Friday, March 30, 2007

Interesting Friday!

I've just been sitting in our department meeting - how nice to hear from different sections within the department and to feel that we really we are going somewhere.

The Web2.0 discussion we had yesterday with our boss seems to have resonated with other discussions he has had with other people. Our idea for a interest-group didn't come up directly but the organisation is interesting in deepening the level of knowledge we have.

R.E and I had thought a such group could look at web2.0 in different ways. First would be a technical look at how the different tools work and how easy they were to use. Secondly would be a pedagogical discussion - how can they be used and how are people using them in a learning and/or collaborative situation. Are they best used for e-learning (very individual) or for collaborative learning, democratic discourse and so on. Perhaps the TOOLS can be used for both and the distinction depends upon the users, rather than the tools.

It will be interesting to see how this develops. A CFL group, a private group, or perhaps a mixture of the two. There is also the prospect of a link up with Miun.

Btw today I was reading a teaching blog about cyber bullying and then found a further link to "Stop Cyberbullying Day" There are negative sides to web2.0 as well as positive ones. It's up us to see that the positive outweighs the negative!

And finally the Al Gore film "An Inconvenient Truth". Thanks for showing us this film! (Excellent pedagogics, quite apart from the content.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Connecting the dots

Went over to Miun this morning to listen to a Mac employee talk about podcasting in an educational environment. It was interesting to see the different ways one could podcast. What is interesting for me is the range of possibilities from the quick, low-quality, easily produced to the expensive professionally produced product. From learning object, saved for when needed, to the one-off message which becomes redundant as soon as it is listened to/watched.

The problems at Miun are very similar to those in our forms of adult education. I hope they set up a working group and I hope they invite me! (They also seem to be planning an interesting 5p summer course in the uses of ICT and teaching - apply?)

Later in the day Rose and I went to see our boss and suggested we would like to form an interest group to look at the whole web2.0 problem. He was enthusiastic to a degree but was going to talk to the other managers and await developments. My feeling was he also felt the importance of web 2.0 but was less enthusiastic about the "interest group" idea.

Well, we have the interest and I guess we'll develop it, inside or outside of our working life!

Friday, March 23, 2007

An illuminating session

This Friday we have had one of our professional development sessions, this time with AnnJessica Ericsson. It was the second session led by her. I am sure reactions to her and her content have been really varied but personally I found her one of the most inspirational speakers we have had. The idea of integrating many areas, in contrast to slicing knowledge into ever smaller bits, hit hoe immediately.

The concrete exercise we did the first week gave us a useful method of looking at a problem from different perspectives. This week's session involved a LOT OF new concepts and really I just let the flow wash over me. The next time these terms/ideas/concepts come up I will remember them and begin to understand them more fully.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Focussing on the new task

Just home from our Focus Days. The majority of the organisation was away for two days and we concentrated on ways of working with our latest task (regional development). To help us along in this work we met representatives from the regions we were working with. It was interesting to see how the needs of the different regions varied but how a program of six points could also work with these varied needs.

It will be interesting to see how the idea of forming four regional teams, with selected experts in various areas, will work out. Personally I think that the flatter organisation and the resulting discussions, both within and between the regional and expert groups will be really productive.

Personally the days were very good for me. I had been fairly depressed after the work with redundancies was over, and the people who were to be made redundant were informed. However this trip away lifted me out of my dark mood back to my more normal generally positive mood. I suspect the wonderful spring weather plus the fun we had plus the professionalism of my colleagues all contributed to this lift.

Even the news that our organisation will almost certainly cease to exist in the middle of 2008 (which came the day after our two very productive days away) did not really influence my mood for the worse!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Redundancies (and KKS)

This week the 10 people who are being made redundant have all been told. It also marks the end of that phase of my active involvment. As a result of all this (I guess) I have been in a real black mood all week, picking holes in our organisation, being nasty about some people and generally feeling that this place is on a fast track to hell!!! (I have not been alone in my feelings but that makes me feel worse rather than better!)

This is very unusual for me and I am really hoping that the focus days we have soon will change things, both for me and for this place. We certainly need to focus on something positive!

On a more positive note I took part in a KKS seminar on "Young people, Internet and Democracy". Many of the problems we discussed in the folkbildning group came up again in a more academic guise. However, there were no more answers than we found, but the day was positive and gave food for thought. (Although the established political parties were invited they did not send anyone - well, they really do care about democracy don't they!)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Digital Literacy

I've just been down to Stockholm and met up with a group of folkbildning people, who are part of the digital literacy "expert group" and who are interested in defining, and then working to fix, this digital divide.

As always I was impressed by the depth and scope of the discussion. We came up with some new angles and a few concrete ideas for helping to reduce the problem. Our next move is to collaborate on a document taking up these issues which we can then use to continue the work.

Sometimes you just need to meet up and throw ideas around in order to get somewhere. We had little more than a vague agenda at the start of the day and a lot of good ideas as the day ended.

I shall report back on that when the document reaches a point where it feels complete. (As a sort of WIKI it is questionable when, or if, it actually is "finished"!