Personalising Performance Observations

2587165483_e0e271eb13_oSome of my personal learning network contacts have started me off re-thinking performance observations and re-view.

Michael Hussey’s cricket bag has helped clarify my thoughts!

Earlier this morning, I was following up on a discussion (Is Performance Analysis drowning in raw, useless data?) that has been running for some time in the Performance Analysis in Sport Group on LinkedIn. Despite the discussion running over the Christmas and New Year holiday there has been a vibrant exchange of views. Two days ago I was introduced to geographic choropleths in the exchange between Mark Upton, Chris Carling and Russ Shopland.

Concurrent with this reading I received an alert to a taster for Richard Hill’s Whackademia. In it, Richard writes:

For one performance review, I received a report that bore little resemblance to my own appraisal. So incongruent was its assessment of the quality of my work that I thought I had been sent the wrong review. As I glanced through the error-strewn missive, I was astonished by the ability of the author to conjure such a fictional narrative from so poorly informed points of history: innuendo, gossip, circumstantial evidence, gross inaccuracies, simple untruths and other cosmic distortions littered the document. I was confronted by invective masquerading as objective assessment. I stared at the offending document more in amazement than disbelief, but worried about how I might begin to extract myself from this hornet’s nest. I was gripped by a sense of impending doom, as if I were about to be hauled off to the Tower and my head impaled on a spike.

Elsewhere, Richard observes (about university performance review):

performance reviews in all their manifestations are probably here to stay: the struggle now is to try to ensure some equity and equilibrium is built into the system. … By and large, however, the current system of review is very much grounded in a hierarchical structure which rests on aspects of organisational life that are simply unavoidable: personal fads and foibles, and subjective preferences and judgments.

7136210011_bb45983ab9_bI think I am particularly sensitive to these ideas at the moment. One of my recent performance reviews led to me to think about the Michael Leunig’s poem The Horse I Backed which has the delightful concluding line “The horse I backed took a different course”.

I have been thinking about the New York Times’ Snow Fall too. This has disturbed me in the way reading Edward Tufte in the 1990s did. I think there is a new standard set for visualisation and narrative in the Snow Fall project.

Michael Hussey’s cricket bag? Listening to Michael Hussey about how he packs his bag and what it contains encouraged me to think about the tool kit I use for performance re-view and feedforward. I have been looking at voice options (Vocaroo), screencasting (Camtasia 2) and notes (Evernote) in the last few days. I have looked at Blubbr too. I have been thinking a lot about responsive design after the reformatting of Clyde Street. I enjoyed my exchange with Mark Upton about the flipped characteristics of this personalisation.

2013 is going to be a remarkable learning year for me in addressing personalisation issues. Given the quality of the discussion on LinkedIn I am wondering if the next step is to encourage a community of practice to share its attempts to personalise performance re-view. At present I am thinking that Drupal might be a perfect platform for this sharing.

Photo Credits

Heirloom Leica (Earthworm, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Horse race (Boston Public Library, CC BY_NC-ND 2.0)

PLN Finds 130105

6146567839_961a2c445b_bEmail alerts are an important part of my personal learning network (PLN).

I set aside an hour each morning to work through feeds from the Northern Hemisphere from the previous day’s activity.

I start with the daily Cowbird story. Today it was Thanks! But Keep the Smokes.

I followed up with some links shared by Anne Weaver from the Diigo Teacher-Librarians’ Group. Anne linked to a a helpful post about personal learning networks. The post includes a link to a Comprehensive Guide to to the Use of Personal Learning Networks in Education and to Shelly Terrell’s PLN resource suggestions.

By coincidence, one of my alerts this morning was about the launch of Pathbrite’s Portfolios for Education . Another alert was from Mightybell‘s 2013 developments. After reading Richard Byrne’s post about Blubbr I will be keen to investigate how I might use interactive quizzes in my teaching.

From Paper.Li today, I found Natalie’s post on Technology, HE and spoon-feeding students prompted by Alison Seaman’s post. She asks “Does the way that we generally use technology in higher education tend to support spoon-feeding and traditional sage on the stage approaches to teaching and learning rather than helping students to develop digital and web literacies to support more self-directed learning and skills for lifelong learning?” … and discusses her approach.

