December 15, 2017

Seeing Squounds

In #DecDoodle we have been having fun! Fun with shapes, colour, drawing, poetry, Youtube playlists and other variations on a daily theme. In this post I'm contemplating the rounded corners of a square. 
My work in #CLMOOC enables me to see around the corners. To see beyond the bleeding obvious. I can play, make, make mistakes and play some more. This play allows me to cut corners or round off corners that I see. Here are some squound examples.

Mesmirising squounds

Square Corners
Sherri shared this blog post about Square Corners in nature: Good to know that we can always observe wombat poo if we want to see some squounds.

Granny Square
Now a Granny Square should be square, right? Then they go and do this to it! Eight petals could appear square but they don't! Flowers are round, petals create gentle corners and adding square corners allows an easy path to connect these panels together.

Not Square
From Simon's post of a few years back (do all these themes just go around and around and around?) I was inspired me to create a cell 'dance' in Excel set to Simon's oration (wubbed). In an effort to see beyond the square cells, rounding off the cells, this dance allows me to see beyond the page.

December 5, 2017

Bare Attention

This continues a conversation with Sarah Honeychurch and others about activities we do in meetings or workshops that help us concentrate. Sarah has since followed up with a question about how to 'ask permission' for such activities in the workplace.

This post by Nancy Chick "Doodling & Knitting" mentions the body language of paying attention. This is part of the issue. There are direct expectations in these work situations of eye contact and body positioning that is 'indicating' to the facilitator or speaker that you are paying attention. By occupying our hands with things other than a pen, our body language is sending an 'inattention' message. What is happening in the brain is the opposite. 

Bare Attention
Another term for mindfulness. I love the quote from T J Manning in Mindful Knitting "an intense form of paying attention". In my recent workshop, I was in a room with my seven colleagues for the whole day. I find that I was paying a lot of attention to their body language and this was distracting me from what was being said. To be able to listen to somebody speak and have the freedom to allow our own thoughts to form, we need to reduce the visual input. By occupying my hands with crochet and wool I can have that intense focus and be able to pick out the crux of the message. Yes, it was reducing eye contact, but that gets jaded after awhile and I find my eyes glazing over.

This train of thought is also relevant to this month's #CLMOOC theme of doodling. You might need to go behind a firewall somewhere to get to this article “What Does Doodling Do?” (Andrade, 2010). This talks about doodling while listening being a beneficial 'dual-task situation'. When the first task (listening) has a low resource requirement, we might tend to daydream or drift off. By adding a second task like doodling or crochet (repetitive, self-paced task) it is increasing the mental resource load but not blocking the ability to remember things heard.

Now I'm off to read more about visuomotor learning!

November 7, 2017

Mapping the Journey

Kevin Hodgson recently presented at the #4tDW2017 (virtual conference on Digital Writing). The pre-talk information discusses emergent ideas and paying attention.

Here is my reflection prior to the presentation.

Maps are for those that want to pay attention to where they are going. Navigating the natural world includes paying attention to the wind, sun, stars, moon and the seasons. How do we navigate the digital world? What pointers do we use? Is there any point in using the natural world as a metaphor for something that is not? Nick Sousanis (2015) in his book Unflattening refers to this:
"The ways of seeing put forth are offered not as a set steps to follow, but as an attitude - a means of orientation- a multidimensional compass, to help us find our way beyond the confines of "how it is", and seek out new ways of being in directions not only northwards and upwards, but outwards, inwards and in dimensions not yet within our imagination..."
Chapter 2.

European explorers employed the detachment methods of descartes - reducing the swirling three-dimensional world to a static flat grid, relying on instruments to guide them.
Chapter 7.

Sousanis (2015) then refers to Pacific Islanders who were 'immersed in the complexity of their environment' using nature in the form of 'stars, birds, patterns in the wind and waves, fronts and swells, the illuminating presence of undersea life, everything offered a living sign.' to direct them.

"Attuned to these invisible traces - vectors - they found their way."
Chapter 7. 

The underlying aspect of any map is the journey. Hopefully, you have time to grab a copy of Nick Sousanis marvellous experiment in visual thinking, as he puts it. The graphics that accompany the above text are amazing and add so much more to the words. These vectors appear in many places, both in nature and in the digital world.

