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There are no screw-ups, just Versions

Cynapse’s Version control alleviates collaboration and adoption fear factor – at least among 11 and 12 year-olds.

Cynapse’s Version control alleviates collaboration and adoption fear factor – at least among 11 and 12 year-olds.

Background

My last post – Kicking off social software in Sara’s elementary school illustrated how Six Graders – 11 & 12 year-olds, were quick to adopt social software in their elementary school. Now that they had some fun over the holidays, the real work needs to start.

The Project

In order to make myself perfectly clear, I created an internal wiki page for them called The Project’s 5 Ws. Basically, the students had already agreed to:

The Deliverable is the modified version of Cynapse’s Best Practices Guide, entitled Cynapse’s Best Practices Guide for Elementary School Students. The Students will work in teams and collaborate on modifying the existing content to suit their own scenarios / use cases / user stories, so that other students can benefit from their experiences and ease their adoption of social software.

Defining success

Deliver The Deliverable within 3 months & their elementary school will continue offering the social software service.

Perhap my last Lunch & Learn

While I’ve only presented 3 Lunch & Learns so far, I fully intend to retire in the very near future. While I do love presenting, demoing & fielding their questions, or, concerns, I think it’s time for them to step-up & take over. There are 13 features – like blogs, wikis, calendar events, status logs, etc. for the students to document. I explained the concept & values of Agile self-organized teams & gave them until next week to decide which features they want to adopt ownership for. So next week should be my last official Lunch & Learn. From then on, the students will take turns presenting, demoing & fielding their own questions, or, concerns.

Use or it loose it

In addition, I asked them to start blogging about their everyday experiences, including those using/adopting Cynapse‘s cyn.in social software. The more content they contribute, the easier it will be for everyone to succeed.

Leading by example

In conclusion, I gave them a very quick introduction into Cynapse’s content management – wiki editing & version control. I meant to record my demo but unfortunately, didn’t have the connector for my laptop, so I used the teacher’s laptop instead – which didn’t have Jing – screen recording software, installed. I suggested it would be a nice surprise if we were able to deliver less-than-5-minutes How-To videos – like the one above & offered to help them out.

Reflection

What do think? Will this small group of 11 and 12-year-olds succeed?

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3 replies on “There are no screw-ups, just Versions”

Steven,

Interesting project. But my question would be – what’s in it for them? 11-12 year olds need a pretty compelling reason/benefit to take this project to the next level on their own without further guidance or leadership. We know these are worthy skills to attain, but what are the immediate benefits to these youngsters? Because unless they see a clear benefit for them, they will quickly lose interest. What do you think?

@rick Agreed. It’s quite an undertaking on their part. But if you look back at the related post, under “Hmmm”, you’ll see they want a safe way to socialize on the web. And the post shows how they jumped onboard – at least initially. We’ll have to see if they stick with, or, is it just a novelty. One thing I can tell you is that since this post, one of the kids downloaded Jing & created a sample video, and two others are since attempting to do the same. They’ve also started self-organizing & our claiming their features.

Thanks for the input & stay tuned.

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