The First Annual Lee Baber Jamboree – Win a community.

It’s been months and months now since the incredibly fast and shocking death of our friend Lee Baber. Many of us in the Edtechtalk community can still be heard saying “wow, Lee would have loved that” or “man… she would so know how to do that”. For those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to have the pleasure (and very occasional frustration LOL) of knowing Lee Baber she was one of the foundational members of the edtechtalk community. An educator from Virginia, passionate about her students, her music, her community… everything that I’ve ever known her to come into contact with she was ‘all in’. Never was there a plan, however off-the-wall where Lee couldn’t be heard to say ‘I’m in’. And the great thing about Lee is that she was. Always. She’d be there, cheery and resolute. With a hand or just a virtual smile. She’s dearly missed.

My pitch for the First Annual Lee Baber Jamboree
Over the last six months of so, word has been circling in ETT backchannels that we should do something to commemorate one of the best educators to ever grace our digital space. We mulled it over and came up with a plan that, I think, best suits the memory of our friend. This summer we’re going to hold a Jamboree of teaching projects, we’ll send out word wherever we can for people to put together projects that they’d like to do and then have a weekend where we present them, go over them and offer advice on how to carry them out. There are alot of us, in this edtechtalk community and beyond, alot of experience, a bunch of hard knocks and enough connections and know-how to help any number of teachers take their first steps towards doing any number of cool projects. I’m going to ask for as many volunteers as I can find, we’ll call in a few favours, and we’ll see what we can do for as many people as need helping (and we can help)

Win a community
postnote: it was obvious to me right after i wrote this that ‘ONE’ winner doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking it will have to be more. Need more thinking on this.
One teacher, however… the one voted ‘most deserving’, for the Lee-est project, will win the Lee-est of awards. We’ll add them to a special backchannel and give them access to as many of the ETT community as we can find. Year long access. A full school year of access to maybe 20 (haven’t convinced everyone yet, who knows, might be 50) Ed Tech professionals for them to call upon at any time of day… the idea being that one of us will be there at any given time to help them through their project. We’re an entirely free community (as in speech and beer) we pay for our server space with money that we cobble together through various little projects we do for people… so we don’t have any to give away. What we do have, however, is a rhizomatic knowledge base. We have, between the bunch of us, tried an awful lot of what’s out there… and are hoping to give that to one deserving person.

How can you help?
Well… you can make this idea better for one. I’m mulling over the idea of trying to convince a foundation to join together with us and help fund some of these projects… I don’t think it’s ‘necessary’ but it’d be awfully cool. You can make the existing idea better… I’m sure it can be better. Most importantly, you can join the team. Just add a comment to this post and offer your help for the project. I’m hoping it can be a showcase for the power of communities to go out and help teachers outside of the regular ‘funding and adminstrative’ models. Not that those are bad, but i think that communities… knowledge communities have a place in this too. Volunteer to come out and lend a hand with the teachers who (we hope) will send in their projects and questions. Offer to join the ‘winner’s community’. Or… just tell us what you think.

So far who are we?
Well… we’ve got some folks from Edtechtalk… Jose Rodriguez, Sharon Peters and I are the current ‘organizing cheering squad’ but we’d like everyone we know and don’t know to jump on board. Communities have power… it’s just a bit subtle sometimes.


somehow i feel like i need banjo music to finish off this post 😛

Community Responsibility vol 2 – a community responsibility model

Had a great conversation tonight with David Cohn of the project. he has just been funded by the Knight Foundation to run a community driven news site which allows people to suggest, pitch and fund articles of interset to people who use the community. This is a really compelling project and I encourage you to check it out and pass the word about it… it really does push the model in an interesting direction.

Media and responsibility – citizen journalism
One of the interesting ‘half-divisions’ that David draws in this discussion is the distinction between citizen journalism and participatory journalism. The former, highlighted by projects like ireporter and, well, blogs like this one (and others) are people who are not necessarily professional writers or reporters who are giving their ‘take’ on a given topic and have included an indeterminate amount of thought and research to the matter. The other, what David is proposing with, is about the same people care about an issue mobilizing people to pay someone else to do this work for them. Someone, ostensibly, who has more experience or time (or both) to devote to the subject… I think as I think this over there may be some interesting outputs to that particular thought.

One of the main themes that comes out of this discussion is the role of community leadership in guiding the way a community uses its time, its money and how they are going to move people to be responsible. It’s an interesting counterpoint to the comment in the last post from Stephen Downes about being ‘forced’ to be responsible. Forced no… but I think I see some cross over here with what Stephen and George Siemens have been talking about related to connectivism and teaching by example. I think it does behove those people who are particularly passionate about an issue to lead the way in those areas and for others to keep their ‘portfolio’ of contributions pretty organized to avoid the community participation overload that Nancy was referring to in the last discussion.


Community Responsibility vol 1 – OMG is this a community?

This first post in the series of Community Responsibillity vs “The tragedy of the commons” is an attempt to lay the groundwork for the weeks to come and to start to tune the antanae to the idea of community. Where does it start and end? How do I know that I’m in a community? What should I do now that I’ve come to terms that I’m in one? These questions are at the heart of the community explorer’s mind as they wander through the internets…

Critical Point – Community vs. Network
In taking part in the CCK08 project I’ve come to believe that the distinction between these two concepts is critical to undestanding ourselves as net citizens. There is a distinction here that leads directly to whether or not you are ‘responsible’ in an ethical sense or ‘obliged’ in a legal sense. If you are in a community you are, in some way, responsible to that community, in a network you are responsible to yourself and the rules that govern you are those set forth by our society as laws.

