Category: Weeknotes (page 1 of 27)

Weeknote 24/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #307 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Home on the range’. Thanks to the 38 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who are supporters via Gumroad!
  • Recording, editing and releasing Episode 104 of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast with my co-host Dai Barnes. We entitled this episode ‘Facebook folly’ and discussed leadership, inequality, anarchy, Facebook’s role in society, drugs use in universities, ‘facilitating’ subjects, and more!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Continuing our first two-week sprint, focused on setting milestones for the project. This took a while as there a lots of different approaches and moving parts. You can check out our Trello board and milestones (which are all linked to Jira epics). We’re taking account of travel and holidays in listing future sprints, which we’ve got mapped up to the end of October.
    • Figuring out how we’re going to run community calls after being advised by Moodle’s DPO and Legal Counsel, Carlo Polizzi (very nicely!) that we weren’t capturing data from community members in a GDPR-compliant way. More in this blog post.
    • Updating our project overview slide deck to v0.6 and presenting to this month’s Moodle Users Association town hall meeting.
    • Meeting with Martin Dougiamas and Mayel de Borniol to discuss the best way for MoodleNet to integrate with Moodle Core. We’re considering launching with only support for MoodleCloud, as this simplifies compatibility with resources and different versions. However, we’ve more thinking to do on that…
    • Helping the rest of the Team Leads figure out which project management software we should use.
    • Mapping out the spectrum between building a fully federated system and a closed SaaS product. Unsurprisingly, we’re attempting to build something that’s as open as possible while being commercially viable. An ‘API-as-a-service’ approach may work well here, but we’ve further work to do.
    • Catching up with Alberto Corado on UX/Design input to the MoodleNet project, and also Gavin Henrick and Tom Murdock about project management.
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:
    • Higher Education and blockchain
    • On ‘instagrammability’
    • F*** off Google
    • “Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you would never have discovered without trouble. There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper.”(Og Mandino)
    • Where memes come from
    • “Whenever we get swept up in the self-reinforcing momentum and seductive logic of some new technology, we forget to ask what else it might be doing, how else it might be working, and who ultimately benefits most from its appearance. Why time has been diced into the segments between notifications, why we feel so inadequate to the parade of images that reach us through our devices, just why it is that we feel so often feel hollow and spent. What might connect our choices and the processes that are stripping the planet, filthing the atmosphere, and impoverishing human and nonhuman lives beyond number. Whether and in what way our actions might be laying the groundwork for an oppression that is grimmer yet and still more total. And finally we forget to ask whether, in our aspiration to overcome the human, we are discarding a gift we already have at hand and barely know what to do with.” (Adam Greenfield)
    • Inequality, anarchy, and the course of human history
  • Going on a Fathers Day hike with my son’s Scouts troop.
  • Configuring three reconditioned Amazon Fire 8 HD tablets (+microSD cards) I purchased for my kids and me. My wife already has a Xiaomi Mi Pad 3. I’ve installed the F-Droid marketplace so I can install the Yalp to download apps from the Google Play store. It’s also possible to use LauncherHijack so you can use something like Lawnchair instead of the stock Amazon launcher.
  • Enjoying World Cup 2018, although I missed Spain vs. Portugal as I was, unexpectedly, actually playing football. I was on my way into the gym when someone popped their head out of the leisure centre sports hall saying they were a player short.
  • Taking Friday off and picking our brand-new (second hand) car, a 2013 Volvo V60.
  • Writing:

Next week I’m working from home all week, preparing for the week after when I’ll be in Barcelona at MoodleMoot Spain 2018!

Weeknote 23/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #306 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Bachelor lifestyle’. Thanks to the 36 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who are supporters via Gumroad!
  • Recording, editing and releasing Episode 103 of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast with my co-host Dai Barnes. We entitled this episode ‘Innovation != progress’ and discussed radical technologies, product management, the MoodleNet project, health, personal learning networks, academic innovation, systems change, off-grid networking, and more!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Starting the first MoodleNet two-week sprint with Mayel de Borniol. It’s a meta-sprint as we figure out the best way to work together and run the project.
    • Leading our monthly MoodleNet community call. You can catch up with what we discussed and access the recording here.
    • Updating the MoodleNet overview slide deck to v0.6 (in progress!)
    • Taking a great Udemy course on product management. I’ve done plenty of project management before, but this has some great insights from someone who’s a product manager at Soundcloud.
    • Getting set up in a separate (hosted) GitLab with Mayel.
    • Figuring out the best way to set up our Trello board.
    • Using Whimsical to create a flowchart for community contribution to the project. I’ve also tidied up the project home page a bit.
    • Writing up the sociocratic design sprint process Outlandish took us through.
    • Catching up with remote colleagues in the weekly Wednesday virtual office hangout.
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:
  • Sorting out car lease stuff. After being messed around a bit by our local Toyota dealer, we’ve hired a car and are looking at other options.
  • Responding to a couple of requests for consultancy work through We Are Open co-op. I also worked on a proposal for follow-up work with CET Israel‘s digital literacy MOOC.
  • Updating the privacy notice on the website of the local Scout group and watching my son (who’s a Scout) try to surf at Longsands, Tynemouth. 😂
  • Writing:

Next week I’m working from home on Moodle-related things from Monday to Thursday, and then co-op and consultancy things on Friday.


Weeknote 22/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #305 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Sprinting into the distance’. Thanks to the 35 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who are supporters via Gumroad!
  • Camping with Scouts as a parent helper at Pirate Marra. I really enjoyed it, and managed to get some sleep too!
  • Going for a walk up Simonside with my family. It was misty when we started out, but cleared by the time we got to the top.
  • Planning our family summer holiday. We’ll be flying to Spain and back from Germany, and interrailing for two weeks inbetween! I want to show my children how wonderful Europe is before Brexit kicks in.
  • Leading another thinkathon for We Are Open co-op with the Israeli Center for Educational Technology. We’re helping them with a digital literacy MOOC, and I’m looking forward to the next steps!
  • Spending some time by myself while my wife and children flew to Devon for a couple of days to visit the in-laws.
  • Buying and using Xiaomi body composition scales. I’m already using (and loving) my Xiaomi Amazfit Bip smartwatch, and these scales use the same Mi Fit app. Note that I’m blocking trackers these days on my Android phone using Blokada. The scales told me that my BMI is slightly too high and that I’ve got too much visceral fat. On the plus side, my muscle mass is ‘good’ and my bone mass is ‘normal’.
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Working only two days to decompress after last week’s MoodleNet design sprint, and to observe the UK Bank Holiday on Monday.
    • Co-ordinating with Mayel de Borniol, our new MoodleNet Technical Architect. We’re going to be working in two-week sprints, starting Wednesday 6th June. Mayel will be working three days for Moodle over the next six months, I work four days.
    • Setting up Trello boards to work with Mayel.
    • Catching up with a couple of consultants who have been helping us figure out the search and metadata aspects of MoodleNet.
    • Following-up with the randomly-picked winners (thanks Claudia!) of the Amazon and Zazzle vouchers we provided as an incentive to fill in the pre-design sprint MoodleNet survey.
    • Giving feedback to Outlandish, who facilitated last week’s design sprint.
    • Tidying up the wiki page for the design sprint and uploading all of the photos from the week.
    • Reading and adding to the information around the May 2018 product roadmaps forum.
    • Booking flights for the Barcelona Moot in June and the Mountain Moot in July.
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:

Next week, and for the next three weeks before the Barcelona MoodleMoot, I’m working from home. So I’m looking forward to getting into a good, healthy routine and shedding some of that body fat!

Weeknote 21/2018

This week I’ve been:

This Bank Holiday weekend I’m helping out with Marra Camp, a huge Scout camp in Northumberland as a parent helper. My son will be there and the weather is forecast to be good, so I’m looking forward to it. Following that, I’m taking some holiday, working on co-op stuff, and then getting back into Moodle stuff next Thursday.

Weeknote 20/2018

This week I’ve been:

Next week, I’ll be in London all working week for the MoodleNet design sprint. I’m very much looking forward to this, as it should provide a fantastic basis for the work we’re starting right afterwards. That being said, I know myself well enough to have booked three days off the following week. After a period of compression, it’s important to then have time to decompress.

Weeknote 19/2018

Next week I’m working from home on Moodle stuff, and attending the Thinking Digital Conference on Thursday, as well as the pre-conference workshop and dinner on Wednesday afternoon/evening.

