Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Collaborative Project

David Suzuki has me inspired. Not just to build an organic garden, but to build programs and projects that are worthy of the technology available to us. 

The David Suzuki Digs My Garden project used Flickr and online video as a way to make this contest a little bit different. From across Canada people entered their gardens by uploading their images to the official contest Flickr group. To enter the contest I joined the group and added my own garden images that were already posted on my own Flickr group.

On my own image I was able to tag all of the different plants in our pesticide free garden - from the tango lettuce to the organic catnip to our cat Mister T. Online programs are about presenting, storing and registering information in ways that were not previously possible.

Not only that but we also received a really cool video thank you from David Suzuki as well. This is how new projects can use technology in a collaborative and inspiring way. By sharing gardens from across Canada we not only created a historical record of gardening in the year 2008, we also provide a knowledge exchange.

Strangely enough at the same time another photo on Flickr was also being targeted by an online collaborative project. Schmap is a digital map program that provides information about cities from around the world. 

The map makers from the city of Minneapolis had taged two of my photos from our trip to the city this past summer. The photos had been chosen for a contest (there is always a hook) and they would like to know if I would be interested in entering the photo. The "winning" images will be used for a photo guide to the city.

Like most folks I'm happy to have the pictures used and happily clicked yes. Together all of these images can form a collaborative project, from hundreds of people. Not only that, suddenly I know Schmap exists, I'm going to tell my friends to all go and look for my picture, and maybe I will use this website in the future. 

By giving me a role and involvement, by helping me feel like a collaborator rather than a user, I suddenly am considerably more connected to this website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

David Suzuki Digs My Garden

David Suzuki ran a great contest this summer to encourage Canadians to grow organic and pesticide free gardens. We live in an appartment here in Winnipeg and kept our organic garden going all summer - with some great tomatoes to show for it!

Our garden won in the Balcony category and we received this special message from David Suzuki (unfortunately we submitted our picture via flickr and my account name there is generalamazo, thus the thank you). But it's pretty cool and the whole contest had a great digital component that I will talk about more in the next day or two.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Political Junkie Part Two

I'm not sure how I watched politics without the internet. The Museum of the Moving Image has a great website, The Living Room Candidate, with campaign ads from every election going back to 1952.

You said it Ike!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Election Fever - Apathy is Boring

Canada, as you have noticed, is in the middle of an election at the moment. And one of the best places for helping your students get involved and active is Apathy is Boring. They are a great organization that works to get young people not just voting but engaged in the political process.

What also makes this organization so terrific is the way they use technology. They are creating new ways for students to interact with politicians and to get information about platforms and policies. Why should we expect that students want to learn about politics the same way as previous generations?

They have just released a candidates guide to reaching young people. The guide was sent to candidates of all parties to help them use technology to reach and engage young people.

The guide should be mandatory reading for all candidates and their election teams. But if you go through and replace the word candidate with teacher, there is also a lot of lessons to be learned for the classroom.......