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The world of education is changing forever.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020, 17:18

Education coming out of Covid will put 25% to 100% of their content online, whether or not students come in for classes or workshops, the go to place will be digital and online. It can therefore be used as flipped or blended learning and will replace textbooks. In some instances colleges will go down the Open University model and close their estate and put everything online. 

The role of marketing to sell digital to students and staff, or at least the skills of advertising, marketing and PR to get and then hold the attention of users is becoming all the more important. This is not just a case of getting the message out on digital platforms, but getting our wishes in front of students the traditional way too: in posters, displays and with electronic signage - but in a coordinated rather than a fragmented manner. 

Teachers will have to become facilitators and moderators of content created by others. For example, taking Geography in the UK. How many teachers does it take to get 240,000 students through their GCSE in Geography? And how many of these also support the 36,000 students at A'Level? In the physical world I'm guessing 1,300 or so? 

Online Barbara Oakley created 'Learning How To Learn' module on Coursera. 2,649,556 have enrolled on the course. A handful of people created the content, with Barb as presenter, writer and lead producer, a resident expert to offer further weight to the science, some greenscreen presenting and some simple graphics and animations. There has been a 'moderator' role - I have done this on a volunteer basis having taken the course but it is being down played and even discontinued by Coursera. These are designed to be self-paced courses. It's simple and it does the job. Why look elsewhere to 'learn how to learn' ? Who is doing this for other subjects? Well, there the Khan Academy for Math. What about History, or Biology? 

Ok, we cannot have 75% of students dropping out in the first week! This doesn't mean we can't use the very best online content out there, it simply means that the role of teachers should be collectively to make the experience even more engaging without simply recourse to holding the interest of a captive audience in a classroom.

And a module on Coursera is not two years of education delivered over three terms a year. It will take time an investment to create the content. Are the likes of City & Guild Kineo, and Pearson not doing this already? And what about universities that have committed to 100% online, such as the University of Coventry in the UK and Duke University in the States - and not forgetting the Open University (as everyone does) who have been online since 2001.

If teachers are creating their own content from scratch, beginning when they set out as trainees, are they not reinventing the wheel every time? Have their predecessers not produced materials already? Lesson plans to follow? Top notch resources? If not, why not? I see the value and pride of ownership of this work, of reliance on it to deliver in the class. Can one standup comic hand their material to another? Or might I be saying, the comic presenter has his or her team of writers? What if teachers deliver scripts others have written and that we all work to perfect? 

The model and financing will be more like the Open University producing high quality and engaging content. The issue for teachers is if this is seen to undermine their role, their lead role in the class and their pay. The issue for college is paying the licence fee for such content - unless of course it is pre-paid for and offered as a free Open Education Resource. 

I'm hazzarding a guess that if we with with the Bell curve of normal poplatoin distrubution in a cohort of teachers 70% will find a way to treat going digital and getting it online as part of their job, the rest will split into two camps: 15% who would prefer to leave - to take early retirement, the resist the change and technology absolutely - while the other 15% of ‘outliers’ are already ahead of the curve when it comes to creating content. They may even feel the benchmark has been set too low.

There is a need to collaborate with others in order to deliver the class. Teachers should not be expected to achieve the Google Certified, Microsoft Certified or Apple Certified Educator Level I, II or II but rather educators should be supported by a larger team of coders and designers in order to deliver content, but rather they feel supported by someone with the skills: like a director working with an editor to deliver the content. 

There are some who think that the creation of materials should go down the OER path. There are issues with IP over content created by teachers. They want to be paid up front for their time, not put on some option or share deal.

One way or another, things are going to change. It ought to change for the better for the student, where the student who gets behind receives support, while the student who gets ahead is offered an ever greater challenge to feed their curiosity and desire.

REF: Geography in the United Kingdom 2004 Belgeo 

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The man with the plastic mask : Fibreglass Jacket Demo

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JV masked up to video a demonstration of using resin to create a fibreglass jacket

This blog auhot masked up to video a demonstration of using resin to create a fibreglass jacket.

It's been a frenetic and insightful day being able to double up with a class observation for my PGCE while videoing a demo of how to create a 'fibreglass jacket' with resin for Stageprops and efx at Northbrook MET. 

Google them for their website and Instagram where all their goodness and greatness is on display. 

My task, once requiring a team of at least four, was to video and publish. The team of three would have been camera, sound, lights and a producer/director. But that was three decades ago making video demonstrations for the health & safety team at BNFL Sellafield! Where the full suits worn once the site was active resembled the above.

Several lifetimes ago.

Then it was into a Meet to discuss and share outcomes from Wonkhe@Home conference and what this tells us about how to develop and support a vibrant 'Student Voice' during and post-Covid. The world of learning is a-changing.

Onwards.

With frustration my intentions and wish to attend tonight's PGCE class in person I have needed to come home and be online. With brilliant tutors you come to relish being in their presence. The difference between the online and face to face experience could not be more stark: in many situations the learning context, the feeling that you are part of a collective experience, and seeing the tutor and others so that you can 'read' their face and body language all counts for something. So much of this naturalistic impact is lost when you go online, at least with current systems.

What is needed is quality 360 for image and sound so that you can feel you are there. And in the room to be a laptop open on a trolley (I'e been told a partner of a law firm has been meeting staff like this) or more Sci-fi in approach, an iPad glued to a panel ... or at least the back of the chairs where we may have otherwise sat.

Some institutions, the banks and top law firms and ad agencies are no doubt doing this already > not in undercapitalised FE colleges though.


