Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Under the Weather

Rule # 1: Don't post messages on Facebook to the like of how it's been ages since you've been sick.

Managed to get myself a sinus/respiratory infection/flu... thing... over the last week. Rather than getting better over the course of the week though I've steadily got worse. Currently I'm just about unable to speak. This may please some co-workers (kidding, I think)... but I can tell you it's no fun at all. Sore throat, fever... blah.

The bad news though is that I'm missing a unique day at school. The schedule has us closing out 1st semester classes in the first half of the day and opening up the second semester in the second half. Interesting idea. The chance to meet with folks after exams is a great idea... something not readily practiced in education.

So... to all my first semester e-design and RLab students, my thanks for your work. My sincere hope is that you learned to see more threads in the world, more opportunities and more things to keep a careful eye on. Drop in and say hi anytime.

To all those folks coming into new semester classes: The courses you are enrolled in change all the time. Your predecessors in the first semester provided valuable feedback that will help shape the course of your journey here this second semester... and possibly many more days in your future.

Here's a quote I like:

"All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger, but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer. - Niccolo Machiavelli

I'll stick with sloth today though...

Back to bed!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Decade Ahead

There's no end of avenues to write about that happened over the last ten years. World events, nature, the economy, education... It'd be a long entry. So, I decided to try and summarize it all... succinctly... and here's what I came up with:


That about sums it up I think.

There are tons of summaries anyway out there already.

What's ahead in the next decade? Thats where my thoughts usually land. Here's a few thoughts on the technology front:

We're entering a new era of visual data summaries and search on the web, an era where we won't just talk about data being king... it will be. Searching the 'real-time web,' seeing trends develop as they happen is on the front burner of every major search engine, and hoards of businesses.

Social networking will continue to expand exponentially. Smart phones, laptops, netbooks, tablets and e-paper... the affordability of these tools will bring billions of users and volumes of information into the web. These tools will also continue to bring incredible opportunities for folks to learn and enrich their lives. It will be increasingly easy to use but it will take refined skills to take advantage of it all. There will be new social challenges with this development too. Discussions have evolved from the dangers of reading newspapers to texting while driving. It's no different from every era in education... another 'new' era in information, education and connectivity. It's my hope that "The Tipping Point,' a phenomenon summarized by Malcom Gladwell, will at last hit education in the main regarding technology. We're close I think. 'Out of sight, out of mind' won't get us anywhere we need to be. We'll gain far more ground by focusing on building skills rather than business as usual. Shifting to smart boards is not the answer. The tools themselves are not the answer... but we've started down a path to meet these challenges, to engage these discussions... a start toward increasing skills and building fluency. It takes access. Getting folks involved is the key.

How will education shift in this next decade? We'll see. Hopefully online courses, alternative schedules, internship opportunities, revised school lunch programs and the inclusion of technology will offer great potential for education. There are some encouraging developments out there. The Virtual Florida program (and this one too... there are two) and the Science and Leadership Academy in Philadelphia are two innovators that come to mind.

The Human Genome Project will continue lead to new advancements in medicine in both proactive and reactive care. The advancements will push on research around the expansion of regenerative medicine, organ replacement and extension of the human life span (see The Methuselah Project). Were in for some incredible debates in the coming decades.

Discussions on conserving energy, alternative fuels, propulsion, new materials like Aerogel... we're headed for some interesting times. $4 a gallon for gas two summers ago while oil companies made record profits... still doesn't sit well with me. Solar energy, wind power, alternative fuels, short range autos and cycles... inspiring design and new innovation is on the horizon.

I can't help but wonder what 'phones' will look like 10 years from now. Skype, Grand Central/Google Voice, the Blackberry, iPhone... they've all changed the face of how... we stepped into the mobile access era. Something more than just a phone. Will conventional household phones exist 10 years from now? I'm guessing no.

There's far more to write about but we'll get onto that later this year.

What were we doing 10 years ago? Giving a look at what's available today will help. What will we be discussing 10 years from now? Students entering 1st grade will be halfway through their high school career 10 years from now. What will their education look like? What will the collegiate realm look like? Global / online commerce and business? What tools will be in folks hands? What will we be driving? Stay tuned.

On a personal front... what a trip it's been. I've had the fortune to work with some great folks along the way and we've done a good share of innovating and development. The thought of building on that work...

Let's get to it.