You Can’t Do That on WordPress

I submitted something like this already to NMC but it failed . . . and I did not have a backup copy. They happened to extend the deadline so I’ve resubmitted and I’m sticking a copy here for future reference. It might also be useful just for a handy list of examples. 100 Word Summary 1 Open Source, highly flexible, and running 1 in every 4 sites on the Internet today, yet many still put WordPress in the “cat diary” box.2 In the initiative’s third year, we have 21,000+ sites. See examples of WordPress as a single-use tool and how it can be used to build truly customized courses.  All examples are open to the world (no passwords). We’ll explore design patterns (build fast at scale) and powerful plugins (use the community). Mind expansion is the goal. The code’s on GitHub. Warning: 1980s Canadian TV show references will occur. These are all public examples. They’re in real courses in a large, public university. This is work that is accessible and possible for anyone. Additionally, all the plugins and themes we create are on GitHub (here and here). I’ve also done my best to document how it all works on many posts on my site. I want people to be able to do this on their own or with their institution […]

API Nirvana – The Content

Long, long ago Kin and I did the API Nirvana presentation at Open Ed 2016. The following images are screenshots of the presentation embedded above. I described the construction in reveal.js here. There’s a good chance the images below link to the right slides in the presentation. I need to think through how this particular workflow might work better as it seems wasteful to take screenshots this way . . . 1 Slide one is a visual mashup of Kin’s logo and Nirvana’s smiley face font/color. I find the API path one of temptation. It leads me to question many things and I struggle with what I should be spending the time to tweak, to massively modify, to try to make perfect for me. It is a battle but a better one than tolerating whatever I’m given with no recourse. API tools allow me entirely new levels of IFTTT types of flow– and a flow where I’m dictating far more of the process without the need for a 3rd party intermediary. There’s lots of power there and lots of potential to eat huge chunks of my time as well. It brings up lots of big picture questions about who owns what. With APIs I can increase the percentage I own and make the services/data interchangeable should I need to move […]

API Nirvana – Functional Details

I am way behind on blog posts. I’m also bad about telling the difference between blog posts I’ve written in my head and blog posts I’ve actually written. I am glad that being able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy is not that important. Sparked back to reality by this Tweet involving many of my favorite people on the Internet . . . I figured I’d write at least part one of that imaginary post. If my ability to tell fiction from fact continues, I’ll actually write up the content of the presentation this week. Has anyone played round with Reveal.js for slides? @cogdog perhaps? Thinking on using with @Flickr @creativecommons images Maybe fork it? — Ken Bauer (@ken_bauer) November 27, 2016 I got the opportunity to do a talk with the rather hopeful title of API Nirvana at #opened16 with Kin Lane (the API evangelist). The original proposal had doing something like the description below with a focus on the Buddhist concept of Nirvana. Kin Lane, API Evangelist, has long been a traveler on the API path. Tom Woodward has newly come to it. Kin will explain API Nirvana, that it’s more a journey than a destination (you are already on it), and Tom will explain the path and patterns of his early progress towards that destination. […]

Thinking About Digital Literacy

I was asked to speak at the VCU School of Education’s Teaching Literacy in a Digital World Conference this past Saturday. I’ve haven’t spent much time thinking about “digital literacy” in the past few years. It’s been somewhat mashed together with other terms that overlap like- digital fluency, computational thinking, etc. – and like those terms there’s not much agreement on what it is. I glanced at a few definitions prior to making this but didn’t really stick with one. When Dr. Leila Christenbury started the conference she referenced the “find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet” definition of digital literacy so I added that while I waited and it makes as good a framework as anything else. A chunk of the presentation is on GitHub here or you can fork it here. I opted to do the presentation with reveal.js and on GitHub mainly because I need to be expanding my own competencies (digital and otherwise). I struck the “differently” portion because I wanted to orient things more towards the idea of doing things and didn’t want people getting caught up in the nuances of whether it was really “different.” This was an attempt to connect with the audience. I believed they were mainly k12 teachers or faculty in the School of Ed (who […]

My Chunk of the VCU ALT Lab Educause Presentation

I got a chance to present at Educause with Gardner, Jon, and Molly. The session was about 45 minutes so we each had about 7 minutes. The session description is below. I figured I’d throw my slides/comments up here- mainly because I will forget everything if I don’t write it down. In the past, centers supporting excellence in teaching and learning tended to follow models of faculty development focusing on incremental change in widely accepted practices. VCU’s Academic Learning Transformation Laboratory seeks to change that paradigm. This session will begin with our story thus far. Come help us write our next chapters! from the program This is a list of my greatest fears (although I left out hypocrisy which I find myself repeating almost as much as workflow). It’s easy to scare people out of doing things. It’s easy to end up aiming for mediocrity. That feels like a high bar at times. Don’t call warming up dog food a victory. It’s really almost worse than leaving it cold. At least cold dog food isn’t pretending. I’ve had to do it at times but don’t let it ever become a goal. Excuses are easy. Figuring out real limits on capacity and aspiration is hard and a constantly moving target. It’s a tightrope to walk but walk it. Many places support […]

