Re-rethinking social media

I've been uneasy with the role that social media has in my life for a long time. One part information, one part connection with friends and colleagues, one part numbing, one part noise and abuse and racism and sexism. I don't know a healthy way to approach social media. I don't believe there is one. The concept is attractive - instant connection with people I know and love! Who wouldn't want THAT? [Read More]

the most important edtech advancements

Jim wrote about his thoughts on the most important advancements in educational technology. I think he's onto something - the exact tech isn't important. Nor are the logos on the shiny things we build and/or buy. My personal stance is that we've seen 2 major changes on our campus - neither of which are directly related to specific technologies. Human-scale technologies Distributed, coordinated, domain-specific community support The first shift is nothing new - it's also not constant or consistent. [Read More]

on supporting innovation on campus

I've been thinking about how to better support innovation on campus, and realized that there is a strong bell curve describing the drive to innovate in teaching practices in a population of instructors (and, likely, students), something like: The "mavericks" are the ones that will explore, experiment and push the boundaries no matter what the institution does. The "quiet majority" are where most instructors are - they work hard at what they do, but don't have the resources (time, funds, people, etc…) to try many new things. [Read More]

on filtering vs. curation

I've been thinking about the distinction between filtering and curation lately. "Social media" is described as bringing a form of curation to the internet, when it is really providing layers of filtration. What's the difference? Filtering is crap detection, wheat-from-chaff separation. Useful and important, but only the first step of curation. Curation is when a knowledgeable expert crafts an experience based on their understanding of context, in order to guide others through a collection. [Read More]

on following the light

Photography literally means "the process of drawing with light" - it's not "taking pictures of people or things," it's all about playing with light. If the light isn't there, there's no photograph. If the light is boring, the photograph is boring. But, if the light is right, even the most boring subject is transformed into something magical. Much of the time, when I jump to grab my camera, it's because the light has caught my eye. [Read More]

epigenetics and the institution

I have found myself drawn to channels that are best described as "alternate" - outside the traditional scope of the Institution. I publish, but on my own blog. I provide support and services, but for software and tools that are not blessed by the University. I share everything I do under a simple Creative Commons license, without worrying about control or ownership. I exist, from some perspectives, outside of the Institution. [Read More]

content is not enough

Brian wrote a great post about the focus on content creation in the open education movement. There were some great comments on that post - some arguing (correctly, IMO) that there isn't enough great content available. But even that misses the point, I fear. Content is the least important part of education. What is far more important is what takes place between and among the students. The activities of the community of learners. [Read More]

on the insanity of an automaker bailout

The proposed US bailout of greedy financial institutions is crazy enough, but now there's talk of bailing out the automakers? What in hell happened to the free market? US automakers are in trouble because they build shitty products that people don't want to buy. And they haven't retooled fast enough, as others have. Toyota's not looking for a bailout, they're just making better products. Honda's doing OK. etc... A US automaker bailout is just the government declaring " [Read More]

Stupid DRM handcuffs

I did a test this morning to check out how well the video recording gear we have would work for recording a presentation tomorrow. The gear works great - it records directly to DVD so I can just walk away with a nice shiny disk after the presentation is over. But that's not what this post is about. This DVD, that I made, containing no DRM and no copyright, triggers the evil DRM software that's baked into the operating system that I use. [Read More]

on having fun with photography

I keep being surprised by how much fun I still have with photography, especially after almost 2 years of shooting every single day. Shooting silly things, not worrying about perfection or production quality. Experimenting. Having fun. Although sometimes it feels like I just keep shooting the same boring things over and over again, if I step back and look at the photographs, there is so much that I love about them. [Read More]