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Why bother to blog? There are some good reasons if you're an academic:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Nov 2011, 16:16
Why blog? The lecturer's story

Dr Matthew  Ashton's blog

http://drmatthewashton.com/

Six months updating it roughly once a day.  around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.

WHY? A rewarding experience

1) New ways of:

teaching learning student engagement

A wide range of political topics every week.  Students  don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. an excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.

Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge. 

Saturday on “Political advertising”  helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning. 

By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources. 

2) Encouraging writing and research

500 words acts as a warm  up exercise  A way of stockpiling material. Prepared 3) New ways of sharing ideas and research  findings

VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals  can take years.

It  can act as an unofficial means of peer review.

4) Engaging with people outside the academic 

Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds. For instance I’ve had some  illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution. 

 In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.

5) Raising your academic profile

It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university. 

On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania. 

On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.

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H800 WK25 Activity 5 Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:53

To what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

The answer is to look both ways and to do so with aplomb.

Janus%252520Greek%252520GOD%252520looks%252520both%252520ways%252520SNIP.JPG

Read Woolgar’s five themes.

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context

 

Liff et al. (2002) demonstrated the importance of ‘third-place’ settings, separate from both home and work, as influential in engaging a wide range of local people in using the internet: museums, trains or jogging circuits. In all these places technology now enables people to learn using the resources of formal education. The idea of ‘place’ takes on a new form, as the boundaries of a multitude of sites are crossed.

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed

Woolgar cites research into surveillance equipment in support of this theme. Counter to expectation, for example, surveillance technologies in the workplace were not found to be generally resisted by workers. However, acceptance was undermined by the failures of the technology to meet design specifications. This led to extra work and sometimes the technology had to be scaled back (Mason et al., 2002). There are differences between staff and students in universities, in terms of perception and usage of ICT.

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities

Electronic communication has multiplied the use of paper in offices, though we can read material online. Learners may feel less need for the printed page. Educators look to substitute electronic supports for expensive and scarce direct tutor contact.

4

The more virtual the more real

One unanticipated outcome of teleworking was that travel increased. Electronic communication increased the number of clients contacted and a face-to-face meeting was then required. Computer-mediated communication is being used, partly because it offers benefits for learning and partly because students seem less able to, or to have less time available for, travel to study centres to attend tutorials. It may be, however, that mediated communication using one tool encourages a somewhat different form using other tools. Thus learners may use forums provided by their institution, but also Facebook, Skype and Twitter.

 

5

The more global the more local

‘The very effort to escape local context, to promote one’s transcendent global (and/or virtual) identity, actually depends on specifically local ways of managing the technology’ (Woolgar, 2002, p.19). In Singapore, for example, the Singapore Institute of Management was the base for provision, and a careful fostering of mutual understandings between the two organisations was developed over at least a decade

Educational provision is typically seen as valid and trusted only if it is located within recognised local institutions and accredited by local awarding bodies – even though the technology enables all aspects of a course to be delivered electronically from the originating institution.

Having just completed the activities about Second Life, to what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context.

 

Not one bit, in this case any versioning is simply the English language (US).

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed.

The context will include access to broadband, a computer, time to indulge, family attitudes to gaming, space in the home, time to indulge, other commitments (persona, family, school and/or work).

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities.

 

Substitute. It has become too easy to tap into a game that is, like the modem and some computing devices, on through all waking hours and readily accessible. A blended form of activity often occurs with participants playing together online, sometimes coming round to each other’s houses to do so.

 

4

The more virtual the more real.

On the contrary, seeking out the tricks and cheats is very much the culture of gaming. Even if you don’t have wholly real-life attributes ways are found to defy gravity, walk through walls, I’ve even see a sub-culture underneath or behind the game in which you behave/exist play and muck about ‘subway’ like behind the set, as it were.

 

5

The more global the more local.

In the context of business working at the OU Business and Law School I have first hand knowledge of how OU materials are developed for Russian partners (the 1000th MBA student celebrated this week) and are being initiated in Japan while having various other local centres globally. Though NOT in the US or France where local politics have restricted tutoring on the ground.

Select two of the five themes that you feel most strongly reflect the way in which you perceive the effects that technology is making currently in a context known to you.

Reflection

Example

4

The more virtual the more real

On the one hand there is a culture of gaming that attracts escapism and engenders a rule-breaking sub-culture of hacking with cheats a supplementary and important quest and reward. On the other webcasting and conferences whilst becoming more real, speaking and seeing each other in real-time, nonetheless afford less than real behaviours.

 

I attended a live-cast 250 miles away and did so in my PJs, not dressed for the office. When interviewed by an organisation in New York I set up an redecorated one corner of a bedroom rather than reveal that I was sitting either at the end of a bed, or at the kitchen table, or in an office the size of a walk-in cupboard and as messy as a shed-used as a dump for unwanted stuff. It is a different reality, sometimes a ‘hyper-real,’ that as we become familiar with its nuances will play to these differing attributes and so become distinct from reality … or of course, enrolled in that universe that we call ‘real’, which of course it is.

5

The more global the more local

Thinking directly of the technology, it strikes me that there is a global language: HTML. Are these codes not universal?

Watch the HSBC bank ads and see how we have two distinct types: the importance of local knowledge on the one hand, followed by the current roll-out support for their ‘Key’ which is universal. i.e. there is a duality, that is Janus-like. Aptly Janus is the god of transitions. He is depicted as having two faces on his head facing opposite directions and so look simultaneously into the future and the past, back at the last year and forward to the next. What strikes me about HSBC is that whilst globally owned and operated, it works to meet not impose local cultures; while this new ‘key’ with its diddy 1970s like plastic key-ring calculator code generator and the concept of bolts, locks and vaults, feels highly retro.

 

REFERENCE

Liff, S., Steward, F. and Watts, P. (2002) ‘New public places for internet access: networks for practice-based learning and social inclusion’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.78–98.

Mason, D., Button, G., Lankshear, G. and Coates, S.(2002) ‘Getting real about surveillance and privacy at work’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.137–52.

Thorpe, M. and Godwin, S. (2006) ‘Computer-mediated interaction in context’ in Markauskaite, L., Goodyear, P. and Reimann, P. (eds) ‘Who’s Learning? Whose Technology?’, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, University of Sydney, Australia; also available online at http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res20033 (last accessed 10 February 2011).

Thorpe, M. (2008) Effective online interaction: mapping course design to bridge from research to practice, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol.24, no.1, pp.57–72. This article provides an in-depth case study of a well-designed sequence of conferencing and online activity and introduces a particular form of concept mapping called ‘compendium’ to demonstrate the design.

Thorpe, M. (2009) ‘Technology-mediated learning contexts’ in Edwards, R., Biesta, G. and Thorpe, M. (eds) Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching: Communities, Activities and Networks, Abingdon, Routledge, pp.119–32.

Woolgar, S. (1999) ‘Analytic scepticism’ in Dutton, W.D. (ed.) Society on the Line: Information Politics in the Digital Age, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Woolgar, S. (ed.) (2002) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

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H800 WK3 Bridging the individual and the social: Engeström

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 14:26

Bridging the individual and the social

Personal experience of learning and reflection on a wide range of different examples of learning may well undermine categorical distinctions between individual and social, acquisition and participation.

Not only are the boundaries between these distinctions difficult to define, they may be fluid and problematic, particularly in technology-enhanced learning.

Sfard (1998) argues that the acquisition and participation metaphors should not be seen as competing or enforcing a choice.

Her argument is based on the huge diversity of learning (particularly when looked at across cultures) and the wisdom of keeping different perspectives in play. No perspective has all the answers and there are both pragmatic and theoretical dangers in using only one conception.

Activity systems

Underlying these debates is a philosophical issue about how to bridge between individual experience and social structures; how individuals with limited experience and mental resources are able to learn about the world outside themselves and beyond their direct experience.

Vygotsky’s (1978) cultural historical approach emphasises the way in which learning involves tools – symbolic as well as physical – that express the history and culture of a society. Individuals interact with the environment using such tools, so that their action and their thinking are both enlarged and also bounded by the qualities and potential of the tool.

Yrjö Engeström, a Finnish researcher at the University of Helsinki, has built on these foundations and has developed an approach to learning that focuses not on the individual doing the learning or on community practices, but on the activity system.

In cultural-historical activity theory … the unit of analysis is a historically evolving, collective artefact-mediated activity system … Most learning consists of learning actions embedded in activities whose object and motive is not learning as such.

(Tuomi-Gröhn and Engeström, 2003, pp.28–9)

The importance of Engeström’s activity theory is that he shifts the analysis of learning from the individual to the activity system.

An activity system involves all those elements, as shown in Figure 1 (below).

Engeström and others have used this framework (set out in Figure 1) for the analysis of learning, describing the elements and their relationships as follows:

We take Leont’ev’s (1978) idea of collective activity system as unit of analysis seriously.

This means that learning is distributed in an object-oriented activity system, mediated by instruments, rules and division of labour (Figure 1). The learning of the activity system and the learning of an individual are intertwined, and the individual’s learning is understandable only if we understand the learning of the activity system. This does not mean that the subject position and agency are handed over to a mysterious collective entity. Different individuals and groups involved in an activity system take and leave the subject position as they produce specific goal-oriented actions. Thus, the detailed configuration of the activity system changes in each action.

(Tuomi-Gröhn and Engeström, 2003, p.30)
Diagram showing the activity theory triangle

Figure 1 shows the activity theory triangle in which the subject uses tools (or instruments) in relation to achievement of an objective that has an outcome. Relationships between these three elements and the wider triangle of rules (i.e. governing frameworks for behaviour), community and the division of labour within the activity system influence the learning taking place. The triangle thus offers a descriptive framework within which to map out learning-related actions using tools, and their relationships within specific communities and social structures.

This activity theory could be applied to a student at The Open University for example – the student taking the subject position in Figure 1. The tools used by a student are all the module materials and resources available to them, plus their existing knowledge of the area they are studying. The object is the ideas, practices and competences that are the focus for the student’s learning, with the intended outcome of passing the module.

The rules of engagement require the student to submit work for assessment by stated deadlines, drawing on their study of the module and representing their own work fairly. The community consists of, among others, OU students, tutors, university staff and, perhaps, workplace mentors and assessors. The division of labour has a key and familiar distinction, in that tutors mark students’ work, whereas module teams create material and have authority in relation to assessment. This, in brief, is an outline of how the activity theory framework can be used to describe the activity of being an OU student.

REFERENCE

Leontiev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness, and personality. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Sfard, A. (1998) ‘On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one’, Educational Researcher, vol.27, no.2, pp.4–13; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176193 (last accessed 10 December 2010).

Tuomi-Gröhn, T. and Engeström, Y. (2003) ‘Conceptualizing transfer: from standard notions to developmental perspectives’ in Tuomi-Gröhn, T. and Engeström, Y. (eds) Between School and Work: New Perspectives on Transfer and Boundary-crossing, Oxford, Elsevier Science Ltd., pp.19–38

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.

 

 

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H800 WK25 Activity 4 Role-play and learning in virtual and made-up worlds

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:23

We role-play as children to make sense of the world, we take on multiple personas to some degree in real-life as well.

I am particularly taken by the way people with a disability can walk in a virtual world (Peachey 2010) or indeed how any of us can fly and do much more in these environments (die and repeatedly come back to life of course.)

Dracula%252520Spectacula%2525201979.JPG

At no cost my dentist, or rather our family dentist, made a set of dentures for me out of dentine that fitted over my teeth. This allowed me to sing. I foolishly sharpened the fangs and promptly punctured my lower lip. I learnt by the way that unless I could have dislocated my jaw biting someone's neck is impossible. Vampires should bite the wrist or leg, but then all, or at least the obvious sexual innuendos are lost.

Was I living out a fantasy when I played Dracula in my teens?

I kept acting into my twenties until I decided that my mental state couldn't handle the selection process (rejection) and my experience in front of camera and on stage left me bored senseless (I had minor roles).

Do actors, as in role-play, have to overcome or compensate for who they are?

Peachy raises all the points in a common- sense and everyday way. I can imagine or should research where stepping into the role of an avatar has life- saving qualities, for example is not learning to fly a commercial jet-airliner in a simulator not a form of virtual role-play? I believe firemen are trained in virtual set-ups too and believe the nuclear power industry do so too.

The trouble with doing this in a learning context is the huge development costs. i.e. It has to be better to use a ready made platform. I then ask though, what is wrong with using our imaginations, that improvising and role-play doesn't require the disguises?

REFERENCE

Peachey, A. (2010) ‘Living in immaterial worlds: who are we when we learn and teach in virtual worlds?’ in Sheehy, K., Ferguson, R. and Clough, G. (eds) Virtual Worlds: Controversies at the Frontier of Education (Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World), New York, NY, Nova Science.

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H800 activity 4 virtual worlds cross dressing and role-play

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:36

I have an avatar.

In World of Warcraft.

My son took me through the set- up, vital for any software, have an informed and experienced teacher.

I wasn't allowed to make one quick choice, I had to look at the options. He had views as well as information concerning all the characters. My wife joins in and we plum for a female as the way she poses and sticks out hefty butt when she shuffles about made us laugh. I think I am a night elf. Unable to give her a real name (all taken) I got for Val d'Isere ... Which gets transmuted into Valdesire. This is a lady with attitude; I guess I see myself as a Lara Croft type smile

Aided by my son he insists we skip the intros.

Intermittently he reaches over and gives me a belt, boots and a sword. And were off. I know I am painfully slow for him but after while I can position myself in front of a hovering, dragon slug thing which seems about as easy to kill as standing on a snail. I gain pouts, collect stuff and go up a few levels.

I assume my son is off to the bathroom when he goes of, actually he has signed on a second computer and with delight says the person I am standing next to, my twin but wearing clothes is him and his (her) name is 'Notvaldesire'.

'Let's have a dual,' he says and knowing what he is like I get my sword out and put in a strike only to have some god-like voice/ figure berate us.

On returning from the shops I ask if anything had happened as my wife had taken over 'Our Val.'

We had to sell all you clothes, he said, to buy a spell that didn't work.'

Having no clothes has me think of the only campus Second Life I'm aware of at Sussex University where I understand that repeated calls go out for everyone in Second Life to take their clothes off sad

Thinking about role play as I wondered through Lewes I saw groups of language students in the same blue-tops and football fans gathering before going off to a match.

This is the town where a substantial part of the town dress up for November 5th, indeed I am in Commercial Square and dress up as a Confederate Soldier each year. We joined as newcomers to the town 11 years ago; as a social network it is extraordinarily effective.

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H800 WK25 Does technology diminish or enhance the role of the educator?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:31

 

World%252520of%252520Warcraft%252520CHARACTER%252520SNIP.JPG

My son might be online playing World of War craft often, but so are two or three of his best mates.

From time to time they down tools (weapons, magic wands or whatever it might be) and head into town, or meet up to kick a ball around. Ditto my daughter whose use of the internet is exclusively to talk more with her immediate circle of friends.

This is real.

A colleague who has had the 'social media manager' tag at the OU has gone the full loop and is a 'Communications Manager' despite being online all day. I see her point, we differentiate new practices with new terms, but drop them once we see them in context.

It has happened sooner that I thought but there ought to be no need to different 'learning' from 'e-learning' as it is just learning that exploits new platforms and tools.

The human element is important.

Our human nature demands that we have physical contact with others. We are sociable, which interestingly has me spending increasingly amounts of time as a 'social media manager' in meetings or calling up people to meet face to face over lunch or a coffee.

I appreciate that the MAODE is all online.

I wonder however if this 'purist' point of view is sustainable or even desirable. Or do those who can and want to meet up do so anyway?

(Meeting a fellow MAODEr for the very first time a few weeks ago was odd. We felt we knew eachother, there was no 'ice to break' as we'd worked on group tasks together in a previous module).

Not once have I imagined the technology making the genuine educator redundant i.e. someone whose modus operandi is to help students acquire knowledge and apply it, even to instill a life long love of learning with some tools and techniques to see them through.

Oggy%252520the%252520Cave%252520Painter%252520SNIP.JPG

If on a holiday to the Dordogne you came across a person from the Paleolithic painting in a cave would you leave him to it, or offer him your oils and sable brushes, or show him how to use a digital camera? (or her of course).

You don't change the desire for self-expression, or capturing the world around you.

I know educators in their 80s who marvel at the Internet and the opportunity it offers to inform thousands.

Just think of an academic paper that in the past (and still) may be formally presented to a group of ten in the faculty, a group of thirty at a conference, then published ... and quickly forgotten, compared to an age where such papers are presented face to face as described, but live through livestreaming or a webcast to several hundred, then shared, copied and commented upon by thousands, and before it is even formally published may be gathering in a large readership?

And this is done by nursery, primary and secondary school educators too.

You have an idea for a class, you share it and if it is liked, it is picked up and used in many ways by many different people.

Its no longer a case of saying, 'I wish I had done that.' With permission/creative commons, OER and all that, you can use the fruits of someone else's efforts, tweaked and personalised of course.

I rather think it is an exciting time to be working in education.

Personally I hanker after contact though, to address, mentor and coach people, probably young adults.

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Sometimes only paper will do

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 00:26

Whilst I read books and papers using an eReader there are at times when only paper will do.

H800%252520WK25%252520Highlights%252520on%252520Paper.jpg p>

Reading course notes in H800 of the Masters in Open and Distance Education, WK25.

The again, MindCreator, an App for the iPad is rather useful. Updating this Personal Learning Environment mindmap perhaps suggests I spend very little time 'on paper,' and a good deal of time 'online'. I post this thinking it is up to date; having joined Google+ yesterday the interplay of tools here may change again.

Have we ever lived in such a fluid world?

JFV%252520PLE%252520Mindmap%252520August%2525202011.jpg

Created in MindCreator

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H800 WK25 Sage on the stage or guide on the side

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 12:42

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Sage on the Stage or Guide on the side?

I don't like the idea that somehow technology is diminishing the value of the educator by implying that they have gone from, and may be demoted to a 'sage on the stage'.

The best teacher never did pontificate, their position on the stage may have been as a result of their expertise, surely in Higher Education, if not early.

But for the transference of knowledge to the 'unknowing' student to occur they'd have to be all kinds of things to all kinds of people; sometimes a sage on the stage, often a guide on the side. Bill Furniss who coaches Rebecca Adlington and other swimmers is literally the 'guide on the side;' this doesn' t means he doesn't know hus subject.

Is a conductor a guide or sage?

What ICT allows is for individuals in the learning process to identify themselves by their role, so that the sage this morning csn be your guide in the evening.

In any case, who says the role of guide is any less sacrosanct?

I find increasingly, the more that I use them, that Stumbleupon and Zite are my guide on the side.

What I crave therefore is a conversation with the sages on the stages.

Come forth Martin Weller, Grainne Conole snd Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, ket's be hearing from you Chris Pegler and Mary Thorpe, you too Denise Kirkpatrick.

(see comments in Linkedin forum)

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H800 WK15 Activity 1 What's the Web 2.0 role of the educator ?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Nov 2011, 22:16

H800 WK15 Activity 1

Read Haythornthwaite (2008), ‘Ubiquitous Transformations’: Proceedings of the Networked Learning Conference, Halkidiki, 2008.

QQ1 What evidence is there of this shift towards taking responsibility for learning by the learners themselves?

There will be those who come to learning online who are used to being in control online, so they won't feel like a pupil entering a classroom, a student in a lecture hall or tutorial, a stranger in a strange land. Rather they will feel it is their domain, at best a shared domain, more like a visit to the leisure centre than to an elitist insitution where those in it have progressed as a result of proving their elite status.

‘Internet-based trends that emphasize contribution, conversation, participation, and community exercise a significant impact on learning.’ Haythornthwaite 2008:598

‘Participatory action has now spread to many aspects of daily life, often brought together under the label Web 2.0’. (O’Reilly, 2005). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)

It still matters for credibility of the qualification, evidence that you’ve done the work, evidence that you’ve picked the brains of and had your brain picked over by subject matter experts of a reputable established. It matters for the sake of guidance, perhaps the metaphor of railway tracks less appropriate given the freedoms afforded by the mobile internet, but even a kite-surfer has had to take instruction, purchase the right kit, maintain it, then seek and take advice from those wiser and more experienced.

I like the idea of the Learner Leader and picking up on the thinking of Cox on ‘participator learning’ and from John Seely-Brown learning ‘learning from the periphery’.

Where appropriate, participants come to shared definition of meanings through collaborative, conversational interaction.

Such emergent learning practices reinforce ideas from:

·         collaborative learning theories (Bruffee, 1993; Koschmann, 1996; Miyake, 2007; Haythornthwaite, Bruce, Andrews, Kazmer, Montague, Preston, 2007),

·         model what others have described as the learning behaviour of experts (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1996).

In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)

QQ2 Is Haythornthwaite’s account an idealised version of learner behaviour in your view?

‘These new media lay the foundation for radical transformations in who learns from whom, where, under what circumstances, and for what and whose purpose. In short, they indicate a transformation to ubiquitous learning – a continuous anytime, anywhere, anyone contribution and retrieval of learning materials on and through the Internet and its technologies, communities, niches and social spaces’. (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)

The reality is that we human beings have far more important, pressing and natural urges and desires that incline us towards those around us, and from communities with whom we find we have the greatest affinities. As young adults our intentions and outlooks may shift, but this would occur anyway, the internet offering, to use as 60s view of television, a ‘window on the world’.

This statement denies that learning takes place outside the classroom or away from formal texts. It has always been the case that substantially more learning goes on in the home, at play, from family and friends. All we’ve discovered, like the devices that many of us now carry around, is that we are always turned on.

‘E-learning’ signifies a transformation in learning rather than a transition from off- to on-line (Andrews & Haythornthwaite, 2007).

As Haythornthwaite indicates here, the technologies are not exclusive.

And as Wellman (2002) suggests the contexts in which transformation occurs are diverse, with each one having a different stance. Transformations that do not fit easily with utopian visions accompany distributed practices, including outsourcing, offshoring, disintermediation, and networked individualism (Wellman, 2001), each of which entails a general redistribution of processes and responsibilities to individuals.

The Pew Internet project (Horrigan, 2006) reports that 71% of the adult population surveyed turn to the Internet for science information because of its convenience, and only 13% because they feel it is more accurate.

Where’re not talking about the adult population, we’re talking about specific cohorts of students who could just as well be in primary, secondary, tertiary or postgraduate education. Whilst in the adult population who go online 1% actively blog, in the undergraduate student population this rises to 34%.

The dominance of Google is waning; increasingly people using mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) use Apps to aggregate content. The choices are becoming more personalised and informed.

But as with many other utopian predictions about how the open nature of the Net will create arenas that transcend foibles of the physical world; our faults have followed us to cyberspace. (Levy, 2004, np). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)

QQ3 In the light of your own responses and experience, does this ‘new paradigm’ indicate the redundancy of the practitioner?

Or, on the contrary, does it indicate the need for a practitioner with in-depth knowledge of how new technologies can be harnessed and with the time to provide facilitation and support to students as they take on these new responsibilities?

