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Media / ICT professionals often have both access to and skills with both audiovisual and Internet technologies. These can be used as strategic tools not just for the delivery of the workshop itself, but also for the building and maintenance of the human networks that workshops allow. All the tools discussed here are free.

Venue selection and facilities

There can be a lot of value gained from conducting a residential workshop in a remote area, if this benefits the primary aim. However, media / ICT initiatives often revolve around some form of technology. Therefore venues in urban locations can offer better media / ICT infrastructure and make travel arrangements easier and cheaper. In particular, good Internet connection at the venue is becoming more and more useful (and none of the tools discussed in this section will work unless you have Internet connection). It’s assumed that you already know about audiovisual support for the workshop itself, such as laptops, data projectors, speakers, and use of a presentation application like Microsoft Powerpoint.

Sharing information

  • WikiEducator by COL and the International Centre for Open Education in NZ is a tool for publishing and distributing information. It’s especially useful for uploading post-workshop information such as the final schedule; group activities; major outcomes; participant bios etc. This information is really helpful to other facilitators around the world. http://www.wikieducator.org/Learning4Content
  • Google Docs permits a group to work on a single document at the same time. You can create a private group of contributors who can all work on the same online document or spreadsheet. It’s a very easy and useful tool. There is also a utility to export Google Docs in a variety of formats including Open Office and PDF. http://docs.google.com

Networking tools

Use professional and social networks to research potential participants; communicate with them before and after the workshop; and ‘keep the workshop alive’ by maintaining your new professional contacts.

  • LinkedIn is a professional tool which allows you to create a personal web profile. You can then introduce your other LinkedIn contacts to each other – it’s a bit like a formal introductory service where you only meet people who someone you know has recommended. http://www.linkedin.com/
  • Facebook is a personal web page which can only be seen by people that you invite. You can upload photos; chat online; or send messages to multiple recipients. Facebook is designed for your social life but many people use it for work. http://www.facebook.com
  • Ning is an excellent collaboration tool. An administrator creates a new Ning group with its own web address. This group can be public or private. Members can upload video, audio or image content; conduct discussion groups; and collaborate on documents. http://www.ning.com/