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An abundance of e-learning riches ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 13 Aug 2011, 13:53

Reflecting on H800 Week 27 or something.

I live breathe and certainly dream social media and e-learning. They are my being, for now at least.

About to go on holiday to Cornwall I plan to have a wetsuit, a pad of A3 cartridge paper, a sketch pad, soft pencils and pastels. I may take the guitar (though I may feel I need the indispensable MusicNotes and Guitar APP).

Is it wise to go gadget free?

Change refreshes the mind. A total break, refreshes the mind. I will do more (and it will make more sense in the long term), by doing nothing (for a while).

There is a reason why God made the seventh day day of rest.

We're rubbish at that in 2011. It is relentless, continual, not a landscape but a fluid river of activity. No wonder I am never certain what day of the week it is.

Or is it a case of self-discipline regarding gadgets?

People would say a mobile phone at least is essential to keep in touch with family and friends as they scatter across the beaches. Lack of signal will hopefully be the decided.

Sitting down to study at 06h00 I am yet to engage with the papers I am meant to report on or get beyond bullet points for the 3,000 word essay.

The problem is the blog, the habit of writing it up as I go along.

The problem, or virtue, of playing with Google+ with some fellow MAODERs which has sent my mind into a jitter. It's relevant anyway, I have an ECA that includes the use of forum discussion groups in e-learning.

My interest in the MAODE has gone from all-consuming, to complementing work, so associated with and thought of as work.

Being on holiday I therefore feel I ought to keep away from it.

However, if I think of it as my hobby, an interest, then it is easier to handle. Indeed it may be more conducive to my enjoying the experience.

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Come Fly with PDP !

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 07:58

I had an interview in London that by fortuitous timing ties directly into the H808 ECA (end of course assessement) that I have to complete and upload in the next 13 hours. What is more, every part of the MA in Open in Distance Education with the OU would have some application to the role for which I'd applied. Personal Development Planning (PDP), the subject of the ECA, would be imporant too, indeed it is a vital component of 'learner-driven' or 'learner-centred' education. Successful, engaged, pumping PDP is at the heart of e-learning - people must be motivated to take the initiative, to drive their learning while others support them in every way they can with appropriate resources, many of which will be 'electronically enabled,' i.e. 'e-learning'.

I have a draft of the ECA written, the choices of evidence have been made, collated and labelled.

I've already uploaded a draft so feel confident that the ETA system will handle whatever else I do.

I had the file, rather more chunky printed out and clipped into an Arch-Lever Folder than on a memory stick or zipped on the laptop so that I could review it on the train journey in and out of London. I like paper; things need to be expressed in other ways that via a QWERTY keyboard. It helps to talk, to discuss, to animate your thoughts with your hands even ... as we shall see.

On the way into town I find myself sitting with a friend who is 18 months into the Creative Writing course at Sussex Univeristy and was having a second interview with a literary agent; our respective career paths were shared. He is a professional photographer who has an online resource of stock photos targeted at UK Councils. I don't look at the ECA.

The interview, like so much I now do, is duly reflected upon, though for reasons of privacy not here as an open blog. This debrief, this self-assesment, served a dual purpose, at the front of my mind, of course, is the possible outcome and responses to the interview. And notes on how and where I felt it went well, or not so well, for future reference and to judge what improvements I might make when attending such interviews in future and how to compose my written thanks when I reply.

I recognise the purpose and value of reflection and make the time to do so

At the back of my mind, of course, as we talk, is the ECA.

Coming to the end of the interview process I felt compelled to share this sketch to add conviction to my belief that Personal Development Planning is 'at the heart of things'.

f1a749e0e8e2fe72ed06794383f7f981.jpg

I did this earlier today to get a handle on how in one shot I now see PDP, not as a self-contained 'do it and move on unit' at the start of a course, but at the heart of what you do: at the beginning, the end, everything in between ... and beyond. (And yes, you should hear Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) saying it!).

It was somewhat evangelical of me, but I feel passionate about it. I believe it as a consequence of my own personal experience and from others who take this approach.

Reflection with a second person can help; it is natural that my wife would take an interest in the day's events. This is invaluable, and is a form a assessment. However, where I find I become increasingly animated regarding PDP is that I felt I still hadn't got it right, that had I seen myself in that meeting what was I doing with my hands? What else was I trying to express? Sometimes recording an interview to look over it afterwards has advantages. You need to be winkling away to find ideas and inspiration.

