It started as a niggling little idea, and with a little help from an amazing group of librarians and other tech-interested folks who saw my desperate tweet late on a Thursday night, we hammered it out into a bigger (but still niggling) idea.

We learn from each other casually and informally on Twitter; we mention the cool tools we find and use as part of our work and play; we crow about our projects when they succeed; we pine for gadgets and apps and software that doesn’t yet exist, but would solve a key problem we are facing. The coolest stuff I know about, I found out about via my network of librarians, academics, educational tech specialists, colleagues, and those with a passion for things tech. Can we gather some of this expertise and experience together, in one place, and blitz the knowledge to ourselves? Couldn’t we set up a sort of seminar, a summer institute, where we bring our brains and our experience and share with each other? Discuss the issues and ideas, test things out together?

Time is short, and we all have a lot to do. I don’t want to start anything that’s going to be a difficult commitment to keep. So we’ll keep it simple, and do it for a limited time.

For the month of July, join us in committing to sharing your knowledge and ideas four times (once a week). How to share? Keep it simple and rich; if you’re showing a website, application, piece of software, or other tool visible on your computer, consider a screencast. Show us what it looks like, why you like it, what you use it to do, how it changes your life, or what you think it’s ultimate, best, most revolutionary and transformative use it. It’s not a tutorial, it’s not a how-to: it’s just you telling us why something (some place, some idea, some yearning) is important. Don’t have anything to show? Turn your webcam on yourself and talk to us. Think of it like being in a seminar room, sharing an idea with the group. You don’t need high production values, you don’t need to edit any film. Just you, talking to us.

It doesn’t have to be big. It might be one little tool that saves you a couple of hours’ work every few weeks. An idea, or a way to use an existing tool that strikes you as interesting. It might be just a simple way to do a simple task. These things are important: if it helps you, imagine how many others it might help. Revolutions sometimes come in small packages.

Before you think: but I don’t write software, I’m not an expert on this application! Or: I didn’t create this website, how can I speak for it? This isn’t for the creators, and it’s not a sales pitch. This is about you and your interpretation of an application, how it affects you. Why you think it’s worth the time to learn about it. What role you see it playing in our environments. It might be off the wall, it might have nothing to do with libraries, or education, or the world of emerging technologies as you understand it. Sometimes the thing you want to share is a proof of concept; you might want to show us something that could be the seed for an interesting direction the internet might take. You don’t need to be an expert. You don’t have to have all the answers. You are the one to hold up the lantern and say, “Why, isn’t this interesting! Cast your eyes this way, folks!”

How long does it have to be? It might be a minute or two; it might be fifteen minutes or more. You can take as little or as much time as you need to express yourself.

As we post, we can leave comments and questions asynchronously. Additionally, we can explore the option of meeting with others who are following along to talk about what we’re sharing, test things out, discuss the implications. We might set up an IRC channel for the month, or have an open tinychat, or meet up in Second Life at set times. We’ll have a #hashtag for Twitter. We can get to know what we know, get to know each other, share ideas and maybe become collaborators in the future.

In sum: though the month of July, let’s do what we normally do and share cool tools, ideas, and tips with each other, but a slightly more organized, searchable, and easily shareable way. Interested? Leave a comment here or on Twitter (rmazar). I’ll invite you to the blog, and we can get started!

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