151 posts categorized "World of Ewan"

January 01, 2011

I will act now: Happy New Year 2011

Loony Dook

I've sat for just a little bit this afternoon marvelling at the velocity of shared links, blog posts penned, conversations raging on the Twitterverse about all manner of things: the future of education, coding hacks, social media marketing, Google analytics. And I once more leave the iPhone aside with a feeling that either

  • I'm either missing something by not engaging with this helter skelter chat 24/7 (for that is what it would take to keep up with everyone, across timezones);
  • not doing my job by ignoring most of it completely, or
  • neglecting my family; or
  • admitting that any potential I might have for flow in my work will disappear if I even try to engage more frequently (what do I really believe about assessment, about learning, about social media, about journalism in a new age, about communications with those who are not on Twitter, about...?)

There are so many people thinking about some great things in great ways, so many giving their local angle, and their world view, so many options to consider, that there must come a point where we stop thinking, stop speaking and take actions.

So that's my 2011 resolution, and one I'm going to enjoy keeping. I'm going to swallow more of my own advice, and that of Dr John Hunter, and not think so hard, just try the experiment.

From Euan a quote that sums up the urgency I feel to abandon the torrential streams flowing on this holiday of holidays:

I will act now. I will act now. I will act now. Henceforth, I will repeat these words each hour, each day, everyday, until the words become as much a habit as my breathing, and the action which follows becomes as instinctive as the blinking of my eyelids. With these words I can condition my mind to perform every action necessary for my success. I will act now. I will repeat these words again and again and again. I will walk where failures fear to walk. I will work when failures seek rest. I will act now for now is all I have. Tomorrow is the day reserved for the labor of the lazy. I am not lazy. Tomorrow is the day when the failure will succeed. I am not a failure. I will act now. Success will not wait. If I delay, success will become wed to another and lost to me forever. This is the time. This is the place. I am the person. -  Og Mandino

Pic of people really doing stuff, in the Loony Dook, from Gareth Harper.

December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas: A Digital Nativity

It made me smile. I hope 2010 has been as good to you as it has been to the McIntosh Family. Best wishes to you all from a freezing Edinburgh, and see you for some more exciting projects, inspiring encounters and new friends in 2011!

December 22, 2010

Beating the recession by working internationally: 2010's Travel in Review

A year ago yesterday I started NoTosh Limited, a to-the-point, action-based consultancy for digital media and education arenas, which has proven far more successful than I had hoped. Here's hoping 2011 is just as successful (actually, no, our target is to double revenues with some new stars on our team).

Crucial to this velocity has been the acceptance of overseas clients (thank you all so much!) to take a risk and have us over to inspire, cajole or troubleshoot. Plenty of their stories will appear on a new NoTosh.com site in the New Year. Exporting our skills makes up around 65% of revenue.

But this has also meant a fair level of travel; the last quarter of the working year saw me personally undertake 56 flights, covering the world two and a half times. This year, I've travelled 106,372 miles on Seat 53F (big, modern aircraft), compared to a much more tiring 41,902 miles of Extreme Commuting that I did while working for Channel 4 in 2009 (on seat 23C -smaller aircraft, less efficient, more carbon). The nature of that travel wasn't easy to handle, and noted when I was leaving the company last year. 2008, back when I was doing more educational stuff, saw some 82,000 miles.

A colleague told me that every time you do a transatlantic flip you experience the same radiation as a chest x-ray, so neither I nor my current or future colleagues leave our families and jump on a plane lightly. We do so because we believe in our work, that it will make a difference to thousands of students lives and that this will far outweight the environmental impact we're having.

Not content with that, though, we're announcing a pro bono project in the New Year which will more than make up for our own airmiles (and probably all of yours, too, dear readers). Planting trees with Carbon Credits doesn't solve the problems we're creating today at all - it's going to take 20 years for their impact to be felt. So we're planning something far more here-and-now, that will take the edge of all those miles.

