The Best Laid Plans of 2018

Well, it’s the last day of the year. Looking back, it’s been a good year, but maybe not for this blog. I haven’t exactly been regular with my posts.

I’ve had some good ideas, but haven’t gotten around to writing content for one reason or another. I thought I’d share some of these with you, so I can draw a line under them and start 2019 fresh.

It’s not quantity. Or maybe it is.

The first thing I should address is I should have posted more in 2018. I actually abandoned the blog for awhile when adjusting to my new job in the start of the year.

2018 was rough. Well, okay, it was great, but it was also rough in a few ways. I did write about my struggles but I wish I just posted more. I suppose getting used to the new commute left me devoid of ideas.

I usually try to write something of substance when I post – it’s about quality not quantity – but at some point, well, writing anything is better than writing nothing. I wish I’d just posted more.

Conference Reviews that should have been written

I did write a review for WCBNE and ETP18, but there were a few others I should have commented on.

WordCamp Sydney

The WordPress Wapuu
It’s the WordPress Wapuu!

I should have written a bit more about WCSYD18. More to the point, I actually should have put in a proposal to speak at WordCamp Sydney. It was one of those things that was on the to-do list that got away from me. I can’t remember what my proposal idea was, but it was probably similar to what I submitted for WCBNE.

I suppose I was feeling down at the time, and it just got away from me, but I feel awful about it because I love the WordPress Sydney community and I just haven’t been there this much this year. I really don’t want them to feel like I’m no longer supporting the community here, but I guess I did let them down this year. It’s just been difficult to participate living this far out.

I hope to get to more meetups in 2019. Perhaps I could start a Southern Highlands meetup, but I’m not sure if there’s enough demand here.

But more to the point, I did attend WordCamp, and I enjoyed the first day. I was inspired by Luke Carbis’ keynote outlining Gutenberg. I know Gutenberg has a few problems, but I was inspired enough to download the plugin during the talk and start working with it. I have been using it since; some days it’s a challenge and I was to just go back to the classic editor, but for the most part, I like it.

It was a little bit harder to find inspiration on Day Two. Mostly because it was hard to get to Day Two.

Yeah, I never got there.

Sydney Trains was working on the lines that weekend, and Sunday went very very wrong. My Southern Highlands Express was diverted to Lidcombe. Now, this is just a theory, but based on my experience, this is what happened; I believe the platform was so dangerously overcrowded at Lidcombe that the staff figured out a plan to clear it a bit. They directed everyone they could on to a train promising it was going towards Central. Then, once it left Lidcombe, they redirected that train to Olympic Park. At Olympic Park, they cancelled the service, made us all leave, and told us no further trains were coming to Olympic Park so piss off. They abandoned 300 people at Olympic Park with no way back.

I never made it to Day Two. But back to the point, I wished I had blogged about WordCamp Sydney, at least Day One.

Velg NVC Conference

The arch over the door to the conference
Welcome to the 2018 National VET Conference

I attended and presented at the NVC in Adelaide in September. I did write a few posts about it, but I probably should have written a few more self-promotion posts and a review post. I did have a good time at the NVC, enough that I am considering submitting a proposal for the 2019 conference in Brisbane.

The National VET Conference was not what I expected. I suppose I found some of the topics not particularly relevant as I’m not in the administration side of VET, but I did find some of the talks very interesting and inspiring. The Day Two keynote on the future of education was particularly interesting. I was very surprised by the scale of the conference; I wasn’t expecting so many people to attend.

A craps table at a casino
The Velg NVC Conference Mixer was pretty awesome too. It was Casino Night themed.

ePortforum

I should have written about the ePortfolio Forum too. I attended this conference in October in Brisbane, and it was a fun experience. It was a very different kind of conference; small, community run, low key. I went because I wanted to learn more about ePortfolios (like Mahara) and how they could be used in the VET sector.

I also wanted to challenge myself, so I signed up for a 20×20 presentation – 20 slides, 20 seconds each. That was interesting. I presented on syndication in WordPress, a topic I presented a few times this year.