Making the time to interact with students online (and off) and having this planned into the curriculum is important. More tutors are needed, not fewer as expectations rise about the degree of engagement with others. Tutors or teaching assistant, event students (not just PhD), ought to be paid to be online as a hollow forum, or tutor group that isn’t active delivers the poorer experience. My analogy is to think of it as opening a chain or restaurants; why do some work and other’s fail? The ingredients and the menu is the same, but the context (location and personalities) differ. Getting the mix right and having the flexibility and fluidity and will to alter things as it evolves is vital, but often lacking. Certainly the idea that students would pay a handsome fee and then self-educate has largely been dispelled. The shift is livelier and less formal, more akin to a summer school, or camp, with everyone potentially present. There are academics, particularly in higher education, who seem to lack any desire to teach, preferring to inform at arm’s length from the product of their research. Perhaps it is more than this, it is like meeting in Liverpool Street Station amidst the cacophony of everyone else’s online lives, then taking a group to a museum then a show while the individuals in the group try to work, try to enjoy a holiday, have their kids, dog and mother along for the trip, and are engrossed in a novel, game or TV show. The potential is to be distracted, or engaged, or to juggle between the two.

The answer is in the hubbub of the tutorial, or seminar, the forced taking of sides in a debate, or informed discussions in a forum. The arguments and scholarship is still there, it is simply loose of the shackles of print and that technologies 500 year dominance of education, which is fast ending. Haythornthwaite suggests something has changed; it has, we’re returning to a model that is pre-print, vibrant, engaged, and live and that plays to broader human attributes and skills.

As Haythornthwaite (2008:599) goes on to say, ‘New social skills, or perhaps older ones now transformed online, become essential for a workable online future’.

Such knowledge bases resemble more the already familiar communities of practice (Wenger, 1988) and educational disciplines that an open encyclopaedia.

REFERENCE

Brown, J.S. (2002) The Social Life of Information

Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).

Haythornthwaite, C., Bruce, B. C., Andrews, R., Kazmer, M. M., Montague, R. & Preston, C. (2007). New theories and models of and for online learning. First Monday, 12(8). http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/haythorn/index.html

Horrigan, J. B. (2006). The Internet as a resource for news and information about science. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved July 5, 2007 from: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Exploratorium_Science.pdf.

Levy, S. (Oct. 4, 2004). Memo to bloggers: Heal thyselves. Newsweek. Retrieved May 17, 2007 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6098633/site/newsweek.

Wellman, B. (2001). The rise of networked individualism, In. L. Keeble (Ed.), Community Networks Online (pp. 17-42). London: Taylor & Francis.

 

 

 

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H800 WK5

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:30

What would Edison make of the last decade? (Or my grandfather to come to think of it)

DSC01940.JPG

My knowledge (though not my understanding) of the technological advances of the last 150 years are informed by Stephen Lax

Reflecting on how I blog and its value to a student I note here how, believing I may need to go back and read Wenger from last week I search here and find not only have I done the reading, but I have commented on Wenger in previous weeks and modules.

This immediately bolsters my confidence, like entering a room that I thought was full of strangers when in fact there are many faces I have met before.

What is more, knowing that I can trigger my earlier thinking, even pick up the stage in understanding that I was at, is a form of adaptation.

I wonder if this practice might help from the other direction too, reminding someone of the nuances of their understanding and how it has been informed and developed.

 

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H800 WK 24 Activity 2 Phenomonography ... and all that Jazz.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 07:37

Read Jones and Asensio (2001), ‘Experiences of assessment: using phenomenography for evaluation’.

As you read, consider the following questions:

  1. In the example provided by Jones and Asensio, do you think there was any way that the design of the assessment led to the students’ divergent understandings of the task?
  2. How would you respond to the problem raised in this paper if you were asked to design a learning activity or an assessment?

It depends as much on how assessment is carried out, as to the design of the learning. If a tighly prescriptive, tick-box response is required to prove that the student can read, draw common interpretations and put it down in a standard, structured way then there should not be room for interpretation, perspective, point of view or originality.

This isn't maths, there is always going to be more than one responce.

I find in this paper of far greater interest the points regarding interpretation of others' intentions in order to be able to work together.

Enemies can meet in a debating chamber because they know the rules and the desired outcome; they may give very different responses in a written assessment.

If this is the case then I assume that the materials being discussed here are for an undergraduate programme.

Course structure can invite students to fulfil all manner of tasks by offering points towards assessment scores. In my experience this has been a completely futile endeavour if my contribution then widely misses the mark as interpretted by a system that requires you to line up 1000 match sticks in a particular way.

(Research by the way shows that if you make a task optional no one does it; why offer it then?)

I celebrate the idea that 'students' experiences vary in what may be unpredictable ways from the course designers' intentions. (Jones & Asensio, 2001)

I've worked all my carrier where originality and creativity are applauded. 'Creativity is mistakes,' so if a student gets the wrong end the stick in their response I'd be keen to have built in to the marking the flexibility to accommodate this.

So, is it a problem?

That depends on the desired outcomes, the seriousness of going slightly or a long way off the intended target and whether the intention is to get a stock answer from each student, or constant variety.

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H800 wk 24 Activity 3 Wenger vs. Goodyear

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 May 2012, 17:53

For this exercise I fond myself dipping into other tutor groups. On reflection, after a highly disruptive week all I needed to have done was pick through the course reading, in chronological order, made notes, expressed my thoughts, then answer the questions. Using the notes of others is not a fix; you must still engage with the content and make it your own.

  1. What are the four dimensions of design for learning that Wenger identifies?
  2. How does Wenger’s account differ from the account given by Goodyear as the indirect nature of design and summarised in Figure 1?
  3. How do you think that a designer can support ‘the work of engagement, imagination and alignment’?

 

Fig%25252010.1%252520Wenger%252520Participation%252520and%252520Reification%252520in%252520learning%252520design%252520SNIP.JPG

The challenge of designing for learning.

QQ1

  1. Participation and reification
  2. The design and the emergent
  3. The local and the global
  4. Identification and negotiability

 

QQ2 How does Wenger’s account differ from the account given by Goodyear as the indirect nature of design and summarised in Figure 1?

 

Goodyear%252520Learning%252520Design%252520SNIP.JPG

Goodyear is saying that design can only accommodate so much as a learner will always bring with them their own interpretations to the design therefore learning and design are separate entities.Wenger is saying that learning design embrace far more, that it less prescriptive and more engaging than imagined. (From Joanne Pratt)

Space and Place - can be linked to - Designed and Emergent Organisation and Community - can be linked to - Identification and Negotiability Tasks and Activity - can be linked to - Participation and Reification Local and Global seem to sit outside of Goodyear. (From Daniella)

How do you think that a designer can support ‘the work of engagement, imagination and alignment’?

A designer can only do so much with the software they are given.  However knowing that software inside out; its limitations, its benefits will help with how a designer enables the above. (From Joanne Pratt)

Wenger%252520Fig%25252010.3%252520SNIP.JPG

 

By paying attention to the Figure 10.3. (From Daniella)

 

From Jonathan

Q1 As above

Q2  'Each of these dimensions involves distinct – but interrelated – trade – offs and challenges: they present their own opportunities and obstacles and their own resources and constraints. A given design entails choices, inventions, and solutions along each dimension'. (Wenger 1998:236)

Q3 In Wenger's words:

It is a tool that can guide a design by outlining:

1) the general questions, choices, and trade-offs to address – these define the dimensions of a design “space”

2) the general shape of what needs to be achieved – the basic components and facilities to provide

i.e. there is ampple scope for variety and imagination, as with the architectural design analogy he uses. Which applies equally as an analogy for how people (students) behave once inside the designed 'building'.

 

'The benefit of such a multiplicity of related but distinct dimensions is that it opens up the space of design by decoupling the issues involved'. (Wenger, 1998:236)

'The challenge of design, then, is to support the work of engagement, imagination, and
alignment'. (Wenger, 1998:236)


FURTHER NOTES

Etienne Wenger is probably most recognised for his work promoting the idea of communities of practice. The idea of a community of practice has been applied to groups who interact to achieve a common purpose or enterprise and share a common repertoire. (From course notes)

 

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The penny dropped

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:49

Between formal and informal learning design styles

Highly prescriptive vs call up the information you need as you go along. So defined instructions vs figuring it out for themselves. Perhaps using tools to guide and inform. We were given the simplest of tasks, teaching students how to cross a busy road in safety.

I made a point about any group requiring leadership or a champion.

I made a point on Randy Pausch whose 3D lecture series included mixing up student groups who then had to vote on each other's levels of collaboration in the group.

There was a discussion on informal peer assessment that I didn't entirely follow, certainly my notes are somewhat cryptic. Hopefully the session was recorded so I can listen back.

It is the unexpected insights in a synchronous session that prove valuable, especially the asides in the break-out room.

Assemble the books and papers you plan to refer to ahead of writing.

This is a new one to me. I prefer to write what I want and deal with the referencing after rather than fitting the assignment to the books and papers.

Perhaps a combination of the two is required.

The learning plan you produce may not be followed closely given the myriad of ways people respond. Many are drawn in by the assessment but not all.

Can such divergent styles be accommodated?

As the Elluminate discussion progressed, four students, one tutor moderator, I did a doodle.

doodle

Having shared the idea I then corrected it.

From Wenger (1998:233) 

'There is an inherent uncertainty between design and its realization in practice, since practice is not the result of design but rather a response to it'.

Phenomonology explains why people may still be adrift of the desired response.

The notes reads 'design as well as we can ... 'the students share the outcome. We set the learning, that is then displaced to or set in the context of each learner. We might have a learning objective, but students can and diverge from this'. (A good thing if you want diversity and originality)

As a learning designer you have to anticipate a variety of behaviours and plan for not too many being wildly divergent. This can be achieved by understanding the students.

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MAODE H800 A moment of enlightenment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:27

I would like to be studying an applied MAODE.

This should be a joint collaboration between the Institute of Educational Technology and the Open University Business and Law School.

applied is the operative word.

Not a Masters in Open and Distance Education, but an aMAODE.

18 months ago I signed up to the MAODE (I might have done an MA in Fine Art ... for which I was qualified. Where would I be now?)

Never mind

My mother, tutored by Quentin Bell at Durham University in the 1950s, had me teaching fine art somewhere. (Our family for the last four generations seem not to generate progeny until they are at least in their third decade)

Maybe, e-Art?

I may pick this up next and become a e-learning verions of David McAndless.

Information is beautiful

Go Google.

24 months ago several friends signed up to an e-learning course with Sussex University. They are now constructing e-learning, I am not.

Why?

The difference, dare I suggest, is did I want to be a mechanic, or the engineer?

  • Can The OU be less precious and offer more of both?
  • My first ECA was an entirely practicle, commercial piece of e-learning that was shot down ...
  • for being blended
  • and 'of this world.'
  • It is all 'of this world'.

It is only learning, not e-learning, but o-learning.

Only Learning.

P.S. It ain't rocket science. As Martin Weller shows in his VLE book.

What we as potential practioners of online learnning is a dip in the training pool. As a Swimming Coach, and former competitive swimmer, what strikes me is that I am yet to stick my toes in the water.

Frankly, my concern, is that if I come up with another commercial e-learning project for an ECA it will like the other one be rubbished because the markers are looking for an academic paper, not a viable e-learning project.

This is where the tectonic plates of theory and practice meet. Is anyone on the MAODE doing it to become an academic?


DSC01936.JPG
From Drop Box

(Note to self a month later ... it is applied. In every module, particularly H807 'Innovations in E-Learning' we are constantly pressed to put e-learning in an applied context with which we are familiar)

 

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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 WK27 Technology-Mediated Learning Contexts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 14:30
Technology-mediated learning contexts

Mary Thorpe (2009)

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

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.

Differs from face-to-face

Why hybrid?
What community?


'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)

Helping to get the best out of someone and making the case for the PLE, which afterall, is what a person takes with them as they progress, as they invariably will, from one learning institute to another, what is more, having control over this PLE, whereas any VLE is open to change beyond their control.

'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)

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)

'The designg in effect performs a mix of compulsion and engineered interaction that combines formality with informality.' (Crook and Light, 2002)

'The potential for expansive learning'. (Tuoni-Grohn and Engeström, 2003)

'This is learning that crosses the boundaries of different activity systems, expanding involvement with others and developing both individual and collective learning'. (Cole and Engeström 1993)

'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)

'Engeström (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)

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

Research

Progressive focusing (Straus, 1987)

REFERENCE

Anderson, T. and Dron,J.(2007)

Crook,C and Light,P (2002) 'Virtual society and the cultural practice of study' in S.Woolgar (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haythornthwaite,C. (2006)

Jones, C. and Esnault,L(2004)

Tuoni-Grohn,T. and Engestrom,Y (2003)
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My Personal Learning Environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 00:29

When something works I'll go back and use it repeatedly. I find the way in which I seek out, exploit, share and develop ideas to do with E-Learning and Social Media is fluid. I run with new tools as I find them, the three latest: stumbleupon, Allmyfavourites and Zite, which do the same kind of thing, helping to reduce the overwhelming amount of information being generated and sent my way to stuff that may be of value and interest me.

I've aslo may a tentative start in Social Networking Site Xing, using Google Translation to help with my rudimentary German.

 

JFV%252520PLE%25252028%252520JULY%2525202011.JPG

 

Created using iPad APP 'MindCreator'.

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H800 Metaphors and Meaning Making

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 8 Nov 2011, 22:45

The right metaphor is used in context.

 

DSC00677.JPG
From Learning Technologies 2011

By understanding your audience you come to understand what metaphors will have resonance.

By working in the communications industry, by reading a good deal, looking at even more, you develop a sense of what is cliche.

Whilst cliches work, indeed repetition of expressions that work make sense, in many contexts the cliche fails to make an impression, for example, thinking of a multinational like players in an orchestra.

Derelict%252520Pool%2525203_1.jpg

I like, from a design point of view, the idea of 'Swim Lanes' because as a swim coach I understand the relationship between the coach/coaching team and the athlete.

The sense of personal development makes sense, as do the motivations and effort. The trick for me is to translate this into programmes of study.

This image has more power to my mind than a pool with water in it, the lane ropes out and Bill Furniss blowing a whistle at Rebeccar Adlington.

We will get bored of the sports cliche these next 12 months.

  • If learning design is like swim lanes, then what has happened here?
  • No one signed up for the course and the organisation went bust?
  • Lack of support?
  • Course materials out of date?
  • Systems failure with the VLE that leaves the experience somewhat less like swimming up and down a pool?

 

DSC01615.JPG

Engestroms%252520Triangle%252520Fig%2525203%252520%252520GRAB.JPG

All we are doing here is trying to get others inside our head, or better still, to create something extra corporeal, like the 'Object 3' in Engestrom's learning systems.

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H800 wk24 Activity 3 Expressions of learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 8 Nov 2011, 22:05

Think about your own learning – the resources and tools you use, where and when it takes place.

Early mornings from 4.00am, weekends, mornings only 'til 10.00 or so.

DSC00832.JPG

Occasionally some reading in the evening.

But vicariously too, in a conversation, or going for walk, say looking at pebbles and shell washed up on the shore, or the layers of deposits in a chalk cliff.

What is your experience of being a learner?

If I'm not learning something new or building on my knowledge I am bored. I'm staggered I survived formal learning, I found the Oxford approach tedious, skipped all lectures, and relied instead on libraries and Blackwells which could between them supply every book or journal I wanted.

I failed to get far with a correspondence course on writing.

I learn best with a mixture of doing, reading/workshops and further application. I can be inspired or frustrated by my peer group. They can be a vital part of the mix, a course I did across Europe having the most refreshing mix of people.

What tools and resources do you use?

DSC01842.JPG

I'm slowly getting it all down to the iPad for its speed to the web, then grabbing and pasting into websites that I use as folders, eportfolios, writer's journal as well as open blogs. I also chuck things into my email folders to collate, aggregate or check through later.

What are your views on different technologies?

I make the time to try most things and will become temporarily hooked. Currently fixated on Linkedin, Wordpress blogs and Stumbleupon.

Likely to read most content as an eBook putting notes into iWriter. This is in stark contrast to printing everything off a year ago then filing it.

Forever grabbing screenshots or taking pics that go from Picasa to Picasa Web and then into blogs.

Can you think of examples where technology has made a significant difference to the way you learn?

When I started the MAODE I fell back on methods I had used during A' levels snd quickly filled several files.

DSC01634.JPG

A year on and I hold the iPad in my right hand and manage a kind of touchtyping with the other. I try not to rely on harddrives and memory sticks instead putting it online, increasingly as private or password protected entries in a number of blogs hat act as themes or categories.

I would worry about learning away from The OU and finding the VLE not up to scratch or being cut-off from fellow students.

Can you think of counter examples where you had a bad experience of a particular technology?

I hate Outlook and Excel.

I both instances I feel the nerd has taken over, that my mothball of a mnd is being shoe-horned into a match-box. Worse, My unregimented, freefalling, excitable mind is being containerised, my best thoughts quaterised. It disables some minds and enables the petty. These are to me like walking in crocodiles to the school dining hall; they are overly prescriptive.

I am starting to hate Word 2011 in favour of an iPad App, iWriter which is less like trying to write while dressed as a Morris Dancer and playing the Great Whurlitzer.

Interested in the potential of computers I joined an undergraduate group in 1983 but found having to learn programming was akin to sticking stamps onto envelopes with my toes.

P1090004.JPG

I used interactive DVDs successfully to learn AdobePhotoshop, FilemakerPro and Dreamweaver.

Simply a voice talking through the screen shots then getting you to do the same. The next best thing to having someone sit at your side and be your guide.

All self-paced, vital as I might prefer to do 20 intensive hours in one shot rather than nibbling at it.

What did this do to your motivation for learning?

There must be intrinsic motivation.

How did you deal with the situation?

Giving up. Which I know now was unnecessary. Thinking my mind isn't suited to a thing instead of tackling it.

Zoe%252520and%252520Toby%252520August%2525202010%252520054.jpg

Support is vital.

Some formal training, then support at your shoulder. Time to figure it out. Understanding as you get it wrong. Those expert at these things can be unsympathetic to new comers, assuming their knowledge, rather that helping or nuturing.

Had the motivation been there could I have found my own way into the technology I do wonder.

I love the intuitive, where the learning is self-directed and incremental. Anything that needs an instruction manual or behaves like the off-side rule will put me off.

I love the Sony flip. IT just does video. Like Google 'just does search'.

Excessive bells and whistles should be offered as Apps to add later rather than being offered up front.

Visualing metaphors I use to explain learning online:

It is like the letter a ...

  • A dandelion in seed (Content online)

DSC01701.JPG

  • The solar system (Social Media Networks)

Learning%252520how%252520to%252520Visualise%252520McCandless.JPG

  • Drops of ink in water (Content online)

 

Mycorrhizae%252520ENGESTROM%2525202007%252520SNIP%2525202%252520Google%252520Images.JPG

Akin to my ever changing Personal Learning Environment mindmap:

My%252520PLE.JPG

  • Lichen (How your knowledge grows/links)
  • Ball-bearings (Dependency and interaction)
  • A map (layouts, representation)
  • The water-cycle (Binary code as water molecules)
  • A Catherine-wheel (Spinning beautifully then falling of its stand!)

PDP%252520thermal%252520Motivation.JPG

  • A glider riding a thermal (Personal development)
  • Delibes, Lakme. (Music as metaphor. Dance. Entanglement. Rising)
  • Learning to sight read music
  • Soaring and bound

Bill%252520Furniss%252520%25252B%252520UKCC3%2525208NOV08%2525201.jpg

  • Swimming pool (coaching/training)

Each might emphasise different aspects of the process: –

  • What is being learnt
  • Contexts
  • Audiences

Ways of expressing yourself

  • Empathy
  • Shared experience

What artifacts (tools, resources, etc.) are being used?

Where and when things are happening

  • IPad
  • Photoscspe
  • Picasa
  • Artpad
  • Bubbl.us
  • Wordle
  • MRI scan
  • Engestrom's activity systems
  • Google Images
  • David Mcandless
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H800 WK23 Activity 2 Making sense out of complexity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 1 Nov 2011, 16:44

 

Wordle

 

Mycorrhizae%252520ENGESTROM%2525202007%252520SNIP%2525202%252520Google%252520Images.JPG

And is visualised in many ways, Engestrom (2007) Mycorrhizae thinks in term of fungi.

My own take is a lichen:

Capture%252520Chondrus%252520Crispus%252520as%252520a%252520visualisation%252520of%252520a%252520Social%252520Media%252520Network.JPG

The language you use carries with it connotations and hidden assumptions. You need to make things as clear and as explicit as possible to develop shared meaning and understanding to avoid confusion. Conole (2011:404) Indeed. Conole in one sentence manages several metaphors:

· Different lenses

· Digital landscape

· Navigate through this space

So we've go camera lenses/how the eye sees, we have a landscape that has a physical presence, where a digital one does not and then we have an image of a Tall Ship on an ocean passing through this landscape (or at least I do). You might see a GPS device, a map and compass on a the Yorkshire Fells. Language creates images in our minds eye. The danger of a metaphor is when it creates parameters or absolutes.

I find it problematic that descpite the tools around us we are obliged to communicate with words. We could use images, we can use live audio, but we are yet to construct and respond to these activites with a piece to webcam.

Conole and Oliver mention four levels of description:

1. Flat vocabulary

2. More complex vocabulary

3. Classification schemas or models

4. Metaphors

Which is the most persuasive? The most effective and memorable?

This set of words is used to describe cloudworks. Only the last stands out as pertinent to Web 2.0 and the kinds of apt terms for e-learning 2011.

  • Practice
  • Design
  • Case study
  • Resource
  • Design template
  • Link to site
  • Request for advice
  • Evolving dialogue

Metaphors are indeed 'powerful ways of meaning making'. (Conole. 2011.406)

Ref: Metaphors we live by. Lakoff and Johnson (1980)

Over the last 18 months I have returned repeatedly to the importance and value of metaphors, drawing on neuroscience and literature. There are 28 entries in which metaphor is discussed. This is perhaps the most insightful as it draws on an article in the New Scientist.

Morgan’s Metaphors discussed by Conole, White and Oliver (2007)

1. Machines

2. Brains

3. Organisms

4. Cultures

5. Political systems

Whatever works for you, but importantly, what you can use that is comprehended by others.

Presenting on Social Media over the last few weeks I have repeatedly used images of the Solar System to develop ideas of gravity and magnitude, spheres of influence and impacts. It is one way to try and make sense of it. The other one I use is the water-cycle, but as that can turn into an A' Level geography class.

Some futher thoughts from Conole

‘These and other tools are beginning to enable us to embed more meaning in the objects and connections within the digital space. The tools can also be used to navigate through the digital space, providing particular narrative paths of meaning to address different goals or interests.’ (Conole, 2011:409)

‘The approach needs to shift to harnessing the networked aspects of new technologies, so that individuals foster their own set of meaningful connections to support their practice, whether this be teachers and seeking connections to support them in developing and delivering their teaching, or learners in search of connections to support and evidence of their learning. (Conole. 2011:410)

‘Those not engaging with technologies or without access are getting left further and further behind. We need to be mindful that the egalitarian, liberal view of new technologies is a myth; power and dynamics remain, niches develop and evolve. Applications of metaphorical notions of ecology, culture and politics can help us better understand and deal with these complexities. (Conole. 2011:410)

How do we describe and make sense of digital environments?

It is complex and multifaceted

WK23%252520Wordle.JPG

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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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H800 wk21-22 Activity 3 2011 Horizon Report

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 4 Nov 2011, 04:52

An hour and a half has been allocated to this; I have given it the best part of six.

I may have nodded off (ill with a heavy cold) but I reckon my mind just goes into cruise mode continuing whatever I was doing, mostly skating my fingers around an iPad dipping into pools of mind-mashing stuff.

The Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) is to blame. At last we have a way to engage with the latest thinking even though the module was designed and written some years ago. We are asked to read and make notes in the 2011 Horizon Report from the New Medium Consortium. I've printed it off, but can see there would be no need just as soon as an A3 or Fulscap clipboard sized tablet is released.

I start by making notes in 'notes' on the ipad. In moments I feel a compulsion to Tweet some of this, and between url shortening and TweetDeck, then Linkedin and Facebook I fins I am sprinkling the electronic dust of enlightenment each way I csn think.

Horizon 2011 (My Notes July 2011)

The world of work is increasingly collaborate driven by increasingly the global and cooperative nature of business. Horizon 2011

The challenges of privacy and control affect adoption and deployment. Horizon 2011.

Digital media literacy continues its rise in importnce. Horizon 2011

The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital technologies morph and change so quickly at a rate that generally outpaces curriculum development. Horizon 2011

Reconciling new forms of scholarly activity with old standards continues to be difficult. Horizon 2011

New models of learning are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university. Horizon 2011

Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike. Horizon 2011

Given the plethora and wealth of user generated content ... There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. Horizon 2011

Three horizon lines are offered:

Near-term

E-books + note-taking, sharing, immersive engagement, changing our notion of what it means to read. (engagement)

Mobiles + everyone has one, access to affordable and reliable networks.+ increasdingly the first choice for Internet access.

Second Term

Augmented reality (spotify, 4squared) an easy extension of expectations and practices. Horizon 2011

Game-based learning +to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking.

Far Term

Gesture based computing

Learning analytics

Our research indicates that all six of these technologies, taken together, will have a significant impact on learning-focused organizations within the next five years. Horizon 2011

My view is that they have been cautious over the pace and readiness for adoption; I find I am wedded to mobility, the dexterity, manipulable and versatility of an iPad.

I churn though e-books in preference to TV as if the book was a new invention.

I read in multiple ways and sizes and speeds, skim reading, or takes notes, or just reading my notes and highlights. On long drives I wear a headset and let the book read itself to me. I find I take in something different, as if I've seen the bricks that construct the sentences and paragraphs, but now I'm getting the cement as a form of sense making.

As invited to do I click on www.Navigator.nmc.org and have been there ever since. I found my way here at visual complexity and have ventured into a dozen sites, ultimately downloading the App iWriter convinced by its sales blurb:

“iA Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that makes sure that all your thoughts go into the text instead of the program. One of our goals was to create a writing app without settings. When opening Writer, all you can do is write. The only option you have is full screen and FocusMode. To increase the pleasure of writing is exactly what we intended when creating Writer. A better tool doesn’t make a better craftsman, but a good tool makes working a pleasure.”

and the quality of everything else I saw that the Information Architects (iA) team are doing.

Regarding the second adoption horizon I feel we are there.

I had it explained to me at UCL on Tuesday and could immediately relate to it and indeed have stepped into that mode already a few times. While 'game-based learning' is very much my son's world. I only permit the amount if time he is engage, because he is engaged, with a headset, in a team, constructing and deconstructing the worlds he is active in.

Which draws that horizon that is meant to be three or more years away far, far closer.

There is more reading yet to do. I cannot be. Told to read seven pages and then ignore the next 26. That's like going to a recommended restaurant, having a lyrical starter then sitting around while everyone else indulges themselves on the main course.

Talking of restaurants, the other product I want from iA is there Web Trend Map.

It uses the idea of restaurants to give weight to various web forces that are the given visual weighting and a spatial setting that overlays the Tokyo underground map.

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H800 WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:59

H800 WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins?

  • John Petit
  • Martin Weller
  • Niall Sclater

Stephen Downes – Students own education

· How much do they actually differ in their views?

· What is my perspective?

· Freedom is lack of choice

· Parameters work

· Creativity is mistakes

· Have rules, the mischievous or skilled will break them anyway

· The end result counts.

a) This isn’t a debate. Neither takes sides and the chair interjects his own thoughts. A debate, whether at school, university or in a club, or in a court of law or the House of Commons, is purposely adversarial, people take sides, even take a stance on a point of view they may not wholly support, in order to winkle out answers that may stand somewhere between the two combatants.

b) During the MAODE this might be the second such offering as a ‘debate,’ the last being as weak. What is more I have attended a Faculty debate which shilly-shallied around the issues with at times from an audience’s point of view it being hard to know whose side the speakers were on?

c) As well as deploring the lack of rigour regarding what should or should not be defined as a debate, the vacuous nature of the conversations means that you don’t gain one single new piece of evidence either way. Generalities are not arguments, neither side attempts to offer a knock-out blow, indeed Martin Weller seems keen to speak for both sides of the argument throughout.

When Martin Weller implies that a VLE constrains because ‘There are so many fantastic tools out there that are free and robust and easy to use.’ I would like a) example b) research based evidence regarding such tools, which do offer some compelling arguments, these commercial and branded products have to offer something refreshing and valuable.

Unlike some university offering they are therefore not only effective, but vitally, they are fun, tactile, smartly constructed, well-funded, give cache to the user, are easy to share, champion and become evangelical about, explored, exploited and developed further. Here I compare Compendium with the delight of bubbl.us.

Here I compare blogging in the confines of the abandoned cold-frame that is the Victorian OU student blogging platform compared to the Las Vegas experience of WordPress.

I can even compare how WordPress performs externally compared to the shackled version provided by the OU. On the one hand there is a desire to treat students like sheep; there is even a suggestion in this chatty-thing between Niall Sclater and Martin Weller than OU undergraduates ought to offer the most basic environment in which to operate. Access is an important point, but you don’t develop players in an orchestra by shutting everyone in a hall and giving them a kazoo. And if that Kazoo requires instructions then it deserves being ignored. Having lived with it for a year the OU e-portfolio My Stuff might best be described as some kind of organ-grinder with the functionality and fun-factor of Microsoft DOS circa 1991.

Martin Weller makes the point about tools that might be used this before, during and after their university experience. There is a set of ICT tools covering word-processing, databases, number manipulation, calendars and communications that are a vital suite of skills; skills that some might already have, or partially have … or not have at all. The problem is in the accommodation of this widely differing skill set.

JV Exposure to new, or similar, experience of better as well as weaker programmes/tools, fashion, peer group, nature of the subject they are studying, their ambitions, who they are, how much time they have, their kit, connection and inclinations, let alone the context of where they are going online.

In this respect Martin Weller is right to say that ‘some kind of default learning environment’ is required first of all.

Caveat: You are going to need people to use the same kind of things in order to be able to communicate.

· University blog vs. their own bog.

· University e-portfolio vs. their own portfolio.

· Elluminate vs. Skype.

· Mac vs. PC,

· Tablet vs. laptop.

· Desktop vs. smartphone.

· Paper vs. e-Reader.

· University Forum vs. Linked in or others.

· Twitter vs. Yammer.

Swimming analogy: training pool, leisure pool, main pool, diving pool, Jacuzzi.

Niall Sclater makes a point about a student using an external blog that doesn’t have a screen reader. Do browsers not offer this as a default now? Whilst I doubt the quality of translation I’ve been having fun putting everything I normally look at into French or loading content onto an e-reader and having it read to me on long car journeys. The beauty of Web 2.0 and Open Learn is that developers love to solve problems then share their work. Open Learn allows these fixers to crack on at a pace that no institution can match.

Perhaps issues regarding passwords is one such problem which is no longer a problem with management systems. Saving passwords etc.: Other problems we have all see rise and fall might include spam. The next problem will be to filter out spam in the form of ‘Twitter Twaddle’ the overwhelming flack of pre-written RSS grabbed institutional and corporate messages that should without exception be ‘flagged’ by readers as spam until it stops. I never had a conversation with a piece of direct mail shoved at me through my letter box, or spam come to that matter. Here largely the walled, university environment in which to study, is protected from the swelling noise of distraction on the outside,

Niall Sclater talks about the Wiki on OU VLE, in Moodle ‘comprises what we consider is the most useful functionality for students. The OU ‘cut out a lot of the bells and whistles you find in MediaWiki’. New to wikis I enjoyed being eased into their use, but like a keen skier, or swimmer, having found my ‘legs’ I wanted incremental progressions. Being compelled to stay in the training pool, or on the nursery slopes, to return to by Kazoo metaphor, is like having Grade 5 flute, but having to play with six novice recorder players in Kindergarten. We move on and therefore what is offered should move with us.

Universities fail abysmally to sell their products to their captive audiences.

Commercial products are sold, invitingly to everyone who comes within earshot. There is a commercial naivety and intellectual arrogance sometimes over stuff created that must be great, because it is the invention of brilliant minds … and that its brilliance will be self-evident even if it sits their within its highly branded overcoat waiting for some time to take an interest and take it out for a test drive. Creators of these tools forget that a quick search using some of the terms related to the affordances of the product being offered will invariably produce something more appealing from the likes of Google, Adobe, Apple or Microsoft.

Nail Sclater points out that some students can be confused by too much functionality. I agree. If there is a product that has far too much functionality, it is Elluminate. And even for a library search, it ought to be as simple as the real thing … you go to a counter and ask for a title. Google gets it right. Keep it simple. Others are at last following suit. Or is the Google God now omnipresent?

Martin Weller stumbles when he says that Nail ‘hits on two arguments against decentralised PLEs by

a) Giving three arguments

a. Authentication

b. Integration

c. Robustness

b) He is meant to be in favour of PLEs.

i.e. academics are incapable of debate because they are, to use of Martin Weller’s favourite terms ‘contextualised’ to sit on the fence. A debate should be a contest, a bullfight ideally with a clear winner, the other party a convincing looser.

You wouldn’t let a soldier chose his weapons then enter the fray. There has to be a modicum of formal training across a variety of tools, and in a controlled, stepped fashion in order to bring people along, communally, for retention and to engender collaboration and participation and all that benefits that come from that.

Who at a time of change is going to declare their role, or department redundant? Brought into a new role, Social Media Manager, I feel I will have succeed in 12 months if I have handed over the keys to others, spread some of the glory about. That’s how I see it, a little bit of everybody’s lives. You can wordprocess, you can do some aspect of Social Media. There are other functions though that long ago were circumvented by clever software. Web 2.0 deplores the gatekeeper. It wants to put everything ‘out there,’ enabling everyone and anyone to make of it what they need and please.

Personally I’ve been loading content, text and images, in diaryland since Sept 1999 and have never had an issue with access, yet I have repeatedly found my OU e-portfolio failed, or that while composing a response in a forum the system fell-down and I lost what I was doing.

Nial Sclater argues in favour of VLEs to ensure usability, access, extension to students, common ground on terms of tools, opportunity and form an assessment point of view, use of content too.

While Martin Weller wants to ‘Support’ – an argument for VLEs. (I’ve now made the point several times that Martin Weller seemed unsure of which side he was on, and by personality and from experience, will never take a side in any case).

We DO want people going away being able to use package X. Do we turn out Roy Castle types who can play loads of instruments not very well, or a virtuoso performer who can at least play the cello well?

JP stepping in ‘as my confidence grew I got to know that and my confidence grew across the year as I got to know that and one or two other very limited and well-supported tools’

Nial Sclater’s point that the same tool is required for collaboration and assessment. This applies also to reading the materials provided and doing the activities so that these are the points of reference for assessments (as currently practised). How can a Tutor mark an assessment that is based on vegetables from a walled Victorian kitchen garden, when the student offers flowers grown from seed in a tub? To return to my sporting analogy, how might I judge a person’s ability to swim after 12 weeks if they’ve been learning how to sail?

Parameters have a purpose.

The greatest resistance to a writer is having no sense of purpose, no goals, no parameters, no set pieces, no one to be on their case. A free for all, perhaps as the new London Business and Finance School is finding, is that just giving students the lot and telling them to get on with it is not conducive to a viable learning experience. (Nor do I think it’ll deliver someone is able to work with others).

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Social Media Analytics from the I.E.T.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Dec 2020, 09:27

Settling down to some H800 reading at the end of an extraowrdinary week.

Monday 'attended, livestream conference from the Institue of Educational Technology.

Tweated through-out and got one question in either to Martin Weller or Andrew Laws.

Screen grabs and bllog notes all the way through.

Yet to digest but gripped by Weller's growing view that page views, links and friends for a stream of online writing may be gathered in time as evidence of scholarqship.

Also informed by Tony Hirst and the meaning behind Goodhart's Law in relation to analytics that cease to be a measure as we become skilled at warping/twisting the means by which the stats are generated.

Informed too by the notion of Open Learn content, understandably, as having a commercial as well as a public remit, to inform, but also translate into people signing up for courses.

If there was a Coast course I'd do it. All I've ever had is a fancy booklet.

That was Monday.

This is turnng into one of those weblog things. Now why am I not into all that reverse chronology posting thing? Its having something to say and the desire to say it.

Four entries one day, none for a while.

That's fine too.

P.S. Now that all this stuff is public facing and broadcast should there not be a dress code.

I find myself watching an event taking place in 2011 and being reminded of an OU Physics Lecture of the 1970s. (I often watched this stuff as a boy in the middle of the night. Hippy, beard, denim jacket, flaired-trousers and sandals.)

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Design Museum

Measuring metrics for Social Media in Higher Education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 1 Nov 2011, 21:03

'Do a blogger and a non blogger in the same disciplines have less in common than two people who blog?'

So asked Martin Weller of the Institute of Educational Technology this morphing during a day long event on Social Media Metrics.

I'd say so.

I find I have an affinity with those who use social forums, who blog and discuss online. They are traceable conversations, cumulative conversations unlike there non-digital counterparts that have short unshared lives.


'Even at the professional end you are giving more of yourself, your points of view, your political beliefs.' He added.

And so the academic who chose such a life to avoid the limelight finds themselves thrusted into it.

I remarked through the Twitter feed that the lonely writer in the garret now found himself in a greenhouse with the digital world looking in. Will this be the era of the celebrity academic?


Scholarship has become more demanding, or has it?

Doug Belshaw has had his PhD thesis online since its inception in 2007.

It isn't being written form him, but his reputation is being established.


There are new social norms that academia has to accept and tolerate rather than resist.


What do views mean, comments mean and how do they compare to citations?


You social media identify drives the views of your papers.


E.g. Online identity as a result of paper is Tweeted about, blogged and shared, and then you get invited to keynotes and a virtuous circle begins.


A set of alternative representations of you.


What can metrics be used?


Visual representation this is your digital academic footprint, within my community ...


Metrics will become part of what we do.


We mustn't be guilty of subjugating new methods into old.


Martin Weller then talked about writing for the sword-dancing community as if in these troubled times his toes and dancing between sharp blades.

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