147 posts categorized "World of Ewan"

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
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'.

December 27, 2008

Another city, another night away from home...

Hotel door Apart from the camisole, Meg's rundown of her nights away from home is incredibly similar - nay, entirely - to all those that I've had this past year in my three-and-a-half times around the world this year. I'm rather glad that I'll be seeing far fewer of those double king beds and impossible wifi instructions in '09.

November 24, 2008

edu.blogs.com - 7th most reach in the UK online scene

Red phone box For the first time NowPublic have done their metrics testing of who, in the UK, has the most reach in terms of broadband broadcasting, and I'm delighted to be pitched at No. 7 amongst some stellar company.

“The goal of NowPublic’s MostPublic Index is to measure—on a completely transparent, metric-driven basis—who has the greatest digital reach and is most effectively broadcasting their own personal brand online,” said Leonard Brody, CEO of NowPublic.


Worthy of note is that I'm three places ahead of big bro, Neil (well, you've got to have some brotherly competition, no?) and a bevvy of Guardian blogerati, and just ahead of comic legend Stephen Fry and BBC political blogger Nick Robinson. Also blushing to be ahead of the guy who really pushed me into working on my tod, Euan Semple.

There are some other great blogs and sites to try out there, and vary your reading list a bit. I bet that's what people are saying about my blog (who/how/why the hell..?)

Pic; Red boxes

September 20, 2008

Shanghai. Credit Crunch. Boxer Shorts

Alex_cartoon_boxer_shorts_3 Former colleague Penny Sim was quick to spot the connection between my predicament in Shanghai, its quaint resolution and the credit crunch cartoon from Alex in this week's Telegraph. I just thought it was a novel way to get three seemingly unconnected words together in one blog post title.

September 19, 2008

On boxer shorts, and a' that

Alex_cartoon_boxer_shorts It's true. I could have come half way around the world to Shanghai with nothing but carry-on luggage and the saintly wife of Mr Thinking Stick, who went out this morning to get some boxer shorts from Carrefour for me. Jolly nice they are, too. Something to remember the trip by, if you will. Former colleague Penny Sim at LTS was quick enough in her Twitter and newsreading skills to find the Telegraph's topical cartoon that might just go someway to explaining my predicament. Thankfully, I have the Utechts to get me out of this particular crunch.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

Ewan’s education keynotes & MasterClasses

Module Masterclass

Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

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