Whether you were present at this fest may be a future cultural touchstone, like all those who were at Woodstock after it happened. Or maybe the reputation might be as glowing as the basis of our metaphor.

Huh?

Today I co-wrangled a 3 hour online BCcampus FLO Lab with Jessica Motherwell McFarlane whom I can give full credit for the fun naming of today’s session on my favorite blog topic.

Wow, it is a SPLOTAPALOOZA (how can you resist clicking that link? I triple dog dare ya to not click).

I crossed paths with Jessica maybe a year ago as she had caught on to using the TRU Collector SPLOT in a most powerful way of having her students, across several courses, post a series of hand drawn comics that documented student efforts to improve their life habits (learn more in an audio clip Jessica shared in Yet Another SPLOT).

Jessica has taken a real shine to SPLOTs and has been active at encouraging oher faculty to try them out. Plus, it was some of her techniques of doing things like having students tag their work that led to some theme improvements to enable options for different ways of sorting content and a tag list shortcode.

When Jessica asked if I wanted to co-present a session, the answer was an easy yes. We wrote a FLO tech Tools Tip post for BCcampus as a workshop teaser. As I prefer to do, I built an OpenETC site for it, in fact itself was a SPLOTbox powered site which could house our workshop materials plus allow participants to experience posting to it.

The basic structure was to have them experience SPLOTs by sharing media that represented their “mood” as a weather metaphor, then Jessica sharing her approaches to SPLOTting, followed by the What the *&@^ is a SPLOT story. The next part was having participants work in breakout room groups to review a set of three SPLOT examples (one each of TRU Writer, TRU Collector, and SPLOTbox) asking them to report back on a most favorite one. This worked very well to have them see a broad swath of SPLOTs. Finally there was a quick overview of how to bake their own (somehow the kitchen metaphor keeps popping up).

Yes, a recording will be is now posted!

As a small bonus most might not see, I have been making use of Paul Hibbetts’s Docsity This to create links to the theme documentation that is always the live version from it’s less pretty home in GitHub , e.g.

It’s also built in as an iframe within the SPLOTbox theme options (and coming soon to the others, hey this is another blog post!)

Even in three hours it’s a lot to cover, and many of the audience were not just new to SPLOTs but also WordPress. Since this was a BCcampus session, we suggested making SPLOTs using the WordPress hosting available to B.C. eductors via the OpenETC (where yes, our materials hang). I emphasized as well that anyone making use of the OpenETC should join the Mattermost community space (there is a SPLOT channel waiting for some conversation).

It’s all a lot to take on, especially where making use of SPLOTs calls for at least some understanding of WordPress, plus working through the long set of options, not to mention the use of the WordPress Customizer to make over the sharing form prompts. I assured them it was understandable be a bit overwhelmed. They waved me off. This was quite invigorating to be with a group of educators really keen to dive into the unknown creative waters.

SPLOTs are no magic transformational enterprise or quick click teaching hack. They take time, effort, and a bit of cussing (maybe) to work for you. But when I see the long string of innovative, creative approaches, often going way beyond my own ways of seeing them, that makes it all worth it.

It’s been more than seven years since my Open Learning Fellowship at TRU that yielded SPLOTs and so much more, still going on and evolving now, plus out of that experience came:

And much tracing back to a first day greeting with a “you’re gonna hate me for this acronym…

With all that has smoldered and cratered in our field, I am warmed, thanks folks like jessica and the team from BCcampus (thanks again Helen, Ian, and Kelsey), the SPLOT goes on… I’m still tinkering with them. Gladly.

And future edtech kids will claim they were at SPLOTapalooza in 2022…


Featured Image: Lollapalooza Sign flickr photo by tammylo shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license remixed by Alan Levne to spell out “Splotapalooza”

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com 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.

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