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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

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

Bite of the Gadfly: A #feldgang poem for #clmooc

1 min read

Earlier this month I declared the horsefly the antagonist of my .

Naturally I had to do some I tried to describe the most annoying thing in my physical world with the most annoying thing in the digital world...horseflies link to recording in case  iframe is getting stripped out.

The vanity of tabanidae

Dive bombing Dipterous

Of data

Flying into your phone

Never leaving you alone


On two wings, 

making your phone sing

A lonely sound 

Drowned out by all those



Heads down, thumb scroll

The gadfly takes a constant


Hunting for attention

A technological convention

Promising ascencsion


Colossus Proboscis

Hold us in suspension

As the mouthparts

Suck our attention

The blood of thought

All for not

Under the onslaught


Heads down, thumb scroll

The gadfly takes a constant


Notifications take flight

Looking for a fight

Endless durartion

The stabbing ping

A constant ring

An ablation of presence

Stolen by the essence

Blood letting at our



Want freedom from the Gadflys?

Turn off notifications.

Greg McVerry

@withknown plugins I would like to see

2 min read Micropub

Currently I can syndicate  to using rss  but these posts are in my stream not published natively to my site.

HTML Notes

I love the auto url and hashtags in the status plugin but sometimes I need HTML

Plus many micropub clients do not work with Known and publish HTML in plain text. 

Gimme a plain box where I can add HTML.keepinf tbge status plugin. 


These are an html way to annotate websites. 

Meme maker

This one is easy enough and one ai am going to try and build at @IndieWebCamp Austin. Basically take the photo plugin and add a container, throw an H1 and H2 on top

Badge Builder

I have been playing with webmention badges a ton. Maybe add a plugin  

Follow Post Type

I currently have a manual until it hurts approach to follow post. Be nice if this is native though maybe it's my social reader that needs a Micropub client to publish follow post. 

Photo Gallery

This may already exist been publishing multi photo posts for awhile.. What makes a gallery? Key question.

Group Post

Known has great privacy controls but still be nice to share a post with specific urls or only members of a web ring. 

Web Ring

Create and manage webrings people joi. By signing up with their own Domain. 


Greg McVerry

A successful Homebrew Website Club New Haven

2 min read

Creating a learnign space on campus for students and alumni to gather to share their experiences has enriched my online teaching and provided students with an avenue for agency and artisty

On 2019-02-06 the local New Haven Homebrew Website Club met. As part of the global movement we join together to hack on websites. For many of my students this means building a site for the first time. For @SCSU alumni who attend they carry the website they began as students out in the real world and bring examples of how they use their sites in their classrooms.

New Name

At Wednesday's meeting we did decide a few things. Participants do not connect with the Homebrew Website Club. They do not know the history of the computer club once attended by Jobs and Gates and do not really care once they learn. So after some discussion we decided to revert our name back to the Elm City Webmakers. We will still host homebrew websiote club meetings but will brand these gatherings of the Elm City Webmakers.

Great Location

picture of room

Huge shout out to Dean Hegedus for building the active learnign lab where we meet. Today I was joined in person by two people. Natalie Caldwell, a student, and Drew McWeeney, an almuni

Awesome Goals

Natalie began byworking on her site. She wanted to learn how to add Bridgy and then to customize fonts and colors. Natalie even played with a bit of microformats

Drew came to the Elm City Webmaker gathering to work on his Grav site. Drew is working on instructional design for the American Red Cross. After discussing why he was using Grav for whta was a single webpage we decided to roll up opur sleeves and learn to spin up a web page by writing HTML.

Overall a great first meeting this month. I am looking forward to seeing even more people in two weeks.

Greg McVerry

Why does this keep happening? #knownchat

1 min read

Am I going crazy or is my source code just being written by evil Gremlins against declarative HTML?

I hit source code I add:

<p>I just added <a class="u-follow-of" href="https:/">Five Flames 4 Learning</a> by <a class="h-card" href="/https:/">Helen Dewaard</a> to my following page at <a href=""> </a>#BeYourownSocialNetwork </p>

But then somehow my url gets injected in front of the one I manually add in source code??What I am I doing wrong? I have checked my mark up and can not stop the injection of my url.

I get this link when I publish:

Greg McVerry

You don't need blockchain in a community you need people #mb #el30

2 min read

 In @downes el30 class we discussed community and much of the week revolved around "how do decentralized networks arrive at trust" we talked a ton of blockchain. isn't an engineering problem it is a human problem. Blocks don't build communities people do.

Stephen laid out three paths to trust through blockchain

  • Proof of Work - any entity can add a block to the chain by performing a complex mathematical calculation and including the result of this calculation in the block. Reliability is ensured by the cost of introducing falsehoods into the chain.


  • Proof of Authority - only entities who are authorized may add blocks to the chain (where the identity of these entities is secured, say, by digital signatures). Reliability is ensured by the reliability of the authority, and the impossibility of any non-authorities to add blocks to the chain.


  • Proof of Stake - entities can mine or validate block transactions according to how many coins they hold. Reliability is ensured by the existing stake entities hold in the blockchain.

I believe this to too expensive and fruitless endeavors. Communities online take shaping and grooming.Time and we will not be able to engineer our way out of the problems the web currently has.

Greg McVerry

4 Reasons @GetClassicPress Should Add Native Microformats Support

4 min read

Now that phase one of Gutenberg has dropped the interest in grows by the day. So many WordPress developers fear the loss of control they will face under the new regime of 5.0. Many just don't want to do the work of all that refactoring.

and should join forces.

wonder twin powers activate

The WordPress community has discussed the inclusion of microformats into ClassicPress core. I wanted to share our thinking

1. The Philosophical Right Choice

So many altruistic efforts fail under the premise of building platforms, data, and systems free of bias. They will all fail. Technology can never be free of bias. When you choose a stack, a language, or metadata you make a philosophical and political choice.

Microformats make sense for the web and for ClassicPress. A few properties in your HTML and you are  done. More importantly keeping the web in semantic HTML helps to ensure it stays open in the future.

One plain text file and you can be online. Let's not lose that. Sustainability, energy consumption, the web affects it all. Microformats gives us the ability to keep websites light weight while providing the plumbing for some really cool things.

Choosing to exclude, or to rely on JSON-LD alone, is also a choice. When people say, "That is what Google and Yoast want..." Ask yourself,  "Do you want to design ClassicPress for your goals or Google's?"

"Do you want good content or some companies SEO tricks to drive discovery?"

It is always a philosophical choice. How will you choose?


2. Empower the Web as THE Social Network

Scroll through the history of blogging research. Up until 2004 the research framed the blogger, the learner, and  the networks being sources of agency and power. Then from that time on the research became about SEO and dominating places others owned.

Is the web you want to build with ClassicPress? The project will fail if the old value proposition of syndication and exposure are used. 

ClassicPress needs a better social web to survive. 

Have you tried webmentions yet? No this W3C approved standard brings social to your website as you publish a  reply on your website  to a post from a friend and your reply shows up on their site as a comment. Microformats make webmentions useful. and possible.

What social reader will ClassicPress use? It won't be WordPress or anything connected to JetPack. Microformats empowers a new generation, using webmentions, and some other open protocols micropub (writing API) and microsub (reading API) to create a way to

Adding native microformats support will provide ClassicPress with an abundance of already built community tools. Don't repeat our mistakes or waste limited open source resources.

Use what people already built.

trippy dots floating in air

3. Committed Community to help ClassicPress

We have come to love the IndieWeb's focus on personal goals to sustain open source communities (everyone uses open APIs and majority open source their work). Building for yourself does help to sustain when your values align with others in your network. No white papers, no committees, just  code. 

We want the same for ClassicPress.

Having members loosely organized but bound by a sense of duty to the web  works and our community wants to build the future with ClassicPress.  We have an install base in the thousands with hundreds of active members using IndieWeb WordPress every day. The WordPress IRC/Slack channel never stops.

ClassicPress may see a huge influx of users, much larger than your targeted business audience, when the second phase of Gutnberg drops and theme developers and users need to decide to update or move on.

Many will move on. We need to get ready. Let's work together. 

All we need to make it happen is native microformats2 support.

turtles flipping each other over

4. Compatible with other Metadata 

No one is asking ClassicPress not to use JSON-LD, a commitment to open standards and APIs all we need. In fact SemPress, the most widely used IndieWeb theme, already includes support for mf2 and JSON-LD.

We just need to add a few properties to rendered HTML...and just works.

we are so compatible

Greg McVerry

Agency and the Act of Blogging #mb

2 min read

@Tonz and @kevinmarks have been my connections on earlier blogging research. One thing that struck me was the demise of research at BlogCon.

While the file formats stink I can find much of the conference research up to 2004...Then when the conference remerged in 2006 it was about SEO and building reach.

What happened? We went from building networks to trying to dominate someone else's platform. 

A loss of agency as the world migrated away from the holistic world of blogging to the prescriptive world of social media.

The research agenda shifted from agency to being an ad agency.

Teachers Keep Flame Burning

Meanwhile across the USA teachers wanted to bring the power of social media to the classroom. Yet due to the dangers of social media, plus some technopanic, we kept students in even stricter silos.

Yet often time this was blogging. 

Many of us also adopted production based pedagogies for writing that embraced agentive writing. 

Blogs were built for this. Many of us just lost the way as we got distracted by shiny new objects...and the social media did reduce barriers of access to what was, and still is in many ways,  a majority white male world online. 

Hard to Hold a Candle Against a Firehose

As the world went all in on social media teachers from kindergarten to college kept the blogosphere alive. Blogger, Edublogs, SeeSaw, School website CMSs. In almost every district everywhere there was a minimum of one teacher blogging with students the last ten years.

That's a ton of people, many now reaching young adult age, who hunger for more agency online.

We could never keep the fire burning one at a time, but if we all stick together maybe the fire can burn bright enough. 

Greg McVerry

Some quick quotes on #edu106 and the power of #IndieWeb #creativity #edtechchat #mb

4 min read

I am most proud of my website because I have never created a website by myself before and it was fun to figure everything out everything I wanted to do with my website. I could have done better at posting every week to be consistent and written longer posts that had more detail. Blogging helped me understand what we were doing in this course and what it was about. I believe reflection drives learning because you look back at everything you’ve done and determine what you did really well and what you could’ve don’t better so that in the future you can work on what needs it and come back with something stronger than you’ve had before.

The fact that I now have a place where I can do that, where I can publish my thoughts whenever I want in a place open for people to read and to not be afraid of doing so, is liberating. I’ve always wanted a space online to call my own. I’m so tired of all the endless perfection I see on social media. My space, “Life Chapter by Chapter” is real. It’s me, personified by a website. And though this post is not digitally enhanced in any way, I love it because it’s representative of the bottom line of what I’ve learned in EDU 106. I’m my own person on this site, I’m not defined by Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I can post what I want, when I want, how I want. It’s a beautiful thing.

.I think blogging helped because me having to write about technology was interesting and it was a way to express not only that but also new things or topics about myself that I don’t have time to talk about or even write about. It gave me a chance to express myself.

Reflection drives learning because when you reflect on something you keep on thinking about it in your head and it keeps eating away at you until you just have to know more about it and by doing that you have to read about it ask information look it up on websites and this is you learning new information about what you were reflecting on and you keep it with you and eventually your going to try to learn everything you can if your really reflective and passionate about it.

Through this class I have gained a sense of voice I didn’t have before. I am able to stand up and talk about things infant of people and not be scared. Through conversations I can be the reason someone reaches out for help. I have gained my confidence through my writing, support from Rebekah, and J. I have learned that I am worth a fight, I am worth the hard work and dedication it takes to recover, and I am worth so much more than I thought I was.

I am most proud of being so open to talk about my eating disorders and my experience with abuse.

At first, I really didn’t want to blog because I thought it wouldn’t be something I enjoyed. I didn’t really use it so much as I should of, but I do admit that I really enjoyed customizing it the way I did and letting my thoughts come out for people to read. When I was probably around 13-14 years old I actually made a wordpress blog and I was so excited about it, but I only used it for a couple weeks. I tried to find it now but I couldn’t because I think it would be really interesting to see how I’ve changed on the web. Anyways, I think this blog has been pretty interesting with writing down my thoughts and being honest with myself.

Greg McVerry

Following People or Feeds in the #IndieWeb #mb #DoOO #edtechchat #literacies

2 min read

I am scrolling through history (h/t to Kevin Marks for reminding of the ccurated posts by danah boyd) as we discuss how best to follow people in social readers on the IndieWeb.

Tantek Çelik has suggested nobody ever on the history of the web wants to follow feeds. danah seemed  to agree in 2004.

Tantek suggested a one button push follow that people have come to love on social media. In fact I have been documenting dicoverability and following on Tumblr and it is amazing.

The problem is the firehose. Social media silos use proprietary data and algorithms to reduce the chronologocal feeds. Tumblr and facebook decide what I see.

On Twitter I could never follow the chrnologogical feed of the thousands I follow. A follow on Twitter is a h/t nothing more. Instead as a human I have to curate my feed using Tweetedeck into 37 different feeds (columns by hashtag).

On Slack, IRC, Telegram, we have channels.

Nobody wants to follow my firehose,or Aaron Parecki's or Chris Aldrich's ....your phone might explode. Between the three of us you may get over 100 updates each day...and that is a low estimate.

What can be done for following and discovering of people? Can we follow people and not feeds while avoiding the firehose? Well bunch of ideas floating around chat:

  • leveraging topical webrings
  • creating h-card directories of people to follow on websites
  • creating a public h-card directory
  • encouraging the use of p-category with key topics/tag in an h-card.
  • adding preffered feeds in your h-card.
  • adding logic to social readers so if you follow someone and they have a feed the same name as a channel you get auto subscribed.

I get not liking feeds. I threw out my RSS feeds after a decade. It just got unmanageable, broken links, impoprted OPML files. So I started rebuiling feeds more my social reader. So much work. I got about half way through, my channels...and then stop...keep meaning to go back....but you know....

Grooming feeds, a crappy experience since 2004.



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