Takeaways from National eXtension Conference 2014

There were an enormous amount of takeaways for me from the National eXtension Conference 2014, so I anticipate this is the first of a few posts reflecting on conference takeaways, but here are a few things I didn’t want to forget:

Audience with no internet access? Can you help them get it?

During Dave Gray’s keynote (recording here), the following Q and A occurred:

In the past years, this has been the rub for many serving multiple audiences -some having and some not having Internet access. Gray’s answer helped me rethink that the way to provide access may actually be to help them get online access as they’ve done in this San Antonio Public library.  Extension could be a key advocate in helping this happen by working with local city and governments.

Purpose, Personal Branding, Personalization

Gray talked about “Purpose, Pods, and Platforms” and that purpose can be used to help drive autonomy to help people self-organize and work together.  Jane Hart and Harold Jarche discussed (recording here) that personal learning and personal branding will go hand in hand now and in the future as people are learning to be more self-organized, self-directed knowledge workers.

I think this raises the point that purpose is more important than ever to be intentional about communicating on behalf of your brand, and organization, as it matters how the organization and individuals can communicate and pull together to get work done.

Infusion of network and social learning literacies into learning opportunities.

Listening to Jane Hart, it became even clearer to me we need to infuse educational curriculum and learning opportunities by integrating network literacy , PKM, and the Seek-Sense-Share concepts framework, as we teach others to find and use resources.

During the conference @soapboxmommy provided an example of how this is being done in her Fostering Social Media Self-Efficacy in Future Family Science Professionals presentation, including a slide where she identified 15 social media competencies.

Driving project performance with friendly competition

During a post-conference meeting, we discussed placing our overall project’s discussions in a central place like Basecamp. The ideas would be to unite several teams in overall project discussions where teams could keep track of decisions, ask and answer each others questions, and provide more opportunities for cross-collaboration between teams.

And then> Anne Adrian mentioned it could also increase our overall  performance through a little friendly competition between teams. I often think about using tools to help us work together, but rarely think about spurring friendly competition to drive the performance of the whole project. It was a great point I will remember in the future!

Does knowledge die in email or is email the death of knowledge?

During the same post-conference meeting I just reference, we started by sharing what we learned at the conference. Here I share a humorous exchange that took place as a result of the Master Panel discussion (recording here):

Team member 1 said:

What stuck with me is Dave Gray saying, “Email is the death of knowledge.”

Team member two said:

I don’t think he said that exactly, he said: “Email is where knowledge goes to die.”

Team member 1 said, curtly, with a hand wave:

“Well, I thought I’d be more direct and just get to the point. I think it’s the death of knowledge”

The room burst out in laughter – probably because everybody feels the pain that email can cause to a group or organization in restricting team participation or developing situation awareness among members. It was a good moment for many of us to think through using social tools to share our work more openly, rather then to lose it in the blackhole of email.

Key Personal Takeaway Action – Get going on PKM for real this time.

Last but not least, this conference helped me re-emphasize just how important it is that I really need to work on my commitment to consistently working in PKM to my everyday workflow and routine.

My largest area of need is to continue blogging, as I understand this will be helpful for me for a number of reasons (see: Finally finding motivations for starting to blog).  Afterall, it’s one thing to think you should do something, and another thing to do it.  In the next 2 months,  I plan on putting this into practice, developing my routine, and finding a few colleagues that will hold me accountable.


4 thoughts on “Takeaways from National eXtension Conference 2014

  1. Great job capturing some of the nuggets of wisdom that were flowing throughout the conference. I left the conference energized and hopeful. While I’m unlikely to write as extensively or eloquently as you, I consider the first weigh-in of our Blog Watchers team to be a success – keep me honest!

    • Thanks, Steve. I totally violated my rule to hover around 500 words, but I could not boil it down to less this time. I kept in mind the panel discussion about Satisficing and decided to publish. This blog post will help me harvest the key points later, and that is where I’m starting. Maybe in another 3 – 5 years, they’ll be shorter 🙂

      Thanks for helping to keep me accountable to blog. #blogwatchers

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