Sunday, August 30, 2015

Where to from here? A wicked problem

A great deal has changed in the ICT space for our schools over the last two years - the rise of social and mobile media, the use of cloud services for the effective and efficient delivery of agile infrastructure, and the interest and influence of large national and multinational companies - to name a few.

At the same time there's been a more gradual but just as profound change in society and culture as a result of the pervasive and often invisible ICTs. The trends and expectations I see in my role can be summarised as follows.

New approaches are required. This challenge has the characteristics of a ‘wicked problem’.

It is a moving target and is socially complex. It involves changing values and new behaviours.

It challenges current boundaries and policies, questions assumptions, and there may be no single ‘solution’.

To understand wicked problems I like the analogy of playing a ball game.

You are focussed on the ball and reaching the goals...
You build personal and team skills and become strategic.

Then the goals move - but you are not distracted and remain focussed on the ball...

You sense the ground shaking under your feet - but you skilfully adapt and approach the goals.

You kick a brilliant goal and raise your arms! But all is quiet...

As you look around you notice that half the players have gone...
The stadiums are largely empty.

The crowd are watching a new game being played on a different field some distance away.

The use and support of digital media for education is a wicked problem.

Photo: Creative Commons - Wikimedia

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Social Media Use Snowballing

In my current digital media role it has become apparent that existing support models for our digital media channels are no longer sustainable – or even desirable in some cases.

The uptake of social media for example has been dramatic - a 1,000% increase in official Facebook use in a little over two years. And that's just Facebook.
Key changes over the last couple of years include:
  • Decreased access to public websites
  • Increased use of and dependency on, school intranets
  • Dramatic increase in the use of social and mobile media
  • Increased public expectation that Google search should provide basic contact information
  • Increased disatisfaction with PDF newsletter access on mobiles


Website access is moving from desktop to mobile and public access to websites has dwindled.
This pie chart from last year gives a graphic view of the public access to different online department information channels. School satisfaction with traditional public websites has dropped to 45% while satisfaction with public Facebook pages is 90%.

During school closures earlier this month more than 80% of public access to updates was via mobile devices. There were nearly half a million views across school Facebook pages and the official school closure blog in 3 days.

Average monthly views of official public Facebook posts across the department are approaching 1,000,000. YouTube video views have more than tripled over the last two years.

In what ways do we need to change support models to accommodate these rapid shifts?
How much time and effort should we spend on traditional websites?

Website analytics indicate only a small percentage of our information is regularly accessed.
What are the new purposes and audiences for traditional websites?

Do we need to revisit our social media risk management processes and resourcing?

Do we need to question some of our fundamental assumptions about how we resource online digital media?

What new opportunities are there with a communication channel that has one million views a month?