Open Thinkering


Month: June 2018

Weeknote 26/2018

This week I’ve been:

Next week I’m working from home on Monday, in York on Tuesday working with the National STEM Learning Network, and then working with Moodle from Wednesday to Friday.

Weeknote 25/2018

This week I’ve been:

  • Sending out Issue #308 of my Thought Shrapnel newsletter. This one was called ‘World Cup(cake)’. Thanks to the 39 patrons who back me via Patreon plus those who continue their support via Gumroad!
  • Working on the MoodleNet project:
  • Accompanying my son to hospital a couple of times for a total of around seven hours. He was messing around with his friends after school and a stray rugby tackle knocked him out cold. He’s had some double-vision, but should be OK!
  • Catching up with Cliff Manning about some upcoming work with the Carnegie UK Trust’s #NotWithoutMe digital accelerator project. I also put together an agenda for a workshop I’m running next month for the National STEM Learning Centre.
  • Spending much less time reading and reading due to my son’s injury. That’s meant only one post on the Thought Shrapnel blog: Crawling before you walk.
  • Watching as many World Cup football matches as I can.
  • Opting-out of NHS data gathering (for the second time) on behalf of my family. Given recent revelations about data-sharing with Google, I don’t see why I should give anyone more information about my family’s health than is strictly necessary.
  • Re-elected as Secretary of our local Scout group at the AGM.
  • Testing out Nextcloud again using a free account at I’d quite like to know that important data such as photos, bookmarks, and files are safe and in a place that isn’t being data-mined. I’ve started supporting Disroot on Patreon at $2/month while I test it out, and will up my backing to the $15/month level for the complete list of services if I continue using them.

Next week I’m doing five days for Moodle. I’ll be at home on Monday until my flight to Barcelona in the evening for the MoodleMoot. I’m very much looking forward to visiting the new Moodle office in Barcelona, which opens just before the Moot! I get back home on Friday night.

Image by clement127 used under a CC BY-NC-ND license

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!