The Fourth Place Revisited: Creating an Instant Onsite-Online Social Learning Center (Part 2 of 2)

September 26, 2012

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to produce learning objects as part of a learning opportunity, but that’s exactly what an engaged group of learners (library directors from the state of Virginia) achieved last week during the final two-hour session of the Library of Virginia’s two-day Directors’ Meeting in Richmond, Virginia that Maurice Coleman and I helped facilitate.

By the end of our time together Friday morning, all of us not only had collaborated to create a blended (onsite-online) social learning center that had onsite participants seamlessly engaged with several online colleagues in discussions about the future of libraries and learning and learners, but we had also used the wisdom of the group to capture and produce a viewable record of the conversations that took place via Twitter by using Storify.

How we achieved those results as a temporary community of learners drawn together and supported by Library of Virginia Continuing Education Consultant Cindy Church and her colleagues provides a wonderful example of social learning at its best and most creative. It also provides a wonderful case study of how any trainer-teacher-learner can promote and nurture what we’ve been calling the new Fourth Place in our world—social learning centers that can exist onsite, online, in onsite-online combinations, and even in unexpected places, 39,000 feet above the surface of the earth, when the conditions for social learning are in place.

The creation of our onsite-online social learning center last Friday was a response to necessity: those library directors clearly needed something far different than what Maurice and I had planned to offer, so the two of us, after our Thursday afternoon sessions with them, completely threw out what we had prepared and, instead, spent Thursday evening contacting colleagues who are active and innovative users of social media tools in libraries and others settings. The results were spectacular, and improv was at the heart of much of what we accomplished.

Our new plan for Friday morning was to take the existing meeting room space in the Library of Virginia there in Richmond and transform it into a setting where social learning could occur. We decided to begin with a Twitter feed (#lvadir12, for Library of Virginia Directors’ Meeting 2012) that would connect onsite participants to Bill Cushard, Buffy Hamilton, David Lee King, and Jill Hurst-Wahl so that our online colleagues, well-versed in social media tools and learning, could explore options with the onsite participants. That Twitter  feed, aggregated via TweetDeck, was projected onto a screen in the front of the room; it was also visible to the many onsite participants who followed and contributed to it via their own mobile devices—a stunning example of how quickly we all are adapting the Bring Your Own Device movement into our workplaces and other venues.

Maurice and I also, on the spur of the moment, decided to take advantage of onsite wireless access to connect onsite participants to our online partners via a Google+ Hangout—a plan that had to be abandoned when the wireless access proved to be inadequate for what we were trying to do. Even that disappointment, however, provided a useful learning experience: it helped everyone to not only see and understand the advantages and challenges of trying to incorporate social media tools into learning, but also to see how easy it is, in the moment, to change course and use what is available to produce effective learning in a social context. As Maurice himself observed, we learn as much from our failures as from our successes.

Anyone reading the Storify transcript—it appears in reverse chronological order, so requires that we go to the final page of the document and work out way back up to the top to follow the flow of the exchanges—quickly obtains a sense of how dynamic this sort of learning can be. While there was an overall structure to the discussion, there was an equal amount of on-the-spot adjusting to themes that turned out to be important to the onsite and online learning partners. All of us were learning from each other—an achievement well-documented in that moment when we tweeted out a request for help in capturing the Twitter feed and immediately received Buffy’s suggestion that Storify would produce what we needed.

There was also a clear focus on being engaged in something more than an ephemeral discussion to be forgotten as soon as it was finished. The final segment of the conversation produced commitments by the library directors themselves as to what they would do to apply lessons learned when they returned to their libraries.

Among the offerings:

  • “We will ask our community how we can help them.”
  • “We will ask people how they want to hear from us.”
  • “We will designate staff time to learning-opportunity development.”

And in a wonderful moment of laying the foundations for the concrete results that the best learning opportunities can produce, one discussion group said “We commit that we will post on our listserv, within six weeks, one thing we have done from this session”—thereby assuring that this particular social learning center will remain in existence for at least six weeks after participants formally left the physical site to return home.

