Thursday, March 01, 2012

Live Modelling the United Nations

This is a brief post to follow up a previous post on the Model United Nations format which we have undertaken successfully in Buckinghamshire and successfully supported with Moodle. I presented (briefly) at the BETT 2012 TeachMeet on this and thought I'd share the next iteration and how we will (hopefully) improve and focus the use of appropriate technology on the day of the conference. This post will probably make more sense in the context of the original post which is here.

The view from the Al Jazeera desk at a previous iteration of the Model United Nations in Buckinghamshire.
Previously the press teams had, like the Nations involved in the MUN process, used the Moodle-based areas for preparation for the conference day, but had not really used technology to communicate outside of the conference. We've used the Moodle model again, but we're hoping to change the use of technology tomorrow and, with that in mind, each media team has a dedicated Twitter account with which they will (hopefully) broadcast bite-sized chunks of news from the conference, which is about the potential for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by a process of nuclear arms reduction. We want the Media Teams' activities to feed back into the Model United Nations process as well, so I'm hoping to use something like  to display an RSS feed of all of the Media Teams' tweets about the positions different nations will be taking in the form of a News Ticker across any projected screens we have in the room (the conference is being held in the council chamber at Wycombe District Council). However, this was a problem - creating a list of Twitter users is one thing (I've created a list of the five media teams' accounts - you can see (and follow) it here) - but getting these Tweets out in a form which is useable elsewhere (via RSS, once the lingua franca of web services but now apparently deliberately hidden by Twitter who are desperate to keep users on the Twitter web site at all costs) has become nearly impossible. Google for rss feed from Twitter lists and even the titles of the results give you an idea that This Isn't Going To Be A Straightforward Thing.
The Al Jazeera team from a previous iteration of the Model United Nations in Buckinghamshire.
Previously I'd tweeted about what I saw as my only alternative to Twitter, which was CoverItLive. There were a few issues reported by respondents, who pointed to a security breach which occurred earlier this year, which appear to have been dealt with. CoverItLive does offer a very useful feature which allows the aggregation of a number of Twitter accounts, or hashtags, into the feed offered by a CIL event. As CIL offers RSS feeds of the content in an event, this might provide a way around the limitations of Twitter lists and RSS.
We're hoping that the Media Teams are going to replicate what media teams covering any major event would do - report to the world, knowing that their reports will be seen by those at the event during breaks, recording short pieces (on FlipCams) for summaries during the day, and in general expanding the reach of the media over what is always an inspirational day. If you want to get involved and give the process a wider audience, then you are welcome to follow the Twitter accounts of the MUN Media Teams, who I hope will be tweeting live from the event all day tomorrow...
Media teams covering a previous MUN conference in Buckinghamshire.

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