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Re: [learningfromeachother] Re: An update on thinking and doing at Dadamac.net

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  • Kennedy Owino
    Dear All, Pam and i are working around on how we could give Nafsi Africa Acrobats more online visibility. She has currently set up a blog page for Nafsi at
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 1, 2012
      Dear All,

      Pam and i are working around on how we could give Nafsi Africa Acrobats more online visibility.
      She has currently set up a blog page for Nafsi at Dadamac.net. ( http://www.dadamac.net/initiative/nafsi-acrobats-visibility )
      We have had a couple of Skype typed correspondence to lay out fundamental steps in making the blog page active.

      In our last conversation on 13/06/2012 we started by usual greetings and deciding on the agenda for the day.
      Then we discussed about the comfortable and convinient ways for the Blog presence for Kenya to work out.
      We are borrowing ideas from the breakthroughs of Uk-Nigeria.
      Our agreement was to have regular online meetings and scheduled every Thursday as our meeting day.
      The UK-Kenya meetings would initially just be between me and Pam but develop this  to include more participants over time.
      We will be using Skype as our meeting place but would consider other place should we get more people interested in participating.
      We thought that Nafsi members, Sponsors and collaborators would be the team interested in participating in the meetings.
      We would change the structure of the meeting, the venue and time once we establish how often they would be willing to attend.
      But then it will take series of meetings, weeks and probably months before getting a large team to attend.
      We will be saving the archive of the meetings or making notes via e-mail (as in this case) to refer to, or for other interested parties to follow on the developments.
      The archive will majorly be on the Online Public forum (learning from each other yahoo group, Nafsi Africa Sanaa yahoo group and Posterous).
      We will make it an effort to circulate the same privately on interested parties e-mails through the mailing list we will create.
      Our  skype conversations which we will be sharing here is also to try to identify and define the readers and writers of the news about nafsi in the blog.

      In developing our blog we will  have a three-person study group where we can learn from each others approaches, succeses and failures.
      These are:  http://www.dadamac.net/initiative/juliet-makhapilas-project-visibility and http://www.dadamac.net/initiative/communication-visisbility-collaboration
      and http://www.dadamac.net/initiative/nafsi-acrobats-visibility 
      I will be helping with the content while Pam will be handling the techie bit of it as getting the information published but within the progress she will teach me how to publish.
      We will work towards a regular blog post with comments. Therefore, our main objective is to stimulate interest of others to partcipate by reading or contributing comments to stories as well.

      We would wish to know who and who would be interested in following our blog, we could include your e-mail in our mailing list and/or add you as readers.

      Ken Owino
      Nafsi Africa Acrobats

      From: "ms@..." <ms@...>
      To: learningfromeachother@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: livingbytruth@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 12:20 AM
      Subject: [learningfromeachother] Re: An update on thinking and doing at Dadamac.net


      I love your "thinking out loud" below about your enterprise Dadamac,
      bridging very different cultures, civilizations, the UK and Africa. I
      also applaud your efforts in Kenya, especially because they'll help us all
      respond next year if there is a need after the elections there.


