A recent project has taken me down the path of designing a peer based assessment surrounding a learners uploaded videos of their displaying skills in action. All the technologies and approaches are now available at a reasonable cost to enable video based peer assessment or IMHO better titled as "progressive video assessment". The main ideas being leveraged are;
Learners progressing through different sets of competencies grouped into levels.
Learners are grouped into virtual cohorts, that change depending on pace, availability and competencies.
As learners complete competency sets they also provide feedback to those who have not yet completed the competencies.
A part of a learners own assessment is providing an amount of feedback to their peers, this follows more of a master-apprentice type model. The master is only one or two levels ahead of the apprentice.
Feedback is provided in private discussions triggered by an uploaded video demonstrating competencies and the learners self-assessment.
Competencies are described in rubrics.
Utilizing a Progressive Inquiry type approach provides a good foundation for it encourages an iterative process for building understanding and deepening meaning. It also acknowledges the importance of peers and mentors in the learning process.
The aim of a video based peer assessment approach is to bring people to a level of mastery within a given subject area. The subject area needs to be appropriate for video as a medium for capturing demonstrated skills. We want people who already have basic competency in an area wanting to improve through peer review and feedback from others with greater expertise.
Step 1. Learners provide evidence of subject knowledge (traditional assessment) Step 2. Learners review rubric(s) describing competencies for level being attempted Step 3. Learner video is recorded and upload (privacy ensured as videos are only available to reviewer cohort and can be deleted once review is complete) Step 3.1. Uploaded video is immediately assigned a cohort of reviewers Step 4. Learner kicks of discussion by answering a number of system assigned self-assessment questions. Step 5. A small private cohort engages in facilitated discussions giving feedback focused by the respective rubric and learner answered self-assessment questions Step 6. Reviewers also get credit toward their progression through the levels for providing the peer review Step 7. For quality, reviews and videos are randomly / periodically critiqued by experts
In two coming posts I'll be describing the approach (or theory) behind the peer assessment and the technology infrastructure to support video based peer assessment.
A few months back I completed a small project to enable a simple single sign-on approach to product level information access. This wasn't a replacement for OpenID or anything like that, for that would be a crazy thing to take on. What I did was to build a way to assess whether a user had subscribed to one or more information resources within a site that contains many resources. What I created leveraged cookies, an expiry system, and the restful API. This was all good.
To develop all this I used an old Dell Inspiron laptop running a UAMP (Ubuntu, Apache, MySQL, PhP) stack. The project is now running in DEV and is moving into QA so I still need my development environment. I've got another development project where I want to evaluate the quiz / question modules available within Drupal and I want to create another virtual host on the UAMP development server. This is what I did to set up another virtual host in addition to the localhost already being utilized by the restful API project;
1) added a drupal to the hosts file with the IP 127.0.0.2 127.0.0.1 localhost 127.0.0.2 drupal
2) added a new file to the /etc/apache2/available-sites folder 3) edited the new file to include the correct virtual host entry pointing toward the drupal directory <VirtualHost 127.0.0.2> DocumentRoot /var/www/drupal/ </VirtualHost>
4) enable the site using the a2ensite command with the new file as the parameter 5) restart apache
All good. Now in the local browser I can run an instance of drupal being hosted at http://drupal
A month ago I was questioning the value of a University Education. Don't get me wrong, I think higher education is an awesome thing and I believe everyone should (and needs to) be a life long learner. I was just questioning the value of getting higher education at a University. I think there are better ways, particularly when you consider the cost (personal and through taxes) of attending a University. To me the better ways are through what is now available via the Internet (asynchronously 7 x 24). And considering the body of work regarding the different learning approaches (constructivism, connectivism and progressive inquiry apply very well, IMHO) and how these approaches are being incarnated on the Internet it becomes a compelling alternative to traditional higher education.
