Saturday, February 27, 2010

Net collaboration at its best

Over the last few years I've built up an amazing network of contacts all over the world thanks to various social media. Some days I spend more time interacting with people outside my university than inside and I often get involved in interesting projects with the most unexpected combinatons of people.

Two examples from the past week that show the power of the social web:
  • Earlier last week I suddenly noticed a Twitter entry from a guy who wanted help translating a text from Swedish to English. That sounded right up my street so I replied. Turned out to be Rodd Lucier in Canada (whose blog The Clever Sheep I can warmly recommend) who had seen a Swedish brochure on how teachers can use Creative Commons and he wanted to use it with schools in Ontario. I know the people responsible for the brochure at the Swedish Agency for Education so the assignment was soon given the all-clear. Now I've done the translation and soon Rodd can produce a Canadian version for the schools he's working with.
  • I have been involved in a project with the Belarusian State University in Minsk and a colleague there contacted me on Skype the other evening. She's involved in a project in intercultural communication which is using Second Life as a forum for learning. I was put in touch with a lady in France who's been working on the sim in SL. I've now been given instructions to test the Belarusian simulation and report any glitches. Another case of a simple contact leading to unexpected collaboration.
Of course all this is done in my spare time and is purely for fun but I never fail to be impressed by the way such opportunities just turn up on the net. Such global collaboration was unthinkable only a few years ago. The trouble is that many teachers have still not discovered the possibilities of opening up the classroom to global collaboration. Once you've tried it you'll never close the door again.

1 comment:

  1. Really fast and great job Alastair! Thanks! I am amazed that it just took a few hours after we had released the Creative Commons broschure under CC BY-NC-SA licence, until it was translated into English! Swedish version here: