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The value of the OULive Session

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 18:29

With six OU modules under my belt, five MA ODE and one MBA module and a year working at the OU Business School my personal and inhouse experience of these live tutor moderate sessions convinces me that, for all their foiblee Elluminate before and OU Live now are vital tools - they can give you some of that residential scholol/tutorial feel but CRUCIALLY they are an often well needed injection of 'humanity' if I can put it that way: humour, friendship, sharing and even team building and committment. My very best experiences of the MA ODE have been during and after such sessions - I wonder therefore if I go back through this OU student blog I can identify a 'bounce in my tone' coming out of them. There may be stats that if nothing else coming into and leaving a Live session increases activity and improves motivation - even works in favour of commitment and seeing it through?

Sometimes the appeal of the Elluminate sessions was so great that we'd meet up in Google Hangouts too afterwards to keep it going ... the most memorable, and 'clean, open and honest' in an OU student way, was the 'pyjama party' we had. A laugh and worthy as a 'memory making' experience - and this with people across several time zones. We clearly had amongst us something of a hyper-gregarious 'party girl' (not a sexist term I trust, would 'party person' be better? Anyway, it isn't gender specific, more the outgoing, gregarious, organising, doing person).

So yes, a crucial ingredient that personally I feel should be right at the start of any module. Hear a person laugh or sneeze, get a sense of who we all are and buy into that natural inclination amongst us to want to learn together, help each other out and feel we belong to a thing.

To add to my experience of this I will keep signing up to things so it is about time I wrote this up ... doing a traditional, on campus MA is an extraordinary contrast. I really feel that it had might as well be the 1960s: long reading lists, back to back lectures (I fall asleep in the afternoon) and picking an essay title every couple of months for assessment ... but you chat over coffee and share a sandwich in the canteen and slowly form a bond, even if it's as if we are fellow galley slaves and to graduate will require two years of rowing! And come to think of it, one of the impromptu 'hang outs' we did in an MA ODE module included food and drink ...

What I miss was getting to know six or seven people as people - not the 2dimensional 'Gravatar' and biog, but, as it can slip out, a person doing 'person' things even as simple as ducking out to answer the door or put on the kettle. Though odd if you think of them as a formal learning gathering where in one case a fellow student always brought a plate of food to the session and the other tended to be in bed - once, LOL, with her grumbling husband at her side trying to read a book! People eh!?

This is the point, to a degree, the door just open a chink, you see a little bit into the lives of your fellow students.

And do we learn something? I don't remember, but is the learning the LEAST important reason for doing these things?

Fascinating, but possibly a couple of years since I did one.

 

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Where would you stick one? (A QR code that is)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:57

Use of Quick Response (QR) codes for eLearning

Fig.1 Easily generated, at no cost, a QR code is a 3D barcode that holds ample information to take you via a scanning App on your smart phone or tablet to rich multimedia content. 

They were developed in 1994 by Denso-Wave (Denso, 2010) to support parts use in a slick 'just-in time' Toyota car factory.

And made patent free by them in 1997.

  • They can be read at an angle
  • even when 30% dirt impaired

You come across them far more often in France and Germany, or if you go that far in North America, as well as Japan and China. Over in California last summer I photographed them in all kinds of places ... 

More on mobile learning  from Kukulska-Hulme, 2005., quoting So (2008) of the importance of:

  • location independence,

  • time independence,

  • meaningful content

Student's engagement by way of evaluating their own work is a good strategy to motivate students. p. 95

Since 2009 Horizon report mobile devices, clouding computing and the personal web make ‘informational way stations … delivering contextually-relevant content’ Cohen (2011) have become possible.

According to Educause (2009) ‘The QR Code is the next-generation barcode, facilitating tagging of information, social media, and other popular content in today’s digital content eveolution’,

Use of QR codes has had a mixed response in the UK. Although ubiquitous in China, Japan and North America they are less prevalent in the UK. Their use in museums and national parks has thus far been limited whereas in formal education, to support school trips, there has been greater success. The generation of as well as the use of QR codes within a programme of learning appeals to students who use smart devices and increasingly expect the use of technology and access to the Web as part of their learning experience.

