ALA Annual Conference 2013: Backchannels Revisited

July 3, 2013

Attending conferences like the 2013 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference (held over the past several days here in Chicago) always provides a reminder, both positive and negative, of how far we have come in coping with life in an onsite-online world—and how far we still have to go in effectively using social media tools.

ALA_2013_Chicago_Logo_FINAL_CLR_0 (1)The opportunity to see and learn from colleagues is clearly a huge attraction for many of us; doing business (on the committees on which we serve, with the vendors upon whom we rely, and, for those of us working as consultants, with current and prospective clients) as well as having those spur-of-the-moment unplanned conversations that invariably happen even when there are more than 25,000 people onsite are absolutely inspirational. And combining our onsite presence with online activity through the Twitter backchannel, Facebook postings, and other online activities via laptops and mobile devices means that we have hundreds of onsite-online colleagues helping us find meetings, learning opportunities, after-hours gatherings, and other shared conference experiences we might otherwise have missed.

There is even an attempt to actively include those who are unable to physically attend the conference: the usual #ALALeftBehind hashtag not only kept us in contact with those who were interested but unable to attend—it often offered tongue-in-cheek opportunities to participate through virtual #alaleftbehind conference ribbons and even a very clever opportunity to be virtually photographed with a popular conference attendee.

As has been the case with other conferences I’ve attended, the ALA 2013 Annual Conference began with a bit of confusion about how best to reach colleagues arriving in Chicago. During the days leading up to the conference, many of us had inaccurately assumed that the official conference hashtag was #ala13—the conference URL started with “ala13”; there were numerous references online to that hashtag; it was the shortest possible combination many of us could imagine as a way of keeping up with each other (and when you only have 140 characters to convey a message, every typed character has to count); and the Twitter feed for #ala13 was very active. It wasn’t until many of us were onsite, however, that colleagues were nice enough to post tweets calling our attention to the official hashtag (#ala2013, with its extra two characters). The result, throughout the conference, was that any of us hoping to reach the largest possible number of colleagues ended up using both hashtags in our posts—a situation similar to what often happens with colleagues in the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) who face the #astd13/#astd2013 challenge when attending and/or following conference exchanges via Twitter.

ALA_2013--Top_TweetsThere were many times when both feeds were moving so quickly that it was impossible to either follow them in the moment or to follow them later by skimming earlier posts, for taking the time to try to review tweets invariably meant falling behind in the ever-developing stream of comments. American Libraries Senior Editor Beverly Goldberg (@americanlibraries) offered a playfully subjective bit of assistance by compiling lists of Top 10/Top 20 tweets while the conference was fully underway on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Reviewing her picks gives a wonderful overview of content—everything ranging from snippets from notable presentations to comments about the length of the lines at the onsite Starbucks outlets.

Bev, much to my surprise, included one of my paraphrases of a keynote speaker’s comment in her Friday list, then nailed me the following day in a very funny way by rerunning the same tweet on the next list and noting that I had suggested that standards must have been lowered if my tweets were making any sort of Top 10 list. (That’s OK, Bev, I know where you tweet!)

What doesn’t show up in those Top 10 lists is the reminder that some of our colleagues apparently need reminders that what happens in Twitter doesn’t necessarily stay in Twitter. There were the usual snarky comments from those who felt they needed to play den mother to the rest of us through cajoling notes about not wearing conference badges while walking city streets (I can’t imagine anyone reading one of those comments and thinking, “Oh, yes, that’s very helpful; thank you for making me a more responsible representative of my profession.”); standing to the right side of escalators so others could race up the left-hand side (why bother? the lines were going to be long at Starbucks no matter what time you arrived); and even writing critical comments to presenters while those presenters were in the middle of their presentations and clearly not paying any attention to the backchannel. All that those tweeters accomplished was to make the rest of us a little hesitant to have anything to do with them since those notes, at very least, indicated a level of incivility that present and future employers can’t help but notice.

There are certainly thousands of attendees who had great conference experiences without ever stepping into the Twittersphere and interacting at that level; there are also many of us who found our overall experience enhanced by combining our onsite and online presences. And now, as I’ve written after intensively engaging in other conferences, it’s nearly time to think about engaging in a digital media fast to decompress from several days of nonstop connectivity. But not quite yet: there are a still a few more tweets to read and a few more articles to complete.


ASTD International Conference 2012: Cliff Atkinson, the Backchannel, and Many Happy Returns

May 18, 2012

I already had quite a few friends and colleagues in the world of training-teaching-learning a couple of weeks ago. Now the social fabric that sustains me has grown quite substantially. Let’s credit the backchannel for this change. Then think about what that backchannel could mean to you and all you serve.

Seeing dynamically interactive online extensions of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) 2012 International Conference & Exposition Twitter backchannel in the week since the conference ended provides all of us with yet another example of how blended the world has become for trainer-teacher-learners. How quickly we are informally and quite naturally developing the sort of blended onsite-online social learning center/fourth places colleagues and I have been exploring. And how the interactions we have at conferences no longer start and end with physical onsite arrivals and departure.

As is the case with any form of effective training-teaching-learning, those conference interactions flourish through planning before the learning event/conference begins (someone has to create the Twitter hashtag that draws us all together); active participation during the event (the more you give, the more you receive); and sustainable long-term attention that continues far beyond the days a learning opportunity/conference brings us all together (following and contributing to the backchannel after the conference ends keeps this virtual social learning center alive and vibrant).

And discovering Cliff Atkinson’s The Backchannel: How Audiences Are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever as I was beginning to resurface a bit from the ASTD conference backchannel (#ASTD2012) a few days ago tells me that the best is yet to come in terms of where backchannels deliver on the promises they are offering.

An effective backchannel, as I wrote in an earlier article, works at many levels. It connects those who might otherwise be separated by the smallest as well as the largest of physical distances. It fosters a form of  mobile learning (m-learning) in that what we’re learning is disseminated to an even larger group of learners. It is increasingly providing a delightfully accessible tool that can as easily facilitate and augment the learning process in academic settings as it can in workplace learning and performance (staff training) endeavors.

On the other hand, it carries the potential to completely disrupt a presenter-teacher-trainer’s presentation. This is where Atkinson’s book on the backchannel comes into play invaluably. A guide every bit as appealing and potentially influential in the world of backchannel learning as his Beyond Bullet Points remains for onsite-online presentations, The Backchannel entices us into the subject immediately through a chapter carrying the title “Why Are You Calling Me a #@*% on Twitter?” and helps us see how a tweeter with a large following (nearly 15,000 people as I’m writing this) and a well-known presenter clashed quite publicly when the presenter saw the tweeter’s note with her derogatory remark about him. (For the record, she called him “a total dick,” and he decided to confront her face-to-face, while the presentation was still underway, by asking “What…what is my dickiness?”)

If you already sense that Atkinson’s mastery of storytelling and training is a wonderful talent to see in action, you’re well on the way to understanding that his book has something for each of us regardless of whether we’re new to the backchannel or already fairly comfortable in that rapidly-flowing stream of words and thoughts and resources. He shows us how to join a backchannel. Entertainingly reviews the rewards and risks of backchannel engagement with copious amounts of screenshots to lead us down that path. Offers presentation tips to make us more effective in our use of Twitter and its backchannels. And leads us through the process of effectively dealing with those dreaded-yet-inevitable moments when a backchannel becomes dangerous.

By the time we finish racing through this book and absorbing what we can—I suspect I’ll be rereading this one at least a few times— we’re far more comfortable with and appreciative of all that backchannels offer, and much more aware of how to be effective and civil members of the Twitterverse and its various interconnected streams. We’re richer for having explored and reflected upon the online resources supporting the book, e.g., his “Negotiating a Backchannel Agreement.” And we’re appreciative for what our own levels of involvement in backchannels returns to us.

Through the #ASTD2012 backchannel and subsequent online interactions including the #lrnchat session on May 17, 2012 , I came away from a conference with 9,000 attendees much richer at a deeply personal and professional level than I was two weeks ago. Through their confrontation and subsequent discussion, the tweeter and the presenter in Atkinson’s book walked away with their differences resolved. And you—yes, you—may end up finding your own rewards and satisfactions there the moment you are prepared to take the plunge into the backchannel/The Backchannel.


Adapting to Change, Loss, and Possibilities: Voice, Collaboration, Virtual Choirs, and Rising Up

October 10, 2020

There’s a heartbreakingly beautiful story to be told here—the story of how online interactions involving music, collaboration, the human voice, and activism are creating light and fostering positive action in times of darkness. The story of how online collaborations are drawing us together at a time when “social distances” are overwhelming so many people. And the story of why the arts remain an essential part of the human experience.

The story is rooted in the realization that there is something primally comforting and deeply inspirational about musical collaboration involving the human voice. It flows from the recognition that singing together can be a language of community. Creativity. And hope. Singing together and hearing others sing together in our online/social-distancing/sheltering-in-place/pandemic-plagued world are proving to be ways—for those of us not facing barriers to our access to the Internet and the tools needed to use it effectively—to build or further develop strong social connections rather than succumbing to isolation and social distances. Singing together and/or hearing others sing online are ways of using technology to overcome rather than to create distances, to bring us together in ways that allow us to build upon our shared interests and social needs rather than being dispirited by challenges that appear to be too large to tackle.

My own introduction to the concept of virtual choirs and online performances came a little more than a year ago (in May 2019), in a pre-coronavirus world, when I was lucky enough to see and hear virtual-choir pioneer Eric Whitacre demonstrating and embracing us with the power of global online choral collaborations in a closing keynote session presented during the ATD (Association of Talent Development) annual International Conference & Exposition (in San Diego). Hearing Whitacre describe and demonstrate what was involved in creating and nurturing virtual choirs and producing online performances was world-changing; it was a first-rate example of what we foster when we use technology as a tool and focus on the beauty of our creative spirit in the arts and many other endeavors—including training-teaching-learning, which draws the thousands of ATD members globally together.

Thoughts of virtual choirs and online performances receded into the inner recesses of my mind for several months. Then, in March 2020, we entered the “three-week” (now seven-month) period of sheltering-in-place guidelines put into place here in a six-county coalition within the San Francisco Bay Area and, soon thereafter, in other parts of the United States, in response to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic on our shores.

