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Greg McVerry

Submitted Application for the @Mozilla Responsible Computer Science Challenge

20 min read

Concept Description:

 

The Computer Science Department, Research Center on Computing and Society, and School of Education at Southern Connecticut State University propose this work to fund the creation of a Virtual Reality recording and editing studio, with accompanying coursework on storytelling and WebVR.

Specifically, this project will fund the creation of the VR lab and openly licensed pedagogical materials other computer science departments could use to learn ethics, WebVR , or both. Through these courses students will create scalable, remixable content around issues of ethics in computer science in order to leave our program understanding of ethics as a first-design principle.

The project will proceed in two stages. The Responsible Computer Science Challenge award will fund the first stage. During the first stage we will develop the animation and WebVR lab as well as the curriculum. Successful results of this stage will lead us to seek follow up funding to design a dual-purpose Virtual Reality live recording studio while maintaining planetarium functionality.

Stage One, funded by the Responsible Computer Science Challenge, is a formative design research project that revolves around the  pedagogical goal of understanding how perspectives, history, and personality shape ethics and technology. We will develop a class cross listed in philosophy and computer science will teach digital storytelling through narratives of ethics and revise computer science classes in web design and security to include WebVR.

SCSU  is uniquely qualified for this award. Our Research Center on Computing and Society, founded and led by Terrell Ward Bynum, has explored the ethics of computer science and technology since 1988. Dr Heidi Lockwood, Professor of Philosophy, will join the project. Dr. Lisa Lancor, Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department will serve as Principal Investigator on the Project. Dr. Greg McVerry, Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Learning, and long-time Mozilla contributor, will lead our efforts to facilitate the development of course curricula  that align our long history of exploring ethics and computer science with theories of open pedagogy.

Theoretical Principles

We draw on John Dewey and see digital literacies and ethics in computer science as necessary for efforts in democratic education. The pedagogy used will center around production-based inquiry methods. We will also encourage all participants to reflect openly on a blogging platform. We will encourage further involvement of the larger Mozilla WebVR community in the project

Why WebVR

We believe webVR has the greatest reach and impact when teaching ethics. While the cost of full virtual reality rigs and the computer to power these systems are out of reach for most of the global population, WebVR is accessible to anyone with a phone and Mozilla’s virtual reality web browser.

Open Pedagogy

Every participant will have their own website domain and a  content management system. Our theoretical underpinning is that agency and belief in oneself as a writer is essential in order to engage in the reflective thought required in ethics education. In today’s networked society (Castells & Cardozza, 2006), a new set of skills and practices have emerged, and we must design for diversity and inclusivity by acknowledging computer science has not been a safe space (boyd, 2018) (1,137 characters)

Formative Design

Collect Baseline Data

We will begin with focus group interviews with students who have completed CSC 235 Web and Database Development and ask about how they felt the class integrated lessons of technology and allowed them to develop their own space online. This class will include introductions to building A-Frame as students learn HTML.

We will also collect efficacy data about how participants feel towards storytelling. They will be asked to choose a picutre from a set and explain how the picture represents how they feel about their skill level. 

Develop Learning Interventions

We will then create and file the necessary paperwork for our new and revised courses. These courses will be designed in conjunction with our students and assigned a license that allows for . We will work with Mozillians already creating content on Glitch to develop WebVR tutorials.

Implement Interventions

We will then implement the courses and collect student feedback. The class will be open to SCSU for credit but open to global participants to play and contribute. Data will be triangulated using their blog posts and plus delta charts at multiple time points.

Analyze Data

After the first run of classes we will analyze the data to determine which factors inhibited and which factors supported our pedagogical goals.

Iterate on Learning Interventions

We will then revise the coursework and run the classes again.

Analyze Data

Finally, we will analyze  data one last time using content analysis to identify themes that brought us closer to our pedagogical goals.

 

 

 

Working Open:

 

We will open this project to the wider computer science and WebVR world. In fact, as we write this proposal, we welcome Pull Requests and issues at GitHub

Open Begins on Your Own Domain

As we develop this project, all participants will be encouraged to blog and share their reflections and learnings.  We believe working open involves not only "documenting and sharing your concept with broader audiences",  but inviting  audiences to get involved and help shape both the project and our openly networked space for learning.

To this end, all participants from the PI to each student will be given a url and a blog. We will use a social reader and technologies called to connect learners.

Open Pedagogy

The two courses designed for this class will carry an open license. In fact, they will be built using readily available tools. Members of Mozilla's WebVR community have already expressed interest in both designing and taking the course.

Open Data and Privacy

No participant will be required to share openly and will have full control to license their own content as long as they meet the requirements of any reused code or previously licensed content.( 

 

 

 

Internet Health:

 

In a recent survey on Internet Health, specifically the future of connected devices, Mozilla found that those who identify as ultra nerds are more optimistic about the web than those not always online. This result mirror's danah boyd's twentieth anniversary critique of John Berry Barlow's original manifesto. Ultra-nerds come from a place of privilege, and this usually means white, male, and from the global north. We never designed the web for diversity because the original designers had never felt threatened, were never stalked. This explains why, even today, Amnesty International find female journalists get attacked every ten seconds online

In college I did have a stalker. It was a very scary experience. I come to technology with a different perspective because of that experience. It is not a matter of techno panic but a matter of self-preservation....lots of people in Silicon Valley who have never had a Stalker. They are not thinking like that. If you get more people involved that have had …well…Diversity improves technology in a way that makes regulation less necessary Stacey Higginbotham, This Week in Google.

We seek to improve internet health by ensuring that ethics, especially the areas of diversity and inclusion, gets taught as a principle of first design. WebVR provides a useful avenue for this approach as we can put hypothetical characters in situations that would not be ethical to do to real humans. Furthermore, early research into counseling, PTSD, and autism finds virtual reality may help to improve empathy.

We will utilize a series of case studies as models and encourage students to record and create A-Frame content. The use of a WebVR first approach also allows us to reach a much larger audience with our message of ethics in computer science. While the price point on high end virtual reality rig  the cost makes it inaccessible to almost 100% of the world population. Anyone with a smartphone and a compatible lens can use WebVR.

Our MVP case studies we propose and will develop with our students include:

  • Greening the Web: Do you really need React or Blockchain when HTML will do?
  • Code of Conduct: Better conferences or Kangaroo Court?
  • False Positives: Do Algorithms protect us?
  • HTML First: A Matter of ?

Our students will then work in distributed teams with open participants across the web to create additional case studies.

 

 

 

 

A scan of scholarly articles and a survey of virtual reality and computer science specialists found no evidence of anyone else trying to teach ethics through the use of WebVR. We posted messages to GitHub repos, Telegram, Twitter, and Slack in communities that focus on webVR.

While we did not find anyone currently doing similar work, we did find a large expressed interest from people who want to contribute. In fact, we are already collaborating with the two most popular A-Frame  teachers in the greater Mozilla networks.

However recent outreach on Twitter https://twitter.com/jgmac1106/status/1088453939861712897 lead to emergin connections to other researchers in the State of Connecticut may lead to partnerships on scale up efforts. 

 

 

 

 

Key Personnel

Dr. Lisa Lancor (an 8.3% effort, or 1.0)will enable her to oversee course development and program instruction as well as administration of the project funds. Dr. Lancor will also revise courses following their operation and analyze data collected.

Co-PI Greg McVerry (a 9.4% effort, or 1.13 Academic Months). He  will act as a pedagogy and instructional design expert helping to design courses. Dr. McVerry will also coordinate with third party developers creating learning tools. He will also devote 0.5 Summer Months above and beyond his normal duties to the project, for an additional 4.2% effort

Additional salary support for Co-PI Heidi Lockwood (a 2.7% effort, or 0.3 Summer Month) 4% of time will provide assistance in applying the philosophy of ethics to our course design.

Other Personnel

Student 1 $15 per hour for 20 hr/wk. This student will help to record and edit instructional videos, data collection, provide four hours of open online office hours for help, and spend four hours documenting the program through our website and social media.

Student 2 will be paid $12 per hour for 10 hr/wk  He or she will handle  office logistics and filing of university required paperwork. They will provide technical assistance in the lab during class time. 

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits for are protected under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Dr. Lancor  64.70% rate on summer work; Dr. McVerry 83.47% rate on course release and 49.72% rate on summer; Dr. Lockwood  72.73% on summer work. Students do not receive fringe during the academic year.

Materials and Supplies

Insta360 Pro II Spherical VR 360 8K Camera, Extra Battery & Charger Kit, $6,000

 Audio recording equipment $4,000

3 Garmin VIRB 360 Action Camera $2,100

Audio remixing and studio equipment, $2,900

5 high-end desktops or laptops $20,0000

Other

  • Professional Installation, 2000 for the set-up of the audio recording studio
  • Developer, Malcom Blaney,¬†[FJ1]¬† at $75 for 65 hours.; Create a ledger and micropub client for issuing and recording webmention badges. and HTML.
  • Developer, Grant Richardson, $9,000 at $75 for 120 hours; Create a lightweight blogging CMS using nodejs. Include webmentions, indieauth, and micropub endpoints. Create a microformats parser for tracking class participation.¬†

Indirect Costs: SCSU maintains a negotiated indirect cost agreement with DHHS. Copies of SCSU’s NICRA are available upon request.

 

 

Risks:

 

As a university sponsored project, all research activity funded by this grant will require approval from the SCSU  Institutional Review Board and any consent and assent from participants.

Humane Tech isn't Engineered

Mindsets do not shift easily. Many developers look to engineer their way to the perfect social solution. This world belief that "Code can save the world, but only I can write it" traces its roots, as Sara Wachter-Boettcher (2017) points out, back to bias engineered into computer science since the 1950's when  identified loner men as the most apt for programming and then built assessments to identify these types of employees. Yet  of bias of perfection, impostor syndrome to explicit bias around competition, verbal discourse, and neurodiversity have weeded their way through all of our history (Banaji & Greenwald, 2017).

We cannot code our way to better community. While what we engineer reflects our bias, engineering alone can never overcome perspectives and pasts. Instead we must carve anew; placing our principles before our pull  requests. To overcome the risk of settled mindsets we will first put a focus on listening to voices who tech does not serve or has not served safely.

We will then root the story of ethics in Computer Science into the narratives of at-risk populations. We will study the shape of the story and come to understand how the prescriptive technologies (Ursula, 2004) control the shape of stories we tell. We will then create narratives through the webVR case studies.

This does introduce the risk of too many possibilities. Amy Burvall notes that constraints lead to greater creativity. We will mitigate this risk by first focusing on creating webVR using A-Frame technologies as a proof of concept before scaling up to a full virtual reality recording studio.

However, we will provide everyone with a Domain  of their own and a blog to ensure they own their stories.

Interdisciplinary Approach

Our use of webVR and A-Frame will require computer science engineers to study digital storytelling and narratology while English and education majors study computer science. The populations served by many community colleges and state universities in the United States have multiple jobs and families to raise. Adding additional domains of knowledge to already crowded curriculum can add stress to the lives of students.

To mitigate these risks, we will add additional scaffolds, a network of open participants, bi-monthly face to face meetings, and on-demand video tutorials.  We will also stress importance of community in Open Pedagogy and encourage participants to rely on each other and the knowledge we create and curate together.

Open and Privacy

Online communication, such as tweets, blog posts, and comments are generally out in the open and technically ‚Äúpublic‚ÄĚ and available for researchers to analyze and quote. Internet researchers have, however, documented how a particular communication may be technically public but viewed by the individual who posted it as meant for a more limited or private context.

Even if an individual feels that they have ‚Äúpublished‚ÄĚ in public or have consented to be part of research, they might still feel like trust has been violated if their words are taken up and re-framed in a way that they feel is out of context or misrepresented. While this study will seek IRB approval, we also have stringent rules around users:

·       We will analyze and publish data that is de-identified or aggregated in ways that cannot be traced back to an individual.

  • Any identifiable quotes or descriptions of activities will not be used in a research publication or presentation without the permission of the individual. This includes anonymized or pseudonymized quotes, because they can be linked back through a search engine to an individual public posting.

Participants may also be contacted and recruited to participate in surveys and interviews for specific research studies. In these cases, we will offer a clear explanation of the consent and privacy procedures, how the data will be used, and what benefit the research will provide to the individual and the community. We will also allow interviewees the opportunity to review transcripts and quotes.

No student will be required to join the study. In fact, someone beside the class instructor will collect permissions and the teaching professor will not know who agreed to be included until grades are submitted.  Participants may be asked to complete an additional consent form that will be reviewed and approved by our Institutional Review Board..

 

 

Student Audience:

 

At Southern Connecticut State University, we design for a future where there is no separate tech industry, for we embrace the truth of the present that every industry is now a tech industry. Therefore, our entry level class in the program will be offered to all students as part of our Liberal Education Program. This class will focus on the structure of storytelling, character development, and storytelling.

We will fork and also participate in the online class . This distributed learning community is the longest continuously running MOOC  and will connect our Southern students to open web advocates from across the globe. These students will be invited to join our efforts at developing ethical case studies using traditional new media.

All of our Computer Science undergraduate and graduate students take a class in computer ethics. All the case studies developed as part of this grant will be deployed in this class to be used by all of our computer science classes.

We will also revise our graduate level ethical hacking class to include case studies specifically around the ethics of privacy and security. Every computer science graduate class offers this program.

We will also develop and propose a new class on learning A-Frame and WebVR. While students will not complete case studies in this class, they will take storyboards and scripts students wrote in DS106, apply greater disciplinary and tier-three academic language, then develop the webVR files using the editing studio funded by this grant.

 

All the material we create from this class, including participant blogs, will be made openly available on the Glitch platform and GitHub. We have already started to work with collaborators who have created A-Frame tutorials and host these files on Glitch as well. Participants will maintain the right to license their content  however they choose.

This strategy of providing locally curated content that we also open to the web at large will lead to the greatest number of students to be involved in the grant. Working openly also provides a greater voice for our students to get involved in the design of the classes and the projects. The SCSU computer science club has expressed an interest and reported to the department they would like instruction in virtual reality. Any student member can join the steering committee simply by showing up to a meeting or filing a pull request on the team repo.

We also hope computer science, philosophy, business or education schools take up and use the case studies developed by our students. While we believe the learning and knowledge students gain by creating, editing and animating their videos will lead to greater knowledge growth, we will also develop the curriculum for programs that would just like to utilize our series of case studies.

The tutorials on A-Frame and WebVR that we will develop in conjunction with the Mozilla Virtual Reality community will also reach thousands. Having  tutorials framed around e ethics will further reinforce the concept that diversity and inclusion need to be a first design principle.

While traditional instructional design places a priority on learning objectives, ethics in computer science can never work this way. Inclusion should never be a rubric. No one should get a ‚Äú2.7 proficient in diversity‚ÄĚ score. Creating a culture of ethics as a first principle of design requires us to reshape society and not learners.

As Gary Stager points out (2005 pg 3), a focus on instructionalism, the measurable objective, direct instruction, forced response assessment, in education using the web leads to "delivering re-purposed content to students via the Internet. Communication, collaboration, community and construction are afterthoughts graded onto modern correspondence courses."

This data fetishization is a symptom of society rooted in the same problem that lead to the lack of ethics in computer science. Being inclusive doesn't exist on a Likert scale; it develops on a human scale

Therefore, rather than specific learner objectives, we will work with participants to set their "subjectives" (Cormier, 2015) and let them determine the goals in a class that is

¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Collaborative¬†‚Äď everyone, including the instructor, learns together and takes responsibility for everyone else‚Äôs learning.

·       Documented - the processes of learning are more important that the specifics of the knowledge constructed. The learning process, therefore, is documented in the...

·       Open - by exposing learning to colleagues and the public, students take the first steps in taking control of their digital identity and expanding their horizons as connected learners-John Becker, 2016.

Community we create will teach more about ethics than specific content. By utilizing case studies, we can connect with multiple perspectives and allow for growth and self-remediation yet we must live these lessons to the spaces and tools we build.

 

 

Measuring Success:

 

Measuring Success

Space as Variable of Interest

As our focus is more on measuring success in our spaces of learning, we will ask learners to plot how they feel the class supports learners in growing on the following scales:

  • Lead
    • Learn
    • Teach
    • Innovate
    • Evangelize
    • Organize
  • Communicate
    • Inquiry
    • Identify
    • Position
    • Empathize
    • Engage
  • Think
    • Question
    • Reflect
    • Analyze
    • Decide
    • Change
  • Create
    • Build
    • Test
    • Iterate
    • Differentiate
    • Scale

 

We will  will create a simple web app for participants to record not where they feel the majority of students engage with the participatory learning environments. After each class students, will simply click on across each of the four scales. We will use this data to iterate on how we meet our pedagogical goals.

Curating Evidence of Success

Each week all participants will be asked to select a picture and write a brief not explaining how the picture captures how they feel. Using content analysis and semiotic analysis we will explore the visual metaphors participants choose. This will provide evidence of knowledge growth from participants. This task is also designed to reinforce visual thinking in the creation of case studies.

Parsing for Growth

Because A-Frame is written in declarative HTML, we will be able to track knowledge growth by using HTML parsers and a type of metadata called microformats. These will be included in both the case study templates, student blogs, and the A-Frame starter kits.

We will also be able to track the number of changes students make using the history available to us in both Git and Glitch.

Webmention badges

We will also create a platform to issue badges. These have been piloted and successfully deployed. All class instructional pages will accept webmentions. Students will apply for a badge by writing a post in reply to the course explaining how they met criteria. If they met the criteria a webmention badge will be sent in reply to the application and to the student’s badge display page.

Circuit of Reflective Inquiry

Ethics requires a study of self and society through a process of self-remediation and democratic education. As we try to measure success of these efforts in Computer Science, we attempt to use multiple pieces of evidence that still put agency in the learner to focus on their subjectives. In this approach we hope to measure growth through Gee's circuit of reflective action:

We formulate a goal (and the goal could be answering a question) and then we take an action in the world. We see how the world responds to the action, ask ourselves whether this response was good or not for the accomplishment of our goal, and then, if need be, act again on better information or a redefined goal. The circuit of reflective action is an interactive conversation with the world.

Greg McVerry

Challenges in Open Source Blogging Communities

2 min read

As open source communities we need to keep each other energized and engaged.Many people contribute on volunteer time. Squeezing in opportunities to code around children and career.

Committment takes love and energy. We allowed a narrative of the loner coder pushing commits from a dark basement to define us for far too long. Let us redefine what open source communities look like in more inclusive terms. Let's build in supports for each other.

Blogging can provide this cathartic release for open source contributors. Yet, how do you we harness a digital hug, encourage friendly games, or allow for creative venting without putting undue pressure on an already busy day?

Use the blogs to uplift the community through fun. Make them simple. Design relevant task.

Blogging Challenges

You can add weekly, daily, or monthly challenges to your community or classroom. These challenges have existed since the dawn of the web. Both open pedagogy classes and open source communities have used have effectively used challenges to keep members engaged.

In this began with a daily shoot with a challenge to post a photo everyday. We ee similar types of games in social media streams all the times, but when playing along from a blog you can rest assure that contributing to your project doesn't mean social media silos get to suck up all of your data. They now have the infamous daily create bank that randomly tweets out a challenge every day.

In the community,  set a goal of having someone release gifts of code or content that is openly licensed well-documented and useful for others throughout the month of December in 2018.

Challenges You Can Try:

  • Six-word memoir-Post your reasons you open source in six words.
  • Daily quote (stay away from picture quotes to allow for inclusion..better yetteach accessibility rules first)
  • Hardest/Latest/First thing you learned
  • First/Latest/Most proud contributions
  • Daily photo challenges
  • 150 words a day/week/month
  • Parent challenge-Share memories or rants of open source work and parenting

You have to create a community around yoru code. Do not expect contributors to stick around pushing commits without the contaigon of fun.

To help try and provide a communal release in your open source community try blogging challenges.

 

Greg McVerry

Tracing Pathways of Perspective and Broken Promises #LRA18

5 min read

Perspective. Too often it's just the 250 words you can allot before describing yoru study, or worse the views of someone paying your tuition bills.

Yet when we think of design and building off of theory much of thw world is trying to replicate what we once meant by having a theoretical perspective drive your design.

I have tried to reclaim this aspect of my research over the past year.

Teacher Education Research Study Group

I had originally planned on working with the TERSG study group on work on culturally proactive pedagogy. Joy Meyers, Carin Appleget, Courtney Hokulaniokekai Shimek, Breanya Hogue. Awesome people I had let down.

Last year at LRA it was my first time trying not running a study group in five years. It felt liberating. Actaully it was my first year not being a section program chair or e-editor in in three years.

I looked forward to trying something new. The Teacher Education Research Study Group soudned great.I walked in not knowing a thing and I loved their design. Each year they nrainstorm a study , compelte study and present the next year. Rinse, wash, repeat. Brilliant.

I also thought trying to move my research into teacher ed would help me survive life at a comprehensive university. A 4-4 load, with three credits release for being graduate coordinator, and trying to organize an research agenda...I thought basing my research in my day to day of teacher prep  would help me breath.

The pressures on faculty are immense. We handle 30 applicants a semester. Advise 30-40 students a semseter. Hit enrollment targets, develop a plan and set targets for minority teacher recruitment. Collect data for CAEP, figure out the EdTPA roll-out, interview perspective students, sit on graduate council....who am I telling you know the story...

I loved the work we did with Teacher Education Research Study Group. We designed a series of lessons around culturally proactive pedagogy in our methods classes. Worked on iterating on design, reflecting on our own bias. Solid good work the it's meant to be.

I did some of my best teaching that semester. I wanted to model proactive. As an online class discovered new ways to track patterns that provided wonderful insight. Maybe even get a metholdogy paper out of this as well! After the semester I went to pick up the IRB forms dropped off to the office.

One student completed the form.

I had nothing. All the work, for naught. Which then makes you feel guilty for trying to make professional gains doing something that is so fundementally right.

I tried to stick with the group. I had made new friends. Slowly the pressures of the campus and a loss of perspective and I faded away. Letting my team down.

The research never truly drove me. I loved the search for new methods for data analysis of online classes but diversity in children's literature just wasn't my passion. Which also leads to guilt. Here I want to talk tech and students face a world of hate and opression.

I needed a new plan.

Perspective Possibilities

At my plan crumbled I was also making no secret that I think most of the education research, publication, and assessment industry is a sham at worse and a waste of resources as best.

I have always tried to advocate for greater open scholarship. Pushed hard. Got bruised harder and made no gains.

It's called power for a reason.

So I started searching and playing in open spaces. I have always fooled with tech. Never really a coder or developer, a tinkerer.Part of the reason I studied at the New Literacies Research Lab. I believe the way we read, write, and participate has fundementaly shifted and we as educators faield to respond.

Given my affinity for hanging online and my desire for open scholarship I was drawn to the IndieWeb community. In fact my first IndieWeb post came at LRA when I argued against the rights  we sign away to publishers.

So I chose to switch gears and continue the work I began last year when I presented a study on and Rhizomatic Learning.

Philosophies of Your Own Domain

Something different happens in  spaces people own online. The agentive writing, the continuos exchange of knowledge, and the struggle to understand all unfold as people fold their identities.

I began by trying to draw on Vygotsky's idea of perezhivaniya.After designing a research project around this philsophy I shared the work with the Extrended Mind Culture and Activity ListServ.

They pointed me towards Dewey. I missed the the "essence" that often will not translate to English. I have always been drwn to Dewey. Especially after long conversations with Chip Bruce and Rick Beach. So I tweaked my design around theories of democracy and education.

I ended up here in the paper: https://jgmac1106homepage.glitch.me/openpedagogycasestudy.html#power-platforms-and-individuals

Yet this makes me think about perspectives and international literacy research. Is Dewey, his pragmatism, as American as Apple Pie and frought with same cultural bias? Can you build toward an ideal without a focus on the critical?

These will be thoughts I will continue to explore. Well it's after midnight. Missing everyone at but Skip James been keeping me company. Enough rambling. Gonna call it a night. Enjoy vital sessions.

 

Greg McVerry

Dewey Quote on Art and Communciation: Dewey's Blog would have some really cool desgin #el30

1 min read

For it is by activities that are shared by language and other means of intercourse that qualities and values become common to the experience of a group of mankind. Now art is the most effective mode of communication that exists

A common element of and is focusing on the "Art of Oneself

Read More

Greg McVerry

Another Dewey Quote

1 min read

From the standpoint of the individual, it consists in having a responsible share according to capacity in forming and directing the activities of the group to which one belongs and in participating according to need in the values which the groups sustain.

this is part of the reasons networked communities like and work

Greg McVerry

Quick Thoughts on the #teachtheweb "Club Call"

3 min read

I enjoy the club calls as much as the web literacy calls. Whereas the web lit calls invogorate my mind the club calls spark my passion for teaching. Today was no different. We had a lot of fun taking stock of where the curriculum has come.

The Mozilla Learning team does fantastic work at a tough pace. It helps when you draw on the experience of MOUSE and other great partners and have such wonderful minds.

I was most fascinated by the discussion of the new "hub" or space that was mentioned in the  webmaker club roll out plan and the discussions of tools we use to tell our stories.

We turned to reactionary gifs as the current currency of meaning and this discussion (d)evovles of course into a gif showdown in order to drop the mic on the way out the door.

The Tools

Email sign on remains a contant barrier for many clubs, especially younger clubs and those in formal educational settings. 

I wonder if a system could be set up where a verified "club leader" could receive X number of authorization codes via SMS. Then club members could use these codes to set up profiles.

I have no idea what that means in terms of security or complying with laws like COPA but  email registration is a constant struggle for educators.

I played with the webmaker mobile tool. I really like it. When I think about a broswer experienced on making and remixing I salivate. 

The Hub

Follow the  and model. Build the hub on a backbone of RSS. Every strategic plan I have read mentions stories as a unique component to Mozilla Learning. Make the hub the home of these stories. Provide links to the materials folks need to start telling and writing their own stories.

I remember something about wanting to see a map of all the clubs. What if the map was animated so circles grew as new items cames into the feed? There could be a curated set of posts by regional coordinators and other staff. 

Then you have the links to the curriculum, the tools, and the discourse forum.

If the team of crack coders and designers could build and encouraged the use of a common RSS reader among clubs that might be pretty cool. 

I just read the draft of the Clubs Best Practices and we are suggesting mentors blog, and set up websites. I know I put in a small  grant for my clubs. Going to spend it on hosting if funded, but we list plenty of existing tools folks can use.

We just need a decent RSS reader. I really like the Planet Webmaker feed and design. Can we bake similar features into the overall hub and provide an RSS reader to club leaders and members? It must be hard. The options are limited. I use Feedly others have great success with inoreader. If some crack squad could develop an RSS reader that could go from the hub>country>state province>city>club name it would be awesome. 

You combine that with Discourse, the new tools coming out, and we would have a cool hub.