ILD 831 Week Eight Assignment

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I chose to participate in ILD 831 in order to be exposed to technologies that can help me as a leader. I have always been a little slow to engage technology and usually would only use it if the technology was essential to my job. Case in point, back in 1996 I began working for a company that had me traveling overseas and staying in those countries for three to five months at a time. I was assigned a laptop, an email address as well as instruction on how to fill out expense reports, time cards, and daily engineering reports. The laptop was an old Toshiba Tecra that weighed about ten pounds………And one hundred pounds after carrying it through the airport! The battery life was about thirty minutes and did not have much hard drive space on it. I never thought much of the laptop and certainly did not use it for anything but business purposes.

But then I found out that non-business people had email addresses and there was this thing call the World Wide Web. Suddenly I started understanding what everyone was talking about, and I then began to realize that I had a lot to learn. Fast forward to 2013 and now I am learning even more about technology by taking part in the new world of blogging, using smart phones, as well as doing research on software that has helped to flatten the world.

I researched Skype® during week two of ILD 831 and found out some amazing facts. Skype® is a communication tool that provides voice, video, and text message capabilities. It is a software program that can be downloaded to a PC or MAC and operates as a voice-over-IP service (VoIP) (About Skype, 2013). Skype® originally started as a peer-to-peer sharing program for voice connection. The premise was that with an Internet connection anyone in the world could use a microphone and speakers/headset to talk to one another (Aamoth, 2011). Microsoft purchased the rights to Skype® in 2011 and embedded Sype® in the newly released XBox One® as a video communication application.

Through the past eight weeks I have researched and found that a lot of technology was created before an actual use for that technology could be realized. As a leader I have to recognize how to use current technology effectively but still also keep an eye open to the future. Even though some technology may not be at a point where it can be useful does not mean that the technology should be abandoned.

Many leaders I have been studying all became extremely successful by taking advantage of newly developed technology. Some leaders also used technology in a ways the inventors never dreamed of in order to create a leap in their industries. All of my research has given me the conclusion that the bottom line is that leaders need to embrace technology. I have traditionally been slow to embrace technology, now I am seeing the risk with not being on the cutting edge. If I do not maintain a healthy development of technical knowledge, I am doomed to being left behind and becoming obsolete. The last eight weeks have been an exciting, eye-opening, scary, hopeful, and informative journey. My curiosity has been ignited and I am looking forward to seeing what new technologies I can learn about and apply to my role as a leader.


Aamoth, D. (2011, May 10th). A Brief History of Skype. Retrieved from Time Tech:

About Skype. (2013, November 2nd). Retrieved from Skype:


Albert Einstein Quote


12 thoughts on “ILD 831 Week Eight Assignment

    Britt Watwood said:
    December 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Nice post, Tony. You noted “…If I do not maintain a healthy development of technical knowledge, I am doomed to being left behind and becoming obsolete.” Agreed, but the devil is in the details. “Technical knowledge” will vary discipline to discipline, and even office to office. I would focus on defining what “healthy development” might mean for you and those with whom you work. It does not have to be very formal. The first year iPads were out, a group of us got together every week to share what apps we had tried. It had a “sandbox” feel to it…and I learned a ton about different applications – from note taking to productivity to presentation to drawing … and even games.

      tcstearns said:
      December 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you Professor Watwood.

      I agree that it is difficult to determine which technologies would be useful enough to pursue and which technologies would be non-applicable to my industry. I used to take a wait and see approach for most things, but I am now excited to see what new technology can bring.

      The Albert Einstein quote was something I found interesting during my research. Since my week two research project was Skype, I wonder if Einstein ever envisioned a world that could use web conferencing to do business or keep in touch with family and friends? I also wonder if he is saying his vision of the future being individuals that are gamers? Gamers spend so much time engaging each other in role playing games but yet do not know each other personally only their characters. I have also heard that younger people tend to text each other when they are sitting close enough to have a physical conversation. Even with all of this technology, I still feel physical face to face human interaction is the most important. What do you think? Thank you.


        Britt Watwood said:
        December 14, 2013 at 9:51 pm

        Mixed feelings…human interactions are critical…but I think our concept of “human interactions” continues to morph. Few years back, I was walking with a colleague and his texting daughter. He reprimanded her for not being part of our conversation…and she responded that she was part of a dozen “conversations.” Food for thought!

    Denise Butts said:
    December 15, 2013 at 5:54 am

    As leaders it is important to stay abreast of technology and how these tools can advance our knowledge and ultimately our organizations. Yet, the Einstein quote conveys a powerful message.

