With the May 4th elections fast approaching I'm out and about 'door knocking', delivering newsletters and creating social media for the Lewes Green Party. Otherwise I have my daily vigil to the woods: typically Markstakes Common, though other woods around Lewes are available. All this and weekly printmaking at Bip-Art in Brighton.
My new found interest in trees goes back many decades ... as a boy it was climbing in them and making dens from fallen wood. Today I want to plant them, see them grow through the seasons and identify them on dog walks. I had might as well be learning a new language; I am learning a new language.
Slowly but surely I am becoming familiar with leaf shape and size, trunk colour and texture and the tree's silhouette. Some I like to think I know: oak and chestnut, for example, only to discover there are two types of each. Ditto maple. As for the generic term 'fir tree' ... here of course there are many different varieties (few native to england).
This learning journey came about due to another staycation and a desire to do more that 'take in the view' so I joined the Woodland Trust and have ticket off most of their woods in Sussex (east and west) since September - despite a few weeks hiatus with a horrible cold. I know have a handful of my favourite woods not too far from Lewes. I have visited several three or more times: William's Wood, Warninglid; Moat Wood, East Hoathly; Lake Wood, Uckfield; Kiln Wood, Blackboys and Brede High Wood north of Hastings & Rye.
Late summer has turned into autumn with winter nudging in from the north. I am getting used to the changing scenery and smells, though sadly in this part of the world two things remain constant: traffic noise and planes coming into or leaving London airports, mostly Gatwick but I suspect some of from Heathrow. I wonder sometimes if I ought to put in earphones.
I have reached that stage in the learning process where I have read a few books and started my own observations. This kind of thing, as well as taking photographs, and measuring the girth of tree trunks ought to be starting to help. I use Waze to get there, AllTrails around the woods, PictureThis for the fauna and flora and The Woodland Trust Management Plan for that wood for the detail. Early days, as I said, these plans indicate that there are many trees, and as much variety in the undergrowth on on the forest floor - but am I yet disentangle this.
Teaching trees and woodland management might be the next step. I take an interest in the activities of Lewes Urban Arboretum.
If the OU MAODE is the wood, and the trees are clients or individual e-learning projects then working in Quality Assurance for a global company you could say I am like a botanist up the tree with a magnifying glass and a noteback (although in my case that would be an iPad).
All day, every day viewing and reviewing e-tivities, or learning objects, as well as scanning copy, checking layout, thinking about usability and generally as forester or gardener helping to nurture these things through.
It'll be fascinating to do my last MAODE module while in this environment (if I have any energy left at the end if each day/week).
Think of this as a leaf
We've gone through an era of learning as 'trees of knowledge'; now all the leaves have blown off. With everything tagged and searchable you can still find what you need on the ground.
This is the idea
I buy this, more or less. I'd been thinking of it like this for some years, but today I've moved on - it doesn't work.
It doesn't work given that the leaves can be any asset that can be digitised. With the leaf analogy we have to set parameters and have types of leaf (even across plant species, or across the cycle of seasons in temperate climate, there isn't scale or variety that is adequate).
I question digital data or aggregations of binary code being given an organic reference
I prefer to think of the Internet and the World Wide Web as an ocean and 'stuff' as water molecules.With this analogy we can throw in the water-cycle, icebergs and glaciers, clouds, rivers and tributaries ... snow and storms.
Everything is random
It is until you give it value, until you file or tag it. If you neither file nor tag, then your digital 'stuff' may was well not exist, not for sharing at least. How will you find it?
'Everything is miscellaneous' (David Weinberger) is a worthwhile read: cover-to-cover.
'The best digital strategy is to dump everything into one large miscellaneous pile and leave it to the machines to find exactly the table settings we need for tonight's dinner'. p85
I was reading 'The Cluetrain Manifesto' that includes a David Weinberger contribution too - I loathe it (for now). I'll keep wondering why:
Because it reads like a collection of smalmy articles for 'Esquire' ?
Because it invites dialogue but in print form there is none - like going to a party and only being in a position to listen to the guys who have had too much to drink and think they know it all.
(This may be a love/hate relationship developing here ... it challenges me to return to the text. Which reminds me, it was intriguing to find the OU Library copy of the book full of pencil mark highlights and notes. See, a reader couldn't resist i.e. it isn't content for print).
Weinberger imagined what it would be like to be sitting in a new home with 157 moving boxes all labelled 'miscellaneous' - (87) Sound like a great way to get out of a house, just box it up and go. I even like the random nature of what you then find yourself with.
Where is the role of serendipity in this searchable and tagged world of ours?
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