I hadn’t really thought of a connection between Don Quixote and our ever increasing digitally connected world until earlier this week when I attended a guest #teplsig research seminar from Dr Caroline Roth Ebner, entitled ‘Office Work in the Digital Age’. You can find out more and access the slides here. The title was actually a bit misleading. What Caroline has been researching are the new competencies required for effective work with what she has termed “dig-com” workers, people working in the digital communications industry. As Caroline’s talk unfolded there were many parallels with education, and I’m sure many other industries. The increasing virtualisation of work, flexible and mobile work, the blurring of boundaries between professional and private life is all to common. So not surprisingly the new competencies coming through from Caroline’s work include digital literacy. What has also emerged from her research is that CPD and training opportunities are still predominately focused on technical capabilities and not the actually more important digital literacy skills the how to as opposed to why/where to – as I tweeted during the seminar so most training provided on how to use something not why and when you should use it #teplsig16 — Sheila MacNeill (@sheilmcn) March 15, 2016 One of the methods Caroline has been using is to get her research subjects to visualise their ways technology impacts on their working lives. Many of her subjects talked about strategies for managing communications; for example using email rules and folders. Get ready for the Don Quixote bit. The photo in the tweet below shows how one of her subjects (a senior manager) visualised their methods (futile battle?) for managing effective communications. Email rules could be seen as part of their lance! Caroline Roth-Ebner shows examples of research subjects visualising their digital work challenges. #teplsig16 pic.twitter.com/nsd6GDdF09 — Colin Milligan (@cdmilligan) March 15, 2016 As the seminar unfolded I was obviously drawn to the similarities and linkages of Caroline’s work to the other visualisations of digital work/life interactions such as Dave White’s Visitors and Residents mapping – could there be ways of combining both? I’ll hopefully get a chance to speak more with her about that during her short sabbatical in Glasgow. The other image that kept flashing through my head was that of the Jisc Digital Capability framework – I suspect many of Caroline’s competencies would map to that – and in particular digital well being element of the framework. We all need to raise awareness of digital wellbeing and the need to for organisations (commercial/public sector) and the educational sector to support staff/students/ everyone in terms of managing digital engagement. Just because you have 24/7 access doesn’t mean that you have to be online all the time. But it is difficult to switch off. I know. I am getting better at not checking emails over the weekends and a night – but ooh the temptation when you hear that beep on your phone as you post something to instagram. If someone sends an email at 11pm and you see it why not just answer it there and then? Well if you’re anything like me if you answer work emails late at night, or on Saturday afternoon when you are trying to to half a dozen things that relate to “real’ not “work” life, or on the train home when you have had to get up at silly o-clock to get to a work meeting at the other end of the country, you will probably answer too quickly, not read the email properly and on Monday morning realise that you’ll have to send another 3 emails trying to sort everything out. Having access to another half a dozen digital communication channels isn’t going to help with that. It all stems back to to why and when you want to use something – purpose not platform. I often go to meetings about restructuring things or creating new working partnerships with the organisation. More often than not better communication methods is raised as a key issue. More often than not there is an assumption that some new “digital” communication channel will automagically solve the problem. More often than not, we never actually spend time really investigation the route of the issues and where the communication blockages are. If we did, we’d probably find we didn’t actually need a new communication channel, just more effective and appropriate use of the ones we already have. It’s easier to try something new (“digital” of course) and put in a training plan for hardware, get everyone to download the app . . . Unless we all start to manage our digital well being and start to focus more on “the why”, learn to switch on and off at appropriate times, we may all lose our battles with digital windmills. Cervantes words still hold true today. “Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.” Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
Like it or not, technology in all its forms is going to have an increasing impact on our lives. Most people and organisations are not ready for this. Attending the conferences that I do, even ones that are focussed on technology, I am amazed at how unaware people are and how many are actually in denial or resistant to the changes that technology is already bringing about. Don't get me wrong, I don't for a moment believe that we should passively accept technology and it's effects on society. Far from it, my "mission" is to get more people aware, thoughtful, and actively engaged in how we deal with the challenges. However, I get tired of pundits who make a virtue of resisting technology, harking back to a time when all we had was "good old fashioned face to face" relationships. Yes we need to make better informed decisions on how and when we use technology and certainly we need to remember the importance of the real relationships on which we depend for our success and happiness, but there is a real risk that these "experts" allow people to stay in their comfort zones and asleep to the enormous challenges we face. This is not a good thing.
