MyFoodStory, GiveThought, and the shape of learning
- Dear Jonathan Schafler, Thank you for joining us at our GlobalVillages working
group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/ I share also with other
groups that are interested in learning and in the interface that I am
building http://www.myfoodstory.info for collecting stories, which I will try
to relate to your project http://www.givethought.com I also share with Kevin
Jones and David Alan Boyd of http://www.xigi.net which we want to partner with
to connect our stories with their knowledge system.
Jonathan, your powerpoint presentation includes many thoughtful insights as
to how a wiki-based system for informal learning could work. This is a very
ambitious project that could unfold in a variety of ways, and various people
such as Pamela McLean of Learning From Each Other and Teachers Talking have
thought through different angles. Your project will need a team of
believers, a sensitivity to realities, a framework for organizing knowledge,
and an online infrastructure. This is the help that we are providing to
jumpstart http://www.myfoodstory.com for Greg Wolff of UnaMesa Association.
Indeed, the content that we are organizing - personal stories and
encyclopedic articles that help us appreciate our world's food supply chain -
might make a great start for GiveThought. One idea is that we supply you with
content for your site and that you share your ideas how we might all make best
use of it. If you work openly through our lab, then you could build momentum
while you gather interest from investors, and we would be available for paid
work as that arises. I think this would be good for both of our projects.
We can also provide free hosting for your project if you are generating
materials in the Public Domain, which is to say, copyright-free for all to
use in their best judgement. Overall, our lab is taking steps towards
creating an informal learning system for self-learners and your vision is
Today I made good progress in developing our interface
http://www.myfoodstory.info for collecting and presenting "food stories". We
have 25 sample records which we can sort by "storyteller" and by "tag". I
realized the kind of data that seems natural to collect. It is the personal
accounts that come up in websites, blog posts and news stories. Often these
are personal stories that are written down for us by a blogger, reporter or
other writer. They may include direct quotes or be written in the third
My thought is that these are then natural type of "stories" for us to collect
at first. They are fantastically informative as they present a human face for
the facts and ideas. But for us they are also a way to reach out to the
"original storyteller", the person who is sharing their perspective from
their life. If we want to reach out to such people using a "division of
labor", and if we want to "work openly", then we have almost no choice but to
record such snippets so that we could make an effort to reach out to these
"storytellers" or have them find us. Immediately, we face issues such as
copyright, privacy and recognition of authors. I feel comfortable for the
- Regarding any particular item, we are arguably within the "fair use" by
which bloggers, taggers and search engines make use of such excerpts.
- We can make use of small excerpts - several sentences - as we need just
enough to identify why the person is interesting for My Food Story.
- We don't need many excerpts about one person, generally one is enough, and
then we can reach out and try to contact them.
- We don't need to store their contact or personal information, but rather
simply a url where we can find that.
- We are only showing the post temporarily until we can find the person and
ask for their permission, and learn whether they'd like to participate in any
way, or not at all.
- We make clear that we do not yet have permission, but are seeking it, and
that the material is copyright.
- We link each such item to a page where we ask the storyteller to reach out
to us and let us know if we may please share their stories or not.
- We are attributing the person and any authors by linking to the story and
thus steering traffic to them.
- We are generally using just an excerpt, not the whole article.
- This is new and important: We are sharing the story of the "storyteller",
which is to say, the person who is telling about their life and their
perspective, who may often not be the writer of the story. My point is that,
morally, the storyteller's rights trump those of the reporter or author. How
can a journalist take a person's words verbatim, or paraphrase them - a
derived work - and claim that they have all rights regarding them? No, I
believe that the original storyteller clearly has more fundamental rights and
we can focus on their primacy and reaching them and learning if they would
like to have a relationship with us or not.
- We are also reaching out to the journalists, bloggers, etc. who in these
cases I refer to as "editors" for the storyteller. Yet as editors they are
playing the same important and difficult role as we ourselves are. So our
interest is to include and reward them as specialists who might contribute to
encyclopedic articles and who might appreciate work as consultants for
- If the editors do not want us using their work, then as we learn this -
either from them finding us first, or us reaching out to them - we note this
and promptly delete or paraphrase the excerpts, leaving the urls and tags as
our own work.
This is just a directory for us to be aware of the great variety of people
out there, and to organize such information freely using tags. I have
decided that it's best just to allow for all manner of tags and not to try to
group them as to location, job title, values, foods, technologies, etc.
However, as we see what kinds of tags are useful, we can indeed categorize
the tags as to which are locations, job titles, etc. and have navigation
accordingly. We can also "clean" the tags so that they are more orderly. We
just don't need to enforce this when we add or edit an item.
As we reach out to the people we're learning about, then we can ask how they
might participate. They might simply agree that we collect their snippets.
But they also might directly give us their stories, in the Public Domain
except as noted. These would be full length stories or interviews or answers
to questionnaires. And they might have us be their registry so that others
may present this material and we might registered any "official" presenters
and their relationships.
