Course Captured in Image

We are half-way through my ILD-831 course at Creighton University on Technology and Leadership.  Over the past couple of weeks, my students have been exploring connections internal and external to their organizations, with Husband’s “wirearchy” as a lens for discussion.  We also have looked at some of the tools provided in Jane Hart’s most recent Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016.

So this morning, I am checking my blog feeds on Feedly and find this post by Jane Hart, linking to her article in Modern Workplace Learning Magazine entitled, “The Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit.”  In this article, she provided a diagram that shows the key tools a Modern Professional Learner might use in 12 different contexts – many of which appeared on her Top 200 Tools for Learning.

professional toolkit

MPL Toolkit

One could repurpose this diagram as “The Modern Leader’s Toolkit” and effectively capture the essence of my ILD 831 course.  In my course, we explore how the digital world impacts leaders and those they lead.

As one circles around the twelve different contexts – which fit well with leadership – one can easily see the integration of digital aspects of life with leadership.  Digital connections and personal productivity tools help help filter and organize the “bottomless knowledge” that Weinberger noted in Too Big To Know.  There are digital options for networking, building and engaging in online communities, and continuing both professional and personal growth through knowledge flow ware, online courses, and online knowledge repositories.  Workflow within an organization can be enhanced through collaboration apps and web conferencing.

Jane noted:

“…A Personal Learning Space lies at the heart of the Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit. It is a privately-controlled space where an individual can organise and manage his/her own learning, by recording and reflecting on experiences wherever and however they take place – in the classroom, online, in the office, in a conference or elsewhere – as well as evidence changes and improvements in her/her performance change. (It might  be termed an ePortfolio or even a Personal LMS)…”

This concept of a personalized learning space seemed to align with comments made this week by the President of Northeastern University:

“…In 10 years, according to Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun, higher education will need to be much more nimble and personalized to meet students’ individual needs. But colleges and universities mustn’t only focus on the typical 18- to 22-year-old underclassman. Rather, they must embrace the notion of lifelong learning—that people of any age, and throughout their professional careers, will need new skills and competencies to evolve with the times…”

Aoun noted the disruption coming due to automation (a theme we have been exploring in ILD831), and noted that “…this reality represents a “wake-up call” for higher education, which must move rapidly to build what he called a robot-proof education that embraces lifelong learning and is nimble enough to equip people will the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to succeed in this changing landscape.”  I would suggest that this is true of most organizations, inside higher education and outside.  One cannot delegate responsibility to a training department – lifelong learning needs to be a personal responsibility.

Jane’s image captures the essence of ILD-831, but it also captures the essence of what a modern leader should be.

{Graphic: Jane Hart, Glanzman}


Artist at Work

Emile Zola said, “The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.” Yet work is not work when joy is evident.

. Artist Palette

These thoughts came to mind as I watched my Center for Teaching Excellence partner, Bud Deihl, developing his first draft VoiceThread. Each of us in the Center has specialized in certain areas (I do online course design and social media, Jeff Nugent does tablet PC’s and podcasting, and Bud does screencasting, communications and graphic arts). His latest focus is in the area of digital storytelling.

Yesterday, he brought in a digital camera and took some shots of mundane objects. However, with his eye for layout and focal length, the results were anything but mundane. A wall clock became a slightly blurred impression of passing time. A Starbucks cup became an art object. A tag cloud became a backdrop. Some items were out of focus…others were in stark focus. Each picture had been clearly conceptualized and crafted.

This afternoon, Bud was showing me this series of connected photographs from which he is now recording a story. Yet, even without the audio, one sensed the story just by the layout. He was enjoying himself and I was able to enjoy the moment observing the pure fun he was having.

Maybe it struck me more than usual because Bud displayed real passion as he explained the context of each picture and how it related to his journey into Web 2.0. I was watching someone caught up in his learning and using Web 2.0 tools in his PLE to draw this story together.

Bud’s focus is to develop his own craft using VoiceThread so that he can then work with faculty to help them exploit this tool. It was fun simply watching him at work. I am sure he will be sharing his learning in his blog, but my joy came from watching his.

To me, there are parallels to our craft of teaching. It is too easy to be caught up in NCLB and state standardized tests or university requirements. However, if we can help our students catch this fever of learning and internalize it the way Bud has, deep and active learning will occur. Armed with their own PLEs, students will not only complete courses, they will thrive and carry the lessons on learning into their future.

Maybe that is why it was so much fun watching an artist at work today.

[Photo Credit: Clark’s Aunt]