Makin’ and Daily Creatin’ the Open Web

Two of this week’s Daily Create for DS106 built off the theme of the Open Web, and the main assignment this week for the Headless Course was to create a story inside the web. I did share out my work around revamping some of the frontpages of large newspapers now owned by powerful men.
News Amazon Post

The other day, the Daily Create asked for a silent animation to represent the Open Web. I decided to use Stykz in between parent-teacher conferences to quickly put something together. My theme was “data needs to be free” and I did my best to represent it in this short animation. I don’t know. Did it work? I’m not so sure it did, but I got stuck for time and did the best I could. Those little green bars? They’re not candy bars. They’re data points. The circle? Not the moon. That’s the web. The stick figure? OK, that’s you. And me. And all of us.

And finally, yesterday, the Daily Create asked us to create something to represent the positive connotations of hacking. I don’t know about you but I keep shaking my head at the events around the mess of the US healthcare site. I wonder: how in the world in this day and age could a website end up such a mess? (Answer: put it in the hands of the government.) This comic for the Daily Create was designed to make fun of the “fix” process and point out some “real experts” in the world.
Maybe These are the Experts

And of course, the Open Web and Hacking is at the center of the Merry Hacksters radio show, Hack the World.

Peace (in the panels),


Stories Inside the Web: If Owners Oversaw the Front Page

Over at DS106 this week, the theme is telling stories “inside the web,” using tools such as Mozilla’s XRay Goggles to remix websites and retell the news or information. I decided to take three newspapers and tilt the front page towards the owners, sprinkling in news and product names as if the newspapers are being used to promote products or personality. Of course, editors would never do this (right? right?) but I can remember when I worked at a newspaper, there would be some reporters and headlines editors who would discretely work in phrases and keywords into stories and headlines just for the fun of it.

So, here are my three front page hacks of The Washington Post (owned by Jeff Bezos, of Amazon), The Boston Globe (owned by John Henry, of the Boston Red Sox), and The Wall Street Journal (owned by Rupert Murdoch, of everything related to news in all corners of the world, apparently). I find this kind of media criticism interesting, and fun, and love that I can superimpose text right on top of the real websites (I suppose they wouldn’t agree, but hey …)

News Amazon Post

News Globe Henry

News WallStreet Murdoch

What newspaper would you hack?

Peace (in the goggles),

On the (DS106) Radio: Hack the World

On Tuesday night, the collaborative radio show venture that I was part of — The Merry Hacksters — had a premiere on DS106 Radio. I represented our group during the chat with Alan Levine and Christina Hendricks. The collaborative experience was interesting, to say the least, as we worked almost exclusively off Google Docs, Twitter and Dropbox to gather ideas, share audio files and make suggestions for the show’s sequence. We never “talked” to one another, as some other groups did with Google Hangouts, etc. This project evolved over about four weeks of time, starting with an idea I had during the initial brainstorming of building off my summer experiences in Teach the Web and the Making Learning Connected MOOC, both of which honored the ethos of the hack.

It was an honor and a pleasure to work with Sally, Stefani and Lara on our Headless DS106 radio program, which we call Hack the World. My colleagues allowed me the privilege to edit the show together, stitching our voices and files into one program. I hope I did them all justice. Our theme was to explore the concept of hacking as a positive tool for change, and so, the segments include:

  • An interview collage with Chris Lawrence and Laura Hillinger from the Mozilla Foundation on their Webmaker tools;
  • An interview with young students on using Minecraft and perceptions of hacking and remixing;
  • A piece about toy hacking, tinkering and ways to rediscover childhood curiosity with Stephanie West-Puckett;
  • A feature on a German archivist discovering materials from the past and rethinking their importance;
  • A listen into my classroom as my sixth graders hack the game of chess to create something new;
  • Assorted radio bumpers and commercials.


The Merry Hacksters are Kevin (@dogtrax), Lara (@raccooncity), Stefanie (@StefanieJ2), and Sally (@swilson416)

Here are the audio files that Alan and Christina shared:

Pre Show Discussion
“Hack The World” (22:53)

Post Show Discussion

We will also be making most of the individual audio files available for folks, too, if you just want to hear a piece or want to remix the entire show in your own way. We hope that sharing will be in the spirit of our own work. Go forth and hack the world!

Peace (and remix),

Remix this Tube: Where I’m At

Where I'm At Tube Map
During the summer in the Making Learning Connected MOOC, Sara Green posted a “tube map” style illustration of some of her learning. It was very cool. Then, in the spirit of the CLMOOC, Chad Sansing took Sara’s concept and built a remixable Thimble page for anyone to use. I sort of forgot about it (sorry, Chad and Sara) until this week, when my friend Paul Oh shared this over at the New York Times Learning Network post about Connected Educator Month:

I participated in and helped design a MOOC this summer called “Making Learning Connected,” sponsored by my organization, the National Writing Project.

More than a thousand educators signed up to participate, and among them was Sara Green, from the U.K. At one point, she created her life’s learning journey as a London Tube map. One of the MOOC faciliators, Chad Sansing, an amazing educator in his own right, then took that idea and created a Thimble template so anyone with a computer and Internet connection could create their own learning pathway London Tube map. (Thimble is a free tool developed by the Mozilla Foundation that allows you to create remixable open content for the Web while learning about the building blocks of the Web itself.)