    I started teaching at the age of 21. Over the years, I have seen technology evolve in our schools and in the lives of young people. While our young people are quite resourceful with using social media there is a big gap between using technology as a forum for social interaction and transferring this interest for learning applicable competency skills for the world of work. I think we should take heed to Einstein’s quote. He was well ahead of his time in many ways. The proof is in the data. I think the recent PISA report is part of the proof.


      tcstearns said:
      December 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Hello Denise,

      I agree about the PISA scoring results of our students in America. We have such a wealth of technology yet we score like we are in a third world country. I am not sure how to close that gap. Khan Academy has been an amazing resource that was started by an unemployed Indian-American engineer to help his niece with her math work. It’s since has exploded to a variety of learning modules in science, math, and computer programming with donations from such heavy hitters as Bill Gates. Perhaps this is the future? Maybe our schools can harness this type of technology in order to close the gap with the rest of the world. But then again, since it is on the Internet, perhaps the rest of the world will jump on it too. Thank you for your post Denise!


        Britt Watwood said:
        December 15, 2013 at 10:48 pm

        I could not let this myth pass without commenting. Salman Khan was not an unemployed Indian-American engineer. He was a very successful hedge fund manager who began making videos to help his cousin in math, and ultimately formed Khan Academy and quit his day job. Still an impressive story –

        tcstearns said:
        December 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm

        Thank you for the clarification Professor Watwood. That just goes to show that you cannot trust everything on a blog! My post was done from memory from the episode of 60 Minutes I watched a while back.

        Denise Butts said:
        December 16, 2013 at 2:46 am

        No doubt. Khan was miles away from the unemployment line. He was quite wealthy and rallied other wealthy engineers to expand Khan Academy which has been under quite scrutiny in recent years.

        Troy best wishes!!

    lrc00053 said:
    December 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Troy, I enjoyed when you said “As a leader I have to recognize how to use current technology effectively but still also keep an eye open to the future”. It is difficult for me to keep my mind in both the present as well as the future sometimes and your statement reminded me that being able to do both is important.

    You also mention how some technologies were created prior to the use of that technology was realized. That is a very important part of the creation process. We often create before gaining a full understanding of how the creation will impact society, positive or negative. Hopefully, our technological creations will have a more positive impact than negative however I do see my kids playing way too many games on their devices but I think that comes down to how we manage their time on the devices. This leads me to believe that the management of technology can be at times, as important as the technology itself.

    tcstearns said:
    December 15, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Hello Louis,

    I wonder if there is a statistic for technologies that were abandoned too soon? How many ideas or inventions got locked away much like the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark because they simply did not want to pursue it anymore? I know that there come a monetary constraint to a lot of ideas, but what if something was shelved that could have created clean water for pennies simply because it cost too much to keep moving forward. What if a cure for a particular strain of cancer got shelved? It is an interesting thought as I sit here on the last day of this class. What do you think? Thanks for all of your challenging posts Louis.


    December 16, 2013 at 4:53 am

    I think the Einstein quotation was a great addition to your final post. We do need to maintain focus on human interaction. But I think we also need to remember that Einstein never lived to see the many tangible ways in which technology actually benefits human interaction.

    Your reference to Skype is an excellent example of how technology aids human interaction. We use Skype – and similar technology – to connect with students and colleagues quite often. It improves communication in my opinion and is a far more engaging technology than typical conference calls .

    We should always remember, as Dixon (2009) wrote that “our most effective knowledge sharing tool is conversation. The words we choose, the questions we ask, and the metaphors we use to explain ourselves, are what determines our success in creating new knowledge, as well as sharing that knowledge with each other.”

    We should also remember that she places primary importance on how we think and what we say – not necessarily the method we choose to utilize to communicate.


    Dixon, N. (2009, May 2). Three Eras of Knowledge Management. Retrieved from

    tcstearns said:
    December 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Hello James,

    Coming from the M.S. in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Program offered at Creighton University, I am a strong believer in conversation and physical communication. So much gets lost in the translation when we read words written in an email, a text, Twitter posting, etc. Having the capability to do web conferencing helps to alleviate the loss of verbal communication. However, in week two when I posted my results of Skype, I had one classmate response that discussed her issues with not being able to focus on the person she was interviewing with and she was not able to pick up all of his non-verbal cues. I know we cannot all fly or drive to be face to face with every person we need to contact. But I do believe that Einstein was probably discussing this possibility. Could you imagine if peace treaties had to be negotiated via Cisco or Skype? There is something to be said with a handshake or a hug. Even though technology has made staying in touch far simpler, we must strive to ensure the human connection cannot be lost. Thank you for your thoughts.


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