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Open Enthusiast, working in the field of Learning Technology. Long term cat owner and new-to-the-scene dog walker. All personal content is openly licensed.
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All work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Adding badges to your portfolio using Embedly

1 min read

I'm a fan of open badges as a means to identify and articulate learning and I've promoted them and collected them when they've been used in open courses. I wanted to embed them on my Known profile, but Known won't allow you to embed secure content from other sites... so any images with an https:// prefix. I think this may apply to some wordpress sites too, depending on how the site security certificate has been set up.

As a workaround, there's a great tool called that let's you paste in a url and returns you some code which gives you a nicely formatted card to embed on your site and a link to the original source of the image for attribution purposes. You can use the tool for free to produce your cards, but they will have a blue side banner and social sharing tools enabled. If you setup an account, you're allowed some more formatting options. You'll see the two examples on my profile of and badges.

Using Withknown as a Portfolio tool for #BYOD4L

2 min read

As I did in 2015, I'm returning to withknown to participate and reflect on for 2016. This post serves as an intro to the tool and some of the features that make it a great tool for micro CPD stuff.

Firstly, you'll want to set up an account at and give your new blog a name. I've chosen my own name, as I'm concious that I have other blogs and portfolio tools online and want to try and consolidate my digital identity via this and my social media handle, the_markness.

Once you've done that, you'll see your new blog as an editor and that you have the ability to add various types of post and these are configurabale in the settings.

If you've ever used Tumblr, this menu will be familiar to you, but with the addition of things like status (for short form, Twitter like posts), location and audio. This to me makes it feel a bit more dynamic. You can also bookmark links and comment upon them.

Withknown also handles tagging (categorising topics/themes), but rather than tagging posts, it works much like hashtags on Twitter.. as in you add them inline like this . You can click on these links to show you any post that you've used this tag in and you can also use the Search box at the top to find a tag.

This way you can self curate your posts for using additional keywords like , , etc.

Once you're happy with a post, you can hit publish and also syndicate this to your social networks.

I only have Twitter enabled, but you also have the choose of Facebook, LinkedIn etc. If you also enable the Bridgy tool which connects your comments from social media back to your blog post.

For the adventurous, there are lots of other plugins and things that extend the use of the tool; markdown editing, collaborative blogging, new themes, but that's all yours to explore.

For educators, Known will integrate with your LMS/VLE and offers some of the social learning functionality and collaborative working that the web enables, but most current VLEs do not.

In a future post, I'll be looking at the withknown profile page and how you go about adding your badges and other info.

Delving back in to research, similar stuff to what I was thinking about this time last year; student expectation upon educational technologies. Might post here and also look at hosting another blog for this stuff.

In untroducing myself, I thought about places i've lived and used the brilliant to transform map locations into words.

#RHIZO15 Content

1 min read

Thinking about the idea of content and what it represents in design of learning. Going back to the building of a window seat, I'm self organising my learning from resources that I'm aware of; Big book of DIY, Youtube, Pinterest, Instructables and this might point me to other resources, in the case of youtube and pinterest by using their own algorithms to promote content to me. I think this brings up themes of agency in learning and instructional design and if we have an awareness of how and where to search, we can make our own way though content.

Rather than posting up more words on here for the sake of it, and having just read Dave's message about cheating my way back into  I'm going to try and connect with some other people's content and link back to it on here.

#RHIZO15 Measurements

1 min read

This week, has been concerned with measuring things that aren't learning. There's a buzz around big data and 'learning analytics' as a means to quantify learning. Insitutions love to publish positive figures; league tables, satisfaction surveys. It's now big business to assign numbers to objects and events. I thought I'd add a few things that i've meaured this week.

Starting with...

  • number of open access docs in my work Google Account:

accessible google fies

  • Average mpg in the car. I feel like I'll achieve something, if I can get to 41.5:

  • Wooden battons for window seat. I'm making this design up as I go along, learning from youtibe videos and pinterest photos, but I've had to measure up for the battoning:

#RHIZO15 Learning Subjectives

2 min read

Bit late to the game, but hoping to join in as much as possible. Week 1 of a kind of community centred learning experience around rhizomatic learning and it’s refreshing and exciting to hear @davecormier announcing at the very beginning “ I have no idea where this is all going to get us”.

It’s an approach that resonates with me as I like the journey and don’t often think about the destination. Maybe there won't be a final destination, but a set of connected pathways and turns. I guess the idea of a learning subjective is to put yourself inside the learning opportunity and make it personal. A learning objective might state the aims of the teacher for the learner or the outcomes of the session. Often in teaching, I will start by setting aims and objectives, so to understand this concept more, I’ve taken a recent session and rewrote it as learning subjectives.

So this...

Google Pres

Becomes this...

Google Pres 2

It suddenly becomes more personal, maybe more opinionated and selfish, but much more open and honest. Taking this approach is more like laying your cards on the table; “This is what I know, this is what I want to understand and this is how you can help me understand”. It encourages the idea of a learning partnership as opposed to a didactic teacher-student relationship.

I think my understanding of a learning subjective is probably influenced by my desire to work in the open, so I guess for I want to be taking unsignposted pathways and seeing where they take me and how that relates to OEP.

Hahas, Walled gardens, Guerilla gardening and Open Educational Practices

3 min read

Inspired by Sheila MacNeiil's brilliant Keynote at this morning and being based on the Sheriff of Cornwall's old Estate, Tremough, I went for a walk around our beautiful campus to capture some of the horticultural references that Sheila used as metaphors for open practice within educational institutions.

The Ha-Ha

The etymology of Tremough suggests it may have come from Tre Moch or Pig Farm (there's probably an amusing irony about farming history and mass education here, but I'll leave that with the reader)

The view down from Tremough House   

The views above are from the top and bottom of campus, and include Tremough House, one of the remaining original buildings here. I could imagine this being the equivalent to the Ha-Ha with the ex-local authority housing in the distance seperated by the hill and the tributaries to the Penryn river. I wonder if back when the estate mayhave been used for farming activity that this is where the pigs were taken to water.

The Ha-Ha was devised by landscape gardeners to seperate the garden from the livestock and borrow landscape and Sheilla asked whether Institutions replicate this by spending vast amounts of money on keeping a well tended, expansive visage of openness, but not understanding or promoting open educational practice. 

Guerilla Gardening

Guerilla garening takes a distinctly different approach, going against the grain and often against authority and out in the open. The recent Incredible Edible movement (of which there is also one in Penryn) is an example of this happening in our UK towns and cities.

Falmouth and Exeter students taking part in the Green Living Project took over this bit of unused space on campus to develop vegetable plots and outdoor community initiatives like a digital detox, ditching the smartphone for the spade and in very open educational practice, learning from each other about sustainable living practices.

The Walled Garden

Up until today I'd only considered the negative connotations of the walled garden in terms of software development, where the service provider has ultimate control over the application/content in contrast to allowing open access. So it was refreshing to here Sheila's take on the walled garden being an essential space within the University, in which people can feel safe in experimenting with Open Educational Practices.

Here's the entrance and the view inside the walled garden at Tremough. Guarded by rhodedendrons and revealing a mature apple orchard once you enter, it's often visited by students and staff who want need a peaceful space for reflection away from the busier main campus buildings and thinking about it now, this is precisely the type of atmosphere that we need to cultivate in order to foster open educational practices. Thanks to Sheila for the engaging talk and these metaphors that will no doubt help me explain and promote open practice amongst colleagues in future. 

New Stuff!

1 min read

Recently came across producthunt which people can add, comment and upvote new apps and web things. I'm finding this really intriguing and have already curated a list of things that I want to check out further. Some interesting stuff, such as for running test servers from git commits and minute which looks useful for meeting notes.

From producthunt I have been introduced to, the equivalent for GitHub and which is the equivalent for finding new shops/restaurants/happenings in your area. There seems to be a surge in social curation tools on the web at the moment and I'm already addicted to producthunt.

Edit: Got an email from Producthunt a couple of days after this post with a link to a list of Producthunt for X. People do love their lists.

#BYOD4L - Curating

2 min read

Increased connectivity both in the information and social domain, suggests Steve Wheeler leads to an online learning landscape where context and community are key. We have streams of information that we have compartmentalised into Twitter lists or Pinterest boards that are designed around our interests. Whilst this helps limit noise in terms of articles and resources that we don't find useful, it can result in an information bubble where we aren't being exposed to alternative arguments or opinion. Many web resources now facilitate forms of social curation, facilitating interaction around these resources. Examples of this are group Pinterest boards or collaborative documents such as Google Docs/Sheets, and (as previously mentioned) where you can up/down vote add and comment on items within the list. Tools like Gibbon facilitate design of your own curriculum, curated around your interests.

Personally, I've also started using the blog as a form of curation and where there are reference points, I've added links. There is such a huge amount of knowledge available on the web, we need curation tools and curators to funnel the information and we need social interaction to facilitate critical engagement.