Helen Turvey

April showers…

Posted in Uncategorized by Helen Turvey on May 9, 2011

… and storms – but also the sun has been shining on us.  Highlights for this month are:

Open data

Rufus has started to talk about a data ecosystem where there are data cycles – rather than ‘one way street’ data processing ( Building the (Open) Data Ecosystem)as well as keynoting at UKSG’s annual conference and REPUBLICA about open data.

The OKFN (which Rufus heads up) has launched a new Film about Open Government Data and the Open Data Challenge – a pan-European open data competition.  His projects CKAN and Where Does My Money Go? / Open Spending go from strength to strength – noteworthy is a new Italian instance of Open Spending and EU Budget and EC Financial Transparency System Finances.

YourTopia – Development beyond GDP also won 3rd prize at World Bank Contest.

Access to knowledge
Kabir organised the Pan African Biocultural Community Protocols (BCP) Initiative in Cape Town with nearly 40 participants from all over Africa to strategize and plan an African BCP program for the year 2011-2012 (11th-12th of April) as well as the African Biocultural Rights Meeting with lawyers from across the continent to discuss the emerging community rights to their common property resources and the kind of legal capacity development required for communities to get legal recognition for their BCPs (13th of April- Cape Town) – an impressive amount of support and energy for each subject.

He also spoke at the SEED Green Economy event in Johannesburg on BCPs and how they add a rights based approach to the Green Economy and facilitated a 3 day workshop on Developing an Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy hosted by the Ministry of Forests and Agriculture in Bhutan. The workshop included a section on BCPs and how they can help secure community rights to their commons (18,19,20th of April, Thimpu).

Finally Kabir was the legal adviser to the National Biodiversity Center of Bhutan in developing their first working draft of their National ABS Policy. The draft will be subjected to extensive national consultations after which the final draft will be adopted by the Cabinet of Bhutan.

Citizen Cyberscience

Francois lectured on citizen cyberscience at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science and Education in Mumbai, the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai. Also met with reps from the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore, and top Open Access guru Subbiah Arunachalam in Chennai. The main outcome was identifying a scientific topic that would be suitable for kickstarting a larger citizen cyberscience effort in India (India@Home), involving citizen-based tracking of animals and plants, to study animal behavior and impact of climate change. A special focus is on using such projects as educational tools in schools.  Possible dates for an India@Home event were discussed: December 2011 is the current working assumption.

He also met with the Director of the Mauritius Research Council, the First Secretary of the recently formed Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and various representatives of the University of Mauritius, the Technical University of Mauritius and the Mauritius Cybercity initiative. The main outcomes were full support for the local part of the organization of a Summit on Mauritius, possible dates spring 2012, based on the concept of a South-South meeting that would gather researchers from India, China and South Africa. Also made contacts to three researchers with relevant projects for citizen cyberscience: one in the area of radioastronomy, one in mobile health statistics and one in modeling the impact of cyclones on Mauritius.

Other work in April concerned moving the LHC@Home alpha test towards a beta version, planned public launch in May, and testing all components of citizen mapping software developed by colleagues in Ghana, for possible deployment in a project for damage assessment in Libya. Finally, a good deal of effort was expended on the final preparations for the Brasil@Home events, running 2-6 May, in Brasilia, Rio and Sao Paulo (lectures by several experts in each city + two-day hackfest in Rio).

Youth publishing

Live Mag SA seems to creating a lot of buzz on the ground.  Gavin has had positive noises from SA-based brands about Live Magazine plans, notably Nike and Coke – which would be an amazing start for the sustainability of the brand.  Plus a lot of media interest for Live Mag SA in the UK, including a meeting with Alex Clark (feature writer for the Times and Observer), Ben Ferguson from the New Statesman, and CNN International.

First iteration of the ‘live’ project mindmap for Live Magazine SA posted up on the blog.

Live UK has been certified by the Audit Bureau of Communications for Live Magazine in London, for an approved circulation of 28000+ – providing fantastic reassurance for potential advertisers.  Also in the onward march towards self-sustainability, having the best advertising yield yet for an issue for the 10th birthday issue of Live Mag in London – very encouraging sign.

There has also been the first internal presentation of the Live ‘Kidflow’ system: an attempt to develop some kind of new, ongoing social impact measurement for the level of engagement the project provides to young people (which will be used and replicated in SA).

