Howard Rheingold: Net Smart

In 2009, Howard Rheingold created an excellent mini-course in network literacy, a substantial resource for those who want to learn more about the Internet. Here’s the introductory video:

Howard’s written a book on network and digital literacy called Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.

Flip it!

Daniel Pink has a smart article on flip thinking, a trend in innovation. It’s a matter of rethinking sequence logic: for instance, a math instructor finds that it makes more sense to work on problems in class, and follow with the lecture (uploaded to YouTube, where students watch as homework). You experience the tension of the problem first, and get hands-on guidance from the instructor. Having learned your way around the problem, you see the lecture that contextualizes that learning.

While the idea is great, and Pink offers excellent examples where turning sequences around might work, the more compelling lesson is about creativity: we should rethink our habits and routines, and consider re-engineering our processes, as a matter of course. It’s too easy for ruts to form. We avoid disruptive innovation because it can be painful, but it’s productive pain. [Link]

Knowledge Advocate rules

The very smart Kevin Leahy is has a blog, as Knowledge Advocate, that you should follow. In a recent post, he talks about the “no more than 7 things at once rule.” He reminds me of this whenever we meet, because I tend to throw more information at people than they can process – many of us do that. A skilled communicator understands the rule: if you communicate more than 7 bits of information without time for processing, you lose the audience for your communication.

In a talk he gave a week ago, Kevin talked about a “stop making sense” rule. His point: nobody else makes sense the way you do, so if you give a talk where you try to make sense for others, you’ll fail. Instead of making sense, you should be seeking sense. Instead of expressing how you see the world, ask the others for their sense of it. (This is easier said than done skillfully.)