I've been thinking about communication in the Scottish Episcopal Church (again). This time it was brought on by the realisation at Synod that there are people engaged at quite an influential level who seem to think that telephone conferencing is cutting edge, as well as the overwhelming need to reconcile small numbers of people scattered over large areas of Scotland with a shortage of money and resources and a lively interest in not destroying the planet with our use of fossil fuels. It seems transparently obvious to me that this is an area of education crying out for the use of the best technological devices for communication and socialising - and yet we seem to be stuck in the stone age humoring people who refuse to have anything to do with computers.
So, for what it's worth - and it won't be worth anything if we don't act - this is some of what I jotted down at the time. Comments and suggestions welcome!
Needs: An efficient and attractive communication package to facilitate online discussions, using webcams, chat wall, forum facilities - all live, timed, with the chance to opt-in/sign up for specific sessions. Podcasts, "play again" features, collaborative document reviews.
OU-type learning, with scheduled seminars for occasional face to face work.
Results: Speeding-up of necessary communications. Enjoyable participation over a wide area. Real - and at times random - sharing:ideas, learning, problems, solutions. Increased awareness of what we are all doing (why did we not know there was a visiting delegation from Delaware in our area today?) because of more regular communication. (We forget unless we are reminded)
Funding would be needed: to pay an outside technical trainer. (Cascading might be possible later). To buy equipment - perhaps on a geographical basis; individuals might be willing to buy their own in order to have the use of it if they knew how to use it!
I asked Synod if it'd be possible to have some LTS-type training in the dioceses. It struck me that some Diocesan New Technologies practitioners who were willing to travel might be very useful.
I've spent much of today pottering on and off Facebook. It strikes me as fun but limited to social chit-chat. But other social groups, such as ning, have more of the facilities which make real interaction possible - blog posts, a comment forum, podcasts, file uploads, photos and emails - along with the email prompts when something relevant happens. I already use this with a Cursillo group in a "closed" format to ensure confidentiality. I'd love to see more of the church catching on.
I'm just dabbling. But I've identified someone who could teach us, and the need is there. Any other suggestions from those who really know this stuff?