Friday, August 31, 2007

First Blog for Blog Day 2007 - Thinking Stick

Blog Day 2007Today is the 2007 Blog Day, a chance to highlight new blogs (at least to each of us) and share a little link love along the way. I posted two earlier, unsure about how focused I'd stay on this on the actual day, but here we are and I have a couple more to share.

The first is The Thinking Stick written by Jeff Utecht who lives and works in Shanghai, China, and whose blog was brought to my attention by a commenter on this blog (Thanks, Barbara! I think she is his mother! ;-) Jeff describes himself as a K-12 technologist, so I think we have some affinity around the areas of learning and technology! Another connection is that I have a cousin who lives in Shanghai. (No, this isn't a 6 degrees game!) I liked Jeff's post about technology fear! This shows up a lot in my work as well! Nice blog, Jeff!

Mark Greenfield, who has a blog to reflect about online learning as part of a workshop for folks in New Zealand, also has a post about techno-fear that I read today. I found Mark's blog because he referenced a talk I shared with his group earlier this week. The post, "If You're Technophobic and You Know it Clap Your Hands" (great title) adds further reflection to how we feel - often inadequate- while trying to use technology. I shared a comment with Mark about how 'over the shoulder' peer coaching helps me. (I have a blog post in the works about this, along with the slides from the aformentioned talk).

The third one I found via a pointer from David Snowden, Biophemera, "the art of biology & the biology of art." I love the humor, visual thinking and the way "biophemera" takes both a poetic and often a fresh perspective on something. I think "hey, I never saw it that way." What a gift.

It is time to go outside and go for a walk with a person I've only met online - so I'll have to find 2more later. But these 3 are a good start if you need a new blog link.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Self Financing Learning Journeys

The Future of Learning in a Networked World group is gearing up for another adventure, this time in Thailand and possibly Laos. I followed their adventures in New Zealand on their first big adventure, and have found myself sucked into their magical tractor beams for the Thailand journey. The shorthand description is...
Hands on e-learning events in a physical, virtual and cross-cultural context supported by TALO (Teach and Learn Online) members, host nations, networked events, groups and individuals from round the globe.
The FLNW2 Thailand/Laos trip imagines cross cultural learning/exchange/sharing of how learning is happening in a networked world in and between our different contexts. The idea is to spend time with others interested in learning, exploring both the practice and technical aspects.

But there is a catch. These things don't come free or cheap. And most/all of us aren't rolling in extra cash. So instead of just whining about it, some of the team are actively seeking sponsorship. Taking a cue from Beth Kanter, I suggested using ChipIn and raising some dough ourselves. So I made the first donation yesterday (which is STILL not showing up on the widget, darn.) I'm copying the widget here to spread the, um, opportunity. I told Alex I'm crummy at asking for money, but hey, one has to learn new tricks.

So, can you chip in?

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So many URLs, so little time

URL's I'd like to pour over, read, absorb and blog about. But due to reality check, here are the links, in their bare naked state!

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The Young Multimedia Mavens

Twitter pal and teacher Al Upton alerted us today of the fantastic work of his students who have used a tool called Voicethread to create a multimedia Choose Your Own Adventure Story. They have written, illustrated and narrated a story which can unfold along a few different tracks. Take a peek, then leave them a comment and encourage the young writers and artists!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Playing with Animoto

Via my twitterverse, comes a link to Animoto, a site that allows you to easily mix photos and music for your own short video (free) or pay for longer format videos. Here are a few shots from my recent trip to Colombia! This was done slap dash - I'm impressed the service made something interesting out of it. A quick 30 seconds look at the trip...

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Two Slideshare sets worth Sharing

Alex Haye's set on M-Learning link was sprinkled on Twitter, first when Alex was asking for input, and second once the slide set was posted. Before I heap more praise on it, Alex, congrats on the birth of your son! YAY! Now, back to slidestuff...Stephen Downes shared the link yesterday and I want to echo his comments:
Alexander Hayes at his best, linking the technology with the people with the vision. "Despite the organizational reluctance to engage... our esteemed colleagues charge on... extraordinary people with great courage and foresight who link research with practice." A lyrical presentation that at one highlights numerous projects and people working on mobile learning and which may also contain the longest single sentence in the history of presentations. And it strikes me again how disappointing it is that we has some of the most expensive mobile phone rates in the world here in Canada, a short-sighted policy that has slowed adoption and stifled research. Praise for this slide show from and Leigh Blackall.
Just a note... already 867 views! What I like about it? Alex managed to share the stories of many people as the centerpiece of sharing his own learning.

Next up is Graham Wegner's set on "blogging as professional learning." This was a nice bit of inspiration for me as I prepared for a short session yesterday on "learning over each other's shoulders" (more on this later) and I even added some of his good stuff to my set! Thanks, Graham. What I like about it? It is a nice, clear sharing of how blogging can be a professional development activity with enough tips to make the suggestion doable!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Cliff Figallo and the Evolution of Virtual Community

Jon Lebkowsky interviews online community practitioner Cliff Figallo on WorldChanging (part 1 of 2 so far)! Cliff Figallo and the Evolution of Virtual Community. The snippet I share here is around the definition of community...

