The lessons learned and developed over this course began with an overview of Thomas Friedman’s analysis of globalization in the 21st century.  The discussion of Friedman’s ideas of a flattening world encouraged me to think deeper in to how technological advancements, governments, businesses and even people work closer even though they are spread apart all over the world.  This lesson also introduced a contrasting view by Florida (2005) who suggests that the world is not flat it is just leveled (p. 48).  He suggests that where areas of population spike demonstrates where more people have access to newer technologies as opposed to flat areas where people may have been left behind due to lack of opportunities in newer technology.  These perspectives helped me to relate this to my own job and how we use technology to communicate to other parts of the world.  This has made the business of education more effective, flexible, and communicative. 

 

The second part of this class enabled me to research and learn about a new online tool.  I chose PBworks because it is a tool that I was able to implement in my work.  As an educator, PBworks enables users to collaborate online, share files, and manage projects.  This was an especially interesting tool to learn about because PBworks also offers a platform for knowledge management systems (KMS).  This can be useful in learning environments because it holds information that students or employees can access if they have questions about processes, online learning, subject matter, human resources, educational financing, etc.

 

The triple convergence discussion helped me to understand the idea of globalization 3.0.  The idea of Freidman’s concept of The Triple Convergence and the relation it has to knowledge management has enabled users to develop horizontal collaboration systems.  These systems help users to share, provide, represent, and distribute information across many platforms. The use of social networks is a great example of this and is used in many universities across the United States.

 

One of the most interesting lessons of this class discussed how the nature of work is changing due to the web.  Although the web has changed the way we learn in educational settings with the use of online teaching formats with a more student-centered approach, educational institutions must also stay abreast of this changing environment.  Learning and discussing the implications of how the web changes within education has helped me to reflect a bit deeper within the scope of my role and propose better solutions.  One example of how the web has changed the nature of education is a new initiative called Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) “turns a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment by engaging students in critical reasoning and problem solving while enabling them to generate, share, and evaluate multimedia-rich inquiries” (Stanford, 2012).

 

In this class, we were able to discuss the pros and cons of the free Internet. Here I learned that although the Internet provides many capabilities to networked workers, there are still many challenges that face businesses. Internet security threat, reliability, and privacy issues name a few.

 

Another lesson that was learned in this class was how employees misuse the Internet.  Many employees utilize the Internet for personal reasons and it is up to the organization to develop policies and procedures so that these employees are aware of the organizational guidelines. As stated in my previous blog post, According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2012), states that of the HR professionals that participated in the survey state that 40% state they have a formal social media policy in their organizations. (Society for Human Resource Management, 2012).   This will be helpful to initiate in my current organization. 

 

Finally, adapting to emerging technologies is critical to any organization.  Leaders must stay current with new technological trends.  In order to do so organizations should continue to purchase the new software so that they are always up to date.  There are also implications to these new emerging technologies, one of the biggest to note is the fact that the technology is changing faster than we can keep up with it.

 

Overall, this was a wonderful course and as noted previously, each of these subjects can help me in my current field.  Leaders should understand how and when technology and the web change, know how to choose the best technology that fits the purpose of the goal, remain ethical when using technology, and purchase and use the most recent technology so that you aren’t left behind.  In a nut shell, these are all ways to continue to maintain a thoughtful perspective on technology in leadership. 

 

Florida, R. (2005).  The world in numbers: The world is spiky globalization has changed the economic field, but hasn’t leveled it.  The Atlantic Monthly

 

Freidman, T. (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century.  New York, New York:  Picador

 

 

 

Stanford University (2012). Office of Innovation &Technology. SMILE: Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning Environment. Retrieved: http://gse-it.stanford.edu/research/project/smile

Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in Business Strategy and Operations. Shedding Light on the Business of HR. 2012 Retrieved: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/Part_4_Social_Media_Flier.pdf

 

 

Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine, describes six verbs that are shaping the future of the Internet: screening, interacting, sharing, flowing, accessing, and generating.  Kelly’s assessment of emerging technology provides us a window into what our world will look like in the future and how we must stay current and adapt as this technology changes.  Technological trends are not only providing a more productive solution for business or increasing the speed in which individuals can meet ever day goals, they are expanding the use of how we utilize data, increasing the rates in which share and interact socially, physically, and mentally, and most importantly transforming our human culture.  Kelly uses the example of how people are using data in every day life by sharing information.  He notes, we share real-time data about our healthy habits, location, activities, health statistics, and weight. When speaking about sharing and how it relates to the future of the Internet, Kelly (2011) states, “part of the adventure now is to imagine things that are not being shared now and how they can be shared”. This is the mindset of the future.

As technology continues to establish new grounds at an increasing pace, staying current and adapting to these exponential changes are critical. Organizations can implement many best practices to their repertoire in order to remain fluid in the knowledge and practice of technology.  According to an article posted on Six Sigma Online (2012), in order “to survive in the modern business world, business executives should try to purchase and use the latest software and hardware they can find and afford” (Six Sigma Online, 2012).  The continuous use of the modern technology in daily practice can help to keep employees educated and improve the ways in which organizations attempt to adopt these emerging technologies.  As leaders we should be involved in continuing education efforts and at the same time train our employees on these same emerging technologies.  First, however, we must articulate the value of these new advances and design processes in order to evaluate and implement them.

With the convergence of applications, data, screens, and social media brings many new implications within a networked environment.  In the modern world, we broadcast our lives to others freely and openly without considering any consequences.  By doing so, opens ourselves up to a host of privacy issues. Although there are ways to maintain anonymity, more and more users are becoming comfortable with sharing information about oneself without hesitation.

Another implication to emerging technology is that technology is changing faster than individuals can adapt.  We see this mostly in organizations where there is a lack of financial investment in training employees for these changes, purchasing updated software and products, and the unwillingness to take risk and adopt new ideas.  The organizations that are up to date in their technological practices have found ways to deliver and infuse the new technology to their employees.  However, these same organizations find it difficult to diffuse new innovations, so the time it takes to shift one gear the second gear is already in motion.

References:

Kelly, K. (2011). Web 2.0 Expo. Retrieved :http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2011/public/schedule/detail/19292

Six Sigma (2012). Stay Current with Modern Technology. Retrieved: http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-training-certification-information/stay-current-with-modern-technology.html

Employees who misuse the Internet during work hours have become an increasing concern for many organizations. According to a survey conducted by salary.com, 64% of the survey participants said they visit non-work related websites every day during their working hours (salary.com, 2012). Misusing the Internet during working hours brings a host of ethical and productivity issues, and because of this, many organizations attempt to minimize unethical behavior that is a result of inappropriate use of the Internet in the workplace.  The following blog post will discuss social media as one of the biggest areas of misuse of the web in the workplace and will provide a brief discussion what organizations can do to help this situation.

Many organizations have different ideas of what is considered inappropriate use of the Internet. Some of the major types of behaviors that organizations consider to be unethical and unacceptable Internet use include the following; (1) checking news headlines, (2) the use of personal email, (3) banking online, (4) playing games, and (5) checking the stock market to be some of the most common uses.  However, many organizations require that employees use resources and websites on the Internet to help the organization market their products. Some organizations even encourage the use of social media to engage in networking, staying abreast of work-related topics, continuing education, and to participate in online conferences. Contrary to this, many organizations also discourage employees that engage in this type of behavior in fear of loss of production and security breaches.  Whatever the case may be, organizations should ensure that proper policies are in place so that employees are less likely to inappropriately use the Internet. 

