Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


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Aruba, Darrell, Stephen and Max

Early this morning I was looking at some information about my blog.

I have been thinking about open sharing after receiving an invitation from Darrell Cobner to write about blogging.

WordPress offers a range of information about blog visits.

For the first time the geo-locator utility showed that Clyde Street had received three visits from Aruba.

At approximately the same time I received Stephen Downes‘ OLDaily from Moncton, New Brunswick. In today’s OLDaly Stephen points to his blog post on Feelings in Science. In the post Stephen observes:

when I reflect on my own practice it does seem to me that my own work is based in forming connections – though, more specifically, it is based in acting as a node in a network, and not in network-forming per se (I think the concept of ‘building networks’ is a bit misleading; if we want to be a part of a network we must be in the network, as a node, and not outside it

A few hours later I was listening to Michael Cathcart interviewing John Ironmonger about The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder. In this novel:

the central character wants to record every thought he’s ever had, every memory, every aside, every piece of odd knowledge picked up by reading the back of a cereal box. Maximilian Ponder also wants to leave his brain to science, and believes in the power of his increasingly absurd project. Unfortunately, he’s also stuck in 1975.

I am hopeful that someone in Aruba found something of interest in Clyde Street that might be relevant in 2012. Darrell has helped me clarify how this relevance can be shared.

As ever Stephen has demonstrated the energy created by sharing connections.

By the end of the day, Aruba, had moved off my geo-locator page:

… but had been in my network and had linked the Caribbean and a small village node in Australia.


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Blogging About Blogging

I have been blogging for some time.

This WordPress blog dates back to June 2008.

I have Blogger, Tumblr and Posterous blog accounts too.

This week a friend, Darrell Cobner, asked me to write about blogging. He is an accomplished blogger and I was delighted that he asked me.

Darrell’s request was for me to address:

  • What is blogging?
  • Why blog?
  • What is the impact?
  • What are the rules of engagement?

I started drafting this blog post just after I had read John Kessel’s delightful Celebrating Together post on the USA Volleyball blogs site. His opening paragraph addresses implicitly Darrell’s questions:

Just finished our annual meetings in Salt Lake City, where all the USAV leaders come to share their season’s experiences and best practices and plan ahead to grow the game anew. This being an Olympic Year, our CEO Doug Beal shared a special powerpoint at the Congress, celebrating the achievements of volleyball in the USA, aka USA Volleyball in his State of the Game.  It is shared here, since so many of you reading this blog could not be in Salt Lake, yet you are growing the game so well in your part of our nation – we wanted you to celebrate too.  CLICK HERE to download and read it, you will learn a lot about how the Team behind the Team, which is all of us, are doing at USA Volleyball.

Explicitly, here are my thoughts on Darrell’s questions.

What Is Blogging?

Wikipedia has a very clear description of blogging:

A blog is a personal journal published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order so the most recent post appears first. Blogs are usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often are themed on a single subject.

Stephen Downes adds that:

Though blogs are typically thought of as personal journals, there is no limit to what may be covered in a blog. It is common for people to write blogs to describe their work, their hobbies, their pets, social and political issues, or news and current events.

The uptake of blogging was accelerated by easy to use blog platforms like Blogger and WordPress. Both provided and continue to provide ways for the uncomplicated upload of content. This makes blogging a very personal activity.  The author creates, uploads and monitors content of the blog.

In recent years Twitter has made microblogging an everyday activity that enables the exchange of short sentences, web links, and pictures.

Why Blog?

I mentioned John Kessel’s  Celebrating Together post on the USA Volleyball blogs site earlier. I return to it here to help explain why blog.

In the paragraph I quoted John makes the following points:

  • Just finished our annual meetings in Salt Lake City, where all the USAV leaders come to share their season’s experiences and best practices and plan ahead to grow the game anew.
  • Our CEO Doug Beal shared a special powerpoint at the Congress, celebrating the achievements of volleyball in the USA.
  • It is shared here, since so many of you reading this blog could not be in Salt Lake, yet you are growing the game so well in your part of our nation – we wanted you to celebrate too.  CLICK HERE to download
  • You will learn a lot about how the Team behind the Team, which is all of us, are doing at USA Volleyball.

