Among the suggestions for reflection were:
- Why might sharing and publishing in the open be advantageous?
- What are the benefits of inviting people to remix ideas?
- What are some possible ways “free” tools aren’t really free? Or make money?
There are lots more suggested activities and reflections, but that was enough for me
Thinking about my activity in the Mozilla Webmakers – Google+ group this week gives, I believe, a little insight into some of these questions. I was not actively considering them, just reading and playing.
Working with Walter
First Walter Patterson a fellow Scot contacted me with an idea of working together on a thimble page about a couple of ‘open’ projects. We have started work on this. The first benefits of open I met were, getting an idea of what to do, Walter reminded me that EDUtalk was an open project. and then working off Walter’s thimble edits I got to a reasonable page: EDUtalk is Open (not as yet finished). I didn’t have an idea where to start until I’d seem Walter’s starting point. So the second benefit of working in the open is finding ideas, they don’t all come from serendipity.
Once I had thought of EDUtalk, I though that it might be a good place for talking about open collaboration. EDUtalk itself is an example of working in the open, part of it consists of a podcast that is open for anyone to contribute to. THe other part is a weekly internet radio broadcast that becomes a podcast, we publish in the open under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 SCOTLAND license. I invited folk from the Mozilla Webmakers community to participate, at very short notice. Chris Lawrence and Laura Hilliger stepped up and stepped into the skype studio for Radio #EDUtalk 15-05-13 #teachtheweb. This is another example of getting great contributors by working in the open. I am constantly amazed at the interesting folk I get to talk to just by running a podcast.
The rest of the week I have had a bundle of fun by getting ideas from other webmaker participants. One of the things I wanted to get out of the MOOC was to improve my webmaking skills. I’ve found it difficult to learn the skills by doing exercises, but often find, time constraints lead me to use less that elegant solutions when working on a ‘real’ web site.
This wek I’ve found that I’ve learnt by doing small things, these have been inspired by the open sharing of ideas and projects by others in the MOOC.
I saw a post by Heather Angel wondering about how to to create a layout that is made to be constantly updated in thimble. As I had been wondering how to keep track of thimble edits I though I’d try something. Thimble Chaining is a simple thimble page with a google form and the resulting spreadsheet embedded. The idea would be to use the form to add your name and the url of the edit you just saved. Not very elegant, but it does the trick. I believe Mozilla are working on a solution that will track edits and pages spawned from the first page. This will would be a very useful addition to the system.
Google + is not Open!
Of course it is open for anyone to join in. The Mozilla Webmakers – Google+ group is open to anyone and valuable for that. But I am struggling to keep up with conversation. The site works well for joining in with the moment, the iOS apps are great, but there is something missing. I can’t keep a record of my activities. I mentioned this in the last post too, but if I am learning here, I want to track my progress and wanderings. As a learner by progress is important to me and I am having trouble following it.
Picked up, ironically, via my Google Reader this morning was a post with much better, deeper thinking on this issue:
It seems to me that with Google+, Google is not adopting open syndication standards in two ways: not using it “internally”, and not making feeds publicly available. There may be good technical reasons for the first, but by the second Google is *not allowing* its community members to participate in a open content syndication network/system. Google’s choice, but I’m not playing.
Obviously I am playing, there is a lot to be gained from using G+, but I hope that organisers of powerful online learning communities like the teachtheweb one will have better tools to choose from sometime soon.