Saturday, May 16, 2015

A vision for the newSchool

I have for a while worked on articulating a vision for the future school. This vision is inspired by great thought leaders as Sir Ken Robinson, Sugata Mitra, Graham Brown-Martin, John Hattie, Salmar Khan, Seymour Papert, Jean Piaget, Neil Postman and probably many more.

The format is inspired by the agile manifesto for software development.

One could add the phrase :

"That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more" 

How does this resonate with you ? Give your feedback in the comment field.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Learning {Re}imagined

How the connected society is transforming learning

For anyone interested in the future (and current state) of education this is a must read. Graham Brown-Martin has traveled around the world and visited schools in US, Dubai, Africa, Europe and documented stories in words and pictures. He has also had conversations with many of the  thought leaders in educations, and share his own reflections. The book is beautifully designed and is a masterpiece both in content and form. This book is also a tribute to the good old paper format :-)
Also check out the books website

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Educators - the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education.

If you are interested in the future of education, and the people whose ideas are shaping that future I strongly recconmend listening to the great BBC radio series the educators. Sarah Montague interviews great thinkers and doers like Sir Ken Robinson, Salmar Khan, Sugata Mitra and John Hattie.

You can listen to the series as a podcast here:

Monday, June 09, 2014

Learnings from eLearning Africa 2014

I was luckey to attend the 9th eLearning Africa conference in Kampala, Uganda last week. As part of my involvement with Nyenga Foundation, me and principal Grace BaigulaniraI took the opportunity to explore new possibilities for our school at Nyenga.

As a rural school in Uganda, we have a very long way to go in getting connection, equipment and teacher training, but this was a good starting point in getting inspiration, connections and ideas.

My 4 key takeaways from the conference was this:

  • A lot of innovation is taking place in the Afcrican content right now.  Both in terms of developing new technology and content, as well as deploying solutions in schools.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Antifragile Things That Gain From Disorder

Reflections on reading Antifragile by Nassim Taleb

Nassim Taleb who wrote Black Swan brings his thinking a step further by introducing the concept of Antifragile.
The opposite of fragile is not robust. A glass that breaks easily when subjected to outside pressure or  stress is fragile. The opposite is not an item that can withstand the stress, but that is strengthened by it. It seems weird in the start, but after a slow introduction to the concept you reliase there are several systems and organisms that are strengthened by outside stress. Ourselves - humans are the best example. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Most vaccines are constructed based on this principle. By subjecting us to a small dose of the bacterias we become resistant. This principle can be applied to organizations and systems that we create. Nassim Taleb has again taken me on a journey to change my thinking, and the way I see the world around me. He Is one of the greatest current thinkers, who dares to move outside the box and criticize mainstream knowledge, even (especially) if its origin is from Harvard professors with a Nobel price in hand. He illustrates this with his street smart character "Fat Tony" whose success in business is caused by ignorance to academic knowledge.
As a curiosity he references a Norwegian trader and researcher Espen Haug, whom he has written some papers with on Option Pricing, critiquing the Black-Scholes pricing formula. 

PS: Espen Haug has recently published a book, claiming to reveal a unified theory of the universe and everything. Must be an interesting read, but very expensive.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

Although a bit outdated in its references (2008), this book its still a valid analysis of the challanges and possible approaches to fix our current education system. Clayton Christensen applies  his theory of disruptive innovation (developed for other purposes) on education.

Unless top managers actively manages the process, their organizations will shape any disruptive innovation into a sustaining innovation - one that fits the processes, values and economic model of the existing business - because organizations cannot naturally disrupt themselves.

