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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

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Greg McVerry

@_mike_collins it is so perfectly simple. I use webmentions. So a badge is a reply post to student evidence that includes badge image, name, issuer, earner, criteria and evidence.

All done by two Urls talking to each other... Will do summary write up later.

Greg McVerry

Replied to a post on :

Sweet now I can you to my reader and send webmentions. Congrats

Greg McVerry

Balancing the Journey from Outsider to In When Recentering #OER #OER19

4 min read

As the Global Open Initiative Foundation begin our efforts to create an network in Ghana have taken off with lightning speed.

As an outsider invited into the group to join the advisory board I often fall to my worries that I am pushing my perspective and goals tool much. Doing the exact opposite of de-colonizing OER.

I want to listen and advise the decision makers not be a space taker.

At the same time many of the decisions and set up had to be fast. This was spring break for students and I had the opportunity to focus on the project.

There are also bandwidth constraints that made it more feasible for me to launch a website for everyone on our Reclaim Hosting account. 

You can have all the right reasons for good intentions and still have bad outcomes. I worry about this, and here some steps we took.

Listen and Listen

I met the group through Sadik and the Virtually Connecting. We may have looked like we rolled out fast this weekend but in reality, we planned this pathway for a long time. Sadik and I brainstormed long into the nights (time zones stink) on a best approach.

Every time I feel a worry that I am becoming the dominant voice I need to sit back and remember to listen.

Take Advantage of Existing Knowledge

The group existed before I joined and have done amazing projects with Wikipedia. This includes documenting corruption in Ghana and editing art history with a feminist lens.

To honor this work we decided to use a wikimedia install as our knowledge base.

Connect to Larger Networks

Another strategy to one person does not become the voice is to simply invite more voices. is about people and pedagogy. Creating the spaces for it to thrive requires strong local networks loosely combined.

At GOIF we have started to grow these connections. Members are encouraged to get involved with other groups. Currently, we have representation with Mozilla, Creative Commons, and the movement.

In fact this Wednesday Global Open Initiative Foundation will host the first Homebrew Website Club in Ghana and the first on the African continent. 

Our members have sought and received travel assistance to get to the Creative Commons Global Summit (flights still needed donate now). 

By connecting to more networks we hope to diversify the leadership opportunities to our members. In turn our members bring the skills home while giving back to others.

Over time we hope members new and old start to take a greater role in shaping Global Open Initiative Foundation.

Using Sustainable Tech

We also tried to choose technology to support the network that doesn't rely on any point of failure, while individual hosting would be better economic realities have us providing server space to members on our shared host.

We wanted:

  • Agnostic Platform
  • Data Ownership
  • FOSS

We chose Known as the online glue to hold the network together. Members will rely on a platform committed to open standards and APIs. 

We can take advantage of cool things like webmentions and other Indieweb tools but more importantly, the tech is sustainable because we focus on the space.

Giving people across the globe a place to live online has to happen before we worry about licensing or archiving. Shape yourself in the open as you learn to shape the world.

For us at the Global Open Initiative Foundation that is the only pathway to ensure voices like mine do not crowd out the future. 

Greg McVerry

@dogtrax beautiful I don't know if I wrote three poems or one poem connected by webmentions.

I will go ask the owl

Greg McVerry I got the webmention. How I wish they were native in Mastodon. Be so cool to link replies from my own Domain.

Get privacy concern. Maybe make it a user choice in settings. "Display your toots on websites that accept webmentions"

Greg McVerry

#Backstage View into my Mobile Learning Video #edu307 #edu407 #edu305

3 min read

The Project

I was asked to do a video about Mozilla and all the Mozilla Learning Network tools for a mobile learning MOOC.

In 2019 Mozilla decided to shut down Thimble, probably the last vestiges of a project we all began together back in 2011.

The Mozilla Foundation decided to move away from direct support of on the ground learning to instead focus on researching, advocating, and developing Internet Health.

All of the tools and platforms we built to help learners join the relics of web history. X-ray Goggles, Thimble, App Maker, Backpack, Hackasaurus, Webmaker, Webmaker for Android, Mozilla Clubs, Mozilla Learning Network, Thimble II.

The Future

So I close the video with my views on and , both of these movements align to my values but don't have the organizational overhead I did not enjoy as a contributor.

  and look  to mobile learning as the web. They both begin with a Domain of Your Own and then expand learning networks outward.

Relying on your own website and building up local infrastructure is the only way to decolonize the web.

One thing I learned in the fights for net neutrality around the globe is far too many people see facebook as the web. When you build mobile learning networks on social media silos we sacrifice long term decolonization efforts in the face of immediate network access.

The role of social media is decision to be made at the local level, but at least begin by building up the local infrastructure of the local web.

Federation and Decentralization begin at home. Stop the colonization of the web. Encourage local communities to carve out a space online they own.

That is the future of mobile learning

How I Made the Project

I used Alan Levine's Pecha Flickr tool. It takes a search trm and generates 20 random slides that advance every twenty seconds.

I then threw out a post on my blog and syndicated to Twitter and Mastodon. Doug Belshaw then answered on Mastodon but it was to a follow up toot. Mastodon doesn't do webmentions so the context was lost.

I did not realize this and it is important to note as Doug was employed by Mozilla at the time of the project. Basically he had no idea I was about to improvise a talk about his work using the two words he suggested "manhole" and "spork."

my plannign notes, three pages in storyboard format

I did have notes, and you can tell I didn't know them well. As I glance down in the video breaking the illusion of total improv, but I didn't know my slide show.

I quickly realized, manholes as a metaphor get boring yet contain unique beauty about different cultures and I couldn't fit all my content in twenty slides. So I had to do a second talk. Luckily Doug gave me "Spork.

So much to work with. Such perfect design.

I originally, after talking too long in my first slide deck, thought I would do three, but I was afraid the video would get too long for a MOOC. Anything after seven minutes and people drop like flies.

I recorded it using screencast-o-matic. Probably the best teaching tool I use every year. It only cost fifteen dollars.

I added simple text boxes. I should not have put in such a large infographic into a video, it will not work for our blind friends.

So here is a description of what happens on the original Google Drawing. This should play better in screen readers.






Greg McVerry

@tbc0 I kinda like the thread UI in my microblogging. I try to webmentions to keep posts threaded by topic.

Greg McVerry

You can find a bunch of ideas for Getting Started on the page: and we collect examples Can combine websites and use @Hypothes_is groups for private feedback. use webmentions (public) and native comments (private)

Greg McVerry

I have settled on a pattern for and to post positive with webmentions, respecting student choice for syndication, but using native comments, that students may choose to publish, for more critical feedback. System works well.

Greg McVerry

Why an HTML/CSS First Approach Works for #OER and why #OER Must Work for an HTML First Approach

4 min read

A few years ago I worked with a committed group of volunteers in Erode, India. For awhile I provided a bit of webspace as they learned the simple mechanics of running websites.

using chalk to lay out websites

We focused on HTMl first. Why? Mainly because we believed it to be the most equitable pathway to .

In the picture above you can see people learning to build websites by using chalk for their tags. The club then collected bricks from abandonded houses and learned to stack webpages this way.

Basically you can learn the structure of a website and get it online in a day. You can not do that with React or what ever framework of the day folks use. Worse, new learners who hit source code get treated with just a few lines of gobbily gook while the human readable data gets hidden away.

fighting for net neutrality

When you provide a foundation of basics and give people a chance to have their own space online they become immediate activists for themselves.

How do we Curate and grow Community?

With HTML.


The answer has always been HTML/CSS...and some scripting for storage, but that's it. We do not need to invent the new network we already have the web.

In HTML we can carry data by adding a tiny bit of data to your HTML. Every HTML element (the tags) can carry the class attribute. You do this in the same way you add a CSS Selector but we add some metadata properties

So for example just add class="u-bookmark-of" to curate  a resource. This tiny bit of data can empower interoperability in the community at levels we only dream about.

When we decide to carry our metadata in the very files we want to share with the Commons you also get to utlize so many more standards already approved by th W3c such as webmentions which means I can send a reply post from my site to your website and you can display it as a comment.

Doesn't that sound perfect for an network built on our own Domains?

Domains and Websites Take Priviledge and Power

Yes knowing how to build a website does reflect our institutional and global imbalances. Literacy always has. The powerful hold it back from the disenfranchised and the down trodden must use it to take back control. The web is not different.

But could you imagine saying, "Not everyone can afford books so we shouldn't teach people to read and write"?

Why do we say this now with the web. We took the wrong lesson from the Web 2.0 meme. It was never , "Now nobody needs to know HTML." It should have been, "Now everyone needs to know a bit of HTML."

How to Begin

Model. Can you answer the question, "My url is.."

Learn out loud. Capture your journey as you start to esnure the longevity of you content by making a committment to an HTML/CSS first world.

Remix. Check out our Getting Started page. We have built a ton of resources to Glitch (this is my Mozilla Thimble) replacement. Tools focused on learning  and generic tools  from beginner to advanced.

Get Involved. Somewhere near you like minded indiviudals meet up. Create the local network. We run events, free of cost, that anyone around the world can organize. For example every other Wednedsay across the globe small local clubs meet up and hack on wenbsites. We also run larger weekend events and have a free online conference coming up, one in New Haven, and events scheduled around the world. 

Contribute to the Commons. When you build resources and tools using HTML as your base you are ensuring our past can be read in the future.