What mean ye SPLOT?

Smallest/Simplest * Possible/Portable * Open/Online * Learning/Living *  Tool/Technology

Yeah, we still have some work to do on tightening up that catchy acronym… though the animation on the front of this site is being cooked up as a SPLOT itself.

Where did it come from? Wander down the rabbit hole of the origin story.

SPLOT comes from the conviction that there is great value in learners and educators sharing their work on the open web. All too often, doing so gets derailed by two problems. First, open web tools are perceived by users as difficult to use, and by organizations as complicated to support. This is why most organizations direct or even restrict activity into a consolidated Learning Management System (LMS).  Second, online identity and privacy concerns (and laws) scare people off. Not every learner is ready to share their work with the world on a medium that “never forgets”. We know that most free online communication tools capture and exploit the data of their users.

So the tools on this site are designed with two core principles in mind:

  • make it as easy as possible to post activity to the open web in an appealing and accessible way
  • allow users to do so without creating accounts, or providing any required personal information

We are mindful of Norman’s Law of eLearning Tool Convergence, that tools will tend to become more complex and LMS-like as they are more widely used. SPLOT tools are deliberately limited in scope. They try to meet a single need, and to do so as simply as possible.

The tools here are built utilizing the WordPress platform, and should be readily sharable to other WP installations. If you would like to use a SPLOT tool in your environment, please let us know.

But there is no reason that the problems that SPLOT tools try to address cannot be addressed in other frameworks. If this approach appeals, we hope others will find better ways to support more accessible, sustainable, and user-friendly ways to get publicly-engaged learning happening on the open web.


Add yours →

  1. Hi Alan, lovely idea which I first came across some years ago, stored in my diigo collection, but not used yet.

    Wondering now if it would be possible to use for a project starting this Monday. We are looking for a space where people could contribute easily and quickly without an account.

    Thank you in advance for your help with this, if at all possible.

    Chrissi @chrissinerantzi on behalf of the #101openstories team

    • Hi Chrissi,

      I’m not sure what you are asking. The SPLOTs are WordPress themes with built in functionality intended and meant for people to install on their own self-hosted sites. The ones here are mainly for demo purposes, and are naturally open. So any use is okay, but they are un monitored sites.

  2. The new SplotBox theme is great – it is very helpful for a project idea that I have been playing around with for a months. Can you send me a list of the plugins you have installed on your demo site? More specifically, I am trying to figure out how you get the TMCE editor into the Description area of the Share form (assuming that it comes via a plugin). Thanks.

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