Friday, 2 October 2009

Smithsonian Online Education Conference: Climate Change

Smithsonian Online Education Conference: Climate Change
I write this on Friday morning New Zealand time. Around about now the last session of the Smithsonian Online Education Conference: Climate Change, is coming to a close, here

Held over three days the conference was the latest in a series of events in which The Smithsonian addresses the global challenge of climate change, by putting on special exhibitions, and exposing people to their research in this area.

The conference aim was to give people the chance to participate in these investigations, and deepen our understanding  of the Smithsonian research and collections related to the evidence, impact, and response to climate change.

Alongside Smithsonian scientists and curators, the conference also looked  "at the issues surrounding climate change from the perspectives of science, history, and art"

The archive
All of the sessions have been recorded for future use, and a good deal of it is online as archival sessions, here.  Note - there isn't a  list of sessions - you have to go through the Access Live Shedule button - as if you where going to a live session and take it from there. 'Tis to be hoped there is a more intuitive archive feature soon?  

Despite a couple of glitches with the Adobe meeting software, I think this is a stunning example of the Museum world using its expertise and collections to bring to the fore issues and arguments around some of our key world issues.

Smithsonian Digital/New Media 

It is also great example of how modern conferences can be a truly global affairs, as well as solid evidence that Smithsonian Digital/New Media strategy- here -  is in play -  especially its commitment to deepen its relationship with their online visitors.

The Smithsonian Commons
And by the by - on the evidence of the intellectual grunt on show in this conference -  it also signals that the forthcoming Smithsonian Commons has also the potential to be a total stunner. And just to remind you of the reach of this ambition - herewith an extract on their plans for this:
" The Smithsonian Commons will be a special part of our digital presence dedicated to the free and unrestricted sharing of Smithsonian resources and encouraging new kinds of learning and creation through interaction with Smithsonian research, collections, and communities.

The digital commons movement is just a few years old but the concept of a commons is quite old. Commons are usually created when a property owner determines that a given set of resources—grass for grazing sheep, forest for parkland, software code, or intellectual property—will create more value if freely shared.

Our understanding of research, education, artistic creativity, and the progress of knowledge is built on the axiom that no idea stands alone, and that all innovation is built upon the ideas and innovation of others. The Smithsonian community has always championed these ideals.

The initial Smithsonian Commons will be a Web site (also designed for mobile devices), featuring collections of digital assets contributed voluntarily by the units and presented through a platform that provides best-of-class search and navigation; social tools such as commenting, recommending, tagging, collecting, and sharing; and intellectual-property permissions that clearly give users the right to use, re-use, share, and innovate with our content without unnecessary restrictions.

The architecture of the Smithsonian Commons will encourage the discovery of content deep within Smithsonian unit Web sites and will expose connections and commonalities across Smithsonian projects.

The Smithsonian Commons will also be a platform for formal and informal collaboration and content sharing inside and outside the Institution.

Through these features—collection access, sharing, social tools, and user-generated content—the Smithsonian Commons will bring together the component pieces of the updated experience, updated learning model, and balanced approach to management and governance that are the foundational themes of this Web and New Media Strategy .. "

Source  -


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