Like many education folk I follow Doug Belshaw for lots of good reasons. This week I bumped into Doug at Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Forum and launch (a lot to digest from that). Doug reminded attendees about the Survey: 5 proposals for Web Literacy Map 2.0 he is organising. After a quick review of the Web Literacy Map and other resources Doug listed I filled in the survey. This leads, backsides forward, to looking at the Map again. It is a great resource1 well organised and deep. It seems to add content every time I look at it. A couple of the questions were around the organisation and complexity of the map. I had a few thoughts. Given the complexity and depth of the resource I wonder if it would be interesting exposing it in different formats for folk to remix. Initially I though of JSON as I’ve made a couple of experiments with this in webmaker. I am now wondering if OPML might be an interesting approach too? This would export to most mind-mapping softwares. I’ve been playing with fargo occasionally and it might allow manipulation of the OPML too.

A Job for RSS

The other thing that I was reminded of was the series of chats Doug has been recording with interesting and interested parties. For the most part I’d seen these stream by on Tumblr and only listened to fragments. Doug has put the audio on the internet archive with a nice CC0 license, so I’ve done a little remixing of my own. I’ve uploaded an RSS feed to my google drive: http://tinyurl.com/dougweblit2chats so that I can pull the audio onto my phone. I can then subscribe to this feed in the podcast app on my phone and listen on the go. (I use overcast as my usually podcast app but thought it might be nice to have this as a temporary separate thing). doug-chats-podcast-app I’ve listened to the Stephen Downes episode on my commute this morning and if the rest are as interesting it will be a delight getting through them. Feel free to subscribe to the feed if you want to do the same thing, be aware I’ve made little effort to make the feed validate, the enclosures don’t have a length etc.


Footnotes:

1. Caveat, I am not working with learners and have never taught Web literacy in any depth. I did teach some of ‘this stuff’ as part of teaching ict, blogging, podcasting and the like.

As part of the week 1 of P2PU Why Open? course participants were invited to join David Wiley on a google hangout (Why Open session with David Wiley). I could not make the live stream so have just finished watching the archive.

I’ve also posted the audio ripped from the session, with permission, over at EDUtalk.cc (As usual I find audio easier to access than video).

These are a few of the things that I found interesting in the hangout, not in any order and very much my own interpretation.

David is the founder of OpenContent.org, among many other things and a expert on open content and open educational resources.

Throughout the talk David focused on the pragmatic rather than the idealistic, on what would make an impact over what was right or righteous.

He started talking about the difference between the Free Software movement and the Open source movement, and how Richard Stallmam’s Four Freedoms inspired all the openness that followed. David’s view is that Open is less do do with correctness & morality and more practical.

David say Free involves a bit of moral grandstanding, giving no place for proprietary software. Open says open is practical and we can choose not to be open which is not morally bad.

The other side of the argument is laid out here: Why Open Source Misses the Point of Free Software – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation and The Four Freedoms from Matt Mullenweg are worth considering from the pov of the practicality of Free Software.

David talked of the Berne Convention that in 1886 changed the face of copyright:

Under the Convention, copyrights for are automatically in force upon their creation without being asserted or declared. An author need not “register” or “apply for” a copyright in countries adhering to the Convention. As soon as a work is “fixed”, that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work and to any derivative works, unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them or until the copyright expires.

from: Berne Convention – Wikipedia.

This switch the default from you are ok to copy to you are not. If you publish something you need to legally state wish to share. This leads to existing material with unknown copyright is not being published.

David works with the Open Content Definition which uses the 5 Rs the rights to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute. The Retain right has been added to address, and highlight, the problem of business models that control access, eg, stream media.

David gave a few examples of the practicality of open, obviously OERs are cheaper than textbooks, but a major gain in moving towards open might be in higher where the movement to competency based course is slowly gaining ground. The argument is that these competencies are slow to develop and the process could be speeded up by opening the competencies. Open assessments would be another area to explore.