      Andrius Kulikauskas, ms@..., (773) 306-3807, http://www.selflearners.net


      > Hi Steve, readers of my open letters at http://dadamac.posterous.com, and
      > Learning From Each Other friends
      > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      > Steve.
      > You asked how things are going, but we didn't have long and as it's all so
      > mixed in together all I could do was a quick mention of Fast Tractor.
      > I've been thinking about what I might have told you if we had more time.
      > As
      > you will see - it's an impossibly long list. It's as much about what I'm
      > thinking (as a result of what I'm doing) as it is a report of what I've
      > been doing (that has stimulated the thinking). I have found it helpful to
      > think about what my long answer might have covered - so thanks for asking
      > the question. I've limited myself to the things that have been most
      > important to me this month - mainly this week - and I've left out quite a
      > lot. The list itself serves the purpose of giving you an overview. The
      > detail was more for me. At some point we might pick on one or two of the
      > topics to look at further. I might also want to share bits of this with
      > other people - so I'm posting it to posterous and LFEO as well as to you.
      > 1 - Alternative academia
      > 2 - Communities and cultures
      > 3 - Coursera
      > 4 - Visibility of Kenyan project on Dadamac.net
      > 5 - New clarity
      > 6 - Fast Tractor, Collage-network and Dadamac.net
      > 7 - Motivation and direction
      > 8 - Fail Faire and Dadamac's value
      > 9 - Need for balance
      > 10 - Making the invisible visible
      > 11 - Gems of information
      > 12 - Ecological imagery
      > 13 - Posting this
      > *1 - Alternative academia
      > *I got feedback* *for my draft chapter for the e-learning book. The
      > editors
      > were looking for more examples of learner-directed learning, which is
      > where
      > I come in. They seem to like my approach of describing my reality as
      > “alternative academia”. This is a device I adopted to make it easier to
      > compare my experiences with the reality of the editors, most other
      > contributors, and the target audience. I describe their reality as
      > “established academia”. I thought if I placed myself firmly outside
      > “established academia” it would help to free things up. It would save the
      > academics from asking themselves questions about supervision, course
      > structure, assessment, accreditation and other stuff that is important in
      > their world and absent in mind. I wrote a draft according to a structure
      > that the editor suggested, and put in lots of references, and it seems my
      > unconventional contribution as a DIY e-learner is welcomed. However I now
      > feel a strong pressure to redraft it is if I do belong in established
      > academia, which is not my cultural home.
      > *
      > 2 - Communities and cultures*
      > You and I have touched on issues of zapping between different cultures. On
      > Thursday I read a useful paper relating to communities of practice and
      > their boundaries. It had some good insights about the richness of diverse
      > communities and about chaos at the boundaries. It made a lot of sense
      > regarding my continual dance between focus on diversity and my experiences
      > of emergent groups, convergence, separation and all that stuff. It tied in
      > well with the links George Por sent us following the discussions we all
      > had at the RSA.
      > *
      > 3 - Coursera*
      > I've started my history of the Internet course with Coursera. I'm very
      > interested to see how it works. It's assessed, which I was not expecting,
      > and find highly demotivating. I don't really want to “master” the cource
      > materials. I just want a familiarise myself with what it covers, and how
      > it does it. However assessment and a final judgement of having passed or
      > failed brings in all kinds of new dynamics. I feel a need to demonstrate
      > to
      > "the powers that be" that I'm not a failure, but I didn't enrol in order
      > to
      > prove anything to them. I enrolled to take what I wanted from the course.
      > Only a few hours in and I feel pushed towards jumping through hoops. I
      > think they have only three categories “pass”, “fail” or “dropout”. I can
      > understand why they're doing this. Obviously a lot of students do want
      > some
      > kind of certification and the course providers are trying to satisfy that
      > need. Tthere's a quiz at the end of this week, and next week the
      > assessment
      > is peer assessment. I'll be interested to see how that works. Then maybe
      > I'll decide to be an early dropout so I can stop thinking about passing or
      > failing. Though that would be a shame as the course content is
      > interesting.
      > I like the quick questions along the way too. They are very useful to jolt
      > me back into a better level of concentration. I can see that the course
      > designers want to track the replies as well, as that is such useful
      > feedback for them on how well we are learning. But there is a different
      > between questions as devices to support learning and being sorted into
      > success/failure/drop-out.
      > *
      > 4 - Visibility of Kenyan project on Dadamac.net*
      > I've had a couple more long, Skype, typed-chats with Ken Owino. We're
      > exploring how he can make use of the structures that we've set up for John
      > Dada for his group - Nafsi Acrobats. The main difference with Ken is that
      > he will have to write the blogs up himself. Ken and I are also going to
      > try
      > and help Samwel Kongere to make his project more visible. We discussed the
      > extra challenges involved in that. Julliet says she wants to do something