Until the New Year, and notwithstanding a blog post or two inbetween, best wishes for the festive season from a thankfully Edinburgh-based, airline-free Ewan!

November 13, 2010

Get your education discussion on your Kindle

EduBlogsCom Kindle Edition I'm delighted to announce that Kindle users have another blog they can add to their reading shelf: this week edublogs hit the Amazon Kindle store in glorious greyscale, free for two weeks and then charged at just $1.99, or £1, a month. Amazon claim 70% of the revenue. I'm really not doing this for the dosh as much as for the excitement of playing with other spaces in which people might read and reflect.

If you're into reading on planes, trains, automobiles or Starbucks for all things work, learning or design, then please: fill your boots.

October 24, 2010

Thinking our way out of over-engineering solutions

Bike sharing scheme
Free and unregulated cycle schemes sound like an impossible nightmare that we could never really make happen: someone will steal the bikes, they'll end up all over the country. Institutions therefore rally around and make it their business, quite literally, to provide secured bicycles for rental so that people cycle more.

It all seems so logical, but it's the kind of (successful but expensive) thinking from an old model of paternalistic "what can your country do for you", while some of the most exciting ideas, web platforms, institutions and technologies in the past five years have been all about "here's a platform, now what can you do for your country/peer group/friends".

I wanted to explore what a new business model around the old problem of bike sharing schemes might look like.

The $10,000 bike, versus the $150 bike

Bike sharing schemes.017 London's "free" bike scheme cost the locals and sponsors Barclays £25m for a programme that will run for x years. The cost per bicycle is therefore £4166. It's been a hugely successful scheme, with its millionth ride clocked up in just 10 weeks, and hardly any have been stolen (the bikes are a good bit heavier than Paris', where nearly 70% have been stolen or vandalised and required replacing).

But £4166 seems a lot for one bike, with Mayor Boris' £25m giving him only 6000 or so bikes. How much more powerful could things be if we did away with the expensive secutiy measures, expensive (heavy and cumbersome) bikes, big IT that supports such a project (and breaks down) and replaced them with the cheapest bike we can find, no security measures and a good dose of trust in our citizens, providing 163,000 bikes instead?

It wouldn't work here [insert any Western country].

Paris shows us that vandalism and theft of their cute with-basket model was a costly mistake. London has "beaten" its Gaullic neighbour with its highly secure and tech-ed up solution. Countless others, including some who've already tried totally unregulated free cycle schemes, have floundered, seeing all their bikes stolen in months.

Google Bikes But then Mountain View, California, sees its streets relatively free of the automobile (we are in the land of the automobile, after all). Most people opt to take one of the free red-yellow-blue-and-green bikes their main employer leaves unlocked, lying around. Why is Google able to do what entire Governments seem unable to achieve?

Is it cultural? It's partly that, but Google have done something that Governments are notoriously poor at: it's generated the culture it wanted, a culture of mutual respect, a culture of the gift economy, both through its business model, large free lunches and orange juices for visitors, staff and the visitors' taxi drivers, but also through its bike sharing scheme. We'll gift you this bike - and keep replacing them - but in return we ask you not to take us for a metaphorical ride.

And it works. It works, I think, because these bikes are everywhere and they're fun. They've been gifted by a neighbour of yours in the city, not provided for you.

So, if we were to take the Paris or London models, what is the answer to stopping people stealing bikes and having them appear all around the country? I'd argue that if Governments want people to take the bike and not the car, that's no bad thing. In fact, if we can harness thiefs as the distribution network for one bike per citizen, then I'd see more cash heading into the core solution to the problem: more bikes for people who don't yet bike.

As in Mountain View, there comes a point where the proliferation of an idea or an object turns it from scarce valued thing into a commodity. It lets everyone know where the bike came from - it's been beautifully painted in the company colours. Let's get our nations cycling to work (and cycling for play) by making cycling a cheap commodity. We used to give £250 for every child that was born. What would happen if we give a £100 bike for every adult who wants one?

