In the Flow, My Week in Reflection

Shout out to 40 house and Emmas house!
Shout out to 40 house and Emmas house!

What an amazing week! I’ve been in Asheville NC visiting the Endor ALC crew. I was housed by two amazing collective homes full of wonderful and amazing people who kept me well fed and in good company. I spent most of my time co-working with @liam and @rochellehudson which fueled one of my most productive weeks I’ve had in a long time. So, what did I do?

Refreshed ALC.org

I’ve updated the network website to a point where it clearly outlines what ALC is. Gratitudes to my fellow ALFs, especially @tomis, @nancy, @abbyo@artbrock for their contributions in content and design.

new ALC header
new ALC header

We’ve switched to the network theme which is a lot cleaner and clearer now. The front page covers much more about what ALC is and how to get involved.

I did a bit of work on designing visual elements for the page and getting it to a point of being pretty okay.

Some new icons I put together.
Some new icons I put together.

I’m very proud of the ALC directory which I created using Google Fusion Tables. This takes a spreadsheet and outputs it as a map. I did some custom design using a Google Map Style Wizard, it’s pretty fun, try it. Then I implemented some custom code to get it to display real nice on the welcome page:

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 3.02.35 PM

 

Each of those icons is generated automagically as new schools are added to the directory. Each icon is clickable and displays information from the directory.

I’m super excited to expand on this work. To tighten and expand on the design and layout. I now feel like I can send people to our website without worrying that they might not “get” what’s going on.

Foldy Release Party!

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endor-foldy-kanban-crop
What we could do | what we are going to do | what we are doing | what we have done

@liam and I printed out about 50 of my School, Yay! foldys for a Wednesday event at Fire Storm Books & Coffee. There was a great turn out and even with no planning we were able to pull of a successful info sharing session about ALC and Endor. I used a Kanban to manage the flow of the event.

There was some great questions from our audience and super awesome input from @liam, @rochellehudson, and Keli (a new ALF from Asheville).

The foldy was also a great success!

foldy-grid2

Organizing and Orienting ALFs

I spent a lot of time working on some internal pages for alf.agilelearningcenters.org and our supporting systems to better organize our communication and collaboration within the network.

The Newbie page

I created a page for newbie ALFs (and forgetful ALFs like me). A quick aside: newbie is a term for someone who is new and thus inexperienced, it’s a term of endearment, unlike n00b which describes a person who acts dumb. The newbie page covers all of our internal tools and links to our support documents and other such things.

Im really proud of the icons I made for this!
Im really proud of the icons I made for this!

The Baked ALF checklist

Along with the help of @nancy and other “bakers” I started to develop what I hope to be one of many internal checklists for doing network jobs. This one focuses on what to do once a person has had their peer review, submitted their documents, and been “baked” (a title we are using to indicate a particular status of an ALF).

My page goes through each step and even has pictures to make some tasks more clear.
My page goes through each step and even has pictures to make some tasks more clear.

Added Helpful documentation

I spent a lot of time writing up helpful documentation about how to use some of our internal organizing tools. One that I’m really proud of is the ALF Community Mastery Trello Board that we use to create ALF cultural norms. This board covers how we handles meetings, what meetings there are, what software we use, and the protocol we follow for doing everything from sending emails to adding new people to the network. It’s an interactive tool that makes our community agreements and structure not only visible to all members but changeable (through our monthly change-up meetings) for all members! It’s something that deserves it’s own blog post. You can read about a real ALC example on the Everett page.

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Created “easy links”

Using a redirection plugin I’ve created a number of links to important documents and services that we use. So rather than sending around long links like:

https://plus.google.com/hangouts/_/calendar/dW5oYW5nb3OMFGsOlooongtYWlsLmNvbQ.q74bd9dlknc8qvuib1efk0

I can redirect an easy link:

agilelearningcenters.org/group-chat

to point to the long link. Which is also very helpful if the link has to change! If we find that the hangout link stops working all i’ve got to do is edit the redirect and no one will have to be told about the change, it will just work!

Playing with Slack

We’ve started using this cool service called Slack, which is a group chat room on steroids. It’s really cool! What’s more cool is that is has a bunch of service integrations that can do all sorts of things like listen to a website’s RSS feed or display changes to a Trello card. I spend some time setting up a number of these tools along with @tomis.

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The Great List Migration

Part of the work I did over ALF summer was to migrate from the NYC Google Apps for Education account to the ALC Network Apps for Education account. One of the big items of that migration was to switch over the email list serves that we use to communicate. I wrote up an email about what was going on and what people could expect

Upgraded ALC Everett

I’ve spent a lot of time writing about what happened at ALC Everett but I left the website in a kind of limbo. Anyone who was visiting the site wouldn’t exactly know that the school had become inactive or that I had written a comprehensive debrief on the whole thing, including a bunch of documentation around tools and practices. So I spend some time making the site look nice, adding a bunch of links to the debrief and the tool box as well as explanations of what the current status was and a way to contact folks at ALC incase they were from the area and wanted to learn more.

Screen Shot 2015-08-09 at 4.08.33 PM

ALC Domain Mapping

This didn’t exactly happen this week, but I wanted to share. @artbrock and I managed to finally get some backend features working that allow schools (or anyone with an ALC site) to map the site to their personal domain name. This means that our school sites can use their own domain while still being part of the network!

So now sites like alcoahu.agilelearningcenters.org will show up as alcoahu.org! So cool.


This has been such an energizing week or productivity! I really feel like I’ve been in a great flow and hope to continue it into the rest of the month.

 

Welcome to Everett!

The ALC in Everett WA is now inactive. I was invited out to Everett in September 2014 to help start an ALC homeschool cooperative with a few families. After 7 months the families decided that their intentions had changed and our little experiment came to an end.

You can read the full debrief here

This website stands as a record for what happened over those seven months. You can keep scrolling to view blog posts that describe how we ran our ALC and what we did over those months.

You’ll notice the menu items Quests, Rules, Duties, and Activities. These are experimental “content types” that take some of our real world structures and attempt to digitize them. If you want to learn more you can contact me directly at drew@alc.network