Wednesday, September 27, 2006

interactive podcasts

tag clouding the flnw

So here we sit, in Wellington Library enjoying free Wireless thanks to eFest sponsor cafeNet. I'm using the time to make a start on the album for the FLNW tour. First step is to go through all the captured media and reflect on the emergent issues, key topics etc.. I coined onto the idea to use tagging of media to discover emergent and dominant themes (see screen grab above). Bigger words represent concepts that have the most amount of media behind them, smaller words the least.

To generate this tag cloud I had to create a account purely for the FLNW event. Then go through all the media to do with the event and save the URLs back to this account and describe the resource with any number of tag words. Over time emergent words (or concepts) take shape as more and more media gets saved to the tag word.

I think its an interesting way to review content and begin defining themes, content and 'structure' for the print based album. The bad thing about it is it centralises the the URLs into a single service (, instead of aggregating individuals, but I couldn't think of another way to get a picture of the event based on key words..

here is the link to the tag cloud where the words are hyper linked to the content lists according to the words. Below is a video of me explaining the concept. This is a work in progress, which means the tag cloud is still evolving, which means the picture of the event based on words is still emerging.

an idea to identify emergent themes from the media captured from the conference

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sept 25 - Auckland

Quite an interesting day in Auckland yesterday. We kicked off at 2pm in Auckland University of Technology.

We first had to get through some very restrictive network security, but as that was being worked out Alex grabbed a projector and set up a little photo slide show in the corner. The mingling crowd began to converge on the corner as seats where broken out of their rows and arranged around the projection. (we should have set up more projections).

About then I jumped in and introduced the FLNW group. We then asked the locals if there was anyone with similar interests or if they had issues they wanted to discuss. But there was a slight stand off still - we hadn't yet succeeded in opening up the space. Attempts at facilitating a whole group conversation were made using show of hands, and while some important issues and discussion was had, it was very much dominated by a few people.

We stopped for a coffee break, which is normally the time when smaller groups form to talk about the issues raised in the bigger group. This is about when the space starts to open in my opinion. Stephen tries to point out that breaking into smaller groups is when the space closes... I'm not sure myself... I think Stephen makes a very thought provoking observation. I recorded him explaining a white board diagram he made while the smaller groups discussed.

link to original video

At the end of the day (6pm) we summed up what each group said by Steven Parker running around with a video camera and grabbing footage of each group 'presenting' their discussions. Given that Steven jumped on a plane out of here today, I think it may take him a while to update his videos... watch that space in other words...

We finished around 7pm, still energised and inspired, and those left went to dinner together. I think the last person hit the pillow around 2am. Just another day of FLNW really :)

Now we are in Wellington, in the very impressive Museum Hotel.

eFest tomorrow - where I for one plan to try and bring all this together for a book - or more accurately, an album.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Waiheke Island, Auckland - Sept 24

We had a nice last day with Stanley and colleagues yesterday. We spent the morning talking about Northtec's Certificate in eLearning Design and Development. I hope the Northtec team didn't feel assaulted by our comments, we had very little time to get an in depth insight into the course set up, but enough to make some pretty challenging comments about the use of Moodle and the like, but more important I think was the beginning of a debate about the use and appropriateness of open online spaces, as opposed to closed or private online spaces... since then, we have all had very passionate debates about this issue, and hopefully we will be able to represent the issue in the emergent issue wiki page and book.

After breakfast we jumped on a jet boat out to Poor Knights Islands. It was a spectacular trip.

Stanley and Mandi drove us all to Auckland that afternoon to meet John Eyles for the ferry across to Waiheke Island. We arrived on the Island at about 8pm and checked into Hekerua Lodge.

We had trouble settling into the lodge, needing more space and a better Internet connection so checked out the next morning with the intention to stay in Auckland tonight.

Currently we are at John's house where we have spent the day riding his wireless, catching up on uploading media and preparing content for the book of this journey. John has invited colleagues around and we have had rich discussions once again, joining in pre arranged web conferences relating to John's projects.

It has been a wonderful day, and a relief to catch up on a few things.

Teemu leaves tomorrow, so hopefully we can make a good start on the book before he is gone and tied up back into the day to day life in Helsinki.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sept 21 - Northland starts

So here we are at NorthTec. We had an exciting flight (though rushed) connecting Auckland to Whangarei, but Stanley's warm greetings awaited us and we were bused off to a lovely hotel and Marina dinner.

Now we are at the Northtec. We had a Maori welcome given to us by Taipari Munroe - Maori adviser to the Northtec.

We then had a round of introductions, starting with the guests, then going through local participants. To conclude the introductions we heard a Waiata (song) called Ko Te Taitokerau. It was about the importance of supporting and encouraging learners and to take on board learning tools and to persevere.

Now we are all meeting and discussing the intros and emergent themes.

I have grabbed Konrad's laptop to make this post, and create a new wiki page to capture the emergent themes from the introductions. Steven Parker is setting up to capture video of people speaking to those emergent themes and will add the videos into the wiki. Konrad is scripting up a senario with a couple of people and Teemu Leinonen and I will start creating video scenarios based on the scripts.

Sean has already demonstrated moblogging (see photo above). And others are talking and updating content online... I hear talk of copyright, intellectual property, privacy and online identity...

The plan this arvo is to bring everyone back from there initial discussions and demonstrate or describe projects already happening (such as the emergent themes videos, this blog entry, moblogging and others I'm not yet aware of...)

Significant to note the network set up Northtec had going. Here's Stanley on video telling us how it was set up:

Leigh managed to grab a few moments with AStanley Frielick to get the details on how Northtec has successfully implemented a wireless network.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Christchurch College of Ed

Derek Chirnside takes a wonder around

Taieri Gorge - MobilEd meets the kitchen

The train ride worked perfectly! Lucky that we booked a carriage all to ourselves because if anyone had to share, they would have to had to have to endured 4 hours of educational, elearning chatter. We couldn't even hear the tain's tour guide!

So needless to say, a bunch of stuff was discussed, recorded and documented in various ways. Yet still, we don't have a central feed that is bringing all this media together. Rest assured we are working on it. Its not a big problem, just trying to find the time to do it.

Here are the photos, unfiltered, all as they are.
Here are the videos so far...

And below is an example of what happens to a teacher who joins us for a day. Tony is going to create his own video depicting this scenario.. then start developing it!!

Tony Heptinstall and Leigh Blackall interpret MobilEd

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Podcasting from Pine Hill

A group of us today visited Pine Hill School to watch 9 and 10 year old students create movies and podcasts on their Apple Macs. Their teacher, Jane Nichols told us a bit about it in this podcast.

If you want more info, visit Jane's research page.

Hutton Theatre - Sept 19

I lost my pictures and audio from the Marae stay last night :( we coudn't record anything inside, but we did a lot before and after. Never mind, other's recorded - I'll try and connect to their media as soon as possible, and provide an update on that.

Here is a little of what I grabbed in the Hutton Theatre today. We have more professionally recorded video and audio in the works. It will be available here soon.

Predictably, we had trouble getting an open space happening at first. The Internet was down when we wanted to start so we asked poor Teemu to get up and present MobilEd from his computer. Teemu delivered an almost 1 hour talk (not quite open space we know). By the end of it we had Internet. We then went back to what we originally proposed - short intros from everyone who wanted to talk about their work, then groups merging in on projects of interest to them.

From then on there was a buzz in the air. Lots of long, in depth conversations, going on past lunch time, then field trips out to local schools, departments and faculties.

I'm pretty pleased with how it has all ended up. This open space conference worked :)

Click to Play

Jo's round up of her session at the Hutton theatre

Teemu brought a focus group together

WHat did a design lecturer and a visual arts lecturer get out of today?

Otakou Marae

This is a bit late but I think that our stay at the Marae was an important bonding experience. Below is an audio recording of the song that we learned and then sang as a group during the Mihiwhakatau ceremony. It was recorded at the Otago Polytechnic on Monday, September 18, shortly before the ceremony.

