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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.


Come Journey Through the IndieWeb Sites


Greg McVerry

Creating the #IndieWeb CourseWare with @ReviewTalentFS and @withknown thanks to @scsu and @uconn start-up grant

3 min read

Anyone who has followed my meandering path into the knows much of what I do gets driven by teaching.

Our company ReVIEW Talent Feedback System brings this vision to teacher coaching, evaluation and feedback. Reflection and learning should drive classroom improvement.

To that end, we partnered with the Known Open Collective to add learning and reflection to our our platform. We want to help open source learning tools. As part of a start up grant we got from Southern Connecticut State University and University of Connecticut we had three goals

  • Add Single Sign On through OAuth
  • Create a blogging platform to drive coaching and growth through reflection
  • Create an online course builder

OAuth Plugin

The first goal involves a bunch of plumbing. I won't get into this as much to say is what let's you sign into websites with your school email or a social media button. We did do and release all of the development open source. People are already using the OAuth pluging to connect Known to Moodle. That's cool. Open source helps knowledge spread.

Blogging Platform

The second goal derives from ten years of experience in teacher quality and evaluation. We learned important lessons. Mainly we want to measure teacher quality but don't really have the tools yet. Rubric driven observation and coaching does improve efficacy of teaching...jury still out on achievement.

We wanted to give educators a chance to reflect on their growth outside of, but connected to their talent management platform. So we have added the ability to host a school wide network using the software of the Known Open Collective. In fact we donate 50% of any revenue from the reflection blog tools back to the Collective

Course Builder Plugin

I am most excited about the course builder plugin. I have always wanted an IndieWeb course builder and this open source tool is now closer to reaility. We have a few kinks to iron out before we release to the wild for beta testing but I thought I would provide an early view.

You start by clicking on a new course.

You can then design the front page of the course and add course objectives and a code of conduct

adding objectivesThis allows you to include course goals on the front page

add modules and tasksYou can then click on a button to add a schedule or events or add a module.

add a readingOn each module page you get the option to add description, a featured image, a video, and readings.

This is a screenshot of the live module page. We will change the way the reading displays.

My favorite feature, every task is its own page. That means educators or learners can send in artifacts of learning as a webmenton. Meaning they do the learning on their own websites and just link to the task.

The instructor will then be able to see all submissions in one place, while the learner mantains control over their work!

Next Steps

Even cooler we will use this feature for an upcoming webmention badges plugin.

We also need to develop the APIs for the rubrics built into REVIEW Talent Feedback System so we can display scales inside of Known or pull posts into ReVIEW. This goal is more long term.

Also on IndieNews

Greg McVerry

Hey #EDU106 I am With You!!! @scsu #instructionaldesign #distancelearning #covid19

1 min read

Don't Worry, We Got This

I know many of you may have a bit of anxiety as we move to a fully online classroom. I wwant you to know I will be here for you. I will complete EVERY task that assign to you and create a culture where we support each other.

virtual hug

Let's Connect

I am here for you. We will meet at our normally scheduled Monday and Wednesday class times. I will send out a video link. I have already posted my virtual office hours for drop in help.

Cool Activities

All those fun activities where we focus on production based learning. We will keep it up. I will make tutorial videos, we will have fun discussions about the readings, and continue to learn stuff.

Next Steps

Please continue to "Learn Something." Share your blogging reflections describing how you are "Learning how to Learn." 

I will make tutorials today on how to record podcasts as learning reflections. When we return from spring break we will work on making timelines.

Well back to my ukulele lessons.

Greg McVerry

Developing our Shared criteria for blogging in #edu106 #netnarr

2 min read

This week we began clas by first examining patterns we found in our first three weeks of blog posts:

You folks were highly critical of each other and yourself! Please understand that when these patterns emerge it is not the fault of the students but of the instructor not laying out clear expectiations.


Next I role played with you showing two different ways of delivering feedback. I could say, "You folks are giving me single parapgraphs like a 6th grader...."


....or I could base my feedback on growth and say, "While you took a postion your writing would be improved with greater organization and eloboration. You can begin by trying to organize your writing in mutltiple paragraphs. As an elaboration technioque make sure to use evidence from the readings."

Which approach do you think research supports in helping students grow as learners and writers?

Next in small groups you did a turn and talk and as a table developed a list of criteria for good blogging. We then combined this list as a class

list of topics suggested by students

So here are the final criteria

  • Strong organization as evidenced by a central idea, concept, or argument supported by multiple paragraphs, each organized around a central idea. Use of signal worrds and headings.
  • Analysis of the readings that uses evidence from the text, combined with personal observations to support your position.
  • Voice and Expressions emerge over time to create a clear style for the writer
  • Affordances of Multimedia used such as images, links, and movies to enhance your message.

I left the word length requirement off. The 250 words is a suggestion. The correct answer is the exact number you need. Not one more. Not one less.

Greg McVerry

Why I prefer Blogging over Blackboard

1 min read

"Here I am, r-a-w."

As a teacher we need to make our learning more explicit. We need to model to students how we read multiple sources, integrate ideas, take risks, share our writing, and engage as a community.

Blogging provides me with an avenue. Teachers have the greatest job in the world, we get paid to learn.

"Genuine like Gucci, raw like sushi"

Your students must see you as a reader and writer. That is why I work so hard to publish poetry and multimodal videos. You can find them all on my website.

Here is a video to get started

Greg McVerry

Writing Tip for #edu307

2 min read

As a writing intensive class I must assign 25% of the grade we make up together at the end of class to revisions.

I believe more in revising forward rather than backward (Which comes with a nasty dose of proofread after publishing). Meaning instead of going back and fixing stuff you already published I want to see writers who take feedback from me and their peers and use it in future writing.

We will of course edit some work. That's a key difference between traditional long form writing and blogging in a way. So in our longer pieces you will track areas of improvement and show how you addressed criterion in your revisions.

Writing Tip One From Module One

A reaction or a synthesis piece goes far beyond a summary. I read the three articles assigned. No need to rehash each paragraph for me.

Take a stand. Show emotion. Get drawn to a quote. Find a connection to your personal life....Start by thinking I must transform these words to transform my thoughts.

We already submitted summaries in our "read" post. Search for creativity and connections.

So here is the tip (beyond please pre-write...makes your life and my life better): Spend time just focusing on "your message" not the readings. Check out the example below:

screenshot of text being edited from

Just watch how word choice strengthens the author's position. Think about what you want to say....Then say it. Then return to your notes from the readings. Decide what fits where in proving that what you wrote will ring true for all.

Greg McVerry

Hey #edu407 Here are some of my screencasts #literacies

1 min read

How to Work on Your Literary Element Slide Deck

You can use this as a guide to create your slide deck.

Some Examples (not necessarily a literary element but gives you some ideas beyond recording a power point...which is fine to do)

Sock Puppets on Writing Leads and Hooks

This was just an iOS App. You can make it on an iPhone or iPad. We have some if people want to try.

Compare and Contrast text Structure

Problem and Solutions Text Structure

Cause and Effect Text Structure

Use Explain Everything to Identify Characters and Events

This text structure set was recorded using an app on the iPad.

Blogging Basics

Zombies on Creative Commons

You can use stick figures or cut outs and just prop your cell phone up on books. That is how I made these.

Use Animoto to Describe Characters

Animoto is an easy to use app.

Winning the Academic Writing Game: Play the Game

Winning the Academic Writing Game Two: Don't Be Wishy Washy:

Winning the Academic Writing Game Three: Play With Words

Winning the Academic Writing Game Four: The Idea Pocket



Greg McVerry

Agency, Argumentation, and Blogging

2 min read

Calls to bridge cognitive and social practices when teaching Argumentation. (Reznitskaya & Anderson, 2002) developed Argument Schema Theory. Beach and What's their name (year) called for an integration (cite that). We continue this effort by building our theory of change on the concept of argumentation as discourse.

Argumentation as Discourse

Teaching students the norms of academic writing remains one of the most consistent challenges for teachers of the English language arts. The earliest comprehensive studies of writing instruction at the high school level suggested that most students were taught highly formulaic structures for producing academic argument (Applebee & Langer, 2013, Hillocks, 1986), and that trend has remained consistent over time (Applebee and Langer, Newell et al., 2015). Teaching and learning academic argument, especially in middle and high school settings, often is reduced to formulaic essay structures. In fact, Newell et al’s work (dervied from an IES grant project) suggests that

To clarify: what counts as argumentative writing, indeed what counts as argumentation more generally, is not a given. It is not something that just exists. It is instead a set of social practices deeply embedded in our everyday lives and the social institutions in which we all participate. It is socially constructed through and exists only through teaching and learning (Newell 1)

It is this set of socially constructed teaching practices related to argument writing that we aim to upend by providing students with a domain of their own to write, give and receive feedback, and critically evaluate outside web sources when creating their own arguments.

