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A radical thinker who gives many academics a run for their money

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From E-Learning IV

Fig. 1. Malcolm Gladwell - Desert Island Discs

A fascinating insight to someone who connects the latest thinking from all kinds of disciplines and often gives senior academics a drubbing. He challenges anyone who suggests that the Internet is damaging the brains of the connected youth to come up with the research; actually, between them, the OU and Australian Universities have thus far shown that as far as their brains and our brains are concerned it's business as usual.

Like so many episodes of Desert Islands Discs a magical way to learn something new or to gain a deeper insight into someone.

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Touch nothing!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014, 10:26

Fig.1. A man up a very high mast with an electric screwdriver

Some instructions are very clear. You follow instructions with great care when you've got someone at the end of a rope and harness 25ft up a mast. Safety and hoist, but it can go wrong.

I keep reminding the skipper that it is nearly 20 years since I crewed so my knowledge of ropes is ropey. A little learning is worse than useless; it's dangerous. I need to remember and relearn what is what fast. A few new knots too. No doubt there is a refresher course online. An App for the idiot yachtsmen? Actually, some things, many things require you to be an apprentice, to shadow those who know what they are doing. It matters and helps that they are great, natural educators. When this guy came down he had the softest, clearest approach to pointing out a few things to me. We spoke for an hour on the history of Gibraltar, the regional weather and its nature ... and the smuggling of tobacco and drugs into the port. All over coffee and a lunch I pulled together for us.

This is an office. For a week it's my study too - free wifi from a cafe on the quay. Completing week two of a Future Learn MOOC on 'Starting your own business' and staring week one of a Future Learn on 'Writing a research proposal'. You text home. You Skype a call. And pictures tell their story as you post your route online. 

It's taken a while coming, but surely the technology truly is giving those who can work anywhere to do so? I so love England but I am so fed up with the weather - with chronic asthma and chronic rhinitis I have good reason to come and live on a windy rock. Gibraltar? So odd. Walked over there and stepped into 1970s Whitley Bay meets Newhaven by the Med, meets??? 

About to set off for five days, non-stop. Well, one stop as a German crew member is rather keen to see some sporting event.

The next first will be to helm my shift in the middle of the night. Misplaced trust is not a good way to learn, on the other hand taking responsibility for a thing is a reward in itself. 

 

Touch nothing!

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I is for iPad

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 May 2014, 06:11
  • Informal Learning

  • Inclusion

  • ICT enabled learning

  • iPad

  • iPhone
  • Iterative research

  • Internet

  • Knud Illeris

  • iTunes

  • Instructional Design

  • Instagram

A list is just a list if I can't be selective; here I would go either for iPad or for iTunes were I only to pick a couple of contenders for 'I' in the 'A to Z of E-learning'.

As e-learning is a subset of learning then, however important, inclusion, iterative research, instructional design, informal learning come outside of the 'A to Z of E-learning'; I'm taking the Internet (and the world wide web) as a given. Instagram today, Tumblr yesterday, Diaryland the day before ... and maybe WordPress when they grew up? I've followed the favoured social platforms for over a decade. What about Pinterest? I'll bag these under 'social learning'. Knud Illeris is of interest across learning as a theme. ICT enabled learning is simple another phrase for what I've known historically as: web-based learning, online learning and only lately as 'e-learning'.

So I am down to iPad and iTunes.

iPad has transformed the way I learn. I do read and interact at anytime of the day or night, just about anywhere. This often means the bath and bed. And yes, on the toilet. I do wash my hands! (Is this a reason not to use someone else's iPad? Where have those fingers been?!) My only complaint is that writing one handed on the iPad I developed a severe case of 'tennis elbow'. Really, I had physiotherapy for a couple of months and my arm in a strap; writing 4000 word assignments when reclined, left handed. Not wise. Reading on an iPad I find I devour books, sometimes reading a chapter from each of six books simultaneously. I have finally developed a system for highlighting too; each colour highlight goes against an essay-related theme so that on completion I can then pick out and assemble the notes, quotes and points. I have a Kindle though; how else do you read in bright sunlight. For long journeys it matters to have a battery that appears to last forever. Access online at anytime, clearly a smart phone does this too, means you can follow asynchronous forum discussions in real time. It is more engaging to read and respond on the fly. When driving I will set the Kindle to audio and have it read the book to me. (I can start to sound like the book and SatNav are having a conversation).

iTunes U offers tens of thousands of free, open educational resources. Some of the very best come from the Open University.