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Micro Teach Reflective Cycle

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Introduced to 'The Reflective Cycle (Gibbs, 1988)' I then used this to consider the micro teach I gave last week. 

Description

What happened?

  • I tried to deliver a 60 mins class in 15 minutes. 

Feelings

What were you thinking and feeling?

  • Like a runaway train. 

Evaluation

What was good and bad about the experience?

  • It is self-evident that I need to observe a lot more , and teach a lot more and improve at every step and opportunity. 

Analysis

What sense can you make of the situation?

  • All things can be taught? Though you’ll never teach me to dance! But teaching isn’t a dance. Might I be better suited to some teaching situations than others? 

Conclusion

What else could you have done ?

  • Observed the micro teach sessions the week before while self-isolating and I would have quickly understood what can be done in the time ! 

Action Plan

If it rose again, what would you do? 

  • Keep it simple.

  • Talk less, teach more 

  • Give it to them.

The consideration of, and time spent on the exercise is in profound difference to the way reflection was considered ten years ago on the MAODE. That was an entirely academic exercise, entirely based on reading around the subject. I may be wrong, but I don't recall any elaborate process whereby we dug deep to develop and share our thoughts. Or if we did, on reflection, I had little to draw on - I was not a teacher. I had started this journey in order to learn how to create learning for businesses and organisations, not in the classroom or workshop. 

What I wrote, see above, was of less value than what others wrote and shared. It was a lesson to be part of an exercise, the second of seven or more, over three hours, where it felt as if we were being indulged. The tutor actively sought out our experience and point of view, pausing to develop a variety of insights that resulted and only as a final thought did we go to a description or summary that had been prepared in advance. This was neither an afterthought, nor the statement that would dominate all others. The way it was shared it simply become one more opinion in the shared and constructed meaning.

A number of things are profoundly different face to face: the context of the learning. We are in a place designed to study (albeit a teaching restaurant with dining chairs used as desks). But there are chairs, there is a teacher on her feet with a big TV screen at the end of the room.  This context includes other learners. You see and feel their response to the experience, how they take notes (or not) and how much a point of view, a conclusion or shared anecdote matters. Doing this in a group chat online is not the same; for a start only four out of twelve would do it. My experience of the MAODE was that those of us who shared our experience, learnt together and got to know each other online, were a minority. Did we gain from that experience, or was it an indulgent distraction? 

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Taking it online: Creative Industries Students

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 14 Nov 2020, 11:47

What does the literature tell us:

Van Gundy 

Engetrom - learning communities. Put it online with Meet and Breakout rooms. 

Ritchey (20070 - 'Wicked Problems' are not 'true or false' but 'better or worse'. Social problems are complex and wicked. So called 'Tame Problems', even as complex as chess, have a scientific or mathematical solution so are not 'wicked' or 'messy'. 

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Whatever it is ... the Open University did if first!

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Contrary to their PR blurb Duke University, Michigan were not the first in the world to aim to put, or to put all their HE courses online: the Open University got there 16 years earlier. We too often forget this in the UK as universities such as Coventry (with OU staff running the team) doing the same.

And now everyone doing it. 

Taking up a course with the OU in early 2001, the MA in Open and Distance Learning (MAODL) I got a cardboard box containing some text books and DVDs. We went online for a threaded noticeboard thingey.

Picking up the MA in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) a decade later and going on to graduate in 2013 everything was online: a variation (not much changed) of this blog cum noticeboard platform, Cloudworks, a version of Meet or Zoom technically a decade ahead of its time, though sometimes like dragging yourself through brambles in a Guernsey jumper.

We had Cloudworks, others no offer Padlet, Jamboard and Trello. 

Having an idea for something is never good enough; having the resources, team skills and even power or energy to make it happens is what counts.

And then which platform comes to rule over them all?

Gilly Salmon's five stages of e-tivities still applies, perhaps more so. Students (and colleagues) need quite a bit of 'onboarding' to feel confident enough with and familiar enough with a new platform in order to be able to contribute. Some get left behind, some run with it to the point of taking over.

The trick is to return to the platform over and over again. Help people use it, master it and enjoy it. Leave no one behind.

For me a new platform needs a mentor or coach, a voice I can trust to talk me through step by step showing me how this new platform applies to me. I then need to go over this repeatedly, take baby steps, make mistakes, take constructive feedback, and then make my contribution a weekly, if not a daily habit.

Another platform is never the answer. Having colleagues and students each wishing to show off and use the latest 'thing' they have found does not work either. There has to be common ground.

I feel a platform as simple as this OU blog is common ground. It does what is required. Even though I have WordPress blogs, I far prefer to post here. It is simple. It is immediate. I don't need to be pushing it on social media. I can be private to me, limited to those logged-in or shared to the world. 


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Don't e-teach until you can teach

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Or not?

Those who teach online could learn something from those who teach in the classroom, lecture hall or tutorial.

We could learn from each other.

Analogue and digital are soooooooooo different, yet so much the same.

The mistake is to take the face to face classroom and put it online. The schedule doesn't work, the number in the class doesn't work and the length of the class doesn't work.

Taking online learning (from HE or business) and putting in the face to face classroom doesn't work either.

What is the point in sitting in a room with other people unpacking your distance learning materials (which Open University style used to be a box of books and cassettes or DVDs, even a bit of TV or Radio). For you to undertake on your own.

Taking the best of both worlds and blending it up into something different is best.

Learning on a mobile device, a phone, tablet or laptop (they're all different), is not the same as learning in a class with a pen and pad of paper while looking at a whiteboard or smart TV (does anyone have a whiteboard or blackboard anymore?)