It was a recommendation from friend/colleague/co-conspirator in training-teaching-learning Jill Hurst-Wahl that rekindled my interest that month in virtual choirs and what they suggest in terms of online collaborative possibilities for all of us: the recommendation to watch a virtual-choir rendition of “Helplessly Hoping,” performed and recorded by Italy’s Il coro che non c’è (The Choir That Isn’t There). As was the case with seeing and hearing Whitacre’s virtual choir a year earlier, the experience of hearing and seeing the students in Il coro was transformative. Encouraging. Emotionally-engaging. Inspiring. Tremendously moving. And it made me want to hear more. Which led me to the work of Canada’s Phoenix Chamber Choir. The playfully creative online performances of musicians involved in a live virtual “coffee house” concert, complete with audience interactions via a conference backchannel, during the ShapingEDU Learning(Hu)Man weeklong summer camp in July 2020 for dreamer-doer-drivers working to shape the future of learning in the digital age. The virtual sing-along videos (including two versions of “Vote Him Way (the Liar Tweets Tonight”) created by singer-songwriter-satirist-activist Roy Zimmerman and his co-writer/wife Melanie Harby. And so many more.

But it’s Zimmerman’s work that most effectively shows us how we might use social media and online interactions to create that intersection of music, collaboration, the human voice, and activism. Because he is engaging. Because he is part of that ever-growing group of first-rate artist-activists who are exploring online alternatives and environments in response to the loss of the onsite venues and interactions that were their lifeblood before the coronavirus arrived. Because he is effectively using Facebook and YouTube, through his “Live from the Left Coast” performances, to not only to stay in touch with and further cultivate his audience, but to nurture relationships between those audience members through his use of online chat within those platforms. Because he is among those participating in the new “Trumped By Music” project initiated by a Dutch/American team “that wants to provide a platform for anti-Trump musicians to be seen and heard… We want to provide maximum exposure for this passionate and vocal community! Our aim is to help our featured artists gain exposure for their message, as well as stimulate musicians to send us new content.” And because his work is reaching and inspiring others equally committed to using music in deeply-emotional ways to foster social change—as was the case with Wilmington Academy Explorations teacher Sandy Errante and her husband, Wilmington Symphony Orchestra conductor Steven Errante.

The pre-coronavirus virtual meeting of Zimmerman and the Errantes is centered around Zimmerman’s incredibly moving song “Rise Up” (co-written with Harby). It was inspired by the students who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School [Parkland, Florida] on Valentine’s Day in 2018 and who turned their experience into the March for Our Lives/Vote for Our Lives/Never Again movement that, six weeks later, inspired marches in more than 500 cities around the world. His rendition of the song as a duet with Laura Love was included on his Rize Up CD in 2018. And that’s where the story becomes very interesting, as Sandy Errante explained in a recent email exchange we had:

“My husband and I had heard Roy perform at the Unitarian Church in Wilmington before. We loved his satire, his energy, his passion, his humor and his music. And then…

“One Thursday evening after my rehearsal with the Girls’ Choir of Wilmington, I was on the way home when our local radio station, WHQR, started advertising an upcoming concert at the UU with Roy. The radio announcer, George Sheibner, played a song I had not heard before—Rise Up. As I drove along listening, I was captivated by the lyrics, the music, the harmonies and suspensions, and the message. By the end of the song and the final chorus, I was in tears. I knew the Girls’ Choir had to sing this piece. But how to make that happen? 

“I reached out to my husband, who was on his way to a rehearsal with the Wilmington Youth Orchestra. Steve is an arranger and a composer, and I needed him to know right away that this was something we absolutely HAD to do. He asked me to find a recording of the song. I did. And I hunted down the contact info for Roy, using my contacts at the UU church. Once we had permission from Roy to proceed, we started imagining this song as told from the children’s perspective. We altered the lyrics just a bit [changing it from the point of view of adults addressing the Parkland survivors to the point of view of the students themselves]. Now we had a song that the girls could sing from their hearts. We had a youth orchestra that could accompany. We had a performance in the making.­

“After all was said and done, we concurred, this IS their world and this was their song.”

And it remains our song—our anthem—in this pandemic, shelter-in-place world, through its availability on YouTube (with the girls’ choir) and on the CD. It’s there for them—and for us—as we continue seeking light and inspiration while living through devastatingly tragic times. Times of great division and conflict. Times that are, for many, overwhelming. And, as is often the case in tragic, divisive, conflict-ridden times, times that are also inspiring tremendous levels of creativity and opportunities for collaboration designed to foster positive change—which we nurture through our support and engagement in any and every way we can.

Update: Roy Zimmerman and Melanie Harby have posted a piece about the collaboration that produced their recent “My Vote, My Voice, My Right” video and included links to other virtual collaborations of that particular song: https://www.royzimmerman.com/blog/my-vote-my-voice-my-right.

–N.B.: This is the twenty-first in a series of reflections inspired by coronavirus/ shelter-in-place experiences.


Learning(Hu)Man Virtual Summer Camp: Spreading Our Love Wings

July 24, 2020

I’m sensing growth. Rapid change and evolution. A blossoming of gorgeous flowers that were aching to unfold their petals, reach for the sun, and revel in a summer day they suspected that they would, one day, experience—even if they lacked a sense of when that day would ultimately arrive. It’s the sort of blossoming that we can never fully anticipate in all its myriad permutations. The sort of blossoming we question while it is actually underway. But when it does arrive, it is clear. Tangible. And nothing around it will ever seem the same to any of us present for the wonderfully explosive moment.

We are more than halfway through a week of campy virtual summer camp as I write this third in a series of “letters home from camp” (camp, in this case, being the playful online Arizona State University ShapingEDU Learning(Hu)Man conference for dreamer-driver-doers committed to shaping the future of learning in the digital age, where we participate via Zoom, or through the VirBELA virtual platform). While joining others who continue to follow shelter-in-place social distancing guidelines implemented in response to the current coronavirus pandemic), we have been flipping scary stories around the campfire online, artfully crafting learning experiences, and—following the theme for today’s activities—“swimming (a)synchronously” through discussions and demos of student success experiences, programs, and products with direct application for live or anytime learning

The tremendously engaging and wonderfully transformative activities have been overwhelming positive and well worth describing even if at only the most cursory of levels—you’ll be able to more fully see and experience some of those events and activities online as members of the Camp Team continue posting recordings on the ShapingEDU Community YouTube channel. The real story well worth telling late this evening is how the ShapingEDU community is rapidly becoming so much more than any of us thought it might become even a few months ago.

It’s the sort of community that under expert leadership and with a firm commitment to collaborative effort and action produces the kind of extraordinary day we have had again today. It began with an early-morning breakfast in the virtual Mess Hall—a Zoom meeting room created as a gathering place for camper-colleagues interested in beginning-of-day breakfast and warm-up activities. That Mess Hall gathering today included an exploration of mindfulness combined with a brief yoga session led in that online environment by wonderful facilitators, and was followed immediately by a dynamic panel discussion exploring “The Rise of the Digital Campus.”

The community is also one that produces the daily Learning(Hu)Man sessions along the lines of what we were able to chose from today: explorations of Slack in collaborative learning, Zoom as a learning platform, storytelling in learning, and so much more. Deciding to begin my dive into those sessions by attending one (“Surfing Chaos: Narratives Across the Digital Divide”) facilitated by my fellow ShapingEDU Storyteller in Residence Tom Haymes, I again found myself learning in layers: Tom’s amazing ability to lead us through some explorations of how to tell the stories we need to tell to promote the best possible responses to teachers’ and learners’ struggles with the rapid transformation of onsite learning into online learning for so many contemporary learners was layered over demonstrations of and hands-on experience with how to effectively use online collaborative tools such as Google docs to fast-forward discussions and planning sessions we need to be completing now. The result is that we walked away with usable ideas and, at the same time, had begun developing relationships with colleagues with whom we can continue to learn and work long after this first offering of Learning(Hu)Man formally concludes four days from now.

[Image by Karina Branson/ConverSketch]

This is also a community that, even though firmly grounded in a commitment to effectively incorporating educational technology into lifelong learning while never losing its learner-centric approach, seems to be in the middle of an important pivotal moment—that moment in which we are overtly acknowledging and beginning to grapple with some of the toughest social challenges facing anyone involved in lifelong learning. That became a bit more clear to me as I sat through the third of the three end-of-day plenary sessions Learning(Hu)Man has offered during the current virtual conference. The first plenary session—two days ago—was centered around a highly-interactive panel discussion on the theme of “Digital Equity, Social + Racial Justice”—something far removed from the sort of tech-based sessions which have been a staple of our previous ShapingEDU onsite gatherings and online offerings in the form of webinars. The session late this afternoon was equally compelling, thoughtful, and inspiring: “Digital Education and Tribal Rights,” a session masterfully led by Leah Gazan, Matt Rantanen, Traci Morris, and Brian McKinley Jones Brayboy. They framed what easily could have been an educational-technology conversation much more deeply—in terms of Internet access as a “human rights issue,” something integrally intertwined with the issue of “sovereignty” for indigenous peoples, and centered on “self-determination” as those lacking access to work and learning opportunities online work together to gain that access. Listening to them and briefly interacting with them within Zoom provided an expansion of the reach of the ShapingEDU I had really not seen coming even though I’ve seen several of us, over the past few months, taking on challenges including seeking solutions to the student debt crisis and fostering universal broadband access for work and learning throughout the United States.

