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Indie ed tech is defined in this article as a movement "that encourages students to create, not merely consume, the technology that they use."
Rikard, who also wrote an article titled "Do I own my domain if you grade it?" (Visit External Site), shares his experience of participating in a Personal API design event hosted by Davidson College and led by Kristen Eshleman and Adam Croom.
A Davidson College API would let me, with a simple piece of code, give or request information around courses, faculty, credits or even currently empty campus computers. If I had access to Davidson’s API, I could then connect it to another Twitter bot that would let me tweet, “Computer lab X has a free computer #IndieEdTech” every time a computer opens up. I could create and publish an app that displays free computers around campus. API’s let you build, hack and remix current systems.
Key to the design experience was the focus on designing with students, for students.
The session used principles of design thinking to place students like me around tables with edtech tool-builders and decision-makers in order to break down the hierarchies and drive empathy. I had a CIO asking me questions like, “What do you love to do?” “Why do you use the tools that you use?” and “What’s it like being in a classroom all day?” The goal was to use the empathetically obtained answers to create a tool that required a personal API.
Innovations never happen without good ideas. But what prompts people to come up with their best ideas? It’s hard to beat old-fashioned, face-to-face networking. Even Steve Jobs, renowned for his digital evangelism, recognized the importance of social interaction in achieving innovation. In his role as CEO of Pixar Animation Studios (a role he held in addition to being a cofounder and CEO of Apple Inc.), Jobs instructed the architect of Pixar’s new headquarters to design physical space that encouraged staff to get out of their offices and mingle, particularly with those with whom they normally wouldn’t interact. Jobs believed that serendipitous exchanges fueled innovation.1
A multitude of empirical studies confirm what Jobs intuitively knew.2 The more diverse a person’s social network, the more likely that person is to be innovative. A diverse network provides exposure to people from different fields who behave and think differently. Good ideas emerge when the new information received is combined with what a person already knows. But in today’s digitally connected world, many relationships are formed and maintained online through public social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Increasingly, employees are using such platforms for work-related purposes.3 (Source)
Most formatting in Wikity is done with the WordPress editor. You can add pictures, indent blockquotes, bullet lists, and soon (if we can figure out how to do it safely) embed content from places like YouTube.
However there are a few differences in Wikity syntax, especially around linking, and these differences are crucial to understand. If you don't follow the special Wikity method of linking, your content will not be easily reusable by others and may even break our federated web. So read up and follow these simple rules.
- Use Double Brackets for Wikilinks
- Don't Put External Links in Paragraphs
- Use Cite Keyword for External Footnoting
- Use Four Dashes to Create an Annotations Section
Use Double Brackets for Wikilinks
Link to other pages on your own site and other Wikity sites by using the standard wiki syntax like so:
To make a new page, the easiest way is to make a link to the non-existent page and click it. This will prompt you to create a new page with that name.
It is really important that you link to other wiki pages in this way, and not by using traditional hyperlinks. Hyperlinks will break fork-ability. Breaking forkability is bad.
The rest of this tutorial can wait if you want. The only absolutely required piece is Wiki Linking.
Don't Put External Links Inside Paragraphs
This is less important than than the wiki link advice, but still important. When people browse wiki, the assumption is that links internal to paragraphs, like this one to Free To All, link to other wiki pages. This is an established wiki style. Browse Wikipedia for a bit and you will see what we mean. (Visit External Site)
Wikipedia style actually doesn't allow any external links until the references section. We've come up with a compromise. If you really need to link to something external that is referenced in a paragraph, link to it at the end using Markdown Syntax. Here's an example.
Here's what that would look like in context.
That syntax is Markdown, a popular markup language you can look up on the Google. You can use the link word however you like (here we used it to note the resource was on a site called bavatuesdays), but we recommend it be a single word. Since the paragraph preceding it generally explains the context, and a hover shows the destination, we often use the keyword to indicate what sort of resource it goes to -- a pdf, an HTML document, a Google Books citation. But if you want to link it as (bavatuesdays), knock yourself out.
Many people on Wikity use the following link words:
- "link" for a link to to a resource mentioned in the previous paragraph.
- "source" to link to the source of a blockquote or other used resource, such as a data table.
- "cite" for a link to supporting documentation for a claim.
