I am heading off to JFK Airport this weekend in a rather inconvenient section of Queens (ie all of Queens), New York to travel to Doha, Qatar, for the 2010 World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) where I am representing this site and community that I have invested quite a bit of my professional and emotional energy in over the course of the last few years.

I will be there for the whole of Week 12 for course at Edinburgh (#ededc), so most of my posts will of the mobile variety, via my smartphone and more than likely on Tumblr. I will certainly blog as well and interact as much as possible, but perhaps less than I do now. However to be true to an ethnographic exploration of a new location and community, I go with technology that captures authentic expressions of situatedness.

I go armed with my

  • MacBook Pro (with video and camera recording)
  • Digital Camera
  • Flip Video Camera
  • Blackberry (issued through work)

Overkill perhaps, but that allows for quite a bit of multimodal investigation of the lay of the Qatari land in the midst of their World Cup festivities.


Expect a Flickr set, perhaps a Vimeo recording or two, and some pithy commentary on the ethnographic nature of conference life. As a veteran of this purported field, I can attest to the architecture of conference facilities and hotel lobbies, the uncanniness of single serve coffee dispensers in hotel rooms (feels like home, but it isn’t!), and airport buses and waiting areas. My iPod is at the ready, armed with enough ambience to walk me through the insanity from the last time I encountered a society mad with World Cup fever.


I was literally teaching in a building right across the street from this celebration (to one student who didn’t enjoy the whole World Cup thing) and was unable to make it home for at least five hours after this event. Ended up walking all the way across town, ethnographically noting my fatigue as an indication of my role as participant  in the community.

More from the road.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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