Read Opinion | Multiple Choice Flunks Out (Published 1988) by Jacques Barzun (New York Times)
Many things have been urged upon the beleaguered public schools: install computers, reduce class size, pay teachers better and respect them more and give them bodyguards, reform teacher training, restore the principal's authority, purge the bureaucracy and reduce paperwork, lengthen the school year, increase homework, stick to the basics, stop ''social promotion,'' kill social studies and bring back history, and (the latest plan) pay kids not to drop out or play truant.
For historians of and , here’s a nice little essay by Jacques Barzun from 1988 which he later published in a book under the title of “Reasons to De-Test the Schools“. The follow up is telling as well.

Vocabulary notebooks, Criminally Insane Asylum Patients, Zettelkasten, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, and Digital Dictionaries

A Sixth Grade Vocabulary Notebook

The sixth grade language arts class at the school in Altadena, CA, which my daughter attends, has a weekly set of vocabulary exercises which they keep in a simple composition notebook. Each week the teacher picks two vocabulary words (eg: passage, intelligent) and throughout the week the students fill in bits of knowledge about the word itself. On Monday they write down the word, a preliminary definition of it in their own words, a quick sketch or drawing of their perception of the word, and any prior knowledge they have of it. On Tuesday they revisit the words and look up dictionary definitions and write them down in their notebooks. On Wednesday they compose an original sentence using the words. Thursday finds them filling in spaces under each word with their morphologies, and variations with prefixes and suffixes. Finally on Friday they complete the weekly exercise by writing down synonyms and antonyms for the week’s words.

When I saw their notebooks at a recent open house night, it immediately reminded me of a now partially forgotten lexicographer’s and grammarian’s practices of excerpting (ars excerpendi) and collecting examples of sentences and words on slips of paper. Examples of this can be seen in the editing and creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Latin for Thesaurus of the Latin Language), and the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache (German for Dictionary of the Egyptian Language).

I first became aware of the practice when reading Simon Winchester’s entertaining book The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. In the book , Winchester describes the pigeonhole and slip system that Oxford professor James Murray and collaborators used to create the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The editors of the dictionary put out a call to readers to note down interesting everyday words they found in their reading along with example sentences and source references. They then collected these words alphabetically into pigeonholes and from here were able to collectively compile their magisterial dictionary which uses the collected example sentences. While tangentially about the creation of the OED, the heart of the fascinating story in the book focuses on Dr. William C. Minor, a Civil War veteran and a convicted murderer living in Britain in the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, who began a long written correspondence with James Murray by sending in over ten thousand slips with words from his personal reading. Many years went by between the two men before the dictionary editor realized that his collaborator was in an insane asylum. The 1998 book was ultimately turned into the 2019 movie starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn.

Movie poster for The Professor and the Madman featuring large period photos of both Sean Penn and Mel Gibson comprising most of the image with a silhouette of a large castle-like sanitorium with a sun setting below them.

Thesaurus Linguae Latinae

Somewhat similar to the compilation of the Oxford English Dictionary which predated it is the ongoing compilation of the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL). An academic research project begun in 1894 and projected to be finished by a team of international scholars sometime around 2050, the TLL is a massive dictionary written entirely in Latin which contains every instance of every known Latin word in every known medium (manuscripts, scrolls, artworks, coins, buildings, monuments, graffiti, etc.) from the beginning of the language down to the 2nd century CE and from then on, every lexicographically significant instance from that time until the 6th century CE.

The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae used the Meusel system for creating zettel (a German word meaning slip) by utilizing double folio sheets onto which they copied text in hectographic ink which can be reproduced by lithography before cutting them up into individual slips. It took approximately five years of collecting and excerpting material before the researchers of the TLL began writing “articles”, by which they mean individual entries in their dictionary of Latin words. Because of the time-consuming work to research and write individual articles, researchers are individually credited within the Thesaurus for their work on individual words.

Between the 2nd and 6th centuries CE, the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae doesn’t excerpt every single word in written Latin, just what the researchers thought was lexicographically significant. As an example, they didn’t excerpt all of Saint Augustine’s works because if they had, the collection would have been approximately 50% larger because Augustine was such a prolific writer.

The magisterial zettelkasten (German for slip box) which powers the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae is befittingly housed on the top floors of the Residenz, the former palace of the Bavarian royal family, now a part of the Bavarian Academy (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften) in Munich, Germany.

slip for the word sentio
An example slip in the TLL for the word “sentio”.

The slips in the TLL’s collection are organized alphabetically by headword (or catchword) in a box in the top right hand side of the card and then secondarily by their appearance or publication in chronological time, which is indicated in a box on the top left of each slip. The number of copies of each slip is written in the bottom left hand corner and circled. Within the text excerpts on the cards themselves, occurrences of the word are underlined in red.

Basic statistics regarding the Thesaurus:

  • comprised of approximately 55,000 ancient Latin vocabulary words
    • 10,000,000+ slips
    • stored in about 6,500 boxes
    • with approximately 1,500 slips per box
  • excerpted from a library of 32,000 volumes
  • contributors: 375 scholars from 20 different countries, with:
    • 12 Indo-European language specialists
    • 8 romance language specialists
    • 100 proof-readers
  • approximately 44,000 words published in their dictionary already
    • published content: 70% of the entire vocabulary
    • print run: 1,350 copies
    • Publisher: consortium of 35 academies from 27 countries on 5 continents
  • Longest remaining words which remain to be compiled into the dictionary
    • non / 37 boxes of ca. 55,500 slips
    • qui, quae, quod / 65 boxes of ca. 96,000 slips
    • sum, esse, fui / 54.5 boxes of ca. 81,750 slips
    • ut / 35 boxes of ca. 52,500 slips

As a point of comparison, the upper end of prolific academic researchers and note takers who use index card collections for their lifelong research (25-40 year careers) have compiled collections of 90,000 (Niklas Luhmann), 70,000+ (Gotthard Deutsch), 30,000 (Hans Blumenberg), 27,000+ (S.D. Goitein) and 12,500 slips (Roland Barthes). This means that there are individual Latin words in the TLL have more slips than these researchers produced in their research lifetimes.

A sample of the note cards being used to compile the TLL. Courtesy of Samuel Beckelhymer.

Living languages

While many think of Latin as a “dead language”, something one notices quickly about the articles in the TLL is that words changed meanings over the span of time which they were in use. Linguists call this change in word meaning over time semantic shift. Many articles focus on these subtle changes and different meanings over time. Often words with only a few hundred attestations in the corpus of the language will be quoted and cited in articles about them with every example of use along with their contexts to help highlight these subtleties. Just like people had the choice of which words to use in the ancient world, we have those same choices today and this is where the use of modern dictionaries and thesauruses can make our words and word choices more exciting.

Normally, a dictionary just tells you what words mean—and of course we do that—but the scale of the project gives us the space and opportunity to say what we’re not sure of too. This is important because it leaves the door open for further scholarship and it gives the reader choices rather than dictating to them what to think. The dictionary can be a catalyst for more research and this is what makes the dictionary a living thing.—⁠⁠Adam Gitner, a TLL scholar

Slip box for the word ‘requiro’ © Adam Gitner
TLL slip archive © Adam Gitner

For those interested in more details on the TLL, Kathleen Coleman’s presentation on YouTube is a fantastic resource and primer on what is in it, how they built it and current work:

TLL Podcast and the Wordhord

Based on the history and usage of the Latin word horreum, which is featured in the first episode of the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae podcast, I can’t help but think that not only is the word ever so apropos for an introduction to some of the TLL, but it does quite make an excellent word for translating the idea of card index in English or Zettelkasten from German into Latin: “My horreum is a storehouse or treasury for my thoughts and ideas which nourishes my desire to discover and build upon my knowledge.” One might also notice that the Latin word horreum is also cognate with the fun Old English word “wordhord” that one encounters in classics like Beowulf and which roughly translates as one’s brain or their memory, especially for words.

Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache (A Dictionary of the Egyptian Language)

Like the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache was an international collaborative zettelkasten project. Started in 1897, it was finally published as five volumes in 1926.

The structure of the filing system for the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache (Wb) was designed based on the work done for the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae started three years earlier. Texts in the collection were roughly divided into passages of about 30 words and written in hieroglyphic form on postcard-sized slips of paper. The heading contained the designation of the text and the body included the texts’ context (inscriptions, etc.) as well as a preliminary translation of the passage.

These passages were then cross-referenced with other occurrences of the hieroglyphics to provide better progressive translations which ultimately appeared in the final manuscript. As a result some of the translations on the cards were incomplete as work proceeded and cross-comparisons of individual words were puzzled out.

A slip showing a passage of text from the victory stele of Sesostris III at the Nubian fortress of Semna. The handwriting is that of project leader Adolf Erman, who had “already struggled with the text as a high school student”.

With support from the German Research Foundation, the 1.5 million sheets of the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache began to be digitized and put online in 1997. The Digitized Card Archive (DZA) of the Dictionary of the Egyptian Language (Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache) has been available on the Internet since 1999. The archive can be searched at: https://aaew.bbaw.de/tla/servlet/DzaIdx. Since 2004, the materials and query functions have been integrated into the larger Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae project at https://aaew.bbaw.de/thesaurus-linguae-aegyptiae.

Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache by Adolph Erman and Hermann Grapow can be viewed online using the Wb. browser at https://aaew.bbaw.de/tla/servlet/WbImgBrowser. Links from reference points within the dictionary go directly to corresponding slips of paper in the digitized slip archive.

Although he’s a fictional character, given one could suppose that given his areas of specialization in archaeology, Indiana Jones would certainly have been aware of the Wörterbuch, would likely have used it, and may even have worked on it as a young college student.

The method used for indexing the Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache and the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae is now generally known as a key word in context (KWIC) index. The design of these sorts of indices is now a subject within the realm of computer science and database design. Given that the work on the TLL has taken over 100 years, could it be possible that digital versions might speed up the process of excerpting, collating, and writing articles in the future? Perhaps these examples might be used for compiling other languages in the future.

Modern day practice: Wordnik and Hypothes.is

Having looked at some historical word and idea collecting practices, how might one do this sort of work in a modern, digital world? A similar word collecting scheme is currently happening on the internet now, though perhaps with a bit more focus on interesting neologisms (and hopefully without many insane asylum patients.) The lovely folks at the online dictionary Wordnik have been using the digital annotation tool Hypothes.is to collect examples of words as they happen in the wild. One can create a free account on the Hypothes.is service and quickly and easily begin collecting words for their dictionary efforts by highlighting example sentences and tagging them with “wordnik” and “hw-[InsertFoundWordHere]”.

So for example, I was reading about the clever new animations in the language app Duolingo and came across a curious new word (at least to me): viseme.

To create accurate animations, we generate the speech, run it through our in-house speech recognition and pronunciation models, and get the timing for each word and phoneme (speech sound). Each sound is mapped onto a visual representation, or viseme, in a set we designed based on linguistic features.

So I clicked on my handy browser extension for Hypothes.is, highlighted the sentence with a bit of context, and tagged it with “wordnik” and “hw-viseme”. The “hw-” prefix ostensibly means “head word” which is how lexicographers refer to the words you see defined in dictionaries.

Then the fine folks at Wordnik are able to access the public annotations matching the tag Wordnik, and use Hypothes.is’ API to pull in the collections of new words for inclusion into their ever-growing corpus of examples. Lexicographers can then use examples of words appearing in context to define, study, and research their meanings and their shifts in meaning over time.

Since I’ve collected interesting new words and neologisms for ages anyway, this has been a quick and easy method of helping out other like-minded wordhoarders along the way. (Note how this last sentence has brought wordhord back into more active usage with a tinge of shift?!) In addition to the ability to help out others, a side benefit of the process is that the collected words are all publicly available for reading and using in daily life! You can not only find the public page for Wordnik words on Hypothes.is, but you can subscribe to it via RSS to see all the clever and interesting neologisms appearing in the English language as collected in real time! So if you’re the sort who enjoys touting new words at cocktail parties, a rabid cruciverbalist who refuses to be stumped by this week’s puzzle, or a budding lexicographer yourself, you’ve now got a fantastic new resource! I’ve found it to be far more entertaining and intriguing than any ten other word-of-the-day efforts I’ve seen in published calendar or internet form.

If you like, there’s also a special Hypothes.is group you can apply to join to more easily aid in the effort. Want to know more about Wordnik and their mission, check out their informative Kickstarter page.

Expanding the sixth grade practice

The basic pedagogic exercise I’ve described above is an incredibly solid base for nearly any school-aged child. But with some of the historical context we’ve explored, the weekly word notebook exercise could be expanded. Some could be done during the week while others could be done at a later date/time, which could serve as potential (spaced repetition) reminders to students as they see words throughout the year potentially for bonus points.

What is the earliest attestation (evidence or proof of existence) of a word?

Can students find attestations of their words during their weekly reading or reading later in the year?

What is the word’s etymology? What other words sound like it or are related to it? What words are cognate to it in other languages they might be studying/learning? These could be collected too.

What new and interesting words are students coming across that they haven’t seen before in their own reading? Bonus points for doing additional words they find themselves, or add them to the queue of the words the teacher assigns on future weeks.

Double bonus points for finding new words in their reading that are neologisms which aren’t in the dictionary yet. Can they find and add words to the Wordnik dictionary using Hypothes.is?

Instead of using a notebook for their supplemental wordhord, students might try the older practice of keeping their words on index cards and storing them in a zettelkasten just like the OED, the TLL, or the Wb. A shoebox works nicely and can be fun to decorate, but there are fancier boxes out there. Here they might also be used as flashcards for occasional review. Students can index them alphabetically and perhaps their example sentences may come in handy later in life while they’re doing their own writing (see Draft No. 4 and boxing words.) Perhaps their collections will come in handy at the end of high school when they take the SAT or the ACT tests? Might their collections rival those of famed academics like Niklas Luhmann, Gotthard Deutsch, Hans Blumenberg, S.D. Goitein or Roland Barthes? Maybe they’ll become professional lexicographers and help to finish up work on the TLL later in life?

For a fun math exercise, can students calculate how long it would take them (individually or as a class) to copy out 10,000,000 slips for their words at the pace of two or three words a week? How many notebooks would this require? Would they fit into their classroom? their house, their library, or their school?

What other ideas might one add to such a classroom exercise?

References

Forschung: Der Thesaurus linguae Latinae. Munich, Germany: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Eqt2QBKNs.

Kathleen Coleman, “The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae” Paideia Lectures 2022, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s98hTIOW1Ug.

Pinkerton, Byrd. “The Ultimate Latin Dictionary: After 122 Years, Still At Work On The Letter ‘N.’” NPR, May 14, 2016, sec. Parallels. https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/05/14/476873307/the-ultimate-latin-dictionary-after-122-years-still-at-work-on-the-letter-n.

The Professor and the Madman. 35mm film, Biography, Drama, History. Voltage Pictures, Fábrica de Cine, Definition Films, 2019.

Smith, Chris. “Thesaurus Linguae Latinae: How the World’s Largest Latin Lexicon Is Brought to Life.” De Gruyter Conversations, July 5, 2021. https://blog.degruyter.com/thesaurus-linguae-latinae-how-the-worlds-largest-latin-lexicon-is-brought-to-life/.

Winchester, Simon. The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. 1st ed. New York: Harper, 1998.

Zettelkasten Pedagogy Meeup? A Call for Interested Parties and Examples

I’ve been watching a growing number of teachers, professors, and researchers who have been transferring their personal note taking, zettelkasten, or personal knowledge management practices into the classroom for students from 6th or 7th grade up into college/university level. As it’s been a while since this practice was more commonplace (excuse the pun), perhaps it could be useful (and fun) to do a meetup or mini-unconference on the topic to discuss some ideas, practices, and pedagogy?

Format

Depending on everyone’s general availability, we could do something on a quiet day over the summer break? I’m thinking something in the 2-4 hour range depending on the level of interest and what folks think would be most productive. At the lower end we could do a few hours as a simple meetup/discussion if there are 10 or fewer, though if there is more interest, then I’m thinking that a BarCamp style (unconference) may be easier with 3-4 sessions of about 45 minutes each  and to which people submit various ideas at the start of “camp” and folks can decide what ideas they’re interested in supporting or exploring. (If you’ve never attended an unconference or BarCamp style event, this IndieWeb page and related pages will give you a bit of an idea of what to expect, though we’ll do a much more scaled down version. I’m also a fan of their Code of Conduct, and propose to adopt it for participants.)

Given the potential time zone differentials across Europe and the Americas across which most practitioners I know live, I’ve found that Saturday morning starts at 8:30 AM Pacific have been historically most convenient, but I’m not opposed to an weekday timeslot if that’s more preferrable with a majority of schedules.

If there’s enough interest I’m happy to help facilitate something 2-3 times a year in smaller doses. We can start small and informal and expand as necessary.

Interest?

If this is something in which you’d be interested in doing, please drop a comment on my website or send me an email (you’ll find it on my homepage). Let me know the following:

  • Range of referred dates/times along with any major vacation plans we might work around
  • Interest in leading a BarCamp session? Topics? Do you have a presentation/experience you’d like to present (even if it’s totally informal)? 
  • Your area/level of teaching (elementary, middle school, high school, undergraduate, graduate, other) and institution — schedule-wise, I’d like to give the most preference to active educators, though I’m sure we’ll attract participants interested in the broader idea of ZK/PKM.
  • Would you like to help volunteer time/resources to mounting this as an online only event?
  • Other ideas? Needs?

My goal for a first session is to be highly creative and get ideas/discussions of experiences/improvements flowing with the minimal amount of organization and work on the part of all participants. I would hope this would be more fun for the prospective group than work.

Background

I’ve been collecting examples of teachers/professors who used their zettelkasten for teaching, some of which include Mario Bunge, Frederic L. Paxson, Gotthard Deutsch, Roland Barthes, and Joachim Jungius. In more recent contexts, I’ve seen Dan Allosso (aka u/danallosso), Mark Robertson (aka @calhistorian u/calhistorian), Nick Santalucia, and Sean Graham using zettelkasten or linked notes using Obsidian, Roam, etc. for either directly teaching, teaching students how to start such a practice, or using it for OER related practices. I’ve also heard from a few who are planning on offering coursework with zettelkasten underpinned pedagogy in the near future.

Do you know of others who are practicing and implementing these methods? Those who plan to in the coming year? Please forward this along and we’ll see what we can arrange based on the level of interest.

All thoughts and feedback appreciated…

1948 Smith-Corona “Clipper”

Childhood Typewriters

I’ve had a hollow space in my chest where a typewriter wanted to be. I’d had a few inexpensive plastic ones in my childhood before having a really spectacular Smith-Corona, but I thought that through many moves it had been long lost. Until, that is, I visited my parents on spring break this past week. While going through some old papers and boxes, I ran across a dusty, but stunning old jewel from my youth. 

Hiding in a corner of memorabilia was a hard black box which I immediately recognized as my old portable typewriter! I recall my parents having purchased it at a yard sale and bringing it home for us kids to use in 1984. It took a while back then to clean it up, but I used it for a variety of school projects and papers for several years until its use for school papers was later taken over by an electronic Panasonic word processor. Despite the newer technology I still preferred that old typewriter for composing and noodling around.

Ooh, my little pretty one, my pretty one

So, what is this fantastic jewel? It’s a 1948 Smith-Corona “Clipper” 4C (serial number 4C-242370). It’s still in spectacular shape. I had to re-connect the letter “A”s linkage joint, but all the keys still work well, and it’s going to need a new ribbon. The interior is a bit dusty and needs some cleaning and oiling, but a short afternoon of tinkering should make quick work of any issues. 

Oblique angle down on the top of a black Smith-Corona Clipper sitting on a brown wooden tabletop.

What’s fascinating is that all of the parts and functionalities of the machine came back to me instantaneously when I touched it. I knew all the small subtleties of sliding in a sheet of paper and aligning it to perfection. All the small niceties like the single/double space switch, the margin adjustments, the lovely bell, the ribbon direction adjustment switch, and even the centering mechanism were right there at my fingertips.

Rear view angle of the carriage return on the Smith-Corona Clipper with a view into the internals featuring the bell. The apparatus could be cleaner and features some use and dust build up on the oiled metal.

Sadly the original key wasn’t with the typewriter’s lock, but it was easily pickable. I’m reasonably sure the key will turn up as I dig through my other childhood memorabilia in the near future. At the worst, I can probably print a new key using a recipe I’ve already found online. I even unearthed a roughly contemporaneous typewriter manual for the Smith-Corona Clipper model

And the best part is that a young 12 year old was drawn to it and immediately wanted to use it and take it home with us, so the typewriter obsession may go on for at least another generation.

I can’t wait to begin using my new (old) tool for thought in my zettelkasten practice. I’m curious to see what the slow down effect of a manual typewriter has on my writing and thinking work. Perhaps the composition of my cards at the end of the day will have the added satisfaction of punching the keys of a fantastic typewriter.

Typed 3 x 5 inch index card. The top title in red ink reads "The Power of Information" with the following quotation: 
No piece of information is superior to any other. Power lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them. --- Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum

If nothing else, the Clipper does look quite nice next to my Shaw-Walker card index which is from the same era.

Desk level view of the front of a Shaw-Walker wooden card index tray next to a black typewriter.

Ultra-luxury of the “Clipper”

Just where does the Smith-Corona “Clipper” sit in the pantheon of typewriters? A variety of writers in the 21st century still talk about their love and nostalgia of specific typewriters mentioning the design esthetic of the Olivetti, a remembrance of an old Underwood, or their fondness of a Remington, but I think Tom Hanks sums things up pretty well:

This is what I would suggest: if you wanted the perfect typewriter that will last forever that would be a great conversation piece, I’d say get the Smith-Corona Clipper. That will be as satisfying a typing experience as you will ever have.
—Tom Hanks, actor, producer, typewriter enthusiast and collector, author of Uncommon Type on CBS Sunday Morning: “Tom Hanks, Typewriter Enthusiast” [00:07:30]

Close up of the Clipper logo on a Smith-Corona typewriter. It features a red outline of the small single wing, four engine airplane with the word "Clipper" underneath it  underlined with red waves so as to make the plane appear to be flying over water.

Of course Hanks comes by this analysis naturally as the Clipper typewriter’s namesake is the Boeing 314 Clipper, which appears prominently on the front left panel of the typewriter’s cover. The context and history of some of this airplane have been lost to current generations. Twelve of these air yachts were built by Boeing and operated for a decade between 1938 and 1948. Nine of the airplanes were operated by Pan-Am as transoceanic “one class” ultra-luxury air travel featuring lounges, dining areas with silver service for six-course meals from four-star chefs served by white coated stewards, seats that converted to sleeping bunks for overnight accommodations, and separate male and female dressing rooms for the comfort of elite businesspeople and wealthy travelers in the mid-twentieth century. As an indicator of the exclusivity and expense at the time, a one-way ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong on the Clipper was listed for $760, which is equivalent to about $15,000 adjusted for inflation in 2021 (Klaás, 1989, p. 20).

Pan Am’s Clipper service of the 1940s represents the romance of flight in that era in the same way Smith-Corona Clipper represents the romance of typing in the ensuing decades. Most Americans’ nostalgia for the luxury and exotic freedom of airline flight in the 1960s and 1970s was built on this early experience operating the Clipper nearly 20 years before.

Reverse view into the opened Smith-Corona Clipper featuring a close up view of all of the type face and levers. Just visible at the top are a side view of the keys on the front of the typewriter.

References

“Tom Hanks, Typewriter Enthusiast.” CBS News Sunday Morning. CBS, October 15, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTtDb73NkNM.

Klaás, M. D. (December 1989). “Clipper Across the Pacific, Part One”. Air Classics. 25 (12).

Want to try out Mastodon? Thinking about hosting your own? Or maybe you’re new to the experience and need some help or want tips for better connecting?  Our kind friends at Reclaim Hosting and ALT are doing a 90 day Mastodon experiment/class/seminar series where you can sign up for an account on a server that will self-destruct at the end of their trial run. They’re doing three sessions (live with recordings after), have a Discord for discussion and questions, and a Google doc with details and tips.

  • Session 1: Mission briefing: 19 January 2023 at 16:00 GMT (Watch Live)
  • Session 2: Verifying your progress: 23 February 2023 at 16:00 GMT (Watch Live)
  • Session 3: 30 days until self-destruct: 23 March 2023 at 16:00 GMT (Watch Live)

Sign up on their server today to try things out: https://thismastodonwillexplo.de/

@reclaimhosting@reclaim.rocks @jimgroom@social.ds106.us @marendeepwell@social.ds106.us

Some will think I’m in the pocket of , but I’m thinking it’s time to re-introduce to the scene. It will dramatically personalize learning while locking out the crowd.

Handwritten index card that reads: Some will think I'm in the pocket of #BigIndexCard, but I'm thinking it's time to re-introduce #IndexCards to the #EdTech scene. It will dramatically personalize learning while locking out the #SurveillanceCapitalism crowd.  #CriticalPedagogy #WissenschaftlichenArbeitens #zettelkasten

Is anyone in the or space using @tinysubversionsHometown fork of to create small “local only” posting spaces for their classes? Are there any inexpensive hosts that have one click installs/setups for this? Screen capture of paragraph that reads: "In August 2018, Kazemi created his own Mastodon server (an “instance”) called Friend Camp. But he didn’t want it to be a popular instance — he wanted to run a small social network, with under 100 users. The goal was to foster community-related discussion and attain a sense of “group cohesion.” The following year, based on his experience of running Friend Camp, Kazemi forked Mastodon into a new software package he called Hometown. One of its main features is “local only posting,” which gives users the option of not federating their posts." The last line is highlighted in yellow.
Replied to a tweet by Jared (Twitter)
@jrdprr @Mappletons @hyperlink_a Follow René Descartes’ lead and try placing memorable images/illustrations on them so that they could also leverage one’s associative memory (à la memory palaces) as well as for spaced repetition. 🃏 
I did some reading and annotation and learned something deplorable about Perusall. What grade does your AI give me?


https://hyp.is/A9EcXpR0Eey_JGdvKnxDPg/twitter.com/perusall/status/1495945680002719751

I’m curious if anyone has created lists of graduate programs in education that are actively teaching/researching pedagogy described in @CathyNDavidson‘s ? I’m considering tying some of my interests into a potential new career path.
Read 25 Years of Ed Tech – Blogs by JR DingwallJR Dingwall (jrdingwall.ca)
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 Hypothes.is) 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 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.

RSVPed Attending Missed Conversation @VConnecting at #OER21xDomains #OER21

***UPDATE*** On Sunday April 18 Ian Linkletter [announced](https://twitter.com/Linkletter/status/1383896567279538177) that his legal fees have extended beyond the amount raised in his fundraising campaign from a few months ago. We had always intended to discuss online proctoring and academic surveillance during this session and now with this new development we are dedicating the event to Ian’s defense fund. If you are unfamiliar with this case the [Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good overview of what is at stake](https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/02/student-surveillance-vendor-proctorio-files-slapp-lawsuit-silence-critic) and we ask that you:

**Give to Ian’s GoFundMe in solidarity with this cause**

We are having a Virtually Connecting Missed Conversation following the #OER21xDomains conference on Friday, April 23rd, 8pm UK time.

Our guests include #OER21xDomains keynote speakers Jasmine Roberts, Rajiv Jhangiani, Laura Gibbs, Tutaleni Asino, and our participant discussants include Maya Hey, Georgia Yee, Sarah Silverman, and Errkie Haipinge . Your Virtually Connecting buddies/hosts are Autumm Caines, Maha Bali, and Brenna Clarke-Gray.

We will focus on reflecting on the conference in general, and specifically would like to address the topic of online proctoring and surveillance in education. To keep the conversation intimate we will not be sharing a Zoom registration, but you are welcome to watch live and post comments/questions on the YouTube livestream, which we will be monitoring.

To know the time in your local time, see below:

Watch Live via YouTube

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April 23, 2021 at 12:00PM - April 23, 2021 at 01:00PM