Dispatch: Drumbeat Festival – Day 1

Barcelona is the perfect location for the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival. With attendees are from around the world, you get the sense of “otherness” and “innovation” by the city and the Raval location.

Raval is a revived district. The Barcelonian city government situated the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona) in this area to drive change. How appropriate! Today I adventured in the city with a 3-hour bike tour of various regions. It started in Raval around 11:30am. The MACBA site was just starting to see an influx of Mozillians, Drumbeaters and, best of all, tents which signify a real festival happening. The bike tour took us to the symbol of Raval: a cat. (sculpture by Fernando Botero)


After the tour, I stopped by the MACBA site again. It was 4:00pm and the registration desk was close to ready. I returned at 5:30pm and the vibe was incredible:

Skateboards, Mozillians, Drumbeaters, a Hackbus in the centre, tents, a registration desk with people milling near.

If only we had set up a timelapse camera in the MACBA square to capture the day’s evolution as the Drumbeat Festival kicked off. Incredible. Exciting. We are all here as the change in the place of change. It is such a convergence of like and unlike minds of many disciplines. The common thread is an open mind and spirit to bounce ideas and energy.

By 8:30pm, the Joi Ito was on stage telling us that “the Internet saved my life.” He captured the spirit of Drumbeat for me. Each of us has a corner of open web and open education. We converge. And, he was right on point for me. The Internet has saved my me and changed my life in immeasurable ways.

The Science Fair was so engaging. What a great opportunity to share ideas about open education with each of our organizations. I was happy to share the CrisisCommons story. Every conversation had my head spinning with ideas and questions. It My only regret is that I was so busy at my table that I was unable to tour and meet the other Fair participants.

Here’s to another amazing day.


Drumbeat Festival: Bicycles, Hackbuses, Robots, & Science Fair

I’ve read the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival of Learning, Freedom and Web schedule more than once and it is still daunting. Mark Surman, Executive Director, Mozilla Foundation, even created a Drumbeat Festival Users Guide for attendees to help.

How to choose sessions, activities or spaces to hang out? I have three days and a flight to Barcelona to finalize my plans. Overwhelmed by awesome the selection. Well, I know I want to participate in badges, open video and open web sessions. These are the ones that will help with my CrisisCommons work and my choose adventure paths. I’m also blogging for the event.

Tents, Robots, MACBA and the Science Fair

Here are some of my schedule picks, but they will change as I navigate and explore. And, the whole schedule is subject to awesome and might be changed by the crowd!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010:
Join me: Sharing the CrisisCommons story at the Science Fair.

Thursday, November 4, 2010:
10:30am Badge Lab:Badges, badges, everywhere
11:30amEducating your Users or the Skills Lab: Learn what you need to hack Open Video (Video Lab)
14:00pm Arduino, Processing and Fantasia
15:00pmBadges, learning and online identity: design jam
16:00pm Arduino, Xbee, Bicycles and the Open Web or Learning accessibility:values and skills
17:00pmCalm after the storm: Yoga for Hacktivists
or the School of Webcraft: use case on Badges

Friday, November 5, 2010:
10:30am Pathways to Open Content
11:30am Encourage Content Reuse: Educate your users!
14:00pm Badges, learning and online identity: wireframes + prototypes
15:00pm Dale Dougherty How Maker Faire works or Build your own Personal Learning Environment Part II
16:00pm The Next Big Thing
17:00pm Build, Make, Learn in the Hackbus and Hackerspace Playground

Saturday, November 6, 2010: OpenRaval classroom, for the community
10:00amBe a GoodWill Reporter
12:00pmCommons Time Traveler

I’m going a bit early to be a tourist. Some of the greatest architects have works in Barcelona: Gehry, Meier, Mies van der Rohe Gaudi, and much more. It is my first time in Spain and I can’t wait to explore and learn at the festival and in the city.


Random Hacks of Kindness – Toronto

Random Hacks of Kindness 2.0 (RHoK)

is in Toronto on December 4 – 5, 2010. This is the first Canadian RHoK event and the 3rd global event.


Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is a community of developers, geeks and tech-savvy do-gooders around the world, working to develop software solutions that respond to the challenges facing humanity today. RHoK is all about using technology to make the world a better place by building a community of innovation. RHoK brings software engineers together with disaster relief experts to identify critical global challenges, and develop software to respond to them. A RHoK Hackathon event brings together the best and the brightest hackers from around the world, who volunteer their time to solve real-world problems.

Calling all Brains

We will need Hackers, storytellers, software engineers, programmers, university students, marketers, web content creators, emergency planners,international policy and development students, teachers, librarians, videographers, event planners, organizers, project managers and YOU. Creating humanitarian software in a hackathon is a very special collective collaboration.

Participants can select from a number of problem definitions. (These will be posted in the new few weeks.)

Video screens and online tools like IRC, blogs, wikis and more tools will connect the world. You could be collaborating with any of these countries to solve problems and brainstorm. Yes, there is even some healthy competition in store.

Help us make this global event RHoK. RHoK 2.0 is happening in Toronto (Canada), Chicago (USA), Berlin (Germany), Bangalore(India), Mexico City(Mexico), New York(New York), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Aarhus (Denmark), Nairobi (Kenya) and Lusaka (Zambia).


Register for RHoK Toronto
Date: December 4, 2010: 9:00am – December 5, 2010 8pm. ALL NIGHT
Location: University of Toronto, 100 St. George Ave. Sid Smith, Rooms 2015,2016,2019,2020

Tshirts and stickers will be provided.


We are looking for food and beverage sponsors for the RHOK 2.0 event. We will need food and drinks for 30-50 volunteers for 6 meals.
Please contact Heather AT textontechs.com or @heatherleson

Thank you to University of Toronto, Idee Inc, TinEYE and HackTO for sponsoring the event.

More on RHOK 1.0

Last June I had the awesome honour to participate in RHoK 1.0 -Sydney, Australia. It was amazing to support and promote their efforts. Check out a RHoK 1.0 video from the event


Joy of Learning: it must be Event Season

Where did Autumn go? It is conference, event and learning season. Well, learning should always be important, but it just seems the next two months are going to be chaotic and awesome.

Most of my other spare time is spent writing for the Sloan Foundation deliverables for CrisisCommons. We have a stack of deadlines until the Trustee meeting in December. Every time I share this story it helps refine my contribution to the documentation. It is so exciting to focus on this project.

The events:

October 23, 2010:
Social Technology Conference/Unconference (Toronto, ON)
I’ll be sharing some CrisisCommons and Crowdsourcing stories at the Social Tech Conference/Unconference this weekend. Very excited to talk about open source and humanitarian volunteerism on a global scale. My co-presenter will be CrisisCamp Toronto’s Steve Kalaydjian.

November 1 -7, 2010:
Mozilla Drumbeat Festival of Learning, Freedom and the Web (Barcelona, Spain)

November 10,2010:
Emergency Management Conference, Ontario Red Cross (Niagara on the Lake, ON)
I am honoured to co-present with David Black, Brian Chick and Melanie Gorka about CrisisCommons and how social media and Emergency Management groups can collaborate.

December 4/5, 2010:
Random Hacks of Kindness (the world)
I am partnering with technology companies, hackers and software developers to organize a Random Hacks of Kindness event in Toronto. More on this soon. Toronto has a great hacking community, especially Hackto.ca. If you are reading and want to lend a hand, I’d love the help with sponsors, outreach and more.

Back to writing



Mozilla Drumbeat Festival of Learning, Freedom and the Web

What a month! I’ve been doing some blogging about the Mozilla Drumbeat’s Festival of Learning, Freedom and the Web:

On the Crisis Commons Blog
Community starts with volunteers. CrisisCommons and all the CrisisCamps have been on a massive journey exploring collaboration, crowdsourcing and volunteer technical communities for disaster and crisis response

This path has also lead me to participatory learning and task turking for volunteer technical communities. I am excited to hear about the Mozilla’s Mozilla’s Learning, Freedom and the Web Festival. It will gather teachers, learners and technologists from around the world who are at the heart of this revolution. There will workshops and sessions all about participatory learning and badges. People like Cathy Davidson, Duke University professor and proponent of Open Learning, will be running sessions on storming learning. The Open Video Alliance team will also be attending. What if we had HTML5 videos as training materials to help volunteers learn and create at the same time? Endless.

