Thrill Ride

It is evident that if an experience is extra-fun or especially if it is meaningful I will probably not blog about it… A memorable stretch in the UK for OER17 and more is the most recent example. And there is every chance I will never properly capture what I dug about this past week at the Domains Conference.

I commiserated on this syndrome with Keegan Long-Wheeler, and we made something of a pact to not let this happen here… That we would try to throw out a few bite-sized chunks and not obsess about nailing all the nuances. He’s doing it, so I’m gonna do it at least once too.

There were a lot of moments this week where I felt as if there was no point in time or space that I would rather be. This was one of them, during which I had the uncharacteristic presence of mind to pull out my phone and take a pic:

This was as the conference was winding down, with Dr. Jones spinning tunes, and that is Martha Burtis and Tom Woodward riffing, and Alan Levine riding the wave and chiming in…

To get a sense of why this felt so wild, I would urge you to check out Martha’s magnificent keynote, and Tom’s epic reveal of how he manages Ram Pages and of so much else. Both merit long thoughtful dives in themselves, but [he repeats to himself, “keep it small Brian”] gotta keep this one focused, keep it out of the draft folder mausoleum…

If I recall this moment correctly, Martha was talking about the implications of the WordPress REST API, suggesting we think of WordPress less as a publishing platform and more as something like an operating system for the web as platform. This was while Tom and Martha were trading licks like ace guitarists… When one of them would say to the other, “oh, you’ll like this…” you knew something cool was coming.

I tried in vain to keep up, but the best I could do was capture some URLs and email them to myself. I’ll reproduce those below… I intend to pursue this stuff further, if anyone has similar things they’d like to share or tips on how I can begin to understand them better, I’d be most eager.

I hope my glosses aren’t too inaccurate or embarrassing.

Digital Histology: Tom blogged about it here. What seemed notable was some slick work to make the integrated annotated images flow so smoothly and load so fast. This is a common theme in much of Tom’s current work… using the WP API and JSON to supercharge performance.

Georgetown Domains: this was also demo’ed during a fantastic session Tom co-presented with Marie Selvanadin and Yianna Vovides of Georgetown. The approach for assembling material from across many sites using the API/JSON offers huge speed improvements from existing syndication approaches such as FeedWordPress, and seems amazingly flexible and extensible… I kept having EduGlu flashbacks…

Martha shared particles.js, a JavaScript library… Play with those variable sliders on the right and enjoy the trip…

Data Visualization for an ecology course… exploring “the value of hypothesis visualizations — hypotheses that are more than words — as a way of considering how to analyze and visualize data.”

MathBox… more JavaScript work that takes it to the next level… Go deep on this one, there is lots and lots here. Not least this amazing presentation.

All this and lots more went by in what felt like a few dizzying moments, it was an ed tech thrill ride, my head swimming with possibilities, wondering how I could learn from and draw on this stuff, share it with our team at TRU, or the nascent BC Open Ed Tech Co-op. We’ll see what happens.


from abject learning

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