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Sleep is fuitile. I'll keep it for the weekend

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Oct 2011, 13:24

Two voices are at each other

The one prattles on about 'how to do it', the other is saying 'shut up, go to sleep'.

One I can deal with, two is one too many.

A moment's irritation, tinitus or the fridge rumbling through the floorboards of the house and I think I may just go to sleep when a third voice pops up.

'I've had an idea!'

Oh boy. So I'm back here, getting it off my chest, as it were, though actually it is more a case of getting it out of my head before it drowns in idea number three.

First the sketch.

This time of a TV box.

There may be just enough happening in the frame to keep my son in one place. He regularly does three things at once: plays World of Warcraft, watches 'Mock the Week' or 'Outnumbered' ... and does his homework. Possibly while listening to music on his iTouch. I really can't tell. Though it is apparently possible to have a conversation with him as well. He's twelve. Can't you tell.

I put a title to my idea

'Towards a new kind of Television'

I think 'hyper-television' might be more appropriate.

And what on earth am I doing bringing a copy of Norman Davies, 'The Isles. A History' downstairs?

This, as it has never had a mention these last four months, is my light relief. My escape from all things e-learning and the Internet or the OU, or stuff. (That technical term again). Norman Davies bores me to sleep at night. But it doesn't, not always. This is the second time I've read this tome ('Europe. A History' will follow in due course).

Balances and difference help the mix.

Mixes, mash-ups and such like have a role to play.

A highly advance tome on Competitive Swimming that makes the sport look like civil engineering is another one for bed. It all goes into my head. Sinks away. Or does it? This is why and how this works, blogging, it gives a thought or a fact a second chance to swim to the surface, to bubble up.

Humble, Bubble, Toil and Tumblr

How to?

I began this process with a video production workshop in the Senior Common Room (Or Middle Common Room) at Balliol College in March 1982? I just tried searching for the entry in my diary, but obviously that bit hasn't been blogged yet. We had Philips micro-cassette video-cameras. We gave them out to fellow students, gave them the basic language of TV shots and techniques as I understood them courtesy of the Kluwer's Production Manual having by then shot and cut a few dozen hours of material myself.

Kit is almost as cheap  today as it was then (we were given it), only the quality is now HD 35mm for a camera the size of and shape of a Ventolin inhaler.

Is it easier to teach the three shot language of video production than say 400 to 2,000 words of vocab to teach English as a Foreign Language?

Of course it is

You don't even have to say anything.

How then to turn basic TV production techniques viral in order to lift the quality of this micro output globally?

Or do people give a monkeys?

If something interesting is going on they'll look at it through any amount of noise. It's called the Zapruder effect. Don't go and see it. How did snuff movies become easy-to-see viewing? The Zapruder effect excuses all the 'You've been framed' clips - rubbish camera work, but cute dog, cat, baby, child, oaf etc:

We'll see

I take the view that however short, there needs to be an idea behind it, a thought, an occurrence, even a narrative.

I'm constantly reminded of a Radio 4 challenge to three speakers to make their point in 45 seconds.

We got 'Bing Bang', 'String Theory' and the 'Offside Rule'. The first, like the opening pages of Genesis was a story with a beginning middle and end in 135 words or so; the second slightly lost its way, but the analogy worked, whereas anyone listening to an attempt at explaining the offside rule in 45 seconds would be left utterly befuddled.

People prefer story to befuddlement.

So who is going to turn Wikipedia into TV?

I cease to be entertained by it. I fear Wikipedia has had its day. Long live 'WikiTVia.'

Half an hour later. What's this about Norman?

I was googling a plumber ventriloquist venture capital person I know. (I have some versatile friends. He can also identify seven kinds of harvester ant).

'As his colleague Thackeray once observed (this is about Thomas Babington Macaulay), 'He reads twenty books to write a sentence; he travels a hundred miles to make a line description.'

All this reading and travelling can of course be achieved in front of computer screen with access to the Internet.

Many more minds, can be liked-minds and big minds.

REFERENCE

Thackeray, quoted by W. Speck, 'Thomas Babington Macaulay', The History of England (Everyman, (London, 1911) vol.II, pp. 488-9.


