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Gems from last week

It's wonderful when things fall into place. Two examples from last week are Wednesday's Meetup on Informal Learning and Learning Networks, and Friday's visibility session with Julliet Makhapila.

Learning Networks

On Wednesday I led a GlobalNet21 Meetup called - The 21st Century - An Age of Informal Learning and Learning Networks. This has emerged from overlapping interests with Francis Sealey, founder of GlobalNet21. I won't list all the areas of overlap in detail, but they include systemic change in the 21st century and ongoing education as an attitude to life.

Last year, when Francis and I were first exploring ideas about GlobalNet21 study circles I mentioned the topic to Steve Podmore. In typical Steve fashion he challenged me about my long-term objectives and plans for achieving them, which was useful and affected my thinking.

A few days before I ran the session Steve and I were talking again, and as a result we planned the session in detail together, and he found time to come along and help me to run it. I won't write much here as you can go to the meetup page (The 21st Century - An Age of Informal Learning and Learning Networks) and read the "How was the meetup" thread for youself.

The group started with face-to-face involvement (organised, as all Meetups are, through the Internet). Now it is starting to overflow al little back onto the Internet through the comments thread. Gradually I hope the group will become a mixture of face-to-face and online involvement. This is a hope that I will share with others in the group and then see if anyone else wants to engage with me on this. When the time is right I see ithe GlobalNet 21 learning network starting to network with Dadamac's "online only" network that meets at First Thursdays and in other ways. 

Julliet Makhapila and Diversity in Kenya Communities

Last July I met Julliet and was impressed by her independent work. I wondered how to help her become visible. It seemed that the sturctures set up here for John Dada could also prove useful for her (Julliet Makhapila's project - visibility ). Her story is one of great struggle, determination and initiative, serving genuine local needs, without the benfits of external support, just getting on and doing what she can.

It has been hard to find a starting point as there are so many interwoven strands. On Friday I persuaded Julliet to simply let me publish something that she wrote last year, when whe was planning the programme for a local event Julliet Makhapila's work in Kenya. Once that was done she wanted to write a brief follow-up Appreciating all the volunteers. Before the day was out we had met a new contact who became interested in Julliet's work and was able to go online adn quickly get an idea of what it covers.

I look froward to my next meeting with Jullliet and whatever emerges online as a result.

Other gems

There were other gems.

  • More emailing with my long-lost contact from Teachers Talking Keny 2007
  • Long Skype chat - over three hours - with Jeff Lahay (in USA) about future directions regarding a solar project he did with John Dada's team in Kafanchan.  It was our first voice chat although we have done a few typed chats. We explored various challenges about ways forward and lessons learned so far. Some good ideas seem to be coming through.
  • I've contributed to an e-learning book edited by Brian Sutton and Anthony "Skip" Basiel and want to include one or more of Fola's photos of students at his independent ICT centre in Ago-Are. Unfortunatety formal permission is required. To my delight Fola caught me on google chat, and we were able to arrange how it could be done, minutes before I had a scheduled phone call from Skip regarding references and photos for the book.

In Dadamac we often talk about our mine of information, and we recognise how many steps it takes to get from extracting ore to displaying sparkling jewelry. This weeks collection of gems are at the rough diamond stage. Their full value may not be obvious to the casual eye, but to those of us involved in the work so far, and with a strong belief in the value system they represent, they are precious gems.

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