Do You Need Your Own Digital Space?


In the above presentation at 2010 OpenEd Conference, Gardner Campbell asks you to “think the unthinkable” about the future of education and in particular takes to task the use of educational technologies designed to mimic the old model of classrooms. He also presents these ideas in his essay, “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” Both of Gardner’s texts are in part inspired by Jim Groom’s “A Domain of One’s Own.” Jim aks the question, why not give everyone their own domain, from which all of a student’s academic endeavours will be aggregated to a variety of places they inhabit during their time in college. It would become a space that a student would be,

…crafting of an identity with a purpose, the conscious consideration and creation of one’s professional/academic identity online: a domain of one’s own!

To Jim and Gardner, the need to stop fashioning for students special spaces for teaching and learning is a principal problem. They wish for educators to start looking to the internet itself as it’s classroom, where you carve out your own space to teach and learn (a bit like what we’ve done here with

For this winter session you’ve been given a space to contribute to as an author, but now it’s time to take your work and place it into your own domain. To do this you are going to need to export your posts through the Dashboard’s Tools > Export function which will give you an .XML file that includes all of your work.

After that you will need to create either a free blog, or step-up and buy your own webhosting plan and with WordPress installed. Either is fine, though commercial hosting plans give you a lot more flexibility and control. Here is a link to how to create your on blog with a commercial host, and the option is pretty self explanatory (the site guides you through the process).

So there are two assignments for your last efforts in this class:

1. Create your own blog:

  • Export your posts from this blog and import them into your own blog.
  • Create an “About” page on which you give a brief description of yourself and your professional goals. You are also welcome to create additional pages and include any kinds of materials you’ve created in other courses or on your own.
  • Pick a theme for your blog and customize it. Add any plugins you’d like. Remember, this is now your space, it’s up to you to cultivate it!

2. Make one final post to In this post please include:

  • a link to your blog;
  • a reflection on the texts of Gardner Campbell and Jim Groom by finding an image, audio, and/or video that you speaks to your understanding of their work. Also be sure to quote either or both of them at least once in your reflection;
  • and finally describe what you expected to get out of this class, and if that changed as the course proceeded. What was most important to you? What was least important?

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Video Made the Student a Star


Todd Conaway is an instructional designer and educational technologist at Yavapai Community College, working with faculty on integrating technology and into their teaching in higher education courses. But in the video above he describes how his thirteen year-old daughter collaboratively creates music videos with friends around the world. Their process for making the video is distributed requiring a tremendous amount of thought and collaboration. The skills they are building may not fit in any particular K-12 curriculum, but Todd is certain they are valuable and is disappointed that none of her classroom experiences seem to resemble this kind of process.

For today’s blog post, you will create an K12 assignment that will require your future students to use video, audio, editing, narrating, etc. to express a particular piece of content or skill or assemblage of skills. You should consider how Todd believe’s “his daughter can do more” than the typical that is asked, for example to make PowerPoint presentations and change fonts in Word. Also look at examples of audio and video assignments in the ds106 site for inspiration.

You should either complete the assignment yourself as an example, or if not possible given it’s collaborative assignment for example, then you must make a video to explain the assignment. Upload your video to Youtube and embed it as part of your blog post.

Teach Me Something


I recently learned how to fix my dryer with the above video which I found doing a simple Google search for “broken dryer doesn’t spin.” Tell the internet the symptoms of a problem, and it spits out a video made by some guy wearing a video camera on his forehead. Yes he’s wearing it on his head, and I’m positive because of this moment where both hands are visibly working on the dryer.

So why does this man make this effort to create a video and upload it online? Eric from his video’s description wants you to know that, “Home repairs like this are easy and can save you a lot of money if you are willing to try it yourself.” He’s right, I probably saved myself $100 at least. And I guess he wanted to share this simple point and teach me something I never would have likely ventured to do prior to the Internet. I literally had my laptop on the floor with the video while I was figuring out the part with the tension pulley underneath the drum.

Not really being much of a handyman in the analog world, the tutorials I’ve created and shared are more of the digital sort. The basics of how to make an animated GIF using GIMP as well as the one we created last week, making GIFs using the animation timeline in Photoshop. What’s most important about all these videos in my mind is the willingness of the creator to narrate the process in a conversational way that keeps the audience watching. In a sense, telling a story about something you want to teach, but also giving a glimpse of your personality as well.

So for today’s assignment, I want you to teach your classmates something in a tutorial video. You can use a video camera or create a screencast. What you wish to teach is completely up to you, but it should be something you’re knowledgeable enough about that you feel comfortable describing what you’re doing while you do it. It does not have to relate to your future K12 teaching plans, it just has to be a simple video tutorial. When you’re done with it, you should upload it to Youtube if you don’t have a Youtube account you can activate one with your gmail account). Then, embed the video in a new blog post and make sure you describe why you chose to teach this particular process and what tools you used to make the video.

As far as how to make the video? Well in the DIY spirit of this assignment you need to figure that one out yourself! Work that Google machine, and if you need as questions in the comments of this post.

Down the Edtech Rabbit Hole – Conversations and Cursing about Edupunk and DIY Education

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by pasukaru76 (down with flu)

Reading Jim Groom and Brian Lamb’s article Nevermind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle is what started it for me. It’s not the beginning, as there were links and networks that brought me to this article – working with e-portfolio at York College and the CUNY Academic Commons are two. But this article lead me to start following a hyperlink trail that lead me to read George Siemens, Leigh Blackall, Stephen Downes, Tim Berners Lee, Seymour Papert, David Foster Wallace, Mark Weiser, Jay Rosen, Gardner Campbell, Clay Shirky, Dave Cormier, Andy Carvin, and this was the beginning.

From there I discovered ds106 and leaped into yet another rabbit hole. One that has helped me become more productive than I have in years – creating art, teaching new ways, building spaces, and most importantly making relationships with people I truly am excited to engage on a daily basis. I’m so lucky to have found these people online and connected with them and believe it’s literally changed the trajectory of my career as an academic – all in about a year and a half’s time.

I don’t know if this is what will happen to you, or what exactly you’re looking for as you prepare for your future career in education. And this course on using educational technology is only a brief time on your path to getting there. You may believe that this course should be about learning how to use technologies that will change education, and we are lucky to be in a time when we can play with a lot of digital tools cheaply and easily which can truly affect a classroom. But I want you to think about this quote from Jim Groom from the blog post in which he introduced edupunk. He’s responding to a particular LMS company’s advertising that their product will “enhance critical thinking skills” and “improve classroom performance.”

These things are not done by technology, but rather people thinking and working together. Our technology may afford a unique possibility in this endeavor by bringing disparate individuals together in an otherwise untenable community, yet it doesn’t enhance critical thinking or improve classroom performance, we do that, together.

The idea that we cannot replace the person that is teaching and the students connections with one another with technology is an important one. There is so much we can teach ourselves, and learn from the rich resources of the Internet. But the connections with others online with which we can share and engage provides can be what we really need to strive for. Is it the technology or the community that matters most.

The conversations and cursing you might find about DIY Education and Edupunks can be a case-study on this particular issue of tech vs. community vs. the innumerable other lenses through which people are (re)envisioning these ideas.

So for your next blog post start with the Groom/Lamb article linked at the top and see where it and your journey through articles, blog posts, videos, images, etc. takes you. Quote, embed, and/or link to as many of the pieces you find that strike you. Give your perspective on what edupunk and DIY education looks like or means.

Asking Yourself and your class about the Future of Education

We’re going to be watching a number of videos from the 2010 TEDxNYED conference which featured a wonderful set of thinkers on issues we are facing or will face in education. There are 14 speakers in total and you will be assigned one of the videos at random.

The resulting assignment will involve you creating two blog posts. One in which you describe the speaker and poll your classmates about their talk. And a second post in which you summarize the results of your poll.

In the first blog post you will need to embed the video of your speaker as you see I have with the talk by Andy Carvin.


Next you will summarize a few of the key points of the talk that are of interest to you. Be sure to quote the speaker as appropriate and attribute with a link based on the specific point in the video (this is possible in a Youtube link which includes a time stamp). Here is an example.

After the link to the video you must include #t=00m00s, where the minutes and seconds are changed to the point in the video you wish to link to. These links to quotes in the video will be important so that your peers can watch and listen to the quotes you are referring to.

Finally you will pose a question to the class using Google’s form tool and embed it into the post. Paste the embed code of the form in your post while in the HTML view. You will need to make a couple of minor edits to the embed code described below:

The question you ask should be one in which your peers are giving their opinion based on a point of interest in the talk. It’s possible that the question could be a rephrasing of a question that the speaker is trying to answer in the talk.

In the second blog post, you will need to summarize the data from your poll. Please include specific quotes from the poll to make your point. You can refer to the individual making the point by the number assigned to poller in the resulting spreadsheet. Finally give us some feedback on the results of the poll. Did it affect your original opinion in any way? Do you think your perspective on the talk was clear to your peers?

Visual Stories for Teaching

If you had the ability to lay your hands on someone and they would learn instantly exactly what you wanted them to learn – Quadratics? no problem, the value of a healthy meal? done. And I asked you to describe what your hands did to the person, in this moment of educational healing what would they look like? Would they glow red? Green, blue? Sparks fly out of them? I say all of the above!

It’s the visualizing of something that you wish to communicate, a story, a concept, a solution to a problem – anything that you want to portray with an image, design, and/or animation is what were going to play with today.

Like the new sort of presentation, this is going to involve approaching a tool with first having an intention to make something. Not learning the digital tool and then wondering how you might use it. I believe this is how most people like to learn anyway right? Who reads manuals for the most part, we play with the technology and look for help for the things we don’t know how to do.

So, we’re going to look at some of the visual and design assignment ideas of the open course on digital storytelling called ds106. Each of the assignments involves creating something with a specific intention. You’re going to do a couple of these assignments and then you’re going to modify and come up with your own for your specific K-12 teaching.

For the first half of this assignment make two blog posts, one for each DS106 assignment you do. You can upload the image to our blog, or embed it from an image sharing service you have such as Flickr. Try to use either your own original or CC licensed images for your assignments and be sure to attribute them. Here’s a link to search for CC’ licensed images in Flickr. Also make sure you describe and link to the original assignment. Also include the assignment tag, and ‘ds106’ as a tag.

For the second half of this assignment you will create two assignments visual and/or design, in the spirit of DS106 for your future K-12 teaching plans. It’s best if the assignment is relatively straight forward, but could be broadly interpreted. You can consider reinterpreting an existing ds106 assignment for a particular K-12 learning outcome. Here’s an example of the Messing with the MacGuffin Assignment reinterpreted for an american history class – Change History in a Moment.

Make a post for each assignment you create – be sure to include an example, describe how you made it, and describe what kinds of learning outcomes your trying to satisfy. Tag each assignment post with ‘k12ds106.’

To get access to Photoshop you can use the iMacs in the library or you can visit classroom building computer lab. But if you’re adventurous, you can download and install the free digital image editing software, GIMP. You can find tutorials for it all over the internet. Also there are web based image editing tools such as, which gives you lots of Photoshop-like editing tools online for free.

Serendipitous Connections

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

For Monday I want you to look for a blogger that teaches in K-12 exactly what you’re planning to teach or something close to it. Read some of their posts and in your own blog post, share some quotes, videos, and/or images from them. Tell us why you like how they write about their teaching and students’ learning. If appropriate I encourage you to support your description with your own images and videos.

Be sure to hyperlink the blog post or posts that you are referencing as this will create a pingback to the blogger (a reference comment on their post). Hopefully this will lead to you getting some comments/feedback from them!

Also for Monday, bring any form of digital camera you own (this includes cellphones). You just need to be able to get images off the phone and onto a computer.

A New Kind of Presentation

David Cormier described an alternative to a slide based presentation in his post about Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach? This new form of presentation wished to do away with the traditional sequencing of slides with topics with and bullet points. Sounds very anti-rhizomatic, telling the audience,  “here are all the answers to the topics I want you to know, so you better remember them.” So instead he had this idea to create a set of slides that only had a questions on them.

And then using an meeting room online, invited the audience to answer the questions collaboratively as he facilitated the discussion. We’re going to try this out today, but I will need your Gmail email address to do that. So fill out the form below with your gmail account. Thanks everyone I’ve got them all!

What kind of teacher will you be?

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

I ask this question to you in two ways, one I want you to in a blog post describe what kind of teacher you’re training for in the K-12 system. And second I want you to read Dave Cormier’s Rhizomatic Learning – Why we teach? and respond to the questions he asks in the activity described at the end of his blog post. You may consider finding an image, video, and/or text to support your descriptions (encouraged actually).

Also if you don’t already have one, please create a Google account. You will need this account to work with the many document tools Google has.

Please play around with some of them.