My Voice, Love It or Hate It, but My Voice: Creating by Curating

Yogi Berra: ‘In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.’
New York Times – Nov 30, 3:00 AM

The extraordinary friendship of an elderly songwriter and the precocious child of his single-parent neighbor is at the heart of this novel that darts back and forth through the decades, from the 1960s to the era of Brexit. The first in a projected…

Image not available Terry Elliott FOMO to the max. I have not read even one of these. Have you? Which one would you read first? I would go for ‘Grant’ by Ron Chernow. Grant was aptly named Ulysses because he did save the republic.Besides, he was Mark Twain’s hero.
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Image not available – Mike Springer – Mar 29, 2012
Image not available Terry Elliott I love how searchable this archive. For example, I searched for ‘children’s songs’ and found this: Simply grand. Combine this with the other big collection at the American Folklife Center and you have it all. God bless Lomax.
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Image not available – Josh Jones – Dec 6, 2016

From Newton’s mechanical calculations to Einstein’s general and special relativity to the baffling indeterminacy of quantum mechanics, the discipline of physics has become increasingly arcane and complex, and less and less governed by orderly laws.

Image not available Terry Elliott Well done–an 8 minute map of physics. I think I want to create a similar map for my pedagogies and for my classes this spring. Really valuable as a process and a product.
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Nieman Journalism Lab – Ricardo Bilton – Nov 28

LINK: ➚ | Posted by: Ricardo Bilton | November 30, 2017 A new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism offers a bit more insight into what’s driving distrust in news organizations…

Image not available Terry Elliott Crowdsourcing the issue of trust. Fascinating. Trust is a hard to come be, easy to lose proposition. Look at the full report and find out more. I like that this is a worldwide report.
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ribbonfarm – Venkatesh Rao – Nov 30, 4:50 PM

When I think about history, the picture in my head is that of a roiling canvas of many choppy, intertwingled narrative streams, enveloped by many-hued nebulous fogs of mood and temper. Star-like cosmic irruption-events, ranging from discoveries to…

Image not available Terry Elliott Rao came up with this gem: ‘a Dark Age is an age where the dominant grand narrative is a closed one, but there is subversive vitality in the margins.’ Read Rao so that you know where you stand–in the center or on the margins. I’m on the margins.
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Image not available – David Theriault – Nov 26, 11:52 PM

If you are like me, you hate missing something important especially when it comes to doing something correctly: like writing. There are TONS of things to consider when we sit down to help our students write, but there’s ONE missing element that I…

Image not available Terry Elliott You can do the same exercise with a hashtag and the annotation tool, Way simpler.
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JSTOR Daily – Daniel A. Gross – Nov 28, 6:15 AM

It’s a warm summer afternoon in the Tanzanian village of Lupiro, and Mikkel Brydegaard is crouching in a brick hut, trying to fix a broken laser. Next to him, on a tall tripod, three telescopes point through a window at a tree in the distance. A…

Image not available Terry Elliott It is all connected, that’s why. Now what is this ‘it’ and how does ‘it’ connect.
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Medium – Nov 30, 10:39 AM

I first heard of Dr. Leyla Acaroglu when she started publishing her Tools For Systems Thinker series on Medium. The first article made the rounds in my various feeds and explained the 6 fundamental concepts of systems thinking. It was followed by…

Image not available Terry Elliott “I’ve done what the system told me to do.I got a job.I got a career.I’ve done all those things.Now, I feel deeply conflicted about the kind of world that we’re living in and the way I’m contributing to that.’ Unschooling, sistuhs and bruhs.Love complexity

Mapping User Experience to the University Experience in #Mapvember

UX Mapping Methods Compared: A Cheat Sheet

I stumbled over these handy user experience maps this morning and thought about how useful they might be in my teaching, learning, and research.

Empathy maps: designed to help folk understand the mind of the user.

empathy map in four quadrants with user in the middle.

I could use this at the end of the semester to understand how my students navigated the semester-long research paper we write. I have no idea how my “users” experience the most time-consuming and constraining activity in the course. This could help.

Customer journey maps: describes the path a user takes in adopting a particular product or service.

journey into adopting (or not) a product or service

My department could use this in exploring how our students adopt the English major and how that journey works from inside the student. I suspect that the journey we lay out for them and the one they actually follow are quite different, complementary but different. We just revised our curriculum. This might be a qualitative way to evaluate whether the path we are requiring is one that those who are taking it signed up for.

Service blueprints: much like the customer journey maps, these apply to teachers/employees. These maps help to uncover the how and where we ‘touch’ our learners/customers. They would work in conjunction with the customer journey maps.