John’s post exhibits two fundamental aspects of the why blog discussion:

  1. There is an unconditional commitment to sharing experiences and resources.
  2. The topic is of the author’s choice and narrative style.

I see blogging as a voluntary contribution to a community. Whenever I attend a conference or workshop I blog live so that those not attending can access information if they wish.

An example is my blog posts from the Computer Science in Sport Conference (Special Emphasis: Football) at Schloss Dagstuhl, Germany in 2011.

I blog to share my interests in performance and this leads me to share data from my research activities.

An example is my blog posts about performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

What I find particularly exciting about this approach is:

  • There is no expectation that anyone will read any post.
  • Occasionally people comment on the posts and this leads to thought-provoking exchange.
  • It contributes to a world that flourishes through reciprocal altruism.

What Is The Impact?

Blogging offers an immediate way to share information or discuss ideas.

I have posted 619 times to my blog since June 2008. This is a rich record for me of items of interest to me and a cloud resource I draw upon when meeting others interested in learning, teaching, coaching and performance. To date I have had 112,000+ visitors to the site.

I saw a big spike in readership during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Thereafter searches on Google yield some of my posts.

The availability of alerts to blog posts on topics or by a particular author has transformed the impact of blog posts.

In contemplating the impact of blog posts I am mindful of Todd Sieling’s advice about slow blogging.

Slow Blogging is a willingness to remain silent amid the daily outrages and ecstasies that fill nothing more than single moments in time, switching between banality, crushing heartbreak and end-of-the-world psychotic glee in the mere space between headlines. The thing you wished you said in the moment last week can be said next month, or next year, and you’ll only look all the smarter.

I am conscious that if we are to use blog posts as an indicator or reach and impact then we must engage in slow blogging.We must think too about the tags we use to point to the slow blogging outputs.

I think microblogging with Twitter offers an alternative for the immediate response to events.

What Are The Rules Of Engagement?

It is a public space

Back in 2007 Tim O’Reilly suggested that “I do think we need some code of conduct around what is acceptable behaviour, I would hope that it doesn’t come through any kind of regulation it would come through self-regulation.” One of his seven recommendations was:

Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.

Kate Carruthers’ advice

In my own blog I have an About page. On it I say:

This is a personal blog. Kate Carruthers has a great guide to rules of engagement for personal blogs. I try to follow her rules.

Kate’s rules are great!

  • This is my personal blog and I write it for my own personal satisfaction.
  • Readers are encouraged to comment, debate and discuss.
  • I moderate all comments and publish most, unless they appear (to my totally subjective gaze) to be defamatory, spammy, hate-mongering, not particularly constructive, or just plain rude/crude.
  • It’s fine to disagree with me, but I’m unlikely to publish your comment unless you display a modicum of style and intelligence.
  • if you do not provide a real name/identity/email I may choose not to publish your comments.
  • Real people who stand by their comments are cool!
  • This blog discusses ideas but does not purport to provide formal business, technology, psychology or finance advice.
  • Readers should seek (and probably pay for) advice of that nature from a professional source.
  • The content on this website is provided “as is” with no warranties, and confers no rights.
  • The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent views of any clients or employers in any way.
  • Nothing posted here should be considered official or sanctioned by any of my clients or employers or any organisation I am affiliated with.
  • Feel free to quote liberally from this blog if you want – please link back in the best web tradition if you use any material provided here and give credit for material used.

Sharing openly and open about sharing

Richard Byrne has a helpful post from 24 May 2011 that contains some detailed advice about:

  • What to do when you see your blog posts being stolen
  • What to do if you want to reuse someone’s blog post(s)

In Conclusion

I have written this post from the perspective of a person who seeks to share through blogging. I recognise that there are other motives to blog.

I am excited by the reflective potential of blogs in education and sport settings.

I facilitated a Sport Coaching Pedagogy unit at the University of Canberra last semester. One of the requirements of the unit was to develop a blog as a journal. I have compiled a list of the 60 blogs produced by the students on a Wikiversity page.

