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This site is really about my take on a number of media, technology and music business issues as I smack into them in my life and my business. Among them are: The challenges of running a small record label in the Music 2.0 (sorry) world, audio and music technology and business, learning and instructional technology and media, and just being a 40 something desk jockey with (now - gulp) 10 year old twins. (Sheesh - kids just keep growing and getting older no matter what you do!)

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IMG_0881.JPGI hear that coffee is the new wine - whatever that means. I will say that I have really gotten into coffee this past year. I am no barista and I probably don't even qualify as a coffee geek, but I have put some time into pouring a good cup of joe while supporting fair trade distributors. Currently I am brewing/drinking what so far has to be my favorite source of coffee; Counter Culture coffee. Very fresh, Fair Trade and Organic offerings - check out some of their micro lots. Mmm-Good.

Other good ones: Global Libations in Kutztown Pa, I like their Costa Rican La Amistad, and Alterra Coffee in Milwaukee Wi, thier Dark Sumatra - strong stuff but mmmm good.

Don't forget Joe's Coffee Bar in Philidelphia. Excellent fresh roasted beans and fair trade too!

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Wednesday
Feb272008

Learning 2.0 (like Music 2.0 and Web 2.0) and the Long Tail

Chris Anderson's The Long Tail is required reading for anyone operating in the "fill-in-the-blank" 2.o world. Incidentally, in case you missed it, Chris has published a preview of his new book in his magazine Wired titled; "Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business". I have read the feature, but really need to read it again before I really can comment on it.

Besides, what about The Long Tail?

The concepts of The Long Tail figure significantly in the operation of our "micro - niche" label. We are taking advantage of the read/write web using blogs, social networks etc. to find our niche, to capture the attention of our potential listeners and to invite their participation in our music product. The Long Tail has allowed our music products to be available at music retailers like Amazon as well as digital retailers such as Itunes and eMusic.

The Long Tail seems to be emerging in the eLearning world as well. John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler tackle the implications of The Long Tail on learning admirably in their article in Educause Review, "Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0" The article is an excellent and informative read. I came to it by way of Tony Karrer's eLearning Technology blog. Tony has has a great article covering his take on the Long Tail in corporate learning "Corporate Learning Long Tail and the Attention Crisis"

All of this is heady stuff, especially when I often  deal with organizations still trying to figure out how use their 5 year old LMS. I  think social learning networks and the rise of niche learning is an inevitability. People who learn socially tend to retain more information and learn - well - better. There is research to back that up, but I know it from my teaching assistant days. A professor of record and 2 teaching assistants taught a freshman level music theory class with an enrollment of 121 students. The class was a lecture class held in a large recital hall. To assist the students in absorbing the material, the other assistant and I (who is now my wife by the way) set up small learning groups of 15 to 20 students. The sessions were very informal, we often had doughnuts, coffee etc and had the students participate in running and even devising exercises and games so we could ensure the students could resolve their augmented sixth chords. The students who took advantage of those small learning groups invariably either had the highest grades or improved their grades.

Today, this can be handled by creating a social learning network online, using maybe a blog or a wiki where the students participate in and even generate the learning content. And with bandwidth, storage etc. costs constantly falling in price, more and more knowledge and learning niches will populate the Long Tail.  Of course, as with most everything along these lines, if you build it, they may not come. A culture needs to be developed to encourage the learners to participate and share.

Anyhow, that long tail is a slappin me around, in music, to some degree in our music instrument and recording gear retail business and in eLearning. 

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