Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Concept of Peer to Peer Learning

Last year, I started watching a show called "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee". The Internet show is produced by Jerry Seinfeld and the concept is incredibly simple: Jerry picks up a comedian in a vintage car and they talk about comedy while getting coffee and driving around. As Jerry opens each video on the features of the vintage cars, you get a peek into why he picked each car for each particular comedian as if the features describe the comedians themselves. The show is really a great look inside comedy as it isn't an interview format but a conversation between peers about what they do and why they enjoy what they do.

I wanted to see something like this for educators. I have known and worked with great teachers, librarians, principals, superintendents, etc. but I haven't seen a way to curate their knowledge base while really getting to know them and what makes them tick. What if there was a place where educators shared about their profession with other educators? What if instead of a comedian interviewing a comedian, we had a librarian interview a librarian about their ideas and vision for the future of libraries? Would there be an audience for this type of program?

As a fan of one-on-one interview shows, I wanted to try to build that connection to the conversations between peers to a greater audience and to curate the knowledge base of the current experts in our field. Instead of our own hype (I lump myself in here too), I wanted to establish an interview-style show to to go more in-depth with educational specialists on what makes them tick, where they get inspiration, and about our profession in general.

During TCEA convention, I discussed the idea with Tim Holt in hopes of getting him to be the on-camera interviewer while I worked behind the scenes on generating bio information and questions for him to ask. I just wanted to produce the show. In a Google document, I outlined the basic idea for the show where it would be a one-on-one interview style with multiple camera angles. I wanted it to have "seasons" where a series would focus on specific education roles. I wanted a season just for Ed Tech Directors, a season of Teachers, a season of Superintendents. And I also outlined a type of questioning similar to talk-show formats with introductory (softball questions) then flowing into hard-hitting (hardball questions). 

Sadly, the idea just dropped out of my sightline for a few months. It became one of those long drive ideas only popping up during a long road trip but never becoming more than an idea.

Then in early May, I had the opportunity to visit with Carl Hooker to chat and catch up. Carl and I have known each other from when we were both campus technology coordinators at separate campuses in Eanes back around 2004ish. We were not allowed to sit together in meetings because we were too disruptive together and we were often separated (thank God for Skype!). I like to talk with Carl because we have similar attitudes about things and he is one of a very few select group of people I can be completely honest about in regards to similar experiences in our field and how they affect me on a personal level. Most people don't get to see that side of him and so the idea of the interview show came up in our conversation. 

After an hour of sharing and catching up, I opened my idea crate and shared about this interview-show concept I was mulling over but added the idea of the "pay it forward" interview style to open it up to multiple hosts providing a larger list of questions to share. The idea was that I would interview Carl first then let him select the next victim to interview and then it would keep moving forward. 

It solved an issue I was looking at regarding a second season: who would I get to interview Superintendents? It also helped me get over my own issue of not wanting to be on camera. By opening it up as a chain of interviewers, it would create a life of its own. It also opened up the idea of creating a pool of interview questions created by the interviewers and shared for future interviewers to use or adapt for their own use. 

There are many more talented people than me to host a show like this. There are far more better questions than I could ask. And many, many, many more popular people to carry this out to their social networks than I could hope for. 

I had Carl's blessing on it (#kissthering) so that was enough for me to create a name for it and reserve the domain. And now we have P2Plearn.org or Peer to Peer Learning Network which is really a shell to hold the conversations between our peer groups. 

I hope we can keep the idea of "seasons" and let librarians interview librarians, teachers interview teachers, principals interview principals, etc. to share not only the video or audio conversations but the questions to help guide other interviews. 

Honestly, this could completely bomb and blow up in my face. No one may be interested. It may be a really dumb idea. I would lose the $65 I paid for the domain and web hosting. It may be a punchline like Project Share. 

But I am proud to see it jump from concept to attempt. I will just be glad if it starts a new conversation.

Our conversation starts today at 3:00pm CST.

If you are interested in kicking off the season for your peer group, let me know and I will create your account to contribute to the site. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Home Automation - Really

I am moving into a new place in a few weeks. I've started pre-programming my home to have some automated features tied to it for personal security and convenience. I thought I would share what I have been building. It has been an interesting learning experience and one that will allow me to automate basic features for home.

In gaming, there are rules and physical components of the game system. I use those elements to describe what I am doing in order to program my world around me to react using my things connected by the Internet (IoT). In the same way that games have location-based systems (the board or video game space), artifacts (game pieces or objects), and variables (rules, interactions), I use these to define what happens when these elements all collide.

Exiting home
Entering home

Artifacts - connected in my home 
Video displays
Video players
Security camera
Window/Door locks

New tools:
iBeacons: http://estimote.com/  - location based programmable hotspots
Nod https://www.hellonod.com/ - ring for connecting to devices and managing them.

Time of day
Opening/Closing doors
Playlists used
Tasks completed

1. I will carry my smartphone when I leave and enter my residence.

2. My vehicle has Satellite/Internet-connected WIFI capability

3. All Internet-connected devices have the ability to connect and share data in similar silos.

4. All devices can be programmed with time settings for turn on/off.

So here's what we have on our menu of automated delivery in the Adkins' home.

Lights - programmed lights will light or dim automatically either by programmed time or when smartphone (Bluetooth ID) is in or out of range of wireless router.
*Would be interesting to have location-based system of car or phone to home to turn on/off home features as I am driving home.

Music - Satellite radio or Beats Music playlist continues from smartphone in car to home Sonos system. Apple and Beats working on developing more integration between playlists and curation to tie music to "emotive characteristics" posted online by users. Could be a way to tag home automation to apply to emotive context. Meaning: I tweet I am happy before getting in car, then car playlist and home playlist complies to emotive context.

TV - TV powers on with home screen of latest headlines and content downloads from day's events on TV main screen. With Xbox One, command access features with voice commands. Program TV to view daily tasks from synchronization with email and task lists.

AC - Home temperature is usually programmed but could have added function to turn on when smartphone bluetooth is on same WIFI network.

Security system - Webcam and motion detectors turn on when smartphone exits range of WIFI. Also can be programmed to turn on automatically at set day/night times. Motion detectors on windows/doors also turned on.

At some point, I will have an Internet-connected refrigerator tied in with grocery apps to help me track the contents of my fridge with tasks to replace consumed items. Those prices need to come down a bit and the interfaces need to be accessible by open source APIs.

But the hack around that is to use apps that let you track your food intake matched with a task generator list with reminders built-in to serve as a predictor over time of when you will need to replace something. For example, entering in that you purchased six eggs and a reminder in six days that you will be out of eggs is a way to automate your store shopping experience.

And that is the Internet of Home Things for my house. It is my personal Jetson's home and my own version of Tony Stark's Jarvis.