Weeknote 33/2013

This week I’ve been:

Next week I’m up in Dundee for eAssessment Scotland on Friday running a session with MyKnowledgeMap on Open Badges. The rest of the week I’ll be meeting with my new Mentor team colleagues and thinking through more things related to the Web Literacy Standard.

Roundup of some stuff I’ve been involved with recently

The following things didn’t really warrant a blog post in their own right, but I thought they were worth sharing somewhere on this blog.

1. Nesta ‘One Day Digital’ video

I ran a Mozilla Webmaker workshop in Edinburgh on Easter Saturday as part ofย  Nesta’s One Day Digital series of events. The video they produced afterwards is below and I make a brief appearance at around 1:00. Check out that beard!

One Day Digital events from Nesta UK on Vimeo.

2. Connected Learning TV

I’ve appeared on a number of these webinars and the archive is a CPD resource in its own right. This time I was standing in for Howard Rheingold as host. Interesting stuff about Liz Lawley’s attempts to add a ‘gaming layer’ on top of the university curriculum:

3. Open Badges presentations

I presented at SETT, the Swedish equivalent of BETT, last week. My presentation, along with one from PELeCON the week before can be found below. Unfortunately, the animated GIFs are not so animated on Slideshare, so click here if you want to see them in action!


Image CC BY-NC-SA funadium

Weeknote 13/2013

It’s been a funny old week. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Speaking to some people (including Charles Miglietti from the excellent tldr.io) about potentially aligning with the Web Literacy standard.
  • Working on my slides for OER13.
  • Submitting an abstract for the PLE13 conference.
  • Attending (Tuesday) and keynoting (Wednesday) the OER13 conference. My presentation was entitled Ambiguity, OER and Open Badges.
  • Suffering from two migraines, leading to me reading Migraine by Oliver Sacks to try and make sense of them. I took Thursday off to recover.
  • Planning a workshop on Mozilla’s Webmaker tools as part of Nesta’s One Day Digital event.
  • Driving up to Edinburgh on Friday afternoon with my family for the Nesta event.
  • Running a workshop with thirteen 12-15 year-olds (7 boys, 6 girls) on Saturday. I still miss teaching, dammit.

Next week it’s Easter Monday so I’ve got a four-day working week. I was going to be running an Open Badges workshop for the BBC in Salford on Friday, but that’s been pushed back to be outside of the Easter holidays (so more people can attend). I’ll be planning my keynote at the PELeCON conference the week after next – which I’m entitling A History of Open Badges through the medium of animated GIFs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Weeknote 12/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Delayed coming back from the DML Conference in Chicago (my write-up of the conference is here). My flight was cancelled due to the First Officer being ‘sick’ on St. Patrick’s Day. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My subsequent flight was delayed meaning I didn’t get home until Tuesday lunchtime!
  • Taking a day off to spend with my family.
  • Working with Matt Thompson on a diagram to explain what Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard is for. It still needs some work before sharing more widely!
  • Summarising the previous week’s Web Literacy standard work.
  • Booking travel to OER13 and the PELeCON conference, both of which I’m keynoting. Also booked flights to the Mozilla All-Hands meeting in Toronto in May.
  • Planning out my OER13 keynote in Evernote. I’ll be talking about ambiguity, Open Badges and Web Literacy.
  • Talking to people who may want to align with the draft version of the Web Literacy standard being launched on April 26th.
  • Continuing to talk to people/organisations about Open Badges.
  • Writing an abstract for the PLE conference (with Tim Riches) and sending Brian Kelly a title and abstract for IWMW13.
  • Helping interview a potential new hire to our team.
  • Getting things sorted for Nesta’s One Day Digital event in Edinburgh next Saturday. I’m running a workshop on Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker and taking my family up for Friday/Saturday.

Next week I’ll be returning to the place of my birth (Nottingham) for the OER13 conference (Tuesday/Wednesday), continuing to work on the Web Literacy standard stuff and travelling up to Edinburgh on Good Friday with my family for the Nesta event mentioned above.

Supporting a Generation of Digital Makers

This week I’m over in Austin, Texas for a session I’m running today with Kate Stokes from Nesta at SXSWedu. Entitled Supporting a Generation of Digital Makers, it’s ostensibly a panel session, but we’re hacking the format a bit to include some discussion activities.


Technology is shaping our world, yet most people still only consume it. To harness its potential, learners need to understand how it works and what is possible. Going beyond theoretical instruction, young people can be empowered to gain new digital skills by making things they are passionate about โ€“ from web pages to robots. So how do we encourage a generation of young people to be digital makers?

In the UK, Mozilla, Nesta and Nominet Trust are working with partners to spark a digital-making movement.


To connect existing opportunities and amplify impact. To make more activities available to learners. Most importantly, to change perspectives on what we learn (digital skills are more than coding), how we learn (not just transmitting theory) and where we can learn (anywhere!).

Sharing experiences from this collaborative work-in-progress, we will bring participants into a lively discussion on how digital making can become a core educational experience for youth everywhere.

You can find out more about the Digital Makers programme on the Nesta website with additional commentary on the Nominet Trust and Mozilla blogs. Also, check out the short video montage I created from some of the application videos:

Weeknote 09/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Preparing for the session I’m running with Kate Stokes (Nesta) at SXSWedu.
  • Calculating my expenses.
  • Explaining to quite a few people that Mozilla doesn’t usually ‘partner’ with other organisations on bids (but that I’m happy to be listed as an advisor).
  • Playing lots of games as part of the nomination committee for Mozilla’s Game On competition.
  • Writing a book chapter overview for Dave White about the philosophical implications of simultaneously inhabiting physical and virtual worlds.
  • Adding descriptions to the articles, blog posts and books in the Web Literacy standard ‘library’.
  • Collaborating with my colleagues Carla Casilli and Erin Knight on a vision document for the Web Literacy standard work.
  • Discovering Firefox tab groups, courtesy of Laura Hilliger.
  • Meeting with builders to discuss my shoffice.
  • Responding to conference organisers asking for titles for presentation, preferences for food, accommodation, etc.
  • Updating my Lanyrd profile and adding conferences I’m attending over the next few months.
  • Sorting out my corporation tax for the now-defunct Synechism Ltd.
  • Leading a webinar on Open Badges for the Centre for Recording Achievement. Slides here.
  • Hosting the inaugural Mozilla Web Literacy standard community call.
  • Speaking to people thinking of using Open Badges for various projects.

Next week I’ll be in Austin, Texas for SXSW 2013. I’m flying out on Sunday and arrive back on Friday. So next week’s update is likely to be a bit shorter…

Weeknote 08/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Taking PTO (Paid Time Off or ‘holiday’ as we call it over here). I took Monday off work as it was the first day of the half-term holidays. We went to Belsay.
  • Writing the first draft of a vision document for Mozilla’s Web Literacy standard work.
  • Leading an #etmooc session. I blogged about T3S1: Digital Literacies with Dr. Doug Belshaw (#etmooc) and linked to the recording.
  • Responding to comments on my DMLcentral blog post Why We Need a Learning Standard for Web Literacy
  • Advising how to make your blog posts last forever in the wake of Posterous announcing it’s closing down.
  • Planning more activity around the Web Literacy standard work I’m leading for Mozilla
  • Celebrating being granted planning permission for the ‘shoffice’ we’re going to build at the bottom of the garden.
  • Travelling to London for a couple of days’ work (Thursday/Friday).
  • Speaking at the University of West London about Open Badges. The lecture theatre was packed (standing-room only!) with over 90% students. Slides here.
  • Contributing to the repeated Web Literacy standard kick-off online gathering. You can access the recording via the Mozilla wiki page.
  • Posting to the Mozilla Webmaker Google Group.
  • Planning a presentation and creating a video for the SXSWedu session that Kate Stokes (Nesta) and I are running.
  • Booking flights for the next Mozilla All Hands in Toronto (week beginning 20th May)

Next week it’s nose to the grindstone. I’m at home all week spending a couple of days helping judge the Mozilla Game On competition and planning the start of the Web Literacy standard weekly calls. However, as I’m at SXSWedu (Austin, Texas) and then the DML Conference (Chicago) with only a few days inbetween, I need to get planning! Not only do I need to have the whole ‘arc’ in place for the Web Literacy standard work before DML, I also need to start getting ready for my OER13 keynote and the Nesta One Day Digital (Edinburgh) session that are coming up before the end of March. ๐Ÿ™‚

Weeknote 06/2013

This week I have been mostly:

  • Reading Mindstorms by Seymour Papert.
  • Planning a SXSWedu panel session with Kate Stokes from Nesta.
  • Writing lots of blog posts explaining Mozilla’s (or at least my) thinking around a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. See this overview post pulling everything together.
  • Preparing for and presenting as part of the kick-off online gathering for the Web Literacy standard. related resources are here.
  • Leading a Vital TeachShare session on Mozilla Webmaker tools. Slides here and the recording (which I’m hoping to have converted into a more Web-friendly format) can be found here.
  • Talking to the University of Hull about Open Badges for skills awards. I’m also in conversations with another university about a badge-based BSc, which is exciting. And the BBC. Badges, badges everywhere!
  • Submitting an IGNITE proposal for the DML Conference 2013 around the Web Literacy standard work. I did one last year (on a different topic) so I’m not sure if that counts for or against me.

Next week I’m a guest of the University of Salford who are interested in exploring Open Badges for various things. And, apart from eating pancakes on Tuesday and being extra-nice to my wife on Thursday, I’m looking forward to catching up with longer-term projects like learning JavaScript. ๐Ÿ™‚

What I’m up to for Mozilla at the moment.

  1. Writing a Web Literacies white paper
  2. Evangelising Open Badges
  3. Working with Nesta and the Nominet Trust (and others) around Digital Making in the UK
  4. Helping create a Hacktivator programme for both formal and informal teachers – resources, guides, etc.
  5. Starting some work around appropriate evaluation metrics for the Mozilla Foundation

Busy busy busy.

(oh, and by the way my MBTI came out as ENTJ at the Mozilla All-Hands meeting last week – I used to be INTJ…)

NESTA ‘Hidden Innovation’ report

NESTA report

Leon Cych over at the Flux blog points to a report which could be handy in the next stage of my thesis research. It’s by NESTA and entitled Hidden Innovation. Looking at six sectors including education, its main recommendations are that ‘the innovation that occurs in these sectors is often excluded from traditional measurements.’

Leon picks out a couple of interesting sections:

The education sector is notable for the extent of school-level innovation that does not reach a larger scale. Combating this will require more โ€˜D&Rโ€™, that is, more development-led experimentation by teachers that might lead to formal research work, rather than the other way around. For this to occur, such work needs to be better funded and supported, and schools and teachers need to be given incentives to engage in it.


Encouraging more innovation will require system-wide change that will only be achieved if re?ected in adjustments to existing accountability and inspection systems. These would need to develop to reflect the collaborative nature of innovation and the importance of locally-generated innovations as well as the implementation of top-down initiatives.

Finally! some recognition that all good things do not come from above; grassroots innovation is just as important, if not more important!