REVIEW: Infrastructure, Culture, and Process

How to develop a happy teamRecent research shows that 70% of people are unhappy at work. With being “too busy” as the number one reason for their lack of personal fulfillment. People are too busy being busy. Sure, the workplace has changed. The tools are different. The expectations are not the same.

Today’s successful business needs three working components:

  1. Infrastructure.
  2. Culture.
  3. Process.

The components are simple enough in concept. However, in the real business the practice can be a different matter.

What is work?

The first step to building a strong infrastructure is understanding what you and your team do.

Here are a few questions that will help begin building that foundation.

What does work mean to you?

  • How do you work?
  • What tools do you use?
  • Where do you work?

What does work mean to your employee?

  • How do your employees work?
  • What tools do your employees use?
  • Where do your employees work?

RSA Review Series by Gary Crossey.

REVIEW: SAMR Model for Teaching

Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition 

The SAMR Model was developed by Ruben Puentedura with the objective to provide educators with a framework to integrate technology into  the modern workflow. Puentedura understood the shift has happened. We are now working with tech tools that do different tasks than we did before computers.

Many of the first computer app made our tasks either easier or faster. With filing and storing data being the top objective. For many experienced Office user, and the few past Word-prefect users – Saving and Storage was one of the most important operator functions.

With my Google Drive Professional Development sessions many experienced users love the auto save feature. The easy search and find makes losing a document even more difficult.

Like me, some of the adults I work with began keyboarding on a manual typewriter. Typing is one skill that I acquire when I was young that I use everyday. For computer power users – it is important not having to look at your keyboard and that all your fingers work equally.

My typewriting skills transferred directly to the computer. My typesetting skills transferred too, making the Word easy to grasp. Word mirrored the typewriter – right to the paper. Now, with Google Docs the working environment makes another shift.

  • Typewriter
  • Word
  • Google Docs

For experienced computer users  (and typist) Google Docs appears to be the same. However there are difference.

Google have resolved some of the basic challenges using the computer.

  • Auto Save – no more losing important data.
  • Auto Backup – retrieve past data.
  • Auto Cloud Storage – no more losing files or misplacing files.

No More having to Save Documents

Save SAVE SAVE save – yes we have all lost a document from not saving. Now with Google Doc, its automatic saving. And now rather than spending time figuring out how to save, and where to save to. Google Drive offers a different approach – just use the app – let the app take care of the storage and saving.

Google Documents are living Documents

Another BIG shift with document creation. The document now lives. The document is accessible, changeable, and developing. Unlike the objective that both the typewriter and Word took – a document was created – then sent out to the world. And that message was normally sent out to the world on some form of (you got it) paper! The out come is final. Sure you can recycle the paper – but the message remains the same.

Google Docs has changes this idea that documents are complete. But rather that documents are never done. That the information on the document can be updated. And the people who have access to the document will have the most current version.

It actually sounds more difficult than it is. Think of it this way:

  • You have a club website.
  • You want to post the rules and conditions of your club on the website.
  • You have a Google Doc with the rules and conditions.
  • You embed the Google Doc to your website – to populate the Rules and Conditions.
  • Amendments to the Rules and Conditions are made to the Google Doc – website automatically updates.

Having Google Docs populate content to a website is only one example of how live content can be used. The amount of time that is saved when important information can be updated in one document and the different sources using the content are automatically updated. That’s one interesting feature of Google Doc that makes it different from what Word Processing give us the ability to do.

Google As a Group

The Google as a Group part of Google docs has been the most difficult for me to get people to adopt. Personally, I love some of the editing tools. So, I do wish the interface was more interesting, and I could format like I could in Office. Office did have awesome document styles.

Google Comments

What Google Docs does have are COMMENTS – may not seem like a big deal, but it is. For the experienced Word Processor – this is the time you might change your typeset to red and start editing a document. This is where you need to STOP.

Live documents need fast edits, with comments as the development area. Yes COMMENTS are king for all Google Doc editing.

  • Comments can be notes to yourself.
  • Comments can be notes to research a word.
  • Comment to Proof Check.
  • Comments could be a question to your team – Who is a vegan on staff?  Whatever!

I like to use comments as my document to do list. As I compose an outline I use the comments to plot out areas that I need to research, or may need help with. Like I said, my Document To Do List. 

Document To Do List

Even if I am working alone the comments provide a quick method to highlight a task – without having to leave the document. When writing, I use the comments a great deal. Firstly, I use the comments to take quick notes (typically questions) that I can come back to. Comments are easy to add, without losing your pace.

At the beginning of the a writing project my Google doc tends to be full of comments. Most of the comments require some fact checking and research. For me the comments represent my unresolved concerns for the document. My goal is to publish the document – when all of my comments have been resolved. The resolving of the comments tells me my document has been worked correctly and to my satisfaction. Saying that – you got to firm on your questions – do add tasks to your comments that you know you will not do. Or add comments to information you already know.

