Expanding Minds for a shrinking Planet

Presenter: Mike Lloyd (Microsoft)

Mike is the Education Marketing Manager for MS UK, and comes from a teaching background. He is going to talk about:

Students Today
Changing nature of work
Massive change
Skills for a globalised economy
Towards student centric services

Some interesting thoughts about how students are changing. However, compared to Stephen Heppell’s talk (see other entry), I don’t think Mike really got down to some fundamental changes in students behavior or expectations. Mike essentially said that students are more focussed and work harder. This may be true – and certainly it rings a bell with me. However see some of the examples from Stephen Heppell’s talk to see some really challenging changes.

Mike reflected on what work be like for todays students.
Lifetime employment is over. Stable employment at large corporation is gone.
The average career will most likely encompass two or three ‘occupations’ and a half-dozen (or more) employers.
Most of us will spend sustained periods of our career in some form of self employment.

We are only at the start of massive change:
Craig Barrett (Intel) recently said “The world has arrived at a rare strategic inflection point where nearly half its population – living in China, India and Russia – have been integrated into the global market economy, many of them highly educated workers, who can do just about any job in the world. We’re talking about three billion people”

Anyway, business is also being changed substantially by the internet. Sales of Music, Books and Films have been transformed by online services. This is not about downloads of music (as such) – but that you reach a much wider audience – illustrated ‘long tail‘ graph (from Wired) showing how a ‘top 10’ is no longer that relevant – there is a ‘top 500,000’ which make up sales.

What skills are needed to thrive on massive change:
1. Spin out your network
-people are now entering the workplace with hundreds of contacts
-Interns are using their networks to get work done. e.g. if there’s a tech problem, first instinct is to IM a geek friend or post complaints on a blog
2. Put your best face forward
-Manage your online image and reputation
-There are even services (e.g. Zoominfo) who will groom the ‘online you’
3. Post your CV forever
-Online job services are mixing it up – and allowing both job seekers and employers to find better fits

Tools for thriving on massive change
Collaboration (including gaming)

Mike asked a student (sample of 1) what they wanted from their university:
My university to aid me in making my CV easily accessible to potential employees online
Employers to come to me having matched my CV with their job requirements via the web
Visibility of the network my university has with key employers
Access to email addresses of key contacts

Mike mentioned a couple examples of tools that Microsoft is working on:
Wallop – a social networking tool, which shows graphical representations of networks of people. Microsoft is currently testing this with small groups of people (doesn’t seem to be any way to join in)
Knowledge Interchange (or KI) – this is an expertise database – which it does by going through your mailbox and checking what questions people ask, and what you answer, and then deduces your expertise! There seems to be a notable lack of information about this on the net, but from the screenshots on the slides the following quote:

“Microsoft Knowledge Interchange is social networking software for business users. Knowledge Interchange helps you collaborate with your coworkers by sharing valuable information and contacts.

With Knowledge Interchange you can gain access to your organization’s network of knowledge and relationships to find people who can help you solve problems, provide hard-to-find information, and connect you with other important people”

Closing thoughts:
Preparing student for a world of massive change:
Give them tools they need to collaborate and communicate
Help them build networks
Help them build a presence on the Internet

A question about whether Universities are able to prepare students in the way outlined by Mike – Students are much better at providing their own methods of collaboration etc, than Universities are. This does ring a bell – comes back to this IT service as ISP, and IT service as a service provider – where do we go beyond an ISP and where do we fall short.

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