Obituaries and picture/video-memoirs found on cemetery markers, gravestones, and monuments (Naumannm, 2011; Ruane, 2011)

Video/audio guides and tours of tourism locations, museums, aquariums, zoos (Awano, 2007; Information Standards Committee, 2008)

On-demand multimedia tours and information for spaces, events, specialised audiences, shows, museums, dispalys (Barrett, 2012; Tucker, 2011)

Libraries are using QR codes to download audio tours to patrons’ mobile phones so that they can take self-guided tours. (Robinson, 2010; Ryerson University Library & Services, 2010)

France’s biggest science museum used QR codes to connect its physical exhibits to its library holdings, and vice versa (Vandi, 2011)

The South Downs National Park, as an experiment, put QR codes on signage (B-K, 2011)

The Museum of London uses both QR codes and NT codes.

Work where participants are equipped, to survey and for co-operative learning and FAQs that are applicable to targeted learning goals (Gradel & Edson, 2012a)

REFERENCES

Awano, Y (2007). Brief pictorial description of new mobile technologies used in cultural institutions in Japan. The Journal of Museum Education, 32(1), 17-25

Barrett, T (2012). 50 Interesting ways to use QR codes to support learning. (Last accessed 6th Feb 2014  https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfNzY1aHNkdzV4Y3I&hl=en_GB&authkey=COX05IsF

Kerry-Bedel, A (2011) Its in conservation

Denso (2010a). QR Code Standardization. (Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/qrstandard-e.html )

Hicks, A., & Sinkinson, C. (2011). Situated questions and answers: Responding to library users with QR codes. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(1), 60–69.

Information Standards Committee (2008) Section 3: QR code, Synthesis Journal. (From http://www.itsc.org.sg/pdf/synthesis08/Three_QR_Code.pdf )

Robinson, K. (2010). Mobile phones and libraries: Experimenting with the technology. ALISS Quarterly, 5(3), 21–22.

Ryerson University Library & Archives (2012). QR codes. Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.ryerson.ca/library/qr/.

Gradel, K., & Edson, A. J. (2012a). Higher ed QR code resource guide. 

So, S. (2008). A Study on the Acceptance of Mobile Phones for Teaching and Learning with a group of Pre-service teachers in Hong Kong. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 1(1), 81-92.

South Downs Use of QR Codes (2012) http://southdownsforum.ning.com/forum/topics/signposting-and-qr-codes

Tucker, A. (2011). What are those checkerboard things? How QR codes can enrich student projects. Tech Directions, 71(4), 14-16.

Vandi, C. (2011). How to create new services between library resources, museum exhibitions and virtual collections. Library Hi Tech News, 28(2), 15–19.

 

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Blogging here for four years

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 6 Feb 2014, 08:26

A year ago OU Computer Services undid my hard work and the tagging of some 2000 posts here was lost - all attempts to get an explanation, or apology or a fix have failed. This is what I find the OU can do - silence when it suits them. No one will answer because to apologise would be to admit fault. Having invested so much time in what is a record, learning journal and eportfolio it is galling. At least I was well down the line of cutting and pasting it all into an external blog, but this still does not change the fact that I was using the blog to aggregate themes and ideas which they destroyed. A blog that we are encouraged to use and we have access to for three further years beyond graduation. I am a student first, but also a customer who had no forked out £x,000 to be here. If I press hard enough I will get some legalease that will point out that the OU can do as they please.

So much for the power of the digital - I should have hand written it all into notebooks.

Four years ago I decided to complete a learning journey I started in 2001 - redundancy and the loss of a parent tripped me up that time. Over the last four years I have lost a second parent, a mother in law and changed jobs twice, though I am yet to fulfil the promise that I thought eLearning offered. There is no doubt that graduating in 2003 rather than 2013 would have made me stand out whereas now I am just one of many. Then to have the MAODE still requires a subject specialism ...

There is a risk that my being here could continue as MSc and PhD look attractive as does Higher Education rather than L&D. I will blog, on my terms, in WordPress and keep a presence here as long as I am doing an OU module - which currently stretches to my seventh.

Something I never contemplated and will challenge me for another five months is to find myself a masters student of three universities - Open, Birmingham and Brookes. You could say that I have caught this learning bug, or am reverting to type - an insatiable curiosity that no book or TV programme alone can satisfy. There is an urge to do a further MA in Environmental Change when an MA in First World War studies ends in 2015. To what end? The intention has always been to apply my learning rather than to wallow in it, for the experience to be a catalyst for output.

