Monday a group of twenty five eager students from different organizations were gathered at the Ludgren auditorium at the World Agroforesty Centre.
The session begun introductions then...the facilitator announced that the 25 were the chosen few from a list of over 200 applicants... ( You see the pride in all participants for being granted such a privilege ) ...and then, it was down to serious learning!
First lesson: better use of google search function - Who knew the four letter wordR could save one hours spent in search..."NEAR' or that a * could cut off search results? and that you could minus time wasting with the sign ( - ).Oh well maybe you did but to most of this group , it was a welcome discovery! together with the lesson on narrowing your search to either a blog, photo or video and be location specific? searching for content in different languages and getting it served in ones preferred language was also welcome discovery on day one!
" I have learned how to save time ! " reads a comment from the democracy wall
Next came the "google session " as one participant called it . Yep! The afternoon session was all about google alerts, RSS feeds and Igoogle! Igoogle - the home to all google wonders! Definitely a useful tool...What with the world clock available? need I say more ? Asante!Erokamano, Nick!
The second day was all about Remote collaboration or the "wonders of Google" as Brain our designated time keeper calls them. What of google docs , google forms...( useful and simple survey tool )and ... WIKI's.
So, participants are all busy sprucing up their wiki pages when our time keeper (Brian)announces its tea time so off we go for tea and dash back to make our pages prettier....but our facilitator Nick, has something else in mind, 'Share your user name with a neighbour." Is the first part of the instruction. Then comes the second part- "vandalize your colleagues wiki!". Ouch! At first everybody is shy then shortly participants hidden personalities comes out ( Louisa you still my buddy even after your shopping posts on my wiki) and they go all creative with each others wikis! After few minutes we all learn how to correct the injustice and start up a discussions...Phew!
Ok so its lunch time and the democracy wall..is well filling up with positive comments its clear that people are learning, discovering, noticing and obviously want to " Dance" after learning about the Wiki Educator ...Giacomo has to plead with us to leave the hall for the group photo
Come afternoon its all things Skype and VOIP buster and all went well...cant find a word to describe it yet.... Participants were all excited upon learning about the group chat application on skype that it was a challenge for the facilitator to moderate the group discussion..." This is the most dis-organized group ii have had to teach.' He said and to be met with laughter from the team! What with cows,dancers and tea break featuring in the discussion...? Yep eventually we did learn how to exchange documents and photos plus chat on video...Note to self , get a webcam!
" Its only the third day and we have already learned so much, " Agatha Kabugu one of the participants as we settled in , on Wednesday morning.
I couldn't agree more...Today we learned all about google maps and giving directions to locations. Areas of interest were "How to add photos and adding google maps to different websites and blogs. Now we know how and about it we can also upload video's on the map! What a great way to publicize institutional projects. Something I will definitely try...
Micro blogging and blogging took up the afternoon session and here we are!
The democracy wall has less but more powerful comments which is very encouraging.
" The democracy wall is now in twitter!" Grace Mwaura says ....
All in all this training was timely and it was great to see out time keeper and forget about lunch9 ok not totally) as participants took time to help each other out
Look out for updates and photos from days 3, 4 and 5 tomorrow!
How will we use all this info? Reagan ( a colleague also attending the training) and I plan to make a presentation to our communications unit on how to use the tools.This will be done during the annual communications retreat which will have communication staff from all our six regions ( Nick , thanks for the presentations). On a personal level I hope to keep up the momentum and start by having my profile on google maps!