Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year! It's time for a lion dance! It's the Year of the Dog and I'm getting ready for my annual Chinese New Year's Lesson in Harry's and Sara's school. Here's the lesson plan, approximately 1 hour:
1. Introduction to Chinese New Year
I've created a book with lots of photos and will do circle style on the rug - the interactive lecture. In Harry's class, there is a large computer and I can put the images in powerpoint:
How do we celebrate New Year's in America?
How it different in Asia? In Cambodia?
Gung Hay Fat Choy - What does it mean?
The Animal Zodiac - Year of the Dog
What's your year?
How families celebrate?
Show red envelopes, good luck scrolls, and budhist prayer money
(Other options: I've collected some great links to many other resources and activities and will need this in the future. Depending on the number of kids/teachers and parents, may need to do fewer centers.)
Ponzi, who I met at blogher, loves postcards. She has a wonderful tradition - sending other bloggers postcards from her travels. Most recently, she visited Bangkok. I was the lucky recipient of the above postcard with the cool Red Cross stamp. My kids loved it and Sara took it to pre-school with her.
I'm continuing Ponzi's tradition but with a slight twist. We created postcards for the Sharing Foundation to see to raise money. The postcards have art work on them by a talented youngster, named Tep Vuthea, who lives in the orphanage. He's 13 now and we're sending him to art school. So, I had to purchase a big stack. So, if you would like one, email me your address.
Together with a group of my friends and colleagues, I have been
working on a book specifically about wireless networking for the developing world. After 4 months of work, we are proud to announce the completion of a
250-page free book, jam-packed with information about building wirelss
networks in the developing world.
It's available as a free download in pdf format, and there's the
option of ordering printed copies from a print-on-demand site in the US
We are currently negotiating with publishers and others to try and get
the book printed and published, so keep an eye open for news on the website.
I've been doing a Webinar for N-TEN called "Designing Effective Technology Learning Experiences" -- basically about how to make technology trainings more interactive -- which includes designing participant interactivity - either in small groups as well as blended into presentation/lecture.
One of the exercises is to take Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences and integrate it with technology content to design a small group exercise. So, have been revisiting MI resources. And, of course, Dr. Gardner's research has uncovered a 9th intelligence. (When I first studied this theory, there were only 7 intelligences). Anyway, it's called "Existential" or the ability to ponder big picture questions.
I've been chewing on that one - keep an eye out for any Existential learners who cross my path and it hit me that my son, Harry, age 6. is definitely an existential learner. Take for example some recent questions that he has asked me:
Does the Tooth Fairy get bored with her job?
What bank does the Tooth Fairy keep her money in?
Whats happens when Santa Claus dies?
Does someone else take on his job?
How do they learn how to do the job?
And, at school, where they are studying Japan, they visited the Children's Museum's Japan Exhibit where he asked the museum educator, "Who were the first people to live Japan and did they eat Sushi?" It stumped her and the class had to look it up when they got back to school.
On the other hand, Sara, Harry's sister, is definitely a visual learner. (Just like her mom) She will sit down with her crayons and draw me a picture of what she is thinking or to explain something. Her drawings have gotten significantly more detailed over the past few months. (Hmm .. Flickr as a portfolio assessment tool ...)
I believe that most
practitioners of nonprofit technology planning are asking the wrong questions.
Because their questions are largely about technology, the results of these
questions are answers dominated by the logic of technology itself, rather than
by the mission or methods of the organization.
Many observers will
agree that common complaints about technology projects -- resistance to change,
long sales cycles, inappropriate technology, unexpected costs, unused tools --
are often the inevitable result of this technocentric planning. The only way to
unravel this problem is to go to the source and challenge the questions we ask.
In this short essay, I
will touch on three questions of my own: In general, what kinds of questions
should planners be asking? What kinds of questions are they actually asking, in
the field of nonprofit technology planning? How can we fix this?
With the introduction of tools and techniques such as blogs, podcasting, and cell phone activism, many nonprofits are examining their use of technology, and wondering how best to use these tools for organizing and activism.
We'll be provocative here and say, "It doesn't matter what tool you choose!" Because frankly, it's not the tool that's going to make a difference.
That's not to say that the new tools for engaging your community are not powerful. They can be and they are. But it is far less critical that your organization choose the most appropriate tool than it is that you are able to make appropriate decisions and take effective action no matter which new tool comes on the market.
The article also includes a very useful worksheet to help an organization think thru these important questions.
I got an email from Dave Pentecost asking if me if I was the same Beth Kanter (not that article is like 5 years old!) and if I had any advice on credit card vendors that are nonprofit friendly. (I don't track this stuff closely anymore, but pointed him to a few other sources.)
Dave was asking for his wife whose heart and brain child is the entrepreneurial program of the Lower Eastside Girls Club. (The bakery.) Dave's sig line gave me an instant flash of what's he up to lately:
After a long day without much fun, I took a break to catch up on some bloglines reading. It was only going to be for five minutes, I swear ... but at Network-Centric Advocacy blog, I found fastr flickr a game that uses flickr images. It loads ten images that all share a common tag, one by one, and you guess what the tag is. (What a nice tool to use in a training session ...)
After that, I discovered an interesting photo set in the Link netsquared tag stream and it was Seth Mazow, so I made him a contact. And the next thing I know he invites me to the International NGO Flickr Group. If you want to take a visual trip around the world and see some breath taking photos of the work done in far flung places, spend some time browsing this collection.
While browsing, happened to notice blogher Kalabird, who is doing NGO work in Cambodia has contributed a few. I love this one:
Today I discovered an interesting blog named ScoutSeven Blog Land. ScoutSeven is a project devoted to "harnessing the
convergence of innovative online technology, grassroots organizing,
organizational development and social justice values." The founder is Leda Dederich whose expertise is technology for grassroots organizing.
What caught my eye was a post on chocolate bribes .... and fair trade chocolate at that! The project is called dot.organize and you can read the description here. The idea is to get online tools into the hands of social change makers. The chocolate bribe is fill out a needs assessment survey to inform planning.
Hat tip to the good folks on netsquared where I discovered this blog. Netsquared is a must-read and a most-post place if you are at all interested in nonprofits, social change, and harnessing the power of web2.0.
Mode is a new
space on the web dedicated to exploring museums, objects, design
and exhibitions. A work in progress, it is intended that mode
will act as a space for open dialogue, evolving at the hands
of its authors and contributors.
So what are you waiting for - set up your community blog at netsquared.org and connect with nonprofits interested in the new web technology.
And in the spirit of full disclosure -- I recently did a small project for Netsquared, a Net Tuesday toolkit. However, I would have posted this post even if I didn't do a paid project for Net2, only because participating in community sites like this is a great way to connect with others, build your own blog audience, and discover new blogs to read.
I'm mentor for a blog project for young women from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia entitled YoungCaucasusWomen. Here's the project description from the site:
Recruited from current FLEX
students, the young women will be trained in personal citizen
journalism to be published on a weblog (a WWW publishing tool,
available for public consumption.) The students will post a minimum of
once a week on an assigned topic. They may post on other topics
throughout the week as well. After the students return home, they will
receive a monthly assignment, but may post as often as they like. Each
week a blog “mentor” with post early in the week to help inspire the
young women. The mentor will be an adult blogger from around the world,
with a particular focus on bloggers from developing countries who are
having an impact on the dissemination of news from their countries.
The week of February 27th, I will blog on the topic of: “Who’s your favorite artist (visual, dancer, performer or musician) and why?” I will be joined by colleague, Britt Bravo, from netsquared.org. Through introducing ourselves to other mentors in the this project virtually, Britt and I discovered that we had a lot more in common than nonprofit technology and blogher interests. We've both worked in the arts. So, when Katy Pearce asked for people to pair up and for topics, we came up with an arts-related question.
I hope you'll take some time to follow the project!
I am interested in this article because I'm the session designer at this year's NTC Conference for a session tentatively entitled "The Blogging Revolution: Evolving Best Practices that Can Make Blogging Work for Some Nonprofits." Key words to notice "Evolving" and "Some." As much as I'm a blogging evangelist, one of things we should respect is that blogging may not be an appropriate strategy for all nonprofits. So, in our session we're also going to answer the question "To blog or not to blog."
I'm excited about the session because I've recruited some fabulous people -- Marshall Kirkpatrick, John Lorence (Compumentor), and Nancy White. I'm hoping to compile a decent resource to distribute at the panel. More on that later ...
If you are a regular reader of the Cambodia4kids Blog or read Global s Online, you already know about the Cambodian Government's actions to silence critics of the ruling party hit its peek when Human Rights activists Kem Sokha, Yeng Virak and Pa Nguon Teang were all arrested regarding banners displayed on Human Rights Day December 10, 2005. These newly detained activists were thrown into Prey Sar prison with journalist Mam Sonando and teacher's union leader Rong Chhun, who were both arrested 3 months ago for offering critical views on government's actions related to sensitive border issues
between Cambodia and Vietnam.
Licado, a Cambodian human rights NGO, has launched an awareness campaign to call attention to these abuses and garner support from the International community for the detainees by putting the Association for Freedom of Expression in Cambodia yellow ribbon on your website and link to this page.
Cut and paste the following code in your side bar:
When I was in Cambodia, I was told that most Cambodians don't celebrate their birthdays ... particularly those in rural areas who don't keep formal calendars. When I purchased the above card from a street vendor in Phnom Penh for Sara's birthday, I asked her why she sold birthday cards if people didn't celebrate the day? She told me that the cards were mostly for foreigners.
