About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Developing different perspectives

This week, my family (on Winter Break) rented the movie Vantage Point. This is a thriller in which a crime is told through the vantage point of those affected by the crime. The story is rewound and told from the time when the story has relevance for that character's vantage point, with more information given than when you first saw the event. By the end of the movie, you have a very clear understanding of what happened and why.

This got me thinking about the possibility of using different vantage points when teaching a concept. Imagine teaching Pythagorean theory, for example, from the vantage point of an engineer, a construction worker, a mathematician, a philosopher (Pythagoras himself), an historian (this theory has held up for hundreds of years), and a socialogist. By the end of the lesson, students would have a deep understanding of the theory, but also how it can be used and how it was developed.

Perspective taking is an important factor in organizational communication, organizational learning, knowledge managment, and cross-cultural communication. As I wrote in an earlier post:

Related to knowledge (cognition) is perspective (social). For Rommetveit, perspective is vital in creating meaning (Hagtvet & Wold, 2003; Mortimer & Wertsch, 2003). Other researchers have identified the ability to take on others perspectives as examples of higher order thinking (Herrington & Oliver, 1999; Jarvela & Hakkinen, 2002; Wegerif, Mercer, & Dawes, 1999). Perspective taking requires that a person be able to understand another’s viewpoint, anticipate their responses, and present their position in such a way as to encourage mutual understanding. Including both social and cognitive elements, dialogue that leads to perspective taking requires intersubjectivity, or the recognition that the other person has a position, whether it is implicit or explicit (Hagtvet & Wold; Mortimer & Wertsch). The higher the level of reciprocity, in which there is an equal exchange of social and cognitive information, the greater the chance to achieve shared understanding (Hagtvet & Wold). However, even with the exchange of information, it is possible that there is a low level of shared understanding.

In other words, by developing the skills to understand others perpectives, we are going deeper than the exchange of information.

Integrating this into teaching

Next semester, I will be teaching a course on Consumer Behavior. One problem college level students have in learning marketing skills is their ability to understand the customer and realize that sales come from really knowing (and understanding) the customer, not from flashy marketing campaigns.

So I thought I might try to integrate the structure of Vantage point into my Consumer Behavior course. Using "purchasing decision making" as an example, I would look at the process from: individual's perspective, group or family's perspective, reference group's perceptive, marketing department perspective, organization's perspective, sales or customer service perspective, and advertising's perspective. As we look at the individual (students would do their own decision making analysis on how they chose their college), we would use the basic analysis, having students answer a series of questions. Looking at the family, I would have the students indicate the influence their family had on the decision, and what those factors were. Then I would have them look at the impact that the decision has had on the family. Next we would like at the influence this decision has had on their friends and work colleagues, and the impact the work colleagues and friends had on their decision. Next I would have people from the college look at the impact their decisions have on the college admissions, housing, departments. If there is an over abundance of applicants for one major, for example, what impact does that have on department, and what does the department do to address that issue?

Hopefully by looking at the different vantage points of this decision making process, students will have a much clearer view of customers, but also the organizational response to customer behaviors.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Teaching business writing

Tony Karrer had a post on what makes "good writing" which sparked a great conversation. In response to his post, I thought I would post a section of the paper written and presented at AERA by myself and Marilyn Easter (Yonkers, V. & Easter, M. (2007). College student perceptions of good professional writing in an international context. American Educational Research Association Conference: Writing and Literacies SIG, presented April 10, Chicago, IL.)

Teaching Business Writing

Because of the diverse academic backgrounds in the field of business communication, there is little consensus on what and how business writing should be taught (Alpern et al., 2004; Pultsky, 1996). In this section we will look at the methodologies used to teach writing and try to define the attributes of good business writing as identified by academics and professionals in the field.

Teaching Approaches

As discussed in the previous section, students come into the business communication class with varying preparations. Their perceptions of what constitutes good writing is often formed in primary and secondary schools. In fact, the approach and writing curriculum in which they were instructed creates the basis for their writing skills (Hillocks, 2002; Layet al. 1999; Sengupta & Falvey, 1998).

