Category Archives: Story

Re’media’atate’: Why?

I found myself on Kevin’s website this morning at a loss to comment.  All I could say was, “I am feeling stuck in this week’s make: everything I do is remediation. Everything.”

Let’s take the original newsletter and its translation into a youtube video

Now let’s remediate that with Vialogues just in case someone wants to annotate our happy crew from Uof I Writing Project.

Or perhaps you are trying to close a blindspot about accessibility and tech equity especially for the visually impaired so you translate into audio


Then you think you might want to make this sound file annotatable so you upload it to Soundcloud.


Perhaps you decide that you want to use a multimodal tool to share your take on matters.  That would be PopcornMaker which is being (as the software folk delicately refer to) ‘deprecated’.  Since it is dying a slow death the YouTube mashup part of PopcornMaker no longer works so you have to use Soundcloud for your musical soundtrack. Roll with it, but save often.

Or maybe a gallery of animated gifs of the UIWP team

Or perhaps you want others to collaborate in your remediation with a Hackpad.

View Re’media’tion on Hackpad.

Or perhaps a Diigo annotation page full of remediation itself.

There are limits to this because it already looks like I am just gilding the lily here, but there are also some observations I can bear witness to.

Why remediate?

Remediation is a way to translate for yourself and to even internalize a learning object that speaks true to you.
Remediation is a way to give heavy duty reciprocation to someone who has made a difference. Likes, plusses and such are not remediation. They are kinda pusillanimous pussyfooting that I do too often instead of remediating.
Remediation is a way to understand an idea in a different way through a different medium or multimodal ways. The remediation here is not so much to create a product as it is to undergo a process. Even reading something outloud is a way to remediate a text’s power through the animating genius of your own breath.
Close reading of text is remediation.

I just call this ‘translation’. Do we need any more jargon? Is the term just a plea for attention when a simpler word would do? And is the new slant on the word just confusing? Does it get in the way? Perhaps it should more aptly be spelled re-media-ate. Yeah, that’s not going to work.


Convince me, UIWP. If you do, I will add it as a category in my blog here. That is quite a prize, a pearl without price.incredibledancehappy






I might even do a happy dance.





What follows is actually a third draft of a collaborative poem compelled by the Charleston murders at Emanuel AME Church. We drafted the text here. We will have a collection of sound files here soon if you feel the need to remix it your own way and add to it.

The principles involved in writing:

Susan Watson: @EatcherVeggies
Fred Mindlin: @fmindlin
Aldon Hynes: @ahynes1
Kevin Hodgson: @dogtrax
Autumm Caines: @Autumm
Sarah Honeychurch: @NomadWarMachine

Sound files provided by Susan, Kevin, Autumm, Sarah and myself.

Garageband loop provided by Kevin.

Editing by myself using iPad app Bossjock and saved to Soundcloud.

Here it is. I think collaboration is going to be the theme of this summer’s MOOC for me. I hope we can get together.


Slow Viewing




No, Charlie B, I will not shut up. In fact Charlie, if you don’t like it, turn around. It’s an experiment, only I am not going to use you for some vague research agenda. What I have found out over the last year is that asking people to give a damn is asking a lot. So this amounts to working out loud, for my purposes. If you get something out of it, well…I’d be surprised.

I am obsessed now and over the last few years about slowness. My last post was about slow living and slow learning. I live on a farm where it’s all about slow learning (unless a hawk is after a chicken and in that case the learning had better already be there for cluck’s sake).

The purpose of this post is to think and work out loud considering the concept of slow viewing. I take as my context Ze Frank’s recent talk about his work on Buzzfeed as president of their Motion Pictures division. I started watching the video on FORA (you may need to join to access the vid, not sure, but free) and I knew immediately that this was not something I could scrub through.  It reminded me of the awesome John Cleese video a few years ago on creativity where I did some very intent viewing. I needed to do a slow viewing.

Typically, I do slow viewing with the cloud  annotation tool, Vialogues.  Of late I have also been drawn to Thinglink’s relatively new video annotation tool.  For some reason I started annotating with neither one. I used les pense-bete, Post-It notes.

As I viewed Ze Frank’s talk, I started tacking them around the outer edges of my screen, but they weren’t the ultra sticky kind so the overhead fan kept blowing them off.  Plus, Frank’s presentation had lots of cool charts and I needed something more. I decided on grabbing screenshots and then put callouts on those shots in Snag-It.  That would fit my workflow quite nicely.

The best part of using a screencapture tool like SnagIt is that it forces me to slow down. I pause the video, grab the image, save it.    Folks like Charlie B are lightning fast and probably don’t need to slow down, to slow view, but I do need that pause to consider.

Videos resist slow viewing because they have continuity, a loop and flow that I am used to watching from start to finish.  I also tend to be a passive viewer of moving media. All of these characteristics militate against ‘reading’ video slowly.

