The final day started in plenary session with a presentation of the videos produced the day before by the two production crews. I have to say here and now that I was blown away by both videos. Yes there were one or two technical weaknesses and glitches but the fact that the participants put these videos together in 6 hours, and that included an hour for the introduction to video presentation mentioned in my earlier blog and the collective mind mapping and story boarding, using Flip cameras (as useful as they are they are little more that mobile phone video cams and as such have their limitations. I will post both videos here shortly.
After the presentations I got them to break back into their production crews and gave them 20 minutes to reflect critically and accurately on both the end product (where they identified weaknesses and how this might be improved) and the production processes and their roles in those. What followed when we came back into plenary session provided us with evidence of their capacity to engage both individually and critically in some quite excellent critical thinking and reflection. I have asked them to post their evaluations on the Youth Development Voices blog (link posted earlier). The discussion moved into a general evaluation of the 3 day workshop and I asked all participating stakeholders to share their feedback. I am happy to report that everyone hailed the workshop as a great success – it seems that participants were energised and enthused to the extent that many wish to apply what they’ve learnt in the development of Community Media Centres in their communities. Of course the glow of exciting engagement can soon wane if not sustained and we are already exploring ways in which we can support their activities.
Both of the young editors had already posted their crew’s respective videos on YouTube and these were then linked to the Youth Development Voices blog. I will embed them on here presently for your enjoyment.
As we moved towards the close of the workshop and one final lunch together, my students facilitated some practical workshops on the use of WordPress; the use of Googledocs as a shared workspace to support distributed collaborative learning; and mash-ups – linking the blog with other social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In this way we managed to get the few remaining stragglers signed up to the blog and posting contributions. Obviously, some are more confident authors than others but we encourage all contributions as these workshops have been about Participatory Action Learning supporting the building of capacity; empowering the young participants and facilitating students and provide spaces and processes for diverse young voices.
All in all I am extremely happy about the way that this workshop has been facilitated by my students and engaged in by the participants. Their own blogs both here and on the Youth Developing Voices blog bear testament to the workshops effectiveness and overall success. I am extremely proud of my students who have been a major credit to themselves and to the University of Brighton. They have confirmed my faith in them and in this particular approach to teaching and learning – which blends pedagogy with andragogy and heutagogy approaches with participatory action learning and critical reflective thinking. By the same token, the participating students from a number of Kenyan universities and NGOs were equally a credit to themselves and their organisations. It was great to know that practitioners from UNDP programmes sat alongside students and a lecturer, a Dean and even a Principal (vice-chancellor) of a university engaging with such enthusiasm and creativity. I wish to thank Willice & Gordon from the International Youth Council Kenya for their organisation and dedication is ensuring the workshop went ahead. For a number of reasons it went through various iterations in the planning phase but they pulled it off and ensured it was a success. The presence of Accord an agency for cooperation and research in development and their contributions throughout also helped stimulate and contextualise the significance of this workshop. The fact that they wish to explore possible future collaborations is a mark of the success of this workshop.
As we sat together for lunch the UNDP representative of a peace and reconciliation project in remotest rural Kenya approached me to discuss ways we might collaborate. This was swiftly followed by the Dean following up on yesterday’s discussions exploring how we might reach a Memorandum of Understanding.
All in all this has been quite an amazing 3 days. I have been surrounded by some extremely talented young people who have engaged in the workshop and who are determined to use their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to make a difference and empower their communities. Quite, quite amazing…..I am truly humble to have been part of this workshop.