My 5-year-old nephew was visiting us today, first day of the half term break. He was keen to tell me about his new game for his Wii – Lego Batman. He was extremely pleased with himself because he had got to Level 5 but was having difficulty getting to Level 6. He then gave me a detailed and animated account of the game so far and more importantly what he thought he needed to do next to get to the next level (something to do with battle shields, I think!)
His resilience shone through as he catalogued what he had failed to do so far and what he intended to do next to overcome these failures. His problem solving skills were evident as he explained, in minute detail, what he thought he needed to do to get these battle shields and how he had come to this conclusion. His language skills were great as he recounted the adventure so far. He was obviously learning a great deal and having tremendous fun.
I then felt sorry for him, though I didn’t say so. Next Monday he goes back to school. Will he have this much fun – I doubt it. He certainly wont be problem solving at anywhere near this level nor being asked to recount such a complicated story. Those developing resilience skills will not be challenged to anywhere near the same level. His learning will ‘power down’ until he gets home again.
……it’s obvious that we are in the midst of a huge period of invention and innovation. Not so much by us, the Digital Immigrants, but by the Digital Natives for themselves. Our kids have recognised in this new digital technology an incredibly powerful tool, and they are making the most of it, using it in ways we can’t even imagine. So why not let them reinvent school?
Now, is that a frightening thought or an exciting one?
Where do our good ideas come from? We are often led to believe that many of the great ideas of the past have come as flashes of inspiration. We can picture Archimedes leaping from his bath shouting ‘Eureka’ when he realised that objects displace water and Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree watching apples fall and coming up with his ideas about gravitation.
Steven Johnson in his book, ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’ suggests that breakthrough ideas rarely come from flashes of inspiration. Instead, he argues, good ideas come about through a collision of smaller hunches.
Ideas need time to incubate. Hunches need to collide, often it needs a hunch in one person’s mind to collide with another hunch in someone else’s mind. How can you create systems that allow those hunches to come together? So that they become something bigger than the sum of their parts.
He argues that in the past coffee houses were such places where people met, talked and shared ideas and ‘hunches. The same is not true of today. While we do have a growing coffee-house culture it is one that is often inhabited by people on their own, either reading, writing or surfing the Internet. Don’t get me wrong, as someone who does just this on a regular basis, there is nothing wrong with it! In fact the coffee shop is an ideal place for writers and thinkers, a place where they can relax and dream. But what do you then do with those dreams?
Recently I was lucky enough to sit with Steve from Footsqueek and a small group of primary Headteachers and listen to them share ideas, hunches about an app that could be used in school to collect evidence for school self-evaluation. It was fascinating watching different ideas collide into one another. In the end they came together and the QSI App was born.
We live in a much more highly connected world. Technology today allows us to share thoughts, ideas with anyone, anywhere in the world. This blog, for example, gives me the opportunity to potentially share my thoughts with the world. Tomorrow sees the launch of the new iPhone 5 and in October we see the new Amazon Kindle Fire being available in the UK. What will devices such as these do for the sharing of ideas?
If you want to create a space for innovation, you won’t get far by cloistering yourself away from the world and waiting for inspiration to hit you. Chance favours the connected mind.
How connected are you?
A survey of American companies concluded that the 4 C’s –
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Creativity and innovation
- Communication Skills
…… are as important as the more traditional 3R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic.
Once upon a time mastery of the 3R’s was enough to get you a job – but the world is changing.
Proficiency in reading, writing, and arithmetic has traditionally been the entry-level threshold to the job market, but the new workplace requires more from its employees. Employees need to think critically, solve problems, innovate, collaborate, and communicate more effectively—and at every level within an organization.
Yet we still want to test our children on reading, writing and maths only. What assessments are schools undertaking to measure the attainment of children in critical thinking & problem solving, creativity and innovation, collaboration, and communication skills?
According to the survey results, executives said these skills and competencies are priorities for employee development, talent management, and succession planning. In addition, job applicants are assessed in these areas during the hiring process.
Girls, when I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, “Tom, finish your dinner – people in China and India are starving.” My advice to you is: “Girls, finish your homework – people in China and India are starving for your jobs.” And in a flat world, they can have them, because in a flat world there is no such thing as an American job. There is just a job, and in more cases than ever before it will go to the best, smartest, most productive, or cheapest worker – wherever he or she resides.
