Monthly Archives: November 2011

Is community the new business model? – Comview presentation

Earlier this week,  I presented at the Comview conference here in Victoria. It’s run by the VCTA, (the Victorian Commercial Teacher’s Association) and my presentation was about the impact of social media on business today. The presentation is the culmination of a lot of what has been occupying my thinking this year about the changing nature of our world and our pressing need to respond as educators. In my view, we need to prepare our students for the here and now, and future scenarios awaiting them when they enter the world of work.

I’ve had educators push back at me in tweets when I’ve expressed this kind of thinking, suggesting that we are preparing students for many things, not just the workforce. While that’s obviously true, when I look at the amount of time I spend at my workplace, and then the time I devote to it out of school hours, I’m pretty convinced that a large part of our role does connect with preparedness for places where you spend a large proportion of your time. And that, my friends, would be your place of work.

Of course, quite a bit of this presentation was discussing the scenarios of the workplaces of the future. The distinct possibility that many of our students today will be remote workers, people working in a flexible arrangement from home, where the lines are blurred between what is working hours and what is downtime. What was also discussed was the challenge this places on employers, who will need to ensure a sense of workplace community even though their workplace may be distributed to places far and wide.

Leveraging social media for your own good was another feature of my presentation. I so admire Jesse Desjardins and the way he has utilised social media to propel his career. You must visit Jesse’s Slideshare page to see how his creative presentations and advice have helped to secure him a position as the Social Media & Advocacy Manager at Tourism Australia. (and he’s not an Australian- fancy that!)

Very frustratingly, once again, I am unable to embed my presentation on this WordPress blog. Something to do with Flash not being supported by WordPress according to a forum discussion I found. You can find the presentation by visiting http://jennyluca.wikispaces.com/Presentations, or by clicking this link. Like I said, It’s the culmination of a lot of reading, a lot of thinking, and a lot of hours putting it together. I did use a few slides from a presentation available on Sliderocket that is free for users to use. It just happened to fit nicely with my subject matter. The majority of the slides are my own creation, using screenshots of sites and CC pictures from Flickr. Some feedback would be nice, so feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think.

 

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School’s out Friday

He’s a clever man, that Rives. I love how he makes poetry cool. Next year, I’m teaching Year 10 English, and I’ll be trying very hard to find a way to weave some of Rive’s work into our course. This year, we had a slam poetry event during Book Week, and I was blown away by some of the poetry created by individuals and groups of students. I strongly believe that poetry surrounds us every day, in the lyrics of songs, in the word pictures we paint every day in conversation. It’s about active listening and appreciation of the beauty in our everyday lives.

Seek some beauty in your everyday life this weekend. When you find it, savour it. If you can, spread it around. I saw something beautiful tonight. My god-daughter’s dance concert, made all the more special by the presence of the lone little boy dancing his heart out. Even though at one stage he was wearing a puffy shirt reminiscent of that Seinfeld episode, he rose above it and exuded sheer beauty as he gave it his all. I clapped with extra enthusiasm at the end of each performance; I was applauding his bravery, his willingness to embrace what he loves doing, even if he is the solitary male in a troupe of female dancers. He was poetry in motion.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. I hope it’s filled with moments to savour. : )

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Connected, and conflicted

Last night, I went to a free screening of Connected, An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology. Thanks Hamish Curry for organising the event. The film’s creator is Tiffany Shlaine, and she is someone well versed in the workings of the web. Tiffany founded the Webby awards fifteen years ago, but today concentrates her efforts on film-making. Interestingly, for me anyway, her film echoed a lot of my thinking about the nature of being connected.

I’ve mentioned, more than a few times here, the transformational effect being connected has had on my life. There is little doubt in my mind that I am richer for it, in a soulful sense, certainly not monetary! I feel energised when I’m learning new things from all the network nodes I’m connected to. I know how easy it is to lose yourself in the Twitter stream, but also how enriched you can feel when your brain is firing and possibilities are stretching out before you. What comes with this is the desire to stay on top of things, to be ahead of change. You quickly realise this is impossible, that you would need to be looking at a device 24/7 and even then you wouldn’t have a hope of covering everything that is happening.

Tiffany begins the film with an anecdote, featured at the beginning of this trailer.

Hey, I’ve been there. Some would stay I’ve never left that state. But I know better. In my early days of immersion, I’d sit amongst friends in conversation and find my mind wandering. The desire to switch on my phone and check my networks was intense, almost like a primal need. I found myself connected to the network, and disconnected from long term friends, even family. It seemed that they didn’t understand, they weren’t part of what was in my immediate field of interest. None of them grasped the magnitude of my new discovery.