H5P Conference

I attended the second ever H5P conference on a total whim; it was an “impulse buy”. I knew very little about H5P, but it has been a rising topic in the edtech/lms community for awhile now. This turned out to be one of my favourite conferences this year.

The H5P Conference group photo.

So if you follow my Twitter account, or the #h5pcon2018 hashtag, you might have seen quite a bit of traffic during this conference. I won the prize for most prolific tweeter of the conference, but I don’t think I did anything too unusual. I’ve been to many conferences where people livetweet the event with vigour. It’s a way to note-take the event, and a way to share with people unable to attend. In my case, a colleague of mine couldn’t attend, and I wanted to share the event with her. I also think it was a great way to network, as many of my fellow tweeters recognised me and came up to say hello.

I think the reason why the conference resonated with me was the accessibility of the H5P core team. The developers were very open and available to the community for feedback; they wanted to know how H5P was being used and how it could be improved. I was very impressed.

I hope to write about H5P more in the future. I was actually impressed with how many presentations and demos at the conference used WordPress as a delivery platform. And since the H5P plugin was one of my recommended plugins at WCBNE, I’ve added it to my site now as well. Much experimentation shall follow.

The best part about any conference though is the networking. It was great to catch up with so many old friends and make new ones.

(Here’s a little H5P sample for you.)

The people we lost in 2018

So I did have a sudden shock one day logging into Facebook. I found an old friend had passed away. But there were two other deaths I wanted to address.

Stan Lee

Comic book legend Stan Lee passed away this year, as I’m sure you’d heard. Stan’s characters and stories were a big influence on me growing up, and I suppose I have to admit I’m still a huge fan. Large enough that I went to meet Stan in 2014.

Scott and comic book legend Stan Lee
It’s me and Stan Lee!

I wanted to write a fitting tribute to Stan, and explore if comic books …er graphic novels if you please… can be used in education.

My parents said they’d rot my brain, but I think there was literature hidden in the pages of the Uncanny X-Men. And I think even if you don’t view Moore and Gibbons’ Watchmen as literature, you have to give me Spiegelman’s Maus. Not every graphic novel is brilliant, but this way of storytelling is a valid artform.

But is it educational? I have three more exhibits from my collection that say it can be:

I think it would have been a great post, but by the time I was ready to write, the moment had moved on.

Tom Murdock

For a while, early in the year, I was planning on going to MoodleMoot US in Denver. I was trying to coordinate with my sisters to meet up with me in Colorado so I could swing a conference/family reunion trip. But schedules and such, and I wanted to attend Steve and Emma’s Wedding in Melbourne the weekend after, so headed over was unpractical and thus cancelled.

So I was very upset to see that Tom Murdock passed away in October, right after the MoodleMoot. This completely shocked me. I didn’t know Tom very well, but I had met him at MootAU17. Tom was one of a few Moodle HQ employees who made some time for me to have a chat about the road ahead. I really appreciated talking to him, he was incredibly friendly and made me feel like I was making a valuable contribution to the community.

I had a hard time putting together a eulogy for Tom, I feel like I didn’t know him well enough. But it’s huge loss to the community.

Advancing to 2019

There were a few more posts I was going to write in 2018 but never did – I wanted to comment on MoodleMoot Japan 2019 (long story short, I’m not going because I’m taking my wife to Japan for a cherry blossom season photo safari!) and on MoodleMoot Philippines 2019 (long story short, they’ve announced but I don’t think I can go). And I’m sure there’s many other posts I planned and then forgot.

My first New Year Resolution for 2019 is to post more often, on WordPress, on Moodle, on H5P, on conferences, on my experiences on the TAFE NSW SMS project, and on whatever fun topics come to mind.

Thank you for visiting me in 2018 and let’s raise a glass to the new year!

Glasses raised high for a toast.

2 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans of 2018

  • 2018-12-31 at 5:45 PM
    Permalink

    Scotty, you’re missed by the WordPress community but never feel that you let us down – you have contributed so much over the past few years!

    All the best for 2019!

    Reply
    • 2019-01-06 at 9:04 PM
      Permalink

      Ah, Wil you’re too kind. Thank you for saying this, and I hope I’m able to contribute more in 2019. I love wpsyd and wpaus.

      Reply

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