Tag Archives: netsquared

On a recruitment drive – #net2welly

NetSquared Wellington winter event flierThis spring NetSquared Wellington will be hosting a day-long unconference for changemakers, people working in their grassroots communities and communicators in NGOs. We will offer a day for people to learn from each other about putting technology to good use.

There is a team of stellar organisers working on details at the moment, with a notice about a date coming out soon.

In the meantime, we’ve got a programme of lunchtime learning events. These are free, fun and great for networking as well as learning.

If you know of anyone that you think might be interested in attending, you could suggest they look at the NetSquared Wellington meet-up page, or you could give or send them a brochure. Digital versions attached here, or I can post out a hardcopy if this you reckon this will be more convincing.

Upcoming meet-ups:

Cyclists heading on a journey, on social media, Tuesday 26 May 2015
Some successes and secrets from the very active Cycle Aware Wellington.

Social Media Surgery, Wednesday 1 July 2015
Book-in to get one-to-one advice from a social media professional. Co-hosted by the Community Comms Collective (www.communitycomms.org.nz).

Making the most of Google for Nonprofits, Tuesday 28 July 2015
An introduction to Google’s super grant.

RSVP without delay.

Attachment:
NetSquared_Brochure_May2015_PRINT (PDF 1.2MB)

No #net2welly website yet, but we have a plan

NetSquared Wellington website plan: very messy writing on whiteboardWhen I turned up to facilitate the “A new #Net2Welly website in an hour?” meetup yesterday, I was prepared to get stuck in with website installation and design.

I had hosting arranged with Crazy Domains, and checked they had WordPress ready to install at the push of a button. I’d already paid $14.95 for the net2welly.org.nz domain.

The plan was to work in small groups on different aspects of website development. I envisages people working at three or four tables covering: installation and set-up; graphic design; structure and content; and testing/ launch.

With only half of the 12 people who RSVP’d actually in the room — poor turnouts being one of the drawbacks of the informal meetup format — these plans quickly changed. It made sense to work as single group.

And we didn’t go anywhere near the control panel, DNS set-up or plugin directories. Instead, we arrived at the end of our hour long workshop with a plan.

Skipping the talking part of the process and essentially doing things on the fly would most likely have a led to a train web wreck. Maybe not fatal, but highly likely a site heading off the rails. Discussion what will be valuable our community and narrowing the focus are fundamental starting points.

As we started Alan Royal shared Rudyard Kipling’s timeless advice: “I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all i knew); Theirs names are What and Why and When And How And Where and Who.”

And that’s exactly what we covered: our goals, linkages with the big picture NetSquared vision, how would the website sit alongside other community IT initiatives in Wellington, who is the audience, what content could we easily co-create as volunteers, how will people interact, and what will it take to ensure the website is accessible to all.

Ultimately, we had to decide whether a website will be a valuable addition to communities in Wellington. After a round where everyone had their say, the answer was yes. Our goal is offer a virtual extension of our regular NetSquared Wellington meetings: part learning, part networking, part social.

As well as meetup and other event notices, we plan to share short posts about stuff we learn about using technology for social change. Maybe this is from a workshop or webinar network members attend. Or perhaps brave experiments with coding or online communication.

Anyone willing to abide by some simple community guidelines will be able to create and add a blog post. Brave stuff in a world where everyone constantly pleads they’re “busy, busy, busy”. Busy, schmbusy: we’ll give it ago.

Other ideas we’ll explore include:

  • a project space that could connect people with IT needs with those with skills to offer
  • a page with resources or sign-posts about essential, useful online tools and ways of doing stuff
  • sharing the good words and connecting people via a popular social network (or two).

First we have to build the website, something we’re due to begin together on Tuesday 12 August. Come along, all fingers and devices at the ready.

Even though we didn’t actually build the #net2welly website in the allocated hour, we’re off to a great start.

Thoughts on a NetSquared trophy

Photo of Net2 trophy, printed using 3d printerThe trophy pictured here is more than what it seems.

It shows the potential for us as global citizens to share good ideas and practical tools to make the world a better place. Anyone with a 3-D printer and crafty fingers can print off and construct the trophy.

