Must reads from August 2014

read-139362_640I tweeted the links to well over 60 interesting articles and resources in August, and having done my monthly review of all those I  shared, here are my recommendations of 7 articles to read (with some quoted passages as tasters) and 2 videos to watch from last month’s selection.

1 – In How the Web Became Our ‘External Brain,’ and What It Means for Our Kids, Michael Harris reviews some of the studies that show how the Web is not only changing our lives, but is also changing our brains. (6 August)

“In 2012, Elon University worked with the Pew Internet and American Life Project to release a report that compiled the opinions of 1,021 critics, experts, and stakeholders, asking for their thoughts on digital natives. Their boiled-down message was that young people now count on the internet as “their external brain” and have become skillful decision makers—even while they also “thirst for instant gratification and often make quick, shallow choices.”

2 – I am not a big fan of gamification, and I think Derek Irvine puts the case very clearly why it is not a good idea in the workplace, in We Need Praise, Not Games (6 August).

“[Gamification] can poison a recognition program since it introduces an artificial element into something that needs to be organic and inspired. This skews the recognition data as well, as employees are being rewarded for behaviors other than just great work performance.”

3 – In How To Connect With Our Audience (or Customers) (13 August) Helen Blundon talked about her recent visit to the the theatre and how through one simple tweet, she connected to one of the actors on the stage. The actor …

“Lara was an advocate for her show, her audience, her production and her craft.”

Helen concludes ..

“The arts have something to teach organisations in this space of using the social medium to promote their program to the audience. In fact, I would say they are leading the way.”

4 – In Learning in the Collaboration Age, Charles Jennings reiterates the need for a new approaches to learning. (13 August)

“The Collaborative Age requires collaborative mindsets to drive collaborative learning. We can’t simply redesign content-rich courses and curricula and hope that changes will occur. We need new thinking, new approaches, and new strategies if we’re to fully exploit the potential.”

5 – Beyond Institutions Personal Learning in a Networked World is a transcript of Stephen Downes’ talk to the London School of Economis looks at how personal learning is changing and how institutions are not keeping up. (24 August)

“The right model is to do away with the models. Think of non-standard-based systems. Think of non-standard designs. Think of courses where there are no defined learning objectives. Think of a learning environment where there is no common core of content. Think of a conversation where you and I have not first established a shared understanding of the meaning of all of the terms.”

6 – In Employers Aren’t Just Whining: The “Skills Gap” Is Real, Tyler Durden looks at the issues causing the skill gap.  He summarises as follows. (29 August)

Employers using new technologies need to base hiring decisions not just on education, but also on the non-cognitive skills that allow some people to excel at learning on the job; they need to design pay structures to retain workers who do learn, yet not to encumber employee mobility and knowledge sharing, which are often key to informal learning; and they need to design business models that enable workers to learn effectively on the job (see this example).

7 – And finally, Nick Shackleton Jones bursts The Online Education Bubble (28 August)

“So the problem with education is not its value, it is its worth. As I have remarked before, a MOOC is a bit like persuading people to believe in God by putting church online. The problem is not really that people are struggling to get to church, the problem is that just don’t believe anymore.”

And now the two videos:

Personal Learning Networks – Jointly produced by IRISS and NHS Education for Scotland, this video animation explains how Kristina, a mental health practitioner, learns how to use social media to create a personal learning network.

3 simple Steps to Create a Habit of Working Out Loud – Simon Terry has produced this one-minute video to help you put working out loud into practice.

So what was the theme for this month’s selection? Yes, change, again of course!

My own posts in August

Here’s a reminder of my own posts in August

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