Chad’s template, called Tube Map Me, is freely available to use. In fact, a number of people have already remixed Chad’s project to create their own learning pathway London Tube maps. Consider making your own map and connecting with Chad and Sara and the CLMOOC and Mozilla Webmaker communities.

– Paul Oh, from

This week, I dove back into Chad’s Tube Map Me and started to think about how to map out the connections that I have a writer and teacher. (If you have never used Thimble, Chad has helpfully done most of the work and annotated his code with notes about where you write. It takes a few minutes to get orientated to the set-up – code on the left, preview on the right — but Thimble is a great teaching tool and makes the building of a webpage more visible to the user, and remixer).

The activity was intriguing and enjoyable, although I found at a certain point that there were too many stations for ideas, so you notice a bunch of repeated station stops. I suppose that’s OK since writing, learning and collaboration are frequent themes to the various online networks where I call home. Or virtual home, anyway. I realize now, too, that I could have been a bit more thoughtful and purposeful in where the tube lines connect with each other. Oh well.

Check out my tube map, which I call Where I’m At (and if you hear Beck singing “I got two turntables and a microphone” when you read that title, then you and I are sharing a soundtrack.)

So, now it’s your turn. Go to Chad’s Thimble and remix it for your own connections.  Or heck, remix mine. (See that Remix button on the top of every Thimble page? Click it, and start making.)

Chad Tube Thimble

Where does the tube lead you?

Peace (along the connected lines),


Remix: Boolean and the Squares

Boolean and the Squares

My friend, Chad Sansing, created this very neat hackable, remixable Thimble page with Mozilla Webmaker that allows you to create a page for band. Preferrably, a fake band. It’s called the Fake Band Wiki, and so I dabbled with Chad’s code to create this homage to a fake band for a fake comic character from my old comic, Boolean Squared. It’s been a few years now since I have done anything with Boolean and so it was a kick to get him back in my head and imagine that he had a band that was ripping up the music scene.

Check out Boolean and the Squares

What’s interesting to me is that Chad got inspired on this  Webmaker theme from a DS106 project, and so I feel a bit of full circle here, as my friendship with Chad precedes my diving into DS106, and yet I am working on a DS106-inspired project created by Chad. Add in the Teach the Web MOOC from the summer, where we were Thimbling all the place (not to mention the National Writing Project) and …. well … I love all of those connections come together, you know?

And, as with all Webmaker activities, we invite you to remix the web.

Head to Chad’s project, or remix mine, and make your own Fake Band Wiki. When you remix the project (upper right corner of the page, click “remix”), all of Chad’s notes and instructions will be there for you to follow and learn from. It’s fun and engaging, and you create something to share with the world. What more do you want?


Peace (in the remix),

This is What Happens when You (me) Hack the NYTimes Frontpage

Tabloid Headlines for ds106
As much as I can, I am trying out the Daily Creates at the DS106 site. Each day, someone posts an interesting hack/remix/create idea and you do it if you can. No pressure. Yesterday, the Daily Create asked for folks to recreate a Tabloid newspaper with news about DS106. I used Mozilla’s XRay Goggles and hacked at the New York Times. I’m sure they don’t mind (ha). I decided to tweak the idea of how we write with my main article.

Peace (in the create),


Making Jim Dance for DS106

A series of activities over at DS106 centers on the use of animated GIFs, and this particular activity has folks taking a dancing Jim Groom, from DS106, and putting him into new places. I decided to use Popcorn Maker, so that I could add a soundtrack (he’s dancing, after all). I don’t know Jim but he sure seems happy to be dancing.


Peace (busts a move),

A Simplified HTML Code Cheat Sheet and Thimble

Yesterday, the high school students in our digital literacies workshop began using Thimble, the Mozilla Webmaker tool, to begin tinkering around with website creation. Soon, they will be creating a portfolio of some of their learning around hacking, remixing, game design and other strands of thinking, and I am leaning towards having them create their portfolio in Thimble. First, though, they need the basics of HTML coding.

I showed them this famous video yesterday as we continued our discussions around the possibilities of technology and the job market when they graduate. A few are definitely interested in a technology career. They were struck  in this video by how far-ranging technology skills are in various jobs, and they were very intrigued by the videos of the workplaces in these technology companies, even though I pointed out that most smaller companies probably do not look like this (for example, having a sound room with drum sets. Cool.)

I tried to find a one-page simplified sheet of HTML coding commands, but then I gave up and made my own, inspired by some of the examples at another site. After showing an example in Thimble, I set them loose, bringing them to a blank Thimble page and having them play around a bit. This is not easy, and I tried to use the metaphor of learning another language (these students are all English Language Learner students). But they do persevere, a nice quality to have in a technology workshop, and a few of them even published some basic “fan” pages of artists they like. Their eyes shone when I would tell them, “You have just published a site to the Web.”

If it helps you, then feel free to use my HTML Code Sheet:

Basic HTML Code by KevinHodgson

Peace (in the commands),


Hacking Education Week for CLMOOC

Education Week Hacked for CLMOOC

I used the Hackasuarus tool Xray Goggles to hack Education Week so that all the news (fit to print) is about the Making Learning Connected Massive Open Online Collaboration. I mean, this is the way the homepage of the journal should look, right?

Check out my hacked Education Week edition

You want to hack, too? Check out the Xray Goggles site, and use the tool to hack away. Go ahead and hack my hack, too. If you do, share out the link. Keep the ideas flowing ….

Peace (on the web),