In planning the JISC innovating e-Learning Activity week Timeline session I encountered an issue that will be picked up in the first session of the main conference week: “Open Architectures”.
We often say that we let the pedagogy lead our decisions, and whilst this is a noble aim, any decision on technology has an impact on what is possible, and what must be sacrificed. I am using Googledocs to populate my Verite teaching technology timeline. This has the advantage of being fantastically simple to set-up:
- grab the google spreadsheet template from the Verite site
- add a form to allow folk to submit their own entries
I then had to twiddle a few lines of html and it all sprang into life.
The form means anyone can submit items to the timeline, without needing to login, or run special software.
The disadvantage is that the Google API (Application Programming Interface) limits things to 100 entries.
At this point I could have chosen to investigate building a form that submits entries to a timeline database as JSON, which was not without appeal.. but the more interesting problem is to see how I can make the restriction work to my advantage.
In this instance the restriction works well, giving me a limit to the timeline size, and adding in a level of competition to the Activity week session, where folk will have to defend their choices. It also lets me use the “History in a 100 objects” in the title, resonating with Radio 4 listeners.
The sacrifice is the lost data points, the additional stories that might not get told.
The first session of the main conference week: “Open Architectures – solving more interesting problems” will be looking at how the decisions we make shape what is possible.
I will be looking to see what happens when I reach 100 objects.
Register for the conference.
The fee for Innovating e-Learning 2012 remains unchanged at £50.
Current JISC projects are eligible for one free place, please contact Rob Englebright for details: firstname.lastname@example.org