Designed by MBau3d in Guatemala, the trophy was handed out at the recent Central America and Mexico NetSquared regional netcamp. The STL (STereoLithography) files needed have been generously shared by mBau3d.

While I’ve heard stories about printing prosthetics, pumps and plastic parts, it wasn’t until I unzipped the 900KB folder and saw the actual files for the trophy that I realised how easily technology could be transferred.

Now code alone isn’t enough. Knowhow and confidence are crucial. A framework like Creative Commons to ensure intellectual property is respected is helpful. But without trust and a sense of affinity between people, nothing will be freely offered to others.

That’s why international movements such as NetSquared are so important: they foster sharing, both locally and globally. When we get together with others a lot is possible: we can learn about what is possible, inspire and support one another, and share what we know.

The 50 #net2 active groups are meeting all the time (see “Together we’re strong”). For those of us in Aotearoa, there are some upcoming opportunities to participate.

NetSquared Wellington is coming up to it’s second birthday, 18 meetups down the track. In June we are talking: Advocacy – how can using a digital soap box work for you?

The Auckland Net2 meetup group will resume meeting again on Tuesday 8 July, with Vivian Chandra and Stuart Young taking co-leadership. The title of the upcoming meetup asks it all “#net2aklREVIVE : So what is #tech4good anyway?”

For anyone interested in setting up a NetSquared group in Christchurch or Dunedin, you’re welcome to join a conversation with me and others next month:

  1. 5.30pm Wednesday 16 July, Joe’s Garage, 7 Leslie St, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch
  2. 12.15pm Thursday 17 July, Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place, Dunedin. RSVP/ details

While using the web and other technology gives us a reason to meet, it’s the possibility of working together where the real promise lies.

I’m looking forward to the day when someone turns up to a meetup to show us how to print out a trophy. Or perhaps something of our own design.

CAD file showing 3d printer file

Mbau3d: “We share the trophy that will be delivered in #netsquaredgt the best project 🙂
EDIT: downloadable files source of this trophy in the link below!”
http://bit.ly/1o4QCHO

Meeting #net2 organisers on the Gold Coast

Exceptionally dark clouds threatening rain over Gold Coast towersThere is nothing better than sitting down, face-to-face to enthuse with other community organisers about things like nonprofit technology, running dynamic meetups and the state of the world.

Add to this a beach vista, ocean breeze and warm temperatures. Then throw in Australia’s largest nonprofit technology conference.

This is what NetSquared co-organisers in Australia and New Zealand will be doing next week.

Fresh air and walking workshops are the order of the day as co-organisers meet to learn from each other about how to run thriving NetSquared networks in their respective cities.

We’re meeting at the northern end of the 57 kilometre beach which runs past the Gold Coast in Queensland. We’ll join over 300 participants at the annual Connecting Up conference.

A highlight of the two day event is a keynote by former #net2 Portland (OR), London, and NYC organiser, and now CEO of NTEN.org, Amy Sample Ward.

Attending the conference will be an opportunity to tell many people about what NetSquared is all about. As well as promoting participation in the active networks, another aim is to encourage co-organises in other cities to step forward.

The co-organisers participating are:

The meet-up is one of other similar upcoming events aimed at strengthening the NetSquared movement. These are happening in:

  • Latin America with Maria Zaghi of NetSquaredGT
  • Pacific Northwest with Elijah van der Giessen of Net2Van
  • UK and Europe with Mel Findlater of Net2Camb Cambridge Net Squared, TBD
  • East Coast USA with Judy Huntress Hallman of NCTech4Good

You can expect to hear back from us not only about the invigorating strolls, but also about how NetSquared will continue to grow and evolve in our part of the world.

Three cheers for support for NetSquared from the awesome folk at TechSoup and Connecting Up!

Photo credit: paul bica

Attending NTC in person, in Washington DC

Summary of NTC sessions highlighted in bright colours,

Over the past few weeks I’ve been pouring over the Nonprofit Technology Conference (#14ntc) programme.

Making choices about what to attend is a lot harder when attending in person, than it is when joining online.