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Spot the genius. He or she is riding a bike in a favela in Brazil.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 11:18

What has changed in learning each time a transformative tool or technology has come along from a) written language b) papyrus c) codex d) printing and e) the Internet? A neuroscientist will say that the human brain hasn't changed one jot - its innate capacity to learn and to do so at certain developmental stages remains the same. Struggling to see what is new, believing that our latent motivations, drives and inclinations to learn as individuals are as unique to each of us as it has always been I see one change only - the numbers, whether as a percentage in a population or as a gross figure - literacy could only expand as the printed word got into the hands of more people. The Internet will in due course help put primary, secondary and tertiary education into the hands of the disenfranchised.

What has been the frequency of genius revealing itself over the last thousand years?

Even accounting for the billions to chose from in the 21st century compared to the 15th, or 1st, won't exposure too and access to 'an education' by billions give genius a chance to develop and show itself like never before?

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Current reading ... recently read, on the go ... just about to start.

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Internet Studies is the 'just about to get stuck in' read. The War of the World from Naill Ferguson is a lyrical and intelligent romp through decades of global conflict ... that only recently ended? Tales of the Field is a wonderful introduction to ethnogrpahy and offers a dozen further reads. Then some 'studies' related stuff. Capital ain't mine ... I got it so my 85 year old father-in-law could read it on my iPad when I was visiting. Teeangers and Technology is a must read from Rebecca Eynon.

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What is going on in there? This and the wonders of the brain and the universe ...

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

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

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

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

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

 

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What will the impact be of the Web on education?

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

How is knowledge sharing and learning changing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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What is the internet doing to our brains?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:53

What%2520the%2520interent%2520is%2520doing%2520to%2520our%2520brains%2520CARR.JPG

Don't ask this guy!

Carr is no neuroscientist - three decades ago he took a first degree in English Literature (Dartmouth College) followed by a Masters in American Literature (Harvard). He should stick to what he knows.

Studying H809 at the moment we are stripping back research papers to understand their construction and validity. It doesn't take much reading of a book like the one above to realise that it is seriously flawed. It beggars belief that it ever made it infront of the Pulitzer Prize judging panel.

As a book it is a remarkably satisfactory artifact.

Even in paper back the cover has a wonderful fine grittiness to it - like sand. I even open the book and breathed it in. For this experience 10/10. All publishers, especially those online, need to take trouble with the Art Work too. Of course the plaudits sing out 'buy me, buy me' but as reviews go they are about as helpful as one liners on the latest blockbuster.

Carr writes well enough, not quite Bill Bryson, but an easy and intelligent read, an amble through the relevant technologies to the present day.

Carr can be accepted as a cultural and social historian, his mistake is to want to want bash this evidence into shape to support his conception of the Internet and its dangers. It is like saying that ‘rural man’ is different to ‘urban man’, that the motivations, pace and opportunities are different. Whilst this may be true, the sorts of changes to the brain that Carr suggest are not occurring.

Carr's conception of mind is both out of date and misconstrued.

What he suggests in relation to the mind is twaddle on so many levels it feels no more possible or desirable to refute than the enthusiastic chatter of a child. Carr doesn't strike me as someone who easily persuaded when he has something wrong.

  • everything touches our minds
  • everyone is different
  • not everyone has access to the Internet
  • even those who do use it for a myriad of different things in a multitude of ways.
  • years of solitary confinement, or years in the trenches on the Western Front affect different people in different ways.

When you take a set of encyclopedias and ask, 'how do I make this digital?' you get a Microsoft Encarta CD.

When you take the philosophy of an encyclopedia and ask, 'how does digital change our engagement with this?' you get Wikipedia.

How does this relate to e-learning?

