Monday, 30 July 2007

E-meeting - August 2nd "Evidence, evidence, evidence!" - How we use photos and video to share our stories.

Our next e-meeting at chat room is planned for Thursday August 2nd 2007 at 2.30 pm London Time (1.30 GMT. Please click here to check your timezone.) It will be a chat room meeting. The theme is "Evidence, evidence, evidence!" - How we use photos and video to share our stories.

As usual we will start off with some informal "meeting-and-greeting", before the main session, and there will be opportunities for informal networking afterwards.

There has been a lot of discussion at LearningFromEachOther, Mendenyo, and Facebook, about how we share grass-roots evidence with bandwidth-rich communities. Our grass-roots groups face great problems getting online and achieve a major triumph if they manage to join in online discussion using text. By contrast our bandwidth rich contacts (and potential contacts) are accustomed to multi-media.

  • How do we cross the culture-gaps and and communication gaps?

  • How far have we progressed and what are the main issues we face at present?

  • How do we move forward?

ICT4D Checklist
I will use my ICT4D "three-legged stool" checklist to review our progress.

Checklist item 1 - Information
We have a lots of information:

  • Information that Samwel has collected on his camera (and there are other photos, and video clips, on other cameras, tapes, computers, CDs and datapens belonging to other people in our various grass-roots networks).

  • Experience that Samwel and others have about their problems sending their photos and video clips.

  • Experience that people have of working with photos and video, mostly in bandwidth rich situations.

  • Ideas of where our information should be presented once it is on the Internet.

Checklist item 2 - Communication
Who are the "people with a purpose" who want to share their information? There are quite a few. All the names I mention here are invited to Thursday's session:

  • Andrius, Maria and Samwel - who are involved in the e-collaboration and/or face to face (F2F) meetings that got the cameras to Kenya -,and it is Samwel who has collected the photos/video clips (no sound) into the camera.

  • David Mutua - who has helped me to collect grassroots photos and video in the past and suggested we should have an e-meeting about it.

  • Guilhem and Asif - who have been giving practical advice to Samwel via Facebook and yahoo groups.

  • Chris Macrae - who wants to get Samwel's videos on youtube, and helped Samwel to get the camera.

I cannot promise all te peopel mentioned will be there, but they are invited. Perhaps as we get further with LearnByDoing we can agree a place where people sign up in advance for e-meetings - so everyone knows in advance who is planning to attend.

Pam will also be attending, and probably others from LearningFromEachOther, Cawdnet, and other networks, who are part of the growing "LearnByDoing Club".

Checklist item 3 - Technology
Aspects of technology have already been mentioned:

  • The Camera, the existing and potential interfaces between the camera and the Internet, the various e-locations where emails have been exchanged, and this e-meeting.

Checklist item 4 - ICT4....
So - ICT4What?

  • Well, in this case the objective is to move forward in our attempt to collect visual evidence form grass-roots projects in Africa and share it in places like "YouTube".

Some practical details for the session

  • We will need a chairperson. I am thinking it may be Sasha - but haven't asked him yet.


  • We need to make our way of introducing ourselves much smoother.

  • We have space on Andrius wiki for this, and Lorraine is making a start on creating a LearnByDoing club index.

  • The idea is that we will develop an alphabetical list of everyone who comes to our "LearnByDoing Club"e-meetings. This alphabetical list will be on one page of the wiki - each name will be a live link to a quick introduction to the named person.

  • People who often come along to LearnByDoing e-meetings will get to know each other and won't need to check on the introduction list.

  • The introduction list will be there to help newcomers. By clicking on the names, newcomers will quickly get to know more about the various people who are contributing to the chat.

  • Newcomers will always be welcome to introduce themselves (during the informal networking time) and their information can also be added to the introduction list. This will happen gradually, depending how much people do for themselves and how much it is left to others.

Agenda items:

  • When the chairman is chosen and calls us to order for the main session we will agree the agenda.

  • It will consist of discussion on various points relating to cameras and the sharing of photos, and video clips.

  • Towards the end of the session the chairman will sum up and offer an "Any Other Business" (OAB) time. Suggestions under AOB may be discussed immediately or held over for a later e-meeting.

  • The chairman will then declare the meeting closed and people will sort themselves out for informal networking.

As usual with a LearnByDoing e-meeting there is an open invitation to attend.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

How It Went - LearnByDoing E-meeting 1 - 26th July 2007

Today we had our first LearnByDoing E-meeting.

We met at the Minciu Sodas chat room. There were seven of us there. We were from three continents - Africa, Europe, and North America - and from five countries. Two more friends from Africa were kept in contact with the chat-room meeting through yahoo chat, because they experienced problems accessing the chat room from their cybercafes.

Most of us are already in contact through the LearningFromEachOther yahoo group. We were also happy to welcome a newcomer - Caroline Ifeka.

We are developing a format where:
The session topic and the meeting leader(s) are agreed beforehand.
We start off with informal chat, and break up for informal chat again at the end of the formal session.
When everyone has arrived the formal session begins and we agree an agenda.
At the end of the formal session there is a review of what has been discussed and learned.
The formal session closes.
People have the opportunity for informal chat before logging off.

As this is a LearnByDoing project the structure of the e-meetings are not already set. It is part of the project to develop effective strategies for e-meetings, strategies that suit the different e-locations where we meet - and suit the real world locations (and cultures) where we are connecting with the Internet.

In this first meeting we did start and end with informal chat, and there was a more structured central session which had a formal ending. We made sure that everyone was able to use colour to make it easy to follow which contributions were made by which people. We discussed various practical issues relating to access and personal introductions.

We are exploring how to develop the right balance between making people feel at home in the group, and moving forward with the business of the meeting. For our purpose of having an e-meeting in a chat room it is a disadvantage that, when people join in, they do not see the chat that has already taken place.

Maybe we can get our chat room changed so that people can easily see what they have missed. (Of course in a real world meeting you do not get the chance to see what you have missed - but e-meetings offer different possibilities.) Maybe we will simply agree that if anyone arrives after the formal session begins we will not be able to greet them properly until the formal session is over.

We looked at the possibility of preparing personal introductions before the e-meeting begins, so people can easily introduce themselves at the appropriate moment. We will explore ways of doing that effectively as the project develops.

The chat from the e-meeting can be read here...

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

July 26th - change of venue.

Change of arrangements ref LearnByDoing e-meeting planned for Thursday July 26th. The meeting on the 26th will now be held in the WorkNets Chat Room at 2.30 pm London Time (1.30 GMT. Please click here to check your timezone.)

The audiographic version of the e-meeting, to be held at Trainserspod has been postponed until until August (probably the 16th).

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Open Invitation

You are invited to participate in the next LearnByDoing virtual event - provisional date and time Thursday August 16th 1.30pm for 2 pm GMT start... (please click here to confirm your timezone.)

This event (postponed from July 26th) is the first of an occasional series of e-meetings, using audio-graphic conferencing.

Who is invited
I don't know exactly who will turn up for the first session, but I can tell you who I will be inviting, either for the first session or as the series gets underway. They are people I have met during seven years of work on ICT for Education and Development - partly in rural Nigeria and partly in the UK using the Internet. Some I know Face to Face (F2F), some I e-know. I am also inviting people who are friends of my friends, or contacts of my contacts - so please feel free to circulate the details. Anyone who happens to come across this invitation and feels it is of interest is invited. For log-in details email me Pam quoting "LearnByDoing July 26th" in the subject line.

Shared interests and collaboration
For years I have valued my Internet networks and my grassroots networks and wanted the people in them to know each other better. This series of e-meetings is a step in that direction. Attendance is free of charge. I hope that as the series progresses we will develop a core group of people who attend on a fairly regular basis - and that new shared interests will be discovered and new collaborations will result. However, regular attendance is not essential as each session will stand on its own.

Reducing knowledge gaps and cultural gaps
The Internet is heralded as the death of distance. Through these e-meetings I hope we will reduce the knowledge gaps, and cultural gaps, between people in my two very different, but overlapping, networks. Each session will have a similar structure and will focus on some topic dear to the heart of one or more people in the core group. These are people who routinely use ICT - through emails and chat - to share information with each other about the practical work they are doing in grassroots education and development. The audio-graphic sessions offer a more sophisticated way of e-meeting - and bring together a wider group to "rub minds". Sessions are hosted by Trainerspod using Elluminate

People you might meet

  • Members of the Learning From Each Other yahoo group that I lead within Minciu Sodas (Lithuanian for "Orchard of Thoughts"), which includes grassroots activists from several African countries.
  • Members of the Teachers Talking (TT) yahoo group which was set up to support the first TT ICT training course for rural teachers, at Fantsuam, in 2004.
  • Other ICT4Education and Development activists who are working with African grassroots projects.
  • Facebook friends such as the ICT4D group from Royal Holloway College University of London.
  • Other individuals from Cawdnet and other networks.
  • People from discussion lists related to ICT4Ed and Development.

The first session
In the first session I will be setting the scene, sharing long term vision, introducing people to each other, explaining our plans for the next twelve months, promoting the "three legged stool" model of effective ICT for Education and Development, and generally laying the foundations for this innovative, practical, LearnByDoing project. For log-in details email me Pam quoting "LearnByDoing July 26th" in the subject line. As with any project there are benefits if you are in at the start. Please circulate this information as appropriate.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The LearnByDoing Blog... is part of a practical project

As the blog title suggests, the LearnByDoing blog is part of a practical project. The project "walks the talk" of using ICT for Education (ICT4Ed) and ICT for Development (ICT4D).

Starting the blog doesn't mark the start of the LearnByDoing project (although it does mark the start of some practical learning about blogs). The blog is simply a way of bringing various ongoing initiatives together in one e-location - and under one heading - LearnByDoing.

Already, people who are involved in the initiatives make up a wide ranging group in terms of practical projects, geographical locations, key interests, access to ICT, skills, experience, education, languages, age, employment, cultural backgrounds and other variables. We welcome newcomers who also want to Learn By Doing.

This blog is being co-authored by Lorraine Duff and Pamela McLean. (We have just discovered how we can set up a blog with shared authorship.) The initiatives we will be describing here are ones where we are actively involved, and which give us, and others, a chance to LearnByDoing. The initiatives all involve ICT and have some connection with education and/or development.

We have a Learning From Each Other yahoo group and we also hold e-meetings to share information about our various projects. Our next e-meeting is on Thursday 5th July, 4.30pm Kenya time, at the WorkNets Chat Room - please check your time zone. It will be the second e-meeting that we've held at the chat room. After the first one we decided more structure was needed. This time, in addition to having a main contributor (who influences the content) we will also be having a chairman and some kind of agenda. We are making plans for the e-meeting in the "let's e-meet again" thread. The LearningFromEachOther yahoo group archives are open and new members are welcome.

We don't have any set plans for how often we'll write the blog. It is unlikely to be a comprehensive journal. Probably it will be more like a series of post-cards sent in now and again from various locations (real and virtual) relevant to the blog. As we send in the "postcards"we can add links down the side panel - providing easy reference directions to the locations mentioned in our "post-cards". Then other people can follow around, and join in what seems of interest.

Perhaps that is how it will work.

We will find out as we -LearnByDoing...