Liking LikeMinds 2010

A global local conference

How often does a great conference on an emerging subject attract local, national and global participants to a quiet corner of the UK? Not often, I suspect.

Nevertheless last Friday, 2010 February 26, it happened again at LikeMinds 2010! The first time it happened was in 2009 on October 16th. Back in February 2009, two people met having got to know each other using Twitter, the popular social media tool/service. Scott Gould is a Devon-based web and experience designer. Trey Pennington is an American social media and business consultant. They met in Exeter and set the date for a half-day event which became LikeMinds 09. A local conference centre was the venue. People came from far and wide to became part of the inaugural gathering. Afterwards, they knew that they’d started something and felt the need to repeat it.

This time, just over four months later. More came to LikeMinds 2010, in the same relatively small venue. The same loyal bunch of social media specialists came back and brought more with them. There was more buzz and activity. This time, it lasted a full day and was followed by a business-oriented summit event at a prestigious location.

It was good to be there. It was good to meet new people. It was good to get a real sense of what is going on in human social communication. And all of this in my local city of Exeter, Devon, England.

There is more to come on this conference! But to give you a flavour, here is the talk by Chris Brogan … after I’d had lunch with him!

And, I am sure, more LikeMinds conferences to come.

A better Java programming course?

Questions, questions!

What would a better training course be like?

In what ways would it differ?

For whom would it be better?

How would we know that it is better?

What would we measure?

Better for learners and providers

In general, whatever you are learning, all of these questions might be important to you. To a large extent, the answers depend on your needs and on the structure of the subject area. So, more specifically, my interest is in the answers in the case of learning to use a programming language.

In talking to potential partners who would like to be able to deliver a course on Java programming, I am struck by the absence of any discussion of what might make a course better than other courses. Naturally, there is discussion about the course being “better” for the training provider.

But in the end, the needs of the learner will surely dominate. So, of course, “better” must mean better in the eye of the beholder, who is ultimately the learner, although there may be two or more layers in between.

What is needed?

Having spent hundreds of hours training people in Java programming, it is clear to me that there is more than one way to approach the subject. Having spent hundreds more hours training people in object-oriented design for implementation in Java, it is also clear to me that the most generally used approach does not work at all well.

People who have completed a Java course, apparently without undue difficulty, can frequently manage to avoid understanding some important concepts.

So, a few years ago, I set out to do better. The resulting course has been the subject of my thoughts, from time to time, ever since.  It seems to stand the test of time.

Improving the sequence!

For the Java programming course in question, I have modified the sequence in ways that are mostly subtle, but not always! As you may know, this is consistent with my belief that the sequence is the foundation of learning anything.

When the course is available, we can discuss the specific differences from a more normal sequence. But, in the meantime, I am thinking about what might be expected  by learners and others, and about whether further changes are also possible.

Social relationship management

So Twitter and LinkedIn are interconnecting. What is the background to this and where is it leading?

Twitter

Twitter seems to have caught many people’s mindshare because it is fundamentally different from most other services; its asymmetric “follower” relationship is more complex and flexible than simple connections on LinkedIn or friends on Facebook. Other services are now following(!). Continue reading “Social relationship management”

It’s about relationships!

Shift of emphasis

After a long drawn-out build-up, lasting decades, it feels to me that we are finally tipping over into a new era of models for systems. Whether thinking about communities of people, about business processes or about social networks, the shift of emphasis is at last now leaning away from “things” and towards the “relationships” between those things.

It is tempting to say: “It’s about relationships, stupid!” (pace James Carville). Continue reading “It’s about relationships!”

Making light of decision making

[Great to report: this post has been reproduced by here by GTD Times, the official GTD publication which publishes many insightful articles and provides much information and more on the application of GTD.]

As a follower of GTD, I am fortunate to receive many things, including the Productive Living newsletter. This particular edition included some “food for thought” about decision making, which I found extremely nutritious!

Information and accuracy

It brought to mind two things that I have often thought, and perhaps there is a link between them. Continue reading “Making light of decision making”

Organizational adoption

Lately, I have been thinking about the adoption of technologies by organizations.

Fred Wilson’s blog post raised related issues for consumers and stimulated a lively discussion about what characteristics are important to adoption. My interest is similar for organizations, but is more related to the channels of communication used for this purpose then in the characteristics which determine selection. Continue reading “Organizational adoption”

Learning and social networks

My interest in learning, and in the ways in which we can enable it, makes conversations like this really interesting.

This is my (very rapidly composed) take on it. I write it here because my intended comment in that conversation grew in size so fast that, before I could get it out, it seemed to have become too large for a comment; that, also says something about the medium/channel communication!

So here goes … Continue reading “Learning and social networks”

Chaos and GTD

As a fan of David Allen’s GTD for more than 3 years, I am always interested in his observations and explanations, especially when they pop up in new places.

So, for a UKite, it is particularly interesting that David has published Be creative amid chaos in Wired UK. While my personal application of the GTD approach continues to be variable and, often, too tentative, it forms the basis for much of my thinking and implementation of what I do. Continue reading “Chaos and GTD”