The Open University got there first putting an entire course online. I did it. The Masters in Open and Distance Education. I started a module from the Masters in Open and Distance Learning in 2001 before all of it migrated online (out of the box of books). 

You learn in chunks, in moments, or you set aside a couple of evenings, or Sunday morning. You fit your learning around YOUR schedule, not the other way around.

It is convenient to have stuff on or accessible on a phone or tablet: you can read, listen or watch in the bath, on the commute. You do not have to be physically present in a classroom.

School and college students are no different. Understandably they associate school or college, especially if they are wearing a uniform, with a certain amount of uniformity. When they are learning at home, you are entering THEIR environment. This is their space. Wo betide if you try to invade this. We should not expect them to be able to create the time in the same way. If they have a laptop they may well expect to work on a kitchen table, not in a shared bedroom. The kitchen table is a shared space. Parents and siblings will cross back and forth wondering what they are doing, interacting and disrupting. Does the student want to be seen at home? To have a parent or guardian or sibling appearing in shot? Do they want their 'college persona' exchange for son or daughter mode back home?

We have to understand their world before we invade it. We have to be welcome in, not force our way in. We have to fit around the individual circumstances.

Learn from the OU.

Let them work at their own pace.

Make Meets short.

Keep the class size small.

Have ways they can get through the work and contribute and you can monitor and feedback without everyone having to be present at the same time.

Change your hours to suit them, rather than shoehorning them into a pattern that works for the physical space and set hours of college designed to managed large groups of teachers and even larger groups of students. 

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Learning from adversity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 1 Feb 2020, 09:15

Using Lego Bricks to help orthopaedic surgeons understand different kinds of break of the upper humerus

Showing her true metal and drilling through every piece of information available relating to a displacement fracture of the upper humerus, and comparing French with English approaches, is now touching on my knowledge and experience of online learning in interesting ways.

A fall on a ski slope and thoughts of a dislocated shoulder saw us in a Cabinet Medical oat the bottom of the slope (Flaine) then a visit to a French Hospital. Triaged and seen within 90 minutes, an x-ray then a wheelchair to a room. Would a CT scan be required? Would it be taken then and there, or the next day? Would there be surgery involved?

Two days later we were in England, once again in A & E and once again faced with the question of whether a CT Scan was necessary. The CT Scan finally took place 9 days after the accident. X Rays had put the break on the cusp of needing further investigation to decide if surgery was required. It isn't - apparently.

In France surgery had been thought likely the day after the accident, then delayed to the following week. In England it was thought highly unlikely that there would be surgery - so no invasive procedure to add nails or plates to stabilise the two displaced fractures that had been identified.

Here comes the online learning bit. The 'Virtual Treatment' that has a dependency of online content, and video tutorials. Needless to say we are given bits of paper printed out, needless to say a copy of the CT scan comes on a disc, not via WeTransfer or Dropbox, needless to say 'we' (It is of course my wife) is on the phone and I am taking her in to see someone to change an unsatisfactory sling, or to seek more convincing advice on exercises required for her break at this time.

The issue when it comes to e-learning is this:  what does replacing the human face to face contact of a subject matter expect, a mentor (1 to 1), a tutor (small group) or a teacher (class) have either advantages or disadvantages? Thinking we must do away with one and do everything online is foolish. Indeed, I am rather wondering that by directing people online and by default inviting those with any aptitude to search online they come away with far, far more unanswered questions that will have to be dealt with by a person.

If I had £500,000 to spend on education in an institution am I going to spend it on tablets, desktops and Virtual googles, or a some informed, bright and motivated teachers? 

Links > Lego Humerus Fracture article 

As a patient my wife has access to the Virtual Fracture Clinic. Here we have there are clear, excellent direct to camera explanations and demonstrations. However, not embedded correctly these are difficult to use on an old iPhone. They of course assume that patients have ready access to the Internet - is that likely where those presenting with this kind of injury have an average age of 72? And then too much of the text is aimed at management and senior clinicians. When nursing her arm and struggling to understand the right approach to take to pain relief, one of three different slings she has now used and physiotherapy does she really need to be made to feel that the primary goal and achievement of the Virtual Fracture Clinic is to save money? £250,000 we are told since it was set up.

Wherein we can once again make a comparison to education.

The aim is to teach more students well for less money. To have fewer teachers managing more students and getting at least the same results (ideally better) and so saving money. 

I feel a backlash is over due. More and better teachers in front of smaller classes, with more face to face time for personalised feedback is the answer.

Take these videos on how to put on a sling for a fractured limb. Useful as an aide memoire after a face to face demo, but think of the differences between a child, teenager, fit middle age or over weight elderly person, make or female ? There is no one-size fits all video. Rather a consultation should be recorded and shared with the online savvy patient. 

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My online footprint

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Twitter I: JJ27VV 

Twitter II: Mymindbursts 

Wordpress:www.MindBursts

YouTube: JJ27VV 

LinkedIn: Jonathan Vernon 

Facebook: J F Vernon 

Flickr: MyMindBursts

StumbleUpon: MyMindBursts

Pinterest: MyMindBursts

Google: Jonathan Vernon 

And here smile

As well as others ... Quora, CloudBursts, FutureLearn, OpenStudio, SimpleMinds, Studio ... 

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Online vs. Face to face Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:44

I'll add notes here as the differences between the online and 'traditional' learning experience dawn on me as I do the two in parallel. Actually there's a third comparison I can make - that of L&D which the other week included something neither of the above formats offer - 'learning over a good lunch!'