If that sounds like a surefire way to demonstrate how social learning centers can produce tangible, sustainable results, then we all will have benefitted from the creation of this particular example as we look for ways to create and nurture our own. And we’re well prepared to further explore the concept of social learning centers as a new Fourth Place (after the first three places—home, work, and social settings where members of a community informally gather) in libraries or any other setting where learners gather in Intersections to enjoy each other’s company while learning from each other.


The Fourth Place Revisited: When Social Learning Center Learners Take the Lead (Part 1 of 2)

September 26, 2012

You know you’re onto a major learning success when your learners seamlessly and playfully take the lead—which is exactly what happened late last week, halfway through the Library of Virginia’s two-day Directors’ Meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

Cindy Church, continuing education consultant for the Library, had brought Maurice Coleman and me in to facilitate a few sessions on the future of libraries and learning. Maurice engagingly initiated our portion of the program with “A Blind Leap of Faith: Keeping Your Library Thriving in the 21st Century.” His presentation Thursday afternoon provoked plenty of positive conversation onsite; it also, in the spirit of what we were doing, reached beyond the walls of the auditorium to be viewed by more than 800 people online after SlideShare’s managers highlighted his PowerPoint slide deck on their home page.

Maurice and I picked up where his initial session ended that afternoon by moving into a presentation/facilitated discussion, “Learning to Meet the Future: Libraries Developing Communities,” that was designed to introduce the library directors to the idea that libraries are serving as a new Fourth Place in our world—social learning centers. A major learning point was to be the idea that libraries often fill this need, but don’t call much attention to it, so are missing a chance to more effectively be at the center of the social learning process that effectively reaches and serves significant numbers of people in life-changing ways within their communities.

But a funny thing happened on the way to our denouement Thursday afternoon. It became clear to Maurice and to me, during our end-of-the-day wrap-up with the directors, that even if they hadn’t been familiar with the jargon of social learning and social learning centers, they were already engaged in using libraries as centers of formal and informal learning. And as if to prove how quickly they were assimilating the idea that learning is social, continual, and playful, one of them incorporated the term they had just picked up to tweet out a reminder about a gathering that was about to take place over drinks in a local hotel bar: “Social learning environment at Hilton Garden Inn 5:30.”

Since social learning often benefits tremendously from flexibility and in-the-moment course adjustments, Maurice and I were delighted to see that some of the formal discussions carried over to that social learning environment at the Hilton Garden Inn. And we were also extremely curious about two elements of what we were seeing: what connected those library directors so effectively to learning, and what we could do, overnight, to abandon what we had originally planned for the Friday session so we could more effectively meet those learners where they were and support them even more in their own work.

It didn’t take long to find the answer to the first question: directors with whom we spoke mentioned that Cindy and her colleagues in the state library (the Library of Virginia) had done quite a bit to foster a culture of learning throughout libraries statewide—again proving that if we have the right person or people in key positions, magic occurs. It’s not that we haven’t seen other colleagues in libraries express a commitment to learning—it is certainly visible here California through efforts supported by our state library, and the American Library Association’s current strategic plan goes a long way in fostering a mission statement that includes a commitment to “promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” What does not yet appear to be so common is the explicit commitment to social learning expressed and demonstrated so overtly by those Virginia library directors last week.

As for the answer to our second question—how to quickly produce an appropriate learning opportunity the following morning since what we had planned was clearly not going to be sufficient to meet this group’s needs—it came later that evening. Focusing on the idea that the library directors would benefit from hands-on experience in shaping and using a social learning center, we tossed out our original workshop plan and decided to turn the Friday morning session into an exercise of creating an impromptu blended (onsite-online) learning center that facilitated a conversation about what the directors could do upon returning home to their own libraries. All we had to do was find some online participants on the spur of the moment.