It strikes me that much of that learning online has a considerable distance to go in terms of realising the potential of 'electronically enhanced' learning, that we are 'reading' for subjects and supervised by the institution and tutors very much in the style of a Microsoft Encarta CD.

Perhaps a virtual world is the way forward?

Is Carr's problem his infatuation with the past? He is the critic in 1904 looking at the demise of the horse and carriage and writing about the motor-vehicle from the perspective of blocked highways. He is only seeing one aspect of what the new technology has done with reading - reading is either no less relevant, or irrelevant. For millenia before the written word, and for thousands of years since, we have got by and learnt without the need to read from a book. There are better ways to learn - on the fly from eachother.

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H800 WK25 Activity 5 Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:53

To what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

The answer is to look both ways and to do so with aplomb.

Janus%252520Greek%252520GOD%252520looks%252520both%252520ways%252520SNIP.JPG

Read Woolgar’s five themes.

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context

 

Liff et al. (2002) demonstrated the importance of ‘third-place’ settings, separate from both home and work, as influential in engaging a wide range of local people in using the internet: museums, trains or jogging circuits. In all these places technology now enables people to learn using the resources of formal education. The idea of ‘place’ takes on a new form, as the boundaries of a multitude of sites are crossed.

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed

Woolgar cites research into surveillance equipment in support of this theme. Counter to expectation, for example, surveillance technologies in the workplace were not found to be generally resisted by workers. However, acceptance was undermined by the failures of the technology to meet design specifications. This led to extra work and sometimes the technology had to be scaled back (Mason et al., 2002). There are differences between staff and students in universities, in terms of perception and usage of ICT.

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities

Electronic communication has multiplied the use of paper in offices, though we can read material online. Learners may feel less need for the printed page. Educators look to substitute electronic supports for expensive and scarce direct tutor contact.

4

The more virtual the more real

One unanticipated outcome of teleworking was that travel increased. Electronic communication increased the number of clients contacted and a face-to-face meeting was then required. Computer-mediated communication is being used, partly because it offers benefits for learning and partly because students seem less able to, or to have less time available for, travel to study centres to attend tutorials. It may be, however, that mediated communication using one tool encourages a somewhat different form using other tools. Thus learners may use forums provided by their institution, but also Facebook, Skype and Twitter.

 

5

The more global the more local

‘The very effort to escape local context, to promote one’s transcendent global (and/or virtual) identity, actually depends on specifically local ways of managing the technology’ (Woolgar, 2002, p.19). In Singapore, for example, the Singapore Institute of Management was the base for provision, and a careful fostering of mutual understandings between the two organisations was developed over at least a decade

Educational provision is typically seen as valid and trusted only if it is located within recognised local institutions and accredited by local awarding bodies – even though the technology enables all aspects of a course to be delivered electronically from the originating institution.

Having just completed the activities about Second Life, to what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context.

 

Not one bit, in this case any versioning is simply the English language (US).

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed.

The context will include access to broadband, a computer, time to indulge, family attitudes to gaming, space in the home, time to indulge, other commitments (persona, family, school and/or work).

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities.

 

Substitute. It has become too easy to tap into a game that is, like the modem and some computing devices, on through all waking hours and readily accessible. A blended form of activity often occurs with participants playing together online, sometimes coming round to each other’s houses to do so.

 

4

The more virtual the more real.

On the contrary, seeking out the tricks and cheats is very much the culture of gaming. Even if you don’t have wholly real-life attributes ways are found to defy gravity, walk through walls, I’ve even see a sub-culture underneath or behind the game in which you behave/exist play and muck about ‘subway’ like behind the set, as it were.

 

5

The more global the more local.

In the context of business working at the OU Business and Law School I have first hand knowledge of how OU materials are developed for Russian partners (the 1000th MBA student celebrated this week) and are being initiated in Japan while having various other local centres globally. Though NOT in the US or France where local politics have restricted tutoring on the ground.

Select two of the five themes that you feel most strongly reflect the way in which you perceive the effects that technology is making currently in a context known to you.

