I’m retiring three of my domain names: flexesl.ca, flexesl.com, and parkbridge.org.
I no longer work at Flexibility Learning Systems, and they have never been big into any automation or replacing the analogue with digital. Some, yes, but not all. They have a website for information, flexibilitylearning.ca, but:
- it isn’t really known by the big search engines
- it’s static (not updated daily or even weekly by teachers or management)
- the name is really long for low-CLB students to type out,
- most of the staff and students are ignorant of its very existence
- management wants it for basic information only, not interactivity.
So I purchased both domain names on a whim, to build something and show my supervisor who could in turn show management. My thought was that students could:
- visit the website and view helpful material (links to buses, immigrant office, weather, etc.)
- practise class stuff (updated by teachers or TAs)
- listen to audio (by teachers or from other sources)
- get some teacher-made material to print out (involving kids at home, family interaction, & working together in both native language and English)
- work with classmates to figure stuff out that was really hard for them in class, etc. (a bunch of people drinking tea at home listening to / watching material and talking about it)
- replace the fear of a computerized world with success in using it.
But … it’s the same problem that has always been – that we had to pass ideas through management before implementation, and this was a) too technical and b) too overwhelming in scope. Management is a small business owner who, over time, was pushed into a bigger and bigger business with off-campus classes, two separate school buildings, and two dozen staff. Delegation isn’t easy for someone who micromanages. (That’s not to be taken negatively. It is just a fact of business management style.)
But they had an “in” already – me. I would loved to have set this up. I did it several times before – twice for myself (the old allaninkorea.net and the newer allansplace.ca) and for others (like tinasplace.ca, which was decommissioned after the wife left and quit the business; not to be confused with tinasplace.com, the cancer support web, still running). My own ESL web is still running for current students only.
So, when you pitch an idea that you know would fly and it doesn’t, you can do one of a few things:
- Do it, prove your point, show everyone, change people’s minds.
- Do it, get rejected, throw it away and forget it.
- Don’t do it, chock it up to different styles of business. Never mention it again.
- Try something else that would result similarly.
I did the last. I proposed creating books made by the school – simple six- to twenty-page books that would do similarly as mentioned above. It worked. Later, they found that another college in Calgary was already doing it. “We have a new idea,” they said. “Let’s make books like this other college has done.” Uhh … yes, what a great idea! I should have thought of that! <ahem>
But I’m no longer at Flex. Leaving Flex is a story all unto itself. I’ll maybe get into that later. Suffice to say that I’m now in a field where innovation and technology is an absolute part of success. I was a teacher. Now I am a technologist.
As in the Flex story above, some people like handling paper and some people like fiddling with technology.
My proposed idea was that the Parkbridge Estates Tenants Association (PETA) would have an online presence to tell about tea meetings, bridge club events, Christmas turkey dinners, garage sales, or whatever other event would come up. It would get people involved. Let’s face it – many seniors go to Burger King for coffee only because they really don’t have anything else to do. Seniors who aren’t working still must be and feel useful. Get online! Get into something that is your own! Go to parkbridge.org, log in, bitch about the new housing development across the street, show pictures of your gazanias or your dog, and read about who has moved in or out.
The one reason stated that this wouldn’t fly was, “I don’t think people would want personal information shown on their phone.” (?) I wondered about this. First, it’s on a website, not on your phone. Second, no personal information – just gazania and dog pictures. Next, if there were personal information on it, no one except Parkbridge tenants could see it. (You must log in first.) Right off the bat, it was a misunderstood concept, way way way off in left field.
It could be that I proposed the idea at a wrong time. Timing is everything. And, I could have showed an example. But the feeling I got was that we were so far apart; this was supposed to be a fun thing, and this was right-off-the-bat not fun. I thought it was a great idea for seniors to be involved, something new to start talking about. But, nope. When time came to renew the domain name, I dropped it. So now, no more parkbridge.org.