Digital Literacy at NetHui

11 07 2011

InternetNZ held NetHui this year, a multistakeholder conference in which we tried to take the Internet out of the server room and to the nation.  After all, just about everybody is a stakeholder in the Internet, and there are big opportunities to be uncovered in getting together to discuss how the Internet is governed and used.

There is plenty of information about the fantastic conference on the NetHui web site; for me the real highlight was Lawrence Lessig’s keynote in which he makes the empassioned plea for New Zealand, as a “high-functioning democracy”, to save America from itself, arguing that free information and checks against abuse of corporate power are critical to maintaining a free society.

One of the biggest surprises for me was the willingness of those present to explore alternative models to intellectual property protection, given a general disdain for current copyright and software patent law.  I hope to see some real progress in this area in the near future; my contribution to this initiative is to organise a Wellington Creative Commons Meetup where we can work together to explore positive change.

I played a small part in organising the conference, focusing on the Digital Literacy session of the Access and Diversity stream.

The session highlighted that there is a great gulf between those who believe that Digital Literacy is chiefly concerned with teaching underprivileged students how to drive Microsoft Office, and those who believe that it is the duty of our education system to teach people how to analyse information and use the broad range of online tools imaginatively, sensibly, and safely.

I hope to be involved in a full-day session later in the year exploring these issues further with practitioners in the field, encouraging the players to collaborate and work together toward shared goals.

Here is the content of the Digital Literacy session for your own viewing pleasure.




InternetNZ Council Candidacy

23 06 2011

Last year, I was elected to the InternetNZ Council for a one-year term, as the result of the early resignation of Chris Streatfield. After one amazing but short year in office, I’m pleased to offer my services again as a councillor.

In the last year I have

  • Made significant contributions to the development of the Investment and Charitable Grants policies
  • Organised the NetHui session on Digital Literacy as part of the Access and Diversity stream
  • Encouraged a wider group of people from my diverse networks to join InternetNZ and participate in the conversation
  • Pressed for the widening of InternetNZ’s brief “up the stack”, so that we focus on the usage and impact of the Internet in wider society, rather than just the pipes
  • Connected InternetNZ staff and other councillors with appropriate people in external organisations where we can make a difference, such as the Wellington City Council’s Digital Strategy Development forum
  • Made myself available to members through Twitter, LinkedIn, and email to raise any issues of concern to Council
  • Promoted a culture of creative entrepreneurship, shared purpose, and respect around the council table

If re-elected, I will continue to work hard to ensure that:

  • The NZ Internet (in the widest sense) remains open and uncapturable
  • Council focusses on its responsibility to its members as well as wider society in its full diversity
  • InternetNZ gets the best out of its staff and operating companies, supporting our excellent Chief Execs to achieve the strategy we set
  • Strategic opportunities are recognised and seized as they arise
  • I am available and approachable for members to voice their concerns and act as a conduit to Council.

I look forward to continuing in my role to keep InternetNZ the great organisation it is, and expand its impact and the good it does in society.




Domain names, now with mācrons!

22 07 2010

From next week, .nz domain names will have the ability to contain macrons.

I’m really pleased to have lent a hand to the process which has enabled the complete Māori alphabet to be used in .nz domain names; I was on the “IDN” (Internationalised Domain Name) committee at InternetNZ which set up the policy and process for making this happen.

Here’s the InternetNZ media release:

Media Release – 22 July 2010 – The beginning of next week marks an exciting new phase for the .nz domain name space. From 10am on Monday 26 July 2010, people will be able to register .nz domain names using the macronised vowels ā, ē, ī, ō and ū.

Registering a .nz domain name with macrons will take place in exactly the same way as registering any other .nz domain name – through a ‘registrar’ – and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

New Zealand Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan says the launch date for general registrations has been timed to coincide with the start of Māori Language Week, which is significant because, for the first time, New Zealand’s indigenous language, Te Reo Māori, can be correctly represented online.

“Thanks to the successful completion of the global Internationalised Domain Name (IDN) initiative the New Zealand Internet is now more culturally representative.

“The addition of macrons to the .nz domain name space is a step forward for online identity and the Internet in New Zealand and I encourage those interested in securing a macronised name to take note of the opening of general registrations on 26 July.

“This is the culmination of years of hard work at both local and international levels, and I would like to thank New Zealand’s IDN working group and .nz Registry Services for their valuable contributions.”

More information about .nz domain names with macrons is available at www.dnc.org.nz/story/nz-domain-names-macrons

For further information contact:
Debbie Monahan
Domain Name Commissioner
+64 4 495 2114







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