Reflection

Example

4

The more virtual the more real

On the one hand there is a culture of gaming that attracts escapism and engenders a rule-breaking sub-culture of hacking with cheats a supplementary and important quest and reward. On the other webcasting and conferences whilst becoming more real, speaking and seeing each other in real-time, nonetheless afford less than real behaviours.

 

I attended a live-cast 250 miles away and did so in my PJs, not dressed for the office. When interviewed by an organisation in New York I set up an redecorated one corner of a bedroom rather than reveal that I was sitting either at the end of a bed, or at the kitchen table, or in an office the size of a walk-in cupboard and as messy as a shed-used as a dump for unwanted stuff. It is a different reality, sometimes a ‘hyper-real,’ that as we become familiar with its nuances will play to these differing attributes and so become distinct from reality … or of course, enrolled in that universe that we call ‘real’, which of course it is.

5

The more global the more local

Thinking directly of the technology, it strikes me that there is a global language: HTML. Are these codes not universal?

Watch the HSBC bank ads and see how we have two distinct types: the importance of local knowledge on the one hand, followed by the current roll-out support for their ‘Key’ which is universal. i.e. there is a duality, that is Janus-like. Aptly Janus is the god of transitions. He is depicted as having two faces on his head facing opposite directions and so look simultaneously into the future and the past, back at the last year and forward to the next. What strikes me about HSBC is that whilst globally owned and operated, it works to meet not impose local cultures; while this new ‘key’ with its diddy 1970s like plastic key-ring calculator code generator and the concept of bolts, locks and vaults, feels highly retro.

 

REFERENCE

Liff, S., Steward, F. and Watts, P. (2002) ‘New public places for internet access: networks for practice-based learning and social inclusion’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.78–98.

Mason, D., Button, G., Lankshear, G. and Coates, S.(2002) ‘Getting real about surveillance and privacy at work’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.137–52.

Thorpe, M. and Godwin, S. (2006) ‘Computer-mediated interaction in context’ in Markauskaite, L., Goodyear, P. and Reimann, P. (eds) ‘Who’s Learning? Whose Technology?’, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, University of Sydney, Australia; also available online at http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res20033 (last accessed 10 February 2011).

Thorpe, M. (2008) Effective online interaction: mapping course design to bridge from research to practice, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol.24, no.1, pp.57–72. This article provides an in-depth case study of a well-designed sequence of conferencing and online activity and introduces a particular form of concept mapping called ‘compendium’ to demonstrate the design.

Thorpe, M. (2009) ‘Technology-mediated learning contexts’ in Edwards, R., Biesta, G. and Thorpe, M. (eds) Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching: Communities, Activities and Networks, Abingdon, Routledge, pp.119–32.

Woolgar, S. (1999) ‘Analytic scepticism’ in Dutton, W.D. (ed.) Society on the Line: Information Politics in the Digital Age, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Woolgar, S. (ed.) (2002) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

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Everything is miscellaneous

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 16:11

Think of this as a leaf

We've gone through an era of learning as 'trees of knowledge'; now all the leaves have blown off. With everything tagged and searchable you can still find what you need on the ground.

This is the idea

I buy this, more or less. I'd been thinking of it like this for some years, but today I've moved on - it doesn't work.

It doesn't work given that the leaves can be any asset that can be digitised. With the leaf analogy we have to set parameters and have types of leaf (even across plant species, or across the cycle of seasons in temperate climate, there isn't scale or variety that is adequate).

I question digital data or aggregations of binary code being given an organic reference

I prefer to think of the Internet and the World Wide Web as an ocean and 'stuff' as water molecules.With this analogy we can throw in the water-cycle, icebergs and glaciers, clouds, rivers and tributaries ... snow and storms.

Everything is random

It is until you give it value, until you file or tag it. If you neither file nor tag, then your digital 'stuff' may was well not exist, not for sharing at least. How will you find it?

'Everything is miscellaneous' (David Weinberger) is a worthwhile read: cover-to-cover.