Perhaps the next discussion with Darrell will be about wikis … but not before some more of John Kessel’s post:

The final night of meetings before play begins, is the “Boyce Banquet” in honor of Dorothy C. Boyce.  Dorothy joined USAV in 1952 as a consultant on women’s volleyball and took on many leadership roles over her 22 years of involvement, including being USAV Vice President for a decade.  Traditionally, I sit at the banquet with Mike Hulett, who, if you don’t know of him…well dang it you should. I knew what was coming, as I had contributed a lot of photos of Mike, having been with him for decades as he helped head coach in our USA Paralympic programs. So take time to read the link award below, and watch the video ( CLICK HERE to watch) that I took of his surprise in being honored with USA Volleyball’s highest award, the Frier (named after the USAV leader who almost singlehandedly got volleyball into the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, just one of those things that we all should know and celebrate too…).  Mike’s achievements are something we ALL should celebrate in volleyball.  Just another thing USA Volleyball does to help volleyball for all, including the disabled of all ages.

http://usavolleyball.org/news/2012/05/25/mike-hulett-selected-as-usavs-2012-frier-winner/48119?ngb_id=2

Thank you for finding time to read this post. There are some other posts about blogging here.


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100,000th Visitor

The Clyde Street blog passed a small milestone this morning.

At 6.35am (AEST) a visitor from the United States became the 100,000th visitor to the site.

In the last three and a half years I have written 574 posts on a range of topics linked to teaching, coaching, learning and performing.

I have found the WordPress platform the perfect host for my blogging.

I am fascinated by the potential and actuality of sharing openly. I see blogging as an invitation to others to explore ideas.

Looking back at all my posts I realise that I have a detailed record of my thought process since June 2008.

In this time the five most visited posts have been:

A post from the CCK08 MOOC that has attracted gardeners.

An analysis of goals scored at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

A discussion of the life and work of Lionel Logue.

A post about Erica McWilliam and the 21st Century Teacher.

Medal Predictions for 2012 London Olympic Games.

Some of the posts of unexpected interest have been about krumping, John Ruskin, W E H Stanner, Hill 60 and yarn bombing.

I see a number of my posts as alternatives to peer review publication. Whilst I realise that the numbers of visitors to a post are not indicators of its impact I am excited by the possibility that readers can access information that is freely and openly available on the public web.

Since I started posting at Clyde Street the amount of data available for secondary analysis has grown enormously. Blogging provides a vibrant opportunity to engage with these data.

I have noticed a significant change in search behaviours since 2008. WordPress provides an excellent dashboard to monitor these trends. I use a lot of Creative Commons images in my posts and these images provide an anchor for search activity. I do try to be very clear about my tags and images but sometimes feel I disappoint searchers when my sense of a tag and image does not meet theirs.

One on my CCK08 posts exemplifies this. I used an image of the Twelve Apostles from the Great Ocean Road in Victoria to help me develop the theme of ‘stacks’. I get a lot of hits on this post relative to its content but it has taught me to think carefully about ambiguity in tagging and categorising.

I hope to continue blogging as a personal discipline. I am keen to encourage the development of e-portfolios and this Semester at the University of Canberra have an opportunity to work with students to initiate their work in this area.

Whenever I write a blog post I am mindful that it is a voluntary public act.  I am staggered by the quality of blogging available to us.

I am elated that 100,000 people have visited Clyde Street and hope that not all visitors have arrived through a misdirected search.


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Open Access and Sharing

Yesterday I posted news of the publication of the Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium of Computer Science in Sport. When I checked my WordPress Dashboard this morning I found this response to the post:

Overnight (in Australia) there were 200 visits to the post following an email alert earlier in the day. I have posted the Proceedings in Box.Net at this link and the Internet Archive at this link. To date there have been 20 downloads of the Proceedings from Box.Net and other downloads of SlideShare presentations.

By coincidence shortly after posting the Proceedings I received a request to provide an abstract for a Panel Discussion at the Australian Institute of Sport. The question I and several colleagues will address is ‘How can we optimise the research effort into high performance sport throughout the Australian network?’ This is my response:

There is a wonderful momentum growing around the aggregation of effort in many aspects of social and professional life. Following on from my presentation at the NESC Forum 2009 I am going to propose that a connected network of practice is essential for sport to flourish in Australia. This connected network will be open and through aggregation will ensure that we grow a research culture that has a cumulative approach to knowledge production. For this to be really effective it will require many institutions to transform their Internet presence. I will suggest there is no wealth but life .

