What it Takes

It used to be so simple. Creativity and originality were nice little things that most of us could wrap our heads around. If you had some sort of talent — music, drawing, editing, writing, or whatever, it was relatively easy to impress … at least that’s the way I remember it. While the Interenet is one of my favorite things in the whole World, it has upped the ante in some amazing ways. The notions of art, music, editing, writing, storytelling, and everything else in the creative space has been blown wide open by the instant access to all things that standing out in the global crowd seems harder than ever.

Take for example the two person band who made this out of control original video for youtube, Pompalmoose. I actually remember when it was enough to just be able to sing, or play, or write, or edit, or anything else. If you watch this and some of their related videos I think you’ll get a similar feeling that I have — that the Internet and technology (in general) has turned creative expression into a much more complex thing. Maybe I am overstating the output, but these two have some heavy skills — skills I see more and more of our students showing up with. The idea related to what it takes to express oneself has been changed and that landscape continues to shift under our feet. Did I mention I love the Internet.


Mipper Rogers

PBS, though, hopes that Mr. Rogers will live on for children — online. Last month, PBS began streaming full-length episodes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” on both its Rogers site and its PBSKids site. “We think about Fred every single day,” said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president for children’s media at PBS. “The PBSKids site is based on a philosophy that I think he pioneered of looking at the whole child.”

via www.nytimes.com

When I was little I would sit on the couch every evening to watch Mipper Rogers — that’s what I called him. Almost everything I know about interpersonal behavior can be traced to his lessons. The fact that his reruns aren’t shown on any of the channels I get is a crime. Am I being too nostalgic or is there nothing like him around today? Read the NYTimes piece and make sure you watch the video below (even though I’ve linked it before) … if you care about people and education it makes you smile. Even if it makes me a hippy.

Print?

It makes me wonder once again if a group of like minded folks couldn’t do the same sort of thing with Teaching with Technology|Penn State? I think so. I’d love it.

via www.personal.psu.edu

I loved the idea of a real physical print piece focusing on teaching and learning with technology at Penn State the first time my friend and colleague Dave Stong suggested it. I just wonder if print is the right medium. Perhaps I am being too closed minded (and I am inviting anyone to tell me so) about the idea. I love the Penn State Research magazine for lots of reasons … and it honestly makes me wonder if I’d be more or less likely to read its stories in print or online. I only now even looked to see if there is an online companion and it doesn’t come close to living up to the print version. It is screaming for a digital version that makes sense and captures the same visceral feeling the print version does — I’m not sure HTML can do that.

What I wonder is if the kinds of stories we want to tell wouldn’t benefit from a more stylized monthly digital aggregate of the content we are currently producing. Jamie Oberdick in ETS does a great job producing daily content — some with companion videos and podcasts that probably wouldn’t translate to a print only format. Would we just end up with a magazine that said, “to hear more about X, visit our website at http://tlt.psu.edu?”

What I do see is the potential to reach new stakeholders. People who might want to bowled over by what we do, but don’t spend a heck of a lot of time online — especially looking for our content. We are reaching a certain percentage of the market (so to speak), but could be ignoring a whole other demographic … reaching them is a worthy goal.

In my estimation we ought to figure out how to auto create ePub versions of our content for the iPad or other ePub capable devices given where mobile reading might be going. I worry about the cost, distribution, and everything else that goes with physical printing — but given I know very little of the process I could be wrong. If we could roll our web content out the way we do online and have it move into a flexible workflow that would produce both a print and ePub version we’d be hitting a much larger percentage of people … and we’d be satisfying people across lots of dimensions of the spectrum. One thing having a regularly published print piece would give us is a long term historical artifact that could actually be stored at the Library … but at the end of the day my guess is that they would scan them and store them as PDFs. Any thoughts?


Credit Dave Stong

Yep

I pre-ordered a 32 GB wifi iPad, a standard dock, and a VGA adaptor. I thought I’d share the results of my totally unofficial quick Twitter poll from the other day where I got (a whopping) 32 responses … eight have have pre-ordered iPads with six of those being wifi only. Another eight said they would be buying an iPad with half going for the wifi only. Seven aren’t at all interested in buying an iPad. We shall see.

Yep

I pre-ordered a 32 GB wifi iPad, a standard dock, and a VGA adaptor. I thought I’d share the results of my totally unofficial quick Twitter poll from the other day where I got (a whopping) 32 responses … eight have have pre-ordered iPads with six of those being wifi only. Another eight said they would be buying an iPad with half going for the wifi only. Seven aren’t at all interested in buying an iPad. We shall see.

There are No True Emergencies

My wife shared this little gem with me last night as we were talking about the culture in higher education and our tendency to meet all the time. I was thinking it was specific to higher education as I haven’t been in industry for 12 or so years and at that time it was a small start up where we had lots to keep us continuously busy. I especially like the part about managers … how many of us (I’m a manager) perceive our needs for updates and information to more important than the people we manage. I think there is a huge lesson to take away from open conversations like the one Jason Fried (from 37signals.com) engages in throughout the video. In so many ways it shows us that we may need to rethink the way we create emergencies and have to react to them nearly every single day within our organizations and instead think about the work that should be getting done as the goal.

“And the truth of the matter is, there are really no true emergencies in business.” I love it … now to remember it.