The definition of "community" – whatever it is – has been spindled, bent, folded and probably mutilated by its passage into the virtual realm. The idea now seems to apply to people who buy the same products, who are identified as "friends" in social networking environments, who come together physically for a few days (see: Burning Man), who simply use the same conversational interface, and you name it...if it fits the Web 2.0 concept – user-driven content – it's got the community tag on it.

I spent most of a chapter in my book, Hosting Web Communities, explaining some of these variations on community – that they vary with the amount of actual interactivity, whether the focus is on a common interest or on the personalities of the members, whether the people join because of the topic, the members, or the platform that mediates their interaction. But frankly, I wish there were other terms to describe these associations besides "community." The word is now bearing an awful burden.

I have an especially strong referrent for the term, having lived on the Farm for 12 years. To me, a true community requires commitment at a level that you rarely find in exclusively online groups. Community grows out of going through difficult changes together – life and death shit. WELL members did develop some impressive levels of commitment and relationship beyond what went on through the software interface. It facilitated relationship building. This does occur, I understand, through many other Web sites these days – MeetUp certainly comes to mind – and I can't claim to know what's going on as "community building" in the vast majority of social sites. I can only hope that lots of people are finding meaningful real communities through the Web.

With the tremendous increase in bandwidth today, compared with what we had at The WELL, a personal profile can convey a lot about a person, and can thus provide a better idea of their personality – providing they're not spoofing you. On The WELL, you had to interact with a person for a while, in various contexts, to build an image of them in your mind. The classic first meatspace meeting was often mindboggling since the mind's image rarely matched the actual appearance.

But the ubiquity of the Web today makes it much more likely that online and offline relationships will intersect and complement one another. Facebook was created to provide a resource for enhancing what might become real life relationships among students on a given campus.

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PNWers - September 9th: Humanity 2.0 Workshop

Are you in the Pacific NW of the US and interested in the intersection between humanity and technology? You KNOW I am (ah, technology stewardship). If you are and want to join in this event, Let Leif know. We need a few more to make it happen. I can create a carpool from Seattle in my old mini-van, heading up on Saturday and back late Sunday or early Monday.

Spark NorthWest - September 9th, 2007: Humanity 2.0 Workshop
As technology permeates our daily lives, it helps, and it hurts. How does our increasing use and dependence on tools such as email, cell phones, iPods, or social networking sites effect our desire for human fulfillment and spiritual transformation? We don't know… Seriously, we don't. Do you?

In an age of dizzying technological innovation, one rarely has the time to stop and reflect on these changes. It's clear that our technologies are getting faster, more powerful and more ubiquitous. However, what's not so clear is: Does the added value outweigh the often unnoticed costs? Isn't that an important question?

Gathering Together
Take a day (or more) out of your busy lives, away from the technopoly, to join people like yourself for some deeper exploration into these crucial questions and issues. Humanity 2.0 will take place on beautiful Orcas Island, and includes:
  • Stimulating dialog about balancing technology and humanity
  • Meeting and mixing with other thoughtful people
  • Interactivities with practical life-enhancing outcomes
  • A delicious and mind-enriching lunch in an idyllic island setting
Where is it happening?
This Humanity 2.0 workshop will take place on Orcas Island , just two hours north of Seattle, in the historic Oddfellows Hall , overlooking Eastsound bay. In addition, we are able to offer a 30% discount at Orcas' famous Outlook Inn to a limited number of guests wishing to extend their visit. Call 1-877-I-AM-GAME for details.

When is it happening?
Humanity 2.0 takes place from 9:30a to 4:00p on Sunday, September 9th, 2007. Feel free to come out a day early, or stay an extra day, enjoying the pleasures of island life, including kayaking , hiking, beach-combing and dining at great restaurants. Click here for ferry information . If you are planning on coming over the morning of the workshop, you'll need to take the 7:45a ferry. It's a good idea to arrive 30-45 minutes early.

How do I register?
Registration is limited, so call soon. The workshop costs $85 and includes a healthy organic lunch. To register, or for more information, call 1-877-I-AM-GAME (426-4263) or 360-566-2278. We look forward to meeting you and giving you one of the most memorable days of your year!

Other Resources:

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Friday, August 24, 2007

ShahidulNews - a blog that moves me

from blogger Shahidul Alam transports me across the world to the realities of communities in India. I received an email from Shahidul pointing me to the coverage of the floods on his blog, and I have been hooked. The photography is riveting (example to the right). The perspective broadens my own. Thanks, Shahidul.

With respect to the floods, my colleagues at ActionAid International tell me the flooding in Asia this year is one of the worst years they have ever seen. Hurricane Dean brought destruction to Central America. The earthquake in Peru. Give where you think you can lend a hand.

