A World of Open Contacts: 20+ Ways to Exercise Your Digital Risk Muscle, Pt. I by Curt Bonk
Posted by BookWorm on August 3, 2009
Authoring a book with a title like THE WORLD IS OPEN: HOW WEB TECHNOLOGY IS REVOLUTIONIZING EDUCATION (http://worldisopen.com/) presents the writer with several immediate challenges. First, he must convince the reader that there is, in fact, a revolution going on. The writer must bring this revolution in openness to the lap of every awaiting reader or to the ears of every listener (such as when this book eventually comes out in audio format). Second, he must prove that the world is truly open and not necessarily flat, round, or doomed. This too is a difficult task since a flatter or rounder world is what most people have come to expect and perhaps even enjoy. Millions will have read Thomas Friedman’s, The World Is Flat, and most of those readers raved about it, making this task even more difficult. And, Friedman is trained as a journalist, whereas I am trained as an accountant and educational psychologist. Third, the writer (in this case me) must understand, to some degree, all of the learning technology underpinning this revolution in education. Wow. That too is an extremely daunting task. Each day there is some new technology tool, system, or resource in education or business training to read about, master, and share. And there is some mind-blowing stuff that is announced each day. It just never seems to end. Day after day after day! There is no way to try to know it all.
On top of those three challenges, there is a need to provide support for every key point or idea made in the book. How to do that? One way is through stories, scenarios, cases, and situations. And as shown by Friedman, stories on the ground from personal travel help contextualize as well as legitimize the whole thing. Fortunately, I sometimes give more than 100 talks a year and, as my TravelinEdMan blog moniker indicates (see http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/), I traveled extensively prior to writing this book. I had many stories to tell.
I would like to focus on the fourth challenge in this particular blog post. In the book, THE WORLD IS OPEN (TWIO), there are dozens of stories and hundreds of people who had to be contacted for them. I had to exercise my digital risk muscle on more than one occasion during the drafting of this book. And now again when writing an e-book extension of it. There is a cycle of researching a topic area and beginning to write about it and then contacting people with questions. I mainly had to send an email to people when there were gaps in my knowledge and the expert could help fill some of them in with additional insights and perhaps a quote or two for the book. Other times, I simply wanted the quote from the expert for that section of the book. So how does one build up the confidence and skill to do this?
Tune in tomorrow for Part II of “A World Of Contacts” by Curt Bonk
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