Three steps to improving your tech literacy — from by Justin Marquis


For anyone who lacks confidence using today’s advanced information and communication technology, overcoming the fear of failure and the unknowns of the digital world can be a daunting task. I regularly teach introductory technology classes to adults returning to college to get a degree or enhance their career options with a new credential, and this fear of technology is the biggest obstacle that these individuals face in learning to use computers in ways that will make them more productive and more attractive candidates for employment.

Fortunately there are no obstacles to learning about technology that can’t be overcome with a positive attitude and some perseverance. Here are three steps that you can take to improve your tech literacy and become more confident using computers.

From DSC:
High-stakes testing: Is it removing the enjoyment ot teaching….and learning?
I reflected on that question after I saw the item below:



Opt-Out Movement Gains Steam -- Harvard Education Letter - Sep/Oct 2012


From DSC:
I wonder:

  • How such high-stakes assessment systems are impacting incentive systems and funding? Are they changing the field of teaching?
  • How much standardized testing — and having to teach to such tests — is impacting teachers’ enjoyment of their careers?
  • How much standardized testing is impacting learners’ enjoyment of their educational experiences?  If it’s killing the love of learning, I say we significantly lessen the importance that we place upon such standardized tests.  One of the key deliverables that I think we need to strive for right now in education is that people enjoy learning and appreciate it — because the reality in today’s workplace is that they’ll need to be doing it for the rest of their lives:

Mind the (Skills) Gap –– from HBR by William D. Eggers, John Hagel and Owen Sanderson


A bachelor’s degree used to provide enough basic training to last a career. Yet today, the skills college graduates acquire during college have an expected shelf life of only five years according to extensive work we’ve done in conjunction with Deloitte’s Shift Index. The key takeaway? The lessons learned in school can become outdated long before student loans are paid off.

And it’s not only white-collar, college-driven careers that will suffer rapid skills obsolescence. Think of how new metering systems and motion sensors suddenly require highly technical skills from contractors, plumbers and electricians. Or how welders working on wind turbines now need specialized degrees and the ability to read CAD blueprints or LEED certification requirements.




Higher education used to be on deck, but is now at bat. [Christian]


From DSC:
My way of thinking about what’s happening to higher education these days borrows from the sport of baseball:  Higher education used to be on deck; but now, we’re at bat.

I’ve watched as the former power brokers throughout many other industries reluctantly got out of the dugout, nervously began their warm up on deck, and then timidly moved up to bat as well. They were trying to cling to the status quo. Which didn’t work.  We’ve all seen the results.  There are new power brokers in those industries now.  (Which is I why I assert that there is danger in the status quo — our organizations need to always be at the work of reinventing ourselves.)

If I had to pick the top 2 forces driving change throughout the higher education landscape, I would have to say the cost of obtaining a degree and technology-enabled innovation.

Control is an illusion; people will find a way.


The items below reinforced my perspectives when I saw them this morning.  They inspired me to create the above graphic, something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time now.


Our thesis with xEducation is that the internet is happening to higher education and that successful universities of the future will be those that find ways to generate value for its many stakeholders that go beyond content provision and teaching. What exactly that value proposition is remains unclear. On the one hand, content and (recorded) lectures can easily be shared with limited costs. The internet scales content exceptionally well. The human, social, processes of learning don’t scale. Research doesn’t scale (yet). Regional and national economic value generation doesn’t scale. In these spaces where scalability does not work well, universities will likely find their new roles in society. Over the next six months, we’ll explore and test this thesis and place the discussion of higher education reform on a firmer foundation than the latest tool and popular hype.


From DSC:
Some reflections on on David Warlick’s solid posting,
I never needed to know that. First, some excerpts (emphasis DSC):

But the fact is that one reason we, as educators, do not readily recognize this compelling truth and try to make sense of its profound implications is that we can not predict what our children will need to know and not need to know.  It would be nothing more than speculation.

So again, “What do our children need to be learning today?

Several ideas spring to my mind as I try to unfold this.

