Skip to main content

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

Can I use javascript to surface additional file types? if those file types have some kind of keywords or metadata attached.

I have a friend with a ton of downloadable materials. She wants people who download here stuff to get a "If you like that you may also like..."

Is there a tool that will search either by file type of div id?s

The files are mainly pdfs.

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.

Greg McVerry

Replied to a post on :

@benwerd First thank you to and Erin for building a tool. You have contributed to what is a renaissance in open in education.

I just got back from . My session was on Open Source Tools for online learning. Everyone loved @withknown and other tools like Federated Wiki.

We need to keep you around. Known is part of the that is flowing into . Maybe we need a Patreon for developers. I pay $10 a month to have nobody use Discourse (forums are lame) and I subscribe to Convoy. I still do ThinkUp not so much for the tool but as a way of paying my .

I subscribe to Convoy not because I need it but because I want to pay you and Erin. I actually want to pay you more but there is no channel to do so. Maybe a Patreon for developers is something that needs to come out of . Give us a chance to pay you. It may not be much but it could be.

Do not underestimate the commitment educators have to supporting the open Web.

I have tried to work Known into grants, and will continue to do so. I just have struck out to date. Encourage this among the community. This way you can sell and develop and we can try to raise the funds.

I also tried to use Known as the backbone for the app I am launching in a couple days. You two spent hours drafting proposals and meeting with me only to have our team go in another direction. That is alot of hours chasing down leads that are not going to bring in revenue. Not sure freelance is the answer for you.

Create a tool that is open but not included in the full version. My thinking would be a classroom control panel, the rss reader (once comments have an rss feed..pretty please) or other stuff directed at your key markets. Make money on the APIs and specialized products.

Look to the students who are using the platform in class. Most of my students choose Known over wordpress or Tumblr. Try a campaign each December and May to convert them to their own domain. Reach out through email or on their Known sites. I have thought about having you and Erin join my class to speak (video) about benefits of owning your domain, but thought it might cross an ethical line. I wonder if an email campaign might convert some users.

Hope this helps. Just some random thoughts as I am stuck on a plane coming back from (by the way you give Mozilla too much credit. We are spread just as thin, but on a much larger scale).

Greg McVerry

Hey #Indieweb Help me find sources? Is the mobile web dead

2 min read

As part of  we are learning about collaborative writing.So I decided to ask a bunch of people I don't know about something I know nothing about. 

Basically to help me collect source. This was the orgininal post on Medium:

I keep reading hints that there is a debate brewing among technologists that the mobile web is dead and should die. Read recently that some believe the “app” is just a placeholder for what is next.

In many ways the voices that seemed to want to focus on the mobile web seem to be dimmer. Advocates believe this leads to a loss of privacy and a rise in privatization.

Much of this debate is arising as facebook introduced instant articles, Apple allows ad blocking, and every app I own is designed to keep me off my mobile browser.

I want to try a new kind of piece and write an annotated bibliography in the open. Problem is I don’t have the sources. Figured it would be a good model for my  class. We are exploring web literacy, identity, and digital texts and tools.

I am looking for current blog posts or articles exploring the idea of the mobile web dying. Especially from those who say it is either inevitable or a good idea.

My thinking is you add them below. I can then summarize, and then revise this article as my thinking evolves.