer of help and a 5 minute faviour (Which lead to 2 rather tiring weeks but we won't mention that at the moment!)

2018 Update: Stressful? Yep... Would I amend my Social Media and better Job Prospects post as a result of this 'collaboration?' I sure would!

But... I would also hasten to add that this is all part of the "Wild West of the Internet" and, as Why Good People Turn Bad Online highlights, colleagues and neighbours fall out all the time... But we have proximity and facial cues to help with these interactions. Social media is less than 20 years old so we'll figure these things out... and as Toy Story demonstrates, there will be fall outs but it will all turn out OK in the end.

Pay It Forward... A 5 Minute Favour
My 5 minute favour has become a rather tiring 2 weeks. I wonder if any educators who like what I've done might be willing to "Pay it Forward" to help get our kids connected and collaborate with kids at other schools... Because you never know where being connected might take you or what two people with some shared interests might achieve.

Skype have a Skype-a-thon on the 3-4th December where they'd like to cover 1,000,000 virtual miles.

Mad Learning with a connected Educator

In this post I detail how and why the collaboration between Susan Bearden and Mad Learn has been the inspiration behind the idea of suppliers supporting Connected Educators to get to the inaugural #DigCitSummitUK, how the partnership is still strong after 2 years and why both educators and suppliers should check Mad Learn out. 

2013 was my first attempt at curating ISTE data.

In my Connected Educator Appreciation Day Post I highlighted that I saw the future of sales after seeing the level and extent of Word of Mouth referrals.

So what did I do after joining EdTechChat for the first month? As this was a dedicated EdTech forum I wanted to see if this was typical. I tried to curate the Tweets from all the chats over the same 6 week period.

What was I looking for? Ironically, what I was looking for is what I found this week when I asked my connected educators who they'd be happy to represent at #DigCitSummitUK.

I was looking for the great companies that educators talk about so that I could:

1) Find out what they were doing differently, and

2) Send them my resume

I did manage to down load this data (It only took a month) but didn't do too much with it... There were over 200,000 rows of Tweets, in 6 weeks... In 2013 when there were 159 chats. I dread to think how big that sheet would be today.

It's certainly a good idea if you're in EdTech sales
 I finished downloading this data in June 2013 and there was an ISTE Thingy that people were talking about... What is this ISTE thingy? Asks I, to no one at all because it was the wee small hours.

Detention for the Naughty Teachers!
For those that don't know ISTE is a very pecular form of torture which I think educators who have mis-behaved during the year get sent to for punishment, a 3 day detention for teachers.

What's that? ISTE's a good thing, that educators voluntarily go to? 13 miles walked while attending 1,028 presentations and reading 500,000 Tweets... and that's educators idea of fun? 
OK we'll have to agree to disagree on this point.

Anyway, I follow this bizzare event on Twitter and let's just say I know what life is like for a wheel on a fruit machine because that's what my eyes were doing when looking at the Twitter stream.

All these great resources but no one can read them all whether people are at the event or a group that call themselves #NotAtISTE (I know a hashtag for people who are not there! ...I think that must the stick that admins use for borderline cases, they have sit in class and are made to watch the Twitter stream until their eyes get so sore that they cry and the admin's message is "If you don't buck up your ideas next year that will be you!")

Curating ISTE Data
As with the EdChats I wonder, who's bottling all these links so people can review later? No one that I am ware of has effectively curating this data set and I've made various attempts for the last 3 years, and think I cracked it this year!

Patience with Curating ISTE data
(That post will pick up on the story from there.

The Good Guys of EdTech
My reasons for curating this was the same as the EdChats, I was looking for the good guys... Where are the bright spots at EdTech conferences?

I curated the ISTE data in 2013 and, as with the EdChats that's as far as it went, the idea was put on the "For Later" shelf (See 
An Iste Bytsie Post... with some Big Conference Data and Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom.
Lessons from Education Pioneers:
How to Lead Future Focused Change
However, I was to find the bright spot 12 months later... or more accurately, The bright spot shone so brightly that it was difficult to ignore and has been something that I have been looking to model ever since.

Tweeching Sales People
Like all Connected Educators EdTechChat Moderator Susan Bearden encourages other educators get connected, she had developed an app with her students and then thought if they can do it so can I!
Susan created the @TweechmeApp and launched at ISTE 2014.