Social media has become a major part of communication in business and many organizations have opted to set standards for policy making of the use of social media at work.  Social media plays a critical part in the way organizations market their products, interact with customers outside of the organization, manage teams, and hire employees.  Some organizations have gone as far as implementing a formal social media policy.  According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2012), states that of the HR professionals that participated in the survey state that 40% state they have a formal social media policy in their organizations. (Society for Human Resource Management, 2012).   These statistics show that there is a growing response to the need for such policies and organizations are recognizing the ethical and productivity implications that are involved in cyberloafing. 

 

Creating policies and procedures for the proper use of Internet use is critical to employers that wish to enforce ethical behavior.  In a recent article in Forbes, the author states that “establishing and enforcing policies should improve productivity but can also increase the security of company information, the security of company technical assets (computers), and will potentially reduce the liability associated with issues related to sexual harassment or employee job performance” (Forbes, 2012).  However, in many cases, enforcing policies within organizations for Internet use can only stop some the unethical practices.   Many employees bring their own devices such as iPhones, IPads, Nooks, and many other small portable devices to the workplace. Many organizations are encouraging this new FAD of bringing in your own device, which is known as BYOD (Henshell, 2013).  This can pose many other ethical issues that organizations should consider when managing, implementing, and enforcing such policies.  According to Henshell and author for the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy (2013), the BYOD initiative “is despised by IT departments because it presents security and support problems” (Henshell, 2013). 

Organizations that encourage the use of these devices should implement standards to determine ethical considerations.  First, they should define what is considered ethical.  Is it considered unethical for employees to make a personal phone call from their person device while at work?  Or is it unethical to check Facebook or Twitter updates from their own device during working hours? We know that visiting offensive sites are unacceptable, but where do we draw the line? Employers should divide these categories or levels of misuse and organize them in way that they can implement effective policies.  Henshell (2013), suggests “inoffensive non-work-related usage of technology devices can be divided into two categories: personal business and play, also called ‘cyberloafing’” (Henshell, 2013).  The main point here, is that it will vary based on the organization. 

Forbes (2013). Employees Really Do Waste Time at Work. Retrieved: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/07/17/employees-really-do-waste-time-at-work/

Henshell, J. (2013). Center for Digital Ethics & Policiy. Cyberloafing, BYOD, and the ethics of using technology devices at work. Retrieved: http://digitalethics.org/essays/cyberloafing-byod-ethics-technology-at-work/

Salary.com (2012).  Wasting Time at Work 2012. Retrieved:

http://www.salary.com/wasting-time-at-work-2012/slide/2/

Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in Business Strategy and Operations. Shedding Light on the Business of HR. 2012 Retrieved: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/Part_4_Social_Media_Flier.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactivity, convenience, speed, organization, and efficiency describe only some of the opportunities that networked workers bring to an organization.  The ability to virtually communicate with anyone around the world can foster strong working relationships, promote the ability for businesses to conduct negotiations and agreements, and enable organizations to promote their products easily and efficiently.

Although the Internet has advanced the capabilities of networked workers within an organization, there are also many challenges that are associated with workers that use the Internet to conduct business.  Communication is a fundamental practice with any business type. When dealing with business communications across the globe, networked workers may find there are many cultural differences that may affect their interactions with other networked workers.   Many business dealings require workers from different areas of the world to discuss complex product specifications and in many circumstances these communications must be mutually understood.  When they are not, complications in negotiations and agreements may be problematic.  For example,

Additionally, the rise in available resources on the Internet has enabled workers to expand their knowledge about a particular subject.  If fact, many organizations use the Internet to research topics to help them become more effective.  A study conducted for nonprofit organizations concludes that “utilizing available Internet tools is quickly becoming necessary for an NPO’s survival” (Miller, 2010 p.47).  However, networked workers must be cautious of the reliability of information that is available to them.  The endless use of blogging and social networking is overloaded with both reliable and unreliable sources of information and workers must choose the source of information wisely.    

