Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

End of year newsletter: workshop, projects, and readings

Expand Messages
  • John D. Smith
    Greetings from snowbound, deep-frozen Portland, Oregon! (... and apologies for the cross-posting) This “newsletter” began because I wanted to let people
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2008
      Greetings from snowbound, deep-frozen Portland, Oregon! (... and apologies
      for the cross-posting) This “newsletter” began because I wanted to let
      people know we’ll be using a different system to deliver the newsletter to
      CPsquare friends in the near future and then I had to include additional
      items around upcoming CPsquare conferences, workshops and related. It’s all

      In a few weeks we start a short online conference
      <http://cpsquare.org/2008/12/waatwaat/> on “Wikis all around the world and
      all the way” (WAATWAAT, for short, so you can see the growing list of
      related resources here <http://delicious.com/tag/waatwaat> ). It starts on
      January 7th and is a case-based inquiry into how communities use wikis and
      how wikis fit into the larger context of community activities and other
      tools. The schedule is still evolving. It’s free to CPsquare members and $75
      for guests.

      CPsquare workshops

      We’re just wrapping up the 2nd offering of the Connected Futures workshop.
      The basic model of readings (from Wenger, White and Smith’s “Digital
      Habitats <http://technologyforcommunities.com/> ” book that’s still
      “forthcoming”), practice using new tools, reflection on one’s own community
      and one’s own experience of using the tools, with case studies and field
      trips thrown in seems to be very effective, though time-intensive. It pushes
      us all out of our comfort zones and makes us appreciate the support we can
      get from (as well as give to) others. We’ll be offering it again in April or
      May. The workshop description is here <http://cpsquare.org/edu/cp2tech/> .

      The next offering of our “Foundations of Communities of Practice” workshop
      <http://cpsquare.org/edu/foundations/> begins online on January 19, 2009.
      If you know anyone who’d be interested, please steer them toward us.

      It really is all connected

      The WAATWAAT conference is an outgrowth of last year’s Long Live the
      Platform Conference. It incorporates and builds on our practice of going on
      “field trips” that has evolved in the Foundations Workshop. But it also
      reflects the conversations we’re having in this year’s “Shadow
      the Leader” series with wikipedia editor davee evans.

      Last year’s visits with Beth Kantor and the community around the “NPtech”
      tag continues to provoke experimentation and further learning. We’ve found,
      for example, that tagging is a technology that is best introduced early in
      the Connected Futures workshop. Every CPsquare event now has a tag so that
      people outside the community or not attending can see what we find to be
      useful, if they are interested. Here’s a very practical and useful book
      about the design of tagging systems:

      Gene Smith, Tagging: People-Powered Metadata for the Social Web (New
      York: Macmillan Computer Pub, 2007) http://isbn.nu/0321529170

      In connection with the “nptech” tag, have a look at an excellent reflective
      and critical piece about the nptech community, the difference the tag has
      made, and its evolution here
      story-of-nptech/> . And don’t miss this marvelous visualization

      Hackers’ communities as communities of practice

      I’ve thought of our research and dissertation fest is one of those CPsquare
      events where you kind of “have to be there.” Talking with someone who’s
      spent years studying a community is compelling and rewarding. But it turns
      out that insights from those conversations pop up months and years later and
      sometimes after the CPsquare conversation you have to go hunker down alone
      to study what’s been presented. I actually printed out and read Andreas
      Lloyd’s thesis (”A system that works for me - an anthropological analysis of
      computer hackers’ shared use and development of the Ubuntu Linux System”) a
      few weeks ago. Lloyd spent 6 months from April to November 2006, studying
      the social dynamics of the Ubuntu Linux developers’ on-line community. You
      can download it here <http://eskar.dk/andreas/lloyd_thesis.pdf> .

      More or less at the same time I ran across a book full of good stories (even
      though it’s more on a “sociology level” than the usual “community of
      practice” level) about hackers that’s really fascinating:

      Tim Jordon, Hacking: Digital Media and Technological Determinism.
      Polity (2008), Paperback, 200 pages http://isbn.nu/9780745639727

      A provocative book

      Lest you think all we talk about in CPsquare is about technology, here’s a
      book that’s just come out that’s extraordinarily rich on many different
      levels. (Interestingly it’s written by another IRL alum, like Jean Lave,
      Etienne Wenger, Mimi Ito and Gitti Jordan, to name four others that I’ve
      been reading or bumped into personally in the last 2 months.)

      Charlotte Linde, Working the Past; Narrative and Institutional
      Memory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)

      Having fallen in love with so many of the communities that I’ve visited,
      helped, coached or supported over the years, I really like how she frames
      her relationship with her subject:

      “A final epistemological note: the reader may note my admiration and
      affection for the people we worked with, and for MidWest itself, and may
      conclude that I have fallen into the anthropological trap of falling in love
      with one’s subjects. I agree that I am guilty of that. However, I can note
      that it has been at least eight years since I worked with them: the
      blindness of first love has had time to wear off. Also, I have studied other
      corporations where my most positive emotion was an appreciation for the
      difficulty of the challenges their members faced but not an admiration for
      the companies themselves. So I suppose I am arguing that MidWest was truly
      admirable–the reader may believe me or chalk it up to a protracted
      infatuation. I can only hope that my admiration has improved rather than
      contaminated the analyses I present.” p 37

      Growing CPsquare

      Finally, I’m working on building appropriate organizational infrastructure
      for the CPsquare community. That involves updating the list of members blogs
      on the CPsquare website as well as moving the “friends of CPsquare” email
      list to a new platform (soon).

      * John D. Smith ~ Voice: 503.963.8229 ~ Skype: smithjd
      * Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.learningAlliances.net
      “It is not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us
      happy.” - Br. David Steindl-Rast

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.