A major obstacle when ‘attending’ the online version of the huge three day conference is not so much choice of sessions, but the timing. As the annual techfest is hosted in one large US city or another, it means the morning sessions start at a ridiculously, early hour.

Nevertheless I managed to catch some sessions when I’ve registered in the past. These have been both relevant and irreverent.

Somewhat fortuitously back in 2012 — in a this-is-meant-to-be-kinda-way — I watched NetSquared Vancouver co-organiser Elijah van der Giessen being interviewed in one of the conference intermissions.

Spurred by tales of learning, dress-ups and other mad-cap escapades, I set the wheels in motion to form a local Wellington #net2 network.

Skip ahead two years, my involvement in the NetSquared community is taking me to Washington DC.

The #14ntc conference (13-15 March) is secondary to the main reason I’ll be in town. Either side of the conference I’ll be workshopping, learning, chatting and plotting with fellow NetSquared ambassadors, other NetSquared co-organisers from across North America, and some of the TechSoup team.

After many conference calls, FB updates and online sessions, I’m really excited at the prospect of swapping notes with my fellow regional ambassadors Maria, Excel and Mel. We’ve lots to share about how tech/ web is being used by communities in West Africa, Central America, and Europe.

As well seeing the monumental sites in Washington DC, I’ll spend a few days in San Francisco on my way home. I’m particularly looking forward to chatting with the irrepressible Beth Kanter, on her home turf.

My trip is only possible because my wonderful partner Roz will tend to the home fires. I’m chuffed at sponsorship from @TechSoup, and support from my bosses at @goodresearch and @nzdrug.

If you want to see which of the 100- plus sessions I end up joining in, I’ll share a few pics and notes about what I do, see and hear. See my storify story or follow #SBinDC.

From coffee to 603 chalkle° classes

Silvia Zuur, chalkle° co-founder, presenting to #net2welly meetup

Chalkle° offers proof that if you’re prepared to ask provocative questions, you will get some amazing results.

The question chalkle°’s co-founders Silvia Zuur and Linc Gasking sat down over a coffee to ponder on was: “what does enabling life long learning in all communities look like?”

Just over a year after having that first cuppa, the chalkle° adult learning program in Wellington has run 603 classes with 4,500 people participating.

Silvia expanded on the answer to the confounding question with participants at NetSquared Wellington’s October meetup.

At it’s core Chalkle° connects willing teachers with people who want to learn. Technology supports new ways of unlocking knowledge otherwise inaccessible within communities.

Seven weeks after the now infamous coffee, the pair set up the beginnings of a learning network. The core of this is supporting teachers to run classes. Chalkle° handles all the non-teaching parts of the process, such as room bookings, registrations and promotion. Plus gives vital support and encouragement.

Anyone can be a teacher. Chalkle° leaves it up to the learners to decide whether a teacher knows their stuff.

Anyone can sign-up to receive alerts about new courses. Now 8-10 classes are run each week, with 10 people on average participating. Fees charged are low, to ensure everyone can access learning.

The topics have been many and varied: ukele, new economics, computer coding, makeup for beginners, and Spanish en el restaurant.

Venues are often outside the formal classroom. Learning has taken place everywhere from an organics shop floor (out of opening hours), Deloitte’s boardroom, Innermost community garden and in the Wellington railway station lobby.

That chalkle° has achieved such an enormous amount in short is clearly due to the determination and passion of Silvia and her co-co-founder. It’s also down to the philosophy they’ve adopted: start simple and go for there.

A good example is collecting fees and paying teachers process. It started on paper, moved to a spreadsheet in Google Docs and will soon be handled by a custom-built platform.

Having come up with a working model, the latest provocative question for Chalkle’s chiefs is to find a way of keeping things going. A new software platform is being built, and a social franchise model is being explored.

The NetSquared Wellington meetup session with Silvia was very inspiring and provoked much discussion. In the end, we didn’t talk much about the technology as we were too interested in the learning revolution going on.

Chalkle° on the web:

BTW: the name chalkle° is a made-up word: it’s a verb from “chalk” used on blackboards and street art to share ideas.