Friday, August 18, 2006

Participation confirmed!!

Phew! What an intense week it has been. We now have 10 (11 including me) participants confirmed for the tour! And what a great bunch of people too! See the list on the home page to the wiki.

The wiki is seeing plenty of action. Thanks those who are adding to it with ideas and minor edits. Basically I hope it will continue to take form and meaning right up to, throughout, and after our meeting.

We are now doing the finishing touches on flights and accommodation in Dunedin, before we move onto internal travel arrangements.

Budget is looking good. Refer to the bottom of the wiki. Don't be alarmed, some of those figures are being covered as in kind contributions... We are looking for another $4000 hard cash though, to help cover the tour going to Christchurch.

Next week we are printing the fliers and will use them to seek sponsorship from local business and government.

So all is well - I can't wait!!

Monday, August 14, 2006

publicity and the good news

The organising committee met last Thursday to discuss developments and to continue planning. Funding and use of the fast Internet Access Grid has been confirmed by theUniversity of Otago. This will require an hour to be set aside with a smaller group, and a synchronous link to be organised with possibly University of Victoria and the University of Canterbury using their nodes. Contact will be made with key people at these organisations to arrange this session.

Approval has also been given for recording of the event by audiovisual personnel, and a meeting is to be set up with them. The idea will to have the recordings broadcast on the same day.

The Monarch cruise has been tentatively booked to convey the party and followers to Wheller's rock, to start the conference with a Hui at Otakou Marae on the Otago Peninsula on 18 September. We have yet to confirm a venue for the formal open meeting on 19 September, but the Hutton Theatre at the museum is free. The difficulty may be whether we can organise wireless connection at the museum. A location on campus at Otago Polytechnic would be ideal as we have wireless. One smallish lecture theatre is free but not the flat open space in G block which would work better. The ISS manager and IT administrator will be organising connectivity for us and streaming server access.

Michael Coghlan has offered to facilitate a web cast during the conference - no date set as yet.

A draft brochure for publication has been designed by Michael Crawford at UoO, and incorporates the idea of social networking with the image of a bee plus a map of New Zealand to show where the roadshow will travel. Catering by the uiversity caterers is to be organised - their food was amazing at a recent conference at the university.

If Trade and Enterprise provide support, a web conference will need to be set up with a business focus. Discussions around technology and networking in business.

To start the proceedings of the conference in the lead up to the open space meeting, Leigh will ask our visitors to record something to stimulate discussion pre-conference. Watch this space.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sponsorship possibilities

This is a free event for all who are interested in the future of learning in a networked world and the technologies which may support it: Managers, educators, facilitators, technical staff, educational designers, programme developers, staff developers, researchers etc. As such the organisers are relying on sponsorship from organisations who have an interest in this topic in the New Zealand context, and who will have staff participating in the event.

Benefits of sponsorship: Free entry for participants, access to online activities pre- and post conference, recognition on the conference website, as well as on printed materials and audio recordings of the event, receipt of a multimedia documentary of the event, an opportunity to consult with the speakers about solutions relevant for their institutions, and an invitation to join the social activities and meet the speakers.

Options are:
Host the seven visitors at your institution: Provide accommodation, venue, catering;
Contribute a sum of money to support travel for one or more visitors from overseas e.g. $3000 per person;
Contribute money to the domestic travel fund for the group e.g. $500, 1000, 2000 and so on.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

NZ synchro

Michael Coghlan from South Australia has jumped into the conference wiki with a proposal to hold a webcast early in the tour. I think this is a good plan as it will help those who don't have the time to read, watch or listen to our postings as we go along. Having a webcast gives people the opportunity to put an hour aside and quickly get an update to what has been happening. This way we avoid going over old ground when we arrive at each location.

Anyway, please feel free to join Michael on the wiki page he has set up, nominate your interest, and flesh out some ideas with him.

Babara Dieu from Brazil is preparing to link in a schools project... I'm waiting with keen interest to see what this may be.

Teemu Leinonen is also planning to link in European and South African projects in Free Libra educational resources... is that right Teemu? Also keenly awaiting what form this takes.