Time Managment

The 'traditional' seminar or lecture forces your hand somewhat - you have to be there. Many these days are recorded, though mine will not be. I'm inclined therefore to take either a digital or audio recorder along to record these things. I have, just a couple of times over three years, got behind with the online course as I kept putting it off.

Travel ... and the associated cost

It'll be around four hours door to door once a month. This means getting up at 4.30 am. Not of course something someone in full time tertiary education needs to do. Off peak, unless booked well in advance it'll cost £74 return ... £24 if I stick to exact trains. The last train home was heaving. I could and did 'work' the entire journey whereas home is a constant distraction.

Eating on campus

Lunch I may have to take with me as the campus only had premade Spar sandwhiches at every outlet. A jacket potato or pasta would have been better.

Nodding off

After lunch I did something I last did in double Geography on a Friday afternoon. I sat at the back, cupped my hands over my eyes as if in deep thought ... and fell asleep.

When to put in the hours

Something, however common to many people on any part-time distance learning course is 'the early morning shift' - putting in 90 minutes or so before breakfast. 

Library Services

While this and other support services are offered to us on our VLE it was invaluable to to have a person run through it as a presentation in person. This kind of stuff should be given a linear expression ... a mini-module for newcomers and as a refresher. All I've done, two years after the event, was a webinar. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Girl at the Lion d'Or

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 13:34

Girl%252520at%252520the%252520Lion%252520Dor.JPG

Having enjoyed 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks I not only went on to read many other Faulks' novels, I also went on to read much of Pat Barker too (for the First World War setting), and Ernest Hemmingway. Indeed, written at the time, HGWells take you to a similar place.

I find myself reading 'The Girl at the Lion D'Or'.

As is too often the case I realise half way through I have read it before; I should know the characters and recall the events and outcome: I don't. In fact, I am compelled as much to read it for the story as to satisfy this nagging feeling I know something dreadful or beautiful is about to happen. We get a little of each. And some wonderful interludes, as if Faulk's wove in some short stories that weren't going to endure as novels. (There's a nifty idea).

I want to talk about this lovely story, how Anne comes from Paris to work at the Hotel Lion D'Or. Who and what she is touches many lives, she is a catalyst for misbehaviour, action and change.

But I can't help but reflect on how I read, or skim read. I simply do not take it in, or rather, my mind leaves it on the surface, like a conversation overheard on a train. My mind, my kind of mind at least, or how it has formed, through a combination of genetics and experience, treats all readying as frippery. The consequence of this is that when I have academic reading to do it takes a huge effort to get anything at all to stick.

Reading on its own is pointless.

Historically I took notes long hand of everything I read. Historically, at school and university this would become an essay, the essay would be discussed in a small tutor group, filed, then looked at again months later for an exam. This kept that knowledge for the required period. Today I take notes through a QWERTY keyboard and upload. I am toying with adding pen to paper again. Then what? So long as I return to the notes and develop them the topic may become a living thing. Best of all, for me at least, are the vibrant tutor groups, or some online forums where I can find them. I need to wrestle with a topic, to agree and disagree, to read more, to seek out my own heroes and villains from further references. Then, and only over a period of months, if not years, do I make any sense of it, do I feel a sense of conviction about what I have picked up, understood or misunderstood.

I'm coming to apperciate why 'scholarship' takes time.

I don't take notes when reading a novel; perhaps this allows me to enjoy the second or third reading. You discover new things, you pick up the detail, nuances that weren't apparent the first time round. You may even get a better sense of the author's voice and purpose.

Can anyone recommend a good read?

I feel a novel a week inbetween OU reading and employment would be a good tonic for my mental well being. I beleive I work and think better too, but escaping from it all regularly.

You can immerse yourself in a subject and drown.

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H800 WK15 Activity 4 Role-Play - An Avatar

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:17

The entertainment and learning continues.

I didn't think playing World of Warcraft would become like a game of Monopoly, kind of.

My wife decided she too should be introduced to our son's world. Her response is to moan about how long he spends online. My reposte is always that he is learning (he is supervised, he does this in the sitting room).

I haven't taken notes (perhaps I should), but I am aware that there are bonds with his closest friends that transcend the screen.

Leaving my Avatar in their safe hands I go off to do some errands.

I return to find this.

valdesire%252520nickers.JPG

I had left her at Level something with oodles of gold and a sack full of weaponry; she was also clothed, I am informed that to buy some vital spell my son had advised my wife (operating the avatar) to sell all her clothes.

My son then delights in showing the she will dance sad

In narrative terms I would say my son is playing the role of the 'Trickster'.

What compensates him for having to teach/shadow his parents in this world is that he will from time to time do this. It isn't difficult to imagine what kind of tricks the highly adapt and experienced Virtual Worlders in a class of young teenagers would (do) behave if given the chance to gain or exploit the upper-hand.

Why female?

As I went through the various characters in the alternative 'camps' my son muttered things about his perceptions of the types of people in the avatar skins. He had no issues with this 'character'. I feel disembodied, primarily because I have entered a world that he has mastered, so like going skiing with someone who does extreme and heli-skiing while I am on the nursery slopes (with a sledge).

As I passed the 'controls' to my wife, and indeed, in my absence my son can be this character anyway, it had me thinking of 'her' in the same way as one of the many pet guinea-pigs we had until recently. Part of the family, but at arms' length.

Jonathan Franzen bemoaned authors who could only write as themselves, indeed at Harvard being part of a writer's group where most people could do little else than invent characters who had been on a gap year or had a difficult term at school.

