Yearly Archives: 2012

How to listen

This summer at UnPlug’d 12 I met a lot of cool people whom I’d never interacted with face to face nor online before. Once folks become a part of your network you find out a whole lot of really fascinating things about them.

For example, Matt Henderson. GNA and I knew we liked Matt almost immediately on the train. He had a very hilarious wry sense of humour and the three of us shared some great conversations.


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by @DrGarcia

Someday, I’ll  download that LiveScribe interview with Matt in that first hour on the train heading north to South River (and then you could hear it too).


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by @DrGarcia

The thing that surprises me, is that while that was a great conversation and I was able to find out enough about Matt to know that I’d want to follow him on Twitter, I actually did not find out about a fraction of the super cool things he does as a teacher.

For example, this week when I interjected myself into a twitter discussion about the idiot Rob Anders with Bryan Jackson, D’Arcy Norman and Matt. It turns out Matt ran in the last federal election. And that his students ran his campaign. And that it was ALL their idea. He was basically their puppet politician. He tells the whole story in this brilliant TEDx talk about cultivating environments of autonomy.

I have also found out recently that Matt runs a web radio station for his students. How cool is that? He tweeted:

Of course, as this blog can testify, I take any opportunity to talk about ds106 and ds106radio and I’ve been eager to finish it up, as Matt will be doing this Manitoba-wide special area group PD session on Oct 19.

Alas, preparing this video by myself would be a contradiction to ds106radio’s very essence and it just so happens that a convergence of awesome is happening at the Open Education conference in Vancouver Oct 16-18.

This will be the grand moment of collaboration. In one boat, we will have: @DrGarcia @cogdog @noiseprofessor @draggin @grantpotter @dkernohan @brlamb @sleslie @dlnorman @mgershovish @bryanjack (nb: this is just the list from the Jam Camp page – if you are missing from this page, go ADD YOUR NAME!)

I realize that Matt only needs 5 minutes of video to talk about the power of radio for teachers and we’ll have enough footage to make a feature length documentary on the Dead Moocmen alone, but in the end we will have something awesome & concise.

In the meantime, if you’re not heading to Vancouver for Open Ed12, then get yer headphones on and tune into the conference, the jam session, the conversations /LIVE on ds106radio.

If you are unsure how to tune in, visit @grantpotter’s website describing it in crowdsourced elaborate detail.

UPDATE: settings have changed. Visit http://ds106rad.io for info.

Or watch this little teeny tutorial I made.


I downloaded the DispRecorder app today to show you how to listen on an iDevice. If you’re on Android or using a desktop then I’m sure you’re clever enough to transfer the relevant bits of data to various contexts (i.e. the URL is the same)

Happy Listening!

Sakai OAE: a bazaar in the cathedral?

Last week I drew up some visual notes for the seminal article on openness:Cathedral & the Bazaar.
cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe
After reading some really thoughtful posts by Ken Romeo, Phil Hill and Michael Feldstein, I can’t help but wonder if the Sakai Foundation has taken too much of its process from the Cathedral style of development and not enough from the Bazaar?

As the first commenter, Bruce states:

Organization and labor. No real developer community; only paid developers. That’s not sustainable.

I think the lessons we are to take from the open source movement which seems to have failed in the translation for community source are:

  • lose the ego (let everybody in)
  • release early, release often
  • harness the brainpower of many
  • listen to the users
  • with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow
  • be ready to throw it all out and start again

Once the development team cloistered itself away from the general public and stopped sharing honestly the state of OAE in general, the project went south.

I love the idea of using and supporting a community source learning management system at my institution but if it’s only partially open, then how is it any better than any other LMS?

Nothing Can Stop It!


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

Starring Sebastian Thrun and all those xMOOCS: Udacity, Coursera, EDx (because they are the ones that get all the attention) but produced, directed and thought about by George Siemens, Alec Couros, Dave Cormier, Stephen Downes.

