Thanks for your group email concerning what has been happening here on Edu4drr, and seeking more input.

 

There are certainly a lot of interesting things to discuss in this field (not the least being the woeful failure of many of my fellow NZers during the recent tsunami alert, who flocked to the beaches to watch).

 

I do wonder if one of the things that counteracts the more frequent use of this edu4drr site is the somewhat cluttered interface.  For someone used to Ning and similar social networking sites, it probably all makes sense.  But to a relative newbie to such sites, it is very confusing to sift through to what you want. 

 

Never having used Ning myself, I'm not sure how customisable it is to remove some of the clutter and rearrange things to make the interactive bits more obvious (especially links to add comments, start new discussions and upload videos/resources).

 

Also, the light blue type on white on the main page is quite hard to read.  Though I see we can change the look ourselves of our own page.

 

I hope you don't think I'm being too critical with this - my comments are made in full realisation of the hard work you've done putting together and running this site, and are merely suggestions that I hope might improve its use even more.

 

 

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Here's a blog entry I received from one of my LinkedIn contacts just after writing the above post. It gives some interesting info about 'call to action' buttons - some of which may apply to sites like Ning.

http://ow.ly/1cVik
Roly,
Thanks for the input and advice. It is hard to find a balance between a simple interface and give everybody what they want. In oarticular the resource button has adrop-down menu in order to cater for the different types of resources that there are on the site, whereas multimedia has both videos and photographs. These are also include further down the page, below latest activity as I thought that this would be most useful. The ning interface itself is fairly fixed and unless there is a complete re-code and design, we will have to make do with templates! The old design was very dark and may have been hard to read so this is why the design changed. The blue text is only for headlines, whereas the text is a dark grey in order to be read more easily. I have played with the code a little bit in terms of fonts and colours already, but might tweak it a little more. Before I was a teacher Roly, I was a web designer for four years, so it is possible and I have designed and maintained edu4hazards.org for three years now and am just in the process of translating into Italian. I hope this helps and addresses some of your concerns! What we need to do is to continue contributing to building our community and sharing resources. Thank you.

Justin
I would also add that numbers play a role. If I knew that there were dozens "attending", I would attend myself. I'd like to say that I am guilty myself of not promoting the site itself despite my obvious ability to do so, so will make an effort in the future to do this. If we could all do this, pass along the site and it's potential, we could see a more livened existence here.

Eddy and Roly,

Thanks for your input! I appreciate it when other take the time to assist with promoting the site and its uses. However I also am aware that 'content is king' having come from a web design background. This was certainly in my mind when I designed and built the edu4hazards website with information that is accessible for children and youth. I have since built curriculum around the site as a springboard to further enquiry rather than as the only resource. Similarly I have attempted to place resources onto this site that are not didactic and engage the learner. When I first started tis network, this was what I had in mind and I thought I would be bombarded with educational materials or examples from the field of DRR. However there has been a paucity of these resources, despite what members have promised....

 

However I understand that members are busy with work, families etc and this does effect what they can realistically commit to, but without our members contributing regularly, the network will cease to work as a network! I think it would be useful to hold a virtual meeting where such issues are discussed and so that we can both raise the profile of the site while providing a real place to access resources and ask for advice!

 

Kind Regards,

 

Justin

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