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L is for Learning Management System

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 12 May 2014, 06:54
  • Life-logging
  • Learning Theories
  • LinkedIn
  • Diana Laurillard
  • Learning Activity
  • Ellen Levy
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Learning Technologist
  • Lego
  • Learning Support Services
  • Learning Design
  • LinkedIn (Groups)
  • Littlejohn
  • Learning Journal
  • Life Long Learning
  • Professor Vic Lally

The quality, usability and effectiveness of the Learning Management System faced by educators and students is fundamental to their learning and teaching experience; all LMSs are not the same! Studying 'at a distance' with a number of other institutions has shown me just how different the experience can be, from light, intuitive and 'in the background' to a tangled, archaic mess.

I often use LinkedIn to share ideas, especially from the various blogs I keep. Best of all when I crave a discussion about something, joining in or starting the thread, then I go to one of the many groups on e-learning that I follow.

Life-logging I thought of doing as a research project for H809 and still think of as a project of considerable interest for all that it can do, say for supporting people who suffer from memory loss, let alone to gather interesting data about how we are. You wear a device that gathers data and anlyses it in real time. Breakthroughs are for medical reasons to monitor a person, as NASA did with astronauts, the difference is that this goes to your GP.

Learning Theories matter in e-learning though you may be thinking in terms of 'connectedness' (George Siemens) as social or networked learning. I would have liked a foundation in learning theory early on. H809 finally got me looking at learning theories and I produced a mindmap that featured thirteen of them; five will do: behaviourism, cognitive, constructed and connectedness.

Diana Laurillard is one of the big names of e-learning you will read and hear from. 

It was a learning activity before Gilly Salmon called it an 'e-tivity'. They are just activities, whether online in a gamified learning context or in a workshop of classroom. You have to do something, sometimes interacting with others.

Ellen Levy prompted my first blog post in September 1999. She kept a journal for a year in 1998. It didn't even go online. I think I put my diary onto a Mac Classic in 1992 and before that in the mid 1980s put it on an Amstrad. Things happen when you create a database; it becomes an aide memoir. Ellen Levy was an early director Linkedin.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reflecting on H818: The Open Studio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 08:06

I'm getting a sense of deja vu as the rhythm of this module reveals itself.

Openness comes with some caveats. It is not everyone's cup of tea.

As people we may change or behaviour in different environments.

I am not saying that we as individuals necessarily behave in the same way in an Open Studio online (a virtual studio no less) than we do or would in an open studio, as in a collective in a workshop or 'atelier' that is 'exposed' to fellow artists -  but is nonetheless human interaction with all the usual undercurrents.

What I believe will not work is to put a gaggle of creators in the same room and expect them to collaborate.

The studios of the 'open' type that I am aware of are either the classic Renaissance workshop with a master artist and apprentices at various stages of their own development, or,  with a similar dynamic in operation, the 'occupants' of the studio are exposed LESS to each other and more to external commentators and contributors and this requires some formality to it .i.e. not simply 'the person off the street' but an educator/moderator in their own right.

Is H818:The Networked Practitioner too dependent on chance?

The foibles of a small cohort and the complex, messy, moments 'we' are in. Three years of this and, by chance only, surely, six of  us in a subgroup jelled. More often the silence and inactivity of the majority makes 'group work' a myth - partnerships of two or three were more likely. The only exception I have come across in the 'real world' have been actors working together on an improvisation - they have been trained however to disassociate their natural behaviours.

Some of us study with the OU as we cringe at the 'exposure' of a course that requires us to meet in the flesh - distance learning suits, to some degree, the lone worker who prefers isolation.

By way of revealing contrast I am a mentor at the School of Communication Arts

Modest though pivotal role given their format and philosophy - exposure to many hundreds of kindred spirits who have been there ...  a sounding board and catalyst. NOT a contributor, but more an enabler. 

We'll see. My thinking is that to be effective, collaboration or exposure needs to have structure and formality in order to work.

At the Brighton Arts Festival the other evening I wonder how the 80 odd exhibitors would cope if the Corn Exchange was also their workshop?

In certain, vulnerable environments, the only comment should be praise. Feedback is invited from those who are trusted.

A school setting is different again, as is college ... people share the same space because they have to.

Open Studio apears to try to coral the feedback that comes anyway from a connected, popular and massive sites such as WordPress, Linkedin Groups, Facebook and even Amazon. Though the exposure, if you permit it, is tempered and negotiated - Facebook is gentle amongst family and friends, Linkedin is meterd and professional in a corporate way, Wordpress is homespun while Amazon, probably due to the smell of money can be catty - and in any case, the artefact is a doneddeal, it's not as if, to take a current example, Max Hastings is going to rewrite his book on the First World War because some in the academic community say that it is weak historicaly and strong on journalistic anecdote.

We'll see.

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Who would you invited to an e-learning dinner party?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 25 Feb 2013, 07:15

They should be living.

There can be only 8 guests including yourself.

I offered my suggestions.

I had Martin Bean at the head of the list, then others such as Dame Professor Wendy Hall from WebSciences at University of Southampton, Professor Sugata Mitra, famous for the 'hole in the wall' experiments with children in rural India, now at University of Newcastle. From Industry I had Kirstie Donelly MBE from City & Guilds.

You get the picture.

I posted this to four groups I belong to in Linkedin.

I'll give it some more time then analyse.

Despite the instructions many are simply putting in:

'I'd invite me!'

While others have picked reality TV show stars and other random celebs.

I'm frankly staggered at people's inability to read the question.

Currently one conversation, playfully suggests, that the previous respondee would be struggling to type because of the length of their painted finger nails.

Do I despair, or simply observe with a wry smile what can be the free-for-all of 'social learning'?

It appears that many people don't read the question, the read the last response and simply tag onto that like its some massive Chinese whisper.

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Reflections on e-learning - September 2010 to September 2012

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 22 Sep 2012, 06:07

New Software

Things I was starting to get my head around in 2010:

  • Skype (a phone call for free)
  • Delicious (don't get it, yet ... or need it?)
  • Outlook (Never used it 'til last week not being a PC person)
  • Google Docs (Up there and loading docs. Hear good things from all)
  • Compendium (Created a map for an e-tivity based on my H807 ECA. Populating this to share content with a producer).
  • Zoho (signed in but not sure)
  • Mahara (But Google does it for free and has seamless interplay with all your other favourite Google tools)
  • Pebblepad (Mixed reviews)
  • Adobe Share (Been using Adobe products forever so this should get my attention)
  • Internet Explorer (new to this Mac user!)
  • Dropbox (I've always been a box person)

Where I stand in 2012:

  • Skype (use often to friends globally, notably for a job interview with Getty Images, interviewing Dr about Qstream and on an iPad passing my brother and my nephews around a room of cousins between the UK and South Africa at Christmas)
  • Delicious (Still struggle, not least as I have more than one account and because I don't see the need to bookmark anything as to Google is quicker and with cookies enabled takes me into my choices)
  • Outlook (formerly trained at the OU on Outlook - training on a 2010 version while we had a 2011 in our office. Still hate it having been raised on all things Mac. Outlook has the look, feel and functionality of Microsoft DOS c 1992)
  • Google Docs (Use as a store to aggregate content, sometimes to share, wiki-like with fellow OU students who are more ofay with the technology than I am)
  • Compendium (Can't stand it - prefer a variety of free iPad Apps, including SimpleMinds, Bubl.us and several others).
  • Zoho (signed in and gave up)
  • Mahara (signed in a gave up)
  • Pebblepad (signed in and gave up - initially making do with the OU's MyStuff, which has been discontinued. Find it easier to aggregate content, while I'm an OU Student in my OU Blog, then cut and paste into one or more WordPress blogs - I had 16 at the last count)
  • Adobe Share (Don't have the budgets, may be of interest once back in a commercial office)
  • Internet Explorer (Never. Over the period have slowly migrated away from Firefox, like family, use Google Chrome almost exclusively)
  • Dropbox (Not really)
  • PicasaWeb - download for all images from camera, iPhone and iPad. Fix then post to some 50 albums, some with over 1000 images (the Picasa limit), pay for extra space. Uncertain or lack confidence though in degree of privacy, especially if screengrabs and other images are automatically uploaded to Google + images (same PicasaWeb account in a different format)

Where I stood in 2010 compared to 2012:

Old Software

  • Word (Yes, but far less often. I write far more often on the iPad using the AI Writer APP, emailing this to a PC to edit, or uploading into a blog to edit there)
  • Filemaker Pro (No longer. I ran it on Macs and iBooks from its inception but others don't prefering of all things the ghastly Excel). Have Bento, baby FileMaker, on the iPad.
  • AOL (still with AOL, but prefer Gmail and still thinking about changing supplier to BT or Sky)
  • Power Structure (Didn't upgrade, my iBook died and the software is on an rescued harddrive though I doubt it will work with a new operating system)
  • Final Draft (An execellent script writing tool though created for linear output)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Haven't upgraded, making do with Picasa)
  • Dreamweaver (haven't been near it, I never was a programmer type anyway, though cut my teeth in this in 2000)
  • Excell (A very reluctant user - just cannot see how this is used by some to create posters, or run a database that required large quantities of content in a cell. Filemaker Pro is better)

Blogs

  • Diaryland (Quite the thing in 1999). Locked forever. Up forever. Sometimes cut and paste. Always amusing to read posts on developments in web-based learning c. 1999
  • LiveJournal (Preferred by 2002). A stepping stone out of Diaryland.
  • WordPress (Expert) Over a dozen blogs, most notably Mymindbursts, though no longer a diary or journal, but a niche journal largely about e-learning, with subject intersts including creative writing, philosophy, tertiary education, history (First War), online and distance education, theories of education. Also blogs on swim coaching and teaching, on the Machine Gun Corps, on the trials and tribulations of a househusband (from old diaries and blogs), on various fiction themes - but also a number of Books of Condolences, in 2011 for colleagues, but very sadly in 2012 for my mother too.
  • EduBlogs (No more)
  • Blogger (No longer)
  • OuBlog (Extensively for all Masters in Open and Distance Education modules, now on my fifth and final module. Daily reflection, updates, aggregating resources, screen clips, diagrams, images, snips from forums, links to other blogs, tagging to assemble content for assignment, re-blog with re-writes to external blogs. Use it like an e-portfolio with CVs and job descriptions here too.)
  • Blipfoto (A picture a day for four or five months - until I have my iPhone to my son. I make do with an iPad and prefer a cheap phone to have kicking around in my pocket or bag ... and to avoid being online when out on the South Downs walking the dog!)

Social Networking

  • Facebook (Love hate. Great to be in touch with immediate family and trusted friends only. Got some groups going with boys I knew age 8-13 at boarding prep school. Got out of hand when a relation fell very ill and died as to the appropriateness of sharing our concerns and grief online. Inclined to disengage - do so only to find I am still there?)
  • MySpace (Never, though I am there)
  • Friends Reunited (Never since they started to charge, or since they came back)
  • Linkedin (extensive, professional use with several hundred contacts and activity in many groups. Feed blog content into Linkedin automatically, tailor some content for specific groups, particularly relating to e-learning for corporates and tertiary education)
  • Twitter (extensive, professional use. Did use TweetReach and various other tools. URLs shortened from WordPress, will use Bitl.y)

Other

  • Flickr (Used to use extensively - migrated all content to Picasa as Flickr tried to socialise the space and I found my pictures being offered for sale!)
  • Kodak Easyshare (Rescued 500 of 700 uploaded photos and migrated to Picasa before Kodak closed)
  • YouTube (Should be making extensive use of YouTube. Starting to digitise 40 hours of Oxford Undergraduate life 1982-1984. With permissions will migrate clips to the web in due course.)
  • Picasa (my favourite now, the teenagers are on Instagram and Tumnblr)
  • Ancestry.com (Covered every conceivable ancestor as far back as is possible online. Could make use of the 2011 census to track down a great aunt but not inclined to fork out anymore or to deal with spurious requests from people so off the map in terms of the family tree it is verging on trainspotting.)
  • Genes Reunited (as above. Not been near it) Of minor interest at a family funeral to figure out who were the common ancestors - both gentleman born in the 1870s it turned out!

Browsers

  • Firefox (very rarely, probably in erro)
  • AOL (winding up here for the last 18 months, should have got out long ago.)
  • GoogleChrome (Almost exclusively)
  • Internet Explorer (avoided at all costs)

What's new?

For the last 18 months extensive use of an iPad and associated Apps, so much so that it is the replacement laptop and even covers as a mobile phone as people know to email me.

Trying to do my final MAODE module on the iPad.

Proving remarkably easy to do so.

Very versatile, especially where resources can be downloaded as PDFs, even to read in Kindle version. Read from the Kindle, note take on the iPad and post online.

Books. We no longer buy them. Is a garage full of wonderful hardbacks worth anything? Glad I never bothered to put up shelves.

Magazines and newspapers. All redundant. Only kept the Guardian on Saturday to have something to line the guinea-pig hutch, when they went so did the newspaper!

TV. Rarely ever watched live. Prefer BBC iPlayer. Exception being the Olympics and Paralympics.

Pen and paper. I do. An A5 notebook and pen. Though prefer to type up notes as I go along.

Twitter Share. Reading an eBook and sharing a line or two with a note directly into Twitter. This aggregates content in an editable format and alerts 'followers' to a good read - usually on learning, education, e-learning, also on social media, story writing and the First World War. Sometimes some great out of copyright literature.

 

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Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin: how to use them for e-learning

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Lifelong%2520Learning%2520Venn%2520Diagram%2520May%25202010.jpg

 

Engage, enquire, listen, take an interest, seek out like-minds, involve, share ... respond, reciprocate, develop.

This has NOTHING to do with pushing products or services, this is about developing thoughts, acquiring leads into new avenues of enquiry, dropping hints and serendipity.

Increasinly however these three are functioning in the same way, however different they look.

Like ink drops in a tank of water

The visualised option is YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr (I'm yet to develop content for Pinterest)

Blogs are more sedate, more inclined to asynchronicity, whereas with Facebook I find at various times of the day (depends on the person) the messages become synchronous.

An iPad and iPhone (or any similar device) is crucial. With some people the more immediate the response the great the level of engagement, like one hand being placed on top of another the thoughts come thick and fast.

With many ways into social media I've opted for a paid service. Content Wisdom. For a monthly sub I get to dip into a catalogue of video based, lecture-like presentations as well as joining a regular webinar.

Join me on Linkedin, I'm active in various e-learning groups.

Join me on Twitter 'jj27vv' where I am making various lists to follow conversations on e-learning

Don't come find me on Facebook! Friends, family and face-to-face contact first is my rule here.

Wordpress. 16 blogs and rising, by My Mind Bursts is the main outlet and at last approaching 1,000 entries which are usefully themed on e-learning (post graduate theory and e-learning for business) and creativity (writing and producing fiction, and creative problem solving)

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Use of video in elearning (part 7)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 11:24

Corporate%2520Video%2520SOCIAL%2520RESPONSE%2520SNIP%25204.JPG

What makes an elearning forum tick?

This is the crux of social learning for me, what John Seely Brown calls 'learning at the periphery' or Cox calls 'vicarious' learning and I have dubbed 'learning through serendipity'. As a result of taking part you acquire knowledge, you develop your thinking and underststanind. It was no different for me learning French. The school way was hopeless, what I required was total immersion, which is what I got in my late teens turning up in France on an exchange, making friends and returning ... then wokring a gap year as far from English speakers as possible. This is how I learn, many of us prefer this informal approach. Its something that corporate elearning companies and corporate learning departments have yet to tap into. Perhaps because it lacks measurement, that there appear to be no parameters.

There are many ways to get content noticed. All the traditional tricks of promotion are required here too. Email databases, events, trade promotions, press advertising and business cards; online is not a panacea, neither is it replacement technology. It is part of the world we live in, a choice, something else, that complements other ways of doing things.

The 'long tail' refers to the way content has a life before, during and after being posted. There is a story to tell in its creation and promotion; its release should factor in for a long shelf life, then there is this 'after life', how once posted content may then be picked up by others and developed into different, better and alternative things. Keep tabs on this and content online becomes more like street theatre, or taling from a soap box on Hyde Park Corner, it is an opportunity to engage with an audience.

I like to blog, use Linkedin and Twitter.

Better to be the master of some platforms than a jack of all  trades.

 

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The Economist posted this in their Linkedin group a while back. What do you think?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:52

The membership of this group continues to grow at a rapid speed and we get a healthy stream of postings of discussions and news.

1. The discussions board is primarily intended to start discussions therefore please take some effort to phrase your idea, thought or observation in such a way that responses are encouraged.

2. Don’t make multiple posts of the same item.

3. Don’t blatantly promote your company, product, weblog or yourself.

4. Please do not promote other groups (unless of course they are one of ours!) or simply provide links to external reports (though of course we all have some of these to share from time to time). Rather, if there is something worthwhile to be found elsewhere, please post the premise so it can be discussed here.

5. Posts that are off-topic will be removed.

6. Multiple off topic/solicitation postings will result in removal from the group. Indeed, if any members flag a discussion three times it is automatically removed.

I champion this OU Student Blog platform thingey because it is aking to the Bulletin Boards of a decade ago. You post your stuff and others may spot it vicariously or tune in. I love the stuff I am introduced to that would never otherwise pass before my eyes. I want to sudy Art History, I can't get enough of the MAODE of coourse ... I even quite enjoy the enthusiasm some people have for poetry and maths.

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Steve Jobs Walter Isaacson Discussion Group on LinkedIn

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Come and join the discussion in the 'Steve Jobs: Water Isaacson Biography' group. The idea is to bring together everyone who got the book for Christmas. I'm about to stand my second read. http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson-discussion-4236153?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr
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B822 WK ZERO Day -12 Action Stations eCrayons at hand

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:36

Let's say I'm going to blog this one by the day; not at all hard to do.

I am an habitual diary-writer with a 37 year track record. Can I, however, make this more of a tool and less of a toy, this is after all a module from the Business School and according to discussions (in the 'Open University Business & Law School') 'transformative' (alumni rave about it) i.e. more reflection and less indulgent 'stream of consciousness' monologue spoken through my QWERTY fingertips?

I stumbled into the module pages as an alert on my Student Home pages indicated that a message had been posted.

It looked ominously playful with each sentence a different Rainbow red, orange, purple or blue.

That's a first!

The Course Chair likes his e-crayon set.

(He did kindly resist using multiple fonts, though, research has shown that making something physically difficult to read improves retention of the information expressed because the mind has to work at extracting meaning).

To course notes

I ALWAYS make the a space of my own by cutting out and posting elsewhere the bits that matter to me: here is how my six months will be spent; two months each of:

  1. an introduction to the module concepts that focuses on the individual level of creativity, cognition, style and development.
  2. team-based and individual approaches to creative problem management.
  3. ways of developing organisational innovation and climate.

A box of resources, books and maybe a DVD awaits me at home (I away from home during the week) Let the FUN commence!

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No time to blog, so here's a note ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 18 Sep 2011, 05:26

The most a busy blogger can do when unable to blog is to jot down some notes in the hope that in a quiet moment you can return.

After a protracted absence from work I have that to catch up on, as well as an End-of-module Assignment (EMA) to deliver in 10 days times (far earlier I hope).

I need to return to:

  • Presenting to Buckingham Marketers on Social Media Marketing.

I drew all I needed to share from this mind-map (to upload indue course). Most telling for me is being just as interested to engage face-to-face so I need to do this regularly. Social Media is complementary, not replacement technology.

  • The following day I was a guinea-pig in the Institute of Educational Technology Labs on the next offering of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

I found the process as well as the likely outcome to be fascinating. For all you H810ers, the Chair of this module was the observer in the TV Gallery follwing my behaviours and actions. More to come.

  • And then today, the first in a four part presentation that will eventually run to eight hours, on how the concept of 'personas' is used to inform web design and functionality for different user types.

What the outsider cannot appreciate is the extraordinary depth and quality of thinking that goes into what the OU does.

  • And finally (the day after) a presentation from the Head of Legal at JISC on Creative Commons and OER.

Another vital lesson that in a two hour form (they could edit the video from its six hour length) ought to be part of an induction package for anyone coming into Higher Education in a content creation role. More to follow once I have H800 out of the way (end of September).

Having failed to register for the next module I'll have good time to reflect on the content of this blog and migrate most, if not all of it, over to my external blog My Mind Bursts or to a new blog focused exclusively on e-learning.

 

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Why Social Media is simply about being sociable

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 18 Sep 2011, 05:35

Get out more, and get a business card.

I can reflect on far more after an evening with strangers, but that will have to wait. (Strangers no more, and one I've been in discussions in LinkedIn for months).

Face to face works too, people have time to understand each other and see responses, facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, even hesitation, how and when they join in.

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Google+

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 7 Aug 2011, 03:37

For the umpteenth time I am starting on a new venture on a new platform.

A decade ago I stuck to what I knew and wouldn't budge. I waved good-bye to contacts as I continued to blog in Diaryland while everyone else moved over to LiveJournal, Blogger and Wordpress. I even stuck with Friends Reunited and MySpace.

No more.

Everything I stumble upon I try.

Anything new I sign up.

Already I can imagine Google+ as a one-stop shop, a kind of Personal Learning Environment (PLE) even like the OU VLE in that is draws together so many of the services and tools I already use.

Managing and engaging with people according to their 'sphere of influence' rings true too. I've never felt comfortable with my several selves in Facebook.

Picasa I swear by for photos and screen grabs. The galleries here feed images into all my blogs.

I use but need to master dropbox.

I have a blogger blog, but I have become so engrossed in Wordpress I am truly reluctant to have to master another 'instrument' as it were.

It is not my desire to play every instrument in the orchestra, the wind section with a bit of piano and guitar for recreational purposes will do.

Conductor?

That's an interesting thought. But does Social Media have the equivalent of a score? I am not and never will be a programmer.

 

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Tutor as host - its your party and your responsibility to make it work

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 30 May 2012, 11:29

This from Mary Thorpe (2009)

If face-to-face is the answer, how do you  replicate the combination of informal and formal discourse opportunities that characterise the face-to-face campus. (Crook and Light, 2002)

The answer is in social networks such as Linkedin being alerted every time someone in your circle updates, or adds friends or writes something, though different, there is at least an inclining of this meeting serendipitously around the water-cooler, or passing in the corridor. Also the random offering up of 'people you might know', even if they haven't instigated it.

This is beyond face-to-face, but designed to replicate the chance encounter that makes up human intersctions.

In Diaryland (1999) a similar trait is offered as within a set number of 75 friends you always know who has updated i.e. who is active and therefore around and more inclined to engage. All that matters is this sense of sharing the same space. It matters therefore that you are present often enough to be someone in this environment and that the affordances of the platform alert others to your presence.

The debate over the differences between face-to-face are dry

Why hybrid?

What community?

As the two worlds are now so familiar to many people, this is like saying, what is the difference between the Rugby Club and the Bridge Club.

There is no other difference. The means of engagement are ultimately the same, between one person and another. Like everything as you become familiar with these platforms, and as your friends are online too, you accept their presence or otherwise as if you have bumped into them walking the dog or a conference.

This isn't revolution, it is barely even evolution, it is us being people with a bunch of different tools as we crafty humans have done for millenia.

'Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries.(Anderson and Dron 2007)

Better still you start to allow tools like Stumbleupon and Zite to do this for you, by feeding in a specific, tailored profile you can get these aggregators to draw down who you are and feed back intelligence.

The day we don't trust it we drop these tools like a hot-potato and go somewhere else.

They CANNOT afford to get it wrong.

I signed up in error to MY LIFE, I say this because I only wanted to trial it on a monthly basis. The moment I was on the phone was the moment I was reimbursed, which actually is a sound thing.

This expression, this test of 'trust' might be enough to take me back (except that I feel the entire idea was mine in 2001).

'Technology self-evidently involves tools, understood as both the physical resources and practical skills required to make use of them, but to focus primarily on the tool or the virtual space would be to make a categorical error, mistaking a component part for the system as a whole (Jones and Eshault, 2004)

We still use pen and paper, we still talk to each other face to face, we may even share how we are getting on with our parents over Sunday Lunch.

This isn't replacement technology, it is hyper complementary technology, it is as convenient as having a hanky on which to blow your nose, no more. You pull out your smartphone to share a thought. Or in my case at 3.10am I get up, doodle an idea for a video production and then stick up a discussion question to a number of Linkedin groups.

Serendipity

Thinking of my late grandfather's garage with all its tools, the context would be the mix and combination of tools, some complimentary, some one offs, and the space (once he'd rolled the car out of the garage). Most importantly it would include him, both actively engaged in a task and from my point of view, someone who was always keen to pass on skills and insights.

Issues regarding identity -practice/familiarity

Trust and authenticity (checking/verification) 'Students may not take up the opportunities offered, or may do so to little good effect.' (Thorpe, 2008:122) 'Asynchronous conferencing for example has fostered both utopic and dystopic views of its potential (Haythornthwaite 2006)

The importance of the beginning of the course the same as in face-to-face, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

'That particular aspect of getting everybody involved right at the very beginning really sets the scene for the rest of the course.' (Thorpe 2008:123)

Tutor as host.

A good start is forgiving. A poor start is far harder to retrieve. The problem institutionally is if your are overwhelmed by students. Are there enough tutors? Are there even intermediaries to step in? 'The design in effect performs a mix of compulsion and engineered interaction that combines formality with informality.' (Crook and Light, 2002)

Too much of either is a killer. Overly familiar and talking about pets and holidays in the middle of a forum puts your off. So do course materials on the rare occasion with The OU when it is if your are interrupting the conversation between a couple of professors who have developed their own private language that only means something to each other. (This isn't far from the truth). 'The potential for expansive learning' (Tuoni-Grohn and Engestrom, 2003)

We all want our heads cracked open like a part-boiled egg. 'This is learning that crosses the boundaries of different activity systems, expanding involvement with others and developing both individual and collective learning'. (Cole and Engestrom 1993)

I call it Pixie dust over Object 3.

Object 3 must be the moment Dyson and his team come up with the airstream device. Innovation, inspiration and originality is there in front of us, like Macbeth's dagger, tantilizingly before our hands.

So talk to Lady Macbeth and your colleagues, let it out, share your thoughts, make the dagger real, You may find it's more of a tickling stick.

'A context has to be reconstructed and participation invited through the use of activities, structured formats and textural genres operating at various levels.' (Thorpe, 2008:130)

I no longer think this is the case. We aren't creating false or mimicking landscapes or environments online, rather we know what these environments are and behave accordingly.

This comes with experience, it IS NOT, and has NEVER BEEN GENERATIONAL.

I am not the only forty something who despite my children being infront of a computer before they could walk have vastly more experience of the internet and computers than they do. I challenge them to keep up or catch up, indeed, I am quick to run after them if I think they are discovering something I too have not tried.

Ask me for evidence, research by educational institutions in the UK, US and Australia, that debunk Generation X and Digital Natives as utter TOSH.

Engestrom (2007) emphasizes the importance of learning across multiple activity systems where knowledge is being developed across many sites, from the formal academic context through practioner-focused websites and fora to the workplace.

Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries (Anderson and Dron 2007)

True.

But like an allotment you might start as an idea, the worth comes from putting in some time and effort.

A hybrid mix of community and network. (Thorp, 2008:129)

Yes, like weeds in the allotment and a few cacti on a tray of sand in the shed.


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H800 WK21-22 Activity 3b Read the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning Report

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 16:39

Report of the NSF Task Force on Cyberlearning

June 24, 2008

A great deal has happened in the first six months of 2011, so reading a report published in 2008 already feels as if there are hints at what could be.

It is intriguing that projections for 2015 read like what is happening in 2011.

The rate of change can be so rapid, technologies and services leapfrogging each other all the time.

(Selective parts as indicated rather than all 49 pages. Initially download and the intro printed off. Then downloaded to an iPad and opened an iBook. The versatility here is to skip through unnecessary pages without a thought, and to pull up text in a way that gives it both tactile and visual emphasis, like crumbing flour and sugar to make bread. Suddenly reading takes on the digitation (as in a finger-like action, rather than digitisation) of cooking.

If you haven't read this my suggestion would be - don't bother! Better to read all 33 pages of the extraordinarily insightful and precise US 2011 Horizon Report.

Published in 2008 this NSF Report admits that it is based not on the latest thinking (2008), but on reading publications which by there very nature are likely to be a couple more years old. i.e. in such a fluid, fast-changing environment go for something reasoably current, if not a live-feed or discussion. My preference is to be drawn into expert discussions in various Linkedin Discussions.

My Notes

· Learning is as accessible through technologies at home as it is in the classroom

· Cyberlearning, the use of networked computing and communications technologies to support learning.

· The educational system must respond dynamically to prepare our population for the complex, evolving, global challenges of the 21st century.

· Web technologies enable people to share, access, publish – and learn from – online content and software, across the globe.

· The global scope of networked educational materials, combined with recommendation engine software, helps individuals find special niche content that appeals to their needs and interests.

· Mobile computing not just with laptop computers but also with cellular phones, internet-telephony, videoconferencing, screen sharing, remote collaboration technologies, and immersive graphical environments make distributed collaboration and interaction much richer and more realistic.

EIGHT core strategies to promote the growth of Cyberlearning effectively

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

These are mentioned in the introduction, but in the course of my reading they failed to materialise. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

Similarly, in the introduction we are enticed by the prospect of ‘SEVEN special opportunities for action that have the greatest short-term payoff and long-term promise among the many that NSF might pursue’. I couldn’t find these either.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

FIVE recommendations that cut across the strategies for growth and opportunities for action detailed in the body of the report.

Here I had more joy as the points are spelt out and bulleted:

1. Cross-disciplinary

2. Interoperable

3. Transformative power

4. Promote open education resources

5. To flourish beyond the funding of a grant

Opening Paragraph

Well-meaning and ambitious, as if written to convince the likes of the Gates Foundation for funding. Just as the US repeatedly saves the planet in block buster movies, here they go again with the evangelical zeal of their founding father.

‘To address the global problems of war and peace, economics, poverty, health and the environment, we need a world citizenry with ready access to knowledge about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); social behavioural, and economic sciences, and the humanities.

Our primary, secondary, and higher educational system in the United States today lack the capacity to serve the full populace effectively, not to mention support the lifelong learning essential for coping with our rapidly evolving world. While technology cannot solve all the world’s educational challenges and crises. It has the potential to broaden educational opportunities, improve public understanding and strengthen learning in classrooms and beyond.

· Internet has matured

· High-performance computing and advanced networking are ubiquitous

· Have cell phones

· Becoming a viable educational platform

‘New innovations will continue to be introduced over the coming decade and continually reconfigure the realm of possibilities for learning in a networked world'.

Cyber-enabled learning for the future (Ainsworth et al, 2005)

Cyber from Norbert Wiener (1948)

‘We can now interact at a distance, accessing complex and useful resources in ways unimaginable in early eras.’ 11

YOU NEED THIS DIAGRAM, I WILL IN DUE COURSE DO A SCREEN GRAB AND ADD IT HERE

I always go for concentric rings, ripples from a pool, the rings and satellites of Saturn’s or planets in the Solar System as indicative metaphors for ‘spheres of influence’.

CF Figure 1. Advances in communication and information resources for human interaction (Roy & Jillian Wallis)


As Lord Putnam in the H800 Wk21-22 course notes is quotes as comparing advances made in surgery compared to teaching

 

‘Few of the innovations tried over the ensuing 25 years have resulted in large-scale change in education. Despite the revolution wrought by technology in medicine, engineering, communications, and many other fields, the classrooms, textbooks, and lectures of today are little different than those of our parents’. (And grandparents?) 12

‘K to grey’ p7 or ‘K to gray’ p12 ?

I will spot the single typo in a book that runs to 400 pages. Here I spot an inconsistency in what will no doubt become as clichéd as ‘24/7’ or ‘cradle to grave’ as a catch-all indicator/desire for life-long learning.

‘Grey’ is a proper noun, as I Lord Grey, Lady Jane Grey, even the Grey Ghost, though of course it might be the gray Grey Ghost, and once she’d had her head cut-off Lady Jane Grey would have turned gray.

Radical change is rarely instantaneous

‘Value is shifting from products to solutions to experiences’ (Prahalad & Krishnan, 2008. P.24)

Cyberlearning offers opportunities to be on the frontier of technical, social, learning, and policy research, information technology has the potential to close knowledge gaps as new digital divides appear with each wave of technical innovation. The challenge is to create a dynamically evolving system to support the learning requirements of 21st century society, work, and citizenship – from K-12 to higher education and beyond to lifelong learning (Rising Above the Gathering Storm. Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, 2007).

My opinion is that there is considerable wishful thinking here given the number of disenfranchised/marginalised groups in western populations both rural and urban, by culture/background, let alone millions fighting to find drinking water and food each day. If the forces that spread education globally train for now more teachers to go out into the field, all well and good, but I don’t see aid agencies handing out smartphones in the refugee camps of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya.

BACKGROUND

Why is this such a propitious time for a cyberlearning initiative?

· Quantity, variety and quality of content

· Constant beta releases

· Open, interoperable and global publishing for anyone of anything

· Open Learn

· Creative Commons

· The Long Tail marketplace … purchasing niche items below the popularity curve (or at either ends of it).

· A different ecosystem of learning materials is evolving

‘Advances in computer graphics, interactive visualisation, and immersive technologies now provide verisimilitude to the physical world, a window on unseen processes, and support for hypothetical explorations.’ P17

3.4 Target new audiences pp.27-28

· Materials used in unanticipated ways

· Should be deliberately made for multipurpose uses

· Adapt, mix, mash up.

· Engage users at inception

· Context awareness and content adaptability (Pea and Maldonado, 2006)

GalaxyZoo

· July 2007, 100,000 took part. December 2007 a Dutch teacher made a discovery.

· Also that moth and Spotify

4.3 Harness the deluge of learning data pp 43-44

Imagine this is 2015. Our teacher has quantitative and qualitative data about their students. This is happening with the Khan Academy 2011 and has been running for a couple of years.

· Not so sure about brain imagine and physiological factors

· Spend valuable practice time where it is required.

6 Summary and Recommendations

1. Develop a vibrant Cyberlearning field by promoting cross-disciplinary communities of Cyberlearning researches and practitioners.

2. Instil a platform perspective into NSF Cyberlearning activities

(I disagree. This is not a religion. There is no need to build a church and invite people to attend and take part).

3. Emphasize the Transformative Power of ICT learning. From K to Gray. Synergistic relationships with  Foundations: Gates, Hewlett, Kauffman, MacArthur, Mellon)

4. Promote OER

5. Sustain innovations

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Masters in Open and Distance Education: Module H800: WK21 My Personal Learning Environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:42

My%252520PLE.JPG

From this consider Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) vs. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and I come away, as I often do, seeking a compromise, the best of both - a basic, easy to use, and reliable VLE with students who may come with nothing, or a good deal, but was I have done will over the course of a couple of favourite tools and ways of doing things.

The two are like dripping coloured ink into a fish tank. My fingers aggitate between the two.

Until Google takes over all of it, there are too.

In my case I've gone from an old Mac Book and printing stuff off to having everything online, using blogs like e-portfolios and switching between an iPad and a laptop.

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H800 wk21 activity 2e To what extent are you using web 2.0 technologies?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:36

SEE MINDMAP ABOVE

H800 WK21 Activity 2 ep

How does your representation compare with the tables of tools and functionality described in the Conole chapter you read earlier in Activity 1b?

All of these st some stage and more especially using a tablet and Apps, or laptop away from my desk.

+ e- readers

+ RSS feeds

+Google Docs

+picasa dropbox

+Blog as eportfolio and exercise book

+Blog for presentstion and wiki-like

+flash online shared calender

Intranetmicroblog Yammer

+ Skype

To what extent are you using Web 2.0 technologies?

Extensively

Send notes as email to blog and others

Outlook remotely

Blogs to aggregate and share

RSS feeds aggregating messages

Online Forums frequently

How far are you using Mobile 2.0, as explored in Week 19?

Extensively using a 3g enabled tablet In what ways has your own practice and use of technologies changed in the last five to ten years? An early adopter once more. Professionally necessary to take an interest in everything Blogging since 1999 so used to putting content online

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Sunday Evenings - some of us are working :)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 15:33

As a swimming coach I have taken Sunday evening sessions for the last three years.

