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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

Five Reasons I chose to Carve a Spoon as My Subjective's Metaphor #OpenPedagogy #digped

My Free Choice Post for #edu522

3 min read

In my previous post I shared pictures of a hand carved spoon I am shaping from wood. I used this tool as a metaphor to explore my goals for . Got me thinking about what would the shape of the sotry be if I stretched the metaphor just a little too far.

Knowledge isn't Spoon Fed

In this class you design your syllabus, well the important parts. I still curate materials and facilitate discussions.

Open pedagogy draws heavily on principles woven into feminism and critical theory. in the sense of striving for the better (hooks, 1994); of seeing growth as a community process rather than a taxonomy of skills aquisition (Weber, 2006).

Many of us gather on a quilt Dave Cormier  (2015) calls "Community is the Curriculum" which we hold together through intentionaly equitable hospitality. In this class I want us to cook together. Bring in our own flavors to a shared table.

Learning is Messy

We often cast learning in such clinical terms. Our students need an "intervention." Growth requires "diagnostic" assessment. A nice easdy picture cleaned with the medical precision of a septic wipe.

Open pedagogy also draws on ideas of rhizomatic learning. We waste so much time and treasur measuring and sorting children. I would rather double down on reinforcing classroom practices that we know have positive impacts.

I believe the space of learning and not the learner is the variable of interest that should draw your focus. What can you do better to let your students make a mess as you create a community of readers and writers?

Learning Takes Deliberate Planning, Action, and Reflection

Open Pedagogy gets driven by those who learn out loud. By that I mean we share our reflections, openly blog throughout the design practice, often create content for the Commons, and encourage our students to do the same.

When you make learning visibile (Hattie) you help students grow. When you encourage students to that from a place they can call their own you help them be.

In this class you control your level of openess and privacy. You can share only in our private Microsoft Teams channels or publicly by publishing on your own website.

Play With Knives

Imagine walking into your principles office and suggesting giving out knives to all the eigh year olds. Think it will fly?

Why not?

I have taught so many children ages 6-10 to play with knives in cub scouts. I am happy my kids can, with supervision, sit outside and play with knives

We shelter our children from too many complex tools and topics. I believe we must engage students in critical issues for change from a Vygotoskian dialectical perspecticve.

In this class we will explore the relationship of open pedagogy, privacy, and strategy exchange amongst our peers as you folks work toward your subjectives.

Know the Right Amount of Pressure

If you look closely at where my spoon is and where I planned it to be you will see they are not alike. I say I am trying to break from my love of symmetrical design, others will call it a lack of skill. Either way, many times when I press too hard the wood cracked.

Learning works this way. We need to rethink assessment and the pressures we put on children. As Sean Michael Morris and Jessie Stommel ask us, "How do we measure the love of learning?"

In this class I hope to leave that question unanswered as we all try a little bit better tomorrow all figuring it out.

Greg McVerry

Stuff I Reposted or Liked in the Last 24 Hours #IndieWeb

In a great #IndieWeb chat this morning we were discussing the ethical implications of reactions from the Buddhist perspective of trishna, or the craving of

3 min read

In a great chat this morning we were discussing the ethical implications of reactions from the Buddhist perspective of trishna, or the craving of attention, and how this relates to the UX around reactions.

So I took a look at my likes and reposts for the last 24 hours

I do not do reactions from my own website. Too much work for a quick ephemeral nod.

If someone wrote something I will need later or I feel should shape my thinking I bookmark the artifact.

If I want to engage with them I send a reply.

If I want to thank someone I keep a manually h/t on the post which I can then search for the plain text.


Reposted and Liked:

Reposted and Liked:




Reposted and Liked:




I give out likes and reposts like I do stickers and candy in the classroom. Are these the deepest forms of learning and classroom management techniques? No. They are shallow and have an immediate but dwindling efficacy.

Still I keep stickers in my teacher toolkit, and reactions  will probably stay the same. I use reactions as signs of encouragement for writers young and old. I may use reactions more frequently as students or new community members get onboarded.

I use reactions to save time. Every writer deserves great feedback but no teacher can provide in-depth feedback all the time. And sometimes people just need a sticker and smile. A reaction can provide that.

I treat my online space and classrooms the same. As communities. I think one can be quite intentional in how we live in these spaces.

While the UX and monetization clearly do not align with Buddhist principle  that craving and attachment cause suffering.

I do not think we must design a complex world without this simple experience in order to live the right path. Through careful thinking  we can use reactions as creative judgements which help show the simple truth that lay below our complex veils.

I know reactions are designed to cause sensation, and no scientist or Buddhist would claim reality gets defined by sensation...But dopamine is fun.

So that's the rub, not sure, and its a question I have explored for decades, if I am willing to give up the self. Everything is great in moderation, especially moderation. I love the works of William Blake and philosophies of Jung.

Yet I dabble in ideas of collective expression. My instructional design gets guided by the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda. And I do believe paths of true enlightenment would require detachment from all physicality, but that isn't where I am in my phase of life to explore. Wonder if I ever will be.

So for now I will go with a more Deweyian, rather than Perician pragmatism and roll with reactions as part of good teaching and community building.

If I ever do walk away from all craving and physcical possession, when it does happen, I will make sure to give myself a thumbs up.


Greg McVerry

How I Help Address CAEP Cross Cutting Theme of Technology @scsu

How We are Shaping the College of Education into a Center or #EdTech Teachign and Research

2 min read

How does the EPP collaborate with partners to provide expertise on new technology in  professional development for teachers in partner schools? For advanced-level specialists?
We host and organize a free 2 day professional seminar for building personal websites in NYC and New Haven: 

We run programs with community leaders in the non profit field working to address inequity in literacy:

We ran a Interdisciplinary Geographic Information Systems institute
I and Regine served on the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Council for Reading and recommended greater digital literacy.
The university also funded my start up ReVIEW Talent Feedback System which is used by districts all over CT for video based calibration training.

How do partners collaborate with the EPP to provide expertise on new technology to candidates in coursework, fieldwork, or clinical practice?
EDU106 we piloted a tool and helped develop software for Mozilla:
We taught the GearUp kids EDU106 where our candidates worked as mentors
We taught GearUp kids through Elm City Webmakers
Candidates are involved our efforts to build an OER network in Ghana

We have submitted over 3 million dollars in federal IES grant application to study the role of digital reading and writing.
Every student in EDU 307 online must design and teach a screeencast mini lesson, and then a module about a children's literacy genre:

Graduate students took part in designing microcredentials using the W3c recommendation of webmentions: Class feeds:

Greg McVerry

#EDU106 Student Artifacts and Comments--Needed to do this as feeling blue we missed #edu106 Ignite Talk and portfolio day at @scsu favortie days of semester

Class Description EDU106 New Literacies: Digital Text and Tools for Lifelong Learning s a technology fluency class I teach at Southern Connecticut State University. We learn

5 min read

Class Description

EDU106 New Literacies: Digital Text and Tools for Lifelong Learning s a technology fluency class I teach at Southern Connecticut State University. We learn a crazy amounts of tech but the class is really one of philosophy of self and growth. The class gets broken into four components

  • Tell Your Story
  • Learn Something
  • Teach Something
  • Do Something

Due to covid19 outbreak and this hybrid class moving online I removed the "do something" requirement and had students publish their teach something units as a portfolio.

Tell You Story

In tell your story we trace the shapes of stories. We started with Kobe Bryant's "Love of Basketball" and then looked at the shape of well written emails. Then we looked at the shape of both qualitative and quantitative research articles and learned how to use these shapes to be active readers and notetakers.

On the technology front we explored the selfie as an artifact of self and wrote About Me pages while learning HTML basics. We then did a photo challenge to practice basics of photo editing. Tell Your Story culminated in an unselfie project.

Learn Something

In Learn Something students focused on collaborative essay writing as we practiced our research writing skills. In small groups the class learned how to write a single case study using basic matrix analysis. They had to choose a community and analyze it from a lens.

We integrated digital texts and tools as students were tasked to go out and learn anything they wanted but to post reflections on what they learned. First students had to bookmark sources and explain why they chose these as both credible and relevant sources. Basically everyone wrote their own textbook. Next students had to create a podcast and post five episodes reflecting on what they learned.

The outbreak happened just as we finished up our "Learn Something" units. Instead of a community the students had to switch it up and study an online community. I decided to remove the "do something unit" and move into teach something. One outcome of the being locked down was seeing intergnerational learning happening. Daughters working with dads, and sisters with brothers. Family, especially heirloom recipes have always been a feature of this class.

Teach Something

In the final unit students first explored what good teaching looks like and they wrote posts giving advice to SCSU on how they should improve their teaching. We then explored effective screencasts. Students practiced video editing as they had to post a screencast or video teaching something and then an Ignite Talk. An ignite talk is a presentation where 20 image driven slides auto advance every 20 seconds.

For the portfolio final students choose one of four pathways: video, photo, podcasting, or web design and then they had to put together a portfolio of blog posts and videos to teach the rest of the class something.

They also had to create and analyze a survey for basic descriptive stastics. Students learned how to write survey questions, the different types of data, and how to use google forms to make spreadsheets and charts.

Then students had to either use the websites we started in class or choose their own place to publish a portfolio (Blackboard, WordPress, Tumblr). Tumblr was the CMS of choice this year.

Student Portfolio Sites

Some students chose to openly share their portfolios with the world. We learn about the differences between privacy and open and all students are allowed to publish and license their content in anyway they see fit.

Chris's Dungeons and Dragons

Shaoshi's Penny Boarding

Lily on Baking

Low Carb Baking with Maria

Student Comments

Sharing comments that were pubslihed openly on student blogs.

I wanted to wish everyone luck with the last couple of days of finals week and thank you all for being amazing classmates. This was one of my favorite classes this semester and I have really learned a lot from Professor McVerry, and all of my peers.

I also feel like being able to take this class and learn has been the main reason why I have done so well this semester. All my work has improved and I feel like this is one of my best classes grade-wise and I am very grateful for that. I would recommend this class to many other students on the SCSU campus because not only does this class teach you a lot but it gives you a private/public space to vent and be able to tell how you are feeling.

To professor McVerry, I wanted to thank you for being one of the best professors I have had on Southern's campus.  You have taught me a lot about new literacies and being able to open up to others around me. I really appreciate everything you have done for me and the class during this pandemic


With class nearing its end, I wanna say it's been a great class. Shame we didn't get to spend more time in class because of the outbreak. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the classroom

It was fun, the professor was kind, respectful, and most importantly: Patient. I truly admire this quality in people, more so in teachers. He always made sure to get to everyone's question and didn't blow a gasket if someone repeated a question already asked, he simply just answered it again so for that he has my undying respect. I wish there were more professors like him that realize new students are rookies to the subject and don't have the same level of understanding as he does.



Greg McVerry

Hey #edu506 This module you need to make a lesson on a multimodal text here are a few examples

My advice is to first make a multimodal text.....See the Write task where I ask you to respond to a text with a multmodal

3 min read

My advice is to first make a multimodal text.....See the Write task where I ask you to respond to a text with a multmodal could use that.....

Make a text and design a lesson around it. This is what I did with

I first did this planning on the Google Doc I can now turn this into a lesson plan.

I know this sounds backwards, and I never have you start with the product but you need to know you can make a multimodal text.

Technology Not Required

Mutlimodal does not mean digital and digital does not mean multimodal. My favorite way to teach students to read poetry is multimodal and has students design collages.

Make a Podcast

Here is my 2toPonder series and my poetry series. Want to make a podcast, just record on your phone or laptop and upload the file somewhere.

Use Paper

In my literacy mantra I made a flip book like explanation. I just stacked my phone camera on a bunch of books.

I also do little clip art talks with paper cut outs

You can do "In Plain English" style videos. I always pre write a script. I like to divide it into three columns, the text, me, and ay actions.


Use a Voice Animation Program

Use a Sock Puppet App

This is one of many sock puppets apps on iOS devices that kids love.

Use a text to Speech App

These are fun as all you have to do is type and it gets converted to text. So many uses in the langauge arts classroom.

I made a video about RSS Planets recently for .

Do a Pecha Flickr

 You can make a timeline

TimelineJS is a great tool. You turn a Google spreasheet into an interactive multimedia task.

Use Movie Making Apps

So many choices for movie making apps. Yoiu can make book trailers in iOS, short clips in Animoto or try WeVideo on Chrome.

Use an Animation App

There are so many choices on different platforms for animation apps. The key is to remember to enhance your pedagogical goal. What is the animation giving you that just talking to the camera wouldn't? Time is precious.

Use Poetry


More poetry ideas

Make a Website

From a fake Facebook page, movie posters, poems to a Star Wars crawler. You can use ELA content to master the basics of how we read, write, and participate online.

Check out this collection of activities

Greg McVerry

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

Anyone who has followed my meandering path into the #IndieWeb knows much of what I do gets driven by teaching. Our company ReVIEW Talent Feedback System

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

Some recent #instructionaldesign videos Getting Started (synchronous sessions ) How to use Kaltura and microlecture Live Vlog of Instructional design Active Learning Tips Getting

1 min read Getting Started (synchronous sessions ) How to use Kaltura and microlecture Live Vlog of Instructional design Active Learning Tips Getting Started with Discussions Asking Questions About Texts Assessing discussion boards Basic of Rubrics predictable instructional design

Greg McVerry

Hey @scsu I wanted to share some insights we have had as we build and facilitate trainings to get ready for the 100% move online #edchat #literacies #edtechchat #highered

As our students will return to campus without setting a foot on campus we need to ensure we approach the week with care and compassion

3 min read

As our students will return to campus without setting a foot on campus we need to ensure we approach the week with care and compassion and then build out a space for learning using four better practices:

  • Use Asynchronous Communication
  • Use Simple Predictable Design
  • Focus On Teacher Presence
  • Provide Timely Feedback

Make Your Class Asynchronous

We have been providing training to many of you on two delivery methods:

  • asynchronous techniques using videos, readings, assignment, and Blackboard
  • synchronous techniques using chat and video apps like Microsoft Teams and WebEx

While as a faculty member you have the academic freedom to design your course in any manner that uses tools supported by the University we wanted to share some better practices:

The majority of your course should be asynchronous. While many faculty may want to just open WebEx or Microsoft Teams, launch the video chat, and teach during their assigned face to face class time this is not considered better practice.

  • Many of your students will be newly unemployed and have child care issues to figure out. Being available at specific times may not be possible to many. Conducting the majority of your classes asynchronously will help ensure every student can succeed.
  • Your synchronous chats should be used to supplement your class and increase your social presence. Better practice would not rely on live chat as your primary delivery system

Keep Your Design Simple

You need to keep your instructional design simple and predictable. For the next few weeks less is more. Provide as few tools to students as possible. Come up with a design for your modules (we made a course template) that you can repeat each week or each two weeks.

Focus on Teaching Presence

After simple design your teaching presence is the most important practice. Set aside 1-2 hours a day for teaching each class and another 1hour per class for delivering feedback. At a minimum you should post a note to each students' first post. Make sure you are posting a minimum of four days a week.

Try so send daily or weekly announcement. A short email, video, or audio announcement can help keep students engaged.
Email messages are very powerful. Send words of encouragement or feedback occasionally to student emails. Research shows this to be a very effective practice at increasing student engagement.

Timely Feedback

We are all worried about the increased work load but we know timely feedback ensures student success in online learning. First begin by asking if your assessments are important. Will they make a difference to student lives in 5 years. If you are doing the assessment for just a grade or accreditation it doesn't really serve a learning purpose and may not be needed.

Think about more frequent and shorter assessments. Use low stakes or ungraded assessments. Rely on peer assessments. Remember feedback, and not the assessment tools and grades we assign, drive learning.

Greg McVerry

EDU #506 As We Are Examinging Different Ways of Questioning Text Structure get Creative in Your #literacies Task #poetryport

Maybe it is on meI limited choicerather than watchas it drifted throughseas of possibilitiesyou can interrogate a textthrough novel questslike a comicwhich flips throughunderstandings in

3 min read

Maybe it is
on me
I limited choice
rather than watch
as it drifted through
seas of possibilities
you can interrogate a text
through novel quests
like a comic
which flips through
understandings in dialectical frames
or perhaps Found poems
inference far stronger
of the main idea

Check out how Kevin Hodgson summarized a book in comics

Following Kevin's lead I decided to use Found poems as a way to take to notes of a book I am currently reading.

An open life : Joseph Campbell in conversation with Michael Toms

You can find my feed of found poems here:

Do ways of representing
start denting
the pool of minutes
yes but the understanding
within us
through slow reading
and remix strengthens
the negotiation of meaning.

Greg McVerry

You Learn A Lot Talking To Yourself Online in #IndieWeb Chat

The self directed nature of knowledge quilting relies heavily on agentive #apprenticeship. The network needs to provide resources even when experts are not around. We handle

2 min read

The self directed nature of knowledge quilting relies heavily on agentive . The network needs to provide resources even when experts are not around.

We handle this in a few ways. First you have Loqi, your friendly bot and therapist. You can ask them all kinds of questions.

That puts you in touch with the wiki where you can often find helpful advice and discussion of design patterns.

This means I can talk to myself and never be alone.

Learning spaces need to create environments where self-direction thrives, not rely on a myth of self direction to avoid designing community.

jgmac1106: what is pagination? [05:50am]
Loqi: pagination is a UI pattern for navigation across (typically chronologically) sequential pages that show one or more posts such as permalink post pages, archives, search results, and lists of tagged posts[05:54am]
jgmac1106: Trying to brainstorm how to add pagination and the url structure for my artilces page: [05:55am]
jgmac1106: read Karthik and aaronpk do by year, was thinking every 12…not make it sate specific [05:57am]
jgmac1106: not sure about /,1,2,3 because new articles added to /, I don’t want to have to move everything once a page exceed 12 articles [06:00am]
[06:07am] jgmac1106: maybe I do articles/yyyy/mm and use that as inspiration to try and publish 10-12 articles a month
[06:58am] jgmac1106: I will add a directory of months to my page not found: so if someone was just poking around archives by messing with yyyy/mm url they can find months with stuff
[06:58am] Loqi: Greg McVerry


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