The existence of here
depends on those peaks there
by bearing grid backward
        Haiku by Michael Giacometti from Portraits of Country (2017)

Without going too Zen on you, we could say that we are all travellers. Maybe we can only create our maps after the events and journeys of life. Everybody travels a bit differently and has different requirements. We are map makers.

Reflection after Kevin's talk

Things that are planned give energy to ideas that emerge. Freedom to branch out from the trunk.

Kevin gave these keywords for emergent learning activities:
Identification : Validation : Amplification : Invitation : Collaboration : Celebration 

I have found all of these aspects in the CLMOOC endeavours.

At the end of the presentation, Kevin invited us to participate in a collaborative poem. A few days later he posted the results.

A pop-up cycle created with CLMOOC folk is an excellent example of emergent learning. See Most of my blogging for this will be on Tumblr and here is my first map!

October 17, 2017

How I GovHack'd

I participated in the first Northern Territory iteration of GovHack. We were based at the Sandbox - co-working and innovative space in Alice Springs and hosted by Edan Baxter.

The core team in Alice Springs registered 9 projects by midday Saturday. Then the hard work continued as datasets were analysed and scope creep managed. Teams ranged from two people working together for the first time to 6 people in an organised team structure. What you needed in a team was multiple skills - video production, storyboard writing, software programming, software design and writing skills with a liberal sprinkling of good ideas.

This is not the time to learn new software. It's great if you have a large grab bag of tools that you are familiar with. One outcome of the weekend is the list of things I have to try and programmes to check out.

The finished project videos and write-ups were loaded to the hackerspace just in the nick of time by 4pm Sunday. Projects varied in degrees of complexity, sophistication and innovative power.

Here is the video of my project.

I picked up the Spirit of GovHack Award to Alice Springs. Then we hacked the hack! Jay Tucker was the winner of the Spirit of GovHack award for the Northern Territory. He was part of the NT winning team and Runner-up for the National Places Hack for the Red House Blue House Project. As their project was using the same maps as my hack but in a different way, I contacted Jay and proposed a crazy idea for a combined hack. We designed a t-shirt which Jay wore around Brisbane as he toured the city before the Red Carpet Awards! T-shirt complete with scannable codes to read 1948 news articles direct from Trove, what more could one want in unique wearables?

My thinking was consumed and pushed into totally new areas for those 46 hours. My thinking expanded on how to use open data to benefit the community and how my own skills could be put to use to directly benefit the local community I live in. There was also a roadmap to think about and to extend the project to next steps and other iterations. The next time someone asks me what Govhack was all about....I'll definitely be able to confuse or clarify it to some extent.

Check these out for ideas for next year!
Northern Territory Project Awards:
National and International Awards:

September 15, 2017

Out of Range


Out of range
pull the plug and sleep
switch off, disconnect
no charge, no beep

Out of range
why blue?
time to talk
our connections too few

Out of range
a vision of star
sky turning slowly
no pollution to mar

Out of range
no mobile connection
no bars of service
no bill, no insurrection

Out of range
dust on pancakes
in morning light

Out of range
a strange kind of bliss
never imagined
when Dylan wrote this.

Wendy Taleo

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed.

Bob Dylan from Things Have Changed

August 14, 2017

Once Upon a GIF Story

This is a story of collaboration, ideas, experimentation and our relationship to technology. It's also about being willing to follow through with what we might (lightly) put into Twitter chats!

You will see the GIF story (17 pages) thanks to Kim (@MrKMaston) and a willingness to collaborate. We chatted about the concept over Twitter DM and then took it in turns to add a page to the story. As you 'read' the story I'm sure you will make your own interpretation. Like a comic strip, there is enough mystery in the silence and the gaps between the moving images for the reader to get involved. Leave some comments about the possibilities that you see in GIF stories.

View it via Twitter moment:

(written after the story was compiled and not sanctioned by Kim)

Once upon a time
there was a generation
that could only interact
through their shared technology.

This was not a good situation!

Something had to be done?
Who to call?
Would post-humanism be a solution?

that same generation of people,
ignored climate change and
continued to feed the web
with pictures of themselves
with only their self-selected
best side.

Nooooooooooooooo, said the others.

Could new technology save us?
Is there anyone out there to help us?


Perhaps reading the manual would help?
The solution is here somewhere.....

The crowds were lined up to witness the next best thing!

With new bells and whistles, infinity screens, smaller batteries,
colour lights and explosions....

All that happened was the setting of the sun,
falling of a wave, feet running on a treadmill, 
a never ending story.

The only thing left to do was 
destroy the thinking 
behind the technology




August 2, 2017

How a poem travelled

A Postcard (me)
Poem (me)
squiggle (Karon B)
music (me)
another voice (Karon B)
a remix (Kevin H)
a small story (me)
a drawing (Sheri E)
another story (Sheri E)

That is a #CLMOOC adventure.
Each time the postcard was handled with care.
Treated with respect.
Interpreted and shared.
No stamps required.

Most of this is found on a Postcard Reimagined or on Sound Mountains.

Please add your interpretation to Sound Mountains. 
Thinking about doodling this week in #CLMOOC.

August 1, 2017

Data to Design

I've been collaborating with Karon Bielenda. Karon started collecting data from Google plus on the posts that she has shared as part of the Connected Learning MOOC. She shared the spreadsheet with me and we started playing and discussing options to use this data in different ways. 

The raw data looked something like this:
Post XXX
Person A made a comment
Person B liked it
Person C liked it and made a comment
Person D reshared the post
By playing with all the Excel chart formats, I created this radial design.  This only includes 4 numbers and does not include the people side of it (that gets more messy!). On reflection I thought that this looked like a leaf or petal of a flower.

The next step was to take a screen capture of the Excel chart. I moved it into Baazart app on my ipad. I could then 'cut out' and copy the petal, duplicate it and add the background. It seems like wallpaper to me plus it would make a great postcard to send out.

Like the zeros that sit at the centre, these mini projects are like germinating seeds for ideas. I've taken this idea and applied it to a weekend hackathon and created a wallpaper design from open data!

I've just discovered that Australia Post has a print-and-send postcard service through an App! It is only marginally more expensive that sending your own postcard. I'm thinking that will be a good option for my next round of CLMOOC postcards that I send over the waters in various directions.

July 22, 2017

Sound Mountains - a #CLMOOC adventure

My first post for CLMOOC 2017....but so much has already been happening. The Twitter and G+ feeds have been keeping me busy! From a daily connect activity (thanks Kevin Hodgson) Karon Bielenda and I have been working together. Here is a bit of an insight into the process and thinking so far.

Postcards: from the Twitter chat for Week 2, I've dug out my March-themed postcard that never quite got off the cutting room floor. The theme was music and here is a poem (plus a hidden poem) that I created on "What music means to me". I used colour to create some shapes around the poem. Karon said they looked like mountains and we are using that theme for this activity.

Digital or not: I've now shared the postcard in CLMOOC Around The World and it joins a rather delicious collection of postcards (in traditional format with back and front displayed).

Re-imagined: How could the postcard be reimagined? How could we expand and invite others into working with this image? Below is the padlet as a base for this activity. The first column has the original postcard and suggested instructions. The next 3 columns are available for others to add their versions of remixing this postcard (colouring, doodle, reframe etc). The last column is special!

Play this: If you want to draw a single line on the blank manuscript and share an image in the last column, I will attempt to play it (piano or clarinet) and share out the resulting music/sounds/beats.

Made with Padlet

Karon and I are working on a Thinglink idea as well! Stay tuned for that one. I look forward to seeing the padlet expand and grow as you contribute, have a go, remix and join in!

June 22, 2017

Hello Ned? - #DigCiz on Data and Privacy

I do not like this bed at all.
A lot of things have come to call.
A cow, a dog, a cat, a mouse.
Oh! What a bed! Oh! What a house!

Dr Seuss in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Photo credit: Wendy Taleo of Dr Seuss artwork.

A poem-logue of the discussion

Professor, professor,
this is a call for you.
To get your hands tech-dirty,
understand the issues, be amongst the few.

IT preacher, IT preacher,
this is a call for you.
Head out from your safety cave.
Wait! Don't go as far as the Wild West Open.

Student, student,
I'm listening to your voice.
I want to write you a policy place,
to rest your weary choice.

you short-sighted crew.
Can't you hear those voices?
They're not new.