The traditional way of teaching business writing in the last century was to provide a format in which student would plug in information. Business writing used formulaic genres depending on the location and purpose of the written form (Amidon, 2004). Since business writing often doubled as legal documents, there was little variation of the form within a given country. However, with the advent of the internet and a growing reliance on written communication in the workplace, the genres began to become more flexible and less static (Amidon; Diaset al. 1999; Paltridge; 2004).

Research in the area of applied linguistics and contrastive rhetoric has allowed writing instruction to cross cultures, situating genres in cultural and social processes (Conaway & Wardrope, 2004; Hanna & de Nooy, 2003; Martin, 1993; Matsuda, 2001). It is no longer sufficient to teach genres without establishing the social processes that affect and are affected by particular genres (Kress, 1993).

Electronic communication, for example, has created a more informal genre in which there is flexibility in register and organization. On the other hand, formal reports still embed cultural and social processes that make it situated in the power structure of an organization. In other words, students are taught the parameters of a genre based on the interaction of the reader and writer. In some cases, there is flexibility and in others there is none.

One shortcoming to this approach is that students may not have the writing experience on which to base their genre choices. As such, they may continue to use outmoded or inappropriate genres. In addition, those who have limited access to diverse discourse communities may be limited in their ability to accommodate their writing to conventions and genres used by other groups (such as the business community or an international business organization) (Diaz et al., 1999).

The most common methods of instruction for writing, especially in the US, either takes the form of grammar/structure (a traditional approach) or process (prewriting, drafting, revision, and edit). The grammar/structure approach focuses on the minimization of grammatical errors. Students are taught grammar rules, rhetorical structures (i.e. narratives, expository, persuasive), and mastery of English (Hartman & Tarone, 1999; Hillocks, 2002; Layet al. 1999; Martin, 1993; Sengupta & Falvey, 1998). This approach does not necessarily take style or audience into consideration (Sengupta & Falvey; Syrquin, 2006). As a result, the reader may feel disconnected from the writing and have difficulty in understanding the writer’s message, although the writing conforms to a standard format and may be error free.

The process approach came out of research by Flowers and Hays (Saunders & Scialfa, 2003; Thorson, 2000). For most, the process approach includes prewriting planning, drafting, revising, and editing. In business communication or academic writing, these processes may include audience analysis (Alpern, et al.; Rogers & Rymer, 2001;Thorson), task analysis (Rogers & Rymer; Saunders & Scialfa); message design (Alpern, et al.); identifying and organizing supporting information (Myles, 2002; Saunders & Scialfa; Thorson); collaborating and revising during drafting (Saunders & Scialfa; Diaset al. 1999); and editing according to the guidelines for style defined by the university, the instructor, or a professional organization (such as APA or American Marketing Association). While many students may be taught the steps of the writing process, not all are given the time to develop these skills in class (NEAP, 2005).

Within foreign language instruction and business communication is a fourth approach to teaching business writing. The communicative approach focuses on minimizing misunderstandings. Writing is approached as a negotiated dialog between the reader and the writer. An outgrowth of the process approach and foreign language teaching, students spend a great deal of time trying to understand their readers’ situations, assumptions, and abilities (Alpernet al. 2004; Myles, 2002; Rogers & Rymer, 2001). They focus on the most effective way to encode and transmit their message while minimizing interference that could cause misunderstandings as readers decode their message. Just as important as the development of the message is feedback that the reader gives to the writer. This interaction between the reader and writer is what distinguishes the communicative approach from the process approach. Non-standard English is an error when it is distracting to the reader, thus interfering with communication (Rogers & Rymer, 2001). As a result, there is much more flexibility in the parameters of proficient business writing standards with the level of proficiency situated in the context of the reader and writer.

Defining Good Business Writing

As mentioned in previous sections, the business communication profession has multiple definitions of good business writing, depending on the field from which instructors were trained. There have been numerous studies of writing instructors’, business communication instructors’, and business professionals’ perceptions of errors and business writing (Beason, 2001; Gilsdorf & Leonard, 2001; Hairston, 1981; Plutsky, 1996; Rogers & Rymer, 2001; Saunders & Scialfa & Scialfa, 2003). The results from each of these studies have been surprisingly consistent, with the most disruptive errors being run-on sentences or sentence fragments, poor organization, poor development of ideas and arguments, and grammar errors that act as a social marker (i.e. he brung; Hairston) (Beason, Gilsdorf & Leonard; Hairston; Rogers & Rymer; Saunders & Scialfa & Scialfa) .