Hence the critical need for being able to distinguish between them.

My Guest – Nancy White
Some highlights from the discussion with Nancy are detailed with the time they can be found at below. The conversation went a little longer than i’d intended, but the depth of her experience in the field of communities made it to hard to not keep asking questions. There are some nice thoughts here about how the ‘we’ takes over from the me in the transition to community and how reciprocity is the Number 1 most important thing in a community environment.


1:05 Nancy : Community is a group of people who care about something over a period of time.
1:56 Nancy : A community should be as concerned about we as they are about me.
4:00 Nancy : Communities can emerge at what starts out as an information connection into a personal relationship
4:31 Dave : So what happens to us on that transition, what qualities change or morph or adapt when we make that transition from network to community… as that cluster begins to emerge?
7:00 Nancy : Reciprocity as key to communities. Making reciprocity visible.
9:55 Nancy : fundamentally there’s alot that we know about offline human interaction that we seem to just for let disappear when we go online.
11:00 approaching an established community: the great value of newbies to communties.
14:00 managing multiple-memberships: managing your own expectations
15:58 How many functional relationships can you really have at one time?
16:20 The Well and why it works for Nancy.
19:00 Community scaling up to where there was not enough we.
Community is about that interplay of invitation and response… it’s like improv, make the other person look good and get what you want. That’s my personal values on communities… I’m not saying that other people should ascribe to them but to me that gets to the core.

Recommendation from Nancy : Peter Block – community the structure of belonging.

Another Project along similar lines
A very current project along similar lines of this one is Bud Hunts excellent K12-online presentation entitled “The Lie of Community“. He did several interviews of which i was fortunate enough to be one and they accompanied a really excellent 20 min audio presentation.

A key point that comes out of his presentation is to understand that there is no ‘one’ community out there… no model for which we can apply a single set of rules or guidelines or best practices. He takes a really nice people based approach to the discussion and gives people a really nice sense of what his community means to him. And hopes to continue the conversation… hopefully we’ll get some nice crossovers between what he’s doing and what I’m trying to do here.

Something i ran into while working on this
This is a really neat discussion of Open Source communities and how they are managed… (add on note: by david e. eaves and his main site

Community Management Presentation

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: 2007 fsoss)

download audio with nancy

Community Responsibility vs. ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’

Over the next 8 weeks I hope to run a series of discussions on community responsibility and how it’s critical for how I (and many others) work on the internet. I’m planning to write a series of reflections about the topic but, more importantly, to invite in a bunch of community folks to talk about what community means to them (likely not the same for everyone), to describe valuable examples of community responsibility that they’ve seen and to talk about their ideas for how they would like to see communities operate.

I was talking about this with Lawrie Phipps the other day and he pointed me to “The Tragedy of the Commons” as an interesting foil for discussion. According to wikipedia

The article describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared resource even where it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long term interest for this to happen.

The article itself is focusing more on the idea of a ‘limited’ resource, and we could argue that the ‘limited resource’ here – people’s attention, community focus on a cross section of the long tail – but I’d rather not get bogged down there, but our time certainly is limited… and the energy that we have to constantly create and recreate our knowledge bases is certainly limited. There are ways that we work together that are more effective and ways in which we can design spaces that are more effective. There are reasons to start work, to leave a trail behind you and reasons to decide that you shouldn’t start ‘Yet Another List’ of whatever it is you are working on.

The work that we do in communities is important to all of us. The work that is done in those communities is valuable and, in many cases, well worth tending as the projects go forward… but how to do it? Are we responsible to the communities that we participate in? If we are how do we, as community members, live up to our responsibilities?

Please… no more rules!
I doubt there is any single way to be a responsible community citizen, nor is this project intended to be an exclusive ‘8 ways to be a community member’… the idea is more about discussing the best practices and trying to avoid being either legalistic (you must do exactly this or…) or jingoistic (“yes we…” uh… probably too fresh there… just not jingoistic).

Our existing guidelines on things like citation and IPR are more about what you are ‘allowed’ to do, these things focus on the individual and what that individual can do to get the most of out of the commons of knowledge. What I’m more interested in is rather how we can be more ‘responsible to’ the communities that we work in and around. This goes all the way from realizing we HAVE participated in a community to acknowledging the work that you are building on in a way that furthers the community you have learned from, giving to that community in a way that makes it stronger and crafting communities so that these things are possible.

It’s a big mandate for one little eight part project, but I’ve been thinking and talking about this alot recently, and I’d like to crystalize some of the ideas that I have now if for no other reason than to use them as a frame of reference for later. I’m inviting in a bunch of smart people to hopefully learn from them and also better learn what I myself think about these things.

What you can do
One, I’d love some more suggestions about who to invite… I’ve gotten a few ‘yes’es so far and am hoping to get a few more people brought into the mix… no need to stop at eight folks for eight episodes… this is the internets, it’s not like I’m paying by the word 🙂

I’d also love if you folks, my own community, would interact with these ideas as they come along. I make no specific claim to ‘knowing’ how this should be done… really I don’t even think that’s possible. It’s only through the interaction that we get a sense for what is the ‘knowledge’ of this…

oh right… and like i said before… i got this idea after reading Steve Dembo’s 30 days to becoming a better blogger. Thanks steve.

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