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Monday, September 18, 2006


Michael Coghlan was the first in Dunedin, arriving on Sunday morning. He was picked up by Terry where he had dinner and a bed.

Teemu Leinonen arrived safe and sound Sunday afternoon. A whopping 25 hours of travel from Helsinki! I picked Teemu up and checked him into the Kings Gate Hotel to recover. He and I went for a roast dinner at the Cob and Co where we met Rose G off the bus from Queenstown sight seeing.

After dropping Teemu back at his hotel, Rose and I went back into the airport to pick up Barbara Dieu on the 20:30 and Stephen Downes on the 21:00. We checked them into the Kings Gate as well, Rose staying the night with Sunshine and I.

This morning I picked up Konrad Glogowski from the 9:10 (I was a bit late) and dropped him at the Kings Gate also for breakfast and a shower.

This arvo I will fetch Jo Kay and Sean FitzGerald on the 14:10 from Sydney, and we meet the others at 4pm for the Marae visit.

All is going well.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Willie helps with song

Click to Play

audio for E Tu Kahikatea.

"E Tu kahikatea
whakapai ururoa
A whi mai awhi atu
Tatou tatou e

E Tu kahikatea
whakapai ururoa
A whi mai awhi atu
Tatou tatou e
Tatou tatou e
Tatou tatou e"

Stand tall, like the white pines (roots systems need to interconnect)
You give to me and I give to you
And between what we have
We will be strong together
(non literal translation)

Willie helps with speech

Click to Play

Ka tangi te titi

Ka tangi te kaka

Ka tangi hoki ahau

E Nga mate o te ra, o tenei marama

O tenei tau, moe mai Oki oki mai

Ka huri au ki te huka ora
Tihei mauri ora

To acknowlege the ancestors, the dead and those who have come before us,
I wish to extend greetings to this house
Greetings to the Marae

Greetings to the people manawhanua Kai Tahu

no reira, tena koutou, tena kai kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui

Rob Wood

Bayfield High

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our stay at Otakou Marae - September 18th

I am also new to New Zealand, and extremely ignorant of Maori culture, let alone local Ngai Tahu culture! But I am trying, I hope you will try with me...

Being appreciative of the many forms of colonialism, sensitive to the dynamics of cultural imperialism, and respectful as transient tourists can be, we are staying at the Otakou Marae on Monday the 18th of September.

A Marae is a significant aspect in Maori culture, and it is at the Otakou Marae on the Peninsula out from Dunedin where we will be welcomed as a group.

We will take part in a Mihiwhakatau, which literally means to greet those who have landed. It is a less formalised ritual of encounter than the powhiri.

Justine Camp here at the Otago Polytechnic has prepared the following text explaining the process, as well as an audio recording of a song we will be expected to sing as part of the Mihiwhakatau.

Outline of what a Mihiwhakatau is and why we have them.

The Mihiwhakatau enables the mana whenua (the local people) to afford the welcome that is necessary for visitors off and on Marae. The idea is to remove the tapu (restrictions) from the visitor so that they can mingle amongst us freely, hence the term waewaetapu (restricted feet).

The visitors will be invited into the Wharenui (the meeting house) where we as mana whenua will be waiting; they will be gestured to sit. Doug will then provide the kĊrero (speech) of welcome which will be followed by a waiata kinaki (song of support).

Then a representative of the visitors group will have the opportunity to respond using the song E Tu Kahikatea.

"E Tu kahikatea
whakapai ururoa
A whi mai awhi atu
Tatou tatou e

E Tu kahikatea
whakapai ururoa
A whi mai awhi atu
Tatou tatou e
Tatou tatou e
Tatou tatou e"

Stand tall, like the white pines (roots systems need to interconnect)
You give to me and I give to you
And between what we have
We will be strong together
(non literal translation)

After they have done this reply they will be invited for the hongi and hariru which is where we press noses - it symbolises sharing of breath and shaking of the hands.