  1. Our children need to learn something.
  2. What they need to learn is no longer as important as it use to be.
  3. Increasing the stakes on what they learn does little more than punish our children for our own arrogance.
  4. If what they learn today may not be useful to them tomorrow, then how will they continue to learn what is?
  5. How they learn has become much more important.
  6. Perhaps the most important thing we can help our children learn, is how to teach themselves.

I think David’s comments are right on. How students learn — and I would add enjoying learning — are very important. If I don’t like to learn, or if school is a painful experience, I will be at a huge disadvantage in life these days. Lifelong learning is now a requirement for most of us, if we want to stay marketable/employed. But if I don’t like to learn, this is going to be an uphill battle for me.

So when I approach the Common Core, or standardized tests, or questions concerning curriculum, etc….I am looking through the lenses that constantly ask the questions:

  • Will this help develop a passion for learning?
  • Does this allow students to pursue their passions?


Your future TV is not about Tele-Vision [Eaton]

Your future TV is not about Tele-Vision — from by Kit Eaton

Excerpt (emphasis below from DSC; also see the above categories to see how I see this as a highly-relevant component to our future learning ecosystems):

Then imagine what a hybrid of Apple’s tech and efforts like GetGlue, Shazam, and other interactive systems will be like when they’re more integrated into your 2017 smart TV. The big screen in your living room won’t be a one-way window into another world you can’t touch anymore. It’ll be a discovery engine, a way to learn facts, interact with the world, talk to people, find new and surprising content to absorb. Advertisers will love it, and companies like Nielsen–which largely has to guess all those stats about who watches which show at primetime nowadays–will be able to get accurate data…which may mean more appealing shows.



The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV



Also see:

Learning in a Digital Age - JISC - 2012



Contents of Learning in a Digital Age -- from JISC in 2012



Student debt hits the middle-aged – from the NYT by Josh Mitchell


Student debt is rising sharply among all age groups, but middle-aged Americans appear to be struggling the most with payments, according to new data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The delinquency rate—or the percentage of debt on which no payment has been made for 90 days—was 11.9% for debt held by borrowers aged 40 to 49 as of March. That compares with a rate of 8.7% for borrowers of all ages.


Student debt hits the middle-aged

The first principle of blended learning — from by Heather Clayton Staker


As I talk to people who want to blend online learning into students’ curriculum, the most frequent question I get is what online content is best? I respect that question, and others that sound really good too, like what does a student-centric classroom look like? Or what should be the teacher’s role?

But I am convinced that the infinitely most important question to ask first is what will motivate students to love this? My observation is that once a student’s heart is in it, the learning happens naturally, elegantly, and quickly. Imagine a classroom filled with students who want to be there, are focused, engaged, even clamoring to learn. But getting students into that righteous flow*, where they learn something because they genuinely love learning it—that’s where 90 percent of the battle is won or lost.

From DSC:
I think Heather & Co. are onto something here. One of the most important bottom lines and gifts that we can give our young people is a love for learning. 

I ask myself, if  and when students graduate from high school, what are their views on learning? Do they love it?  Are they looking forward to continuing a journey of lifelong learning? Are they prepared for being employed on a constant basis in a world of constant change?

How much more could lifelong learning be served if students developed a love of learning. Then, like Heather mentioned, “…once a student’s heart is in it, the learning happens naturally, elegantly, and quickly.”

Borrowing from a sports-related analogy…it’s like in tennis; don’t worry about the score. Play the point, mentally be in the point/moment and enjoy what you’re doing. Then the score will take care of itself. But if you are so focused on the score, you probably won’t enjoy what you’re doing and the score, most likely, will not take care of itself.