Someone in the hangout expressed the worry that publishing in the open would be less useful from an employability angle than publishing to well established (and paywalled) publication. David discussed the idea of the impact of publishing on the open demonstrating with Google Scholar the number of times open publications are cited as compared to paywalled ones. Publishing in open will maximise the number of people reading so giving a better chance of making an impact. Again the outcome was more important than the philosophy.

Exploring another tension, that of Open vs Connected, David proposed that connected is a vice when taken to extremes. For example there are now so many resources in google it is hard to identify the best resources. More nodes and connections becomes noise at some point. Curation and structure needed on top of connected. Curation is biggest value that faculty brings to learning. Neither open or connected should not be their own end.

My own practise of working/blogging/learning in the open is based on a fairly fluffy feel good factor. I’ve found over the years that this has had a positive effect on myself and learners I work with. I covered this in a previous post. I now feel that it will be important to start to try and bring openness more formally into my day to day work and made small steps in that direction today. Instead of looking for good vibes I’ll be trying to introduce open where it can make an impact.

I agree wholeheartedly with Terry Anderson who recently wrote, “learning occurs through construction, annotation and maintenance of learning artefacts.” “Learning artefacts” are things you create like videos, essays, diagrams, concept maps, photo collages, etc. Because these artefacts are the core of your learning experience, it is critically important that you own these artefacts and have ongoing access to them. Consequently, all of the learning artefacts that you create for this course will be stored somewhere outside the learning management system. Specifically, these artefacts will be stored and maintained in a space controlled solely by you.

from: P2PU | Intro to Openness in Education David Wiley

Sounds like a good plan.

Weave Comp

Teach the Web Week 3: the Open Web

Plan your makes with your collaborator and then do it! If you’re in a study group, you’re encouraged to work together around your topic. Share your makes with the #teachtheweb community.

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.

Open Talk

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.

Open Learning

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.

Crowning Chad

Somewhere in the group a comment by Chad lead me to mess around with a little CSS to make A Crown for Chad the request for others to mix it up was taken up by a few folk, Pekka Ollikainen took it to JavaScript, teaching us some canvas animation and showing this using JS Bin a great companion to thimble.

Thimble Tracking

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.

Open Is…

The last bit of fun this week was sparked by Chad again, he was making an “Open is…” inspirational web app collaboration from the Writing as Making, Making as Writing study group. The latest version by Chad is here: #teachtheweb: Open is…. As Chad was collecting quotes via twitter, I was thinking of automating that. I tried a couple of approaches, using ifttt.com to collect #open_is tweets to a google spreadsheet and then loading that via javascript: open-is – JS Bin I also pulled then in directly from a twitter search: Random #open_is tweet

What I was learning, using JS Bin was dealing with json in JavaScript, I got a lot out of this play, more that I do following tutorials or interactive lessons. I believe this increase in learning is due to playing in the open, the open provides the ideas and perhaps an audience. I am not sure if my edits are very useful, compared to human curation in this case but a great learning exercise for me.

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.

from: Are We Just Google’s Lab Rats? | OUseful.Info, the blog…

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.


A decade ago, metadata was all the rage among the geeks. You could tag, geo-tag, or machine-tag Flickr photos. Flickr is from the old community. That’s why you can still do Creative Commons searches at Flickr. But you can’t on Instagram. They don’t care about metadata. From an end-user point of view, RSS is out of favor. The new companies are not investing in creating metadata to make their work discoverable and shareable.

from: Joho the Blog – [berkman] Anil Dash on “The Web We Lost”

Some great reading this morning starting at How the Web is being body-snatched ~ Stephen’s Web through Doc Searls Weblog – How the Web is being body-snatched to the post with the above quote.

This quote really jumped out at me, I’ve loved the flickr API for a long time and used it for lots of fun. I enjoy Instagram too, for its easy, quick hit, and lightweight community.

I really hope that we are not drifting away from such valuable resources with apis and rss feeds to the easy and locked in.

One of the things that makes the huge gap between sites like flickr and facebook is who has access to data and how they access it. When you share on flickr you are doing something quite different, and potentially much more valuable than sharing on facebook or google+.

I hope that open never gets old.