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What is Rampages? Part Two

Image from page 776 of “The Ladies’ home journal” (1889) flickr photo by Internet Archive Book Images shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Continuing on from Part One . . . I have way too many examples. If you read this blog often, you’ve probably seen most of these being born1 but this is my first attempt at organizing and a more cohesive structure around key categories/processes and all in one place. This isn’t my normal pattern as I’m more of a folksonomic structure guy rather than taxonomic. What this has done is remind me of just how much work has been done in a relatively short time. I’ve only been here three years. Rampages is roughly three years old but wasn’t publicized initially and then had some rough growing pains. The last year or so I’ve been trying to convince people my department still exists . . . and still people find ways to do tons of amazing work. I’m not even including the stuff we do outside of WordPress. I’m only scratching the surface but this post keeps getting longer and longer. I threw a bunch of the links here. Some will be duplicates but there’s plenty of additional sites as well. Courses Rampages supports faculty teaching the full continuum of courses at VCU- from augmenting traditional […]

What is Rampages.us? Part One

I’m going to be attempting to explain what rampages.us is to a group on Tuesday. I’ve been struggling with a more digestible version of this for some time. While true, saying “Whatever you want it to be,” isn’t what people want to hear. Giving people something more concrete to think through what the site can do makes sense. These categories, however blurry and overlapping, provide some entries to additional thoughts and will likely help me organize my brain around this a bit better. Outside eyes are helpful so if you see stuff I’m missing or explaining poorly please throw me a comment here or on Twitter. While some of the details are specific to our version, I think the general arguments might be of use to others. If you end up doing that (or have already done it), throw me a link as I’d love to see how other people do this. Technically Speaking Rampages.us is a large WordPress multisite installation started roughly three years ago. Our community currently has over 24,000 sites and 22,000 members. WordPress is an open source platform which runs a huge portion (~30%) of today’s Internet and is the most popular CMS in the world. That matters for a variety of reasons. WordPress is free. This dramatically lowers barriers to access for our students while […]

handwriting in the 21st century an educational summit

Can’t Trust It: Typing vs Handwriting

I read a portion of this article on keyboarding being overrated. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I’m not really aggressive either way. I do think it makes little sense to make two different ways to make the same letters. Montessori leads with cursive and I tend to think she’s done a better job thinking this through. Anyway, I took at look at the first paragraph with apparent proof. Brain scans during the two activities also show that forming words by hand as opposed to on a keyboard leads to increased brain activity(pdf). Scientific studies of children and adults show that wielding a pen when taking notes, rather than typing, is associated with improved long-term information retention, better thought organization, and increased ability to generate ideas. Link one leads you the Zane Blosner sponsored Handwriting in the 21st Century? Educational Summit. Zane Blosner also sponsors the national handwriting contest where I’m very sad to say you cannot see the winners’ handwriting. Let’s pretend this summit1 isn’t run by a company that sells handwriting solutions. The majority of brain related references here are cited as James, K.H. “How Printing Practice Affects Letter Perception: An Educational Cognitive Neuroscience Perspective.” Presented at Handwriting in the 21st Century?: An Educational Summit, Washington, D.C., January 23, 2012. I believe that’s Dr. James. Seems legit but I […]

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Rampages Numbers

In responding to some data requests, I delved into the WP tables to pull some rampages data. All users ever . . . I need to set up something more automated but for this I dumped the MySQL tables as CSVs and then just imported them to Google Sheets. With very minimal functions, I got this data. My favorite function combos are to pull the unique values from a range =unique and then do a =countif off those values. It’s a really quick way to get graphs like these.

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-07-16

Celebrating 30 years in VR: Professor Robert J. Stone on Human Factors and the Future of VR and AR In healthcare generally, we have, in the past, developed VR and AR for surgical training and education; today, we’re investigating the delivery of virtual scenes of nature into hospital intensive care wards to help improve patient sleep quality and post-operative rehabilitation. share-this: Medium-like text sharing Medium style tool tip sharing Return to Sender – Futility Closet Competitive boomerang throwers participate in a number of events: distance, accuracy, trick catches, and so on. One of the most popular of these is maximum time aloft, in which the goal is to keep the boomerang in the air as long as possible with a single throw. Unbelievably, the record here is 17 minutes and 6 seconds, set by John Gorski of Avon, Ohio, in 1993. At the time a respectable flight might last 30 to 40 seconds, but Gorski’s boomerang hit a thermal that carried it upward an estimated 200 meters, where it hovered for several minutes over the Olentangy River. It drifted south for 225 meters, then headed north again, descending to find Gorski, who managed to catch it 40 meters from where he’d thrown it. FCJ 28: Creative Robotics To make robots apparently social. The most common strategies for “socialising” robots follow […]

JSON display from spreadsheet

Google Form to Video Display

This is another SPLOT-ish tool that takes videos uploaded through a Google Form and then displays them.1 This particular proof of concept was built in about ten minutes as a result of a conversation with our World Language faculty who are going to be doing student-to-student video work with people from other countries. We’re likely to use Zoom as the platform. It makes recording the video easy and the compression of the video is pretty impressive. Initially I was concerned about file size but between that and seeing that Google allows up to 10GB file uploads via their vanilla forms. The caveat there is that the “file upload option is only available for G Suite customers with a Google Form shared within their organization.” Good enough for our purposes but a bit limited if you wanted to use it more broadly. Form Stuff I opted to auto-log the VCU email address since the file upload required that anyway and only used two other elements- a file upload piece and a single categorical element. You could get much more complex if you had the desire. Just make sure you’ve created a results spreadsheet and published it to the web. The Pieces My form is here. The spreadsheet is here.NOTE: Google now creates two IDs when you publish this. There’s an ID […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-07-09

tebelorg/TagUI: General purpose tool for automating web interactions The goal of web automation is to reproduce cognitive interactions that you have with websites so that your laptop or server can do it for you, base on your schedule or conditions. TagUI helps you rapidly automate your repetitive or time-critical tasks – use cases include process automation, data acquisition and testing of web apps. jaredreich/pell: ? the simplest and smallest (1kB) WYSIWYG text editor for web, with no dependencies 1kb wysiwyg editor Why Momentum Really Works Time to Revisit Tangle? | OUseful.Info, the blog… Scientists Discover the Secret Behind Incredible Ant Towers They were told that the technology did not exist to track individual particles in the interior of a three-dimensional object, at the time and size scales of ant-made towers, without killing the insects. But when they talked to an expert at Georgia Tech, they were referred to Daria Monaenkova, a postdoctoral researcher working in Dan Goldman’s physics lab. Monaenkova, who would subsequently become a co-author of the new study, happened to be working on an x-ray technology that would enable the researchers to peer inside the ant tower itself. List: Questions for the Jedi Vice-Chair of Graduate Studies – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency How will being at one with the Force prepare me for today’s job market? h/t Luke Neff […]

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Browse by Color in WordPress

Here’s a quick video of a browse-by-color example I made in about ten minutes this AM prior to a meeting with a faculty member in our fashion program. This one is using FacetWP1 which is acting on a custom field I creatively named ‘color.’ It seems like it’ll be useful to some disciplines and we have the option to do lots of automated patterns using Color Thief to grab pallets. The video is also one way we might start sharing examples of what we can do in various platforms. There’s significant need to show that internally and for external faculty so people get a better idea of their scope of options. 1 You could easily do this by hand now with the WP JSON data but it’d take a bit longer.

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Community- Technically Speaking

Playing “Mah-Jong” at the Clubhouse of the Century Village Retirement Community. flickr photo by The U.S. National Archives shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Marie has nice post summarizing the Georgetown Community presentation at Domains. And nowEvelyn’s post reminded me to write a post on a site instead of just in my head. The title of the presentation ‘Just a Community Organizer’ is a nod to the fact that community is hard to do. It can be hard technically but it’s often even more difficult on the human side. As Evelyn brought up . . . community is not created by the technical ability to bring content together. There are lots of ways this can succeed technically but fail socially–> The stuff is there but no one cares. At the same time, technology failures can prevent community from forming where you have all the other factors–> People want to see what’s going on but can’t find and interact with the stuff they want in reasonable ways. There’s also the idea that people might not know what they want to see (or how they want to see it) until it’s given as an option or scaffolded into as an action. Can we present content in ways that are novel and interesting that inspires curiosity and interaction? You can’t do that […]