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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

Shifting #literacies in Elementary School Writing

2 min read

As I watch my children grow I am amazed at how the web has shifted the way we learn. Yet I am dismayed at how slow our schools have failed to respond.

Technology is not a technology issue but a issue.

My second child, Ben, needed to do research for his podcast "Dog Days

How did he read?

pic of Ben using a reader

I had to leave for work so Ben used an accessibility plugin for Google Chrome to have the website read to him.

How did he write?

On paper. I helped him organize the show into two ideas. He wants bumpers for each section but I explained that is a little much before Dad goes to work.

<h2>How did he Search</h2>

Voice commands are the interface of my children. They don't rely on touch but on voice. Ben knows how to say, "Ok Google how do I spell..."

How did he record?

Ben uses quicktime audio recording a Blue Rhino mic for recording. He wanted to spliuce together two attempts using GarageBand...but again too much for me to teach before school.

DogZone is Ben's site. He learned the inline styling and how to change the CSS to add opacity so people can see my "really cool warefall picture."

This is the type of reading and writing we need to in elementary school. HTML is the new Concepts of the Web. Multimodal authorship provides pathways to meaning for those not always motivated to read and write in print.

Greg McVerry

Excited for #HipHopEd Tonight

2 min read


I am looking forward to lurking on tonight. I learn a lot on this chat as I listen. I am drawn to spaces of literacy scholars where words and meaning are seen first as tools of both agency and oppression. Tonight I will be looking forward to curating inspirational quotes.

Our GearUp work with students of color often revolve around the teaching and learning of digital literacies and pedagogies. We have created digital art, written letters to the next president, examined website credibility and created memes.

It is this last element that has me most interested in today's chat. I use memes as a method to include the basics of HTML. It is a the language of HTML using the discourses of youth. Fun stuff. I encourage everyone tonight to try one.

There is so much talk about the diversity problem in tech. This is not just an industry problem or a pipeline problem. It is a societal problem. We are creating a new era of digital imperialism. The segregation of our digital spaces is often much stronger than the analog world.

There are issues of access. Technology simply does not exist in many our poorest communities. Families are often on shifting data plans and pushing up aganist their limit. Mobile first can not be the only solution. In the suburbs big chains offer free wifi. The same chains like McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts post no loitering signs.

There are issues of equity. Based on recent PEW reports students of color have more screen time than their white peers. Yet the quality of the screen and the activity differs greatly. Yet no where are are computers used more for non-creative activity such as testing and remediation than our schools. I have bumped up against this myself when pushing for greater web literacy in schools. Its ths common reframe, "but have you seen there reing scores? I can't spend time on tech."

Newsflash. Tech is how we read and write. It is literacy. No where is this demonstrated more than in places like . Scholars, musicians, activists and artists gather around a cause and use our words to make the world a better place.

So make a meme tonight with an inspirational quote. Then encourage someone else to do the same. Lift the curtain to how tech and code work.

Greg McVerry

Had our first Maker Party in #EDU106

2 min read

Announcement: Due to Labor Holiday We Will Move Mandatory Class to Wednesday

Every Wednesday in we throw a maker party. Today marked the first event for this semesters class.

EDU106 New Literacies: Digital Texts and Tools is set up for hybrid delivery. It  succeeeds when a community emerges to support each other no matter where we gather.

We meet for a face to face class every Monday. There we begin with a maker challenge. For example during the first class we started by using pipe cleaners and come up with something "that meant you."

We will then  discuss the readings and work on our projects.

The students then gather online for the rest of the week. We meet "in the texts" as  we read that module using Students then share their writing on a class stream. Throughout the semester they hone blogging and multimodal authoring skills.

On every Wednesday we hold a basic design studio. These are drop in and out class spaces where we gather to share progress and get feedback. 

The Wednesday class is an optional affair I like to call Maker Parties. The stuff we will do this semester is hard. It takes practice and thought. The content we read will spark thoughts and push against perspectives.That does not mean it can not be fun.

Today five people showed up. We had a good time.

Each person who dropped by class left knowing they had completed this week's tasks.  After twenty or thirty minutes of one on one help and feedback everyone was off on their way.

Remember for Next Wednesday you need to:

-Have a blog created

-Share a link to the blog on the class stream.

-Create a Account



Greg McVerry

Choosing Course Delivery #OpenEd #EdChat #HigherEd #Literacies #Edtechchat

2 min read

Over the last few years I have explored a variety of tools for open course development. Asa refresher I design my online learing space with three elements: a hub with materials, an individual site for each learner, and a class stream.

