Here I wrote about Controlling our Attention and today I wanted to continue thinking about this topic. I have another post in the making but having trouble with getting my thoughts together that should precede this post. But as you read you will see I have two-blog post here and probably should refocus my writing. Once again, want to celebrate the draftiness of this post in a public space and celebrate I am still learning. Is that what really matters? Somewhere I saw this quote over the last few days: “Writing is my visible thinking.”
Cathy Davidson in her book Now You See It states that we need to put emphasis building out institution structures to support forms of collaboration. We need training on participation and productive activity that is necessary for collaborating with others for the success of the whole. Amazon has opened a plant in my home state of South Carolina and this article Amazon plant could be model for innovation appeared in this past Sunday’s edition of the Sun News in Myrtle Beach. Workers are told that innovation is a part of their job! Wow! How long since in public education since a teacher has been told that innovation is a part of our job! I am not sure I have ever been told to be innovative! That model of thinking might be difficult for employees of South Carolina where public school are struggling to produce creative and innovative learners! (Not just a SC problem, but a nation wide problem)
If we want to produce this type of innovators for a work force, we must start working right now! Cathy Davidson tells the story about Chuck Hamilton (IBM executive) and IBM This story is worth sharing here to get an understanding of how we might to begin to get at the heart of innovation from a school leadership perspective. This story is about their multi-person conversational culture. It is a process of deemphasizing typical hierarchical meeting which we are all so comfortable. They make this change with the use of technology!
“Let’s say 15 people are on a conference call among Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Rio, and Beijing. Everyone chats using SameTime, IBM’s internal synchrounous chat tool, and has a text window open during the conversation. Anyone can be typing a comment or a question (back chatting) while any other two people are speaking. Participants are both listening to the main conversation between whichever two people happen to be talking while also reading the comments, questions, and answers that any participant of the other participant might be texting. The conversation continues in response to both the talk and the text.” (Davidson, pg. 193)
At first everyone found this to be distracting and now members of the team report when they are in a conference call with out chat features, they find their attention wondering. Through time team members have become proficient at backchanneling. Everyone’s ideas get exposed and expressed and heard. When two people are talking, a conversation continues, everyone gets to participate, offer ideas and responses, coming up with new twists that creates new ideas, solutions, or turn to a new direction without interrupting the flow. You can save all this information, the historical text and refer to them later.
My participation with Educon 2.0 was the first conference where I was exposed the backchanneling via twitter. I was amazed at the powerful conversations that take place, the new ideas, the clarifications, questioning, the responses, and the new twists and plus the relationships that have lasted.
You walk into to classrooms and you see kids carrying on back channel conversations. In faculty meetings there is always this issue. You see teachers and administrators texting during a workshop. Lot of it is due to holding and controlling one’s attention.
I have seen twitter work for back channeling! What if we encouraged these conversations! I wonder how much more productive we would be! Would we all be heard? Everyone would be expected to participate in the conversation! In the beginning it would be most uncomfortable as we learn to constantly shift our thinking between what is being spoken and the text coming across a twitter feed!
Davidson, Cathy, Now you see it, Viking, 2011