So I started this google doc..

This post was last updated on April 9th, 2020 at 08:44 pm

That’s a joke that many of us who know Alec Couros use to describe a number of experiences he shares as part of being a network learner and crowd sourcing.

That become the intro to this video I put together along with the help of about 75 others.

The Learning Stuff

These 75 people contributed about 5-60 seconds of video. While I know that it may have been a little more time the idea that cumulative of all this content could be pieced together for something of value and meaning is non-trivial.

I wonder if the more difficult the question the greater the strength and/or structure of the organizing principle required to make the results intelligible/useful? Meredith Stewart

in this case, Alec is a compelling personality that has made huge contributions to many. I could have easily found another 75 people and likely could have made 10 videos given his network. But we can certainly come up with compelling ideas that would benefit greatly from the contributions of others. This is why having and building a network, while not easy and magic, offers new possibilities for learning and … Read the rest

What’s your 3rd Favourite Colour?

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:15 pm

"Dad, what's your 3rd favourite colour?" 

My youngest daughter is known for asking these types of questions. She has actually asked that one but usually the questions are more about a favourite part of a movie, what's your favourite vacation spot, etc. That's pretty typical for kids and even adults. We love to order and rank things. I have many favourites. But when does it go too far? Are these lists of favourites personal or is their value in crowd sourcing our favourites?

I think there is a place for ranking. But not for everything. 

Trip Advisor is a great example of crowd sourcing and rating. It may not be definitive but provides a useful beginning in making a financial investment. Digg and Youtube are fine examples of places that use rating systems to determine popularity but not necessarily quality. That can be useful but not definitive. 

It starts to bother me however when we feel compelled to create list of greatness when it comes to people who, because of their generosity have chosen to use their cognitive surplus to share online. These folks, and I'm mostly speaking … Read the rest

When Search Isn’t Good Enough

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:15 pm

Search is highly overrated.

I have a serious problem. As I build presentations I get a clear vision of an idea or concept I want to discuss and I immediately want to visualize it. For better or worse, I gain and make meaning with visuals. To that end I’ve continued to create slides that I reuse and share with others. Fortunately others have shared my passion and created a nice set that others are free to use.

Today’s vision was around filtering. Not that kind of filtering but the kind I’ve discussed here. On more than one occasion, I’ve quoted Clay Shirky’s quote about filter failure. It has been begging to be visualized, at least for me. So I head over to flickr and realize that my vision lacked easily searchable terms. I had envisioned a larger quantity of some item with one item standing out. I tried several search terms and phrases but didn’t find what I wanted.

I turned to twitter.

After this initial request:

Over the next 30 minutes I recieved 20 various image suggestions and 4 other ideas of how to create … Read the rest

Dealing with My/Our Attention and Information Issues

This post was last updated on July 29th, 2014 at 10:19 am

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Will Lion

As this article states, the problem of attention isn’t particularly new but it certainly is becoming more and more an issue. I remember teachers back in the 1980’s lamenting that they felt they were competing with the MTV¬†generation. MTV seems pretty tame and managable compared to what we are dealing with today.

There aren’t too many days that go by that someone doesn’t ask me about “keeping up”. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers.¬† Even highly connected and media savvy folks struggle. I struggle with it too, but I have developed a few beliefs, principles that have been helpful to me. I’ll avoid the “top 5” or “best ways to” kind of approach and simply share a few things I think can be helpful in a day of attention deficits.


As an avid reader of Clay Shirky, the most important lesson I’ve learned from him is about filter failure. As he so eloquently states, it’s not information overload it’s filter failure. We’ve always lived with an abundance of information. Our libraries were … Read the rest