An hour and a half has been allocated to this; I have given it the best part of six.
I may have nodded off (ill with a heavy cold) but I reckon my mind just goes into cruise mode continuing whatever I was doing, mostly skating my fingers around an iPad dipping into pools of mind-mashing stuff.
The Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) is to blame. At last we have a way to engage with the latest thinking even though the module was designed and written some years ago. We are asked to read and make notes in the 2011 Horizon Report from the New Medium Consortium. I've printed it off, but can see there would be no need just as soon as an A3 or Fulscap clipboard sized tablet is released.
I start by making notes in 'notes' on the ipad. In moments I feel a compulsion to Tweet some of this, and between url shortening and TweetDeck, then Linkedin and Facebook I fins I am sprinkling the electronic dust of enlightenment each way I csn think.
Horizon 2011 (My Notes July 2011)
The world of work is increasingly collaborate driven by increasingly the global and cooperative nature of business. Horizon 2011
The challenges of privacy and control affect adoption and deployment. Horizon 2011.
Digital media literacy continues its rise in importnce. Horizon 2011
The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital technologies morph and change so quickly at a rate that generally outpaces curriculum development. Horizon 2011
Reconciling new forms of scholarly activity with old standards continues to be difficult. Horizon 2011
New models of learning are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university. Horizon 2011
Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike. Horizon 2011
Given the plethora and wealth of user generated content ... There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. Horizon 2011
Three horizon lines are offered:
E-books + note-taking, sharing, immersive engagement, changing our notion of what it means to read. (engagement)
Mobiles + everyone has one, access to affordable and reliable networks.+ increasdingly the first choice for Internet access.
Augmented reality (spotify, 4squared) an easy extension of expectations and practices. Horizon 2011
Game-based learning +to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking.
Gesture based computing
Our research indicates that all six of these technologies, taken together, will have a significant impact on learning-focused organizations within the next five years. Horizon 2011
My view is that they have been cautious over the pace and readiness for adoption; I find I am wedded to mobility, the dexterity, manipulable and versatility of an iPad.
I churn though e-books in preference to TV as if the book was a new invention.
I read in multiple ways and sizes and speeds, skim reading, or takes notes, or just reading my notes and highlights. On long drives I wear a headset and let the book read itself to me. I find I take in something different, as if I've seen the bricks that construct the sentences and paragraphs, but now I'm getting the cement as a form of sense making.
As invited to do I click on www.Navigator.nmc.org and have been there ever since. I found my way here at visual complexity and have ventured into a dozen sites, ultimately downloading the App iWriter convinced by its sales blurb:
“iA Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that makes sure that all your thoughts go into the text instead of the program. One of our goals was to create a writing app without settings. When opening Writer, all you can do is write. The only option you have is full screen and FocusMode. To increase the pleasure of writing is exactly what we intended when creating Writer. A better tool doesn’t make a better craftsman, but a good tool makes working a pleasure.”
and the quality of everything else I saw that the Information Architects (iA) team are doing.
Regarding the second adoption horizon I feel we are there.
I had it explained to me at UCL on Tuesday and could immediately relate to it and indeed have stepped into that mode already a few times. While 'game-based learning' is very much my son's world. I only permit the amount if time he is engage, because he is engaged, with a headset, in a team, constructing and deconstructing the worlds he is active in.
Which draws that horizon that is meant to be three or more years away far, far closer.
There is more reading yet to do. I cannot be. Told to read seven pages and then ignore the next 26. That's like going to a recommended restaurant, having a lyrical starter then sitting around while everyone else indulges themselves on the main course.
Talking of restaurants, the other product I want from iA is there Web Trend Map.
It uses the idea of restaurants to give weight to various web forces that are the given visual weighting and a spatial setting that overlays the Tokyo underground map.
Pic from MMC Learning
'An approach to learning activity design (Sharpe et al. 2005) concluded that, as well as ICT skills, key issues were learners’ emotional relationship to the technologies they were offered – especially feelings of frustration and alienation – and issues around time management.'
In our tutor group and module forums we've gone through time management at length.
Though I suspect that for many of us time passing is the only certain thing in our lives. It has required therapy for me to downplay events when they DON'T go to plan ... that life as a Dad, husband, parent, portfolio-worker person, studying (two courses, this and sports related), as well as feeding the guinea-pigs, putting out the rubbish, sorting the recycling, putting air in the tyres on the car, fixing the fence ... collecting children from an event, taking them to the station ... let alone the other generation, four relatives in their 80s and 135 and 210 miles away.
I'm exhausted just thinking about it.
No schedule set for the morning, let alone the day or the week can be followed. (Which is why I get my hours in 4.40 am to 7.00am each early morning ... more pleasant with the sun joining me at last)
So, to the emotional response to technology.
I've come to apply the same kind of thinking to technology, yet more technology, especially if I don't like the look of it, as something that WILL, in the fullness of time, have value.
There is no point putting off engagement with it.
The same applies to a difficult to read text (there has been plenty of that lately). It WILL become clear, it just may take three or more attempts, could involve getting advice from others in the peer group, a search on the web and dare I say it a BOOK. I actually pick up copies of 'Facebook for Dummies' and 'Blogging for Dummies' as a matter of standard practice from the library (remember them?). These books are authentic, scurrilous and engaging. The body and mind enjoy the break from the computer screen.
I got 'Digital Marketing for Dummies' for my Kindle though ... how else can I read it in the bath while holding a coffee in my right hand (I am right handed) and 'the book' in my left, perfectly able to flick on through pages with my thumb.
Design isn't just programming when it comes to software.
Compare Mac to PC. Mac not only works, but it is obvious, intuitive and often beautiful to look at.
We are so used to the extraordinary simplicity of Google, YouTube and Facebook that we baulk if a piece of software, perhaps Open Source, doesn't have the look and feel of the familiar. It IS a DESIGN issue, as in creating a love affair with the object that has both form and function, rather than function alone.
Compendium; it is versatile, engaging and intelligent ... but could it dress better and be more intuitive and less 'nerdy' ?
More from Sharpe and Beetham:
'The use of technologies can compound existing differences among learners due to their gender, culture and first language'. Beetham and Sharpe (2007)
I like this too:
Learners cannot therefore be treated as a bundle of disparate needs: they are actors, not factors, in the learning situation. (ibid)
They make sense of the tasks they are set in terms of their own goals and perspectives, and they may experience tasks quite differently if digital technologies – with all the social and cultural meanings that they carry – are involved. (ibid)
Perhaps we should be seeking advice on these feelings too, how they can get in the way of us tackling technology or a tough read/assignment. After all, if motivated, people will overcome such problems, but if we become demotivated it is habit forming.
Beetham, H and Sharpe, R 'Rethinking Pedagogy for the digital age'. (2007)
p.s. This book needs an emotionally appropriate cover. Might I suggest a design from Helen A Dalby. Personally I'd like to see academic publishers make all book iPad friendly with illustrations throughout, maybe video and some interactivity too. Why stick with the rough, when you could make it smooth and cool. Video introduction from each of the authors please ... and links to their blog.
Sharpe, R, Benfield, G., lessner, E. and de cicco, E. (2005) Scoping Study for the Pedagogy strand of the JISC e-Learning Programme, Bristol: JISC. Online. Available. www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name+elearning pedagogy
Why I am buying e-Books of books I already own.
Some books I read a chapter at a time, over several weeks. Some books, like 'The Isles' I read more than once. Try going to sleep with this in your hands. You can't you lay it on the pillow. CUT TO: Kindle version Easily tabbed forward, left hand or right. Various other books are getting the Kindle treatment, some because they work better as e-Books, anything I need to highlight and take notes on ... and because I may have four, five or six books on the go simultaneously.
I have no doubt that habit has something to do with it. My reading list before going up to Oxford perhaps. A stack of second hand books, a pen and notebook. I like reading a book cover to cover.
I am on my third MAODE module. You are pointed at a chapter here, a chapter there, loads of reports too, but no longer a book. We had books in 2001, a box of them and a CD-rom.
