Calendar as Unifier

I touched on this with a previous zombie pictures post. Essentially, metadata is awesome because it lets people find your stuff and it helps your stuff find its audience. Metadata is also absent more often than not because people don’t like to type in lots of tags and they especially don’t like to do it on phones. You see elements of this metadata addition becoming automatic- simple things like Instagram (or maybe IFTT) auto-tagging my images with instagram and (in my case) iPhone (like the image above). I’ve also seen auto-tagging of image filters and with exif data you get all sorts of interesting automated metadata details but they tend to be mechanical rather than social. IFTT, FeedWordPress, and others allow you to do some low level of automatic metadata association. What keeps coming back to me is that it would be relatively simple to enable people to associate calendars and specific calendar events with online media publishing workflows. This would add the socially relevant automated metadata so the audience could find the media. The end goal being audience rather than metadata.). This would work particularly well at institutions which have centralized calendars or in the case of Udell’s Elm City aggregated calendars. Take VCU’s calendar of events as an example. It has time, location, and categorical elements already. You […]

Snowballs and Networks

I’m trying to do a better job documenting how the Internet1 does things that make me happy. It’s fun to watch different flows and people come together to take things to another level. These interactions make up my personal Internet and I hope seeing them might help someone else build their Internet, this amalgam of humans and technology, to make them happy as well. The Input Somewhere in one of my feeds I came across Selfies at Funerals. I had a really hard time figuring out who would do something like that. The amount of ego really amazed me. Open Reflection So I put this out on Twitter2. and the #ds106 assignment response to #funeralselfies is to create the most inappropriate selfie (historical or otherwise) possible — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) October 30, 2013 I made the following bad example after a few of my original thoughts turned out far too gruesome even for me. Feedback/Amplification William Berry then sent me an email that was something like this later blog post. Essentially, William had done a much better example using Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. With this as inspiration, I put in some after trick or treating time and made four historical examples. It’s also now made its way to a #ds106 assignment which four people have completed at this point- […]

Historical Selfies

These were all focused on historical “selfies” right before disasters but you could do the opposite. I was inspired by the horrible and fascinating Selfies at Funerals Tumblr. You might also be appalled/inspired by Rich Kids of Instagram. I really don’t know quite enough about the selfie/hashtag culture to do this really well. The details with hashtags are what make it interesting and you need to do some research to make it work properly. There is work in humor. Get the Photoshop template here.

A Non-Definition of OER

THe following two photographs of slides are from David Wiley’s presentation on open education (which was awesome). I am playing against his definition for a variety of reasons which may become clear as I progress. (1) Any kind of teaching materials- textbooks, syllabi, lesson plans, videos, readings, exams “Teaching materials” are in the eye of the beholder but leading with this phrase puts people in a certain mindset around content and one that is actually harmful. People make fun of “educational” resources for good reason. A large part of what needs to be opened is our ideas around what content might be educational and how we might use that content. (2) Free and unfettered access, and (3) Free permission to engage in the “4R activities“ I won’t argue much with #2, although I do realize I “pay” for access to some of this content when a 3rd party tracks me. While I recognize the importance and goodness of #3, I hate to exclude all the content that falls outside that definition. I’d rather have a larger “house” of content and a few rooms that help people decide what they can do with it. I think it’s actually good that content might be ephemeral and might eventually go away. I am ok that I can’t remix certain things. I still find […]

Some Elementary Attempts

I’m working more closely with some of our elementary specialists this year. It’s been a good while since I worked with this age group. I’m pretty excited the potential to do some interesting things. Measurement is a big issue for our students in elementary. It spans math and science standards and kids are not connecting it with their lives. I’m playing around with some graphic ways to get students engaged. When I tried this out with my own kids (ages 9, 7, 5) they all really wanted to know how big the dog was. I realize it’s not the best sample but they aren’t shy if they don’t like things. I don’t know that will stick with an apple as the visual reference object. I’d like it to be something they have in their hands at the time and on a regular basis.1 I hope to encourage a lot of measuring against their own bodies. My kids like that- holding their hands up to where on their body the dog’s head would be. It might also be interesting to run a number line down the wall and have kids move to the numbers to indicate guesses, kid of a kinesthetic graphing exercise. I am pretty sure I saw that someplace. I’m attempting to imitate some of Dan Meyer’s three act […]

