Open Thinkering


Tag: LettingGrow

Weeknote 22/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • Recovering from jetlag. I was in Toronto last week for the Mozilla All-Hands and coming back (i.e. forwards in time) is always a bit rough.
  • Ending #LettingGrow. I wrote about that decision here. I now have significantly less hair.
  • Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool (well, my version of it at least). It was Bank Holiday Monday and then I took four days’ holiday from work so I’ve been off all week.
  • Collaborating with Vinay Gupta on Firecloud after we got the go-ahead from the Mozilla Hatchery to develop the idea further.
  • Ordering a Firefox OS phone. As a Mozilla employee I’ll get one eventually anyway, but they’re also offering them for free now to those willing to use the device as a ‘daily driver’. I’m in.
  • Trying to figure out my tax return (it was corporation tax for the now-defunct Synechism Ltd). I am not a details man.
  • Looking after the children while my wife does some marking for Edexcel.
  • Playing a lot of Battlefield 3. I am quite possibly the world’s deadliest virtual sniper.
  • Putting on 6lbs in weight. Eating healthily and exercising haven’t been high on my agenda this week!

Next week I’m presenting on Open Badges at the CILIPS conference up in Dundee on Tuesday, getting stuck back into the Web Literacy standard work, and going into Seaton Burn College on Friday to talk badges.

No more #LettingGrow

Update: I’ve heard back from 90% of the people who donated to #LettingGrow, all of whom have said they don’t want me to ask Cancer Research to return their donations. Given how overwhelming the response has been, and the difficulty of getting a refund for people, I’ll only now do so if asked specifically. I hope that’s OK!

It is with huge regret that I announce that I cannot continue with my #LettingGrow campaign. I had fully intended to not cut my hair or beard for the entirety of 2013 but, for reasons personal and professional, I shaved my hair and beard last night.

I am looking into ways to refund everyone who so kindly donated to Cancer Research UK. However, JustGiving makes it extremely difficult to do so:

Online Giving – we run and maintain a website that processes donations on behalf of the charities featured on it. For this service, and the support we provide to them and their supporters, charities pay us a transaction fee of up to 5% on the donation. Because we promptly pay donations to charities, we regret that we can only refund a donation if the charity expressly requests it, and they can pay us back. Please get in touch with the charity first.

During the period of growing my hair and beard, I learned many things about myself and others, not least that:

  • people are much more likely to strike up random conversations
  • international travel is a lot more difficult when you look significantly different from your passport
  • I should have talked through my plans my nearest and dearest before taking the plunge

A sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated. I pledge to refund everyone who donated, even if it means it coming out of my own money.


Weeknote 05/2013

This week I’ve been:

  • More unproductive than usual, overall. Despite what’s below, I feel I should have achieved more this week. I’d like to attribute this to external factors such as jetlag knocking out my schedule but, to be honest, I should know better. Not enough exercise, too many late nights, and eating the wrong foods at the wrong times of the day. It all adds up.
  • Working on preparation for upcoming work around defining a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. This has taken up a fair amount of my time writing copy, checking links and sorting out workflows. Whenever something looks simple and straightforward, it’s usually because someone has taken time over it beforehand.
  • Writing about online peer assessment building on interest-based pathways to learning.
  • Spending time on Quora. I really like the new blog feature. The whole experience gets a bit addictive – it’s a fairly compelling package now.
  • Talking with organizations about Open Badges. I’m never sure whether for-profit organisations are happy to tell the world they’re thinking about using badges (I should probably ask), but needless to say there’s plenty of interest from well-known ones!
  • Spending time with my family after being away most of last week (including the weekend!)
  • Registering for the DML Conference 2013. Not only is Mozilla launching v1.0 of the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI) there, but it’s a great chance to catch up with people I usually only interact with online.
  • Marking some bids for the Nesta/Nominet Trust/Mozilla Digital Makers call.
  • Starting to brainstorm ideas for my OER13 keynote.
  • Replying to questions in the Open Badges Google Group
  • Sorting out Asana, a web app we use to co-ordinate team efforts within Mozilla. I get it now.
  • Changing my avatar everywhere as I’ve started wearing a hat. This may or may not be related to #LettingGrow.

Next week I’m looking forward to planning (with Kate Stokes from Nesta) our SXSWedu panel, figuring out more stuff around online peer assessment, and kicking-off Mozilla’s collaboration with the community around a new, open standard for Web Literacy.