Tag Archives: wellington

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.

NetSquared_Brochure_May2015_PRINT (PDF 1.2MB)

Sharing EYC unConference gems

Animated discussion about tech topics around table, at EYC unConferenceSpontaneous. Serendipity. These two words are still echoing in my mind from the wrap-up session of the Engage Your Community (EYC) unConference.

At our closing session last Saturday we asked all the co-learners to shout out words about the day. These ‘s’ words really did capture the spirit of out time together.

It may seem a terrifying prospect to start a learning event with a blank agenda. We didn’t know what would be covered. Who would talk. If people would jump in to learn together.

But jump in everyone did. There seemed barely a wasted minute. Discussion about using tech and the web for community was loud and continuous.

Included in the list of topics covered were Google tools, accessibility, basics of web design, responsive design in wordpress, Chalkle community learning and online collaboration. The full agenda is recorded on the front page of the EYC unConference wiki.

The final session was an experiment: we called it speed geeking. In a fast and furious session people learnt about wikis, blogging and URL shorteners.

The topics for this session were chosen through an impromptu voting exercise, and the ‘presenters’ volunteered to speak on the fly. The format had people moving every 10 minutes between the three topic tables.

Our motto for the day was that no burning question would go unanswered. We’ll have to await for the report on the evaluation forms people filled in to see if we achieved this.

As one of the co-organisers, I left happy. My litmus test of success was whether I enjoyed myself and learnt things, and seeing if people stayed until the end. I maybe biased, but I’d say all were achieved.

As for my own learning, I’ve already been following up on some links. These include to site monitoring services like site247x.com and WordPress emulator called Instant WorldPress, sadly Windows only.

Thanks are due to:

  • Andrena for her work coordinating everything
  • Our volunteers on the day – Keith, Eileen and Justine, all NetSquared Wellington stalwarts
  • Massey University for hosting us
  • Microsoft NZ and Wellington City Council for sponsorship support.

When we debrief about the event next week, our agenda includes the question of when to run another unConference. I’ll report back after we talk. If this is something that you’d like to help with, don’t hesitate to raise your hand.

EYC unconference, 22 February 2014EYC unconference, 22 February 2014EYC unconference, 22 February 2014EYC unconference, 22 February 2014EYC unconference, 22 February 2014EYC unconference, 22 February 2014
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EYC unconference, 22 February 2014EYC unconference, 22 February 2014

We’d love to add more photos to this album – get in touch if you’d like some help sharing.

What’s on the EYC unConference programme?

A wordle that captures essence of 2010 unconferenceAn unConference is unlike your everyday conference. Until the day, we do not know the details of what is going to be covered.

The programme is co-created by participants at the beginning of the event. Everyone attending can run a session.

These can take a myriad of formats: presentations, case studies, interactive workshops or even inviting others to respond to your particular challenge or problem.

While there is not a pre-determined agenda, there is a structure and a theme. At the EYC unConference, on Saturday 22 February at Massey University’s Wellington campus, we’re splitting the day into five sessions, each 50 minutes long. There’s difference spaces available for each session.

Our theme is: finding and using the best of what the web has to offer for people working to make the world a better place.

It’s a crazily broad topic which could touch on everything from resizing images, creating mobile apps, database selection through to high level social media engagement strategy.

Ahead of the event, people registering will have chances to share ideas of the specific topics they want to cover.

Ideas are already bubbling away. One of our co-organisers wants to run a speed geeking session: he envisages people rotating around 3-4 rapid fire presentations on essential web tools and skills. As we’ve access to a theatrette at Massey University, we could open the doors for people to share a favourite #nptech video.

Feeling a little uncertain about participating? Here are some ideas from Scott Berkun in 2006 about “How to run a great unconference session”.

Presented with a blank agenda, along with gentle encouragement, people don’t actually run a mile. They dive in. I’m sure it’ll be the same again next month. Come along.

Register now!!!

Engage Your Community (EYC) unconference, Saturday 22 February 2014

Details at: http://eyc-unconference.wikispaces.com/
Registration just $30 per person: http://engage-your-community-unconference.lilregie.com/

Organised by Wellington ICT in partnership with NetSquared Wellington and Massey University.

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.

Come along, Wellington NGO webmasters networking event

Two colums of people facing each other at a speed dating event, by gsalokheI’ve promised to run the inaugural NGO webmasters networking event in a fast paced way. The exact words I’ve used in my promotional messages are “Snappy and fun – no sales pitches – no long speeches.”

I’ve attended many networking events and public meetings where things drag on. At worst, it’s half time before even half the people attending have introduced themselves. Recounting the number of hats being worn may be honest, but it quickly becomes tiresome. This is especially so when a honest bunch of people doing good works are present.

So, I’m going to muster some of the newer techniques to keep my promise. These seem to be largely a by-product of the speed dating phenomena.

I’ve yet to finalise my approach but I’m thinking of using a combination of the following techniques:

  • Business card swap and capturing web addresses on arrival
  • Rapid fire getting to know each other round, with pre-set questions such as website platform, part or full time, biggest challenges, number of web properties
  • Speedy prioritisation of issues on top, maybe including voting
  • Resource sharing in a flash
  • Pairing up with like-minded participants.

Of course the format that best suits the group who come will arise on the night. We’ll have about 90 minutes together including time to have a cuppa and some of my home baking.

If you have any particularly good suggestions for speed networking techniques, you could share your thoughts on this blog post.

At this stage I’m not making any assumptions about what will happen after this first event. For this reason, I’ve set up a simple wiki page to record who attends and any links or resources shared if people desire. It’s too early to imposed an online platforms designed to support networking events (eg MeetUp) as this suggests I know how the networking event will work out. I don’t. Making a decision on the technology to support any future networking is some time off (and depends on whether people want to have stuff recorded, and want to come back).

The networking event is open to all webmasters working for NGOs. There’s no charge to attend. So come along if you’re in Wellington on the day. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone who comes along and the korero.

Wellington NGO networking event details

Date: 5pm, for 5.15pm start, on Tuesday 15 November 2011
Venue: Conference room 1 (upstairs), St Andrews church, 30 The Terrace
Find out more and register

PS I decided to run this even after talking with people at the Connecting Up conferences earlier in the year (see my post “An informal, regular get together for Wellington nfp webmasters?”). After talking with a few people, I ran a poll to check with potential attendees how often they’d like to meet. The responses indicated each month would be about right. So, here goes.

Photo credit: gsalokhe

An informal, regular get together for Wellington nfp webmasters?

After the workshop I ran today on making regular usability tweaks and enhancements to your website at the Connecting Up conference in Wellington I really got the feeling everyone would have liked more time to swap notes, share good stuff and raise other nutty problems.

With a few exceptions, no one was even close to being a full-time webmaster. Most had to keep their website up-to-date on top on a wide range of other duties. Keeping up with trends or digging deeper into particular aspects of usability is generally not a top priority, especially when there’s a wolf to be kept at bay.

This got me thinking that it’d be great to find a way to help people exchange bites of knowledge and get regular infusions of peer support. Rather than waiting for a whole year (or more) for someone to bring together webmasters and other running websites again, why not doing something more often.

Perhaps you can sense what is coming. All this cogitating has led me to share an idea which I’ve been mulling over for a while now: wouldn’t it be good to have a casual, informal get together for people in Wellington running website for tangata whenua, community and voluntary organisations?

Everyone attending decides what they want to cover at the time. There’s plenty of time talk singly (and passionately) over the tea cups. Agree on a few groundrules to keep things lively but respectable. Nothing formal, no positions. No AGM! Just provide a space for people to talk and share.

As this is not an original idea it’ll be easy to some pointers about how to run something like this successfully. There’s already UX, content strategy and other meet-ups happening Wellington.

Is it just me, or would anyone else involved in running a website in the community sector like to talk with others in the same waka?

To move things along, fill in this single question poll about how often it’d be good to organise such a meet-up: http://poll.fm/311l6 (or on the righthandside of this blog →). Or better still add a comment. Single word replies are okay, eg sucks, rocks, etc. I’ll help get things off the ground if anyone is interested.

I’m still digesting the other gleanings from today…. I’ll write more about these over the next week when I’m at the other Connecting Up hui in Auckland and Melbourne.