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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.

Greg McVerry

#OER and #indieweb

1 min read

Not sure if anyone else is thinking about how compatible technologies can help and but here is a great California grant opportunity.

Greg McVerry

My Next #indieweb task

2 min read

So I got my blogs (well the ones I use a lot) updated and running smoothly. I was looking for my next project and I have decided I am going to focus on streamlining my course workflow and also utilizing microformats when makring up my courses.

Here's my problem. I try to host all my courses in html/css. It makes remixing and sharing so much easier than locking htem behind a unverisity silo. I then also try and mantain these on GitHub.

Things quickly fall out of sync. My syllabus, my course site, and my repos are never the same.

Here is my solution: Create a system where I can update a course module template and this will immediatley update both my website and my syllabus.

Be really cool if I could do this right from my repo. If not I can just sftp into my sites to update.

I really want to to do this because I am intrigued by altmetrics. A solution like that has been a dream of our study group.

Quick punchlist:

  • Update frameworks. Syllabus uses Skelteon and classes use Bootstrap. Probably make them both Bootstrap,
  • Change all the font awesome icons to 5.0.
  • Figure out when using microformats if there are already conventions used in and learning spaces.
  • Finalize my instructional design for my modules. I am really close but this work will be important for next steps.
  • Figure out best way to serve up the modules in html. Here I am at the edge of my knowledge. Should be fun.

Greg McVerry

Trying to Create Wordpress Filters

1 min read

I have been playing a bit with indigineous as an experiment.


Corrently it is set to publish to my wordpress site. Trying to create a filter so only the post-kind "article" shpws up on my main blog theme on the wordpress site.


Been trying different variations of this in functions.php


function myfeed_request($qv) {
    if (isset($qv['feed']) && !isset($qv['post_kind']))
        $qv['post_kind'] = array('article', );
    return $qv;
add_filter('request', 'myfeed_request');

It doesn't work I will keep trying.

Greg McVerry

What exactly is #indieweb and how can we talk about it?

4 min read

Across the numerous indieweb channels people have started to talk about how to discuss indieweb as the community and tools evolve into versions 2, 3, 4. Folks refer to these more as generations rather than traditional version conventions used in software development.

The basic gist of the problem to me boiled down to mission, audience, and purpose.

First and foremost the community is guided by a  set of principles. You can read those here.  Not suprisingly  these principles jhave much in common with open source communities like Mozilla and our manifestoDrupal and Wordpress community leaders and members share much of this ethos. Domain's of Own's Own is basically the in education circles.

Is the community different? Same? Both?

While I got some pushback I noted that the what makes the different is the adherence to specific protocolos to  support the Publish on Your Own Site and Syndicate Elsewhere (POSSE) philosophy.

It is that philosophy that I can introduce to new users. That's my elevator pitch.

The implementation of POSSE  usually involves some combination of MicroPub,an API standard; Microsub, a newer standard that manages subscriptions; Microformats, an html extension that allow sitse to publish a standard API other sites can consume; and webmentions, which is a standard that allows you to track mentions of a link across the web.

While none or all of these tools are required to make a site "indieweb" having a focus on human readable (versus machine readable stuff that focuses JSON-LD for example) mark-ups and semantics is a major focus of . It is a pluralistic user-centric approach to the web.

Putting the users in control of their data, on their own site, and connecting to others through open standards and inter-operability. Sounds like a web I want.

As stated, and most did not agree with me, that the community is very united behind these APIs, standards, and mark-up techniques. In fact it is this loyalty that makes the community different than other "open web" communitities.

The problem moving forward: communicating this to non-technical readers. I mean, I barely understand the last few paragraphs I wrote.


As Eddie noted the challenge we were discussing was,  "trying to figure out a way to explain if a Micropub/Microsub client can work with a given service without using protocol names that can be confused for Gen 3/4 users"

Here were some ideas I had. These are just mine and do not reflect the opinions of others:

  • For individual blogs I suggested a badge (one exists) that people can add to their blogs after running their site through a validator. This just helps with overall mission and branding while providing scaffolded support for new community members.
  • I would suggest the language around, "This site  is indieweb powered...again more market penetration language) by tools to support the principles of our community. Different APIs and protocols allow us to publish on our own site, share our work across many networks, and collect mentions of our work across the social web.
  • For folks like Swerty who have released a client into the wild (an awesome aAndroid app called indigenous currently in Alpha) there needs to be langauge about compatibility. I think here you need to mention specific protocols since different sites may use different idieweb tools. Maybe something like This app is indieweb compatible. It will publish to any indiweb powered site by using MicroPub and it also supports webmentions. No need for a validation tool. If the product doesn't work no one will use it.


Greg McVerry

Giving up the CMS would have to be #HigherEd first step into #IndieWeb

1 min read

Most universities in have their general web strategy all wrong. The "canonical url" should be light weight. A predictable and accessible navigation with fewest pages  possible that render HTML from databases that faculty populate (Yes classic garbage in, garbage out, but that is a supervision problem and not a technical one).