It is insightful to think yourself into the role of a.n.other, old, young, male, female, different cultures and class. Doing the reading I am impressed and informed by those with series injuries or disabilities who can find a compensatory form of existence when playing in these worlds (exactly like the movie Avatar of course in which the protagonist, paralysed from the waist down, finds legs).

Thinking further, might or could behaviours be like that of controlling a ventriloquist's dummy?

That you let your avatar be your more bold and outspoken alter-ego?

A mindfield for teachers. I wouldn't like to enter such a world with a bunch of young teenagers!

This is why South Korea has it right putting all new teachers through e-learning training.

I learnt that World of Warcraft is far too robust for cheats, indeed that the culture of its creation mean there are none. In one respect, again, like a movie (the narrative theme), the world is consistent even though it is of course 'other wordly'.

I also learn that my wife has bought stuff from other avatars in the belief that these purchases would get our son through a level without him having to spend hours/days on a quest. I think she should appreciate that this thing is never ending.

In a learning context you can't buy yourself a skill or knowledge set.

Plagiarism tools should pick it up if you have bought a paper, but more importantly there will be an assignment at some stage that is robust and designed to test what you know. However, as I have shown with my wife taking over my Avatar, could not, and do not people do this?

As the learning, not the qualificaiton, is that what matters to me in MAODE might I share this entire experience with another? Split the cost and do the work together, but only one of us taking the credit?

We are a devious lot, we humans. If something can be got for free ...

Virginia%252520Woolf%252520and%252520the%252520Dreadnoughts%252520SNIP.JPG

Regarding 'dressing-up' and role play I was reminded as I ran through a list of authors I have read extensively that Virginia Woolf and some friends once dressed up as Middle-Eastern Royalty and were entertained by the officers on a vessel of Her Majesty's Navy.

There is in us, all of us (certainly as children), to dress up and role play as a form of learning (and entertainment). Are virtual worlds not simply playing to this innate trait?

And rock musicians? From Alice Cooper and David Bowie to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber

Many are acting out a fantasy or role-playing.

Are we not obliged to take silly-names in things like Twitter anyway as most variatons of our own name have gone? Was there not a first-adopter, classroom clown approach to email addresses too that some might regret, certainly change in due course?

As a diarist going online I regret being open simply because I see now how open and revelatory people want to be, which is best achieved by remaining anonymous, the best and apt blogger going by the name of 'Invisabledon' (see below) being one such person who after a decade I can only know as a bloke in his 40s or 50s living in North America. Going in as myself had its compensations from a 'branding' point of view but such first-name 'public' secret diarists are rare. (I locked this diary in 2006 and am slowly migrating some of the 17000 pages to www.mymindbursts.com).

Diaryland%252520Buddies%252520MARCH%2525202011%252520GRAB.JPG

This from Diaryland shows that kinds of names people adopt. Do they then live up to the names they choose? Often they do.

If you are interested in blogging, this platform, launched in 1999, has barely changed though copied a thousand times over. Here a limited list of 'buddies' (75) are revealed in a simply menu that tells the blogger when someone last updated. I've long ago abandoned blogging here, but you would edit out those who didn't update, certainly once they'd got the the 3 month mark. I can't think of any blog platform that gives you this kind of insight into a selection of fellow participants.

Parameters, as here, have their virtues.

(Like learning music, you don't start with a cathedral organ, but a piano and Grades 1-3. Being given the full orchestra may be overwhelming).

Something else they have are 'Diary Rings', sets of like-minds who opt in to a huge variety of 'circles of friends' which sounds like (and is like) Google + Circles.

The problem/issue Diaryland has, and they have stuck with this, is to refuse ALL advertising anywhere so leaving it, clearly, underfinanced so unable to modernise.

For a blog coach looking for a 'training pool' to put novices testing the water I can think of no better place. You even have to learn or remember some Basic HTML.

 

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H800 WK24 Technology-mediated learning contexts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 04:08

I am three weeks behind on loading content to any blog sadthese are insights from external and internal workshops, two last week, two this, plus a long weekend in Brussels interiewing MBA students.

I get anxious if I don't expel this stuff and share it somewhere online.

I'm programmed this way, keeping a diary since 1975 and a blog since 1999. It is a daily thing, like prayers, meditation or a shower.

What others pick up as I off-load is anyone's guess; there is a theme to it though - LEARNING ONLINE. 

Try Stumbleupon, also Zite which I have set up as my personal copy taster (content aggregator). 

Meanwhile on the third reading I am starting to see the two case studies and understand what was going on in the Mary Thorpe chapter (2009) I am used to seeing communications like this better expressed and communicated with animations, movies, the author talking it through. Randy Pausch in his TED 'last lecture' says how he causes a stir by getting a single colour photo above the abstract of a paperhe wrote on 3d technology. The academic community must move on from paper and thinking like we did on paper; paper is over. Enter my head insted. Dee what I think. Know if my opinions are credible, you can followmy every thought with few smart searches.

When, oh when will the dry academic paper be replaced by something equally scholarly, but far more easily read, shared and understood?

A load of photos would be a good start. A podcast from the author in place of the abstract. Video clips. Comments. Links that never die. Content and references that up date themselves.

2009 research from the IET (Richardson) shows that where students have a choice between working online or off, that they are equally satisfied with the outcome. This says to me the debate over face to face and online is over. It had might as well be on whether you have a seminar indoors or out, or whether you have sherry with your tutorial or not.

Differences are reduced as we become familiar with the technology and what to expect from it. We must accept that those amongst us are at different stages of this familiarity process. 

