The family Rochester is heading north to Washington, D.C. for the Computers in Libraries conference this week. The boys will be seeing the sights, aka the Air and Space Museum, while I am mingling with book and tech nerds, aka librarians.
I will be making two official appearances:
Wednesday from 10:30-11:15, on Track F, I will be presenting Unleash the Power of Your People, a session on how to use unconference principles for training and other things. This will not be a sit back and sleep session, so come with lots of questions, ideas, and a willingness to share. If you know nothing about the unconference style or you are an old hand at it, you will learn something new. In a room full of intelligent people, passionate about people and libraries, how could you not leave inspired to change the world?
Wednesday evening, 5-5:45, I will be signing copies of Mob Rule Learning in the Exhibit Area. Drop by, grab a book, and come chat!
Other appearances are assured, probably with this guy, but do not hold that against me. I am easily befriended by either complementing me on my incredibly handsome, intelligent boys or buying me a drink.
–Jane, safe travels
I wrote an article for FUMSI called “An unconference approach can revitalise meetings and training.” FUMSI is an online resource for information professionals. The link above is only for the abstract. The full article is available for FUMSI subscribers only.
In the article I discuss some classic unconference facilitation styles, like fishbowl and knowledge cafe, and how they are best applied to business meetings and trainings.
–Jane, are you a fish in a bowl?
ALA has been working hard, as have the divisions, in the past couple of years to incorporate more unconference type things into the schedule at Annual and Midwinter. Up until this point, these things have been special events and, while there are a few, most of them are not recurring. It is time to start thinking of making these “special” things less extraordinary and instead making them “just the way we do awesome things around here”.
With that in mind, I am hosting a discussion at the Networking Uncommons at Midwinter on Sunday at 9am. During this time we will likely discuss the following:
- making current unconference offerings less special and more the way we do things
- ways to encourage speakers to leave behind traditional sage on the stage presentations
- planning sessions with different formats
- linking the virtual and physical conference for a more meaningful experience at both
- anything else you want to discuss within this topic
True to the topic at hand, the discussion format will be decided by the group on Sunday, depending on how many people show up and how we are feeling that day.
If you love the unexpected, if you long to revitalize the conference circuit at ALA, if you want a place to discuss new ideas, if you want to be a part of a meaningful discussion (instead of a passive listener), if you need some new ideas to take back to your group, if you are a dreamer, a wisher, a hoper, or a magic bean buyer, come join us for a conversation that can make a difference.
–Jane, with apologies to Shel Silverstein
And also in the news:
Mob Rule Learning is reviewed over at ForeWord.
These kinds of things make me do one of two things: make me think, “Hey, I wrote that!” or look behind me for that smart person being discussed; she sounds interesting.
–Jane, is occasionally interesting
I had a nice chat over the phone with Alexandra Rice from the Wired Campus at the Chronicle of Higher Education last week. She posted the interview today.
I really would like the discussion about how people are using the wisdom of the crowd in the classroom to be something that happens more often. A lot more often because I really do feel that this can revolutionize the way we approach the classroom.
–Jane, likes the unpredictable mob
Here are a couple resources that might be useful to you if you are new to the idea of the wisdom of the crowd or if you need a little inspiration for your own mob:
unconference.net – Though the blog on this site is not updated often and much of the information was posted long ago, there are a plethora of resources on unconferences here. There are explanations of unconferences, facilitation styles, how tos, and a discussion about Open Space Technology.
Open Space World – The original site on Open Space(OST). It is a must read for noobs.
Unconference LibGuide – This is a resource site put together by some librarians who have attended many unconferences. There are some great checklists for planning and some other resources.
Crowdsourcing in Higher Ed IT – This is a step by step guide from Educause on how to use mob rule to make campus and even multi-campus wide IT decisions.
25 Great Ways Colleges Are Using Crowdsourcing – A fabulous list to inspire your own ideas to improve your teaching or impact your community. Some of the ideas are only marginally related to Higher Ed, but they are still very interesting.
–Jane, what mob are you growing today?
This past weekend, I drove 5 hours Saturday and 5 hours back home Sunday with two small children to go to the wedding of a very good friend. The kids were great and it was worth the hassle to see my friend so happy. It reminded me that so many things in life are about friends, family, and the people you love.
Today, Mob Rule Learning is officially out. Like a debutante in a white dress, I am hoping it gets a lot of serious attention, but not just for its good looks. I think the book has some good things to say about some very exciting things going on in conferences and higher education.
Order the book or ebook today from Amazon or order the ebook from Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo, or ebooks.com.
A book is about people you love because without them, you would just be a crazy person with a crazy idea. A lot of people I admire and love got me to this place. Today, I want to especially thank librarians.
Librarians are awesome. They are learned and hard working individuals who are underpaid and overworked. They struggle in a system that often does not appreciate their efforts and they do it all For the Greater Good. Thank you for holding me to high standards and for dreaming your big dreams with me.
–Jane, loves being a librarian
Last week, a very nice UPS man delivered a box filled with copies of Mob Rule Learning into my very eager hands. I am going to share my wealth of books with you, wonderful readers. This is a win-it-before-you-can-buy-it contest and you and I know free stuff is awesome.
To win a signed paperback copy of Mob Rule Learning: camps, unconferences, and trashing the talking head, you only have to do one thing:
Leave a comment on this post and answer this question: If you could plan and attend an unconference on any topic, what would it be?
I will choose, at random, three winners. This contest will run until noon Central time on Friday, September 30, 2011.
–Jane, loves free stuff
AIDS researchers have spent ten years trying to map a protein enzyme of the AIDS virus. A complete view of the protein will give researchers a window into how the virus works and thus enable them to create better, more effective drugs. A group from the University of Washington turned the problem into a competitive game and handed it over to gamers.
The gamers solved the puzzle and mapped the protein in three short weeks. (link is a pdf of the article) A program called Foldit was used to turn the problem into a game. Seth Cooper, co-creator of Foldit, was quoted saying:
People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at. Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week’s paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before.
There are two things that I find interesting about this discovery. One, that humans brains succeeded where computer modeling failed. Two, that a group of gamers spent three weeks solving something ten years of toil by traditional methods could not untangle. Computer modeling is very useful and important, but sometimes we forget that humans are very smart and capable of more than we know. We also forget that sometimes a different approach and a different viewpoint are all we need to find our way out of the woods. That and a mob of dedicated people working to solve the problem with us.
–Jane, prefers first person RPGs
There are many ways that the mob can change their organizations and communities. I stopped at Sonic a couple of weeks ago and saw that my cherry limeade had an advertisement for a charity drive that Sonic is conducting this month called Limeades For Learning.
For a third year, Sonic is helping teachers and schools raise money for materials and projects with the help of the public. According to the website, there are three ways to participate:
Anyone with a valid email address can go online and vote for their favorite teacher’s project once per day.
Get two extra votes with any SONIC purchase. Vote codes are provided on the bag sticker.
Vote online 10 times and get two extra votes. Vote codes will be sent via email.
Projects with the most votes will get sponsored by Sonic. Individuals are also encouraged to give money to projects they like. You do not have to purchase items from Sonic to participate which I think is fabulous.
Sonic is working with an ongoing charity called DonorsChoose.org which uses the concept of mob funded charities to help teachers and schools year-round. Using the power of the mob to fund the future of our schools and the future of our kids is a great idea. Using this method of charitable giving means that people can be connected with the needs of others, no matter where they live, to make a difference in a community that needs the help.
–Jane, it is a feel good mob rule kind of day