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What makes this blog of value

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Especially to me.

This is a learning journal. It charts my learning journey. It records, curates and collates what I studied, what I had to say at the time and even holds mundane things like notes from units and books/papers read. 

At times I have questioned its long term value. My career has been spent in education and training though, albeit 'corporate training and communications' using linear video, and then a move to the web with a few personal hijinks on the way as I decided I could and should be writing a novel or screenplay while raising the kids.

A year in education, at the front line, if only in a support role, and about to embark on teacher training, I am finding I am calling on the contents of this blog quite often to pull together my thoughts, the ideas of the experts and to formulate this into something practical.

My current target is feedback and assessment. I put these 'Search' and get links to a few dozen posts. I then go through these and slowly put together a practical plan. Today it is a 1 hour teach the teacher session on digital feedback and assessment. I think there is an angle on students with accessibility needs relating to learning and challenging behaviour. 

So here we go.

Or rather, here you go.

You are interested in 'assessment' or 'feedback' as it related to elearning - search for it here. 

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Design Museum

Dusty Rhodes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 1 May 2010, 17:37

Our Geography teacher had most of us (all ?) achieve A Grades at A Level. When it came to writing essays his advice was simple and he drew a flower on the board with six petals.

The stem was both the introduction and conclusion, the centre of flower was the essay title. Six petals, perhaps eight would do it. Each would be a point, well made, with quotes/references.

Often he'd summarise his thoughts on a boy's essay by drawing a dishevelled weed ... or more simply a three petalled plant with one huge, deformed petal ... and so on.

I was never one for the perfect plant. Often I'd be the one with twelve petals, some tiny some so massive they took on the entire board. One essay I remember submitting filled an entire exercise book (I still have it, sad, I know. It was Geography, meteorology, he taught as to undergraduate level). I regress (and digress).

After two years we sat exams. By then by editing down and picking out what I felt mattered I went into the exam well prepared, armed to the teeth. I could easily give up ten minutes of the 45 mins to write on a topic to planning, the six or so main points, the pulling from my head a mnemonic that would deliver a dozen or twenty or more facts. And then I wrote. This worked.

Course work would have suffocated me. I lack that consistency and self-discipline, or more likely, I drain so much energy intermittently that I just have to 'chill' from time to time. I'm not one for drawing early conclusions, nor am I one for regurgitating what is wanted from me because of what specifically I have been asked to read - I will always look beyond the references.

In particular, I would prefer to sit down to write naked ... jsut me and the keyboard, no notes. For the information to have gathered in the rigth spot in my head I need to have worked with the material, to have discussed and debated it, to got it wrong and been corrected, to have asked questions, and to have figured it out. I have to believe it.

Working in a Web Agency when first doing an OU course on distance learning the topics were of interest every day to colleagues so it was like being on a campus, or certainly in a faculty. And as we believed or thought that the aim of a university degree or studying was to get a job there was a degree of arrogance - we had jobs. We were in it, doing it. We had to know best, or certainly quite well, otherwise why would companies & government pays us to do our thing?

I ramble. Or reflect. Whether I can reflect my way into some higher level of sublime understanding though is quite another matter. A decade ago blogging obsessively there were a group of us who read and responded to everything we wrote. Doing this I feel I am writing with a fountain pen on the ceiling of a catacomb.

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