 

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Creativity in e-learning - OU MAODE H800

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 07:49
'We are (re) seeing the role of creativity and the hyperpersonal in teaching and learning, and (re)appreciating the value of play, and the importance of the 'learning community. We can not assume that the skills and pedagogy of face-to-face teaching will be appropriate in cyberspace. We have to be open to change and open to the lessons, both in their delights and their dangers, that teaching online can offer.' (Chester & Gwynne 1998)

Watching on YouTube the way in which sequences from 'Downfall' have be subtitled, satirised and exploited reminded me how learning can be fun.


In one version Hitler and his motley crew in the Berlin Bunker debate the benefits of the Apple iPad. Not only does it have me in stitches, but if it is accurate it informed me of the pros and cons of the iPad and left me with the view that it will fail. i.e. stick with your iTouch or iPhone.

This reminds me of training videods that featured John Cleese (from Melrose productions in the 1970s & 1980s) and later Rhys Grith Jones from Not the Nine O'Clock News in the 1990s.

You can have a laugh and learn.

REFERENCE

Andrea Chester & Gillian Gwynne 1998. Online Teaching. Encouraging Collaboration through Anonymity. Department of Intellectual Disability Studies Royal melbourne Institute of Technlogy. JMCM 4 (2) December 1998

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QWERTY vs a fountain pen

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:08

This age and that kind of childhood we had to use fountain pens, never Biros. I learnt to type because I was given a second hand mechanical typewriter as a Christmas present. Odd, I thought. I had wanted an electric guitar.

30 years on my son wanted an electric guitar. With three acoustic guitars in the & little desire to be tutored or to follow his lessons at school the electric guitar didn't materialise for him. Instead his saving, looking after a neighbour's guinea-pigs when they were on holiday & playing with their primary school & nursery age boys ... and some deft online searching, he bought an iTouch.

His bedroom is an emporium to all things iTouch. His three best mates all have an iTouch too now. He's the early adopter ... they follow. He leads & champions wooly hats, T-shirts & trainers sad Jsut the way he is gregarious & enthusiatic for new 'stuff.'

Homework last night requried some research on the history of Blues. Fed up with being told Google has 94% of the search market in the UK I reverted to 'Ask Jeeves' which I used to prefer or trial over various others a decade ago ? (or less). We were taken to Wikipedia either way.

'I alwyas wiki my home work.' He says.

Like 'to google,' 'to wiki' is now a verb.

He touch types at 40 wpm. He is 11. He has had access to a computer since he was ... 2. He played a Mavis beacon QWERTY keyboard game/learner age 4.

How un-21st century, how clunky is the use of a QWERTY keyboard? What happened to voice recogniton? Why has a better keyboard not been adopted?

Being a 'game boy' he ignore the mouse. He could be shooting at the enemy the way he uses the cursor to get around.

Later in the evening my daughter is doing History Homework. It is the First World War. Her great-grandfather was a machine gunner. Her survived the Somme & Ypres and successfully transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Three 'Really useful' boxes contain a collection of Imperial War Museum books, his medals, photos & postcards of the time ... even a cutting from the Consett Gazette in which he is featured in November 1917 haveing been awarded the Military Medal. In this box there is a full collection of 54 magazines on 'The Great War' published c.1929 & edited by H.G.Wells. The covers are red, everything else is in black and white.

'When did they invent colour?' She asked.

We discuss this.

We look through the many pages of mules & limbers, mud & soldiers, planes that are barely recognisable has such (a flying hay-rick) and 'tanks' that look as static as pillboxes.

"When did they start inventing things?' She then asked.

By this she means mobile phones, computers, TV sets ... or 'stuff,' as in 'eletronic stuff.'

When did humans ever not invent?

From the perspective of a child, 'innovation' within the context of the world they are familiar with must produce considerable advance. particularly in this era when 'new stuff' is redundant as it hits the shelf.

 

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Innovators to Laggards ... I do wonder.

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'What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning.’ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)

Whilst Roger’s categories may be his view of people on an historical landscape of invention they are a simplification - wherein lies our first dilemma - to open our minds to the nature & possibilities of e.learning we need to find a way to engage with its complexity.

We could each come up with our own equally valid descriptors and argue our case.

