Franz Nahrada and SSL workshop

Thank you Franz for sending me the information (including application form) about the workshop on "Streaming, Sharing and Learning (SSL) – The options for and the use of Interactive Digital Video over long distances in adult education". In your (personal) email you asked me to help you get the message out to the right people, and so I am replying to you through a dadamac open letter. This way it will be easy to share this with others now and later.

Thank you for encouraging me to apply. I would appreciate the opportunity to do what the workshop offers and "look into the possibilities of connecting learning communities especially in disadvantaged areas, using broadband video".

Relevance to Dadamac

Certainly the workshop is very relevant to Dadamac. The learning communities that we are concerned with are in very disadvantaged areas. Allthough we are not yet able to use broadband video to solve those problems, we are always planning ahead. We still have some serious bandwidth issues, regarding connections between UK and Nigeria, but things are dramatically improved from when John Dada and I were first in contact, and they keep getting better. We have been able to participate in audio-graphic conferencing in the past, on special occasions (but I think it was with the co-operation of others who would normally have been sharing the connection at Fantsuam and who held back on our behalf).

Taking the long view we are very interested in how all digital technologies can support learning at the proposed Midlands University of Technology (Midlands Uni Tech) as it develops.  The connections between Midlands Uni Tech, Attachab Eco-village, Dadamac Learners, and the Cisco acadamy at Fantsuam Foundation, all point towards overlap with the interests of Global Villages and also with the use of interactive digital video.

Professional dreampartners

I love the expression you used, asking me to encourge my "professional dreampartners" to apply. It got me thinking - what exactly would that mean, and who would my own "professional dreampartners" be? I guess it would be people who have helped me shape ideas and dreams and plans. I guess the word "professional" points to a "working/studying" context (rather than personal life). I assume "professional" is not there to distinguish between paid and unpaid work (as in professional or amateur).

My professional dreampartners .... I guess it would be easier to name them if I worked with people in a team, on a regular basis, in a shared physical location, doing creative work - the people there might be my "dreampartners". But I don''t belong in that environment.

So who are my dream-partners? Who are the people who help me to dream and to realise my dreams about education and ICT and the changing nature of learning opportunities in the 21st century? I guess you could say that anyone who has helped me to bounce ideas around and develop them has been a dream partner - even if only for a very short fragment of a dream. Howver I think that to count as a full dreampartner people need to be around for longer, and have greater areas of shared interest - so perhaps my professional dreampartners  are people who I recognise as my teachers and enablers.

Teachers and enablers

Who then are my teachers and enablers? These are the ones who first spring to mind:

John Dada:

John's vision and projects in rural Nigeria gives me practical opportunities for innovative collaborative work related to new approaches to learning.

Andrius Kulikauskas:

Through his "Orchard of Thoughts" (Minciu Sodas), Andrius Kulikauskas gave me the online space to explore any ideas I wanted to, and, like a bee buzzing from tree to tree, he cross-pollinated my ideas and thoughts with those of others in Minciu Sodas (introducing me to so many wonderful people and groups along the way). Having free use of his facilities  (especially the inter-related discussion groups and the chat room) has enabled me to try things out in practice as well as discussing them, and his open and challenging discussions of thorny issues has also been a great stimulus to my own thinking. To me, my  time at Minciu Sodas has given me opportunities for study and research that I might otherwise only have got by enrolling for a higer degree at a traditional university.

Helmut Leitner:

Helmut helped me to "get unstuck" with Dadamac by offering his knowledge of pattern-languages as a framework, and then giving me his time for regular weekly sessions of thinking things through.

Limiting the list

This list of people who help me to learn could go on and on - ranging from people who help me think in theoretical ways to people who help me to do very practical things. However, you won't want my full list, just those are interested in Streaming, Sharing and Learning (SSL) – The options for and the use of Interactive Digital Video over long distances in adult education. Also your workshop is limited to people in Europe. I think that narrows it down to some academics I connect with - and you.

Including academics

To be honest, I am reluctant to encourage academics to take your precious places, as academics are able to go to so many other workshops all the time at no cost to themselves.  However, we do want to help enable communication between practitioners and academics and it is hard for practitioners to attend the conferences where academics gather, so perhaps this might be an opportunity to cross that divide. if you are encouraging academics (or "an academic") to attend let me know and I will pass the information on.




Thank you for helping us getting the message out. We have received the first applications, but we are still open and hope to receive more. We know we set up a little buerocratic procedure, but I consider this absolutely necessary to filter out people who dont really mean it.

I think the idea is also to connect people from broadband - rich environments to "do the right thing" and be inspired from people who are deeply involved in community work to find out the details. The different approaches from our partiucipants are as much key as the common goal.

Your assumption about professional dreampartners are totally right. I will not comment on the people you mention but I am in touch with Andrius and Helmut.

We have not to limit ourselves to academics, although for academics it is much easier to justify going on a learning trip for almost 2 weeks. We talked to a Polish regional governor and he agreed he would support the coming of "media champions" from village education centers in his region. So maybe a combined approach would be good. As I said, time is very critical and the deadline is approaching fast, so please get your application in as soon as possible.