Category Archives: Digital Storytelling

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 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

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.


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.

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 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 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.

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.

(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.

Like a Car Chase

This project was inspired by a Sklar brothers bit that I heard on the VA Beach AM comedy channel the other day. An edited and condensed version of track 16 is here.

Now on to the assignment . . .

Take any video.1 Add your voice over as if you were a local TV news anchor attempting to provide color commentary without stating anything as a fact or with certainty. Add all the hedge words and banalities that exemplify this kind of coverage.

If you’re looking for the DS106 tag/aggregation for the assignment go here (AudioAssignments, AudioAssignments1085).

The basic idea is this is almost the opposite of what we want students to do with writing. We want them to be specific, to eliminate hedge words, to make a strong argument, and to take a specific stance. In a class, I might flip it both ways. Have one understated version with no definite statements and then do another version which overstates things (like this Daily Show clip description which I may dig up the video for at some point). Or you could simply give them the option to either understate or overstate the commentary.

This is a quick and dirty example where despite my efforts I accidentally say a few facts. For instance, there’s no way I could really know that humanoid is small, nor that the utensil is plastic. Allowing for an editing cycle based on other people calling out facts might be possible depending on time.

1 The worse the video, the easier this is. Look for something with virtually no action. If it’s exciting, you’ll never keep up.

Google Form as Choose Your Own Adventure Tool

Just a quick proof of concept for a session I’m doing at VSTE. I’m trying to show how you can use most things in all sorts of ways despite what they were intended to do. Apparently the example Google put out for this way back when actually used choose your own adventure to demo the concept. I promise I didn’t know that.

Embedded below is a simple example of a choose your own adventure story using the branch logic options in Google forms. It’s a little hard to keep the pages straight at first but it gets easier as you go. Were I doing something large, I’d probably have to map it out first.

19 Strangers

It has taken me quite a while to get to 19. Clearly, I tend to do this project in fits and starts and I do much better when I leave town. Because the Universe has a sense of humor, I will be in Las Vegas for BlackBoard World and I’m hoping that will result in some interesting opportunities.

Despite the practice, it still isn’t an easy thing for me to do. I’m always fairly awkward asking although I think I recover better than I did initially.

It is interesting to look at the gender, age, and race of the subjects. It probably says quite a bit about me. I’ve only been turned down three times. 86% is a pretty decent success rate. One of the rejections was from a police officer who “got in the habit” of refusing to have his picture taken when he was in an elite military unit1.

In any case, I’m glad I started this project. I intend to finish all 100.

1 Unverified by external sources