A post that took up most of my reading time today was from The New Yorker. In a very detailed article, Adam Green writes about Apollo Robbins, a theatrical pickpocket. I think this is a great addition to the discussion of skill acquisition as well as being an absorbing read. I liked this paragraph:

In pursuit of his craft, Robbins has ended up incorporating principles from such disparate fields as aikido, sales, and Latin ballroom dancing. He is a devotee of books like Robert B. Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” and has also immersed himself in the literature of criminal lore. The book that made the greatest impression on him was a paperback, published in 1964, called “Whiz Mob: A Correlation of the Technical Argot of Pickpockets with Their Behavior Patterns,” by David W. Maurer, a professor of English who devoted his life to the study of raffish subcultures …

This morning I am still recovering from the New York Times’ Snow Fall experience. I am even more enchanted after reading Brook Ellingwood’s look at the creation of the Snow Fall story. I have some other posts to read about Snow fall today: Katherine Schulten, and this memo from Jill Abramson.

Photo Credit

CT231 Wordle (Catherine Cronin, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Connecting and Flipping

3712154175_7f25d99141_bI wrote about Flipping yesterday.

Overnight Mark Upton commented on the post. I admire Mark’s work immensely and was delighted he shared links to examples of his flipping work:

These resources appeared in July and August last year. Mark’s sharing of them underscored for me a point made by Alison Seaman in her 3 January post:

It takes time and a level of humility to come to terms with the idea that knowledge is no longer contained solely “in [our] skulls, books, and libraries” and is instead constructed from knowledge distributed across networks and on the Web.

Alison discusses how  connecting with and learning from colleagues nourishes and develops your personal learning network (PLN). I liked Alison’s quote from Dori Digenti:

The PLN consists of relationships between individuals where the goal is enhancement of mutual learning. The currency of the PLN is learning in the form of feedback, insights, documentation, new contacts … It is based on reciprocity and a level of trust that each party is actively seeking value-added information for the other.

My own PLN is based on: mutual learning, reciprocity and trust. Mark is an important part of my development as a learner and I trust his judgement implicitly.

Thinking about trust and personal learning led me to David Hopkins’ post about Creative Commons licenses. I use Creative Commons (CC) images in most of my posts. David points out that “A photo or image placed under a Creative Commons license enables you, the ‘borrower’ to copy, distribute, and display the work providing the photo or image is correctly attributed to the owner. Every CC license applies worldwide, is non-revocable, is not exclusive, and lasts for the duration of the work’s copyright”. However, he notes that: more than 90% of CC photos are not attributed; more than 99% of CC photos that are attributed are not attributed properly.

When I use CC images in my posts I provide a url for the image and include the photographer as a tag for the post. In the last two months I have been providing a link to the specific license for the image. David provides a link to Photo Pin. This service searches for CC images on Flickr and provides a choice of size/resolution of the image, a link to the original image and the HTML code to attribute the photo, owner, and CC license used.

Here is an example of my search for a Parkour image:

Parkour example

As I explore ideas and practices of flipping through connecting I am conscious that I do need to open up to intuition and creative leaps of the imagination. An interview with Bill Duggan encouraged me to think about neural plasticity, curiosity and “presence of mind”. Stephen Downes does this for me every time I receive his OLDaily.

Today, Stephen reflected on an essay by Lev Gornick on IT Trend in Education in 2013. Stephen looks at two different issues:

  • The impact of HTML5 will be widely felt (and exemplifies the change underway with this New York Times article) with widespread integration of multimedia and text in ordinary things like books, posts and articles.
  • Dynamic learning materials (and dynamic reading materials generally) – multimedia posts and articles connected to live data sources (see, for example,  weather bugs, Yahoo stock charts and Google Maps mashups) will become widespread.

My excitement about what might be possible in 2013 flipped learning environments was tempered by a very sobering post from Kent Anderson in The Scholarly Kitchen. He identified some of the threats posed by ubiquitous computing and connectivity and concluded his post with this observation “With the smartphone as one likely instrument of havoc in a world full of connected hostilities — personal, military, national — the benign face of technology is being remade”.

Kent is another trusted source in my daily connections and with his insights I realise I must adopt a much more nuanced approach to flipped learning opportunities. I will not try to get over excited about the possibilities afforded by the New York Times’ innovation Snow Fall … but it is hard not to take a naive view of open learning.

My next task is to look at Brook Ellingwood’s look at Snow Fall. In it he suggests “What makes the piece so remarkable isn’t that the New York Times has created anything new in a technical sense. It’s that instead of retreating from what’s disrupting their business they have embraced it and made it even better by using it to showcase their traditional strength: Meaningful storytelling”.

That seems a great way to look at transformation in teaching too … embracing connecting and flipping as essential elements of stimulating and supporting learning.

Photo Credit

Parkour Practice (JB London, CC BY-NC 2.0)