Connecting, Curating and Contemplating

A picture of the pier at Glenelg, South Australia. Taken by Paul Goldacre at the Ascilite 2016 Conference and shared on Twitter.

Introduction

I have participated remotely in two conferences in the last two weeks.

Last week it was Ascilite2016.

This week it was Moodleposium2016.

I followed both conferences from my home in rural New South Wales. My proximity to the local telephone exchange means that I can access an ADSL2+ service.

There is a lot of discussion in my town, Braidwood, about the enormous opportunities the National Broadband Network (NBN) could bring to the quality of people’s lives and to new business practices. We hope to be connected but at the moment …

This is a message received from the NBN. "The rollout has not started in your area."

My experiences of the two conferences have encouraged me to think about:

  • Connectivity
  • Connecting expertise
  • Curation

and the opportunities we have for #prosocial, accessible sharing.

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Connectivity

A day after Moodleposium 2016, wrote about “equitable access to broadband” in a Conversation post. Thas points out “There is a significant divergence in the nature and availability of communication and internet services for regional Australia” and draws attention to the emergence of a Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition.

Thas concludes his post with these observations:

it is imperative to ensure regional Australia is empowered through programs focused on digital capacity building.

This should include skills development, assistance to access new technologies and support …

Our area has vibrant schools, a community of home schoolers, a multi-purpose health service, a strong arts community, and resilient rural businesses. One of the town’s entrepreneurs is building a multi-media rich facility to support educational technology projects. All of these groups will flourish with NBN connectivity.

Connecting Expertise

I keep being surprised by the rich diversity of practice that is shared at Ascilite and Moodleposium. My curation of both conferences runs to 150 pages of Google Docs.

I used Twitter as my primary source of activities at the event. I followed the #ascilite2016 and #mpos16 links.

The appearance of Mastodon has encouraged me to think about other channels too.

I am keen to provide a curation of conferences to help me learn more about and reflect on practice. It is my contribution to a process that involves aggregation, remixing, re-purposing and feeding forward (Stephen Downes, 2011).

Emily Rutherford and Jennifer Smith at the closing ceremony for Moodleposium 2016

Accessibility

Ross Mullen discussed accessibility at the Moodleposium. His abstract includes this description:

The presentation will explain what web content accessibility guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) is, the types of disabilities a user may have and how those users navigate with assistive technology. By understanding the fundamentals of inclusive design practices with web accessibility will enabled content designers to begin to design more accessible content. We discuss the most common web accessibility pitfalls and how to fix them and how to check your own work is accessible using free online tools.

Ross works at Canaxess in Canberra. Canaxess is “an Australian based web accessibility agency who believe accessibility is not just about compliance, but giving the best possible experience to the end user”.

The WCAG 2.0 Guidelines have been available for as long as I have been posting on Clyde Street and I have done nothing about accessibility. I have read the guidelines now and have followed up on the WebAIM website.

As I followed Ross’s presentation online, I was reminded of Ellen Kuzwayo‘s observation that each form of discrimination brings its own form of discrimination.

Contemplation

My efforts to curate two conferences for personal and shared reflection have given me new opportunities to reflect on connectivism and communities of practice. In addition to the joy of finding such diverse activities at the conferences, Ross has given me a profound moment of clarity about how I might share in a different kind of way.

Photo Credits

Glenelg (Paul Golacre, Twitter)

Mercedes Bends and Altruism Rules (Newtown Grafitti, CC BY 2.0)

Emily Rutherford and Jennifer Smith (Katie Freund, Twitter)

Postscript

This is my first post on Clyde Street that explicitly addresses accessibility issues. I installed WordPress 4.7 and then added the TinyMCE Advanced plugin.

This gives me the opportunity (without coding or scripts) to use a sans serif font (Verdana) and to specify the size of font (14pt). I have included Headings too.

The three pictures in the post have an ALT Text description.

The hyperlink default in this WordPress theme is for urls to be underlined but to remain as black text.

I am going to share this with Ross to seek his views.