Dissruption in the education system is a shift to individual personalized learning, where each student can progress in their own pace, instead of the "batch" approach that we apply today. This can happen by using computers in a smart way,

Sometimes I had the feeling that Clayton Christensen is to focused on "fitting" his existing theories on the new field, rather than approaching the area of education with a fresh view. On the other hand, he probably invites "business people" to take part in the education system challenges by using a familiar vocabulary and set of references.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Reflections from reading "The Element" by Ken Robinson

Being in your element is when you feel the flow and nothing else is present. Finding that zone where time moves more quickly and fluidly happens mostly when you do something that you are really passionate about. Your element can be a medium of expression or a field of interest.
Sir Ken Robinson is one of the sharpest critics of our educational system. He show in this book how important, and sometimes hard it is to find our own Element. Schools should help us find our true passions - unfortunately they very often fail, sometimes without an attempt . Each one of us has a unique personality and unique way t
o get in the zone. Thinking in terms of categories like the Meyer Briggs 16 personalities types, prevents us from finding our  unique Element. I like his critic of the Myer-Briggs personality test; according to Robinson neither Ms. Briggs nor her daughter Ms. Myers had any qualifications in the field of psychometric testing when they designed the test, still used on millions of people every year. It limits our thinking of personalities down to categories.
The following sums up his view on our educational system:

"The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn't need to be reformed it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education but to personalize, to build achievement on discovering individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they naturally can discover their true passions. The key is to embrace the core principle of the element"

This book is simply great and worth a read from anyone. It was for me a start on a journey to find my own Element - I have discovered interestingly enough that I am really passionate about learning and education. If you want a teaser check out Sir Ken Robinsons TED Talk How schools kill creativity

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The books i Read in 2013

My reading in 2013 was to a large extent dictated by management literature from the course Master of Technology Management at Norwegian School of Economics and Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

However there is always room something else...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Kids coding on Raspberry PI

During Christmas we had a coding workshop in our local code club. I had a Raspberry PI session with 9 kids for the first time. It was fun and we all learnt a bit :-).

The programming was mainly scratch, but I had equipped the Raspberries with Googles coder OS that is an nice way to learn web programming.

The Google coder, works fine when you have one person using the same raspberry, but once two ore more people started to access the same Rasperry, it hang and I had to reinstall the image.

I am fairly new to scratch myself so it was fun to see all the cool stuff the kids made. I must admit that coding Schratch is much better in the online version than on a Raspberry. To justify having a Raperry PI session I think we need some Gadgets to connect to it.  Learning programming is probably better done with online resources.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Digital skolesekk?

Mange kunne tenkt seg en papirløs digital skolesekk, men hva hva skal den fylles med?
Skolens største utfordring er at visjonen er for vag. Vi trenger kunnskapsløft uten reformer og krangel om timeplanen.
DN skriver om Khan Academy som starten på en revolusjon i fjernundervisning.  BT´s Sjur Holsen beskriver den norske skoledebatten som irrelevant.

Jeg kan programmere, jobber med digitale medier, har 3 barn i skolen og en kort karriere som høgskolelektor i bagasjen. Jeg tror på det uforløste potensialet i å bruke teknologi til læring.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Teach the kids to code !

There is a Norwegian movement in shaping, inspired by the US and Codeclub in UK. The initiative Kidsakoder (@kidsakoder) was taken a fe weeks ago and the first meetup was held yesterday.

Why should we teach the kids to program ? I think there are two main motivations for this. 

1. Kids (and the rest of us) should not only have skills to use the technology but understand how its made.  This principle applies to most other disciplines we learn. Computer programs are a fundamental part of our lives and society - they  should to some extent be understood by everyone.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Culture beats strategy

The most inspiring talk at the innovation conference Grow2013 was from René Carayol. He is a leading Business Guru and author of Corporate Voodoo. He has worked with Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and Sir Richard Branson. In his TED talk, he tells the story of being mistaken for a "butler" at a Leadership conference in Barcelona. His point being that:
"Sometimes wrong assumptions are our greatest learning opportunities"

He told us the story of how someone took the time to believe in him, before he believed in himself. He was headhunted to the board of Pepsi.

His main messages is:

"The world is changing fast and we are never going back to the old times, we need to reconsider our assumptions" - times are volatile, uncertain and complex - its the times of the entrepreneurs.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The books I read in 2012

Many of the books I read this year, gave me new perspectives and changed the way I think. Following up on the "Books I read in 2011"

Raushetens tid, Kathrine Aspaas, read Dec 2012
An inspiring book by the finance journalist who put her personal transformation in becoming a more open and sharing person into a bigger context. We are moving into times where openness - fueled by social media, change the way we do business and live our lives. A very eye-opening analysis of the zeitgeist anno 2012.

Language intelligence: lessons on persuation from Jesus, Shakespeare, Joseph J Romm, read August 2012
A real handbook in rhetoric that is understandable for most of us with great examples from Lady Gaga, George Bush, Obama etc.
I stumbled upon a review of this book on The author, a climate activist is blogging on His motivation for writing this book was having larger impact in the climate debate.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Kindle for Kids at Nyenga

I brought the 2 kindles and a wireless router to Nyenga. See my previous post on Planning for Africa. It was fun to introduce Kindle to kids and employees at Nyenga. The bad network connection (and lack of Amazon whispernet), made it slow and unstable to download new books. I did preload some books before I left. The Worldreader project have quite a few books titles for children at Amazon.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Planning for Africa

Our family have decided to spend Christmas in Africa. Our motivation is to see Africa of course, and escape from our well known routines focused on food and gifts. We want to  experience something different and hopefully get a flavor of both some luxury and real life for most people.

We have decided to spend one week in Uganda and one week in Zanzibar. In Uganda we are given the unique opportunity to stay some days at Nyenga Childrens Home. which was founded by a group of volunteers in 2009.  I met one of the founders, an old friend of mine, in June. When I mentioned our plans to go to Africa she replied "we have a house in Uganda - you must go and stay there".

So Uganda it is, and we learned later that Lonely Planet has ranked Uganda as travel destination #1 in 2012. Largely caused by its high level of security and of course beautiful nature, with similar wildlife as  Kenya and Tanzania, but less tourists.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Phone on Fire, Kindle and a Kettle

It was with great excitement I unpacked my new BioLite camp stove today. It was ordered 5 minutes after reading about it in PopularScience+. 10 days later it was delivered on my door. For a camper this is good news - it´s a great camping stove (It boiled 1 litre of water in less than 10 minutes), and it has a USB outlet. As we all know - most modern phone batteries does not survive 2 days of tent life.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Summer - 28 days at sea

Skjermbilde 2012-09-05 kl. 22.09.53IMG_1844IMG_1855IMG_1867IMG_1883IMG_1896

Summer 2012 - sailing, a set on Flickr.
We headed for wonderful Læsø in Kattegat - the third summer in a row. For the first time - I also had to sail the boat back to Bergen. The first week I sailed the boat alone to Kristiansand together with my two youngest kids Emma(9) and Jonas (7). Down there my wife Lene and Emil (13) joined us.

4 weeks in a boat is an adventure and the days were packed with new happenings. Læsø was as beautiful as always and rewarded us with clear water and blue sky enough days - so we felt it was worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

iPad 3 harnessed for sailing

My iPad 3 is now prepared for summer holiday at sea. After some research, the choice landed on Griffins Survivor case. Both because it is reasonable priced and it fits the iPad 3 (even if not stated explicitly on the package). An alternative - the Lifeproof case, not available for iPad 3 yet , looks pretty good, but is slightly more expensive.

After testing it outdoors, I already suspect one problem - sun reflections. With direct sunlight and a small angle, the plastic screen cover very quickly turns into a mirror.

The apps ? Navionics Marine HD of course. Its is a must and have integrated weather forecast which is a huge advantage. In addition Havneguiden (Harbour Guide) which is an excellent guide to all harbors in Scandinavia. Finally,  I can recommend the Windfinder app on iPhone - it provides real time weather data from several weather stations along the coast.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Nassim Taleb: The Black Swan - the impact of the highly improbable

Nassem Taleb born in Lebanon (1960), focuses on problems of randomness and probability. He has been a wall street trader, hedge fund manager and professor at several Universities.

The book have been on my wish list for a while and it suddenly stared at me in a bookstore  - I decided to finally read it.

It is one of these rare books that is important not because of what you learn, but because of what you un-learn.
Humans are in love with the thought that there is a casual link between all historical events and that that most things are possible to predict given the right models.

Economists and social scientists are also in love with simple
models based on Gaussian curves where the mediocre is the centre and everything else is considered deviations from it. Very few real life phenomena actually fit this nice abstract mathematical model. If you are dealing with risk and the magnitude of one single event far from the norm is so big that it changes the whole game - you might be in trouble. 

We have a strong bias towards building models based on the knowledge and information we have, and to a far less extent consider the possible impact of knowledge we do not have. This lead us to create models that nicely accounts for every single grass in the field, but rules out the possibility of a tree.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I rest my case - Evernote and Shakespeare for personal creativity

I promised an update on my search for the optimal personal creativity app in my last blog post. In retrospect in became even clearer to me that it is more inspiring to be guided by Shakespeare and start every day by simply posing the question:

"Who do I want to be today ?" 

rather than what is my Todo list today ? Anyway, I did some googling and stumbled upon The four hour work week blog by Tim Ferriss. I was so curious that I downloaded his book on my Kindle. At first I was very sceptic (and I guess still am), but I must admit he has some very provoking and interesting thoughts on personal productivity and personal creativity.

He convinced me to give Evernote a new (and real try), and I must admit it has more or less all features I have been looking for.

  1. Capture web pages (both just URL and complete page) using web clipper
  2. Capture images
  3. Capture documents like PDFs
  4. A tagging systems - that allows you relate items along several dimensions and escape hierarchies
  5. Instant Cloud based synchronization between all devices
  6. Possibility to create lists
  7. Sharing - by allowing shared notebooks.

The only thing I miss (a bit) is OCR recognition. It may be available in the premium edition I´m not sure.
After less than a moth of usage, I have already stored tons of data and I use it everyday. So my quest for a personal creativity app has ended - I will stay with evernote, and most likely turn into a premium customer very soon. I will dump my brain into this trusted external storage - naive as I am

Sunday, May 13, 2012

ToDo or not ToDo - is that the real question ?

David Allen´s GTD promise of stress-free productivity suggest that lack of productivity is our main source of stress. Too much focus on productivity is stressful by itself.  Are we trapped into thinking about intellectual work using old models inherited from Adam Smith and manufacturing ?

I will rather go for plain creativity.

I´ve been a sucker for productivity and ToDo apps and tried many of them (Gtasks, Omnifocus, Evernote, OneNote, GoogleTasks including the yellow notes on my iPhone that is still a dear friend). I have read David Allens Getting Things Done, and it introduces some very useful ideas, but there is still something with this whole ToDo paradigm that gives me a creepy feeling.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The season of contrasts

In Bergen we do have four seasons, but we never know when we get them. In April and May we can get all in one week; snow, rain, warm and sunny. Sometimes I even have the feeling of getting several of them in the same day. On May 1st it was 17°C, first day of barbecue & shorts. Three days later it was snowing - and I was skiing. I just wanted to post some picture from last week.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Retro cab experience

Yesterday we took a cab to the city centre to listen to Goldenboy. Just as I was about to leave the taxi and looked at the taximeter, my eyes stopped immediately at this phone that should have been on a technical museum. According to the proud taxi driver,  it is 14 years old and still working. This phone was released 1996 so that may well be true. I asked if a could take a picture - and of course I could.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SVG on mobile - The next big thing

I just submitted a talk to JavaZone before the deadline April 16.

Scalable Vector Graphics is a mature standard that have been around for a long time, but have lived in the shadow of Flash and suffered lack of browser support. Today SVG has gaining rapidly support in browsers and authoring tools. Its fully integrated with, and part of the larger html5 umbrella. SVG has a huge potential for creators of interactive graphic content. One of the great advantages is the inherent scalability, that makes the graphics crisp on any screen size without conversion.
The talk draws on findings from Ruben Havres master thesis “The use of SVG as a dynamic graphic on mobile devices” at Bergen University College that I initiated.

Other conferences interested in this talk ?

Monday, March 26, 2012

House on the moon and opera in the fjords

March 15th I attended the GROW innovation conference in Bergen for the second year. It was a day for inspiration and new perspectives.

Most refreshing I found the talk of the Swedish artist Mikael Genberg whose project is to build a little red house on the moon - Luna Resort. The project seems more likely to matrialize than I thought at first. In 2008 NASA gained interest in the project and invited him for a meeting. You can read about the project in his blog (swedish). Other interesting projects of his are the Woodpecker Hotel located in a tree in the central park of Stockholm, and a underwater hotel 3m below the surface of Lake Mälaren near Stockholm. He also has a underwater hotel project at Zanzibar in progress.