I have bought and read three topic related books. Do they now clutter up shelf-space? They are like oranges I have squeezed dry, for pulp, juice and pips.
I have bought eight e-books and have devoured two of these.
It was reading Vygotsky's 'Educational Phsycology' that made me appreciate the value of reading a single author cover to cover. What is more, I enjoy the limitations of his own reading. This is 1926. How many people is he going to read and reference. Not that many, John Dewey stands out so will be my next read. There has to be value in engaging with a flow of argument from one mind over many thousands of words. Perhaps it is a relief where so much of my reading is prompted by Linked In Forum Messages, OU Tutor Group Forum Messages and feeds from blogs.
'Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age' is a compilation piece.
The K-tell album of e-learning authors.
All our favourites get to sing their song.
I enjoy how the editors introduce each new chapter, at least there is some attempt to bind the contributors to a theme. I wonder from amongst them if I have heard a voice I am interested in hearing again? i.e. once again, this suggestion that you tune into a person's way of thinking and expressing themselves and by doing so surely speed up the learning process?
What counts though are my highlights and notes.
Having read each cover to cover I am now going through the 350 highlights/notes on EACH. This gives me the chance to expand, delete, add and reflect. And for those poor people who Friended me on Facebook by accident rather than design, Tweet-like updates directly from the Kindle. I need to find a better way to manage these ... sending them here would be an idea, at least there's some relevance.
I am reading no fewer than FOUR what we might term 'popular' books on e-learning, the DIY books primarily aimed at teachers. One is brilliant, two are also-rans, but one is dreadful: Prensky gets headlines for his headlines (Digital Natives) ... there is no substance to him and I heartily wish the OU would drop him as a point of discussion.
Or is this the point?
You know you've learnt something once you've gone from nodding along with all he says to consigning him to the bin?
Vygotsky, L.S. (1926) Educational Psycholgy.
Beetham, H., Sharpe, R (eds) (2009) Rethinking E-learning Pedagogy.
How goes it?
Like a roller-coaster, merrily going along, like the C4 ident:through the loops of a roller-coaster though the shapes I see are 'H' and '800' and '807' and '808' as I pass by.
Then I switch track and venue and find myself on the Mouse-Trap. Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Here there is a rise and dip where you are convinced you will hit a girder. I just did, metaphorically speaking. (Diary entry, August 1980)
Ilness changes things
Nothing more than a rubbish cold made uncomfortable by asthma.
It is a set back of sorts. I can sleep and read. But the spark has gone (for now).
To use a different analogy, if I often think of my mind as a Catherine-wheel, this one has come off and landed in a muddy-puddle.
We're in the week of metaphors for learning.
I can draw on any notes I've taken on this here and in my eportfolio. This is more than an aide-memoire, it favours the choices I made before at the expense of anything new. So I widen my search. The OU Library offers hundreds of thousands of references in relation to 'Education' and 'Metaphor' going back to 1643.
Gathering my thoughts will take time.
There are 26 pages (nearly 12,000 words) to read (course intro, resources). Far, far more if I even start to consider ANY of the additional references or reading.
Give me three months. We have, or I have left, three days.
My approach is simple. Tackle it on the surface, drill into an author or topic that is of interest and expect to pick up on and pick through this again later this module, later this year ... or next existence. (I believe in multiple existences and flux. We are transitory and changing)
As well as tapping into the OU Blog and e-portfolio the blog I've kept since 1999 might have something to say on metaphor. If I care to I might even rummage through A'Level English Literature folders from the 1970s, just to trigger something. Engaged and enabled by Vygotsky and others in relation to memory and learning I value this ability to tap into past thoughts/studying with ease.
(Ought others to be sold the idea of a life-long blog?)
Otherwise I have gone from learn to swim in the training pool, to swimming lengths in the main pool ... to observer/coach who will participate, but has a towel over his shoulders and is looking around.
The next pool? Where is that?
I'm not the same person who set out on this journey 12 months ago.
On the other hand, having a Kindle makes me feel more like a teenager swotting for an Oxbridge examination; I like having several books on the go. I'll be through 'Educational Psychology (Vygotsky) by the end of the day and am already picking through and adding to copious notes.
Then a little kite-boarding as I head away from the swimming pool that has been an MA with the OU?!
My daughter is 14 and lives on Facebook, my son is 12 and lives on his X box.
I exaggerate, but as kids who very rarely watch TV (The Simpsons, In Betweeners, Glee, Mock the Week the exception to the rule) and are otherwise online or on iPhones (or the phone) ...
For H800 this is my target audience
Some may call them 'Generation X' or is it 'Generation Y'?
For the purposes of this blog, I call them ... X and Y.
I ask them about if they can remember when they first used the Internet. I should know, I've been blogging about it for a decade. I'll go see.
'Stop going on about the Internet,' I get very quickly from my daughter.
My son is too busy teaching some German kid how to kill zombies. I ask him when the BAFTAs are on (he's hogged the TV). He points out that I can look it up on the Internet.
Then I think
Born in the early 60s. Had my Dad kept asking me about Colour Television and ITV, about the impact of commercials on my niave brain what would I have said?
The same thing.
TV was my reality.
The Internet is my chidlren's reality. Our connection glitches or slows down and we know about it.
I acknowledge the value of terms such as 'Digital Natives' and 'Generation X' just so long as they are seen for what they are - linguistic shorthand, indeed, linguistic necessity. We do this to offer some phrase or word for an entity, abstract or real, founded in fact, or in this case ... not. However, despite the number of exceptions regarding 'Digital Natives' (i.e. the several billion who worry more about food and water each day), lets say it is representative of those born into the Developed Worlds where a computer and an Internet connection are as likely as hot and cold running water.
Meanwhile, it now frustrates me if a book I have read or would like to read is not yet available as an e-Book
I have taken to the format and now look at most books around the house and can only think 'Second Hand Book' shop or 'Archive' as a curiosity for later generations.
I recall my English teacher Mr Aldridge suggesting there was something magical about a book, its binding, is pages and cover. He'd sniff it. I'd sniff it and sneeze.
No books, less chance for the House Dust Mite.
Frustration over the BAFTAs and my daughter pushes me away and Googles 'TV Listings.' I was lost in the pages of BAFTA.
The world is chaning fast, and only our generation can see it .. is there are name for us?
Too laters? or 'just in timers' rather than 'old timers?'
When your 14 year old daughter is in bed with flu, and running a temperature, you relent when she pops her head up from under the duvet and wants to use your laptop to watch a movie and get in touch with friends.
I think, because I use a keyboard extension that the chances that I will pick up her germs are reduced; I forget that we both use the same mouse. She blows her nose, uses the mouse, goes to sleep for three hours. I pick up the laptop, go online, do stuff like making a sandwhich ...
That's four out of four now down with the bug, only the dog and the guinea-pigs seem fine (so far).
It doesn't take long before I wind down
An odd sensation, like your battery has gone flat.
If only it were as simply as plugging yourself into the wall or changing a battery
I am just grisly and very tired
I had a flu jab in October so I should be avoiding the worst of it.
Sit back from this screen ... you just can't tell how infectious these things can be !
If it is one bonus it is the Kindle
It can be read in bed, your head on a pillow, operated with one finger, one thumb ... and as my brain is mush I can make the text huge and read three words across like a TV autocue. When I fall asleep, so does it. When I wake up it is picks up where I left off. In fact, it will read the book to me ... however, will it tell when I am asleep? That would be clever.
I've gone from one book to several
Between them Amazon and Kindle have their fingers in my wallet.
I'm 46% the way through the Rhona Sharpe book. Here's a new concept ... no pages.
In addition I have samples of six other books, two blogs and a magazine on a 14 day free trial (I will cancel these 7 days in or earlier to be sure I don't continue with anything I don't want)
And new books, and old books.
In the 1990s I bought CDs to get back or replace LPs of my youth. Over the last five years I've got rid of most of these and run with iTunes.
Books, due to lack of storage space, are in really useful Really Useful boxes in a lock up garage we rented to help with a house move ... three years ago. Is there any point of a book in a box? I have over the decades taken a car load of books Haye on Wye and sold them in bulk. A shame. I miss my collection of Anais Nin and Henry Miller; I miss also my collection on movie directors and screenwriters. Was I saying that this part of my life had ended? Or I needed the space (or money). I fear, courtesy of my Kindle and lists of books I have made since I was 13 that I could easily repopulate my mind with the content of these books. Indeed there is no better place to have them, at my finger tips on a device a tasty as a piece of hot toast covered in butter and blueberry jam.
I do nothing and the page views I receive doubles to 500. What does this mean? I am saying too much? That the optimum blog is one per day? Or have folks found they can drill through here for H807 and H808? Who knows, I don't the stats provided by the OU are somewhat limited. I'd like the works. Which pages do people enter on, which are most viewed, where do they exit, what's the average pages viewed by an individual and so on. In my experience 500 page views means three people reading 100/150 each with a few others dipping in and out.
How Kindle has changed me in 24 hours
My bedtime reading for anyone following this is 'The Isles' Norman Davies.
I read this in the 1990s when it came out. I felt it deserved a second reading. It is heavier then the Yellow Pages and almost as big. Because of its bulk I may have it open on a pillow as I read; no wonder I fall asleep. (Works for me). Having downloaded it to the Kindle last night in 60 seconds and for less than £9 I may now read more than a couple of pages at a time. I can also annotate and highlight the Kindle version. I have an aversion to doing this to the physical thing ... I am used to selling on my old books. Not something I can do with a Kindle version. Which makes me think, should these digital versions not be far, far, far cheaper? Take 'The Isles.' The dust cover is in perfect nick, I took it off and boxed it rather than get it torn. The damp in the lock-up garage hasn't caused too much harm. I could get £8 for it, maybe £5.
More on E-learning:
- Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age. (Rhona Sharpe)
- Creating with wordpress (blog)
- Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. (2010) Will Richardson
- E-Learning by Design (William Horton)
- How to change the world (blog)
- SEO Book (Blog)
- Digitial Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications (2009) Paul Argenti and Courtney Barnes
- The Online Learning Idea Book (Patti Shank)
- Using Moodle (Jason Cole and Helen Foster)
Some bought, some simply samples. The blogs on a 14-day free trial. Neither worth £0.99 a month.
Best on Kindle
The big surprise, the book that is so beautifully transmogrified by Kindle, lifted by it, is 'The Swimming Drills Book' (2006) Ruben Guzman.
No! This isn't what happens if your swimmer gets it wrong. This is a drill called 'dead swimmer' in which they float head down, then slowly extended into a streamlined position, kick away and then swim full stroke.
'The Swim Drill Book' is a mixture of text, almost in bullet point form, and line drawings of swimmers in various stages of effort to perform a stroke or drill or exercise.
If an author needs advice on how to write for a Kindle, or for a tablet, I'd point them at this book. This is NOT how it was conceived, but it is how it works on this alternative platform.
You can try it for free
Download Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac then find 'The Swimming Drills Book.' You can then view a sample which takes you beyond the acknowledgements, contents and introduction into the first chapter.
A thing of beauty
By tweaking the layout, text size and orientation, you can place the diagram/drawing full screen. It simply works, just as the stunning black and white engravings and photographs that your Kindle will feature (at random) when 'sleeping.'
Here's an thought: if you're not reading a book it is gathering dust, a dead thing, whereas with a Kindle your books are simply asleep.
Where the lines cross, that's me, pretty much.
There must be an age when you start to wonder where you belong and how you behave. On this basis I am in fast reverse.
A year ago I had six books out from the library.
When I started the OU MAODE is used the OU library, printed reports off and put them in a folder to read and take notes.
By my second module I had no reason to print off and coutesy of Google I'd go straight to the journal I wanted with OU permissions apparently in place.
This is how I find artciles and having bookmarked journals I consider valuable I go straight to them.
A Kindle is the next step to refining the inputting phase of learning. On a Kindle the highlighting and notetaking takes place as I read. I'll manipulate this content later. Inspired by so much currently.
The OU is part of the story.
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