As a salesperson who was researching the relationships between educators and EdTech suppliers looking for the problems and the solutions... Given what I was focusing on and all the research I had done this was by far and away the highlight of ISTE2014 for me!

If you don't believe me, go take a look at:

1) The Trouble with Conferences... Confessions of an EdTech Salesman 

2) How closely the #DigCitSummitUK model for getting Connected Educators to the event matches what the collaboration with Susan Bearden and Mad Learn looked like at ISTE2014.

The Future of Learning will be Co-Created
Collaboration and co-creation and then educator and supplier pitching in with the sales when "Product Market-Fit" has been achieved... The best possible advocate at an event and at the lowest possible cost.

I've kept an eye on Mad Learn since then and they have built on this successful partnership by taking a very different approach to sales...I can't imagine they put too many cold calls in.

Susan is a #DigCit Moderator and wants to come to the #DigCitSummitUK and Mad Learn is one of the companies that she would be happy to represent: Susan Bearden Fav Tech Tools.

#DigCitSummitUK's commitment to anyone supporting Connected Educators is that they'll do all they can to deliver a return on investment for this support, I would like to make a personal commitment regardless

Paying It Forward... And Backwards

Mad Learn whether you are able to support Susan with this or not, I'd like to "Pay it forward... And backwards"

I'd like to thank you for bring a bright spot that has shone so brightly that your example has guided me to here. I would like to "Pay it Backwards" by encouraging educators to take a look at what Mad Learn does.

I'd like to "Pay it Forward" by recommending to sales people and EdTech companies by suggesting that they take a look at your strategy with engaging educators.

The relationship with Mad Learn and Susan is at least 2 years old now, many working relationships might have gone sour by now... The proof is in this pudding and it appear to still be tasty, so go check out the recipe of the Mad Learn Secret sauce.

In case funding isn't forthcoming for my friend please encourage unconnected educators to download the TweechmeApp so that Susan's entrepreneurial spirit will get her here. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

#CEduAD: Thank You Connected Educators!

Five years ago I realised that the sales process was changing in Education. I noticed that tactics like phoning educators to discuss the services that I represented were becoming less and less welcome.

On the eve of the inaugural Connected Educator Appreciation Day I reflect on the instrumental role that EdChat Moderators and other Connected Educators have played with my professional development.

Connected Educators' input has allow me to achieve a lot of progress over the course of the last few weeks...without a single one of those phone calls that were proving to be annoying busy educators being made.

The last two weeks have been in the planning stages for the last 2-3 years. In this post I demonstrate how this is a direct result of Connected Educators.

Join Tim and the regulars of #KsedChat tomorrow at 8pm CST
Collaboration and Co-Creation
In 2011 I started to map UK Further Education Colleges as I wanted to make my time more productive for meetings, and also look at the idea of having an app that could help other suppliers to save time with sourcing contact details for colleges (The sharing economy is coming... EdTech may as well get #FutureReady for it).

The data and feedback from my college contacts took me in a different direction. I noticed that colleges had a significant number of commercial services and, if marketed collectively, would be amongst the largest retail chains in the UK. Instead many were marketed as "The Best Kept Secret" and during a global recession too?!

I wrote to colleges to see what they thought of some collective marketing. This email led to 230 colleges saying that they'd be interested in finding out more. I wrote a strategy document at the end there was a "confirm participation" button and would cost £500.

10 Colleges signed up to this within 3 weeks. Not a single phone call had been made and all enquiries after the first email were "Inbound"

Go Slow or Go Home
Around the same time this was going on, results from a pilot were coming through which was a small scale 1 year pilot with 3 colleges.

When we got some indicative results, we shared this with others who were interested in the initiative... The result of  sharing these results?

Five Local Authorities confirmed they'd commission a project that would cost £15,000. £75,000 was secured in 3 weeks, most of which was confirmed over the phone. Of the 1-2 meetings that I was asked to attend, we got confirmation that the project was commissioned within 1-2 days.

When it comes to the best products, people want to buy them. 
Great sales operations are no substitute for product-market fit!

Death of a Salesman
Compare this with the sales model I had been working on, and that my then employer wanted me to continue with:

1) Identify the right person to speak to
2) Arrange a phone call to discuss the idea
3) Secure an appointment
4) Present to SMT at a follow up meeting
5) Wait for a decision

This whole process could take anything from 3-6 Months or more, and has significant overheads as wages and travel costs are accrued and need to be covered.

More significantly than this, if you have a product that takes two meetings and 6-12 months to deliberate over,

How much of a "Must Have" Tech Toy is this? 

How significant is the problem that the solution promises to solve and/or how well does the companies solution solve the problem?

I asked what educators thought of the various reports that I had produced and these approaches compared to the traditional methods. The feedback was unanimous with everyone... except my then employer.

In April 2012, while researching my EdTech Report: Developing Relationships and Delivering Value, I joined the inaugral EdTechChat.

After 5 weeks I saw that my experiences were set to become mainstream. I didn't know it at the time but was later discover were inbound marketing, content marketing, social selling and community management.

My experiences in the first month of EdTechChat was that over 40 companies were mentioned 4-500 times without a sales call or rep in sight! It was all peer to peer word of mouth referrals

I cannot stress just how instrumental EdChats and Connected Educators have played with me re-skilling from Sales to Community Management.

I hope that some of these posts demonstrate the value that me being connected and listening to connected educators has been. Thank you all SOO MUCH! 

(NB A word of warning if you're new to my blog... there's the odd good idea in with some bad writing. Lol)

Mar 2013: Twitter Edchats - Chat or Change
May 2013: #EdChat Idle Twitter Chatter...Or Great CPD Forum
April 2013: Startup Education
June 2013: Mining Data... Nuggets of Gold and Pearls of Wisdom
July 2013: An ISTE Post... with some big data
Aug 2013: Death of a Salesman...And New Edu Models
Aug 2013: Who Sells Free in Education
Sept 2013: How Online Engagement Leads to Collaboration
Oct 2013: Was Henry Ford a Connected Educator?
Oct 2013: The Connected EdChat Modarator
Oct 2013: Live Tweeting - Engaging Policy Makers and Students
Dec 2013: #StartupEduChat Meets #EdTechBridge
Jan 2014: Collaboration in Education - How can I help you achieve your goals?
Jan 2014: The Trouble with Conferences...Confessions of an EdTech Salesman
Jan 2014: Community Appreciation and Gratitude for my PLN... Esp When Going Round in Circles
Mar 2014: Community Building in FE & EDU - Building EdTechBridges
Apr 2014: The Greenwich Village of EdTech
Apr 2014: EdTech Startups & Beta EdChats - Lone Nuts or Visionaries
June 2014: EdTechBridge: Sales Matters in EdTech
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - Record, Rewind & Replay
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - Death of an EdTech Salesman
June 2014: ISTE13 Reflections - No Country for an Old Fashioned Educator
July 2014: Don't Leave Startups on the EdShelf
July 2014: EdChats by Numbers
July 2014: EdChat Moderators ISTE or Bust
Mar 2015: Online Abuse - I Blame the Politicans
Mar 2015: Digcit Vs the Trolls: I'm a Student Friendly Social Media Educator
Mar 2015: I'm An EdChatMod...Get me out to ISTE2015
Mar 2015: Nikki D Robertson: Bringing Tech Stories to Life
Mar 2015: An Amazing Global Edu Race: Get Craig to ISTE
Mar 2015: A Pledge to GetNikki2ISTE
Mar 2015: EdTechChat - How I met your Awesomeness
Mar 2015: EdChats... Getting Competitive?
Mar 2015: Connected Educator Day: Suppliers
June 2015: Get2ISTE2015 - Any Last Minute Support from Suppliers
June 2015: Get2ISTE2016 - Ways to Get Support During 2015
July 2015: Telling Tech Stories: Self Promotion, Self Doubt or Selling
July 2015: Blogging, Sharing New Ideas... Or Selling?
July 2015: Patience with Curating ISTE Data

Thank You Connected Educators! You Rock!

A Community Managers Best Friend
At the inaugural Community Manager Europe Twitter chat #CmgrEMEA the question "What's your faviourite #Cmgr tool" Christie Fidura gave an inspired reply "Your Ears"

Add to this that many community managers see empathy as a "must have" attribute for successful community management then the future might finally be looking a little brighter than it has over the last few years, because my Community Management training and early experiences will ensure that I never forget the value that a little Empathy can have.

Dear EdTech suppliers, 

I feel my training is complete... please give me a call if you have a great culture and product, if you listen to your users and appreciate the value of empathy and are currently looking for a "newly qualified" EdTech #Cmgr. 

A Message for the Unconnected: Paying It Forward
If there are any startups, suppliers or sales people starting out on their connected, inbound, social selling or community management journey, you may find some of these posts useful.
 If I can do anything to help with your digital journey please don't hesitate to get in touch.

PLN Please Help!
Dear PLN, If you know any suppliers who could support some of my friends with the costs to get to the UK for this event please let me know.

I've also asked my Connected Educator friends to let me know which companies they would be prepared to represent at the event


So if you are on any of these lists please get in touch to discuss the details, we think you'll like the proposal:
If you are a connected educator and are looking for funding for any projects... please get in touch and we can discuss some options.


Friday, 27 November 2015

Connected Educator Appreciation Day

Thanksgiving in the US yesterday...

Black Friday today...

I found out about Community Management through Community Manager Appreciation Day (And am SO thankful that I did!)...

EdChat Moderators and Connected Educators put a lot of unpaid time into their chats & edcamps, and generally helping others...

I'm looking to raise some funds to bring some Connected Educator friends to Scotland for a Digital Citizenship Summit...

Mash it all together and what do we get: A Connected Educator Appreciation Day #CEduAD?

What could this look like? Perhaps a day where suppliers follow their "Black Friday" counterparts and offer a "Happy Edu Monday" discount and/or do a bit of "Social Tipping" to thank Connected Educators for all they do to help others... Including advocating the tools they like, which saves companies on sales overheads.

More than like, better than a share: Change Tip
Perhaps particularly applicable to the venture capital backed companies who have the luxury of being able to take their time with development AND are able to charge nothing for their products AND who get a lot of support from educators.

I've looked at the idea of an EdChat Moderator Day, see EdChat-a-thon at the end of this post:

And I've looked at "Social Tipping" in the past, this started out with:

Neither idea took off. With Get2ISTE  the concept was proved but this is by no means guaranteed to be a success, see Get2ISTE2016 - Ways to Get Support During ISTE2015 to find out why. There was also the fact that most of the support was family/friends and few suppliers.

I find that re-presenting old ideas at a different times and in a different context sometimes works.

Connected Educator Appreciation Day
So as it's Black Friday, I thought I would test this idea and see what kind of response it gets.

Let's see if people get behind the idea of some sort of Connected Educator Appreciation Day hashtag... Maybe #CEduAD and see if people start using it and discussing the idea.

In my EdChatMod ISTE or Bust post I estimated that EdChat moderators have contributed anything between $3-6,000 of unpaid time into their chats each year.

These educators have neither asked to be recompensed AND they didn't like the suggestion when I first suggested it. I believe the reason for this is due, at least in part, to the fact that educators tend to be selfless givers... they give help to anyone who asks, but rarely ask for help themselves.

If this was not the case they might have a little bit of a war chest so they could get more "connected" and help more educators by being able to afford the costs for #DigCitSummitUK.

If educators don't like me re-raising the topic... or, if like #Get2ISTE, suppliers don't rally round that's absolutely fine, no harm done. 

I happen to have a plan B for #DigCitSummitUK. Perhaps the 20-30 Connected Educators who want to come to the event will be interested in EARNING the costs that would allow them to get to Scotland.

Oh and don't worry, I know how busy educators are... so this will be along the lines of a 5 min favour: Something that they can do for others that will only take them a moment but could have a big impact on the recipient.

Want to hear more? Start chatting about the idea of a Connected Educator Appreciation Day on #CEduAD and I'll tell you more ;)

The Art of the Five Minute Favour:
What can Connected Educators do that would only take a moment... but have a big impact?

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

DigCitSummitUK: Going Live

This time last week I had a Skype conversation with a member of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) Marialice Curran (@mbfxc) who wanted to discuss the possibility of hosting a UK Digital Citizenship Summit, I think this was just supposed to be a scoping exercise.

The reason for this outreach was because the inaugural summit on the 3rd of October in the US was such a success. Before we knew if we were planning an event, here's were we are one week on from that initial conversation.

#DigCitSummitUK... What Is It?
There was some discussion on Twitter earlier in the week about what this event was, and who was involved. Here's some further information on that question.

"One of our goals with planning the Digital Citizenship Summit is to increase overall awareness, what we have learned is that the community may need to focus more attention on adequately explaining what digital citizenship is." David Ryan Polgar, We Shouldn't Assume People Know what Digital Citizenship is

"If you asked ten differnt people to define digital citizenship, you would most likely receive ten different responses" Marialice Curran, Digital Citizenship Needs to be a Verb

Digital Citizenship Definition
The norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regards to technology use
Dr Mike Ribble AKA "The Godfather of Digital Citizenship" 

Here is a collection of articles about Digital Citizenship, and what delegates thought of the recent US Summit: #DigCitSummit Collection

The minute Larbert High School heard about this event they expressed an interest in being involved. At the moment they are discussing logistics etc regarding dates etc. We hope to have more news form them soon. 

We expect to have this later this week, at the moment we are looking at January/February 2016. The reason for this is so that any international speakers could attend the BETT show and/or the Learning Technologies Conference.

There is also the fact that there is a lot of momentum around the Digital Learning agenda in Scotland at the moment, so felt a date that was sooner rather than later would have a bigger impact.

We have 54 people who are interested in getting involved with this proposed event and, hopefully, will be looking to speak at the event.

We will not know who can make it until we have a date but here is a list of the people who have expressed an interest so far. #DigCitSummitUK - Potential Speakers

I am extremely grateful to everyone for replying to the various emails and the prompt replies to discuss various points and ideas, your patience while we get organised... as well as agreeing to take time out of your busy schedules to attend... if the date suits. Here is a list of the proposed talks so far:
  • Making Digital Citizenship a Verb in and Out of the ClassroomMarialice Curran (#digcitsummit Co-Founder, @mbfxc)
  • Rules: Building Balance & Boundaries for Tech Health 
  • The Slow Tech Lifestyle: Digital Mindfulness for Our Personal & Professional Lives 
  • Next Gen Digital Directors: Tech Healthy Parents & Teachers are the Key
    Janell Hofmann
    (Author: iRules: What Every Tech Healthy Family Needs To Know About Selfies, Sexting, Gaming & Growing Up, @JanellBH)
  • Engaging Students in a Global cCassroom 
  • Innovation and Edtech Change 
    Craig Kemp (Stamford American International School, Singapore & #WhatIsSchool, @mrkempnz)
  • Digital Addiction/ Excessive Internet Use 
  • Participation in Adversarial Online Groups
    John McAlaney (University of Bournemouth, @johnmcalaney)
  • Digital Literacy in the Early Years - Pedagogical Decision Making and Cultural Change
    Paul Campbell (St Paul's School, Barcelona @PCampbell91)
  • Everyone Is Talking About You (Online)
    Alex Shebar (Yelp, @yelplondon)
  • The Impact of Digital Illiteracy in Corpoate Learning
    David James (Looop, @DavidInLearning)
  • Delivering Enterprise Social Media in Tomorrow's Organisation
    James Leavesley (CrowdControlHQ, @Leavesj)
As you can see from the profiles on the DigCitSummitUK Twitter List we have people from Africa, Amsterdam, Australia, Ireland, Singapore, Spain and the US interested in getting involved, this is going to take a little bit of funding.

My background is in sales so this is an area that I can help with and feel that I can offer the most value... However, I am not an event organiser and I definitely can't do both at once.  

When the #DigCitSummit organisers were putting the US event together it was done on a shoestring budget and Marialice played host to 9 #DigCit Moderators during the event... can you imagine how slow a home broadband connection would be with 9 connected educators in the house?

I am going to be putting in some pretty big "Asks" with old and new friends alike in my network, I'm also going to be asking people who are already involved to see if they can pitch in a little more.

This event is going to need support in every possible way to make it a success.

I've spend the last 8 weeks immersed in Scottish education, I've heard all about the Digital Learning Agenda, the Enterprising Schools (@ScotEntSchools), the Developing the Youth Workforce... How about we #GoDo?

In my first post that focused on Scottish Education after the Scottish Learning Festival I said what I felt would be needed (See Developing the Youth Workforce and Circle the Schools) and by a fluke of coincidence (And a lot of hustle!) this proposed event doesn't look too dissimilar to what I suggested. 

...Or maybe I'm being deluded. If I am forgive me, I've not had a great deal of sleep this week.

That's me for today, I'm off to put some more hustle in to see if I can get some other people involved in this. I know that people in my PLN will respond to this request.

