Monday, 8 December 2008

Steve Thompson - People and Place

Cross cultural communication is a challenge. We are trying to address it with children through the People and Place project.

Steve Thompson is Community Media Coordinator at the Institute of Digital Innovation University Of Teesside. We met through PRADSA (Practical Design for Social Action). He does wonderful community work, making great use of freely available software.

When Steve was planning a new project for local schools we got into discussion about it, and he came up with an idea that could include the Children's Computer Club at Fantsuam as well. The project is called People and Place. It is a learning opportunity for children (and the rest of us). Children in locations very distant from each other are starting to post local photographs with short titles. There is a space for comments (anyone can post a comment, the comments are moderated).

People are still in the early stages of using People and Place and seem a bit shy about posting comments at present, but that is not surprising. There are language barriers and other cultural differences to be overcome. There are also practical details of "who does what" when using the camera, uploading photos, needing access to the computers to see what is there and post comments. Apart from techie details, classroom management issues, and time constraints, there are all the issues of building personal relationships. It will take a while to build confidence and trust and get the children (and staff) in the habit of exchanging information and feeling at ease with each other.

I encourage people to visit People and Place, to look at the photos and encourage the children (and staff) by posting comments and questions. Ideally, when you get there, subscribe to People and Place, then you will get notified when new photos or comments are posted, and can respond. It makes all the difference to children if they know their work really has an audience.

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