Tagged: Teachers Without Borders

Teachers Without Borders

Tonight we transferred control of the Teachers Without Borders website to a new provider. I've worked with Teachers Without Borders for more than a year now. I was granted a fellowship that allowed me to work with them to build a social network that will help teachers world-wide. Like any developer that has poured a lot of time into a project I have mixed feelings about passing the project onto another group. On the one hand it is a relief since maintenance of the project can be stressful. On the other hand not having to worry about making sure the site is running from day to day reduces a large burden.

I was talking to my wife the other day about the situations my mother-in-law, a first grade teacher, has seen over the years. In this modern age of consumerism it is easy to forget that there are many in dire circumstances. We think that the problem is out there, in Africa, in Asia, somewhere else. The truth is in this 'great nation' kids still come to school in the winter w...

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Teachers Without Borders

During the day and lately most of the night I work as a Fellow for Teachers Without Borders at Utah State University. (funded by Cisco). What I actually do bores most people and causes my wife to roll her eyes and tune out anytime someone asks what I do. It's a long story and involves a lot of technical crap that few people like to hear.

For tonight I have a shorter explanation. You can see what I do. We are just polished up our latest release of the new Teachers Without Borders website.

Teachers Without Borders is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps build and mentor teacher leaders around the world. The point of what we are building is to provide a place where those individuals can come together and interact and build up one another. We are still in the early stages, so expect a great deal more from the project.

The code that powers our social network is written in Ruby on Rails and is open source and MIT licensed. You can get it here:


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Turn WordPress Into Social Butterfly

I have been pitching this idea of a distributed social network to everyone that can stand to listen to me. I realize that the conversation around WordPress and the future of social networking is heating up, but as it does I think it is important to begin thinking about implementation. It is fun to philosophize, but at the end of the day users want some toys to play with.

Chris Messina lays out his vision and the particular functionality associated with it on his wiki. Automattic picked up Buddy Press, and the code is still available on Google Code. For historical reasons here's a thread on the WPMU forums about the activity around Buddy Press. There is another social plugin for WordPress called Xiando]4 that hasn't gotten a lot of attention. We are going to do our part and contribute as well.

As part of an effort to build a social network for Teachers Without Borders we came to a realization that it would be hypocritical to create a network filled with borders. Thus, we began t...

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Note to Facebook, Myspace and Other Social Silos: DIE

I wrote three Facebook apps and I have ideas for several more. The most successful was the House Plans application I did for ThePlanCollection.com, but in the Facebook world you can't count a couple thousand users as especially successful.

When Open Social started up I felt like I needed to go sign up for a MySpace account so that I would be ready for when the next big thing showed up. So far Open Social feels like that high school party the nerdy guy threw and two or three other nerdy guys showed up but come Monday morning it will be the joke of the high school. I turned off email alerts for MySpace because I grew tired of the offensive bot spam. I tried playing with Orkut because that was the first platform that supported Open Social. Orkut feels like the Twilight Zone. I tried Twitter for a while. It is a cool service, but I forget its there unless I am bored and the only thing handy is my phone and I want to post about my boredom. How's that for boring.

There are countless ...

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What I Do for a Living

People ask me what I do for a living and I gave up explaining a long time ago. Now I just say I write software and for those that don't understand that I tell them I work with computers. (No I will not fix yours).

In spite of my general disdain for explaining what I do I am posting explanation anyway because today it is meaningful and interesting.

Currently, I am the Teachers Without Borders Fellow at The Center for Open and Sustainable learning which means that I got to be a part of this. [Another article here,][3] and something from CNN Money. Kudos to all the COSL people who helped put together the social networking piece when Fred came for a visit and congratulations to the team in the Middle East who has taken charge of the project, learned how to manage it and worked together in spite of the cultural differences. We were only a small part of this project but it is fun to have had the chance to participate.

[3]: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock News/1029604/


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