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Great tools. Trying iDesk

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The last 29 months I have been introduced to all kinds of tools, both those used by the OU, as well as those recommended by fellow students. I am always trying tools for creating diagrams, getting close to making 'Infographics' simple, visualise ways to express information and ideas. I find them easier to recall.

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If you've studied the history of the First World War please offer your thougths on this, absences, errors or exaggerations. It can all be shifted around with remarkable ease, entirely on a mutli-touch screen such as an iPad.

 

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How should we remember the First World War?

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I call it 'War One' having heard American's use this expression; I guess they're up to about War 20 by now? And we can't be far behind. Then again, which war was our first? 1066!

Is the period 2014-2018 a great opportunity to educate?

An excuse to consider what drives nations to War?

H G Wells reflected on this in August 1914 and again in 1936. He was wrong to think it was the 'war to end war' but right to look at economic imbalances and protectionism as a root cause. Who would blame the nations of Africa attacking Western Europe for a piece of the pie?

How is and will the world pie be shared out when so few continue to gather so much to themselves and keep it?

The Open University is running as series of lectures at the Imperial War Museum on 8th July I believe, though for my money, an MA in History with the University of Birmingham has more appeal as its emphasis is on 'War One'.

Afternoon Lecture Series, 2.00pm-4.15pm 

2.00pm, The Origins of the First World War

Annika Mombauer, Senior Lecturer in The Open University’s History Department
Was the war an accident, or was it design? This talk will offer an interpretation of the war guilt question based on primary sources and speculate about the possibilities of some different outcomes.

When I last looked 'Modern History' at Oxford only got as far as the 18th century

I think the world wars were considered too recent and were give to PPE (Politics, Philosophy & Economics).

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012, 07:04

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I came across this on the rear page of 'World War' a partwork pubished in 1936/1937. I was struck by its clarity. This is an age where the 'working man' left school age 14. My grandfather started work the day of his birthday having got through 'Standard 7' the term before. He had the mind, he survived the First World War as a machine gunner, transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and qualified as a Fighter Pilot and went on to be a Regional Manager for the North Eastern & then Scottish & Newcastle Breweries. But he always deeply regretted not having a more enduring education. At least he saw his daughter through Durham University with an M.A.

Is this what the OU offers? To man and woman alike? This chance to 'engage the brain'?


 

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What next?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012, 06:58

E807 Children and young people's worlds: frameworks for integrated practice

or

H810 Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students

If you have done either let me know what you think.


I've registered for both so am commited to the 'End Game' one way or another.

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exM sults!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 07:03

butof course i can't spell.


60%


Which is very interesting indeed, as my previous three modules all had an end of module assignment in which I scored something like 57, 59 and 43.

Giving an overal score of 66% How on earth did the Open Univerity Business School MBA Award Winnder get a distinction on every paper??? She didn't do B822!


What do I take from this that I hadn't already understood?


Prepare for an assignment as if it were an exam ... except you can cheat by refering to notes and resources and even rewrite from the top. But you MUST go through the agony of getting your head around the subject first.


Not that it mattered here but to get an A or distinction would have required proximity to a peer group wanting and capable of such grades and a tutor competing with colleagues to be the very best. We just hoped to pass.


Delighted also as an MBA module is well outside my comfort zone and sphere of professional interest.


It would be niave of me to say 'one to go' and think my postgraduate student days are over. My inclination is to pick up my final MAODE module in the next 9 months then take ... another MA in history specialising in the First World War. I may decamp to the University of Birmingham for this, though the OU are running lectures at the Imperial War Museum on WW1 this July 8th where I will be tomorrow as the IWM mark the hundreth anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Flying Corps.


My grandfather was a flight cadet in 1918 after 2 years as a machine gunner on the Western Front while my great uncle had got into the RFC age 16 and was a Flight Lieutenant piloting bombers ... age 18. If you are at all interested in all thing WW1 and the impending centenary come and join me in www.machineguncorps.com.


Do you have a relation who served? Most of us did.

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Why academics should blog. Matin Weller (from his blog)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012, 15:06

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Professor Martin Weller's BLOG

'In terms of intellectual fulfilment, creativity, networking, impact, productivity, and overall benefit to my scholarly life, blogging wins hands down. I have written books, produced online courses, led research efforts, and directed a number of university projects. While these have all been fulfilling, blogging tops the list because of its room for experimentation and potential to connect to timely intelligent debate. That keeps blogging at the top of the heap'.

Martin Weller (2011)

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My Personal Learning Environment: what is yours?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 01:11

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Fig 1. MY PLE

First Half 2012 (earlier PLEs in the blog here)

The blogs, Picasa, increasingly eBooks from Kindle on a Kindle and the iPad. Tweeted. This locates like-minds but also provides my notes in my Twitter feed. Google as ubiquitous as QWERTY. Facebook for social/family; Linkedin for work related groups, interests and contacts (e-learning, corporate communcations)

My OU Blog in the student environment and its mirror my external blog in wordpress IS a blog, learning journal, e-portfolio, forum and deposit. It can be a link to 'like-minds' too (and job opportunities)

I want an article I cut and paste the reference in Google.

If I can't have it I repeat this in the OU Library resource fist by title, then by author. I find I can, almost without exception, read whatever takes my interest. Brilliance for the curious and ever-hungry mind.

Increasinly I photo and screen grab everything, manipulate in Picasa then load online where I can file, further manipulate and share. A better e-portfolio and an e-portfolio as it is image based. My e-learning folder tops 350+ images.

When busy on an OU Module the 'OU Learning Environment expands to fill 1/3rd of the screen: the learning journey, resources, activities and student forums are my world for 6-9 months'.

In truth I need to video my activity and then do a time in motion audit. Tricky as I don't have a laptop or desktop anymore. All is done (most) on the move on an iPad or iPhone. I 'borrow' my son's desktop when he's at school or early mornings on my wife's laptop. Which explains why EVERYTHING is online, I could go to the library or an Internet cafe and work just as well.

'A university in my pocket'?

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Or 'a university in the clouds', literally as envisaged in the 1960s by Michael Young et al and featured on BBC Radio 4's 'The New Elizabethans' (in association with the Open University of course)

  • A pivotal role in the creation of the welfare state
  • Groundbreaking work as a social scientist in the East End
  • His creation of the Open University

P.S. Which reminds me: the Open University was devised for those with a fraction of the opportunities I have had so I need to treat it with huge respect.

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Fig 2. My PLE July 2011

A year on my choice of blogs has greatly reduced. I still access Diaryland as it has 1,700+ entries to draw upon from 1999 to 2006. StumbleUpon I still use and need to add to the current PLE. I don't go near Xing. I haven't indicated the digital tools, the hardware I use to access this (these) online resources.

But what's more important, the phone or the conversation?

Yes, I dip into Wikipedia but frequently I scroll down for alternative equally valid answers from the long established sources that have finally got themselves online. TED lectures I've missed out too. I must watch several a month.

I haven't add family and friends because where they are part of my world, increasingly online through Facebook, they are not directly part of my PLE.

However, it would be foolish to ignore the vital role family and the context of family, community and school play in learning.

FURTHER LINKS IN THIS BLOG ON PLEs

Virtual Learning Environments vs. Personal Learning Environments

Virtual Learning Environments or Personal Learning Environments

Google+

Technology Mediated Learning Spaces

The reality check. Must PLEs be technology enables to qualify as PLE?

The Challenge Facing Course Design 1997 vs. 2012

What’s wrong with educational social networking?

My Personal Learning Environment (2011)

Sometimes only paper will do

Digital Housekeeping. Recording everything.

H800 EMA Images / Visualisation

H800 EMA Course Specifics

What’s wrong with Educational Social Networking? (EDU)

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My postgraduate learning environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 17 Jun 2012, 14:28

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Whenever I stumbleupon I new tool I like to give it a shot and the first thing that comes to mind is my 'learning environment' or some such. All I initially wanted was a simple Venn Diagram creating tool (I tested several of those). This, iDesk, does some much, exploits the multi-touch surface of an iPad and is great fun and versatile.