So all my questioning of the value of higher education was initiated from a few tweets with someone from the PR dept. of a local university and they asked me some great questions about where I was coming from on all this. The question that really stood out for me became;
"What I deem to be a worthy ROI on my tax funded educational investment?"
free access to research data - As a taxpayer I shouldn't have to pay for data or research that was created because of grants or the funding coming from tax dollars. There is great progress being made here as evidenced by much activity (a couple of examples; open access at Concordia, and the recent open access week at SFU). I look forward to all tax payer funded data and related publishing being available as open data. Suggestion: all grants, funded research, etc. should have openness written into their terms.
pedagogically aware professors - modern academic institutions haven't traditionally focused on the faculty having strong pedagogical skills. There is work going on here, though I do not feel it is enough. My experiences in working for the Instructional Development office of a major Canadian University provided me insights into how graduate, post-graduate and new faculty are developing pedagogical skills, but existing faculty are slow on the uptake. I do think a younger faculty population will make a big difference here, but weve got 10 to 20 years before the scale tips in the students favor. Do I believe my academically very successful daughter should attend a University in the next decade? Considering the Higher Education (HE) faculty pedagogical skills and the use of technology to support learning by HE institutions I believe she may better spend her time elsewhere... time will tell with this; it is good to see the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) has published ethical principles in university teaching and they include a principle on pedagogical competence. Suggestion: all faculty should have mandatory pro-d with focus on pedagogy.
improved assessment techniques - assessment still seems like a game show to me - executing exams, writing papers, completing projects and their subsequent grading doesn't capture what a person has learned during a period. Using these "traditional" approaches as a way to assess peoples knowledge on a subject is disconnected. When I think of the explicit knowledge vs. tacit knowledge that a person acquires (needs) to be successful. And when tacit knowledge is considered a greater part of our knowing I just don't see strong evidence that traditional assessment methods capture a persons knowledge on a subject. I believe that much better assessment techniques need to be developed in determining a persons capabilities and knowledge. A greater amount of effort needs to be focused upon assessment within academia. Suggestion: all institutions should have or participate in a center for assessment excellence. Active research should be going on here.
transparency and reduction of institutional boundaries - it seems to me that academic institutions are internally focused and overly competitive with each other. In a time where it is apparent that our future is knowledge based and our national (global) economic success is dependent upon our "national intelligence" our tax dollars should go to the greater good instead of funding intra-institutional dysfunction. As an example, why every time I apply to a new institution should I have to pay a fee to get all my transcripts transferred to the new institution? Shouldn't a national database of my academic accomplishments be available? Wouldn't it be nice to have a publicly available transcript served up by the institutions I have attended. As we move into a time where learning is more self-directed, we should be able to cobble together educational activities (courses, workshops, groups, etc.) without having to be conscious of which institution they are being made available. Should we leverage the course materials created by all Canadian institutions in similar subject areas? How different are the learning outcomes for all the same undergraduate courses across all institutions? How much tax payer $$$ are spent in duplicating the same course materials across Canadian institutions. If I was getting good ROI, institutional boundaries would have been eliminated years ago and I would have open access to my educational accomplishments and the accomplishments of the institution and its faculty. Suggestion: national online registry for transcripts (funded by students/alumni requesting transcripts); Incentives for more frequent publishing of OER.
cross institutional shared services - almost every public institution has a their own registrar, network and server farm, library, bookstore, publishing abilities, website, mail server, etc... why? I do not feel this is a good return on my tax dollars. All public institutions should be using our tax dollars more wisely by administratively getting together and creating shared services in all (or at least most) of these areas. There exist many examples of all these services available online. I'd like to challenge all publicly funded institutions of learning to work together to make use of shared services. We do have examples of this in BC with BCCampus... somehow we need to provide incentive to public institutions to adopt a shared services approach. Suggestion: reallocate funding toward shared infrastructure and provide the resources to make it really easy for institutions to adopt a shared services approach.
