Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Second Life Futuring and Innovation Class

Nine CS 855 students valiantly navigated Tuesday night's class in Second Life, studying camera controls, the profile, how to use Voice over IP, chat logs, sharing content, gestures and drinking hot cocoa.

*makes a note to add more gadgets to the next class*

The discussion shifted from SL mechanics to reflect on social media and how people collaborate online. Our use of the Web 2.0 tools and Second Life helps us to understand today's capabilities and to envision what will be needed in 10-15 years.

With a nod to famous futurists, Winston Churchill's observation that the future was "one damn thing after another" [1] made us ask why anyone would pursue a career in forecasting. Yet, given the $200 billion spent annually on predictions, it is no small wonder that many feel that the 85% (or higher) failure rate is well worth the risk.

Weather forecasting was noted as one of the more successful prediction systems in W. Sherdan's The Fortune Sellers. Why is the weather important to technological innovation? Its direct influence on the physical environment affects other systems and their outcomes.

Upcoming assignment: As you start to design an audio podcast, two presentation styles that came to mind were Ask Dr. Science and Bill Nye The Science Guy. In your podcast, tell us about your favorite futurist (real or fictional), or share tips about a Web 2.0 tool.

Tip: Keep it short, offer new information and have a great time sharing your ideas!

Don't forget to post feedback about Dr. Rheingold's video from Monday's discussion.

Class ended with a description of the Programmatic Research paper and information regarding the final doctoral defense. Next week, we will continue our discussion of socio-technical futuring and discuss additional virtual world capabilities.

[1] Sherdan, W. A. (1998). The Fortune Sellers: The Big Business of Buying and Selling Predictions. John Wiley & Sons, New York, p.7.

Monday, July 28, 2008

CTU Second Life Classes for July 29-31, 2008

We will hold a CS 855 session in Second Life (SL) on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 at 6PM Mountain/7PM Central time, recapping the 2nd set of residency content. Attendance is optional.

We also have a 30-minute SL introduction on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 6 PM Mountain/7PM Central time. MGM 845 also meets in Second Life for their strategic thinking activities. Depending on how many students arrive, we may use opposite sides of the island. After logging into Second Life, visit Acheron LV426 and click the Teleport Now button to teleport to class.

1st CS 855 class in Second Life: Sunday, July 27th's session was a blend of first time SL usage and socio-technical futuring concepts. We only skimmed the highlights of the history of futuring, various prediction techniques and Herman Kahn's predictions. We stopped far short of creative destruction.

Howard Rheingold on Why use forums?

Howard Rheingold's latest video reminds me of the cognitive overload associated with subscribing to forums. It also explains why my replies answer a variety of questions in a single message.

If you are new to embedding media in posts, checkout his video called the Social Media Classroom: Why use forums?

In addition to his videos, he has a historical perspective on the future of the Web as it was envisioned in 1996. Intriguing and fresh, Dr. Rheingold's explorations are well worth reviewing and he offers glimpses into his current research at hrheingold over Twitter.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Talking cash registers - a socio-technical tale

Around 1980-81, my high tech supermarket installed talking cash registers at the checkout stands. The store sold a wide selection of grocery and pharmacy products and at first, the introduction of new technology was just like stepping into the Space age.

That is, until we noticed that a computerized voice was announcing everything that we purchased by name, size, quantity and price. To help us hear over the sounds of people shopping, the voice was loud and could be heard in nearby checkout lanes.

Photo courtesy of Kanesue

I noticed that I started shopping in the wee hours of the morning to get privacy, and when others would loom near, I'd make snappy comments about my purchases.

Breaking a hundred-dollar bill by buying a pack of gum no longer seemed like a good idea. While the voice was very polite, shoppers reacted as if someone had hollered over a loudspeaker. "She's leaving the building with $97.25 in change!"

How people feel about technology and the tasks that they are performing influences their widespread adoption and use. For cool new technologies to be successful, we need to identify and understand their social implications and how they will impact growth and innovation.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Web 2.0 Collaboration Tools

As we reflect on the future, we are examining Web 2.0 collaboration tools, such as blogs, wikis, and shared information spaces. Highlighst from yesterday's discussion of tools included Slideshare, Flickr, Gabcast and Google Docs. We also examined research and the business use of Second Life.

Visit my Slideshare content to review how we can share presentations and use tags to help find and retrieve content.

Share images by first posting them in Flickr, create a podcast using your cell phone and collaborate on your innovation forecasts using Google Docs.

CTU and CS 855: 1st Day of the Summer 08 Residency

Yesterday's explorations in futuring and innovation led to some interesting discussions concerning facts, truth, perceptions and general semantics. We discussed Alfred Korzybski's work in general semantics and observed that the meaning in words resides in the people who wield them. In addition, our perception of the world is influenced by our use of language to discuss it.

While this is not a philosophy or semantics class, understanding culture and how a society is influenced by language affects our ability to forecast, communicate these predictions and to achieve an uncertain future.

We examined facts and asked the question How do we know that Trinidad exists? When we make observations about facts and sociological, cultural, political or technological conditions, does our use of language affect our perception of reality?

As we explore technological innovations and predictions, we examine how futurologists predict them, how the public understands them and how scientists, engineers and economists strive to achieve them.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Great beginnings!

The first week of class is off to a great start and the blog posts and comments have begun! If you are just getting started, do not panic! We will briefly cover tips on communicating using blogs and the blogoquences that need to be addressed to ensure a safe and enjoyable class.

Remember that our blogs are in character, and while we are students in CS 855, we are also fictional members of a Research and Development division within our company. Noting the class activity is important for guests to know that our ponderings are exercises in critical thinking and dreaming the future.

Feel welcome to post a disclaimer at the bottom of each post, noting it as a class activity, especially if you are hypothesizing content that is not true today and have not hidden your identity. You are not required to use your name and are welcome to use an alias.

Second Life
We will use a lab during the residency to initiate our Second Life activities. Please create your accounts (avatar first and last name) and passwords prior to the residency. You do not need to use the software prior to our first session. We will break into groups to accommodate everyone's familiarity level and needs. *smiles*

See you at the residency!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Welcome to CS 855 Futuring and Innovation!

In Futuring and Innovation, we will explore how forecasters predict, plan and strategize to facilitate the creation of innovative products and services.

Even as our eyes gaze ten years into the future, we will use today's Web 2.0 technologies to document and discuss our explorations and the socio-technical plan.

For now, visit Ted Talks and find a video that inspires you. Write a brief analysis of it and post it on your CS 855 blog. Throughout the course, you will continue to blog your activities and discoveries.

See you at next week's Residency! *smiles and waves*

Saturday, July 05, 2008

After ISTE NECC 2008

ISTE NECC 2008 was a high energy conference designed to stimulate our creative fires. After passing by the Bloggers Cafe en route to the Second Life Lounge, I could not help noticing how fervently these archivists of today's education and learning culture crafted their posts from the conference activities.

They are responsible for my dusting this site off and posting today. *grins* Give me a few days to gather and post the research from classes in Second Life.

My favorites from NECC 2008 included the Second Life Lounge, the Second Life Playground, Peggy Sheehy's research on teaching in Second Life at Ramapo and the collaborations discussed during Bernajean Porter's Digital Storytelling sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed the first and last keynote addresses that highlighted the Wisdom of Crowds and encouraged us to envision the future while looking at how far we have come over the past 20+ years. (More on that in a later post).

If the conference link should age, as all good things do, visit the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to read more about their National Educational Computing Conference (NECC).