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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.

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Thinking about wabi-sabi and web design: after reading a Medium article this morning. Seems to be a good philosophy for the web.

Greg McVerry

My blog already turns my learning into data. I strive to use the commonplace book philosophy from my domain: I think it is part of my commitment that data should strive to be human readable first.

Greg McVerry

Having an Experience by John Dewey 1934

Reading this and thinking and the roles of schools in shaping our democratic society.

Greg McVerry

@wiobyrne Also remember Bridgy for Facebook is shutting down in August. Facebook is taking away access to their write API.

Only way to share to facebook is use their social share buttons. You may not be able to shape your use of facebook in ways that also represent your philosophy.

I deactivated. I did not quit. I know I have to turn it back on....grrrrrr.... when I volunteer for political campaigns.

Greg McVerry

@altmetric I am currently thinking about microformats and my online classes. I am trying to encourage peers (since we all teach the same classes) to apply technologies to a philosophy and share and remix our courses.

Trying to be forward thinking about how we could track the metrics of remixes of learning materials using micorformats and webmentions.

Wanted to see if there are protocols @altmettic already uses for marking up courses, modules, lessons. I also could be way off thinking we should have h-entry classes for things like (objective, EQs, task, assessment, criteria, evidence, etc)

Greg McVerry

What exactly is #indieweb and how can we talk about it?

4 min read

Across the numerous indieweb channels people have started to talk about how to discuss indieweb as the community and tools evolve into versions 2, 3, 4. Folks refer to these more as generations rather than traditional version conventions used in software development.

The basic gist of the problem to me boiled down to mission, audience, and purpose.

First and foremost the community is guided by a  set of principles. You can read those here.  Not suprisingly  these principles jhave much in common with open source communities like Mozilla and our manifestoDrupal and Wordpress community leaders and members share much of this ethos. Domain's of Own's Own is basically the in education circles.

Is the community different? Same? Both?

While I got some pushback I noted that the what makes the different is the adherence to specific protocolos to  support the Publish on Your Own Site and Syndicate Elsewhere (POSSE) philosophy.

It is that philosophy that I can introduce to new users. That's my elevator pitch.

The implementation of POSSE  usually involves some combination of MicroPub,an API standard; Microsub, a newer standard that manages subscriptions; Microformats, an html extension that allow sitse to publish a standard API other sites can consume; and webmentions, which is a standard that allows you to track mentions of a link across the web.

While none or all of these tools are required to make a site "indieweb" having a focus on human readable (versus machine readable stuff that focuses JSON-LD for example) mark-ups and semantics is a major focus of . It is a pluralistic user-centric approach to the web.

Putting the users in control of their data, on their own site, and connecting to others through open standards and inter-operability. Sounds like a web I want.

As stated, and most did not agree with me, that the community is very united behind these APIs, standards, and mark-up techniques. In fact it is this loyalty that makes the community different than other "open web" communitities.

The problem moving forward: communicating this to non-technical readers. I mean, I barely understand the last few paragraphs I wrote.


As Eddie noted the challenge we were discussing was,  "trying to figure out a way to explain if a Micropub/Microsub client can work with a given service without using protocol names that can be confused for Gen 3/4 users"

Here were some ideas I had. These are just mine and do not reflect the opinions of others:

  • For individual blogs I suggested a badge (one exists) that people can add to their blogs after running their site through a validator. This just helps with overall mission and branding while providing scaffolded support for new community members.
  • I would suggest the language around, "This site  is indieweb powered...again more market penetration language) by tools to support the principles of our community. Different APIs and protocols allow us to publish on our own site, share our work across many networks, and collect mentions of our work across the social web.
  • For folks like Swerty who have released a client into the wild (an awesome aAndroid app called indigenous currently in Alpha) there needs to be langauge about compatibility. I think here you need to mention specific protocols since different sites may use different idieweb tools. Maybe something like This app is indieweb compatible. It will publish to any indiweb powered site by using MicroPub and it also supports webmentions. No need for a validation tool. If the product doesn't work no one will use it.


Greg McVerry

Its Not Social Media or Branding: Its Just You

2 min read

EDU106 is a great class. I work with students on recognizing how literacy shapes our lives. In this week's maker party, which is really a drop in design studio time, I had a wonderful discussion with Joe Freer  about personal brand and identiy.

What I want students to realize: It is isn't about social media marketing or branding its really about living and learning socially.

Its a construction of your digital identity. Personas sprinkled over the web as you leave footprints everywhere.

Basically the easiest way to build a following is to contribute back to a community of people. We will get to it later in the semester but I think Ian O'Byrne wrote a great guide to building digital identies..

Ian is a professor at Charleston College and also a digital coach working with people who want to learn to build up an online presence. 

Basically no matter your field the easiest way to get meaningful engagement is by being part of the audience. Learn together. Whether  you are a gardener, musician, or activist go online and find the placdes people connect to learn.

As you learn new things share your struggles and achievements. As you teach others share what you make openly.

The first step as Doug Belshaw notes, is to get your own domain. From here you take the indieweb model of POSSE publishing on your own site, syndicating elsewehre...more likely everywhere. 

A domain of your own is also fundemental to being open, and more as a philosophy than a product. You are not commodifying yourself but joining a community. Live and learn out loud.


Greg McVerry

Friction Free Assessment when Tests are the Sandpaper of #TeachTheWeb Learning

4 min read

Michelle Thorne posted a great round up of curriculum testing

Friction Free Assessment

She asked about friction-free assessment. They don't exist. We would be chasing a unicorn named oxymoron if we spent too much time looking for friction free assessments,

As Dan Hickey likes to remind us the introduction of assessments fundamentally alters the motivation of learning. Yet we need to assess learning.

So I guess we shouldn't look for friction free assessments but well oiled assessments, and I always thought badging was the major mechanism to ensure evidence of learning was collected. Digital badges create wells of evidence that can be mined for recognition, motivation, and credibility. You just have to drill down behind the badge (Did I take the metaphor too far?).

I have been fascinated to watch the diverse perspectives towards assessment in Mozilla Learning. You have analytics and design teams who will run a statistical test on a hex color A/B test to increase unique visitors (not sure why) and we also support the largest open badging platform.

When we were drafting the questions for testing the curriculum some wanted to get at the learners. Some wanted to get at the mentors. Some wanted to get at the curriculum. Not sure we did any of these.

The short  answer (but not easy) answer, "Choose assessments that align to your learning goals and philosophies."

The three open ended questions we asked more measured the mentors expectations and bias of what was learned. The analysis of these questions would also be quite time consuming. For example how does the question, "What are the top three strategies you think will be used by your learners to see if information on a website is credible?" capture growth? Would you count up the frequency of different strategies and run statistical tests to see if the top three strategies changed?

If you want it the assessment to be fast you have to use likert scales, have enough items, and then treat your ordinal data like numerical data (a step many in measurement disagree with).

If you want the assessment to be fast and reliable you would have to spend anywhere from 10K to millions to develop measures that act like traditional tests. This could be done for reading and writing, but participation would be hard. Furthermore many, in the connected learning camp, would argue that these assessments measure very little (Ian and I  do have credibility assessments and UCONN has made their online reading and research assessment available) and the variance and noise in scores is where real learning happens.

What are we to do?

Align assessments strategies to our philosophy and it may become evident that the only metric that matters is the number of makes submitted. Then encourage club mentors to have club members submit evidence for badges.

You then to ensure, credibility of badges, could audit a random set of submissions and the evidence included with the credentialing. We have to ensure that  the badges get external recognition. I don't think a sampling of badge applications would involve that much more work than the coding and analysis of three open ended questions.

The problem I see with badges and the curriculum is I, as an issuer, do not feel that the activities lead to a preponderance of evidence that would leave me comfortable with issuing a badge. It may take multiple activities. 

We may need more light weight or level up badges that mentors can give (but only the final web literacy badges go to backpack?).

Instead of friction-free assessments on a global scale we will need to provide mentors, especially the majority who do not come from education, on the principles of formative assessment. They need to know how to take the learning goal, teach the curriculum that elicits evidence of growth towards that goal, be able to analyze that evidence while they facilitate learning, and then adjust instruction. If you can figure out easy ways to teach these better practices please tell me so I can steal them.

It is up to us as a community to ensure the badges have value and weight. It is up to us to ensure they are baked into the ecosystem and allow for individual learning pathways.