Share, Exchange, (Re)Create

One of my colleagues at the University of Canberra, Peter Copeman, has introduced me to the concept of Ganma from the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land.

Ganma:

describes a situation in which a river of water from the sea (western knowledge) and a river of water from the land (Aboriginal knowledge) mutually engulf each other upon flowing into a common lagoon and becoming one. (Timothy Pyrch & Maria Castillo, 2001:380)

As the waters mix, “foam is created at the surface so that lines of foam mark the process of Ganma … the foam represents a new kind of knowledge”. In this sense of the word, “Ganma is a place where knowledge is (re)created”. (Timothy Pyrch & Maria Castillo, 2001:380)

Dr Marika, a Yolngu leader has observed:

Water like knowledge has memory. When two different waters meet to create Ganma, they diffuse into each other, but they do not forget who they are or where they come from.

In October, I am participating in a Knowledge Exchange conference in Dublin (HPX 2017). To my delight Waterville is to the south west of the conference venue … and the National Acquatic Centre is not far away. The hosts, the Institute of Sport, have since 2013 sought to:

to create and stage compelling knowledge exchange events in order to create a debate on current concepts of world class practice while building relationships in order to enhance multi-disciplinary teamwork in the field.

Conference presenters in 2017 are coming from all over the world to exchange and share.

Two posts this week have connected Arnhem Land and Dublin for me.

The first is by Leigh Blackall. He discussed a decision to install a new content management system (CMS) in his university. His post starts with this observation:

the process for selecting that new CMS was appalling, and the process for implementing it has been just as disappointing. Through the now typical pseudo-consultation events of cafe-style workshops where people with varying levels of ability and experience gather around butchers’ paper, getting a “facilitated” 5 minutes in a noisy room to try to channel through a scribe any competing idea into coherent hand written sentences, that are then randomly selected to create single keywords to stick on a wall, all in some strange gesture toward crowd sourced, sticky-note wisdom.

He concludes with this summary:

What I’ve witnessed in the new CMS is a massive refocusing on a single point, at the expense of all other concerns to do with teaching and learning. Many new people have been employed centrally, overwhelmingly configured to develop that managerial dashboard. This redistribution of resources ultimately comes at the expense of teachers badly in need of employment certainty and more agency in what they do – the time to understand what they’re doing.

All of which brought me to reflect on how organisations can be like water with a sensitivity to difference and an understanding of what can be co- and re-created.

The second post was titled The New Class of Digital Leaders. In it Pierre Peladeau, Mathias Herzog, and Olaf Acker discuss how organisations are addressing digital transformation. They point out:

When it comes to implementing a digital strategy, the new class of chief digital officers (CDOs) often encounter several key obstacles upon assuming their role: ad hoc digital initiatives spread throughout a large organization, lacking central oversight; a traditional culture that resists change; a gap in the talent required; and legacy systems and structures that threaten to derail their ambitions.

The Ganma concept has a great deal to offer these organisations as an epistemological foundation for engaging with the meeting of different experiences. It provides a fascinating opportunity for an ecological balance in leading and following in organisations that can aspire to share, exchange and re-create.

Photo Credits

Rock painting Near 7 Spears (C Steele, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Desmond, Arnhem Land (Rusty Stewart, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Wiki Workshop January 2012

I am participating in a wiki workshop at the University of Canberra on Monday, 23 January.

It is a part of a week of activities for research students planned by Joelle Vandermensbrugghe.

Whilst preparing for the workshop I noticed an interesting announcement from Michael Gove in the United Kingdom:

Advances in technology should also make us think about the broader school curriculum in a new way. In an open-source world, why should we accept that a curriculum is a single, static document? A statement of priorities frozen in time; a blunt instrument landing with a thunk on teachers’ desks and updated only centrally and only infrequently? … The essential requirements of the National Curriculum need to be specified in law, but perhaps we could use technology creatively to help us develop that content. And beyond the new, slimmed down National Curriculum, we need to consider how we can take a wiki, collaborative approach to developing new curriculum materials; using technological platforms to their full advantage in creating something far more sophisticated than anything previously available. (My emphasis)

I am profoundly interested in collaborative learning and have been using wikis for some time. My use of wikis was accelerated by some work I did with Leigh Blackall at the University of Canberra in 2011. One aspect of this work was for a unit titled Business, Politics and Sport, the second was connected to a history of the Paralympic Movement in Australia.

I have created a Wikiversity page for the workshop.

I will look at some other wiki opportunities too including PBWorks, Google Sites and Wikispaces. I will alert the group to this comparison of wiki opportunities.