[Image by Karina Branson/ConverSketch]

Rather than immediately following my fellow campers into the evening play and entertainment session, I stepped away from camp long enough to meet a friend here in San Francisco. As I returned home and made a spur-of-the-moment decision to join the last portion of the evening activity—a live concert, via Zoom, featuring several performers—I continued thinking about how completely immersive and transformative Learning(Hu)man has been in its first few days. And as I settled in to watch the last few performers, I again began chatting (through the chat window Zoom provides) with other campers who were attending that lovely series of performances—having exactly the sort of chats I would have had face-to-face with colleagues at any of the onsite conferences I have ever attended. And as we continued to chat and enjoy the music, I realized how completely the Learning(Hu)Man summer camp was providing the same richly rewarding experiences I have had onsite—which prompted me to remark to a colleague (via chat) that after this week of camping out at Learning(Hu)Man, I’m not going to be at all patient with anyone who tries to tell me we can’t be completely engaged, moved, and together in online settings. The comment drew agreement from a few others, and then we turned our attention back to one of the performers, who had just sung the line “Your purple mountain majesty is only for the free…”—a wonderfully poetic line that somehow seemed to fit right in with all the attention we had increasingly been giving to the social-issue side of the work we are pursuing together. That, in turn, prompted me to float the idea, in the ongoing chat, about how rapidly this community seems to be evolving/maturing. At which point the singer, Terra Naomi, was drawing to the end of a song that included the line “I believe in love more than I want to hate.” And then Walt Richardson took the virtual stage to sing “Light Revolution” (a song written by his brother), which made me think even more about the “revolution” I am sensing in this community.

The ongoing backchannel discussion quickly led me to respond to a colleague’s comment about our last community gathering, just days before many of us began officially sheltering in place in March 2020, with the observation that the moment when our last onsite gathering switched overnight into an online gathering “came at such a difficult time for so many people [and] really set the tone for much of happiness and success I’ve had in spite of and because of sheltering in place. We might, at some point, look back and see that as a pivotal moment–at many levels–in the development (at light speed) of this community and other dynamically blended, creative communities.

“When I’m at onsite conferences, I attend sessions, sometimes facilitate sessions, have hallway conversations (like we are having here and now), share meals, sometimes draft some writing while sitting with others and then stay up late fine-tuning fragments into blog pieces—just like I’m doing right now [and continued to do well after midnight to finish this piece before going back to camp in the morning].

“I suspect my next ‘letter home from camp’ is going to feel somewhat familiar to anyone watching this rough draft of it taking shape here in a chat window….And, being really meta about this: I often thought it was fun to watch writers who would sit in bookstore windows and write as people walked by and watched a bit of the creative process in progress…and here I am, knowing I’m on camera, writing in front of colleagues without the slightest bit of self-consciousness.”

At which point I began to laugh, because Walt had just sung the line “there will never be a time so right,” prompting me to add to the chat: “See? Now even Walt has worked his way into the piece-in-progress. It’s all about timing.”

His final song, “Love Wings,” seemed to hold all of us spellbound, but I broke away from the spell long enough to react to the line “We’ve got to share our battle scars” and observe that “it feels as if Walt is offering us the balm to soothe and heal those battle scars. If we came to Learning(Hu)Man feeling a bit beaten and scarred, at least we will go home having been provided with a bit of what we need to sustain us.

Two more lines from the song then floated across the virtual concert hall:

“With Love Wings we can fly

Into the clear blue open sky…”

As I draw to the end of my third letter home from camp, I’m among those who feel as if Walt’s beautifully poignant and wonderfully-delivered song has lifted us up; reminded us of what is possible online as well as face-to-face; and given us our own set of love wings to carry us through the rest of Learning(Hu)Man and into the work and challenges we face and willingly are going to work to address.

–N.B.: 1) This is the seventeenth in a series of reflections inspired by colleagues’ reactions to the coronavirus and shelter-in-place experiences, and the third in a series of posts inspired by Learning(Hu)Man.


Resume/CV

June 7, 2019

Paul Signorelli
1032 Irving, #514
San Francisco, CA 94122
E-mail: paul@paulsignorelli.com

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulsignorelli/

Overview

Photo by Dennis L. Maness, taken on the Hidden Garden Steps

Opportunity is at the heart of all I do in learning—the opportunity to work more effectively and collaboratively, and to produce results that are meaningful to learners, to organizations, and to the customers/clients/communities we ultimately serve.

I collaborate with clients and colleagues in higher education and other learning environments to produce engaged, motivated, productive learners and partners. I see learning and collaboration as a process rather than solely as an event. I want to make a positive difference in our workplaces and within our extended onsite and online communities. I want to be sure that our learning efforts and the way we work within our communities are collaborative, learner-centric, results-driven, and designed to extend well beyond the physical and virtual learning spaces we create.

I work with you to nurture these results through highly-interactive presentations and facilitated learning sessions designed to respond to the specific challenges you are facing.

Education

University of North Texas, MLIS
Golden Gate University, M.A., Arts Administration
UCLA, B.A., Political Science

Skill sets:

  • Program management
  • Collaboratively designing and implementing innovative, effective workplace learning and performance (training) projects and programs onsite, online, and in blended environments at the national, regional, and local levels
  • Creating and nurturing sustainable face-to-face, online, and blended communities of learning, collaborations, and partnerships
  • Leadership on boards, committees, programs, and projects
  • Online research to track future-thinking ed-tech, social media, and lifelong learning trends
  • Facilitating group discussions to produce positive strategic outcomes
  • Entrepreneurship that connects a variety of stakeholders to produce positive, concrete results
  • Writing and editing
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Strategic planning
  • Fundraising
  • Quickly absorbing new information to keep up with developments in educational and workplace technology
  • Professional Experience

Professional Experience:

Writer, Trainer/Educator, Presenter, Project Manager, Consultant
2007 – present

ALA TechSource/ALA Editions, ATD, PCI Webinars, and Others (September 2010– ongoing)
Writer/Trainer/Presenter/Consultant – Contract
Designing/delivering/facilitating onsite and online courses, workshops, and highly-interactive keynote presentations on a variety of topics
Subjects include “Artificial Intelligence in Learning,” “AR/VR/XR in Learning,” “Developing Community Partnerships,” “Incorporating Technology into Your Workplace,” “The Future of Libraries,” “Rethinking Social Media,” “Rethinking Digital Literacy,” “Rethinking (Library) Instruction,” “Working With Difficult Customers,” and “Nonprofit Management Basics”
Environments: Adobe Connect, Moodle, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, PowerPoint, WebEx, Word, and others

iLRN—Immersive Learning Research Network (2019-)
Consultant/Project Manager – Contract
Working with partner, on behalf of the Immersive Learning Research Network, to prepare a report on Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality/Extended Reality in Learning

ShapingEDU (2018 – present)
Facilitator/Committee Co-chair
Serving as “co-mayor” of a ShapingEDU committee seeking to strengthen connections between higher education and employers on behalf of students

American Library Association (2011 – 2018)
Project Management – Contract
Worked with ALA staff to recruit, orient, place, and coordinate onsite volunteers for the Association’s annual conferences in cities throughout the United States

OCLMOOC (Open and Connected Learning Massive Open Online Course (2014)
Instructional Design and Online Course Facilitation – Volunteer
Worked with Canadian and Australian colleagues from the ground-breaking Educational Technology & Media MOOC to design, produce, and facilitate this connectivist MOOC for educators interesting in learning about learning in online environments; more information at https://oclmooc.wordpress.com/about-oclmooc/.

Hidden Garden Steps Project (January 2010 – December 2013)
Founder/Co-chair – Community-based Volunteer Project
Was involved in every aspect of bringing this $450k effort to create a public artwork with accompanying gardens in San Francisco’s Sunset District; worked collaboratively to:

  • Create and implement strategic, fundraising, and marketing plans to bring the project to a successful conclusion
  • Serve as project liaison with City/County officials and employees, nonprofit organization representatives, local business representatives, individual community volunteers, and the company installing the completed mosaic
  • Chair monthly meetings of organizing committee members during the four years the project was underway, and document the proceedings
  • Serve as project manager working with key stakeholders during the installation of the 148-step mosaic installed on an existing City/County of San Francisco concrete staircase
  • Continue to serve as one of two site stewards to help maintain the site

Hospice of Palm Beach County, Florida (August 2011– January 2012)
Training Analyst, Content Developer, and Trainer – Contract
Commute between San Francisco and West Palm Beach (FL) to:

  • Help key players in the organization focus on the change-facilitation aspects of learning as much as they focused on the technology (HomeCare Homebase software and Samsung Galaxy tablets) being introduced
  • Rewrite vendor’s manuals to correct errors, list learning goals and objectives so learners could see what each section offered, and create a consistent use of key learning terms to make the manuals easy for learners to use
  • Create job aides that were consistent in appearance to what learners found in the manuals; these were designed to help learners quickly find concise step-by-step resources for use in the field (i.e., at the moment of need)
  • Help create focused and manageable agendas for each of the workshops (more than two dozen), with strong focus on how much could be assimilated in a single learning session
  • Facilitate more than 10 in-classroom instructor-led training sessions for a variety of learners (nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides) so they could begin using the Homecare Homebase PointCare software on Samsung Galaxy tablets during the Wave 1 roll-out of this project

Blue Shield of California (September – November 2010)
Instructional Designer – Contract
During the two-month run of this project to help employees company-wide learn what they needed to know to begin implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

  • Co-write the first drafts for three five-minute video scripts in one day at the end of my first week onsite
  • Wrote three additional scripts while helping to fine-tune the initial three scripts
  • Worked with the colleague who filmed and translated those scripts into polished videos
  • Translated each script into a PowerPoint presentation that was posted as a consistently branded back-up learning object for employees
  • Worked with staff to create a simple online resource to help employees find the various learning objects available to them
  • Supported efforts to market the learning objects to employees

Sutter VNA & Hospice (February – July 2010)
Training Specialist – Contract
Traveled throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sacramento area during the course of this project to:

  • Assist the client’s permanent education department staff in step-checking learning materials (manuals and job aides)
  • Assist management in sessions preparing learners for the change they were about to experience while moving from paper- and laptop-centered record-keeping onto smartphones using the Homecare Homebase PointCare software
  • Facilitate more than 40 in-classroom instructor-led training sessions for a variety of learners (nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides) so they could begin using the Homecare Homecare Homebase PointCare software on smartphones during four different four-week roll-outs of this project
  • Provided one-on-one face-to-face and phone support for learners after they completed their two-week series of workshops

NorthNet Library System (April – September 2010)
Writer & Editor – Contract
Helped shape and edit the extensive (93-page) online consumer health toolkit that remains available at http://www.library.ca.gov/lds/docs/HealthToolkit.pdf)
Environment: Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, Word