I still work Sunday evenings covering all my social media bases as conversations at this time of the week a far more likely to be quasi-synchronous.

i.e Not obliging you to be present as in messaging, nor as abstract as an asynchronous forum or picking up comments in a blog such as this hours or days after the event.

Indeed I've been communicating with an OU MBA alumni Luke Firth Philidelphia on and off for the last couple of hours.

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H800 WK21 Activity 1c. Web 2.0 Tools for Learning - what I recommend

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 12:48

JVTVCV%2520SNIP%2520STRIP%25204.JPG

It isn't for lack of overwhelming, immersive and engaging content online, especially 'how to' movies and 'clips' in YouTube, its how you as an individual cope with this inexhaustible choice.

Armed with an 3G tablet and sim card will we find we are learning more on the fly, taking it with us, much of it free, some of it guided and paid for?

Taking advantage of participation (John Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (John Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it 'serendipitous learning.' (me I think).

I'm finding that 18 months in, and having really started this gig in 1998 when from the agency end we were migrating interactive DVD based learning to the Web, that I of necessity must balance the tools I can play (musical instrument metaphor), compared to those I play with (sandpit, training pool metaphor) ... and I suppose those ones I am obliged to master whether I like it or not (prescriptive tools for work and study - in at the deep end metaphor?!).

Conole (2011) invites us to use 'metaphors for meaning making'.

I always have, often visualising these metaphors. Just search this diary on 'Metaphor' to see what comes up. Also try words or phrases such as 'traffic light', 'nurture', 'gardening', 'swimming', 'spheres of influence', 'hub', 'serendipity' as well as 'water' and 'water-cycle'.

I therefore offer the following:

Linkedin (For Forums, like this, in groups and networks)

Wordpress (for blogging, sharing, wiki like affordances, training, updates)

iPad (or Tablet) (Whilst PCs and Laptops have considerable power and versatility

Twitter (only for niche/target live discussions or quasi-synchronous conversations.

The rest of it is 'Twitter Twaddle'

Spam of the worst kind being pumped out by pre-assigned links as CoTweets or random disconnected thoughts. This is killing some forums where RSS feeds of this stuff overwhelms any chance of a conversation).

I've seen two Forums killed, temporarily I hope, by this stuff, the largest victim being the Oxford University Alumni group.

I believe it is simply the case of a new moderator niavely permitting Twitter feeds in on a discussion, ie. having the conversations between 30 disrupted by the disconnected chattering of 300.

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Divided I sit

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 29 May 2011, 10:27

I've got a doppelganger: he's sitting opposite me.

We're on a see-saw.

At the moment I'm trying to get on with a Tutor Marked Assignment (H800, Masters in Open and Distance Education).

I'll be writing on the tutor and learner choices in relation to:

  • Visualisation of Learning Designs
  • Blogging
  • New Technologies in Learning (mobile)

while weaving in

  • Debates on the credibility/value of calling a generation 'Digital Natives' or some such.

My doppelganger is at work and eager for me to dip repeatedly into Linkedin.

There is some urgency here for me to identify and research a number of Open University Business School stories, always extraordinary narratives, in this case outside the UK. I'm using Linkedin to get in touch with the many associate lecturers who support our learning programme around the world.

So a bit of both.

By Tuesday I need to have the TMA written and would hope even to have a couple of stories coming through. (It may be Sunday morning but I've had one Associate Lecturer already reply).

What is the compulsion for some of us to use Social Media?

I wonder if it is the easy reward? I like listening to people's stories and we as humans love to tell tails. Personally is is low levels of dopamine in my mind that favours the novelty of the new relationship as it forms?

 

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Technology Acceptance Model and the Four Pleasures of Patrick Jordan

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 14:48

Fleshing out a visual strategy for social media for the OU Faculty of Business and Law in part from reading 'Inbound Marketing' (2011) David Merman Scott.

Putting Drupal into practice, laying the foundation for three wordpress blogs, hurting my head by watching Twitter feeds on TweetDeck, enjoying getting Linkedin.

Impressed (I'm very impressionable) by paper on the Technology Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989) and how it has been developed since.

I like the idea of Patrick Jordan's (2001) four pleasures related to technology adoption: physio-pleasure, socio-pleasure, psycho-pleasure and ide0pleasure; though I do NOT like the pseudo-science of the terminology.

From this I set:

I wish the OU student e-portfolio was a pleasure; I'm yet to find an e-portfolio that is so instead use a locked wordpress blog for the same functions.

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Spreading the word through multiple links in social media

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 13 May 2011, 15:44

A week ago I was clearing out the shed and came across a Diablo ... a Bowtie-like shape. It struck me that this could be a way to represent the traditional relationship between an organisation and the public, the messages are funnelled through a spot.

I've done various drawings on this theme

Each stage represents the spreading of the 'word' at and from a variety of 'touch points' in an organisation, gradually increasing so that dialogue between people inside and outside an organisation have increased greatly to their mutual benefit.

DSC01718.JPG

Then I say this, the light from a small vase on a table.

If I could visually double this up as a mirror image then I'd be getting some sense of the dynamism that is still a vital part of communications, as inventive as always, and usually all the IT tools at its disposal to create, share and respond,

DSC01725.JPG

Social Media isn't replacement anything ... it is easy, convenient and of the age. It suits and comes out of the direct way we've learnt to communicate through email and messaging.

All I visualise are these lines of 'activity' spreading between an institution and its public to create something that might resemble a funnel.

The same thinking applies to education, that the realtionship used to be funnel through a teacher to a student in a classroom who belong to a cohort, or through a lecturer into a lecture hall. The opportunity to create (or the necessity to permit) a broader breadth and depth of two way communication is permitted by social media.

These lines of communication are personal, and one to one.

They are forged through links in websites, links in print and from TV, links offered up through Twitter and blogs. They are conversations that are picked up in Linkedin or Facebook.

The expression 'old news keeps like fish' can no longer apply ... far from going off, the write message, insight or assistance is kept alive and made even more meaningful as it is shared and stored and linked to.

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The Now Revolution - let battle commence

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 May 2011, 18:52

My blogging skills were noticed. The task now it to focus them for a good cause - that cause if the Open University.

My reading and training list includes Facebook, Twitter and Linked in. Various books cover all the ground. As I child I had 'My very own learning to cook book.' The equivalent is the 'Dummies' series. I read them all 'Blogging for Dummies', 'Facebook for Dummies', even 'Twitter for Dummies'. They are written by the people who helped build these platforms and the mix of humour and practicle advise is invaluable.

This does it for Social Media

The%20NOW%20Revolution%20COVER%20GRAB.jpg

This, introduced in a Hubspot Webinar last week is a worthwhile read.

You could read a chapter a night and put what you read into practice the next day. Sounds like an OU MBA course - practised based learning. From my point of view I am seeking out that relationship where I can be pupil to a Master (Barrister), or shadow a Partner (Solicitor) ... even apprentice to a skilled craftsperson.

The skills of social media marketing and just a side step away from 'e-moderating' from what I see. My role is to act as a catalyst, to listen, comment and engage in equal measure.

The first time I visited the OU Campus I was gobsmacked by its scale. Today I was once again impressed by the quality of in-house training (on the Open Source Software used here called Drupal).

I took notes ... because it gave me some insight into the arguments for using Open Source. (Not so much from in the lion's den, but my head in its mouth).

I've read somewhere that students should look at the kind of organisation they are learning with. I have found already that 'flexibility' and support' don't just apply to students ... but applies to employees too.

New comers into distance learning will find this a difficult reputation to match.

p.s. I heard a great line from an OU academic the other day, 'it's as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet to happen'.

Now that its upon us can you think of anywhere on the globe better placed to flourish?

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The honest image - who are you or were you?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 4 Feb 2013, 09:32

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What image should we use to portray ourselves?

Is there such as thing as best practice? Ought it to be like joining a gym, we have a snapshot taken on a webcam and this current image, no matter how it comes out, becomes who we are?

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Do so few of us dislike or distrust what we see when we look at our faces in the mirror each morning?

It has been the subject of research, role play in online education; I'd like to do some of my own. I began a year ago with this.

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I liked the picture, felt it was healthy, robust and confident and confident.

I should have looked at the date on it. August 2004. Happy and sunny days. You age under stress and from the mid-40s it doesn't take much to add ten years -all that sun in the past, being unwell. As I write below, his spirit, like mine (I hope) remains that of an enthusiastic twenty-something. The same occurred with the Elluminate session we had in H800 the other day, the tutor on the webcam (initially in a scratchy black and white image) is not the person who goes by in the General Forum. Are we all guilty of this. Men included? We go with something in our late thirties or early to mid-forties?

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I then went with this.

An image I long ago used in my eleven year old blog. I wanted something that was indicative of the content and would last. I'm still inclined to run with this. It is indicative of what I think blogging is all about - the contents of your mind, what you think i.e. you 'mind bursts' as I call them on numerous blogs.

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Facebook personas sees me in a number of guises

While on Skype I use a image taken with the webcam on the day of an online interview - this is a month ago, so as contemporary as it gets.

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I have this image fronting Tumblr taken 21 years ago.

In moments of euphoria having just successfully negotiated a 15m pond of slush on a pair of skis in front of a crowd of early May skiers below the Tignes Glacier, France. The day I proposed to my wife. We'd be 'going out together' for three days ... we've now been together, well 21 years. In my original diary we could create banner ads to publicise what we had to say to fellow writers. One of these has a spread as long as the contents of my diaries and blog: they run from a 13 year old Head Chorister in cassock and ruffs, though gap, undergrad, to add exec, video director, with four woman I didn't marry.

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Increasingly, I am thinking of using a self-portrait, that this attempt to capture myself through my minds eye

is more telling that a photograph.

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I could use the drawing I did of a 14 year old

What amuses me most here is how I superimpose these attachments as if I were in a school play, the beard is clearly on the soft face of a pubescent boy - I should have looked at my grandfather for the face I'd get, with the more bulbous nose and pronounced chin. Talking of which, I find it intriguing that I am the spitting image of my grandfather, that my own children see images of him age 20 and think it has to be me. All that changes as he ages into a 40 and 50 year old is he goes bald, whereas I am thus far limited to a thinning of the crown.

This I'm afraid, if the age of my children in the rest of the picture is something to go by, is some seven years ago sad

My only reason for picking it is that I haven't renewed my contact lenses and am inclined, after twenty years wearing them to give up. Maybe laser surgery when I have the cash? This is contemporary. It doesn't say who I am, just 'what' I am. Wearing a child's hat (he's a dad), the headset to record notes onto a digital recorder (for a podcast), a coat he bought for honeymooning in the Alps (we went skiing) 18 years ago …

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I have of course not changed much since 1977

It takes me back to the original point - who are we? how do we representative ourselves online in a single image when we are all a sum of a complex of parts? Is it any wonder that we present multiple selves online, the more so the longer we've lived? I don't remember my father being around to take this picture. though clearly he did. I do remember the great-big wellies though and the joy of water spilling over the top if I could find a puddle or pond deep enough. And the jumpers knitted by my granny (sleeves always too long). And the trees in the garden I climbed behind. And my sister and brother … How set in were the learning process by then?

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The Dracula Spectacula, People's Theatre, Newcastle.

The teeth were made from dentine and fitted by an orthodontist.I rather foolishly sharpened the fangs and bit through my own lip on the last night. I had to sing while gargling my own blood. The joy of memories.

  • Could a daily snap taken when looking in the bathroom mirror be used to tag memories from that 'era' of your life?
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LT1.1 Learning Technologies. Day One. Snack from the eLearning Smorgasbord of Learning Technologies 2011

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 16:05

Olympia is like the interior of some vast World War II Normandy Gun Emplacement – all exposed blocks of concrete, exposed pipes, clattering stairwells and distant skylights.

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The catering is marginally better than that at Conference League game of football.

The layout of stands (or should I call them stalls) reminds me of an East European Department store in the early 1990s.

On registration you are handed a fat catalogue worthy of IKEA, sadly your journey around the show is anything like as smooth or as comprehensive – more like shuffling through a multi-story car-park full of baldy parked 4x4s.

The lecture ‘theatres’ are open plan and back to back; they conflict for attention. The combination of two speakers at it, never mind music from surrounding stands, obliges a ‘sit-forward and concentrate’ mentality. Imagine two noisy street shows in action simultaneously on the cobles of Covent Garden.

Stalls, not stands, was the behaviour too of some selling their services, with leaflets thrust into your hands and conversations started that you didn’t want whether eye contact was made or not); the inclination is to make a blunt response; the danger is that you soon find yourselves burdened with the equivalent of every Sunday newspaper in one go.

There was a hint of desperation about some of it.

None of this is conducive to enjoyment or appropriate for a showcase of e-learning technology 2011.

Despite this I’m preparing to return for a second day.

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I attended with a producer from E-Learning Productions. I go wearing three hats: producer of content, learning manager wannabe and Open University MA student in his 'second year' of Open and Distance Education - starting H800 around now (I think the virtual gates to the module open on the 27th).

The quality of the Learning Technologies presentations (with one exception) and the stands that we chose, rather than chose us, was impressive.

Much of it rings true, reinforcing our views on where we feel the market is going, this was especially the case with the Video Arts presentation ‘Video learning: anywhere, anytime and just in time.’

Blog entries below indicate where and why I think video will take over from print; this was demonstrated by Video Arts.


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Drawing on a back catalogue of high quality, humour and drama-based learning Video Arts have created a digital platform that allows users to pick ‘n mix clips to assemble a learning programme of their own.

These ‘chunks’ of ‘stuff’ make a bespoke learning programme.

I question how ‘right way, wrong way’ illustrated with humour always works, wondering if the humour and the performance is recalled, but the message lost. Which is why I’d expect all learning to be measured for effectiveness, the brutal answers of success or failure being the test of a good learning programme.

Emerging challenges in learning: proving the business value answered any concerns or interest I might have in gauging effectiveness.

Though competing with presentation immediately behind in Theatre 2, Jeff Berk delivered an insightful, packed, brutally stark means to measure the effectiveness of training.

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Jeff's background as an auditor showed, but my creative head said that whatever ways or means of communicating ideas, of sharing knowledge and experience, of teaching, of learning, that I may devise or select ‘off-the-shelf’ or from one of these ‘stalls,’ www.Knowledgeadvisors.com will tell me if it worked or not, if not why not, if so where so, and what to change and how.

An invaluable service that must form the part of any learning and training programme budget.

The thread of the presentation, that felt like an attempt to run through the contents of Wikipedia in 30 minutes, was that Training Managers should ‘replace the smile sheet, with the smart sheet.’

I buy that.

Jeff spoke of ‘improving human capital performance.'

I like the idea of ‘sensitivity analysis’ and ‘action metrics’ helping the learning consultant in a business discussion identifying actual rather than perceived problems to get a fix.

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I take away too the idea of ‘Scrap Learning’ and ‘Pointers for Change,’ as well as ‘Actionable Metrics,’ a ‘dashboard of summarised information for senior managers.

Had I been to Learning Technologies the week before rather than a week before a job interview I wonder if the outcome would have been different?

This stuff matters, and now I know it.

Jeffrey Berk is quotable; it is corporate speak at its best. ‘Leverage methodology into the spirit of the technology,’ he said.

There’s a White Paper ‘Standard Reports of the Future’ that you can request by email Jeff the COO of Knowledge Advisors on jberk@knowledgeadvisors.com.

Leadership for the 21st Century and how to achieve it was a dreary, ill-considered Slide Show read out by a presenter who I sensed hadn’t seen the slides until the moment they appeared on the wall behind him. He read, verbatim from notes, his head buried in the lectern.

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No introduction, just started reading as if someone had put 50p in a Juke Box.

The best demonstration of how to present badly I have ever witnessed and after two minutes I was desperate to escape.

Mercifully what was billed as 30 minute presentation barely lasted 10.

The clichéd jigsaw piece analogy, the lengthy self-quoting of the long dead American who devised the programmed smacked of an attempt to sell 1970s fashioned Moon Boots at a desert oasis.

Fusion Learning have a theatre-cum-stand.

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They compete successfully with the hubbub and take the idea of the market stall to its obvious corporate conclusion. It would be unfair to say that Steve Dineen was selling product out the back of a lorry, but the simple lay-out of stand as platform, replete with headset and microphone suggested something of this ilk. Though no visitor to a street market is going to be sitting in front of a laptop, watching an interactive presentation and receiving a back massage.

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Quotes can be scattered around a presentation like baubles on an over-decorated Christmas tree, but this one from Einstein worked in this context.

‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ Albert Einstein.

Fusion Universal take an idea that is a decade old and do it better.

How to animation on Microsoft Product delivered via a searchable ‘just in time format.’

For example, I can’t get my head around the plethora of choices regarding headers and footers in the new word package. Type, search, click and I get a voiced animation of how to do it. A decade ago I bought this kind of thing on a CD-ROM for £75, today I take out an annual subscription, select from a multitude of bite-size ‘info drops’ and may even contribute my own ‘how to ‘ clips should I think I have a fix, a better fix, or an alternative fix or just fancy myself as a presenter, voice over artists and director/writer of video-based assets.

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Like Steve, I too change into ‘soft shoes’ when faced with being on my feet all day.

Had I a budget this alone would have had me signing up to their services.

He wore sheepskin moccasins. I think if all delegates left their shoes at registration and padded around in slippers or socks it would be conducive to a far more chilled atmosphere.

walk around the lanes in Brighton and you will come across many of the organisations presenting here; Epic, Kineo, Edvantage and Brightwave are four that come to mind. Perhaps these organisations should band together to bring customers to them on the Brighton Seafront; or does Wired Sussex does this already? __________________________________________________________________________________

Naomi Norman introduced Epic beginning with a reminder of their impactful, PR coup, the annual e-learning debate in the Oxford Union.

This is a non-Oxford event, despite the implied cache, that uses the debating chamber ahead of the academic year.

It attracts interest, not least to Epic’s LinkedIn E-learning forum that I find a constant stream of intelligent, current thinking, or as Naomi put it, ‘good, memorable, engaging interactions.’

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The presentation in relation to mobile learning is succinctly expressed as:

‘Learning in the moment, Learning across space and learning across time.’

We saw highly simplified 2d animations that mixed a bit of silent movie text and Captain Pugwash paper-cut outs to give gobbets of information on First Aid. More at www.firstaid.co.k (free download).

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Also some of the 20 hours of materials, 4 hours of it video, for Collins for whom Epic have turned an entire two years GCSE Maths Curriculum into a smart phone App.

My colleague and I debated some of the more confusing visuals for this course on the way home and reckoned our children would only engage with the content if they had to, and would probably try to cram it all in the day before an exam. i.e. parents become tutors and facilitators, somehow having to cajole some interest in engagement early on, with rewards for completion of modules.

The idea that a book will teach a 13 year old something, let alone a game like platform, ignores the fact that in isolation this kind of self-directed learning doesn’t happen without the outside influence of schools, parents and most especially peer pressure.

Marcus Boyes clicked through a mobile learning website developed by Epic.

It was a convincing demonstration of how rapidly a complex task that may have taken many months, can be compressed into a few weeks, leaving content creators to compose. I liken it to an conductor having an assembled brass band with players who can play and instruments that work, rather than finding you have to first make the instruments and then learn how to play them.

Go compose.

Far from farting about (as he put it) I found Marcus informed, engaged, practical and agile. He is the perfect tech savvy person, passionate about what he does and mindful of the need to make things easy. I want to go home and 'make an App' myself. In fact, with a shelf of 4,000 charts, 400 photos and about 10,000 words the Skieasy Books I took to Collins in 1991 may yet find their way into publication.

I can see virtue in going straight to Mobile application.

If it works in this format then you’ve got something write, as Einstein desires, you’ve made it simple. Then you get all the gains of being mobile, engaging the learning any moment in the day when they have downtime.

There’s a White Paper. Stand 54. Or from Epic’s website.Or from me now that I'vedownloaded it.

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Go register. They're worth it.

And this App for LinkedIn from EIPC looks useful.

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I like these papers, but sometimes question their academic validity.

A white paper pre-supposes peer review and scrutiny in an academic setting. Has this happened? I let my OU colleagues take a view. If published in a reputable journal I'd buy it.

Go see.

Much more on Video Arts to follow.


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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jan 2011, 07:09

Nearly three hours after sitting down to work on the ECA I have blogged ONE only of the two ideas in my mind (expressing them takes considerably longer than simply having them). The good news is that this effort has developed my ability to use Artpad and a tablet to do a sketch and share it, to link articles from New Scientist and my entries to various versions of me. I have contributed to the Tutor Group and H808 Course forums, and so no doubt confirmed my approach to the ECA, which is still 9 days away ... and grabbed, cut or loaded five or six items into my OU eportfolio, which I still trust will be successfully transmogrified into something better during the course of 2011 without content being lost. I really do not want to give a week to transferring over 1000 pages ... one at a time. Currently nothing will export by the routes supplied.

I'm not ADHD but I am easily distracted, drawn into a web of my own making as I click here, there and everywhere to achieve some simple goal.

However, I am grinning from ear to ear because my brain is buzzing with ideas; I like it this way. I'll keep the blog on quantum evolution 'til tomorrow. Meanwhile I have to have a haircut, and decorate a wall in my wife's study so that when I am on Skype to New York this evening I don't look as if I've just got out of bed ... which is of course how anyone looks if they work from home and call this work.

The thing is there are relevant voices speaking to me from all kinds of directions.

I relish the LinkedIn E-learning 2.0 forum threads that pop up all day; they are read, some deserve a response, or at least being snatched for future reference. And when I want to achieve something with an image, audio or video, I will stick with the software, or ditch it for something else, until I get the outcome I desire.

So am I learning, even if the contents of my head must wait while my fingers play.

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