How Comments Impact Other

When using Comments as your Document To Do List it makes it easy for other team members to help. No more having to email to “EVERYONE” when you can simply add a comment to the shared document that anyone (who has the information) can update, and resolve the comment.

EXAMPLE: Notice for a Staff Meeting – Comment: Room Number?
Any one with the information can update the document and resolve the comment.

Again, this is a simple example of how to use comment to resolve simple questions. However the transaction is actually more complex. In the past, to confirm the room number of an event you would have to email, “someone” or “everyone” for the information. While there are a few different methods in email, for most people needing to discover a simple bit of information it normally plays out something like:

  • Email one personal directly. Wait on replay. Mostly able to resolve.
  • Email one personal directly. They don’t reply.
  • Email everyone – everyone replies – with many “out of office notices”

In all of those responses I am provided with the information I need. However, by the time I sent the email and the time the response was received I may have moved onto another task. GUILTY! This is where the problem becomes recognizable. Transferring that “small” amount of data from one place to another has now become a TASK!

STOP THERE! Google Docs has changes all of that. You need to know “anything” – select the word that your question is about an right-click > Add Comment.

EXAMPLE: Comment: What is the Room Number?

Be an Active User

Another difference with live documents – you need to be AN ACTIVE USER. Using the Comments system – we are faced with the Room Number Question. The same question when handled via email requires the exchange of information, followed with the processing, collecting and distributing of the received information. In our example, that information or data is the Room number.

The Old Information Workflow

Email Request for Room Number > Reply from Email has Room Number > Copy Room Number > Locate Document that needs the information > Paste the information into the document > Save the document.

The New Information Workflow

The active user understands that today workflow requires everyone’s involvement. For our simple example of obtaining the correct room number. The Workflow simply requires a comment to be posted that anyone with access to the document can resolve and update the document. The key to the success of the active user is the updating of the document directly and in doing sure is able to resolve the concern posed by the comment.

EXAMPLE: Comment: What is the Room Number? > Active User updates the document with the correct room number and resolves the comment, adding any additional information to the comment to support the comment being resolved.

SAMR Model for Teaching

The SAMR Model for Teaching is certainly a method that I support. I do believe that skills need to be transferable. And that people learn best when they can relate digital skills with their real world skills. While also understanding that the digital shift has happened in that the digital apps are not simply a mirror of past tools. Digital tools are now available that reshape the way we work and play.

Live documents are real. Working in teams – real too. Being able to adapt your skills in a every changing workflow and work requirements? The SAMR Model can help adult learners make a deeper connection with digital tools. Providing useful new approaches on how to work with and understand data and design.

RSA Review Series by Gary Crossey.

REVIEW: Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson.
Changing Eduction Paradigms. 

Education in the 21st Century is not fast enough. With the quick pace of developing technologies it is difficult to teach children the skills needed for an unknown future economy. The idea that doing well at school will lead to successful employment has become more a nostalgic notion. While a degree may be a requirement in some professionals, it certainly doesn’t guarantee employment.

Research has shown that with increased testing students lose interest. Tests are boring. Professional Adult Development does not have to boring. Everyone learns more when they are focused and engaged.

RSA Review Series by Gary Crossey.

REVIEW: What Motivates

Do you love your job? I do.

I understand what motivates me. And which tasks that do not. In the following speech by Dan Pink (author) the idea that people can be motivated by more than money. So, to be motivated everyone has to be paid fairly. When people approach a project without having to think about the money aspect. The performance level is increased. New and better results are achieved. Production levels are improved.

Asheville Computer Training what motivates.

"Pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table." - Dan Pink (speech)

As Dan Pink shared in his presentation (speech). When people are encouraged to be creative – they may experience autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

  1. Autonomy. The desire to be self directed.
  2. Mastery. Challenge to master a task.
  3. Purpose. Make a Contribution.

People want to do something interesting. To create. To build. To take an idea and develop it into a tangible project.

As people we create – that is something we all do (in our own way) we all create. Everyone has a task that they are simply very good at. Within this task there will always be a presence of your own creativity.  For our creativity to be of worth it has to contribute.

Hidden creativity serves no purpose. Hidden creativity does nothing to make us a better person. To be creative is to accept the challenge to master a task that directly contributes back to your community (to whatever your community may be).

RSA Review Series by Gary Crossey.

VIDEO: How is Technology Transforming Education?

Interesting point of view on how technology is taken for granted by the era born into it. It is difficult for me to think of not being able to flip a switch and have the lights come on. However, for my grandparents, that was something new in their lifetime.

This modern idea of being able to connect with anyone else in the world (who has access to the internet) is an entirely new era of digital technology in education and life.