Faculty and departments shouldn't run web pages. Leads to self imposed disinformation,  and university websites running hundreds and hundreds of pages long get more and more useless for students and perspectives.

Keep your main website light. Maybe headless, no CMS.

Then develop common stylesheets that have some basic things folks might use like tables, cards, call out boxes, etc . Make a few template pages. Or use a CMS. It doesn't matter. These subdomains are not the official record. Allow faculty and departments to then run subdomains with the explicit policy you link to the main website when discussing stuff like programs, faculty, etc.

Heck maybe you could even make some of the APIs available to clubs on campus or Computer Science and see what kind of apps students could build or discoveries they could find in the data.

Greg McVerry

Am I addicted to cards?

2 min read

I came across this from @davatron5000 after @sonniesedge  shared her work on

I have a card and modal addiction. I admit it. I love it.

Yes I have to deal with text. I don't truncate. I just use  a character counter and use conciseness. 

Yes there turn into tiny little webpages but that is kind of what I need to build:

Here are the cards andeach faculty member's vita is  model.


For some reason and I can't figure it out my anchor script stopped working:

<script type="text/javascript">// <![CDATA[
      $(document).ready(function() {

  if(window.location.href.indexOf('#McverryModal') != -1) {

// ]]></script>

I used to be able to link to each person's vita. Will try to fix, but editing inside of a massive CMS. Rules change all the time.

I like the card and modal approach as it reduces the total number of pages I have to mantain (I am a faculty member not a web designer....if you are a faculty member never let anyone know you nknow how the web works).

I like a web that is pretty and not just text.


Greg McVerry

#Indieweb and Business

2 min read

We had a discussion on the Indieweb chat that sparked a lot of thoughts. Rather than continuing to spam the channels I decided to share my thoughts here.

I think overall an indieweb approach actually requires rethinking of ownership models and a co-op that includes a suite of tools and services. The REI of Micropubs.

People then bring these tools to their communities and the co-op gains new members.

I know many in the community are giving back and others have been building the web since there has been a web.

I am happy to pay my annual fee to Known as I use their open source blogs in so many fun ways.

The original DNA of the web is protected in communities like

Independents can not stand up to the silos alone. Taking indieweb to scale would require explorations of new models of community ownership.

I also wonder about taking webmentions to scale. Would need a serious suite of community management and moderation tools. At the same time having access to everything in one place would be an amazing and highly marketable tool. That thing @aaronpk made as an indieweb reader looked amazing.

Again something maybe the co-op makes.

I am also going to share the stories of the classes I am running in town. Haven't launched yet. Sponsoring with local orgs and just running tutorials on  getting business off Facebook and onto your own site then back to Facebook.

I live in a small town. There are two places to get quick information. Facebook or the town dump. Right now not sure which smells worse.

Greg McVerry

Its Not Social Media or Branding: Its Just You

2 min read

EDU106 is a great class. I work with students on recognizing how literacy shapes our lives. In this week's maker party, which is really a drop in design studio time, I had a wonderful discussion with Joe Freer  about personal brand and identiy.

What I want students to realize: It is isn't about social media marketing or branding its really about living and learning socially.

Its a construction of your digital identity. Personas sprinkled over the web as you leave footprints everywhere.

Basically the easiest way to build a following is to contribute back to a community of people. We will get to it later in the semester but I think Ian O'Byrne wrote a great guide to building digital identies..

Ian is a professor at Charleston College and also a digital coach working with people who want to learn to build up an online presence. 

Basically no matter your field the easiest way to get meaningful engagement is by being part of the audience. Learn together. Whether  you are a gardener, musician, or activist go online and find the placdes people connect to learn.

As you learn new things share your struggles and achievements. As you teach others share what you make openly.

The first step as Doug Belshaw notes, is to get your own domain. From here you take the indieweb model of POSSE publishing on your own site, syndicating elsewehre...more likely everywhere. 

A domain of your own is also fundemental to being open, and more as a philosophy than a product. You are not commodifying yourself but joining a community. Live and learn out loud.


Greg McVerry

Talking #fedwiki to think about #digped and #indieweb unity

3 min read

I had a wonderful conversation today with Dave Bovill and Ward Cunningham about Federated Wiki today. For over an hour we hacked around with a tool designed to support the open Web.

Federated Wiki works as a space between wikis and blogs. Wikis seek a collective voice. Blogs represent  individual thinking. Fedwiki is about forkable thoughts. I was turned on to by Mike Caulfield and I have been playing since.

Basically users create pages that can be forked and added to their site. There are a series of pages within each "site." Groups of users can gather in neighborhoods. This allows you to fork any page and bring it back to your wiki.

Technically I was at a total loss when Dave and Ward talked about how easy plug-ins are to create since the system is built in json (I have no idea what json means). Yet it was great to talk to them about the possibilities of federated wikis.