More importantly, though, how could we harness the Google lesson I think I've spotted, in making public services gifted to people, rather than provided for them? What would the social fall-out be in terms of changing this language? What would the advantages be?

Nick Hood suggests that one of the education assumptions we have in the Western world is that education is a right; he asks "what would happen if we said that education was a privilege" or, in Google words, a gift?


June 29, 2010

Ewan McIntosh eduTour 2010

Ewan McIntosh eduTour
This summer and autumn I'm embarking on an eduTour of proportions that are slightly scary, but I hope you'll join me on the journey, keep me right, contribute your own glowing examples of interesting practice and let me know how I could be doing things better as I seek, after two years of feeling out to pasture in medialand, to find my education voice once more. I'm lucky enough to be doing large parts of this with some of my best friends in the education world.

Six months ago I wanted to see if it was possible to bring the lessons I had picked up from the world of digital media investment and product management back into the classroom, the school leader's intray and policymaker's desk. I've been working with a few teams of brilliant educators in the UK this Spring, testing ideas, hypotheses, practices and concepts from one world transferred to another. It's time to give those ideas a bigger airing.

It's a chance to take our messages to a wider, fresh group of participants who will help emulate and expand upon practice that many of us have been developing for nearly a decade - or longer. It's also an enviable chance to learn from the amazing practice in all the countries that I've chosen for this initial tour, places I believe there is the best in schooling, informal learning, digital media development and investment.

Here's the schedule of meetings, rencontres, masterclasses and keynotes that I'll be working with over August, September and October. Many are open to those working nearby or can be ticketed by the organisers. I'm looking forward to meeting as many educators as possible, sharing stories and approaches across a wide array of activity.

This blog and my other websites will be getting a 360 degree overhaul this summer to make the experience delightful for you, too, with the help of amazing graphic designer David Airey and NoTosh developer Fraser Waters. I'll be capturing daily photo stories, videos, audioboos and, of course, blog posts of what has struck me most. Please join me!

August: New Zealand, Australia, San Francisco, Los Angeles

Core Education Grey August 9, Nelson, NZ (Link Learning)
August 10, Christchurch, NZ (Burnside High School)
August 11, Christchurch, NZ (Breakfast Masterclass Christchurch: Book Now)
August 12, Queenstown, NZ (e-Central)
August 13, Christchurch, NZ (Papanui High School)
August 14, Auckland, NZ (NEAL)
August 16, Wellington, NZ (Aotea College/PoriruaNet)
August 17, Wellington, NZ (Loop Cluster)
August 18, Wellington, NZ (Breakfast Masterclass Wellingto: Book Now)
August 18, Hamilton, NZ (Tawa College)
August 19, Hamilton, NZ (Coalface & King Country)
August 20, Hamilton, NZ (Breakfast Masterclass Hamilton: Book Now)
August 20, Hamilton, NZ (Southwell School)

ELH10 SchoolTech10 August 22-24, Lorne, Victoria, Australia (Expanding Learning Horizons & SchoolTech - Book Now)
August 25, Adelaide, South Australia (Learning Technologies Masterclass)

August 27, San Francisco, USA (Private Event)
August 28, Los Angeles, USA

The New Zealand breakfasts, masterclasses and workshops are being organised and hosted by my great friends at Core Education; Bruce Dixon, the Expanding Learning Horizons and SchoolTech conferences in Lorne, Victoria, Australia, and the South Australia Learning Technologies Department have helped take me to Australia

September: Canada, USA

September 12-14, Toronto, Canada (IN|10 - Book Now)

BeCuriousTour2010 September 15, Boulder, USA
September 16, Denver, USA
September 17, Bozeman, USA (Hatchfest)
September 19, Seattle, USA
September 21, Portland, USA
September 23, San Francisco, USA
September 24-27, San José, USA (Conference Talk tbc)
September 28-29, Los Angeles, USA
September 30, San Diego, USA

UK Trade and Investment are helping take me to Interactive Ontario in Toronto, which also kicks off my participation in the BeCuriousTour, with two of my best friends (who're going to be a lot better friends after two weeks sharing cars, vans, trains and planes). There's lots planned for that which cannot be made public quite yet.

October: Middle East

The Education Project October 7-10, Manama, Bahrain (The Education Project)

The Education Project Bahrain takes me for my first foray to the Middle East, as I seek to broaden the horizons of my own understandings and share some of our own vision: that it's not how you build an education city with bricks that is important - it's who and what you put in them that counts.

All photos Ewan McIntosh except for Lorne [bleamo], San Francisco [vgm], Toronto [dexxus], Manama [Hussain]

January 12, 2010

Games Based Learning Conference: book your earlybird rate with me

Games Based Learning 2010
I'm delighted to be speaking at The International Game Based Learning Conference in London, March 29th-30th. But you've only got until January 31st until the earlybird rate - saving you at least £200 - runs out.

Games Based Learning is one of the fastest growing conferences focused on the positive impact that video games and social media are having on learning.

It will be one of the first major events at which I'll be speaking as part of the wider work of my new digital media and education company, the straight-up and no-nonsense NoTosh. More on that at the end of this week.

There's already a fascinating mix of speakers, from such a wide variety of backgrounds (education, military, healthcare, entertainment, corporate training) that discussions are bound to be outstanding:

Ed Vaizey, Shadow Minister for Culture and the Creative Industries
Siobhan Reddy & Kareem Ettouney, Co-founders, Media Molecule
Matt Mason, Author, The Pirates Dilemma
Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor, Education, Channel 4 [blog]
Michael Acton Smith, CEO, Mind Candy
Derek Robertson, Learning & Teaching Scotland
Stephen Heppell, heppell.net
Ewan McIntosh, CEO, NoTosh [website coming soon]
Jonathan Stewart, Director, Hollier Medical Simulation Centre
Major Roy Evans, British Army, Ministry of Defence

If you'd like to be included in this line-up please submit a proposal or you may wish to participate in the international research strand. Submission deadline is January 31st.

In the meantime, make sure you book your tickets before the end of the month to get the cheapest rate possible.

My Top 20 On The Web: and yours? #mytop20

AllMediaScotland asked me to line up my top 20 sites, apps or feeds and, of course, it's one of those impossible-to-hone -down lists. I took up the challenge, though, and picked 20 from my "Read Me First" folder on Google Reader. Have a look and see if there are any new ones on there for you, and then, if the desire takes you, post your own top 20 with the tag #mytop20

January 01, 2010

Happy New Year 2010 from Edinburgh

Thanks 2009 for a happy daughter and saintly wife, a job that didn't exist two years ago, and the chance to try something new. Thanks for a new home and to all of those who've helped keep the roof over our heads and keep our plates full.

2010, a decade for which we still have no name: a true blank sheet of paper where anything is possible if you make it happen. With Edinburgh's amazing Hogmanay fireworks over the Castle, I bid you a Happy New Year!

* Thanks to BBC Scotland for the video clip [and not, in this season of goodwill, sending a take down order too soon], and to, well, me and my fellow Edinburgers for the over-the-top Council Tax contributions that paid for the big bangs. ;-)

January 01, 2009

Happy New Year. Really?

The world in 2009 is set to be gloomy be you poor or well-off, a C2 or A1, employed or self-employed. Except if you're a teacher in the stat system or working as a startup in the online creative sector.

The former will see growth as rich kids from the private schools transfer to the comp as mummy and daddy-the-former-investment-banker can't afford to pay the fees any more, the latter enjoying a good part of a £1 billion (or $1b or €1b) innovation fund from the UK Government, and 4iP in Scotland continuing to attract proportionally more investment and potential spend than any other area in the UK.

For the rest of you, many of whose place in a web-driven world will only become more fudged unless significant change occurs soon, the Rev IM Jolly sums it up. Happy New Year indeed.

For the hard of understanding, this is meant to be wry, as in 'Scotch and'.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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