Failure Leads to Success

Here’s a photo I took a few days ago (bigger photo here). I wanted to play with my new olloclip lens.

Olloclip makes really cool lenses that clip on to an iPhone. Mine includes two macro lenses, a wide angle lens, and a fisheye lens. You can buy one here, if you’re interested (they’re pretty cheap).

Anyway, this photo. I took the photo, then realized something looked … funny. I thought there was a smudge on the lens, so I turned the phone around to look at it … and discovered that I had left the lens cap on.

So this is a fisheye lens photo … looking through my olloclip lens cover. Big fail!

And that’s ok. In fact, if you look through my older videos and photos (and website designs, and articles, and project plans, and music projects, etc), you will find lots of experimentation. Some improvements, some trials-and-errors, and yes – some fails.

That’s how I learn – that’s how I improve. I need time to play with a new tool. To figure it out, to make it work, to read about it and try what I just learned.

For me anyway, failure eventually = success. Because every failure leads me a little closer to where I hope to be.

Experimentation is a great way to learn social media, too. For example, if someone doesn’t have a Twitter account, doesn’t understand it, and wants to learn, I’ll suggest these steps:

  1. Set up a Twitter account.
  2. Follow 50-100 people. These can be friends, colleagues, or people you share a common interest with (i.e., hobbies, career track, etc).
  3. Hang out on Twitter for 10 minutes each day. Read the posts, add your thoughts. Share your own posts, focused on your interests.
  4. Do this for a month.

At the end of the month, I’ll guarantee the person will have a better understanding of Twitter. They might not like it, but they will “get it.”

Hence my photo experiment with the olloclip lens (and lens cap). Experiment, fail, experiment some more, and improve.

How about you? How do you learn and improve?

Internet Librarian 2011, Day 1: Keynote presentation

I’m at the Internet Librarian 2011 conference, and here are some of my notes. Enjoy!

Monday’s keynote presentation was given by John Seely Brown – The topic – A new culture of learning for a world of constant change – the entrepreneurial learner in the Internet age

How do we cultivate constantly learning in today’s ever changing world?

Thinks the half life of skill sets has shrunk to about 5 years. Because technological change is moving so fast. It’s a huge shift.

The problem now is that we have to learn in a world of flows – change and new skills are constantly changing, and we need to learn stuff that’s not really standardized or codified. It’s not something you can go back to school to learn

Librarians are more important than ever these days – because we know how to operate in an ever-changing information, knowledge environment.

Ar we prepared? Ae we preparing our students?

It’s more than learning to learn. We have to learn how to cultivate. Our physical spaces are important now, to help this cultivation happen.

iPhone as amplifier – helps to amplify your curiosity

Dispositions of an entrepreneurial learner:
Curiosity, questing, connecting

Th social view of learning. Not I think, therefore I am.

But now it’s we participate therefore we are. Knowledge is socially constructed, making knowledge personal.

Study groups. The single best indicator of how well you will do in college. This doesn’t have to be face to face – it can happen digitally. SMS, facebook, chat rooms, etc. This is cool – it combines learning and fun.

these study groups stretch beyond traditional colleges because of how social networks work.

Different ways of learning and searching … For example, wikipedia articles. To really read something, you need to also open up the edit. Age to see the discussions and edits taking place. Wikipedia has essentially opened up the editing room of the britannica to show us how edits take place.

We need to cultivate that kind of inquisitiveness.

We used to focus on content, assuming context was relatively stable. Context is more fluid in the world of social media.

Jazz and blogging are personally improvisational, but also inherently collective.

David Weinberger has a book coming out in 2012 called Too Big to Know – it will be about this type of stuff…

Essence of remixing – changing the context of old forms of content

Learning as riddles and play – fail, fail, fail and fail again – and then to get it right. Poetry – you are playing with words, solving riddles with them.

Our jobs and learning can be the same way – learning or jobs or projects can be riddles and play too.

Knowing, making, playing – three different epistemologies – via tinkering, or embracing change – each of these have important shifts that affect learning

Is interesting to watch. Harry potter for example. Kids and teens read it … But they are close reading. They are filling in the blanks, filling in the back story. Creating content and context around it. Even creating wizard rock around it. Learning by creating, imagining, playing.

Back to the future – the one room schoolhouse. About to be replaced by the one room global schoolhouse.

CIL2009: Learning Solutions Through Technology

Sarah Houghton-Jan, Lori Reed

Lori:

First time in history we have 4 generations of people in the workforce. Some people are always wired, some aren’t there yet.

another consideration – time & money. Need to figure out how best to use our money/time for training…

Showing a “Calculated Savings” slide – showing how much they spend in mileage reimbursements for travel time to and from training. Wow.

elearning solutions:

  • asynchronous (blackboard, not all there at same time, learning 2.0 classes)
  • synchronous training – all online at the same time (webjunction classes, webinars – opal, webex, go to meeting, adobe connect, dim dim, etc) – have to have bandwidth to support this type of training.
  • blended – blending both together

Giving examples of blended learning: using physical and digital social spaces…

Best learning is informal learning

Don’t put the cart before the horse – there are some things you have to figure out first:

  • Determine what the need is first – what do they need to learn/to improve their jobs, etc
  • Then determine who the audience is

Talkshoe as a good tool for communication. WebJunction as another (their webinars).

Twitter is a great way to reinforce learning.

Tips to implement elearning:

  • you need support from the top
  • include IT in discussions early on
  • trainer, train thyself
  • don’t put speed over quality – if it fails, elearning will get a bad name.Make sure you’re doing it correct!
  • have a plan – create goals
  • be prepared to demonstrate ROI – might be costs!
  • enlist the help of tech-savvy staff
  • look for support from local businesses

Sarah:

Oops … missed a bit. Starting now…

Tech2Know Program Plan:

series of short web-based how-to guides, tutorials, etc. Sorta like a 23 Things program for competencies. One topic a week…

3 follow-up elements:

1. permanent online discussion forums for each topic

2. tech playground

3. an ask the techies week when the helpdesk would target lingering issues people have had about anything

Some core principles:

prizes – important! Library Genius 2.0 t-shirts from ACPL, find free or low-cost swag – USB drives that cost $4, etc.

Why invest in staff training? save money, strengthen skills, improve customer service, shows commitment to lifelong learning, increases staff retention, motivates staff to keep learning, increases efficiency

Benefits: really helps improve staff – their skills, their job descriptions, future training eneds, helps with performance evals, consistent customer service. That “come back next tuesday when Jill’s at the desk” statement? Not acceptable.

Project Planning: start with goals.

Planning questions:

what are your goals?

who manages the project?

Do you have or need to create a skills list?

Do you have a timeline in mind?

What are your resources (funding and staff)?

What training resources exist, and which ones need to be created?

Ensure staff buy-in:

  • listen – if you ask, use their input
  • keep everyone informed
  • reassure staff they don’t have to know it all now
  • managers MUST follow project plan
  • hold a brainstorming session or party
  • fun. rewards. food.

Admin buy-in:

  • write a purpose statement
  • determine measurable deliverables
  • build training in to performance evals
  • train admin/management first or separately

Creating a training program:

  • decide on types and numbers of training
  • start with the basic topics
  • open training to all staff
  • mandatory or voluntary?
  • training budget based on staff needs
  • set goals and rewards

Ongoing learning:

  • Do a mix of scheduled and unscheduled learning…
  • give staff 15 minutes a day to study/learn
  • schedule 1 off-desk hour for self-study
  • encourage conference/lecture attendance
  • share online tutorials, etc

Tips: ask students to dream at the end – if you ruled the library, what would you change now, after learning this stuff? (came from Michael Stephens)