Student, student.
(I'm whispering now)
The big bad data collector
is all around you.

I love data
I do, I do,
I don't love policy
How much 'IT' are you?

No spamming, that's bad!
When did you last review
The acceptable use policy
at your house?

Think about the individual first,
not the systems.
This is not natural progression,
for those nerdy blimpsters.

Let's put IT at the lead
They could do it, can't they?
Instead of just that administration
Of gates and fences, locks galore.

Why create separate groups
that handle the touch points?
Where technology touches teaching and
where tech touches students.

"Maximise safety and minimise risk"
What kind of policy is that?
It don't work so well
for the pedagogy frat.

'Embrace the uncertainty' is mandatory
in this endless newbie state.
Who will drag us through?
Are constant update games our fate.

Policy takes time 
we all know that tradition-tape.
What sort of citizens do we need to be
to stop the misrepresentations

Domain, domain,
Are you my own?
What are you threatening
by existing in this town?

Are the windows unlocked?
Are the doors left ajar?
Are the cash-bulging pockets
Seen from afar?

Can we be more permeable?
Provide more than blessed bread.
A guide for picking
from a large lolly jar, you said?

(I shout your name)
Where is your turf
To play academic games?

Can you hear me, Ned?

Acknowledging all these wonderful people on the call.

June 19, 2017

A Rant and More Writings

Gordian Knot. Shared by Assia Alexandrova
I ride my bike to work, 5km, most days. It gives me time to get the blood pumping through the veins and writing blog posts in my head. I watched the #DigCiz hangout recording (#DigCiz on Hospitality - Kate and Maha) yesterday but a mornings mullings couldn't quite work it out. This post may be 'rambling and unrenovated, filled with someone else’s .... childhood furniture' (2) but it might get part of the Gordian Knot unravelled.
Warning: Rant ahead via Wendy-logue from the Hangout. The vialogue is embedded below.

2:30min 'Struggling with the ideas about what it means to have a conversation in the open'
2:38min 'Who is invited and who is not....'

Well don't do it! Keep it between yourselves. Otherwise, brace yourself for each wave on the sand. It's in the open ffs, everyone is invited. I didn't see the invite list so here I am.

2:50min ' it's complex...some folks are simplifying it '

My immediate reaction was WTF! Excuse me for participating and simplifying things!
When I asked Autumm about this, she was able to partly explain that just talking about 'being nice' does not really cut it and thinking more deeply about hospitality in the online environment is needed.

Rant over! (Well nearly)

Recent writings in the Digital Pedagogy Lab (10) suggests 'We must make intellectual work accessible, and accessible work intellectual', with a call to simplify complex challenges. We have informal presentations at work from PhD candidates at different stages of their thinking and writings. It is invaluable to me, to be able to peek into these sessions and get an insight into how years and years of work can culminate in a course of writing that could be explained in less than one hour.

Simon (3) writes, 'feeling offended is a privilege I can't afford' and 'we need to go beyond conflict, to discover the stories, the wider contexts of other people'. That was the second part of the Hangout. A wider context of people, starting with memories chosen to highlight hospitality.

At this point I want to look inwards. My reply to Terry's comment on my blog (11) was probably a bit harsh (suggesting that this conversation was for postcolonial privileged white dudesses) but I was squarely pointing the finger at myself. How much does our understanding of one culture come from the partnership with another? My husband is from another culture. Sometimes I tell people that his birth country is my second home but miss out the rest of the story: in reality that it will never be home, it will always be a much loved, second home. Our understanding of privacy, language, food and hospitality junctures come from the close proximity of another culture. Yet all we have is us, the way we are, the way we project our values outward and our 'sureness' of what is right at any point in time. I never underestimate the things I learn from travelling, living and learning in different contexts (including the digital). It could be a whole waste of time or it could help me be more open in my thinking and 'sureness'.

Sundi wrote 'being the guest comes with its challenges and responsibilities' (4) and I've felt like a guest at #DigCiz. Maybe this blog is breaking the guest-rules but the challenge is not to stay silent, don't let it pass if it's important to me. In another place Alan said 'kith maybe can be found in places other than our start point' (a comment on (2)) and I think this is important for the digital. We can move across platforms or 'own' the domain or change tools as we see fit. Perhaps this week's look at data security might clarify that.

