Category Archives: Data

Citation Workflow – Diigo/Pinterest to Google SS

Talking to Bud the other day he mentioned that generating the citation page for his digital stories was something of a pain. I’ve thought about it a bit since then and decided to try to simplify a workflow for this.

Odd thing I learned – - CHAR(10) is the official way to get line breaks in Google Spreadsheet formulas.

Flickr to Diigo to Google Spreadsheets

Initially, I looked at the Flickr galleries because that’s the option that Bud normally uses. I saw that the gallery was in a standard HTML list format and I had some hope. Google spreadsheets lets you pull lists and tables like these in via the IMPORTHTML function. Martin Hawksey has some good instructions and examples over here. So that failed but I could import just about every other list on the page.

So, I decided doing this through Diigo would make pretty decent sense for a number of people.

Assuming you choose a unique tag for the images you plan to use- this example just uses “flickr”, I’d suggest something story/movie specific. So the basic Diigo URL you’d get is https://www.diigo.com/user/bionicteaching/flickr. Trying to make this really easy for people, I set up the first page to allow you to paste that URL in and our friendly formulas transform it into https://www.diigo.com/rss/user/bionicteaching/flickr.

The example linked here reformats the RSS feed into something like what’s below. Making it really easy to cut/paste into credits or publish as a webpage and link to in your video description. With minor effort you could make it even prettier or assume a different format. If it interests you, click here and choose FILE>MAKE A COPY to have one of your very own.

[code]]czoyMDA6XCJcIktPTklDQSBNSU5PTFRBIERJR0lUQUwgQ0FNRVJBIHwgRmxpY2tyIC0gUGhvdG8gU2hhcmluZyENCkJ5IHVzZXI6IGVke1smKiZdfWJhdGlzdGENCmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmZsaWNrci5jb20vcGhvdG9zL2VkYmF0aXN0YS82MTk5MzYzODEzL2luL2ZhdmVzLWJpb25pY3R7WyYqJl19ZWFjaGluZy8NClJldHJpZXZlZCBvbiBTdW4sIDMwIE1hciAyMDE0IDAwOjMxOjI1ICswMDAwXCJcIjt7WyYqJl19[[/code]

Pinterest to Google Spreadsheets

I did get to thinking that Diigo is not the most visual of bookmarking options and wondered if I might be able to do something similar using Pinterest. Turns out, only sort of.

You can get the RSS feed in no problem. You just add RSS to the end of the board URL and you’ve got a feed. It loads fine into the spreadsheet . . . but it doesn’t hold much info.

You can get the date/time of pinning, the description, and the URL to the pit itself (which does site the source and provide a link back to the original- but none of that is in the RSS feed).

I’m not overly impressed. I may revisit later with a little more effort and something beyond a vanilla Google spreadsheet. In any case, if you want a copy here it is.

Text Acrobatics in Google Spreadsheets

I’ve established here enough times I’m not a programmer so I have to find ways to get things done until I learn more.

I found this gigantic list of edtech related conferences compiled by Dr. Wright thanks to Stephen Downes’ feed. It’s in Word1 for a variety of reasonable reasons and I can’t fault anyone who puts in this kind of time and energy and puts the result out there for free. It does make it harder to manipulate but it is very consistent which opens up doors which might otherwise be closed. It does cut/paste into a Google Spreadsheet pretty well.

The key to things like this is finding ways to break them into pieces. It is really algebra and variables but a more entertaining version. You can chop pieces of the block up and then chop up those parsed out pieces.

For convenience’s sake we’ll use cell A2 as the housing for the unparsed information.

December 1-2, 2013 International Conference on Advanced Education Technology and Management Science (AETMS), Hong Kong, China. http://www.aetms.org/

The first thing I did was scan for consistencies that I might use as chop points. The date is always first and in most cases it’s one word (the month) followed by the dates and a comma.

That allows me to do things like =FIND(” “,A2). That will give me the number of the first space- in this case 9 (written in cell B2). Now no matter what the first month is I can pull it out as a separate piece by putting in a formula like =LEFT(A2,B2). That gives me the first X letter of whatever is in cell A2.

I can also get fancy and find the second space. Something like =FIND(” “,A2,B2+1). That will start us at one character beyond the first space and will find the next space in the sequence.

Other useful tricks include =LEN(A2) which will tell you how long the text is (148 in this case and written in cell C2). Now if I =FIND(“http”,A2), I’ll get 128 (written in cell D2). So now by subtracting (148-128) we know the URL is 20 characters long and since it’s at the end of the line we can get it by =RIGHT(A2,(C2-D2)). If it wasn’t at the start/end of a line, you can opt to use =MID and play with those variables.

In any case, I have little hope this makes sense and slightly less hope anyone would struggle through it but the spreadsheet is here and while you can’t edit it you can see the formulas and comment. I have done some erroneous/useless parsing that needs to be pulled out but that’s what weekends are for.

The reason, of course, that I did this was to pull the information in Exhibit. The cramped version is below and the(seems to break things so it’s now gone) full version is over here. The example has December through March. I may do the rest at some point.


1 Although I believe a Word table or Excel might have all the advantages and allow for easier transitions to other formats.

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.

#vcu #day1

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 could add elements to the event template or just leave it as is.

Sequentially, you’d pre-associate your calendar(s) with your media account of choice. You’d upload a piece of media. The system would look at the time stamp and/or GPS data from the media and attempt to connect that information to your calendar(s). Those calendar events would have associated metadata elements which you could opt to associate with your media.

It seems like you then use calendars as indices to media elements which would be an interesting reverse exploration. While it wouldn’t be as automated it would also seem relatively simple to add a WordPress plugin that ties into your calendar and allows you to associate blog posts with calendar events for much the same purpose. It’s a little more manual given blog posts aren’t as synchronous in most cases but it still seems valuable.