'Subjects' and 'Art History' have vanished under 'writing'.

A shifting thing where clients call the shots when freelance work takes precedence.

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Let's share our food with the world

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Jun 2012, 21:28
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My 'school' dinner. 10/10 every time courtesy of The OU. This meal a little cold but I did leave the place three months ago.
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OUSA This weekend

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I'm delighted to be attending the OUSA Conference next weekend in Milton Keynes; if you're around let's meet up for a coffee in The Hub.
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On keeping a dairy, a record, a blog, a journal.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012, 17:54

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Three decades on I can have a laugh online reminding friends and family what we were up to in our early teens.

I stopped keeping a diary when I started to blog in 1999; when you aren't recording events in private you become a reporter. I keep blogs with a focus: e-learning, swimming or the First World War. The diary is now at best 'Blip Photo', a picture a day.

Probably the visual record will be a far better way to recall people and events, people in particular.

Had I a camera strung around my neck in the 1970s and 1980s and could afford the film and printing costs what kind of record might I have?

In conversation with people I new in the 1970s it is staggering what we are starting to recall, the detail of people, food, smells, activities and feelings. As an educator I wonder what we can recall from the classroom, playing fields or swimming pool?

Or is education through secondary, even tertiary levels, 'learning to learn'?

Personally, I find a 'Learning Journal' an indispensable support to my scatter-brain. Nothing sticks unless I 'engage' through writing, sharing, discussing. I will read a book and not have a clue what it was about unless

I also listed the books I read, and the albums I purchased.

Even the posters I put up on the wall.

Do I want to think back to lesson on Silas Marner?

On the Tolpuddle Martyrs. 'Abba's Greatest Hits?'

Why not?

Bowie posters on the wall.

Shakespeare for sure.

School and the RSC Tour to the Newcastle Theatre Royal created in me a love for Shakespeare.

A few taps on my cerebellum and I can recite Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet.

There are lessons worth remembering though.

And as you focus, particularly on sciences or law and medicine at tertiary level, let alone everything you are "required" to learn in the workplace this is stuff you need to engage with.

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Are we not always at war and was it meant to be forever so?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012, 15:11

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Fig 1. Count the bodies (and body parts) on the Passchandaele mud.

However horrible and however pointless war appears to be, the very fact that some conflict is always in the news makes one wonder if it isn't in our nature to be forever at eachother's throats; perhaps a warmongering gene will be found to define us, just as we have a gene that makes us think in metaphors and so devise new ways of doing things (such as killing each other or defending ourselves in increasingly devious or clever ways). 

Here's a thought for a story, what if instead of the centenary of the First War in 2014 it was instead the 100th year of a conflict that is yet to end, the entire world bleeding itself dry and perfecting the means to slaughter, defend and produce ranks of fresh combatants in perfect self-destructive balance?

What if the ability and speed of amputating and replacing limbs allowed the 'modern'soldier to be recycled constantly from spare parts?

Or the story of a young soldier, wounded and slipping into a deep, water-filled shellhole who apparently goes on to live a fulfilling life but with the nagging feeling that he will drown only to discover that he'd had no life at all and was still in that shell-hole?

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Where is a blog is a blog, an e-portfolio, a wiki and forum? Right here!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:58

The Open University provide an OU Student Blog platform, which you are required to use for some modules to build up reflective practice, they also provide a portfolio called MyStuff in which to dump stuff.

As portfolios either system can be used to aggregate content that can be shared, offered with restricted access or kept private.

I have been on the Masters in Open & Distance Education for two years, we have to give blogs, potfolios, wikis and other tools a go.

My conclusion, shared amongst fellow students, is that the 'modern' blog platform, such as Wordpress offers all of this, as in a wonderfully simple, bulletin board kind of way the OU's own blog offering.

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Life is a story told in hindsight: DISCUSS

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Innovation is a strategy only in hindsight.

In the middle of it, it's a series of tactical steps.

