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G Suite for Education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 14 Apr 2018, 06:56

 

 

Delight at finding the OU has activated G Suite for education. I am well through training to be a Google Educator Level 1 (Certified).  Its impact and benefits are huge, not least replacing most the of current platforms used by the OU. 

This is my account - activated 9 days. I have been Google since the start, transferring to Docs, Slides and Sheets to rid my life of hideous Word, PowerPoint and Excel. It has grown gently from a basic and easy to use set of Apps, to a suite of simple to use, intuitive and connected tools that create the most versatile of learning set-ups.

'Sites' the blog platform could see off this environment I am working in now. This would be a mistake. I rave to colleagues about the affordances of this space because as well as being a blog, it is really a threaded conversation too. 

You can always find someone to talk to smile 

 

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Can blogging be taught?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 04:48

Can you teach someone to swim if they won't get in the water?

You can take a horse to the trough, but you can't make it drink?

What therefore will motivate, drive, persuade, cajole, convince or oblige a.n.other to blog?

I'm seeking advice and help here as I am on a mission to initiate and nurture 12 new bloggers over the next four months. It feels like cheating to go on a quest for those who blog already and call them mine but surely this is the crux of the matter. I can preach to the converted, until then my words will fall on deaf ears.

Invite people to enjoy a variety of successful bloggers to help them find their way? How many do I have listed here? 100+ but where's the attraction in a list, you need guidance.

Define a blog?

Academics I quote and review here say you can't. They are beyond simple definition, but 'electronic paper' where people spill words, images, video (though not coffee), where they aggregate other people's content, majestic lists, dumb notes, a writer's journal, an academic's draft papers, a student's e-portfolio.

Is there a role for a blog buddy or blog secretary?

I believe Richard Branson has a blog and Twitter double,i.e. He doesn't write a word of it himself. That would be cheating. I can't write 12 blogs for other people (even if I write/produce or create some 16+ of my own).

Stuffing in things you've already written is fine with me.

I call up content from a diary I started in my early teens as well as from 2,000 odd blog entries posted from 1999 to 2004 and the 1000 odd posted since early 2010.

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Google Gone

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 11 Aug 2011, 20:55
As in Google+
You have to be fickle.
First there was Compuserve, Diaryland and Friends Reunited.
Then AOL, LiveJournal and MySpace.
Then along came YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr.
and Google, Facebook and Twitter.
A one stop shop would do me fine, thing is, I far prefer Wordpress over Blogger.
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In search of blogs to follow

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 15:01

Dion%2520Hinchcliffe%2520Social%2520Business%2520%2520Ecosystem%2520CHART%2520%25282011%2529.JPG

It's rare for me to miss a few days but the simple truth I am too wrapped up in the rebuild of one 'storyline' in the OU Business School website.

This and preparing another presentation, this time on 'blogging' having opened what will become a series with 'Social Media' last week.

I see three necessary phases in becoming a blogger:

  • Listen
  • Comment
  • Create (and collaborate)

'Listen' as in reading loads, being led wherever someone appeals to you, 'listening in' on the conversations that are being started and saving these sites to peruse regularly.

There were over 150 million blogs the last time I cared to seek out the statistics.

How do you even begin to find those few that you are prepared to read on a regular basis?

Clearly you cannot read everything; even in your own field of interest, unless it is the tightest niche, might have thousands of commentors.

I go for 'like minds', authors with whom you feel you could converse, those you wish to emulate, whose thoughts maybe like your own, but fully fledged.

I am currently following Andrew Sullivan a bit, but some of the many other bloggers he lists a lot. Andrew is British born and raised, though now living in New York, somewhat right-wing (has always been wedded to the Conservative Party), gay (he played the lead role in Another Country at Oxford though took a while longer to come out - at Harvard I believe.

Is his background relevant? Probably not, this is about intellect, confidence, informed opinion and a degree of early precociousness and desire to be heard.

His intellect and presumption took him to Oxford (Modern History) and then Harvard.

By all accounts, with 1,000,000 page views a month Sullivan has many followers.

He does this by

  • being well informed
  • being willing to express an opion

We look to commentators for 'breaking views', as another Oxford graduate of this same era puts it; though Hugo Dixon, a grandson (or great grandson) of Winston Churchill has a somewhat different background to that of Sullivan.

Irrelevant? Both men are a product of their intellect, so more nature that nurture in this case.

What they had in common as undergraduates was a precocious desire to express their opinion. Is it any wonder that we are drawn to what they have to say ? Even more so now than in previous eras we are in desperate need of people to filter the overwhelming deluge of information and offer some path through-out, in their different ways these too do it. All I need are other minds like these across other fields.

They make a convincing point succintly.

I'm clicking through the 60+ blogs Andrew Sullivan lists in his blogroll and find it hard not to click the 'save bookmark' option with every one of these. Nice when someone has done it for you, though I am yet to come across the UK equivalent. The idea that these are read but Sullivan regularly is also daft; look at my own blog roll (somewhere needs to tear a few off for me).

Any suggestions for the most informed bloggers to follow?

Stephen Fry is of the same ilk as the two given above, though more embedded in the performing arts than Andrew Sullivan.


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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 Sep 2011, 12:49
(69252) Frauke Constable should be featured as a student blogger on OU Platform. http://bieni64.wordpress.com/ Sean%252520Brady.jpg also Sean Brady
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Interested in blogging but don't know how? Try these OU Bloggers:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:19
  1. Doing it the Open Way 'Voices and Texts'.

  2. Floating Along Gina Collia-Suzuki Art History Murder Mystery

  3. Freelance Unbound Making a living out of the crazy world of the business press

  4. From GCSE Maths, to Rocket Scientist...

  5. History of the OU Where students, staff and alumni share their OU experiences

  6. Isabella Black A215 Creative Writing having recently finished the A174 Start Writing Fiction.

  7. Lucienne Boyce's blog In 2006 I completed an MA in English Literature with the Open University, specialising in eighteenth century fiction.

  8. My Open University Life My Plan to get a Honors Degree Natural Sciences (Astronomy)

  9. My Open Experience My name is Hayley and I am a young student studying towards a Humanities Degree with a Philosophy and Religious Studies specialism

  10. Mathematics => A Blog Mathematics diary

  11. Meg Barker's Blog A lecturer in psychology teaching mainly on counselling courses: Counselling - Exploring Fear and Sadness. A counsellor adn writer on issues around relationships and sexuality.

  12. My Mind Bursts Reflections on e-learning as a MAODE student then Social Media Manager for the Open University Business School

 

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Intellectually and spiritually content? Getting there

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:09

Delighted to have found somewhere to stay in Milton Keynes.

It is extraordinary that people live such lovely lives, the privilege of the commute being a short walk over a field, from village to Central Business District in minutes. This isn't the Britain I have ever known - a 79 mile commute being one of the worst, cattle-trucks in from South London even worse. But I've done the 'weekly border' having once been in Penrith, Cumbria while my fiance was in Paris, France for six months. Sleeping away from home is part of me of course, having had boarding school from the age of 8 I perhaps find it easy to get used to?

 

Of course the OU Campus is a strange beast, each Faculty a bright sparkly building set in its own grounds each building a short walk apart from the other. If it weren't for the speed bumps to slow the traffic down (people come in by car in their thousands) I'd imagine golf-carts to be the required way to move around.

 

But do you much? Your faculty is your home.

My home once again has connections with the university, mother and daughter work there. This does not need to be a point of conversation at home, I  have the Masters in Open and Distance Education to complete for a start and instead of talking about the OU I am delightfully engaged in conversations on the medical effect of what we eat. I find myself creeping back towards soya milk and muesli and away from coffee and biscuits.

For someone who typically blogs a thousand words a day I've been unusual quiet.

The pressure on my mind is considerable. If I find myself near a keyboard over the bank holiday I may catch up, though my inclination is to head for the sea.

This isn’t to say I’m not writing a thousand words an hour; that would be an exaggeration, but I find that 60 emails a day (sent), half this number received, contributions to Yammer an OU Twitter like feed and the various minutes and reports that I’m writing quite easily makes up the number.

As I will often tell people, the best contribution to my career was a touch-typing course at Oxford College of Education.

I'll become a poor-weather blogger.

