Arrived after a long day of travel: dusty, tired, searching for a beer. The cab ride from airport to hotel is always valuable: airports are never in the classy part of town, so you end up traversing suburbs, transecting zones. As you travel, you see car part shops, cheap motels, bus depots and coach parks, then you shift to cheap shops and mid budget hotels, before finding the centre. Acclimatising to a new city is always an interesting process: we start by creating frames, then fill them in: where is the centre, where is Downtown, where are the shops, where are the good music venues?
My flirtation with Austin started when David invited me to present at mLearnCon this week: the email landed and suddenly Texas got real: i was able to check out the tourist sites, the conference website and Wikipedia. I reached out to my friends who have visited and remembered films, stories and TV shows based here. I formed my preconceptions and studied the maps.
On the ground, Google maps help me navigate and i can capture and share my journey, with Glass, through my Watch, using my phone. I narrate my exploration as i go. But each of these modalities of discovery and sharing has their own context, their own validity and ease of use.
Films paint a stylised representation of Texas: the music scene gives a different context entirely. Friends interpret that and, as i capture it, and share my journey, i provide my own interpretation.
I’m working on a couple of Global Onboarding programmes at the moment: where we are trying to help people become high functioning members of a community fast. It’s not unlike my wandering around the city. First, we find the frames, then we fill in detail, through our own exploration, through alignment with tacit and tribal knowledge, through hearsay and fact.
My session in the conference this week is entitled ‘Social, Collaborative, Mobile and Effective: living dream‘. It’s about how we move beyond viewing mobile learning as a thing in it’s own right and view it instead as part of an ecosystem of exploration in learning. Sure, my phone, my Watch, Glass and iPad are mobile, and are part of my exploration and sense making, but so to are my communities, third party websites, books and the pavement under my feet.
In the Social Age, we are surrounded and immersed in collaborative technology, and we need to have the right mindset for design. But our reality is about more than just technology: it’s about sense making and meaning.
As part of my own #WorkingOutLoud, i’ll include this train of thought in my presentation this week, as we work together to explore how mobile forms part of the ecosystem of learning in the Social Age.