Someone asked me, "why would you hold a Wikipedia event?" Fair enough, I have never edited a Wikipedia page, what right do I have to represent Wikipedia? And I have even previously warned my students off of Wikipedia: you'd better double check any facts, and check references, I'd warn.
The reason I want to plan a Wikipedia event? So I can learn more about it. Because I was wrong. Anyway, shouldn't you always tell students to double check references? Wikipedia is an undeniably great resource. Now that I met some people behind Wikipedia, I am really excited about it.
And... I am fully committed to the ideals behind Mozilla's Drumbeat project. I drank the Koolaid at the Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona. Working at a policy level to protect the open web is important, yet people need to experience the open web as a primary experience. Contributing Irish-imagery to Wikimedia will be a first hand practical way to experience how the web was won.
So we're going to do it! I was able to find some co-collaborators to work on this event with me: "Something Wiki This Way Comes!"
More details are coming soon: http://ten.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sligo - Jan 15th, Saturday. It will entail:
- A photo scavenger hunt for Irish imagery, in the weeks running up to the event.
- A hands-on workshop to get people to upload images, on Saturday, likely at a wireless friendly destination.
- A raffle for some special prizes, in the evening or at the end of the day.
- Burning in effigy, a 'wiki man' made of old encyclopedia paper (weather permitting!)
I'll be reaching out to the students and teachers at the IT, and to folks from the Open Coffee Sligo group.
OK, we might be the smallest Wikipedia Anniversary event, but if we can open even a handful of people's minds to what the open web is about, then I'll be quite pleased!
Quote from What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell, quoting Lawrence Lessig, quoting Thomas Jefferson.
"He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening mine."
When I was filling in my profile for the PLENK 2010 course, they asked had I taken part in a MOOC before. That's when I wondered: What is a MOOC?
A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Imagine courses with 1200 or 2500 participants engaging in the materials each week. Not for credit, but to learn. I've signed up for a MOOC: "Personal Learning Environments, Networks and Knowledge" PLENK 2010. I feel like it's going to be more of an "event" than a course.
In the article "Through the Open Door: Open Courses as Research, Learning, and Engagement", the authors describe these types of courses, what opportunities they hold and also address some of the initial challenges they found. Read on Educause, by Dave Cormier and George Siemens.
From the article:
"The term [MOOC] was coined in response to Siemens and Downes's 2008 "Connectivism and Connective Knowledge" course. An initial group of twenty-five participants registered and paid to take the course for credit. The course was then opened up for other learners to participate: course lectures, discussion forums, and weekly online sessions were made available to nonregistered learners. This second group of learners — those who wanted to participate but weren't interested in course credit — numbered over 2,300. The addition of these learners significantly enhanced the course experience, since additional conversations and readings extended the contributions of the instructors."
Hello all! These are notes for my introduction at Boston Drupal User Group
@hjames - educational technology, community
@learningdrupal - learning & training Drupal
Communicating Drupal Visually
Drupal Dojo session, Drupal Con presentation. Slides soon!
Free online self-teaching course
Like a book-club for open educational resources for Drupal
Please forward the sign up link to anyone you think might be interested:
Acquia's Learning Services- working with partners, creating content and helping to increase the talent pool.
See the curriculum being developed:
Other things to talk to me about:
- Improving the welcome wagon for Drupal
- Open qualifications, open certification, open curriculum
- Teaching Drupal to young people in disadvantaged communities
- Supplying materials and guidance for Drupal study-groups
- Working with third level education to get open source on the curriculum
The "c" word (certification, shhh!) in the Drupal community is met with a mix of anticipation and suspicion. While the Drupal community is maturing and growing, there seems to be an ever more pressing need for some type of metric to know someone's reputation, skills and ability. The Drupal.org profiles, while good markers of contributions, don't necessarily show someone's Drupal knowledge.
For Acquia, certification is on the long finger- but at DrupalCon last month, more and more people kept on bringing it up in conversation. Some are clamoring for it; and some are dead set against it. Since I was hired as Manager of Learning services, they were looking to me for answers.
Notably, during the conference, Growing Venture Solutions, a Drupal development company (also Drupal contributors and book authors) created their own certification program: Certified to Rock. Greggles also wrote a comprehensive review of conversations (often flame wars) around certification in the Drupal community. Their solution: a black box where in you type your name and it returns a value from 1-11 based on a closely guarded algorithm judging your level of Drupal. Heh, I didn't make it sound as much fun as it is. (By the way, I'm a 4!)
