Before there was a dwarf from Middle Earth (or least before he was penned to Lord of the Rings), Gimli, or “New Iceland” has been there by Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. Thanks to some colleagues, I had a chance to spend some time there as an invited speaker for the Riding the Waves of Change conference.

There is probably some metaphor of those waves being frozen; I was constantly taken aback when looking out the windows and seeing a lake that never moved.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

With a lucky set of travel twists I managed to get there as planned late Tuesday night, meeting Andy McKiel at the airport, and setting off right away for Gimli.

They worked me hard those three days… On Wednesday, I was asked to talk to the Manitoba Association of Education Technology Leaders, my first does of acronyms. It was completely conversational, free form, and at this point… I cannot recall the flow, some of it touching on old web history, the ideas of narrating one’s work.

Thursday I had the opening keynote slot for another Storytelling talk, Storythinking > Storymaking > Storytelling. In contrast to previous talks, I skipped through the “why storytelling matters” (not because it does not matter), with some nods to my little video card dealing of the storytelling metaphors.

What I wanted to get to was a sense (hidden in the title) that “Storytelling” suggests performance, where I find the making of stories and the thinking in a story mindset, more interesting. So I wanted to show through the four major things I have made/been involved with – 50 Web Ways to Tell a Story, Five Card Flickr Stories, pechaflickr, and ds106. With the suggestion of Darren Kuropatwa, each was aimed to start with its own story as an introduction.

I did record some audio

Among the many people met that was a highlight, a special shoutout to a most creative grade 12 teacher, Tara MacLauchlan, who does some amazing collaboration with her colleague to the north, Zoe Bettess, who teaches grade 3. Tara even produced a nifty sketch note of the talk

For Five Card Flickr Stories, I invited participants to tag photos in flickr with the conference tag (rtwgimli) so we could have a special round of Five Card Riding the Wave Stories. For this I rigged by second flickr account so participants could post by email (that night I noted I had not changed this post by email address in a while, and found a few hundred spam photos; I may have inadvertently lost someone’s Gimli photos in the cleanup).

For pechaflickr I did a quick demo round with volunteers Sophia and Darren (yeah, that guy) with random images based on the tag “viking”. They did more than an incredible job!

As usual I had not nearly enough time the end to give ds106 justice. I had slides lined up with examples from the past as well as from my recent George Mason University “DS106 Goes to Work” class.

Apparently I was energetic, or more likely, over caffeinated. But I had fun. All the presentation resources, including links mentioned, are at Wikispaces is dead, I archived this talk myself.

On Thursday afternoon (and repeated Friday morning) I led a 75 minute workshop on 50 Ways to Tell A Story– I let the direction be nudged by the interests of the people present. Since I had provided an overview on my Thursday keynote, I aimed to take them through a story brainstorming process using, like I did at Skidmore College in March, pechaflickr. The idea was to generate 5 images, and ask people to develop individually a story that would weave them together.

After my kidding of the thursday group’s “niceness as Canadians”. I told them what I learned in the UK that you can identify a Canadian because most of their sentences start with “I am Sorry”… so someone suggested “apology” as a word. I’m game (and surprise, one photo was of a dude in a Mountie uniform).

The Friday group chose “jungle” – this presented more unified images, but still made the task not that much more easy.

You can find the workshop materials at I ended up giving the Friday folks a bit more play time over “me explaining” time.

Also on Thursday afternoon was another group conversation, this the Manitoba Association for Computing Educators (ManACE) for their AGM meeting. Someone in the audience gave me a good start when he asked how we identify the best work in DS106, leading me right to talk about inSPIRE

And then I got the closing keynote, and this topic was Andy Mckiel’s to talk about the idea and model of the ds106 Daily Create. I started a bit early, at two of my aborted efforts as a kid to be musical. In hindsight, I was not self-motivated nearly enough to practice. I took took this one through my experiences as a daily photographer, discovery of the Daily Shoot, and how we built our own version in January 2012 after the Daily Shoot folded up in October 2011.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

A big thanks again to the conference planners Collette, Diane, Craig, Cheryl, Ron, and Mark for the invitation; Andy for suggesting me (and for giving me yet another hand made pen). And double thanks for Ron who did all the AV setup, plus the music for the open mic night.

And even more thanks for Darren Kuroptawa and Chris Harbeck for spending some time and sharing their homes/family/meals with me over the weekend.

Manitoba, if you enjoyed those two days of blue sky sunshine…. you are very welcome.

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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

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