Beason’s (2001) research went further and identified how these errors affected a writer’s image. Through in depth follow-up interviews, she found that business professionals perceived writers as hasty, careless, uncaring, or uninformed if the reader identified multiple errors. This then influenced their image of the writer as a business professional who was: a) a faulty thinker, b) not a detail person, c) poor oral communicator, d) poorly educated, or e) sarcastic, pretentious, aggressive. Since writing in the workplace often takes the form of negotiation between various levels of power structures, these perceptions can have a serious impact on a graduating student’s career (Diaset al. 1999; Hairston, 1981).

Just as important as what constitutes good writing, was what the non-distracting errors were, especially since business professionals and instructors disagreed (Dias et al., 1999; Gilsdorf & Leonard, 2001; Plutsky, 1996). Gilsdorf & Leonard found that instructors tended to focus on the mechanics of writing, while business professionals focused on the style. For example, many of the errors that business professionals identified as distracting were, in fact, grammatically correct, such as beginning a sentence with but. On the other hand, business professionals overlooked errors that did not slow down their reading. It is possible, therefore, that even an error free piece of writing, could be perceived poorly if it does not conform to the organization’s style. Therefore, a focus on writing error free without taking into consideration style, organization, content, purpose, and audience, will produce graduates that are unprepared for business writing in the workplace.

The international workplace presents more challenges to what is considered good business writing. As Gilsdorf & Leonard (2001) point out, “No ready means exists to measure the influence of global English and e-mail on Standard English…These two pressures on the language, however do argue for an effort to measure again whether readers continue to perceive the various questionable usage elements as errors. (p. 2).”


Alpern, B., Odett, D., & Pietila, R. (2004). Improving MBA students’ communication proficiency: An orientation pilot study that incorporates technology and plagiarism issues. In Proceedings of the 2004 Association for Business Communication annual convention, pp. 269-280. Association for Business Communication.

Amidon, S. (2004). Change agents or followers: Analyzing genres in the business writing classroom. In Proceedings of the 2004 Association for Business Communication annual convention, pp. 121-126. Association for Business Communication.

Beason, L. (2001). Ethos and error: How business people react to errors. College Composition and Communication, 53 (1), 33-64.

Berkenkotter, C. & Huckin, T. (1995). Genre knowledge in disciplinary communication: cognition/culture/power. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Conaway, R. & Wardrope, W. (2004). Communication in Latin America: An analysis of Guatemalan business letters. Business Communication Quarterly, 67 (4), 465-474.

Dias, P., Freedman, A., Medway, P., & Pare, A. (1999). Worlds apart: Acting and writing in workplace contexts. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Economist, (2006). Inculcating culture: The Toyota way. In The new organization: A survey of the company, pp. 11, The Economist, January 21, 2006.

Gilsdorf, J. & Leonard, D. (2001). Big stuff, little stuff: A decennial measurement of executives’ and academics’ reactions to questionable usage elements. The Journal of Business Communication, 38 (4), 439. Retrieved December 14, 2005 from Ingenta Expanded Academic ASAP Plus Database.

Hairston, M. (1981). Not all errors are created equal: Nonacademic readers in the professions respond to lapses in usage. College English, 43 (8), 794-806.

Hartman, B. & Tarone, E. (1999). Preparation for college writing: Teachers talk about writing instruction for southeast Asian American students in secondary school. In Harklau, L., Losey, K., & Siegal, M. (eds.) Generation 1.5 meets college composition, pp. 99-118. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hillocks, G., Jr. (2002). The testing trap: How writing assessments control learning. New York: Teachers College Press.

Martin, J. (1993). Grammar: A contextual theory of language. In Cope, B. & Kalantzis (eds.), The powers of literacy: A genre approach to teaching writing, pp. 116-136. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Myles, J. (2002). Second language writing and research: The writing process and error analysis in student texts. TESL-EJ, 6 (2), A-1. Retrieved December 20, 2005 from www-weiting.berkeley.edu/test-ej/ej22/al.html.

NEAP (2002). Writing Report Card. Retrieved October 10, 2005 from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2002/2003529c.pdf.

Paltridge, B (2004). Academic writing. Language Teaching, 37, 87-105.

