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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.


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Greg McVerry

I just proposed a session on webmention badges and gamification for #IndieWeb Online West #OpenBadges

Let's talk linking and learning in networked speaces.

1 min read

IndieWeb West, a remote conference rapidly approaches, and I just proposed a session on webmention badges.

For the last two years a group of us have explored how we could created a simple badging system using webmentions. One link, verifying that a second link contains evidence that meets specific criteria.

That's it. Two permalinks talking and veryifying each other. I want to continue this work at the IndieWeb summit.

At the same time we see new community members drawn to the old idea of indiemark, whihch was a way to self assess how far your personal site has come. I wonder if we can gamify this a bit more with automate badges.

Same with the test suites, what if stuff like awarded a badge when people past a test? These could stack until a person earns an "IndieWeb" button to display on theior site. The button could then link to a record of the test result.

Some background:


Greg McVerry

Endorsements in #IndieWeb Webmention Badges #OpenBadges

As I show people the simplicity of a webmention badging system they often look to feature parity with the #OpenBadges 2.0 spec. We begin with a

2 min read

As I show people the simplicity of a webmention badging system they often look to feature parity with the 2.0 spec.

We begin with a discussion of credibility and authenticity and usually, folks realize that webmention badges create a chain of trust that boils down to two permalinks.

When you stamp something with your URL you stamp it with your name. In many ways webmention badges solves the credibility and identity issue of credentialing better than open badges.


People then turn to the endorsement class added, though with few of no actual examples in the wild, in the spec. They want to know if a webmention badge could handle a third party endorsement.

For background you can read this piece by Nate and Dan.

Endorse What you Like

In Dan and Nate's example they use a third party accreditation board. We can accomplish feature parity with a like post using just a few words "u-like-of"

In our Badging Tools example let's say Eddie Hinkle is actually a renowned coding boot camp.

He can endorse the badge issued by .org by publishing a like post.

<a class="u-like-of" href=""></a>

Here is what it looks like parsed:

    "items": [
            "type": [
            "properties": {
                "temperature": [
                    "40.88 \u2109"
                "weather": [
                "author": [
                "url": [
                "like-of": [
                "bridgy-publish": [
                "published": [

You need verification! Why not go check the weather in Baltimore the day Eddie published. Yet this would be overkill. Just seeing the like on an h-review should be enough to say Eddie Hinkle endorses this badge.

There is a permalink to the post. This could be added to the ledger when a badge is issued

Endorsements solved.

Greg McVerry

Update on Sending Webmention Badges from Wikimedia #openbadges

I have made progress on webmention badges. In fact we can now issue webmention badges from the #IndieWeb wiki directly to someone's Badge page

3 min read

I have made progress on webmention badges. In fact we can now issue webmention badges from the wiki directly to someone's Badge page like mine

How cool is that?

Imagine a fandom wiki where you can develop a set of badges for a contributor and as soon as you make the wikipage the badge shows up on their website. That is the power of webmentions, a w3c standard designed to drive the new social web!

What if wikipedia had a similar badging experience? Every badge issunace gets a permalink and every contribuor gets to proudly display their badge. Who know it could increase contribution rates.

How Does it Work

The wiki has a little bit of extra magic. This is a tiny bit of microformats, samntic markup in your HTML. Anyone who can write a basic HTML file can use microformats.

I am using the following mark up for the badge. What you don't see is the h-entry indicating a post. Every wiki page on our wiki has an h-entry property:

 <h1 class="p-name">Tool Builder Badge </h1>
    Issued <time class="dt-published" datetime="2013-12-15 12:00:00">15<sup>th</sup>Dec 2018</time>
    by <a class="p-author h-card" href=""></a>.
<div class="e-content">
<img class="u-photo" src="" alt="tool builder badge">
<p>To earn the tool builder badge you had to<span class="p-criteria">launch code with documentation for the community to use.</span></p>
<p> <a class="u-in-reply-to" href=""><span class="h-card">jgmac1106</span> </a> earned this badge  as  <span class="p-evidence">evidenced by <a class="u-in-reply-to" href="">IndieWeb Learning Networks</a></span></p></div>

The p-criteria and p-evidence are proposed microforamts and are currently ignored by all parsers.

I then made a page on the wiki for the badge. The badge temoplate can then be copied and the wiki username added to the file to issue the badge.

The IndieWeb wiki uses to recieve webmentions and to send webmentions. Any wiki could use these services, or better yet, build the service right into your server.

