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Blog Action Day in Birmingham – a social media surgery for voluntary orgs. October 7, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Call for help, Meeting, social media.
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Birmingham bloggers get involved in Blog Action Day. We’ll keep a track of ongoings and post any relevant stuff as and when.

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Gmail As A Gateway October 1, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Meeting, social media.
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I’m finding that the more meetings I have with interested groups or individuals, helps me define the We Share Stuff aims, provision and what not. An example is the meeting we had with Service Birmingham over at the Aston Pride Project. I was explaining how our service users would connect to our programme, be it a single blog or a range of Internet applications and how to do this simply and possibly, most effectively (thus far) was to sign up for an online email account such as Googlemail. As so many online applications now require an email address to use them, this would provide a gateway to all the online stuff that would be needed. Mike Farmer from Service B’ham picked up on that we were using an email account for this specific purpose and not for what email was originally intended for – communication by sending emails to one another.

I didn’t realise at first that we were doing this, but it’s all part of resourcing applications to meet the objectives. Over the past five years I’ve found myself using Internet resources for many more things than they were intended for. Another recent example would be the Birmingham created I So Wish. This little online application lets users enter their name and make a wish. Really, really simple. I added it my list of online resources in helping me identify possible Literacy issues with low IT skilled service users.

Since starting this project we set up a delicious account and began tagging applications that might be of benefit.  Always a work in progress but this will get included in the main We Share Stuff site as a shared resource.

Welcome Mr Hickman July 29, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in chat with us, Meeting.
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Informal meet-up with Jon Hickman at the Station, Sutton Coldfield last night. He’s coming on board the project in some shape or form as it develops. I bumped into Jon via twitter and the Sutton Festival of Arts which he chaired this year. I went along to the festival to take a few pictures but as it turned out, we have a few similar goals in the community / education fields too. Jon currently works for BCU and has worked in the community delivering IT / media training. His background also extends to web design, printing and marketing.

Notes from OCN meeting Friday 11th July 08 July 15, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Informal learning, Meeting, NBSE, social media.
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I met with Sue Barton at OCN in Stoke last Friday to discuss the project and how OCN fits into the whole set up. Again, the project got the thumbs up from Sue and we found ourselves agreeing on many things specifically around the whole Adult Education / IT / Learning areas. Initially, I was keen to explore the potential of new courses / units based on our Web2.0 platform but found myself having a “a-ha!” moment when Sue suggested utilising the existing portfolio. Having looked at the unit requirements and outcomes I am more than confident that we can use their framework to deliver recognised and relevant qualifications. I am still keen to explore the development of a new course(s) but at this stage of the project, I think the OCN route seems feasible.

First thoughts are that the project aims to deliver the NOCN Entry Level Award for Progression (Entry 3). This qualification has a certain flexibility in it’s delivery options and can easily map the projects aims / issues such as engagement, worklessness and confidence. “These quals develop the skills and knowledge that will enable people to progress to further / higher education or employment” (OCN). Without going into too much detail, each participant would undertake a series of sessions totalling approx 30 hours. In these sessions, they would cover areas such as personal learning programmes, job seach skills, interview techniques, internet & email usage (There are many existing units to choose from and as a project, we need to decide which will be most suitable) but with our project twist of everything delivered using social media / web2.0 applications, including all the evidencing and reporting plus anything else we can think to chuck in to the mix.

So while we have that task to work through, we also need the project to become a registered OCN centre. So apart from the usual form filling stuff, this is actually taking us somewhat down the route of a real structure for the project..marvelous! These things obviously don’t happen for free, but we built in the centre recognition costs into our project startup bid through UNLTD, which we’re still awaiting news on.

18th June Meeting Roundup June 19, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in Call for help, chat with us, Meeting, NBSE, Social Enterprise, social media.
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A meeting was held to discuss any possible direction for the project and we came out of it with a few things to look into. For me, these early sessions are all about gauging interest in the idea and I now think we have a core of people ready to start moving things forward. Last night Kev, Jon and myself discussed a few ideas and straight away, I wanted to highlight the issue of participants in the project. For many different reasons, a lot of people who have expressed an interest in NBSE, simply don’t have the time to commit to what looks like a pretty big project. All three of us last night commented that we too have time and commitment issues and therefore, are looking long term for the project. As we are blogging our progress, it will be open for people to come onboard and contribute as and when. There’s a lot of experience and skill out there that this kind of project would benefit from and we’ll keep the facebook group open for those to be involved as we progress.

Location & transport
One of the first subjects raised was that of premises and location. My initial thoughts were to have any activity centralised at a possible N brum training centre. Both Kev and Jon saw the delivery as being more mobile and definitely saw the project as more of an outreach service. Both, of course, sounds ideal and this gave us something definite to start visualising and forming ideas. Jon then raised the issue of the lack of transport within the area, especially where buses are concerned. This led us to discuss Nbrum boundaries and how far and where we should provide our service to. Task born: geographical area of N Birmingham, council borders, transport links,  etc. Also, places with internet access / courses / training ongoing (libraries, schools, community centres, churches etc)

Content & Delivery
We touched upon how social media taster sessions could work for different audiences / areas such as unemployed, probation, health etc and how we’d use a selection of different applications to approach any engagement / learning / informing objectives. We thought it might be useful to try setting some taster sessions up during the summer at various locations to experience how it could work in practise, so another project task was born: To source local training providers to see if we could possibly run some social media taster sessions or even “piggy back” current courses (hijack the lesson)

Meetings
We have a few meetings lined up to help us with the business side of things. A meeting with Unltd takes place Friday 27th and we’re looking to set up a meeting with some of the NIACE folk in the near future. No set date for a progress meeting as yet for members to get together again, but we will probably be looking at something monthly. Of course we have the internet to keep track of everything!

NBSE meeting 18th June June 11, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in beginnings, Meeting.
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There will be an informal meet up to discuss some possible direction for the NBSE project and to meet fellow interested types. It will be on Wednesday 18th June at The Dubliner pub, Digbeth. from 7.30 pm.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Wordcamp UK (Birmingham) May 21, 2008

Posted by Stuart Parker in chat with us, Informal learning, Meeting, NBSE, Social Enterprise, social media.
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WordCamp UK is an informal gathering of WordPress bloggers, podcasters, designers and developers. There is to be an event in July based in Birmingham. As NBSE recognises that blogging has a somewhat prominenet place in our plans / project, we thought it would be a good platform for us and anybody else to discuss our aims and objectives within a specific blogging context. We have requested a slot at the event and will post more information as and when we have it.

As an aside, the wordcamp UK blog has been set up and run by one of the NBSE group members, Mark Steadman.