(Updated by Pamela McLean October 2013)
Dadamac Day is an annual celebration of the Dadamac Community, held in November. See below for the early approach to Dadamac Day, which was originally only connected with the Teachers Talking group. Over the years the emphasis has shifted to the wider Dadamac Commmunity meeting on the Internet, and we no longer organise a "physical location re-union celebration party" at Fantsuam. The way we mark Dadamac Day year by year reflects what is currently happening.
(Written by Pamela McLean September 2009)
Dadamac Day is an annual celebration which is held online and at Fantsuam Foundation.
Dadamac Day grew from TT-online, which is part of the Teachers Talking (TT) course. TT-online was a bit of serendipity that came about because Pam habitually runs to the Internet for help. When she sought help for planning TT various bandwith-rich people got involved, and so TT-Online and Dadamac Day were born. Dadamac Day is something that has gradually evolved as part of a wider picture.
The yahoo group
When John and Pam started planning TT they were simply using emails, and copying in a few key people. Then Pam decided she wanted some more up to date information to feed into the course, so she set up her first online group - a yahoo group. She invited some of her online contacts to join the group, John brought in key contacts from Fantsuam Foundation, the group took off, planning began, and the seeds of Dadamac Day had been sown..
By the time Pam set out from the UK to present the course at FF the TT group had planned all the practical details. The course would have various elements, including some time online. The TT group had also gathered resources in a wiki, an online "information cupboard" which Pam could dip in to during the course, guided by the interests of the participants. (Pam has worked as an infant teacher, and always feels more comfortable with a well stocked resource cupboard than with a set curriculum. As she says "How can I decide what I'm going to teach people until I find out, face to face, what they're really ready to learn?").
The bandwith-rich and bandwidth-starved contrast
The people Pam had invited to the TT yahoo group were from bandwidth rich backgrounds, and computers had become part of their everyday lives. By contrast, for most participants TT would be the first time they had seen a computer. The participants were living and teaching in places where there were not even any phones - far less any connections to the Internet. Some of the TT yahoo group found it hard to remember (or imagine) life before computers. As they helped to prepare the course they were learning about the realities of teaching in rural Nigeria. Seeing the value, to both sides, of this online flow of information influenced subsequent Dadamac activites.
Connecting with each other
When the course was ready some of the bandwidth-rich members of the group wanted to meet the participants and continue being involved. It was therefore decided to invite the TT participants to join the TT group as their very first experience of the Internet. Thus it was that, on the first afternoon of the course, TT-Online was born. The course participants in rural Nigeria went on line and found a very personal welcome waiting for them. Over the next few days, through the TT group, they met new friends elsewhere in Africa, in UK, and in America. They exchanged greetings and information, and people fmailiar with the wiki helped the "newbies" to find what they needed in the onine information cupboard.
The first annual celebration
A year later the organisers had a last-minute idea of having an online re-union to celebrate the anniversary of TT. Of course it wasn't possible to send invitations by SMS or email - and there was no reliable postal service either. It took a volunteer two days of driving around on a motor-bike to contact the people who had participated and deliver their invitations. Amazingly some managed to turn up and to participate in a UK-Nigeria yahoo chat.
Development of Dadamac Day
Over the years our annual reunions have developed (more about Dadamac Days on 2008 and 2009 and 2010 ). Dadamac Day consists of an online get-together of the Dadamac virtual community (scattered far and wide) connecting with people at an on-the-ground group celebration at Fantsuam. It is a celebration of friendships and collaborations, and of people working and learning together, in ways that were never possible before the Internet.