Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

EDIT: I have a bare bones site up and running - http://ingeniousity.net/

Stop press! I talked to the folks at Ushahidi, and they have an application almost ready for release which will make it possible to
build Ushahidi into this site.

Please visit and play with this combination of functionalities. Content needs to be written or copied (and translated) from Evoke, and it needs to be smartened up visually, but the basic functions are all there. I need your input about what you think is good, bad or desirable before I can take it any further. I've also created an admin account (see message on website) so you can play with the softwares that make it all possible.


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Original message:

I came into Evoke too late to use it in the classroom this year, but very much hope to do so next semester. I'm not clear on whether the existing site will still be available, but after thinking about it I've realised that it would be pretty easy to build something that works in much the same way.

Question: Does this count as a derivative work, as prohibited in the Terms of Service?

I've also realised that if I did build such a site it could function in two ways:
  • Much the same as the existing site, with users around the world being in touch with each other.
  • As a 'private Evoke space' with access restricted to those invited. By making everything downloadable and installable elsewhere, this would effectively give anyone who wants one their own copy of Evoke.
I can't start work on this until after 12 May (too many missions to  complete) but I'm pretty sure I can do the following without any difficulty:
  • Give all users a profile which can be configured to manage the quests, plus whatever other personal information I want to collect or display, including galleries.
  • Enable 'groups' so that teachers can keep track of their students. Each group would have it's own discussion board. This is the biggie for me.
  • Each user has a blog, or author privileges in designated categories which correspond to the missions. Or both.
  • Commenting systems and private messaging
  • Article rating, but only a simple 1-5 stars with no power points.
  • Stuff like featured articles, latest activity, etc.
  • Give points for designated activities, and (optionally) some kind of system for users to give each other points.
  • An integrated, but seperate discussion forum using phpBB. (example)
  • An integrated, but seperate wiki usable by all members for projects. This could include the material from the teaching project, for instance.
  • multi-language support
There are tons of other features which can be added without too much difficulty, all using off-the shelf open source software. With modifications, which may cost money, a great many other things can become possible quite quickly.

If you have suggestions for features, or can offer to help, then leave a message below.

Requirements:
  • Technical help may be needed for any software hacks.
  • Content writing
  • Curriculum stuff, to make it usable.
  • Translation so that this becomes accessible to people who are not good in English.

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This sounds like a great idea Chris. I can clearly see how this would work well in a class room. It could form the central focus for many related learning activities (learning about cultures, history, science, philosophy, languages etc etc). I don't think this would count as "a derivative work, as prohibited in the Terms of Service" but I will find out for you. Why don't you submit your idea as an EVOKATION?:

http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/evoke-official-ongoing

Best of luck.

Simon
We might look at the points of view of all people involved in the game: students of various levels (say 3 levels, but I'm not a teacher), teachers (again with maybe 2 levels of computer skills etc), organisers (those who "own" the sites), technical folks, counselors, users of the ideas, general readers. Any others? What do each of these groups need?
Cheers Simon, I'll give the idea a day or two to ferment before I go to the next step but a clearer statement regarding this (and the teaching curriculum under development) would be helpful. The Terms of Service are very top-down, protective of ownership, and were presumably provided by someone who hadn't really thought about the collaborative nature of Social Innovation. GPL would probably be much more appropriate for Evoke.

Lucas, again thanks for your input. You're absolutely right. I can easily build something that fits my idea of what it should be, but I'll probably be disappointed with the result. And it may not be suitable for others to use either. Getting more points of view makes it a lot easier to design the thing properly from the beginning.
Amazing idea!

Personally, I don't think there should be any legal problems with the World Bank, but somebody better suited for the legalese involved could give you better advice.

I agree with Simon, it may be worth it to submit it as an EVOKATION, and also, may I suggest making this available by school signup? By that I mean, getting several schools to jump on board to increase the student's interaction across districts, states, and even countries. I think making a script that teachers can download, configure and host is good, but one of the things EVOKE did get right was the exchange of ideas between thousands of people.
Chris, I love this idea, and would like to chat about maybe combining it with my evokation, which is a team based network for education, but could easily spin off of your concept. I have started my first round of funding (liquidating personal investments) and would be able to cover some of the costs. Regarding your needs,I have a friend who acts as my tech guru, he is at RIT (Rochester) but is generally pretty available. Lets chat!
Thanks for the input so far. I did toy with the idea of making this into an evokation, but have another project (in conjuction with a local advocacy group, originally proposed last year) that I was planning to submit already. This site is something I thought of doing for my own purposes, as a teaching tool, and sharing it costs nothing.

All the same, if Simon could ask Alchemy and Alchemy is encouraging, then this one is easier to define as an Evokation. I'm game to do whatever works, and if it serves as a platform for other teams to use in their projects then maybe it's more immediately useful.

Technically, it's not at all difficult. There may be a few bits of code to write, but the most effective way to get that done is to use the people who write the software I'm using. USD1,000 would probably be enough to cover the setup and first year's operating costs, and if it's successful then I'm sure I'll have no problem getting donations from the users. The wh*** open-source industry manages to survive and prosper on that model, so I'm willing to give it a go.

I agree that having one site used by people all over the world is great, but there is no way for individual users (schools) to customise the way it works. Offering a downloadable package as well, with instructions, makes it possible for organisations to experiment and find new ways of doing things without affecting anyone else. So I'll do both.

Lucas, if you want to use the platform for your own Evokation then I'm totally cool with that.

I think the first step would be for me to set up a proof-of-concept site and invite interested Evokians to learn about how the back-end works. Once you understand the capabilities, it gets a lot easier to design your process. Can you send me some info about your Evokation, or post it, and I'll give you some thoughts about what can be done. I'll try and get a site set up by this weekend (but I'm late for a class now!) and we can go from there.

I need a name for it. lifeafterevoke.com is available, but actually I don't like to use the word Evoke. (I'm a language teacher, and incorrrect usage p***** me off.)
I have emailed you Chris. Publicly I want to state that I don't consider that this sort of project would infringe any Intellectual Property rights - particularly if you are not using the "EVOKE" brand.

Simon
Gabriel, I keep calling you Lucas. It's because I am a retard, not because you and the real Lucas are both prolific posters that I keep running into. Sorry.
Awesome idea Chris. It's possible I could help with content writing if you need it, but I don't have any technical savvy.

One thing though: I think it was critical to evoke's success that we don't rate blogs; we give heterogeneous '1 pointers'. Really keeps off the pressure and the envy. the 1-5 star system might be better off as employing 5 1 point categories imho.
I've been working with a school-based social network for six years. We're now on a Drupal site at http://youthvoices.net . We are hoping to move to something like Evoke as soon as our developer can help us do it. Very interested in your site!
Paul, feel free to play with this one. If I get it to where it needs to be then you won't need a developer. You can just clone mine. I intend to make the wh*** thing available as a downloadable package.
Paul, I looked at your site. I'm impressed. Why are you thinking of moving?

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