What is more, there is an in-built bias to these terms: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards. With ‘laggards,’ perhaps like ‘Luddites’ pejoratively considered to be of less worth than the ‘innovators.’

Or not?

Ideas sell. So does innovation. I know from experience. As the inventive one  - the team needed a salesperson. (an early adopter) and a business manager (very much in the late majority verging on being a laggard). A new business, that if successful may prove an innovation works, is like a pop group, made up of an assortment of band members. An innovator alone is like the nutty profession, Mr Brainstorm or from 'Back to the Future', Dr Emit Brown & his ‘flux-capacitor’ that drove his time machine. Does not the innovator sell to the early adopter? What is the point in tryin to sell to the laggard? And what role does the market play for innovations? In advertising we talked of 'preaching to the converted.' In relation to innovative products, you need to be selling to those who are already or are prone to 'buy in' to the new technology, software or service.

Roger’s is surely just one set of stepped criteria, we could as readily differentiate between:

  • various levels of success & failure,
  • between risk takers vs & the risk averse
  • between the foolish & considered
  • between experimental vs experiential
  • between novelty vs tried & tested


And each or any of these could be researched, charted, put on maps and shared as annotated demographic pyramids.

As Mel Brooks put it in relation to writing:

'Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.'

All Rogers has done is to give some characters types separate terms.

Aptly, from the world of writing fiction (novels, screenplays) there are the terms ‘protagonist’ & ‘antagonist.’ I wonder if in a screenplay that incorporated characters from Roger’s terms by implication the ‘protagonist’ is the innovator, while the ‘antagonist’ is the laggard. And do you know what, it is the conflict between the two that generates innovation, the one trying to prove themselves right, the storyline in which the ‘early adopters,’ ‘early majority,’ ‘late majority’ & ‘laggards’ literally buy into the service or produc

... or not?

Where else have we been grouped & bunched?

In ‘Sloane Rangers’ Peter York defined a group form Chelsea, a dress sense and background, a typical mode of behaviour and in newspapers at the time other socio-economic groups were dwelt upon and picked up by what they wore and how they spoke.

Labels are used to bully

Would you like to be called a ‘laggard;’ over an ‘innovator.’ Coming out of advertising I am used to those in what we called ‘planning’ categorising customers in all manner of ways to suit the product, the client & the moment. 

In 2001 I took an Enneagram Test and came out as a FIVE.

“Fives are basically on some level estranged from the rest of the world, consequently, their mind is usually their best friend. They like to analyze things and make sense of them (that is their anchor), this makes them great inventors and philosophers. The immense inner world of fives can cause them to lose touch or interest in reality."

http://similarminds.com

Instead of innovators and laggards these ‘tests’ gave you a number. I am not a number, or a term. I’d like to think of myself as something more complex, wouldn't you? As Anais Nin puts it, we are each a book:

‘There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.‘ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)

It is from this complexity, this individualisation (if you must) and tapping into it, that innovation results, and where e.learning innovation is heading. Which is why I am here.

'What's new about new media? Not much!'

So I wrote a decade ago when briefing a team of communications managers from ABB on the use of the web.

What seems innovative today, may not seem so innovative tomorrow. Indeed, is it still innovative once it has become familiar and every day? And might one way of determining when something is no longer innovative when it is adopted by the ‘laggards.' Crystal sets became the wireless that in turn became the radio. carphone, becomes mobies (cellphones), then smart phones (and iphones).

Nearly a decade ago a group of ‘innovators’ met at Sussex Net Ventures. (Tuesday 19th September 2000) At this event hosted by Wired Sussex, Hugh Griffiths of iTouch said there would be

“No killer application but a killer cocktail.”


hugh.griffiths@itouch.com

This cocktail, to result in innovation, requires a team that includes a cross-section of those ‘labelled’ by Rogers: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards.

What makes an innovator?


Why do they stand out? Because they are passionate? Persuasive? Determined? Imaginative? Entrepreneurial? Well educated? Moneyed? All of these things, or none of them.

And why are there so few of them? Henry Miller puts in well in ‘Tropic of Cancer.’

“What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs."

Who can deny the self-belief of Bill Gates? Or Tim Berners-Lee?


Innovators believe in what they are doing. Whether they are successful (and how you measure or determine success is another matter).

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