This has been a project within the Technology Integration Group for the last several months – redesigning the support website so that it can be more useful to instructors and students who are integrating technology into their teaching and learning. The previous site was nearly a decade old, and had been designed by accretion – full of links, documents, links to documents, etc… but difficult to actually find things that are important. So, the redesign.

First, we moved from Drupal to WordPress – the new site runs on This gave us the flexibility to treat it like a knowledgebase, apply a more useful theme, and enable some additional functionality like tagging and live search of content.

Previous Drupal-powered site on the left, new WordPress-powered site on the right. Both screenshots are of approximately the same square region “above the fold” on the homepage of the site.

With the knowledgebase model, content is available right away, without layers of drilling down. The search box is live, so people can just start typing what they’re looking for and it searches all content to find relevant bits. (no siri support. yet.)

I’m super proud of what my team was able to accomplish with this1 – and excited to see how we grow it from here. Now that we have more flexibility on what we can do with the site, we have lots of plans to revise some of the content, incorporate contributions from the community, and start a series of showcase articles to highlight innovative and successful applications of technology-enabled learning.

  1. and lots of other things – I need to write a post about our awesome new app for the 2015 Postsecondary Conference on Learning and Teaching! []

Reclaiming Educational Technology: flexible and open

Episode 3 of Reclaiming Educational Technology, looking at the transition from monolithic vendor-provided enterprise solutions to more flexible and adaptive projects. Some of the segments are also used in episodes 1 and 2, but in order for this to work as a standalone piece, needed to be re-included here as well. When I do a longer supercut version, I’ll remove the duplicate clips.

Reclaiming Educational Technology – episode 3 from UCalgary Taylor Institute on Vimeo.

Reclaiming Educational Technology: the business and politics of edtech

During the Reclaim Hackathon at UMW last week, several of us were talking over food and beverages and realized that we had the opportunity to document the current thinking in the “edtech scene”. It’s something that we hadn’t tried to do explicitly before, but we realized that if we don’t do it ourselves we’ll be left with the narratives pushed by the Big Business of Edtech Venture Capital™. So, David Kernohan and I took it on as a project. We recruited Andy Rush to record a series of impromptu interviews with some of the people who were present at the event1, and off we went.

I took on editing the footage into something that tells the stories, starting with this:

Reclaiming Educational Technology: the business and politics of edtech from UCalgary Taylor Institute on Vimeo.

Thanks so much to Audrey Watters, Kin Lane, and Martha Burtis for agreeing to participate (and to the many other folks who took part – they’ll be making appearances in future episodes – OOH! THE SUSPENSE!).

I’m planning on several additional segments/episodes, exploring the nature of innovation, shifts in culture and technology, and more. I’ll make time to put those together ASAP. When all of the smaller segments are done, I’ll try to work them together into a longer documentary that ties everything together.

  1. I’d have loved to interview everyone, but even these brief interviews produced an hour and 48 minutes of raw footage – we’ll have to plan follow-up sessions later… []

How do you connect to people online? (the video)

How do you connect to people online? from D'Arcy Norman on Vimeo.

(Link to video, for the RSS folks)

I had to cut back on the scope quite a bit to keep it to a 15 minute length. This could have easily turned into an epic documentary… Lots of very difficult decisions.

Thank you SO much to everyone for the contributions.

How do YOU connect online?

I’m taking a graduate level course on Technology & Society, and for my Big Term Assignment, I’ve decided to try something a little non-traditional. Taking a page out of Alan Levine’s great playbook, I’d like to ask people to respond to a simple question:

How do YOU connect online?

More info is available over on the project website – but the short version is that I need people to respond to the question, however they interpret it, in whatever format they’re comfortable responding. I will assemble the responses into a narrative which will be published on November 30, 2009.

Please spread the URL – I need as many different responses and perspectives as possible.