May 29, 2018

Open Scholarship - being vulnerable

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
I'm tagging along with Festival of Learning (#FoL18) this week. The first Virtually Connecting session was with Jessie Stommel who just romped through a keynote 'Centering Teaching: The Human Work of Higher Education' to open the conference. During the Virtually Connecting session he posed many questions, one of which was

How do we make our scholarship vulnerable?
How can we make our scholarship an act of trust? 

One way that I am evolving my open scholarship is through volunteering. Volunteering is also another form of Professional Development for me. Due to my isolated location, this happens online, openly and with a diverse group of fantastic educators (well they educate me) that operate in platforms of trust.

I'm volunteering with Virtually Connecting again this year and have accepted/formalised my work in that space by being listed as the "Australasian Lead". This means that people can contact me for links into conferences in my region. We operate a Slack channel for conference hookup organisation. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to finally get to have a conversation with those onsite at the conference. This has allowed me to be in touch with a wide range of people and be vulnerable and be open to mistakes (and aha! moments) as we try to connect across the globe. This blog post is a perfect example of intersections in the open and how I use that in my practise.

I also volunteer with the #CLMOOC crew (Connected Learning Open Options?). In the last year I've also been part of the Slack channel where we arrange pop-up events, throw around ideas and plan towards an annual event. Again, there is a support and trust here that allows me to throw ideas into the ring and support others in their ideas.

This year I've stepped up my involvement with an ASCILITE SIG dubbed TELedvisors (Technology Enhanced Learning "e" advisors). This means being part of a six-part leader group that thrashes things out in .... yep .... another Slack Channel. As our membership creeps over the 200 mark, this open group seeks to support all things TEL around Australian and New Zealand Universities. Putting up ideas also brings responsibility to bring ideas to fruition. It enables me to interact  and learn with my 'mob' throughout this region. There is another trust aspect with these other five people that I have never met face to face but work together on a regular basis.

Somehow I've chosen to be free for another volunteer involvement. I participated in #GovHack last year with a piece called 'Fabric4Life' and hope to lead the regional effort for the Northern Territory this year. With the byline Empower, Enable, Connect #GovHack fits in well with my open scholarship. This annual event seeks to get people using an open database for innovative ideas to help the community. There has already been an act of trust by the NT rep Shannon Loughton in putting my name forward for this position

Through these opportunities I have learnt to trust others, to ignore titles, to connect as humans and be vulnerable in the open.

May 2, 2018

From the Alchemist's Lab


Network Narratives from The Alchemist’s Lab to Monsters and beyond: a story of the potential of ‘global contemporaneity’

The images and story of this presentation will lead you on a journey to understand how a global, transmedia project in digital material thinking (Rae, 2018) is informing local practice.   This presentation explores how the researcher worked collaboratively to create individual artifacts to be placed in a digital ‘museum’ space called The Alchemist’s Lab.  This created a  ‘choose your own adventure’ narrative which offered adventurers an inviting space. Transformed local meanings have the capacity to communicate with the local community.  This digital museum explores the potential of such a globally created and situated web space to create a ‘3rd space’  of ‘global contemporaneity’ that supports the needs of locally situated individuals as they created context-specific meanings and to share these multiple perspectives and meanings. The presentation will conclude with the implications of using such technology (or transmedia) modes can have for informing future educational technology projects.

Wander around The Alchemist's Lab here.

Presented at the Knowledge Intersections II Symposium at Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs Campus, May 2018.

Thanks to Susan Watson, Kevin Hodgson, Sarah Honeychurch and Todd Conaway and all the other participants of the #NetNarr Alchemist's Lab.

April 2, 2018

A Museum of Digital Life, Art and Other Things

Image created from original drawing by @EatcherVeggies and modified with

Over the last couple of months I've been working with Kevin, Sarah and Todd and many more people on a project that we've dubbed the #NetNarr Alchemy Lab. 

at own risk
into the Alchemy Lab 
leave through the

Kevin's idea: 'Let's do something transmedia' turned into an emergent project that was based on the amazing drawings by @EatcherVeggies. The intent was to move 2D drawings into a '3rd space' that could be experienced in a 'choose your own adventure' kind of way. What emerged through a global collaboration in a google doc and Twitter DM group was a spark, an Entry Ticket and virtual Lab shelves stacked with objects. Participants bravely chose artefacts, not knowing who their neighbour would be in the final Lab or how the narrative was developing until the final project was revealed this week.

