Photo: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a South Korean school videoconferencing with pupils at an Australian school in Armidale, New South Wales
In the previous blog I noted with appreciation how the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has grasped the potential of schools using technology to connect directly with counterpart schools Asia.
We at village-connections believe that schools could be even more productive if they were also nestled in well-connected villages.
Dr Hazel Ashton has researched ways of enhancing local connectedness (face-to-face within the village as well as externally, with the world beyond) by using increasingly accessible on-line screen technologies (mobiles, web, film) – see a short article in Future Times (2004) Information Communication Technologies – to make or break community?
Using film to simulate local place development in the context of a global recession, for her doctorate, Hazel constructed a participatory methodology for the co-creation of local development narratives based on:
1. understanding better what is going on locally from diverse perspectives
2. developing a shared vision of the futures villagers might want
3. uncovering, together, practical steps towards this vision
See a trailer of “The Silent Connectors” – a film-based methodology for the local co-exploration of desirable futures
More recently, Hazel submitted a proposal for an online currency exchange and networking application for building social, cultural and creative capital in the context of on-going face-to-face interaction in a shared local environment. See Campus Connections
The locally well-connected villages such as could develop from the likes of Hazel’s methodologies could in turn connect more effectively to the wider world by using social media to help build up sister city/area connections – see Innovative Sister City Networking for Global Solutions
This could usefully involve educational organizations (local primary through to tertiary) and business, media and other interested organizations in a given city, or other area that wished to participate, utilizing social media to relate to counterparts in sister areas in other parts of the world.
I have further proposed a three-way infrastructure to enable this to be done to greater effect. This infrastructure would involve New Zealand cities and other areas that wished to connecting with counterpart organizations in three kinds of areas overseas:
This communications infrastructure would enable increasingly well-connected local networks of villagers in New Zealand to support one another to better acquaint themselves, and build connections, with villages in other parts of the world.
A great strength of such structured relationship-building is that it could enable people to grow up aware, and supporting one another to become more aware, of diverse ways of seeing and living in the world. Innovative and highly effective networks, locally-grounded but also globally connected, would be able to come together to address all sorts of issues and accomplish all sorts of goals.
These kinds of experiences would enable:
Which could support, for instance:
In smaller countries much more than in larger, more powerful ones people need to situate themselves well to engage effectively with one another and with the wider world. That is, if they and their country truly wish to define and create their own destiny in a future where they can all do well together – and help others elsewhere to do the same.
If the new global knowledge economy brings new challenges to this task, information technologies usable by all also bring new tools. These tools, and ways they can be most effectively utilized need to be able to be identified by citizens with the support as needed of relevant social scientists, ICT professionals and political decisionmakers.
This blog has sought to demonstrate how social diversities can utilize such technologies together to connect creatively from the grass roots upwards and address much more effectively the economic, ecological and other issues facing villages, nations and the wider world.
At Village-connections we are interested in developing frameworks and methodologies that enable these things to be done more effectively. As Professor James Liu says, there is a need to learn how to create more pie instead of fighting over continually diminishing pieces of it (Radio NZ interview)
Your comments and questions are most welcome.