Monday, September 14, 2009

Did You Know? 4.0: The Economist Media Convergence Remix

The Economist Magazine is hosting their third annual Media Convergence Forum in New York City on October 20th and 21st. Earlier this year they asked if they could remix Did You Know?/Shift Happens with a media convergence theme and use it for their conference. Scott McLeod and I said sure, they got XPLANE to create the presentation, and the result is farther down in this post. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the Forum, as I’m already missing school a few days this fall and I just couldn’t justify missing a couple more (it was very kind of The Economist to invite Scott and me), but it looks like an interesting event.

A few anticipatory FAQ's about this version.
  1. It’s the first one that I’ve been part of that does not have a specific education focus (although I certainly think the media convergence ideas discussed in the video have great relevance for education). The idea behind the original (and subsequent) presentations was to start/continue/advance the conversation around certain ideas, so I see this hopefully doing the same thing around media convergence (and, selfishly, it will hopefully get some of the folks attending The Economist’s Media Convergence Forum to perhaps focus on some of the education ideas in the previous DYK’s). And, given the Creative Commons license on the previous versions, folks are not limited to remixes that only talk about education.

  2. They decided to designate it version 4.0 even though there have been only two previous “official” versions. But the Sony/BMG remix that is currently the hot version is typically referred to as version 3.0, so who are we to argue with the wisdom of the crowd?

  3. I should not get much, if any, credit for this one. I sent along a fair amount of statistics for their consideration, and certainly provided some feedback along the way, but otherwise didn’t have nearly as much to do with this version. Laura Bestler, Scott McLeod’s graduate assistant, did most of the research for this one, and of course XPLANE did all the graphical work. (I should, however, still get most or all of the blame if you don’t like it, since I started this whole mess.)

  4. Like the previous versions, this one is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license, so you’re welcome to use/modify as you see fit, as long as you follow the terms of that license.
Finally, an observation. In a recent email Scott McLeod wrote, “It’s amazing, the legs this thing still has.” I would have to agree. The various versions have been viewed well over 20 millions times (my guess is that with downloaded versions and audience showings it’s probably closer to 30 million times, but 20 million would be the safe number). It’s been shown to audiences large and small, educational and corporate and everything in between. It's been shown to the leaders of our national defense and to incoming congressmen. It’s been shown by university presidents and kindergarten teachers, televangelists and politicians, folks just trying to make a buck and those trying to save the world. And this week it even made an appearance in Nancy Gibb’s essay in Time Magazine.

What does it all mean? (Well, besides the self-referential and now self-serving answer of “Shift Happens.”) I think the fact that a simple little PowerPoint (some folks would say simplistic and they would be right – it was meant to be the start of a conversation, not the entire conversation) can be viewed by so many folks and start so many conversations means that we live in a fundamentally different world than the one I (and most of you reading this) grew up in.

I know some folks would dispute that, and that’s an interesting conversation in and of itself, but if you buy that – if you buy that on so many levels the world is a fundamentally different place – then it just begs us to ask the question of whether schools have similarly transformed from when we grew up. If your answer to that question is no, as I think it probably is for a large majority of you, and if you see a problem with that, then what should we do? What is my responsibility, and your responsibility, for making the changes we believe are necessary? What are you willing to step up and do?

Here’s the presentation. Source files will be uploaded to the wiki shortly.


  1. Karl,

    One of the wonderful things you do, is not only share this new version, but then ask the right question--

    What now?

    I see small changes where I am, and I'm sure others do too, but if the question is do we see fundamental ones, I fear the answer would be no.

    How do we become part of the change we wish to see?

    I think things that break through the clutter, as your presentation did, and get people asking the questions is certainly a start, and maybe something we all should focus on doing more.(breaking through the clutter, I mean!)

    How can we leverage the little things we are doing for our own campus in a more public forum/discussion fo education?

    Does it just happen virally, as your video did? Who can predict what will catch people's interest when the time is right? Or is it something we implement step by step, or is it both or many things?

    As my district curriculum person keeps saying--we talk about 21st century like it's just arrived, but we are already the first decade into it!

    What are our obstacles? How do we make changes stick? How do we continue/start to shift the paradigm?

    Don't you like how I have questions and no answers? ;)

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. that would be "of" not "fo". ;)

    Or if you want to correct my typo and delete this ;) that would be fine!

  3. Thank you for doing it again. Indeed amazing the legs people give this thing, even in German without the impressive XPLANE graphics. About 32,000 views for my beginner's remix of your 2.0 video.

  4. Very nice. I like this version but the text snippets are all long and flash past the screen too quickly to more easily read IMO.

    I really do like the convergence angle. Now I have a video to use to explain that concept!

  5. Cross Commented on Dangerously Irrelevant

    Thanks, Scott [& Karl.] Well done. Like the music, graphics, concepts. A little too fast on some of the slides. Overall though, a nice update. Perfect timing for the grad class I begin teaching next week on teaching and learning in the 21st Century.

    Cheers to everyone involved!

    Now The Fischbowl

    After reading your post, I have a better idea of the background. As for your final comments, they are right on target: "I know some folks would dispute that [the world has changed,] ... it just begs us to ask the question of whether schools have similarly transformed from when we grew up. If your answer to that question is no, ... then what should we do? What is my responsibility, and your responsibility, for making the changes we believe are necessary? What are you willing to step up and do?"

    As Carolyn points out, we have made progress, we still have lots of questions, we need to continue to learn, create and teach. That's what you and Scott and Carolyn and so many others continue to do each day.

    During the labor movement in this country, songs had a crucial cultural and community building role. They bound people together and provided sustenance for the day-to-day work that needed to be done. Did You Know? and other videos of a similar nature, it seems to me, are playing a similar role today.

    Thanks again for all that you personally do to keep the train on the track and moving forward. If historians ever look for an "anthem" for these changing times, Did You Know? (and what did you do about it?) will certainly be a prime candidate.



  6. Really like these videos - a great way to take in some very relevant and interesting info!

    I posted more on it on my blog, where I like to keep on top of great videos, such as Did You Know 4.0? as well as other marketing and cultural info!

  7. I can tell this was taken over by the younger generation. It goes too fast for my 56 year old eyes/brain. But that's exactly the right speed for certain audiences. Loved it anyway.

  8. For those French-speaking readers of yours, we made this adaptation:

  9. Inspiring and thrilling on the one hand. Sobering and a bit depressing on the other. Inspiring of course because of all the possibilities before us. Depressing because educational institutions (like mine)are already so far behind... in mindset and technology. Nevertheless, I spread the word and pass on the video and move things forward as best I can. Thanks for the fuel to add to the debate. Nancy

  10. Yes, all that growth in technology...and yet I still sometimes deal with throwing it against the a caveman.

  11. The video runs too fast, I struggled to read all of the ruined it for me!

  12. I agree. It really is too fast to read and digest.