Weeknote 02/2013

Weeknotes are updates about what your business has been doing over the past seven days or so.

I used to write weeknotes (see here). I’m not entirely sure why I stopped, to be honest. All the cool kids do it: BERG London, the Helsinki Design Lab, the UK Government’s Digital Service and the BBC R&D – to name but a few.

As it’s supposedly a business-focused thing to do, weeknotes are usually counted from the birth of your business – regardless of when you start actually writing them. Given that I’m an individual and I’ve already written some in previous years, I’m going to do something slightly different. As you can see in the title of this post, I’ll give the week number (this is the second week of the year) and the year. Hopefully that’ll work.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:

  • Tidying up the Web Literacies white paper that I’ve been working on since joining Mozilla. It’s still not completely finished (nor is the framework) but it’s getting there. I’m quite pleased with the interest-based learning diagram that I inserted in there.
  • Turning down invitations to run workshops and speak at events. Much as I enjoy getting out there and meeting people and evangelising stuff around Mozilla’s mission, it both takes me away from my family and doing longer-term things. I don’t like saying ‘no’ (apart from BETT) so this is hard.
  • Booking travel to go to the few events that I am going to. I’m in Leicester next week spending time advising them on some digital literacy work that involves badges. More on that next week! Then, in a couple of weeks, I’m heading to California to meet up with my Mozilla colleagues and the winners of the DML competition to talk all things badges.
  • Recording videos. Given that I’m not going to be darting around the place running workshops, I felt it was important that those who do want to run Open Badges workshops had as many relevant resources as possible. To that end this week I recorded a couple of videos that hopefully will be of help.
  • Running an Open Badges workshop. Despite what I’ve said above, I couldn’t really turn down Stevie Flower’s invitation to Madlab in Manchester. We had a great time on Thursday designing badges. I issued participants this badge.
  • Writing an article on digital literacies for the inaugural issue of the ILTA’s journal. I keynoted their conference last year and they asked very nicely if I’d write a 2,000-word article. I’m basically plagiarising my own thesis, which I think (and people on Twitter seem to think) is OK.
  • Keeping an eye on developments around #ETMOOC, a new Massive Open Online Course about educational technology and media that starts next week.
  • Procrastinating over getting started with the Coursera Game Theory MOOC that I signed up for a while ago and began this week.
  • Messing about with my new phone – a Motorola Atrix 4G. It’s not ‘new’ as in just-come-out, but it met my criteria of being at least dual-core, having a user-replaceable battery, running Android, and accepting microSD cards. I don’t actually care that it doesn’t run the latest version of Android and love the fact that I can unlock my phone with a swipe of my fingerprint.

Next week I’m looking forward to talking to Audrey Watters about the Mozilla web literacies framework, recording some more Open Badges videos, finishing that ILTA article and heading to Leicester. The team formerly known as the Mozilla Learning Team will have re-assembled, Avengers-style by then, so I’ll have other things to think about as well. 🙂


Change MOOC – #change11

After seeing several MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) come and go over the past couple of years, I’ve decided to play a part in a new one being facilitated by Dave Cormier, George Siemens and Stephen Downes.

What’s a MOOC?

Allow Dave Cormier to enlighten you:

What do you have to do?

Pretty much anything you like. To paraphrase from change.mooc.ca

This is an unusual course. It does not consist of a body of content you are supposed to remember. Rather, the learning in the course results from the activities you undertake, and will be different for each person.

This type of course is called a ‘connectivist’ course and is based on four major types of activity:

  1. Aggregate
  2. Remix
  3. Repurpose
  4. Feed Forward

When a connectivist course is working really well, we see this greate cycle of content and creativity begin to feed on itself, people in the course reading, collecting, creating and sharing. It’s a wonderful experience you won’t want to stop when the course is done.

And – because you can share anywhere – you won’t have to. This course can last as long as you want it to.

The schedule consists of people who are pretty much who’s-who in my corner of the digitally-connected world; I’m particularly looking forward to:

  • Week 3 – Martin Weller (Digital Scholarship)
  • Week 9 – Dave Cormier (Rhizomatic Learning)
  • Week 17 – Howard Rheingold ([How] can [using] the web [intelligently] make us smarter?)
  • Week 25 – Stephen Downes (Knowledge, Learning and Community)
  • Week 30 – Alec Couros (Facilitating Networked Learners)
  • Week 33 – George Siemens (Sensemaking, wayfinding, networks, and analytics)
  • Week 34 – Bonnie Stewart (Digital Identities & Subjectivities)

That’s because these are people I know will provide interesting stimulus material and sound guidance. However, I’m also looking forward to being surprised by others!

MOOCs have a structure that allows you to dip in and dip out. This course is running (at least) until 20th May 2012 so there’ll be times when I can pay more or less attention. Given that I’m handing in my thesis in the next 14 days I should, on average, have a whole lot more time on my hands to get involved.

Why don’t YOU take part as well? It’s a great way to meet new people and think through new ideas!



mobiMOOC: 2 April – 14 May 2011

mobiMOOCOne thing I’m working on in my role at JISC infoNet at the moment is a Mobile Learning infoKit. It should be ready in time to complement the launch of JISC’s Emerging Practice in a Digital Age guide at ALT-C 2011.

After the JISC Mobile & Wireless Technologies Review I carried out at the end of 2010, I’m keen to find out out the practice behind the theory and strategy I discussed in that (17,000-word!) review and have been looking for opportunities to do so. Thankfully, I’ve found just the thing.

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course, ably explained by Dave Cormier:

A mobiMOOC is running from 2nd April until 14th May 2011 and anyone can take part! There’s a host of well-known names in the mobile learning world running sessions and facilitating, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

The benefit of the MOOC approach, of course, is that you can dip in-and-out at will, set your own learning goals, and (being mainly asynchronous) fit it around the rest of your life.

I hope you’ll join us.