LE@D (September 2009– 2011)
Writer & Instructional Designer – Contract
Writing asynchronous online courses
Completed a course on “Mentoring Basics” and mentoring webinar
Environment: Word to produce the course content before a designer translated it into the online format

Infopeople (October 2007 – May 2009)
Training Consultant – Contract
Coached and edited online webinar presenters
Wrote for training blog
Participated in initial efforts to shape and upgrade a “Master Trainer” series of courses
Assisted with marketing efforts
Environment: used PowerPoint, Word, and Excel; presenters’ webinars were via Angel and other platforms

ALA Editions, ATD Science of Learning newsletter, Rowman & Littlefield, Others (October 2007 – ongoing)
Freelance Writer – Contract
Writing Change the World Using Social Media for Rowman & Littlefield (publication projected for 2019)
Co-wrote Workplace Learning and Leadership (published by ALA Editions, April 2011)
Contributed chapter to Sandra Hirsh’s Information Services Today: An Introduction (1st Edition) (published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)
Contributed two activities to Elaine Biech’s The Book of Road-Tested Activities (co-published by Pfeiffer and ASTD Press, May 2011) and one to her 101 More Ways to Make Training Active (published by John Wiley and Sons, 2015)
“Revolutionizing e-Learning: Innovation through Social Networking Tools,” e-learning Guild online publication
“Skype as a Reference Tool,” American Libraries magazine
Links to selected other published articles
Environment: Word

Personnel Analyst (Director, Volunteer Services & Staff Training)
San Francisco Public Library
1993 – 2007

  1. a) As a Library Personnel Analyst (2001-2007), I served as Director of Staff Training for the entire Library system. Assisted in employee recruitment, hiring, orientation, and continuing training needs for the system’s more than 850 employees. Developed the Library’s annual training plan and oversaw the training budget. Wrote curriculum and delivered training on a variety of topics; hired instructors; developed and scheduled classes and workshops; produced a quarterly print and online training schedule listing more than 40 workshops from a variety of sources; and was an active member of the statewide Infopeople “Master Trainers” program for those managing training programs in libraries. Also worked on a variety of special Human Resources projects including preparation of a revised Employee Handbook, which included extensive material about employee health-care benefits; serving as the Library’s representative on a city-wide healthy-city initiative supported by the mayor; and serving as an ergonomic evaluator after helping shape the curriculum for an ergonomic train-the-trainer program with City Department of Public Health colleagues.
  2. b) As Director of Volunteer Services (1993-2007), I designed, implemented, and managed and marketed a program which had over 150 volunteers on assignment weekly and others who were available for short-term assignments throughout the year in the Main Library and many of the 27 branch libraries in San Francisco. Participated in Human Resources Division negotiations with Library union members on issues affecting the Library Volunteer program. Developed and maintained ties with business colleagues in other libraries throughout California and in Bay Area nonprofit organizations.  Wrote, edited, and oversaw production of manuals (human resources, computer and docent training), newsletters, and other program materials. Developed and conducted orientations and training sessions. Wrote press releases and prepared monthly calendars of events for the Library system. Responsible for programming and marketing a well-attended series of author readings at the Main Library.

Environment: used Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, LotusNotes, WordPerfect

Executive Director, Teens Kick Off
In charge of management, budgeting, human resources, volunteers, financial, fundraising/grant-writing and marketing/public relations operations for this theater group in which teenagers in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction performed for other teenagers through California; program focus was peer-to-peer alcohol and drug intervention. Developed and implemented new programs to meet business needs. Worked with board of directors, maintained financial records, prepared financial reports for board review, and collaborated with a board member with human resources expertise to prepare the organization’s first personnel manual. Wrote and produced publications.

Publications Editor, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Strong involvement in project management and assisting public relations director and admissions staff in marketing the Conservatory to a worldwide audience during a period of substantial increases in student enrollment. Wrote, edited, and oversaw production of Conservatory publications (collegiate and other department catalogs, recruitment brochures, annual reports, monthly calendar of events, and many others). Worked with designers and sometimes designed publications. Arranged for media coverage of student and faculty recitals. Was in charge of budgeting, budget supervision, and box office operations during director’s leave of absence.

Managing Editor, Prelude Magazine
Established and managed project production schedules and was in charge of human resources operations. Worked on all aspects of producing this 64-page monthly classical music and arts magazine (writing, typesetting, editing, layout and paste-up, including redesign of the magazine).

Assistant to the Director, Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art
Assisted director in screening and hiring new staff. Helped write and edit grant proposals. Involved in managing projects including selecting and implementing installation of a computer system which included the collection inventory and membership lists. Responsible for marketing and public relations operations during a period when media coverage of museum exhibitions and activities increased rapidly. Wrote press releases and cultivated media contacts. Wrote, edited, and did layout and paste-up of monthly calendar of events and Museum catalogs.

Instructor, Foreign Language Schools, Tokyo
Taught English as a Second Language courses in two large vocational schools in Japan.

Freelance Writer
Please see “Publications” section for partial listing of published writing.

Reporter/Bureau Chief, San Joaquin News Service
Wrote, edited, and photographed on a variety of topics including county government, local social issues (gangs, child abuse, problems within the San Joaquin County Housing Authority, difficulties faced by new immigrants), agricultural land-use and statewide water development issues, Sheriff’s Department activities, and general features for the three newspapers supporting this news service in California’s Central Valley.

Related Experience

Technology

Currently working extensively to explore how artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality are affecting lifelong learning and current workplace operations globally; remain involved in exploring and using technology that facilitates onsite, online, and blended learning and community collaboration. Work with clients and their employees to help facilitate the positive, effective introduction of new technology into their worksites.

Languages
Have studied Italian, Japanese, French, Spanish, and a bit of Hebrew.

Professional Affiliations
ALA (American Library Association)
ATD (Association for Talent Development)
Learning Guild
PEN America
ShapingEDU (Future-facing Arizona State University-based group exploring ed-tech trends in higher education and other learning environments)

Volunteer Work
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at San Francisco State University, Curriculum Development Committee (June 2019 – present)
ShapingEDU (2018 – present)
FOEcast (Future of Education Forecast), founding partner (2018)
NMC (New Media Consortium) Horizon Project advisory boards/expert panels (2010-2017)
San Francisco Parks Alliance, Parks Policy Council member, one-year term (2014)
Hidden Garden Steps, organizing committee co-chair (2010-2013); one of two site stewards (2014-present)
American Library Association: two two-year terms, including a year as committee chair, on the American Libraries Advisory Committee, and one year on the Publishing Committee
ASTD/ATD: variety of local, regional, and national positions, including Chapter President (Mt. Diablo Chapter, 2010) and member, National Advisors for Chapters (2011-2012)
Asian Art Museum, helped with public relations (six months)
National Kidney Foundation of Northern California Authors Luncheon Committee member (four years)

Presentations/Resources

Presentations/Facilitated Sessions (2019)

ALA Editions (online courses/webinars)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—International Conference & Exposition (Washington, DC)

eLearning Guild—Learning Solutions 2019 Conference and Exposition (Orlando, FL)

PCI Webinars (webinars)

ShapingEDU Second Annual Unconference (Tempe, AZ)

Presentations/Facilitated Sessions (2018)

ALA Editions (online courses/webinars)

American Library Association Ambassador Program (online and onsite orientation sessions for volunteers; New Orleans, LA)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—International Conference & Exposition (San Diego, CA)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—San Diego Chapter monthly meeting (live onsite/online blended presentation)

PCI Webinars (webinars)

Pursuitica (webinar for staff of global telecommunications company based in India)

ShapingEDU First Annual Unconference (Tempe, AZ)

SWFLN (Southwest Florida Library Network) webinars

Presentations/Facilitated Sessions (2017)

ALA Editions (online courses/webinars)

American Library Association Ambassador Program (online and onsite orientation sessions for volunteers; Chicago, IL)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—Southern California Regional Conference (Los Angeles, CA)

New Media Consortium Summer Conference (Boston, MA)

PCI Webinars (webinars)

SWFLN (Southwest Florida Library Network) Staff Development Day Keynote Speaker/Workshop Facilitator (Fort Meyers, FL)

SWFLN webinars

Presentations/Facilitated Sessions (2016)

ALA Editions (online courses/webinars)

American Library Association Ambassador Program (online and onsite orientation sessions for volunteers; Orlando, FL)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—International Conference & Exposition (Denver, CO)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—National Advisors for Chapters (webinar)

Five-County Regional Library Consortium Staff Development Day Keynote Speaker/Workshop Facilitator (King of Prussia, PA)

Mount Prospect Public Library—Staff Development Day Keynote Speaker/Workshop Facilitator (Mt. Prospect, IL)

New Media Consortium Summer Conference (Rochester, NY)

PCI Webinars (webinars)

Presentations/Facilitated Sessions (2015)

AEJMC–Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication–Annual Conference panel discussion member (San Francisco, CA)

ALA Editions (online sessions/courses/panel-discussion participant)

American Library Association Annual Conference/Library and Information Technology Association (San Francisco, CA)

American Library Association Ambassador Program (online and onsite orientation sessions for volunteers)

ATD—Association for Talent Development—Chapter Leaders Conference (Arlington, VA)

#etmooc—Educational Technology & Media MOOC learning community (facilitated/co-facilitated tweet chats)

KIPA—Knowledge & Information Professional Association—Conference (Denton, TX)

Library of Virginia Directors’ Meeting (Richmond, VA)

NEKLS—Northeast Kansas Library System—Innovation Day virtual presentation via Google Hangout

New Media Consortium Summer Conference (Washington, D.C.)