From DSC:
I recently wrote a piece for — a site focused on LifeLong Learning:



Some linked up resources along these lines:

  • RSS feeds
    (understand RSS feeds; obtain a feed aggregator such as Google Reader; subscribe to the relevant blogs and websites in one’s discipline; create your own blog, using WordPress for example; post your own relevant items on it, while not forgetting to point people towards your own RSS feed!)
  • Twitter
    (get an account; identify knowledgeable people; follow them on twitter; post your own items on twitter)
  • See if there are some Yammer-based communities of practice in your enterprise or in your desired discipline (there are other social networking/learning applications as well)
  • LinkedIn
    Join groups that line up with your industry, your profession and your professional aspirations, engage in discussions on best practice and use your groups and connections as a network of colleagues.
  • Facebook
    “Like” institutions or organizations that are relevant to your area of interest and reach out to individuals within your field.
  • Community bookmarking tools such as Delicious or diigo
  • Ways to discover content on the web such as StumbleUpon or Digg

Automated grading software in development to score essays as accurately as humans — from by David J. Hill

See the iphone – Diorama piece at

Beam me up Scotty: Life-size hologram-like telepods revolutionize videoconferencing — from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University

Disney Research invents amazing new touch sensing tech — from

A smart city


When we think of computer networks, we think of routers and servers and fiber optic cables and laptops and smartphones — we think of the internet. In actuality, though, the visible internet is just the tip of the iceberg. There are secret military networks, and ad hoc wireless networks, and utility companies have sprawling, cellular networks the track


30 specialist (and super smart) search engines — from by Adam Vincenzini

The home 3-D printer is more real than ever–and costs as much as an iPad — from by Kit Eaton

A ride on MIT Media Lab’s digital bandwagon — from by Martin LaMonica
Digital technologies are reaching deeper into the physical world, opening up new ways for people to interact with their surroundings, say researchers at MIT’s Media Lab.



The potential of cloud-based education marketplaces — from (LifeLong Learning) by Daniel Christian; PDF-based version here


Such organizations are being impacted by a variety of emerging technologies and trends – two of which I want to highlight here are:

  • Online-based marketplaces – as hosted on “the cloud”
  • The convergence of the television, telephone, and the computer

One of the powerful things that the Internet provides is online-based marketplaces. Such exchanges connect buyers with sellers and vice versa. You see this occurring with offerings like Craig’s List, e-Bay,, and others.


From DSC:

  • Tie this type of cloud-based platform in with learning analytics, new types of certifications/assessments/badges, web-based learner profiles, and the ability to continue building your own cloud over a lifetime, and you may find yourself enjoying a very powerful learning ecosystem!!!



10 findings that will shape students today for the workforce tomorrow — from by Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti


“Tomorrow’s Evolving Workplace” is from the upcoming book Society 3.0: How Technology Is Reshaping Education, Work, and Society, by Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti (Lang, January 2012). 

In the worst economy since the Great Depression, Californians are struggling to earn a living, get an education, and raise a family.  How will we adapt to learn, work, and connect in the future? A new book with findings from Apollo Research Institute describes how businesses and workers will compete for jobs and opportunities in a global, technology-driven marketplace.

Below are just some of the findings…


No more business as usual — from by Jay Cross

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Business is changing, and the learning function must change along with it.

Learning is no longer optional
Continuous improvement and delighting customers require a culture of pervasive learning. We’re not talking classes and workshops here. Creating a new order of business requires learning ecologies — what we’ve been calling Workscapes — that make it simple and enjoyable for people to learn what they need to get the job done. Companies that fail to learn will wither and die.

As all business becomes social business, L&D professionals face a momentous choice. They can remain Chief Training Officers and instructors who get novices up to speed, deliver events required by compliance, and run in-house schools. These folks will be increasingly out of step with the times.

Or they can become business leaders who shape learning cultures, social networks, collaborative practices, information flows, federated content management, just-in-time performance support, customer feedback mechanisms, and structures for continuous improvement.



The Evolving Digital Ecosystem - from Moxie's Trends for 2012

  • The Always On Web
  • Web of Things
  • Big Data
  • Next Gen Search
  • Mobile Sharing
  • Mobile Social Activism
  • Impulse Commerce
  • Brands As Partners
  • The New Living Room  <– From DSC: This is one of those key areas that I’m trying to keep a pulse check on for re: our learning ecosystems of the future 
  • Personal Data Security


Also see:


© 2021 | Daniel Christian