New Pet Project: ReMaking a School

One of my resolutions for 2017 is to figure out why 3D printing excites me. I figure this new interest/obsession is linked to my days building set models for my undergrad and my grad research into placefullness and community identity. Admittedly, this may also have something to do with one of my all-time favourite movie scenes. But I go on.

I’ve been spending a good amount of time at the Guelph Public Library, taking workshops on Meshmixer, TinkerCAD and Autodesk 123D. I’ve also reading up on additive fabrication technology, and what how 3D printing will rock the world. Totally geeky, I know. There’s also a good documentary on Netflix – Print the Legend.

So, I needed a project to print so that I could figure some stuff out. Enter Guelph Central Public School:

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The building has an interesting history, summarized nicely by Cameron Shelley (Guelph in Postcards). It opened in 1875, and was torn down in 1968. Oh the 60s…not very nice to architecture in Guelph. Central has recently been in the news as local citizens have expressed concerns over a proposed development of the adjacent lot. The issue is currently with the Ontario Municipal Board.

I thought it would be neat to 3D print a model of the old building. They could have a miniature model to display in their library/maker-space. The kids could look at it, and maybe be inspired to learn more about 3D printing, local history, architecture, and such. Maybe the school could print copies of the model, and sell them to raise money to buy their own 3D printer? Maybe.

It shouldn’t be difficult to find architectural drawings of a public building. I thought the school might have a record (nope), or the school board (nope), perhaps the public library (zero), or the museum (negative). I also contacted Archives Ontario, Land Registry Office and the local University. No luck. There was a significant fire in the school offices in the 1940s. I’m guessing that the drawings may have gone up in smoke.

Along the way, I collected a number of quality photographs, written descriptions, and a site plan. Maybe this is enough to run with.

Stay tuned.

My take on the Digital Credentials Landscape

For a client I’m working with, I’m putting together a presentation focused on credentials. I’m folding in some of the great work @dajbelshaw put together on dml central. Thanks Doug! My slides are coming together ok, but my diagram is shaping up to look something like this:

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Does this make sense to you?

The (Personal) (Business) Impact of Open

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Over the next couple days, I’ll be participating in the 12th Annual Open Education Conference #OpenEd15: The Impact of Open. It’s a conference I’ve always wanted to attend, but for various reasons haven’t been able to make it happen. This year, we’ll make it work.

For folks at home, tune in to the live stream keynotes, and a rich twitter stream. Expect to hear some of the most forward-thinking learning professionals discussing how open open educational resources (OER) can dramatically improve the quality of education. At the risk of telling you what you should do, don’t miss it.

Since starting my consulting business 2 years ago, I’ve had the good fortune to work on a number of open educational projects. I’ve just “run the numbers”, as some of them say. Here’s where my income comes from:

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 9.58.20 AMThere’s good work be done. Links to some of these projects below. Let me know if you’d like access to any of the source files, or if you have any questions.

Zen & the art of unsubscribing

I’ve made a concerted effort over the past 2 months to actively unsubscribe from email notifications. It’s taken a surprising amount of effort, but I think I’m getting there.

Guess what? I don’t feel like I’m missing out on any last minute deals that I don’t care about, or breaking news about product updates for tools I don’t actually use, or instant notifications when someone I don’t know likes a post I commented on over a year ago.

The unsubscribed way of life may not be for everyone, but if you find you’re complaining about how busy you are and posting updates about how many unread emails you have in your inbox after a vacation, give unsubscribing a try. You might be surprised with the results.

Take Your Kyle to Work Day (take 1): @ The Letter M Marketing

photo-2As part of my “Take Your Kyle to Work Day” project, I had the unique opportunity to spend a day with the fine people who work at The Letter M Marketing. TLM has a long history, and an impressive list of clients.

What struck me most about TLM is their engagement with the community. They approach marketing as a genuine conversation. This conversation helps businesses and organizations tell their stories, build connections and co-create meanings.

So, what are you going to do now, Kyle?

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cc: flickr.com/photos/kareneliot

That’s a good question. A very, very good question. Thank-you for asking. My previous post clearly states that I’m “on to new adventures“. To be honest, I’m not sure what those are yet. At present, everything is on the table for discussion. Type of work, relationship with work, location of work…

Today, when someone asked what was next, my response was, “Nothing for awhile. Then, something”.

A bit of nothing can be very educational. This “nothing” is keeping me busier than I’ve been in years. I’ve been reading, writing, enjoying coffee with good friends, and thinking a fair amount.

I’ll be blogging about some of this, so stay tuned. And, if you want to chat, let’s.

On to new adventures!

After 13 great and rewarding years as a staff member at the University of Guelph, effective today, I’m moving on to other adventures. Thanks to all my colleagues at the UofG for all their dedication, guidance, and friendship.

What’s next? Time to finish my graduate work, regroup, and consider next steps. (Ideas welcome!)

Best to reach me at kyle.mackie@gmail.com

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“Investment” is the new “Engagement”

I hear the word “engagement” daily, at least.

  • “I want to introduce new technologies into my classroom to promote student engagement”
  • “If we want this project to be successful, we’ll need to make sure the engagement of the staff”
  • “We’re looking for an approach that really encourages engagement”

cc: flickr.com/photos/iloveakira

The goal of having engaged learners, an engaged staff, an engaged team working on a project is an great one, and once met, there hopefully be success and happiness. I’d suggest, however, that there’s great value in moving the goalposts a bit, and considering the difference between engagement and investment. I think the difference is more than semantics, and more than just a tweak. I think that if the goal is “engagement”, the project will hopefully be successful, but if the goal is “investment”, the project surely will be.

A proposed continuum (and the spacing is deliberate):

awareness – interest —- engagement ———- investment

Thoughts?

My take on “IBM and Desire2Learn Take On Education Data Challenge”

It’s all over Twitter today:

This is an interesting step in data management and analysis and predictive analytics in education. I think what this brings to the front is that analytics is very much a business application, and that applying it to learning changes the education game, considerably. I’m not saying that it’s all bad. In fact, I think there can be a lot of good in it. With any discourse around this, I feel compelled to throw in a couple “let’s be cautious” and “consider the implications” type comments. I’m excited by predictive analytics. They’re neat, and I love all the pretty graphs. Should IBM and D2L be making conclusions and interventions based on the mass of data available? What are the implications and potential pitfalls of having edu-business-borgs making conclusions and giving advice? Consider what can’t and shouldn’t be counted. Let’s be sure to question the robots when they make decisions based on logic like this: