“Participation in education” – the story of yet another embattled concept …

June 26, 2012 in Freedom to learn

This picture is how the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom visualized "participation". Licenced under a cc attribution 2.5 licence. Source and copyright: http://www.wilpf.org/2010CSWInvitation

This picture is how the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom visualized “participation”. Licenced under a cc attribution 2.5 licence. Source and copyright: http://www.wilpf.org/2010CSWInvitation

So I am listening to the speakers of the panel “Learning is  a two-way street: Participation in Communication and Education” of this years’ “Global Media Forum” of Deutsche  Welle. And I keep thinking that the speakers on the panel seem to describe another case of a “stolen concept” here:

Kanchan Malik from India’s University of Hyderabad starts by defining “participation”. She explains,  that the original meaning of “participation” was taken away from the practitioners, more precisely the power of defining it was taken away from the “communities”, who are supposed to participate in communication, learning and  political transformation. Quite an irony.

I also hear lots of other formulations that hint at the perception of a distortion. The speakers emphasize, that “participation has often been reduced to a multipurpose label  to give respectability to projects”.

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Non-“Sense”?! Why you can’t touch an online network (yet)

June 18, 2012 in Freedom to learn

Can you spot the community on this picture? Servers of the Alumniportal Germany - photo: Balthas Seibold, licence: see this website's license.

Can you spot the community on this picture? Servers of the Alumniportal Germany – photo: Balthas Seibold, licence: see this website’s license.

Recently, I had the pleasure to host a group of international experts who wanted to learn more about our alumni networks as part of a “sensing journey”. So I tried to have them “sense” the 50.000 plus members of the communities on the “Alumniportal Germany”, which in real life live in in more than 180 countries. But of course, there is no way to “sense” an electronic networks, to “touch” the links between the members, to “feel” an online profile or to “enter” an online group. The only thing that you can see in our building is a couple of grey computers (hosting all of the above, see picture.)

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‘Peeragogy’ – towards global online peer-learning

May 30, 2012 in Freedom to learn

Howard Rheingold in 2004. Picture by: Mikegr. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howard_Rheingold_by_Mikegr.jpg

Howard Rheingold, who coined the term ‘peeragogy’ in 2004. Picture by: Mikegr. licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Howard_Rheingold_by_Mikegr.jpg

So I learned a new word this morning containing the component “peer”:  “peeragogy” comes from Howard Rheingold. He defines it “as the powerful idea of making our class into a community of co-learners”. Also called “Paragogy”, it’s a nascent theory of tech-powered peer to peer pedagogy. What I find particularly interesting in connection with my field of international development cooperation: peeragogoy is looking at synthesizing individual and organizational learning, and it’s looking at ways of radically scaling education to a global level through online networks.

So let’s see, if peeragogy has the long-term potential to outdo my current favorite: “commons-based peer production”.

More on  “peeragogy” at Howard Rheingold’s blog.

Interview on Ethiopian blogging: “Blogging puts Ethiopian life on the Internet – and opens rooms for debates”

May 5, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

Markos interviewed by Balthas Seibold  / Picture: Balthas Seibold, Licence: see this website's license

Markos interviewed by Balthas Seibold / Picture: Balthas Seibold, Licence: see this website’s license

[Please note: This blog post is a preview of the interview to be published soon on the Alumniportal Deutschland (APD) – subject to further editing].

Last week saw ‘re:publica 2012’ in Berlin, Germany’s largerst conference on blogging, social online networking and internet community. This years edition went global and put Africa on the map of social media. One of the speakers from the continent was Markos Lemma, an Ethiopian blogger, GIZ alumnus and innovation project coordinator for GIZ’s labour-market education programme in Ethiopia (former ecbp).

In this interview first published on the Alumniportal Deutschland, Markos gives us his reasons to be a  blogger in Ethiopia, reports on the latest developments of the blogging scene in his country and tells why he is betting on social media to tackle protracted development challenges in his country. He also gives us his vision for knowledge sharing within German international corporation programmes. Markos is blogging both on the Internet and on the Alumniportal Deutschland (APD).

APD: When did you write your first blog and why ?

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Made in my backyard – by and for the world. third day of re:publica is starting

May 4, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia

 

Illustration of low cost prosthesis 1. Copyright, Author: Waag Society/Arne Kuilman 2012, licensed under a cc licence: Naamsvermelding 3.0 Nederland (CC BY 3.0 NL). Source: http://waag.org/en/project/low-cost-prosthesis

Illustration of low cost prosthesis 1. Copyright, Author: Waag Society/Arne Kuilman 2012, licensed under a cc licence: Naamsvermelding 3.0 Nederland (CC BY 3.0 NL). Source: http://waag.org/en/project/low-cost-prosthesis

Bas van Abel, head of the design lab at waag society, Netherlands had a great session where he spoke about empowering people and fixing our economy by moving to open peer-to-peer production communities. He gave examples of concrete work with miners in Congo, and prosthesis-makers in Indonesia.

