Your Reputation Creates the Way You Will Learn — A Social Media Project that Tests the Reputation Graph
Credit to Jon Bischke who has really been the vanguard in reputation graph thinking. This series is dedicated to him.
Here’s one of the first interviews we’ve received in a social media project to track what people think about education and their careers. We have based this project on the idea that your reputation online will model your ability to learn and to teach others, as people turn increasingly to the online space for their information, social networking and education.
Keep following us and spread this around by copying the link and putting it on your social pages and blogs. I am interviewing people as they come in. You can contact me through email and by leaving a comment on this blog.
Douglas: Can you think of a single skill you learned in K12 that you use today in a way that has made you feel successful in business or in your career, in general? What is it and why has it helped?
Ryan: In my K12 experience I learned how to take a beating and still come out on top. This is a real skill that innovators need to have. There are so many people who will tell you that something can’t work–as an innovator you need to be able to take a good beating and come back stronger than before.
Ryan: Social Learning! Technology will be continue to be the basis of education as it progresses–but the emphasis will be on using technology to connect learners and teachers together in more meaningful ways. I have spent a good deal of time over the past several years developing concepts around how technology can support deeper learning opportunities and the answer is by connecting more people to each other and increasing access to learning opportunities.
Douglas: What have you learned in your engagement in social media that has helped you in your current career?
Ryan: Connections matter. Social networks and associated social media have allowed me access to a whole host of amazing people from all over the world. They allowed me to see the innovations faster, to attack specific business problems in a cost effective way, and to build my own personal brand along with my businesses. Social media has played a fundamental role in all of my current work and as I mentioned in the answer to the above question–I expect it will continue to provide the basis for my work well into the future.
Douglas: Can you describe a transformative experience you have had that was brought on by engaging with others in the digital media space?
Ryan: I created a social learning program for a very large health care organization. The goal was to provide a better pathway for its 50,000 employees to successfully enter online college programs. I recently visited this company to participate in an annual report of the progress to date. Several employee/students spoke about their experiences using programs that I had developed. I recognized one person in particular from the social learning community that I had built. Her story of moving from near poverty to employment and from employment into college was so moving to me. The woman next to me cried, but I wanted to run up and hug her. She was one of my students even though I never taught her directly. To me–the power of social learning lies within that story.
I’d add another experience as well. As president of eduFire.com I have a connection to learners from around the world. We recently launched a program call “Live From,” in which we look for a teacher located in a socially important place and we engage the teacher to teach from the scene of the event. Specifically–we just ran a class called Live From Egypt: Learn about the Egyptian Revolution from a Teacher Located in Alexandria, Egypt. This was an amazing experience to be a part of and one which we hope to repeat soon!
Douglas: If you were to hire someone for a job in your current career today, what would you expect that person to know how to do immediately? Does the current education system from which you pull your talent offer this kind of training, or do you feel that it is training you have to offer your new hires?
Ryan: I would expect a person who might try to do what I do to be able to see the connections between different systems and recognize ways to make those connections play together. He or she wouldn’t need to be a technologist–but they had better look at technology as an opportunity rather than a challenge. I do not know of any educational system that offers this sort of training–other than to say: critical thinking is the key skill for those playing in the social media space. It is about seeing everything as if it is a puzzle and being confident that all the pieces can fit together to create a new picture.