Next: Redesigning an Entire Social Learning Opportunity Overnight


Social Learning Centers: When Fourth Place Is a Winner

March 23, 2011

The creation of social learning centers as the important fourth place in our lives took another wonderful leap forward today with a successful attempt to create a blended—onsite/online—fourth place extending from Washington DC to San Francisco.

It wasn’t flawless. And it wasn’t always pretty. But, as colleague and co-presenter Maurice Coleman noted to appreciative laughter from participants, we learn as much from failure as we learn from our successes.

For those of you who feel as if you just walked into the second act of a play in progress, let’s take one step back before making the obvious leaps forward: Ray Oldenburg, more than two decades ago, used his book The Great Good Place to define the three important places in our lives. In that pre-World Wide Web period, those places were physical (onsite) sites: home as the first place, work as the second place, and our treasured community meeting places playing the role of the third place—the great good place.

The idea for a fourth place—the community gathering place for social learning—sprouted from a rapidly planted seed in August 2010 during an episode of Maurice’s biweekly T is for Training podcast. By the end of that T is for Training conversation, we had decided that a perfect place to spread the idea was the annual Computers in Libraries conference—which we finally were able to do today.

Our experiment onsite in Washington DC was far from perfect. But by the end of the 45-minute session that Maurice, T is for Training colleague Jill Hurst-Wahl, and I designed, we had in many ways exceeded our goal, for we not only described the fourth place, we created an onsite-online fourth place that, with any luck, will continue to exist and expand. (Jill’s summary of the session is included on her Digitization 101 blog in a posting dated March 24, 2011.)

Maurice and Jill were onsite; I planned to deliver my portion of the presentation, via Skype, from San Francisco. We talked about how libraries as social learning spaces could be developed in existing library buildings or online. Or in outdoor settings (gardens, if gardening was the object of a learning lesson). Or even in refurbished shipping containers if an organization wanted to combine recycling with learning. We also talked about the various ways learning is delivered online these days: through formal well-planed courses and webinars as well as informally through chat, through Twitter, and through Skype.

The denouement was to be the moment when we called attention to how Skype and Twitter were being used live, during the presentation, to draw our online colleagues into the onsite learning venue at the conference. And it almost worked out that way—except that the Skype section was far diminished by an unexpectedly bad Internet connection at the conference site.

And that, surprisingly enough, was when all the planning and creativity that went into the presentation paid off, for when we realized that the Skype section wasn’t going to work, Maurice used his copy of the slides and script I had prepared and he delivered the live portion of my presentation. And while Jill was moving forward with her part of the session, I turned to the conference Twitter feed to see if anyone was actually tweeting what was happening. Which, of course, someone was. So by using Twitter to reach that audience member, I was able to determine what was happening onsite; Maurice and I established a typed-chat connection via Skype since my audio feed was less than what was acceptable to us; and Maurice used the webcam on his Netbook to allow me to see and hear the two of them in action for the remainder of the session.

The result was that we jury-rigged exactly what we had set out to do through our rehearsals—a learning space that combined onsite and online participants; a combination of live presentation, Skype, and Twitter to allow all of us to engage in a learning session; and a demonstration of how this particular fourth place might continue to exist if any of us decide to come back together via Twitter, Skype, or face to face.

There were signs, even before our time together ended, that we were on our way to having made a difference. One participant wrote, via Twitter, that he is “gonna get an empty shipping container (for free), set it up in Brooklyn Park, & invite community to make it a 4th learning space.”

For more of the conversation, please visit the overall conference Twitter record at #cil11 and look for postings during the second half of the day on March 23, 2011. Tweeters included @librarycourtney, @meerkatdon,  @mgkrause (who posted, from a different session, “This was so basic—wish I had gone to the 4th place talk to hear about tech shops!”),and @jeanjeanniec. Slide and speaker notes from the portions Jill and I prepared are also available online for those who want to explore the idea of social learning centers as fourth place.