Regular readers may have noticed I'm highlighting some blogs I love. This is my part for the third annual Blog Day on August 31st. I decided to start early! ;-) Thanks to Beth for reminding me. About...
BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.
With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

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Thinking about Twitter Part 2 - in my life

This the second post of a two part series! (part one here) It is more inward looking to my personal experiences with Twitter. (I have also posted about Twitter here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

My experience with Twitter has happened on a number of levels. So let me pull out the reflections, shake them out, twist them around and see what sense we can make of them.

disambiguity - on Ambient Intimacy:
"Ambient intimacy is about being able to keep in touch with people with a level of regularity and intimacy that you wouldn’t usually have access to, because time and space conspire to make it impossible. Flickr lets me see what friends are eating for lunch, how they’ve redecorated their bedroom, their latest haircut. Twitter tells me when they’re hungry, what technology is currently frustrating them, who they’re having drinks with tonight."
Twitter give me a very interesting sense of intimacy, mostly with people I don't know that well. I am still trying to understand what that means to me in my relationship with them (can it even be called a relationship?) and how much I want to know. I find myself removing people who only post intimate things off my Twitter list. I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it is because I prefer the ideas. Or maybe because I feel uncomfortable with the level of intimacy. Or perhaps because I don't reciprocate. It is worth paying more attention to what and why I'm responding or rejecting. I also take off people who simply are advertising their latest blog post. That is not enough intimacy. So there is a gradient and I respond to it. Intimacy clearly matters to some degree.

The big question when Twitter first hit the scene was "uh oh, another time waster." (See also Interruption below) Yes, it certainly can be a time waster. From an educator's perspective, check out Terry Freedman's review (via Stephen Downes) . He clearly states his pros and cons. As a rabid multitasker, I have a problem with the time it takes to read Twits, but not so much the interruption. But I hate the feeling of what I miss when I don't read. That is a script I have to turn off in my head because clearly I don't have enough time to read all the twits that come to me each day. Even 20%. So this tells me that I can't do mission critical, individually directed communication via Twitter. That goes back to IM or email.

Interruption has a couple of different faces for me. One is the familiar problem of breaking concentration, providing me handy work-avoidance activities or simply wasting time. But interruption can also be a creative stimulus. If I find a way to weave "peeking at tweets" into more concentrated work, it actually can help me be more creative. If I call upon my twitterverse, they can help me be a more critical thinker. Or as Margaret Wheatley calls it, "willing to be disturbed." Because I can be intellectually a bit on the lazy side. Or see only what I want to see. From Wheatley:
There are many ways to sit and listen for the differences. Lately, I’ve been listening for what surprises me. What did I just hear that startled me? This isn’t easy – I’m accustomed to sitting there nodding my head to those saying things I agree with. But when I notice what surprises me, I’m able to see my own views more dearly, including my beliefs and assumptions.

Noticing what surprises and disturbs me has been a very useful way to see invisible beliefs. If what you say surprises me, I must have been assuming something else was true. If what you say disturbs me, I must believe something contrary to you. My shock at your position exposes my own position. When I hear myself saying, “How could anyone believe something like that?” a light comes on for me to see my own beliefs. These moments are great gifts. If I can see my beliefs and assumptions, I can decide whether I still value them.
So if my Twitter universe is diverse enough, I may be "disturbed" into learning, into reflection and into new avenues of thinking.

First, after I published that last post on Twitter practices, I got a twit alerting me that Chris Messina has a great wiki page thinking about how best to use Twitter for groups. The password is Tweety and if you are interested, check it out and add your thoughts. It is rich in links about Twitter in use, particularly on how groups might use it. This is a key area for both software and practice development.

My twitterverse draws from some very distinct groups. For example, I have found myself with a Twitter friends list that leans towards edubloggers and educators. I'm not quite sure how this happened, because I'm not in that field, but I sure like how this bunch of creative people think and act. Emphasis on the latter. They experiment, trade ideas, 'watch over each others' shoulders' and generally learn at warp speed. Ah.... pleasure. What I notice in this group is that they seem to know each other to some degree, are both generous with ideas and free with their questions. So the response rate is both quick and of high quality. It was primarily this group that populated the Twitter case wiki so quickly.

But I am part of other networks and groups. I seek other networks. But I can't manage the collective volume of all of them. I would like to be able to open a group view - perhaps around a stated group, tag or issue. I would like to be able to narrow my focus when I need to, and open up the full stream when I have more free time and attention. I need segmentation, or just decide to narrow my focus. Chris Messina and others have been writing on this and dreaming up solutions. Check out:

When is Twitter going to get groups?

Another area of interesting segmentation is language. I have about 5 people I follow who mostly or always Twit in another language. Often I don't understand everything, but for some reason I really like seeing more than English in my Twitter stream. Again, I need to reflect more on WHY!

Ideas and Practices Going Forward
This builds on part 1 on Twitter. The useful inclusion of a tool into one's personal configuration of tools depends on both what you need to do, and the practices you use to do it. There is simply no binary good/bad for tools like Twitter. It always depends! So for me, here are the things I will continue to use Twitter for, what features I'd like to see, and practices I plan to experiment with.
  • Try Twittering in Portuguese and Spanish. What happens when I change language?
  • Try a Twitter game.
  • Experiment with Twittercamp
  • Continue to collect stories
What are you going to do?

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Thinking about Twitter Part 1 - Sharing Practices

This is going to be in two parts, because I realized what I had intended to post was getting long in my "notebook in my head" even before I started typing. So here is part 1 - sharing practices.

For the unitiated, Twitter is a group web/IM/mobile phone group messaging platform. In a nutshell, you send 140 character or less messages to the group of people you have selected as your "friends." From their FAQ they say...
Twitter is for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing. For some friends you might want instant mobile updates—for others, you can just check the web. Invite your friends to Twitter and decide how connected you want you to be.
When it first came on the scene, many people found it fun, amusing, etc. but others wondered if it could be a productive part of their personal web tool configuration. How would it balance between its inherently interruptive nature and the possibility for both individual, group and network connections and productivity?

Earlier this week, through a series of interesting tweets from the "edublogging" part of my Twitter network, came a question about how people productively use Twitter as a way to convince a school administrator to allow it. The result of that tweet was me setting up a wiki page to collect some stories. It has been a productive week. The ideas are so good I'm reproducing them here and I hope all you wonderful contributors are ok with this. I have the wiki set up as creative commons, so this should be an ok leap of faith. Below is a copy of what has been shared as of this morning.

I think there are some patterns to be discerned. Anyone game to do some pattern mining? How do these stories compare to your use (or choice to discontinue using) of Twitter? What practices might you share? (Add them to the wiki!)

How have you used twitter to collaborate?

Tell a story about how you have used to collaborate. Please indicate the context as well (I.e. in a K-12 classroom, in a virtual team, etc.)
  • Using a twitter network - project twitter on screen in F2F event. Ask a question out to the network. See the (FAST) response.
  • Find job candidates.
  • During a power outage, use mobile Twitter to coordinate information about the nature of the outage and the availability of internet cafes in the area with power for the team to reassemble.
Using twitter as a virtual water cooler.
I work from home, and my colleagues are my collaboration buddies, clients, colleagues. Twitter is a great way to keep up with what is happening, so face-to-face meetings get up to speed much quicker. Blogs work the same way, though they tend to contain a different set of content.

Inviting people to collaborate -
A twitter pal of mine asked about how to convince school administrators that using tools like twitter can be useful. I replied that sharing stories of useful application and value might help. So I set up this wiki, then sent a twit out to invite others to add their stories. And within minutes, there are stories! Nancy White Full Circle Online Interaction Blog

I too have made collaborative connections on twitter...I skyped Vicki Davis one evening to see if she could do a skype demo...she was busy...put out a twitter....and got Jason Hando to join our skype chat...He not only did a demo for my skype session, but helped during a web2.0 tools workshop I was presenting. Several weeks later...Jason (who I was now following) twittered about a flashmeeting...I saw his twitter...asked about flashmeeting and was invited to demo a really powerful learning tool. For me Twitter was the best professional development tool of the summer (Kristin Hokanson, The Connected Classroom)

SerendipitousDiscovery - It was via a tweet from Vicki Davis that I discovered her Flat Classroom Horizon Project that was built on NMC's 2007 Horizon Report. As a result, I got involved, and was amazed at what students in 5 countries could show us for collaboration ( And twice in oneweek "HeyJude" in Sydney, referred me via twitter to 2 very useful web tools ( Alan Levine, cogdogblog

Instant Collaboration (You Don't Even have to Add Water) real time suggestion (in space of minutes) were folded into a presentation by Rob Wall (Twitter Mediated Co-Presentation) - picture at

Call for Suggestions - Better than email as there is an echo chamber effect- people you may not know chime in with ideas when you ask for them out lout. A few weeks ago, we used both twitter and a listserv to compile a list of "Hall of Fame" type people in the field of New Media - Alan Levine, cogdogblog

SerendipitousImprovement -- A colleague in another state reported proudly on Twitter the purchase of a cellular modem for their laptop. I let them know I recently done some research on them and that one from another vendor was significantly better, and recommend that he return it before the 3-day return policy expired. He picked up the new cell modem, confirmed that it was indeed twice as fast, and returned the first. Christopher Allen: blog, twitter

Dissemination of Publications and Materials - I have used Twitter to post links to our grant deliverables as soon as they are published online. Twitter friends with more followers then post the link and it is quickly spread to hundreds of people.
Jennifer D. Jones, injenuity

Product Recommendations - While in the store, I've posted to Twitter by phone requesting recommendations for products. I've received instant responses to help make purchasing decisions.
Jennifer D. Jones, injenuity

Locating Original Sources of Ideas, Quotes, Etc. - I have seen people post partial quotes, descriptions of theories, ideas they've heard somewhere, pieces of presentations, fleeting memories, and Twitter pals have responded with the original sources.
Jennifer D. Jones, injenuity

High Speed Tech Support After spending weeks preparing for 3 workshops I was giving at an international conference (Alan November's Building Learning Communities in Boston) I had one day at home in Winnipeg to finish them. Then my laptop had a major meltdown; I was to catch a plane early in the next morning. My twittermates came to my rescue and helped me recover the data in real time.
Darren Kuropatwa, blog: A Difference, twitter:

Live Real Time Database I was giving a series of workshops in Denver. A group of people in the workshops were interested in using scratch in their classes in a variety of ways after I had described it to them. Problem was, I couldn't remember the name of the software (scratch). I tweeted a vague description of what I was looking for. In less than 60 seconds I had the name along with a link to the web site.
Darren Kuropatwa, blog: A Difference, twitter:

Global Presence and Participation in Professional Development While giving workshops I had a screen and projector set up displaying my twitter account using twittercamp. We were chatcasting the workshops at the same time. I tweeted what I was doing and the skype ID of colleagues who were participating. People from various locations around the globe came into the workshops via skype and made excellent contributions sharing their expertise and valuable links.
Darren Kuropatwa, blog: A Difference, twitter:

Fostering Professional Connections The principal of my children's school was considering using a blog as a communication tool for the school. He wanted to see some examples of other elementary principals who were already doing this. I tweeted a request for links to exemplary elementary principal blogs. Got a list of 4 excellent ones in minutes. I emailed him the results.
Darren Kuropatwa, blog: A Difference, twitter:

Informal Research - On several occasions, I have used TwitterPolls to get instant feedback about issues facing educators. After asking whether specific web sites were blocked by schools, over 30 people responded in about an hour. Perfect for getting some authentic results in a very short time, to either verify other research or letting you know if you're on the right track.
Steve Dembo, Teach42

Web Conferences "On-the-Fly" - People tweet links at the start of virtual conferences. If you are available, you can join. This enhances productivity because you aren't scheduling around it. You aren't sitting around waiting for it. You attend if it fits!
Jennifer D. Jones, injenuity

Finding and Polishing, rather than "Reinventing" the Wheel - I needed to complete a trends analysis on virtual worlds in a short period of time without becoming fully immersed in the technology. I followed Twitter users and discovered their projects and research. I was able to use what had already been accomplished, rather than spend hours and hours of my own time learning the technology.
Jennifer D. Jones, injenuity

Group Stream of Consciousness - I find that Twitter gives me a "feel" of the group. I can tell when in aggregate we are frustrated, or when we are in the flow. I can see memes flow from one otherwise disconnected colleague to another. Christopher Allen: blog, twitter

Examples from others:
Using Twitter to help improve and maintain the interactions from the various social networks you belong to - Been using Twitter for a few months now and, if anything, it has helped me tremedously in keeping in touch at the same time with the various social networks that I am a member of, so much so that those interactions sparked the creation of "10 Reasons Why Twitter Will Help Improve Your Already Existing Social Networks". Luis Suarez

Using Twitter as a people-powered search - Courtesy from Web Worker Daily: "Try Twitter Instead of Mahalo for People-Powered Search". Luis Suarez

Twitter invites seasoned bloggers to comment on new blogs during a workshop.
This summer during our workshop, as people were trying out the whole blogging thing, we had discussed how validating it is to have someone else comment on your blog. (Students feel this same validation, BTW) Bob Sprankle and I both twitted our circle of friends and within minutes people in the workshop were shouting out I got a comment from Wales, from Illinois... immediate reinforcement. Thanks Twits!
Cheryl Oakes, blog,, Bob Sprankle, blog Bit by Bit

I use twitter to remember flash of ideas that comes to me (almost) daily
I use twitter to remember flashes of ideas that come across me so sudden everyday. Twitter allow me to capture those ideas before it's forgotten. Later on I can "recollect" those ideas, and through "twitter list" I can see how the ideas formed in the past, how it linked to ech other, and what can be done next to turn it into something useful for business and society. In a way -- for me -- twitter is the enabler for rapid recording and rapid storing of snippets of ideas, that one day -- once it is being collected and organized together -- could perhaps turned into something useful and powerful for everybody. Arvino, ps: If you'd like to know some useful twitter command, you can take a look here.

Examples of How Having A Twitter Network Would Have Helped

(or other improvements)

• My wife wishes her friends and family all had gmail accounts so they could "see" when each other were online to make plans, chat, or just keep up to date with each other. Twitter would have helped. Darren Kuropatwa, blog: A Difference, twitter:[[]]
  • I'd like to be able to segregate some of the networks that are evolving in my twitter contact list to help me focus Nancy White

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Nice response from Yahoo

I've been a Yahoogroup owner/customer since August 1999 and their customer support has long been an issue for me. (the Online Facilitation List just turned 8! That is the message history image above... it has been a bit quiet lately.)

On the Onfac list Andy Roberts reported that the eMint group had been hacked and a lot of people were unsubscribed. I passed along a contact name, and later heard from Andy that it looked like things were resolved.

This morning I got a telephone call from a YahooGroups person asking if they could help resolve my problem. I told them it was not my group and gave her Andy's email (she wanted to know if I had a phone # so she could CALL him!)

I was impressed! Glad to see this. Andy, I hope they got in touch with you. This is a huge change from just a couple of years ago when if you had a problem with your group, you were usually just out of luck.

Yahoogroups has enormous reach and power. I'm glad they have upped their support. Good on ya, Yahoogroups! And thanks!

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Don't Underestimate Your Reach - 12,435 views

I was adjusting a tag on one of my slide sets on and started looking at how many times each set has been viewed. As of today, 18 slide sets have a cumulative view count of 13,435 views. Choconancy's Slideshows.

Are you KIDDING ME? 10 years ago if I shared a slide set it would have been with 20 people at a meeting. Now I have no way of knowing if each 'view' was a meaningful experience for the viewer. Did the slides make sense? Did they look at more than one? Still, 13,000 plus is mind boggling. Our reach today with online tools is potentially enormous. Even with the competition for attention in the giant river of data, we have a broader voice.

When I posted earlier today about the words we send out to the world, I had not thought about scale. After reviewing the Slideshare numbers, it becomes very concrete. It makes me worry about the dreck that I also publish. Ah, the pressure, eh?

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99 Mind Mapping Resources, Tools, and Tips - College

I appreciate anything that can add visual tools to my work, online and offline. Lately on many mailing lists the question has come up about good tools. Here is the most extensive list I've seen. Thanks, Accredited Online College! Check it out...99 Mind Mapping Resources, Tools, and Tips - College

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One good word is bread for a thousand...

From David Whyte, (author, "The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America") via Kenny Moore

"This is not
the age of information.
This is not
The age of information.
Forget the news,
And the radio,
And the blurred screen.
This is the time
Of loaves and fishes.
People are hungry,
And one good word is bread
For a thousand."

(from "The House of Belonging")

What is the word you put out to the world, especially if you are a blogger? Is there something you yearn to contribute? Something you wish to be heard?

Or perhaps, what is the "elephant in the room" which challenges us to speak out?

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Sacred Bovine - My Friends are CONNECTED!

I was doing a little roaming on facebook and Jim Benson had this 'friendship wheel' app so I decided to try it out. Mamma mia. You can see mine here (I think - I have not checked out how it deals with permissions, etc.) Friend Wheel for Nancy White - Facebook Friend Relationships.

The screenshot is not as useful, but here it is just to get a sense. But what I learned from this image is that the people I am connected to via Facebook are VERY connected people.

Do connected people attract/relate more often to other connected people or is this just an artifact of our mutual Facebook experimentation?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

37days - reminders of beautiful blogs

I get so busy. I fly through my day responding to stimuli, often forgetting to slow down. To reflect. To simply enjoy. When I visit Patti's 37days blog it is always a fresh wind. Patti, you inspire me! Thanks.

Have you thanked a blogger that matters to you today? Why not try it.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Guys with big huge skewers of beef

And yes, I am talking about food! I was delighted to check out the ClueUnit's pod cast on community and food. I loved the line one of the ClueUnit guy's uttered about Brazilian BBQ joints about how they serve food, thus inspiring this post's headlines. Clue Unit #23 - Communities and Food - August 10. 2007 affirms what I've known forever - that eating community is a strong community indicator, a way to bridge across all kinds of divides. It is both symbolic and practical, keeping our body's charged both physically and emotionally. Take a listen!

This reminds me I need to post my Bogota notes, because the food theme continues there. I'm ramping back into a blogging routine! Maybe I should save that one for tomorrow!

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An Enterprise 2.0 case study - Tech Stewardship

While I should be editing the book, I stumbled upon Scott Gavin's slide set, An Enterprise 2.0 case study.

Immediately I saw it as a story about how a community found itself and found the technologies it needed to support itself. In this case, the domain was also technology, so there is that particular kind of self-awareness that you don't always see in the community. A couple of things to notice:

  • how they describe their full tech configuration which is almost always more than just a primary platform
  • how they have an open orientation to the world, sharing their knowledge and turning that into an engine for innovation.
Nice, Scott! Thanks for sharing.

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Vote! Which Global Health Issue Should BlogHers Act Champion for the Year?

You can read all the details here, but the community is mobilizing around world health for a year. What priorities would you sugegst? Voting ends at midnight on August 25th.

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Twitter Collaboration Stories

Today I was glancing at my Twitterstream and I saw this:
injenuity: Random thought: How do K-12 faculty/staff talk admin into unblocking things like Twitter and social networking sites for their use?
I replied suggesting that sharing stories of how Twitter added value from other educators and learners might be one way. She asked if there was anyone collecting stories. I did not know of any, so I started Twitter Collaboration Stories, a wiki to collect some of those stories. I then sent a Twit out to my network inviting them to add their stories. That was about two hours ago and voila, the collection is growing, giving yet another example of the power of socially networked collaboration!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

The Choco Tribe

Gold Museum
Originally uploaded by jaycross.
Jay Cross took this picture for me yesterday at the Gold Museum in Bogota. (My camera battery had died so I have few pictures during our short walk about in the Candelaria old town district! Thanks, Jay!

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Some notes from the Colombia Quality in eLearning Conference

I am in Bogota as a guest of the Ministry of Education to take part in a conference on Quality in eLearning. I present a bit later today. I have been trying to take notes on my wiki - all semi-live blogging caveats apply (as in what I miss, mis-hear). They can be found here... Quality in eElearning Notes. You can find all the presentation slides in English and Spanish and the streaming videos on the ColumbiaAprende website.

More stories and pictures later ... I hope!

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tendrils of Learning - Draft Slides for Bogota Preso

I hit the road again tomorrow, this time to Columbia for two different gigs. One is for an eLearning Conference where I'll be sharing some ideas, stories and experiences about online enabled social learning. Here are my draft slides:

More from the road if I have good connectivity. Or later!

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Email a New Reader of Your Blog

Darren Rowse has been offering Tips for blogging:
"Create a great impression upon a brand new readers to your blog by choosing a commenter that is new and emailing them to thank them for their comment. It might not sound like the most profound tip but I’ll let you in on a secret - this is one of the main strategies I used to build up ProBlogger’s audience a couple of years ago."

Good tip, Darren. Beth Kanter does it too! I like to welcome new bloggers as well, and give them a boost in initial traffic.

Technology stewardship is not all about the technology. It is how we use it. Finding ways to engage people is part of that process.

And as they say, what goes around, comes around!

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Example of Technology Stewardship

Here is another project that David Wilcox is involved with - he organized a day long event to help a group identify their collaboration technology needs. GOLD news: "
One of the main sessions at the Big Event involved all of us designing what sort of communications system we'll need in future. We did that by first getting into groups to discuss the challenges facing us from the perspective of Board members, chief executives, advisers and trainers and core team."
The day included some social networking, a game to explore the implications of selection and implementation of particular software tools and an Open Space approach to allow people to focus on areas that interested them!

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Blogger FTP Publishing broken

Well, it seems one of my Blogger problems is not mine alone. Cruising the help discussions today publishing to a blog via FTP is hosed. FTP Publishing broken - Publishing Trouble | Google Groups. There are a number of other threads, noting the same problem. Yet no response from Google, no noting of the issue on their known issues page (which seems to be just about blogspot, their own hosting service) nor the status page. So we post the issues, document them for Blogger and nada. Argh.

This is why it scares me that so much of my online life is hosted by others where I have no recourse. Free or paid, the challenges are the same.

What happens when it all starts to break down? Do-overs?

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

88% Spam

Just an interesting tidbit about my email life...

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Supermarket 2.0 - funny and useful

One of my network pals (thanks, Snowdragon) tagged this page for me. I'm doing a lot of research today in preparation for some workshops, and so I checked - Supermarket 2.0 out.

First of all, it is laugh out loud funny. Second, it is a great way to talk about tagging, social networks, recommender systems etc. with a familiar grocery store setting. It also helps us laugh together at some of the ridiculousness of our Web2.0 obsessed lives!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Blogger Frustrations Continue

Another test post to see if I can post. I have gone back and edited out the labels for all posts since April. But I can't republish them. I'm not sure what is going on. So this is a test from a very frustrated Blogger user.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Social Bookmarking in Plain English | Common Craft - Video Production and Consulting

Sachi and Lee LeFever are at it again. Here is Social Bookmarking in Plain English

And here it is on DotSub to view in translation...

This one is really tight and clear. I notice small little things they are improving with each one. Not only is the product useful, but I'm learning a lot as they develop their practice!

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Seattle UnGnomeCamp and Seattle Ignite this Week

For readers from Seattle or coming to Gnomedex, you might be interested in two upcoming events. First is Ignite Seattle on Wednesday the 8th and then BarCamp / UnGnomeCamp this coming Sunday, August 12th in Seattle.

Announcing UnGnomeCamp (rhymes with Unknown Camp) the official unofficial post-conference gathering after GnomeDex 2007!

  • Can't get in to the sold-out GnomeDex?
  • Can't spare $500-plus price of a Gnomedex ticket (may be higher on the scalpers' black market, your mileage may vary)
  • Want more than a single-track format, with speakers at the front of the room? Want more interaction, a chance to present, multiple choices?
  • Want to continue the conversations from Gnomedex and delve into more detail?

UnGnomeCamp is a chance to do all that, and more. It's an unconference using Open Space format. THIS MEANS THAT THE AGENDA WILL BE CREATED BY THE WHOLE GROUP TOGETHER IN THE MORNING OF THE EVENT. PLEASE ARRIVE ON TIME 10AM Sharp AND PARTICIPATE IN THAT PROCESS....ALSO don't mind the 'rules of BarCamp' -

since we are using Open Space Technology we are going to follow the practice of invitation - if you are interested come;

The principles of Open Space - 1) Who ever come are the right people 2) What ever happens is the only thing that could have 3) Whenever it starts is the right time 4)Whenever it is over it is over;

And the Law of Two feet - if you are not learning or contributing it is your responsibility to respectfully find some where you are.

So inspired by the barcamp model we are creating an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. What it is in detail is up to you... participation is key.

So inspired by the barcamp model we are creating an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees. What it is in detail is up to you... participation is key.

If I can get all my work done for next week's travel, I'll be there!

Seattle Ignite
, hosted by Brady Forrest, is becoming a Seattle fav. This Wednesday besides the amazing 5 minute lightening talks, there will be Half-baked Dotcom, a startup improv game hosted by Dave McClure. Now full disclosure: I'm going for the Hacking Chocolate lightening talk by Shawn Murphy.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Test Post - Continued Blogger Problems

Ever since Blogger upgraded my site to the new blogger I have had problems. It takes multiple tries to publish and I get errors many of the times. I think it has to do with the category function, but I have not had time to try and fix it. I am very frustrated and will be moving the blog, but as you can see by my reduced posting rate, I've been too busy to attend to this. One solution is to post a fresh post. So here's hoping this works.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

KM4Dev Journal Out - Tech Stewardship

First, full disclosure: I led the guest editorial board for this edition of the Knowledge Management for Development Journal, so I'm biased! ;-) And I suggested the theme. Nonetheless I'm thrilled to see this baby hit the web with 12 pieces that showcase how people have picked, deployed and supported interaction processes with technology in international development. Vol 3, No 1 (2007)

The editorial, penned by Bev Trayner and I, gives a bit of a wrapper to the volume. Here is the first part:
This edition of the Knowledge Management for Development Journal explores how international development practitioners find new ways to work together using Internet technologies. The lens used in all the articles foregrounds human processes; technologies take a complementary and interdependent role. In the framing of this space between design and deployment of tools, we pay attention to both technology and social practices that groups and communities use in their application of technologies to their work.

This practice of working the relationship between technology and social practices is called ‘technology stewardship’. In the forthcoming book Technologies for Communities of Practice (working title), Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith describe technology stewarding as a way of adopting ‘a community’s perspective to help a community choose, configure, and use technologies to best suit its needs.’ In paying attention to a community’s perspective on its choice of technologies ‘stewarding attends both to what happens spontaneously and what can happen purposefully, by plan and by cultivation of insights into what actually works.’

Through stewarding, specific technological expertise is provided to a community, based on its particular needs. This could be anywhere along its life, from initial to mature states. It can be a critical part of community development, facilitating the emergence or growth of a community, for instance when a tool allows people to connect for the first time (Wenger et al., forthcoming).

The potential of technology stewardship in international development is limited only by our imaginations. Theoretically, technology allows people not just to acquire information, but to produce and share it. It enables people to work across organizational, geographic and national boundaries. It facilitates connections between people who can share knowledge and create meaning and understanding together. But to fulfill these possibilities, we need to learn how to build bridges between the technology and our human needs.

In a development context, such bridging involves a set of specific challenges, not only in terms of technology deployment: dealing with diverse access to technology and
infrastructures, fostering collaboration between different cultures, languages and
discourses. In this context, the technology steward serves the community, attentive to the cultural biases and power relationships that are embedded in the tools and the practice.

Such a task is challenging. Technology stewardship is rarely the role of one person, but rather is fulfilled by several people within communities. As such, the art of technology stewardship is both a technological and a process one, fostering technologies for communities that allow people to work together across time and distance.

In the articles included in this issue, the specific issue of technology stewardship is explored, in different contexts. In many of the contributions, technology stewardship is implicit, and the term is rarely used explicitly. Nonetheless, the practice is described in every article.

For me, the value of this edition is in making the practice of community technology stewardship visible and discussable. The term "technology stewardship" may be nothing to write home to mamma about, but it gives us a handle into a discussion about an important practice so many of us are running in to. So I invite you to take a peek. Here is the Table of Contents!


Editorial: Stewarding technologies for collaboration, community building and knowledge sharing in development Abstract PDF
Nancy White, Beth Kanter, Partha Sarker, Oreoluwa Somolu, Beverly Trayner, Brenda Zulu, Lucie Lamoureux 2-4


Users and tools: the art of matchmaking. Challenges in choosing appropriate online collaboration tools for development professionals and practitioners Abstract PDF
Vic Klabbers, Nynke Kruiderink 5-25
Limitations of knowledge sharing in academia. A case from Nigeria Abstract PDF
Oluwaseyitanfunmi Osunade, Foluso Phillips Oluwaseun, Ojo Oluwasesin 26-34
The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access for development Abstract PDF
Ismael Peña-López 35-48

Case Studies

Development through Dialogue. A showcase of Dgroups from three perspectives; institutional, project and capacity development level Abstract PDF
Titi Akinsamni, Andrea Aranguren, Manju Chatani, Nynke Kruiderink, Theresa Stanton 49-67
Using ICTs for knowledge sharing and collaboration: an international experience based on Bellanet’s work in the South Abstract PDF
Margarita Salas Guzmán 68-78
Web2.0 supported rural communities: a case study from Portugal Abstract PDF
Josien Kapma 79-92
‘Healthcare Information for All by 2015’: a community of purpose facilitated by Reader-Focused Moderation Abstract PDF
Neil Pakenham-Walsh 93-108
Citizen sourcing in the public interest Abstract PDF
Lars Hasselblad Torres 134-145


Technology stewardship in the face of a crisis. An interview with Dina Mehta Abstract PDF
Beth Kanter, Nancy White 109-114


Using a dgroup with third party online applications for a cause Abstract PDF
Giacomo Rambaldi 115-125
A stealth transformation: introducing wikis to the UN Abstract PDF
Anna Maron, Mikel Maron 126-130

Community Notes

Community Notes. Blogs: lessons from a rookie Abstract PDF
Michelle Laurie 131-133

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