My DigCiz reading list:
1. DigCiz Week 4
2. Kate on Kith
3. Simon on For Giving
5. Alan on Names for Other People
6. Sundi on Guests and Strangers
7. Maha on Lines Not Drawn and Invitations of Sailors
8. Amy on Hidden Immigrants
9. Donna on People Places and Things
10. Ian on Wakefulness and Digitally Engaged Publics
11. Wendy on How to get cooking
12. Sheri on What is Digital Citizenship?

13. Sarah on Who owns a hashtag.

June 13, 2017

How to get cooking - #DigCiz

There was talk around the campfire of assessing threats in the online environment and a link provided by @funnymonkey to the wikipedia page on Threat Modelling. This had a lovely Visual Representation based on a data flow diagrams which took me back to my IT days of working in large organisations and managing the servers inside the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). This comic is my take on that.

At what point do we take on the rules of the environment we find ourselves in? In the physical town/city/bush that we might live in, these rules are more clear cut. The police are there to ensure you remember the correct rules, right? However, if you are in the boat (read software) of a hashtag (fishing?) and just want to fish (learn), whose rules do you abide by? How do you get on with your fellow fisher-people? Now there may be way too many metaphors in that graphic but the basic concept of finding a comfort zone between people, where the rules are agreed upon, allows the cooking to start. The Week 3 #DigCiz post talks about digital hospitality as a way of thinking about these concepts.

One way to approach threats is to recognise the boundaries. To understand some basic rules that denote safeness or possible risk. To understand when you have crossed boundaries into a different area that might require different behaviour. To understand that sometimes, people just like breaking the rules anyway. Lora Taub-Pervizpour talks about these boundaries constantly moving in this tweet. To recognise boundaries is to also to recognise the byways and the highways and what makes up those things. She also mentions about situated practice and this is something I will think more about.

The weather is fine, the sun is shining and the campfire is burning the wood for the coals ready for the fish. Lots to think about in the #DigCiz conversations this week.

Post Script: Then Gardner Campbell talks about the mind and it's ability for 'boundlessness' in this excerpt from conversations at #NMC17.

May 24, 2017

Let the Wheel Decide!

This game [for #CreativeHE] has been designed from the idea of giving some boundaries around trying a new digital tool. Instead of creating a 'How to' document and asking people to 'read and apply', use the wheel to decide the features and purpose to use the tool and then get creating! The best way to learn a tool is to use it and then to teach others to use it.

Game Instructions:
  1. Spin the wheel until you get a single [3] with two other choices
  2. Note down the results
  3. Create a [Digital Tool name] with those aspects.
The example given below is for VoiceThread. The wheel is designed with [1] types of media [2] types of comments and [3] purpose of the Thread

My Game Results:

I spun the wheel 3 times and got these options: Powerpoint file, Peer Review and Ass: watch. I might need to check these options with my teacher. She said that a watch assessment would not be applicable for Peer Review so I spun again. I got image jpg. Now my task is this:

>>>Create a VoiceThread that includes a powerpoint file, a jpg image and that is designed for peer review.<<<

Give it a go and share your VoiceThread with #CreativeHE

May 23, 2017

A game of honouring.

Image: Michal Parzuchowski,

Is there a place for play and games in higher education?

That is how Day 2 prompt starts for #CreativeHE. I'm not sure there is a yes/no answer so I'll approach this from a sharing perspective. A game that I enjoy is about honouring those in my Professional Learning Network (PLN). It involves these things:
  • close/slow reading
  • using new digital tools
  • curating
  • remix
  • sharing
  • fun
How to play this game:
Choose a blog post of someone in your PLN or curate information from open sources. Complete a slow read of the material. Pick a digital tool that can help you remix the blog post while keeping the original intention. Share it out and acknowledge the author.

Here are two examples that I created today.

In this remix, I look at Sundi's blog post on Intentional Practices.

Taproot Blues has been created from a set of tweets. I've put them together, nearly a poem!

These were created with Lumen5 desktop application. It uses images from and you can choose music to go with the work. 

