Friday, 5 November 2010

Say Cheese: Videoing and Photographing Union Activity

We recently organised a successful union rally and march. We had colour, energy, music, clear messages and community support. Unfortunately, through a lack of planning and preparation, we missed the opportunity to capture the event effectively on video and in photos.

We did get some decent photos:

And some video which captured the colour and energy:

Most of our video, however, was unusable. Great long lengths of shaky footage that was unfocused in terms of both cinematography and content. When we had should have video of members speaking, we had pictures of sausages being sizzled. And no interviews or vox pops from activists or the community supporters.

This happened because we hadn't assigned anyone the role of videoing or taking photos. The handycam was given to a marshall just as the march started. We hadn't identified what we wanted to video or given any training.

Next time we will video the speeches and the participants. We'll be asking people who they are, what action they're involved in, why they're doing it and how it feels. And we'll have people assigned to video and camera duty - people who've been shown what to do and been given an idea of what to capture.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Integrating On-line and Off-line Organising - A Case Study

A recent conference of NZEI school support staff union members led to an opportunity to intergrate some on and off-line organising. The conference was to have a professionally focused ICT workshop but I had the opportunity to discuss this with some conference organising committee members at a union leadership development course. They decided instead to focus the workshop on using the union's on-line networking and campaigning sites. Intitally they asked me to run the workshop but as I was unable I decided to look for a member who could run it. That proved fairly easy as all I had to do was look at the site and see who have been active and had engagaed in a number of different ways. One local member, Linda, stood out. I approached her about running the workshop and after she had agreed I worked with her on the workshop content.

Here are a couple of photos of the conference workshop.

The venue suffered from dodgy internet but Linda ran the workshop successfully resulting in new members signing up and a few of these people quickly adding content and comment. Linda asked all of the workshop participants to agree to an on-line task and because she has met these peole she is going to follow up with them.

Here's an email I got from Linda following the workshop.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Glogster: A New Tool Worth Trying?

A friend recently tweeted about a video made by a US school student on her Personal Learning Environment. Watching the video I noticed one of the tools she was using that I hadn't come across before - a glog. I checked it out and, while it's mainly the utilised by emo kids creating paean's to teen angst, it does seem to offer some opportunities for collective engagement around an issue or event.

A Glog is basically an on-line collage poster. You collect bits and pieces of text, images, video, links and sound and place them on a web page. It's highly configurable and there are a number of templates and tools you can utilise. (I found a useful glog tutorial on Slideshare)

Delegates could use it to create an on-line resource about a workplace or sector issue, or it could be utilised to reinforce learning at union education.

The Glog is a free resource that seems to be funded by advertising on the homepage. The glog itself can be visited as a stand-alone site or you can embed them into other sites. The glog can be public or private.

I had a play and created this glog to try the tools out. I've embedded it below, or you can visit the stand-alone page for a better viewing experience.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Union Social Networking Tutorials

When I started developing tutorials for NZEI members on how to engage with their union through the internet I started with explanations of all the sites the union had and the difference between them. But it was soon obvious that this was the wrong approach, it just wasn't engaging. So then I started to think about what it was that I actually hoped union members would do on-line and began tutorials around these themes - follow, share, create.

The first on-line tutorial I developed covered how to follow union information through RSS and email. Here are two more. One explains how to join the union's social networking sites and the second how to share on-line content.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Web 2.0 How-To

For a long time unions have taken a "build it and they will come" approach to their on-line presence. However, if we want members to engage with their union on-line we need to educate and support this, in the same way we do for other union activity. That, and my observation that many people get a glazed over look when you mention RSS, has prompted me to start developing resources and modules that can be used to educate union members how to engage with their union on the web. This is my first support resource, destined for a Web 2.0 How-To page on my union's website.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Marshall Ganz on Organising

Professor Marshall Ganz is a long-time organiser and trainer who worked on Barack Obama's grassroots presidential election campaign.

As well as his acclaimed organising campaign work for Obama and his earlier work with the United Farm Workers (alongside Cesar Chavez) Ganz has held roles as a lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and a principal of Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations.

Ganz has put together a series of seven web modules on organising covering some of the key concepts and practical strategies. Each module has downloadable lecture notes and streaming video of the accompanying lecture. This vignette gives a taster for the series.

The lectures are insightful and, because of Ganz's experience and easy-going manner, easy to digest. The series has been put on-line as a resource for organisers, and social change educators. As well as the lecture notes and videos there are links and teaching resources – syllabi and examples of facilitation guides.

I highly recommend this to anyone interested in organising or union education. However, one small grumble - the videos are in real media format and the site recommends RealPlayer. That player has been the subject of much criticism and many people don't want to install it. There is an alternative called Real Alternative which will allow you to watch the videos.