Pultsky, S. (1996). Faculty perceptions of students’ business communication needs. Business Communication Quarterly, 59 (4), 69. Retrieved December 20, 2005 from Ingenta Expanded Academic ASAP Plus.

Rogers, P. & Rymer, J. (2001). Analytical tools to facilitate transitions into new writing contexts: A communicative perspective. The Journal of Business Communication, 38 (2), 112. Retrieved from Ingenta Expanded Academic ASAP Plus November 15, 2005.

Saunders, P. & Scialfa, C. (2003). The effects of pre-exam instruction on students’ performance on an effective writing exam. Written Communication, 20 (2), 195-212.
Selber, S. (2004). Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Sengupta, S. & Falvey, P. (1998). The role of the teaching context in Hong Kong English teachers’ perceptions of L2 writing pedagogy. Evaluation and Research in Education, 12 (2), 72-95.

Syrquin, A. (2006). Registers in the academic writing of African American college students. Written Communication, 23 (1), 63-90.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Group meaning making

Here is a continuation of the paper on group knowledge making I began in December.

Creating Meaning

As we have already discussed, meaning is created when there is cognitive dissonance. However, the extent to which individual understanding a) correlates to the group, b) deviates from the original meaning, and c) influences the group’s shared knowledge is dependent on the level and type of interaction. There are three ways that interaction creates meaning: through conflict, type of talk, and level of discussion.

Group dynamics researchers have identified two types of intragroup conflict: a) task, and b) procedural (Jehn & Mannix, 2001; Jehn, et al. 1999, Simons & Peterson, 2000). Task conflict refers to differences in the problem, task, procedures, implementation, and final actions. Jehn & Mannix found that task conflict improves group performance and outcomes, probably because conscious choices about the process are made. This ties into Yakhlef’s (2002) conclusion that in moving from being (because it has always been that way) to knowing (applying knowledge to multiple contexts) knowledge is created.

Relational conflict, on the other hand often threatens individual’s personal and social identities. As a result, these types of conflict can be disruptive to the group process, perhaps resulting in an individual’s isolation within a group. However, not all task conflict is positive and not all relational conflict is negative. Therefore is it important to identify constructive and destructive conflict.

In resolving task or relational disputes, a conflict is destructive to the group when it isolates or divides members to the extent that sharing is no longer happening. On the other hand, conflict which takes down impediments to sharing, such as differences in mental models, in constructive (Ayoko, Hartel, & Callan, 2002). In addition, temporal factors such as time pressures caused by deadlines, frequency of interaction, and length of time together, can have a positive or negative effect on conflict (Jehn & Mannix; Waller, et al. 2001) . The absence of conflict creates little opportunity for an individual to learn within the group (Yonkers & Buff, 2005).

If there is little conflict in an online interaction it can mean one of two things: a) the individual has the same knowledge as others within the group, therefore cannot learn from the group, or b) the individual is not interacting with the group to negotiate understanding, but rather is creating meaning from his or her perspective. In the second case, while learning is taking place, there is no shared cognition or group learning per se.

Content analysis which identifies the amount of conflict and type of conflict (task, relational, destructive, and constructive) will help researchers determine opportunities for intragroup learning. It would be important to look at the duration of the conflict, the timing of the conflict, and the intensity of the conflict over time.

Mercer’s social way of thinking or types of talk, gives insight on the level of intragroup meaning creation (Wegerif, et al., 1999). Mercer identified three modes in which students interact in problem solving: disputational talk, cumulative talk, and exploratory talk. Each of these modes are increasingly more complex in the interaction process. As groups move from disputational to exploratory talk, individual reasoning contributes more to shared understanding. Disputation talk is a simple disagreement or an individualized contribution, without any explanation or intent to negotiate meaning. Cummulative talk is a non-critical addition to previous group contributions, with the intent to add to knowledge without negotiating meaning. Exploratory talk includes judgment and evaluation in contributing to the discussion, with the intent to negotiate meaning with group members.

Related to the types of talk is the level of discussion. Jarvela and Hakkinen (2002) identified three levels of discussion in their research. The first was a higher level, which was characterized as abstract and theory based. The second level was progressive. In progressive discussions, students begin with experience in order to build reciprocity and shared knowledge. Knowledge was created by building on previous postings, but there was never any abstraction or theory applied. Finally, lower level discussions are a series of non-related or individually presented postings that do not add to a shared meaning for the group.