Weeknote 18/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #302 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘Read aloud for maximum effect’. Thanks to the 31 patrons who back me via Patreon plus who continue to lend their support via Gumroad!
  • Celebrating the two year anniversary of We Are Open Co-op. We’ve inducted a new member and launched a new website, which you can read about here.
  • Recording, editing and releasing Episode 101 of the Today In Digital Education (TIDE) podcast with my co-host Dai Barnes. We entitled this episode ‘An introduction to…’ and discussed the two-year anniversary of We Are Open Co-op, some utopian thoughts, how to be super-productive, the benefits of reading aloud to children, security, memes, and more!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Reviewing applications for the MoodleNet Technical Architect role.
    • Discussing the Technical Architect role with three promising candidates.
    • Updating project’s wiki page to make it a bit cleaner.
    • Scheduling next Wednesday’s community call.
    • Getting in touch with Moodle-using educators (recommended by Mary Cooch) to interview for the upcoming design sprint.
    • Drafting a survey to go out next week to the Moodle community, again to give us data to use in the design sprint.
    • Talking with Garnet Berry who, in addition to his role with Moodle, is involved with EQUELLA. We investigated its potential use as part of the MoodleNet ecosystem.
    • Reviewing the UX team’s plan to improve the user experience across Moodle. I’m impressed with the work that colleagues Alberto Corado and Suganya Arthanareeswaran showed me!
  • Reorganising my home office (standing) desk. This is not a trivial thing, and involves adapting to a new layout — including my old monitor in portrait mode (for Telegram / Zoom).
  • Figuring out whether I need to get all of my newsletter subscribers to opt-in again because of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). My research would suggest not, actually, as Recital 171 states, “Where processing is based on consent pursuant to Directive 95/46/EC, it is not necessary for the data subject to give his or her consent again if the manner in which the consent has been given is in line with the conditions of this Regulation, so as to allow the controller to continue such processing after the date of application of this Regulation.” I have unambiguous and demonstrable (i.e. auditable) consent in line with Article 7, so it’s all good.
  • Receiving confirmation from my home insurance company that they will replace my Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition laptop. I won’t be getting another one of those, partly because it had a sub-optimal layout, but mainly because I felt Dell screwed me over with their lack of support. I’m currently using my backup laptop, a Lenovo X220 running Ubuntu 18.04 (for which, I have to say, I have unlimited love).
  • Curating interesting things I came across on the Thought Shrapnel blog. This week I collected some quotations and commented on the following:
    • Getting on the edtech bus
    • “You can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots.” (Joseph Hanlon)
    • Space as a service
    • Blockchain as a ‘futuristic integrity wand’
    • “The difference between profit and benefit is that operations producing profit can be carried out by another in my place: he would make the profit, unless he was acting on my behalf. But the fact remains that profitable activity can always be carried out by someone else. Hence the principle of competition. On the other hand, what is beneficial to me depends on gestures, acts, living moments which it would be impossible for me to delegate.” (Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking)
  • Catching up with Kev Jones about the Digital Guild project he’s been leading. It’s looking great, and makes fantastic use of Open Badges for student work placements.
  • Enjoying this time of the year. It’s a time when I can spend more time walking and running outside. I also start swimming again, as my asthma doesn’t trouble me so much in the drier weather!
  • Reading a couple of fascinating books:
  • Buying quite a few Verso books, due to their 1st May offer. I particularly like the way that you can buy the print version and ebook together for a reasonable price.
  • Writing:

This Bank Holiday weekend, I’m heading up some mountains with my wife. These should count as two more Quality Mountain Days. Next week, I’ll be having conversations with more applicants for the MoodleNet Technical Architect role, and preparing for a design sprint later this month.

Weeknote 17/2018

This week I’ve been:

Next week, I’m at home working on the business case for the MoodleNet project, recruiting a Technical Architect, and improving the documentation.

Weeknote 16/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
    • Discussing some potential upcoming work with a range of design and development agencies. More on that soon, I hope, as I want to get cracking with a design sprint in May.
    • Talking with smart people, including Emma Richardson (President of the Moodle Users Association), Mike Larsson,
    • Catching up with the recording of the Moodle All-Hands meeting on Wednesday where some important things were announced to colleagues.
    • Adding some more detail to the wiki page I’d started, digging into different types of resource-centric social networks.
  • Attending the OER18 conference with my Moodle hat on. It was a great event, superbly organised by the ALT team. I caught up with so many people in sunny Bristol — too many to name individually. I also participated in a Virtually Connecting session (recorded) and learned a lot to apply to my MoodleNet work.
  • Running a thinkathon with my co-op colleagues for CET in Israel about a digital literacy MOOC they want to create for teachers in the city of Beer Sheva with the municipality. It went really well, and we’ll be following up soon.
  • Collaborating with Bryan Mathers on some follow-up co-op work for the Inter-American Development Bank. We’re making use of Badge Wiki for the outputs.
  • Writing:

Next week I’m going to be at the OE Global Conference 2018 in Delft, Netherlands. Moodle is sponsoring it and I’m looking forward to catching up with Martin Dougiamas.

Weeknote 15/2018

This week I’ve been:

Next week I’m off to Bristol for the OER18 conference. I gave the keynote four years ago, and there’ll be plenty of people there that I know!

Photo taken by Hannah Belshaw at Jersey Zoo, and edited in Snapseed.