In tonight’s EdTech Situation Room webshow and podcast, I shared Storyblocks as my “Geek of the Week.” It is an amazing virtual media library for videographers, storytellers, and Storychasers. The Storyblocks website explains:
Unlock access to our library of over a million royalty-free footage, template, music, and photo assets as well as an easy-to-use video editor and unlimited downloads.
via storyblocks.com, 26 Oct 2022
I discovered this website gem via a “domino style rabbit hole” that started with my “historically secondary podcast channel” (but now tertiary I suppose, after SOC and edtechSR,) Fuel for Educational Change Agents. The digital domino train involved that website and CPanel, phpMyAdmin, a 2013 recorded keynote by Dr. Michael Wesch at Heartland eLearning, and Michael’s January 2022 World Religions Class Course Trailer. I’ll attempt to explain this sequence briefly in this post.
From 2010 to 2017, I published 130 audio podcasts on “Fuel for Educational Change Agents.” Influenced strongly by the late Bob Sprankle as well as David Warlick and other educators, I fell in love with podcast-powered professional development in the mid-2000s. I especially loved the way Bob would record keynote speakers (with permission, of course) at Alan November’s “Building Learning Communities” conference in Boston, which I was never able to physically attend but did VIRTUALLY attend thanks to Bob’s podcasting. Bob published these BLC recordings on his “Bit by Bit” podcast and website.
Many of the podcasts on “Fuel for Educational Change Agents” were / are audio recordings of my own presentations through the years, but some are presentations by other folks at conferences too. These are largely “unedited podcasts.” Other than normalizing with a tool like The Levellator (now discontinued) or Auphonic, these audio podcasts were pretty much published “as is” without intros, transition music, bumpers, outros, or other features of more polished podcast shows.
From time to time, some of the WordPress-powered websites I maintain have mysteriously stopped working. I’ve found it’s vital to use BackupBuddy by iThemes to maintain regular backups of all my WordPress sites, in case I need to restore a site that gets hacked or corrupted in some way. Sadly, I have dealt with a few website hacks through the years, but with help from Securi as well as other folks, I’ve been able to successfully restore my websites without a data loss.
This summer, my wife’s website (shellyfryer.com) mysteriously stopped working. It wasn’t caused by a web hack, but by corruption in the mySQL database which powers the “backend” of WordPress sites. Somewhere in the distant past, I learned (possibly from an Oklahoma-City area WordPress user’s group meetup) that it’s helpful to use phpMyAdmin in CPanel (a web tool provided by many web hosts) to “Repair Tables.” For some reason I remembered this technique and was able to get my wife’s WordPress website back online last summer.
Fast forward to last night, and for some reason I was thinking about a past presentation I shared in November 2016 at the “Interactive Learning Institute” hosted by the K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma. I co-presented with Lorin Swenson, my colleague and friend, and our session was titled, “Tips for Managing, Wifi, iPads, and Chromebooks.” I remembered I had shared the session on “Fuel for Educational Change Agents”, so I tried to look it up, but the website was offline / not working. Serendipitously, I used the “Repair Tables” trick with phpMyAdmin and got the site back online.
In clicking through past audio podcasts shared on the site, I came across the 2013 podcast recording of Michael Wesch (@mwesch) at the Heartland eLearning Conference hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma. His keynote was titled, “Think Whatever: The End of Wonder.” Michael was the keynote at the same conference in 2011, and I also published an audio recording of his keynote then, but on my primary podcast channel. Listening to Michael’s prescient and thought provoking words from ten years ago, I wandered over to his Twitter account (@mwesch) and saw his featured tweet about his YouTube channel focusing on World Religions.
He just posted two videos on that YouTube channel earlier this year, but has a YouTube playlist of 13 videos he created for his “World Religions” anthropology course. One of these is a 5 minute “course trailer” video which I strongly recommend. If you know of other current college professors with comparable or superior videography and storytelling skills as Michael Wesch, please let me know via a comment below or via other means. WOW. Can you imagine taking a university course, as an undergraduate or graduate student, with a professor who has digital and media literacy skills like these?!
In the description of this YouTube video, Dr. Wesch provides helpful background as well as supplementary links. This was my source for the Storyblocks link:
This semester I will be publicly sharing the core materials for my online class “An Introduction to the World’s Religions.” Follow along and subscribe if you want to learn:
* how and why I make videos like this for class
* how I set up the class
* how I try to nurture rich discussions and a sense of community
* how people live their faith in everyday life all over the world
From “World Religions Course Trailer” on YouTube by Michael Wesch, retrieved 26 Oct 2022.
So that is how “these media dominoes fell” for me last night.
Thank you Michael Wesch, and the powerful opportunities we now have (and have had for 15+ years) to learn via podcasts shared on the amazing “knowledge machine” which rides on the Internet’s World Wide Web.
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