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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Technologies - the solution.

If I was paid a euro for every time someone asked me - "but what's the best technology to use" for our community of practice I would be a rich lady! But, being someone with integrity, I'm rather poor. Instead I hum and ha and say, well ... you know .. it depends ... and .. um... really I need to know more about the context.

Let's be straight about it. There is no right answer. And anyone who tells you that they have "the solution" is either new to the game or has something to sell.

I'm working on a technology proposal with Nancy White - who is one of the most experienced people there is for working with communities and technology - and between us we have spent a good many hours in the last few days building up a picture and a context for the group we are designing for.

We've started with some questions that Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John Smith suggest in their report on Technology for communities:
* What are the community activities that need to be supported?
* What is the technological context (access to Internet/ broadband, skills, budget)?
* What is the range of media to use (synchronous, asynchronous audio etc.)

We are also looking at people's different needs and expectations, especially those of:
* the project funders;
* the participants in the group;
* mine and Nancy's.

Also, the participants come from four different countries - what are the specific needs and expectations of people from different countries that we need to be considering?

We are opting for Web2.0 technologies (rather than a plataforma) because of the opportunities they offer for intersecting and networking and we've started thinking of everything from the simple, like mailings lists and discussion groups, to wikis, blogs and something more integrated like CollectiveX. Every technology and every combination of technologies has its advantages and disadvantages. And no one combination will be perfect for a diverse group with different levels of technology and community knowledge and skills.

In the meantime a base line criteria is that any technology we use must have RSS feeds. Not so much for the members of the community (most people still have difficulty with feeds) but we need to be able to integrate the feeds into the system we eventually choose.

Nancy and I, different timezones (Seattle, Setúbal) are planning and doing things in Basecamp with its shared "to do" lists, scheduling and whiteboards and in eSnips for shared documents. Except that it doesn't have an RSS feed eSnips is great fun ... you can even design your own little folder icon. It's those simple pleasures!

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Blogger Nancy White said...

I realized I need to go back to our notes and look at the emerging design criteria.

A few were:

* must have RSS
* must keep it simple and not get carried away with our personal love of new tools

4/24/2006 03:50:00 AM  

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