Some of which, in the writing of the history of the strategy, will be airbrushed out.

The March on Innovation incurs an unsustainable casualty rate if attempted by the whole organisation at the same time, advancing like an entire regiment, shoulder to shoulder to the drummer's beat.

It is much better assaulted by a small Special Forces unit, working autonomously to secure a bridgehead.
Quoting my friend Ian Singleton (2011)
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How you learn?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013, 12:10

 

 

Fig.1. How you learn!

I set out with the idea of doing nothing more than making a face out of time, effort and motivation.

Then 28 months of the MAODE kicked in, as well as experience. How we learn is a rather complex affair. The influencing factors given above carry different weightings and change through time as events play out.

(This should be interactive so that you can adjust the size of each factor to suit your current circumstance, or circumstances you recall from past experience, at school say ... or that you hope for in the future. With this in mind I'll give the above a second shot in Bubbl.us)

Do we define 'success' as individual happiness or achievement through the education process and beyond?

SH1T happens.

To study learning we rock and roll between simplification and complication, in an effort to understand we create models, but the reality is always as messy as the individual, their mind and circumstances, when and where they were born and so on.

  • An uncle takes the kids to a show, and one of them take as shine to performance.
  • A child breaks an arm and goes to hospital and takes an interest in working in a hospital.
  • A teacher makes and illustrates and interesting point about landforms and calls one an isthmus and another a peninsula and the idea of naming forms and understanding how they take place takes root.
  • Then along comes World War 1, or you are hit by a bus and hospitalized or fall in love smile

And in all of this, some of us to respond to many of these external stimuli while other of us take a focus and lasting interested, whether as a hobby or career.

A work in progress!

I rather like the idea of trying to create the kinds of infographics produced by David Mcandless illustrated in 'Information is Beautiful'.

Please suggest factors and weightings!

If you are studying education or learning is there research on these factors, surveys that give weightings and importance to the different factors, or is everything a subset of something else?

H800-11B / EMA Tutor Group Forum / h800 overview framework Janet Gray Post 1. 26 August 2011, 16:01h800 overview framework (accessed 6SEPT2011) http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forumng/discuss.php?d=624853

From E-LEARNING
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effort, time and motivation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 6 Jun 2012, 09:15

The Holy Trinity of learning.

2 years and 4 months it has taken me on a Masters programme called 'Open & Distance Learning' to realise that this is what it takes for a person to gain knowledge. Of these three, I'd put motivation first, and put intrinsic motivation above extrinsic.

If you want to learn you will and can. Does it help to have a classroom? A library? Some books? Do you need a computer, or smartphone, or laptop? 

You need a teacher. Present is best, small groups or one to one. A teacher who motivates.

I stumbleupon a bix of bits and pieces that my father had kept (he died a decade ago) and found a couple of my school reports from when I was ten; and some old school photos. I've been online remembering school with half a dozen old classmates from when I was 4.11 to 16.

An unpleasant experience with a teacher killed a subject, while a positive experience and even where I didn't excel I was happy and got good reports. A subject I may have enjoyed and came to via the back door by going to live there, French.

Where is the teacher in e-learning?

In the instructional design and the team of content cretors, in the way software recognises and rewards, in the vital involvement of an e- moderator, who like the 'good teacher' know how and where to step in to initiate, to support, encourage, encourage and motivate.

Funny that this should come to me during the vacuum of a Bank holiday. (or not so funny, the last module I did 'creativity, innovation and change B822 gave me the green light to empty my head, go for walks even to dream on it. Which of course I did last night, bobbing around in a world of classes).

There is a paper I am picking my way through too, from ALT- C  2007 and some papers from the Institute of aeducation I am glancing at, so I've hardly stopped feeding my mind.

Effort and Time speak for themselves

I'm not suggesting that everyone can get A grades, there is more at play. The effort benefits fromguidance. Consistency is required too, and not always in a person's mindset. Either way, for anyone, it takes time. The day (or night) will never come where you can go to sleep wearjng a headset and wake up  after an 8 hour mind dump and 'know stuff') But then again, who ever thought a driverless car would become feasible?

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Kindle Joy

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It's taken me two years to get round to figure out how to send a PDF file to my Kindle. This is an experiment. I've also sent it to an iPad and may even follow with an iPhone.

If I can combine a day walking on the South Downs with some stops to read a paper then I kill several birds with one stone; most importantly I get through the reading and don't feel I've been confined to the house. The dog goes for a walk, I enjoy the fresh air and exercise my legs.

Mobile Learning?

No need for fancy software or an MA in Instructional Design either. This is like taking a paperback with me, or a file of papers in an arch-level file. Which is how I often read and revise: up a hill, in the woods, by the beach. Its that or not get it done at all as hanging around the house I find it too easy to get distracted (and I don't have a study or even a room of my own).

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Digital Scholarship

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 12:01

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Mindmap on Digital Scholarship

drawing on ideas from 'The Digital Scholar' Martin Weller,

'Blended E-learning' Chris Pegler

and my own OU and e-learning blogs

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Why learning in business is becoming fluid and lively - the relationship between the academic and the student has flipped.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 05:11

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Drawing on a business model, the development of a more organic structure that is less hierarchical, as envisaged by Mintzberg (1994), seems appropriate; it complements what authors such as John Seely Brown say about 'learning from the periphery' too. Adhocracy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adhocracy

Characteristics of an adhocracy (Waterman, 1990; Mintzberg, 1994; Travica, 1999):

· highly organic structure

· little formalization of behavior

· job specialization based on formal training

· a tendency to group the specialists in functional units for housekeeping purposes but to deploy them in small, market-based project teams to do their work

· a reliance on liaison devices to encourage mutual adjustment within and between these teams

· low standardization of procedures

· roles not clearly defined

· selective decentralization

· work organization rests on specialized teams

· power-shifts to specialized teams

· horizontal job specialization

· high cost of communication (dramatically reduced in the networked age)

· culture based on non-bureaucratic work

 

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Handy’s Shamrock (1989)

The advantage of a flexible organisation is that it can react quickly to a change in its external environment.

Since the 1990s, firms have examined their value chain and tried to reduce their workforce to a multi-skilled core, which is concerned with the creation or delivery of a product or service. All other supporting, non-central functions are outsourced wherever possible to the periphery.

Charles Handy suggested, however, that organisations do not consist of just the Core and the Periphery, since the periphery can be subdivided.

He calls this a shamrock organisation:

The first leaf of the shamrock represents the multi-skilled core of professional technicians and managers, essential to the continuity of the business

The second leaf Handy calls the contractual fringe, because non central activities are contracted out to firms specialising in activities such as marketing, computing, communications and research

The third leaf consists of a flexible workforce made up of part-time, temporary and seasonal workers.

 

REFERENCE

Brown, JS

Handy, C (1989) The Age of Unreason

Mintzberg, H (1994), The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning: Reconceiving the Roles for Planning, Plans, Planners, Free Press, pp. 458, ISBN 0-02-921605-2

Travica, B (1999) New Organizational Designs: Information Aspects, Ablex/Greenwood, ISBN 1-56750-403-5, Google Print, p.7

Waterman, R. H. (1990). Adhocracy: The power to change. The Larger agenda series. Knoxville, Tenn: Whittle Direct Books.

 

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How to write the perfect essay every time

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A 30 second video says it tall:

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CLICK HERE The perfect essay (or not).

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

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

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

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

Like ink drops in a tank of water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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History of Art

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I played this with my Mum in the 1970s and eventually knew every painting in the set. No formal lessons, some visits to galleries but these were initially confined to the North East of England.

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What lessons do we learn from such games when it comes to teaching? That it can be fun? Exploratory? By default?

How or where else could this be applied, whether as a commercial game 'for all the family' or to use in the classroom, meeting room, board room, lecture hall?

  • Cloud Formation
  • Breeds of Cattle
  • Car Makes
  • Body Parts (Human, as in First Year Medical Students)

Please do add your suggestions ...

 

 

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500 years of Lewes Old Grammar School, so what do they do? Close the High Street and march around town in costume

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 Oct 2014, 08:29

A school parade through Lewes. This is Lewes. This is normal.

I've been marching around in fancy dress for 12 years either as a Confederate Soldier or an early 18th Century Pirate.

Does Lewes produce more historians per head of population than other towns in the UK?

I wonder because all this activity must have an impact, especially on the younger participants. I took over 200 photos this afternoon, and spent a lot of time getting close ups of the 3d 'Banners' that were paraded through town.

The detail and craftsmanship impressed.

The entire set could be used as multiple pegs into the 500 year history of England ... and beyond, this is afterall the town of Tom Paine.

This on the day Scotland starts its yes campaign for independence and I happend to be reading the chapter in the Norman Davies book 'The Isles' on the extraordinary mishaps that resulted in the union of England and Scotland in the first place.

Scotland had gone bust financing an attempt at empire building in central America. I favour independence. Of the 62 ancestors I can trace back to the 18th century one was Irish, and some 50 from Scotland, the rest from the North East or North West of England.

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E-learning design and development process @ Brightwave

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 24 May 2012, 12:49

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Brightwave's e-learning production process

 

Great to have a few months between modules as it gives me the opportunity to look beyond the MAODE modules at what interests me most: learnign and development in a corporate setting, the practicalities of enhancing the skills and building on the motivations and interests of people in their daily working lives.

The above chart adds detail to a familiar productoin process.

The benefit of turning to an outside supplier for such services (and for the the supplier to call upon the specialist skills of freelancers), is the accountability, the clarity of the stages, the parameters set by budgets and schedules and the lack of politics, as well as the engagement with a diversity of cultures, experiences and background which you simply do no get when everything is carried out in-house, the biggest bugbear of most providers in the the tertiary sector who insist on doing it all themselves.

Watch some of their videos

Particularly impressed with Laura Overton who I have heard speak at Learning Technologies in the past.

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Laura Overton

Brightwave, quite rightly, include a transcript with these face paced, tightly edited, packed interviews.

This doesn't preclude the benefit of taking notes. I also cut and paste the transcript then go through highlighting, re-arranging the text and doing what Jakob Neilsen would call making it 'web friendly'.

Even if I don't share this online, the act of doing this is a vital way to engage and memorise the information.

I've come to understand in the last few days (B822 End of Module Exam) that a 'mnemonic' is any devise or technique that aids memory, so reading this start the mylenations process, comment and those tracks become established. Cut and paste, doing something of your own with the content, go follow the links, add links of your own, cut and paste into a blog (here or externally), then share it into Facebook or Twitter and pick up others who know more or less and can contribute.

All of this is a very human way og aggregating and securing knowledge.

Ideally everyone would be milling around my garden right now, we'd pick up the conversation, then drift away to other things.

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What is the library, when the totality of experience approaches that which can be remembered?’

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 10 Dec 2012, 21:11

‘What is the library, when the totality of experience approaches that which can be remembered?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)


Lisbet Rausing

Speaking at the Nobel Symposium 'Going Digital' in June 2009 (that ironically took another 2 years before it was published0.

Things are gong to have to speed up in the new age of digital academia and the digital scholar.

 

We have more than a university in our pockets (an OU course), we have a library of million of books.


(I have an iPhone and iPad. I 'borrow' time on laptops on desktops around the house, libraries at work).

I’ve often pondered from a story telling point of view what it would be like to digitize not the libraries of the world, but something far more complex, the entire contents of someone’s mind. (The Contents of My Mind: a screenplay) It is fast becoming feasible to pull together a substantial part of all that a person may have read and written in their lifetime. (TCMB.COM a website I launched in 2001)

 

‘Throughout history, libraries have depended on destruction’. (Rausing, 2011:50)


But like taking a calculator into a maths exam, or having books with you as a resource, it isn’t that all this ‘stuff’ is online, it is that the precise piece of information, memory support or elaboration, is now not on the tip of your tongue, but at your fingertips.

Rausing (2011) wonders about the creation of a New library of Alexandria. I wonder if we ought not to be looking for better metaphors.

 

‘How do we understand the web, when this also means grasping its quasi-biological whole?’ (Rausing, 2011:53)


Tim Berners-Lee thinks of Web 2.0 as a biological form; others have likeminds. But what kind of growth, like an invasive weed circling the globe?

There are many questions. In this respect Rausing is right, and it is appropriate for the web too. We should be asking each other questons.

‘Do we have the imagination and generosity to collaborate? Can we build legal, organisational and financial structures that will preserve, and order, and also share and disseminate, the learning and cultures of the world? Scholars have traditionally gated and protected knowledge, but also shared and distributed it, in libraries, schools and universities. Time and again they have stood for a republic of learning that is wider than the ivory tower. Now is the time to do so again’. (Rausing, 2011:49)

 

If everything is readily available then the economy of scarcity, as hit the music industry and is fast impacting on movies, applies to books and journals too.


It seems archaic to read the copyright restrictions on this Nobel Symposium set of papers and remarkable to read that one of its authors won’t see their own PhD thesis published until 2020.

‘The academic databases have at least entered the digital realm. Public access – the right to roam – is a press-of-the-button away. But academic monographs, although produced by digitised means, are then, in what is arguably an act of collective academic madness, turned into non-searchable paper products. Moreover, both academic articles and monographs are kept from the public domain for the author’s lifetime plus seventy years. My own PhD dissertation,19 published in 1999, will come into the public domain in about 110 years, around 2120’. (Rausing, 2011:55)

The e-hoarder, the obsessive scanning of stuff. My diaries in my teens got out of hand, I have a month of sweet wrappers and bus tickets, of theatre flyers and shopping lists. All from 1978. Of interest perhaps only because 10,000 teeneragers in the 1970s weren’t doing the same in England at the time.

 

‘We want ephemera: pamphlet literature, theatre bills, immigrant broad sheets and poetry workshops’. (Rausing, 2011:51)


What then when we can store and collate everything we read? When our thoughts, not just or writings are tagged and shared? Will we become lost in the crowd?

‘What if our next “peasant poet,” as John Clare was known, twitters? What if he writes a blog or a shojo manga? What if he publishes via a desktop, or a vanity publisher? Will his output count as part of legal deposit material?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)

The extraordinary complex human nature will not be diminished; we are what we were 5000 years ago. It will enable some, disable others; be matter of fact or of no significance, a worry or not, in equal measure.

A recent Financial Times article agrees with Robert Darnton, warning that by means of the Books Rights Registry, Google and the publishing industry have created “an effective cartel,” with “significant barriers to entry.” (Rausing, 2011:57)

Much to ponder.

‘If scholars continue to hide away and lock up their knowledge, do they not risk their own irrelevance?’ (Rausing, 2011:61)

 

GLOSSARY

Allemansratt : Freedom to roam

The Cloud : A Simple Storage Service that has some 52 billion virtual objects.

Folkbildningsidealet: A "profoundly democratic vision of universal learning and education"?

Incunabula: "Incunabula" is a generic term coined by English book collectors in the seventeenth century to describe the first printed books of the fifteenth century. It is a more elegant replacement for what had previously been called "fifteeners", and is formed of two Latin words meaning literally "in the cradle" or "in swaddling clothes"

Maimonedes :  His philosophic masterpiece, the Guide of the Perplexed, is a sustained treatment of Jewish thought and practice that seeks to resolve the conflict between religious knowledge and secular.

Meisterstuecke : German for masterpiece.

Samizdat : An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely.

Schatzkammer : ‘Treasure Room’, and in English, for the collection of treasures, kept in a secure room, often in the basement of a palace or castle.

Schumpeterian


REFERENCE

Ruasing, L(2011) (Last accessed 23rd May 2012) http://www.center.kva.se/svenska/forskning/NS147Abstracts/KVA_Going_Digital_webb.pdf )

 

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