Writer Efficacy, Agency, and Identity




Dialogical Discourse

double talk

Community of Writers

community is essential to process writing (Applebee & Langer, 2013; Graham, Fitzgerald, Friedrich, Greene, Kim, & Booth Olson, 2016; Graham, & Perin, 2007; NCTE, 2016; Troia & Olinghouse, 2013; Zemelmann, & Daniels, 1988). Moreover, in writing communities outside of school, community drives all learning (Winn). We believe we have to intentionally design hybrid writing spaces that traverse both the classroom and the lived digital lives of our youth. This study seeks to understand t

Integrating Empirical Research into Phase One

Operationalizing Empirical Research in Phase One

Greg McVerry

Writing Prompt Day Five #EDU407Sum19

2 min read

Reflection drives learning. Take the taxonomy of blogging skills by Jacob McWilliams and write a post reflecting on your own prgress as a writer/blogger.

Features of a successful blog post

  • A well organized argument or main point, supported through the use of hyperlinks and multimedia materials (video, sound, images)
  • A clear, unified voice that is appropriate for the intended reading public
  • A title that links clearly to the content of the post

Features of a successful blog

  • Short, concise posts that use multimedia materials (video, images) to effectively make a point
  • Effective use of hyperlinks to support ideas, to direct readers to relevant, interesting posts, and to demonstrate an awareness of the community of writers focusing on a common theme or set of ideas
  • A clear, unified voice that continues to grow and develop over time

Qualities of a skilled blogger

  • Ability to quickly synthesize and articulate ideas
  • An awareness of a wide range of blogging techniques and of how these various techniques reach different target audiences effectively or ineffectively
  • Reading with mouse in hand: Engaging with (online and offline) materials as potential material for blog posts
  • Willingness to serve as an intelligent filter for a wide public audience
  • Engagement with the wider blogging community, including offering thoughtful comments on others’ writing and reading widely and broadly
  • Post by Jacob McWilliams.

Go any direction, but look back at your posts in class to date and answer the question, "Am I becoming a skilled blogger?"

Greg McVerry

Updates Outline/Notes for Agentive Apprenticeship Article

2 min read

in apprenticeship learning target skills are not only continually in use by skilled practioners, but are instrumental in completing meangingful tasks

learning of skills and knowledge embedded in social and functional context 456

The biggest difference between agentive apprenticships and cognitive apprenticeship is the focus on growing the network and spaces of learning rather than focusing solely on strategy use by the individual learner.

cognitive apprenticeships:
-"designed to teach the process experts use to handle complex tasks p. 457"

agentive apprenticeships
-designed to support community goals through learner growth

cogntivie apprenticeship
-learning through guided experienced

agentive appretniceship
-learning through a networked exeperience

cogntive apprenticeship
-require extensive techniques to encourage the development of self correction and monitoring skills 458

agentive apprenticeship
-these skills are encouraged, documented, and parsed using blogging and social media tools

Network Technologies and Abstracted Replay
-chat rooms
Cognitive Apprenticeship was so much about how to deliver feedback. (see the tehcnical reports from Brown, Collins, Dugiuid) and to encourage metacognitive stretgy use. Even here the metacognition was usually focused on outcome driven feedback.

If you look at you can see how these feedback loops emerge.

For these we utlized Gee's Circuit of Reflective Inquiry to operationalize how feedback occurs in agentive apprenticeship.

Increasingly times this feedback is provided my non human actors. In the IndieWeb community for example participants use parsers to check to see if their websites are built correctly. In these feedback loops are strengthened with a wide network of alumni and enthusiasts who may coem across a post by  a student after it was shared by a bot.

Sequencing in Agentive Apprenticeship
Global before local skills

Sociology of Learning in Agentive Apprenticeship
Situated Learning
Culture of Expert Practice
Intrinsic Motivation
Exploiting Cooperation
Exploiting Competition

Outline Draft

Greg McVerry

Hey #clmooc help me on my learning journey by documenting your own #feldgang by building a website

1 min read

As part of this summer I am trying to create a tutorial that students of all ages can use to document their learning journey.

I am writing a tutorial for launching a website with some basic blogging functionalities using the Glitch platform.

Wondering if anyone would be willing to give the tutorials a try. Interested in feedback in general observations, like time it takes, the instructional design, word choice.

You know general teacher feedback on lesson plans.

If you stick with me this summer as I complete the lessons you will leave with a website dedicated to your . I know we all have blogs and keep living there. I just want to drop a few seeds along the way as we journey together this summer.

Here is the tutorial

Here is the starter project.

If you want any help ping me anytime and if anyone else wants a unit or lesson plans reviewed just ask.



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