There are so many passions, fears and suspicions around the topic of certification. And understandably so. Certification was popularized by large commercial operations; and training was "boot camp style... focused on passing exams and not real work skills", says Dru Lavigne of the BSD certification group. To say that the topic is dangerous is putting it mildly. Surely other open source communities have navigated this briar patch?
BSD: developing a certification in an open process
When the community of BSD decided to work on certification, they set up a volunteer, community-based not for profit group, backed by a legal governance infrastructure. The one paid staff member is an expert in Psychometrics, ensuring examination offers accurate and fair metrics. For an open source community, this seems a great solution to a tricky problem. But how much time does it take to negotiate something like this?
"Nobody before us created a certification program in an open process, it had always been silo'd in a commercial institution." - (from video below)
She estimates their next certification will take 9-12 months. Now this process has developed and they're opening it up and sharing it. Dru presents a video: "BSD Certification Group: A Case Study in Open Source Certification (October 9, 2009)" A very useful resource.
Dru Lavigne is also editor of Open Source Business Resource http://www.osbr.ca his is a free periodical. I see that Drupal's own Emma Jane Hogbin is a regular contributer. Yep, FL/OSS is a small world, afterall.
Dru presents an outline of BSD's certification in this video. You can follow along with Dru's slideshow below.
Here are the accompanying slides, which are useful to follow along with while you listen.
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The crew at DrupalCon have posted the Presenter Kit: http://cph2010.drupal.org/presenter-kit - did you open it and find something missing?
I know which room I'm presenting in for DrupalCon: Room 18 (VPS.net) Style: Conference; Capacity: 98. Projector: Sanyo (1024x768). So I'm in the smallest capacity room. They don't expect this one to be a big draw, which is OK. I just hope there's enough room to move around. And I know which slides to start and end with: Title slide and the Survey slide... BUT! Where's my "Pro-tips for making a great DrupalCon presentation?"
OK, truth is, I'm a little bit frightened, k? I know it's not going to go perfectly, but I think it will be good. In the best case scenario, we're going to make some awesome contributions and start thinking of ways we can communicate better. In the worst cast it's going to be a great learning experience for everyone, including me.
The largest group I've presented to before was 50 people, and that was virtually. I've done Ignite talks, I've presented at DrupalCamps, and plently of lecturing experience under my belt. But I still want to hear from those with previous experience.
The problems with DrupalCon presentations
I suppose, essentially, speaking at DrupalCon shouldn't be any different from speaking at other conferences. However, to prepare, I've trawled some posts about the previous DrupalCon, because it is a different audience. I wish I had some information on the best presentations from DrupalCon San Francisco. This was the first time we had "voting" on sessions. Which ones did people like? What were the common thread between those top rated presentations, what can we learn?
Or, conversely, what problems were there? What pitfalls snag up many presentors?
As far as I can see there was no reporting from the committee about it... but there were some interesting blog posts.
Mike Anello (ultimike) from Drupal Easy wrote "the quality of the sessions was not consistently high." in his post, A Proposed Method for Improving Session Quality at Future Drupalcons, and he quoted Keiran Lal's blog post on DrupalCon saying we, in the Drupal Community, need to "make this transition to more consistent high quality presentations".
I think the problems boil down to people not having experience giving presentations or public speaking and not having practiced. Everyone is wild busy and this is a volunteer effort. I often see people preparing slides right up until they present. It sucks, because then they miss being able to participate in BoFs and watch as an audience. These are otherwise really responsible, organized people with a great reputation in the community. But everyone is really busy.
So how do we make Drupal Con Presentations better?
Gregory Heller form CivicActions writes We've met the enemy and he is Powerpoint "We are developing a new vernacular of visual infotainment. I love it." He recommends downloading: Andy Goodman's free eBook Why Bad Presentation Happen To Good Causes.
Emma Jane Hogbin wrote on the DC DrupalCon website about Presenting: Make it short and Make it memorable. She gave a list of tips on that post, and these are the ones I'm taking away:
- Practise your delivery at least twenty five times according to some.
- Prepare everything you want the audience to know. Once you've prepared the whole story, cut your content in half. And then cut it in half again.
- The stage is not a classroom, a book, an article, or a television mini-series. It is merely an efficient platform for you to tell a story you've probably told many times before.
To me, "memorable" makes me think of "learning", which makes me think of apply teaching techniques. But, yeah it's not a classroom.
Anyway! Time to get practicing!