More specifically, in the business of education, more public and private universities have adopted non-traditional methods to learning that include distant-learning programs.  Online learning allows students to attend classes, interact in discussions, and take online assessments from anywhere in the world.  Although this is convenient for the learner, it poses many concerns with some online educators.  Because online assessment is much easier to access and educators can not watch students work or take tests, this presents many concerns for educators. Some may claim that because of these factors, students are much more likely to cheat. 

Perhaps one of the most profound challenges that are associated to networked workers is an Internet security threat.  Many organizations attempt to use secure networks by using anit-virus, firewalls, and anti-spyware.  However, many organizations still face security risks that target and breach many high-profile data of large corporations.  According to the 2010/2011 Computer Crime and Security Survey, 41.6% of the respondents within organizations say they have experienced a security incident (CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey, 2011/12).  Although this number shows that most respondents do not experience security threats, this is still an issue within organizations. 

Overall, the Internet has many benefits when used by networked workers within organizations. The resources on the Internet have enabled users to connect globally, increase productivity, and provide an efficient way to conduct business.  Although, there are many benefits, risks do exist.  Organizations and networked workers should be educated on these risks and act appropriately. 

References:

Computer Security Institute. Computer Crime and Security Survey. (2011/2012). Retrieved: https://cours.etsmtl.ca/log619/documents/divers/CSIsurvey2010.pdf

Miller, D., (2010), Nonprofit Organizations and the Emerging Potential of Social Media and Internet Resources. Volume 6, Issue Article 4.

Leveraging the Power of Web Tools for Productivity in Education

The following blog will reflect on how the nature of work is changing due to the web in education and list the implications that the web poses on the leadership in higher education. 

Today, the nature of work has changed the structure, framework, and processes of how we do business around the world due to the web, particularly in education.  Learning has shifted from a teacher-centered format to a student-centered format and the web has helped to foster this shift. With the use of collaborative web tools such as GoToMeeting, Skype, Trello, and Basecamp students are able to collaborate by sharing ideas, innovations, and critical thoughts through an asynchronous or synchronous platform.  Prior to the web students would demonstrate an understanding of a topic by articulating the knowledge learned through hand-written documents, verbal communication, and pencil and paper tests.  Now demonstrated learning can be assessed by a multitude of web and technology based tools.  This has enhanced the students learning, increased efficiency, and promoted innovation and creativity.

More recently, the use of mobile learning has shifted the way teachers and students interact even in the classroom.  Students can now use their iPhones and other smartphone devices during class sessions.  By using the same network students can answer questions that are provided during class and the answers can be evaluated real-time.  A new initiative called Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) “turns a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment by engaging students in critical reasoning and problem solving while enabling them to generate, share, and evaluate multimedia-rich inquiries” (Stanford, 2012).

The emergence and development of the web has changed the way educational institutions administer and facilitate instruction to students.  One of the overarching goals for most educational institutions is to expand student knowledge to prepare them for a challenging profession.  In order to do so, these institutions must learn how to adapt to the continual changes in technology, but more importantly leaders of educational institutions must know the tools’ purpose in order to match the learning objectives to the appropriate technology.  Because of this, leaders of educational institutions are faced with the daunting task of continuously updating materials and course curriculum to meet the needs of technological advancements.  The implication that educational administration faces is that technology changes faster than the time it takes to continuously change the material while giving students enough time to retain what is currently being taught. 

Stanford University (2012). Office of Innovation &Technology. SMILE: Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning Environment. Retrieved: http://gse-it.stanford.edu/research/project/smile

 

The following blog will reflect on Friedman’s concept of the Triple Convergence and its relationship to knowledge management.  It will also explore the relationship the role of leadership in knowledge management.

Chapter three of Friedman’s broad message of a flatter playing field explores the concept of “the triple convergence”.  He explains that with the use of the ten flatteners, leaders from all areas of business are enabled to “get comfortable with, and develop, the sorts of horizontal collaboration and value-creation processes and habits that could take advantage of this new, flatter playing field” (Friedman, 2005).  Friedman compares the era of Globalization 2.0, which he describes as being “vertical silos” of collaboration to Globalizations 3.0, which he considers to be a flatter, side to side method of collaboration.  The new technology that he introduced in Globalization 3.0 fosters a fresh way of conducting business practices.  According to Friedman, the combination of computers, web tools, and a faster means to retrieve data through fiber-optic cable, businesses are able to connect and collaborate “horizontally.”  Friedman suggests the concept of  “the triple convergence” is “reshaping the whole global business environment” (Friedman, 2005).   In the following blog, the author will explore the relationship of “the triple convergence” to knowledge management and how it plays a role of leadership today.

Knowledge management (KM) can be defined as a process to share, provide, represent, and distribute information in an organized way so that it is available for the use of organizations and individuals. Friedman’s contribution in explaining “the triple convergence” helps us to understand the foundations and relationships that it holds with knowledge management. Today, individuals not only retrieve and view information across networks, they also can comment and share thoughts about the same information through social networks. The convergence of a plethora of technology has enabled organizations in an increasingly competitive world, to access knowledge in a multitude of settings. The use of this knowledge has shaped the way people share ideas through horizontal organizational structures.

The role of leadership, as it relates to knowledge management, has been discussed in many forums. Jarche (2013) describes ways to incorporate KM in a recent blog post titled “From Hierarchies to Wirearchies”. Jarche (2013) explains that organizations should support environments that are cooperative and collaborative and for organizations to be successful in an emerging “network era” it must “support both types of activities”. This will help to encourage “social networking which can increase innovation through a diversity of ideas”. The relationship between these ideas describes how organizations are no longer sending information from top down, but the information is provided “side to side” or within a “wirearchy”.   The following example of provides an example of an organization that supports both of these concepts.

The following paragraphs will demonstrate an example of the role knowledge management plays in leadership today.  XYZ Organization, a cable company offering land-line phone, internet, cable, and wireless services, implemented a strategy to organize and distribute data and information for internal and external stakeholders.  The internal stakeholders include the organization’s staff and the external stakeholders are its customers. By providing the information to internal and external stakeholders helps to “flatten the playing field”.  These efforts focused on outcomes that would improve overall organizational performance to stay competitive in an ever-changing industry.  The knowledge management system (KMS) acted as a compass that provided information to help sales, marketing, technology, engineering, human resources, and innovative operations that provided the individuals of these groups the ability to solve problems and think critically.  The idea is to provide all stakeholders with the same information to be accessed anywhere at anytime.  The KMS is a revolutionary system that changed the way XYZ Organization conducted business.

This has enabled the user, both internal and external, to gain useful information to improve their practical understanding about the products and services that were provided at XYZ Organization, hence, “flattening the playing field”.

References:

Friedman, Thomas L. (2007). The World is Flat 3.0 – A Brief History of the Twenty-First

Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Florida, Richard. (2005). The World in Numbers, The World is Spiky. The Atlantic Monthly,

pp. 201-265.

Jarche, H., (2013). From Hierarchies to Wirearchies. Retrieved: http://www.jarche.com/2013/03/from-hierarchies-to-wirearchies/

Assignment Two: ILD 831

For your assigned tool, research (1) What is it?, (2)  How might it be used for your leadership situation (education, healthcare, business, non-profit, etc.)?, and (3) What are downsides to using it?  If you would like to strike out further, go back to the list of top tools.  Given your own discipline and work environment, which resonate with you and appear to have promising possibilities for further research? This second part is optional but might be something some of you want to explore.  This is your initial post which will count as your written assignment for this week.

Keep the focus of your initial post and responses tied to this week’s learning objectives:

    • Research and describe a web-based tool and its potential use.
    • Review and comment on other tools researched by classmates
    • Identify ways that web-based tools can improve productivity in your workplace.