In analyzing how groups and individuals in groups interact to create meaning, researchers can identify the impact that groups have on individuals, the impact that individuals have on groups, and the ways in which individuals and groups make meaning. This category also begins to identify the choices an individual makes when creating knowledge. This also begins to address the issue of the depth of student learning. A group with a low level of conflict, disputational talk, and lower level discussion will probably need to have individual assessments to determine what an individual has learned. However, it is much easier to assess student learning in a high conflict group which uses exploratory talk and higher level discussions. In addition, even if a group member is not an active participant, Olivera & Straus’ (2004) suggests that just by being in the group, he or she will learn more.

Monday, February 9, 2009

So much for the end of reading!

In the most recent addition of The Advocate, the journal put out by the National Education Association (NEA)'s higher education wing, there was a short article reporting on figures from the National Census Bureau (in the US) that literary reading had increased. What was surprising was that those who reported an increase in reading a book, poem, or other forms of literary reading were in the age group of 18-23.

For me, this helps to support my hypothesis that we are becoming a text based society in the US. My students would prefer to write an e-mail, text to their professors or employers (not to mention family and friends), and spend a lot of time reading on the internet.

What the article does not say is what form the literary works take. In addition to new channels (away from the book stores and now moving through the internet), there are new devices for reading books including electronic readers and even iphones/blackberries.

I wonder how these new devises will change the way that we read, although the way we publish and distribute books is already changing. Will readers demand alternative endings to books? Will the books of the future be more interactive? Will readers be able to choose the path of a story as they do in video games now? Is the publishing world even prepared for the new books of the future? I look at the Newberry Awards and the disconnect they seem to have with "popular" taste and the taste of the traditionally "non-reader". Harry Potter, Twilight, and other megahits amoung teens today do not make the list of "literary" awards. And yet, it is because of these series that youth are becoming interested in books again. I wonder if "digital literacy" will change definitions as our "digital youth" turn to new forms of literature.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ning vs. Learning Management Systems (LMS)

This semester, after 2 frustrating semesters trying to work with our school's LMS, I decided to go outside and set up a class Ning. This was prompted by two things. First, the LMS that our school had, had an irritating habit of losing posts. This happened a number of time where a student's assignment or post was visiable and then it suddenly disappeared. My students first started to complain about it and I wasn't sure I believed it. Then I saw it happen as I printed out a student's posting, when then disappeared the following day. Our ITS department could not replicate the problem and therefore could not resolve the disappearing assignments problem. I decided that I was not getting the type of support I needed with school sanctioned programs, so I might as well use something that was less cumbersome.

Then another colleague told me that he used a non-school sanctioned wiki very successfully. As long as this software is not required and students have the option to opt out of reveling information (thus meeting FERPA laws), I felt comfortable about using another program. I decided to use Ning as I had enjoyed using it for a couple of online conferences.

Difference between Ning and LMS (Teacher's perspective)

Jenny Luca is currently blogging about using the Ning for secondary school students. As I read her postings (only 2 for now), and looked at my own experience only in the early days, I have seen similiar results and differences between using a social networking site like Ning and an LMS. So I have tried to figure out what the difference is.

From a teacher's point of view, what I have seen is that there is a lot more input from students (students helping students), so far. Within the last two weeks, I have had more postings on the class Ning than the entire semester last year. I find that the format allows for more interaction and exchange of information in the Ning than the LMS.

I think this can be explained by the structure of a LMS which requires a lot more teacher input and instructional design which is teacher centered. For example, the first page of most LMS's I have used is a structure that the teacher must populate first. Although the 4 programs I have used for the last 12 years are somewhat different, all of them require the teacher/instructional designer to create the discussion and the structure for discussion. Even my most "learner centered" instructional designs required teacher permissions to initiate the discussions. Nings give instructional designers the option to allow students to begin their own discussions, post their own resources, create their own blogs, etc...

Another main difference is the way information is presented on the front page. There is a greater level of communication between students so there tends not to be a one-on-one teacher/student dialog as the default means of communication. Rather the default tends to be student/student, allowing students that ability to pose and answer questions without the creater ever being notified.

