Igniting potential in families, learning, and creativity with technology


While chatting with a much more senior colleague in HR about past education, I became very interested in the book he had written for his PhD entitled “Organization Development: A Practitioner’s Tool Kit.” I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to find Action Research listed among the theories and practices from which organization development emerged. The description of Action Research is vague but does include keywords like collaborative, problem identification, feedback, positive action, and on-going. My thoughts turned to my efforts to weave action research into my own practice and felt that my progress and maturity in this process would be the greatest contribution to my organization and my own career. To systematically improve my practice, informed by the sincere efforts of others, and gather evidence of change in the environment carries not only great insight and value but also personal satisfaction.


Listen Conditions

My time with the cadre in Florida was structured but not contrived. I recognize the implicit trust placed in each individual as responsible for his or her own learning as evidenced by the more free form agenda and little if any imposed expectations. Conversation carried a majority of the learning. In conversation each had the opportunity and, potentially because of the relationships we have built, the mutual obligation to truly listen to one another. The environment was more relaxed and comfortable than the initial apprehensions and intensity of cadre camp.

I have always considered role playing a powerful way of learning. Reflection coupled with role playing was a very meaningful, engaging and fun experience.

I felt that I dialed in to one of the major desires of the program which is to facilitate caring relationships that foster trust, sharing and learning. One’s practice is something close to the heart and to allow others to examine and offer suggestions is a challenge. Values and identity are at the core of the MALT program for which I am grateful. A majority of the time was spent building bonds with one another. It is my opinion that people naturally are drawn to one another and desire a sense of connection and belonging and that there is no need to try and force that process to happen. The environment was ideal for the relationships to be strengthened and solidified. I did notice however that there are opportunities to intervene when people are comfortable where they are and are not inclined to stay curious enough to swallow a healthy amount of risk and make more connections.


As of late many have become proactive in the open social space that is Yammer to voice their opinion and distaste for the changes that have recently come to the corporate intranet. I was troubled by the seemingly hostile approach some were taking with the giving of their feedback. My concerns were quickly calmed by the considerate and conscientious replies that came from the community. For many this is the first time feedback has been so public and prominent. The adjustments needed to incorporate this feedback will slowly make their way into processes and projects. Undoubtedly there will be some growing pains. I found it reassuring to see others desiring a collaborative and improvement focused environment. This was evident in the way in which they handled the hot issues.

There have also been some discussions of the value of the water cooler talk on Yammer. I plan to understand further these sentiments by polling the network and seeking out the motivation for investing time with the tool.

The design of personal mobile technologies for lifelong learning

Mike Sharples

After establishing learning theories and extrapolating the criteria necessary to support lifelong learning, Sharples observes that technology innovation is rapidly converging on these requirements. The article proposes that conversation is the basis of learning and that technology could potentially either assume the role of one of the actors in the dialogue or it may merely facilitate the conversation. For example, technology may adapt to a learner’s unique style or context by filtering and curating all the available information on a given topic or problem or technology may simply provide a virtual space in which the conversation is conducted.

This article interested me for a variety of reasons the most compelling being the view held that learning happens in conversation. Our design project seeks to continue the conversation by way of pairing young readers with more seasoned adults around the synchronous reading of an online book via a video chat. The technology in this instance serves as a conversation facilitator with rich media and real-time personal nuances.



Optimal Capacity Building: Integrating Brain-Based Learning and Educational Research into Technology-Supported Learning

In searching for a way to facilitate optimal capacity building, this article synthesizes many learning theories. Two salient ideas combine to give focus to the research. The first is Block’s finding around the superior learning one to one human tutoring holds for individuals. The second is Vygotsky’s proposition that scaffolding can assist in approaching the zone of proximal development. The ubiquity of emerging technology is the impetus for many of the statements made in this article. With ubiquity comes the opportunity to use technology as a medium to enhance the entire learning process and not just a single aspect of learning. Technology will assess, augment, adjust, and optimise educational environments to achieve optimal capacity building which is a physical change in the brain.

The brain has always fascinated me and is a main reason for my selection of this article. I find the holistic approach to education and learning very appealing and intriguing. The possibilities of ubiquitous computing seem so limitless it is almost difficult to dream up what what will happen.



I have noticed that motives for participating in a community matter and determine overall attitude, perception, and contribution. Two salient motives underscore this observation. One motive is to RECEIVE from the community that which will benefit them. The potential for them to benefit from the community is their primary purpose. Contributions are made in hopes that the kind gesture will be reciprocated. Focus seems to be squarely placed on the personal increase or improvement. The other motive is to GIVE to the community. The community and the interweaved relationships it represents is paramount in this motive. Less concern is given to personal benefit while acknowledging that as all are improved the personal portion follows.

I am fond of saying “we all need each other.” No true improvement is achieved in isolation. It is in the delicate and intricate ways in which we relate to one another that growth occurs, improvements are made, and true benefit derived. I wonder whether we truly realize how much we influence one another for good or ill. Where do we find purpose to guide the use of our influence?

Eyes to See

With a more ample attitude toward seeing the needs of others, I have been intrigued by the circumstances surrounding the sharing of fairly personal sentiments.

I had a conversation with a colleague regarding his need for more honest and complete feedback from his boss in the design work he performs. Committed to understanding te situation more clearly I asked what he believed the difference was between this who shared openly their feedback with him and those that appeared to be more reserved. He noted trust or the lack thereof as a main component of that equation. We walked through additional scenarios and questions until he felt like he knew what actions might foster greater trust in the relationship that lacked the feedback he so very much needed.

In my search for the ideal conditions which lead to engagement and participation on Yammer, I have noticed that the more open and sincere sharing invites complimentary information and lively commentary. I have yet to grasp the reasons that motivate these reciprocal responses but believe that trust, safety, openness all lend momentum to our desires to share. Many have looked to me recently for leadership in gathering a group of likeminded individuals together for casual conversation over lunch on a weekly basis. I feel that they are very eager to be together and participate. The norm is to eat lunch alone at your desk. I have noticed though that the much needed meandering in conversation is quelled when one attempts to organize, structure and connect concepts.

The team here has heard my constant petition to add a more social and community approach to the challenges of building innovation and excellence in leadership at all levels of the organization. It is my opinion that the tools available to us today afford each individual the opportunity to have their voice heard and collaborate like never before. When thinking of the medium for most of our interactions text is too often the default. I feel that the more rich the media the greater we will know one another and create greater bonds of trust and reciprocity. When we loose sight of who each of us is we obfuscate an incredible individual full of infinite potential.

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