In regards to sharing openly, Doug Belshaw recommend s creating a canonical URL. The intent is to provide a starting point for people to engage with and build upon your work and ideas. This could be one space in which to share everything or you could have a separate link for each project. What matters is that it is public.


Arron Davis on the importance of sharing and linking.

As well as being a great link this is a test post, pulling in content from my pinboard links with FeedWordPress and saving them as a pending post, with the custom format of pinboard. The posts are marked as pending, allowing me to mark up the quote and add some text. 

The title of the post should link to Arron’s blog rather than mine. I hope there is a nice wee pinboard icon on the left.

I went along to TeachMeetGLA on Tuesday evening a couple of weeks ago.

Arriving before the crowd I noticed the very pleasant surroundings in CitizenM and very fast WiFi. Folk and the pizza started arriving around 5 before the 5:30 kick off. It was a great TM harking back to the early days. Ian kept the event moving smoothly along. I enjoyed all the presentations and broadcast them on Radio Edutalk. Hopefully I’ll get the archive up there shortly (I went on holiday I still hope).

This post will just cover what I tried to talk about in my 7 minute slot in a more coherent manner. Hopefully it also fits in with the #TeachWP course I am taking part in.

Given the event was sponsored by Microsoft (good sponsor, no advertising bar a wee window badge on the TeachMeet GLA logo) and featured a few talks by Microsoft educators I though I might talk about openness.

Unfortunately for the audience I had about half an hour of content to get through, fortunately for them I stopped shortly after the 7 minute mark. Here is a remix of my slides with some of what I would have like to say in note format:

Sharing is Confusing

Hopefully an amusing picture of the confusion around sharing.

I remember starting teaching, finding in schools shared topic boxes, filled with resources, banda worksheets and the like. What strikes me about these is 1. they point to the willingness of teachers to share and 2. Compared to digital sharing these resources were finite, bandas only printed a certain number of times, other resources (maps, pages out of magazines ect) wore out and were not duplicatable (no photo copier).

A photocopier and a computer freed me from the banda’s smell and freed pupils from my handwriting and spelling. It suddenly became a lot easier to create resources.

I had a short period of time where I made and sold educational shareware and learned a bit about forbidding license agreements.
It also pointed out the difficulty of making money from resources I created. Before the Internet had reached classrooms, mailing every school in Scotland a folded A4 and delivering software on floppy disk, made me 100s of pounds but took 1000s of hours.

During that time I was learning about online sharing through the AOL HyperCard forums and HyperCard mailing list. I’ve still not seen more generous place, a mix of professionals, amateurs and newcomers.

I then got more interested in my pupils sharing their learning via blogs and podcasts, seeing the wonderfilled results. This lead me to sharing on my own blog and living, to some extent, on the Internet.

We share all of the time online, status, photos, ideas, documents ect.
The cost is low, no stamps, paper, printing costs.

I am just rambling around sharing sharing, some ideas and reading I’ve been doing around sharing. I don’t have any conclusion other than there are a lot of things to think about to share as well as we can.

We are at a TeachMeet

Rules for breaking

  • No powerpoint (allowed… unless… you’re doing 20 slides for 20 seconds each)
  • actually been done in your classroom, I’ve not got a classroom…
  • If you’re using the web, make sure you save a copy of your tabs in Firefox!
  • No selling (I am selling sharing)

My presentation was not a powerpoint, but looked pretty much like one. I have no idea why the firefox tip is added as a rule, I can only thing it was due to TM starting in 2006 and FF was then the thinking teachers browser of choice.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons helps you share your knowledge and creativity with the world.

Creative Commons develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation

As a beginning blogger I soon became aware of creative commons in relation to my blogs content, flickr photos ect. At that time I choose a Attribution CC BY NC License. I don’t think there are any rules about sharing, but a TeachMeet audience is predisposed to share, thinking around the licensing can help.

Why Creative Commons

The idea of universal access to research, education, and culture is made possible by the Internet, but our legal and social systems don’t always allow that idea to be realized. Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network: copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. The default setting of copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted in advance, whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker, or just a regular user. To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. That someone is Creative Commons.

from About – Creative Commons

  • Like a good little blogger I’ve been trying to apply these licenses to my blog, flickr photos etc and respect them.
  • Like lots of teachers I have sometimes, just googled an image and copy-pasted text with abandon.
  • Like lots of Internet citizens I sometime choose to ignore copyright of large companies to make an amusing gif.

For Example

Free Cultural Works

Lord there is more!

Free cultural works are the ones that can be most readily used, shared, and remixed by others, and go furthest toward creating a commons of freely reusable materials.

Free Culture Works

Are free to use (for any purpose), remix & share. I am very attracted to the idea of building a culture like this in education. Free Culture Works seems to be where the CC movement is trying to get to, but the creative commons licenses allow you to move towards this in your own time and comfort zone.

For example a Non commercial, CC license is not a Free Cultural Works one. Free Cultural Work can be used for any purpose. I’d argue that it is quite unlikely that many teachers will gain much from trying to make money from resources, but will get a nice warm glow from sharing freely.

