Last week I gave a presentation at the second international conference on digital citizenship CICD in Donostia/San Sebastian, Spain. During two days topics like on-line political communication, e-government, grassroots activism, open government, open government data, transparency and participation were discussed. I was asked to give a presentation from a slightly different perspective: to speak about attitudes, skills and tools in the networked age.
Basically this presentation was an extension and a more detailed version of a much more general presentation I gave at Reboot 10 in 2008 (reboot page, video), where I talked about the societal effects of internet and mobile communications as infrastructures.
This time around I started where my 2008 talk ended, and put it squarely in the context of the citizen-government relationship. Digital disruption is hitting our government structures, much like it has hit publishing and the music industry. How do we transition to a new way of doing things, fitting with the influences and metaphors that new infrastructures give us, and how do we make the transition without going to too long periods of chaos, where we already demolished and lost trust in the old, but haven’t figured out how to do or scale up the new yet?
As internet takes the network metaphor as core-feature, and as individuals (not locations) are the nodes in that network, and therefore the new unit of organization, I explored the attitudes we need to deal with this changing more complex society, and also talked about the skills that help us express those attitudes in our actions, and the tools with which we apply those skills. Because attitudes, skills and tools at hand are defining aspects of what humans can do, and humans are our unit of organization. I will be making a blogpost with a more complete outline of the talk, but for now have a look at the embedded slides. The slides contain the transcript of my text, so you can get the full version of what I talked about in Spain, not just the pictures.

I am honoured to be invited to give a key-note at Online Educa in Berlin early December. This is the 14th international conference on Technology Supported Learning and Training.

It promises to be an interesting event, that will feature much more than just presentations. Bloggers have been invited to cover the event, and there are a number of fully interactive sessions as well. Michael Wesch of Kansas State University, the anthropologist that created the ‘Machine is Us’ and other videos with his students will be presenting as well, and I am very much looking forward to hearing him speak.

My own presentation, as well as my contribution in the panel discussion that will follow it, has the title “Networked life, networked work, networked learning. Or the consequences of accidentally reconfiguring my life.” It will be a combination of the story of what my fully networked and connected day looks like, and the more fundamental shifts in underlying cultural categories that go with it. The changes I made these past 6 years in the way I live work and learn have not been preplanned, but happened in response to a changed environment. Once I noticed those responses I turned them into more conscious strategy.

When we look at how children respond to the technology available as well as to the societal changes that already caused, it is much the same process. We need to adapt our teaching, because the world these children grow up in and respond to has already changed due to the new affordances that mobile communication and internet give us. Our teaching needs to empower children to consciously shape their strategies using the tools and environment they already adapted to without noticing.
In preparation of the conference the organizers published a short interview with me, and there is a short article featuring some quotes on TrainingZone.

Am looking forward to visit Berlin again. It’s been a long time since I last was there.

On the first day of SHiFT08 in Lisbon last week I participated in the workshop on SPIMEs by David Orban. SPIMEs are transient applications that are aware of SPace and tIME, hence SPIMEs and can interact with their surroundings through sensors and an internetconnection. Those spimes are the core of the internet of things.
In the workshop we split up in groups to come up with different spime applications. To be able to do this and have a reasonable change of coming up with something, David gave us a recipe to follow:
1) Choose the spime’s sensors for its interaction (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical, social sensors etc.)
2) Choose the level of spime data aggregation for your application (loca, global, non-geographic)
3) Choose a point in the timeline of technological development (now, at some specific point in the future)
4) Design machine to machine interaction (reliability, redundancy, systems needed etc.)
5) Design machine to human interaction (what is ‘friending’, information display, social objects)

With that recipe our little group (as shown in the picture above) went to work. We ended up with a spime application that is based on detecting people falling.
The final presentation on our spime application, dubbed ‘All Fall Down’, that I gave on behalf of our little group has been taped and uploaded to YouTube by David.

On the sidelines of the workshop I had a little chat with David as he was preparing some slides for the other groups in the workshop.
One of the groups had drawn their slides on paper, which David then photographed. The pictures he edited and cropped into Keynote slides, after which the group gave their presentation. The interesting bit is perhaps not so much in the process of this, but very much in the last remark David makes in the video above: it means you can bring in the laptop as a tool at the very end. I totally like that. Because the laptop is not a social object in group work, but pen and paper is. During this workshop Jose (the guy on the left in the pic) and I both worked on our laptop, which helped to keep our notes and work organized, but which was a barrier in the conversations. Pen and paper on the other hand serve as just as good a means for note taking, but at the same time enhance the conversation. (As seen here, e.g. during Elmine’s Birthday Unconference)

An enjoyable workshop, the concepts and take-aways of which were reinforced the next day as I attended David Orban’s presentation on the same subject, and during the conversations we had during the conference, amongst other over a seafood lunch.

I had great fun at the SHiFT08 conference in Lisbon in the past days. Inspiring stories both on and off stage, lots of familiar and new faces, great conversations, and great sea food.
Meanwhile I have added all SHiFT08 pictures to Flickr. Feel free to tag them if you want (which following up on Stephanie’s advice is now possible for everyone). I am in the process of uploading video to Youtube, a few of which are already online.
The slides I used as introduction to the Knowledge Cafe I gave at SHiFT08 are up on my personal slidesharing site of course:

I am currently in Lisbon for the SHiFT conference. This three day event saw a day of workshops yesterday, and today is the start of the conference proper, with about 50 presentations until tomorrow evening.

Feira Internacional de Lisboa: SHiFT venue

My contribution will be a 80 minute Knowledge Cafe on the cultural categories and concepts that need/are shifting because of the impact mobile communications and internet have as infrastructures on our lives and routines. Digital nomads have seen their perception of work-life balance, value, transparancy, privacy, information strategies, organisations, jobs, structures etc, change in the past decade. This means we are learning new boundaries, barriers and attractors to balance our lives, and are creating new meaning and language to express that. I think there is a real need for that type of redefining cultural concepts and creating new language. Simply because it is virtually impossible to express the new exclusively in the language of the old. By doing a Knowledge Cafe (apart from not having time to create the content for a presentation last week because I was ill) I hope to bring the discussion down from the abstract level into the individual context of the participants, where they are most likely to feel well equipped to reflect and exchange experiences and stories.

Hanging out with Henriette, Mark and Brian during the workshop day

Management summary: I had a great time

Reboot of course is much more than just two days of conference. It was almost a week of intense and rich learning, meeting old and new friends, and going home with your mind spinning with all the new angles on things you thought you had a pretty good grasp on.

Reboot really started already on Tuesday, when we drove up to Copenhagen. Mark Wubben accompanied us in the car, together with all his stuff, as he was moving to Copenhagen. Wednesday was already filled with conversations. Starting with an early morning coffee with Peter Rukavina, talking about all kinds of Reboot-related themes, on change, on community, on networked attitudes, and life in general. Lunch I had with Jon Froda, of Hoist at Bang og Jensen, plotting our little piece of world domination and the path towards it. Then it was time to pick up Howard Rheingold at his hotel, who had just flew in minutes before that, and have a drink and some food at PH Caféen in the city’s old, now gentrified, slaughterhouses. We discussed teaching methods, learning paths, community of practice how-to’s, and the process of writing. In the early evening it was then time to go to Nyhavn harbour for the Reboat cruise. Enjoying champagne and beers, getting acquainted with other Reboot participants, and reconnecting to friends. And that was just a relaxed day before the conference!

Mark asking for a ride to Copenhagen Sunny Afternoon
Mark hitching a ride to CPH, Afternoon sun with Howard

Share your shit!

Share your Shit!

This call to arms by Tor Nørretranders, a Danish popular science writer, must be the tag-line for Reboot 10. It was picked up in a lot of the sessions. From a knowledge management point of view an important point to make: Explicit permission to share anything and everything, even if you’re not sure about its worth. One organisms shit, is another’s food. I spend my day walking in and out of different sessions, preparing my own presentation on day 2 in small chunks of time in between. It was good to see that a lot of presenters were making their presentation right on the spot. Creating new stories to share, trying out new ideas they had. It is precisely that vibe that makes Reboot work for me. Needless to say my own story was a new one as well. I finished my slides a full 20 minutes before I was planned to take the stage in the main hall. More on that in a second posting. Interesting things in the programme were around design issues, taking things out of the laptop screen, urban environments merging with the data-sphere, and recreating the world of fabrication in the same way digitalization recreated the world of publishing and sharing. More on that in other postings as well.

Me, presenting, photo by Elmine

After two days of conferencing it was party time. A nice Italian dinner was had in the city center, with even better table conversation with Paolo, David, Toby, Thomas, Siert, Elmine and Ernst. Between beers it was the birth place of my One Laptop Per Senior (OLPS) initiative, as complement to OLPC. At Vega, as tradition dictates, the party went on. After we already had returned to the hotel, the party at Vega carried outside to the sidewalks of Vesterbro, with 5 police cars joining in for good measure.

Saturday morning saw a collective breakfast at Pussy Galore’s (David, it really exists!), initiated by Nicole Simon. After which some shopping ensued with Elmine. Having shared a very nice dinner with Elmine and my brother in law Siert, whom we sort of pressured into coming to Reboot, and luckily really enjoyed it, Saturday evening then was spend at the house of Thomas and Rikke, playing host to Reboot-participants till the very last moment. It was nice and mellow, and much appreciated.

The drive back, with Siert now taking the seat Mark had on the way up, always allows enough time to let all the events of the past days sink in. So that today I could let fatigue take over 🙂 Tomorrow my routines will be back to normal, and the slow process of digesting Reboot will take its course in the coming weeks.

All my Reboot 10 photos at Flickr, naturally./p>