I love looking up the roots and etymology of words we use everyday. Often we take the words for granted, but miss the subtleties in meaning. In languages like traditional Chinese, you can "see" the word roots in written characters, if you're familiar with common radicals. I don't even know Chinese and I can spot, child, earth, moon, go in the word for education: 教育. Of course the relationship between these is lost on me.
In English, the ancient roots are hidden in suggestion.
This article from Babeled.com goes into the etymology of "education. Quotes:
- e = comes from ex, “from, out of, from within”; like ex libris. And words like "evolve", e (out) + volver (roll around) =unroll, reveal, roll out.
- ducere = to lead, conduct, to guide. example, "duc" in "such as reduction (the act of bringing back) and production (the act of bringing forward)."
I like this idea that education is either drawing knowledge out from within or leading "out of regular thinking".
Train, as in the process of teaching, is apparently a newer use of the word, yet also comes from a similar root to draw out. Like trains on dresses, trains, etc.
For Plato, learning was remembering. And that "a-ha moment" is a little like that. Feels the same as remembering. In a sense it's like de ja vu, which is when your concious mind finally knows what your senses had already understood. Maybe when you learn something, your concious mind catches on and can verbalise what you somehow were on the verge of understanding. I love that moment of confusion, where someone is just about to learn something, and as an educator, you can sense it. They sit back and it's revealed... "oooooh".
There are lots of reasons to make screencasts, for example to promote or explain a product or service. Here I'm talking about the screencast to teach someone how to do something, The Tutorial Screencast.
The tutorial species of screencast is useful, informative and for me, essential. When you've got to describe a process that moves through many sub sections of a user interface or between applications, a screencast can get the ideas across perfectly. Some screencasts are just recorded on the fly. Press record and work away. When I post screencasts on my YouTube account, I do exactly that: just watch me fail! It's fun. Full of ums and ahs... but it may not make for good viewing. They can run long in the tooth. We can improve the pacing of screencasts and make them more learner-friendly with some simple techniques.
Learn from the best: audio is the most important thing
I learned some of this watching the work of my screencasting idol: Joshua Rosenbaum from Mailchimp. You can see his work at http://mailchimpacademy.blip.tv His style has spawned a great trend in screencasting. As more screencasters pick up Joshua's techniques, expect to see more zooming and moving camera action; friendly background music and animations (see some from 'Honeydo'). That level of production is not likely in the hands of most casual screencast producers, but we can adapt some of his techniques. The thing I learned from him is, not the flashy animations (which are very cool), but that the most important thing is: the AUDIO!
Invest in a good mircophone, and be very meticulous in recording audio.
Another great source of advice is Betsy Weber from Techsmith check out her blog: The Visual Lounge, for tips on screencasting specifically.
Empathize with the viewer
Since you don't know the background of a viewer, it's better to err on the side of very clear and specific.
- Imagine a new user who is "snow blind" the first time they approach Drupal. Keep that in your mind at all times. Imagine seeing your screen through a pinhole in a piece of paper, and you can kind of get an idea of what it's like for the viewer of your screencast.
- Topping and tailing is good. Mention at the start what you're going to do, and then at the end where they can go next.
- In film production they talk about the "establishing shot". Show the viewer: where am I? Especially when you move to a new section.
- You should mention which modules you have enabled, and carefully show configuration (and how you go to a configuration page). Include module info details in the 'info' section of your YouTube post.
Quick & simple way
The quickest way to produce a screencast is through live recording the audio at the time of screen recording. Use pause button, try out what you're going to show next and then use the back button, and resume recording. I don't usually script, but I just write down the process
As they say in film editing: "edit on camera" and don't shoot what you don't need. Live recording audio and using the pause button saves so so so much time. You require no editing this way. The best tool for this kind of screencast is Jing, which publishes directly online, and you don't have to edit it. http://jingproject.com
Most of the time when I produce and place screencasts for DrupalGardens on my YouTube account, this is the method I use.
More detailed way
For the videos I produce on Blip.tv for DrupalGardens, we work together as a team on those. We write outlined steps we want to cover in the video: we try to cover as much as we can in a short time.
I then record the steps, and after that I write the script. Yep, I write the audio script *after* recording the screen. I just record the audio alone. I focus on what I'm saying, ensuring to leave some pauses, but I can add pauses in the editing stage. This means, when I edit the video, I'm matching it up to the audio. This just has a more natural flow, since I'm not racing to catch up with the video, and I'm not umming and ahhing while waiting for something to load.
In fact, in this process the thing that takes the longest is writing the script, and then editing it to get the pacing right.