      > similar as well. Together those three projects could make a very
      > interesting Kenyan presence on Dadamac.net. Each one is interesting in its
      > own right. I'll give it a try until Christmas and then think again.
      > Lessons
      > learned would also help me to decide about trying to include additional
      > projects that I know from elsewhere.
      > *5 - New clarity*
      > I'm starting to make it clear that there are different kinds of
      > initiatives
      > on Dadamac.net
      > - Initiated by Fantsuam Foundation and visible because of Dadamac
      > UK-Nigeria.
      > - Initiated by Dadamac UK-Nigeria and implemented through Fantsuam
      > Foundation
      > - Initiated by people outside of Fantsuam Foundation and made visible
      > by
      > Dadamac UK
      > - Initiated by Dadamac UK
      > *6 - Fast Tractor, Collage-network and Dadamac.net*
      > In a way it is thanks to Fast Tractor and Collage-network that I have got
      > around to some new thinking about Dadamac and my relationship to different
      > parts of it.
      > It is odd. I now realise that although Dadamac is so named because of John
      > and me I have only made space on Dadamac.net for “John” and “John-and-me”
      > but not for “me”.
      > The lack of a visible “me” presence presented a problem when Nikki and I
      > started College. We could see how Collage grew naturally from our work
      > together in Dadamac, but there was no obvious connection for “outsiders”
      > to
      > see. Then Fast Tractor came along. Given my role in that it makes sense
      > to
      > pull Dadamac.net and FastTractor closer together. At first I hated that
      > idea. I thought greater visibility for FastTractor at Dadamac.net would
      > reinforce the false perception that I'm a fundraiser. That's not true,
      > although obviously John does need more funds. One of the outcomes of my
      > previous work is that, within Dadamac, we have a mechanism whereby people
      > can easily raise funds online, as you discovered with FastTractor. However
      > we do not have a donor base, or income stream, or other financial
      > foundation–and I'm not the right person to build them.
      > *7 - Motivation and direction*
      > You already know something about my relationship with Dadamac and its
      > various manifestations - although I have only told you in a rather
      > incoherent way. I now see some parallels with my ambivalent relationship
      > to the Coursera course. I won't try to explain properly to you, but it's
      > something about hoop jumping, and other people's expectations. (Ref "I
      > won't try to explain properly to you" - by this point I know I'm really
      > writing this to help me to understand. You may not even read this far -
      > and
      > if you do it will be a quick scan-read).
      > I don't mind doing the things I don't like, I don't mind doing the things
      > I'm not good at, as long as I see them as being part of the “something
      > else” that I'm really working on. The mundane and tedious has to be done,
      > or the rest is not possible, but it is like any life-work balance. If the
      > mundane and tedious outweighs all the rest, something is gong wrong. I am
      > allowing myself to be overburdened with the mundane and tedious.
      > I need to check what it is that motivates me to do any of the mundane and
      > tedious chores - and make sure I nurture that motivation, or that I simply
      > let people know that i am going to stop doing the mundane and tedious, so
      > they won't be surprised or feel let down. For some bizarre reason I do see
      > (or have seen) value (or potential value) of some kind in what Dadamac
      > offers . I must do, otherwise I would not have worked to patiently for so
      > long on the mundane and tedious, I need to re-examine what I see as
      > valuable and nurture it, and also see if I can make the supportive
      > mundane-and-tedious any quicker and slicker (Hmm - I've tried that often
      > in
      > the past and to date have failed).
      > *8 - Fail Faire and Dadamac's value*
      > As explored at the Fail Faire I have failed to interest any one else in
      > that "value" that I see in Dadamac. Why then continue? I guess for the
      > same reason that John comes to the Dadamac UK-Nigeria meetings every week
      > -
      > because it helps him to take a longer-view, to see things from a new
      > perspective, to escape from the immediate and urgent. In theory he comes
      > to
      > the meetings to update us (Nikki and me), so that we can tell others, but
      > even if no-one else listens to what we tell them he still comes. We bring
      > him information too sometimes, but it is far more the other direction.
      > Somehow it is enough for him that he tells us - even if - until Fast
      > Tractor - there was no evidence of anyone ever listening.
      > At one time I thought the value of our meetings was because John also
      > brought his Fantsuam Foundation team online with him, and so there was a
      > kind of weekly Fantsuam Foundation planning meeting (with Nikki and I from
      > Dadamac in the UK listening in). Dadamac-UK organised the meeting, set up
      > the agenda, chased up people to be there, then handed over the
      > chairmanship
      > to John. We provided occasional information, but more often we asked for
      > clarification, and we found another chairman if John's connection dropped
      > or he was called away. We also added some kind of extra dimension because
      > of being online in the UK. However since the post-election violence and
      > Boko Haram and the resultant loss of staff and other issues John has not
      > been bringing a team with him in the same way. But he still comes, and
      > from
      > what he says, this is largely because by telling us he gives himself a
      > chance for reflection.