Meanwhile what I have to say has gone into note pads. I’ve filled a 80 pad shorthand notepad, both sides. This contains a good deal of ‘Everything is Miscellaneous’ and all that I wanted from ‘Use of Blogs.’ How I would have preferred both on my Kindle, all this note taking reduced to highlighting, my ideas saved or shared immediately, and the entire thing now at the edit stage. Instead I’ll have to write it all out. I find my concentration wavers if I transcribe stuff, or more likely I feel inclined to add yet further notes and thoughts.

Meanwhile, perhaps sensibly going for paper rather than technology, I have ‘The Social Life of Information’ (2002) John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid to enjoy, ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ (2007) Rick Levine et al and ‘E-moderating’ (2005) Gilly Salmon.

My perfect Bank Holiday would be to take these to sea – sail across the English Channel, a few days in French Ports.

As crew, this way I can read, all that fresh air, with occasional moments of physical agitation.

(48720)

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The Contents of my Brain

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013, 12:41

The current generation will be able to begin to achieve a fraction of this if they please; all I have to go on are diaries I stared in March 1975 and efforts since then to recall all the events, feelings and dreams of my life to that point.

This alongside photoalbums, scrapbooks and sketch books, with lists of books read and films seen, maps of places visited and a complete extended family tree ought to offer a perspective of who or what I am.

Does any of it impact on how I think and behave?

Without my mind is it not simply a repository of typical memories and learning experiences of a boy growing up in the North East of England?

Blogging since 1999 there are like minds out there, though none have come back with an approximation of the same experiences (its been an odd, if not in some people's eyes, bizarre, even extraordinary roller-coaster of a ride).

It's value? To me, or others?

I could analyse it 'til the day I die. My goal is no longer to understand me, but to understand human kind. And to better understand the value of exercises such as this, not simply hoarding everything, but of consciously chosing to keep or record certain things.

For now I will exploit the tools that are offered. In theory anything already digitised on computers going back to the 1980s could now be put online and potentially shared. Can I extract material from a Floppy-disc, from an Amstrad Disc, from a zip-drive? Should I add super8mm cine-flim already digistised on betacam masters? And the books Iv'e read, beyond listing them do I add links even re-read some of them? And a handful of school exercise books (geography and maths) A'Level folders on Modern History. I kept nothing from three years of university, yet this is where the learning experience ought to have been the most intense. But I had no plans to take that forward had I?

My university learning was spent on the stage or behind a video camera.

Should I undertake such an exercise without a purpose in mind?

Do I draw on it to write fiction?

There is a TV screenplay 'The Contents of My Mind' that could be stripped down and re-written, even shared.

And all the fictoin, the millions of words.

Will this have a life if put online?

Is it not the storyteller's sole desire to be heard? To have an attentive audience?

 

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Blogging - cover to cover

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 08:26

It'll not come from one book, or two or many. Having blogged for 11 years and six months I should know some things. I share some ideas here alongside some thoughts from Argenti and Barnes's 2009 book 'Digital Strategies for Powerfurl Corporate Communications' that I have read cover to cover these last few days courtesy of Kindle.

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Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications

Blogs and social communities have sparked ‘a complete overhaul of the business environment, especially in the context of communication.’ Agenti and Barnes (2009:K168)

K = Kindle ... they don't give a page number. How could you in a e-Book?

Education is changing too, blurring the lines between school and the workplace, and encouraging workplace learning with distance learning specialists and online courses from members of the Association of Business Schools surely set to grow

The difference between web 1.0 and web 2.0 – observation versus participation, status versus dynamic, monologue versus conversation. Agenti and Barnes (2009)

What is most relevant to corporate communications managers is as relevant to other institutions, whether government, education or charity.

Twitter%2028JAN11.JPG

You need to be using:

• Blogs (such as WordPress. Edublogs, Diaryland)

• Microblogs (Twitter)

• Social Networks (such as Facebook, MySpace)

• Video-sharing platforms (YouTube, Vimeo)

• Search engine marketing and optimization

• Corporate web sites/ online newsrooms

• Wikis • Mash-ups • Viral/word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing.

The trick is to find ‘a middle ground between a completely centralised and a wholly decentralised structure is the best way to maintain an effective communications strategy in today’s environment.’ K593

My take on this is that to succeed organisations need to be:

• Informed

• Engaged

• Responsive

• Frequent

• Authentic

• Relevant

• Appropriate

• Pithy

• Real (neither journalistic, corporate or academic in style)

• Understanding

• Passionate but not obsessive

• Media Savvy

• Connected

• Tooled up

• With a give, take, try anything and receive mentality.

• Tag it all

• Optimise out of habit

• Have fun, be playful with surveys, questionnaires and polls.

The view Sir Martin Sorrell takes is ‘The more control you keep over the message, the less credible it is. And Vice Versa.’ Martin Sorrell (2008: K1520)

There are three skills sets required to take advantage of this:

1. Identifying influential bloggers 2. Building relationships with them 3. Engaging with them with the intent of receiving positive coverage

Points 1 and 2 was the experience I had in Diaryland.

Here from 1999 bloggers teamed up with designers, where the two functions were recognised as different, like the copywriter and art director in advertising. Here you could form groups and join groups, link to friends for a myriad of reasons, but best of, in the list limited to 70 friends you were/are updated constantly on the status – it helps to know that you’re in a group where people update regularly. It is largely from the community of those who write, that you find people who also read and comment, they are various consumers and emitters of content.

So much that I experienced here has migrated to other blogsites.

Things that work, as well as buddies and buddy updates, are the surveys and groups, creating engaging or fund questionnaires to share with others and forming groups too, where for example I set up lists for those to be the first to make 500, then 1000 and then 2000 entries … Fun too are the banner ads you can make and use to promote interest within the Diaryland community. Perhaps Andrew’s (its creator’s0refusal to allow advertising is what is causing a Diaryland demise.

‘Metaphorically speaking, RSS is the gateway drug of experiential online monitoring’. Agenti and Barnes (2009:K1183)

My view is GoogleAlerts does this better, it spread the net for you, whereas with RSS you need to have found the feed first. What is more GoogleAlerts feeds you snacks of information that are easy to consume, note, reference, keep, pass on or over.

In emails the authors interviewed Courtney Barnes and Shabbir Imber Safdar.

‘You need to understand that it’s not a cut-and-paste job. You need to participate in the conversation and adapt the content for the environment. ‘ Thus said (Agenti and Barnes (2009:K1159)

Look, listen and learn ... engage

To do this engagement is the first things, so blogs and Twitter, social networking and video, photographs … even some family history and reuniting with school and college friends. Then you tools like Technorati and Goole Alerts.

 

Technorati%20uses%20GRAB.JPG

 

Technorati

Google Alerts

Search out appropriate keywords

Joined Linked In too.

Having been engaged with four/five groups I made the mistake of joining and dozen and will have to drop most of these. Some post several times and hour 24/7 and I have ceased to see the worth of reading that much from one group, especially if the same question is being answered a thousand times. Managing this maelstrom is a task in itself, being alert to the new, dropping the redundant, buying into and out of the right people and places as their influence and quality of comment waxes and wanes.

Forrester Research on 90 blogs of Fortune 500 companies. June 2008.

Most company blogs are ‘dull, drab and don’t stimulate discussion’. • 66% rarely get comments • 70% only contain comment on business topics • 56% republish press releases or summarise news that is already public.

REFERENCE

Argenti P.A. and Barnes M.C. 2009 ‘Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications’ McGrawHill.

Sorrell. M (2008) ‘Public Relations: The Story behind a Remarkable Renaissance,@ Institute for Public Relations Annual Distinguished Lecture, New York, November 5, 2008.

 

Meanwhile I've got these two to read.

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And why books cover to cover?

I'm sick of snacking from a smorgasbord. I want a consistent voice, something up to date, that leaves an impression. A book does this for me, an article never does.

A year later

‘You need to understand that it’s not a cut-and-paste job. You need to participate in the conversation and adapt the content for the environment.' This said in Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications' Agenti and Barnes (2009:Kindle page 1159).

As I go through 33 months of postgraduate blog posts (the Masters in Open and Distance Education with the Open University), I stumble upon a great deal that some might call aggregation, but a year or so ago was linking and tagging.

In the module 'Innovations in e-learning' we were give a list of aggregating tools to try. Personally, the curator - and potentially their team, as in the real world of museums and galleries must surely add value above and beyond the mere pulling of content using a set of terms in an off-the-shelf bundle of software?

Over the last week or so since the meet up I have returned to various tools and tried new ones. I've gathered screen grabs and given it some thought - and largely concluded that as a result of this exercise I will be dropping them all in favour of reading a few choice blogs and receiving feeds from them - blogs where an opinion is expressed, you can leave a comment and expect feedback. At the heart of this is socially constructed learning.

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On blogging vs keeping a diary or are they the same thing?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 18:18

Maketh up a quote at ye beginning of thy book; it will make people think thou art clever.

Christopher Marlowe ‘The Obscure Tragedie’ Act II, Scene ii.

The following comes from a seminal book on diary keeping by Tristine Rainer.

Here are some key thoughts

Some of this thinking can be brought up to date in the context of keeping a diary online; the essential principals remain the same.

A dairy is many things:

‘Everything and anything goes. You cannot do it wrong. There are no mistakes. At any time you can change your point of view, your style, your book, the pen you write with, the direction you write on the pages, the language in which you write, the subjects you include, or the audience you write to. You can misspell, write ungrammatically, enter incorrect dates, exaggerate, curse, pray, write poetically, eloquently, angrily, lovingly. You can past in photographs, newspaper clippings, cancelled checks, letters, quotes, drawings, doodles, dried flowers, business cards, or labels. You can write on lined paper or blank paper, violet paper or yellow, expensive bond or newsprint.’

Tristine Rainer, ‘The New Diary’ 1976.

‘Flow, spontaneity and intuition are the key words. You don’t have to plan what you are going to do. You discover what you have done once you have set it down.’ Tristine Rainer.

Keep it all in one place

‘When the dreams like next to the fantasies, and political thoughts next to personal complaints, they all seem to learn from each other.’

This works for blogging:

Write Spontaneously

Write quickly so that you don’t know what will come next. How the unexpected can happen. Surprise yourself.

Write Honestly

Be open about what you really feel. Few diaries actually lie to themselves in a dairy, but many out of shyness with themselves avoid writing about the most intimate aspects of a situation.

Write Deeply

Anais Nin, disappointed with her childhood diaries, developed the practice of sitting quietly for a few minutes before beginning to write. She would close her eyes and allow the most important incident or feeling of the day or of the period of time since she last wrote to surface in her mind. That incident or feeling became her first sentence.

Write Correctly

Expressive language is not a science. There are no rules. You are writing for yourself, so self-expression is the key. Test the range of your natural voice – it will develop. Errors are part of the form of the diary, as they are part of life.

Choose your audience

Your best audience is your future self. In ten years time you won’t remember the situation unless you capture all its sensual vitality now.

Value contradictions

In time they will develop towards a larger truth; leave them in.

‘Some diarists find when they go several weeks without writing they begin to feel off balance and take it as a signal that they are avoiding the inner self.’

Those of us who keep a diary regularly are stuck with it; whether it appears online, and which bits of appear online is another matter.

‘We taught the diary as an exercise in creative will; as an exercise in synthesis; as a means to create a world according to our wishes, not those of others; as a means of creating the self, of giving birth to ourselves.’

Anais Nin, December 1976.

There’s more to follow from Tristine Rainer on basic diary devices and special techniques.

P.S. The Marlowe quote is John O’Farrel’s invention and appears in ‘I blame the scapegoats.’

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Gobbets

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 11:54

Chunky assets, often hard to swallow. Insightful or irritating, they should be peppered across a blog like seasoning.

If a gobbet looked like something I fancy it (she/he) would look like this:

 

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Gobbet came up on Seaford Beach nine years ago. He has a precarious existance as my wife has wanted him in the bin from day one. I'm glad at last he serves a purpose; everything about him says 'gobbet' - he makes you smile or squirm in equal measure.

If you are new to blogging then might I suggest that you try the odd gobbet, once a week would do.

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Why digitisation your every action may have some value - the Quantified Self

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Nov 2011, 23:22

 

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From Drop Box

I've ignored ideas in the past and regretted it.

I recall a lunch with a Cambridge Graduate who had created software that made texting possible. His company was looking at ways to expand its use on mobile phones. All I could think was that it was a retrograde step and would take us back to pagers; remember them? How wrong I was.

I recall also reading about someone who had kept a 'web-blog' (sic) and photo journal of their business year in 1998.

Even as a diarist and blogger I thought this somewhat obsessive. From research into the patterns and networks created 'LinkedIn' emerged.

So when a Microsoft programmer Gordon Bell decides to make a digital record of everything they do to see what patterns may emerge THIS time I take an interest. (New Scientist, Opinion. 23 December 2010 / January 2011

My immediate thought, not least because I lack the resources, is to be highly selective. Had I a team to take content, edit, transcribe, edit, collate and link, maybe I'd do more; I don't.

A professional swimming coach should assess and reflect on the sessions they deliver. I did this without fail for nearly three years, by which time a good deal of it was repetitive and I felt comfortable with the many different plans I was delivering to different groups. I've been videod, I use video to analyse strokes and skills and I use a digital recorder to jot down observations of swimmers. So what if I leave the digital recorder open for a session. Am I prepared to run through this hour for a start? If I do so what might I learn?

That this is a valid form of evidence of my abilities (and weaknesses)

That edited (no names revealed of swimmers) it, especially parts of it, become a training tool (best practice) or simply insights for others on how, in this instance, a one hour session is transmogrified for use with different levels/standards/age of swimmer.

I video lectures in 1983 on Sony Betamax. I did plays. Debates. All kinds of campus activity around Oxford. I learnt a good deal. The camera is not your mind's eye, this is why you edit and develop craft skills, not because you want to dramatise reality, but because the mind does it for you. We don't go round with fish-eyes taking everything in, we do jump between a wide, mid and close shot. And when we concentrate on something the proverbial naked woman could walk down the street and you wouldn't notice. A camera around one's neck cannot and will not establish or adjust to any of these view points.

The act of recording changes your behaviour, it is therefore a record of a false behaviour.

I filled some of the gaps. I set down some of my thoughts on how swimmers were performing whereas usually I'd make a 'mental note' or jot something down on paper.

Shortcuts will be uncovered, valuable algorithms will be written. Might, for example, the old corporate audit of how people spend their time be transformed if, putting it at arm's length, the function is monitored during a working day?

We've seen from the reality TV show 'Seven Days' shot in Notting Hill how tedious the lives of Jo blogs can be as entertainment. We're tired of Big Brother too. As Bell remarks, 'most of the moments he records are mind-numbingly dull, trite, predictable, tedious and prosaic.'

To deliver further the New Scientist advices that we take a look at:

DirectLife

Dream Patterns

Mood

Brainwaves

Use of email

Online interactions

Optionism

Moodscape

Track Your Happiness

Your Flowing Data

Mycrocosm

One-tricks

personalinformatics.org/tools

Why a handwritten diary my be better not only that digitising everything, but even a blog?

The way you write reflects your mood, captures tone, even levels of intoxication, passion or aggitation, as well as your age. Though I fear the work of the graphologist is redundant. A choice is made over the writing implement, and the book or pages in which it is expressed. You make choices. If you must, you can have bullet points of events. It doesn't take much of a tickle for the mind to remember an exact moment. Such moments digitised are two dimensional, with no perspective. A memory recalle matures, its meaning changes as does your interest in it. A memory loved and cherished is very different to one that you wish to forget. What happens when both haunt you in their digital form? And when such memories become everybody's property?

Where does copyright stand if you are digitising life?

We watch TV, we read books, we play video games, we read letters and bank statements, we have conversations that are meant to be private ...

Meanwhile, I've barely dealt with the fall out of this Opinion piece in the New Scientist and the next issue looking at neuroscience does my head.

Here Vilayanur S Ramachandran gets his head around the importance of metaphor in creativity and how it separates us from all other beings. I used to cheat

 

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From Drop Box

 

It took you out of your own mind and messed it up; sometimes useful, sometimes not. The way to be creative is to develop an inquiring, critical, educated, multi-outletting, messed up mind. Sing, dance, draw, paint, play musical instruments, climb trees, exercise in crazy ways, every week do or say something you've never done or said before. 'Quantable.' (sic) Radio 4. 6th Jan 2011. 20h30. The context was using the process of counting numbers to quanitfy some excess and the interviewee used this term 'quantable' which the producer of the programme must have liked because it was repeated. Amazing how we can mash-up the English Language and the new word may make perfect sense. Where ams I? ECA and a job interview. So what am I doing here? Habit. I want to come back to these ideas later and by doing this I know where it is.

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On Blogging

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 15:47

With thanks to a fellow OU student who asked 'why?'

I’ve blogged since Sept 1999.

More importantly I’ve kept a diary since March 1976 (I was 14 1/2)  ... with substantial two or three year breaks I should add in the 80s, 90s and 00s ... and only on a few occasions ‘every day of every year.’

The diary was never read by others and never of interest to them. Except on one occasion I was aware my girlfriend was looking at it so I wrote some especially nice things about her and she did likewise. A comment, you could say. That was a one off. (She also read that on our first date I thought she had bad breath. Lesson learnt. If you are going to express your mind, keep it private or lie, or jsut leave things out ... and keep it under lock and key).

The appeal in the early days of blogging was to have an electronic form of the ‘journal’ I kept, however this gradually changed into something quite different with the then new additions of ‘friends’ and ‘favourites’ and all the other ‘sticky things’ (technical web term) that are common-place. 

Two things start to happen

1) you make a couple of ‘friends’ you relate to really well and find you’re only truly interested in them and you can develop ideas, support each other and so on i.e. collaboration. (We formed a successful writers group).

2) you go crazy for the statistics and start to wonder why certain pages are read and which get the most hits ... and what you have to do or say to get more hits.

This OU Blog-a-long-a-thon scroll is better for the lack of the many tools, quirks and quasi-personalisation tools that commercial blogsites now offer. 

At this stage the realisation is that you are no longer keeping a journal, nor is it private. Indeed you very quickly find there is a considerable amount of fiction, flaming and writing gibberish simply to fill a page and have your profile picked up in some blog rank-a-thingy somewhere.

I call this turning into an 'e-j'.

It's value is ephemeral. It is not a journal anymore. There's no value in privacy, indeed 'disclosure' and 'exposure' become the way to deliver a high ranking blog. My tactic was to circumvent the entire blog premise by removing any sense of it being a 'log,' writing entries that are tagged or stored by theme, rather than the day they are written on.

I try not to do it in what I call ‘OU Land’ where I am increasingly trying to be more professional and circumspect.

The temptation to write to provoke, or to intrigue is still there which will cause me trouble when it gets to submitting anything for ‘reflection’ because there may not be anything there ... which is why I am starting to post the ‘bland, objective, reflective kind of thing required’ but keeping it private.

There’s a piece on the addictive nature of games and the Internet in the New Scientist. (See below. I wrote about it last week).

I would say between 2002 and 2006 I probably spent far, far too long blogging. When you post 10,000 words on one day and have 1.6 million words online (largely unpublishable farting into cyberspace) I think you could say there was a problem.

Most of this serves no good purpose at all, other than tinkering at the QWERTY keyboard, the piano equivalent of playing chop-sticks. i.e. you quicklky find you are getting the same, repetitive tune.

I never, or rarely read over my old, hand written diaries (a decade is the right kind of timespan to afford them any worth), yet reading a page in a blog is a click away, a search word away. It's as if very day and any day is given equal value. But is it of value to learn that I tend to wash my hair on a Thursday?

Feedback is like gold, it is recognition, and in a tiny way rewarding and flattering.

Once again, there can be an obsessive hankering for comment, to the degree that your views and what you write is geared to nothing else, whilst in OU Land, a type of blogging experience, within the context of academic study, 'hits' count for nothing, whereas there is the potential to gain marks through objective reflection.

And finally ...

Blogging transmogrified through comments, friends and favourites away from being an online journal, to being a form of social networking. The blogging landscape is now so varied and vast that it often ceases to be blogging at all.

Facebook is the equivalent of blogging onto a Post it note that you then stick to the side of a bus.

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