A Flush of Openness around and at #AUSPIN16

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Introduction

I was delighted to attend the AUSPIN Conference in Canberra on Tuesday.

I had the opportunity to share some ideas about open educational resources. It was a brief presentation just before lunch.

The process of sharing the presentation led to some interesting exchanges on Twitter.

Before I discuss these exchanges and where they took me, I would like to note how I prepared my presentation.

Creating an Open Resource

I was keen to share my presentation in advance of the AUSPIN meeting. The steps I took were:

  1. Google Slides with my preferred presentation format of Simple Light.
  2. Search for Creative Commons images on Flickr.
  3. Use minimal text with hyperlinks to all materials shared.
  4. Confirm the presentation (unless otherwise indicated) as a CC BY 4.0 license.
  5. Ensure that anyone on the internet can find a view the presentation. (Link)
  6. Blog about the presentation on Clyde Street.
  7. News of blog post defaults to Facebook (I have not been using LinkedIn).
  8. Tweet about the post and presentation using #AUSPIN16.
  9. Add an Audacity recording as a brief audio statement in the Clyde Street blog post (and use LAME add on for .mp3 files).
  10. Use Ogg Vorbis Audio File (.ogg) and MP3 (mp3) audio formats. Share files through DropBox (.ogg) (.mp3).
  11. Confirm that Conference attendees had received an email alert from the organiser to the presentation link on Google Slides.

I find it fascinating just how many different platforms can be used to create a resource. Each of us makes choices about the platforms we use. My choices reflect my experiences. Some time ago, I did use Garage Band to record all my audio files but I now feel much happier using Audacity with a USB microphone rather than my Mac’s internal microphone.

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Sharing on Twitter

This was an early announcement about the presentation:

On the morning of the presentation, I tweeted this:

In late night England, Simon Nainby, and Sporticus started discussing open educational resources.

Jonbrim joined in:

and then the follow up conversation

The next day, Mark Upton shared this link:

This enabled me to follow up to find this workshop:

In twenty-four hours, these exchanges had created a micro-community that then went about other business.

I felt like this:

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As with open educational resources, this pole vaulter has no limits … there is no bar in this sculpture, just the sky.

Asynchronous and Synchronous Sharing

My aim in this post has been to make explicit my process in creating an open educational resource. Twitter allows us to cross time zones and occupational cultures. News of my presentation started a flush of conversation that spanned hemispheres and was asynchronous.

My physical presentation at AUSPIN gave a synchronous opportunity to share and discuss ideas with structured attention.

The delightful experience of a connectivist world was that a presentation about openness took me to Canberra, England and San Diego in the time constrained only by my access to bandwidth and a reliable car.

Photo Credits

AUSPIN Meeting and Pole Vaulter (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)

Presenting at AUSPIN 2016 (Edgar Crook, CC BY 4.0)

Memes as evaluation opportunities (#UCTL16)

I am still smiling about this tweet

It is the first time I have looked closely at a # meme. (The origin of the meme is here.)

Perhaps it is because I have been reading around perfomativity that I was drawn to the wonderful humour and insight on display within the meme.

The two connect for me through this quote from John Austin:

The words which are used to express ourselves are also means by which we enact ourselves.

All of which encouraged me to think about how teachers and learners might evaluate their shared learning experience through a variation of the meme.

These are my thoughts as an example of an imagined unit at the University of Canberra.

I imagine a rich conversation emerging from this parsimonious observation. This approach resonates, I think, with Mary Ryan’s (2012) contemplation of teaching discursive and performative reflection in higher education:

Teachers need to provide opportunities for students to develop meta-discursive skills, whereby they not only engage in the different discourse communities of the different disciplines, but they also know how and why they are engaging and what those engagements mean for them and others in terms of social positioning and power relations.

If students are to enact particular identities within the discipline, they should be provided with opportunities and pedagogic scaffolding to represent their reflective learning in different modes.

As I conclude this post, Scott‘s tweet has received 7,000+ likes and 4,000 retweets. Imagine what this level of engagement might do for personal learning conversations.