Open Ed 2012 TreasureBox

About the TreasureBox

Alan Levine • • @cogdog

Between twitter, blogging, flickr there will be plenty of public sharing of the experience of Open Ed 2012. This is good.  We are also seeking new ways of documenting the conference experience through the device created by David Darts, the PirateBox. which turns a local space into a communication and sharing network.

Using open source technology and under US$30 in parts, the PirateBox creates a local, open  wireless network. Upon joining this network, you are not connected to the internet, but a web server running locally on the box, which is set up with simple tools for uploading and downloading files, synchronous chat, and a message board. All communication with the PirateBox is anonymous.

This technology has potential and implications for conducting networked projects where the internet is not viable or for a way of sharing content that is localized. In 2011, I carried one I called the StoryBox, traveling around the US and Canada (plus Australia) collecting material in the senes of of being a digital time capsule.

For this conference, we are setting one we call The TreasureBox...

The Conference TreasureBox Idea: Creative Prompts

While plenty of media will be shared in the open public, we wish to explore what might happen when content from an event is collected locally and anonymously as wella s what it means to explore the media when there is no context. What we seek are reprepresentations of the conference experience shared by the people participating.

For the week leading up to the conference, as well as during, each day we will provide a daily creative prompt, in the vein of the >ds106 Daily Create e.g. "Share a photo of you and 2 people you have not met before" "Record an audio of someone telling you about the best session they have seen today".

Below are the prompts so far- you can find them on the conference web site

  1. Share a photo, ambient audio, or video that captures the essence of the space you do your best work in.(Thursday October 11)
  2. Use your camera or audio recording device to show the experience of travel to Vancouver (Friday October 12)

How to Add to the Treasure Box

During the conference, the TreasureBox will be set up in a location we will provide hints to help you find- but mainly you need to look for a network called "Open Ed TreasureBox". All of the information you need to share media will be displayed when one this network and you open a web browser.

Here is an important part- before you share a file- give it a descriptive or meaningful file name- that is the only clue as to what the content is, and it makes us happy if we do not see a bunch of files like IMG764.JPG or MEMO.m4a

What if I really really really want to do this but am not at the conference? Well we are about openness, so we have ways for you to contribute remotely and this is what we will use before the conference.

I have set up a public dropbox to which you can share media (and I will manually migrate to the box).  Upload as many things as you like to -- use the password storybox. Or you can email attachments to the dropbox via

 storybox (UNDERSCORE) tu8r (AT) sendtodropbox DOT com

Tell Me More about the Groovy Technology

The PirateBox DIY page ( provides several approaches to building one of these devices- the simplest and most direct one is the OpenWrt version that works on TP-LInk Routers - these all in one devices are small, low power, and cost under $30.

I built the one for this event with little trouble or time (and I am not much a hacker type, read more at; the fun part has finding and modding the container to hold it. I added an extra portable battery which offers flexibility if you cannot locate the box near an outlet.

I will be available during the conference to talk more about it and/or to give demos of the StoryBox which will also be shared at the conference. I have two slots for the unconference session room (C215) or am willing to do an impromptu demo at any time.

  • Tuesday 11-11:45am
  • Thursday 1:30-2:15pm

Mostly we are eager to see what you think of this kind of low tech sharing technology and what ideas you might have for making use of it. And we hope to capture a bunch of med1a representing the experience that only is available to the folks at the location... well at least til the end of the conference. I'd like to think we can think of something creative to do (remixes anyone?) with the content afterward.

Not So Small Print

Because of the nature of this anonymous technology, there is no way to provide credit for media shared, we are asking for the most free of licenses- that you release media into the public domain under CC0


To the extent possible under law, Open Education 2012 Conference has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Open Education 2012 Treasure Box. This work is published from: Canada.

If you don't like these ridiculous conditions, then please disconnect and have a nice day. We admit by asking you to share in anonymity, we won't be able to give you credit... but how more open can you get?

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