Learning, Digital & Education from Oliver Quinlan.
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This week: Digital agility, the social media vortex and future skills

It's the last Quinlearning for 2017, as I'm off on holiday next week and back right before the Christmas holiday. Thanks for following this year, and I'll be back in the new year.

The Digitally Agile Researcher

A bit of aplug this week, as the book I've edited with Natalia Kucirkova is out now. We worked with a whole host of experts to put together this volume on skills, tools and approaches for researchers in the digital world. The book covers everything from how to build an online network, to communicating your research findings online and even using online connections to conduct research. As well as some very experienced academics, we've got contributions from journalists and technologists on hybrid approaches to digital academia. It's been put together to provide anyone working in research with a set of views to help them reflect, plan and get started making the most of current digital tools and environments in their work. Copies are available at

If you're more interested in the teaching and learning side of things, take a look at my book 'The Thinking Teacher'.

The Vortex Why we are all to blame for the nightmare of online debate

So much is written on the ills of online culture, but it's often about blaming tech companies for constructing our environment in such a way, or 'others' for the way they behave. This refreshingly reflective long read takes a look at our own roles within this situation as individuals. We might be operating in a less that ideal environment, but we still have agency if we choose to exercise it, perhaps most importantly the agency to look at our own actions and the effects they have on our own state of mind and the actions that result from this. We shouldn't settle for an online world that paints us into a corner to behanve in certain ways, but we all have the choice of how to use our own attention. Worth reflecting on.

Acting now for future skills

I spent Thursday at a really interesting event from my previous employers Nesta looking at the skills we might need for the future, or at least the future of work. The videos from the day, and They've just published some research into the kinds of skills that young people need to develop for work in the future, and brought together some really interesting people to discuss the implications. One of the most interesting implications it got me thinking about is that this isn't just for young people. In fact, the majority of people are in the workforce and reskilling is becoming incredibly important and can be fiendishly difficult. Just look at what's happening with computing teachers in the UK to see how hard it can be to support people to skill up with new skills and new digital know how. 

The tone of the event was optimistic, and there were lots of good reasons to be so. However, I found it a little irksome to hear speakers talking to a room full of knowledge workers affirming that the future of work was tech augmenting jobs rather than replacing them. Try telling that to people who work in the transportation industry or manufacturing. As 'a society' we might end up OK (by some definitions), but I couldn't help thinking of the mining communities in the UK still affected by changes to their industry a generation or more ago.
... and finally...
Thanks for reading.
Until next week,


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