The dynamic possibilities of online sharing enabled me to add an Addendum to the Proceedings this morning (a paper by Alexis Lebedew). Shortly after doing so I received an alert from the Scholarly Kitchen with Ann Michael’s post about the 2010 STM Spring Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ann reports that some common themes emerged:

  1. Librarians want to supply their users with content electronically and, more specifically, via mobile devices.  This is not limited to journals.  eBooks of both monographs and textbooks were also discussed.
  2. Librarians want all of these content forms at the same time.  They don’t want to wait for electronic versions.
  3. Tools provided to search library collections must be straight-forward and intuitive for users; training should not be required.
  4. However, training and preparation is needed in overall “information literacy.”  Especially at the undergraduate level, students need guidance in becoming discriminating consumers of content to develop the “mental maps” of context that help them to evaluate the quality of the content they come across.
  5. In relation to the academy, as budget pressures increase, the need to publish research is becoming more critical.  Research is an avenue to grants, contracts, and private donations. Since state funding is decreasing and tuition can only be raised so much, research-related sources of funding will be critical.
  6. Finally, several speakers raised the point that it’s very difficult to secure referees for the peer-review process.  Even authors who submit multiple papers often decline requests to review the work of others.

I should have been participating this week with 500 other colleagues in a delightful online course facilitated by Dave Cormier and George Siemens. The course resonates with so many of my interests:

Discussions and proclamations of the future of education, learning, training, and development are popular topics at conferences and in publications. For educators, leaders, and administrators, it’s easy to “get lost” in the numerous predictions. What is the next wave of technological change? Are learners really different today? Is our current model of education unsustainable? What can educators do to anticipate and respond to trends?

Unfortunately, predictions of the future are often more of a guessing game than a rigorous process. This course will utilize methods of futures thinking to explore a variety of trends and statistics and provide a series of potential scenarios and future directions. Participants will be actively involved in tracking critical trends, exploring their educational impact, and plan for ways to prepare for important changes.

In order to explore potential paths for education, learning, and training, we will spend time developing a framework for analyzing trends and for generating and evaluating scenarios.

The course will focus on developing methods and mechanisms for making sense of change patterns. Future-focused thinking is an important skill for all educators, leaders, and administrators. During the eight-weeks of this course, we will explore approaches to separating “the nonsense” from “the potential” proclamations of education’s future.

It has been quite a twenty-four hours. This week I am still dealing with my jet lag from my visit to the UK and so I have had some extra time to work on the web. The intensity of what happens in a global community underscores why connectivism is so important to emergent learning, open access and sharing.

Photo Credits

World Class Traffic Jam

Questions Answered


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Celebrating PicApp

I have been a little slow on the uptake! Scrolling through my WordPress dashboard I came across this post about PicApp.

I have been a keen user of The Commons of late but I am stunned that PicApp offers WordPress bloggers such remarkable pictures.

The announcement on 6 October noted that:

We are happy to share with you some good news, we have signed a partnership agreement with Automattic, the company behind the WordPress open source project and which runs WordPress.com.

What does it mean?

It means great news for the 7.5MM publishers using WordPress.com who just gained access to around 20 million premium, legal images and who can now search for and embed PicApp images into their blog posts.

I thought I would celebrate with these images:

[picapp src=”3/f/c/a/Australia_Victoria_Melbourne_77b3.jpg?adImageId=6169971&imageId=5064784″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

[picapp src=”6/1/1/5/St_Andrews_62c6.jpg?adImageId=6170914&imageId=6626859″ width=”500″ height=”286″ /]

[picapp src=”0168/6c192b19-d266-4b5e-8fa3-bce0a7738475.jpg?adImageId=6171229&imageId=172457″ width=”477″ height=”358″ /]

[picapp src=”7/c/1/a/Construction_Continues_On_94fa.jpg?adImageId=6171448&imageId=4227767″ width=”500″ height=”347″ /]