Community, Collaboration, and Learning: Time for the Fourth Place

August 15, 2010

It appears to be time to further develop what Ray Oldenburg initiated with The Great Good Place. That wonderful and still-influential book, first written and published more than twenty years ago in a pre-World Wide Web era, suggests that our first place is our home, our second place is where we work, and our third place is the treasured community meeting place where we, our friends, and colleagues come and go. The idea of the third place has been embraced by many, and has a counterpart in “the Intersection,” which Frans Johansson describes in his own more recently published book, The Medici Effect, as a place where people of differing backgrounds meet, exchange ideas, and, through their intersection, develop and disseminate new ideas.

What seems to be ripe for development now is a complementary fourth place: a community gathering place for social learning. The idea for this version of a fourth place (more about other versions in a moment) came out of a discussion two days ago with colleagues participating in the latest episode of Maurice Coleman’s biweekly T is for Training podcast—which, in its own way, has become an online third/fourth place for an ever-expanding community of learners comprised of those involved and/or interested in workplace learning and performance in libraries.

The potential development of the fourth place as community gathering place for social learning is worth exploring in and of itself since it embraces all that the concept suggests and it serves as an online example of what both Oldenburg and Johansson describe in face-to-face settings. Coleman’s latest podcast began with a handful of us discussing what we would love to see discussed at the annual Computers in Libraries  conference, to be held in Washington DC in March 2011. Because T is for Training colleague Jill Hurst-Wahl, who serves as Assistant Professor of Practice in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and is involved in planning the conference, was participating in the discussion, we quickly started dreaming about topics that have been on our minds, including the idea that “Computers (and Humans) in Libraries,” with a strong emphasis on listening to what library users want from libraries, might open some doors and eyes. As if on cue, the remaining participants—Coleman, Library System of Lancaster County Training Coordinator Stephanie Zimmerman, Statewide MarylandAskUsNow! Coordinator Julie Strange, and I—were joined in our Intersection by a contributor who had not previously called in during one of the live online sessions: someone who identified himself as Rutgers University student Walter Salem.

Salem was exactly what we were seeking: a person who is not involved in training but who expressed a passion for what libraries are, what they have been, and what they are becoming. While he was commenting via the audio portion of the program, a few of us noted via the typed chat that he seemed to be describing Oldenburg’s third place, and we actually suggested that to him. At that point, he corrected us by emphasizing that what he really loved was the sense of a place where he was surrounded by learning and the potential for learning, and that’s where we started translating his thoughts into something concrete for libraries and any other onsite or online community willing to use all the tech and human tools available to us.

“Maybe we’re looking at a ‘fourth place’: the educational community meeting place where members of the community gather,” I suggested via the typed chat.

“The interesting thing is that this ‘fourth place’ can be anywhere,” Hurst-Wahl immediately typed back. “It needs to be a ‘place’ where there are resources (people, books, computers, etc.) to connect people to the knowledge that they want to acquire.”

It didn’t take long for all of us to agree that this is an idea well worth nurturing and promoting, and Coleman had, before the live discussion ended, provided the refined fourth place definition with which we are working: “a community gathering place for social learning.” And while all of us were specifically thinking of the roles libraries could play as this sort of fourth place, it’s obvious to me that there’s room for fourth places of this level in almost any onsite or online setting where learners come and go, where they seek a community of support and a chance for Intersection-level exchanges, and where the place itself serves as and inspires communities of learning.

Curiosity, of course, compels us to immediately ask whether others have already toyed with the idea of a fourth Oldenburgesque place. The answer is yes, and one of them appears to have made its online debut just a month before we had our own Intersection moment: Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and other more recently published books, proposed his own version of a fourth place as a mixture of commerce and engagement. And writer-consultant Doug Fleener was actually five years ahead of us with a proposal of fourth place  as “a gathering place inside a store for customers who share a common interest in the products and services the retailer sells.”

So perhaps what we are working with are sub-sets of Oldenburg’s original third place—communities with specific interests. Or an entirely original version and description of the important places in our life. Or, perhaps with yet another nod to the brilliance of the entire Web 2.0 and Learning 2.0 phenomena, we’re looking at Place 4.0, and an acknowledgment that there is room for all three proposals described here: a series which begins with Place 4.1, Place 4.2, and Place 4.3, then continues with the infinite possibilities of places that are different, yet intrinsically connected to, what Oldenburg has set in motion.