On Mozilla Drumbeat:
Cathy N. Davidson is the Ruth F. DeVarney Professor of English at Duke University and John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is also the co-founder of HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory). Pronounced “haystack”: it is an international network of educators and digital visionaries committed to the creative development and critical understanding of new technologies in life, learning, and society.

In a few short weeks, I will be in Barcelona learning, playing and exploring with the Drumbeat team. More on that in another post.



Crowdsourcing the Commons

TechSoup Canada hosted NetSquared Tuesday on October 19, 2010. I had the pleasure of sharing the CrisisCommons/CrisisCamp story with attendees. The second part of the talk was to provide participants tips and lessons learned about crowdsourcing. I also gave people some homework to consider adding Crowdmap to their own crowdsourcing mix for local NGOs and NFPs.

(Wow, I posted this two days ago on Slideshare and it has 118 views. Thanks!)


Learning Open Governance

I’m on an adventure to learn more about open governance for communities. For the past 10 months, I’ve volunteered with many amazing people to build CrisisCommons. We are a new volunteer technical community aimed at helping crowdsource information and technology in times of crisis. Learning and researching practices for open communities has brought me near and far talking with technical communities such as Mozilla or my peers who attended the International Conference on Crisis Mapping. I’ve spoken with experts at Creative Commons and with consultant David Eaves. As a co-lead for the CrisisCommons.org Community Working Group, I consider it a priority to learn about community governance.

Fortunately, I found and enrolled in the Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU) Open Governance course. We collaborate online and learn from each other. In the coming weeks, I will be posting items for the course.

What do Baboons, transgenders, and bent fox ears have in common with Open Governance of Communities?

Our first week’s assignment was to write about Radiolab’s podcast: New Normal? The show seeks to identify change triggers in communities. Using two separate scientific studies, they pose the question that a baboon troupe and a breed of foxes can change with alterations to patterns resulting in culling aggressive creatures. Another example talks about the town of Silvertown, Oregon accepting a gradual change of a transgender resident. “Under the right circumstances, a small town can change.” What can trigger change in a community?

What are some of the norms in communities you are a participant in that affect governance of that community?
CrisisCommons is just beginning to formalize our strategic governance. It is both flexible and fragile. As an open community we respond to governance questions via our CrisisCommons google group. There is also a wiki open for edits.

The norm is that there is no norm yet. Anyone can contribute and the decisions are in flux.

The same stands for CrisisCamps. We have some model examples to share. We are working on CrisisCamp in a Box – a project to help mentor and share camp standards. Again, the norm is that all content is open for discussion and change.

How are these norms communicated to new joiners?
We need to work how to communicate norms to new joiners. Our community culture is evolving with each response action. We try to mentor new CrisisCamp cities. When it comes to individual volunteers, we need to improve on communicating norms and facilitating volunteer experiences.

How important is it to explicitly state the norms? How much can be picked up from “observing”?
We know that standards would help our community, but too much structure might not be accepted. There is a balance yet to be struck between more governance and less governance proponents. CrisisCommons needs to set a minimum frame of what and when we will respond and vice versa. This discussion is ongoing, but we know that clarity will help us grow.

Observing norms? Well, our community is evolving fast. I actually find this question hard. We need to make it more stable and clear so that there is potential for a volunteer to be able to “observe norms”. I consider that a 6 month goal for our community.

: Radiolab is partially funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. CrisisCommons is currently preparing our trustee proposal for the same organization. Small world.


Help Hack Open Source Software for Social Good

Geeks without Bounds is running a hack-a-thon on October 9/10, 2010.

