The Tao of Posts

I’ve been having quite a few conversations around student portfolios eportfolios online representations of their learning over time. These conversations have mostly centered on using WordPress and, almost inevitably, the first instinct is to create a series of pages that are aligned to either courses or assignments. Those pages usually contain a number of different pieces of content. That structure makes the most sense to people who are used to building websites in the Dreamweaver/static paradigm. I don’t think this is the right path in most cases. It’s easy in the short term but starts to limit you (absent lots of work) in the long run. Strange that I don't really know what a web page is anymore. Individual tweet? Blog post? Flickr image? #vcuols — Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) May 14, 2014 At the heart of this is the issue that “page” is hard to define. In the broadest sense anything I can address with a URL is a webpage. That’s a big bucket. WordPress makes things more complex by including a way to create pieces of content called “pages.” Pages are usually contrasted to posts. I usually described1 the page/post difference was that posts were pieces of content that flowed with the timeline (more ephemeral but archived) and pages were pieces of content you wanted to be more permanent/static. […]

Movie Monster Pet Guide

After my dad sent me a link to this dinosaur pet guide, I thought it’d be nice to have one for movie monsters. I’m using it as an opportunity to practice drawing more in Illustrator and once I get it finished up it’ll make for a decent #ds106 assignment. I was thinking horror movie characters, cartoons, famous people1 Anyway, round one is below as sleep is needed. I think most of them are pretty self explanatory. The triskaphobia2 Jaws one was a reach. It’s mocking Jaws 3-D which was a total flop and the shark should fear that number being brought up. cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward 1 I want to make one with Kanye West and Bobcat Goldthwait. 2 A slightly amended version of Triskaidekaphobia. I figured if deka means ten . . .then chopping it off takes us from thirteen to three and it seems the Internet agrees.

Minor Workflow Tip for Apple’s Preview

I have a beautiful new laptop but I have yet to transfer over my actual drawing programs (Omnigraffle, Photoshop, Illustrator). I had the need for a few icons for a website I’m working on and Keynote 6 is on this machine so I gave it a shot. I was very pleasantly surprised by the vector drawing tool. It’s different in a way that’s hard to articulate but I think people who are not familiar with vector drawing will really like it (and it probably won’t make the others too angry either). One minor trick worth knowing is that if you copy items, vector items in this case, in Keynote (and other programs) and flip over to Preview, you can create a new image with just that selection by choosing File>New From Clipboard. That saves you a few steps and in this case gives you a nice PNG file with alpha transparencies with no effort. The results look something like this. No muss, no fuss. The icons are on Flickr if there of any interest and if you choose the original size you’ll get the PNG files with transparency.

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 […]

There are four photoshopped images from various ads.

Is it a lie?

So I actually taught a 55 minute class Monday. I’d give myself a C- but I think the underlying concept and the examples are decent and worth sharing. Here’s the idea. Essentially it’s easier and easier to tell convincing lies in a digital environment. I’m stealing from Dan Meyer here. I asked the kids to tell me one thing they knew was true and then one thing they knew was false.  The next request was for a statement that was sort of true or sort of false. Augmenting Reality   So I start with the question “Are these pictures lies?” and then try to drill down to the various pieces and apply the idea of context, intent, and manipulation. Essentially, maybe it doesn’t matter so much if Dana Carvey is airbrushed up.  He’s a comedian.  I don’t think anyone cares too much what he looks like.  He’s not selling anything to do with looks. Does it matter more that they’re changing Beyonce’s skin color dramatically?  Why would they do that? Does it matter? Interestingly, the students seemed to feel that this was done with lighting and wasn’t a big deal. With Demi Moore, I tried to add complication.  Would this be a lie if this picture was used to sell a beauty product?  That seemed to trigger something for the […]

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Random Thoughts and Examples of Student Dashboards

This collection of dashboards1 was brought on by a tweet2 from Dan Meyer but precipitated by the fact that I am struggling to figure out what matters in terms of a future LMS and how the data we present (or don’t present) to students and teachers impacts education as a whole.3 While we4 often say we5 want a balance between multiple choice assessment and other types of assessment, if the only data that teachers see and talk about is related to multiple choice we probably shouldn’t bother talking about other types of assessment. There’s also the idea that assessment data may just be the tip of the iceberg. I’m not sure what exactly would make a difference but there are lots of other things that ought to be looked at. In the end I see the data displayed to students and teachers as being pretty important but it means nothing if it’s not set within the right context and used in the right way by both parties. All that aside, let’s see what’s going on right now. Delaware Insight Dashboards Fairly traditional, I’m not sure these dashboards are even meant for student view but many of the systems I’ve seen lately just give students access to their own data with the same views they give teachers and call it a […]

Cool Hand Luke

1 Story – 4 Icons

Assignment: Reduce a movie, story, or event into its basic elements, then take those visuals and reduce them further to simple icons. That’s my attempt above. I tried to stick to a three color scheme. The first image is supposed to be a parking meter. My wife was unable to ID it. It needs work. Hopefully the other three are at least identifiable. I don’t use vector drawing tools very often. I clearly need to spend some more time with them to get some skills but that was half the reason I attempted this. My learning is now public, fairly messy, but most of all not really what I want. That is ok. It’s fun. It isn’t a contest. I’m enjoying it. I do not fear Jim Groom’s red pen. You might also notice that I’m doing assignments in and around the #ds106 course but not necessarily all the ones that are assigned, nor am I necessarily doing them in the order they are given. I’m doing extra “work” with the interest and energy moves me1. I may go back and do some. I may not. I like the MOOC idea. I find it valuable to have a group of people moving through the roughly same ideas at roughly the same time. I like the freedom I find in the […]

First Blood Poster

This is an early iteration of a Rambo poster I’m working on. It was harder than I thought to find an iconic silhouette to represent a movie (at least a movie that I liked). Things I like- the knife- iconic enough to represent the movie (although it needs some polishing) the idea of the Vietnam and American flag blending to parallel the forces in the plot Rambo as blood on the tip of the knife. Where I doing this project in an English course, I could go into much more detail about how my choices reflect the movie. Things that need work- I think it’s too complex still. Rambo may need to be black and white. I don’t like the font. I may write First Blood instead (also leads to a First Blood/Vampire movie mashup possibility down the road) The dimensions are all wrong. I’m putting the not quite right stuff out there so anyone who might be interested can see the process and the thoughts going on. I think that’s good. I also don’t want people worrying about only posting perfection. This course ought to be fun and should allow people to brainstorm on ways to improve product together and continuously.


8 Bit Excel

Spreadsheet Invasion from Amy Thornley done in Excel. -via Flowingdata Excel is usually a place where people go to suffer1. It is time to reclaim it. Animate a scene using colored Excel cells as your medium. Want some 8 bit inspiration? 8 bit stop motion MW|WM 8 bit music 1 For the record, I actually like Excel.

Mega Shark Infographic

Mega Shark Infographic

I don’t know what it is about posters lately but this is simply awesome. It’s from the movie Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus1. Pitching this WCYDWT style would be awesome. Any crazy physics teachers out there willing to give this a shot? I was utterly bored by physics both times2 I took it but I’d have spent a happy week trying to figure stuff like this out. Found via the always awesome Super Punch 1 It’s now on my list to watch. I don’t know why Jim Groom hasn’t dedicated an entire blog to this yet. 2 I took it once in HS and once in college. I didn’t fail people. I only failed classes when I had personality conflicts with teachers.