Let’s see how many interesting Places this might take us or produce.

Updates: Jill Hurst-Wahl, on August 17, 2010, has continued the conversation on her Digitization 101 blog (at http://hurstassociates.blogspot.com/2010/08/community-collaboration-and-learning.html).


Finding Our Place in the World, Part 2: Place in an Onsite-Online World

November 6, 2011

Many of us, having incorporated online communities into our professional and personal lives, reach the moment when we decide that the idea of place is dead—that geography no longer matters.

But it doesn’t take us long to realize we’re wrong. And reading and thinking about Richard Florida’s Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision in Your Life (2008) drives the point—and us—home. Florida, continuing to focus on the role creativity plays in making communities vital, vibrant social and economic centers, writes clearly and engagingly as he points out how “spiky” the world remains in terms of having peaks of social and economic centers that offer opportunities not to be as readily found in the valleys that exist elsewhere.

“Today’s key economic factors—talent, innovation, and creativity—are not distributed evenly across the global economy,” he reminds us (p. 9). “They concentrate in specific locations” including centers of innovation such as Tokyo, Seoul, New York, and San Francisco (p. 25). There are also mega-regions that continue to thrive, including Boston-NewYork-Washington-Baltimore, Osaka-Nagoya, Frankfurt-Stuttgart, and several others he cites throughout his book.

“More and more people are clustering in urban areas,” he writes (p. 18), and that clustering encourages people “to do more than they otherwise would, such as engage in more creative activities, invent new things, or start new companies—all things that are both personally fulfilling and economically productive…This creates a regenerative cycle: the stimulation unleashes creative energy, which in turn attracts more high-energy people from other places, which results in higher rates of innovation, greater economic prosperity, higher living standards, and more stimulation” (p. 159).

This won’t be news to those familiar with Jane Jacob’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Towns – Buildings – Construction (1977), The Timeless Way of Building (1979), and just about everything he has written, William Whyte’s City: Rediscovering the Center (1988), Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place (1989), Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect, or writing colleagues and I have done on the proposed Fourth Place in our lives—the social learning centers that serve as our onsite-online sources of learning opportunities in a world where continual learning is one of the keys to success.

But it does remind us that the geography of place is far from dead—even if it now so clearly co-exists with place as an online construct through the sort of communities and associations I wrote about two days ago to describe my own onsite-online sense of community and professional family through the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD).

As is the case with so many blanket statements we make and eventually have to recant, the role of place in our lives is evolving to accommodate that sense of place that includes onsite as well as online places. Rather than creating either-or distinctions here, we’ll find ourselves on terra firma and in terra virtual if we see place in a blended seamless way. The place we call home. The places we temporarily join when we travel to work. The third and fourth places in our lives—those coffee shops, restaurants, community centers, and social learning centers which so clearly contribute to our onsite-online place in the world. And the online places that facilitate the connections that matter most to us in terms of making us members of a variety of interconnected world-wide communities of learning, interest, and practice. With a renewed appreciation for all that home offers in this still evolving onsite-online world.


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)
eLearning Guild
FOEcast (Future of Education forecast)
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 With Maurice Coleman (Part 1 of 2)

December 13, 2018

This is the first part of a two-part interview conducted with Maurice Coleman, Creator/Executive Producer/Host for the long-running T is for Training biweekly podcast, for my book Change the World Using Social Media (Rowman & Littlefield; to be published in 2019). The interview was conducted online using a shared Google Doc, and has been lightly edited.

 

Maurice Coleman

What would you suggest to anyone who is just beginning to look at podcasting as a way of helping foster positive social change?

The usual.  Be yourself.  Be honest.  And though it may sound trite, be real. You may have to do some self-promotion in order to reach a larger audience. Also, don’t be surprised if your work reaches further than you can imagine.

What initially motivated you to move into podcasting?

I wanted to replicate the vibe and comradery I felt at conferences where I was surrounded with brilliant members of my “tribe” of trainers, computer folks and other gear/nerd/cool folk heads. I wanted that all of the time—not just a couple of times of the year if I was lucky, so, I took from a friend’s podcast and said, “Why not me?” That was 2008, and we have been going strong ever since.

When I went back to listen to the earliest episodes, I left with the feeling that everyone was just sort of wondering how to proceed and whether it would actually work. How long did it take for things to click for you and those you reach through T is for Training?  

I think it was the Christmas/year-end episode when Guest Host Emeritus Stephanie Zimmerman sang the T is for Training song. That is the “well, damn” moment. Also, people kept coming back to the show. Then someone nominated me for a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker” award in 2010, and that was additional validation that I knew what the heck I was doing—though I didn’t really need the validation, because I did the show for my personal benefit and anything else was gravy. Awesome gravy, but gravy still. I was also lucky to have the support of my library—and, specifically, my boss and director at the time—to do this during work hours. We believe in professional development, and my podcast continues to be a great source of my professional development.

When we were together recently, you said “People don’t start out wanting to change the world. They usually start out wanting to change this…this one situation.” Is there an identifiable moment when you went from doing the show for your personal benefit to doing it because you realized it was having a positive change on the face of training-teaching-learning-doing in the industry you serve?

Maybe personal benefit is the wrong phrasing, but it is close enough. I always feel a responsibility for keeping this ship going, and it was always both personal benefit and for the benefit of others. When I did the first show, I asked them by email if this was worth their time.  They all said yes and also came back, so, from the beginning, I knew that others wanted someplace where they could be amongst colleagues on a regular basis who shared their struggles and triumphs and knowledge around training and learning. Back then, trainers in libraries were this either weirdly-placed position in either HR [Human Resources] or IT [Information Technology], or it was someone’s second job in the system. And you were usually the only one. So, if you wanted to bounce ideas off of someone, you had to reach out outside of your system to find someone who knew your specific job stuff.  T is for Training provided and still provides that forum—I hope. Honestly, every week, I am surprised folks come back.

As one of your “usual suspects,” I see T is for Training in many ways: a podcast, a forum, a community of learners/community of learning, a virtual water cooler, a lab where ideas take shape and spread. Can you think of an example of a situation where something that happened on the podcast transformed, in a positive way, those involved in the recording to someone who listened to an archived recording?

Good lord. Maybe I think of the discussion we had yeaaaaars ago about libraries as more than book archives. We talked about the various places and the library as fourth place [libraries as social learning centers]. Did the Computers in Libraries conference presentation about it. And, about the same time, that became the prevalent library design and management thought—to provide those services thinking of the library as a community center providing rich life experience outside of traditional book-/author- based stuff.

While I am sure others can think of other things, that is what sticks out in my mind. I am somewhat oblivious to that larger ripple effect, and always hope the podcast did, can, and will help folks make their situation—no matter how they define situation—better for them, their family, their library, and their community.

As you know, I’ve been exploring and been fascinated for years by the idea that our way of carrying on conversations has changed out from under us as a result of how conversations extend across great periods of time and across multiple platforms. An example: we talk about something on T is for Training (e.g., libraries as a newly-defined fourth place), then continue that on Twitter or Facebook, months later face to face, and months or years later in a typed-chat conversation like this. How does that affect the work activists attempt to do by incorporating social media tools into their overall social-media toolkit?

Use anything and everything you have the energy and time to use. Always remember that the conversation is ongoing even if you are not directly participating in what it is now. Also, do that interview, share that story, wherever and whenever you can. Always stick to your talking points if you are doing an interview. Always pull the question back to why you are there or reject the premise of the question itself and bring it back to your needs. Use [social] media as your tool to get your message out to folks, not be used as a fad or a media sock-puppet.

