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Greg McVerry

How I Made My Lecture On Disciplinary #Literacies #InstructionalDesign

Recently I posted my lecture on Disciplinary Literacies for #EDU407Sum19. I wanted to take a few seconds and share a #backstage post on my instructional

3 min read

Recently I posted my lecture on Disciplinary Literacies for . I wanted to take a few seconds and share a post on my instructional design.

Starting Principles

Narrated slideshows make for awful online learning....Ever have to sit through an hour screencast of Powerpoint. How long did you really last? Go live video

Anything longer than 7-8 minutes is a waste......Videos MUST be under ten minutes. Research shows the participation droop off rate in videos is staggering.

Borrow heavily from Richard Mayer....The twelve principles of multimedia instruction work. Use the rules so you know exactly when to break from the advice. Especially redundancy, coherence, and signaling.

My Process

Activate prior knowledge. Even though I know the material activating prior knowledge improves your thinking. I spent some time reading some classic research and then even bookmarked some talks I used as sources. I also read student writing to look for common questions.

Always pre-write. Below you see the graphic organizer I made when researching the talk. You can see my thinking for non-linear teaching like video has become non-linear itself...until I numbered the topics in how I wanted them to be covered.

You see for example my key definitions in the upper left-hand corner, how I get more specific about content literacy and disciplinary literacy in the middle of the page. I then end with my own interpretation in box 5 with a Venn Diagram and my conclusion pulling it all together in box seven

picture of pre-writing on graphic organizer

Filming the Talk

Next I filmed my talk. I used screencastomatic and my macbook. This did mean my resolution is low at 720p but I have so many international teachers who watch my videos maybe the smaller file size is good. I didn't have the lighting right so the video is a little grany.

You always want your camera back lit. I sit facing a window so there was some natural light and I turned on a lamp but the facetime cameras are garbage.

I had to think about the text I would later overlay and pretend to point and and hold things. I didn't write a script but knew the points.

So much of my planning is done walking the dogs or in the shower. These ideas never see paper.

Editing the Talk

I also edited the talk in screencast-o-matic. It is my favorite software. At $15 a year every teacher should grab a copy. Not only can you record video but you get a powerful editing suite that is so useful because it offers few features.

I was able to layer in text and images and edit the videos.

What Do I Need to Improve?

I broke eye contact too much. You can see my glancing down at my graphic organizer. I should have pasted it on my computer. I also got old and my glasses broke. I need to remember I can't see at a distance like I used to.

I need to make sure I clearly define all the key terms and put the definitions and not just the words into textual overlays of videos.

I go back and forth about how contextual my videos should be for the classes being taught. When I connect so much to a specific class then I can't use the video elsewhere. I might think about making class related discussion one segment, so I can edit it out for other contexts.



Greg McVerry

@drlouisegrove Awesome goal!! Even better try to do all your initial, reading and thinking from your blog and really give a look to any article

Greg McVerry

I used a program called Crazy Talk and then recorded and edited using screencast-o-matic. I will publish a blog for my explainiung process in more detail.

Greg McVerry

#Backstage View into my Mobile Learning Video #edu307 #edu407 #edu305

The Project I was asked to do a video about Mozilla and all the Mozilla Learning Network tools for a mobile learning MOOC.In 2019 Mozilla decided

3 min read

The Project

I was asked to do a video about Mozilla and all the Mozilla Learning Network tools for a mobile learning MOOC.

In 2019 Mozilla decided to shut down Thimble, probably the last vestiges of a project we all began together back in 2011.

The Mozilla Foundation decided to move away from direct support of on the ground learning to instead focus on researching, advocating, and developing Internet Health.

All of the tools and platforms we built to help learners join the relics of web history. X-ray Goggles, Thimble, App Maker, Backpack, Hackasaurus, Webmaker, Webmaker for Android, Mozilla Clubs, Mozilla Learning Network, Thimble II.

The Future

So I close the video with my views on and , both of these movements align to my values but don't have the organizational overhead I did not enjoy as a contributor.

  and look  to mobile learning as the web. They both begin with a Domain of Your Own and then expand learning networks outward.

Relying on your own website and building up local infrastructure is the only way to decolonize the web.

One thing I learned in the fights for net neutrality around the globe is far too many people see facebook as the web. When you build mobile learning networks on social media silos we sacrifice long term decolonization efforts in the face of immediate network access.

The role of social media is decision to be made at the local level, but at least begin by building up the local infrastructure of the local web.

Federation and Decentralization begin at home. Stop the colonization of the web. Encourage local communities to carve out a space online they own.

That is the future of mobile learning

How I Made the Project

I used Alan Levine's Pecha Flickr tool. It takes a search trm and generates 20 random slides that advance every twenty seconds.

I then threw out a post on my blog and syndicated to Twitter and Mastodon. Doug Belshaw then answered on Mastodon but it was to a follow up toot. Mastodon doesn't do webmentions so the context was lost.

I did not realize this and it is important to note as Doug was employed by Mozilla at the time of the project. Basically he had no idea I was about to improvise a talk about his work using the two words he suggested "manhole" and "spork."

my plannign notes, three pages in storyboard format

I did have notes, and you can tell I didn't know them well. As I glance down in the video breaking the illusion of total improv, but I didn't know my slide show.

I quickly realized, manholes as a metaphor get boring yet contain unique beauty about different cultures and I couldn't fit all my content in twenty slides. So I had to do a second talk. Luckily Doug gave me "Spork.

So much to work with. Such perfect design.

I originally, after talking too long in my first slide deck, thought I would do three, but I was afraid the video would get too long for a MOOC. Anything after seven minutes and people drop like flies.

I recorded it using screencast-o-matic. Probably the best teaching tool I use every year. It only cost fifteen dollars.

I added simple text boxes. I should not have put in such a large infographic into a video, it will not work for our blind friends.

So here is a description of what happens on the original Google Drawing. This should play better in screen readers.






Greg McVerry

Seven Strategies for Blogging in Open Source Communities

Everyone hears bloggers beomaon writing block. Yet no great ailement spreads that saps writing ability. No virus takes away verbs and no bacteria takes down

2 min read

Everyone hears bloggers beomaon writing block. Yet no great ailement spreads that saps writing ability. No virus takes away verbs and no bacteria takes down a blogger.

Writer's block emerges not from some mental state or illness but from a lack of strategies to get started. Open source community members may not want to blog simply out of fear of answering the question, "What do I blog about?"

The best blog post is a published blog post.

Just encourage this value in your community. Make it a meme, an emoji, a mantra. Get the community blogging and if they need help offer one of these ideas.

  1. Learn Something- No one comes to open source saying, "Gee I want to find a project where I can contribute code." They have a goal and something to learn. Documenting this journey provides endless content for open source bloggers. Simplay answering the question, "I want to learn X" so I will try Y" provides enough content for a post.
  2. Teach Something- Documentation != tutorial. Have you tried to use open source documents to learn? Not for the faint of heart. Check out the Apache documentation I stumbled across when trying to learn to abit of regex to write a redirect, or tell my server to point old links on my blog to the new url of my blog. Write a tutorial. Help the next contrbutor.
  3. Backstage Blog- Slightly different than a tutorial go more in depth into  a reflection your decision making process when building an app, coding, or running an event. Tell us what worked, what didn't, next steps, or what you will do differently next time.
  4. Behind the Scenes-If you work at a company contributing to open source or building open source tools share some office shennanigans. Community members love this stuff.
  5. Plan Your Future-Share your goals and upcoming events.
  6. Share the Past- Post pictures and reflections from events or major community changes.
  7. Celebrate the Community- Higlight other community members. the h/t goes a long way in terms of recruitment and retention.


Greg McVerry

I stole a genre of blogposts from @cogdog called posts, when ever my students are learning a new medium or modality for writing, or processing a piece I ask for peak "backstage"

Greg McVerry

I just published a post on building a Podcast feed. migrating from WordPress getting closer.

Waiting for end of semester so as not to throw off students.

Greg McVerry

@Downes And these are great! So important for history and learning. I stole the idea of backstage blogs when @cogdog ran the YouShow MOOC, incorporate them in all my classes to get at Gee's Circuit of Reflective Thought. .

Greg McVerry

Attempting to Remix Academic Writing #dmlcommons #walkmyworld #teachtheweb

I steal from Alan Levine quite often. I am most prod of hauling away a backstage blog from an open course he co-facilitated as part of #YouShow15.

2 min read

I steal from Alan Levine quite often.

I am most prod of hauling away a backstage blog from an open course he co-facilitated as part of . Then yesterday during folks started asking me about the role of having a back stage blog.

So I wanted to show an example.

Once again stole from cogdog. He posted a final report from . I loved the work, even if it is a horrible slideshow article aka BleacherReport. What I loved the most, Alan's work was 95% derivative and 100% original. He told a story using the words of others.

As the final event for we had to curate our work. This was my example and this is the story of how it came to be and what I need to do as i revise

The Pre-Writing

Over the last year I have been trying to teach myself (translation: bug people smarter than me and Google a lot) CSS. I knew I wanted to try the single page website and play with sections. I also wanted the content to be a remix. So I started by pre-planning. I always start planning on paper. I am old school like that.

I then drafted my first attempt. I used Thimble. I am addicted to thimble.This was my draft.

The Revision

My first attempt is awful. I collected all my makes but my design leads to cognitive dissonance rather than aiding in comprehension. So I started to plan my revisions.

The design changes:

  • I need to match the colors section so they make sense. This is an important cue to the reader
  • I need to match the font sizes and be logical about my header levels
  • I forgot to nest some content inside a div within the section. I used an inline display and something like a table thingy to center content.

The content changes:

  • The content is a little jarring. Needs more logical sense
  • Walkmyworld was about identity. Yet I focused on synthesis.Explain this
  • I need to add a theoretical definitions of synthesis

Greg McVerry

Planning my backstage post #dmlcommons #walkmyworld

Planning my backstage post #dmlcommons #walkmyworld

Trying to reflect on my first attempt at creating a transgenre remix of scholarly import.

This is me planning the follow up and areas of improvement in


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