Tag: netsquareduk

RSA Education Charter on learning and creativity.

Very occasionally I write a post for Thriving (my hat tip for this one), I’m a school governor and also a Fellow of the RSA.  The 250 year old organisation for ideas and social action is just opening its first school in Tipton in the Black Country. As I’ve written before I sometimes find myself astonished/cross by how cautious some of our major institutions are about something as important as education. So I’ve signed up to the RSA’s new educational charter (which you can do here). If you sign it this is what you’ll be supporting:

The Charter

It is the primary purpose of education to awaken a love of learning in young people, and give them the ability and desire to carry on learning throughout life. We need to recognise that education has many aims

Education must nurture creativity and capacity for independent and critical thought.

Young people should leave formal education equipped with the confidence, aptitude and skills they need for life and for work.

Education should help young people to understand how to be happy and to develop and maintain their own emotional, physical and mental well-being.

Every young person has the right to develop to their full potential

Ability comes in many forms and learners need to be supported to enjoy success no matter where their talents lie.

The educational success of learners should not depend on their background. Schools, communities and families must work together to close gaps in attainment.

The curriculum in schools and colleges should balance abstract and practical knowledge so that every learner can access high quality academic and vocational opportunities.

Education should engage the learner with exciting, relevant content and opportunities for learning through experience and by doing.

Education must be a partnership

Learners have a valuable role to play in contributing to the design of their own learning, and in shaping the way their learning environment operates.

The education of young people should be a partnership of schools, parents and the wider community in a local area.

Schools should be inclusive, creative communities which build tolerance, respect and empathy in young people.

We must trust our schools and education professionals

Every teacher should be a creative professional involved in the design of curricula and learning environments, and should be supported and developed to fulfil that role.

Every school should be different, every school innovative and we must find ways of holding them to account for their performance that rewards rather than stifles this creativity.

It takes 90 minutes a story and a network to change someones life:

Yesterday Beth Kanter tweeted this blog post asking for contributions to help a Cambodia orphan pay her fees and stay at University. She asked us the same question last year and within 24 hours Leng had the $1000 she needed for Leng to do a year. Within a few days enough had been raised to help two people with student fees. This time it took just 90 minutes for Beth’s global online network and the trust we have in her to send Leng back for her final year.

Everything accelerates online!

Other blog posts about this:

Using Social Media for Social Good by Andru Edwards
Live Blog post by Bill’s Blog
An Uncomplicated Kindness at Gnomedex by Lipsticks and Laptops
Gnomedex Goes Bollywood by Dave Delaney
Gnomedex Day 1 by Dave Brezeal
Gnomedex by Jay Cross
Photography and Social Good Are Themes At Gnomedex by Jason Preston
Aftermath of Gnomedex by Stewtopia
RoundUp by CenterNetworks
What you missed at Gnomedex by Kevin Merritt
Using Social Media to Effect Social Change by Dan Risely
Seven Notes about Gnomedex by Kris Krug
Gnomedex, Sarah Lacy and More by Silicon Florist Podcast
From 0 to $2,500 in 90 minutes by Shiney Red Toy
Seven Notes About Gnomedex by Dave Delaney

Groundwork UK, twitter and how about a map for funding applications?


The image above is some of the feedback from asking my friends on twitter how Groundwork might use the service.   The group I was working with were a little surprised (“wow”) by the speed and quality of the input from a network tool like this – so to Laura, Michael, Jon, Dave, Alice, Katie, Paul and Charlotte thank you – even amongst your number there was evident support and affection for the major national community and environmental charity.

The session was a general get-the-juices-flowing-see-whats-possible-start-to-get-your-head-around-whats-out-there 90 mins and to that end I think the one clear factor that emerged was that a bit of rss is needed in Groundwork towers.
The group I was working with manage grants for one of the projects and have to record and evaluate what’s being achieved, so the possibilities of digital media in terms of capturing what happens and starting a conversation about applications etc are self evident.

The conversation that really aroused my interest though hapened at the end once most people had floated away.

What if you use something like google maps to publicly share every single application you get?  You put all of them on the web and tie them to a map.  Green for approved red for rejected.  How will this change the dynamic betwen the grant givers and the apl;licants?  Will such transparency improve the system or weaken it?

It got me thinking about social media and market forces.  My A Level economics teacher frequently told me that a perfect market means everyone has perfect information.  Imagine a market for funding bids where everyone who is applying knows about every aplication that has happened, where they took place, whether they were approved and if not why not.   Could that improve efficiency in the distribution of grants?

The folk in East Anglia might understand that their area is already saturated with approved grants – so seek support from another fund or change their plans.  Groups in Northumberland might see there’s a real opportuntiy because their patch is under represented. Those who write the applications can see exactly what others have been saying so it will give them a realistic level of confidence in their ideas.  Those who hand out the grants can be more easily held to account – or better still the minds of the public can be put to helping them constantly refine and improve their decision making.

Sit around it a conversation about the rights and wrongs of particular grant applications and you can begin (with careful nurturing of the online community) to crowdsource a sense of where people want to see their money being spent.

Now don’t expect Groundwork to do this tomorrow – or even at all.  It is a big cultural leap for any organisation and it may not be that useful or warrant the effort.  This was simply one of those conversations that went deep down into the possibilities and cultural impact of social media.  But I share it as an idea. What do you think?

Crime Mapping from the British Government based on a West Midlands example

Tom Watson , William Perrin and the Power of Information taskforce shows off some mock ups for crime mapping by neighbourhood and the whole social media story makes it onto the Telegraph’s front page with a couple of subsidiary articles – including one mentioning West Midlands Police mapping site.  Practical and political! Crime mapping has been useful tool in the US for a few years now, some of it inspired by tracking gun crime and is seeing growing use in the UK.