Also, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You have friends and colleagues and acquaintances. Ask them to help. A message said many times, from many sources, is usually heard.

N.B. — Paul is currently writing Change the World Using Social Mediascheduled for publication by Rowman & Littlefield in 2019. This is the sixteenth in a continuing series of excerpts from and interviews for the manuscript in progress.


Building Upon A New Culture of Learning with Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

September 17, 2012

If doing is learning, there’s plenty to learn and do with the ideas Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown present in A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change.

Working with the theme of social/collaborative learning that we’ve also encountered in The New Social Learning by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, in the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report 2012 Higher Education Edition  and “Communiqué from the Horizon Project Retreat” held in January 2012, the eLearning Guild’s new “Social Learning: Answers to Eight Crucial Questions” report, and many other books, reports, and documents, Thomas and Brown take us through a stimulating and brief—but never cursory—exploration of “the kind of learning that will define the twenty-first century.” And it won’t, they tell us right up front, be “taking place in a classroom—at least not in today’s classroom. Rather, it is happening all around us, everywhere, and it is powerful” (p. 17).

As we’ve already seen in a series of articles here in Building Creative Bridges, our learning spaces and the way we foster learning are continuing to evolve—which doesn’t necessarily mean, as Thomas and Brown note in their own work, that we’re completely abandoning classrooms and the best of the training-teaching-learning techniques we’ve developed over a long period of time. But the fact that plenty of effective learning that produces positive results “takes place without books, without teachers, and without classrooms, and it requires environments that are bounded yet provide complete freedom of action within those boundaries” (p. 18) offers us plenty of possibilities to rethink what we and the people and organizations we serve are doing.

Their summary of how Thomas’ “Massively Multiplayer Online Games” course at the University of Southern California seemed to be spinning wildly out of control as students more or less restructured the class from lots of lecture and a bit of demo to lots of exploration followed by short summary lectures at the end of each session leads us to the obvious and wonderful conclusion that, by taking over the class, the learners were also taking over control of their own learning and producing magnificent results—a story similar to a situation also documented by Cathy Davidson in Now You See It.

And it doesn’t stop there. As they lead us through a brief summary of instructor-centric and learner-centric endeavors, we see a theme that crops up in much of what is being written now about m-learning (mobile learning, i.e., learning through the use of mobile devices): that the new culture of learning “will augment—rather than replace—traditional educational venues” and techniques (p. 35).

What flows through much of Thomas and Brown’s work—and what we observe in our own training-teaching-learning environments—is what they address explicitly near the end of their book after having discussed the importance of learning environments: the need to foster playfulness in learning and the parallel need to work toward a framework of learning that builds upon the Maker movement and that acknowledges three essential facets for survival in contemporary times: “They are homo sapiens, homo faber, and homo ludens—or humans who know, humans who make (things), and humans who play” (p. 90).

We have plenty of examples upon which to draw: Michael Wesch’s experiments with his Digital Ethnography project at Kansas State University; the YOUMedia Center for teens at the Chicago Public Library; smart classrooms where technology enables creatively productive interactions between onsite and online learners; and even the information commons model that began in academic libraries and is increasingly being adapted for use in public libraries. There’s much to explore here, and that’s why some of us have been promoting the idea that it’s time to add to Ray Oldenburg’s The Great Good Place concept of three key places in our lives (the first place being home, the second place being work, and the third place being community gathering places where we find and interact with our friends and colleagues away from home and work) with a new Fourth Place: the social learning center that onsite as well as online as needed.

Another theme that Thomas and Brown bring to our attention is the way communities—those vibrant foundations of our society that are so wonderfully explored by John McKnight and Peter Block in their book The Abundant Community and continue to be fostered on The Abundant Community website—are developing into collectives—less-than-rigid gatherings of learners and others who are drawn by immediate needs and then disperse if/when those needs are met.

“A collective is very different from an ordinary community,” Thomas and Brown write. “Where communities can be passive (though not all of them are by any means), collectives cannot. In communities, people learn in order to belong. In a collective, people belong in order to learn. Communities derive their strength from creating a sense of belonging, while collectives derive theirs from participation.” (p. 52).