The three areas we are working on at the moment are getting topics that people would present of, asking what people can do to help and if any potential speakers would need assistance with travel costs: #DigCitSummitUK: Potential Speakers and Volunteers 

I hope I'll meet some new friends if I leave everyone with this question:

Who Can Help and How Can You Help? 

Can you #BeTheDigitalChange That You're Looking for?

Friday, 20 November 2015

Digital Citizenship Summit UK

Education Scotland launched a new conversation about reading for pleasure today. Here's a brief story about how a discussion about a Digitial Citizenship Summit UK #DigCitSummitUK came about... and how much we've achieved in 3 days.

Spoiler Alert!
The hero of this adventure is: Social Media 
The moral of the story is: Get Connected! ...For the Sake of the Kids!

The Beginning
Once upon a time (Cira late 2010) a Tech sales guy with a reasonable track record of project management and rolling products out called the Head of Education at "The Big Three" tech companies (Apple, Google & Microsoft) and asked "Would my experiences be enough to secure an interview"

One of the replies was along the lines of

"You say you've done all these things in EdTech, but I can't find you anywhere on Social Media"

"There's a reason for that" says he "Because I'm not on social media... I don't care what someone had for breakfast, and I don't think anyone will care what I had either" he jokes.

"Get social! If you want to work in EdTech today, you need to be on social media. It comes with the job today"

The bit in the Middle
A few conversations with social media advocates and a couple of books later and he's all plugged in. In March 2011 the first Tweet is dispatched

@mzinga Loving the advice in Social Nation...looking forward to using and passing on some of the advice and tips to our partners. 

Being involved in FE at the time some lists were curated a report written in the hope of encouraging others to "Get Social."

The first Tweet led to offline collaboration as Social Nation author Barry Libert collaborated on this report Twitter in Further Education.

#UKFEChat had not been established at this point but, being keen to chat about education, connections were made with other educators via Social Media.

EdChats were attended and supported (Waves to #UKFEChat and #EdTechBridge) as well as the curation of various resources for the EdChat community until more UK and FE Educators got connected.

The End
Not knowing a great deal about the Scottish Education community, social media is being explored to get an idea of where things are at with the adoption of technology... and what's needed. Lot's of insights have been gained from this "Social Listening"

Over 2,400 Scottish School accounts have been curated (NB: This does not include Colleges, Universities, Government staff, 3rd sector or Education assosications or bodies). There's a good idea of what's needed to progress things.
The Problem with EdTech Integration:
Educators Don't know How to Sell
Curating this data and reporting on this will take time (Time that may not be available... so this may not get completed), but momentum is key so finding ideas and projects that keep the discussion going are extremely important.

Last week a US connection reached out to see if a discussion about establishing a UK Digital Citizenship Summit could take place, following the success of a US one last month.

A Skype conversation took place on Monday and a venue has been identified and 13 industry experts from various sectors (and different countries) have expressed an interest in speaking at the event.

Social Media... For the Sake of the Kids
Before providing any details of this event we need to highlight 3 very important points because we understand and appreciate what all of the concerns and issues are with "getting connected"

Whether feeling social media is a waste of time, or trepidation about sending that first Tweet or "Publish" on your first blog post or considerations about all the risks, we've been there and done it. Now we see the value of it and encourage others to join the chat.

This isn't always easy, but if there's one thing that we are confident will resonate with people and encourage them to overcome these issues... It's this:

For the sake of the kids! 

1) According to The BBC's "How Scotland Works" The call centre industry is worth £84 billion to the Scottish economy.

2) Forrester research published this report recently: Call Centre's - Go Digital or Die

3) Hootsuite highlight that "Jobs that require Social Media skills have increased 89% over the past 2 years...btw Hootsuite's Social Media courses are free

Want to Develop the Youth Workforce? Then Get Social! ...Because it's going to be needed for a lot more jobs today and tomorrow.

Digital Citizenship Summit UK
Myself and some of my connected educator friends are keen to pitch in and make this event happen, Larbert High School and Falkirk Council are happy to host and support this event. Thank you all so much! You all rock!

But before doing too much with this and putting a lot of time and effort in, it would be good to know who's interested in this and encourage people to discuss the idea on #DigCitSummitUK

I'll leave you with some links about the US Digital Citizenship Summit and David Ryan Polgar's fantastic presentation (Reminded me of Chris van der Kuyl's Scottish Learning Festival Keynote)

The Sharing Economy is Coming...
Are our businesses and students ready for it?