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.

IMG_9373

(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.

IMG_9374

(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 the content worth using. My goal is to first get people to open their eyes to the wealth of really engaging content around us and then the idea of remixing and making that content becomes both more likely and more interesting.

See Food!
I tend to see this as representative of most “teaching materials” only less exciting. The content is pre-chewed and equally unappetizing.

I’ll start with fairly normal media sources and drift outward towards stranger places and tools.

[Invitation to attend the execution of Tiburcio Vasquez]
The Flickr Commons has many good things (and a decent search interface), including this invitation to an execution that I found randomly as a result of subscribing to this RSS feed of the Commons’ photos. Since I knew Jim Groom was teaching a course on crime I passed it on and Jim did the rest. It’s also a decent example of the value of working in the open. If people know what you’re doing they may come bearing gifts. My favorites in Flickr are full of items waiting for uses.

This disturbing film records the successful experiments in the resuscitation of life to dead animals (dogs), as conducted by Dr. S.S. Bryukhonenko at the Institute of Experimental Physiology and Therapy, Voronezh, U.S.S.R. Director: D.I. Yashin.

I found this very disturbing video on Archive.org- specifically wandering around the Prelinger archives which are full of all sorts of odd things. All this content is remixable and the potential is limited only by time and imagination.

XKCD's What if?
There is a cartoonist who specializes in romance, sarcasm, math, language and happens to answer hypothetical physics questions on a weekly basis. I find this interesting in a variety of ways- not the least of which is that there is an audience for this. There is even a Twitter account that documents all the interesting numbers found in the pursuit of these answers.

Backstory
There are so many beautiful podcasts out there. This one is amazingly well done and a model for how we might teach history- 18th, 19th, and 20th century lenses on the same topic. They interview experts and provide resources that allow people to delve even deeper. This kind of thing starts to get at the idea of transmedia- different media paths with different depths driven, to some degree, by a narrative. The timely nature of the content is also quite useful- this Columbus episode for instance which would go nicely with this Oatmeal comic.1

There are so many things out there, it helps to have other people tell you about them. Eric Hoefler let me know about this one.

I do think it’s worth noting that I’m ok with degrees of “truth” from these sources. I want all information to be suspect.

There’s an endless additional supply of media but from here I’ll start to branch out into the idea that tools have as much or more value. A few of my favorites are below. I like them because they start with plenty of content and plenty of options but they also offer you the ability to fill them with your own data.

GapMinder
(Not sure why Gapminder doesn’t generate a screenshot via the WordPress Snap feature. . . it is a real place. You can click on the 404 image and go there.)

Google Earth/Google Maps- Short version – It’s full of stars.


Many Eyes

Under the tools category also falls all sorts of javascript libraries – Timeline JS, Simile Widgets, Dojo etc. etc.

And then there are people, so many people focused on finding interesting things in various areas of focus. A few content focused examples include2 -

Shorpy Fresh Photons It's OK to be Smart Literary Tattoos Literally Unbelievable

And what’s better than people? Communities. Legions of people working towards your goals is handy.

Like this reddit focused on colorizing historical photos.
Colorized History


1 and some fava beans

2 I would note that content focused blogs should be rounded out. It’s important to look outside education.

Yearbook Data

Data Viz Reviewed

As we prepare for the next theme in our MOO-ish thing, I figured I’d condense and summarize some of the products from this run.

Yearbook Data
Gillian Lambert a wonderful English teacher from Moody MS opted to play along and visualized yearbook data for her school. Gillian documents the process and highlights how visualizing the information led her to new understandings. I think that’s one of the most neglected benefits of a process like this. Creating leads to additional understanding for both the audience and the author.


Debbie found that sometimes the web 2.0 tools aren’t up to par. Her critique of the infogr.am and piktochart services echoes some of the problems I’ve had with services like this over time. They are fast and relatively easy but you give up some key elements of control that some people won’t be happy about. I think they have their place but you have to go in knowing the limitations of the tool and the impact of those limitations on your ability to control the narrative.

Katie spent some time tracking happiness but with great common sense opted to move on to looking at Google Doc usage. She used mural.ly to layout the graphs from GAFE in a way that lets you see the big picture and drill down to the details. The infinite canvas concept that you have in mural.ly and prezi is something that has some fascinating possibilities.


Gaynell used her amazingly consistently entered Outlook calendar data to plot all of the yoga teaching she has done since the dawn of time. Her post does a great job breaking down how she got the data from Outlook, into Excel, and then parsed out in a way that allowed her to visualize. Her post has encouraged me to look at how I’m categorizing my calendar information so that I might actually use it. My current method is not a method.

Screen Shot 2013-06-20 at 5.47.57 PM
William Berry visualized data about the Civil War and used Google’s new mapping tool to do it. He got enough of my interest that I signed up for the same class he’s taking on how to build in the new Google Maps/Earth. I particularly like how he’s framing data analysis as a necessary student lens on the world. As a result of this conversation, we’re going to try playing with this same data in Exhibit.1

Karen Richardson started some work mapping where food comes from in Exhibit as well but hasn’t submitted anything officially. I’m linking her in anyway. I’ll also be working some in the near future to update my Exhibit tutorials. If you feel like time traveling the old tutorials from around 2007 are here. iWeb anyone?

None of this was massive but I’m really happy that people have participated and have enjoyed things. The next round will likely be focused on the idea of remix (defining post coming soon). It’s a big topic and the Internet is a big place. You’re more than welcome to come join us.


1 I may over advocate for this tool but it remains uniquely capable of visualizing information over time and space in a fluid faceted user friendly environment.