Community Technology Learning Lab - CTLab

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The Community Technology Learning Lab (“CTLab”) was active from June - September 2012 to raise awareness of what is technology stewardship and how it can be approached. We explore key characteristics of technology stewardship in development by reflecting on participants’ experiences in the identification and use of technologies to support collaboration and learning in networks and communities. Key ideas and good practices will be synthesised here in a wiki based report including a brief description of interrelated methods and tools. See also KM4Dev wiki page on Technology Stewardship.

The Learning Lab is coordinated by Mark Hammersley with a steering group comprising KM4Dev core group members, Riff Fullan, Peter Bury and Charles Dhewa. For questions or comments please contact / skype: hammersleym or one of the steering group.

CTLab email discussion group

To join the conversation please sign up to the CTLab group at DGroups, or send a blank email to Please note that we are using the “Next Generation” DGroups platform which is currently in beta test. If you have any difficulty signing up or if you experience any other problems using the technology please contact Mark Hammersley (

Learning Lab Agenda

CT Lab: Agenda: Outline plan for our discussions

Who's Here?

CTLab: About Us: Participants in the Lab introduce themselves

Why are we here?

CTLab: Questions: What questions and challenges are we hoping to address during the CTLab?

What is a Technology Steward?

“Technology stewards are people with enough experience of the workings of a community to understand its technology needs, and enough experience with or interest in technology to take leadership in addressing those needs. Stewarding typically includes selecting and configuring technology, as well as supporting its use in the practice of the community.” CTLab: Technology Stewards: What does the role of Technology Stewards involve?

CTLab recommendations on a TSG for KM4Dev

The CTLab recommended the KM4Dev Core Group to consider the creation of a KM4Dev Technology Stewardship Group (TSG) for which it provided (1) draft ToR and (2) in case funds allow hire a TSG launch consultant for which also a draft ToR is formulated.

Background Reading / Other Resources

The following web resources are interesting and helpful. We will be adding to this list as the learning lab proceeds.

  • Digital Habitat book and website - Technology has changed what it means for communities to “be together.” Digital tools are now part of most communities’ habitats. This book develops a new literacy and language to describe the practice of stewarding technology for communities. Written by Etienne Wenger, Nancy White and John D. Smith, the book brings together conceptual thinking, case studies and offers a guide for understanding how technology can help a community do what it wants to do. It gives a glimpse into the future as community and technology continue to affect and influence each other.
  • Stewarding technologies for collaboration, community building and knowledge sharing in development: This 2007 edition of the Knowledge Management for Development Journal explores how international development practitioners find new ways to work together using Internet technologies. The lens used in all the articles foregrounds human processes; technologies take a complementary and interdependent role. In the framing of this space between design and deployment of tools, authors pay attention to both technology and social practices that groups and communities use in their application of technologies to their work. This practice of working the relationship between technology and social practices is called ‘technology stewardship’.
  • Technology for Communities Project: A companion to the “Digital Habitats” book and website. This wiki seeks to describe tools that are used by communities of practice, explain how they function from a community perspective, and suggest why a community might select that tool, given its orientation and activities. The pages attempt to define each tool, describe relevant features, the tool's uses in a community of practice, how the polarities can show up, give examples, and point to resources.
  • Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT): A free resource site on the use of new technologies for learning and performance. Includes directory of over 2,000 tools for learning and working in education and the workplace.
  • Technology For KM4DeV: A room to discuss lessons learned and practical advices on how to choose and use the available technologies..

Final CTLab AAR

  • See the 'AAR CT Lab' synthesis of Mark Hammersley's final reflections on the project.