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the man who lived on his bike

2012 February 2
by dnorman

THE MAN WHO LIVED ON HIS BIKE from Guillaume Blanchet on Vimeo.

so good. I need to ride hands-free more. Haven’t really done that since I was a kid…

via a tweet from Momentum Magazine:

a day in the life of @dlnorman

2012 January 28
by dnorman

I tried an experiment, where I took a photo every hour on the hour (or as close to it as I could manage/remember) to see what documenting a full day might look like. It was surprisingly fun to do. Might make an interesting @ds106 daily create project…

powerpoint vs. interpretive dance

2012 January 25
by dnorman

So, I was stuck in a long meeting, absorbing endless slides in a powerpoint deck. And I vented something onto Twitter, as I apparently do.

@TedTheSith responded:

In workshops, I often joke about doing stuff by interpretive dance instead of powerpoint. Turns out, that’s not a bad idea after all. Awesome.

Behold, an iTextbook

2012 January 19
by dnorman

Drop-dead simple. I don’t really care about what this means for textbook publishers, but having these tools in the hands of students, and seeing what they create – now that’s some interesting stuff. Evan loves messing around with building sites with Hype – I can’t wait to see what he does with this stuff…

These are screenshots from a simple “hello world” book, that took maybe 5 minutes to put together, and most of that time was spent exploring menus etc…

Books can be exported in PDF or text format in addition to the interactive iBooks format. I haven’t tried it, but I’d guess that the .ibooks files are able to be imported into iTunes without having to go through the iBook store (the same way ePub books can be imported already). Here’s the .ibooks file, to test that out… (I imagine it’d need to be download, then dragged into iTunes, then synced with an iDevice. that’s how I get off-iStore-ePub books there. or it might work directly from the iDevice by clicking on the URL…)

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clay shirky on sopa/pipa

2012 January 18
by dnorman

Great overview on what this crappy proposed US legislation is all about, and some thoughts on what is really going on. It’s about corporations trying to remove rights, negate costs, and place the burden of proof on the innocent. Friction added to the process of sharing, to make it more difficult to do and make it a less common activity.

My thought, posted to Twitter after watching this: If the laws are insane, only the insane obey them. Badly crafted laws are corrosive.

By selling out our rights and freedoms in response to pressure from corporate interests, we further lose our sense of connection with our own government. If we lose it completely, it becomes irrelevant.

Notes: O’Donnell (2006): Blogging as pedagogic practice: Artefact and ecology

2012 January 15
by dnorman

O’Donnell, M. (2006). Blogging as pedagogic practice: Artefact and ecology. Asia Pacific Media Educator.

A really interesting paper based on a conference presentation. Talks about some of the promise of blogging as an agent of pedagogical change, but actually goes into some of the reasons why the change might happen (as opposed to other articles that leave it up to BECAUSE… MAGIC! BLOGS!)

Basically – blogging changes the nature of discourse, making it idiosyncratic and reflective. It also changes the ownership of the discourse to being student-centric.

On blogging as just one part of a student’s “cybercultural practices”:

…we need to look at blogging, not as an isolated phenomenon, but as part of a broad palette of cybercultural practices, which provide us with both new ways of doing and new ways of thinking.

on what is different in blogging, compared to LMS-y stuff:

blogging is a form of personal publishing that shapes authorship through its structured yet flexible forms and its immersion in a hypertextual ecology of the link. It is conversational, setting up and supporting conversations with both self and others.

but… isn’t that all possible within a discussion board? what’s really different in blogging? Perhaps, this:

A blog is personal publishing not just in the sense of its expressive or emotional or idiosyncratic tone but also in the sense that it operates at the core of a personal network or set of personal relationships.


Weblogs combine two oppositional principles: monologue and dialogue.

Personal publishing enabling the monologue? Monologues are technically possible in a traditional discussion board – simply as orphaned threads – but do they happen? Is monologuing a unique thing here? Interesting…

More on the monological aspect of blogging:

The personal conversation or the monologic aspect of blogging can be simply left to grow spontaneously or the author can learn to work with a blog as an evolving hypertext essay by thoughtfully linking backwards and forwards to their own as well as others’ posts. In fact new software plug-ins encourage this type of practice by allowing authors to display a series of related-post-links with each entry.

Interesting. On a side note, I use the related-posts stuff to mine my own blog by following loosely associated threads of topics throughout. Is that even possible in a discussion board?

On the flexibility of blogging:

Part of the freedom of blogging is its immediacy and its flexibility: it is a space where anything from brief notes, first thoughts and links, to more worked-up essay style postings can live together.

Is that kind of flexibility seen in discussion board postings, or do participants more closely follow ordained criteria for posting, as it’s not their own space?

On the integrative use of blowguns:

where blogging truly comes into its own is when it is able to integrate all three modes into a coherent whole.

(the three modes are Personal, Knowledge Management and Community/Social)

But, isn’t that all the same as what’s done in traditional online course websites? Perhaps not:

Blogging broadly developed is not merely a writing exercise, it is not just journal keeping, it is not an online discussion group, it is not a class intranet even though it can include elements of all of these. If we are to take educational advantage of blogging it is vital that we assist our students to come to their own view of blogging and that we help them situate this within a wider view of cyberdiscursivity.

Cyberdiscursivity. Interesting. Sounds a lot like Brian Lamb’s course at UBC. Or DS106. (Everything sounds like DS106. Dammit.)

On blogging and pedagogical change:

The initial enthusiasm about blogging in higher education arose because it seemed to easily fall within a progressive view of educational practice. It offers a socially situated, student centred, contemporary, technical solution. However blogging cannot easily be modelled on other forms of teaching and learning technology. Threaded discussion boards for example, are essentially an asynchronous version of synchronous face-to-face tutorial groups and call for a similar set of parameters such as discussion prompts and norms that encourage vigorous yet civil interaction. Blogging requires students and teachers to explore a different set of strategies. Many of these strategies are not unfamiliar but they need to be brought together in new and different ways.

on the networked and ecological model used to describe blogging:

In a linked or networked approach to learning the sense of agency and individuality is powerful but it is not isolating or egocentric. Each node in a dynamic network has the ability to both send and receive therefore this metaphor better accounts for both the given (or contextual) and the constructed aspects of the learning process.

On the limitation of blogging within a single course:

While blogs can be useful in individual subjects I am becoming increasingly convinced that blogs used across classes over the duration of a degree course, rather than blogs focused on specific assignment tasks or blogs developed for single semester units are a more congruent use of this technology.

As I have argued blogging is both the construction of a personal knowledge artefact and an ecological practice, which reveals emergent knowledges as a series of dynamically linked spaces, this immediately focuses any pedagogy of blogging on questions of connectivity and the evolution of ideas over time.

Which makes it painfully obvious, of course, that my use of a single course to gather data is somewhat… limited. (but I knew that going in). How to balance logistics (how in hell do you attempt to gather data from cross-course, cross-discipline, multi-year blogging by individuals? oy.)

the only engaging ad is no ad at all

2012 January 10
by dnorman

Instagram’s CEO, talking about the awesome plans for ramping up ads in their service:

“I think the advertising experience is going to be extremely engaging,” Systrom said. “It’s much harder with text,” but Instagram offers photos, and brand names such as Audi, Kate Spade, and Burberry have joined Instagram.

“They’re sharing pictures of products and the message of their brands. That shows we’re at the beginning of what will come with brands,” he said.

via Instagram photo app for Android is under way | Deep Tech – CNET News.

The advertising experience is going to be extremely engaging? Who in hell wants engaging ads? Who wants ads at all? Another important reason why I’m doing the reclaim project, hosting my own stuff here on my blog. No ads, ever. Or monetization of user-generated-content through synergistic engagement. Or something.

on no comments, part 2

2012 January 10
by dnorman

Matt Gemmell just posted a great summary of some of the recent discussion about comments on blogs.

One line in his write-up stuck with me, because it’s basically what I experienced as well:

For most people in this discussion, the main worry about switching off comments has been a fear of reducing engagement or conversation. For me, that was about 50% of my concern; the other 50% was that I really, really liked getting those comments each day from people who (for the most part) agreed with what I’d written. I was in the absurdly privileged position that disabling comments amounted to switching off daily reassurance and validation. Accordingly, any accusation that I’m hiding from disagreement is frankly ridiculous.

and, on the sense of ownership and “home”:

You imagine that I’m trying to remove your right to attach a note to a public noticeboard, or to participate in a town-hall debate (which would indeed be reprehensible of me, and a violation), but from my perspective, I’m asking you not to scribble on my newspaper, or to be boorish at my dinner party. It’s simply down to a different perception of the purpose, and thus degree of ownership, of a blog as a whole. To me, this is my home on the internet. You’re most welcome to visit as often as you like, and to stay for as long as you like, and I’m sure you’ll understand if I retain the right to set the rules while you’re here.

(emphasis mine)

on no comments

2012 January 4
by dnorman

Matt Gemmell disabled comments, and is happy with the decision. I agree with his points, but would add a significant (to me) one:

Without comments and stats, my blog feels mine. I’m the only person that can post content here, and I have no idea how many people read or see what I post.

Sure, some would say it’s antisocial, but I don’t think so. Whatever it is, it’s me, and when I post stuff here (or photos on the ephemera section), I don’t pause to consider responses or interest in what I’m posting. And that’s a liberating thing.

2011 by bike

2011 December 27
by dnorman

4159.8km, with a lot of downtime. Hopefully next year will be better for riding,,,