I met up with Geeks without Bounds‘ Johnny Diggz at the International Conference of Crisis Mapping. We talked about his event and I promptly introduced him to some of the attending Open Source communities: Sahana, OpenStreetMap, Ushahidi/Crowdmap, Swift River, and Frontline SMS. These open source software tools can be used for Humanitarian and Crisis management. Some of the software can also be used for a wide range of social good /community activities.

Ushahidi and Sahana are confirmed participants in the 10.10.10 day activities. The GWB event includes amazing prizes. But to win, you need to:Register and participate.

Thanks Johnny and good luck with the event!

Help Volunteer Technical Communities:
Not available on 10.10.10? Each of these open source teams could use a geeky hand.

How you can help these communities:
Each of these open source communities have mailing lists, forums, and wikis. All their documentation and training materials are available online too. Can you help them?

*Sahana is a free open source disaster management system.
*It’s a web based collaboration tool that includes modules for crisis response including finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers and much more.
*How to help?: needs volunteer help with specifications, code, donations and standards

*OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you.
*How to help?: anyone can map, code, bring your expertise, translate, create user manuals, contribute and collect data using walking-papers.org. Go ahead and add missing information to the map.

Ushahidi builds tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories. The tools use three main criteria: information collection, visualization, & interactive mapping.

They need:
1. Experienced Web Developers – there’s a list of awesome things to do
2. Trained teams of people ready to be activated to help
3. Ushahidi is building a community site to help and engage

Swift River
*SwiftRiver is an open source platform that helps users manage real-time data.
*How to help: Need developers who create but also document.

Frontline SMS
*FrontlineSMS allows to you to text message with large groups of people anywhere there is a mobile signal.
*How to Help: beta testing of the tools, field testing by NGOs, and most of all spread the word about Frontline.

Brief update about ICCM10
The International Conference on Crisis Mapping was a great event. Meeting fellow volunteer technical communities, NGOs, students and folks from the World Bank and UN was inspiring. I attended as a volunteer, but participated in training and was able to hear most of the Ignite presentations. It was a bit of a reunion of other dedicated volunteers whom I’ve met via my work with CrisisCommons.org.

There was even a small meet-up about Exercise24.org participants to talk over lunch about collaborating across volunteer technical communities. I was happy to give my view on this event and how our communities might participate in the future.

For more about ICCM10, see some posts from Kim Stephens and Gisli Olafsson (a number of great posts).


Macrowikinomics Launches!

Don Tapscott’s Macrowikinomics is launching with Discovery Day: a global meet-up for community collaboration across organizations. The aim is to unite innovators to share an event celebrating the power of crowdsourcing and collaboration. Celina Agaton, a consultant for Tapscott and CrisisCamp Toronto volunteer, provided the following details on the event:

Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World presents new models of collaboration where social innovators and entrepreneurs participate in large-scale cultural, political, and economic systems in ways that were previously impossible.

Inspired by the opportunities in mass collaboration, Macrowikinomics Discovery Day brings together innovation groups from across communities and around the world for the first time on October 10, 2010.

Meet fellow social changers, educators, entrepreneurs and other people that are interested in making our communities better. Get to know people in your neighbourhood or around the world. Learn. Explore. Connect!

Our partners include Mozilla Drumbeat, Netsquared, 350.org, See Click Fix and Meetup.com.

Good Luck with the event and congratulations on your #1 bestseller Don!


Mozilla’s Learning Freedom and the Web Festival, Barcelona

The Internet is revolutionizing how we learn. It’s exciting. And it’s only the beginning. Mozilla’s Learning, Freedom and the Web Festival will gather teachers, learners and technologists from around the world who are at the heart of this revolution.


Taking place Barcelona from November 3-5, we’re planning three days of making, teaching, hacking, inventing and shaping the future of education and the web. We want you to be a part of it. Register.

Whether your a teacher or a technologist, this is your chance to help shape the future of learning and the web. We hope to see you in Barcelona.

If you are able to jet to Barcelona, we could use a hand with promotion. Have a moment? Please help us spread the word on your blog, Facebook or Twitter.

Be inspired by Joi Ito:

Joi Ito on (informal) learning, freedom and the web from Henrik Moltke on Vimeo.

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