We could use these with new teachers to help map out where they see these ‘touchpoints’ and compare those maps with what the department sees as the touchpoints. I think these maps might be fleshed out using tools like Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework/SenseMaker techonology.

Experience maps: these take customer-journey maps and apply them across user types and user products. You use these maps to make generalizations about user experience. In this image, the experience mapped is “pregnancy”.

Since the purpose of these maps is to understand a general human behavior, I might use them to explain the arc of a course and the learning behaviors it might generate in students. The follow up would be whether those behaviors were actually generated in the users. This map is quite a bit fuzzier and more abstract than the others, so perhaps it might be used in planning or revising a course syllabus and then making readjustments on the fly to the course as required. Used in conjunction with empathy maps?

Maps like these are often guilty of the sin of ‘making complexity legible’. Or as James C. Scott says, they destroy the “metis”, the local knowledge, or at the least they valorize this legibilizing over local, folk knowledge and concepts. Entering with an awareness of this bias, I think that what could be revealed would allow teachers and admins insights that might lead to a ‘re-messification’ of the various ‘fields of users’. We could make our blind spots legible with the end goal being to make the relationships more natural, more like what we find in the margins of fields. Rich. Diverse. Messy. Convergent and divergent.

That is the idea I took from this foray into UX. Anybody need a really interesting research project that might be turned into a consulting business? Maybe this is it. There is a UX conference in Washington, D.C. in April. If I can find $5000 I might go. A big investment, but maybe a worthy career move.

Terry Elliott’s Newsletter 30 June 2017

Arctic Lightning V. Grit, McConnell V. Storybook Cookies

‘Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you—
Ye are many—they are few.’
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Daily Commentary

Sometimes I am struck by the degree of problematicity in these items. How problematic is Mitch McConnell compared to arctic lightning on the rise? Storybook cookies to grit? We’re defined by the problems we choose to consider, the worlds we observe.  I say lightning over shitheads and cookies over grit.  

Daily Readings

Savaging Mitch McConnell–Huzzah!

Beautiful! When This 7-Year-Old Boy Could No Longer Afford Treatment For His Brain Tumor, Mitch McConnell Dressed Up As Batman And Wheeled Him Out Of The Hospital
ClickHole – Jun 29, 10:32 AM
“Life has been extremely difficult for 7-year-old Aaron Burkhart ever since he was diagnosed with a brain tumor five months ago. To make matters worse, Aaron’s family lacked health insurance and was soon unable to pay the medical bills for his…”

Comment:  Savage irony blooms like a dead rose. I will say this. I live in Kentucky and have worked against this personification of the banality of evil. Some day.

Scaffolding Grit – Heather Wolpert-Gawron – Jun 29, 12:00 PM
“Often when I look at how to help students, I think back on my own journey as a student. When challenged to teach students to trust that the effort of persistence is worth it, I think back on when I myself figured it out. And do you know what I came…”

Comment: As if…sounds like a sandblasting
medium. Personal persistence, this has the classic stink of blame the victim and faux meritocratics. And privilege, did I mention that.

10 of the Most Versatile Digital Age Skills We Can Teach Our Learners – GDC Team – Jun 29, 7:00 AM
“In the past, we’ve talked about the critical 21st-century skills students need and why. But what about other digital age skills? There are so many other useful and practical abilities to have that can help our learners build success and enable…”

Comment: You decide: is this clickbaitish post worth a read especially when the #1 skill is ‘Personal Branding’. There are some good suggestions, but you could scrape all the links off and explore them without all the word cruft here.


Fires rise in Arctic as ‘lightning follows the warming’ – Jun 12, 7:22 AM
“Climate change is driving up the number of forest fires ignited by lightning, and it’s pushing them farther north, to the edges of the Arctic tundra, researchers say. Lightning-caused fires have risen 2 to 5 percent a year for the last four…”

Comment: Sweet jesus, the power of the climate feedback loops. ‘The feedback loop could worsen significantly in the future if tree cover spreads northward.Lightning strikes near trees,so increased cover could bring more lightning, &more fuel for fire.’

Handmade Storybook Cookies Made From Natural Dyes – Rachel Mimms – Jun 20, 7:58 AM
“Anyone who questions baking as an art form should look no further than the cookies made by Okashi no Kobito. Professional cookie artist Nobuyo Toyono began this enterprise creating edible masterpieces out of Osaka after graduating from…”

Comment: Cookies as an edible story medium. Dang, dude. These are a testimony to the imaginative
genius that we can all tap. All of us.

In a Dark Time by Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood—
A lord of nature weeping to a tree.
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.
That place among the rocks—is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is—
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.


Comment: I think this poem is my American version of Yeats’ “The Second Coming”.


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