I am debating how I want to present my hubs. I orginally created a Wordpress site with multiple courses.

Last year I tried building a class in HTML/CSS and Javascript using a bootsptrap framework. I could host all of this in my GitHub repo.

I am not sure which method I prefer: Wordpress or a blank HTML page as a canvas.

Over the summer I got back to Wordpress course design. I was hired by a client to develop a learning managament system. I went with Wordpress and the Sensei plug-in from Woocommerce. We added a paid theme Guru and topped it off with a Discourse with SSO integration. We also added Buddypress and BadgeOS for good measure. 

The platform came out great.

Yet I am still drawn to trying to develop class Hubs in the most basic HTML possible (while getting some design love). I imagine a future where other professors openly share their coursework. Where a new teacher  can fork a repo rather start from scratch.

Still the Wordpress page looks prettier (for now).

I think for this semester I will keep with the dual approach. EDU106 will remain a hub in Wordpress and EDU307 will go through a round of iterative development.

Greg McVerry

Should We Share Racially Tinged Memes? #HipHopEd #literacies.

2 min read

We love to laugh at them. Writers parody them in theme songs and television. Yet I wonder are we laughing at the individuals or drawing humor from a deep well of intentional and hidden bias?

I am talking about memes featuring people of color who do not come from affluent backgrounds. They usually act in grandiose ways speaking local dialects that would not be recognized as standard academic English. The most famous being:

This video, with over 62 million views sparked it all for me . I won't lie. I even had the auto-tune version as a ring tone for a minute. This video went so far it served as the inspiration behind the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt theme song.

Then earlier this week we saw the explosion of "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That"

The original video is over three years old, and it took off recently.

Do we have a responsibility to not share these videos?

Laughing at uneducated black people is nothing new.

I just wonder is it as racist now as it was with Mammy Two Shoes?

Are we simply putting a digital jocko to welcome you to our online front doors when we share these memes? The auto-tuned voices no different than the exaggerated white features painted on to dark skin.

Greg McVerry

Part 2: Participatory Culture in a Networked Era #digiwrimo

6 min read

Read Bottom Up

The first post in this series is here.

Greg McVerry

Participatory Culture in a Networked Era #digiwrimo

3 min read

Read Bottom Up

Greg McVerry

22nd Women’s Studies Conference “#FeministIn(ter)ventions: Women, Community, Technology #edtechchat #literacies #clmooc