increase in blended approaches (reduce physical travel) - A lot of the content that makes up a course does not need to be consumed on campus. A lecture can easily be put online (either live streamed or archive), and if discussion is required a companion chat could be available for the live streaming and an asynchronous discussion can be available for the archive. Readings, self-assessment, discussion groups, podcasts, webinars, etc. can all be facilitated online. Therefore, when students do show up on campus this should be honored with pedagogically exceptional face-to-face learning experiences all supported by the online materials. All the lecture halls could be converted into hives of learning activities. If each HE course had > 50% of their required content online, the institutions could double their capacity without having to create new physical seats / classrooms. That creates a lot of capability without a large investment. Particularly if the institution uses the shared services approach mentioned in item 5. Then what they really need is an increase in their online faculty. Suggestion: increase focus on international, remote and adult students need for education (7x24), recognize revenue potential. Increase number of teacher faculty to take on super-mentor role.
reasonable priced graduate tuition - inspiring minds and emptying wallets; > $48,000 to get an Ed.D; > $28,000 to get a professional level PhD; that's a lot of money! When you think about the importance of highly skilled and knowledgable people are to a knowledge based economy, shouldn't my tax dollars be going toward easing our best and brightest to complete all the higher education they can get. Therefore, increasing our nations competative advantage and increase global investment due to our highly skilled workforce. nuf said! Suggestion: find ways to give it ALL back! Tax credits for completed graduate studies.
greater completion rates - a 2004 study found that both graduation rates and times to completion are problematic within graduate study programs across Canada. Upon further review it would seem that completion rates are lower in undergraduate programs. As a taxpayer I would like to see greater focus on completion. The amount of resources used in getting people into higher education (HE) and the costs that go into every year they stay is a poor return when over 30% don't complete. Suggestion: have faculty based super-mentors ensure greater completion rates; follow up, collaborate, encourage and cajole.
Given my potential direct investment of > $30,000 and who knows what from taxes, do I believe my daughter should spend six years in a University environment acquiring a Masters level credential? Given the age of my daughter I've got four years to decide, and unless I see changes toward what I have written above I honestly believe putting her in such an environment may be a disservice to her. IMHO it would be better for me to use the > $30k to support her self directed pursuits, help her create an effective PLE and find her some great super-mentors.
What I also find interesting is the potential positive impact what I am requesting would have on our economy and resilience as a nation. I also believe I am not alone in my thinking...
So as many of you know I have been working toward a bunch of stuff that includes software development using a Linux (Ubuntu actually), Apache, MySQL and PhP (LAMP server). To go even further with this, my software development includes using a RESTful approach to interoperability and a deep commitment to Test Driven Development (TDD). Getting to this point has included much research and many decisions along the way. I pretty much feel my 25 years in software development, in particular, 12 years as a solutions architect has gotten me to all these decisions. I really don't want to simplify my rationale, and that is a whole other conversation that makes a lot of sense also within the context of opensource, OER, online education, agility, etc... Soooooo.... this is what I have done in the last couple of days to upgrade my old DELL Inspiron 6000.
re-install of Ubuntu 9.04 to the production release (I've been running beta for while, I wanted some cleanliness and certainty to the release). - the big deal here was getting a plain old CD-R to burn the iso file onto. The more expensive CD-RW kept hanging on the install, I read a forum post about this. Simple is better when burning an iso it seems.
Once Ubuntu 9.04 was up and running (which was real easy after the CD-RW issue was resolved) I ensured the update manager had done its work in getting the new install up to date.
Then I proceeded to use the Synaptic Package Manager to bring in all the additional software I required, the list included;
i) Apache ii) MySQL iii) PhP iv) phpMyAdmin - its a great tool to assist with database admin and development v) cURL - well, I'm going to be doing some REST development, so I need some help.
Once all the software was installed I had a few configuration issues to deal with, these included;
i) setting the permissions on the /var/www directory so I could add and alter files and folders. You may want to do this in a different way, for me i wanted to work under the /var/www directory. ii) this also meant I had to add my Ubuntu user id to the the admin and sudo groups and also edit the sudoers file to not prompt me all the time for a password. iii) I also stumbled upon an idiosyncrasy with the default collation with mysql it defaults to swedish, so add the collation-server = utf8_general_ci config parameter to the my.cnf helps here.