I am hopeful that Laura Hale will work with me in this workshop. I am keen for Laura to share her experience and I would like her to say something about her Mind the Gap writing.

Postscript

I was delighted to discover that Jenni Parker is involved in a wiki workshop this week.

This is her blog post. She writes:

I started the Open Content Licensing for Educators online course on WikiEducator today. It is a free open course that runs for 5 days. I am already familiar with the concepts of open learning and open educational resources as I have been an advocate of open resources for the past few years and a WikiEducator user since 2007. I license most of my work under creative commons licenses and I encourage my students to “give back to the community” by publishing their work under a creative commons license. We obtain much of the information and photos for our own creations from the work others openly publish on the web and I believe we should return the favour in kind by adding our own work to the open web.

Photo Credit

Wiki Wiki

Open Space Principles

HOPAU Update: 11 November

This week Tony Naar produced an update for his colleagues at the the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) on the The History of the Paralympics in Australia project  in Wikiversity.

He noted that “one element of the project is the use of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia products to ‘crowd source’ articles about the Paralympic Movement in Australia” which can then feed into the history of the Movement being written by Murray Phillips.

Tony reports that this has involved the creation of a project The History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia in Wikiversity. The Wikiversity site is a living record of the project which can be updated by anyone at any time. You can sign up to join the discussion or can ask to receive regular updates. There is a project blog too (coordinated by Leigh Blackall). The idea is to create a record of the project and its development which can be used by anyone to develop their own project.

Tony adds:

  • Since we started this part of the project – about three months ago – project contributors have created more than 350 new Wikipedia articles relating to the Paralympic movement in Australia.
  • This includes an article about every Australian Paralympic medallist.
  • Most of these articles are known as “stubs”. That is, they are very brief articles that need to be expanded.
  • The article about Tim Matthews is an example of a stub about an Australian Paralympic athlete.
  • Expanding the stubs is one of the next steps in the project. This is already happening, and the article about Elizabeth Edmondson is an example of an expanded, more comprehensive article.
  • Expanding articles is a lot of work, as information in articles must be verifiable and references to sources are expected.
  • Photographs also help, and another aspect of the project is to scan and upload images under a Creative Commons licence which can be used in articles and in the history project more generally.
  •  These include images to which the APC has the rights, but which have no other commercial value to the APC.
  • These are uploaded into Wikimedia Commons – a media sharing database. So far, we have uploaded 94 images, mostly from the 1996 Paralympic Games. We are currently scanning images from the 1992 Games and more from 1996 and these will be uploaded in coming weeks.

In addition, Tony writes:

“Within the Wiki community, we are promoting the project by seeking recognition for the articles that are being created. One way of doing this is to create an interesting “hook” about an article and apply to have the hook included on the home page of Wikipedia in the “Did you know…” (DYK) section. This is a sought after achievement within the Wikipedia community and we have been successful with 10 DYKs  so far. The latest is a DYK about 1996 basketball gold medallist and 2004 Gliders coach Gerry Hewson.

Laura Hale – a member of the University of Canberra team which works with us on this project – has written a very interesting account of the Paralympic DYKs, including the page view stats for each article.

The athlete profile pages on the APC’s website have always been the most popular pages. Articles about athletes on Wikipedia have the potential to increase this exposure significantly.

Laura is working to have one of our articles accepted as a featured article on the Wikipedia main page. That is a high achievement within the Wikipedia community and requires a comprehensive article, fully referenced and supported by good images, about a notable person or event.

We are currently considering ways to increase the number of experienced Wikipedians who are working on Paralympic articles. One suggestion would also incorporate a Wikipedian creating articles about Australian medallists during the London Games.

To help create the Wikipedia articles, we are working to build a pool of editors with an interest in Paralympic sport. To that end, we have held training days recently in Perth and Brisbane and we now have well over a dozen people, either from the Paralympic community, or from the Wikipedia community, who are editing and contributing to articles. These include Paralympians such as Elizabeth Edmondson and Peter Marsh, friends and partners of Paralympians and people who have just somehow gotten involved.

In the near future, we are looking to do something a bit unique for Wikipedia – to add embedded video and audio into Paralympic articles and also to record the subjects of articles reading the article about themself. Sources of audio and video will include the National Library’s Paralympic oral history project and interviews conducted by Shaun Giles with the oral history interview subjects, as well as other video footage to which the APC has the rights.”

Photo Credits

Elizabeth Edmondson

Louise Sauvage

Peter Martin