First post of sorts – A sketchnote on Liberating Structures

I’m sort of starting from the ground up on this site. I have a new host ( yay hippies! ) and have an updated version of wordpress with no plugins. Taking a page from the @dlnorman playbook my intention is to be more self sufficient here, and rely less on third part services. My first challenge will be photos. For awhile now I’ve been using flickr as my defacto online image sharing service, (and I’m not giving it up just yet) but I want to begin building my own self hosted image collection here. This is an important collection to me that I want to not only share, but maintain and archive into the future, my collection of sketches, visualizations and art. Also, I bought a new scanner!

Liberating structures - Sketchnote
Liberating structures – Sketchnote

My first entry is a sketchnote I made last week at the ETUG spring workshop.  Nancy White was speaking on Liberating Structures, a “disruptive innovation” tool for organizations. I was struggling between participating in the activities (always encouraged at a Nancy White session) and working on this drawing, but most of my energy went here in the end.

I’ve added this image (which was scanned on the new scanner) using the default WordPress Media uploader, and was able to do several of them as a batch. I have noticed WP now has a “gallery” feature which I intend to check out, and also noticed you can do basic editing functions such as crop and rotate right in the dashboard now which I know will come in handy.

Nancy White on liberating structures - A SketchnoteHere is the same image, this time photographed with my camera and hosted on flickr. The colours are way more vibrant, although probably not more accurate, but also here I know the image has been viewed over 50 times and favorited twice.

A few questions I’m considering

  • Should I upload this to flickr as well?
  • Are statistics about how this image has been used important to me?
  • How do I create a gallery widget of image ‘categories’ from my own collection? 
  • What plugins are needed to manage a self hosted image library?

Enter #etmooc

Tools of the trade
Tools of the Trade

Hello #etmooc-ers! Jason here, arriving fashionably late to the party, although I’ve doing my best to pop in on the synchronous sessions, stalk you on the  G+, & follow the #etmooc hash tag faithfully, this will be my first, in I hope a series of SEVERAL posts tagged ‘#etmooc’. As with many of us, I’m faced with the challenge of keeping up with the flow of the course and being an active contributor, on top of a busy work/life schedule etc. This week however I have the fortunate timing to be participating in an ISW (instructional skills workshop), and my plan is to repurpose my mini lessons as ‘open educational resources’, or blog posts as they are known to some. I should be extremely well versed in this process, but crazy as it sounds there seems to be so little time allowed for it.  I often advise others on improving their online teaching spaces, but tend to not take my own advise when it comes to the site you are reading from now. Time for a change!

The last time I got in here for a facelift was over TWO YEARS AGO, as I entered what would be an epic journey of learning in the ‘not a mooc‘ #ds106… course (?), and I have to say although the blogging has not taken off, I did manage to cobble together a decent foundation upon which to enrol in #etmooc, so much so I almost didn’t even need the first week orientation! (#ds106 foundation 4 life) For my introductory post on that journey, I used an auditory fragment from my past, edited together in Audacity and posted to soundcloud. The thought or ‘re-gifting’ that in this context did cross my mind, but instead I chose to use the visual above to illustrate the typical ‘tools of the trade’ I use in my role as ‘Interaction Specialist’ with the Teaching and Learning Centre at SFU. We have been going through some growing pains in recent years, but are now well on our way to re-visioning both the role of the centre and our place in it. Personally, I have taken the opportunity to embrace one of my passions, DRAWING and inspired by my awesome buddy, integrate that into an educational context through graphic facilitation/recording etc. The workplace has truly never been more exciting and rewarding with this burst of creativity, and acceptance that I need to draw to learn! And possibly teach as well, but we will see if I can push some boundaries this week.

Without getting into a long drawn out explanation of the graphic above “Tools of the Trade”, I’ll just say it was intended to present a set of capacities to my colleauges in the teaching center, who would be drawing (hehe) on them to enhance their projects with faculty. My experience in web development and educational technology have both emphasized the user experience in different ways, but in the end it always comes down to that, and the tools are only what you make of them, as I have heard said from time to time.

I wanted to shout out at this point to say that the #ETMOOC has been OUTSTANDING in the area of user experience so far, and although I am far from fully engaged, the instructors have put together such a vibrant and engaging community that even the small portion of learning and activities I am taking on will no doubt benefit myself and my collaborators tenfold.

To squeeze on last plug in here, I wanted to point to a very rough prezi on the newly formed “Educational Media” group in the teaching center. These are the same folks I will be teaching to and learning from this week in the ISW, and in so doing hoping to generate some valuable contributions to #ETMOOC. I can se another post will be in order to chronicle this process, but for now I REALLY need to get started on my mini lesson due tomorrow right away!



Gadgets for Good Sketchnote


“Its not the tools, its how you use them”. Gadgets for good


Last evening I attended my first Net Tuesday meetup, and wanted to quickly jot down a reflection while its all still fresh. “Tablets, Smartphones, iPads, iPhones: Gadgets for Good?” was presented by Mel Findlater to a full house of savvy, socially conscious, movers and shakers from Vancouver and surrounding areas. The evening was highly interactive, with much discussion and sharing which the speaker fostered and incorporated into her topic like a pro. The crowd was eager and receptive and I was struck by the broad range of ideas they contributed, each drawing on their personal experience providing relevant examples. Everyone there clearly was passionate about social change, but came from different backgrounds and had varying ‘geek levels’.

The topic centered around the potential of mobile devices to be deployed to improve Education, Communication and Independence in peoples lives, but particularly those in our society that could use a little extra support to, as Mel put it, “express themselves using their own voice”.  The advice was very practical and there was alot of app sharing going on here, and I discovered some new ones myself that will be of interest to follow up on. The most promising for me were, Mindings, a family networking app that provides FB type sharing while taking advantage of tablets large screen size (not to mention while avoiding FB!) and Popplet, a snappy little mind mapping/brainstorming tool, that allowed Mel to quickly record audience thoughts during the group brainstorm. I also thought it was interesting that she cited the “Flipped classroom” as a model for improved education. You can browse through her presentation for more details.

I guess the thing that stuck with me the most was the perspective that everyone in the room, although passionate about technology, had a clear problem, or goal to achieve using it. Fundraising, building community, outreach, were all mentioned. Often the work in higher ed, has been to provide a technology to users, but once a system is implemented, how it is used receives little support or attention. I am hoping to keep this mind as I move forward with my tech related projects, “It’s not the tool, its how you use it.”