New Media Consortium (online panel-discussion participant)

PCI Webinars (multiple online sessions)

Saint Mary’s College of California session for faculty (Moraga, CA)

Virginia Library Association Annual Conference (Richmond, VA)

Links to Presentations & Other Resources

“Best Practices: Creating and Managing Mentoring Programs”
Tips, Sample Applications, and Resources—Updated July 2009
(PDF)

“Best Practices: Creating and Managing Volunteer Programs”
Tips and Basic Template—Updated May 2009
(PDF)

“Blend It 2015: Using Technology to Create Effective Onsite/Online Learning Spaces”

American Library Association Annual Conference Presentation (LITA) —June 2015

San Francisco

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Building Meaningful Collaborations”
ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) Mt. Diablo Chapter—December 2008

Danville, CA
(PDF)

“Collaboration, Technology, Social Media, and Learning: The 2012 Horizon Report–Higher Education Edition”

ASTD Mount Diablo Chapter Monthly Meeting Presentation—June 19, 2012

with Samantha Adams

Danville, CA

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Community and Collaboration in an Onsite-Online World: An Annotated Bibliography”
Updated March 19, 2013
(PDF)

“Community Collaboration: Helping Shape Our Communities”

Northeast Kansas Library System: Library Directors Institute—November 7, 2013

Valley Falls, KS

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Community Partnerships: How to Get It Done”

ALA Editions Webinar—April 2013
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Conflict Resolution/Difficult People:

Why Am I So Angry (And What Are You Going to Do About It?)”

Webjunction Webinar—October 2010

with Maurice Coleman
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Connected Learning for Library Staff and Users”

PCI Webinars—November 2015
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Continuous Change & Innovation: Developing Skills to Deal With Black Swans”

New Media Consortium Summer [ed-tech] Conference—June 2015

with Samantha Becker

Washington, D.C.

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Cover to Cover: Redefining Books and Library Collections in Learning”

PCI Webinar—June 2014

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Critical Thinking and Assumptions in Decision-making”
Updated April 18, 2011
(PDF)

“Designing Engaging Learning for Library Staff and Users”

PCI Webinar—October 2013

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Developing Communities of Learning”

PCI Webinar—December 2013

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Ed-Tech, Learning, and NMC Horizon Reports: What’s In It for Us…and Our Learners”

ATD (formerly ASTD) Golden Gate Chapter Monthly Meeting Presentation– May 15, 2015

with Samantha Adams Becker

San Francisco, CA

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Ed-Tech Trends: Identifying and Incorporating Them Into Your Workplace”
ATD (Association for Talent Development) 2016 International Conference & Exposition — May 2016

Denver, CO

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“E-learning: Annotated Bibliography for Library Training Programs”
Updated February 23, 2011
(PDF)

“E-learning: Basics and Best Practices”
Updated July 1, 2010
(PDF)

“E-learning: Google Chat as an E-learning Tool (Transcript of a Live Session)”
Live online session held October 13, 2009, with University of Nevada, Las Vegas Journalism students
(PDF)

“E-learning: Tools, Resources, and Innovations”

Postings on Building Creative Bridges Blog

“From eLearning to Learning: A Daylong Highly-interactive Exploration”
Mount Prospect Public Library—May 2016

Mount Prospect, IL
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“From eLearning to Learning: A Daylong Highly-interactive Exploration”
Mount Prospect Public Library—May 2016

Mount Prospect, IL
(Five-part Case Study Posted on Building Creative Bridges Blog)

“From Words to Pictures: Imagery in PowerPoint Presentations”
California Library Association Annual Conference Presentation — November 2008

Long Beach, CA
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Horizon Report for Libraries (2014)”

PCI Webinar—December 2014

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“How to Teach Online: A Beginner’s Guide”

ALA TechSource Webinar—January 2014

with Dan Freeman
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Ignite, Interact, & Engage: Maximizing the Learning Outcome”
ALA Annual Conference Presentation—Learning Round Table

with Sharon Morris — June 2012

Anaheim, CA
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Instant Professional Development (podcast)”
Episode 101 of Maurice Coleman’s T is for Training biweekly one-hour podcast; focuses on the use of Twitter backchannels as learning tools in conferences and expands into an exploration of how we all play the role of trainer-teacher-learner in many different parts of our lives; additional thoughts posted on Building Creative Bridges blog

June 2012

(Archived 45-minute audio-recording)

“Leadership: Trainers as Leaders–Introduction and Resource Sheet”
Updated July 1, 2010
(PDF)

“Leadership: Trainers as Leaders (Overview)”
American Library Association Presentation/Panel Discussion—Learning Round Table—June 2010
with Maurice Coleman, Sandra Smith, and Louise Whitaker

Washington, DC

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Learning that Sticks: A Demonstration” (PowerPoint Version)
Original PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes, delivered face to face to a prospective learning client February 2013

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Learning to Learn: Tips for Thriving in Tech Training” (Video)
This 11-minute presentation, prepared with Captivate and posted on YouTube for learners who are about to tackle any new tech tool, addresses the challenges of overcoming unfamiliarity with these tools and the need for help with the learning process itself. It is also designed to demonstrate how trainer-teacher-learners can address the challenges their learners face.

October 2013

(Captivate Video)

“Learning to Learn: Tips for Thriving in Tech Training (Summary Sheet)”

Updated October 1, 2013
(PDF)

“Libraries as Partners in Lifelong Learning”

PCI Webinar—July 2014

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“LibraryThing” List of Books on Training, Collaboration, and Other Topics

Includes Ratings and Reviews
Updated Regularly

“Lifelong Learning (Learning for the Future: Habits of Mind and Teaching Life Skills)”

Saint Mary’s College of California Faculty Workshop—November 2015

Moraga, CA

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Making Space: Exploring Innovations in Onsite and Online Learning Spaces”

KIPA (Knowledge & Information Professional Association) 2015 Conference “Invited Talk”—March 2015

Denton, TX

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Marketing 101: Creating the Voice of a Successful Organization”
ASTD Chapter Leader Webinar—June 2011
(PowerPoint Presentation and archived audio-recording of this one-hour live webinar)

“Mastering Online Facilitation (Part 1 of 4): Leading Engaging Meetings and Webinars”

SEFLIN Webinar—July 2014
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Mastering Online Facilitation (Part 2 of 4): Assessing and Addressing the Need for Meetings and Webinars”

SEFLIN Webinar—August 2014
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Mastering Online Facilitation (Part 3 of 4): Organizing, Scripting, and Preparing”

SEFLIN Webinar—August 2014
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Mastering Online Facilitation (Part 4 of 4): Keeping Sessions Lively”

SEFLIN Webinar—August 2014
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Memorable Meetings: Planning for Successful Encounters”
ASTD Chapter Leader Webinar—August 2016
(PowerPoint Presentation, free archived recording of the session)

“Mentors and Proteges: Creating Successful Workplace Programs: Resource List”

Prepared for the LE@D—Lifelong Education @ Desktop–program,
University of North Texas

(PDF)

“Mentoring Onsite and Online”
PCI Webinars—May 2014
(PowerPoint Presentation with Speaker Notes)

“MOOCs, Online Learning, and Higher Education”
Association for Education in Journalism and Higher Education Annual Conference Panel Discussion—August 2015

San Francisco, CA
(Storify Document—no longer available online because Storify shut down)

“Nonprofit Basics”

ASTD National Chapter Leader Conference Presentation—October 2011

with Walt Hansmann

Arlington, VA
(PowerPoint Presentation/later adapted into a webinar for ASTD)

“Perfect Blend (Creating and Facilitating Onsite/Online Meetings)”

ATD (Association for Talent Development) National Chapter Leader Conference Presentation–October 2014
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Playing With Collaboration Tools Online”

Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS): Innovation Day Session—April 29, 2015

Blended Session Delivered via Google Hangouts to Onsite Audience

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Playing With Collaboration Tools Online—Supplemental Resources”
Handout Prepared for Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS) Innovation Day Session—April 2015
(PDF)

“PowerPoint Best Practices for Onsite and Online Presentations”
ALA Annual Conference—CLENE Training Showcase

June 2008

Anaheim, CA
(PDF)

“Social Learning Centers” (Learning to Meet the Future: Libraries Developing Communities)
Library of Virginia Directors’ Meeting Presentation—September 2012

with Maurice Coleman

Richmond, VA

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Social Learning Centers and Libraries”
ALA Annual Conference Presentation—Learning Round Table Presentation/Panel Discussion—June 2011

with Maurice Coleman and Buffy Hamilton

New Orleans, LA
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Social Learning Centers: The New Fourth Place”
Computers in Libraries 2011 Conference Presentation (via Skype) —March 2011

with Maurice Coleman and Jill Hurst-Wahl

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Social Learning Centers: Thinkers Worth Knowing”

A Visual Bibliography Prepared with Maurice Coleman—September 2012

(PDF)

“Social Media, Library Partnerships, and Collaboration: More Than a Tweet”

PCI Webinar—February 2014

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Strategic Planning 101: Working in the Construction Zone”
ASTD Chapter Leader Webinar—March 2011
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Technology in Face-to-Face Training”

ALA TechSource Webinar—September 2010
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Technology in Online Training”

ALA TechSource Webinar—September 2010
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Ten Tips for Incorporating Ed-Tech Into Your Own Development”

Article Written for ATD Learning Technologies blog and newsletter—March 2016
(Article)

“That Was Great! Now What? (Providing Learning That Is Used)”

American Library Association Annual Conference Presentation (Learning Round Table) —June 2014

Las Vegas, NV

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Training, Teaching, and Learning 2012: State of the Industry Reports”
ASTD Sacramento Chapter Meeting Presentation—January 23, 2012

Sacramento, CA (repeated for Mount Diablo Chapter in February 2012)
(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Training-Teaching-Learning: State of the Industry (Summer 2015)”
PCI Webinars—July 2015

(PowerPoint Presentation)

“Volunters Management: Annotated Bibiliography on Using Web. 2.0 (Social Networking) Tools in Volunteer Programs”
Updated January 11, 2010
(PDF)

“Volunteer Retention 101: Thanking and Rewarding Our Supporters”

Webinar co-presented with Rick Kerner for ASTD chapter leaders—December 5, 2012

“Web Conferencing and Presentation Skills for Meetings. Trainings, and Learning Sessions”
Updated July 23, 2014
(PDF)

Publication (Partial List)

Books

Change the World Using Social Media (projected publication date: 2019, by Rowman & Littlefield)

Workplace Learning & Leadership, a staff training guide co-written with Lori Reed for ALA Editions to highlight examples of trainers as successful leaders within their organizations (April 2011)

