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The Revolution is Syndicated! (and the zombies immolated)

Success or Enslavement?

Many will regret (or will lie and say they were there) missing last night’s presentation performance by Jim Groom and Tom Woodard as the norm-blowing closing act for the 2008 NMC Rock the Academy Symposium. You have to wade through this blog post to get to the video recording 😉

Donning their gas masks, flame throwers, and edupunk t-shirts, Jim and Tom laid out the warnings of zombies and where they lurk in educational technology. The audience was warned before hand that this was going to be an intense, almost radioactive presentation, so we provided them safety glasses ahead of time.

Safety Glasses

They started asking the audience what their fears were.

The Revolution

Jim and Tom then launched some opening strongly worded (and pictorial) warnings about zombies and where they lurk. And then when Jim yelled “Look all around you!” pandemonium broke out- the sky went dark, the corporate placards revealed their true hidden messages, and several zombies revealed themselves from their clever “normal person” disguises. Jim and Tom managed to thwart them off (for now) with their flame guns.

There Be Zombies Out There!

And then they went on to describe how to counter-act the zombies, that there is a solution…. becoming an Ed Tech Survivalist:

Reverend Jim on Being an Ed Tech Survivalist

and learn the techniques of troutlining for information as taught from the Alabama swamps by Fishing with Tom (“the internet is just like a big swamp”):

Fishing with Tom (Ed Tech Survivalist video)

Now this was just the fun part. Tom and Jim went on to succinctly describing the ideas of syndication, aggregating, tagging, re-organizing content using free, open source tools that liberate your organization from the zombie grip. Now while I’ve been tuned into their work for a while, I could tell for the audience the power shown in the UMWblogs examples and site wide feed tagging were really revolutionary.

You can get more of their resources, including the preso slides, from their conference session description on the NMC web site.

This was just stellar, and I cannot gush enough about the message these guys from Virginia blasted into Second Life. Don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself (note the original hosted videos went down the drain, but in 2016 I restored the versions I had from my own archive):

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. I was there, and along with their “revolutionary” ideas I was also totally impressed by how they took full advantage of the medium of Second Life to deliver a presentation in a way not possible in person (at least I hope that they don’t break out the flamethrowers and zombies in their next in person presentation).

    My 10 year old daughter was watching the whole thing with me, laughing her head off, and said that she wished her teachers would let them kill zombies in her class. So do we all, on more levels than one.

    “Mother trucking zombies”

  2. Unbelievably quotable.

    “Zombies are the dead reanimated. But there are other zombies as well … they walk around purposeless, and without a soul … Take the example of Blackboard…”

    “Bring ’em down! The zombies are all around you! You’re a zombie! We’re DONE with zombies!”

    “How many of you have flamethrowers at your institution?”

  3. Thanks so much for capturing this – it seems important to note that without (I’m assuming your) expert 2nd life camera work, this might have been lost forever instead of becoming the instant “cinematic” experience it now is. Nicely done. And thanks for keeping the audio rolling at the end, the sheer joy in Jim’s voice is priceless.

  4. Thanks Scott, but I was not at the camera; that was the work of the folks at LearningTImes who did all the live stream work from SL and recording. Big thumbs up for Wirecast software that managed the streaming/recording, and that said, doing live virtual camera in SL is far from easy, especially with wild stuff like dudes in gas masks nuking zombies.

  5. Awesome! I wish I was there. I am terrified! I think I have been bitten by zombies all around me. I am so out of touch and need a good flaming.. at least an IM from CogDog any time something like this is about to go down.

  6. Lol, utter classicness. Tom and Jim have been, are, and will continue to be, the quintessential edtech envelope pushers. However, if and when the inevitable happens and the new world order is executed, I would appreciate it if you two slowly faded away into the distance. Blackboard’s stock is down and you two aren’t helping – “so getchyo hands outta my pockets!” [/sarcasm]

    Keep up the good work!

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