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I CAN pronouce Mooloolaba

November 22, 2009

From theother66 on Flickr, creative commonsThe last leg of my Australian adventure took me north to the Queensland beach town of Mooloolaba. I had been practicing my pronounciation so I would not mess up. Again. Last year I presented via video to the Learning Technologies 2008 conference. This year (Learning Technologies 2009 or Twitter tag #lt2009) I got to be there in the flesh and I wanted to get it right. MOO – LOO – LA – BAH with equal emphasis on all the sylables!

On Wednesday I ran a half day workshop on Technology Stewardship. (As promised, the slides are here.) It was a pleasure to hang out with Anne Bartlett-Bragg, Claire Bray, Paul Doherty, Jay Mair, BronwynDavies, Billy Ramadas, Gillian Smith, Alison Bickford, Colin Warren , and Mary McVay. We explored their own technology stewardship in their communities with the Spidergram exercise, some playing around with the Social Media game cards and conversations about our work. The afternoon flew by.

Then we retired to the Mooloolaba Surf Club for the official opening cocktail party. Surf Clubs are an important part of Australian coast culture and it was fun to get a peek inside of the place where all the volunteer lifeguards hang out, as well as a critical community center.

The conference proper was Thursday and Friday. I helped kick off Thursday with the keynote, “Me, We and the Network,” where I continued on my theme about the importance of having a line of sight to the full range of learning contexts – individual learning, group or community (bounded), and the wider, free-ranging network environment. In the middle of the talk, I tapped the group in the room to help me sing happy birthday to Larry, since I would miss his birthday on the 21st. They did a brilliant job!

Tweetclace While in Mooloolaba and surrounding area, I did a little shopping, including a Tweetclace! Bronwyn Stuckey (@Bronst), Joyce Seitzinger (@catspyjamasnz) and I went to the Eumondi markets and I, um, supported the local economy!


Gippsland, KMLF and the Warm Melbourne Mob

November 19, 2009

Gipps CollageIf this is Sunday, I must have been in Victoria state, landing in Melbourne, then being taken kindly out to the beautiful Gippsland by old online friend Brad Beach. Out to the rolling hills, the hospitality of he an Bron (who made an Australian Chocolate Ripple cake for me!!) and the thrill of hanging out with their beautiful baby boy. Brad took up the challenge of trying to help me see a roo in the wild, but I think all the marsupials in Australia are laughing their butts off at the American who never sees them.

On Monday, Brad gave me the chance to hang out with his amazing cohort of online facilitators from Gippstafe – people who totally get what it means to connect with and teach with others online. Gipps has been a center for online facilitator capacity development in Oz. We talked about our practices, what we have learned and what we aspire to learn. Plus had some great homemade cake. Do you notice a pattern here?

melbourne collageThen back in the car and into town to spend the afternoon with the Knowledge Management Rountable to talk about Digital Habitats and Technology Stewardship.  (I will get the slides up on Slideshare eventually…can’t hog all the wifi where I am at the moment!) A special shout out to Michele Lambert, my host, who not only warmly welcomed me, but was a fantastic engaging partner in the afternoon. Oh, and we had scones. 😉

The evening brought me to the KMLF gathering where we played with the idea of individual/group/network in more playful ways. I have to say, the Melbourne KM community (or is it a network?) is intelligent, friendly, and really crazy. Afterward we went for an (over)abundant Chinese meal at Post-Mao.

After the hospitality from Keith De La Rue for my co-conspirator, Matt Moore and I, it was off on Tuesday to run two half day workshops on online community. Again, a vibrant, intelligent and engaged group in both the morning and afternoon as we explored the nuts and bolts of our online community and network practices. We gathered in an amazing place – and darn it, I can’t remember the name. So again, I’ll have to come back to that.

Then we zoomed off to the airport and I headed for the semi-tropical shores of Mooloolaba, an hour north of Brisbane, my last stop in Oz.

I want to give out link love to all these great people, but if I did that, I’d NEVER post this, so maybe I can circle back and do this later. (Hahahaha). I love ya’ll and you know who you are.

Some posts and related digital bits from the days…

Community, New & Familiar Friends

November 18, 2009

Saturday was a great day in Adelaide. No airplanes and no scheduled talks or workshops so I could let my mind flow and not hold tight to any particular focus. Lovely.

The day started with a walk to the Adelaide Central market via the Adelaide Christmas pageant route where I saw thousands of people – families – lining the streets waiting for the start of a parade. It is wild to see a Christmas event in 40 degree centigrade heat, with “survival stations” along the way.

I then met up with Mike Seyfang (@fang), Mark Thomson of the Institute for Backyard Studies,  and John Legg and Chris Rawlinson of Helpful Partners. Alas, our buddy Dave Wallace (aka LifeKludger) could not join us. We missed him, because the conversation around tinkering, creatively remixing physical and digital materials to serve real, local needs related to much of Dave’s passions and talents.

Mark had brought up the conversation on tinkering, having seen me muse about it on my blog in the context of technology stewardship. I was hungry for the conversation.

Mike put up a great blog post capturing some of the conversation.  He tied it to my Friday preso on communities and networks and it is worth re-sharing the tweets and links Mike put on the post.


fang #edayz09 a community would notice @dnwallace is not here, the network simply drops the (weak) connection … @nancywhite keynote reflection.

Chris and John run a local consultancy called ‘Helpful Partners’ who specialise in making complex information clear and accessible.