Walking a Tightrope

Image from Tit-Bits – giffed by myself after finding the image via Creativity, serendipity and open content | Open World

How far do you go, a google search for license material for example, filtered by license, is this enough? You will not respect the Attribution part of the license unless you follow the search to the source. When do you choose to go against or not look too hard for a license? How do you justify that.

Everyone needs to find a comfort zone, for leading pupils by example we need to respect copyright.

OER OEP and other opennesses

Like anyone interested in education and reading a wee bit on the Internet I was aware of the OER movement, it often seemed a bit dry and technical, discussing repositories and metadata in a technical way.

Last year I (along with Ian) got an invite to an Open Scotland forum meeting. This proved enlightening, after the first few minutes I realised that I was an ‘open educator’ to some degree;-)

Although the OpenScotland and OEPScotland are mainly aimed at higher education they are both, IMO, relevant to us too.

The Lescester project is a wonderful example to Local Authorities . I didn’t get time to think or talk about this at all at teachmeetGLA but , if you’ve read this far, please check it out.


  • Save Money (digital sharing is cheaper)
  • Be honest
  • Better resources continuously improved
  • Remix to suit local and particular
  • Sharing is fundamental to Education
  • Fun (it is good to share)

David Wiley 4Rs in 2007 added the 5th in 2014

David A. Wiley Blog iterating toward openness

  • Retain – the right to make, own, and control copies of the content
  • Reuse – the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

These are some of the important things that you need to think about when sharing and choosing a license.

the ALMS Framework

  • Access to Editing Tools
  • Level of Expertise Required
  • Meaningfully Editable
  • Self-Sourced

Using the ALMS Framework as a guide, open content publishers can make technical choices that enable the greatest number of people possible to engage in the 5R activities. This is not an argument for “dumbing down” all open content to plain text. Rather it is an invitation to open content publishers to be thoughtful in the technical choices they make – whether they are publishing text, images, audio, video, simulations, or other media.

The ALMS framework helps you think about what kind of files you are sharing. Are you sharing files that are editable? Are the tools to edit free? easy to use? It is well worth thinking hard about what you are sharing along with this framework.

Both the 5Rs and ALMS are really useful ways to see if your sharing is as effective as it can be.
I planned to finish with a few examples of less than good sharing.

Sharing is Messy (2006)


Flickr: The Help Forum: BNET (a subdivision of CNET) stealing images

My first interesting experience with Creative Commons. CBS News used my image without attribution and possible in breach of my then NC license. I wrote a mail, and they attributed not sure if you can consider their use Non Commercial?

Later I’ve had more pleasant interactions, people asked if they could use images in websites & a book (I got a free copy!)

Finally I changed the license on my Flickr photos to the simpler CC BY-SA.

Sharing is Messy 2007: Meaningfully Editable?

Garageband Plans is a blog post where I share a worksheet for making music with GarageBand. A pdf, givne the number of changes in GarageBand over the next free years not a great example of sharing.

YouTube for Sharing

you agree not to access Content or any reason other than your personal, non-commercial use solely as intended through and permitted by the normal functionality of the Service, and solely for Streaming. “Streaming” means a contemporaneous digital transmission of the material by YouTube via the Internet to a user operated Internet enabled device in such a manner that the data is intended for real-time viewing and **not intended to be downloaded** (either permanently or temporarily), **copied, stored, or redistributed by the user**.


Another less than optimal piece of sharing, I made this flash game for our school website. rommy2.1. I didn’t offer the .fla source file…

Getting there

Recently I’ve been working on the Glow Blogs Help one of the more recent piece I’ve posted meets a lot of the ALMS framework: Menus | Glow Blog Help is available in several formats including OpenOffice, word, html & pdf. Given most schools in Scotland have access to word the OpenOffice file is just providing an opertunity for discussion and thought. I am ticking the following boxes:

  • Access to Editing Tools ✔
  • Level of Expertise Required ✔
  • Meaningfully Editable ✔
  • Self-Sourced ✔
  • Licence ❌

I’ve not added license on it yet. The default for the Government is the thinking about open government license, this is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0. I worry a bit that the OGL is not as well understood as CC. I wonder if spelling this out would be a good way to spread the understanding of CC and sharing licenses.

On the night I rather rushed though these last few slides. The main point was to try and share some information about licensing and sharing and show some of the options. I am certainly not an expert but at least the links shared here are a valuable source of information. Many teachers are constrained by their employers from sharing and I know it is not easy. I do believe that most colleagues see the value in sharing and that it is always worth thinking about.


I’ve been continuing to enjoy dipping into the #ETMOOC stream, beginning to feel a lot more relaxed about missing things.

A couple of days ago I followed a link by Tiago Santos to Basic Ingredients for Good Web Writing | Chapter Three. This is pretty straightforward stuff and as Tiago says good advice. I commented Advice that takes its own advice. I am cringing a bit thinking of my messy, discursive and rambling blog posts.

So I was much encouraged to listen to T1S2 – Sharing As Accountability w/ Dean Shareski one of the things Dean touched on was thinking of posting on a blog as drafting. Here is one of my favourite snippets:


A few quotes:

The mindset around the notion of publishing needs changed.

Comparing blogging to posting photos:

the expectation that some one could, if you gave them permission, download it and improve it.


Not publishing just sharing

Dean also touched on the idea that folk should filter what they write, agreeing with Stephen Downes in that it is the audience’s job to decide what to read. This chimes with a non edu post I read this morning The Unfollower – Matt Gemmell.

My own blogging is certainly rambling, both in posts and subjects. I would guess that many of my posts, typically the ones on AppleScript or JavaScript have an even smaller audience than most of my posts. I am going to follow Dean’s advice and keep posting them.

I am also going to try to improve my writing (after 8 years it is about time) by cutting down the rambling inside a post. So I am not going to go on in this post about some slightly connected google plus thoughts or how I bookmark audio.


I used etmooclogo by Adam Lark (remix from Alec Couros) and Dean Shareski talking with students at EdWeekSJSD by nashworld both under a Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 which allows remix.

Etmooc Icon 2

My head is throbbing a wee bit trying to keep up with what is going on in etmooc. Lots of interesting stuff not quite connecting up here. I’ve not manage along to one live session yet, but have watch some of the replays available on Archive | #ETMOOC and listen to some more by recording from the replays.


T0S3 – Introduction to Social Curation w/ Jeffery Heil (Jan 17, 12pm) was interesting. I’ve been collecting links, originally in delicious now in pinboard.


I had a fair number of folk in my Delicious network and found it a very useful resource. At one time I used to get a fair number of links and send them out using the for:username tag. I am not sure why that died out in my circles. I also subscribed to the links from my network in my RSS reader. This became less useful when folk started pushing their tweets to delicious automatically.

I started using pinboard when it looked like Delicious might shut down and have kept using it. At some point in the past I’ve looked at various other tools, but preferred delicious/pinboard style simplicity. It also has an API which lets you do really interesting things. After listen to Jeffery I might try Diigo again. I have a tendency to prefer simple presentation and some sort of automation.


Given the huge number of links, list etc that are now online I am not sure if it very valuable just sharing links beyond a quick tweet unless we add some value. I very much like the link blog style, for example Stephen Downes or, the not educational, Daring Fireball. I read both in an RSS reader. Daring Fireball is particularly good in the way the posts link points to the original post he quotes rather than his own post and the quote is clearly defined. Sometime I am not sure on a quick glance what is quote and what is Stephen Downes.

I don’t think that this sort of blogging needs a lot of text from the blogger but as Stephen Downes and John Gruber show it needs a great deal of thinking to work really well. I occasionally make this sort of post for example, Zero Privacy or Connections and hope to develop both a workflow and a way of adding value rather than being just an echo.

I used the etmooclogo by Adam Lark (remix from Alec Couros) under a Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic — CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Piratebox Teackmeet

I am wondering if folk would donate a few quid for a TeachMeet PirateBox?

29 August: I just got to £60 in promises. I’ve ordered the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router. now hoping that I can get it working;-)

I’d noticed Alan Levine blogging about StoryBox and even donated a file in after this post: StoryBox Wants YOU – CogDogBlog.

More recently I saw it on Doug Belshaw’s Synechism Ltd. – User Outcomes Weekly – #11 (A weekly must read), where I commented wonder if a piratebox of some sort would be a useful addition to TeachMeets and the like? Doug had also linked to the PirateBox site where I read more about it and followed some links.

PirateBox is a self-contained mobile communication and file sharing device. Simply turn it on to transform any space into a free and open communications and file sharing network.


The PirateBox solves a technical/social problem by providing people in the same physical space with an easy way to anonymously communicate and exchange files. This obviously has larger cultural and political implications thus the PirateBox also serves as an artistic provocation.

Obviously TeachMeets do not need the subversion of tracking and preservation of user privacy that a PirateBox offers. Nor would sharing of copyrighted material be desirable, but It might be fun to have a PirateBox at TeachMeets.

It would allow folk to share files with others at the meet. If it was a traveling project, the box could go from TeachMeet to TeachMeet spreading files as it went. This would provide a sponsor-less goodie bag. Folk would be free to share what they liked, perhaps presenters would share presentations, digital musicians give away background music etc.

Obviously lots of the TeachMeet crowd already share many things online, A TM PirateBox would be a fun side project that might add to the buzz during a TeachMeet and be a concrete way of connecting different events.

A proposal

Having looked at the PirateBox DIY it looks like the cheapest way to make one is to use a Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router which costs about £70. There are a few other bits and pieces needed but the cost is negligible.

I’d like to put one together, take it to TeachMeet SLF11 and then post it off to another TeachMeet. Unfortunately I don’t have £70 Is there enough folk interested in putting in a fiver to make a box and set it adrift?

If you are interested then DM tweet @johnjohnston, leave a comment here or make contact in another way, if I get a dozen people up for it I’ll send then a link to paypal me a fiver. As a PirateBox utilizes Free, Libre and Open Source software (FLOSS) I don’t think this is one for commercial sponsorship. If you do contribute you will get a warm fuzzy feeling and your name on the PirateBox.

Pledged so far: £60

29 August: I just got to £60 in promises. I’ve ordered the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH wireless router. now hoping that I can get it working;-)