Tuesday, 20 February 2007

WANTED! Union Educator.

In Feb 2007 a group of union educators from throughout New Zealand came together to share ideas and develop their union education skills. One session involved an exploration of the possibilities and limitations of using the internet and technology within a union education context. In a session of around two hours many of the educators present went from being unaware of blogs to first time posters. Below is an example of one these initial trials.

What does this picture represent from a union education perspective?

Now that we've got your attention!

Are you using technology to create union education learning communities?

If you are share your ideas here!

Since that session there has been very little engagement in the blogosphere from New Zealand educators. That is not suprising given that one of the key limitations in using technology identified by the group was finding the time to become familiar with how it works and it's potential.

My experience on other blogs indicates that there is a need for someone to take on the role of mentor or coach, to suggest opportunities and offer support as others feel their way. I think this is a comfortable idea for union educators who are used to the concepts of activist development. The key of course is meaningful tasks. Not many will take up a new technology unless they see some relevance and point in doing so.

I hope over coming months we can rekindle early interest in this blog and encourage meaningful participation by those involved in union education.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Seeds of Fire

Myles Horton is an inspirational figure in the field of social change education. His early work in the Applachian Mountains began in the 1930s based on the goal of providing education and support to poor and working people fighting economic injustice, poverty, prejudice, and environmental destruction. Horton founded the Highlander Center in 1932 to serve as an adult education centre for community workers involved in social and economic justice movements. Horton worked to help grassroots leaders create the tools necessary for building broad-based movements for change. The subtitle for this blog "Unearthing Seeds of Fire" comes from the title of a book on Horton by Frank Adams.

Cyberspace now offers a new range of tools for grassroots leaders as they work to build collective strength and bring about change. The initial intention of this blog is to explore how union educators, those who work with workplace activists and leaders, can use technology to enhance our programmes and, more importantly, how union educators can support union activists to take technology into their own hands as they organise and work for change.

For more info on Myles Horton check out this page on wikipedia or this bio.

Picture: Myles Horton (left) with Paulo Freire