April 25, 2017

Weaving Knots

Knot making
String work
Mat weaving

Some of the things I was thinking about when colouring in Kevin's card that arrived yesterday. This is part of the monthly themed postcard project of the Connected Learning MOOC. Mat weaving has a particular significance for me now. In the South Pacific, this art has cultural significance. By looking at the weave of a mat you can tell where the lady is from and island/family connections. There are everyday mats (for the earth kitchen floor), the celebration mats (for my child's birth), welcome mats (for our home visits), grieving mats (for the crying ceremonies) and the memorial mats (buried with the dead). Family is a knot, not easily broken.

In this TED talk Paolo Cardini talks about monotasking as a simplifying process. Colouring is a monotask but it's not about simplicity but about weaving things together. I find while I'm colouring that my ears are more attuned to outer noises. More things I was thinking about during this activity.
Paper touch
Shape making
Colour combinations
Contents of this blog
Sender of the card
Listening to sounds
There are other things I would put in the monotask basket that are complex and yet simple at the same time. Playing an instrument, playing with others, crochet, washing the dishes, composing music, bike riding and Tai Chi. What they have in common is the movement of the hands in repetitive ways, working the memory and expressing emotions (I can crash dishes, believe it!).

In my work space, monotasking seems a lot harder. If the computer takes a millisecond longer on getting to the screen I want, I'm off and checking twitter, email or the latest online news. Monotasking needs to be setup, planned and organised. I have a maker table in my office and this helps me to have spurts of monotasking/making. This helps me prioritise and return to my desk and work through tasks for the day. The other thing that helps me monotask is a sequence. Preparing the instrument, playing the instrument, cleaning and packing up. Warm up, Tai Chi sequence, quietness at the end of the sequence.

In some of these tasks I have occasionally been in the zone or reached flow state. For this aspect alone it is worth fitting more monotasking into your day. I think it is an entry point to achieving flow state. This is where you are performing a task and everything else disappears. For a period of time, nothing else matters, you can't see or hear anything else but the aspects of your immediate task. Now that is a buzz!

See I wrote all that and didn't even mention the other 'm' word (Mindfulness).

April 24, 2017

Twitter Lookbook

A Sweet Breeze

a sweet breeze rises carrying a subtle scent spring in new england #sundayhaiku #clmooc
By @algotruneman

buds opening now some leaves, not large. just pale green anticipation #sundayhaiku #clmooc
By @algotruneman

@algotruneman Even small flowers close their eyes to drink it in; embrace the Sunshine #sundayhaiku response #clmooc
By @dogtrax

The Process:

1. Twitter Archiver from Intro: Thanks to Terry Elliott for finding this tool.
2. Google Spreadsheet plus add-on
3. Export Google sheet to Excel
4. Import into Microsoft Access (save as .mdb)
5. Complete Word Mail Merge (Just coz I'm familiar with this one and it has a neat wizard to help)


Possible alternative:
Merging data into Slides
But I never quite figured this one out!

Next Steps:
I'm working on collecting my Twitter poetry if I can work out the advanced Twitter command. I'll run the Archiver for awhile and work out the format of my Lookbook! Another way to curate!

All images:

April 12, 2017

As for those Digital Moments

I like these Moments as way of capturing conversations that happen in Twitter. Often the tagging in Twitter means that others do not see the flow or get lost in the side tracks and byways that can fork endlessly from one tweet. I like the presentation of this embed on a mobile device much better than computer/browser based. It's still not quite in a format that I would consider printing.

Here are two 'Moments' that have occured recently.

April 11, 2017

Common and uncommon grounds

Subtitle: The crow and skip bins, gems and detritus.

Where the crow flies

In this world of the internet of things
what is the common ground?
where are the free spaces?

"We plow the ground"

The snow is never seen here
to block my path
or blur my vision

Warmth comes in spades
breezes push the sunshine
without my helping hand

Thank our ability to love
thank the creator of seed
what is painted on the wayside
is for the wayfarers to read

My daily bread is here
gathered from the detritus
my gem is dug out with care
without the loving intervention
of teaching or tests
or the correcting of wrongs.

Wendy Taleo (2017)

In response to Simon Ensor's post, this is a picture/poem kind of reply story. This is not precious art, this is a non-precious open resource of limited educational value.

