Etsy and me

August 30, 2013

I’ve joined Etsy – and wow is it ever an interesting community. I’ve spent hours browsing and getting a feeling about just what people out there enjoy making and sharing.

The Etsy site allows folks to connect with each other – offering many ways to search for items, materials, themes, etc.; to find or create teams of crafters with similar interests and similar issues; to curate collections called ‘treasuries’ and express a moment of pleasure you’ve had while exploring an idea and seeing who else thought of it (and seeing how their own expression unfolded).

Etsy is also about selling vintage things – so I’m finding some odd things in stored boxes around the house and the act of sorting and photographing them to sell to someone who might truly cherish them –well, it definitely makes the idea of parting with family possessions a lot easier. For instance, I love the idea of old greeting cards being sold to another crafter who will make them into an amazing collage or … who knows?

And of course I’m putting my own glass art on Etsy as well.
Here are my first Etsy Treasuries. I find the process of building these to be a delightful way to find out about what other crafters are doing. The rules don’t allow you to promote your own work on a treasury – but I do tend to slip in Deryk and Amy 🙂 I think I might be doing more of these….

The Catcher in the Rye and the Dakota

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night:


Music is Love that Connects People

Oh and here’s my shop:

Music, science, space, Canada, social media…. what more can I say

May 8, 2013

For his last downlink before returning to Earth, CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield performed I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing) with hundreds of students at the Ontario Science Centre and nearly a million people, mostly students from coast-to-coast Canada and around the world, performing the song in unison from their location.

I.S.S. is a song co-written by Hadfield and the Barenaked Ladies’ front man Ed Robertson.

Chris Hadfield just seems to represent everything that *can* be right about humanity. The only thing to say is “thank you!”

Here are the lyrics:

And a link to more info:

CEET Meet collections now launched on iTunes U.

December 11, 2012

blogbannerCEET is the Community of Expertise in Educational Technology. It includes a grass-roots Ning social media site,, helping educators create, use and manage digital resources to support best practices.

“Join CEET to to get advice from experts, exchange ideas and resources with peers, ask questions/get answers, and discover ways to improve teaching and learning with technology.” You can do this via discussion forums, shared videos and other resources, and through CEET Meets, which are free and open online professional learning opportunities via Moodle. You can go to the site, join a current or upcoming Ceet Meet or view the archives.

Recently, a small handful of collections derived from recent CEET meets has been made available via iTunes U. I’ve had the privilege of working with Mark Hawkes on the development of these initial collections.

The way to access these resources is to
1. go to iTunes
2. pick the iTunes store
3. search the store for CEET (or Community Expertise Educational Technology)

As you probably know, iTunes U is based on the engine that was initially developed by Apple for music downloads. The iTunes music download experience is widely used and very familiar to many. The iTunes U brand has the benefit of being very recognized in the educational field and the number of collections will be growing in the near future as our plan is to create templates so that any CEET participant could create materials for iTunes U. The template would reference back to the CEET Ning site to ensure that iTunes U users would be aware of other CEET resources. iTunes U is great for content delivery, but lacks the social component that is important to CEET’s overall success.

iTunes U collections are accessed just as downloadable music would be via iTunes – on a computer or a mobile device. As their name suggests, a collection is a group of theme-based resources and can include PDFs, video files, audio files and each collection is accompanied by sidebar weblinks. Once a user has accessed a collection, in many ways, the environment is not qualitatively that much different from a website with annotated links.

It is important to note that CEET Meets are teacher-developed and the CEET iTunes U collections are based on these. The hope is for BC teachers to be directly developing their own iTunes U content at some point in the very near future.

If any of this is of interest to you, please go to

The CEET materials on iTunes U are breaking some new ground for Canadian Pro-D. K-12 content and postsecondary content suitable for teacher pro-D is widely available via iTunes U. This content comes from many parts of the world but Canada has not been a big player at this point so it’s an exciting time for Canadians to start becoming a part of this.

Social Media and love between Israel and Iran

April 2, 2012

Ronnie, in this video, says it all….

