A Tech Praxis Story

Here we go, @le_petitjo.

I put together a newsletter on a daily basis using the Nuzzel platform. I like it because it can be a robo-newsletter (Nuzzel collects the stories from my feeds and publishes with my comments) or it can be customized so that all stories are curated and commented upon. Or any mix in between. I feel my comments in the newsletter (which are limited to about twice the length of a tweet) are a conversational snippet. I wish they would open up into full blown dialogues, but that hasn’t happened yet, but maybe I am moving toward this with a recent exchange of tweets with @le_petitjo.

Here is the template I mention in the newsletter: Michael Hyatt – Book Insights Template.  I used it in class on a sample document (a NYTimes editorial board piece) and asked my students to use it on an article of their own choosing.

Last Friday we discussed how they used the template.  There were those who didn’t do the work.  They effectively removed themselves from the conversation.  I don’t know any way around that. There were those who did the work as strategic students. In other words they filled in the blanks without really thinking about the tool itself.  (Just tell me how to get my “A”, Mr. Elliott.) And there were those who modified the template to do the work.  Our conclusion was that templates are useful, but only insofar as they help us do the intellectual work that needs doing and only insofar as they can be freely modified to do that work.  They are useful can openers.

Pretty proud of their discussion.  I find the template as is to be very helpful at the beginning of a new project, but I do have better tools for gathering basic bibliographic information.  I use Zotero.  Then I use the “Notes” section of Zotero along with the template, but I do my first read and annotation with paper copies.  Sorry trees.  I know I could do more with tools like Diigo and Hypothes.is, but I get a haptic charge out of using a fountain pen on paper along with pretty highlighting and marker pens.

Here is a link to the first page of my annotated article:  articleannotated 2.

Below is a screencast from my Zotero account I mention above:

Using Zotero with Michael Hyatt’s Book Insight’s Template

Uploaded by TERRY ELLIOTT on 2017-02-20.

As usual, thinking and doing out loud in the classroom is messy.  It needs to be.  We need to habituate good tool use and then we need to rotate in and out among the tools we use, sometimes analog and sometimes digital and sometimes both to keep them fresh AND apt.

I am lucky to have a set of open and free tools that many other folk have developed for all to use. I am lucky to have been in the position to learn how to use them and teach their use to others.  In the end, I am lucky to be able to let people find their own idiosyncratic ways to answer the important questions in their lives.

OK, le_petitjo, that’s what happened.  Yeah, I know, a bit underwhelming, but there it is, teaching often hides the extraordinary inside the ordinary, almost never in plain sight.




  1. // Reply

    Dear Mr. Elliott,

    Please give me an F. I have been reading your curated articles with only slight abandon and not nearly enough attention, and with more focus to your notes than to the material itself. Most days, I never even follow the links you give us. I suppose I am a bad student. Blame testing, not the Internet, on my short attention span.
    Mr Easy E (is that OK that we call you that?), I wonder about your flow. Where do the article arise in your reading and what makes the cut? How much do you read in order to know what to share?
    How do you know where the Snark Line is and where it ain’t, and is it my face what you see when you go on writing every morning even when you wonder if anyone is reading? I’m reading because someone once told me not to.
    Or maybe they told me only to read what was officially on the syllabus. But dang it … I don’t care about that “official” reading. I am ready for my F, and have well earned it this semester already, but only if you curate the grade for me.

    Yours truly,
    A Student with Very Little if Any Class

    1. // Reply

      I finished it, but not the Spreadsheet stuff. Too busy.

  2. // Reply

    I say, I will, I say, I will consider it, ya carsarned Massatoosen. I may give you the Foghorn Leghorn gentleman’s “C”, but that puts you in company pretty rarified. I’d say Bush League, but that would be too cruel.

    I will pull out my mansplainification hat of a morning and get to work trying to rationalize what is akin to chaos theory, my fractal self gone wild. It is mos def yer smiling dogtraxity I see as I write. Better than a cup of solid joe.

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