Some instructors or instructional designers might find this scary, but I like the fact that I can create a truely student centered space, with instructor oversight (rather than instructor control). Unlike Jenny, I think the more informal "hi, how are you," is appropriate on a class Ning, as long as it is on individual walls, not in discussion forums. While Ning allows for different spaces within its walls for different types of discussions (as a university building would have some areas where more "serious" discussions take place, and other less formal community building discussions can take place), LMS does not seem to offer any space for more informal community building to take place.

Ning vs. LMS (Student perspective)

My initial impression is that students are much more comfortable with the set up of Ning as they are familiar with Facebook. They are apt to check the Ning on a regular basis which is much easier to do than the LMS. In most cases, the LMS is already populated with passwords and account names. This means that students can get away with never signing on to a LMS (which happened to many of my students). On the other hand, students had to be invited, create accounts, and then sign on to the Ning. This required a much more active participation in the initial stages. For some reason, I was able to get all of my students to sign on and participate initially on the Ning which I never was able to do when all they had to do was sign in.

Students also are using the Ning differently than the LMS. The Ning is perceived as a communication tool--someplace to go when they need answers to their questions about the class. The LMS is perceived as a repository of resources, someplace to go when they need to access resources. Communication on the LMS is perceived as one-on-one whereas students already feel comfortable jumping in on discussions whether the person posing the question is in their class or not. They perceive the Ning as being a community, multi-party/-dimensional communication tool. I think this is helping to establish a feeling of class community much quicker than even a traditional class would create.

These are still the early days for using this Ning. But I look forward to seeing how the rest of the semester progresses (especially in the next couple of weeks when we have winter break with assignments due after.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The silver lining

I've been reading a lot lately about the impact of the economic downturn on training and education. Michael Hanley had a great post about the response companies are having to the economic downturn, with less investment in Training and education, and marketing. It is interesting that these are the two areas most likely to use social networking within a company. My own university, in feeling the pinch, has created larger classes (without corresponding classroom space) and a drive towards using distance education with a minimal amount of investment.

While all of this might sound like the death knoll for e-learning or distance education, the fact is that I see it as a great opportunity for instructional design, e-learning, and educational technology. With that in mind, these are the opportunities I see for the next two years:

1) More training for telecommuters. As companies cut their training budgets, they will want a cost/benefit analysis to justify training. Creating training programs that will orient workers to become effective telecommuters (including communication structures and procedures, distributed team building, online supervision, management, and performance evaluation, and new technology skills) will help companies that are closing brick and mortar spaces to be replaced by telecommuters. One of the options that SUNY has identified to cut costs is to either shut down buildings during low demand and allow workers to work from home, or closing building for administrative offices, combining departments and having workers share desks, with telecommuting.

For this to be effective, there needs to be more research on collaboration, distributed teams, and information literacy.

2. There will be a greater need for new technologies, new instructional designs, and new means of assessing learning. History has shown that recessions and depressions create a greater level of innovation and entrepreneurship. Of course, this innovation will come from outside of a firm. I think there will be a greater level of innovation as people lose their jobs and are no longer constrained by the big business fear of risk-taking. Although terrifying, many unemployed will take the opportunity to start their own companies. The use of new technologies are not going to go away, so those that can take advantage of this time to create something useful, will prosper in the long run.

3. The new US administration is committed to connecting the country to high speed internet, creating lifelong learners, and supporting the development of innovation. If the new economic stimulus package is passed, there will be access to grants and tax credits for the development of new technology, wireless and broadband structural improvements at the community level, and education at all levels (children to adults). It is important that we all take advantage of this opportunity to develop new approaches to learning using educational technology.

4. We are currently in the midst of a change in generational power. As such, I see a shift in the way business and education is conducted within the next decade. It is important that we take this opportunity to become involved in the planning process, bridging the gap from the computer (computation) based business practices to the web 2.0 ("connected" and information based) based business practices. This will require the transition of top management into networked communication, a structural change to the organization, and a change in the educational system from information transfer to information analysis to prepare workers and citizens of the future. I think also there will be a new push towards integrating creativity into the curriculum as new solutions are needed for the developing world problems.

As the eternal optimist who survived the 1982 recession (although at the time it was never acknowledged that there was a recession, I think we have a great opportunity to become phoenixes rising out of the crash and burn economy that was really in a downward spiral for longer than many wanted to admit.