I'm constantly baffled and bewildered by the gap that exists between what I read on the Internet about ICT4D, and the reality that I meet on the ground. I long to help bridge the gap between academics and practitioners. I was therefore delighted to discover a student exploring the topic, and saddened, but not surprised at his difficulties. He wrote:
1 - What and how
I have benefitted greatly, in my thinking and knowledge, through attending the lunchtime seminars organised by CDE (the Centre for Distance Education) at London University. This week it was a workshop: Finding and Evaluating Open Educational Resources. If the topic of OERs interests you then the link is well worth clicking. It includes a useful slide share of the presentation that happened before we did our practical.
My dream for the Dadamacadamy is that it will become a centre for research and learning. This is already starting to happen in a small way.
The Dadamacadamy will not provide taught courses. It will do three interrelated things:
- Provide an environment for practice-based learning and reflection.
- Create a repository of knowledge.
- Make available its knowledge and networks through collaborative research and consultancy.
Provide an environment for practice based learning and reflection.
People who have shared concerns will cluster together in the Dadamacadamy to consider what they're doing, and to share what they are learning. The Dadamacadamy will enable peer-based learning of the highest order - driven, not by a desire for accreditation, but by passionate concerns and the need to know.
Create a repository of knowledge.
The knowledge that people bring, and the new knowledge that they create together, will be collected together at Dadamacadamy and made freely available.
Thank you for your rapid response to my initial comment on your blog. I am glad that you know first hand the differences in the two cultures (ie of academics and of practitioners). I agree completely that “bridging these two realities (which they are) is usually not an easy thing to do”. If there are to be any bridges it seems we have to be active bridge builders.
I was delighted today to read Mike Gurstein's blog Thoughts on Research as an Element in Telecentre Community Informatics Practice and so I commented on it. I was encouraged because I am always looking for opportunites to close the gaps between academics and practitioners - and he is keen to do that too.
Dadamac actively supports closer collaboration between academics and practitioners. We are interested in the theory behind the practical work that we do, especially, but not only, related to ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development), ICT4Ed (ICT for Education), eco-technology,health, and design patterns. As an organisation, Dadamac is reflective, analysing much of what it does, and so we welcome opportunities to work with researchers and teachers.
This email is a progress report about organising our online academic-practitioners forum. I am publishing this email on my personal space at dadamac.net, as well as sending you a personal email, so I will briefly go over old ground before moving on.