At first I thought that others might be interested, perhaps Charlie B, but then I remembered–it is hard for folks to care and attend and read because they are going too fast. This is fussy, stop-and-go work unpacking video content, but the good stuff like Ze Frank’s presentation practically demands that treatment. It is rich and deep and complex and begs  to be explored, translated and annotated, even to be remixed and transformed.

And that is what I did below





But Charlie D says this makes no sense if I haven’t viewed the video.

buzzfeed approach to reach and impact

Exactly so, the purpose of annotation and slow viewing is idiosyncratic and personal. It might have value for you, but I know it has value for me. It slows me down to reconsider.


This post has been influenced quite a bit by Ze Frank but also by my recent work annotating Nick Sousanis’ graphic dissertation, Unflattening. In the former, I champion the idea Frank presents at the beginning of his talk: we are using images and video much as we used text in the Guttenberg Pause. And we have to acknowledge this in whatever discipline we happen to be working, learning in my instance. Actually, we’re all in the learning business. It is the parallel discipline for every practice. Frank’s talk is full of amazing resonance for learners and is worth slow viewing for that alone.

Sousanis’ influence is very similar. His book is an embodiment of Ze Frank’s idea above. Unflattening is an acknowledgement that the disseration as we know it may be insufficient for audiences post-Guttenberg Pause. And my slow viewing is also a recognition that we must do something more with video than passively take it in through the funnels of our eyes.

The real fun of slow viewing is that you begin to internalize some of the disciplinary habits of those you are walking with.  For example, in my SnagIt annotations I began to experiment with how I used the ‘callout’ boxes on the page by adopting some of the design principles I learned about in Sousanis’ work.  And I am looking at the “Sad Cat Diary” exemplar that Frank presents as a way to begin to look at how I “sell” folks on the CLMOOC “brand”.

So Charlie B, if you made it this far, it’s a miracle.  Here’s hoping you got something out of it, but in the end it doesn’t matter.  I wrote this in part for you, but  really this is just slow writing for me.  It is a form of intellectual and emotional occupation.  Like the Norman one, its likely effect is permanent, an inner tattoo on the mind.  What do you think of that, Charlie B?  Really? Damn you’re such a troll, but I love ya anyway.



Play the Feedforward Game for #Rhizo15 …or Grade That!

I have been called out in the comments by Sandra and Nick for offering a blank space for the feedforward game.  This was not some late April Fool’s joke or me doing a Dave Gadfly imitation. So…here are some instructions and a sample feedforward that I have done. To play the game you have to do a little bit of guided journaling and you have to share it on Hackpad. Actually, you don’t have to do anything of the sort. As they say in “Pirates of the Caribbean”–these just be guidelines, arrrrrr, but ye can play if ye want. Be the RhizoNinja you were meant to be.



Here are the instructions which I admit kind of suck, but too effing bad. It is an editable Hackpad, you fix ’em if you want. Just ask me for directions if you get lost.


Here is my completed set of answered questions.


Creating Ritual Space in #Rhizo15: Why and How



typical_cricketI have been closely annotating my way via the Rhizo15 Diigo Group through a rich repast of a blog post by Sarah Perry on Venkat Rao’s blog, Ribbonfarm. One of her purposes is to explore how identity  is created or as she terms it, ‘peopled’.

Perry draws on the writing of Philippe Rochat in his book, Others in Mind: The Social Origins of Self-Consciousness.  According to Rochat we create each other’s identities through a recursive process where 

…each person learns to be aware of himself – is constrained toward self-consciousness – by other people being aware of him. He learns to manage his image in the minds of others, and finds himself reflected, as in a mirror, through the interface of language and non-verbal communication.

According to Rochat we see ourselves through the constraining influences of other people, through the ‘peopling’ of others.

I think this idea has significance in #rhizo15. How? We are all seeing ourselves through the eyes of others.  How accurate is that subjective view?  Sometimes it is off by degrees of magnitude.  For example, I see some pretty effusive praise for my stuff that by its nature is half-baked.  I know the negative connotation inherent in the term ‘half-baked’, but I cannot help but feel that what I create has not grown all the way to fruition and that my comments and interactions with others are sometimes just dashed off and ill-considered, certainly not worthy of the work done by those I am responding to.

Yes, some of our work is very good for a first draft, but most goes little past this initial draft and into further revision. Your mileage might very much vary.  This shoe I am putting on might not fit you.  I beg your forgiveness for this if you feel I have been unjust, but…  I expect further recursion, further refinement through reciprocal action. Sometimes I get that social recursion, mostly I don’t. Part of me takes no offense while another part is deeply disturbed that our responses are so cursory.  And the cursory nature of most responses and in the desultory considerations of others, we have generated a default behavior.  And, worse, those defaults have become internalized as the default mutual mental modeling that Rochat calls peopling.  We are peopled by shallow necessity, by force of circumstance, and by the barest reciprocal exigency.  If you feel this is unfair,then just view this as a sample of one, of me ranting and venting and feeling inadequate.

In our offline social life we have ways to compensate for this–shallowness.  It is called ritual.  Perry notes

People are able to accomplish this feat of mutual simulation by use of two tools: language and ritual. Ritual allows for the communication of information that language can’t convey – hard-to-fake costly signals of commitment, dependability, harmoniousness, and cooperative intent.

So how do we play this infinite game of mutually modelling each other’s identities to each the other? Through language and ritual. Language for the surface, intellectual stuff and ritual for the deep, social stuff. I believe that language is so fragile that without the reinforcing social power of ritual it becomes brittle and ‘unbelievable’. We need ritual if for no other reason than that it is the substrate for language.

That begs two questions: what are the #rhizo15 rituals and what should they be?

I am not sure if we have any.  Dave’s introductory videos are something we all share, but what else?  Perhaps folks can comment here on what they think #rhizo15 rituals might be (that #rhizo15 hashtag, for example), but I want to suggest some we might try.

The sparseness of ritual environment in rhizo15 is very painful to me.  The sparseness of feedback from language is just as painful, but the lack of ritual makes it even more so.  Dreadfully more so.  In fact I am on the edge of withdrawing all the time.  I think it is the ritual that might save me. So bring on the salve of ritual to rhizo15.

[Aside: I am patterning these rituals after the work done by the Group Pattern Language Project. ]

Here are some of my suggestions for potential ritual activity in #rhizo15:

Ritual 1: greeting folks as often as possible in familiar digital spaces–I need to make this overt in my own online rhizo15 activities.
Ritual 2: Breaking Bread Together–actually eating and talking online about whatever.  No, really being seen with each other in a Hangout for example having lunch/dinner.
Ritual 3:  Share natural spaces through YouTube and  make part of any group meeting (e.g. Hangout) opening.  What I suggest here is that you record and upload an environment near you and share it on YouTube. This does not have to be just Nature.  It can be street traffic, a market, a bus stop, or any place that renders the ‘spice’ of your environs. When we meet we can share begin the meeting with one of our spaces.
Ritual 4: “With joy and zest, publicly celebrate milestones and recurring events. Affirming shared history, we nourish community, crystallize a sense of accomplishment, and build group identity by unifying our stories and common goals. Can be planned and ritualized, or as spontaneous as a group cheer.”  Celebrate | Group Works. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from
Ritual 5:  Feedforward with the imagination.  In other words project your self into the future and ‘recall’ all that ‘happened’ from the beginning of #rhizo15.  In a way I think this defines what rhizomatic learning is.  Each of us creates identity for the group by being who we are with the voices we have.  Why not imagine that forth along with others instead of relying solely upon our individual strivings.  Feedforwardings would allow us to compare rhizomatic identities and from there decide where we might be drawn to as a group as well as individually.
Anyone interested in doing ‘feedforwarding”  might look at a this journaling activity taken from the Presencing Institute.  I am working on adapting it for our use, but you can do that just as easily on the fly as I can.
Or you might simply stand at the point where #rhizo15 ‘ends’ and reflect on what happened.  Perhaps if we shared this as a ritual activity, a future prototyping of a kind, then we might be able to see each other’s identities more clearly and pull together in the newly visible harness of shared vision.

I plan on doing this later today and hope I can get others to share.  Here is a common space for storing your feedforward and for talking about it as well.

One Walk, Three Ways

I borrowed this phrase from Stacy Kerr’s YouTube Video of the same name. I am also reminded of Alexandra’s Horowitz’s On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Ideas as I write this.  The purpose of my post is to get interaction with the reader in three different ways on the topic of rhizomatic learning via three different channels:  Synchtube, Vialogues, and Hackpad.  Respond as you will here in the comments or in your own blog or on Facebook or Twitter

or within the three tools above and below.  Or don’t respond at all. Just lurk.

First is Synchtube.  This tool doesn’t have an embed code so you need to click below and go.  I love how this says “Read this…” below.  You can chat there, just watch there, or both. Free-range browsing encouraged. Let me know how it goes.  Or send me note and I will watch with you. Or suggest other videos.

6IRCNet Synchtube
Second is Vialogues. This tool is embeddable or you can click and go to the site. You need an account to comment, but none to lurk. You will note that the comments on the site are already populated. That’s because I created this several summers ago for other purposes but have recycled here.




Third, I include a Hackpad list of ten ideas for coming to terms with #rhizo15. This is part of my month’s long attempt to flex my creative muscles. You will note that not all ideas are good ideas or even nice ones. You can add to this as well since it is an editable pad.