6 min read

Asking for a quick favor. We are working feverishly on the (ter)ventions conference. As a steering committee we just released the RFP.  Please spread the word.
The 22nd Women’s Studies Conference
Women, Community, Technology”
To be held on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University
Friday and Saturday, April 15th and 16th, 2016
Submission Deadline:                                            By December 4th, 2015
The 22nd SCSU Women’s Studies conference aims to provide a critical site of collective inquiry into the intersections of women (and girls), community, and technology.  In what ways have women and girls worked with technology, broadly defined, for the advancement of communities and/or shaping and building movements?  We invite proposals that investigate the past, present, and future of the intersections of women, community, and technology and showcase feminist in(ter)ventions with technology.  How have women and girls participated (or not) in the fields of technology?  In what ways does this inquiry intersect with the studies of gender, race, class, and sexuality?
We, too, invite you to submit proposals that consider some of the following inquireis on women, community, and technology.  In what ways have feminist practices and women’s movements impacted women’s place in the world of technology?  How might the interplay between women, community, and technology have shifted feminist discourses?  What are some of the global movements that underscore feminist interventions and inventions of technology?  What lessons may we glean from women in communities throughout the world utilizing media and technology in fighting against war and destruction? What are some of the best practices of feminist in(ter)ventions for sustainable communities?
PROPOSAL FORMAT: Faculty, students, staff, administrators, and community activists from all disciplines and fields are invited to submit proposals for individual papers, complete sessions, panels, or round tables.  Poster sessions, performance pieces, video recordings, and other creative works are also encouraged.  For individual papers, please submit a one-page abstract.  For complete panels, submit a one-page abstract for each presentation plus an overview on the relationship among individual components.  For the poster sessions and artwork, submit a one-page overview.  All proposals must include speaker’s/speakers’ name(s), affiliation(s), and contact information (address, E-mail, & telephone number).  Please also indicate preference for Friday afternoon, Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon; all attempts will be made to honor schedule requests.
PANELS: Each 75-minute session usually includes three presenters and a session moderator, but individual presenters may request an entire session for a more substantial paper or presentation. Presenters are encouraged, though not required, to form their own panels.  The conference committee will group individual proposals into panels and assign a moderator.   Please indicate in your contact information if you are willing to serve as a moderator.
POSTERS, ART DISPLAYS, AND SLIDE PRESENTATIONS: A poster presentation consists of an exhibit of materials that report research activities or informational resources in visual & summary form.  An art display consists of a depiction of feminist and Indigenous concerns in an artistic medium.  Both types of presentations provide a unique platform that facilitates personal discussion of work with interested colleagues & allows meeting attendees to browse through highlights of current research.  Please indicate in your proposal your anticipated needs in terms of space, etc.
In keeping with the conference theme, suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
Women & the Media
Girls Who Code
Black Girls Code
Feminist Apps
Feminist Ethics & Technology
Feminism, Environment, and Technology
Women, Sustainability, and Technology
Gender, Class, and Technology
Gender, Sexuality, and Technology
Gender and Healthcare Technology
Feminist Values and STEM
Gender and STEM Ethnics
Women in STEM
Women in the History of STEM
Women Making History & STEM
Reproductive Technologies and Feminist Concerns
Feminist Pedagogy and Technology
Teaching with Social Media/Technology
Women, Technology, and Academia
Feminist Knowledge and Media Technology
Digital Humanities
Gender and Social Media/Technology
Girlhood in the Age of Social Media
Community (Re-)Building and Technology
Women’s Leadership, Media, and Technology
Women’s Labor & Technology
Women, Movements, and Technology
Spirituality and Technology
Religion, Gender, and STEM
Representation of Women & Social Media
Gender, Sexual Violence, and Technology
Anti-Sexual Violence and Media Technology
Cyber Bullying
First Amendment Rights & Emerging Technologies
Women Bloggers
Women Making Social Media
Feminist Social Media
Feminist Blogging
Black Twitter Feminism
Gender, Race, and Social Media
Online “Mommy” Communities
Social Media and Movements
Women in the Global South & Technology
Indigenous Women & Technology
We also invite your ideas and suggestions.  Conference sessions will juxtapose global, comparative, intersectional, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational perspectives for the collective re-thinking of women, community, and technology. Expect serious fun through meals and performance, with women, girls and their allies speaking of their struggles and power.
Submission Deadline:                                                ​December 4th, 2015
Please submit proposals and supporting materials to:
Women’s Studies Conference Committee
Women’s Studies Program, EN B 229
Southern Connecticut State University
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515
Or via E-mail to:, with attention to Conference Committee.  If you have any questions, please call the Women’s Studies office at (203) 392-6133.
Please include name, affiliation, E-mail, standard mailing address, and phone number. Proposals should be no longer than one page, with a second page for identification information. Panel Proposals are welcome.
The Women’s Studies Conference at SCSU is self-supporting; all presenters can pre-register at the discounted presenter’s fee.  The fee includes all costs for supporting materials, entrance to keynote events, and all meals and beverage breaks. 

Greg McVerry

Few Recent Pages I Have Been Building #clmooc #teachtheweb #literacies

3 min read

As part of a graduate class we have been discussing what it means to learn to read and write. We have discussed the correlations between core skills such as phonemic aawareness and phonics while reading Heath, Au, and Gee.

Much of the discussion has revolved around the boundaries of explicit instruction, the role of poverty, and if reading is taught as a cultural practice or a cognitive process.

I wanted to highlight some recent writing and learning I have been doing to add to the complexity.

This summer I took on a project to earn some extra scratch, re-doing the department website. I am not a web designer. I am not a programmer. Instead I am self taught who learns to build stuff by copying others.

HTML/CSS code is alot like phonics for reading and text structure for writing. It is a repeated pattern and I would bet also learned in a very similar and predictable pattern.

Your links are much like your CVC words and your headings a thesis. You then may expand and start looking at strange vowel combinations or hover effects. Your creativity when working with pixels just like paper is boundless.

These are four pages I am currently working on. They are in draft form and will probably change:

Direct Instruction

In each case direct instruction was central. Yet unlike the classroom it is usally distributed and on-demand. If I combed through my web history you could see every objective and outcome.

When I got desperate I would ask colleagues at work or ping on Twitter and Discourse.

Mentor Texts

In each case a mentor text was always involved. For example the design ideas and some of the CSS for the  scholarship page was modified from here and the other half  from here. The programs page came from here

The department directory well that one I am proud of. Most of that I wrote myself but I checked my learning against the previous sources and some old Thimble makes I had. I even checked out Doug's old About Me page.


Beyond the Benjamins I am working to better myself. Motivation and interest are essential to learning to read and write. I think the focus on standards outcome could have just as much to do with the decline in pleasure reading with the publication of "Nation at Risk" in 1984 as it does with the birth of Nintendo and a truly stellar year in movies.

You need motivation and interest to push past the frustration; to get the rush of solving some problem or to conquer some text. Trust me I looked like a Pavlovian dog when I hit publish to see if the code I wrote actually worked. Ring the bell for bits.

Greg McVerry

(re)Discovering my Personal Statement #DMLCommons Pathways

5 min read

Since is doing the pathways series simultaneously with DBR I thought I would share soemthing I found while pretending I was going to organize my file.

This was my original personal statement when I applied to my doctorate program (had to apply a second time but that is another story).

Technology has reshaped literacy by creating new means of communication, new strategies for learning, and new definitions of collaboration. The changes taking place to literacy as a result of a whole host of new and emerging technologies have redefined my view of the world and shaped the contributions I aim to make to the field of education.

            By and large, today’s students turn to the Internet as their primary source of information, yet very few educators and researchers view the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as a reading issue.  Even fewer recognize there are unique skills and strategies required to maximize the use of the Internet.  I am seeking an advanced degree to better understand how technology reshapes literacy processes and to empower other educators by distributing this knowledge widely for the purpose of affecting change.

            I describe myself as perpetually inquisitive, the kind of person who seeks to explore deep and meaningful questions that will move the field forward in tangible and concrete ways.  The goals I seek to accomplish as a researcher are threefold. First, I seek to affect fundamental change in the k-12 curriculum by advocating for the inclusion of new literacies instruction as a means for students to acquire 21st century skills.  I will provide evidence to demonstrate the positive benefits of doing so. Second, I will contribute to practical and theoretical development of research on new literacies by providing research-based evidence that demonstrates the positive effects new literacies instruction has on achievement.  Third, I seek to contribute toward the development of new models of professional development for technology integration and to work to increase the collaboration between state educational schools and at risk public schools. These three goals will help guarantee that students who are most in need of instruction on the new literacies of reading comprehension have the opportunity to take part in well-designed instructional activities.

         Since entering the 6th year certificate program I have delved into the legions of literature exploring both offline and online comprehension.  During this time, I have built the background knowledge I need to make connections between research and practice. I have put these skills into practice by completing my first manuscript for publication.  My article entitled “Forums and Functions of Threaded Discussions” will be included in the new literacies themed issue of the New England Reading Association Journal.

            The use of ICT’s in the active construction of meaning not only requires new literacies, but also demands more complex traditional literacies. As a doctoral student I will develop models for professional development that have a lasting impact.  I seek to become a vehicle for change in schools, not only help teachers to better understand what new literacies are, but also to spark new ideas for ways to help students acquire these essential strategies. I will use new technologies such as wikis, Webpages, and threaded discussions to build a community of educators dedicated to growth and change.

            I have been recognized for my efforts to integrate technology within my curriculum and was awarded Connecticut Educator’s Computer Association technology integration award. I will continue this work by conducting professional development seminars, similar to my recent presentation at the First Annual Essential Literacy conference, that use ICT’s in order to develop on going dialogue, reflection, and community as the cornerstone for teacher training.

            When I complete my doctoral degree, I will dedicate myself to building new pathways between educational institutions and at-risk public schools. I believe that teacher education programs would benefit from  an apprenticeship approach, such as the ones  applied to hospital residency programs. In my opinion, doctoral students should spend time in schools serving as curricular and educational specialists. This model of community service would open up avenues for research while providing schools with an invaluable service. I also believe states, as part of the accreditation process, should require greater cooperation between the research community and at-risk schools. At-risk communities face so many needs. As a university professor, I would advocate for the supervision of doctoral and graduate students in service as educational specialists within these priority schools. As a professor I would advocate for research conducted collaboratively with school administrators.  This would help  build an atmosphere of positive change while developing a design research-based curricula  and application of best practices. Such an endeavor between k-12 schools and universities would lend credence to the field of education as a noble effort that takes the entire global village.

            Technology has changed literacy, and transformed how students learn.   It has changed my goals as an educator. As a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut I will make contributions to better understanding the theory and practice of new literacies instruction and the use of ICT’s to build a new model for professional development.  I will work to build bridges between the research community and at-risk schools making a lasting difference in the field of education.