Science and Tech Workshop in Sri Lanka

Just got back from a short trip to Sri Lanka, where I conducted two workshops for teachers.The first was in Maharagama on Dec 15th & 16th. The second workshop was in Kandy on Dec 18th.

Here are some stories about the workshops:

Much thanks to my co-presenters:

  • Dr. Paul Funk – Engineer, US Dept. of Agriculture, New Mexico (Via Skype)
  • Ruben Gameros – Autonomous Collective Systems Laboratory, Arizona State University (Via Skype)
  • Scott Logan – Montessori International School, Mesa, Arizona (Via Skype)
  • Lal Medawattegedera – Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka
  • Nalaka Gunewardene – Science writer, author, trustee of the Science and Development Network
  • Nazly Ahmed – Web App Dev at Social Seed Media

Also the two Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr. Ajit Madurapperuma – Dir. Of Information Communication Technology, ICTA
  • Dr. Nalin Samarasinha – Astrophysicist at Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona (Via Skype)

Finally, thanks to the American Center in Sri Lanka who made this possible – especially Joshua Shen.







Hands-On Engneering – Spaghetti Tower Challenge



Hands-on session on Audio Recording

Scot Logan & Students

Hands-on session on Motors and Electro-magnetism

Scott Logan & students at Montessori International School, teach class – via Skype


Aaron Fernando facilitates session


Using audio and video for content creation


Photography in Science – From SLRs to GoPro

Nazly Ahmed, Social Seed Media explains Depth of Field


Engineering & Problem Solving – Building a Solar Oven

Paul Funk, US DOA


Teaching Science Writing

Nalaka Gunewardene

Cardboard 2

Future Ready Classroom – Google Cardboard & Augmented Reality


Future Ready Classroom – Teaching Robotics

Ruben Gameros, ASU, teaches class on robotics – Via Skype

Joshua Shen - STEAM Workshop Introduction

Joshua Shen  Delivers Opening Address

What social media was like five years ago

I came across these pictures taken during a series of webinars on social media I conducted in late 2010, and it made me realize how far we have come. Or what we have left behind.

The series was called Passport to Digital Citizenship.

I have met some of these ‘students’ who have subsequently gone on to do amazing work in the digital space in Sri Lanka.

But now that I teach a different age and demographic of students, it is interesting to see how some major concerns of digital citizenship, have been over-ridden by new ones. Then there was no WhatsApp, and Instagram or Snapchat to think about. At that time, it was almost inconceivable that these new digital channels would practically revise the political spectrum in Sri Lanka – as Nalaka Gunewardene has well documented.

Webinar students - Passport to Digital Citizenship 2010














Thank you for the experience all of you who attended.

What are the most important tools you use in your work today? More importantly what are your biggest challenges?  Privacy? Information overload? Earning trust? PR?

My graduating Class of ‘digital citizens’

Just got off from the awards ceremony in Colombo, where I spoke, via Skype, from a spare bedroom, to a gathering of 35 attendees who qualified for a certificate.

This was the conclusion of a 6-part series of webinars I conducted for the US State Department, at the USIS in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The series was called Passport To Digital Citizenship.

Ambassador Patricia A. Butenis who addressed the group after me spoke of the ‘Republic of the Internet’ –a very fitting reference, considering the times we are in as nations and communities meld together into a global community that is at once powerful and complicated –as Republics are!

Many of the graduating class are already very active members of this diverse, passionate Republic, using  social media that is becoming their glue (to hold things together) and the thread (an infinite, unravelling ball of thread, that is) that binds us all together. See larger picture here.

Some of you in my class are already moving forward, collaborating and connecting across your specializations, ethnic communities, employee networks and global and local communities.

First, to all of you in this graduating ‘class’ of digital citizens, congratulations! But as I mentioned in my address, don’t just hang that certificate on your wall.

Put it to work. Go light a fire under a sleepy old organization that is stuck in ‘anti-social media’! Show people the power of collaboration and digital storytelling through social media.

Because this blog, Hoipolloi Report, is all about those voices out there, I am taking a step to add a few guest bloggers over the next few weeks. The first of them will be two people from the Class of 2010 Digital Citizens. Who will they be?

Stay tuned!

End Note: A big thank you to Steve England, Dan Wool, Gary Campbell, Derrick Mains and Dave Barnhart who were my co-presenters in this series.

Thanks for attending the webinar!

Webinar on social media - US Embassy, Colombo Sri LankaQuick note of thanks to all the attendees at the webinar on blogging, yesterday. (Sunday night here, although it was still the 21st in Sri Lanka.)

Dan Wool Steve England, and I enjoyed being able to share our ideas, and answer your questions.

The application, DimDim, did cause us a hiccup for the audio at the second location, but we know exactly what the problem is and how to fix it in the next sessions.

Since this was a session on blogging 101, I created a basic blog for the attendees, on the fly. I will be using it to update content for the next few sessions on the other key elements on social media.

Here is a link to it.