the thingstitute

Thingstitute sign

This weekend, Tyler Mulligan, Jeff Segall, Anthony Altieri and I spent several hours participating in the xAPI and IoT hackathon. It was a well-fed, well-mixed group of curious folks, and I think we all left with concrete steps (both in terms of design and implementation) toward allowing xAPI to make the Internet of Things work.

Mike Lee's wearables

Shelly, Anthony and Tyler

Nafiseh in front of gallery

While a lot went down in Rockville this past Friday and Saturday (that I'll write about at a future date - I'm fading fast at the moment), I think my favorite hour of the whole thing was spent with Alice Jefferson.

Alice and Jeff

As someone whose job it is to explain ADL technologies to instructional designers and learning developers, I worry a lot about the fact that explaining the significance of xAPI takes time. Alice doggedly pursued answers and didn't accept ambiguity or my lack of clarity. She helped me help her understand the fullness of what xAPI means, and in the end she got it. That moment - her realizing the paradigm shift, me realizing that we had succeeded - was pretty great. It also made me thing about how much more hands on we must be in talking about xAPI.



Nafiseh and Yachao


Huge thanks to Dr Brenda Bannan, Shelly Blake-Plock and Dr Shane Gallagher for organizing this event, and thanks to David Helms of Radius Networks for supplying beacon technology.

xAPI + Internet of Things hackathon

'xAPI + IoT hackathon logo'

From the registration website:

Connecting devices together so that they can communicate and interact is a new frontier for technological innovation. We’re looking for skilled and creative individuals to help us innovate!

Join 50+ of your fellow programmers, developers, and digital enthusiasts, and build programs that combine the power of proximity beacons and micro-computer technologies – so called Internet of Things (IoT) – with the new Experience API (xAPI) that can track learning and training activity in innovative ways!

Calling all programmers and IoT enthusiasts! Join us in building open source interoperable data applications for IoT hardware. The purpose of this hackathon is to explore the application of the Experience API (xAPI) open data standard to Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. This event will support the work of a volunteer NIST / US Ignite Global City action cluster in developing an open ecosystem of IoT technologies to be deployed in emergency and medical simulation training exercises.


April 17-18, 2015


2nd floor of the Historic Red Brick Courthouse, 29 Courthouse Square, Rockville MD (which is Metro accessible: Rockville metro station is three blocks away on the Red Line - a 7 minute walk)

How much does this cost?

$0.00. $Free.99. Nada. Zilch. Goose-egg-all.

How do I register?

What do I need to bring?

Your ideas, a laptop, enthusiasm, and help create solutions that connect proximity beacons and other hardware together into powerful IoT solutions! Connecting and testing these devices will enable the resulting data to be captured, ultimately providing meaningful insights for the identified emergency response and healthcare problem/opportunity.

What am I getting?

  1. Food and drink – dinner to keep you going and breakfast to help you power through the morning. Plus, a quick presentation and code samples to help you bootstrap your team.
  2. Fun
  3. $500 cash prize (for the top design)

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event?

Anyone 16 years old or older may participate in the event.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact Brenda Bannan at with any questions.

what I did last week (12 April 2015)

I know, I know - two weeks in and I'm already falling down on the job.

Pavel Avsievich -

Anyway, let's get to it.

money earnin'

  • I went to Georgetown University to sit down with Jilanne and Isaac from to talk on camera about xAPI. I realized afterwards that for someone who talks xAPI every day, I really haven't spent a lot of time working on how to talk about it with sound bites in mind. This is something that I know that I need to work on.
  • xAPI Design Cohort - week 10!
    • Team xAPI Gnome kicked major butt on their mid-season presentation; looking forward to their July presentation at the xAPI Bootcamp in Alexandria, VA. (So, what are you doing this Bastille Day?)
    • xAPI Lab release 0.8 is out. Thanks to Tyler Mulligan for continuing to produce ready-to-ratchet tools for the community.
  • Started (along with Jason Haag and others) the xAPI Vocabulary Working Group. The aim is to take two months and see if we can sort out the issues of linked data and verb registration. No sweat.

book learnin'

blunt burnin'

That's about it. If all goes well, I'll be at the Thingstitute next weekend - more on that later.