Also:

*Contributor to 101 More Ways to Make Training Active (Elaine Biech, editor; April 2015)

*Contributor (“Infinite Learning,” a chapter on fostering lifelong learning through libraries) to Information Services Today: An Introduction (Sandra Hirsh, editor; March 2015)

*Contributor to The Book of Road-Tested Activities (Elaine Biech, editor; May 2011); online excerpts available

*Editorial Board Member for 2nd edition of Sandra Hirch’s Information Services Today: An Introduction

 

Blog Postings

Building Creative Bridges (Articles on training, learning, technology, collaboration, and innovation)

American Libraries Magazine blog (Guest contributor providing articles on learning, technology, innovation, and libraries for this group blog)

ATD Learning Technologies blog (Guest contributor providing articles on learning, staff training, technology, and innovation for this group blog)

The Tambellini Group’s Top of Mind [ed-tech] blog (Contributing editor providing articles on technology/ed-tech, innovation, learning, and creativity for this group blog)

Book Reviews

“Abandoned in the Wasteland,” Minow & Lamay, SF Review of Books (10&11/1995)

“AI: Mind-MELDS With Our Learners and Our Machines,” ATD blog (2/7/2019)

“The Craft of Research,” Wayne C. Booth and others, SF Guardian (5/1996)

“Get Lucky,” Thor Muller and Lane Becker, ASTD’s Learning Circuits (online) (8/7/2012)

“The Hindenburg Crashes Nightly,” Greg Hrbek, SF Chronicle (10/31/1999)

“Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard,” Kiran Desai, SF Bay Guardian (9/1998)

“LibraryThing” List of Books on Training, Creativity, Collaboration, and Other Topics

(Includes Ratings and Reviews), updated regularly

“Myth Buster: Debunking What Otherwise Might Lead Us and Our Learners Astray,” ATD blog (8/7/2018)

“The Business of Speaking for a Living,” ATD Blog (1/17/2019)

“The Life of God (As Told by Himself),” Franco Ferrucci, SF Bay Guardian (11/1996)
“The Silent Duchess,” Dacia Maraini, SF Bay Guardian (11/1998)

“Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Daniel Kahneman, ASTD’s Learning Circuits (online) (7/16/2012)

“Unlearning What We Think We Know to Inspire Successful Learning,” ATD’s Science of Learning blog (online) (12/30/2015)

Us+Them: Tapping the Positive Power of Difference“, Todd Pittinksy, ASTD’s Learning Circuits (online) (11/21/2012)

Print and Online Articles

“Adult Learning: When Miracles Happen,” ALA-APA Library Worklife Newsletter (5/2010)

“Are You Following Me?” (with Lori Reed), American Libraries (11/2008)

“Artificial Intelligence: Transforming the Nature of Work, Learning, and Learning to Work,” Top of Mind blog, The Tambellini Group (August 21, 2018)

“Be Ready for the Learning Space of the Future,” ATD Learning Technologies blog (8/14/2014)

“Books, Technology, and Learning: Looking at the Past to See Our Future (MOOCs as Textbooks),”New Media Consortium blog (6/11/2014)

“Breaching the Language Barrier: Literature in Translation,” SF Bay Guardian (5/1997)

“Collaboration Leads Way in ALA Editions’ Social Media Basics Course,” ASTD’s Learning Circuits (online) (10/15/2012)

“EdTech Continuous Change and Innovation: Nesting With Black Swans,” New Media Consortium blog (7/22/2015)

“E-Learning: The Product of a Risk Is a Lesson,” American Libraries online (2/15/2011)

“Fighting for Arts Education,” Teaching Theater (Summer 1991)

“Mixing and Extending Reality: EdTech Options in Higher Education,” Top of Mind blog, The Tambellini Group (12/11/2019)

“Professional Growth Through Learning Communities,” (with Lori Reed), American Libraries (5/2011)

“Imagine, Creativity, and Communities of Practice,” ASTD’s Learning Circuits (online) 6/6/2012

“Open Innovations: #etmooc, Connected Learning, and ‘MOOChorts’ of Lifelong Learners,” New Media Consortium blog (9/30/2014)

“Remodeling on a Budget,” American Libraries online (4/2010)

“Revolutionizing e-Learning: Innovation through Social Networking Tools,”
Learning Solutions Magazine (10/12/2009)
“Skype as Conference Tool,” American Libraries (5/2008)
“Skype Me: When Learning Is Just a Call Away”

Learning Solutions Magazine (2/28/2011)

“Technology, Road Rage, and Customer Service” (with Maurice Coleman),

WebJunction online (11/22/2010)

“10 Tips for Incorporating Ed-Tech Into Your Own Development,” ATD Learning Technologies blog (3/23/2016)

“The 2010 Horizon Report: What Learners Look to Us to Learn,”

Learning Solutions Magazine (3/5/2010)

“The 2011 Horizon Report: Keeping Up with Learners and Technology”
Learning Solutions Magazine, (3/16/2011)

“Up and Out of Your Seats: Engage Learners Through Movement to Produce Tangible Results,” TD Magazine (11/18)

“What Makes a cMOOC Community Endure? Multiple Perspectives From Diverse cMOOCs,” Educational Media International. Routledge. (6/19/2015)

“When (Big) Data Changes the Way We View Our World: A Brief Case Study,” New Media Consortium blog, (9/11/2014)

Writing Workshops/Conferences Attended

Squaw Valley Community of Writers’ Conference (2001)
Margo Perin’s two-week writing workshop in Vagliagli, Italy (1999)
Novelist Molly Giles’ one-day writing workshop in Marin (1996)
Part of a six-member writing group in San Francisco (1995-98)
Novelist Anne Lamott’s weekly writing workshop in Marin (1995)

Professional Memberships/Affiliations

ALA (American Library Association)

ATD (Association for Talent Development)

eLearning Guild

ShapingEDU (Global Initiative, through Arizona State University, to reshape higher education)

Languages

Have studied Italian, French, Japanese, and Spanish


Changing the World Using Telepresence

February 20, 2019

When members of the Elders Action Network want to meet, they don’t immediately begin booking flights, hotel rooms, and meeting sites. They often turn to Zoom, one of several videoconferencing tools that are increasingly becoming low-cost (or no-cost) go-to places for meetings that can combine onsite and online interactions.

The Network, primarily comprised of older activists living throughout the United States and actively engaged with each other locally, regionally, nationally, and through international travel and online interactions, includes educators, nonprofit administrators, environmentalists, writers, and others actively working together to change the world. Among the nearly three dozen representatives listed on the organization’s website and promoting positive solutions to societal and environmental challenges are Michael Abkin, National Peace Academy board chairman and treasurer; Lynne Iser, founding executive director for the Spiritual Eldering Institute, founder of Elder-Activists-org, a symposium facilitator for the Pachamama Alliance, and a participant in the making of the film Praying with Lior, which explores the story of how a member of her family (her stepson) with Downs Syndrome interacts in his community of faith as he prepares for his bar mitzvah; and Paul Severance, administrative director for Sage-ing® International, is a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Cross-pollination between members of the Elders Action Network and other complementary groups through teleconferencing and other tools is obvious from the most cursory exploration of the Network’s website. Severance and others are involved in Sag-ing International—another elder organization, dedicated to “teaching/learning, service, and community” in ways that involve mentoring and creating a legacy for its individual members. At least one member is also active in the Seniors Action Network. Another serves as executive director of Gray Is Green, “an online gathering of older adult Americans aspiring to create a green legacy for the future.”

Their live and archived Zoom sessions provide a dynamic example of how you can easily use what you already have—a desktop or laptop computer, or a mobile phone or tablet—to incorporate videoconferencing into your work to consistently develop communities committed to fostering positive actions regardless of where you live. Zoom—with free and low-cost versions—offers them a dynamic social media tool that creates an onsite space for workshops, book discussion groups, webinars, and monthly community conversations among members of the organization’s “Elder Activists for Social Justice” and “Elders Climate Action” groups. In the live sessions, participants can see any colleague using a webcam and can hear any colleague enabling the audio capabilities of his or her computer or mobile device. Zoom, like many other video-conferencing tools, offers visual options including a screen filled by the image of the person speaking; a screen that has thumbnail images of all participants using their video feed; sharing of material (including slide decks) from a speaker’s desktop; and a live chat function that allows for backchannel conversations augmenting what is taking place in the main audio feed.

Some of the community conversation recordings are archived so the life of those meetings/conversations extends far beyond the live events themselves to engage others who are interested in but unavailable to participate live during the recordings.  They become part of the seamlessly interwoven conversations you, too, can be having with members of your own community.

As members of the Elders Action Network have discovered, you don’t need to be physically present with your colleagues to have “face-to-face” conversations. Using Zoom or other videoconferencing tools can, under the right conditions, make participants feel as if they are in the same space, having productive, community-building interactions regardless of where each participant is physically located. Recordings that are well produced can even leave asynchronous participants feeling as if they are/were in the live sessions. (I have repeatedly found myself reaching, without thinking, toward my keyboard to respond to comments in a chat feed before remembering that I am trying to respond to a live conversation that ended days, weeks, or even months earlier.)

In many ways, Zoom offers a great contemporary example of how your onsite and online interactions are increasingly merging if you take time to explore how Zoom, Skype, and other videoconferencing tools can create a sense of presence—telepresence or virtual presence—that creates engaging, global spaces where activists work together to foster social change. When you begin exploring the possibilities of collaborating online through the use of telepresence tools—those ever-evolving platforms including Skype, Zoom, and Shindig that, when used effectively, can make you feel as if you are in the same room with people who can be sitting on the other side of your state, your country, or the world—you discover what so many others before you have realized: our options for communicating with each other regardless of our physical locations are continuing to evolve rapidly in ways that can make our work easier than would otherwise be possible.

Exploring the technical side of telepresence tools provides a somewhat cold, efficient understanding of what they can offer you and those you serve. Actually seeing them used or using them yourself to achieve concrete results carries you right where you need to be: understanding that they can create a sense of presence and engagement that further expands the breadth and depth of your community, your levels of engagement, and the size of the community in which you work, live, and play. And remember: play, as always, is a key element of using these tools to their fullest potential; bringing a sense of playfulness to the ways in which you incorporate them into your change-the-world efforts is a surefire way to use them to produce results rather than making them the focus of your work and, as a result, detracting from rather than supporting what you and your colleagues are attempting to accomplish.