The world is changing. Accountants in India are preparing tax forms for citizens across the world, online. Radiologists in Asia read X-rays taken in North America. If educators are to prepare young people for this new world we must assume that they have some idea of what to prepare them for. I fear that this is not the case.
In the following video you can listen to what Sir Ken Robinson thinks. These are the highlights from his talk in March 2011 at Learning Without Frontiers – ‘Out Of Our Minds – Learning To Be Creative’
“…….. children are passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of the world around them. Children observe, wonder, find or make and then test the answers to the questions they ask themselves. When they are not actually prevented from doing these things, they continue to do them and to get better and better at it.”
Upstairs, management decides when the containers should be put on the assembly line, how long they should be left on and what kinds of materials should be poured in and what should be done about those containers that have smaller openings or no openings at all. He goes on to say,
“No one seems to ask the obvious question. How come so many of the containers, having had these substances poured into them for so many years, are still going out of the factory empty? If students don’t know enough, we insist, it is because we don’t start pouring soon enough, or didn’t pour the right stuff or enough of it.”
Footsqueek are giving Charities, Sports Teams and Good Causes the opportunity to win a free mobile smart phone app during July and August 2011.
There are now more than 500,000 apps in the apple app store (Apple, 2011) with more than 1 billion mobile app downloads in the week leading up to Christmas 2011.
Mobile apps can be used to provide a key communication tool which is particularly useful to membership led organisations but the cost if often prohibitive meaning that organisations are not able to take advantage of the resource.
Anyone interested in entering the competition should like the FaceBook page www.facebook.com/Footsqueek where details of how to enter will be published on Monday 9th July 2012.
Steve Westgarth (Managing Director) said “Mobile apps are becoming more prevalent in everyday life however good causes often miss out because they don’t have the financial resources to commit to the development cost.Footsqueek hopes to demonstrate that a mobile app can be of huge benefit to smaller organisations by building a free app for a local good cause.”
If, like me, you’ve religiously following the iPhone craze since the beginning you too were probably very disappointed when Apple announced last year that they were launching the iPhone 4s and not the iPhone 5.
This decision certainly led me to question whether upgrading from the iPhone 4 to the 4s was worth the time, effort and expense. So much of the decision seemed to rest upon the timescale for the release of the next version of the iPhone …. at least that was my first thought.
iOS 5 released a wealth of new features, many incredibly useful, the new notification centre, the reminders app and Find my friends to name but a few. Initially I thought I had effectively all of the 4s features on my iPhone 4 but then, as people around me started to get the 4s I very quickly found myself craving what I origionally thought was a novelty – I really wanted Siri!
When I first heard about the concept I wasn’t excited, I didn’t see the point of being able to ask my phone to do things, but as I started to see demonstrations of the ease with which the phone could interpret natural language I started to feel that the technology had a natural place in my life.
Earlier today I took the plunge! having wrestled with myself for 4 months I decided I couldn’t do without it any longer. I’ve spent the whole evening playing with Siri and entertaining myself by asking it to find information, set reminders, send text messages and more.
For me the technology is incredibly exciting, not just because of what it can do now but because of the potential it has in the future. The accuracy of the voice regognition is so good that it’s not an unrealistic proposition that it could be extended to simply transcribe what is being said around me, in meetings, on the bus and on the move. The GPS tagging feature could even be used to geotag transcribed voice notes and automatically set reminders to follow up on meeting actions. In many ways this seems to be the beginning of a resolution where computers actually understand and interpret what we want or ask them to do without us taking explicit action!
To return to my initial question, is it worth it? I guess for me it depends if you like useful gadgets. I like new gadgets as long as they are useful. For what it’s cost I think Apple are once again going to have an impact on my life that will change the way I do things and as such I believe iPhone 4s to be worth every penny!
Hello and welcome to the Footsqueek Blog! This is Footsqueeks main blog where you will find random musings about Mobile App Development, the Internet and other interesting things. This is very much an open blog so feel free to contribute, ask questions and discuss yours ideas.