Sticking to this format gives the reader more information on what the link means, and helps them decide whether to click on it. It also reduces the visual clutter of links, and reduces issues for people using screen readers.
These three keywords (link, source, and cite) are interpreted a bit differently than others, and presented with surrounding parentheses. Here's an example of what that looks like:
In a recent post on Vox, reporter German Lopez questions whether there is any real crime wave at all. As she points out, if you pull apart any average, there will be random ups and downs, and that may be all that is happening here. (Visit External Site)
Use Cite Keyword for External Footnoting
Let's dig into the cite keyword a bit more. Sometimes you may want to get an external reference closer to a clause, for instance when citing a disputable fact. Here's an example of how to do that.
and here's how that looks on the page to the viewer:
As Braithwaite notes°, shame can be useful, but it can also lead to recidivism.
Note the style here is the same as the external link syntax, but here we've used the keyword "cite". Using the cite keyword instead of something like html, pdf, or bavatuesdays creates a little degree symbol superscript. This functions semantically as a footnote, signalling that support for this statement can be found by clicking the degree symbol, but it's not necessary to understanding.
If the URL in the paragraphing is too messy to work around, you can use Markdown's keyword syntax, which allows to to reference a keyword and put the link further down in the document.
Use Four Dashes to Create Annotations Section
Wikity pages, by convention, are split into two sections. The first is the "article" -- a tight treatment of a single idea or subject. The article should be relatively self-sufficient: someone should be able to read the article and learn something without having to click around and see what the context of the article is.
The bottom section, which we are currently calling "annotations and associations", suggests places to continue your journey. Here we put links to related articles on wiki, as well as links to external resources. Occasionally we also put notes on the page's content, things like "To do: check claim about gun violence, and add link if true."
To create the annotations section, place four or more dashes on a single line at the bottom of the page, like so:
To the reader this will look like this:
We've found that having this separate section for annotations is important to the culture of federated solutions like Wikity -- it allows people a low-stress way to contribute to an article without having to touch the body of it. Annotations and Associations on your page also help guide readers to other things that might help them.
Like all WordPress based sites, Wikity has both "categories" and "tags". On Wikity we use tags to make things findable and categories to collect resources associated with a particular project.
What's a project? It's any sustained investigation for which you plan to create a significant body of linked work.
Mostly, it's things you work on with other people, where you've defined a community goal. So Kate Bowles and Rolin Moe put together a study group on innovation which categorizes their work as Innovation criticism. If you were working with a class on the politics of water, you might have your class categorize their work "Politics of water".
You might also categorize your own solo projects this way. If you are working on creating resources for a workshop or a class, or if you just want to do your own sustained investigation of a subject, a category can help others find your body of work and invite others to join your effort.
Because categories will be used in this way we ask that you create them sparingly. Don't use them as simple descriptors of content. Before you apply a category, ask yourself "Is this a description of the content of the post, or an indicator of the project it was created for?"
If it's the former, it's a tag. If it's the latter it's a category. Keeping to this norm will help people on the site easily identify projects they might enjoy joining, leading to a better overall Wikity experience.
One other note -- to make the menu on the bottom of the front page look consistent we ask that you write category names out with spaces, capitalizing the first letter of the category phrase. Again, "Innovation criticism" and "Politics of water" provide the model here.
Wikity is meant to be used more like a wiki than a blog.
You can do most of you formatting in Wikity with the WordPress editor, but there are some very important exceptions. See Wikity Syntax
The Scene is a wikity space where digital learning folks at Middlebury share projects and good ideas.
What is wikity? Wikity is a project started by Mike Caulfield. Wikity is a bit different than other wikis and blogs in a number of ways, but the most important thing for you to understand about Wikity is it is a social sharing site, where the materials members upload are free for others to copy, rewrite, remix, and retain in their own spaces.
To accomplish this we license all material posted on Wikity under a CC-BY-SA license, which means anyone can use it as long as they give you credit. We link to the terms of this agreement on each Wikity site. See CC BY-SA.
For most users of the site, the net benefit is huge. You weren’t charging money for the use of your writing before, and you’re still not. But now you can freely use the work of others to build your own site, and you get the pleasure of seeing others build on the stuff that you have done.