I then downloaded the tar.gz for simpletest and installed into the www folder. I used the tar.gz instead of what was available through the synaptic package manager cause the synaptic version was missing a couple of files, in particular the critical autorun.php. I also allowed the Ubuntu Archive Manager to prompt me for the folder to extract the files.
So, in the end that was a days work with all the reading and research, banging my head, testing and getting it all running. In the end I did it twice yesterday, once on my Dell Mini 9 running Ubuntu 9.04 netbook remix in beta while I was trying to figure out why the initial inspiron install was hanging. Don't mind that though, gave me a chance to play (sandbox the install and configuration) in preparation for getting it done right once the inspiron was ready.
Particularly in the west, we've created a way of life that is fundamentally unsustainable. It is becoming increasingly evident that we are going to have to quickly change from using past sunlight (oil reserves) to using current sunlight. This will be a huge (HUGE) change in how we do things. This BBC two produced documentary is a good look to where things will have to go.
The way forward could follow permaculture approaches. This is a food growing system based on natural ecology. As time passes through the next century the human species will likely move toward re-ruralization and increasing percentages of the population will needs the skills and knowledge to utilize permaculture or like approaches to food production. What role are you going to fill?
I also created a custom google search engine and pointed it at these three sites. This search engine can be found on this blog.
The one thing I am trying to find information is research, reference or case studies about successful high-density eco-villages on ISLAND environments. So far I have found none in any of these three websites, I could have missed something. As I expanded my search to the internet and architectural, social planning, human geography references I found very little on this subject. What I did find was references to building upon what you already have. Nothing on creating NEW villages. And when I looked at the village concept it pointed toward FIRST building density at the islands port (in our case, snug cove) and secondary or tertiary villages at major crossroads. This also seems to be the most natural and proven approach to densification of islands.
What I am looking for is the references that people are using in regards to building high-density sustainable villages on ISLANDS. I believe our being an island is a important factor in deciding the location of such eco-villages.
We're turning the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks.
As an active contributor to this wiki I feel I have benefited greatly from contributing. As a contributor I believe I have learned more than any individual content consumers (though I have no data to back this up, its just a feeling). I have come to believe that contributing to OER is the best way to learn from OER. It is the act of finding existing OER and reusing it or building upon it. If the OER doesn't exist for your chosen topic, then you have the opportunity to learn and build a new piece of OER.
I am currently involved in more than one discussion about how to encourage people to collaborate in the creation of OER. This is an interesting subject for I believe a number of factors impact OER collaboration. These factors are;
How these factors impact the growth of OER is best described within what I see as the OER roadmap. The roadmap has four phases;
Build-up - saturation of the subject areas from both an access (bandwidth, connectivity and platform) and localization (culture, language, etc.) perspective so that re-use is all that is left
Reuse - deepening the accuracy and diversifying the learning approaches and through a licensing approach (CC-BY-SA) that encourages reuse
Assessment - a maturing model of open access assessment (OAA1)
Accreditation - a globally recognized model of open access accreditation (OAA2)
I still see OER at the very beginning of the build-up phase. And given the solitary preparation methods many teachers already use, it is still a long way off to have saturation. I do believe the day will come. The other three are currently being worked on, but are dependent upon completion of the first to become mature.
So I'm preparing for my interview with ZenBiz radio. I was approached by Bruce Stewart because of my activity in using social media in community based initiatives. I believe society is just getting going with using the internet as the platform for citizen led electronic government initiatives. There is a lot going on in this space right now, and the "coronation" of President Obama has really legitimized citizens being able to ask for openness and transparency (municipal, regional and national) and for this information to be available as an API via the internet. Bruce asked that I have a quiet space and a landline for the interview. He also let me know I should expect questions in four themes. This post is my preparation for this interview.