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Four Paths to WordPress

There are many ways1 to get content into WordPress other than writing in the normal WP post editor. I figured I’d sketch out at least four and why you might choose one over another. Press This I don’t believe many people notice or use the “Press This” bookmarklet that is located under Settings>Writing or under Tools. There’s a 3 minute video below detailing where to find it and how it works below. Think of it like the bookmarklet you might use with Delicious or Diigo only with more flexibility behind it. The ability to nearly seamlessly add media from the reference page (seen at about 1:27 in the video) is the main thing I find that makes this tool particularly useful. I’m using it instead of Diigo for the Word Games site because I want to embed a mixture of media and all of it will be from external pages. Think of it as having the capabilities of Pinterest but with the additional ability to embed video and text. Via Email This used to be a hassle but Automatic’s Jetpack plugin makes it very simple. You will need a WordPress.com account but it’s free and you’ve already given away all your information to Google or Apple anyway. You can see a tutorial on how to do that here but it’s […]

Internet Culture as Digital Content: VSTE12 Presentation

This presentation is essentially a pitch for the idea that we ought to be looking at the world with open eyes and paying attention to the content that is exciting to ourselves and others- the things we read/watch/listen to without being coerced. The introduction it is a rehash of the RSS aggregator pitch that I’ve given off and on since 2002. I know Twitter is much cooler and RSS is pronounced dead on a regular basis but Twitter fills a very different niche for me and I think the RSS aggregator still has a lot of value. I also stressed the idea that you have to aggregate feeds you actually want to read. That’s very different than feeds you feel you ought to want to read. Make this unpleasant for yourself and you will never, ever, read them. Build feeds that rejuvenate and interest you and then bring that into your instruction.1 My goal was to point out the huge swathe of low hanging fruit waiting for the right teacher to look at it in the right way- essentially the antipode of most of the content we use in education. This is really more of a change in philosophy than anything else. I’m hoping people open their minds to a larger idea of what might qualify as digital content. I […]

Amalgamation

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by hjhipster After being inspired by William Berry’s interesting idea around making current event memes I decided to sketch out an idea I’ve been thinking about for a long time but never got around to. Scottish psychologists, after failing to find evidence that humans could see into the future, urged their colleagues “not to venture too far down the rabbit hole,” and Til, a rare earless rabbit born at a small zoo in eastern Germany, was crushed under a cameraman’s shoe shortly before a press conference that had been scheduled in the rabbit’s honor. “We are all shocked,” said the zoo’s director, Uwe Dempewolf. “No one could have foreseen this.” -Harper’s I’ve wondered about ways to mesh current events and English/Civics by juxtaposing news events and quotes similar to Harper’s Weekly Review (when it’s done well). I struggle with the high bar for entry but it opens up some interesting ideas about context, quoting, humor, juxtaposition, irony etc. that would be interesting to apply. There’s a lot there but it would also require some real work to make it accessible. It’s hard to show good examples in our district because the Harper’s stuff tends to be politically charged and fairly sophisticated. To do it right would require widespread reading, memory and […]

Scrolling Text

We seem to have a need to take names and create scrolling text for various things (honor roll, Veteran’s Day, etc.). It was making me unhappy to have people spending time adding these names to PowerPoints or doing other manually intensive ways things to make this happen. I figured the Internet would have to have a better way. Here is one. After a search or two, I ended up at Max Vergelli’s jquery scroller. Down at the bottom on the examples page, I found the vertical scrolling option I wanted. I downloaded the files. I took my usual path, which is to open up the file and delete the stuff I didn’t want. I focused mainly on the HTML portion figuring it wouldn’t matter if the javascript loaded if it didn’t display. After a few tries, it turns out that I was wrong and that stuff does matter. So I also deleted all the unnecessary javascript pieces, or at least enough so that things worked. You can get a fairly clean version of the file that focuses on vertical scrolling by saving this webpage. You could also view the source etc.View source ought to be a good friend in most situations where you’re trying to figure this kind of thing out. Do keep in mind you’ll need the additional files […]

Social Media Talk

I’ve spoken to the PTA at Tuckahoe Middle School for the last two years about social media. It’s been pretty interesting both times in that I take a closer look at things that I tend to take for granted. I think both conversations have gone pretty well. I’ll document the conversation below (mixed with a few things I did with our principals a while back) for anyone who might have to do the same. Introduction I start with a slide that mixes the pictures of as many radically different people with Twitter accounts as I can find. I get the audience to try to identify the people. The one I’m using now has the Dali Lama, Rupert Murdoch, Sarah Palin and a few others. My goal was to have a few easily identifiable people and a few that took a tiny bit more effort.1 I wanted a wide diversity in political views, ages, etc. After we’ve ID’d the people, I ask “What do these people have in common?”2 I mention that you’ve probably heard references to Twitter after shows like Good Morning America, etc. Hopefully this gets people into the mindset that Twitter (and social media in general) is becoming more broadly adopted and is being used by mainstream media. My next move is to argue against polarizing social media. […]