Bas starts with a quote from Oscar Wild: “People know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” He then gets to the argument, that social values are interlinked with economical values: Baas asks us to look at building a relational system, with the core needs of openness and transparency. “We need transparent products, where we know how they were made, and if they were made under fair conditions.”

This may mean to roll back some economic beliefs like division of labour and ‘the invisible hand of a self-regulating markets’. Baas gives the example of mineral extraction in Eastern Congo for cell phone raw materials. See e.g. the documentary ‘blood in the mobile‘.

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The non-experts are the real experts – open innovation talk at re:publica

May 2, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

From DIY to 'Who hacks whom'? Author: Berishafjolla. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Virus.jpg

From DIY to ‘Who hacks whom’? Author: Berishafjolla. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Virus.jpg

So re:publica 2012 has started today. Not only with a call for freedom by Harvards Eben Moglen, but also with an interesting talk on ‘open innovation and the contribution of non-experts’ by Beth Kolko.

Here’s my summary of it: For Beth, non-experts have the skills to innovate, but lack the recognition and credentials by institutions. They are outsiders, but that also makes them great rule-breakers: think of them as both innovators and challengers of institutional experts: They form communities of disruptive technology, as they think outside the box. Plus, they are willing to embrace a re-mix approach, that is truely ‘open innovation’. Examples include hackers, builders, DIY-activists, functional engineers

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India, the (knowledge) commons and a plan for the future of democracy

April 25, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Asia

copyright: wikipedia, licensed under a creative commons share alike license, see www.wikipedia.org

An example of a self-goverened commons: Wikipedia. Copyright: wikipedia, licensed under a creative commons share alike license, see www.wikipedia.org

It is rare these days to see high-level government thinkers talk about the commons. Here is one: Arun Maira of Indias Planning Commission makes the point that commons-based models are important tools to plan for the future of democracy worldwide.

Here is the summary: “The world is full of complex problems, but humanity’s main organizational tools — governments and markets — leave much to be desired. Arun Maira, a member of India’s Planning Commission and previously the chairman of Boston Consulting Group in India, points to a third way.”

Statue of Gandhij in  Baroda, now called Vadodara, India / Picture by Brian Glanz / Licenced under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianglanz/2767070246/

Statue of Gandhij in Baroda, now called Vadodara, Ghandi, in my view, was one of the inventors of the “commons” for a common good.  / Picture by Brian Glanz / Licenced under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) / Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brianglanz/2767070246/

I like his focus on “Four L’s” — localization, lateralization, learning and listening, and of course his praise of Ostrom. My only criticism is, that the piece is not dwelling enough on the issue of “knowledge as a commons”, but that may be the next topic of the Indian planning commission …

And here’s the full piece.

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

World Bank announces … Open Access Policy (ok, and a new president as well :-)

April 17, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business

Copyright World Bank, source: http://crinfo.worldbank.org/wbcrinfo/sites/wbcrinfo/files/OKR_300px.png

Copyright World Bank, source: http://crinfo.worldbank.org/wbcrinfo/sites/wbcrinfo/files/OKR_300px.png

In the coming days, everyone will talk about the new president of the world bank. I think that the recently announced move of the world bank to an “Open Access Policy for Research and Knowledge” and its launch of an “Open Knowledge Repository” will be more significant over time.

According to a press release, the bank will implement a new Open Access policy for its research outputs and knowledge products, effective July 1, 2012. “The new policy builds on recent efforts to increase access to information at the World Bank and to make its research as widely available as possible. As the first phase of this policy, the Bank launched today a new Open Knowledge Repository and adopted a set of Creative Commons copyright licenses.”

Good move.

BTW: I am quite encouraged to see, that the WB is using the same licence, which we have been implemented in all of our it@inwent capacity building programmes (Update: Link now goes to the site archived by the Internet Archive – last version of 2012)., for instance for the guide “Free your IT Business in Africa“.

BTW 2: For all German readers, there is a good post on the new world bank policy on open heise.

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

Update on use of e-readers in Africa by World Bank – I wonder: what about African Open (Educational) Resources?

April 17, 2012 in Freedom to learn

The new OER logo is designed to create a common identity for the global OER community of practitioners, projects and researchers. The design creates a common visual idea and allows for the name of the term "OER" to be expressed in different languages.This version is intended to be the main English version. UNESCO website for OER Global logo in other languages Date 22 February 2012 Source Own work Author Jonathasmello http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Open_Educational_Resources_Logo.svg

The new OER logo is designed to create a common identity for the global OER community of practitioners, projects and researchers.
UNESCO website for OER Global logo in other languages. Author Jonathasmello
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Open_Educational_Resources_Logo.svg

I just read a quite comprehensive “update on the use of e-readers in Africa” by world bank blogger Michael Trucano. It looks like there is quite some movement on the “hardware” side. However, his description of the old “missing-African-content” problem sounds all too familiar. I wonder, when there will be the long-awaited wave of African Open (Educational) Resources available and used …

Check the blog post at: http://www.unescobkk.org/education/ict/online-resources/databases/ict-in-education-database/item/article/an-update-on-the-use-of-e-readers-in-africa/

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

Homegrown advancements drive Africa’s tech revolution: TV show on Africa’s (open) innovation drive

March 23, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa

Just found an interesting TV show on “African Innovation” aired by Al Jazeera three days ago.  They make several points e.g: ” Across Africa, developers and programmers are coming up with new technologies from mobile banking to mapping software and medical tablets to cloud storage. Now the continent is increasingly relying on its own homegrown innovations.”

In the show, Eric Osiakwan, director of the African Internet Service Providers Association, and Juliana Rotich (@afromusing), co-founder and executive director of Ushahidi provide their insights on many issues around African innovation. Check e.g. Minute 34:10 for good points on “informal open innovation”, “Open Spaces as second university”, Open Source as a driving force for Africa and more.

Heres the show: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/african-innovations-0022111

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

ITU promotes Linux Certification in Arab countries – links to Africa’s ict@innovation

March 13, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

The Linux penguin - by Nemo, licensed under a Public Domain CC0 license, source: http://pixabay.com/de/tux-pinguin-linux-symbol-zeichnung-36838/

The Linux penguin – by Nemo, licensed under a Public Domain CC0 license, source: http://pixabay.com/de/tux-pinguin-linux-symbol-zeichnung-36838/

Last week, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)  announced a new LPI certification and training project throughout the 22 countries in the League of Arab States.

This is certainly good news for ICT capacity building in general and even more interesting for the community of ict@innovation, which has been building training capacities around Linux Administration in Africa since 4 years. It looks like there is a lot to share between the pan-African community of 200+ Linux Admin trainers of ict@innovation and the new Linux training partnership in the Arab world. According to the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), which is partnering with ITU in the Arab region, the new programme aims at establishing 132 Linux “Train the trainer” centers on all three levels of Linux professional Institute Certification.

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German Government funds German-African research partnerships to build ICT study courses in Africa – BMBF releases call for proposals with a funding of up to €150,000 per course and year

March 8, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

What the call is about: The German Government via its Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) released a call to fund research partnerships between German Research institutions and partners in Subsaharan Africa. One of the main goals is to build  African ICT study courses and to fund exploratory measures / pilot measures in  “Applied information and communication technologies (ICT)”  via German-African research partnerships.

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Why Open Education Matters

March 6, 2012 in Freedom to learn

Logo of "why open educations matters"- by US Gov, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License., source: http://whyopenedmatters.org/

Logo of “why open educations matters”- by US Gov, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License., source: http://whyopenedmatters.org/

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan explains in a three minutes video, why he believes that Open Educational Resources will help communities students and workers to get access to high quality education and to shape their own educational material. Check it on http://whyopenedmatters.org/

Link: whyopenedmatters.org

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

MOOCs, Large Courses Open to All, Topple Campus Walls

March 5, 2012 in Freedom to learn

It looks like the ideas around open education are reaching the mainstream media. I just found this piece on “Massive Open Online Courses — known as MOOCs” in the New York Times. the article takes up some of the ideas which we have been experimenting in the past years, e.g. collective building of open educational resources, which we did at ict@innovation, see http://www.ict-innovation.fossfa.net/blog/%5Buser-raw%5D/africa-and-europe-join-forces-training-free-technology. The trend towards “Open Online Courses” is certainly an interesting one, particularly for our field of developing capacities through global & open knowledge cooperation. Cheers, Balthas

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/education/moocs-large-courses-open-to-all-topple-campus-walls.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha26&pagewanted=print

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

New online courses on GNU/Linux skills by the Free Technology Academy

March 2, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business

Logo of FTA, copyleft 2007: FTA, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution share alike license, source: http://freeknowledge.eu/FTA

Logo of FTA, copyleft 2007: FTA, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution share alike license, source: http://freeknowledge.eu/FTA

Just got news about this years courses by the Free Technology Academy, which is a partner of http://www.ict-innovation.fossfa.net. See the following announcement: The Free Technology Academy expects to run two course modules for users and systems administrators who want to get started with GNU/Linux systems. Skills in this area are increasingly demanded and hard to find for employers [1], making these topics very interesting for any IT professional.

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