1) Who am I, my relevant background
I would say the biggest impact upon why I am becoming increasingly involved with citizen based initiatives is a value given to me by my parents. Its the value of leaving somewhere in a better state than when you arrived. In general, I just don't see the "collective" we doing that. I believe if we increase citizen participation in caring for our neighborhoods and localizing our needs then we will be much more sustainable. I also believe government transparency will assist in this considerably. I also believe my technology and educator background combined with my work with Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) have also influenced me. I think my work with ICT4D has influenced me in how I think the "collective" we (in the developed world) expect to much. To be blunt I think in the west we have become lazy and are overly entitled. Its time we collectively stopped consuming so much and started being more grateful for what we have and put back. Lastly, I believe this YouTube presentation by Hans Rosling really taught me the importance of access to data and the social change it can assist.
I am involved with citizen based electronic government because I believe;
Citizen based initiatives are more sustainable
The developed world needs to give more back (or take much, much less)
Government transparency will be created from the grassroots
2) What I am doing regarding e-Gov't on Bowen Island (BOWEGOV)
With these beliefs what am I doing about it? When I reflect, I'm doing a fair amount. I continue as a contributor and council member for WikiEducator, and this experience has taught me a lot about self-organization. I am continually assisting organizations to be successful with social media, organizational learning and technology architecture. I have brought my understanding of all these things together by initiating the use of BOWEGOV as a tag / hashtag to tie everyone's work together. As with any community there are a lot of differences among the different people, groups, neighborhoods, etc. What else would you expect!?! I felt if we chose a social media (web2.0) approach that was technology agnostic and was platform independent it would have greater appeal. So with tagging people can use the client side tools (Mac, PC, Nokia, iPhone, Browser, Linux, Etc, Etc.) they want without the whole thing getting tied to a single technology platform (Wiki, Blog, Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, Google, Etc, Etc.). After some discussion with others we came up with the idea that the internet is the platform. So we're not tied to any single platform and as the internet evolves, innovates and improves so do we.
3) Reaction from the powers that be
The short answer, there has been no reaction. So far this initiative is only starting. We have contacted a couple of council members and had social conversations with the mayor about BOWEGOV tagging. Its a small town of 4000 so these conversations happen. I think it is way too early to expect any traction. The idea of using social media for government really got started around the same time as Obama became a democratic candidate Though their is earlier evidence of this, it really didn't get traction/acceptance till Obama. And the conceptual learning curve is steep for people indoctrinated into traditional forms of governing. I have sent an email to our municipal council (see related post). I think this email will be most useful to refer back to in a Kolb kind of a way. I believe the learning has started... when it gets traction is the unknown.
Recently I have been seeking ways to coordinate citizen based approaches in preparation to meeting with the powers that be. I think this needs to be a good experience in a more coordinated way. In my seeking I have found the visible government website. I really like how they describe themselves;
VisibleGovernment.ca is a non-partisan non-profit dedicated to promoting the planning, funding, and implementation of online tools for government transparency in Canada.
The visible government group has also recently hosted change camps to get local groups to start working toward this initiative. There will be a change camp in Vancouver on 28 March 2009. I believe all this work in creating transparency to government will have an impact. Even upon our local municipal government(s).
4) Citizenship involvement
On bowen Island we are fortunate in that we have a number of citizens active and involved in the community. And a lot of the efforts are toward influencing local politics (though this could be for better or worse). I believe it is a part of living in a smaller community. I do see it increasingly important that citizens start doing more for their neighborhoods. I believe that our current expectations for what our governments will provide is unsustainable. I believe citizens need to let go of government even sustaining the current levels of service. Services are going to become increasingly expensive and the tax dollars aren't there to increase service. What this means is that citizens have to become more active at a neighborhood level to offset the need for services. On Bowen Island we have had a number of people starting using Web 2.0 technologies to gather and communicate information. Here are a few;
I do believe all these technologies are useful, but I think the face to face activities of getting neighbors together are more productive. I think the electronic tools will compliment the physical neighborhood activities. As these Web 2.0 tools mature they will provide increasing abilities to gather data and provide transparancy. This transparency will go both ways it will allow citizens to see into the depths of how government decisions are being implemented (tax dollars spent), and it will provide community information sources to politicians as well as citizens. It is hoped that this increase in information sharing (or transparency) will enable citizens to make better decisions at a personal and neighborhood level as well as assist politicians make better decisions for their constituents.
