Serendipity from #Rhizo14


I spend a lot of my online time evaluating tools for use in my own professional and learning life.  #Rhizo14 activity has really kickstarted that little moped.  I wanted to share a few of the highlights that have grown out of that root.

One of the problems that any MOOC-type activity generates is a need to harness the workflow of tweets, Facebookery, WordPressitude, G+Communitarity, and more that is engendered by these little hashtags.

My primary tool for coralling all these little ‘doggies’  has been the ‘Pin Tab’ feature in Firefox and Chrome.  Unfortunately, both of those browsers take a huge memory hit if you have lots of tabs open, pinned or otherwise.  My solution has been to use another Firefox extension called “Too Many Tabs”.  What this extension does is to take the tab out of memory while at the same time keeping it available for use as a tab. And it does so by allowing you to store it in easy to access toolbars.  Genius.

How does this help with #rhizo14?  All of the webspaces I need to return to (FB page, G+ page, WP page, Twitter, Blogs, etc.) I keep in separate toolbars.  When you are ready to access them, then you can click on the tab and the link is re-engaged.  You can even pin them in their own toolbar if the site is one you continually return to.

Another spinoff of my work with #rhizo14 has been my re-discovery of the iPad app, Explain Everything.  I am trying to extend my face-to-face classroom communities by sharing with them inside of Google Plus Communities.  I had a snow day today and I wanted to engage learners even if at arm’s length.  So…I have been working on a set of very short annotated videos on the reading assignment for the week.  Here is one I created with Explain Everything:

In the process of creating this I found out some better workflows and some new features of the app that are frankly astonishing. You are now able to upload an audio file and then annotate it as you listen. Here is what I mean. This is an excerpt from “Othello”with my audio annotations over the top.

My point here is that extending into open learning spaces is a rhizomatic attitude that has pragmatic consequences.  It proves one of the axioms of my life–theory is practical. Now if I can get my learners to start creating these digital texts….


  1. // Reply

    Very useful links and demonstrations! I’ll investigate “Add-Ons” and “Explain Everything”.
    I think I might have signed up for #rhizo14, but I haven’t been following it. I heard David Cormier present on this topic during #Change11 and I’d like to hear more. However, I have been following #FutureEd (
    Your lest paragraph reminded me of a quote (unattributed) that I once saw on an engineer’s blog: “Theory without practice makes more sense in theory than in practice”.

  2. // Reply

    Just before I read this blog, I closed out some windows in Chrome because there were 2 many open. I only have 15 open now. I’m going to give Firefox a try and see if it will tame the savage beast.

  3. // Reply

    @Mark the quote you supplied put me in mind of
    “Theory without practice is sterile. Practice without theory is blind.” that Google ‘stupidly’ attributes variously to Engels, Marx and Henry Ford – an interesting threesome

    1. // Reply

      Nice, I like that quote. It’s like the “vision without mission is merely a dream, mission without vision just passes the time” quote :))

      1. // Reply

        I was unaware of the quote. It is now on a 3X5 card above my desk. thanks.

  4. // Reply

    Ahk. >_< totally guilty with too many tabs, that I even add another window with too many tabs.

    At some point I have no idea why I opened such tabs and just start all over again by exiting them and going back to one source, either Facebook, twitter, a blog and the like.

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