What we are presenting is the educational methodology that we apply in the Master in e-Administration and which has been evolving (for good, we guess) along the five years of existence of these postgraduate studies.
The communication begins with a presentation of the master, its eminently professional-aimed approach, its multidisciplinary approach (partly due to the multidisciplinary origin of our students: hi-level public servants, lawyers and computer scientists) and its stress in digital competence.
We explain how we are using the following tools to get to our goals:
Blogs (actually a blog which acts as an RSS aggregator);
slides or presentations (made by the students, not the teachers);
wikis + online debates; and
My speech goes from 2:35 to 12:50
The full text of the communication is in Spanish but the slides can be both downloaded in English and Spanish:
Within the framework of the workshop Participation and new technologies: challenges and opportunities organized by the Diputació de Barcelona, I have imparted the two first sessions (29 april and 5 may 2011):
Introduction to the Web 2.0, a really elementary approach to what is the Web 2.0, including a small choice of tools that are more commonly used in e-Participation;
The Web 2.0 in the public agora, which includes a categorization of Web 2.0 tools and applications and a long showcase of these tools and applications in practice.
The materials are in Catalan (though they are, I guess, easy to follow without much understanding of the language) and, as I said, they are really introductory to the topics. Here they are:
The second session was led by Ivan Serrano and myself, and presenting some preliminary results of a small research project we are both taking part in, along with other members of the GADE research group.
The goal of the session was to make a brief introduction to some web 2.0 tools and applications, and see how they had been put into practice in some localities. Our approach was neither to remain in the theoretical level nor to focus on the tool, but, on the contrary, to see what tools fit better in what participation purposes and goals.
Tools and applications
So, the first distinction I made was to tell tools (a way to do things, e.g. a blog) from applications (the different incarnations of tools, e.g. WordPress, Blogger, Typepad…). This distinction is relevant because we might find better applications for a specific use/tool than the most popular ones. Thus why focussing on the concept, not the service.
Directionality, quantitative: one-to-one, one-to-many, many to many.
Competences: basic, advanced, expert.
Platform: phone, Internet, both.
Though I believe the Platform will be deprecated because of the increasing pervasiveness of smartphones, that render it quite irrelevant.
Concerning applications, the main classification types are:
Kind of tool.
Cost: free, freemium, payment.
Hosting: installation, online service, both.
Mashable: open API or similar.
The latter a last-minute addition and that might well explain part of the success of the most popular tools, as mashability enables ubiquity of the tool, thus making possible to bridge all the tools one is using.
Slides 6 & 7 show a simplified matrix where the above mentioned categories are crossed:
Ivan went on with the applied cases, among others the following:
He ended up with some preliminary conclusions that came after the analysis of the preceding (and many other) participation initiatives. They seemed to be gathered in two groups and with different aims and characteristics:
Initiatives aimed at community building, characterized by being open, relational, fostering engagement, using free tools and aiming at a networked participation.
Policy oriented initiatives, characterized by being more formal (or formalized), focussing at decision-taking and representation, using own platforms and more “traditional” participation means.
Though all what we presented in this session is still in a draft stage, we believe that some interesting insights come from the e-participation experiences on the purposes-tools relationship. All in all, hi-engagement approaches demand more participatory and horizontal tools, and more top-down or traditional ones also demand traditional 1.0 tools. The error being, of course, first choosing the coolest 2.0 tool and then forcing the institution or the process to (against nature) adapt to the tool.
I had the luck to attend the fourth and last session of the Workshop on youth participation in youth policies — participated by local administration officers to explore new ways to engage the youth in public affairs —, this one focused on the role of ICTs in youth participation.
The session had three parts: a first one consisting in a brainstorm of challenges and opportunities, a second one on tools an case analysis, and a third one on proposals, unreported because it looked very much like the first part, but rephrased.
The first part, excellently facilitated by Manel Ruiz i Victor Garcia from INDIC, was based on Edward de Bono‘s Six Thinking Hats, where you perform a brainstorm of ideas under a specific approach (“wearing a hat”) and repeat it for all different approaches (we actually only did it for four “hats”). These approaches or colour hats are:
White: objective data, raw information. No feelings, no interpretation.
Yellow: optimism, positive thinking.
Black: what can go wrong. Caution, critical assessment.
Red: emotions, feelings, intuitions.
Green: possibilities, possible alternatives, creativeness.