“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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‘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.

The global digital divide is an innovation and learning divide!

February 23, 2009 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business

This article examines some of the ethical challenges and solutions related to the digital divide with a focus on how capacity building is crucial to bridge the different divides. The article is part of the volume “Internetökonomie und Ethik” (= The Economy of the Internet and Ethics) published by the renowed German editing house “Duncker & Humblot” in Berlin. In the article, Balthas Seibold postulates that from an ethical perspective, access to internet is not optional in developing countries and that four layers of Internet (physical layer, logical layer, content layer, learning layer) need to be kept open in order to allow for innovation and global digital equality (“Gütergerechtigkeit”). The article is online in German here: Publikationsseite.

Education for a free information society! Balthas Seibold on panel on “Free software & business models for IT companies”

August 17, 2008 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business

SELF_logoHow can sustainable business models in Free Software grow local IT companies in Africa and worldwide? This was one of the main topics of an international panel discussion at the international conference “Free Knowledge Free Technology – Education for a free information society ” held in Barcelona, Spain from July 15 to July 17 2008. Balthas Seibold spoke about Sustainability in Development Cooperation and FOSS, emerging FOSS business models in Africa, Strategies for FOSS Market Segments as well as the future of FOSS Business Models in developing countries. During an intensive three day period, participants from the Philippines, Mexico, Tanzania, Germany, USA, and many other countries around the world, not excluding Spain itself, gathered around the Free Knowledge, Free Technology conference in Barcelona. The conference, organised by the SELF Project, focused on the production and sharing of free educational and training materials about the concept of Free Software. More information: Article on the conference / presentation of Balthas Seibold at the panel discussion on “Free software and business models for IT companies” / website of the conference SELF and the panel.

Knowledge Powers Development

September 6, 2006 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source IT business

efta2006Knowledge Powers Development was the overarching theme of this year’s Eschborn dialoge, a discussion forum bringing together most of Germany’s development community. Balthas Seibold was a panellist of the workshop “WWW and knowledge – free access to knowledge as the basis for education and economic development”. His credo: New technologies and techniques such as “Free and Open Source Software” can offer interesting opportunities to “power development”. More on the workshop is online in the programme brochure. For a summary of the discussion, also see the blog of Netzpolitik (in German).

Free digital knowledge!

June 15, 2006 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn

logo-goettingererklaerungFree digital knowledge! claims the German Coalition for Action “Copyright for Education and Research”. These days, Germany is debating new legislation for copyright in the digital era – a proposed text passed the executive branch of government in March of this year. A nationwide coalition of research and educational organizations and personalities fights the proposal, which “would severely” harm education and science in Germany according to the coalition. In particular, access to scientific information could be more restricted and more expensive. Key criticism and proposals are online in the “Göttingen Declaration on Copyright for Education and Research” , which was signed in 2004 – also by the author of this website. The declaration can be signed here.

Nouveau boulot UNESCO

October 27, 2002 in Freedom to learn, Work

balthas_UNESCO_fernrohr_350_180As of November 2002 I will be working at UNESCO (UNESCO) as an Associate Expert Quite exited … and looking forward to contributing to the work of the Bureau of Strategic Planning (online here) which is responsible for doing the two-year plan and the six year strategy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.