I'd mentioned life-long learning, that PDP can benefit both your career, how you organise a hobby, even family life.

And then I remembered this:

My interpreation, visualised, of what life-long means from H807.

4ee8ecb0ed3cd82e948ab0f7fc2bbd1b.jpg

The problem I have with my sketch of 'PDP at the heart of things' is that it loops back on itself, there is no suggestion of improvement, of advancement.

I toss around further ideas like a board game, the PDP process being, for example, what happens every time you 'Pass Go' in Monopoly. Then I imagined climbing up a helter-skelter, or fairy-lights around a tree. I thought too about Kolb's cycle of development ... and then, as I was standing up waving my hands about I got it ... a great analogy would be of a glider catching a thermal and rising in a series of circles.

'A load of hot air.' My wife remarked, laughing.

And yes, I could imagine giving a presentation and a heckler saying exactly that - so I'd have to have a reply prepared. (Be prepared for anything)

With this in mind I set to work.

Earlier this week I threatened to photograph myself standing next to the family washing-line with my evidence pegged out. This is how I said I would make my choices and write the assignment. As it was raining instead I got a roll of wall-paper backing paper and stuck it to the bedroom wall with masking tape; I would draw my washing line. I have just taken this down and taped it virtically.

At the bottom I draw this.

bcf13c7d5e943bded0d7569befcbd350.jpg


Then I go for this.

 

JFV PDP Cycle as thermalJFV PDP Cycle thermal close up


In a live presentation I would draw this from scratch on the largest sheet I could find, talking my way through it, seeking input, offering explanations.

As a video-asset I would lock off an overhead camera and draw it onto a sheet of A3 paper, possibly over a lightbox, and then use EFX to speed it up. I would then add a voice over.

There are many other ways to play with it to varying degrees of simplicity (authenticity) or ellaboration. Not least by using stock footage of a glider or Condor or some such catching a thermal with labels tagged onto the video archive footage as it played out. Indeed, going from the basic sketch it might be better still to invite course particpants to create their own expression of this PDP as an ascending cycle - say playfully spinning around in front of camera with a balsa-wood model glider with the person's name on it! Fun is good. Originality is good. Personalisation is good. This makes it memorable without needing it as an APP or an electronic alert.

The conclusion I find as convincing as the process.

The process here includes reflection, blogging, collaboration ... and could in due course include video, podcasting, presentation and moderation.

As I was able with ease to add every aspect of H808 onto this simple diagram I felt I had reached an important point, not least vindicating my methodology that might look as if it is depends on technology, but does not. Often the route to get an idea from the mind into the public domain is via face-to-face discourse, a few movements of the arms, then reaching for pen and paper.

This diagram can be draw it up differently depending on the context.

This implied versatily suggests it effectiveness.

PDP as indicated here suggests a set period to repeat or revist the process ... this ought to be expressed to occur every quarter, rather than after every cycle as suggested here with loops that might represent a typical OU unit of two weeks and the activites one engages with along the way.

A productive day then.

 

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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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Try juggling several balls, a trunk, a chain-saw and an apple.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 9 Jan 2011, 08:57

This juggling image became a doodle on a pad of A3 to a Hanna and Barbera cartoon in my head.

Various deadlines approach; the various balls that I'm juggling I kick about, drop, pop in my pocket and kick out of field. Some are golf balls, others party balloons filled with helium, there's an unwelcome medicine ball and assorted brickbats.

Forget the balls.

Until I visualised them I had three monsters in the air: H808 Unit 10 Task, the H808 ECA and a job interview.

Everything has been screaming at me that the only item that matters, with its Tuesday evening deadline, is the job interview. Where I get things wrong in my head is how I prioritise jobs (or rather don't). For me the other two tasks are standing patiently in the queue and should be dealt with first. I'm managing outpatients in an ER and have a case of toothache, then a liver transplant who needs to be booked in while a young woman is giving birth at the end of the line sad

Returning to juggling.

The Unit 10 Task is (was) an apple. It's danced around for a while, I've taken a few bites from it and dropped the core on the floor. If it gets any attention I'll respond,  but for now it is done.

The H808 ECA has been in preparation since the course began. What might be the most burdensome task, collecting the evidence, is actually the least burdensome.

A) I have vast quantities of blogs, eportfolio assets and screen grabs.

I'll write on the basis that I can choose evidence as I would add a footnote or paste in a picture or attach a document - I don't need to look at hundreds of items, but rather I need to go and find the item(s) to support, rather than to initiate my thinking. What I visualised as a trunk packed with papers that I could barely lift over my head, I now see as papers pegged to a washing-line. I can go over and remove what I want when I wish.

B) The job interview brings together my work and experience as a swimming coach and swimming club volunteer and professional, along with all the hoops I've passed through and training that I have done.

It is complementary, though the swimming is irrelevant. It is the coaching of participants and development of fellow coaches that counts here, as well as having and being able to share a vision for the club that is the driver for the next five years. This is how and where I've been able to put what I learn into practice.

c) The job interview brings in everything I'm doing at the OU and everything I did over two decades before hand.

When I set out on the MA ODE in February 2010 (for the second time having started a version of it in 2001!) its purpose (like other professional development I've done) is/was to act as a bridge that would enable and justify a dialogue with potential clients ... or an employee. What I visualised as that nutter who juggles chainsaws I now see as a gift. What I don't know yet, is if this a gift that will be offered to me, or that in a game of Job Interview pass-the-parcel will be unwrapped by a.n.other.

Serendipity had me turning an hour of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I'd recommend it) into professional career development advice as the therapist I've been seeing for 18 months does both professionally.

I recorded that session and am working now on assembling events and experiences using S*T*A*R, as in:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Actions
  • Results

Looking at examples of each matched to the job specification, many of which I drew out in MyStuff some months ago. (It let's you do this).

Coincidentally this of course relates to H808 'The E-Learning Professional' and the ECA as I'm being required to look at my where I stand in relation to personal development planning - how far I've come and how far I need and want to go with it.

Serendipty is the word that comes to mind.

To construct the ECA I've fallen back on a script development technique, even so far as thinking of it as a three act structure with a narrative storyline and characters (my fellow students no less). This is visualised as a kind of washing line, with some posts somewhat taller than others. The 'evidence' I liken to turning points in the script, key events or moments across the module.

It works for me.

Somewhat more complex that a six petalled flower as essay shape (See below) but a structure on which I can build all the same.

It went first into a scrapbook, then the journal I kept in September 1979 on as many sheets of lined sheets from a pad that I cared to fill. I filled an arch-lever file in four weeks so gave up on such nonsense and reverted to a simpler plan of writing a page of A4, around 500 words, per day, into a hardback notebook, for ever.

 

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E-portfolios from the student p.o.v. H808.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 16:19

E-portfolios from the student point of view.

 

Bubbl.us learner-centred e-portfolios

 

 

 

I like what bubbl.us can do. Without fuss and with a sense of fun a few ideas on the back of the proverbial fag-packet (in my case in an A5 drawing pad) becomes something semi-permanent and easy to share. Commpendium takes this one step further, allowing each 'node' to contain layers of details as documents or attachments.

Here, after some weeks of this, I try to cover every corner, literally, on the topic of 'e-portfolios for learners.'

I read somewhere a hint of why students baulk at this - their perspective, for the most part, is short-lived. Several years working in the communication of graduate opportunities it was surprising how few could look beyond 'Day One' at their place of work, to their completing their first year ... unless, as in accountancy, law and some industries there was a longer-term career training period.

It isn't just as matter of context, it's a matter of perspective.

Anything 'sticky' can as easily become unstuck.

Remember how stuck we were on FriendsReunited, before MySpace and then Facebook came along?

On the one hand a software developer makes their platform 'interoperable,' but then you open the door to users switching platforms.

What is the commercial value of free software? What is the cost? Pop-up adverts inside your' virtual head.'

If someone can exploit it, they will.

Aalderink and Veugelers.

 

 

· Focus on competence-oriented education

· Emphasis on student development

· Fostering academic maturity

·Net generation oriented


REFERENCE

Aalderinck, W. and Veugelers, M. (2005) ‘E-portfolio’s [sic] in The Netherlands: stimulus for educational change and life long learning’ (online), paper presented at the EDEN 2005 conference in Helsinki, Finland, Portfolio Themasite. Available from http://www.icto.ic.uva.nl/surf/nl_portfolio/Publicaties/Downloads/aalderink_veugelers_2005.pdf- FOR ANALYSIS

 

 

 

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