Children are the best teachers…

One of the many joys of having young children is that they can teach you so much – how to enjoy simple moments, how to express yourself through dance and how to skip along to just about anything. One of the most interesting areas my children teach me most in is about how human behaviour has changed around the use of technology.

The look on my sons (7 & 5) faces tells me so much when I try to explain that when I was their age, or even a bit older – I had to wait over an hour to “hopefully” load a computer game called manic miner on the ZX Spectrum.  For them it seems to take “forever” to wait for Angry Birds or in fact any game that shows the words “loading” on the screen before you can play it….Oh and the fact trying to explain that I had to use a “cassette tape” to load the game is even more amazing…You’d think I was almost from another planet.

I personally notice this more when my children interact with my mother – not that my mother is technologically ignorant, but I do notice the difference in the language my children use and the expectation they have around specific devices or situations – e.g. every phone is assumed to have a touch screen and is connected to the internet.

A  recent example of when my children made me laugh as well as taught me a new perspective was when my youngest son Finley, who is 5 years old, came home from school one day and walked up to me as said:

“You know on the computer at school, the screen you go to, to ask questions and find things, that is called google” he then did a little dance and then turned back to me with a big smile and said “google, that is a funny word isn’t it” and continued his little dance accompanied by a very infectious giggle.

One thing I don’t think I’ve ever done is actually think about the word google…listening to my son, got me thinking that actually it is a funny word, but up until then it had only ever meant “search” to me….

Another example was when my oldest son Ewan, who is 7, started telling me some very interesting and quite detailed facts about sharks, whales and other sea creatures.  When I asked him if he had found these out via google or the internet, he replied “No Daddy, I didn’t use the computer, I read it in my Ultimate Book of Knowledge”. This made me chuckle at first, I must never assume anything, also it was naive of me to think that the only place children learn is the internet – books, yes real printed books, play a very important role in the development of children (as my school colleagues and library colleagues would testify)…As a parent, I have to let my children help me understand where the balance is…

Sometimes we have to remember that not everyone see’s the world as we do and that we stand a better chance of communicating with people if we start to appreciate the world as they see it and understand how particular things could play a role in that world.

As I say to my children often, everyday is a school day.


Tech Support Care Package – Google

I think this is a really interesting website (Tech Support Care Package) which allows a user to post a message to their parents or anyone actually with a list of useful videos to allow them to learn how to use aspects of the web.

You are limited to sending 12 videos at a time, however it could be really useful for people who are a long way from family, friends or relatives who often call on you for tech support.



Trying to stay on top of Google’s developments

I was conducting some searches in google earlier when I noticed the increased options down the left hand side, I’ve used some of them before like Videos, Images and News, but I never noticed the “realtime” option.

So i tried it and it is really very good – in fact very google like – quick, responsive and rich with content. I searched for the #lgovsm tag and I think I will actually use this as a way to keep up to date with the conversation in future as you can also track back along the timescale to see which tweets appeared when…

What I found interesting with this is that I don’t remember seeing anything particular about this feature being released, it is just there and it is very VERY useful for searching the twitter timeline, much better than twitter to be honest. So my question is why do Google not make a fuss about all this cool stuff? Or maybe they do and i’m not very good at picking it up!

I’ve included a screen shot below of the search results page – click on the image for a full screen view

lgovsm - Google Search

Can you help? – Personal and Self Directed Learning tool

I’m working with and supporting the Workforce Development Team here in Devon on creating a framework to help staff support their learning using a Self Directed Learning Style.


An estimated 70 percent of adult learning is self-directed learning (Cross 1981). Self-directed learning has been described as “a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others,” to diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals, identify resources for learning, select and implement learning strategies, and evaluate learning outcomes (Knowles 1975).

Self-directed training includes the learner initiating the learning, making the decisions about what training and development experiences will occur, and how. The learner selects and carries out their own learning goals, objectives, methods and means to verifying that the goals were met.

Probably the most important skill for today’s rapidly changing workforce is skills in self-reflection. The highly motivated, self-directed learner with skills in self-reflection can approach the workplace as a continual classroom from which to learn.

Supervisors and employees who work together to accomplish formal, self-directed learning in the workplace also accomplish continuous learning for continued productivity and learning.

As part of this framework, I suggested how we might look at Social Media and other social tools to help compliment and support this. The idea I came up with was to display it as a circle, then around the edges have headings relating to a particular activity.   – then starting from the centre – (the very centre currently being our intranet which is the gateway to our online training and elearning) you move outwards to professional based sites/sources – then on to semi professional and finally to the more socially based sites/sources.

Some examples of what I mean are listed below:

  • Professional = CIPD, Socitm, BCS, CIPR
  • Semi Professional = Communities of Practice,  Linked-In Groups, Podcasts
  • Social = Google Groups,  Twitter, Facebook Groups, You Tube

Some will naturally cross over into more than one category but I think that is ok, after all it is a visual tool to help someone see the big picture when it comes to their learning.

I’ve included a blank template version below as i’m after some help and comments about how to make it better and more inclusive, without over complicating it at the same time.

I’ve created a google form to capture what can be included in this tool and would very much welcome your help in identifying the types of sites and networks you currently use to support personal and self directed learning.

Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

GartnerSym – Collaboration and Innovation in the Cloud

This session was split into two parts – the first part was presented via Google and the second a case study in essence by Rentokill Initial about their implementation and migration to Google Apps.

I’m going to post separately on the Rentokill case study.

Adrian Joseph – Managing Director from Google Enterprise EMEA provided an overview of google’s view of Cloud and Innovation

Collaboration is important because:
Companies that come to dominate the next 10 years of innovation will be those that are early to embrace online collaborative technologies and these new ways of working
Research by the Future Foundation on behalf of Google shows that there is an 81% correlation between collaboration and innovation
Adrian highlighted three areas which Google feel is critical moving forward
1) Divergence of Capability
  • Enterprise IT and Consumer Technology were up until recently diverged
  • Consumer products changing the way we work
2) Super productive nomads
Adrian shared with us the following video as an example of what he means by super productive nomads.
This was followed by some broad statistics which i found interesting:
  • 67% of worlds population have mobile phone
  • 40% of iPhone go into the business
  • 200,000 android devices activated each day
  • Smartphones will out number pc’s and laptops by 2012
3) Democratisation of IT
We are in a new era of computing, which in turn unlocks new possibilities, the following as examples:
  • World mapping
  • Real-time translation
  • Image
  • Voice to text
  • Mobile navigation
  • Voice search will be one to watch
Before Adrian finished with a video of the speed of chrome – he shared this stat – 3 million customers have gone google – that actually surprised me.