Following Up

In the last post, I had indicated that there was some more reflection coming regarding the #140conference in mid-June, and given the fact that my life has been scrambled as of late due to some interesting elements coming together, I figured now was as good a time as any to try to pull together some clarity.

The format of the conference was like a mini-TED in that each speaker was given such a small window to develop their point and deliver their message to the crowd in a fashion that would let us into their world and make us want more.

The first of the presenters to really pull me in on something other than starpower (see @anncurry) were AJ and Melissa Leon.  A husband and wife team, they go to change the way that NGO’s approach not only how they raise funds, but also how those that donate the funds for use in developing nations see their, for lack of a better term, “return on investment.”  They are part of AJ and Melissa Leon and equipping NGO’s and relief organizations with the tools to be transparent, but in a way that takes advantage of social media and some surprisingly available technology.

The work that AJ and Melissa spoke about took place in a village called Ola Nagele in Kenya, not unlike other villages that have seen the benefit of foreign money or foreign aid in the form of NGO’s and Western volunteers.  However, through the work that AJ and Melissa did in setting up the Ola Nagele blog and system of “on-the-ground” reporters.  They used the ubiquitous penetration of 3G signals in Kenya to equip several of the villagers with mobile phones and a tumblr account so that they can chronicle the events that occur as aid from the western world arrives and projects are completed.  Go check out their work.  They do more with a mobile phone and a broadband connection than most of us do with our $2000 laptops and blazing connections.

And we worry about allowing our students to use their phones for meaningful work?  As if…

Next up: Tim Armstrong and the birth of hyperlocal.


2 thoughts on “Following Up

  1. Wondering…how can this type of “on the ground” reporting can be translated into journalism or writing for our students even at the lower grades? Consider the impact of Ushahidi and citizen participation in post-earthquake Haiti, Kenyan elections and more.

    I think this model provides great ideas for creating meaningful, purposeful, community-oriented writing projects for our students. Sounds much more interesting than a 5 paragraph essay on Catcher in the Rye. Thanks for this post.

  2. Daniel,

    Sorry for the delay in responding–it’s been an odd month–and thanks for commenting on his one. The impact of things like this could be phenomenal, especially when it’s tied into the immediacy that social media enables. No longer do we have to wait for the letter or the email from the group we are waiting to hear from. Now it’s a blog post or a twitter/FB update.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s