N.B. — Paul is currently writing Change the World Using Social Mediascheduled for publication by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020. This is the eighteenth in a continuing series of excerpts from and interviews for the manuscript in progress.


ALA Midwinter 2018 (Denver): Conversations, Ghosts, and Pentimenti in the Hallways

February 10, 2018

The halls of the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, where the American Library Association (ALA) 2018 Midwinter Meeting is fully underway, have never felt more lively or filled with stimulating, deeply thoughtful conversations to me. Nor have they ever felt so filled by ghosts.

I have, frankly, lost track of the number of times I have been here for ALA and ATD (Association for Talent Development) conferences. And, as I walked the conference center hallways yesterday morning—only yesterday; already feels like weeks ago—for my first onsite activity during the 2018 Midwinter Meeting, I felt worlds melting into each other. Intellectually, I knew I was here to spend time with my trainer-teacher-learner-doer colleagues working in the library industry. But somehow my body was instinctively reconnecting me viscerally with friends and colleagues I met during previous visits, as if their ghosts—conference-center pentimenti or some other form of presence—remained long after they had returned home. I found myself thinking about attending sessions scheduled for other (previous) conferences as if they were still about to happen.

Repeatedly then and now—nearly a day and a half  later—I found and find myself looking for and expecting to see friends (some still alive, some now long-gone) encountered during previous ATD and ALA conferences. And it was—and is—comforting and reassuring because it reminds me that the wonderful, ongoing ALA conference slogan—“the conversation starts here…”—only captures part of the overall experience of participating in any well-organized conference.

Conversations both start and continue here, in the sort of extended moment I have explored numerous times in blog posts and conversations. And here, in our wonderfully blended onsite-online world, is far more than the physical conference center spaces. Here is the rooms, the hallways, the simple yet masterfully organized spaces including the Networking Uncommons—where you can stop in anytime the conference is underway, grab a table, recharge your laptop and mobile devices, and with planning aforethought as well as magic of the unplanned moment, see exactly the right person at the right time to talk and dream and plan in ways that produce results you (all) would not have otherwise produced. And, equally importantly, here is the online spaces we create through Twitter backchannels, Facebook, Google Hangouts, and numerous other tools we use to reach out to our #ALALeftBehind colleagues who, in a very real sense, need no longer feel left behind—if they care to join us virtually.

When I’ve been “left behind,” I’ve experimented successfully with ways to virtually join my onsite colleagues—to the point that I’ve received tweets asking me if I’m actually onsite. So when I am lucky enough to be onsite, I work with others to actively reach out to offsite colleagues. And, again, it works. While attending a wonderful 90-minute “Adult Book Buzz” talk sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers this morning, I tweeted out a few quotes and a few links so those who following the #ALALeftBehind hashtag so they would have glimpses of what was occurring onsite—and I saw the reach of those tweets extended through retweets.

The event itself was masterfully facilitated by our HarperCollins hosts (Library Marketing Director Virginia Stanley, Marketing Associate Christopher Connolly, and Marketing Assistant Lainey Mays): as they were describing a wonderfully rich list of upcoming novels and nonfiction works from their authors, they occasionally brought those offsite authors onsite by showing brief, engaging, videos from authors who had taped greetings to us and brief descriptions of their works that are about to be published. (And it worked! Christopher Moore’s brief, very funny introduction to his upcoming novel Noir sent me over to the HarperCollins booth in the conference exhibits area late in the day to pick up an advance reader’s edition of the books so I don’t have to wait until April—when it’s scheduled to hit the bookstores and our libraries—to read it.) It gets better: our “left behind” colleagues will, a few days after I post this blog piece, be able to virtually attend the session by viewing a recording of it on a new site HarperCollins is about to launch. (I’ll update this article by adding a link to the recording as soon as it is available.)

We really are in what feels to be the early stages of an entire change in the way we meet, communicate, and engage with each other. What I have joking referred to as those “ghosts” in the hallway are actually quite real; when I want to viscerally and virtually re-engage with them, I can go back to pieces I’ve written about our conversations, reread those pieces, incorporate them into later pieces (like this one), and extend the elastic moment of conversation further by adding to it with additional tweets, Facebook postings, Google Hangouts, something as simple as a newly-initiated phone call from the conference center, or a follow-up face-to-face conversation next time we’re actually in this (or another) conference center together. (I actually did attempt to draw in a colleague who is missing the annual Midwinter Meeting for the first time since we began attending them together—the spontaneous attempt to create a Google Hangout with her so I could “walk” the aisles of the exhibits area when it first opened last night was not successful—and we actually chatted by phone for a few minutes to I could teasingly describe all the things she was—not quite—seeing. But when you and I think about those failed and successful attempts, we realize that the concept of being “left behind” is only as large and insurmountable as we and our imaginations allow it to be.

So, I write this piece in honor of all the colleagues I have seen, am seeing, and will ever see when we are “together” at the ALA Midwinter Meeting or Annual (summer) Conference), the ATD International Conference & Exposition, and other professional-family gatherings. I hope it inspires you to reach out via Twitter, Facebook, phone, or any other available means when you are here and others aren’t. And I hope it inspires you to reach out in those same and other ways when you are offsite—and ready to be onsite as quickly as your virtual modes of transportation can get you here. Let’s give those “ghosts” the attention and support they need; the rewards to every member of our communities and to the communities themselves are virtually limitless.


Changing the World With Samantha Adams Becker (Part 1 of 2)

February 9, 2018

This is the first half of an interview conducted with Samantha Adams Becker, President at SAB Creative & Consulting and former New Media Consortium Publications & Communications Senior Director, for my book Change the World Using Social Media (Rowman & Littlefield; projected publication date is autumn 2018). The interview was conducted online using a shared Google Doc, and has been lightly edited. The interview began with an exercise that involved jotting down as many words that came to mind after hearing the word “Twitter.”

Obvious things I see as I have all three [of our interview] transcripts in front of me: “sharing” and “networking” came up in all three—no surprises there. Anything stand out to you as you look at your responses to “Twitter?”

I think the idea of continuous conversation and PD [personal development] jump out the most—plus the “unedited” version of Twitter, because it’s a very “respond in the moment” platform.

Let’s go with three themes you mentioned, one at a time: “heart,” “continuous conversation,” and “professional development.” How does Twitter suggest “heart” to you?

Twitter features the heart button, which is the equivalent of “like” on Facebook and LinkedIn. However, in Facebook it seems more common to “like” something rather than share it; whereas on Twitter, sharing (or re-tweeting) appears to be more common. It’s an important distinction that a user makes deciding whether to simply “heart” something vs. re-tweet it. Re-tweeting essentially means you are agreeing with it or find enough merit in it to share it with your own community (unless you add a comment clarifying your own stance). So, offering up a “heart” is like saying, “I like your idea enough to say that I do, but not enough to expose my whole following to it.” It’s very interesting social-psychologically.

Thanks; sort of like second-class social, isn’t it…As for “continuous conversation”: initial thoughts behind that one?

Yes, I think Twitter—more so than any other social media platform—allows for continuous conversation. If one of your Facebook friends made 10 posts per day, you might find that a bit excessive. However, you may find it completely acceptable that a friend tweets 10 times in a day. That reaction alone points to Twitter as a much more embraced conversation/sharing platform. Not only can a discussion continue between multiple users, but you can continue your own conversation. That is to say, if you tweet an article about artificial intelligence in education, and then you go to a workshop on that subject the next day, you’re able to follow up with your reactions and opinions using a specific hashtag.

Perhaps most essentially, a conversation you may have started in person can continue on Twitter. This seems to be very popular at conferences where you may have a brief encounter with a person who winds up being a lifelong friend because you’re able to transition your connection to Twitter and respond to each other’s Tweets.

That very much parallels a theme I’m already exploring in the first-draft-in-progress: the value and inherently unique nature of conversation onlinewhat has become a “moment” that extends over days, weeks, months, even years as a strange variation of a “moment.” You seeing extended conversations like those and, if so, how is that changing the way you view the concepts of time and conversation?

I love the way you are interpreting a “moment.” Twitter now has a moments feature that allows you to add a series of tweets or photos that represents a moment in your life.

Now, a conversation doesn’t have to take place in real-time to be considered deep and meaningful; it can stretch on for our entire lives. I think about the “moment” I met my husband—online. Granted, it was a specific online dating platform, but our correspondence was through a series of messages before we met in person. I’d say that’s a 21st-century way to describe the “moment” you meet someone, but I also liken it to earlier centuries where people wrote to each other via snail-mail back and forth, and maybe saw each other once [a year] or every few years. Twitter is like that, but responses can instantaneous—if the user sees fit. A user can be inspired by a tweet and meditate on it for an evening or a few days before responding, and that is perfectly acceptable within the frame of a conversation.

I see extended conversations take place all the time, oftentimes organized by hashtags. I think this is what Tweet-Ups are essentially—scheduled conversations (or unscheduled) that are continued once a week, once a month, etc.

[here’s a link to the article that initiated that thought process a few years ago among a few of us in #etmooc [the Educational Technology & Media massive open online course in early 2013]: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1023/2022]

Very cool!

And it actually initiated an ongoing conversation I’ve had in bits and pieces with the authors over the past few years; I was just in touch again with one of them in Novemberjust before I was doing a blended-learning presentation in Los Angeles. A very long, wonderfully extended moment that hasn’t yet ended!

Going back to what you said in the penultimate full paragraph you wrote: what does that suggest in terms of how we can use Twitter (and other social media tools) to promote positive social change? [the one that starts with “Now, a conversation doesn’t have to take place in real-time to be considered deep and meaningful”]

Twitter enables positive social changes by transcending the necessity of a specific time and place. A conversation about climate change, for example, may begin between two people. Another person sees the tweet and then joins. And then another. And then another. The people are geographically dispersed and may not be using Twitter at the exact same time but, because Twitter sparks continuous conversation, people can join on their own time whenever they have something to contribute. And the asynchronous nature of it doesn’t detract from the subject matter or substance of it. In fact, pausing to think deeply about something before joining in is an important part of change.

When Paolo Gerbaudo wrote his wonderful book Tweets and the Streets in 2012, he pretty much saw social media (Facebook and Twitter, in particular) as prequels to social changethat’s where the organizing took placebut the real action was on the streets. Your last comments make me think you and I are on the same page in thinking that social change can actually take place as much online as in the streetssay, through the NMC [New Media Consortium] and #etmooc, for example, where we have spread ideas that filter into online as well as online learning spaces. Thoughts?

It’s not just the concept of a conversation that has evolved, but also the concept of the streets. Think about it—if conference organizers are savvy enough to encourage Twitter backchannels as an essential part of conference participation to extend organic hallway conversations, than that’s the concept of an online hallway.

A street may not be a private or more intimate conversation the way a hallway one may be, but, instead, a giant public space for conversation and action.

At the NMC [which closed upon entering bankruptcy proceedings in December 2017], we were good at carrying forward conversations from face-to-face and virtual events on Twitter. Our goal was to always extend the rich discussions that took place at a set event and ensure that they did not exist within a vacuum. You didn’t have to be physically present to “be present.”

We came up with the Horizon hashtag (#NMChz) as a way for people to respond to Horizon Reports—but also share articles, stories, projects, etc. that were Horizon-worthy. Twitter can take a static report and allow the related discussions to continue year-round. Horizon Street! Population: Whoever wants to be there.

“Horizon Street” is gorgeous! And I agree that the hashtag was part of the experience. Instead of leaving conferences and feeling depressed by impending separations, I always left with a sense of anticipation that the conversations were continuing. I’m struggling to train myself, at this point, that #NMChz is no longer open to through traffic and continuing conversationbut appreciation that #BeyondTheHorizon is a wonderful replacement road that is well on its way to bridging the gap. OK, enough with the road metaphors…for a moment. Let’s hit the third of the three topics you mentioned earlier: professional development. Care to pick up right where you left off and wrap together social media, Twitter, “moments,” and professional development into an operatic grand finale?

It’s true—all these features are connected, and they can add up to one hell of a professional development experience. I think some people may still envision professional development as something that takes place in a room—workshop or boot-camp style—that you or the institution has to invest in. But the integration of formal and informal learning has opened up the idea of personal development to be much more fluid and open to each user’s interpretation. If you feel an experience has enriched your professional life and given you new tools, skills, or knowledge to improve your own work and work environment, then why not call it professional development?

Twitter conversations and moments are ripe for professional development opportunities—the hard part is often the lack of organization and ability to archive. We’re even seeing helpful tools like Storify—that helped create something linear and meaningful from tweets—disappear.

That being said, following specific users, hashtags, lists, etc can be part of a user’s professional development strategy. It’s very much connected with the notion of a personal learning network (PLN) where there is a fixed or expanding community of peers and leaders where you teach other things.

I, for example, love to see what articles my Twitter friends in #edtech share. Just clicking on the links to three to five articles per day and reading them helps expand my own vision and ideas. Even if I don’t agree with an article or a theme, it generates new ideas and new knowledge in me. It seems so basic, but it’s like show and tell. I’m learning something new about a subject as well as how the sharer views it.

N.B. — Paul is currently writing Change the World Using Social Mediascheduled for publication by Rowman & Littlefield in 2020. This is the seventh in a continuing series of excerpts from and interviews for the manuscript in progress. The next post will include the second half of this interview.

 


NMC 2017: Expanding the Ever-growing Conversations in Our Global Learning Spaces

June 14, 2017

You certainly didn’t have to be here in Boston to have been an active participant in opening day at the NMC (New Media Consortium) 2017 Summer Conference yesterday. Because so many of us have become used to, adept at, and passionate about being part of  the blended (online-onsite) learning environments we help create and nurture, those of us onsite actively reached out to offsite colleagues to draw them into the presentations, conversations, explorations, and numerous moments of revelation in terms of trends, challenges, and developments in educational technology. And those to whom we reached out responded magnificently via synchronous and asynchronous contributions on Facebook, Twitter, Shindig, and other online collaborative tools. Sometimes with us, sometimes among themselves—a process that further emphasizes the diminishing assumption that onsite interactions are always central and online interactions are ancillary.

NMC17--LogoIt’s far from unusual at conferences serving trainer-teacher-learner-doers to find dynamic levels of discourse flowing seamlessly between onsite and online participants. When the reason we are gathering is to learn more about technology by using it, the discourse that is fostered by creative use of resources such as Shindig only speeds up the process of disseminating that innovation and its adoption among ever-increasing numbers of people globally.

You could literally see the process taking place during International Society for Technology in Training (ISTE) CEO Richard Culatta’s keynote address during the formal opening session. Colleagues onsite were visibly engaged, and their engagement expanded via Twitter and Facebook to draw our offsite colleagues into exchanges that sometimes included backchannel conversations between those offsite colleagues—as if Culatta were with them as well as with us and inspiring some major rethinking about the world we inhabit.

Also apparent to those of us attentive to this was the way what used to be seen as discrete, separated moments are becoming intriguingly expanded “moments” that that can continue for days, weeks, months, or event years through the use of the online tools that continue to evolve to our benefit.

nmc17--Richard_Culatta_and_Bryan_Alexander--2017-0614[1]

Richard Culatta(l) and Bryan Alexander at NMC17

The latest of those moments for me began earlier this week when Apple Distinguished Educator/Henderson Prize Winner/Future-U Founder/entrepreneur/innovator/NMC Ambassador/colleague/friend Jonathan Nalder and sat down to dinner here an hour after I arrived. Some of what we discussed during that dinner extended into another dinner two nights later with Shindig representatives, our colleague Bryan Alexander, and several others who, over the course of the evening, were sharing stories about the ed-tech developments we are exploring, fostering, and disseminating—including the use of Shindig to take advantage of collaborative learning opportunities. The moment again expanded unexpectedly yesterday morning when another colleague (Palm Beach State College Director of Innovation and Instructional Technology/NMC Ambassador Lisa Gustinelli) and I decided to track Bryan down to see if we could watch him conduct a live Virtual Connecting session via Shindig with offsite colleagues right after Richard Culatta’s keynote address concluded.  He and our Shindig colleagues didn’t just invite us in to observe the session involving Culatta and others; they introduced us to Culatta a few minutes later when he arrived to discuss his keynote address a bit with our offsite colleagues; allowed us to photograph the process in action; and even interviewed us, at the end of the session, to extend our own conversations into the online part of our global learning space.

NMC staff, administrators, board members, general members, and supporters have done a great job, over the past few years, in creating and fostering a vision of a cutting-edge community of  learning centered on “lifelong learning with lifelong friends,” and I’ve never felt that vision in action more strongly than during this extended “moment” that is obviously far from finished as I write these words well after midnight between days one and two of the conference. We came. We interacted. We learned. And we will continue to do so as long as we remain committed to maintaining a strong sense of curiosity, a commitment to innovation, and a focus on serving those who rely on us to support them in their own lifelong learning efforts.


NMC 2016: Transformative Ideas, Exploding Minds, and Hyper-normals

June 15, 2016

The first full day of the NMC (New Media Consortium) 2016 Summer Conference here in Rochester, New York is far from over, but we’re already seeing signs that it’s a wonderfully transformative gathering of educator/trainer/ed-tech innovators from all over the world.

NMC_2016_Summer_Conference_LogoOur minds are exploding with ideas coming from formal sessions, informal hallway and over-meal conversations, and online interactions with colleagues who are here even though they’re actually participating via Twitter and other online platforms rather than traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to join the party. Our vocabulary and our approach to teaching-training-learning-doing is growing as a result of the exchanges—one person in the “Rethinking Digital Literacy” session I facilitated earlier this afternoon, for example, expanded our richly-descriptive vocabulary by observing that “I’m in a room with a bunch of ‘hyper-normals.’” And many of us are already committing to concrete actions we will take, when we return to our day-to-day learning landscapes, as a result of what we are learning/experiencing/discussing here.

As always, the learning begins at the moment we arrive in the conference city. Many of us start running into each other in hotel lobbies, coffee shops, restaurants, or local cultural centers even before the first formal onsite session begins. We also begin interacting via conference backchannels on Twitter; through our own pre-conference preparation including reading and blogging; pre-conference meals; and, sometimes, through phone calls with colleagues who cannot be here or are not yet here. It continues through the formal keynote/plenary sessions, like the engaging and inspiring “Games, Learning, and Society” presentation by Constance Steinkuehler that opened the NMC 2016 Summer Conference this morning.

Steinkuehler set a wonderful tone for the learning through numerous pithy, insightful observations, including the ideas that all game are models and simulations of something; that games are architecture for engagement—designed to be sticky; that games are vehicles for interest-based learning; and that games can make students care about what they’re learning by sparking curiosity.

NMC_Creating_Authentic_Learning_Opps

A 2015 webinar title captures the essence of the current conference

Breakout sessions on a variety of topics have offered—and will continue to offer—engaging opportunities to hear our best colleagues bringing us up to date on ed-tech trends, challenges, and developments. A lunch-time town-hall meeting gave us an opportunity to discuss and influence the future of NMC onsite as well as online through an NMCNext website. A playful “Five Minutes of Fame” session later today will expose us to a variety of cutting-edge case studies. And informal “Idea Lab” offerings tomorrow capture “the best in big thinking from the NMC community” so we can “learn about the latest edtech projects through interactives, posters, and all kinds of formats that showcase how the future of learning is happening right now,” conference organizers tell us in the official conference program booklet.

All of this is what NMC as a highly-focused, extremely collaborative, and forward-thinking community of learning does best. It provides us with a blended onsite-online platform to engage and explore opportunities for thinking and for action in the ed-tech arena. It brings us together in ways we would not otherwise convene and encounter and interact with each other. It supports a process of contributing to positive transformation at a local, regional, national, and international level. And it knows enough to make sure that all of this is fun, inspiration, and capable of producing concrete results.


%d bloggers like this: