Manual, not automatic, for sense-making

I started Friday’s Finds three years ago, in an attempt to make my finds on Twitter more explicit. I had been using Twitter actively for over a year at this time and realized that I was not making much sense of it. Now I make a weekly summary of my favourites: reviewed, filtered, and reassessed. The actual tools I use for personal knowledge mastery are quite limited. Google Reader is my aggregator — I link my Delicious & Diigo social bookmark accounts together but mostly use Diigo, I write my half-baked ideas regularly on my blog, and I engage in many conversations on Twitter which I curate here. That’s about it.

I prefer simpler tools that force me to think and connect by myself. If it was automatic I wouldn’t think about it much, but that’s what I want to do; think more, not less. As I mentioned in Personal Information management for Sense-making, George Siemens’s complaint that, “Too many aspects of my sense-making system are manual”, is what I see as a strength of PKM. By keeping sense-making activities ‘manual’, we are forced to do something.

For me, the act of writing a blog post, a tweet, or an annotation on a social bookmark, all force me to think a bit more than clicking once and having it served up from an automated system. The routine of reviewing my Twitter favourites and creating Friday’s Finds is another manual routine that I find helps to reinforce my learning and (hopefully) add to my knowledge.

I’m describing this in more detail here as some of these issues came up during our PKM Workshop this week.

So without further ado, here are some of the observations and insights that were shared via Twitter this past week.

Integral to the training of an athlete is difficulty, obstacles, and defeat. The same is true of entrepreneurs. —@AronSolomon”

Lack of trust leads to increase in command & control, which leads to decrease in trust. —@jitterted” —via @flowchainsensei

Big-city wages, small-town prices” is a damn fine business model. —@gapingvoid

The six human skills that will matter long term [a dissenting opinion] – via @dhinchcliffe

But six will survive, say Messrs Brynjolfsson and McAfee, no matter how fast and smart computers become. Those skills are: statistical insight; managing group dynamics; good writing; framing and solving open-ended problems; persuasion; and human nurturing. These will define the jobs they think will exist at the end of the universe.

… Indeed, when we view the two researchers’ six skills from the perspective of the boardroom, what appears strikingly absent is any reference to taking decisions.

Collaboration Will Drive the Next Wave of Productivity Gains – via @brianinroma

Today, a new wave of technologies — collaborative or social technologies, most of which appeared only within the last decade — is entering the workplace. But as with the technology of the 1980s and 1990s, the ability of these technologies to drive real productivity growth will depend on whether or not they are accompanied by thoughtful changes in the way work is done.

These new technologies hold out the promise of many business benefits. They greatly amplify our abilities to interact simultaneously with large numbers of people. As they make their way from use in our personal lives into the workplace, they offer the promise of significant improvements in generating, capturing, and sharing knowledge, finding helpful colleagues and information, tapping into new sources of innovation and expertise, and harnessing the “wisdom of crowds.” Collaborative technologies have the potential to shift the way we interact with people on our teams, find external expertise when it’s needed, and share ideas and observations more broadly.

free courses are not free degrees and courses never really worked that well in the first place —Roger Schank”

I am writing this diatribe for a simple reason. We now have a large amount for money available to start building masters degrees. I am seeking universities who want to work with us, but these universities need to abandon their old models in the new on line space. I would be happy to hear from people who think their university could do that. MIT and Harvard will continue to pretend they are doing something important but free courses are not free degrees and courses never really worked that well in the first place. Students don’t typically attend college because of all the great courses. Universities may like to think that but while a Harvard degree may well be worth a lot, Harvard courses are just a form of entertainment.

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