We then share a cup of tea and a bite to eat as this is the final stage in removing tapu.

Mihihaere - Farewell

This is where we farewell our guests, this time the guests get to reflect on their stay and thank those who have hosted them. Then we as mana whenua have the last say and wish him well in their journey. Again after the korero we have a waiata kinaki, there may also be a karakia or inoi (prayer) which we usually do before traveling to ensure a safe journey.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kittens - 11th hour mayhem

I've had "update the blog" on my to-do list the past 3 days.. with very little time to spare - here goes.

  • Stephen Downes is back on the tour.
  • Marg O'Connell has started up a Google Map for us to mark out locations, journey and timelines - using Community Walk.
  • Sean FitzGerald has offered to tidy up the wiki and make it more user friendly
  • All flights and accommodation have been confirmed. Due to extremely tight budget we have had to opt for shared rooms. We have pegged single rooms in case I snore too much or Sparker's feet stink ;)
  • We are still scratching around for a further $3000 to help cover catering.
  • We have wireless Internet at the Hutton Theatre for Tuesday the 19th
  • We have penciled in an Access Grid (video conference on steroids) for the morning of Wednesday the 20th, making sure to mix in a normal web conference with it for international participation in that meeting. We now need NZ Access Grid nodes organised for that time (1030am on the 20th - please contact me), and to decide what web conferencing gear we'll use to bring in international participation along with it...
  • We are also aiming to include another web conference to open the space wider on the afternoon of Thursday the 21st in Christchurch.
  • I am attempting to find the time to update the wiki with exact details of the itinery - such as flight times, accommodation locations etc...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Where we may be going wrong

Imagine fronting up to your standard event coordinator and asking them to organise an open space conference? They might respond with, "I understood the conference bit..."

When you consider that everything that is traditionally involved in coordinating such an event; funding, promotions and publicity, printed fliers, participation.. it is all geared towards the standard conference - being key note speakers, sponsorship, lectures, workshops and booths.

So when a couple of deep south educational developers decide to sniff out interest and organise an open space conference in multiple locations, you might expect that along the way, actually all the way, they'd encounter difficulties in remaining true to open space conference. Those things that are necessary in coordinating and promoting the event each play their part in clawing things back into a standard conference of celebrities, lectures and mute audiences.

It was through a rather important if brief exchange I had with Derek Chirnside yesterday that I came to realise this with more clarity. Derek has instinctively understood the intent and direction of this conference, and so it was through discussing with him the difficulties of organising and promoting this event that I began to realise the shape of problem, and felt the need to reaffirm the objective of this event.

The objective of this event is to initiate and strengthen new connections and thereby changes in the New Zealand education sector. The key to meeting this objective is through open participation.

To some extent that objective is already being met. The new connections and discussions currently taking place both locally and internationally is encouraging, something a face to face meeting will help to strengthen.

We have invited several people from other regions of the world to take part. This is to bring wider perspectives and connections into the open space conference. It is important that their involvement is complimentary to local New Zealand participation, and it is here that I realise we risk affecting the open space most of all.

Due to the complexity of coordinating the international participation in this event it is easy to see how it dominates the preparations and possibly overshadows the overall event. Our guests are here to see New Zealand, some for the first time, to hear about and see our work, to show us their work, and to join in a discussion and make new connections. So in the final 2 weeks leading up to the Dunedin meeting we should follow John Eyles lead and add more New Zealand based profiles to the wiki.

I hope by doing this we can start to balance and refocus of the event, back to being an exchange of ideas and experiences in as nearer thing to open space conference as we can possibly get.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Flier - Audio - Let's start

Woah Nellie!! I'm starting to get butterflies.

So let's start.

Something for you to do before September 10.
Let's have as many people as possible make a quick audio recording of themselves telling us who you are and what you hope to do with or gain from this conference. Upload the audio and comment it's link in on the conference blog. You could also tag it FLNWaudio if you like and we could turn that tag feed into an audio podcast for the conference.