On Friday, I had a great meeting with a handful of my colleagues using the Texas Forums online room. We talked about the social networking possibilities online and ways that we might build the National Issues Forums network as well as our own networks using new technologies.
Present for this planning meeting were:
- David Wilkinson, Iowa Partners for Learning
- Patty Dineen, Editor for National Issues Forums News from the Net (contact her if you are not on her e-mail list)
- Nancy Gansneder, University of Virginia
- Nancy Kranich, Founder Libraries Fostering Community Engagement Membership Initiative Group, American Library Association
- Paul Schumann, Consultant and founder of the Central Texas World Future Society
- Donna Prestwood, Market Research Manager Harcourt Achieve
We identified barriers and opportunities and opportunities. This list is just a fraction of what we talked about:
- The technology has to be easy, accessible and practical. Learning new technologies takes away from time spent doing the work. This time must be minimized.
- What will help us do whatever we are already doing? Start with what I want and need to be able to do.
- How will these technologies help overcome some of the roadblocks to getting people involved?
- What additional roadblocks might we be creating and how can we minimize them?
- We must first understand the nature of the problem we are trying solve, while simultaneously recognizing that the technologies might address problems we are not even aware exist. “We don’t know what we don’t know.”
I recorded the conversation and will post more when I’ve had a chance to listen to it. It’s great to have these touchstones to keep in mind this weekend. I’m also thinking about how to organize our research and evaluation activities so that we can take advantage of pools of volunteers. Leave your comment here if you are interested in participating in some kind of “think tank” that might emerge from all of this!