Non Violent Communication

February 8, 2012

Nonviolent Communication/NVC (sometimes also known as compassionate communication) is a huge and deep topic. I have been talking to people about it in an attempt to feel less overwhelmed by current world crisis situations, including the tensions between Iran and Israel.

Miki Kashtan’s Fearless Heart blog is on my reading list and I have been particularly moved by some of her thoughts about the occupy movements. What she says seems to apply in a very global sense. An important theme that emerges is that when we define people as “us” and “them” (or any two categories) it is a form of violence. To focus on individual needs is much more complicated, but it could be the transformational strategy the world needs.

And as I think about it, it seems that social media may well be a communication form that allows more of this to happen, and I do feel optimism when I put those thoughts together. 1. We need to hear individual voices in order to find an answer to world problem. 2. New technologies are allowing us to do so more than ever before.

Miki says (in an email) “when people don’t have direct access to power and resources, it would take many more of them to create change through nonviolent resistance or dialogue — much more difficult to make happen, and more sustainable when done well.” Social media, in my opinion, is on its way to taking us to that sustainable place.

my glass bottle YouTube video

January 21, 2012

I’m still thinking about the value of our ability to share using social media. The little things we like to contribute (and the reasons why we are compelled to do this) made me take a new look at a short (45 second) experimental video I put on YouTube not quite four years ago. Related to the family glass hobby, this video has now had over 72,000 hits (yes, it’s hard to believe).

There’s nothing special about the production of this video — it’s just a bunch of still photos cobbled together with iMovie. I was playing with ideas related to recycled glass and YouTube offered some free, very psychedelic music that inspired me. There’s really not much more about it that I can say. I’ve posted other videos intended to promote a message but this really doesn’t have any of that going for it 🙂

YouTube analytics shows interesting facts about who is looking at this video, but there’s no real pattern that I can discern. The hits come from all over the world, from slightly more females than males, from many search engines and linked pages, etc. The best news is that most people watch it through to the end (well, it *is* short).

The whole thing is sort of mysterious (why do people view this video?) but it seems to sum up why we should care about not allowing overly-protective legislation to shut down what’s great about the internet — anybody’s few moments of whimsical self-expression can be “out there” and that’s something to be cherished.

SOPA and PIPA and random thoughts

January 16, 2012

I probably can’t — and don’t want to — change the world. The very nicest thing I’ve been told in a long time is that I influence others in a quiet way that often becomes apparent to them some time later. “Quiet” doesn’t equal high-profile world changer but it is definitely a mode of being that suits my personality. And I do want to actively participate as much as possible in the good change I see happening all around me so that’s why I’ve spent a career in education. I’m especially interested in the technology/communication advances related to social media.

I want to share
WordPress asks its 60 million users to help stop SOPA and PIPA

because I’m passionate about not losing the important freedom of expression we’ve recently acquired by being able to blog, tweet, share photos, videos, etc. We can use this responsibly without the being shackled by the harshness of proposed legislation. My childhood piano teacher (who I thank for giving me a view of education that was astonishingly progressive for a woman who was 60 years older than me) said “the freedom to swing your arm ends at the other person’s nose”. I get that we shouldn’t use the new communication tools, or any other tools, to hurt others. But let’s not tip in the opposite direction and lose all the potential for great sharing and learning.

Clay Shirky, as always, describes it very well:

And, keeping with the “what-impact-do-I-really-have” motif, here are three separate comments from the instructor evaluation in the most recent course I taught:

– She has a talent to pull student’s out of their comfort zone and to “think outside the box”. This was not a negative attribute in a Master’s level instructor and facilitator.

– I like the approach of letting us figure out things ourselves. My sense from the group is the majority don’t like that approach. The social constructivist approach to learning works for me.

– I wouldn’t let her train my Cocker Spaniel.

I guess I have the ability to make some of my students think and make others get angry. Of course I think the first student completely understood what I was trying to do and the second one I appreciate for being honest enough to let me know that he or she saw others in the group who did NOT want the opportunity to learn by doing. To that ‘Cocker Spaniel’ commenter, I just have to say that grad students shouldn’t require ‘training’. If I’m there it’s for another purpose altogether. My belief system is strongly oriented towards encouraging people to learn how to learn. That’s not generally what you do with dogs and it’s why grad school is not obedience school. I have never wanted to spoon-feed educational content to anyone.

Mynna, born, I believe, in 1895, would be close to 117 years old. She lived into her 90s.

Mynna, born, I believe, in 1895, would be close to 117 years old. She lived into her 90s.

Back to my childhood piano teacher…. she told me that the word education came from the Latin “educa” which she translated as “to draw out”. Nothing about cramming in facts! Thank you Mynna! You were a quiet influence that is still apparent to me all these years later.

Social media as the bandstand?

December 14, 2011

Stefon Harris, in this great TED video, explains how the bandstand is a place where you are alive in the moment. He says it’s best when it’s about responding to others — perceiving, and reacting to, what someone else is doing as an opportunity for moving forward. I think what he’s saying applies to much more than jazz (which is intriguing me more and more lately). Awareness and acceptance! The creative flow that happens when ideas are not imposed.

Social media has that potential. A river of thoughts flowing by, waiting for our reaction. Unedited. The opposite of a centralized, censored media source. What you say might change something. How you listen is important too because you are part of something big — not an outsider.

Some of the comments to the TED video include:

“What a great lesson on collaboratively learning!”


“being open to new possibilities and allowing things to go where they may as new people and new ideas are brought into the equation”


“Wynton Marsalis explains jazz as a democracy, each member has a say in what is being created, it is the fairest form of music. Bringing a jazz group in is just another way to teach democracy to the listeners, and what a wonderful way to do it! We must listen to each other in order to create a fluid that will inspire others, and ourselves! Tolerance, compromises, praise and criticism lead to a rounded, comfortable group where there is no fear of being bullied”


“Listening, faith, creativity, cooperation, acceptance – gives the freedom, strength and courage to progress together into the unknown. Really beautiful!”

I agree!

Social Media and 9/11

September 11, 2011

The ten-year anniversary of 9/11 has certainly meant that for me, this is a weekend filled with personal reflection. It’s heartbreaking to watch it all over again.

And there’s been lots written about how communication was so different, just ten years ago, before social media. Many are speculating about what things would have been like if our current ways of sharing information had been in place on September 11, 2001.

Some say that families might have located love ones sooner, that lives might have been saved.

We would almost certainly have heard more “last words”

Others say that digital rumours would have spread more quickly and the negative outcomes would outweigh the positives.

My own thoughts turn to the idea of what it might have been like if we’d had social media ten or even twenty years prior — in 1991 or 1981? Is it just possible that we’d have known each other better in 2001 and had more compassion – to the point that support for the things that created 9/11 wouldn’t have been possible? that something similar to wikileaks would have exposed issues before they became as bad as they did? that we’d have had enough wide-spread information around the globe to ensure that hatred fueled by propaganda did not flourish?

We need a population of critical thinkers, with access to pertinent information and also the skills to find, evaluate and use that information towards peace and compassion. I think social media alone would not have been enough. But it could have helped.

Josh Sternberg article on social Media

September 2, 2011

I found a lot to think about in this article from The Atlantic:

Social Media’s Slow Slog Into the Ivory Towers of Academia

Here’s a quote (I love the concept of an information ecosystem):

  • “In communications, business, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and information technology departments across the nation, theories of social media — and how to teach it — are becoming more prevalent. Sarah Smith-Robbins, professor and Director of Emerging Technologies at the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, teaches a course called “Social and Digital Marketing.” “We go over the theories behind social media: why do things go viral, the social theories of how people act and how they communicate to a network, or one person at a time, and why do certain tools work they way they do for us,” she says. With an obvious slant towards the professional, these theoretical questions help students grasp the fundamentals of social media, outside of posting personal status updates on Facebook or Twitter. Instead of understanding social media as products, students are encouraged to treat status updates as part of a larger information ecosystem.”
  • Note that among other things, the article addresses whether digital natives actually exist or not, it looks at those in academia who are opposed to social media and it concludes “that teaching social media through a traditional mode will not suffice.”