The Longest Now


Hacking Open Education, Take 2
Thursday April 19th 2012, 10:18 am
Filed under: %a la mod,chain-gang,international,meta,metrics

Hewlett Hack Day last Friday was an energetic stone soup affair. Erhardt Graeff, Andrew Magliozzi and I planned it with Amar and Nathaniel from Berkman, and Josh Gay. Erhardt emcee’d the event, and Meredith Beaton, Una Lee, Becca Nesson, and Matthew Battles all helped make it happen. Some 40 people attended over the course of the day.

The past two days had seen the development of two dozen project ideas, many of them hackable, by the Hewlett grantees. We spent the first hour condensing those and some new proposed hacks down to 10 that seemed compelling and doable. People self-selected into groups to tackle these (in hindsight: we should have set a max team size of ~6). 7 projects were attempted, and 6 produced a hack – a pitch or minimum product that could inspire others to move it forward. At the end of the day, everyone gave 2-minute pitches to a panel of judges (a schoolteacher, a highschool student, and two berkman staff) who reviewed the results for hackability and near-term usefulness for OER.

Result: two new github repositories, a ‘Learning metacognition via Poker‘ course up on P2PU, a mobile app for ‘Free Pencils’, a hackable version of FreeRice for standardized test problems, a plan for a high-profile annual OER Awards, a wireframe for a cleaner student portfolio platform, a new OER WikiProject on Wikipedia, and a draft design for Octocat a variation on github for OER materials. The PokOER concept drew the most attention – almost ten team members and three different ideas merged – and many hackers agreed they would love to take a P2P course on the topic. And a hack to make it easy to generate your own Mozilla-friendly badges made partial progress, including testing and filing helpful bugs against the badges API.

The Free Pencils and OER Awards projects won judges’ awards’. They were specific and partly implemented (Becca garnered the admiration of all for producing a working prototype in 4 hours), and addressing particular needs raised in the brainstorming the day before. Their hackers have free passes to the Open Ed conference in Vancouver, thanks to sponsorship by hackday participant David Wiley.



SOPA – PIPA math: 61% >> 28%
Thursday January 19th 2012, 10:41 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,metrics,wikipedia

Three cheers for participatory democracy! The percentage of stated opposition to SOPA and PIPA in Congress changed dramatically over the past two days, from 28% to 61%. [If you count people who are “leaning No”, by ProPublica’s estimate, this goes up to 69%.]

How many politicians announced they would be co-sponsoring or otherwise outright supporting SOPA/PIPA on Wednesday? By our count: Zero.

Update: Harry Reid releases Dems in the Senate to vote against PIPA if their conscience demands. And Chris Dodd, former Senator and current MPAA Chairman, just called for a summit between Internet and traditional ‘content’ companies, convened by the White House, to reach a compromise. (He hasn’t yet realized that major content companies today are Internet companies.)

We are experiencing the growth of social unity and a certain moral sense across the Web, among people who have found something wonderful, worth defending with all their heart. This is a small piece; it is thrilling to be part of it. I hope you feel it too.



Mozilla’s Drummers: Drumbeat Barcelona, November 3-5
Thursday August 12th 2010, 2:31 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,international,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Drumbeat is a new Mozilla umbrella project, consolidating its efforts to support and enhance the open web — the free and transparent elements of the Web that we love and rely on.   It combines earlier work on One Web Day, educational outreach, and direct grants to developers improving the free tools needed to expand the web.

The first global Drumbeat Festival will be held in Barcelona on November 3-5, and creators everywhere are invited.   I have been part of local Drumbeat events in New England this summer (run by Ben and Dharmishta), where the pervasive interest in learning was wonderful and fascinating.   I can’t wait to see a larger festival come together.

This year’s theme is Learning, Freedom and the Web. The open nature of the internet is revolutionizing how we learn, and Drumbeat welcomes teachers, learners and technologists from around the world who are at the heart of this revolution.

Join us in Barcelona for three days of making, teaching, hacking, inventing and shaping the future of education and the web.

Drumbeat Festival 2010: Barcelona Nov 3-5

Drumbeat Festival 2010: Barcelona Nov 3-5

Who will be there?

The festival is designed for makers, writers, hackers — on creation more than discussion.   There are currently over 100 confirmed participants, including:

Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Chief Lizard Wrangler
Manuel Castells, Open University of Catalonia
Joi Ito, Creative Commons
Anya Kamenetz, author, DIY U
Gever Tulley, Tinkering School
Mary Lou Forward, OpenCourseWare Consortium
Brian Behlendorf, Apache Foundation
Connie Yowell, MacArthur Foundation
Johannes Grenzfurthner, monochrom / metalab

A Festival!  Should I bring my best hat?

Hat, HUD, musical instrument… Drumbeat is not your typical conference festival.  Imagine a folk festival combined with a teach-in with a dash of outstanding oratory for good measure. That’s the plan.

You’ll have a chance to propose and invent activities throughout the festival. You can read a small sample of planned activities to get your creative essences flowing.

How do I sign up?

Registration opens on August 25.  You will also be able to apply for a travel scholarship, propose activities, or offer to volunteer.  If you are not already on our email list, you can sign up now.  Reminders will be sent out when registration opens.

Meanwhile, please spread the word – encourage your friends and colleagues to sign up for announcements, start discussing what you’d like to invent or create while there and what you might show off!




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