Poster based on The Blob illustrated movie poster, aptly named Design Assignment 666 (number of the BEAST!!!)

I read some comments in the Openness in Education newsletter today about whether MOOCs should be feared by institutions because they threaten their financial viability.

Will MOOCs disrupt the regular university experience?

Hopefully!

At first I was offended, like BrainySmurf about the talk of monetization since that completely bastardizes the O part of Open. Monetizing MOOCs is NOT OPEN.
If some MOOCs start charging for certificates, etc, will we call them $MOOCs? Or just drop the “open”.$MOC ? #oped12 #TLTGmooc1#mooc

If MOOCs start making money they should call themselves University of Phoenix or any other university at this point for that matter.

The more I think about it, universities do have something to fear. But the monster is not the MOOC, however, the MOOC just one of the solutions to a problem that already exists.

The best thing to come out of the MOOC phenomenon is that people are talking about teaching, instructional strategies, and assessment. Lots of people.
Some of my favourite.
#jiscwebinar <a href=What Is A MOOC? @dkernohan @mweller @jonathan_worth @loumcgill @daveowhite [visual Notes]“>

38 Special


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

On Wednesday August 29 I was in the middle of facilitating an intensive 3 day Instructional Skills workshop for graduate students.

It was also my 38th birthday.

It’s been an excellent year for me but for some inexplicable reason I’ve had a bit of a log jam (blog jam?) in the past few months.

There’s been a lot happening. I’ve been to Halifax, Virginia, Vancouver, Montreal, Arizona, Algonquin. I ran my first 5K race. I climbed down 1000 feet of the Grand Canyon. I’ve given and attended some really blog-worthy workshops. I have the inimitable @DrGarcia visiting me in Welland and she cooks me dinner so I have time to blog.


“Don’t worry, honey, I’ll make dinner…you blog” cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

I was monumentally touched by David Kernohan‘s “oh Giulia won’t you write us a blog” song.

I asked myself repeatedly, Why I am I NOT blogging?

Well the (b)log jam is dislodged thanks to the surprising and overwhelming gush of loving responses I received from my network, sweetly planned by Alan and executed by all our friends.

I have to admit even this post stalled numerous times as I started to thank every person who tweeted, FB msgd, emailed, phoned, doodled, photographed, sang and DJd on #ds106radio. The thank you list was so long I started to feel like one of those oscar winners who won’t get off the stage.

Then Alan suggested (he is full of good ideas) I draw my gratitude. So I did.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

At first I wasn’t sure why I drew myself as a four year old super hero but then when I thought about it, that pretty much sums up how I feel about the experience. All that. And more.

So this is a thank you to all of you who give me such great memories, who make my life so rich and interesting, who encourage, support, and give me just the right amount of challenge, who teach me about the world and myself.

Thank you, friends for being a part of my network and inspiring me to be a better version of myself with every passing year. While 38 is not a traditionally major milestone year, I will always remember it as being extra special.

Archiving Insights

I’ve just returned from three excellent professional development events: BC Campus Online Community Enthusiasts (#OCE2012), Northern Voice (#nv12) and Society for Teaching, Learning in Higher Education (#STLHE2012)

I have more specific reflections on each of those events but a very interesting question arose this week that I really want to explore.

To which I responded:

Which was followed by:

Then:

This generated a bit of discussion and I thought it would be interesting to take a more detailed look at each of these options.

Starting with my suggestion to use tweetdoc, here is a
PDF archive of all #STLHE2012 tweets

This is really easy to set up and can be done at any time but ideally at the end of an event. The caveat is that it only captures 500 tweets at a time. So if there is a lot of twitter activity you will need to break apart the conference by dates. I had to create two archives and then merged the PDF files into one. This isn’t ideal and there are probably duplicate tweets overlapping the days.

So what about Storify? I’ve used storify for a few different events and really find it is best when you want to include a variety of media: tweets, flickr & instagram pictures, videos, etc. I don’t find it works as well for an entire conference or any scenario where there are more than 25 artifacts. Filtering plays a big role. Also, I’m not sure about the long term viability of using this format for archiving. It relies on multiple tools in the cloud to maintain the status quo. If my work with online courses and linking to external sites has taught me anything it is to expect things to change.

Here is a short storify I created from the closing panel which seemed to get the some of the most twitter activity for a plenary during the entire conference. This is created from the Storify site and you specify which tweets you want to use. This allows you to filter out repeated retweets and/or choose the tweet that really captured the quote the best. Selection is done manually though, so the act of curation obviously takes more time.

stlhe2012 Closing Plenary: Student Panel

Student leaders speak on the future of Canadian post-secondary education

Storified by Giulia Forsythe · Sat, Jun 23 2012 01:10:37

Students run the panel to close #stlhe2012. Yes!Christine Adam
Really looking forward to hearing the student voices in Montreal #STLHE2012 http://pic.twitter.com/KW5vna4WJoanne Fox
#stlhe2012 student leaders about to speak! Looking forward to hearing their voices, thoughts, and ideas!Trent Tucker
First student panel at #stlhe2012 Blind Curves or Open Roads?Veronica Carr
#stlhe2012 Student plenary: fun to hear them getting excited about things their institutions doing well. Reinforces my desire to innovate.Catherine Rawn
Inspiring vision – to translate passion for teaching and learning to community engagement. #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
Cegeps rescue students from high school… LOL #STLHE2012Jaymie Koroluk
#stlhe2012 student leaders motivated to wake up asking, "how can I contribute today?" #stlhe2012 – to actualize their potential!Natasha Kenny
brilliant insight for life! @ProfTucker: #stlhe2012 student panel: it is not about having the right answers but asking the right questions!Natasha Kenny
#stlhe2012 Imagine if all our students "got it" like these students seem to! When I teach a class of 300+, how can I reach these students?Catherine Rawn
Model, inspire, motivate & build hope“@cdrawn: #stlhe2012 When I teach a class of 300+, how can I reach these students?"Natasha Kenny
Teach towards engaged and informed citizens, inspire curiosity, explore core truths, encourage reflection, generate meaning #STLHE2012Joanne Fox
#stlhe2012 Alexandre: PSE gives you the "shoes" for the rest of life’s journey…Trent Tucker
According to student leader: those who don’t fail in higher ed didn’t try hard enough (or party enough) #stlhe2012Megan Fitzgibbons
Beautifully elegant – Those who did not fail, did not try hard enough – we need to inspire failure in order to succeed – #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
These students are AWESOME #STLHE2012 Asked for audience participation and says, "I know you hate it when students don’t put up their handsJoanne Fox
These students are brilliant! Emphasize the importance of metacognitive learning within the curriculum #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
#stlhe2012 "it is better done than said" — Selena on experiential learningTrent Tucker
#stlhe2012 Johanna on the future of PSE: "nurture critical thinking"Trent Tucker
Johanna (articulate student!): one goal of academic enterprise should be to question the status quo and hegemonic structures #stlhe2012Megan Fitzgibbons
#stlhe2012 student suggests CSL and prof who uses old reading list just says yes. Sweet fantasy. Love itBilly Strean
Student mental health on the agenda at #stlhe2012 student panel. Thank you, Mimi! #destigmatize http://bit.ly/PIBflZChristine Adam
If you think education is expensive just try ignorance. student voices heard #STLHE2012Joanne Fox
Tell your students to bring their hearts to class, not just their brains #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
Wonderful to hear fluently bilingual students. #STLHE2012 Sorel
Always impressed by how articulate and vibrant 3M student fellows are #STLHE2012Jaymie Koroluk
Hearing from students was the perfect way to end the conference. Thank you for the honesty and challenge of your words. #stlhe2012veebs
Student panel = fantastic way to end the #stlhe2012 conference. Agree that more students should be in on the conversation!EDC

Similarly, you’ll notice that I’ve embedded tweets into this post using twitter’s new built-in embed tool, which is easier than the now-defunct web app called Blackbird Pie. There is still a Blackbird pie wordpress plugin but I don’t see any advantage using the plugin over the built-in tool.

embedding tweets

embedding tweets

I guess my main concern is the lack of control you have over that content. You are only linking to it and if the owner deletes the tweet or twitter comes up with some Murdoch monetizing scheme and changes our access or terms, then we will no longer have the content at all.