#UVaTeach Reflection

I had an interesting day at UVA a few days ago as part of their Innovation in Pedagogy Summit. I got the chance to talk to UVA’s Teaching Resource Center group and listen to some interesting educators talk about their practice. I was the closing keynote and I talked, as I have before, about what educational technology might be versus what it is. Essentially this was an extension and deepening of the It Could be Beautiful concept I did at VSTE a few years ago. It helps to see the depth of the perversion and misuse of educational technology before looking at ways it is working. Otherwise people tend to pretend it all sucks or it’s all going great (depending on their own stance). We seem to have created a populace, in the USA at least, that has a great deal of difficulty with things that are not stark examples of black and white. I don’t know if I should blame the media, capitalism, or standardized testing.1 What made this particular iteration a bit stronger was starting off by asking the audience to do something right away that set the scale of what we’re endeavoring to do in education. I asked them to go and read their college/university/departmental mission and vision statements and talk about them at their tables. What […]

It Could Be Beautiful: Aspirational vs Operational EdTech

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by ellyjonez1 This is a bit of brainstorming for a presentation I’m doing in a few months. It’s a bit of a remix of some stuff I’ve highlighted before but there are a few new examples in the mix (bolded below). I think they’re well worth looking at more deeply- especially Math Box and Keshif. I like Math Box because it tightens up the equation/interactive visualization connection in math. It’s one of the reasons I love Fluid Math. Math Box is not for the faint of heart (javascript library) but it starts to lead towards different expectations around how we might see and interact with math concepts. Keshif incorporates many of the elements that have had me chasing Simile Exhibit and FacetWP. It does it in a really slick visual package that enables some really interesting options. I really believe there’s depth to the different kind of understandings we can come to when data can be quickly sifted and sorted. It is interactive data visualization that can change the kinds of questions we ask. Have better examples? Am I getting too flaky? Throw some feedback my way in the comments or write in the document.2 A great deal of energy and attention has been focused on using technology to automatically grade […]

Squirrels In My Pants

I did a presentation the other day on how one might use the Promethean software to do some interesting things with video. I don’t think the software is essential to do any of this but it did make it pretty easy and we already have it on all our computers and all our student computers. In any case, I used the video above to demo a few easy things for kids to do using screenshots from virtually any video. Yes, it did make my kids’ day to use a Fineas and Ferb song about squirrels in someone’s pants. I’m not sure what the teachers thought of it but sometimes you have to amuse yourself. Simplest- Visual Answers Take video screenshots to answer questions. Easy but a different level of involvement with the video. Depending on the questions this could be low level stuff or something more sophisticated. You could do simple things like ID the protagonist. Or you could ask harder questions like- Capture the most dramatic frame in the video. Summarize or Cartoonize Using simple screenshots you can add word balloons to summarize the video or just use the frame captures as fodder for comics in general. You can make it more complex by adding restrictions (see below) – things like you have to summarize the video in only […]

Introducing Randomness

I had a great time at UMW’s Faculty Academy. Got to meet a number of people face to face for the first time which is always interesting. I was lucky enough to be able to present as a plenary speaker1 as well. After being repeatedly told to “bring my A game” I had completely psyched myself out. In direct retaliation I decided to introduce as many elements of “randomness” as I could into this presentation.2 I’m not necessarily arguing that all three made the presentation better but it did make it more interesting to me and I think they did add some interesting elements for the audience. Element One The day before the presentation I had already come up with two slide decks with two very different themes. One, had tattoos as the visual element because I thought the idea of things people were willing to have jabbed into their skin with needles made for an interesting visual theme. The other presentation was based around the danse macbre woodcuts from the Black Plague. Neither one did quite what I wanted and the macabre one was too depressing even for me. So I decided to do a version of Deck Wars/Battle Decks. Essentially, I sent out an open call to Twitter requesting images. Punish me. Send me url to any image […]

Miami-Dade Workshop 6-11-09

Google Tips Google Advanced Search Google Book Search, News Search and Article Search PDF Tip Sheet – the shortcuts for advanced search Media Resources Archive.org – old Lucky Strike commercial, WWII British Propaganda Films, cultural and academic films WikiMedia Commons – picture of the day Flickr Commons – Simthsonian, Library of Congress, The White House, and advanced search (If Flickr is blocked give Compfight or FlickCC a shot.) Library of Congress Digital Archives – historic newspapers, audio interviews with former slaves, audio/video interviews with American veterans and a lot more iTunes Podcasts – audio and video of all kinds ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ [poll id=”1″] Blogs Educational Examples Classroom organization Debate Richard III Elementary projects Outsiders Vocabulary Byrd Middle Book Reviews Tutorials and Free Blogs WordPress Tutorials WordPress.com – free blogs Edublogs.org – free blogs Google Earth Get Google Earth for free or use Google’s My Maps option(You’ll need a free Google account to do this.) Educational Examples Google Lit Trips – books in context Google Earth Lessons Google Earth Math Lessons You can search for Google Earth files by keyword through Google Tutorials and More Google’s tutorials The BIG Keyhole Site- lots of everything including help The 3D Warehouse – just about anything you’d like to put in Google Earth Good Education Resources