A number of Bowen Island citizens with interest in social media are beginning to put together online citizen led approaches toward increasing citizen participation in our neighborhoods and community. The belief behind this activity is that if citizen participation increases from a grassroots level more will get done and people will feel increased responsibility and connection to their neighborhoods and community. It is also believed that citizen based neighborhood activities are a step toward lessening our environmental impact (the 100 mile diet could be considered and example, http://100milediet.org). On bowen island there have already been activities where neighbors have taken the time and energy to complete projects for the good of their neighborhood. I can see these neighborhood activities increasing and current technology trends provide online tools to assist.
All the changes occurring with politics, social media and transparency creates unprecedented opportunities for communication and openness. I believe their is an opportunity for the Bowen Island Municipality to be an exemplar in using technology to bring openness to municipal government. A project is forming to support this kind of initiative, see visible government; http://visiblegovernment.ca/index.php
A simple example of how this could work, could be for Bob (and or other council members) give brief online conferences of the provincial and federal rules and policies for running a municipal gov't. I am sure their are many simple and important municipal administrative topics that could occupy a 15 - 30 learning experience for the citizenship of Bowen Island. Increasing citizens knowledge in such matters could help in understanding how tax dollars are spent, how BIM adminsitrative processes work, public works function, etc... DimDim (http://www.dimdim.com) is a free social media service that could be used for such an activity.
There is already a building knowledge base using social media. This is being facilitated with the use of tagging, in particular the BOWEGOV tag. If you were to click the following links you would see how this tagging approach is connecting knowledge and allowing people to engage in ways they feel comfortable.
Where all this social media and transparency will go in relation to small municipalities is still to be seen, as it is still being "invented". I look forward to your support in building greater transparency and increasing citizen participation in local gov't. If you would like to discuss any of these topics further. Please do not hesitate to contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org or any of the others connected to these activities.
I created a power point stack two years ago for a series of workshops I was providing to the faculty and graduate students of Memorial University. This stack has since been used a few times to assist in describing how the Web 2.0 can be used for teaching. Now, two years later I will be interviewed regarding the content of this presentation. Its the long-tail applied to teaching materials... Something I created years ago still has value today. Surprisingly, the presentation does not seem dated. Though, I would add tagging, micro-blogging and Communities of Practice (CoP). The interview is to be loosely based around a number of questions regarding this power point presentation. The questions and related answers are as follows;
Q) Define Web 2.0 and how it can enhance teaching? A) I like Tim O'Reillys' definition of "What Is Web 2.0" and I particularly like the idea of the wisdom of crowds. I am often amazed at what I learn from my social network. In a nutshell I see Web 2.0 as the read / write web with access to the collective intelligence found within the people who participate in reading and writing to the web. I believe it enhances teaching by having the learners reflect more deeply than they would if the potential for being read by millions wasn't also a part of the web. I believe it is a big motivator in deepening knowledge by being articulate and researching more thoroughly. I believe the act of writing has positive impacts to learning. The web 2.0 also connects you to people who share interests and development of understanding. Many of these people cn become mentors and cohorts in learning.
Q) The "Teaching with Web 2.0" pdf is used for professional development workshops in Colleges? A) Yes, I have used it a few times... Mostly with Memorial University in NL. It was used for both faculty and graduate level workshops.
Q) Social Constructivism, Progressive Inquiry and the accompanying image. How do these concepts relate? A) I believe Social Constructivism is a variety of constructivism that emphasizes the collaborative nature of learning. Progressive Inquiry models itself on proven practices in building knowledge. It includes the knowledge of expertise and the importance of engaging this expertise as a learner builds knowledge. Social constructivism, progressive inquiry and the accompanying image all relate back to knowledge building is a social activity... that can be well facilitated by Web 2.0 technologies.
Q) What are the educational uses of blogging? And what are Mash-ups? A) Exploring the educational uses for blogging is too big a question for a single post. I believe blogging (particularly when you consider mash-ups) should also be described with RSS. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is the technical protocol behind blogging. A great way to explore blogging and RSS is through a pdf titled "Web 2.0 Ideas for Educators" written by Quentin D’Souza. This pdf also has many great suggestions of how to use blogging in teaching. Mash-ups are the idea of re-combining and modifying existing works to create a derivative work. This has traditionally been the realm of multimedia, yet it can be a very powerful tool for learners to dive deep into content and create something new and meaningful while learning along the way. I believe the idea of the mash-up in education has yet to be explored fully, I do believe the day will soon come where learners will use mash-ups to fulfill assignment requirements.
Q) Why did you bring David Kolb (see pages 12 & 14) into this presentation? A)I really like the immediacy of Kolb's experiential learning and how it all starts with the first exposure to a subject. Even if the exposure is a glance at an image. The idea of using the poem was to show how a blog could be used with podcasting to encourage listening to, critiquing and writing poetry. And how that would be done with a Kolb based approach. It really is about tying Web 2.0 techniques to solid pedagogical practices. The second example I used was in using the periodic table and how the teacher could post a basic periodic table and engage the students in looking at the table and providing initial reactions through commenting on a blog or creating their own blog post. this would then continue into coloring the periodic table and further examining its contents. All of the experience with the periodic table would bring a greater familiarity and experience.
To build on these topics even further I would suggest everyone read the "Minds on Fire" article by John Seely Brown to be well aligned with how I also see social media, learning and all the related changes.
I have recently been involved in a number of discussions about citizen led and electronic government. In one of these engagements I wrote the following reply to an email. I feel it was worthy of a blog post.
It is hard for me to disagree with most of what you say here. So I wont. I will tell you my story and what I am doing about community issues. Over the last few years my beliefs regarding centralized government have changed. I see Gov't as more concerned with getting re-elected and servicing special interests. They no longer serve the basic needs of citizenship. And with the environmental and economic realities we are all faced with we need to start living with less and think about becoming small, self sufficient communities (Neighborhoods). I also see most people more concerned about what they can get out of a system instead instead of what they can put into it. I believe history will look at the human species at the end of the 20th century at its most selfish and overly entitled. I believe the level of comfort we in the west have become used to is no longer sustainable. This dissonance of what we expect with what we can afford will cause infrastructures to increasingly fail. Our society can no longer afford garbage collection and street clearing like we have been used to... I believe this is just the reality of our time. I also believe there is a huge upside for people at all levels (mental, emotional, financial, spiritual...) to be more involved at a grassroots level with their neighborhood. In a way its all about love.
So what am I doing about it? I try to put into the system more than I take out. This is difficult for it seems to go against the status quo. If something needs to be done i try to do it myself and if people show up to help, that is good. I try to be transparent with what i do by publishing it to the internet as public record and to attract interest. This is what I did with snow clearing in our cul-de-sac. I just started doing it, slowly I was making progress. Others joined in... eventually the municipality also helped. I am learning as much as I can about e-Gov't and self-sustaining communities. I have engaged the internet and others from Bowen who also use the internet to encourage self-sustaining activities and to look for ways the support each other in getting things done. I tag everything related to this with the BOWEGOV tag. This provides a way to begin building a body of knowledge. I choose tagging because it does not force people to use any single platform (the bowen forum is a platform) it gives people the freedom to choose how they engage and if they want their activities to become a part of the collective online Bowen Island intelligence, all they have to do is tag it with BOWEGOV. What comes of this tagging approach, i don't know... I do know it is an ongoing longterm project and i have faith positive results will build. I believe it is a positive step in the right direction. Only time will tell.
I am still somewhat enamored by the six classifications that the forrester writers can up with for the different participants in social media. I believe this is a solid way to look at the community surrounding your business.