The NCSL experience might be familiar to many of us. In H807 I was part of a tutor sub-group that generated 109 responses over 14 days between six of us. This, with participants in Hong Kong, Germany and various parts of the UK would have been impossible face to face. The conversations, and responsibilities for the ; were picked up around the clock. I don't see this as a hybrid of face2face, but rather a disctint entity in its own write born from a different seed, as it were. The hybridisation occurs as online and offline activities cross-fertilise, like augmented reality.

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The honest image - who are you or were you?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 4 Feb 2013, 09:32

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What image should we use to portray ourselves?

Is there such as thing as best practice? Ought it to be like joining a gym, we have a snapshot taken on a webcam and this current image, no matter how it comes out, becomes who we are?

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Do so few of us dislike or distrust what we see when we look at our faces in the mirror each morning?

It has been the subject of research, role play in online education; I'd like to do some of my own. I began a year ago with this.

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I liked the picture, felt it was healthy, robust and confident and confident.

I should have looked at the date on it. August 2004. Happy and sunny days. You age under stress and from the mid-40s it doesn't take much to add ten years -all that sun in the past, being unwell. As I write below, his spirit, like mine (I hope) remains that of an enthusiastic twenty-something. The same occurred with the Elluminate session we had in H800 the other day, the tutor on the webcam (initially in a scratchy black and white image) is not the person who goes by in the General Forum. Are we all guilty of this. Men included? We go with something in our late thirties or early to mid-forties?

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I then went with this.

An image I long ago used in my eleven year old blog. I wanted something that was indicative of the content and would last. I'm still inclined to run with this. It is indicative of what I think blogging is all about - the contents of your mind, what you think i.e. you 'mind bursts' as I call them on numerous blogs.

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Facebook personas sees me in a number of guises

While on Skype I use a image taken with the webcam on the day of an online interview - this is a month ago, so as contemporary as it gets.

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I have this image fronting Tumblr taken 21 years ago.

In moments of euphoria having just successfully negotiated a 15m pond of slush on a pair of skis in front of a crowd of early May skiers below the Tignes Glacier, France. The day I proposed to my wife. We'd be 'going out together' for three days ... we've now been together, well 21 years. In my original diary we could create banner ads to publicise what we had to say to fellow writers. One of these has a spread as long as the contents of my diaries and blog: they run from a 13 year old Head Chorister in cassock and ruffs, though gap, undergrad, to add exec, video director, with four woman I didn't marry.

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Increasingly, I am thinking of using a self-portrait, that this attempt to capture myself through my minds eye

is more telling that a photograph.

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I could use the drawing I did of a 14 year old

What amuses me most here is how I superimpose these attachments as if I were in a school play, the beard is clearly on the soft face of a pubescent boy - I should have looked at my grandfather for the face I'd get, with the more bulbous nose and pronounced chin. Talking of which, I find it intriguing that I am the spitting image of my grandfather, that my own children see images of him age 20 and think it has to be me. All that changes as he ages into a 40 and 50 year old is he goes bald, whereas I am thus far limited to a thinning of the crown.

This I'm afraid, if the age of my children in the rest of the picture is something to go by, is some seven years ago sad

My only reason for picking it is that I haven't renewed my contact lenses and am inclined, after twenty years wearing them to give up. Maybe laser surgery when I have the cash? This is contemporary. It doesn't say who I am, just 'what' I am. Wearing a child's hat (he's a dad), the headset to record notes onto a digital recorder (for a podcast), a coat he bought for honeymooning in the Alps (we went skiing) 18 years ago …

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I have of course not changed much since 1977

It takes me back to the original point - who are we? how do we representative ourselves online in a single image when we are all a sum of a complex of parts? Is it any wonder that we present multiple selves online, the more so the longer we've lived? I don't remember my father being around to take this picture. though clearly he did. I do remember the great-big wellies though and the joy of water spilling over the top if I could find a puddle or pond deep enough. And the jumpers knitted by my granny (sleeves always too long). And the trees in the garden I climbed behind. And my sister and brother … How set in were the learning process by then?

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The Dracula Spectacula, People's Theatre, Newcastle.

The teeth were made from dentine and fitted by an orthodontist.I rather foolishly sharpened the fangs and bit through my own lip on the last night. I had to sing while gargling my own blood. The joy of memories.

  • Could a daily snap taken when looking in the bathroom mirror be used to tag memories from that 'era' of your life?
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H800:8 Missing the bus

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:25

Fellow students are expressing understandable views regarding the way forums work; I wonder what the answer is?

If everyone is an active participant you could miss a day and find you are 40 thread behind the conversation. If you, understandably, are away for several days (work, holiday, crisis, illness) you could be 100 threads and 40,000 words behind.

I wonder if the approach, using an analogy I've already suggested regarding whether or not you speak to fellow commuters on a train (or bus) might be (or should be) to ignore all but the last 20% of posts, pick up the thread here and continue.

What I know you CANNOT do is try to pick up a thread that has gone cold; you may feel you want to respond to the way things developed since your departure ... but everyone has moved on, may feel the question/issue has been dealt with and may not even come back to look at this page.

Over the year I've commented on lack of entries in blogs and threads from fellow students; the issue (an exciting and interesting position to be faced with) in H800 2011 may be the opposite - along comes a cohort that does Facebook and Twitter and may keep a blog, who can type at a million miles an hour and feel they have something to say.

How therefore to manage this explosion of content?

How about we ditch text in favour of a 3 minute webcam 'update.'

Then again, 40 missed threads x 3 minutes equally a heck of a lot of viewing!

 

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Storing stuff online

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Dec 2010, 16:15

I have become habitualised to storing what I do in MyStuff.

Everything.

Even if I work offline.

In it goes.

This is where I know I will find things. The laptop stays at home. This way it won't get lost, stolen or broken. If it moves it is around the house - to the garden in summer, in bed with an electric blanket in winter.

When I need to get online I have always found it easy to do so. Everyone is online, right? Guess I haven't ventured very far. Frankly, if I couldn't get a signal it would because I didn't need or want one.

I do not keep my mobile on. I do leave it at home. I let the battery run flat. I leave it in the car. I choose when I wish to be open to calls.

(I get this from working in a five star hotel as a runner/gofer in my gap year. The pager had to be in my pocket on on 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I eventually through it in the hotel swimming pool after a particularly stressful shift).

People can do without me.

WE can do without each other. We respect personal space in the flesh ... how about creating some personal space online too? Like a force-field that rejects all efforts to reach you when you feel so inclined. Or is this called going on holiday?

I hate eating in a restaurant where anyone takes mobile calls. I hate being in a cinema where people are texting. I hate driving with someone who insists on chatting to the world as the drive along

What contribution will this make to the way I do things in the future?

I'm doing a course on Core Anatomy with Spaced Ed

I'm learning new songs with Music Notes.

And I find I'm on Facebook and in LinkedIn most days.

Could an Avatar of me deal with stuff on my behalf?

Or is this what a personal assistance is for in 2010 where a secretary would have been the thing in 1970 and 'the wife' any decade before that?

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Bookmarking Some things I must master

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 20:59

BOOKMARKS

Sort out the mess of bookmarks on your three different computers.

Frankly, I find I can lose the lot and repopulate any platform with those 20/30 sites I use often in days. Perhaps it is no loss to lose them.

Indeed, I find the right request in Google will get me there as quick as a click ... including circumventing direct entry to the OU library. It is far quicker to Google it.

 

Why bother when you have Google, blogs, Stumbleupon, Zite and the like to do the aggregating for you?

 

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e-learning is a term compromising one letter representing a physical property of technology (e for electronic)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 14:08

I wonder of e-learning as a term will last, like email?

What's happened to 'new media?' I guess it's no longer new. What's happend to 'web-based learning?' I guess the web is there, like air, so we don't need to refer to its existance, it just is. And so on to 'online learning' which at the OU has usrped 'open learning.'

I like this thought:

‘Whereas education is by definition a multi-faceted activity understood to involve a variety of players and activities – teachers and teaching; students and studying; institutions and structures, information, knowledge and, it is hoped, learning.

e-learning is a term compromising one letter representing a physical property of technology (e for electronic) and the hoped-for outcome (learning) for one participant in the interaction.

Given the power of language to constrain our thinking, is our current circumscribed terminology making it increasingly difficult to keep in mind and focus on elements of this expanding activity that, while not readily apparent in the term ‘e-learning’ itself, must be understood and included when establishing policy and researching the phenomenon?’

(Melody Thompson, 2007 in Conole and Oliver, 2007:187)

REFERENCE

Conole, G and Oliver, M (2007) Research in E-Learning

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How to keep the relentless deluge of information at bay?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 14:46

'The challenge is not how to get at the news, but how to keep the relentless deluge of information at bay'.

BBC Radio 4. 11.55am 17 September 2010.

And the last thing we should be doing with this deluge of information (generated by ourselves and/or others) is to worry about how to store it.

The last thing on Noah's mind was, 'I need to build a dam to store all this rain'. He wanted to save humanity (and all animal kind) from the deluge, so he made a big boat.

We don't need more repositories and storage devices we need boats that can keep us afloat on this digital ocean, rather than being sunk by it.

From Our Own Correspondent. BBC Radio 4. 11.55.52 am

Annual Summit of 150 World Leaders. Special Gathering to look at the state of world poverty. $100b still needed.

Bridget Kendal reflects on where she was on 6th September of the year 2000.

She was at the UN where the UN Secretary opened the Millennium Summit of the United Nations, there were 100 Heads of State, three Crown Princes  and getting on for 50 Prime Ministers  ... all gathered  to consider the challenges of the year ahead.

'I can tell you where journalists like me were', she says, sounding like Joanna Lumely c 1977, 'burrowing through tapes and tangled wires, struggling to find out about speeches being made in the assembly above, at the time the largest gathering of head of states, computer connections not working, no wireless hand-held devices to help you out, it makes you feel quite hot and anxious just to think about it ...

A decade later', says Bridget Kendal, 'covering UN summits is less of a technological battle, the challenge is not how to get at the news, but how to keep the relentless deluge of information at bay.

If you are looking at ways to store 'the deluge of information' you or others are creating, if you horde every picture taken, every word written then you are trying to build a dam.

Like Noah, you need a boat.

An e-boat.

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Google Docs or perhaps EduBlogs?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 15 Sep 2010, 11:02

Where and how do I share in a secure online environment with 40 swimming teachers, 12 admin staff:

Swimming teaching and coaching plans.

  • NPTS Grade 4-10
  • Squad Competitive Swimming County-Regional-National Standard
  • Micro & Macro-cyles

About 200 documents

  • Squad Books
  • Club Photos
  • Competition Details

Workforce Development

  • Courses
  • CPD
  • Licensing
  • CRB checks
  • Induction
  • Mentoring
  • Meetings

Parents

  • Newsletters by group and grade

This is has been a headache for years, which I feel can be resolved and better managed with something like Google Docs. Whatever Facebook can offer, its image is tarnished, so I can't see anyone taking me seriously if I place and lock documents there.

I'm very aware of Data Protection issues so none of the 'data base' info of our 1,000 members will go beyond a handful of people who keep it on their PCs. However this is some info that must be shared with specific teachers and coaches.