When I create the file for a specific user I can then send the webmention to the evidence and to the users website page for displaying badges.

Then the user gets to decide how to display the badge.

What's Next?

I want to keep working with our version of mediawiki, being able to provide this level of creditialing from a wiki has so many use cases.

I also want to work on a micropub client for making and issuing a badge. This would have to publish a badge to an issuer's website and then send a webmention badge to a recipient while creating a public ledger.

It's quite doable. Wanna help?


Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Counting Things and Making Things That Count and #AERA15 reflection

@emamjohnson trust me. I like counting things and making things that count. Runs deep in the DNA #AERA15 &mdash; Greg McVerry (@jgmac1106) April 18, 2015 Had a

6 min read

Had a wonderful conversation with Emily Johnson about assessment at AERA. I am glad to see Twitter pick up at AERA and want to engage in academic discourse. Twitter at AERA looks more like a broadcast channel and not a backchannel.

I did not want to come off as someone who has a fear of numbers. I like counting things. Even if I do (try)a qualititative study I will end up counting codes. I will then want to tweak the learning space to see if I can cause a statistical difference in those codes. 

The conversation began with Emily sharing out a slide from Daniel Willingham. I agree  with Willingham that content knowledge = comprehension. I also agree with he and  Robert Pondiscio that reading assessment makes very little sense after basic decoding skills

There are some universal comprehension skills that can and should be taught. Yet the effect sizes of these lessons wane as readers develop greater proficiency. They also rarely transfer to other texts. Michael Fagella-Luby likes to point out that these strategy instruction is critical to special education students. He is right, but strategy instruction should not be the crux of our reading programs.

I spent my doctoral career designinging reading assessemtns. I had to design and validate seven different measures for my dissertation alone. I don't hate testing. I just think some things essential to schools can't be assessed.

We know reading motivation is a strong predictor of comprehension. Yet the word only appears once in the Common Core State Standards? Why? It is hard to measure.

Even more important is the love of the word. I want the students I teach to have a passion for playing with prose. I want them to have a library of reactionary gifs they can post on topics that matter to them.

I am not sure this is an outcome that can be measured.

My other issue is what happens when you take Willingham's and Pondiscio's position to its ultimate logical conclusion? If content knowledge matters most than someone has to decide what knowledge. No government agency should be in the business of deciding a universal canon of knowledge. We already ignore the counter narrative of People of Color in our schools. We suppress stories of the oppressed. We already ignore the diverse multiliteracies of today's youth. Having a government decide what we need to know is no democracy I want to live in.

I agree here with James Paul Gee that students have islands of knowledge. A very young child maybe able to understand a complex text about Minecraft or about baseball. This is regardless of lexile level but governed by discourses.

Here Emily and I disagreed a little (I think. It is very easy to misconstrue positions and intentions on Twitter). I just do not think the assessment regime schools have lived under since NCLB passage (or since Nation At Risk has been published) have been good for schools. If NAEP scores have been so steady in the era of accountability based reform why are we still wasting billions, possibly trillions, on the same path? Isn't replication the first step in ed research? Don't we have enough evidence that testing does little for schools? Could those billions being used on the bad math of VAM and teacher evaluation be better spent?

So how could we do reading assessment?

What if teachers had a competency based approach to comprehension assessment? I see it somewhat in schools. They have taken the CCSS grade level expectations and made report cards, but schools get these wrong. They often have a four point scale ending in 4, exceeding grade level. My issue, since CCSS are end of the year expectations what are you doing for the child who meets or exceeds this expectation on their report card half way through the year? What about the child who finished last year with meeting the GLE based competency? Why did you move on to the next year? Based on the assessment data we are wasting their time.

These are just some quick thoughts, but I was thinking about , reading comprehension, and the common core. A digital badge is a visual representation of the data behind the image. What if a teacher picked a series of GLE from the CSS and created a learning pathway that could be represented by a badge? The CCSS were never meant to be taught in isolation anyway. 

Teachers could then require the student to reflect on their growth along this pathway. The teacher could also collect and analyze evidence of student growth by tagging evidence in work products or student dialogue and text moves during the work process.

Then the students could be assessed on the vocabulary that matters in the discipline. They could complete concept maps pre and post to measure knowledge growth. These two assessments I am sure would go a long way in predicting how students would comprehend a text in any given disicipline. 

In terms of the harder things to measure: passion, engagement, etc., I do not think they can be counted but they could be cultivated. If you figure out how just let me know.


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