Sunday, March 11, 2012

SXSW Connected Company

So this is the reason why this educator goes to a conference that is not directed toward education. The conversations taking place in so many different sessions and keynotes offer real parallels in the education circle. We have similar battles. We use similar language. We have similar successes. I am learning new language and theories based in corporate society but these themes are similar to issues we face in education. The reason I am here at this conference is to engage in direct conversations with people who are envisioning change, progress, shift, and passion back into the workplace no matter what that workplace is. The session I attended this morning on The Connected Company was really interesting. The Storify is below with my notes after. I found the idea of the Community Manager key to success in change. I believe in edtech, we call these staff members the "cheerleaders" or "tech evangelists" who try new things and then share their successes with others. This session focused on building the community in an organization to allow those in it to feel more connected. As companies (and schools) begin to shift and change, there has to be a system in place to support the PEOPLE as they go through change. A discussion of the panel asked if this should be the HR department's job? The answer made it sound like the role should be based on each company and what their needs are. Megan Murray (@MeganMurray) is the Director of Collaboration Strategy at Moxie Software and she noted that the Community Manager is a mix of ADD, Human Psychology, Social network, support system, nurse, and trampoline. These could be managers, secretaries, or any staff because it is more based on their value to the network. After the session, I shared with Megan Murray (@MeganMurray), how we found our Community Managers in our district. I hosted an event last year called Techpalooza which was a type of Gamestorm called Unconference. The event looks completely unscheduled and unplanned. I ask the audience what they want to learn first and we list them for all to see. Then I ask the audience who will teach on each topic. As people sign up to teach, the shift occurs from which one person (namely me) is the focus of training to a shared community of trainers who are in the crowd and more local to the people who are there to learn. I see many districts implementing great change with 1:1 and BYOD initiatives while also undergoing STAAR assessments and other major changes. Where are our Community Managers? How do we find support them? Bonus Points to @davegray for providing early morning mimosas for the audience as well as a great simple slide presentation using his own drawings: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davegray/sets/72157626546771488/ This presentation isn't the one he showed to the group but the ideas are similar in the notes.

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