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Leveraging mobile technologies and Web 2.0 tools to engage those with an interest in the centenary of the First World War in the stories of the people of the er

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 10:36

A conference presentation for H818: The Networked Practitioner

In relation to the First World War, during its centenary commemoration, there are many places, such as war memorials, cemeteries, historic houses and battlefields that are bereft of quality, supporting information. With consideration for the needs and interests of visitors to such sites rich, multimedia information, such as audio guides and photographs, links to databases and to others with a similar interest can be provided through the use of Quick Response (QR) codes. Of interest here is to personalise commemorisation through the use of a self-generated QR code and content with the code put onto a British Legion Poppy.

This opens up the possibility of providing information at war memorials, large and small, even down to the single name, as well as at sites, buildings and on battlefields, for example informing walkers and cyclists that the old airfield was once a training area for the Royal Flying Corps showing them photographs of what it looked like or that that council building that was a convalescence home or that part of the Downs that had trenches dug in it for training or the concrete pill-box on the former Western Front where it is known an officer and two of his men died.

QR codes, orginally the creation of a supplier to Toyota, have grown in popular use in Japan and China in the 1990s, then the US, Canada and Germany. They are now used at point of sale for marketing purposes, and increasingly in libraries and museums were research is indicating how they can best be used. Implementation issues relate to the percentage of the population that do not have smart devices, the possible cost of 2G and 3G away from free Wi-Fi and adequate support for the use of QR codes which are not yet ubiquitous in the UK.

The purpose of this paper is to pull together current experiences of the use of QR codes in order to consider ways they could add to the our collective understanding of the events of the First World War. QR codes offer multiple potentials, not simply providing rich mobile multimedia content, but letting people create their own content and QR codes, to share, form hubs of like-minds and respond in their own way whether by contributing to the historical debate, offering their own family stories or being inspired or angered by the events as described and wanting to express their views in prose, poetry, painting or performance.

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Too busy to blog?

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Too busy to reflect or to remember? Your brain is like Gouda - a blog can fill in some of the holes. 

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Time and effort

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:06

The more I study at masters level and beyond what eLearning has to offer, the more I conclude that whatever the platform the learner needs to put in time, effort and engagement. All the eLearning can do is to provide content of the highest relevance and quality in a timely, cost effective, relevant and memorable fashion. Does it motivate? Does it engage? Is its effectiveness measurable? Do they change behaviours? Do they remember or at least have a response to the content?

Learning online it helps to have such a seamless, intuitive and frequently refreshed learning platform with the Open University. 

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Antidisestablishmentarianism

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jun 2014, 06:19

I satisfied a life long itch to use this 24 letter word in an essay and successfully did so in a masters level history essay on the way TV producers tell 'The Great War' story. On closer inspection the markers ought to have deleted it as 'antiestablishmentarianism' would have been correct. Next essay I'll see if I can get 'disconbobulate' in somewhere.

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Book or eBook?

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You’re missing a trick if you're ignoring eBooks.

My experience studying at postgraduate level over the last four years, first with the Open University and now with the University of Birmingham as well is that we need to consider and experience the affordances of both.

I will own the book and the eBook in some circumstances as they offer a different experience and options.

If you are studying a subject in a social context online it helps to be able to share what you find and think as you read. I did this with Martin Weller’s book ‘The Digital Scholar’ and found he was reading along through Twitter and my blog. I find where I have the printed book that I take photos of pages, mash these up and then share online – or resort to pen, paper and note taking in the traditional, lonely way. Then there are the huge tomes, some of the history books I am getting through right now that run to 900 pages – it is so much easier to carry around on the iPad. Using an eBook I highlight by themes of my choosing, add notes, Tweet short passages, seek out threads on single characters, link directly to references and post mashups from screen-grabs rather than photos straight into a e-portfolio so that the idea or issues are tagged and ready for later use.

Non-fiction books will become like some LPs of the past – do you want all the tracks or just your choice?

If I can buy 12 chapters of a book for £8.99 on Kindle, when will I be able to buy for 99p that one chapter I need? Speaking to a senior engineer from Amazon over the summer (old friends who moved to Silicon Valley twenty years ago) he wondered if the ‘transformative’ period for books was about to occur, just as it has occurred with music.

There will be a better, personalised hybrid form in due course, several of which I have tried. So far they have been marred by only one thing – poor content, the clickable, multimedia, well linked experience is apt for the 21st century.

Nothing replaces scholarship though , it’s just going to take a while to make the transition.

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Four Years Blogging here

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:02

It just dawned on me that I am two weeks short of blogging here for four years. Recently, and for this module in particular, my blogging has greatly diminished. This is a shame as it is an invaluable resource for me: it is an open eportfolio where notes and activities from the modules, usually with adequate referencing, allows me to search for and quickly make fully cited points in assignment. 

Two parents have died over this time: my mother and my mother-in-law. My step-father was within hours of passing away but somehow survived pneumonia and is out of intensive care and feelingsorry for himself that he is still around sad

Teens are passing through A' Levels and GCSEs.

Interviews to undertake PhD research just fell short last year. The applications start going in again this week though in truth and out of necessity, as had always been the plan, the corporate world of learning and development (L&D) beckons me back.

My step brother found my grandfather's ashes in the bottom of an old cupboard in the barn. I have him with me. The temptation is to chat with him about all that I am coming to understand about the First World War in which in served first as a machine gunner, then in RFC/RAF as a flight cadet and fighter pilot. Having left school at 14 to work his education never had the chance to develop as he would have liked. I'll fill him in. He'd be fascinated to know why the things that happened happened that way: the Somme and Paschendaele in particular. He'd have an iPod too. The technological advances would have thrilled him - this from a boy who remebered the first car and going to an exhibition of flying to see an aeroplane.

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H818 Activity 7.1 Networks, Groups and Sets

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:32

Fig.1. My groups, sets, nets and collectives ... based on an article (unpublished 2014) by Dron & Anderson.

Groups: Any OU Tutor group - you are put in it, you don't, in an informed way, form a group or elect to join one group over another. I also belong to a 'group as cohort' of some 16-20 postgrad students on the university of Birmingham's First World War (British Military History). Here only by default of signing up in 2013. But also groups you join or form yourself. Or is a set a sub-group?

Sets: OU Tutor groups can become 'set-like' and 'net-like' - it depends wholly on serendipity that would only be resolved through psychological profiling to ensure a mix that would foster team work! An example of a set that is becoming a networked group are the reader review forums in Amazon. In the last year threaded discussions, particularly on controversial books, have become heated, protracted and informative. I belong to such sets related to Elearning as well as books coming out to mark or exploit the centenary of the First World War.

Nets: ?

Collectives: a writers group that formed between 1999 and 2002 in Diaryland, a group with interests related to grandparents and great-grandparents who were either combatants in the Machine Gun Corps the Royal Flying Corps or during the Third Battle of Ypres, 'Passchendaele'; applied eLearning in business (corporate eL & D), probably a still quasi-association of OpenStudio links of the more active and reciprocally linked students - especially if and where these have 'leaked' into external social platforms (LinkedIn and WordPress blogs).

Whilst the terms are interesting they are open to considerable debate and constant change. Instead of terms, network theory should be brought in to give the number, strength and 'vibrancy' otherwise we risk being stuck in a debate on semantics. Web 2.0 connectedness is too big, too messy, too fast changing ...

Creating things in a social context - construct, connect, social cognition - is not new. Think of university student amateur theatre groups from uni, to the Fringe and 'Beyond the Fringe'. The greater the sharing, the greater the benefits - unless that becomes your modus operandi and the assessment process is out of kilter, typically reverting to an essay rather than the artefact as a product of a collective effort (such as an end of term play, exhibition, film or other event that is conducive to collective enterprise).

'Permission to make mistakes' is the creed of creatives and entrepreneurs alike. Connectedness equates also to distraction - at some stage you have to close yourself off, shut the doors and turn off the Internet. i.e. for all the networking writing is a lonely and singular task. Team tsks are a different story.

We have needed typology since Noah's Ark, to try and agree terms so that conversations can be succinct and make sense. The risk here, and I've seen it in learning design, is that the terms become set in concrete in the minds and in the usage of an exclusive handful of academics and so ceases to be pertinent to others who cannot speak in that rarified language - this article shows a creep in that direction.

The likelihood of 'creativity' emerging from the kindle formed by the twig-like links between groups and sets, the natural 'serendipity' of creation evolving from mistakes and exposure to a myriad of ideas has been put on speed by Web 2.0.

Do you understand the same thing from Dron and Anderson’s four terms?

On the basis of definitions provided by the Merriam-Webster dictionary it is difficult to distinguish between groups and nets as both contain people that are connected in some way, or between collectives and groups, as a collective is a group. A set suggests belonging or use, which also makes it group-like, though less ‘connected’. For these reasons I disagree with the way Dron & Anderson (2014) try to define these terms.

Were these categories useful?

No. There are other and more suitable ways to look at how people relate to each other … and relate to themselves (there are internal relationships that allows the individual to take sides, and have an internal debate). Activity Theory tries to show how groups, also called nodes are connected; Yrjo Engestrom has developed the idea to talk not of ‘networks’ but of ‘knotworking’, the tangle of attachments that form where a node connects. Better though would be to think move on from a debate about the terms which will always be ill-defined and contentious and think of network analysis as a science. Networks are of interest because of how much they tell us about the way systems behave, so much so that it is considered a science worthy of study. The ‘read-write Web’ as the authors call it, or the Semantic Web or Web 2.0 is readily suited to network analysis.

What additional questions would you like to ask them?

Independently of sets, groups, collectives and nets ‘memes’ as ephemeral artefacts are also nodes that represent ideas that float as it were between the connections between people. Identifying such memes and seeing how they connect and how such connections and links shift is of interest. This might identify people in ‘sets’ taking as its meaning to ‘set course’ or take a direction … this movement in a common direction towards or with the meme is what identifies this aggregation of shared ideas.

The authors indicate considerable bias by using phrases such as the ‘protective cave of closed systems’ implying that isolation, or working alone is a negative, even an absolute. In any day we will elect to be alone or with others … while at night we may think we are alone when we sleep but our unconscious mind has other ideas. Similarly to suggest that leaving such a cave is a ‘leap into the unknown’ may be how they feel to ‘expose themselves’ but is not how anyone who is inclined to perform sees it - for them ‘being on the stage or in the limelight’ is a leap into the known.

Their argument is weak and hurried. The neuroscience, Darwinianism and psychological aspects of learning individually or in a community, team or or as tribal activity requires far greater development, probably with a neuroscience, evolutionary biologist and a psychologist contributing to the paper.

‘Increased exposure to knowledge also means increased exposure to ignorance, and sometimes, malevolence’.

Think of Hamlet. He exposed himself to the ignorance and malevolence of his own tortured mind. You don’t have to expose yourself or your ideas to feel these things.

Whilst the ‘read-write Web’ exposes us to new ideas and ideas with more flavour (Dron & Anderson, 2014), they also do the opposite, exposing us to old ideas and the bland. It is like walking through a metropolis - you cannot be influenced by everything, only by those things you find or stumbleupon. This might reinforce your beliefs, or alter them depending on how and where you look.

REFERENCE

Engestrom (2008). From Teams to Knots (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) (p. 238). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

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For all the gadgets I've gathered around me and despite for 18 months doing everything on a screen through a keyboard or touchpad, I know have a whiteboard and put sheets of paper on the wall. I take notes. And when I need to hunker down I pick one of these and commit.

Green - One Minute

Yellow - Three Minutes

Black - Thirty Minutes

Blue - An hour

I practice I find 3 minutes does the job and I may keep going for several hours. My heart is telling me not to panic then the adrenalin rush kicks in.

An hour is just that. It is a pre-arranged slot and I find I am yawning at 55 minutes, as if I am waiting for the class to end.

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WW1 H818 Links

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 15:37

 

Durham County Council http://www.durham.gov.uk/Pages/default.aspx

Church Commissioners of England http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/structure/churchcommissioners.aspx

Commonwealth War Graves Commission http://www.cwgc.org/

English Heritage http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/

East Sussex County Council http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/search/search.aspx?q=hastings&refine=world+war+one

Hastings Museum and Art Gallery http://www.hmag.org.uk

Imperial War Museum First World War Global Commemoration http://www.1914.org/

In Flanders Fields Museum http://www.inflandersfields.be/en

Shotley Bridge Village Trust http://sbvt.wordpress.com/photos/historic/

Lincolnshire County Council http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/

National Heritage Lottery Fund First World War Histories http://www.hlf.org.uk/news/Pages/HelpingtouncoverFirstWorldWarhistories.aspx#.UozA82QRCHs

National Trust First World War Centenary http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355802519177/

The Western Front Association http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/

The Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades Association http://www.machineguncorps.co.uk/index.html

Tyne Cot Memorial http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/85900/TYNE%20COT%20MEMORIAL

Wired Sussex http://www.wiredsussex.com/

Wired Sussex Project Board http://www.wiredsussex.com/workproject/WorkProjectsearch.asp

WordPress Training http://wpcourses.co.uk/

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Those TMA Blues

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Why is it that clarity only comes from comments on TMA1 as I reach the last couple of days in which to deliver TMA2? I know people hate them, but I do rather like the cruel deadline of a written examination - it is the performance after the preparation, the 'first night'. 

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20140102-172213.jpg I saw the film in my early teens - on TV. I'm reading everything I can on the First World War in this the centerary year. 'Johnny got his gun' is a moving and memorable account of one young soldier's plight when he is terribly wounded and survives. The author's story and how the book was oublished then banned makes for fascinating reading too.
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H818: The Networked Practitioner. Towards a 'poster' for our TMA2

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:25

 Fig.1. 'Poster' constructed using a combination of 'Brushes' (to layer several photos in one) and 'Studio' a simple graphics app that provided the overlays and text. Images and screen-grabs cropped and saved into Picasa Web Albums. 

Created for H818: The Networked Practitioner - towards a poster to illustrate a conference demonstration of an interactive mobile learning platform aimed at sourcing the involvement of many collaborators to enrich our understanding of this period in history.

The QR code should work, the YouTube video does not - it's a screengrab. The video clip, under 2 minutes, is there.

This is Jack Wilson's WW1 Story  (blog) and here is the brief interview clip. In fairness I edited around 8 minutes down to 2 minutes, keeping one story about a young woman who came down from London to meet up and otherwise to compress the kind of circuitous conversation you can have with someone in their nineties. 

Fig. 2. Jack Wilson (1896-1992) talks briefly about his few weeks military training at RAF Hastings in May/June 1918. Features several of his photographs from these weeks that he sent home to his mother in Consett, County Durham. (As YouTube doesn't embed on OU platform, link to YouTube)

 Fig.3. The simplest of SimpleMind mind maps to remind me what the poster still requires and is certainly missing. 

And as a reminder to me there is 2500 words to write too. 

Only up because it it has sounded all night as if the roof was about to come off ... then load car with teenagers, dog and clutter to meet up with my wife and my in laws. Then 800 miles through France. I'll be back at my desk on the 6th Jan. But who needs a desk these days? I can get online from the passenger seat of the car - this summer it blew my mind to be online in a plane. It'll be considerably less pleasing to find smartphones are used as eagerly and noisily 3000m up a glacier as they are in a shopping mall. Our connectedness and desire to be so has to be the technical and social phenomenon that defines the era we are living through - I would prefer to have a chip embedded in my skin so that I wouldn't have to care about keeping the XXXXXX phone charged, on a loud enough ring so that I respond, and on my person wherever and whenever I am from something like 6.00am through to the early hours of the morning. 

I'm drifting into reflection mode but at one end I am getting final calls, emails and texts from my wife (an 'owl') at 1.00am (I've been asleep for a good 2 hours) then fed up with the noise of the wind I check the BBC weather at something like 5.30 am and trigger something in Facebook that informs others that I am online and I get a message from a fellow 'lark'. Come to think about it I had might as well have been online for the hours I slept given the concoctions of my dreamworld. 

  • Breakfast.
  • Pack car.
  • Wake teenagers.
  • Walk dog.
  • Run through assorted check lists.
  • Check weather.
  • Wake teenagers.
  • Go back to bed and set off later as it clears?
  • Woken by phone at 11.30. Where are we???
  • Wake teenagers.
  • Set off.
  • Arrive five hours late.
  • Realise I have forgotten the dog ... 
  • Look forward to a power cut so that everyone's gadget dies so we can look forward to a traditional Christmas of charades, deluxe Monopoly and Twister. 

CALL TO ACTION

If you or your relatives have old photos from the First World War how about sharing them and let's see of collectively we can bring these characters back to life by researching then telling them story. I'm always very interested to hear from people with a similar interest in the 'Great War' especially when it comes to the Machine Gun Corps and the Royal Flying Corps where my grandfather and great uncle served. 

My WW1 blog might be the place for this.

 

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Rethinking education in MOOCs

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:15

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/rethinking-online-community-moocs-used-blended-learning

This is fascinating and important. It was brought to my attention by a fellow student on H818:The Networked Practitioner. The differences between how a person spends their time when learning is spent whether online, say on a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), 'tradionally' and in blended forms. 

Having ways to present data in an informative and engaging way is vital. Here at a glance you can see how behaviours differ. I'm eager to read further papers on this to see how the research was undertaken and how therefore I might apply it as 'how we learn now' is of particular interest to me. The Educause article this came from offers ample further reading.

I thought these were DNA patterns. I'd like to see these charts as animations annotating and illustrating examples so that we can see and are therefore be reminded of the context. Simply put blended learning increases the time a student spends on a subject - that's as good as it needs to be from my point of view as with more and varied ways of engagement comes a developong interest, improved motivation and lasting learning formation. I rather think we blend learning anyway - once it comes off the screen 'it' interacts with the contents if your brain and is invariably shared in some form or another too.

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Vehicles for learning or vehicles for assessment?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 13 Dec 2013, 07:44

An essay, and therefore all assignments should be for the purposes of learning. To help the tutor, even your peers, to see where your thinking has reached and add to and correct as necessary. Assessment should be the end of module dissertation or written exam.

What do you think?

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Bereavement

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 9 Dec 2013, 08:10

It's as good a reason as any to stop for a while. But of course it doesn't. In fact I'd say the revelations of the last week have been extraordinary and impossinle without the required - stop.

It came walking the dog in 'Bluebell Woods' (that's Spring). Today we we have acres of larch shedding their leaves .... just an intermittent breeze and a shoer of leaves rattle down through the arching branches above.

I took photos. I even hung around 'til I could video it.

I was reminded immediatly of the Menin Gate, Ypres and the thousands of petals that are thrown from above.

I had an idea for the leaves ... and an even greater one for them falling from above. 

Tag 'em all.

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What happens when connected as 'like-minds' six or seven such individuals 'collaborate' to perform some atrocity?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 14:34

Fig. 1. Dr. No

Society online is a society on speed and at speed - it might reflect society but in the Alice in Wonderland World Wide Web everything is faster, connectable and so warped in a way that transcends human scales of time, distance and decency. One sick, warped, isolated individual seeking out the pollution of the web to feed their fantasy and make it real, like Anders Behring Breivik in Norway in 2011 was, if you profile the population, 1 in 10 million.

What happens when connected as 'like-minds' six or seven such individuals 'collaborate' to perform some atrocity?

What indeed does the web afford 'networked' terrorist idealists such as AL Qaeda? Attending a seminar on cyber crime at the Oxford Internet Institute last year it was revealing and shocking to learn of the 'game of catch-up' played between the criminals hacking bank accounts and the banks trying to keep them secure. The head of internet security from Barclays paintied a picture that would make the scriptwriters of a James Bond movie go googled-eyed in amazement. Then, far from society creating the Web, the web world infects us 'on the other side' with paranoia and so CHANGES behaviour, gets AHEAD of society. It has happened to me more than once - in the early days of blogging back in 2002 I was 'flamed' visciously (malicious hate in comments and a breach into my blog that had this person editing my content and filling it with bile). I had this stopped and attempts were made to trace the character but for a period I was convinced that any vehicle pulling up along our street outside our house was 'him' ... and then this summer I put webcams around the house when we went away from a few weeks and only after the first week did I relax when I noticed that a brick hadn't come through the window and we hadn't been burgled or the house burned down. 

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TMA Blues

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:52

It doesn't get any better.I thought I was on top of this by now, like riding a bike, but you don't really know what kind of a beast you have a hold of until you tackle it. All the more reason to get an early draft written and give yourself a week or two to work on it. This would have been fine but the entire process leading up to H818 TMA1 has been to expand, share, search, explore ... and so it went on until like the incredible stretching man my arms reached west to Dublin and east to the Urals. Part One had a work count limit of 1500. My first draft came in at 4,600. I hacked this down by 50% then did the wise thing and began again from scratch working on the basis they I had some juicy content in my head, I just needed to focus.

A mind map with a mere 7 links on it did the job. 200 words for each and 100 words to share across an introduction and conclusion ... sort of.

I'd references the longer version in my enthusiasm so had to unpick that - there is only one thing worse than missing out a lot of references, is referencing a lof of stuff that is no longer there. 

Then part two.

For reasons only known to the OU IT team I couldn't zip two documents on my Mac so emailed the documents to my wife - I am sitting at her laptop now. The period between sending these files from my office 11 miles away and cooking supper (I do) gave me a chance to dwell on a sentence regarding part two

Students are encouraged to be bold and innovative in setting forth a project proposal.

A breathing space, a chance to reflect, a deadline fast being overdue ... so I went for it. Controversy gets attention. So does death. This has both. And if I play my cards right I'll need to find an actor, dress him up, get some make up then film them in their final moments.

 

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Blogging as an acdemic and scholarly acitivty

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:00

What's going on in there? How do bloggers react, respond and coalesce?

Anjewierden, A. (2006) Understanding Weblog Communities Through Digital Traces: A Framework, a Tool and an Example.

My own interest was sparked by an article in the Washington Post on Ellen Levy who had spent 1998 keeping a journal and putting it online.

Druckerman, P (1999) Ellen Levy Has Got The Write Project For the Internet Age --- It's a Year of Scribbling Down Almost Everything; Ah, Yes, It Was a Raisin Bagel

This ‘user generated content’ has value to its author and the community that reads it. This is a key outcome of open, collaborative and connected learning, where the blogger is a ‘produser’.

Efimova, Lilia (2008) Bloggers and 'produsers'

Having blogged consistently since this period it is interesting to understand that as it encroached upon student and academic practice, as it was impinging on journalism, that it was considered disruptive.

Fiedler, S. (2004) Introducing disruptive technologies for learning: Personal Webpublishing and Weblogs, Part I

While my passion felt like a niche practice it has been of value to see blogging recognised.

Kaiser, S. (2007) Weblog-technology as a trigger to elicit passion for knowledge 

Why MAODE students blog (Kerewella et al, 2009) depends on their perceptions of, and for:

  • an audience
  • community
  • the utility of and need for comments
  • presentational style of the blog content
  • overarching factors related to the technological context
  • the pedagogical context of the course 

Kerawalla, L, Minocha, S, Kirkup, G, & Conole, G  (2009) An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging in higher education

Knowing the practice to be of value personally as part of a number of specialist groups made research on blogs as wikis, Sauer (2005) or as e-portfolios of interest.

Sauer, Igor M. (2005) “ Blogs” and“ Wikis” Are Valuable Software Tools for Communication Within Research Groups

As Smolkin (2007) points out it is about creating or finding and then sharing your niche - in this case the niche being personal stories of participants, witnesses and combatants in the First World War.

Smolkin, Rachel (2007) Finding a Niche. (cover story)

This is a key outcome of open, collaborative and connected learning, where the blogger is a ‘produser’. Efimova (2008) It has taken over a decade, but blogging is now considered to be a valid, scholarl acitivity. Weller (2012).

Weller, Martin (2012) The virtues of blogging as scholarly activity

 Bishop, D. (2013) ‘Blogging as post-publication peer review: reasonable or unfair?’ LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog. 21 March.

Available at:http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/

impactofsocialsciences/ 2013/ 04/ 15/ blogging-as-post-publication-peer-review-reasonable-or-unfair/

 

 

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H818 TMA01: Concept Board using a Mind Map

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:23

 

Fig.1. SimpleMinds+ concept board/mind map for H818 TMA 01

Sometimes it is too much fun. Actually writing the assignment is such an anticlimax. Sometimes the tool offers too much. SimpleMinds (Free) does the job more the adequately. Here I got mesmerized by the ability to add pictures ... which might be a visual aide memoir but are unecessary and unlikely to make it into the assignment. Though I do believe in illustrating the thing if I can. However, given the module I'll have to be very sure indeed where I stand on the creative commons for any images used. There's a mash-up here from a publicity piece on the Musem of London using an application called Studio - I ought to attribute both. There's a photo I took in the Design Museum. To confuse the visitor some parts of this show permitted photography, some didn't - this did, but I don't know on what basis. In the centre there is a compex SimpleMind of my own on 13 learning theories (there are possibly only five or six, but I stretched the thinking a bit) I ought to have a creative commons licence on it of some kind so that a) I receive attribution b) there is no commercial use c) there is no chopping it about. ie. CC attribution, no commercial, share alike?

(p.s. up in the middle of the night with allergic rhinitis, waiting for medication to kick in. A pain, but far less troublesome from being kept awake with asthma).

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H818 Tutor Kings and Queens

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:21

Hong Kong professional tutors

Pointed here by Chris Pegler, from the BBC.

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John Seely Brown

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John Seely Brown

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