Read 25 Years of Ed Tech – Blogs by JR DingwallJR Dingwall (
This week I was able to catch up a bit on some podcasts I subscribe to. One of the casts I’ve been enjoying lately is 25 Years of Ed Tech, a serialized version of Martin Weller’s book by the same title. Now audio books are plenty good by themselves, but this particular podcast has an addition episode per chapter called “between the chapters” where a host interviews members of the ed tech community (those around Martin in some way) about the topic of the previous chapter. This week was all about blogs.
JR writes about some of his journey into blogging. I appreciate some of the last part about the 9x9x25 blogs. For JR it seems like some smaller prompts got him into more regular writing.

He mentions Stephen Downes‘ regular workflow as well. I think mine is fairly similar to Stephen’s. To some extent, I write much more on my own website now than I ever had before. This is because I post a lot more frequently to my own site, in part because it’s just so easy to do. I’ll bookmark things or post about what I’ve recently read or watched. My short commentary on some of these is just that—short commentary. But occasionally I discover, depending on the subject, that those short notes and bookmark posts will spring into something bigger or larger. Sometimes it’s a handful of small posts over a few days or weeks that ultimately inspires the longer thing. The key seems to be to write something.

Perhaps a snowball analogy will work? I take a tiny snowball of words and give it a proverbial roll. Sometimes it sits there and other times it rolls down the hill and turns into a much larger snowball. Other times I get a group of them and build a full snowman.

Of course lately a lot of my writing starts, like this did, as an annotation (using to something I was reading. It then posts to my website with some context and we’re off to the races.

It’s just this sort of workflow that I was considering when I recently suggested that those using annotation as a classroom social annotation tool, might also consider using it to help students create commonplace books to help students spur their writing. The key is to create small/low initial stakes that have the potential to build up into something bigger. Something akin to the user interface of Twitter (and their tweetstorm functionality). Write a short sentence or two on which you can hit publish, but if the mood strikes, then write another, and another until you’ve eventually gotten to something that could be a blog post (or article). Of course if you do this, you should own it.

This is also the sort of perspective which Sönke Ahrens takes in his excellent book How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking – for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers, though there he’s prescribing something for general note taking when I might suggest it’s a prescription for a pedagogy behind living and writing.

Replied to How to remember more of what you read by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Collect)
Across a series of posts (1,2,3), Steve Brophy explains his use of Roam Research and the Zettelkasten methodology to develop a deeper dialogue with what he reads. This is broken up into three steps, the initial capturing of ‘fleeting notes‘, rewriting the text in our own words as ‘Literature N...
Some useful looking links here. Thanks Aaron.

I’ve been digging deeper and deeper into some of the topics and sub-topics.

The biggest problem I’ve seen thus far is a lot of wanna-be experts and influencers (especially within the Roam Research space) touching on the very surface of problem. I’ve seen more interesting and serious people within the Obsidian community sharing their personal practices and finding pieces of that useful.

The second issue may be that different things work somewhat differently for different people, none of whom are using the same tools or even general systems. Not all of them have the same end goals either. Part of the key is finding something useful that works for you or modifying something slowly over time to get it to work for you.

At the end of the day your website holds the true answer: read, write, respond (along with the implied “repeat” at the end).

One of the best and most thorough prescriptions I’ve seen is Sönke Ahrens’ book which he’s written after several years of using and researching a few particular systems.

I’ve been finding some useful tidbits from my own experience and research into the history of note taking and commonplace book traditions. The memory portion intrigues me a lot as well as I’ve done quite a lot of research into historical methods of mnemonics and memory traditions. Naturally the ancient Greeks had most of this all down within the topic of rhetoric, but culturally we seem to have unbundled and lost a lot of our own traditions with changes in our educational system over time.

Replied to a post by Andrew DoranAndrew Doran (
Are there any paid WordPress themes out there with good implementations of webmentions, or is this not (yet?) mainstream enough?
I’m not sure what you’re asking here?

What functionality are you looking for in a theme beyond what is already set up within the two WordPress webmention plugins (Webmention and Semantic Linkbacks)? Are you asking about Microformats markup in themes?

Replied to a tweet (Twitter)
As Francis Urquhart might say, “You might very well think that…”

The whole point of that post is to show that og hasn’t solved it. There are too many flavors of metacrap and no standards. And worse og is not only not “open” it’s a DRY violation.

If you want to spelunk a bit, Cory Doctorow approached the idea back in 2001: Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia

Replied to a tweet by Matthew Daniel Eddy (Twitter)
Don’t think we’re just sitting here holding our breath and waiting…

Sometimes we turn blue and fall off our chair. 🪑🥶

Any update on publication?

Replied to Commonplace Book by Matthias MelcherMatthias Melcher (x28's new Blog)
Comment on Chris Aldrich’s very comprehensive description of the “new boil” of note-taking.

One thing expected from the note-taking tools, makes me particularly skeptical: their collaborative/ public use. I think the lifecycle of notes cannot be continuous from capturing to communication, unless I forgo the possibility of cryptic, sloppy, abbreviated shorthand meant just for the “me later” that Magdalena Böttger depicted so aptly in 2005. 

Some of the value of notes being done and readable in public means that one typically puts a bit more effort into them at the start. This can make them much more useful and valuable later on. It also means that they usually have more substance and context for use by others in collaboration or other reuses.

Short notes are often called fleeting notes which may or may not be processed into something more substantive. The ones that do become more substantive can more easily be reused in other future settings.

Sonke Ahrens’ book How to Take Smart Notes is one of the better arguments for the why and how of note taking.
Annotated on July 06, 2021 at 10:24AM

Note that such careful treatment applies only to a certain kind of my notes. While many project-related notes go straight to simple folders of the operating system, the notes that don’t fit in one of the folders, deserve special attention. I don’t know yet where I might deploy them — possibly in multiple places. 

I like that you’ve got such a fascinating system. It’s very similar in form and substance to one that I use, but which relies on a wholly different technology stack:
Annotated on July 06, 2021 at 10:25AM

Which makes them similar to “commonplace”: reusable in many places. But this connotation has led to a pejorative flavor of the German translation “Gemeinplatz” which means platitude. That’s why I prefer to call them ‘evergreen’ notes, although I am not sure if I am using this differentiation correctly. 

I’ve only run across the German “Gemeinplatz” a few times with this translation attached. Sad to think that this negative connotation has apparently taken hold. Even in English the word commonplace can have a somewhat negative connotation as well meaning “everyday, ordinary, unexceptional” when the point of commonplacing notes is specifically because they are surprising or extraordinary by definition.

Your phrasing of “evergreen notes” seems close enough. I’ve seen some who might call the shorter notes you’re making either “seedlings” or “budding” notes. Some may wait for bigger expansions of their ideas into 500-2000 word essays before they consider them “evergreen” notes. (Compare: and Of course this does vary quite a bit from person to person in my experience, so your phrasing certainly fits.

I’ve not seen it crop up in the digital gardens or zettelkasten circles specifically but the word “evergreen” is used in the journalism space to describe a fully formed article that can be re-used wholesale on a recurring basis. Usually they’re related to recurring festivals, holidays, or cyclical stories like “How to cook the perfect Turkey” which might get recycled a week before Thanksgiving every year.
Annotated on July 06, 2021 at 10:37AM

Replied to Integrating Webmentions Into NextJS Blog by Julia TanJulia Tan (Integrating Webmentions Into NextJS Blog)
I've been meaning to check out webmentions for a while now, as I had been debating between installing some kind of comments package for this blog or just using social to interact with visitors and readers. I had a day off on Friday, and so decided to take the plunge and try implementing webmentions as a way to collate all of the Twitter interactions with my blog posts.

It wasn’t as straightforward as I thought it would be, so I’ve written this blog post for anyone who’s trying to do the same with their NextJS blog. 

I recall Monica Powell writing a bit about this with some video a while back.

Perhaps not as useful after-the-fact, but her post is hiding on in the see also section of where I’ve archived a copy of your article as well. Maybe the IndieWeb wiki needs a NextJS page to make this a bit more findable? Where else might you have looked for guidance.

Perhaps the similarities and differences in your approaches will help others in the future.
Annotated on June 27, 2021 at 08:38PM

Tell me on Twitter @bionicjulia and have your tweet show up below! 

Or alternately write about it on your own site and send a webmention. 🙂
Annotated on June 27, 2021 at 08:41PM

Replied to a tweet by Bodong ChenBodong Chen (Twitter)
There’s also the model: skim down the annotations/highlights to evaluate if the piece may be worth reading based on the social signals of the annotators themselves and their annotations.
Replied to a tweet by Maggie AppletonMaggie Appleton (Twitter)
A great question to be sure.

Define “ours“. “Tweetspace” is only Twitter? Perhaps not all of those at once…

The education space definitely. Many are still in the “old” blogosphere. They use phrases/hashtags like “Domain of One’s Own” (#​DoOO), personal learning networks (#​pln), #​EdTech, #​EthicalEdTech, etc.

Maybe a dash of #OpenScience, along with maybe @LibCarpentry and @theCarpentries?

#​IndieWeb is platform interoperability, along with a smattering of the others but you already knew of that overlap.

Replied to a thread by @tjoosten and @grandeped (Twitter)
I’m happy to help you try to put together an IndieWeb-friendly version with Webmentions which work with multiple platforms including WordPress, Known, Grav, etc.

You might find some interesting examples and pieces on IndieWeb wiki, particularly their Education page. I’d love to see Matt add his example(s) to that page for others’ future reference.

I did a short demonstration of what the current website-to-website space looks like at the recent OERxDomains21 Conference. You can find the short video here on my site.

If you go the older route one of the best planet-like sites I’ve seen was, which if I recall correctly was built by Alan Levine. If you poke around a bit or ask @cogdog on Twitter, I think there are some details or a recipe somewhere of how he put it together.

Chances are reasonably good that people in the or space have some ideas as well.

Replied to a tweet (Twitter)
For reading: all of them?!? (Who can really have a favorite?)

I love Little Free Library (@LtlFreeLibrary) and PJ Library (@PJLibrary). My favorite has to be Reading is Fundamental (@RIFWEB)—they gave me books as a child and a wife as an adult.

For education: Johns Hopkins University School of Education (@JHUEducation).

Read Social Media Isn’t Going to Save You From Social Media (KIRISKA)
Everyone has a bone to pick with existing social networks. There are plenty of legitimate concerns, but the fact is that social media has also been incredibly valuable for many people. If your business depends in large part on connecting with others or engaging with an audience, it’s hard to simpl...
The heading really says it all.
I’ve been spitballing with a few people about how to create alternate funding ideas including making smaller community-centric hubs and infrastructure to both center the smaller interactions as well as help create healthier funding centers for our technology. Smaller local news outlets and libraries are better places for these spaces to stem from in my opinion. Setting up these structures isn’t easy (or cheap) however.
As for the confusion on the IndieWeb pieces, you’re not wrong. The community knows this is an issue and is slowly, but surely working on it. Naturally it’s a slow process because it’s all volunteer driven, but we’ll get there.
Replied to Bird sound encoding by Douglas HoffDouglas Hoff (Art of Memory Forum)
Rey’s star book (already ordered!) is a wonderful way to rekindle my adolescent interest in the stars while learning more about memory methods like pareidolia to finally complete my identification of the skies. I never stored more than three or four constellations permanently. @chrisaldrich, I’ll be intested to see how you help bring together your knowledge to create a more mnemonic way to visualize and remember bird calls and traits. I’ve also added your blog to my news reader with all the goo...
I’ll apologize in advance for the noisy-ness of my website. I use it as a commonplace book and post almost everything I do on the web there first (including social media). If it gets to be too much, you can subscribe to individual topics of interest (like, which is sure to include any bird related work) so that you’re just getting what you want instead of the overzealous firehose which can be upwards of 10 to 20,000 posts a year, depending on how much of my stream I make public.
Replied to Peter of Ravenna by ehcolstonehcolston (Art of Memory Forum)
Thanks for those links! Originally I wanted to translate the original Latin texts, but I felt like that was better put to rest and that I should first try to translate it from the English version since I can actually speak it. Iirc, there was an Italian version of the book as well.
I haven’t searched all the versions of Peter of Ravenna’s name (yet) in all locations, but I recall hearing of an Italian version as well (and it’s likely that there was one given its popularity).

A bit of digging around this morning has uncovered a digital copy of a French translation in the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé (Paris)]:
* 1545: L’art de memoire qui est aultrement inscript le phenix livre treffort utille & profitable a tous professeurs des sciences, grammariens, rheteurs, dialetiques, legistes philosophes & theologiens

Given the date and the scant 16 pages, this is likely to be the edition which was the source of Robert Copland’s English translation. As the edition doesn’t appear to have an author, it’s possible that this was the reason that Copland’s translation didn’t list one either.

The Latin -> French -> middle English -> modern English route seems an awfully muddy way to go, but without anything else, it may have to suffice for some of us for the moment.