Wednesday, 22 October 2008

ComPart goes 2 Burkina

This week part of the Compart support team is in Burkina Faso working with the Education programme of ICCO at the Conference on Informal Education and Literacy. Christophe Hien of Burkina Faso and Oudou Bengaly of Mali are providing the local support for the participants. Danny Aerts and Chris Addison have been working with them explaining the integration of the ComPart approach behind the scenes.

The Conference on informal learning and literacy being held here in Burkina Faso by ICCO with partners from Mali, Senegal and Burkina is being supported by the use of online tools to collect, disseminate and exchange information. In introducing how the ComPart approach has been used to support the ICCO programme (of which this conference is a part), we presented to delegates how the systems have helped to arrange, coordinate, record and disseminate findings from the conference. Christophe and Oudou presented briefly how the wiki, Dgroups, blog and delicious have been used to facilitate the conference.
We had the opportunity in the introduction to link up with ICCO and hear from Maarten Boers in Utrecht by video with Skype, you can see what he had to say on the conference blog. This was not without connectivity problems, but gave the message that ICCO colleagues in Utrecht are able to follow aspects of the meeting here.

The exercise with the wiki used the questions raised in the first part of the conference. Questions raised for each country, Senegal, Mali and Burkina were placed on three pages. These linked to separate page for each answer. Within one hour many of the pages were completed giving answers to the questions in a fraction of the time it would be possible to collate in any other system. Several threats were needed to get people to go for lunch. For the blog exercise we have encouraged people to take notes for a story from the field visit tomorrow and they will be able to include photos.

Blips and videos: The format of taking short videos to record opinions and feedback from participants has worked well. You can see a selection on On the same channel we have also captured some of the sessions with minimal editing. The videos have been optimised for displaying within the wiki and supporting lower speed connections.

Presentations: We have taken the opportunity to try out a new site for the presentations which has a French interface and just French language content, see

Local copies: Videos will also be available on the USB-stick used to store the outputs of the wiki and blog. Creating local copies of the blog and wiki is complicated by the passwording and local copies created when logged into the respective systems. We hope both systems will be public at the end of the conference. Key documents have also been loaded onto the USB.

Support materials in French: A range of French language materials were prepared for the conference and to continue ComPart support in Francophone countries. The web2partager site now provides introductions to web2 material in French and here you can find a nice introduction to RSS. A French compart toolbar has been created (click the plus on the far left hand on your toolbar). We also prepared a tutorial printout that explains the basics of using a ComPart wiki.

Compatibility We have used participants' own machines in the conference for demonstrating the ComPart tools, and as a result have found some of the compatibility issues in using for example the wiki. We have identified some minor problems with the display of the menu in Internet Explorer 6 (This can be remedied by reloading the page.) The scroll bar disappears occassionally in full screen with Explorer 6, by reducing the window it reappears.

Connectivity has generally been superb from the conference venue, with speeds up to 150Kb/s allowing viewing of videos from and easy upload to and flickr.

From the conference we already have new wiki pages, several blips, some new documents and plenty of photos online. You can find the blog, wiki and videos from the ComPart toolbar, click on the 'plus' sign at the far left and choose 'ComPart FR'.

by Chris Addison and Danny Aerts

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