In that state, I longed for opportunities to find real time face to face meet ups with the people in my network, and I thought I would find myself content in their presence. While that was true with some people, what I also discovered was that many of the people I met were distant, introspective, or even people who just weren’t all that friendly face to face. What is obvious to me now but wasn’t then is that my network mirrored real life. It is a human network, populated with all variants of the human condition.

This year, I have been conflicted. I made a conscious decision to back off with my immersion. I still truly value my network, and continue to find it the place where I am energised and excited about possibilities. But what I have found is that I have reconnected with those in my immediate sphere, my close friends and family. I value the time I spend with them, and remain present for longer periods than I did in the past. The sky hasn’t fallen, my connection with an already established network is still strong, and I feel more at peace with my world.

Like Tiffany’s tale, it was a watershed moment that led to me resetting priorities. When you face adversity, true friends and connections come to the fore, and some leave you hanging. I am so grateful to my immediate close friends and family who rallied and made sure my family and I were OK. The same can be said of true friends in my network, people who have taken time to look beneath the surface and see what lies there.

Although I can say I am more at peace with myself, I remain conflicted to some degree about backing off the network. I haven’t put my hand up this year to present at conferences, and I have to admit to feeling a degree of performance anxiety when I see others pushing themselves out there. It is my dream to live this work, to find a way to do it all the time, not just part of my time.

So, I will remain connected, and to some extent, conflicted. But I will do so knowing that it is not at the expense of the relationships that matter most.

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Data visualisation – it’s here and wow!

I’m presenting at a Commerce teacher’s conference (Comview) next week, about social media and its impact on business today. Whenever I plan a presentation, it never ceases to amaze me how you seem to constantly find yourself immersed in terrific content that is so pertinent to your subject matter. This presentation from Leslie Bradshaw, one of the new wunderkinds of Data Visualisation, and co-founder of  JESS3, is just such an example. I am certainly going to be mining this data for my presentation next week.

Be sure to view this presentation, and perhaps share the following quote with your Math’s teachers;

“Math majors, rejoice. Businesses are going to need tens of thousands of you in the coming years as companies grapple with a growing mountain of data.”

Steve Lohr  – New York Times.

Data mining and the art of data visualisation are proving to be key jobs that will be in increasingly high demand in our socially connected and evolving world. The founders of JESS3, Jesse Thomas and Leslie Bradshaw are onto a good thing. (Got any openings for a highly enthusiastic teacher from Australia who loves what you do. ; )  )

 

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School’s out Friday

Now this made me smile. Charlie Todd, who heads up Improveverywhere, was married recently. In true Improveverywhere form, his wedding ceremony became part of his ‘we cause scenes’ movement. His bride was in on the act, being an improveverywhere member too. What a lovely way to make your wedding just that bit more memorable!

I’ve travelled a bit in the last few years, and have never really felt the effects of jetlag. Most of the time I’ve been able to correct my sleep patterns within a couple of days and get back on track. Not this week. After returning home from Italy early last Saturday morning (hence the no School’s out Friday last week – first time ever!), I’ve been struggling to get back to feeling like a normal person. It’s been compounded by a head cold I picked up while in Assisi, and a bit of a trying time on the work front. Hopefully I can get myself back into the swing of things this weekend. I’m supposed to submit slides for a conference I’m presenting at the week after next, so things better improve otherwise those conference organisers are going to be a tad unhappy with me!

I hope your weekend sees you relaxing and making the most of time spent with family and friends. I best head to bed to attempt to get myself back to the time zone I live in!

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Travels through Italy

I’ve been meaning to post here about the trip I am currently taking through Italy with students from my school, but I underestimated the pitifully poor wifi reception I have been struggling with, and my total exhaustion at the end of each day!

I have been writing a blog for family and friends of the students I am traveling with, and it gives you a pretty good overview of what I’ve been up to. In two words – A LOT.

If you care to, take a read. Venice to Rome blog

Here’s a few pics to prove I’ve been busy.

Venice


Florence


Pisa


Assisi


Rome


There is much I have observed about the Italian lifestyle. I’m returning home tomorrow, and hope to post a few thoughts here over the weekend.

Caio for now!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Vicolo Moroni,Rome,Italy

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School’s out Friday

Before you start to say anything, I know it’s not Friday. Yes, my time zones are all over the place right now, but I do know that it is Saturday pretty much everywhere in the world right now. I was too exhausted last night here in Florence to get this post happening, and even now I just know it’s not going to work the way I want it to using this BlogPress app.

I can’t seem to grab any embed code for a YouTube video using this iPad, so you’re going t have to follow a link today. This is a very funny Carlsberg ad that’s also a study in human behavior.

Have a great weekend everyone. I’m going to be spending it in Assisi. If I get a chance before we have to leave, I’ll get a post up telling you of my time in Italy to date.

Caio!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Florence

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