All of which leads us to an obvious conclusion: if we are inspired to do the things within our communities, collectives, and organizations that Thomas and Brown describe and advocate, we will be engaged in building the new culture of learning they describe—while learning how to build it.


ALA Annual Conference 2012: Addressing the Couch in the Middle of the Room

June 25, 2012

A colleague entering the room where Sharon Morris and I were facilitating the ALA Learning Round Table’s “Ignite, Interact, and Engage: Maximizing the Learning Outcome” session yesterday here in Anaheim at the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference admits to being momentarily confused.

“I didn’t remember ordering a couch,” she said when she joined the session in progress.

And I have to admit that we didn’t, either—at least not directly. For when we started the session, it had the typical session room set-up. Round tables surrounded by chairs. Lectern with microphone. A couple of tables with chairs for presenters and panelists. A projector throwing PowerPoint slides onto a large screen in one corner of the room. And the usual drab/neutral walls.

But we quickly changed all that by projecting a Twitter feed onto the screen via TweetChat during parts of the session and beginning the workshop with a wonderful presentation/learning technique I acquired from writer-trainer-consultant Peter Block’s presentation at the 2008 ASTD International Conference & Exposition in San Diego: we encouraged “Engage” participants to take two minutes at the beginning of the session to reset the room in any way that would create a space conducive to their own leaning experience. The we added to Block’s exercise by inviting them to use simple supplies we had provided—clay, construction paper, colored clay, and a few other items—to decorate the room in a way that served the same purpose. And even I, after running variations of this particular learning exercise, was astonished when a few participants carried “resetting the room” to a wonderful extreme I’d never before encountered: they stepped outside, snagged a small couch from a corridor, and brought it into the room for themselves.

As we moved through the session, we left plenty of time for learners to practice what Sharon and I were sharing with them about various styles of presentation: lecturing/telling, storytelling/sharing knowledge, inquiring/reflecting, experiencing—lots of that with this group—and creating/developing something as we did by developing a comfortably appropriate learning space for the duration of the session. We also brought blended (onsite-online) learning into the picture by explaining how many trainer-teacher-learners are using Twitter and other social media tools to connect on learners within a learning space—a fourth place, or social learning center—with learners not physically present, yet capable of engaging in what is being accomplished.

Attendees clearly absorbed and responded to ideas about incorporating an opening exercise and improvisation into learning. When someone mentioned how we often avoid the most difficult and obvious of challenges—in essence, ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room—we even suggested that we had a perfect moment to change our own clichés by agreeing to “address the couch in the middle of the room.” And then we used Twitter to share, with other conference attendees, the idea that we need to begin addressing the couch in the middle of the room.

As we brought that very lively session to a conclusion, we reminded each other of the need to carry learning back to workplace settings where what was learned is actually used rather than lost—not wanting to be among that 70 percent of learners who never even try applying what they’ve learned. And you probably know what happened next: when we asked how participants would apply what they had learned, everyone stood up and engaged in a very spirited chanting of what had become the session mantra—“We won’t be part of the 70 percent.”

Late in the afternoon, I finally had time to go back to the Twitter feed (#ala12soclearn, for ALA 2012 Annual Conference Social Learning; parts of it remain available as posts on June 24, 2012 at @trainersleaders). It was very encouraging to see how effectively the session participants had engaged with the material and with each other. And I had a confirmation that we still have a long way to go in Library Land in terms of how we incorporate Twitter and other social media tools into our daily work this morning: a conference attendee used the Twitter conference backchannel (#ala12) to note that someone had shouted at him for using Twitter at the conference. I hope that he and others will join us in whatever post-session conversation continues at #ala12soclearn. And that we’ll all remain ignited and engaged as we return to our workplace learning and performance (staff training) spaces.

N.B.: The PowerPoint slides and speaker notes for the presentation are available on SlideShare.


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.


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