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.



One and Two and Three…Let’s Dance


Right now in America we are getting a lesson in what happens when we do not talk to each other.  I am guilty.  I live in a bubble of my own making, but I knew I lived in it.  I couldn’t help but know because I lived wholly within Trumplandia. I live where people proudly wave the Confederate flag and if you scratch the surface a little bit you will find more than a few card-carrying KKK members.

This is part of larger problem–folks minimize or oversimplify.  For example in a recent post for Virtually Connecting, Chris Gilliard argued that we need to invite more students to speak with their own voices if we want “a glimmer of hope in a time of chaos”.  Gilliard makes it seem so simple.  It is not.  Embracing voice without understanding how much work it entails on many sides…well, people are not going to listen and without listening no one will change.

Some people do not shy away from demonstrating how hard real change is.  For example, Daryl Davis. Daryl was just highlighted in a recent  two-part series on the podcast Love + Radio.  I listened, slack-jawed by the incredible story of how one black man decided to find out the answer to a simple question:  how can someone hate me if they don’t really know me?

I listened to both of these on my commute home on Friday.  Ever since, I have been wondering how I can make similar changes in my own political life.  My question is this: how can I understand someone who supported and voted for Trump?

I would love it if you listened to these two podcasts. They are full of credible, heart-filled stories and hard-earned truths about human nature.  And part two of the series is a how-to lesson in having conversations with people who are very different than you are.  These are life changing.  I feel them worming their way deep into how I think about folks who are different than I am. I am working on keeping my sense of disbelief open longer and asking questions that are really questions and not necessarily arguments.

I think that the way I will be able to do this is to take George Lakoff to heart and reframe the discussion from Argument to Conversation or perhaps Dance.  Lakoff insists that humans are metaphoric creatures and that metaphor is at the core of how our brains structure experience.  I would love to begin to have ‘dances’ with Trump folk. I would love to have that metaphor structure the conversation that would get closer to helping me understand why folks acted the way they did in the last election cycle.  These are the questions that the Democratic National Committee should be encouraging, but they are not.  Sad day for us all. So I have to do that myself and you do, too.

In a recent press conference a reporter working for a one-man news service, Kyle Mazza’s UNF News,  asked Donald Trump a question about his wife opening up the White House Visitor’s Office.  Most reporters would call that a softball question, but I think of it as the downbeat of a dance rhythm- and one and two, shall we dance?  If reporters want to seize the metaphorical high ground, they have to stop buying into the dance Trumps is dancing–the media is a threat to democracy. According to Lakoff they can’t just say #nottheenemy. That only reactivates the ‘argument is war’ frame Trump is blaring. Instead reporters have to take a look at people like Mazza and start dancing to the tune of #protectthetruth. Bring the music, bring the dance.

Sunday Morning Music:

Covering a tune is a classic example of dancing with a different partner.  How about Elton John and the bluegrass band Iron Horse?

Acting Out and Thinking Loud–Thinking and Acting Out Loud

Folks who think out loud don’t get no respetc. Nonz.  But I am going to do it, naytheless.

I have been watching Simon Ensor’s blog of late oscillate toward a marvelous political dynamism.  In other words, he bringing it.  And Americans can get it, we can reciprocate and get into the French elections with some serious empathy.  We feel your pain.

Here is his latest Steller response to the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. I think I commented by calling her a vulture edupreneur (reminescent of Matt Taibi’s moniker for hedge fund creeps, “vampire squids”).

He has since posted a longer read here. Please comment and annotate if you are so moved by going here.

I have been exploring Everett Reiner’s 1970’s book, School Is Dead for about about a week and am about to dive deep into annotating it. His words seems apt and strong and worthy for the moment.

Here is a Pablo quote from it inspired by Simon’s incandescence:

And here with a bit of revision and a new app, VanillaPen:

I have been thinking about “gifs that talk” and exploring tools like Gif Out Loud and Gif Talk. Below is one I created with my own voice using Gif Out Loud and then uploading to YouTube.

Taking the ashes

Our vulturecater edupreneurs eat the masses.

I don’t think I have any particular learning agenda in these explorations other than simple needs: the need to express, the need to add voice to gif (especially my own voice), the need to respond, and the need to play per se. I yearn to be free and to help others be free, too.

Fly my lunas. Fly.

Luna Moth Away!

I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor (http://www.youtube.com/editor)