      > *9 - Need for balance.*
      > I need to get that same balance for myself. What I do for the online space
      > which is Dadamac.net is my 'immediate and urgent". I've always recognised
      > that my "field work" is partly on the ground and partly online (which
      > includes what I am doing in Dadamac.net). The thing about field work in
      > Africa compared to fieldwork online is is that with African fieldwork
      > there
      > are the obvious phases of preparation, implementation (which always has a
      > big "reality check" component) , and return. On return there is the
      > culture
      > shock of returning, and the related need to reconstruct internal views of
      > reality.
      > With ongoing field work conducted online there is not the same simplicity
      > and separation. I therefore need to build in for myself a mechanism for
      > reflection, which is similar to John coming to the weekly Dadamac
      > meetings.
      > If I am going to become visible at dadamac.net then I need to somehow fit
      > myself into the structures I have set up there (or maybe set up some
      > addtional structure or structures). That is the challenge I am currently
      > addressing. There is something about dadamac.net visibility that has a
      > certain required element of collaboration to it. It has to do with the
      > fact
      > that I set it up to help make other people visible. Somehow I don't know
      > how to go there "for myself, on my own"(whcih is why i usually finish up
      > "meeting" people elsewhere. If I am making everyone else visible, but not
      > myself then I will become resentful. However everyone else is doing
      > visible
      > things. My stuff (depending on how you look at it) is either invisible -
      > or
      > so visible that no-one sees it.
      > *10 - Making the invisible visible*
      > My true interests have to do with “invisible stuff”: information flows,
      > knowledge creation, knowledge sharing, deep structural change, emerging
      > 21st-century systems are learning, cross-cultural collaboration techniques
      > online, and other things you can't capture in a photo.
      > - If we need to make FastTractor visible – and we do…
      > - if I don't want Dadamac net to be dominated by a fund-raising appeal
      > –
      > and I don't…
      > - Then I must find a way to illustrate the learning, thinking and
      > analysing that I do – if only for the sake of my own sanity and
      > self-respect.
      > Yes, that is it! I need to do an audit of my work,even if it is only for
      > myself.
      > *
      > 11 - Gems of information*
      > I know I have amazing rich seams of information. I thought others would
      > see
      > the value of what I brought to the surface, but they don't. Maybe what I
      > see as gems they only see as rough diamonds, or less than that, chunks of
      > ore, or simply bits of worthless rock and rubble. Perhaps it's time to
      > sift
      > through it all and start to his point out some of the rough diamonds. I
      > guess that's why I'm adding “learning issues” to the headings on my new
      > write-ups of initiatives on Dadamac.net. Maybe later on I'll go through
      > the
      > learning issues and start right up learning outcomes i.e. what I have
      > learned. If I write in that way then I will have a structure and
      > foundation
      > – reference points – clear connections between analysis and actuality. I
      > will be able to do some mapping of emergence.
      > *
      > 12 - Ecological imagery*
      > Hmm, as I wrote that I was seeing an image of a deep rooted tree (maybe
      > the
      > influence of your economic food chain diagram). I'm reminded of David
      > Mutua
      > and our use of analogies about gardens and gardening as we worked on the
      > Information Centre in Ago-Are. I think too of Andrius Kulikauskas calling
      > his “laboratory” Minciu Sodas (Lithuanian for Orchard of Thoughts) and
      > most recently George Por's references including gardens of knowledge (hmm
      > -and so much of my knowledge coming from grass-roots experiences and
      > connections). I think I like ecological analogies better than mining
      > ones.
      > They are less destructive and reductive, more spontaneous and fruitful.
      > Enough already (far too much, long ago, for you to read properly) but
      > useful for my thinking. I will go back to Dadamac.net next time with that
      > new analogy in mind, to do more weeding and replanting.
      > So, all my experiences, the people I know, the things I've done etc, they
      > are the rich compost, topsoil, leaf litter etc that my thoughts and ideas
      > have been planted in. My “lack of specialisation and focus” maps to a lack
      > of “monoculture”. Of course ecological analogies make more sense.
      > Analogies
      > of mining and gems relate to our mindset of scarcity. Analogies of gardens
      > and growing things relate to fruitfulness and abundant reproduction –
      > seeding, replicating, cross pollinating, adapting.
      > *13 - Posting this*
      > I plan to post this before our next phone call. Then if you repeat your
      > question of how things have been going over the past couple of weeks I'll
      > be able to tell you that I've sent you this e-mail about it. I think I'll
      > go back and number the subheadings I've been putting in. I'll copy them at
      > the top like a contents list. You can take a quick look at the headings
      > and
      > ask a couple of your probing questions and my thoughts will be
      > comparatively well ordered now in readiness to reply.
      > I'll probably publish at as well, in case I want to refer to any of it
      > publicly later.
      > Talk to you "shortly" - in both senses of that word - now that I've
      > written
      > at length.
      > Pamela

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