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What is learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Dec 2014, 07:50

H809 TMA 02 C

Learning is complex so creating.

All observations are theory impregnated. Popper, (1996:86)

Learning can broadly be defined as ‘any process that in living organisms leads to permanent capacity change and which is not solely due to biological maturation or ageing (Illeris 2007, p.3)

Learning involves both internal and external factors. (Conole and Oliver, 20xx)

Human learning is the combination of processes throughout a lifetime whereby the whole person - body (genetic, physical and biological) and mind (knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, emotions, beliefs and senses) - experiences social situations, the perceived content of which is then transformed cognitively, emotively or practically (or through any combination) and integrated into the individual person’s biography resulting in a continually changing (or more experienced) person.

(Illeris, in Contemporary Theories ... 2009)

There are many different kinds of learning theory. Each emphasizes different aspects of learning, and each is therefore useful for different purposes. (Conole and Oliver, ) What matters in learning and the nature of knowledge. And how families develop their own practices, routines, rituals, artifacts, symbols, conventions, stories and histories. (Conole and Oliver, )

Identify the key components of a number of theoretical approaches. Briefly introduce, say what it is and highlight key concepts.

How these might be applied to learning design with technology.

Clear RQs that are clearly derived from specific theories.

Recommend which data collection processes would be appropriate.

Conole et al (2004) x 7: Behaviourism, Cognitive, Constructivism, Activity-based, socially situated learning, experiential and systems theory.

Cube Representation of model. (Should be those things you roll) ADD OLDS MOOC and/or H817open

Mayes and de Frietas (2004) x3 Associative (structured tasks), cognitive (understanding) and situative.

Beetham (2005) x4: Associative, cognitive constructivist, social constructivist, situative.

See x4 Learning Theories Mind Map

Edudemic (2013) x 4 behaviourist, cognitive, constructive and connectivism

Traditional Learning Theories

http://edudemic.com/2012/12/a-simple-guide-to-4-complex-learning-theories/

Etienne Wenger (2007 in Knud Illeris) x9: organizational, neurophysiological, behaviourist, cognitive, activity theories, communities of practice, social learning, socialisational, constructivist.

Community of Practice and Community of Interests

‘Practitioners and overwhelmed by the plethora of choices and may lack the necessary skills to make informed choices about how to use these theories’. (Conole and Oliver 20xx)

 

 

 

 

Behaviourism

A perspective on learning (Skinner, 1950) reinforce/diminish. Stimulus/response. Aristotle. Hume. Pavlov. Ebbinghaus.

 

Cognitivism

Kant, Gagne, Rumlehart & Newman.

 

Activity Theory

Builds on the work of Vygotsky (1986). Learning as a social activity. All human action is mediated through using tools. In the context of a community. Knotworking. Runaway object.

Useful for analysing why problems have occurred - discordance. See Greenhow and Belbas for RQs.

Constructivism

Engestrom, Soctrates, Brown, Bruner, Illich,

 

Connectivism

Bush, Wells, Berners-Lee.

 

Humanism

Leonard (500 Theories)

 

Learning Theories from Wenger and others applied to OLDS MOOC

Organizational, Neurophsiological, Behaviourist, Cogntive, Resistence to or defence learning, activity theory, communities of practice, accommodation learning, social learning, transformative learning, socializational, constructivist.

Conole x6 pairings diagram

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Formulate clear questions.

Amplification (Cole and Griffin) Amplifying as an increase in output - give a hunter a gun and they kill more prey. Give someone a computer and they write and calculate more. ‘Technology is best understood not as a static influence on literacy practice, but as a dynamic contributor to it’.

Learning and teaching: Behaviourism x3, cognitive theories x10 (including constructivism), humanisitc approaches, and others.

RQ

Quality not quantity

How these depend on the theoretical approach.

Strengths and Limitations

S - Situation, interactions, mechanisms can be more or less collaborative (Dillenbourg, 1999:9). Knowledge always undergoes construction and transformation in use. Learning is an integral aspect of activity. (Conole and Oliver, 2005). Communication is learning.
W - Across cultures, not just US and West. Caricatures/simplistic. Not a neat narrative.
O - Donations, Funding, Book promotion (MIT). The learner as a unique person.
T - Funding

REFERENCE

Conole (2007)

Conole, G; and Oliver, M. (eds) (20xx) Contemporary Perspective in E-learning Research. Themes, methods and impact on practice.

Crook, C and Dymott, R (20xx) ICT and the literacy practices of student writing. a

Edudemic. Traditional Learning Theories. (Accessed 19th April 2013)

http://edudemic.com/2012/12/a-simple-guide-to-4-complex-learning-theories/

Greenhow, C and Belbas, B (20xx:374)

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Three years ago ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013, 20:43

Three years ago ... I had an 8 year old Mac Book. I printed everything off (all resources and course notes, a calender too) and I went through the modules block by block, each to a folder by folder. I got through a lot of paper. The Mac died so I borrowed a clapped out PC. Then I got a Kindle. I still printed off. Then two years ago I started to use an iPad ... and between that and the Kindle I only printed off final drafts of assignments.

I don't print anything off at all now.

Not even drafts or final drafts.

I've just treated myself to a new Mac. I don't see the need for a laptop - even the iPad seems heavy compared to the iPad Mini.

The Kindle died.

I took advice from the 87 year old father in law - Mac Mini and a standard monitor. He has a supsersize keyboard with an overlay of supersize letters on it.

Now I'm learning gesturing on a trackpad and remembering that the MAC keyboard has a couple of minor differences - the Apple Command key not the Command Key ... and the @ key has moved.

Gesturing feels like trying to steer a boat for the first time.

Books - I've bought a few - make neat stands for the monitor. I'll get a second tomorrow so that I can read from this blog, eBooks or papers or first draft assignments in one screen - also flick through the 50+ screen grabs and iPad doodles I manage to pull together before I write.

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Certificate for Master of Arts in Open and Distance Education

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The certificate arrived this morning. I can add MA (OD) (Open) to my name.

Some journey!

Thank you OU.

It only took 12 years.

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13 Key Learning Theories - of value for H809, also the other MAODE modules ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 21 Dec 2020, 11:43



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Fig.1 12 Key Learning Theories


Based on three/four books on learning theory:
Double click on the above should take you to a shared Dropbox or Picasa Web Album of the original 'Simple Mind' mindmap.

Authors such as Knud Illiris, Grainne Conole, Yrjo Engestrom and Helen Beetham identify three to five key groupings of 'Learning Theories'. Etienne Wenger offered five theories excluding his own 'Communities of Practice' while David Leonard covers 150 or so in his 'A to Z of Learning Theories'.

For now I rest with the following, though there is of course overlap. We would struggle surely to exclude any in describing how it is that from as soon as the brain forms during foetal development we are learning - and continue to do so until the body that serves the brain ceases to function.


1) Organisational Learning
2) Neurophysiological Learning
3) Whole person - body and mind - physiological and neurobiological
4) Behaviourist Learning
5) Cognitive Learning
6) Resistance to - or defence against learning (i.e. to not learn or to block learning is to learn?)
7) Activity Theory
8) Communities of Practice
9) Accommodative Learning
10) Social Learning
11) Transformative Learning
13) Constructivist Learning


REFERENCES
I'll add these in due course - see below.

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The whole body takes part in learning ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 21 Apr 2013, 04:13
When it comes to learning, everything matters - epecially the tips of your toes.
'Human learning is the combination of processes throughout a lifetime whereby the whole person - body (genetic, physical and biological) and mind (knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, emotions, beliefs and senses) - experiences social situations, the perceived content of which is then transformed cognitively, emotively or practically (or through any combination) and integrated into the individual person's biography resulting in a continually changing (or more experienced) person'. Knud Illiris (2009:24)
In 1980 I worked the winter season in a Hotel in the French Alps. It was a 13 hour working day that started at 6.00am and included three hours off over lunch - 12h00 to 15h00. That's when I went skiing - in all weather. That season, like this, had an abundance of 'weather' with more snow than even Val d'Isere could cope with. An avalanche took out an entire mountain restaurant ... or rather burried them. They were fine and re-opened after a few weeks. Towards the end of the season I would shot up the slopes, in my M&S suit, with a plasticated boiler-suit like thing over it and skied the same run maybe 11 or 12 times before returning to the hotel and an afternoon/evening of carrying bags, digging cars out, taking trays of food, cleaning and translating French to English for the Hotel Manager. I had a Sony Walkman cassette player. I played Pink Floyd 'The Wall' and skied to 'The Wall'.
33 years on, using the same skis if I want, the music on an iPhone, I manage three to five turns at a time ... rest ... three to five more turns ... rest ... three to five turns and take a suck on my Ventolin inhaler .... and so on.
And what comes to mind?
'The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire' Gibbon and Alexis de Tocqueville 'L'Ancien Régime et la Révolution' - both required reading before I started my undergraduate year of History later in 1981.
These are the games the brains plays on you. I can now of course recall Madame Raymond, the Hotel Manger, The Sofitel, Val d'Isere and Christian, the waiter who taught me to ski ... and the word for dust 'poussiere'.
And while up here 33 years later I have so far got through three books:
'The A to Z of Learning Theory' (2002), David Leonard; 'Contemporary Perspectives in E-learning Research' eds. Grainne Conole and Martin Oliver and 'Contemporary Theories of Learning' edited by Knud Illeris (2009) ... from which I drew the above quote. The first covers some 150 learning theories - by the time you've finished it you may conclude that there is life and learning while death brings it to the end. As Illiris states, everything counts. The second is one of those academic compillations of papers. The title is disengenious as I could not find in ONE single paper (chapter) any attempts to give a perspective on e-learning research, rather these are papers on e-learning. Period. While the Knud Illiris edited book does the business with some great chapters from him, from Etienne Wenger and Yrjo Engestrom. So one is the K-Tel compilation from Woolworths, while the latter is 'Now E-Learning'.
As it is still snowing I may have to download another book.
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Learning theories, e-learning practices and angles for research

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 25 Apr 2013, 12:09



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What I have here are four learning theories identified by Helen Beetham (2005). Another book I have, the A-Z of learning theories has 150.

  • Associative
  • Social Cognitive
  • Constructive Cognitive
  • Situative

Despite the appearance of the above I am trying to keep it simple. I could do with a module on learning theories alone. Is there one?

Are they so much specific learning theories as groupings? And just how quickly do such groupings overlap when you consider specific e-learning courses?

In my experience of e-learning for corporates learning designers couldn't say what kind of theory they had adopted.

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E-Book Fail

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 25 Apr 2013, 15:00

I'm reading an eBook version of 'Contemporary perspectives in e-learning research' Conole and Oliver. It could have been the module reader for H809.

Every so often it's as if someone has come along with a digital eraser and rubbed a line out - or a paragraph or page.

Of course I can't tell. What is more the divital pixies have randaomlysprinkled the names of E-learning academics into the text; these I pressume are meant to be page headers for the author of the chapter. Will I get to the end and find that this was a deliberate ploy to make the read a bit of a struggle and so more likely to be rememberred?


'Contemporary Perspectives in E-earning' would be a handy title.

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Ways of looking at theories of learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 May 2013, 12:13

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H809: Behaviourism, Cognitivism, Constructivism, Connectivism, Humanism and design based learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 20 Oct 2014, 11:23

Fig.1. The Contents of my brain

If I include 'Humanism' are congnitivism and constructivism subsets?

If I add 'Design Based Learning' as a learning theory is it a subset of 'constructivism'?


Fig. 2. Grabbed from Edudemic - A Simple Guide to Four Complex Learning Theories

Fig.1. draws on Fig.2 from the Edudemic website. It is school situated, so primary and secondary rather than tertiary and beyond into the workplace. Isn't 'connectivism' a process rather than a theory that links everything between the behaviourist, cognitivist and constructivist sets? On balance can we not help be get a 'blend' wherever we learn given that we are social beasts with brains.

 

Can something be simplified too far?

 

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Apr 2013, 08:23

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Fig. 1. scamp on learning theories

As a platform I loathe whiteboards. I should have stuck with a sheet of wallpaper backing and a set of pencils. The detail can be finer and a rubber does the job of erasing adequately. And you can colour it in afterwards.

More diagrams should be expressed as 'scamps' - a messy and incomplete expression of what you think ... 'so far'.

For me to put this into an APP like SimpleMinds or Grafio would give it a locked-down completed look. Clearly it is no.

Courtesy of an intellectually sharp 85 year old retired philosophy professor (father in law) and an intellectually deep and challenging Italian (brother-in-law) I'm going to see if this is going anywhere - how the sets overlap, or not, where the theories belong ... or not. We may get on to 'connectivism too'. I may come away with a bruised brain. I'll record this too if I remember as keeping notes is impossible and the rate at which the discussion moves could be visualised as starlings flocking over the West Pier, Brighton. It looks interesting and there is a pattern but unless you can freeze-frame you're never going to figure it out.

 

 

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After three years of the MAODE your actual and virtual reading list might look a bit like this:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 7 Apr 2013, 15:43



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There are a good dozen more books on the iPad/Kindle.

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It took me too long to realise that things are in a module for a reason ...

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- some intelligent educators have sat down together to figure out what would be best for 'us'. For this reason I try to do all the activities rather than question them - often I am surprised.

In H817, the timeline of technologies we did to which learning theories were to be added is one of these (there's more in the wiki and I'll keep adding to this, and eventually have my own version in Google Docs). I could have cut to the chase three years ago - all I wanted to know was how to match learning theories to e-learning practice. I thought there were a set of off-the-shelf 'solutions'. The reality is of course far more complex.

Every kind of learning surely existed before someone came along and packaged as a theory?

The ability to keep learning, and to learn from eachother, and to solve problems is what makes us human and has enabled us to survive and thrive over the last 70,000 odd years.

Turning back to learning theories - there are only a few, at least they can be grouped under (with overlap): cognitivism, behaviourism and constructivism. While 'connectivism' is supposedly what the Internet delivers I would suggest that actually 'connectivism' came first, and is learning as an infant and child from a mother, parents, siblings and extended family. All the the Internet does is to amplify or permit such relationships on a global scale - keeping families close who might now live thousands of miles apart.

Surely we need to turn to Socrates and 'Socractic discussion' to understand the origins of discussion as a form of guided learning?

The simple relationship between someone who doesn't know something and someone who does. In H807 three years ago I interviewed a retired Oxford philosophy tutor on 'the Oxbridge Tutorial Method' (search Dr Zgigniew Pelczynski H807) and this is how he explained it - for the most part, someone who knows something pouring content into an empty vessel (John Locke).

My brother learnt to fix cars from his grandfather, I learnt to cook and draw from my mother, I taught my children to swim and my wife to drive ... this for me is what is missing in most online learning as developed out of distance learning by The OU.

In three years I have never had discussions with Grainne Conole, Martin Weller or Diana Laurillard.

The couple of MOOCs I have done, OLDS MOOC and #H817open have had these names participating, getting away from their research as I see it and showing their true colours as 'educators' (or not). My chosen pattern of learning would be to gravitate towards the expert, something I have to try and get right if I am to move into doctoral research.

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H809: Activity 9.2 - 9.4. Unscrambling the presumptions of research in e-learning educational practice

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 20 Oct 2014, 08:07

Activity Theory (AT) according to various authors .... , supposes a quest to solve a problem, an 'activity theorist' looking at certain kinds of research, understanding activity system as being driven by outcomes, would therefore annotated the six nodes of the AT pyramid with this in mind.

Fig. 1. Activity Theory (Engestrom, 2008)

In contrast, considering the same subject of research, a sociologist would be inclined to look for power structures.

In turn how might a management consultant, or psychologist approach this? And in relation to H809 and the MAODE, how differently would someone educated in each of the following theories approach the same subject matter: behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectedness?

The suggestion that the theory behind a piece of research or OER from H809 TMA02 predisposes a specific research response is like having an undefined medical problem. In turn each specialist offers a view based on the narrow perspective of their specialism.

By way of example, with sinus/earache like symptoms from which I have always 'suffered' I in turn visit a neurologist, immunologist and dentist. I discover from each in turn that I must be depressed/stressed, have an allergic response to something, need a tooth filled/crowned. In turns out that I have a pronounced response to house dust mite and due to physical damage to a channel in one part of the maxillary sinus it doesn't drain so the slightest infection, a mild cold, will cause inflamation and pain. The response that works is primarily preventative with self-medication of prescription pain relief at a dosage that works - co-codomol and occassional antibiotics. (The above over a 33 year period of investigations that included several other excitable consultants who each in turn gleefully hoped that I might have a very rare condition X or Y that they would investigate).

Just as medical specialists are inclined to come at a situation with too narrow a perspective, so too can we when wishing to study, in a learning situation, what is going on ... in there (the brains of each student) and externally, the context and situation of the 'learning' that they are doing (or having done to them).

Reference

Conole, G., and Oliver, M. (eds.) (2008) Contemporary perspective in e-learning research. Themes, Methods and Impacts on Practice.

Engestrom, Y (2008) From Teams to Knots

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As cyberborgs mark EMAs don't ever risk venturing beyond the OU climbing frame.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Apr 2013, 17:45

And then there's this - 12 grabs of an Activity System looking like Toblerone.

One per month, one per hour.

This is the point. The thing is

a) a grab in time

b) unstable

c) a construct or model (as well as a theory).

A theory because it can be re-apppied (for now).

DSC06464.JPG

Fig.1. Its image explains itself.

Engestrom and others go to great lengths to remind us that the model/theory of an Acticity System is a snap shot in time - that even as we look at it things are moving on, that the relationships don't simply change as a result of the interactions with each other - but because the whole thing shifts.

OK. Take a chocolate triange of Acitivty Theory and visualise it in sequence. Better still, drop what you are doing and go and buy some.

Now take a piece and eat it.

The logic remains equally sound when I suggest that by consuming a moment of the Activity System in its last iteration you are enacting what the Interenet has done and is doing.

This is what the connectivity of the Web does - the degree and scale of connections is overpowering and consuming.

One step more.

That triangle of chocolate, nougat, almonds and honey that I see as a multi-sensory experssion of an Acitivity System may be digested in the stomach, but its ingredients hit you in the head.

It's a brain thing.

Which explains my interest in neuroscience.

It happens. It should be visible. It can be measured.

Just reading this a million Lego Characters are kicking a few more million molecular bricks along a dendrite in part because they must, then again just to see what happens (yes, I have just read 'Neuroscience for Dummies'). So some stick in odd places. Some will hit the mark (whatever that is) while another will remind you of the very moment you first nibbled on Toblerone.

I LOVE the way the brain will throw you a googlie. (as a fraction of the planet know cricket other metaphors are required. I never even played the game as I was deemed rubbish - actually, though no one spotted it in five years of prep school, I needed glasses).

On the one hand, my interest is to take a knife to all of this, chop it off and put it in the compost bin so that I am left with something that is 'tickable', on the other hand I want to indulge the adventure of the composting process.

 

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H809: Activity 9.1. Scrambling your head in the nodes and interludes of Activity Theory

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 15:34

When something important to me is about to come to an end I tend to lash out to make the parting of ways less uncomfortable.

I sense with OU graduation looming while this bridging module trundles on to who knows what that I will pretend I'm fed up and I don't care. But I do. So I'll try to bite my lip over the next three months as the inevitable parting of ways occurs.

Onwards to who knows what, though H809, with a bit of a spring it, ought to send me in the right direction.

Whether or not there is an institution out there ready to catch me is another matter - though I am looking, and I am talking to them.

In my dreams I'll be taking Activity Theory into the outer realms of the Internet - San Diego preferred, though Helsinki is the alternative.

I like sand, and I like snow ... but I prefer sand and snow ... and sun.

But that's not why I'm here is it? And does it matter a fig where any of us are situated anymore?  ... so long as it stimulates rather than stultifies.

(Yawn, yawn to bring it up but when will the weather forecasters stop talking about snow, frost and high pressure lingering over Scandinavia and just say 'this is so boring' - so here's a weather related picture we asked David Hockney to do instead and because he created it on an iPad using Brushes we can animate it - just like a weather front coming up form Nova Scoatia).

H809: Activity 9.1 (and a quarter)

Fig.1 Third Generation Activty Theory ... after Engestrom (2008) It's not just a theory, not just model ... it's a game. Photo by the author in his back yard (in England this means it really is a concrete space with junk in it. We have a garden for the plants and grass for the dog to wee on).

What functions do these ‘theoretical perspectives’ appear to be serving here?

Placing activity theory in context, both historically through previous learning theories and ‘geographically’ in relation to other disciplines. Is it a theory or a model (it can function as either or both); where is it of use? Anywhere people, groups of people or institutions interact with related, or closely related objectives.

Do you think Activity Theory is a ‘theory’?

It builds on past theories and is a model dint of the its visualisation. It can be considered and used as a theory or as a model, or both. Or, picking up some current reading as neither - the suggestion being that the connectedness of the Internet renders the parameters of each of the prescribed nodes of an Activity System redundant - as everyone and everything can  connect directly rather than through an intermediary tool, community or division of labour etc:

What do you understand to be the gap in Activity Theory that AODM is filling?

I don’t. Could someone offer a suggestion??

Try to summarise the authors’ view of ‘collaborative knowledge building’.

That knowledge creation, insight as such, is outside the head ... situated like

Engestrom’s ‘Object’ or ‘Outcome’ as at arm’s length, between people and distinct activity systems. This is where 1+1 = 3.

I prefer to see two or more activity systems NOT as systems or groups or departments ... but as the equally complex interaction of two people. Perhaps an image of a schizophrenic is Engestrom’s third generation activity theory where two apparently distinct system are in conflict ... but in the case of the schizophrenic, this happens in their head.

 

To get my head around Activity Theory I had to get it out of my head and onto paper. The idea of putting in chess pieces was intuitive - like improvisation at Youth Theatre.

At any one of these nodes, not absolutes, just suggestions for the model, there are people. People are complex and never act as distinct interlopers. We have the bagage of our lives behind us - parents, siblings and friends. So an Activity System is always a great leap into simplification. Add too much complexity and why bother?

This third generation concept of two interacting activity systems has also had 'historicity' added ... they are in constant flux, Think therefore of a series of overlapping frames. Whatever you look at now is soon gone ... there is too much happening in such a snapshot for it to be set.

This fluidity now has another force to pull it apart - the Internet.

I'll go and dig out the author of a paper, approved by the editor of the book it is in by its editor Yrjio Engestrom (Mr AT himself) where  the argument is that the Web means that all nodes are equally connected with all others.

I visualise this as drops of ink in water. They are unstable.

This instability, more brain like in its connectivity, is where we need to move on from Activity Theory.

 

Of course, carrying an examiner along with you in an OU assignment is quite another matter. I am currently challenging the OU where  I feel a paper I wrote was slashed at a) because I dismissed Wenger and didn't have another 1000 words to make my case and b) put all my money on Activity Theory only to conclude that 'we' had already moved on ...

Picking up tick points for an assignment is one thing - getting to the 'truth' seems to elude the OU. Too often I have felt that far from being on a postgraduate Masters programme I am in my first year as an undergraduate.

I guess having been brought up by the OU these lass three years I am like any teenager ready to exhurt my independence.

 

Where is the discourse? Where is the innovation? What is the point in any of this if every word has to be written as if pasted into cells of an Excell file so that someone can tick you off?

Is there anyone observing the MAODE for even the slightest sniff of orginality ????

Fig. 2. Division of Labor (sic)
Like a cabal of trade unionists or a gang in the school playground.

 

P.S. For anyone interested I have accumulated a libary on Engestrom ... some books that with some reluctance I have propped up on top of the fridge or somewhere and a bunch of eBooks.

 

Engestrom as author are the books to read, especially the case studies. There are a few collections of papers that are indigestible and IMHO are an embarrassment to their authors. I'd has might as well have bought a phone directory. Communication, or the inability to do so, will define the next generation of 'digital' scholars. If you cannot say what you mean and for this to stand up to the scrutiny of anybody then don't bother. Academics should never have dreamt they were only ever supposed to be writing to each other. If you cannot sit you grandmother down and tell her what you think, then you need to go away and think a bit more. Not meaning to be disparaging to mega-super hyper intelligent grandmother's out there - the same would apply to describing all the above to the 7 year old boy who is kicking a ball against a fence down the road.

 

P.P.S. Yrjio Engestrom is based in Helsinki and San Diego.
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What is going on in there? This and the wonders of the brain and the universe ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Apr 2013, 13:35

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When I think if learning, I think of the minuscule intricacies of the component parts of the brain and at the same time the immense vastness of the known universe.

As humans we are eager to understand everything. It seems appropriate to marry neuroscience with astrophysics, like brackets that enclose everything. From a learning point of view then ask as you look at a person or group of people, ‘what is going on?’ specifically, ‘what is going on in there? (the brains) and between them to foster insight, understanding, innovation and advancement.

The best interface for this, a confluence for it all, is the Internet and the connectedness of it all.

What has the impact of the Internet been and based on everything we currently know, where do we presume it is going?

 

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Research Question: by comparing history essays written in 1979 on British and European History 1450 to 1660 with the same or similar essays written in 2012/2013 is the impact of digital technologies recognisable?

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Reading through the remarks on the Crook and Dymott paper (H809) in relation to different ways of writing whether pen to paper or fingertips to screen, I noticed a couple of fellow students wondering out loud if there are differences between what and how a student writes today compared to 20 years ago.

In a box in a lock-up garge, filed as they were written 32 years ago I have sets of essays on both British and European History. I have nothing to be proud of - grades range from D to B. And as we never had a word limit some essays go on and on and on and on ... to no avail. There might even be an F in there.

Are these subjects taught anymore?

1450 to 1660 or some such, Henry VII to the Restoration with 'Europe' another country ...

My daughter, an A' Level history student,  is studying World War 1 and Chinese History, so that's no good.

Surely the feeding tactics of the teachers will be the same? Short spells around Secondary Schools suggest to me that neither Geography, History nor English teaching has changed at all at A' Level in the last 30 years.

Read stuff, take notes, write essays, sit exams becomes read stuff (sometimes online), take notes (sometimes typed into a computer), write essays (often typed up and emailed), sit exams ... where you have to handwrite on paper.

Sounds to me like a serious mismatch of inputs and testing.

The kit may help or hinder. What matters is the quality of the memories laid down in the brain and the thoughts that can arise from getting enough of the right stuff in there.

My limited understanding of neuroscience would suggest that those parts of the brain used for communication and comprehension haven't changed a jot since Gates and Jobs and Tim Berners-Lee came along. Rather there is the possibility of a good deal more 'noise' - so on the one hand even more garbage 'polluting' the young scholar's mind whilst on the other easy and swift access to the very highest quality content - which in the past your teacher would supply with those slippery chemical smelling copies - what are they called?

The task then is to have a process so that this conent 'binds' - and whatever process or processes or tactics are exploited by teacher and pupil one thing has not changed a jot in 30 or 100 years. Time, effort, guidance, persistence ... recognising when you don't understand and having that fixed ...

Of similar interest might be a box of letters written by teenagers to each other at the time. These could end up in a museum one day - but are these asynchronous missives very different to postings to social media, particular as blogs? Very, I would have thought. The immediacy of the technology favours Twitter over the essay like letter sent by snail mail - slow to compose and equally slow to deliver.



 

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Eating holes in the H809 cheese

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 08:34

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If H809 is a very large Gouda Cheese - the size of a climbing frame, then I have consumed, wholesale everything from week 1 to 6.

We are now in week 9.

Ever since the TMA at the end of week 6 I have been back in this Cheesy Climbing frame - what remains of it - with another 11 weeks to go.

Far from meticulously deconstructing externally week by week, activity by activity and constructing internally in an equally measured way, I find I am juggling, cartoon mouse-like, three pieces of cheese:

  • Week 7 - 7 Activities: done 3/7
  • Week 8 - 7 Activities: done 4/7
  • Week 9 - 5 Activities: done 0/5

Glad I did that.

Bang goes H817open which will have to postpone. Forget the ABC Gestion de Project. And only the impulsive would sign up for a MOOC on the Human/Computer interface.

All must now wait.

I'd be on top of this had I not put a couple of weeks into H817open.

(though OER is highly relevant to H809 too)

I've got six days to get on top of all of this, write the TMA then go on holiday for ten days.

I'll put the above into a table and tick each off.

I reckon, at a glance, that this around 28 hours = jeepers.

And writing the TMA will require = X?!

Crack on, crack on ...

The TMA can 'progress' in the background while I get through the above.

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H809: Activity 8.5 Reading Crook and Dymott

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 1 Apr 2013, 09:14

Reread the introduction to Crook and Dymott’s chapter. Then read the rest of the paper. As you are doing so, make notes on the following:

What part do the five aspects of writing (text on the screen; text on the network; text as electronic traffic; text and the website; and the dialogue around text) play in describing the activity of writing? Do they ‘effect’ writing or ‘constitute’ it? How?

Do you think that the learning involved in writing the assignments, or carrying out the other tasks described, is located in the head of the students? Or do you think it is distributed and situated?

Crook and Dymott discuss the fact that there were substantial differences in the ways in which individual students used resources in one of the tasks (p. 103). What does this tell us about the mediated, situated and distributed nature of the activity?

If you were given the opportunity to assess some of the students’ assignments that are described in this chapter, where would you focus your attention: on the end product or on the process of writing, and why?

Which methodologies would you use to carry out your assessment of the students’ assignments, over and above those described in the chapter, and why?

_____________________________________________________________________

Writing is a function of the communicating clusters in our brain and will produce the same results whether cuneiform on clay, hieroglyphs on stone, handwriting on papyrus, printing on paper, text on a screen or an annotated animation in a video. The way the brain functions is to read it or to compose it remains the same.

Learning is both an artifact and a process - the artifact exists as a potential in the brain and when stimulated can in part, through the complexity, be seen in a fMRI scan. The process of learning takes place as an interaction with the world around us, more people, but also the context and ours.

Quiz 100 students at the OU who study online and you will get a wide variety of answers.

I don't think one approach would correlate with better or worse results either. Students come to understand that it requires some kind of participation with the text beyond simply reading it - so whatsoever the platform you learn to take notes, or highlight, or in my case even screen grab and crop in order to filter, punctuated, and reduced the text - and in the process make it you own.

The end result is far and away the most important consideration, if the result is very good or very poor it might be worth asking what the students did. Chances are nit long ago it would have been exactly the same thing - the higher scorer simply doing more of it, with greater effort and focus.

An in depth hour long interview, with video recording for further later analysis - and a follow up even to this. And stuffing the ethics of it leaving the recorder on beyond the end of the formal interview. This is necessary in order to get some semblance of what was really going on.

A diary or journal kept st the time and discussed can offer insights though some will struggle so a prompt sheet of some 16 or so questions might help them record the facts and detail that matters.

Going to a further extreme, and with any ethical and legal, and privacy/data protection issues covered, to use a SenseCam or some such life-logging device in order to understand what really went on - in particular the context.

I am flat on my back on a bed with an iPad at the moment, but can be at a laptop in the kitchen or in front of some huge screens on my son's desktop. I prefer eBooks and will highlight, note, even comment and Tweet thoughts as I go along.

Wherever my head goes my 'cloud' comes with me.

When I can only have the book then I do as I did as an undergraduate - I take notes as I go along - into the iPad with pages bookmarked with PostIts.

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H809: Activity 8.7: Comparing your answers with your tutor group (2 hours)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 20 Oct 2014, 09:19

As a way to consolidate your activities in Week 8, we want you to discuss how you completed Table 8.1. We suggest you use the following questions to frame the discussion in your tutor group forum.

 

 

Does learning happen within the head of an individual, or is it mediated, situated and distributed?

 

Learning as an artefact is the potential informed or insightful response in an individual's brain. Learning as a process includes the mechanisms of the brain and everything that person perceives around them - which must indirectly include everything they've laid down in their memory and how the subconscious responds to any of it.

What does a test or exam measure?

A test or exam can only be judged by how it is constructed and where and how it fits into a period of study - is the test part of the learning process or an assessment? Are the questions open or closed? Are their significant time constraints or not? So they should test what they were designed to test.

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H817 Open Activity 8: Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Jun 2013, 07:40

H817 Open Activity 8

ACTIVITY: Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners (e.g. undergraduates, new employees, teachers, mature learners, military personnel, etc.). It is a short, online course aimed at providing these learners with a set of resources for developing ‘digital skills’. It runs for five weeks, with a different subject each week, accounting for about six hours study per week. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Often the messiest and most problematic of tasks prove to be the most revealing.

Thinking of a group of swimming teachers as participants in some Open Learning was a challenge as some would never have used a computer at all. I thought of another group, nursery nurses and even contemplated going on to undergraduate medical students or junior doctors so that I could imagine working with a digital literate group but then returned to the challenge of introducing those with no experience of computers at all.

Do you try to teach someone to swim butterfly when they cannot swim? Can a swimming teacher learn anything if they don’t have access to a swimming pool? This is what it felt like - clearly OER is never suitable for everyone - the learning outcomes must come first, then how to deliver these in a way that suits the participants. There’s a saying in advertising, ‘preach to the converted’ i.e. you are selling goods and services to people who want them anyway. The easiest ‘sell’ would be to create a course on digital skills for those who are just coming online and are eager to acquire the skills, rather than a group that includes those who have no digital skills and are even belligerent or disinclined to take any interest.

Coming from Learning & Development we have sometimes been expected to ‘shoehorn’ other people’s content, or the client’s old content, into the production. We decline. We will use the material to inform the production process only. There is a reason, for narrative and continuity why I still feel that creating your own bespoke content is often a better alternative, otherwise there can be discontinuity, the need for writing in caveats, or simply reversioning as participants take a negative view of the smallest of things - say US English used instead of UK English.

Week

Topic

Resources

Suitability (G/M/B)

1

INTRODUCTION

to the Web and digital skills

Learning on the go

Mobile devices

Just in time or applied resources and tools.

Websites and social media

Twitter, Facebook … WordPress

Wikis

Keyboard Basics

6 Learning Methods Every Teacher Should Have

Internet Basic (UK GOV)

Using the Web (BBC Webwise)

M

M

M

G

2

SEARCH

Find a variety of content on MSM Website related to schedules, programmes, events, Swim21, contacts and compliance

Download and open PDF files.

Login and add personal details

Searching: Making the most of being online (BBC Webwise)

Searching the Internet (UK GOV)

Mid Sussex Marlins

Locate Swim21, download the Code of Ethics PDF, email the Swim21 Officer to say that you agree to abide by these guidelines.

G

M

3

VIEW

Select a video on swimming  technique from the Breakwater Swimming Website and note tips you would use in a training or teaching session.

Breakwater Swimming Training

M

4

PARTICIPATE

Register with IoS

Online Forms

Navigate/Search Function

Find and do a 1 hour free CPD of your choices

Multiple-choice

Audio/View

Rate/Comment

Register with the Institute of Swimming

Do a Free Continual Professional Development (CPD) refreshed - 1 hour

Working and Learning in Sports and Fitness

Open Learn, The OU

Track 6

How to develop reflective skills and improve leadership techniques. Part of The OU course E113 Working and learning in sport and fitness.

G

5

CREATE

Register withe blog host

Create a journal entry on a session and reflect

ELABORATE

Find and comment on other club and personal blogs

Create and load video

Legalese

Starting a new Web Site

Blogging, a tool used to reflect and learn

Be Secure Online (UK Gov)

How to avoid online fraud

Twitter Users.  A Guide to the Law (BBC Webwise)

B

B

G

G

 

REFLECTION

It was recently announced that a company had created a connector or ‘brick’ that allows those playing with either Lego bricks or Konnex to connect to two. It strikes me that OER requires some conformity in the creation of the learning resource in the first place to allow such bonds and that templates or connectors are required too. However, even if the learning resource is an idea expressed as a doodle with some text or a series of annotated diagrams from a whiteboard that are photographer and put online I believe this is far preferable to shoehorning another’s ideas into your learning design. Can you construct a new short story by lifting paragraphs from others? Can you construct original Shakespeare by mashing up lines from different monologues? Can you create a coherent painting by grabbing elements from a number of masters? This isn’t the same as the remixing musicians do, or is it? This isn’t the same as taking a cooking recipe and changing some of the ingredients - it is about the quality, truth, conviction, coherence and flow of a persuasive narrative.

My greatest challenge is the nature of the intended audience, whilst ‘Swimming Teachers and Coaches’ is one way to define them, for most this is a volunteer role for an hour or so a week, for a few more a modest part-time and paid role for perhaps 6 to 8 hours and only part-time and professional for 3 or 4 - say 12-16, sometimes 22 hours a week. They are a disparate group too - from airline pilots and Doctors, to a retired postman and an assistant in Waitrose who left school with no qualifications and now understand that they have Dyslexia. One is doing an MA in Sports Science online, another gets his wife to receive and send emails - yet another her husband. This spectrum of digitally literate ‘residents’ to the ‘occasional visitor’ even the non-user - and in some cases belligerently ante-Internet means that to reach this group requires more group workshops, face to face applied ‘poolside on the job’ and hand-outs. Content online needs to be printable so that if necessary intermediaries can print off in specific fonts onto coloured paper for those with Dyslexia. Content in the post, the traditionally distance learning approach would be favoured by some.

PROBLEMS

Links no longer valid or content removed, sometimes for declared copyright issues, such as here. Not having adequate input into the bespoke construction of the content in the first place, and then the possibility that the content may be removed is a problem.

Several hours too late I gave up on the depositories. I have always found UK Gov websites very easy and clear, say for calculating and paying tax, or getting a Road Licence for the car. With the drive to have everyone on Universal Credit using the web - those in the community who are most likely also to have no or poor digital literacy skills or access, I wondered what training and support UK GOV offered. I was delighted with the ‘We Make Getting Online Easier’ website and feel that it would support those for whom using the Internet would be a struggle - how and where they get online is another matter if they don’t have an Internet connection at home, or a Smartphone. For continuity reasons I may then use this website through-out with the only venture away to look at YouTube ‘How to ...’ videos relating to swimming teaching and coaching. I then checked the BBC and for UK residents found the BBC WebWise resources perfect. Start on the home page, run through the content bit by bit over the weeks.

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What will the impact be of the Web on education?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 29 Mar 2013, 04:54

How is knowledge sharing and learning changing?

From four or five months after conception with the formation of the brain, to the moment of brain death we have the capacity to learn, subconsciously as well as consciously. Whether through interlopers prior to birth, in infancy and early childhood, or through family and carers in our final moment, days, weeks, months or years. At both ends of life the Web through a myriad of ways can advise, suggest and inform, and so educate, like never before. While for all the time in between as sponges, participants and students we can access, interact, interpose and interject in an environment where everything that is known and has been understood is presented to us. The interface between person and this Web of knowledge is a fascinating one that deserves close study for its potentially profound impact on what we as humans can achieve as individuals and collectively:  Individually through, by with and surfing the established and privileged formal and formal conveyor belt of education through nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary centres of learning. Individually, also through expanding opportunities globally to learn unfettered by such formal education where such established opportunities don’t exist unless hindered through poverty and politics or a lack of communications infrastructure (a robust broadband connection to the Web). And individually and collectively alongside or beyond whatever formal education is provided or exploited by finger tapping into close and expanded networks of people, materials, ideas and activities.

By seeking to peg answers to the role the Web is starting to play, at one end to the very first opportunity, at the micro-biological level to form a thought and at the other end to those micro-seconds at the end of life once the brain ceases to function - and everything else in between, requires an understandings neuroscience and an answer to the question ‘what is going on in there?’ How do we learn?

From an anthropological perspective why and how do we learn? Where can we identify the origins of knowledge sharing and its role in the survival and domination of homo sapiens? And from our migration from the savannas of Eastern Africa to every nook and cranny of Earth, on land and sea, what recognised societal behaviours are playing out online? And are these behaviours mimicked or to a lesser extent transmogrified, warped or elevated by the scope, scale and speed of being connected to so much in such variety?

A history of learning is required. From our innate conscious and subconscious capacity to learn from our immediate family and community how has formal education formed right the way through adding reading, writing and numeracy as a foundation to subject choices and specialisms, so momentarily expanded in secondary education into the single subjects studied at undergraduate level and the niche within a niche at Masters and doctoral levels. And what role has and will formal and informal learning continue to have, at work and play if increasing numbers of people globally have a school or university in their pockets, courtesy of a smartphone or tablet and a connection to the Web?

The global village Marshall Mcluhan described is now, for the person connected to the Web, the global fireplace. It has that ability to gather people around. Where though are its limits? With how many people can we develop and maintain a relationship? Once again, how can an understanding of social networks on the ground inform us about those that form on the Web? Multiplicity reins for some, flitting between a variety of groups while others have their niche interests indulged, celebrated and reinforced. Is there an identifiable geography of such hubs small and large and if visualised what does this tell us? Are the ways we can now learn new or old?

In relation to one aspect of education - medicine - how are we informed and how do we respond as patients and clinicians?

The journey starts at conception with the mixing of DNA and ends once the last electrochemical spark has fired. How, in relation to medicine does the quality (or lack of), scale and variety of information available on the Web inform and impact upon our ideas and actions the length of this lifetime’s journey At one end, parents making decisions regarding having children, then knowledge of pregnancy and foetal development. While at the other end, a child takes part in the decision making process with clinicians and potentially the patient - to ‘call it a day’. Both the patient or person, as participant and the clinicians as interlocutors have, potentially, the same level of information at their fingertips courtesy of the Web. How is this relationship and the outcomes altered where the patient will know more about their own health and a good deal about a clinician’s specialism? The relationship between the doctor and patient, like others, courtesy of the connectivity and capacity of the Web, has changed - transmogrified, melted and flipped all at the same time. It is no longer them and us, though it can be - rather, as in education and other fields, it can be highly personalized and close. Can clinicians be many things to many people? Can any or only some of us cope with such multiplicity? A psychologist may say some will and some won’t, some have the nature for it, others not. Ditto in education. Trained to lead a classroom in a domain of their own, can a teacher take on multiple roles aimed at responding to the unique as well as the common traits of each of their students? While in tertiary education should and can academics continue to be, or expected to be undertake research as well as teach? Where teaching might be more akin to broadcasting, and the classroom or tutorial takes place asynchronously and online as well as live and face-to-face. Disaggregation equals change.

In relation to one aspect of education in medicine and one kind of problem, what role might the Web play to support patients so that they can make an informed decision regarding the taking of potentially life saving, if not simply life improving, medications? Having understood the complexity of reasons why having been prescribed a preventer medication, for example, to reduce or even eliminate the risk of a serious asthma attack, what is going on where a patient elects, sometimes belligerently, not to take the medication. Others are forgetful, some misinformed, for others it is the cost, or the palaver of ordering, collecting and paying for repeat prescriptions.

Information alone isn’t enough, but given the capacity of the web to brief a person on an individual basis, where they are online, what can be done to improve adherence, save lives and enhance the quality of life?

My hypothesis is that a patient can be assisted by an artificial companion of some kind, that is responsive to the person’s vicissitudes while metaphorically sitting on that person’s shoulder i.e. in the ‘Cloud’ and on their smartphone, tablet, headset, laptop or whatever other assistive interface will exist between us and the Web.

 

 

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H809 Activity 8.1-8.5 Teenagers do Physics with the intervention of a computer to prompt discussion

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 09:14

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In the abstract we are told that ‘Although ICT resources are commonly expected to produce uniform benefits’ Tolmie (2001) Are they? And that, ‘they are necessarily employed within pre-existing contexts of educational and social activity’. Tolmie (2001)

When and where could a context NOT be pre-existing?? Something is, or is not. Context is an absolute.

Rather, what is that specific context. Otherwise this is tautology. It is like saying that electricity pylons go into an existing landscape. Isn’t this stating the obvious so that a gullible audience nod in agreement?

Tolmie (2001) talks of ‘unexpectedly diverse effects’. Unexpectedly or diverse? Surely not both.

Is this not something of an exaggeration? And in any case, such diverse responses should be either expected, or not presumed either way to be likely or unlikely to happen. It is very dangerous to pre-empt findings.

I visualise the introduction of new technology such as this as drops of ink in a pool of water in a stream  - it has to compete with the mix that is already there, as well as its natural flow and other behaviours - leaking away into the land and evaporation for a start.

My conclusion based on reading the abstract is to: Think people above all else. Internal and external contexts are fluid and based on responses too and feelings.

It is all complex, and more to do with the brains of the individuals than simply their context . Everything can and should be measured in some way, from an agreed benchmark, to monitor, track then analyse. It is far more complex.

Take any class, habituated by the classroom, the people around us and the pattern and behaviour of the teacher … especially on a warm Friday afternoon, no wonder the mind wanders. Just because a person is physically in a classroom, even participating in a task, does not mean that much is going in if they are dreaming of the weekend or Fiona Henderson from the girl’s school down the road …

The expression ‘oversimplified’ used by Tolmie (2001)  is a) hyperbole b) a value judgment.

Better ‘simplified’, preferably qualification of the term - simplified as in ‘clipped or contained’ that parameters are created because of the remit of the funding process. You are not able to ‘look outside the box’ as only that which takes place in the box is funded. There needs to be some of one and some of the other - research based on ‘tackling circumscribed needs’ while at the same time research that has an open brief and is open ended - that stands back to see the wood for the trees, rather than, to continue the metaphor, to examine only one kind of tree in the woods in order to avert the ‘mentality of one-stop resources’ mentioned by Oliver & Conole (1998)

How else do you address improving a situation other than by identifying the problems?

Anything else is misguided (literally), or indulgent. Far worse, in the NHS, and Post Office and Banking System have been wholesale computing systems that really were alien and universal.

Change management. Everyone has a point. Time to listen and involves matters most. The psychology of innovation. Resistance is despised. (Robinson et al., 1998)

Making the wrong assumptions that blame the teachers rather than the technology - which is a catalyst for complexity, rather than a tool for conformity.

Evaluation work also rarely does more than examine the explicitly intended effects of ICT, and so fails to identify unintended or serendipitous repercussions that may actually be a critical aspect of its impact (Jones, 1998).

But the entire point and context of an exam is to remove such context in the surroundings by placing the student in ‘exam conditions’ in a neutral space, where parameters of time and context are controlled and aim to be common to other students and impartial.

Surroundings mean different things to different people. It is naive and deterministic to think that people are so easily governed by their context. The individual over the surroundings. Unless we think students are like a uniform tribal grouping.

I'm through the reading and taking it further - reading the original paper to see if my concerns and amusement are justified.

I find the gender difference uninsightful and unhelpful - we know this anyway. Men and woman are different physiologically - which includes the brain where there are various documented differences especially between the differing amount of grey and white matter and the concentration of neurones and close connections in women compared to men. But the differences between men and women are not black and white (and their are not racial differences whatsoever) ... within these differences there is considerable variety.

Now add each person's context - which for me starts a few months after conception and every possible influence since - the same chaos theory that says that when a butterfly beats its wings in the Brazilian Jungle there is a typhoon in Malaysia will suggest that that marshmallow your grandmother gave you on Christmas day when you were six while watching Jimmy Saville introduce the Chart Show will influence how you respond to the 14 year old boy you have been paired up with in a physics class who offers you a handful of mini-marshmallows by way of 'making friends' who in turn is nervous about this strange but beautiful creature who he hasn't noticed all year but rather fancies even though his older brother has his eye on her - what was that the teacher said checking the trajectory of your balls on the computer ?????

The wrong approach was taken, though the theory throws up some interesting questions

I will change my opinion as I go through my notes but my current stance is that a quantitative before and after study requires many hundreds of participants in a randomised controlled trial and the gender differences are a distraction - far better to have administered questionnaires before and after and drawn upon each students SATS results or some such to get some sense of where they were coming from in relation to physics.

More interesting pairings would be like-minds and enemies - really. A couple of buddies having a laugh might learn less than a pair who can't stand each other, or another pair who are rivals.

Have I been watching too many teen movies? Probably.

Already I have a script in my head based on Tolmie in which far from being the less talkative, the FM pairs are chatting away to themselves (in their heads, written and delivered as stream of consciousness voice over), communicating in subtle ways through body language and as a result actually communicating more, not less than the ones who won't shut up - and who may be playing up to the research conditions.

This is the other fundamental humdinger of a problem - these students are being tested under 'lab conditions'.

My memories of teenager physics classes are more akin to St.Trinian's with boys. I even have a diary to call upon which I may look at just to get me into the role. I have a household of teenagers and another five nephews and nieces in this age bracket if I need to be reminded of what it is (and was) like.

Oddly enough, work is often the last thing on their minds. Which is why homework is so important - fewer potential distractions.

This will be less than hearsay in due course - I am also refreshing what it was and is like to be a teenager through some additional reading. Problem is my daughter senses that I am observing her from time to time.

I'm just asking myself the same question I asked when she was born, 'what is going on in there?' - but in a quasi-academic rather than father-daughter way.

Researchers make the mistake of believing that their intervention - in this case using a computer to support a physics class by trying to prompt discussion - is going to make some measurable difference.

Can they not see the bigger picture, and how vast it is?

If each human brain has as many neurons in it as the visible galaxy - 98 billion, and each brain though similar, is connected in different ways, by gender but essentially by genetics, with every remembered moment of waking and sleeping life in between. This is why, to have something measurable, researchers taken to the lab and until recently would have stuck with sea-snails, rats and in the past cats and primates … while gradually observation and measurement of electro-chemical activity in the human brain has become possible.

When it comes to exams surely examiners know that the response to a unique set of questions in an exam, certainly at undergraduate level, if not at post compulsory level, will test the student’s ability to construct a response both from what they know, and what they have to surmise.

REFERENCE

Jones, C. 1998 Evaluating a collaborative online learning environment Active Learning

Oliver, M. & Conole, G. (1998) Evaluating communication and information technologies: a toolkit for practitioners. Active Learning, 8,3–8.

Robinson, H., Smith, M., Galpin, F., Birchall, D., Turner, I. (1998) As good as IT gets: have we reached the limits of what technology can do for us? Active Learning, 9, 50–53.

Tolmie, A. (2001), Examining learning in relation to the contexts of use of ICT. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 17: 235–241. doi: 10.1046/j.0266-4909.2001.00178.

 

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What is the point in playing chess if you let a computer give you the answers and all you do is move the pieces?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 09:20

IMG_5002.JPG

The act of playing chess, and the process of thinking it through is the joy and the learning.

  • What will be the point as or once all the answers are online?
  • Where we let algorithms and the Web provide the answers?

Does this mean that anyone can be a doctor so long as they have a smartphone in their pocket and a good connection?

Knowledge acquired is how learning occurs.

  • The learning process is necessary in order for the brain to make sense of it (or not)
  • And we do so, each of us, in an utterly unique way.
  • Less so because of when or where we were born,
  • But because we were made this way.

'Je suis comme je suis, je suis faite comme ca'.

Our DNA is unique and the brain it constructs also.

Not hard considering considering:

  • There are some 98 billion neurons in there.
  • And every neuron has some 10,000 connections.

It is this mass of interconnections that makes us both ridiculous and smart,

Able to think in metaphors, provide insight, solve problems, conform, deform and inform.

And fall in and out of love.

Enthusiams bubble up like farts in the wind.

Life is like a game of chess

We are its players and pieces whether we like it or not.

It is the sense of participation and control that makes life worth living.

Which suggests that absolute machine power - Google-eyed algorithms could be no better than prison.

Life is not a game though

And we are more than merely players.

There is no need to strut and fret our hour upon the stage.

Unless ...

It is a story we tell, defined by our actions and responses

A rollercoaster of our own making.

There is no need for noise and tension,

where we can be cool in war and love.

 

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Design Museum

Is Google translate teaching me written French or am I teaching 'it' to translate French into English?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 14:31

It's 21 years since I lived in France.

Amongst other things I translated kids TV cartoons from French into English! I'm now trying, once and for all, to get my written French in order courtesy of:

  • Doulinguo
  • Qstream
  • OpenLearn French
  • Google Translate
  • A MOOC in French (ABC of business start ups if I have understood what is going on!!)
  • And the threat of legal action from the owners of my late Father's timeshare flat in the French alps (he died 11 years ago ... ). Only this week have they finally acknowledge my letters - probably because I chose to write in pigeon French rather than bolshy English.

When I want to write in French I give it a stab, stick it through Google Translate then  jig my English around until I get what I would have said in French out of the other end. (I can speak French - like a Belgian I am told).

When I read any tricky French I paste it into Google Translate and adjust until, once again, it has the sense of what I would have understood had I simply heard it spoken to me.

The test is how quickly will I be found out in an all French MOOC.

The only issue is that hopping around computers in our house (My teenage son has a couple of huge screens which I particularly enjoy using while he is at school) - I found one viewing of the MOOC was being automatically translated - which can in itself be quite a laugh. But at what point will such translation be seamless, at least to the non-linguists? At what point will it suffice as an adequate stab at what is being said and meant by what is being said?

Will be have a Bable Fish in our ear along with the Google Glass(es)?

 

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