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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

@open_ory Other option is to always explain an infographic in plain text or in tables in the same post. Text is the most universal of all things in UDL. I tried to do that here:

Greg McVerry

Metaphors Provide Readers a Journey #EDU407Sum19

4 min read

When we put pen to paper we invite our audience to join us on a journery  as we line the path with prose. pointring directions with our thoughts and signaliing turns with our transition.

Often we use metaphors as a map to illuminate the way. Why do these metaphors matter so in our writing? How do metaphors, even when mixed, provide a compass to steer readers into safe harbors.

George Lakoff notes that we learn by strengething the relationships in our synapses by relating it to other "circuitry that is already fixed.

Lakoff then went on to describe how color only exist in our interactions with the world and we use this to beautify our world, much like writers do with words. George continues:

"We repurpose the motor system, the visual system, and other embodied systems for thought, these are called primitive schemas."

Metaphors allow authors to tap into a metaphor.

Why Write With Metaphors?

You have learned metaphors long before language. Drawing on this experience makes writing more accessible.

A Ready Made Tool

An easy tool to grab from your toolkit. As a writer we often get stuck with "writers' block?" Except there is no such thing, just a lack of strategies to get started. Reaching in and grabbing a metaphor provides you a way to get started.

A metaphor consist of a source and a target. You aim existing meaning at a different word. If you chose reading and musin for example. You would describe your trageet, reading with the meaning and language of music.

Metaphors Draw in the Audience

Language and learnign are embodied experience. Your audience does not want you to tell them a story, rather show them the journey. If you can take a metaphor and extend it through a blog post or reading reflection you draw on the emotions of the reader. Your words must be truthier if they spark a response.

How to Write with Metaphors

Choose a metaphor. Think about your topic or target. What emotion do you want to spark in your audience. Choose a target.

Make a quick t-chart, and then jot down a few main points about your topic you want to make. Then on the left think about the characteristics about your source and how they relate to your ideas. Bonus points if you jot down a few adjectives or adverbs that express your connotative goals (the emotion you want in reader).

Always make sure your source is appropriate. Too often we use metaphoprs rooted in mysoginy or violence. Business is war is war. It is horrible and using it as a metaphor can be a trigger to veterans and refugees.

Once you have completed your pre writing decide if the metaphor is going to be used just as an introduction or weaved through the entire piece. If you do do just as an intro make sure to do a call back in your conclusion. If you weave it through the entire piece think carefully about your transitions.

How will you move the reader between the characteristics of your source and the points you want to make about the source? In our example of reading and music I might move between a paragraph on harmony and shared stories to scales and phonics with a sentence such as, "As we hear the shared tunes of popular books on the tonuges of readers everywhere we can see how words can be broken down into their scales of meaning" Then the next paragraph I go into phonics.

If all else fails write a poem. Metaphors do the hard work of meaning making in  poems.


Greg McVerry

Responses from Twitter on my idea of replacing Knowledge Brokering with Knowledge Knitting #oer19 #oer

3 min read

In reply to My rando thoughts

@francesbell@glittrgirl Hey both, can you help? @jgmac1106 is "collecting recent (older would be even better) references to knitting or quilts that have come up at #oer conferences want to reframe knowledge brokering as knowledge kniting in our agentive apprenticeship model."

There lot of references to quilts at the year’s OER19 because of @KateMfD keynote. I did a search of Twitter for “#OER19 quilt” very productive “#OER19 knit” one surprise. You could do this for each year’s hashtag then follow up blog streams of tweeters. David Gauntlett?-

Thx @FranceBell why knowledge knitting, because i do not like the metaphor of knowledge brokering and social capital. To me learning and innovation is not an economic model. Need a new metaphor for…

@ltaub has written beautifully about weaving as knowledge work. I do agree this is different to the metaphorical lean that comes with brokering. It’s about craft practices, craft resources and craft product. What we make together.

Yes I like these metaphors for making stuff alone and collectively. I quite often think about writing as bringing different 'threads' together and there are of course also threads of posts which add up to conversations.

and in my idea of agentive apprenticeship, which is how learning happens in innovation systems this weaving is both done by humans, networks, and spaces until patterns emerge that become stable much like craft and quilts

I also wanted to pick an artisanal industry to capture the #feminist #pedagogy needed in innovation systems if they will ever have real impact at the system level. While I am at risk by picking an engendered art I feel it is more an honoring of tradition. way learning always be

I think instead of trying to write up this section of the chapter I might just have to quote this thread. What you folks speak of is beauty. Always wonder how better the world would be if argumentation wasn't considered our highest form of discourse.

You have all taught me this is where decolonization must be...I believe the heteronormative practice of argumentation as Truth so rooted in the Western world is just as responsible for history as any accident of latitude. It's all attitude.

Begin*not be
but then can it be
before it begins
An open
Before existance
Maybe it is
Shit. Is this what Shakespeare
Chicken, egg?


Greg McVerry

Knitting rebellion: Elizabeth Zimmermann,identity, and craftsmanship in post war America

Elizabeth’s philosophy of knitting stressed each knitter as an independent craftsman responsible for material and design choices, in opposition to the uncritical, or “blind follower” of the patterns knitter of the knitting industry publications. This shift in the practices of knitting intersected with increasing feminine autonomy and increasing interest in fiber arts to shape a new identity of ‘the knitter’ as original and self-determining craftsman, rather than the mere producer-reproducer of knit objects for domestic consumption.

The work of anthropologists Dorothy Holland and Jean Lave in their text History in Person focuses on social and individual practices generative of individual and communal identities in relationship to the larger and more durably instituted historical and cultural movements, and offers a number of contemporary and historical case studies of this process

Francesca Bray brings this recognition of the individual acting in collusion and resistance to social identity in her work on hand weaving as a technological production of women’s identity in late Imperial Chinese society. Her example of the swadeshi movement of mid-century India, with its production of homespun cloth as a “less economically efficient” commercial enterprise while remaining a highly “efficient technique for the production of Indian Nationalism

Marie Griffith’s scholarship on conservative religious women and their embrace of a recognizable form of traditional femininity while reshuffling pre-existing elements of identity into new priorities outside of traditional gender roles and spaces

Thus knitting as craftsmanship, and as a viable form of cultural production, was able to generate the individual and social identities that could support major new publications, institutions and associations, that could in turn, self-replicate across time and reproduce new individuals, in resistance to previously dominant conceptual forms of commerce and industry.

this is why knitting fits into the idea of innovation systems as the focus is on the identity of the agent in face of the collective.


Greg McVerry

Using my Commonplace Book to Write an Article

4 min read

  • Did a ton of research
  • Came up with ideas as I bookmarked sources and took notes on those bookmarks
  • I jotted quick outline
  • I switched to just bookmarks
  • I looked for Blunden searching for a Blunden article, I then searched for capital and found it. Might want to consider bookmarking by author as well.
  • I got distracted by a YouTube video
  • I shut down all my chats: Slack, Twitter, IRC, Telegram.
  • I went back to my text editor to look at the my outline
  • emailed XMCA listserv for chasing down explicit and implicit knowledge
  • I got distracted by a response from twitter customer service. I hate email

Hello all,

I am carrying on my quest to rethink cognitive apprenticeships into agentive apprenticeships for my work around innovation systems:
Agentive apprenticeships defer more in centering the agency and choice in the learner in a network of shared interest where the space and tools teach much as any person.

You may recall I originally asked for ideas around knowledge brokering as it did not sit well with me. I decided to go with Knowledge Knitting as my metaphor. It is used frequently in the OER Community and amongst under represented scholars and if I can get the pictures out of my head and into words it will make sense.
But I am trying to chase down when the distinction between explicit and implicit knowledge began. It weaves through all apprenticeship research up through and including Gee's work on Affinity Spaces.
I am more trained in the cognitive narrative that dominates reading instruction today of declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge.

Two questions:-When did the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge begin?-Are you aware of works that describe knowing in both implicit and explicit and in declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledge.


Thurs 9:21

Fri 6:42

Monday 11:45

  • copy and pasted all the responses from the XMCA listserv to my website. Need to go back and close the blockqoutes. Known WYSWIG like most make a muck of HTML, especailly when copy pasting
  • Copy and pasted all the tweets about knowledge knitting

Monday 12:45

  • took a lunch break and had to get kids off to camp
  • open up my outline and try to spend some time drafting.

Friday June 19 10:30am

  • lost original outline and notes in text editot
  • returned to Collins, Browns , and Duguid for quick refresh
  • took notes comparing the two.

Fridat June 12:00 pm

  • went back to technical reports. examined the prompts used to improve student writing. Really we were modeling internal dialogue? What does this mean for machine readable stuff?
  • Much of the focus on strategy use, the individual, and not the space that is a key difference.
  • Notes at time

Greg McVerry

Second knowledge knitting represents a good visual metaphor to how shared truths and tool use get passed up through the three layers of innovation systems

Greg McVerry

@discoursology Been playing with the idea of innovation systems and applying that to instructional design:

Greg McVerry

Seven Steps to #ProSocialWeb

7 min read

1. Begin with You

Ghandi never said "Be the change..." still doesn't mean it ain't great advice. We need to be the web we want to see.1 

In fact in  my recent efforts into (my approach to getting at ) I have focused on the words of another Yogi (correctly attributed) 

Change yourself and you have done your part in the changing the the world. Every individual must change [their] own life if they want to live in a peaceful world. Paramahansa Yogananda

The web is no different. Be pro-social if you want the web to be pro-social.

I also think beginning with you in terms of learning goals strengthens the . When you have shared goals with others in your network people learn. Humanity always worked this way.

The web is no different. Constantly model learning and reflection. Ask for help when needed and offer when asked.

YOU! flickr photo by Marcy Leigh shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

2. Create Innovation Systems

Recently I have focused my efforts on the idea of innovation systems. I remixed this concept remixed from those who take an ecological viewpoint of sociotechnical systems

According to Freeman (1987) Innovation Systems are “networks of institutions, public or private, whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify, and diffuse new technologies.” This is usually towards a shared goal.

Massive corporate powers have quickly created market-based systems. I am not one to think these goals are diametrically opposed to (but some do) yet they are different. The goal of a corporation is the stock price. In fact in the United States it is a legal obligation for corporations to focus on profits. Sometimes, often, people suffer.

The web is no different. We need to focus on change but this change occurs at the system level only after a swelling at the agent level.

Climate Change flickr photo by garlandcannon shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

3. Use What You Build

The will only thrive when you have your own space online that you control, preferably from your own domain. The silos built for the masses and the web suffered.

I'd rather have a tent in the fields I own than rent a room is a Castle with someone else's rules....where I toil all day for someone else to profit.

Also something happens when you write from your own place. Folks are not as willing to write graffiti on their own house or shout profanities from their door step. But is more than that. People find an immersive joy in owning and shaping their own truth.

The web is no different. These tools and ways of being exist. Step one in a web is to build out your personal cyberinfrastructure. 

You will never know all the tech and we should never expect people to do the same. Instead, we want folks to know what they do not know and then how to go out and ask the right people to learn it. What Castells and Cardoza called "self programmable learners"

The web is no different. You have a goal and want to learn something just get a website or blog and start documenting the journey.

If you need help just ask us.

workshop flickr photo by shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

4. Keep it Purpose Driven

Find your niche and you can find your community. For many of us we hang in academic spaces or creative writing spaces ike and . Our crew, our people, our tribe.

A shared purpose unites us and this aligns with our personal goals. 

The web is no different. Network around ideas and not people.

2010113-purpose flickr photo by Chris Piascik shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

5. Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

Many find controlling and owning your space online to beyond their means "in financial cost, ability, time, and confidence."

This has always been the case with literacy. I consider literacy to be one of the great equalizers in society (up there with birth control, suffrage, expanding markets, and open borders). We need to fight for basic web literacy as a human right. A means not building FOR the most vulnerable but building WITH everyone to ensure we do not recreate the past.

Silos provide both a haven and a hell for marginalized people. When the web was born people did their identity work building the web. Now, this identity work gets sold back to us.

When we claim we can not "do tech" in communities of color or expectations of owning your content do not recognize historical inequities we end up reinforcing these equities.  

We simply can not name the problem. We must actively work to solve the issue.

Yet even today the Open Source community is the whitest and most male of the tech sector. We can not fix this in the board room or through outreach. Efforts must begin in the classroom and the community. This is where always developed

The web is no different. Make the "Community the Curriculum." We must focus on web literacy across the globe. The time is now. 

This why I think the is more local than decentralized. I keep putting in grants to bring and to local schools and libraries....where we always taught literacy.

Rainbow flickr photo by Michael M Stokes shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

6 Go gLocal

Not sure where @wiobyrne got the idea or who he lifted the meaning from but the has strong local nodes (like Antogonish) and these Local networks connect to a much bigger global one. Either with direct relationships or as allies. Go gLocal Ian says.

Creative Commons is trying this approach right now. Mozilla tried with Clubs but looked for VC like growth overnight, their more successful Reps programs and Firefox contributors, in general, reflect a gLocal approach. IndieWeb has been running camps for nine years with minimal funding.

EdCamps, as an innovation system may represent the best model. 100s of camps occur each year and 1,000s of teachers get connected

The Web is no different. Build strong local groups connected to a global movement. 

It's our world too... flickr photo by tim ellis shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

7. Post Positive 

We all struggle with what to write. The tyranny of the blank screen can drive many into the welcoming arms of social silos. Yet the simplest way to support a is to Post Positive

Be a good person. Say nice things. Document the good you and others do. The lesson we learned in preschool can still teach us much.

The web is no different.

A Balance of Healthy Words flickr photo by Carol (vanhookc) shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

1. h/t to Tantek for pointing out the misattribution of Ghandi and sending me into a months long rabbit hole into famous misquotes.

2 To read more check out the hashtags , , and  .

Syndicated to Indie News

Greg McVerry

Entrenched power and systems also hurt .

Web is thirty years old. Every industry is a tech industry.. Yet how many departments in have someone in that field who knows web and tech.... It's usually zero...

How does that happen?

Greg McVerry

Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction

David Russell. Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction." In Reconceiving Writing, Rethinking Writing Instruction. Ed. Joseph Petraglia. (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum,1995): 51-78.

The US is the only nation that requires of most students in higher education a course in what is known in the US as "composition."

Citation please.

David Kaufer and Richard Young have called "writing with no particular content," or what is often called in this anthology general writing skills instruction or GWSI

THis could be pusehed on to blogging without purpose. we introduce so many people to their own website bbut only few stick with it from formal education. That would be a good longtitudinal study. Match attrition in terms of involvement based on formal and informal learning spaces.

First, he says, there is a "lack of general agreement about course content, so that depending on the prejudices of the teacher, departmental policy (or lack of it), or current fads, the course may center on

Second, the course cannot "be said even by the most charitably disposed critic to be on the same level of intellectual rigor and maturity as textbooks and class work in other freshman courses such as chemistry or economics"

Cited author never took one of my writing intensive classes, this statement shows some bias

Kitzhaber calls the aims of the course "over-ambitious—to eradicate, in three hours a week for 30 or 35 weeks, habits of thought and expression that have been forming for at least 15 years and to which the student is as closely wedded as he is to his skin; and to fix indelibly a different set of habits from which the student will never afterwards deviate

Kitzhaber admits that those who have studied its effectiveness (and no one had studied this more than he) have "too seldom" been able to find "a comforting relationship between the degree of improvement and the quantity of labor expended."

Activity Theory analyzes human behavior and consciousness in terms of activity systems: goal-directed, historically-situated, cooperative human interactions, such as a child's attempt to reach an out-of-reach toy, a job interview, a "date," a social club, a classroom, a discipline, a profession, an institution, a political movement, and so on

In an activity system, the object(ive) remains the same while the mediational means, the tools, may vary.

activity systems have histories that are essential to their workings. For human beings, these histories are predominantly cultural (though phylogenic change may also play a role)

anges in human behavior and consciousness, individual or collective, are mediated by other human beings through the use of tools

Third, activity systems are dialectal. Change is not one-directional. It is accomplished through joint activity, whether cooperative or conflictual, face-to-face or widely separated in space or time.

the unit of analysis in Activity Theory is not the workings of an individual mind but the relations among the participants and their shared cultural tools. Thus, activity systems can be analyzed from multiple perspectives (of the various participants) and at many levels (from the individual to the broadest cultural levels)

I think I am trying to use innovation systems as a larger analytical tool as it is activity theory with a very organized goal. A shared focus

e Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD): the object(ive)-directed interactions among people, where one or more of the participants could not, by themselves, effectively work toward the objective (Newman, Griffin, and Cole, 1989, p. 61). In these "construction zones" writing and learning take place as people, using their tools, mutually change themselves and their tools. All learning is situated within some activity system(s).

If writing were an autonomous skill, generalizable to all activity systems that use writing, improving writing in general would be a clear object(ive) of an activity system. But writing does not exist apart from its uses, for it is a tool for accomplishing object(ive)s beyond itself.


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