We have a website, but there is a limit to what volunteers can be expected to do and manage therefore 'free' software and service, or at small cost.

Early days to believe photos and video clips could be put here too for teaching-training purposes.

My thoughts thus far:

Google Docs

EduBlogs

Any other suggestions to give a go before I start migrating things here?

This will need to link with contact details in Outlook.

 

 

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Compendium

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 12 Sep 2010, 15:00

I'm keeping a 'log' of my progress into Compendium private for now. I may in due course edit this down into some succinct steps picking out anything that may trip up the unwary or some new take on how it can be used.

Meanwhile, bouyant as a result of advice and suggestions given by other OU students I am going to do some housekeeping on usernames and passwords then give some other software a go if only to have a break from Compendium.

If you are looking at Compendium for the first time do get in touch, we could get our heads around this together.

Yes, two heads are better than one.

 

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Face-to-face learning versus e-learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:53

Crucial to my development and understanding of e-learning is to have some one or two people I can discuss issues with face-to-face.

One an multiple MA graduate now with a Diploma in E-learning, the second a PhD Tutor in Environmental Law and the third someone who commissions e-learning projects (though he sticks with 'online learning' as the only term that is understood by lay-people).

A fourth person is a giant in education who in his 85th year just wonders if I can help put the papers he is still writing online to share with students. All he has in mind are a few dozen papers on a platform such as EduBlogs, which I can do.

My goal is to 'map' the many thousands of papers and books that are stacked three layers deep, to the ceiling, in his three-storey 15th century Cotswold home! i.e. The Contents of his Brain.

On verra

P.S. We've jsut had an hour long power-cut. The panic as two adults and three kids scramble around not knowing what to do is notable. I got my hands on the laptop so could press on under battery (but no internet connection as the router was down). My wife took a break from a mega pharmaceutical report she is writing to take her dog on an extended walk, while the boys (family and friends) gave up on dual Xbox and Internet activities to play poker!

Perhaps I could put a time on the electricity junction box to deny us electricity at random times through-out the day.

We might start talking to each other instead of e-mailing and messaging around the house.

Meanwhile, three computers are up and humming and my son is back on Skype planning some 15 rated Afghanistan-like raid with his cousin (300 miles away) and couple of Americans (one who calls himself David Hasselholf, but isn't as his voice hasn't broken) and someone's Mum who pretends to be her son as she likes the game more than he son does (I listen in).

All computers are in communal spaces in the house so that activities are surrepticiously or indirectly monitored.

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Oxbridge History Exam 1980

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:03

The journey I set out on to get to Oxford or Cambridge took two years.

Not getting along with Economics I switched to History after a term in the Lower Sixth. (Not getting on with Sedbergh School, Cumbria, I left smile !)

My essays, though long (always, my habit, then, as now - why say something in six words when eighteen will do?) Tell Proust to write in sentences of less than six words, in paragraphs that don't flow from one page to the next (ditto Henry Miller).

Where was I?

See how a stream of consciousness turns into a cascade?

I digress.

My essays (I still have them. Sad. Very sad). Were on the whole terrible. A 'C' grade is typical, a 'D' not unknown. So what happened to get me to straight As, an Oxbridge exam and a place to study Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford?

Composting

I was bedding down. Putting things in a stack. And working my pile. Perhaps my history tutors detailed notes and bullet points fed on my poor essays? Perhaps the seeds that took root were carefully tendered?

Repeated testing (my self) and learning how to retain then regurgitate great long lists of pertinent facts helped.

Having an essay style I could visualise courtesy of my Geography Teacher helped. (Think of a flower with six or so petals. Each petal is a theme. The stamen is the essay title, the step the introduction and conclusion).

Writing essays over and over again helped. Eventually I got the idea.

Try doing this for an Assignment. You can't. Yet this process, that took 24+ months to complete can be achieved over a few weeks. Perhaps a blank sheet of paper and exam conditions would be one way of treating it, instead I've coming to think of these as an 'open book' assessment. There is a deadline, and a time limit, though you're going to get far longer than the 45 minutes per essay (or was it 23 minutes) while sitting an exam.

Personally, I have to get my head to the stage where I've done the e, d, c, and b grade stuff. When I've had a chance to sieve and grade and filter and shake ... until, perhaps, I reach the stage where if called to do so I could sit this as an exam - or at least take it as a viva.

Not a convert to online learning as an exclusive platform though.

Passion for your tutor, your fellow students ... as well as the subject, is better catered for in the flesh.

The way ahead is for 'traditional' universities to buy big time into blended learning, double their intake and have a single year group rotating in and out during a SIX term year (three on campus, three on holiday or working online.)

P.S. Did I mention teachers?

Have a very good teacher, it helps. The Royal Grammar School, Newcastle where I transferred to take A' Levels delivers.

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Second time round

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 12:50

Frank Cotterell-Boyce the English playwright and author was featured on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs a few weeks ago. He remarked that as a boy he was held back in the final year at Primary School because he was too young. Far from being a negative experience he said that it empowered him - he had done it all before, of course he knew the topics.

I feel as if I should sign up for 'Innovations in E-learning' H807 next year, not just to get my head around the topic more fully (its a gargantuan topic on which you could never know enough) but because by then there will of course be new innovations to talk about.

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Wikipedia and SpacedED

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 12:53

Wikipedia is the parent that does your homework for you. SpaceED is the parent who asks you questions so that you learn something and it sticks. Discuss.

SpaceED is a newly launched platform for creating simpe Q&A learnnig modules.

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