(One of the features in the Drumbeat book will be a series of how-tos. One of the biggest “how-tos” in the book will be

how-to: Create a Drumbeat Festival. Here’s my first draft, for your feedback, especially if you were at the fest: )

how-to: Create a Drumbeat Festival.
purpose: start solving problems together and build a broader movement for change.
difficulty: Difficult, but fun.
who: 40 to 1000 people with different skills and interests including group facilitators. A mix of idea people and hands-on people, seasoned leaders and eager beginners. Drumbeat Festival 2010 featured 430 participants, including 40 volunteers, from 40 countries and 30+ participating organizations.
Time: 9 months to plan; 2 - 4 days to pull off.
materials: Space (for example the MACBA, FAD, courtyard and surrounding cafes, restaurants and tapas bars of Barcelona’s Raval district). Whiteboards. Laptops. Markers. Post-it notes. Wifi. Coffee. Pastries. Wine.
Step 1: Identify broad themes of shared, vital concern for all participants, ie Learning, Freedom, and the Web.
Step 2: Invite “space wranglers” to host spaces or “tents” relating to 1, 2, or all 3 of the main themes. Each should be dedicated to prototyping, designing, and creating solutions.
Step 3: Adopt Allen Gunn (“Gunner’s”) model for group faciliation, informed by the civil-disobedience training of the Ruckus Society and other left-wing organizing and consensus-based models.
  • Step 3a: “A bunch of people sitting and listening to one person talk is one step below a crime against humanity.” Minimize plenary sessions to “take the head off the event.”
  • Step 3b: “focus on respect” for all participants, volunteers, organizers. “If you are the most knowledgeable your job is to do the most listening.”
  • Step 3c: “focus on jargon” to make the dialogue as accessible as possible. Attempt to make translation available.
  • Step 3d: “Love-bomb” participants whenever appropriate with clapping and cheering. Conversely, make one person a designated “lightning rod” for complaints so negative energy is channeled constructively.
Step 4: For scheduling, draw on free-form “bar camps” and “unconferences” popular in the web community. Include open sessions with agendas defined by participants. Make the schedule an updatable-in-real-time wiki and/or eraseable whiteboard.
Step 5: Give each space a deadline to present results to the group at the end of the festival. Support those who want to join a team or continue working on a project, and publicize their efforts.
Step 6: Celebrate and document!
Tips and tricks: ???
How will you know when you've succeeded:???

As mentioned before, a major component of the Drumbeat Learning, Freedom, and the Web book will be how-tos that people can use in their own learning situations (classrooms, workshops, online book clubs, whatever).

For example: How to adopt an open textbook; how to play with Arduino; how to create and award a badge; and even how to start a Drumbeat festival.
What are the basic components of a how-to? After looking at Instructables, Make magazine, Howcast videos, and other sources online, here’s what I”ve come up with:

1) Some indicators of the degree of difficulty, potential hazards, category of the how-to, and the time it takes. Symbols are helpful

2) Materials/tools needed.

3) Step by step instructions.

Anything I’m leaving out?

Update: Roger Schonfeld asked me to clarify: “We are a bit confusing – ITHAKA is the larger not-for-profit organization, of which Ithaka S+R, our strategic consulting and research service, is but one of several services.”

On Friday, with fresh snow on the ground, I trekked uptown to the Mellon Foundation for my first ever telepresence presentation. It felt very strange to be presenting my slides to an almost-empty room–the oddity of the technology meant that I had to look at a big image of myself, not of the audience, which was located in I think 5 or 6 different states.But it worked fairly well all things considered.

Anyway, the Q&A was much more interesting, I thought. Bryan Alexander gave a recap of the whole afternoon here.

Roger Schonfeld, of Ithaka, which is similarly dedicated to “ help[ing] the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways” , saw on Twitter that I was at Mellon and invited me to walk across the courtyard and say hi–this is on 62nd street in Manhattan. So we chatted a bit about Taylor Walsh’s new book, Unlocking the Gates, from Princeton University Press, which I gather Ithaka supported her to write. It’s a great detailed look at the spread of open courseware programs from the institutions’ point of view. I plan to look back at the book in more detail soon.

“Ithaka S+R focuses on the transformation of scholarship and teaching in an
online environment, with the goal of identifying the critical issues facing our
community and acting as a catalyst for change.
We pursue projects in programmatic areas that are critical to academic work:
Sustainability of Digital Resources, The Role of the Library, Practices & Attitudes
of Faculty Members and Students, Teaching & Learning with Technology, and
Scholarly Publishing.”

Me, Mark Surman, Ben Moskowitz (via Skype) and Chris Appleton

So I flew up to snowy Toronto to spend all day yesterday at Mozilla’s offices in a design sprint for our Learning, Freedom and the Web book. I’d never been part of a “design sprint” before so I didn’t really know what to expect, but luckily our awesome designer Chris Appleton took charge and it turned out to be really fun and productive to boot! Basically we spent the entire day going over each page of the manuscript from a conceptual to a nuts and bolts level–identifying key concepts, looking at the Flickr pool for ideas, and sacrificing many Post-it notes in the process. Here’s some of our take-homes:

  • Learning, Freedom, and the Web is about verbs, not nouns; solutions, not problems.
  • We think there’s a huge silent (or not-so-silent) majority of educators out there who see the need for these kinds of changes in the world of education. We’d love for this book to be a rallying cry–a “hallway-waver” in Mark Surman’s words, something that people hold up to say “This is what I have been talking about!”
  • With that in mind, a major recurring feature of each chapter is going to be how-tos. We won’t just explain the Badge Lab; we’ll give a few steps to show you how to get students to award badges in your classroom.  Some DIY inspiration: Make Magazine, Instructables, Epicurious, and Fifty Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.

There’s also going to be a meta-how-to element where we explain how to put a Drumbeat-style festival together.

What do you think about the How-To idea? What needs to be included to make this actually useful?

I want to thank everyone from the community who’s provided feedback so far, and to let you know that there are two upcoming opportunities to get involved.

  1. We’ll be having community design/edit sprint phone calls on Thurs Feb. 3 and Thurs Feb. 24 at 7 pm ET.  We’ll be going over specific chapters in each call, TBA. If your project or group is represented, we’d especially like to get your feedback/buy-in and we’ll be reaching out to you. Ben Moskowitz is in the process of putting the manuscript up on a public Etherpad, so anyone can check it out at any time.
  2. Right now: Nominate images for inclusion in the book! Go to this Etherpad and add links from Flickr or blogs to images you like, or email me with files.
It was interesting cause I was conversing with both a host in his 50s and a college student intern, each of whom had their own takes on the book.