What I appreciate the most about the finished project is that these artifacts rest beside each other and complement each other. The individual makers had no overall vision of the lab or who was next to them when they created their work. The variety of digital work translates local interpretation into this global museum. The journey was amazing and continues with the possibilities of remixes and reflections that appear on the padlet wall.

Techo note: For best results, use a PC or desktop. Most of the links will work on a mobile device but not extensively tested for that. The background will work wonderfully through VR goggles but not all the objects will behave. I hope you will find the custom built VR piece in the mix.

More NetNarr blogging is here:

@Caedmon liked this post:
Kevin's Three Part Reflection has more details:

March 19, 2018

Thinking through place

Material Thinking and making from John Rae in a Creative HE exercise became a reflection on thinking through place, the way we use digital material and the third space. 

Glossy black
like a wig left


waiting for the owner
to return

blood red roses
on her windowsill

blown away
and yet connected

fragment of light
hinge together

Can this poem stand alone without the painting's support? Should it?

Emergent or explosion. The result of the exercise/event/fun today in exchanging poetry, painting and digital variations has absolutely exploded my thinking and connected quite a few (previously disparate) thoughts. Through John's Material Thinking piece I have been reading the writings of Magaret Somerville. This is leading me to consider the 'thinking through place' and the global vs localisation of what is created in the digital (some call a third space) place. It is not possible to create anything else but where I am coming from and the ground on which I place my feet.

These flash collaborations are precious. Happening in a short time space but the impacts and flow-on effects last much longer.

Fragment of light

Pixelated Dreams

The full G+ Community Thread is here.

February 17, 2018

Feeling [not] very happy on FB

You are probably aware of the 2014 'experiment' by Facebook. There has been assessment and re-assessment of that fb issue. Well Jess says they got it wrong. We don't want to see the people we don't like (but appear on our feed) happy. But I'm here to say Jess might have it wrong! This is not backed up by big data but by my small data.

The past few weeks I've been bombarded (emotionally) with different types of images from one place. On the public feed there are happy smiling faces, at the beach, going to town, on holiday, visiting overseas. On the other [Messenger feed] I've been haunted by tragic images of my mother-in-law dying. Four bare walls and mats on the floor.  At first I just wanted to hit Facebook over the back of the head, like a naughty child. But then this software facilitated our first video contact with this situation and it saved our sanity for that week. How could you complain? Messenger just seemed to work when our land lines/under sea cables and wireless/mobile/xG connections with various people, did not. (Assuming the credit lasted.) But now I'm waking up at night and thinking of these two disparate sets of photos. I'm thinking that the happy smiling faces deserve to lead their life, while others are dying. I'm thinking the tragic pictures are pared down and stark and probably over emphasise the tragedy (or not). I can't see who is just out of lens range or the singing that might be heard or the food smells from the kitchen. Then there are the pictures not taken, the unseen (from my eyes) events that we recreate by reading between the lines of the dm messages. All I'm left with is stale, hard bread crumbs of time past. I'll cry by myself, when she passes. I'll be grieving from afar. Having family in another place is very difficult at these times.

The other contrast is between different social media platforms. Recently when my friend was diagnosed with ....oh will I say it? ..... you know....the 'C' word. Yeah, breast cancer. I hinted (without saying too much) on Twitter and got a few, lovely 'sorry to hear that' replies. However on Mastodon, I was able to express myself much more (and add a hide/expand option for people not wanting to be bombarded with that info). I got candles (virtually flickering), sharing of same experiences, sharing of strategies and other words that felt like a comforting hug. Does this make it a 'better' platform with better design? (maybe) Does this mean that I should stop sharing such stuff on Twitter? (well, no) Does this mean that I feel better after writing about this in this space? (absolutely) Is this the best place for such public/private writing? (who knows)