The BBC in London has agreed to jointly submit a proposal for a Live Magazine pilot in Manchester linked to the BBC’s move to Salford, as a community engagement tool, using BBC mentors, and producing a joint London/Manchester one off issue in the Autumn.

Livity’s Google Zeitgeist Young Minds competition results in, with three of the successful finalists coming from Cape Town (who win a trip to the Zeitgeist event in London this month).  Developed by Livity, the Google Digital Experts first phase of recruitment finally launches, giving non-grads the chance to get free Google digital media training.

Open Educational Resources

Philipp had his first P2PU board meeting hosted at MIT OpenCourseWare office. Mark Surman (Mozilla Foundation) and Cathy Casserly (Creative Commons) were appointed to the board. Karen Gabriels, Shuttleworth Foundation CFO, joins as Treasurer. More info on organizational development here: http://sharing-nicely.net/2011/04/the-machine-that-runs-p2pu/

The re-boot of P2PU model and website is underway. The new site is progressing faster than anticipated, supported by an emerging open source contributor community. Check it out at http://new.p2pu.org and read about it here http://blogs.p2pu.org/blog/2011/04/27/313/

They also agreed to pilot with Saylor.Org to offer one of their courses through a P2PU study group and are initially testing this with an art history course, but could be rolled out to other courses and lead to stronger relationship. Early draft here: http://new.p2pu.org/en/groups/baroque-art-of-italy-spain-and-the-netherlands/

Generally thinking more about “Hacking Certification”, both in the context of P2PU pilots and work on badges, and more generally. Spoke about it in Vijay Kumar’s Open Education course (slides and notes here: http://sharing-nicely.net/2011/04/hacking-certification/) and again this week at the OCWC conference.

Finally P2PU submitted a proposal to Department of Labor OER grant program as part of the consortium of community colleges. Goals of the proposal include developing web developer training materials, and enhancing the P2PU platform to support community colleges, as well as spread the materials developed by the DoL to self-learners outside of institutions.

On the platform side, Siyavula hired another team member, Ewald Zietsman, who has reproduced the Connexions PDF pipeline locally but to produce FHSST-style PDFs which are crucial for printing the final books. Modules and Collections work which is very exciting.  Also, Obami have given a portal within their private social network for schools which we will use to raise awareness about our products.

Mark was interviewed for the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Youth feature which will be super convenient because it will come out in June, the same time as when we are trying to maximise publicity about the books (will link to this when possible), plus he presented on the OER panel at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative’s Education Think Tank.

With a focus on administration: the new Siyavula website has been finished and is busy being populated with content. Expect www.siyavula.com any day now.  The Siyavula company name, Siyavula Education, has been reserved, now just waiting for changes of name, directors etc. to propagate.

At the beginning of April, Kathi Fletcher attended the NITLE Summit where liberal arts college leaders are thinking about liberal arts education in a digital age and wrote about John Seeley Brown’s keynote on educating for change.  Also participated in the OER workshop led by Hal Plotkin of the US Department of Education.For the OER Publishing API, Kathi worked with Connexions to determine the changes that will be needed in their code to support a publishing API, and started a site for sharing the API design, Connexions implementation, and the code for tools and services that make use of the API.

Planning for a coding sprint at the Plone East conference in mid-May and with Mark Horner’s help.  The sprint is designed to begin the process of implementing an OER Publishing API in Connexions, provide input about the cost and complexity of the full implementation, attract developers to the implementation of the API, and generate buzz about the OER Publishing API.

She also talked with several groups about how they might benefit from the OER Publishing API. Sometimes the ideas were slam-dunk ideas that seem immediately useful, and sometimes it was more of a cold call where I was planting ideas for the future. In the slam-dunk category, Kingston University has been using CNXML (the format of educational materials in Connexions) and has an editor that could publish directly to the Connexions software, Rhaptos, once the API exists.  Siyavula is creating translations and working on an offline editor to preserve document structure while facilitating text translation. Being able to publish derived copies back would be a huge benefit. In the area of planting seeds and ideas, I talked with MITE (interesting possibilities for publishing textbooks as remixable OER in Connexions), Wikimedia (building structured editors that might be shareable, and working on offline packages that could combine reference and textbook and other educational material), and OERCommons (concentrating on discoverability and creating great communities for sharing. It would be great if sharing in existing repositories was easier.)

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