I'm happy that the possiblilities are clarifying themselves. The current page
http://www.myfoodstory.info allows us to focus on excerpts for a storyteller
or a tag. I am thinking of splitting the screen so that the right hand side
can display a related wiki article that we can create about that person or
The technology may seem simple and usual, and it is. But what I'm finding is
that the particular approach - what kind of information are we collecting and
presenting - gives shape to the information, and to our learning. Here it is
the focus on a person who we treat as a storyteller because we want to hear
what they have to say about their life, and we recognize all of the writers
and recorders simply as editors. And we're focusing on their personal story,
their subjective story, rather than objective, faceless information. I'm glad
that I'm able to work on our own prototype because I think without that
liberty it would be hard to figure out what we actually want to collect.
A full blown learning system will include other kinds of "learning objects"
- a FAQ approach, as you suggest, organizing information in terms of
questions and answers
- "encyclopedias" of mathematical facts - all manner of sizes along various
dimensions - that help us size up quantities, and collections of related real
life word problems
- streams of correspondence, as we have
I'll have to think of more! with your help.
+370 (699) 30003
I am unsure how the structures of the Minciu Sodas lab are
specifically applicable to the GiveThought project, but would love to
hear. In the meantime, to anyone interested in working on
GiveThought.com, here are what I perceive to be the most important
near term tasks:
1. Concept feedback and revision. Require in-depth written feedback
about the PowerPoint presentation including visual presentation and
content. Then, a series of updates to the presentation.
2. Near term web needs. I am not a web designer or graphic artist
and the website reflects that. I am willing to pay for the cost of
hosting the GiveThought website without a godaddy.com banner if a
professional-looking page is developed. Ideally, this page should
offer a forum or wiki function to promote discussion and development
of the idea.
3. Dissemination. After the presentation has been revised in a small
group,there is a need to disseminate the GT idea to more people for
further discussion and optimization.
4. Recruitment. As a starting point, there is a need to recruit for the
above two tasks. In the future, recruitment for development of a
functioning version of the GiveThought website as well as all related
positions will be necessary.
Please contact me at jonathan.schafler@... with questions.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, <ms@...> wrote:
> > Jonathan, Thank you for your reply! I spoke today with Franz
> > Nahrada of our
> > Global Villages working group
> > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/
> > and he saw your Power Point presentation
> > and encourages you to look at
> > existing structures such as our Minciu Sodas lab.
> > He invites you to join us.
> > I also invite you to
> > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learningfromeachother/ led
> > by Pamela McLean who just returned from Nigeria (any news Pam?)
> > Please join
> > us at either or both groups and let's discuss further!
> > your work is very
> > relevant. I also inform our groups
> > the good news that we got EU approval for
> > a "utopias" project in which we will get
> > co-funding for video bridges
> > technology in Lithuania, one unit for our Atzalynas center and a
> > Andrius, http://www.ms.lt
> > ------------------------
Thank you kindly for your note. Although I have not had a chance to review
websites in great detail, I greatly respect your efforts to create
wiki-based learning projects.
In my view, there is a deep need for a wiki-based website with objective and
subjective information organized in a curriculum format such as one
at a university. Information on the Internet tends to lack in the coherence
and focus of educational courses.
Despite having a full map of how I envision the GiveThought website
aesthetically and functioning, I do not have sufficient programming
at my disposal to make it a reality. Do you know of anyone who would be
willing to discuss involvement in this worthy social entrepreneurial
I look forward to hearing back from you.
> > Dear Jonathan Schafler,
> > I'm glad to learn from Graham Douglas of your work as a social
> > to create wiki-based educational materials.
> > We have been working on similar projects at our Minciu Sodas laboratory
> > http://www.ms.lt I share with our working groups for "learning from
> > other" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/learningfromeachother/ and "global
> > villages" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/globalvillages/ Please also
> > work on MyFoodStory http://www.myfoodstory.com I invite you to join us!
> > Andrius Kulikauskas, http://www.ms.lt
> > -------------------------------------
> > GiveThought.com (GT) is a wiki-based social entrepreneurship concept.
> > will gather wiki lesson contributions to form coherent customizable
> > curricula to be offered for free around the world to
> > +Those who are unable to access formal education.
> > +Those who wish to complement their formal educations
> > +Those who wish to access information about subjective topics from an
> > organized and coherent source.
> > If you are interested in learning about or participating in the
> > of project GT, please contact founder Jonathan Schafler at:
> > jms53@...
> > Note: GiveThought.com is a social entrepreneurial venture. The
> > the concept will try to find a role for anyone interested in
> > its development but does not grant the right to use, sell or develop the
> > concept without express written consent from the owner of
> > --------------------------------------------------------------
> > Andrius,
> > Jonathan Schafler is developing a wiki based social entrepreneurship
> > concept and is seeking feedback and expressions of interest at
> > JSchafler@... . He is hosting the explanatory PPT presentation
> > temporarily at: http://www.givethought.com
> > Kind regards,
> > Graham Douglas
> > FOUNDER,
> > INTEGRATIVE FEDERATION tm
> > Achieving Sustainable Development
> > 4 Cintra Street, Ipswich, Australia 4305
> > 61 7 3282 9762; Skype: integrative
> > integrative@...
> > www.integrative-thinking.com