Comments after the post:

April 9, 2017

I am the elephant.

This image was used in the Conversations That Work presentation I virtually attended at OLC Innovate 2017. The presentation titled, Embracing Cultural Diversity in Online Learning Communities, by Biola University gave me lots of food for thought. I was to join this workshop-style presentation via a Kubi (neck in Japanese). I'm no stranger to sticking my neck out with new tech and I was excited to be able to participate this way.

Before the conference I sketched what I thought (hoped) would be the Kubi view. It was going to be different to a birds eye view of the room with a presenter at one end. I knew I was going to be at eye level as we had been given room maps and diagrams of the proposed setup. Before attending the conference I had received some training (watched a webinar) and been in conversation with Clark Shah-Nelson about the concept of using the Kubis during the Conversation That Works sessions.

During this presentation I was struck by the irony of the presenter talking about 'them' and 'us'. The discussion questions were:

  • Creating safe places for group online learning
  • Significant challenges in doing the above
  • How can face-to-face methods of engaging student diversity be adapted to online
  • How can methods unique to online be used to engage student diversity

The reality of my experience was that I found this a non-safe space. I felt alienated and alone with only a back channel to rely on. As I had audio issues there was no easy way for others to interact with me and we were left, eye-to-eye, mute. As I swiveled towards the speaker, they were interrupted in their speech with a surprised 'oh, hello'. I was told I was expected but it didn't feel that way.

 I was lucky to have a back channel with Clark via Slack and he suggested that I join the Kubi after the introductions. I had the live stream open on my computer but the tech was running late and I could only join at about Slide 8 of the presentation, introductions well past.  I heard the presenter suggest the topics and the people at the tables would choose. I was not in that conversation and did not know which tables were discussing which questions. The presenter appeared to be unaware of the elephant in the room and there was no facilitation of the 'head' that was going to pop up on the table. From the image below you can see me (the neck view) and 3 of the kubis that I had access to via the Zoom meeting link. I joined table 4, keen to connect with the people discussing the topics at hand. It was embarrasing, they could not hear me and appeared to be embarrassed with lowered eyes and avoiding eye contact. There is no keyboard to reach for so when audio failed, communication was difficult. I disconnected from the kubi and left a black screen behind.

I next joined Table 1 and after conversing with pen on paper (held up to the camera) I got the sound working on my end. At this point the conversation was all but over and I was purely observing. The crunch for me, came when the facilitated passed around a microphone for input from each table. Really? Could I hold a microphone? Was my opinion even sought? Again I was the observer, at eye level, very obvious but ignored. I disconnected from the Kubi.

I surfed two other areas in the conference that had Kubis setup but I appeared, again, as the elephant. I suspected that the microphones were muted and even my swiveling neck did not draw any attention. As you can see from the main view below, backs were turned and others were far away. While it gave me a lovely peek into the various rooms, there was no room for interaction.
It took a couple of hours for me to wind down from that experience enough to get to sleep (⏰ 3am).

In conclusion, if you want to be culturally inclusive in online learning, include people! Be aware of who is virtually there, use the tech to connect, get to know your audience and use all the classroom tricks like introductions, name tags and icebreakers!

More on Kubi
How to Zoom on Kubi
Elephant Image: Jennifer Latuperisa-Andresen,
All other images: Wendy Taleo

January 17, 2017

New Year, New Stories

(Love these photos)

January and it's summertime in my corner of the world. If you stand still enough, for long enough, the stars will show you patterns. This month I'm joining the open course of Network Narratives. So far it's been an interesting journey of hacking, alchemy, Taoist principles, seek-your-own-adventure, story telling and mysterious personalities appearing! Who knows what will happen but I'm in for the ride! Where are the trails so far?

Twitter - it's all about @NetNarr and #NetNarr (with a daily challenge #dda1-14 this month)

G+ - Maybe I had a bit of FOGD* so I setup a Collection. You can join it here.

Blogs - RSS feed pending on this blog Group (New feature to me!) -

New trails will appear, I'm sure, as the course 'officially' starts today!

* A derivative of FOMO that Laura Gibbs dropped into the conversation about the Fear of G+ Dying!

GO TO Networked Stories for more of the NetNarr adventure.