Please, everyone feel free to adjust or add to the conference wiki, linking out to complimentary projects, or bringing stuff in. Lets get this space looking and feeling like an Open Space.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

More planning

We had a further meeting this week to continue the conference planning and it is all coming together. For a start I felt the need for more of an explanation of an Open Space conference or meeting, and found this explanation: ”a facilitator explains the process and then participants co-create the agenda and host their own discussion groups. Discussions are held in designated areas or separate rooms known as 'breakout spaces' and participants are free to move amongst the discussion groups. Each group records the conversation in notes form, and all of these notes can be combined into a full record of proceedings for the meeting” (Wikipedia). I also found out that online networking continues on following the actual face-to-face meetings so discussions can continue.

Get with the programme
The plan is that our guests will arrive on 17 or 18 September, and be whisked off to sail the harbour on the Monarch to begin the fun. There is a possibility that the group and other interested people can be part of a Hui (gathering) on the first evening and stay at the Otakou Marae on the Otago Peninsula. This has yet to be organised but it would be wonderful, and give our overseas guests a real welcome to our Maori culture. We will also organise a Maori welcome to the conference venue.

The big open space meeting will be held on the first morning or afternoon on 19 September and run for approximately 3 to 4 hours. At the moment we are looking into a venue at the University of Otago.

So far our thoughts are that our guests will introduce their areas of interest and spark off discussion with the audience. This session along with all others will be recorded, and it is hoped that staff in other venues who are hosting our visitors will access the recordings ahead of the arrival of the guests, so that they can use their time to build on what was covered in the Dunedin open space meetings, rather than the whole intro thing having to be repeated. After all an open space meeting is supposed to flow on and build on what went before.

In the second half of the day, it is hoped our guests will spend time with staff in departments working out practical solutions with them for implementing networked learning in their courses. This will be advertised prior to the event so people will have to book "consultation time" in advance.

Hopefully our visiting speakers will provide us with some pre-conference discussion around networked learning to get people interested and to introduce themselves.

On the morning of the last day, 20 September, Leigh would like to take everyone who is interested on a train ride to Taieri Gorge. Discussions can continue on the train while giving our guests a glimpse of Central Otago and middle earth-like country side.

Then our party will pile on to a bus to Christchurch. The start of the roadshow!In Christchurch we are organising a meeting with TANZ (Tertiary Accord of New Zealand) staff, possibly at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, and others from nearby institutions will be invited, for example, University of Canterbury and Lincoln University. The roadshow will go by air to Northland Polytechnic. After this the roadshow will fly to Wellington to visit organisations there (not confirmed) and attend eFest. Auckland has not yet been confirmed.

Possible venues: In Dunedin either of the lecture theatre complexes at either St David St or Castle St, University of Otago will be roomy enough. The surroundings are excellent for gathering together during the breaks and for chatting over food and drink. Use of the fast Internet Access Grid is still being investigated both in Dunedin and using nodes available in other locations.

If the lecture theatre complexes are not available, we will check out the availability of the Auditorium at the Dunedin College of Education. It is very likely we will get at least 100 people attending the main presentation and discussion session.

Design of Publicity Materials: On Friday we will discuss design ideas with staff at the University of Otago, Educational Media Unit and hopefully they will help us put together an advertising flyer and sponsorship information pack. A three page flyer would be ideal.

Catering and accommodation: This is to be investigated and tentatively booked once confirm the possiblity of visiting the Marae. The Executive Residence near the university is a very comfortable place to stay.

Technical requirements: Laptops, tablets, audio recorders and possibly video recording of the main session. Internet and data projectors will be available in the venues, and at least two screens would be ideal. The session will be recorded and podcasted on the same day. We are hoping to get access to wireless as well.

Next steps:
  • Confirm guests who are coming
  • Prepare advertising and sponsorship materials
  • Book flights, venues, accommodation and catering, day trips in Dunedin - Otago Polytechnic Tourism students will do some of this
  • Book Access Grid with University of Otago Computer Services
  • Send out invoices to confirmed parties
  • Seek further sponsorship
  • Prepare a funding application for TeLRF with the conference as the springboard for laying the foundations for possible research on networked learning.
  • Look into the pre-conference discussion idea