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Monday, June 26, 2006

David vs Goliath

In a typical retail scenario, I would generally take the safe option and side with the big corporate machine for the 'known quantity' peace of mind that a well established business can provide. We feel safety in numbers and therefore when buying into an established brand, we feel comforted, safe and secure in our decision.

If only more of us decided to go out on a limb and follow our gut instincts, the world would be a much more interesting place. This David vs Goliath conundrum set my mind wondering about the potential benefits of siding with the small ballpark player and although there may be a perceived greater risk involved, there is always a chance that the benefits will far outweigh these negative connotations.

The chance of seeing a fledgling concept grow to a succcessful conclusion would obviously hold a degree of satisfaction. But these benefits can be far deeper in scope than this. An organisation that is rapidly able to turn customer feedback into an improvement action must stand a great chance of consistently matching customer requirements. The big lumbering corporation has so many voices and opinions to consider that any rapid response would be slowed by the sheer weight of numbers. A small business can keep customers in the loop by conducting a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship, whereas large companies may have to deal with experimental 'focus groups' in order to guage opinion which may be a false indication of a wider consensus.

My humble observation is that we should increasingly support small businesses as these are the organisations that can truely innovate and consistently meet our requirements. It is the ability to keep abrest of 'on the ground activities' and act upon these rapidly changing circumstances that gives David the ammunition to defeat the big brute that is Goliath.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Collaborative Learning and the www

In today's 'global village' there is no reason for schools to act as distinct entities and in my opinion more schools, teachers and pupils should be actively encouraged to share experiences and ideas in order to help raise standards. This concept can be applied to a local geographical region, across the UK and now worldwide using today's technologies.

If teachers can share their knowledge with others, is this not the most effective way of saving time and effort, whilst gaining valuable insights into what constitutes best practice? It must be. There is no reason for a teacher with an expertise or an affinity for a particular subject to withhold that knowledge anymore. I want my kids to be taught by the very best teachers around, and using the Web they will be able to do so. No longer will a fat wallet or a postcode govern the quality of our childrens' education. As a media to support school teaching the Web is the teaching and learning tool of the future.

You can also argue the same 'share and share alike' benefits can apply for students. Surely collaborative learning can help students on a number of different levels. By sharing knowledge and experiences students will also develop functions such as teamwork, communication and responsibility, which are all invaluable life skills.

To learn more about collaborative learning in schools please visit:
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