Mark is the ‘old tool’ responsible for the awesome ‘Institute of BackYard Studies‘ home of shed culture and master of the great Australian piss-take. Someone I’ve been wanting to meet for a long time (thanks GB) Author of fine books like :

The Central Market meetup was really an extraordinary treat as these four wonderful guys each brought something different that magically connected to what was a very coherent “whole” for me.

Then it was time to meet up again with Michael and on to picking up E-Dayz star, Cathy Moore, and seeing her off to the airport with a few more music stories on the way. Then we drove out to the beach to have lunch with Frankie Forsythe.

With a little break for afternoon work in the cool of the hotel, Michael took me up to Mt. Lofty to see the spread of Adelaide from above and watch a quiet sunset.

Sunday morning Kerry Johnson and her hubbs Paul arranged for an informal tweet up breakfast with Leo Gaggl, his two kids and Annie Ferguson. Coffee, conversation at a relaxed pace was a great topper for my Adelaide visit. Thanks, all!

eDayz 09 – Rocking in Adelaide

November 17, 2009

Something about the learning folks in Adelaide just lights me up from the inside out. It was a pleasure to be able to be part of the EDayz09 conference were many of the people I met during my tour in 2006 were present. You know its going to be fun.

Thursday Michael Coghlan met me at the airport (how FUN is it when a real person meets you AT THE GATE these days! Shocking and wonderful) then trundled me into town and dinner with Brad Beach and John (whose last name seems to evade me – so sorry John!) where we had some great S. Australian wine fueled conversations that helped me prepare and contextualise for the next day’s keynote.

Facing my AudienceFriday it was off to E-Dayz where I was going to use the springboard question “Should we be using community in learning anymore?” into an exploration of the continuum of me, we and the network as an essential bed for both social and situated learning. The venue was a big, steeply raked theatre style and I felt I should sing and dance. Literally! But I controlled myself. The slides are below, audio is here and video will be available later. Kerry Johnson did an amazing job live streaming the entire event and will get us the video URL

In the afternoon I ran a much more informal workshop, originally intended as follow up from the keynote, but when we started, I made a couple of offers for options, one of which was to explore the role of visuals in our work. We did Johnnie Moore’s paired drawing exercise and I then gave the option on topics. MORE VISUALS. This went on for the full 40 minutes and I was so grateful to be able to play in that space as we looked at specific applications of the use of visuals in online learning.

All in all it was a great day. There is so much more I could write, but the days are flying and I need to get this posted. Darn, tho I missed talking with Graham Wegner, whom I’ve followed on Twitter for some time!

Canberra Countryside and Communities

November 13, 2009

hanging with Leigh and SunshineWednesday I hopped on a plane to Canberra to spend some time with the creative and energetic Leigh Blackall and Sunshine Connelley, their two magnificent pooches, Lego and Mina, and spend an afternoon with some communities of practices folks in national government here in the capitol city. After I arrived, Leigh and Sunshine took me out to the beautiful Murrumbaidgee River, about 30 minutes outside of town. We swam in the river and had a nice BBQ dinner in the warm afternoon sun. The water was just cool enough and the current not too strong to allow us to wallow in the shallows. It was a perfect antidote to being in planes and conference rooms, well peppered with conversation.

Thursday, we headed again out of town to Braidwood. Man, I could fall in love with this town. Between the Bread Dojo bread (Matt, you are an amazing baker), the beautiful setting and community spirit, one could be tempted to bid on the old hotel and pub up for auction. heh! Then we high tailed it back to town, allowing me to walk into my appointment just on time and have a great afternoon talking about the ideas surfaced in Digital Habitats and wrestling with the challenges of working in a government organization.

Then it was off to the airport and on my way to sunny and unseasonably warm Adelaide! Mike Coglan met me and we then went out to dinner with the energetic Brad Beach and John (whose last name I did not quite get. Mike as has a great shot of Brad here. You can see John here.)

Online Community Workshops in Sydney

November 12, 2009

Sorting community issues

Tuesday saw Matt Moore of Innotecture and I at the Australian Technology Park facilitating two half day workshops on online communities. The morning was a small group focused on the newer practitioner, and the afternoon added a diversity of experienced and energetic online community managers and designers.

The morning’s small groups enabled us to go into details with each person and what they wanted to do online. This idea of the continuum from the individual, through bounded communities and out to networks again permeated my thinking and input, priming my pump for Friday’s keynote at Adelaide’s EDayz09.  More on that later…

In the afternoon, Matt and I decided to use some exercises to help raise the range of issues associated with advancing an online community by looking at current states of people’s communities, how they got that way and possible positive and catastrophic futures. Frankly, there were some good starts to conversations, but the diversity of the group and the speed at which we went through the exercise did not completely satisfy me – nor I suspect, many of the participants. Matt later reflected that we just made it too complicated and I think he was right. When you have advanced practitioners, the key is to let them share and compare.

I’m always torn when I’m “giving” a workshop. Matt and I have tons of things we can “present” and “talk” about, but that goes counter to a lot of what we preach in terms of participatory processes. Yet content gives an hand hold, an affordance, an anchor to focus conversations. I think we need to get the mix — so we are refining for Melbourne next week where we’ll run the same pair of workshops again on Tuesday.

For me, the highlight was again meeting all the great, interesting and intelligent people and hearing their stories. I look forward to more.


Pictures from Monday’s Facilitators’ Graphics Play

November 10, 2009

Happy Artist

The full slideshow is here. Thanks to Jeanne Walker for sharing the photos!