'The best digital strategy is to dump everything into one large miscellaneous pile and leave it to the machines to find exactly the table settings we need for tonight's dinner'. p85

I was reading 'The Cluetrain Manifesto' that includes a David Weinberger contribution too - I loathe it (for now). I'll keep wondering why:

Because it reads like a collection of smalmy articles for 'Esquire' ?

Because it invites dialogue but in print form there is none - like going to a party and only being in a position to listen to the guys who have had too much to drink and think they know it all.

Harsh?

(This may be a love/hate relationship developing here ... it challenges me to return to the text. Which reminds me, it was intriguing to find the OU Library copy of the book full of pencil mark highlights and notes. See, a reader couldn't resist i.e. it isn't content for print).

Weinberger imagined what it would be like to be sitting in a new home with 157 moving boxes all labelled 'miscellaneous' - (87) Sound like a great way to get out of a house, just box it up and go. I even like the random nature of what you then find yourself with.

Where is the role of serendipity in this searchable and tagged world of ours?

Thinking allowed?

 

 

(50366)

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H800: 14 On why you shouldn't ask your daughter about the Internet

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 12:10

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?'

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When TV bends towards interactivity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 9 Feb 2011, 15:30

For a year, 2000/2001, I worked between companies and across platforms promoting a kind of experience on TV/Computer Screens that has yet to be realised.

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I was presenting cross-platform projects (Web and TV) with Anthony Geffen at NABs (Las Vegas) and Mip-com (Cannes).

All credit to Anthony, every pitch he made was followed by my pitch to 'make it digital.' I followed him into pitching sessions in London too ... he had a documentary to finance, could I sell the interactive element behind him.

The wrong time to have big ideas. The bubble burst.

A decade on it intrigues me that the linear experience of the TV documentary is becoming increasingly 'chunked,' more a digital experience than it cares to imagine.

Watching Rome unwrapped you'll miss something if you blink. Go for the ride. I enjoy the irrevant truth of it.

Bloke pontificating to camera amongst ruins and traffic? Not here, not often.

I blogged my way through the experience of 2000/2001.

I may see what has happened to all those people I met; they will have moved on, but I have their name, former company and email address on a piece of card (how quaint). At Learning Technologies my name badge bar code was zapped; anyone asking for a card was living in the last century.

Some Linking In to do here.

They'll find it odd or intrigueded that I can recall, almost verbatim, that conversation we had.

Anyone had a good idea recently?

On the other side of the fence are the clips that managers in Learning and Development Departments can batch together on ready-made platforms, as Video Arts are doing.

You see everyone can be creative, and it's cheaper than bying in the ... the creative.

Someone, somewhere, will have had the right combination of experiences and insights to make all of this work in a new and revolutionary way.

Rome re-lived in a virtual world?

Rome experienced with your finger on the 'zapper' through time, jumping back and through events as you would online?

Or simply watching a linear experience out of the left eye, while the right eye plays a video game on the same screen as my 12 year old does?

The mind boggles

And somewhere out of all of this we extract worth.

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H800:12 WK1 Activity 4 The Google Generation - True or False?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011, 23:57

A%20Ciber%20briefing%20paper%2011%20JAN%202008%20UCL.JPG

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Written in 2007 (published 11 January 2008). Reviewed in 2011.

Part of the Week 1 jollies for H800.

(This picks up where I left off in the Forum Thread)

After a year of MAODE, a decade blogging and longer keeping journals (and old course work from both school and uni I might add) I feel I can tap into my own first, second, third or fourth take on a topic.

Increasingly, where this is digitised my preferred learning approach is to add to this information/knowledge, often turning my ideas inside out.

We are yet to have a ‘generation,’ (a spurious and loose term in this context) that has passed through primary, secondary and tertiary education ‘wired up’ to any consistent degree from which to gather empirical research. Indeed, I wonder when things will bottom out, when we’ve gone the equivalent journey of the first horseless-carriage on the Turnpikes of England to the 8 lanes in both directions on the M1 south of Leicester – or from the Wright Brothers to men on the moon.

I’d like to encourage learners to move on from copying, or cutting and pasting in any form, to generating drafts, and better drafts of their take on a topic, even if this is just a doodle, a podcast or cryptic set of messages in a synchronous or asynchronous discussion i.e. to originate.