Introduction to the PBworks Tool and its Use – http://pbworks.com/

PBworks is an online collaboration platform that allows users to share files and manage projects within an online environment. It is a commercial product that offers real-time collaborative editing (RTCE).  In short, RTCE is a software application that allows several individuals at one time edit one or several computer documents on different computers. The PBworks tool offers services to a variety of organizational structures that include: agencies, law firms, general businesses, and educational institutions. It also offers free basic features for free and upgraded or advanced features for a fee. PBworks can also build products that are specific to organizational needs.  For example, PBworks will create a specific tool for a non-profit agency to manage their meetings more effectively.

Downsides To Using the Tool

The main downside to this platform is that in order to utilize the full advantage of this tool you have to pay a fee.  This is a downside because there are other similar tools that can be used for free. It really depends on what the organization is utilizing it for.  For example, if organizational members are interested in sharing documents across units, then the organization may want to use google docs (which is free) for this purpose.   There is no need to purchase an application if the main purpose is to share documents.  With the basic free account users only have one single workspace, 2GB storage, no SSL, no per-page security, you can’t use it for business reasons (individual use only), and it has limited email support.

The Educational Leadership (Higher Education perspective)

For an educational leadership perspective regarding PBworks, this tool has many benefits.  First, this website is easy to use and learn.  The most useful way to use this tool is to interact in both online ad campus courses.  Educators can use this tool for discussions about a specific subject.  The students are then able to comment back and forth while providing their thoughts about a topic in question.  Another useful aspect of PBworks is that students that are working in groups can share documents and track their progress on the project while discussing the project’s design, implementation, and follow through all in the same workspace.  This will centralize the location of all project’s documents in one area. This tool would best be fit for online learning as it helps to manage communications between instructor and the students, collectively.  Students are able to login at any time of the day and view comments from other students or feedback that the instructor provides.  The instructor is also able to track student usage and monitor student interaction in an effective way.  Overall, this tool is used as a vehicle for participants of education to exchange creative ideas and documents.

After creating a login and signing in, I was quickly able to create a workspace and get started.  Within the platform is specifically asks the user to choose the field that fits your needs (Legal, Agency, Business, Education). This is very helpful because it reduces the amount of time it would take to train students.  With the fee version of PBworks, you are able to have 100GB of storage and more is available, but with a fee.  With the free version you are able to; export data, customize security options, encrypt information over the internet (SSL), customize your workspace appearance, search, add tasks and milestones to your work, track client engagement, document guest repositories, audit the logging of individual tasks, social network, and microblog.  All of these options are useful and helpful in the educational environment. For example, students can collaborate on projects, share workspaces, add their assignments, share best practices, blog about a specific assignment, track the progress of assignments and projects.

Currently, PBworks hosts more than 300,000 workspaces for the educational industry. As stated on their website, the use of this tool ranges from large universities to public k-12 schools.  Universities and schools use this product to encourage a student-centered environment, provide resources to students, and interact virtually.  Students, faculty, and staff can also easily upload photos and graphics to the platform. This product seems reliable to universities that are using it as it is shown in the testimonials that are stated on their website.

PBworks also offers a platform for knowledge management systems (KMS).  This can be useful in learning environments because it holds information that students or employees can access if they have questions about processes, online learning, subject matter, human resources, educational financing, etc.

PBworks also offers technical support.  They have email and phone support from 7 am to 7 pm Sunday through Friday with a less than four-hour response rate.  This is useful students, faculty, and staff that are having technological issues.

Further Research of other Tools That Can Benefit Education

 

Moving forward, I would like to research a few other tools that may be helpful in the educational environment.  The first one is Audacity.  As an instructor, this can be used to record weekly instructions for assignments, quizzes, and projects for online students.  Having this not only in written form can help students that learn by audio.  I would also like to research Edublogs.  This tool would be useful in an educational setting to provide students to exchange ideas via a blog format, just like we are doing for this class. I will provide students with a means for communicating and sharing their work, as well as, teaching them the application used to do so.