Last night, I stumbled across Khem Vansinin's blog entry about her birthday party. So, I wondered whether or not what I told was true? Do Cambodians in Cambodia celebrate their birthdays?
When I was in Phnom Penh, I created a line of Cambodian Cultural Stamps to sell here in US to raise money for the Sharing Foundation. It offered some employment for the stampmaker in Cambodia. The stamp below says "Happy Birthday."
And I'll have you know that it's my birthday today! (And, I spent the whole darn day in back-to-back meetings or doing work ... time to have some fun!)
On 6 January, Reporters Without Borders issued six concrete proposals aimed at ensuring that Internet-sector companies respect free expression when operating in repressive countries. The organisation calls on bloggers and Internet user to sign an online petition in support of this initiative.
These recommendations will be addressed to the US government and US legislators because all the companies named in this document are based in the United States. Nonetheless, they concern all democratic countries and have therefore will be sent to European Union officials and to the Secretary General of the OECD as well.
The book's primary objective is to help people understand how to
successfully design, implement, and evaluate ICT projects in a
complicated landscape, by explaining the underlying principles that
influence outcomes. The topics explored include organizational
capacity, cross-sector partnerships, implementation, marketing, project
evaluation, social return on investment and sustainability. Issues are
addressed from the unique perspective of an implementer with both
operational and programmatic experience rather than as a research
scientist or academician. Although The Dynamics of Technology for Social Change is not written to prove
how or if technology facilitates social benefit, examples abound from
the author's own experience that provide insight into how it does.
I've had a couple of ideas swirling around in my head .... mostly about the process and mechanics of blog conversations. Are blog conversations as satisfying, rich, or stimulating as other methods? Can blog communities be facilitated? What are the similarities and differences between online discussion boards and blog communities? The question about nonprofit adoption of these tools for conversation.
My participation in an online discussion at
Web 2.0 and Communities of Practice Conference where this article/visual was shared clearly outlining the differences and predicting some hybrids of the two.
Amy pinged me to let me know she has posted a third thread to this messy conversation, "Blogs As A Barrier to Conversation." She is basically saying that blogs aren't for everyone and the importance of respecting the spectrum of options available for conversation and individual comfort levels.
Blogs are only one type of
conversational media tool. There are others, including e-mail lists,
web-based discussion forums, chat rooms, call-in talk shows, and even (to a certain
extent) podcasts and wikis.
You don't have to like blogs or even read them at all in order to
benefit from conversational media. Also, some non-blog options for
conversational media offer unique benefits.
She also touches on the issue of nonprofit adoption.
But Steve's point was one of those "aha" moments for me. If the
people that nonprofits need to reach don't generally like or use blogs,
then why bother?
...Or maybe that in itself reflects an underestimation or
misperception of blogs by nonprofits. I dunno, I'll have to think about
I'm not sure the issue is so black and white. Like all technology tools, we aren't going to see all nonprofits adopt all the tools. However, I think there are probably some places where it does make sense for some nonprofits to use blogging and the other Web 2.0 tools. Perhaps there may some scaffolded ways to introduce the use of these tools to realize outcomes like knowledge sharing, organizational learning, or efficiency.
There are barriers, of course -- like some of the tools aren't there yet (still too geeky) for wide spread nonprofit adoption, there's not a lot of training aids, to adopt it involves incredible amount of change in personal work habit and organizational culture not to mention time and without a lot of awareness of the examples of the benefits for nonprofits - that's a hard change to make.
Yes, but .... I'm thinking about the blog (and phone) conversation I had with Andy Carvin about podcasting in the developing world - in places without electricity. I asked him - given all the barriers perhaps podcasting is not relevant at all. His take: "We shouldn’t discourage people from experimenting."
Blogher Lisa Stone interviews Ethan Zukerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, Global s Founders. The call is tommorrow, but you can always listen to the audio file.
* What does it mean to be a "conversation community"? Are you an alternative world news agency? A stage for global activism? An international collection of diaries? Will your site always be English only? Take us down the road three to five years.
* How does this "conversation community" take its next steps, when so many bloggers live in countries that lack a free press? How about when many of these countries are at war?
* What do you want and/or need from the first world and why? Money? Attention? Feedback?
I've been avoiding tools like Greasemonkey only because I thought it might be too technical/geeky for me. But I was motivated to install because I came across a tweak that would really improve my blogging efficiency (integrating delicious and bloglines). It's this one.
Okay, so I installed the greasemonkey and downloaded the script. But when I go in bloglines the script is not working. I have no idea how to even begin to troubleshoot this .... is there some step that wasn't mentioned that I didn't know to do because I'm not a natural born geek? Is the script crap or broken? What am I missing?