The UK government will change the law to make it easier for public sector organisations to share the personal information of citizens so as to "improve the welfare of the individual in question", the Cabinet Office has said.
I was delighted to once again represent ALT at a master class for copyright in teaching and learning in FE this week in Glasgow. Organised by the CLA this workshop focused on providing guidance and information about copyright and various resources...
Following the CJEU's decision in the Reprobel case (reported here and here), it is perhaps not surprising that the UK Intellectual Property Office has announced that it is to abandon the UK's private-copying exception which was introduced in...
In part for a possible OU Library workshop, in part trying to mull over possible ideas for an upcoming ILI2015 workshop with Brian Kelly, I’ve been pondering what sorts of “data literacy” skills are in-scope for a typical academic library.
Iriss was a partner in a conference organised for final year students and newly qualified social workers which was held on 26th February 2016 in Dundee. Entitled, Shaping our Future: Making a Difference, it focused on what it’s like to go from university into the world of work as a newly qualified social worker, and how to develop as an effective professional in a world that is ever changing. Alyson Leslie, who spent many years undertaking inquiries and case reviews across the UK into child protection and mental health fatalities, gave an impressive keynote presentation on the subject of entering the world of social work as a newly qualified practitioner. One of her key points that stuck with me – ‘You don’t suddenly get smart’, pertaining to the continuous and experiential nature of learning in the profession. This chimes very much with what Iriss advocates in terms of building personal learning networks – growing your personal and professional connections through social media to continuously learn and find information and knowledge to improve practice. Here’s a video animation that explains the concept of Personal Learning Networks. We were really pleased to have Jane Hart, an independent Workplace Learning Advisor, writer, speaker, and the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), present a workshop at the event. The workshop – Imagining the future of workplace learning – focused on encouraging people to use social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to grow a personal learning network. We audio recorded Jane’s presentation, which gives a flavour of what it’s all about. In the coming year, we plan to run an Personal Learning Network course for students in Scottish universities, to support them build their own Personal Learning Networks and to continue to use evidence in practice as they transition from university to the workplace. A Storify of the Shaping our Future: Making a Difference conference is also available. Imagining the future of workplace learning by Michelle Drumm is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) said that policy makers should provide guidance to organisations operating in critical sectors to help them use big data systems securely. "The policy makers and all experts involved in publishing guidelines should take a holistic approach towards big data security," ENISA said in a new report. "When the implementation supports systems vital to the wellbeing of the society then the security threat analysis and risk assessment should be done in each component separately follow[ing] a top-down approach." In a separate report published earlier this year ENISA had warned that businesses using software and systems to collect, analyse and use data were increasingly vulnerable to cyber risks. In its latest report ENISA said that regulators have a role to play in helping boost the security of big data systems in critical sectors. It called on "competent authorities" to "encourage vendors to offer security authentication mechanisms and protocols in their products". "More and more devices are becoming part of the cyber-physical world," ENISA said. "These devices require access to data in order to take action. Using devices which [do] not have the capabilities to provide necessary secure authentication mechanisms and protocols, could make the level of security unacceptable. Encouraging vendors and industry to use devices and applications with such capabilities will help make the big data system more secure." Businesses that provide big data solutions should also "invest in compliance with security standards for their products", ENISA said. It said if big data solutions complied with security standards it could help build user trust. SMEs could consider engaging with certification schemes to help demonstrate their big data products are secure, it said. ENISA said that standardisation bodies should consider creating new security standards to account for big data, or to adapt existing standards they oversee. Changes in standards should be facilitated through collaboration with businesses that provide big data solutions as well as those who use them and with regulators too, it said.
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