Some of the use cases we covered:

  • Curriculum writing- I am in teacher education. We write many lessons plans. This usually involved students copyong and pasting ideas from the web into a lesson plan template. Why not celebrate this textual poaching (Jenkins, 1999)? Using federated wiki we could create a database of lessons.

  • Conferences-This was Dave's idea. He has created a for the Chaos Communication Conference. I was intriguied by this idea as my first use of was to present my session using the tool. Remote attendance of conferences is a matter of equity and access. Seeing what Dave built made me realize that maybe the best way to organize a conference program and materials.

  • Narrative Writing- Dave brought up that someone used to create a forkable storytelling experience. My guess it was probably Terry Elliot. I am totally going to do this in my children's literature class this fall.

There are a few issues:

  • Metaphors- Federated wikis use some metaphors that are not too accessible to norms. Forks that look like flags and flags that look like squares. The idea of "neighborhoods" or adding a "factory" to add content just don't seem like a concurrent fit. There seems to be a dissonance among the target and vehicle of the metaphor.

  • Documentation- The documentation supporting users is written by technical folks for the coding crowd. Norms would struggle to follow along. I will add that Mike Caufield has some great step by step videos on his YouTube channel. I know I will have to make some for my classes.

  • Difficulty- The two previous issues compound a difficult tool to use. The UX/UI will be a challenge for my students to overcome. Most have never peaked at the source code of a website.

 I am excited to play with federated wiki and explore its uses. 

Greg McVerry

Live Blog from: Making stuff and sense at #lra15

4 min read

Ian O'Byrne:

We need to open up publishing by connecting to the


Christina Cantrill

Has playdough, pipecleaners, and rubber bands for us to make and play



Phil Nichols<

Phil then moves into finding publics as a part of making

There are different ways to finding publics. The more authentic the student driven the audience the more motivation


Phil Nichols

For some students doing thing you have to do for school was their only resonation. The audience was still the teacher


Greg McVerry

I am using to live blog from session on making


Amy Stornaiuolo

Publics as "opportunities" to participate.

making publics is not about the space. are not inherently liberating. Need to account for histories.

the promise of makerspaces has to be read through the history of schools


Phil Nichols

making publics is about relevance. Students have to find publics meaningful. Authenticity is not universal


Jessica Parker

who are the maker educators?

We have ten years of maker as a label and it was from a corporation and ignored youth culture.


Jessica Parker:

The Maker Certificate Program is three mini-courses 50-seat hours. They turn in a maker portfolio. Open to tangible.

We send you a maker kit such as paper circuitry and then ask people to reflect on their making. They define making.

We host our classes in K12 makerspaces.

juxtaposition of rapid prototyping and slow looking.

80% of the attendants were 80% teachers. It was heavily skewed K-8. High school was math, science, digital media, art

40% of the educators were over 40 and 55% had taught more than 11 years, 23% over 20 years.

79% all self reported that their families were makers.


Greg McVerry:

this is interesting. Yet if they were reporting as being from a making family was the program already reaching makers


Jessica K Parker:

Cardboard and glue gun, and hand tools were in the top four (3d printer) was third. Low barrier of entry.

The teachers are saying it isn't a binary. Making is not low tech or high tech.

teachers self reported that building agency was the greatest benefit of integrating maker education.

26% reported that engagement, fun, and excitement were the greatest benefits.

another theme was valuing process & iteration

@jessicakparker: collaborating, tinkering, reflecting on their work, prototyping were the best benefits noted by teachers.

time, space, money, materials and support were the greatest challenge

This isn't unique to makerspaces. This is true for any initiative.


Antero Garcia:

escaping from teacher pd through games and game design

This primarily going to be a story propelled by an engine of teacher inquiry

there are six elements associated wtih but we need a racialized lens to look at it.

two assumptions: there are powerful learning when playing digital games, people can be pretty terrible to each other

think about so I use the metaphor of a table.

this took place in Schools for Community Action

principles: schools need to be student centered, innovative, community collaboration, social justice, and sustainability

teachers called it an escape from PD

I used storium an online storytelling game. Created cards based on different roles of participants.

the PD was in an escape room. You have an hour to get out of the room.

In June they hosted the game jam. Could make traditional or digital games.

Game jamming is a professional practice. At schools its hard. You have to modify to make sure they were over by 5:00pm

Students note that there is space for critical reflection, and student and teacher growth.

The students came together when students were shot. It is really hard to be in a game based environment in this context

how are teachers given the space and time to read the contexts of classrooms and communities?

How is the ecosystem of (de)professionalism being challenged?


Christina Cantrill:

As you know we (NWP) are a peer based educator community and we are increasingly working w educators outside of school

NWP came together when teachers realized they had to write themselves. I see this (1970s) as the beginning of making

We jumped in and claimed writing as making.

What are the ways we communicate. We use a broad sense of what is writing.

In thinking about this discussion we wanted to think about you all.


Greg McVerry:

Signing off now to go make.