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K is for Kindle

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  • Kindle

  • David Kolb (Kolb’s learning cycle)

  • Daphne Koller

  • Agnes Kukulska-Hulme

  • Knowledge (exchange, acquisition, workers … )

  • Khan Academy

  • Kerewella

If you have an interest in e-learning you will certainly have heard about the Khan Academy. The narrative is simple, though somehow predictable in the US that an Investment Banker makes a video explain 'math' to his nephew that is so successful that it goes viral, he quits his job and with $1m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation goes on to create thousands of video clips that now occupy many classrooms across North America. This supposedly heralds the 'flipped classroom' where pupils do their video and interactive learning (now) as homework and spend one to one time with teachers in class. The reality is a significant 'blend' of the technology-enhanced learning and the classroom with teacher as expert. Not revolution, just evolution. Less significant than is made out - in any case, we've had BBC Bitesize for at least 14 years: I wrote a review of the online education market in 2001 - in Great Britain there is no market as the BBC fills it.

I go for Kindle with my K. It was the first 'gadget' I bought to support my online learning with the OU some three years ago. I didn't have a smart phone, or even a laptop at the time, and certainly no iPad. I depend so much on my Kindle that I know have two - traditional and the new paperwhite that arrived yesterday. I love knowing how many minutes it will take me to finish a chapter; this timing adjusts as my reading speed and habits are logged. I race through books in this way. I like to be carried by the content and not frankly know that as a hardback such a 385+ publication may look daunting. I just read. Reading will in all likelihood be my 'R' too - it remains, to my mind, the fastest and most efficient way to transfer knowledge from an expert to a student. Faster and more effective than a video, than a podcast or some sluggish, quickly dated interactive, gamified version of the text. Just find someone who knows their subject well and can write.

I attend the inaugral lecture of Prof. Agnes KH. If you wonder if e-learning is a transient term (it is), then I believe 'm-learning' has already come and gone. My desktop is my ipad, is my iPhone, is my laptop ... is someone else's device. All are my 'university in my pocket'. Mobility and portability my transcend into wearability, but in the learning context it is just that - learning. I wrote as much in a review of a KH book on Amazon and got flamed. I gave up and removed my review; someone took it personally.

Daphne Koller gives an impressive TED lecture of MOOCs. Catch the MOOC thing while there's a buzz - it will be gone before you've noticed otherwise. Once again, a complex term that can only change into something better and will in any case rapidly dissolve into the way we learn online in a multitude of ways.

 

 

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Design Museum

OLDs MOOC 2013 'Precision in creative output'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:27

I spent yesterday afternoon at my alma mater (or one of them at least).

The School of Communication Arts, partially industry financed, develops the creative talents of would be advertising creatives.

'Precision in creative output' is the perfect definition of what is taught.

Working to the exceedingly tight parameters and demands of a creative brief to sell or promote a product or service, the creative teams (there are always at least two people assigned to a problem) must come up with an idea or concept that meets the demands of the brief ... and then craft, cling onto, nurture, protect, raise, build and sell their idea.

A creative director in this situation will try to help maintain the precision which permits the creativity.

If David Jennings worries that learning might be over designed, over engineered and over specified, then reading the above may suggest that I am just adding another layer that wants to see learning as a commercialised, branded, designed and marketed product. Is it not anyway?

My hope is for something far less complex, demanding or expensive that what may seem to be implying - it is about working collaboratively, so trying to bring academics into a new kind of working practice, those in research out of their cupboards and those in the class or lecture hall away from the crowd of students to bravely do something as a joint enterprise - and yes, build on what others have done before.

When it comes down to it all I'd like to see are ideas that are confident, and wear the thinking behind them expressed with skill.

I know from some good experiences that when you get the thinking right the outcome might be easy to deliver on a microbudget ... and if a budget is required one would hope that the quality of the thinking behind the idea will help it get financed. I know this is education, certainly not advertising, or even 'corporate training' - but aren't things like TED lectures and the Khan Academy neat expressions of a simple idea?

Another one I can think of is Qstream - a spaced educational delivery system developed by a Harvard Medical School Prof.

 

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