But it sure does look pretty and it is very functional while it still works.

That brings us to wonder about If This Then That, the magical-do-anything-you-can-think-of with just about any tool that has an API.

I browsed through existing recipes and not surprisingly, someone has set up the simple template to capture tweets with a particular hash tag into Evernote.

ifttt twitter to evernote

If This Then That: Twitter to Evernote

Authorize both your twitter account and your Evernote account, set up your own parameters and you are set to go. The only trouble is that it doesn’t seem to be able to capture tweets from the past.

Since I started this experiment after the end of STLHE, it’s fairly useless in capturing anything about that conference after the fact.

But with 20,000 K-12 educators descending on San Diego right now for National Educational Computing Conference ISTE12 I have a very active hash tag to experiment with, which will definitely be a test of the robustness of this application.

As suggested in the recipe, I created a public #ISTE12 notebook in Evernote. There were other options for archiving, including avatar, which might make the notebook more visually stimulating but I’m going for simplicity first time out. The sheer volume of tweets may cause some kind of complications but let’s push this to the boundaries, right?

So far after 12 hours there have been 566 tweets. But the conference hasn’t actually started yet so we’ll see what happens after a few days.

Shared Evernote notebook capturing #ISTE12 tweets

Shared Evernote notebook capturing #ISTE12 tweets

What are your thoughts? Any other tools you use for archiving all the wonderful things said and done at conferences? How does this aid your reflection (if at all)?

Surreal Moments

So I’m sitting here at Toronto International Pearson Airport en route to Vancouver for Northern Voice, grabbing a bite to eat. On the television, Germany beats the Netherlands in football. Passersby stop to watch momentarily.

I’m not watching the soccer game, however, I am tuned into http://nmc12.umwblogs.org/ and the surreal moment of my twitter and professional networks colliding and watching @timmmmyboy @grantpotter @rushaw present at the #nmc12 conference while @heloukee and @allyson1969 shake hands.

Then.

I look down to my beer and what. the. >???????

um. excuse me, waiter, what is Slide Guy doing in my beer?


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

The backstroke?

Wäscälly Wäbbits Weception

Big virtual party as we (sorta) gather all the pictures of the Wäbbits for our big group photo.

Listening to the wisdom of my RSS feeds, Ben reminds us that camp counselors should lead by example. Fellow Wäbbit, John saysKeep Calm and Make a GIF. Not sure how to take Bava’s below the belt advice, but since he was inspired by our other Wäbbit Chanda it must be good.

In honor of herding Wäbbits, I have made a special group photo and included a couple of the animated gifs I made this week. Do not adjust your set. This is the technical difficulties assignment!

Special appearance of @dlnorman‘s bathroom shark (from the storybox)

Too much Coke for Bava

Too much Coke for Bava

and the Gladiator

Please Stand By. Wäscälly Wäbbits are just warming up.

Minecraft Me

First of all, I had NO idea how FUN Minecraft is. I think being in creative mode makes all the difference. Also using the TeamSpeak server for chatting was so great. It really felt like I was in the same room as Andy, Tim, Shannon, Ben and Allyson.

Being the most experienced of the crew, Andrew Forgrave was especially helpful and patient. He even wrote a great summary of our evening and did some awesome animated GIFs. He assigned us homework to get our own custom skins for the next time we signed in. Et Voila!


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe
One of the best things about DS106 is that when you don’t feel like doing one of the thousand existing assignments, you can just create a new one.
And that’s what I’ve done, right here with Minecraft Me

I used a very roundabout method to make my skin. I found a NERD Skin at SkinDex.

NERD SKIN!

NERD SKIN!


Then I imported into Photoshop and edited the tiny little PNG.
Nerdy G!

Nerdy G!


Zoom in and it looks like this:
G Magnified PNG

G Magnified PNG

I couldn’t figure out how to see what I looked like so I stumbled upon this cool editor called Minershoes which let me upload and preview my edited PNG. Of course, I see it’s really simple to just edit it right there and perhaps that would have been smarter, faster, better.

I also see that Andy has a whole new amazing post about skins which is worth checking out, especially if you are a Monkey!

Thanks to Martha, I figured out that you can toggle through the Function + F5 key to change your view option and see what you look like in game. I had already dragged Allyson back in with me, bless her, she took some great shots of me.

In fact, I wanted to use the picture that Allyson was nice enough to take for me but, *sniff*, *sniff*, her pics are copyrighted so embed wasn’t allowed.

COPYRIGHT ASIDE:

Actually most new Flickr accounts are set up like this and it’s kind of tricky to find the settings to make it different. So, on the chance that copyrighted is not the desired sharing preference, here’s how you change the settings:

You > Your Account > Privacy & Permissions > Default for New Uploads > Creative Commons

I choose Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike but apparently that prevents some Wikipedia use, so I’ll let you decide what works best for you.

Creative Commons, as you may know, is a really nice way to allow sharing of your content right up front.

Before DS106 I didn’t really appreciate how helpful it could be for me to release my content under creative commons. With all the riffing and remixing we do off each other, I now realize how useful it is when you are trying to write blog posts and make art.

Of course Larry Lessig really explains it best with his TED Talk. I’m repeating myself here, but some things are worth saying every single semester.
END COPYRIGHT ASIDE

Anyway, I hope my Wäscälly Wäbbits bunkmates can organize a time to hang out in Minecraft again sometime soon. And I hope some of you find time to do the Minecraft Me assignment and get some unique looks going in game!

Camp MacGuffin – Counselor G Log 1

For those of you who haven’t met me at Camp MacGuffin yet, my camper name is Doodle Bug because I’m a hobbiest entomologist and I like to draw stuff.

The first week of Camp MacGuffin has been really exciting. First I moved all my stuff into Bunkhouse 1 but realized I read the Bunk assignments incorrectly and had to move to Bunkhouse 2.


cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

@Tripper106 is my co-counselor and he’s been rocking the PA system every day on DS106Radio which makes me super happy and productive. You should have seen all the macaroni necklaces I made during his epic setlist. Pics to come, I promise!

Other Bunkhouses have already settled on names, thinking about logos and we’re still in the brainstorming phase. I’m not even sure if we got all the brains to the table yet. But I do know we have a really great group of campers. John Johnston already created a twitter list and an RSS aggregate for us. Yippee!~

A lot of our Bunkhouse2 campers have hit the ground running. Creating assignments & doing them, completing the Daily Creates with fervour but I’m kind of worried about a couple of the campers. The woods and the swamp can sometimes take you through a time vortex and suddenly you come back to the bunkhouse and 3 weeks have passed by without doing a Daily Create, an assignment or even setting up your blog! The swamp, especially, has this swamp monster who is dreadfully boring but to be polite campers will sit down and have a cup of tea and the next thing you know four daily creates have passed!

We also have to remember to take time to comment on the other blogs in our Bunkhouse. I say this but right now I’ve got to run, I was hoping to find time to tie-dye some t-shirts and make some animated GIFs this afternoon but that swamp monster is coming my way!

QUICK UPDATE: happy welcome to @mgershovich who has decided to take the ds106 plunge (he knows it’s #4LIFE)


cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe