incidental learning

Friday, March 24, 2006


With fledgling blogging skills, I've bravely raised my hand to help with an online public dialogue for the Citizens' Health Care Working Group . This landmark project sponsored by the President and Congress is providing a unique opportunity to the American public:

To become a part of an historic discussion taking place right now across America – where citizens like you get to tell the policymakers in Washington what you like and don’t like about our nation’s health care system, and what tough choices our country should make to turn it into one that works for all Americans. In the process of being a moderator for the project, I'll facilitate the forum discussion and share my perspectives in the blogs -- my own and others. I've been honing my skills in leading and supporting digital collaboration and idea sharing for seven years . . . as ever, I stand on the shoulders of some wise and wonderful folks, like Gilly Salmon and eModerators Zane Berge and Mauri Collins and the late Guy Bensusan, who gave my thinking a kick start and pushed my skills uphill as the horizon of virtual communities has broaded from classroom to community of practice to global forum.

Now all of this would be interesting to a point, but there's more to the story than that. Also attending orientation to the Citizens' Health Care Working Group via conference call from Hong Kong was Nick Noakes. It took only a few minutes for us to uncover our shared experiences with Appreciative Inquiry, online conferencing and faculty development. What a great conversation as Nick pressed America Speaks staff for better ways to manage the RSS from all the blogs and messages the initiative would produce. My marketing mindset triggered a stream of consciousness for getting the word out to the general public so their opinions and alternative solutions would be added to the collective intelligence being gathered. More on this next week . . . As for now, I'm smiling as I think of how near we all are in this internet cloud when we are seekers of meaning making.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Two Peas in a Pod

In an article headlined Podcasting Technology Promotes Convenience, Infotainment Learning and dated March 8, 2006 Kellye Whitney of CLO Magazine reports: "Research conducted in August of 2005 by mobile market intelligence company CLX showed that 15 percent of U.S. respondents listen to podcasts. While the technology is fairly new and seemingly perfect for a younger audience, apparently podcasting also has great appeal for the mid-40s and older crowd. Research data indicated that the two groups most likely to listen to podcasts are 45- to 55-year-olds and 55-year-olds and over, which indicates that there might be some real value in using this new technology to create learning programs that appeal to all ages." "Mid-forties and older crowd" sure includes me . . . and I guess Peter Adamson (my fellow learner in the unworkshop) is part of that demographic too. Thursday morning we compared notes in a Skype call across the Atlantic. We are auditory drop-outs. Tapes of conference sessions are purchased, placed in the player and started again, and again . . . We are engaged by the world we can see and touch. Listening is our least effective means of learning. Added to this life experience is the annecdotal information that instructional designers have used for at least a generation as the basis of reducing lectures and increasing experiential learning. Until these researchers invite Peter and me to be subjects of podcasting research, I'll remain a little doubtful that the Boomers and Pre-boomers will be sporting iPods. Remember what Confucious said:

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

Friday, March 10, 2006

Missing Stephen Downes

Back in the mid 90's I started subscribing to listservs. I've been irritated, engaged, delighted, puzzled, bored, thoughful, curious, entranced and otherwise impacted by the ideas of people who exist only in my *internet cloud*. A few years ago one of the people who gave me great insights about being an online faculty member, Guy BenSusan, died suddenly. That night people from around the country mourned his passing in dialogue on the Internet. It was a moving and compelling experience that I will not soon forget. There's a significant loss right now in the blogosphere . . . fortunately one of silence, rather than irreversible loss. Nevertheless, Stephen Downe's hiatus is a notable gap in my life. Only once have I heard his voice, though I've read thousands of his daily messages and browsed to so many wonderful sites that he suggested. (My friends wonder how I know about so many things and its largely due to him.) A year ago I made subscribing to Stephen's OLDaily a course requirement for my NYU grad students. Some balked. I smiled when 6 months after the course was over, one of the students emailed me the following: * I just wanted to thank you for having us subscribe to OLDaily. It has been very useful, and I never would have subscribed if you hadn't required it.* I wonder if that student finds this silence is hard to fill too?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Getting a project on my radar screen . . .

This is not quite like asking the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" but more than "where do you want to go on vacation?" . . . you know, not just a simple destination, more of an experience. One idea for a project seems to fit the bill . . . two consultants have been open to the idea of a blog on nonprofit management. They want to share editorial responsibilities with me -- a good idea since there's a lot of ground we could cover. Still, an interesting blog has a purpose, a slant on life, a personality of its own. So, here's my plan: I'll check out some of the blogs from the nonprofit gurus. Several benefits in that . . . to gauge what's out there, to see what niche we could fill, and to pick up some good ones for my RSS. Here goes . . .

First stop, OmidyarNetwork -- what a goldmine of sources where I find a list of nonprofit blogs and browse them to find some nice examples.

PS If you're wondering what the relevance is to the car, it was something I always wanted "when I grew up". So last summer my son and I bought it 50/50.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Interesting blogs . . .

Here are some of the blogs I keep an eye on: Keith Ferrazzi's Never Eat Alone: Dr. Vino: Blogs for Orgs: Blogsavvy: and from my daughter, Ann, atelier 918: