Webinar – Broadband- A tool for civic engagement and sustainability?

Spring 2009: Sustainable Communities Webinar #3:
Tuesday, March 24, 2009: 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.


High speed internet access can be a powerful tool for communities. During this webinar
we will explore some of the practical and potential uses of broadband in addressing issues of civic engagement, sustainability, and economic growth.Any discussion of this topic must, however, look at issues of access and digital literacy -the “digital divide”.

How creative can we be in crafting inclusive and engaging opportunities that make use of the potential of broadband technology? During this session we’ll have ample opportunity for discussion. Feel free to bring (virtually) examples of tools or projects which you think make exemplary use of the technology.

Learning Objectives:
Webinar participants will better understand (1) the ways broadband can contribute to sustainable communities (2) the challenges posed by the “digital divide” and ways these challenges might be overcome and (3) how to evaluate the benefits of broadband technology.

Paul’s Bio:
Paul Treadwell is a distance learning consultant and information technology specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.His current areas of interest include digital storytelling in the context of online learning, and exploring appropriate tools and techniques for civic engagement online. He develops and teaches online classes on social networking and is actively engaged in the use of storytelling and games to evoke creativity and engagement in the realm of Information Technology. This summer Paul will be offering a summer seminar on “Tools for Civic Engagement | Social Learning, Dialog and Deliberation”. <

If anyone is interested feel free to contact me.

Expert – Practitioner dynamics in an online environment

ep dynamics cmap I’ve been reviewing some of the data we gathered last year during the course of a project that invited practitioners into an online environment to work collaboratively (to varying degrees) with academic experts. I’m specifically interested in the role technology might play in mediating the boundaries and relationships in this exchange/environment. It’s a slippery subject, in some ways, because there are all these “messy” human factors to take into account – interpersonal dynamics, pre-existing relationships and so on – which don’t especially lend themselves to clean analysis. They do, however, lend themselves to the story – or that’s my impulse at this moment.

Communities of reflection

I’ve been doing a fair amount of thinking (one might say reflecting) about what it is we actually do when we come together online. There’s a lot of talk about Communities of Practice and how and what and when, but what I find or what I find interesting is the act of reflection as a way to learn and refine/change practice. And perhaps I am being too much the literalist here, but mostly practice happens out there, in the world. What we do here, online, is tell the stories about the practice and then, hopefully, reflect and engage around the story and our reflections.

Yes, yes…CoP’s have a reflective component but I am seriously wondering about building intentional communities of reflection. I believe it would be a different experience…the boundaries and rules would alter and, perhaps, the stories would be given more space. (On the other hand, maybe not. ) Perhaps a kind of story circle…

Building online learning communities

It’s about time for another powerpoint. This one looks at a 2 1/2 year project we conducted that attempted to facilitate the growth of an online learning community around the topic of forest farming. I am hopeful that in the next week or so I will have time to narrate this and make it even more captivating than it already is.

Building online learning communities

Live from the Citizen Science Toolkit Conference

Working my way through the second day (1st full day) of the Citizen Science Toolkit conference here at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It is a humbling and energizing experience thus far. Humbling because there are so many good people here, smart, creative and motivated. Energizing because there are so many smart people here, the potential is tremendous. And there’s a willingness to exchange, share and create together that is hopeful…

Find myself stuck for words right now….not used to the intense charge and exchange of ideas thats going on. A soup, a slurry, of ideas is occupying my headspace right now. Half formed things beginning to shape into something….hopefully something that leads to tangible results.

Links I’ve visited today, as a result of the conference:

Discover Life

Virginia Master Naturalist Program

CyberTracker -this is cool, current #1 thus far

Ecological Monitoring and Assesment

Managers’ Monitoring Guide

More tomorrow….

Latent Information Networks

When an emergent issue arises and a response is initiated, what accounts for those instances when the response is both rapid, informed and collaborative? I pose this question in the context of our work at Cooperative Extension and the responsibility we have to educate. And I think, that in some instances, there is a latent information network which is activated in these situations. (Anyone is welcome to point me to similar research/speculation here)

Latent information networks (LIN’s)….was tempted to call them Latent Educational Networks (LEN’s) … but I digress…the point is experts, specialists, professionals meet (and I’ve come to think face to face is a much more key element in forming stronger bonds) at conferences workshops or virtually. The commonality of topic/interest/specialization holds the potential for the formation of Communities of Practice and connections are made, but may not be utilized or acted upon in any fully formed manner….the connections exist as latencies…sort of narrowband relationships.

When an issue or need  arises these narrowband connections/channels can rapidly grow to broadband…or become active (AIN’s or possibly AEN’s). These active networks produce materials, educational opportunities etc…as needed and once the emergent issue passes or becomes institutionalize the network can shift again.

Rambled, garbled but a start…..

Frappr….locating ourselves in space

I was reading marshallkirkpatrick’s blog entry over at the NetSquared site about Mapping a Community of Practice using a site called Frappr. Being the curious guy that I am, I went to the Frappr site, poked around a bit and decided it would be kinda cool to have one on my blog to map willing visitors.

So, if you’re here and have a minute or two, go to my Frappr map and add yourself.

This concept of mapping distributed users of common interest or a shared resource is one we have talked about in the context of the elearning course we conduct here. A distributed community of practice faces some real and deep challenges and any tool which can help reinforce connectedness that does not have an overly high participation barrier could have great value. I am looking forward to using Frappr in this context and gathering some feedback from users on whether it really helps to re-inforce connectedness.

And, by the way, have a peaceful and safe holiday……

Learning Communities and online courses

Learning community vs participants in an on line course- There seem to be temporary or ephemeral communities, which come together in an online course, and permanent or self sustaining learning communities, learning networks built around topic specific areas which may or may not integrate online courses into it’s practice. There are design implications for either choice, but clearly defining the goal at the outset is necessary. Are we building an oline course or creating a place for a learning community.
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