About The Thrivapy Blog

I created The Thrivapy Blog to share my thoughts and ideas about living a learning lifestyle.

For more, visit my website: www.thrivapy.com
Thank You,
Dr. Troy P. Roddy

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thrivapy Gets a "C"

October, 2013 is Connected Educators Month, so I thought I would share some exciting news about Thrivapy.

I gave Thrivapy a "C"!

No, not a grade, but a real "C". Many educators working on 21st century skills will know what I am talking about.

For educators, the term "21st century skills" has been floating around since, well, the beginning of the 21st century. Two of the skills often included are communication and collaboration. While I do not disagree that the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate are important, I think they are more of a means to another essential "skill" - connectivity.

As a matter of fact, I propose we replace communication and collaboration with connectivity as part of the discussion altogether. At best, we would focus on what is arguably THE most important skill. At worst, having replaced two skills with one, we have one less skill about which to worry.

Here is why I think connectivity should replace communication and collaboration.

Communication, in essence, is the ability to deliver a message. In other words, you have something you want someone else to be aware of. How well you communicate determines how effective you are at delivering that message in a way that the other person understands is your communication skill.

Collaboration, on the other hand, is the ability to work with others to accomplish a common goal. Whether you call it teamwork or collaboration, this, too, has been an essential skill long before the 21st century. Very few significant accomplishments in history are the result of a lone person. Even if one person gets credit, there was likely a team involved in the accomplishment. For example, Alexander the Great is credited with being one of history's greatest conquerors. However, he did not fight alone. His army was also well trained and able to employ his tactics.

Connectivity, on the other hand, has emerged as not only an essential skill, but it is, in many circles, even changing the very nature by which we economize our goods and services. The term "connected economy" means more today than it did before the 21st century. Before the internet and the technology boom, being connected was likely limited to one's neighborhood or limited geographic region. In the 21st century, connections are world-wide.

In addition, pre-21st century connections were likely to be in the context of advancing one's career or political ambitions. Now, being connected is a way of life, a way to share, a means to mutually support a passion, and create knowledge.

Connections are the social currencies of the 21st century.

Sure, in order to make connections you need to be able to communicate well (increasingly more in the form of limited characters or texting shortcuts). You also need to have a collaborative spirit to strengthen connections. However, the driving force behind improved communication and collaboration is not for the sake of communication and collaboration as much as it is for the desire to build strong connections with others who share our passions and are willing to engage in the process of knowledge creation.

One of the seven principles upon which Thrivapy is built is building relationships. Often, we define relationships to include those with whom we have personal direct contact. In the connected world, relationships expand to include a new meaning of personal direct contact. Put another way, relationships today are more likely to include connections with people one may not have ever met in person. In addition, the same FRITR (friendly, responsive, interactive, trustworthy, reliable) model for building relationships works who establishing connections.

For example, I have never had the pleasure of meeting Guy Kawasaki, Heidi Grant Halvorson, or Seth Godin in person. As a matter of fact, they probably have no idea who I am. However, I still have a starred tweet from Guy to me that I got in a chat session. I have email correspondence with Seth and Heidi about their work. In the new connected world, those personal and direct interactions provide the connection that establishes a type of relationship. Not one based on personal interaction as much as one base on mutual passions and the willingness to engage in sharing those passions.

Communication and collaboration are very important skills. Before the connected economy emerged in more obvious force, these two skills were easily essential to success in the 21st century. However, as we are now in the second decade of the century, communication and collaboration are less of the end than they are the means to an even more essential end - the ability to connect with others who share your passions and are eager to engage in the creation of knowledge.

It is time for a new "C" - connectivity.