cooperation, measurement, security and more

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

@hrheingold: “Don’t refuse to believe; refuse to start out believing.” #crapdetection

@nielspflaeging: “Any tool involving points and badges is superfluous, even systematically destructive in an organizational context.”

@kjeannette: What is a Community of Practice? 6 lessons:

1) Narrow down the domain and purpose (i.e. make it attainable)
2) Hire a community facilitator, or even better, a social artist?
3)Reduce bottlenecks and start with ‘low hanging fruit’ type of platforms.
4) Modeling how to be social is critical.
5) Learning might lead to collaborative works.
6)CoPs grow like gardens and that’s why developmental evaluation is becoming really interesting to me.

Why I Am No Longer a Measurement Specialist – via @surreallyno

Teachers and many parents understand that children’s development is far too complex to capture with an hour or two taking a standardized test. So resistance has been met with legislated mandates. The test company lobbyists convince politicians that grading teachers and schools is as easy as grading cuts of meat. A huge publishing company from the UK has spent $8 million in the past decade lobbying Congress. Politicians believe that testing must be the cornerstone of any education policy.

The most important app you will ever download – via @tantramar [I agree, I use 1Password]

In June of this year, [Chalene’s Johnson’s] Twitter account was hacked, as was her main Instagram account. She shared this sad tale on her podcasts … Upon completing the tedious and time-consuming task of recovering from the hack, Chalene researched password managers to ensure she’d never have to endure such an experience again. At the end of her quest to find the best password manager, Chalene discovered 1Password!

Job Polarisation In Europe: Are Mid-Skilled Jobs Disappearing? – via @mbauwens

The implication for policy is that there is no inescapable trend in occupational developments. The pervasive forces of technical change or international trade do not necessarily polarise or upgrade occupational structures: different policies and contexts can significantly alter their effect. And as in many other areas, the Scandinavian countries provide the most attractive example.

Cooperation is what makes us human – via @RogerFrancis1

Ultimately, Tomasello’s research on human nature arrives at a paradox: our minds are the product of competitive intelligence and cooperative wisdom, our behavior a blend of brotherly love and hostility toward out-groups. Confronted by this paradox, the ugly side—the fact that humans compete, fight, and kill each other in wars—dismays most people, Tomasello says. And he agrees that our tendency to distrust outsiders—lending itself to prejudice, violence, and hate—should not be discounted or underestimated. But he says he is optimistic. In the end, what stands out more is our exceptional capacity for generosity and mutual trust, those moments in which we act like no species that has ever come before us.

@samihonkonen: An organization Fit for its Context

The proper way to conduct ourselves in the complex domain is through experiments. Constant, short, safe-to-fail experiments that give us empirical data on what works. Successful experiments are scaled up, unsuccessful ones we learn from and then forget.

Yet blind experiments, random shots in the dark, are not effective. We need something to guide our experiments. When we understand our business and our organizations as a system, we can make educated guesses on what would lead towards better performance for the whole company. Systems thinking helps us find leverage.

Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools


It’s time once again to contribute to Jane Hart’s annual survey of tools for learning. I was the first person to take part in this project some nine years ago and now it’s an annual ritual. It’s enlightening to review what’s best in the toolbox.

My top tools for learning are:

  • Experience. Extracting the lessons of simply living my life.
  • Friends. My colleagues in Internet Time Alliance and colleagues.
  • Books. I have an extensive library and am in the midst of looking back through to refresh what I’ve learned from them.
  • Journals.  I buy a new black book at KaDeWe in Berlin every year to draw and write in.

These won’t be on my submission to Jane, because for purposes of the survey:

A learning tool is any software or online tool or service that you use either for your own personal or professional learning or for teaching or training.

      1. WordPress. My blog is where I reflect on things and share them with others. I’m still old-school on this, writing whatever I feel like. One reader complained, saying “I thought this was a blog about L&D.” Well, no, my blog covers whatever grabs my attention and that’s less and less about L&D.
      2. Twitter. I learn new things every day, following the links offered up by the 250 people I follow. I have 9,000 followers who provide feedback or answer my questions. (Jane has 26,000 followers.)
      3. Skype.  I like to see the person I’m talking with. Also, Skype’s great for talking with a group of people at once.
      4. Google. Many times I’ll be searching my own sites. I really enjoy using Google to search images. They are very useful when I’m trying to get different perspectives on a concept. If I need to remember who someone in a photograph is, Google will tell me about 80% of the time.
      5. YouTube. I tap YouTube for entertainment and publishing videos. YouTube also showed me what we wrong with my fridge and taught me how to create 300 dpi imagery with Photoshop,
      6. Flickr. Flickr enables me to enjoy memories of times past. Since 2001, I’ve posted 32,000 photographs.  I’ll admit to revisiting Monterey Car Week half a dozen times.20018082444_08f995c1e3_z
      7. I curate five topics on (example). You really learn something when you share it with someone else. As master curator Robin Good suggests, you need to give your opinion to add value. It keeps you on your toes. Plus, searching for fresh content puts you in touch with the latest news.
      8. Diigo. Bookmarks are my external memory. In the course of researching two books, I’ve created nearly 3,000 bookmarks. (Here are the current bookmarks related to my book on DIY learning.) A side benefit is the ability to share your bookmarks with other.
      9. SurveyShare. I take surveys to find out where groups are at. One is currently collecting feedback from people who read my new book.
      10. The cloud. I store all my files online, in Dropbox, Google Docs, and iCloud. Since I work on three or four different computers, it’s great to have all my stuff available no matter where I’m signing in from.

Honorable mention:

VLC. This little freeware tool plays just about any video format you can throw at it.

iMovie. As movie editors go, this one’s simple as can be. It has its limitations, especially if you want to edit multiple tracks, but the output is excellent and it’s free on Macs.

PowerPoint. I’m not your conventional, bullet-pointed presenters. I use PPT for making simple diagram, for storing visuals, and keeping up with visual models. Every year I start a new PPT of general graphics.

neuronsPowerPoint image for Aha! book