I lapped up expressions such as Digital Natives, an expression/metaphor only that has been debunked as lacking any basis in fact.

I fear this is the same when it comes to talking about ‘Generation X, Y or Z.’ It isn’t generational, it is down to education, which is down to socio-economic background, wealth, access (technical, physical, geographic, as well as mental), culture, even your parent’s job and attitude.

My 85 year old Father-in-law is Mac ready and has been wired to the Internet its entire life; does this make him of this ‘Generation?’

If x billion struggle to find clean drinking water and a meal a day, where do they stand?

They’ve not been born on Planet Google, so don’t have this generational opportunity.

I find it short sighted of the authors not to go for a ‘longitudinal’ (sic) study. It strikes me as the perfect topic of a JISC, Open University, BBC tie in, the filming part funding the research that is then published every three years for the next thirty, for example.

Trying to decide who is Generation X, or Generation Y or the ‘Google Generation’ strikes me as fraught as trying to decide when the islands we inhabit became, or could have been called in turn England, Scotland, Wales, Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

We could spend an unwarranted amount of time deciding who is in and who is out and not agreed.

We can’t it’s like pouring water through a sieve. The creator of IMBD, a computer geek and film buff was born in the 60s (or 70s). Highly IT literate, then as now, he is not of the ‘Google Generation’ as defined as being born after 1993, but is surely of the type?

Personally I was introduced to computers as part of the School of Geography initiative at Oxford in 1982.

Admittedly my first computer was an Amstrad, followed by an early Apple, but I’ve not been without a computer for the best part of thirty years. I can still give my 12 year old a run for his money (though he does get called in to sought our browser problems).

And should this report be quoting Wikipedia?

Surely it is the author we should quote if something is to be correctly cited; anyone could have written this (anyone did).

Reading this I wonder if one day the Bodleian Library will be like a zoo?

The public will have access to view a few paid students who recreate the times of yore when they had to read from a book and take notes, and look up titles in a vast leather-bound tome into which we strips of paper were intermittently stuck. (not so long ago).

Is there indeed, any point in the campus based university gathered around a library when all his millions, or hundreds of millions of books have been Googliefied?

Will collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Durham (Edinburgh and Dublin? Harvard ?) become even more elite as they become hugely expensive compared to offerings such as the Open University?

There may be no limit to how much and how fast content can be transmitted … the entire Library of Congress in 3 seconds I am told, but there are severe limits to how much you can read and remember, let alone make sense of and store.

Is this not the next step?

To rewire our minds with apps and plug-ins? I smile at the idea of ‘power browsing’ or the new one for me ‘bouncing’ the horizontal drift across papers and references rather than drilling vertically, driven by a reading list no doubt.

I can give a name to something I did as an undergraduate 1981-1984. Reading Geography I began I the Map room (skipped all lectures) and then spent my morning, if necessary moving between libraries, particularly the Rhodes Library and Radcliffe Science Library, by way of the School of Geography Library, of course, and sometimes into the Radcliffe Camera or the PPE Reading Rooms.

I bounced physically.

I bounced digitally online as a preferred way of doing things. Though this often leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the things I could read, but haven’t read, that I’d like to read. Which is good reason ONLY to read the latest paper, to check even here if the paper we are asked to read has not already been superseded by this or fellow authors.

Old digitised news keeps like a nasty smell in the wind?

Users are promiscuous, diverse and volatile and it is clear that these behaviours represent a serious challenge for traditional information providers, nurtured in a hardcopy paradigm and, in many respects, still tied to it. (p9)

The problem with the short read and low tolerance of readers is the way papers have thus far gone from print version to digital version without, yet, thorough transmogrification.

We await new acceptable ways to write, and submit and share knowledge that is less formal and to anyone versed in reading online, digestible.

All authors for the web would do well to read Jakob Nielsen on web usability.

There is a way to do it. If it looks like it belongs in a journal or book, you are getting it wrong

Do the authors appreciate that labelling the behaviour ‘squirreling’ is self-fulfilling?

It normalises the behaviour if anyone reads about it. Whilst metaphors are a useful way to explain, in one person’s words, what is going on, such metaphors soon become accepted as fact.

There is a running debate across a series of article in the New Scientist on the way humans think in metaphors (good, can’t help it), and how ideas expressed as metaphors then set unfounded parameters on how we think (not so good, and includes things like the selfish gene, competition and so on).

This dipping, bouncing and squirreling, horizontal browsing, low attention span, four to eight minute viewing diverse ‘one size does not fit all’ individual would make for an interesting cartoon character. I wonder if Steven Appleby or Quentin Blake would oblige. ________________________________________________________________________________

Why ‘huge’ and why ‘very’ ? Qualify. Facts. Evidence. And why even, 'very, very.' This isn't academic writing, it's hear say and exaggeration.

There’s a category missing from the graph – branded information, such as Wikipedia, or Harvard Business Publication, Oxford or Cambridge University Press and Blackwell’s, to name put a few.

Where so much information is available, and so many offerings on the same topic, the key for anyone is to feel they are reading a reliable source.

The point being made later about ‘brand’ presence for BL … something we will see more of with the commercialisation of information. Even Wikipedia cannot be free for ever, while the likes of Wikileaks, for its mischief making and spy-value will always be funded from nefarious sources.

There are very very few controlled studies that account for age and information seeking behaviour systematically: as a result there is much mis-information and much speculation about how young people supposedly behave in cyberspace. (p14)

Observational studies have shown that young people scan online pages very rapidly (boys especially) and click extensively on hyperlinks - rather than reading sequentially. Users make very little use of advanced search facilities, assuming that search engines `understand’ their queries. They tend to move rapidly from page to page, spending little time reading or digesting information and they have difficulty making relevance judgements about the pages they retrieve. (p14)

Wikipedia and YouTube both exhibit a marked age separation between viewers of content (mainly 18-24s) and content generators (mainly 45-54s and 35-44s respectively). (p16, ref 17)

‘there is a considerable danger that younger users will resent the library invading what they regards as their space. There is a big difference between `being where our users are’ and `being USEFUL to our users where they are’.

Surely it would be easy to compare a population that have access and those who do not?

Simply take a group from a developed, rich Western nation and compare them to a group that are not, that don’t have the internet access, video games or mobile phones.

REFERENCE

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. UCL 11 JAN 2008

 

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Buzzing

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 06:10

I'm not tired, which is the worry; it'll catch up with me. When I wake up with a clear, original thought I've learnt to run with it. Time was I could have put on a light, scribbled a bit then drifted off again. 17 years of marriage (and 20 years together) I've learnt to get up. And once I'm up, then I know it'll be a while before I can sleep again.

(I'll sleep on the train into London; at least I can't overshoot. I once got on the train at Oxford on the way into town and woke up in Cardiff).

I have the thought nailed, or rather sketched out, literally, with a Faber-Castell Artist Pen onto an A5 sheet of cartridge paper in Derwent hardback sketch book. This seems like a waste of good paper (and a good pen), but this doodle, more of a diagram, almost says it all. My vision, my argument, my persuasive thought. My revolution?

Almost enough, because I then show how I'll animate my expression of this idea by drawing it out in a storyboard. I can do it in seven images (I thought it would take more). I hear myself presenting this without needing to do so, though, believing myself quite capable of forgetting this entire episode I'll write it out too.

I once though of myself as an innovator, even an entrepreneur. I had some modest success too. Enough to think such ideas could make me. I realise at this moment that such ideas are the product of intense mental stimulation. To say that H808 has been stimulating would be to under value how it has tickled my synapses. The last time I felt I didn't need to sleep I was an undergraduate; I won't make that mistake. We bodies have needs. So, to write, then to bed.

(This undergraduate thing though, or graduate as I now am ... however mature. There has to be something about the culture and context of studying that tips certain people into this mode).

You may get the full, animated, voice over podcast of the thing later in the week. I'll create the animation myself using a magic drawing tool called ArtPad and do so using a stylus onto a Wacom board.

(Never before, using a plastic stylus on an a plastic ice-rink of a tablet have I had the sensation that I am using a drawing or painting tool using real ink or paint. I can't wait 'til I can afford an A3 sized Wacom board ... drawing comes from the shoulder, not the wrist and certainly not the finger tips. You need scale. Which reminds me, where is the book I have on Quentin Blake?)

Now where's a Venture Capitalist when you need one at 04.07am. That and a plumber, the contents of the upstairs bathroom (loo, bath and sink) are flooding out underneath the downstairs loo. Pleasant. A venture capitalist who is a plumber. Now there's something I doubt that can even be found if you search in Ga-Ga Googleland.

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The beginning of life as we now know it ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 20:40

It wasn't Adam and Eve, it was Douglas and Stephen, as in Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry.

Fry's account of his love affair with technology through a BBC micro, then early Macs is a wonder.

 

The Fry Chronicles is read by the author on BBC Radio 4.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vjl1f

 

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Sit forward of sit back?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 29 Sep 2010, 03:59

As a producer in 2001 I attended numerous pitches with cross-platform projects developed with a leading independent broadcast documentary production company.

Whilst there was always an eagerness to have these meetings it proved quite impossible to raise finances at a time when most organisations were scrutinising their web-production budgets and pulling back, or pulling out.

One project was developed through the European TV and Film development initiative EAVE.

Nine years on it is interesting to see that efforts are once again being made with such ideas, however, they are growing from the Internet as a platform, rather than the TV and a computer sitting side by side.

Observing with interest my 12 year old following a make lifted from YouTube in one frame while watching an episode of the Simpsons in another on this laptop while also sliding through a music video on an iTouch made me realise that interaction for his generation is multifaceted.

As an aside, intrigued that Google is the same age as him, 12, he reflected on what browser we used before Google. The suggestion that we used books to find out information left him dumbfounded. The world has moved on.

We used to talk about activities such as watching TV or reading a book as "sit back" while using a computer or video game was "sit forward."

I wonder if the reality, like finding a point of equilibrium on a rocking-chair isn't a bit of both?

You can watch a TV programme, and play a video game? They can be different things, rather than interacting ... indeed they being separate activities, affording different ways of engagement, makes this set up possible.

Which leaves me with a final thought -

We can watch two or more linear TV programmes simultaneously without losing the thread, but try doing two video games at the same time. They're not static like chess.

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The irresistible internet. New Scientist 11 SEPT 2010

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 16 Sep 2010, 22:24

The OU has stimulated my mind suitably over the last seven months to oblige a subscription to the New Scientist.

I was picking it up every other week for the Web Tech and other 'e-' related topics. These now feature regularly. My wife has ten years in medical market research, though not a Scientist, she will often have an opinion on anything that touches her world of work. It is better read that the weekend colour supplement. In fact, I've ditched the Guardian once a week for the New Scientist once a week with all other stories and news prompted by a sentence on TV, a couple of sentences on the Radio and a paragraph or two online.

Beware the Irresistible Internet

Is it addictive?

Expecting or wishing to look at numerous e-learning style products for H808 I found I had spent 3 hours today doing this with Dropbox and Facebook. I wish I hadn't. I haven't even started to make Facebook sing, so would prefer to exit in tact. And I suspect that Dropbox, like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter is just a neat trap and that within six months we will be enrolled into a myriad of appealing, complementary services that we'll be paying for by subscription.

  • technology-dependence clinic (Richard Graham)
  • young men stuck in multiplayer online gaming environments
  • Women and adolescent girls using instant messaging platforms and social media compulsively
  • obsession with screen-based media (Ofcom)
  • Blackberry-addicted white-collar workers

Hear say or fact? Not evidence and the citations are sparse. But of interest.

  • Is there such a thing as an OU obsessive?
  • A blogging obsessive (certainly).
  • If you have an obsessive nature.

'Now, the potent combination of omnipresent technologies and our addictive nature means more casualties look inevitable.' Paul Marks. Senior Technology Correspondent

REFERENCE

Marks, P. (2010) New Scientist. Volume 207. No. 2777. pp24-25.

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