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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 20 Feb 2014, 08:34

Fig.1. Rescue having failed a 4 tonne whale is dragged from Stinson Beach. 

 What I'm doing here is thinking through a five minute online presentation I need to prepare.

Sharing this, if and where feedback can be garnered, then informs the decisions I take.

My immediate idea, often my best, is to do a selfie-video talking to camera while hurtling around a roller-coaster at Thorp Park. It would sum up the terror, thrill, highs and lows of taking a day long workshop with a class of some 40 year 9s (12/13 year olds) in a secondary school that had/has a checkered history.

The second idea, to change the setting radically, would be a workshop with nine on creative problem solving - the objective was to come up with answers to a messy problem, though the motivation to be present for most was to experience a variety of creative problem solving activities that I had lined up. This nine in an organisation, included MBAs, prospective MBAs, a senior lecture, junior and senior managers and officers: colleagues and invited guests from different departments. This example is probably the most appropriate.

A third might be something I attended as a student - apt because doing this in 2009/2010 in part stimulated me to take an interest in learning: I wanted to know what was going wrong. Here we had prospective club swimming coaches doing everything that was unnatural to them - working from a hefty tome of paper, sitting through a lecture/seminar and expecting assessment to be achieved by filling in the blanks on course sheet handouts. This from people with few exceptions who left school with few or no qualifications - often troubled by Dyslexia. They were swimming coaches to dodge this very kind of experience. It was, you could tell, hell for some. The misalignment could not have been greater. Here the immediate visual image, apt given the subject matter, would be to watch a fish out of water drown - or nearly drown and be rescued. What really grated for me in this course was the rubbish that was taught - too many gross simplifications and spurious science.

Based on the above I should challenge myself to do the video as I need to crack loading and editing.

The 'fish out of water', whale actually, I can illustrate from photographs and the experience this summer of being present as a 4 tonne whale beached and drowned on Stinson Beach, California (See Fig.1. above).

We have surely all felt at some point in our school careers like a fish out of water - when we just don't belong. In fact, I wonder if the child who does brilliantly at everything isn't as troubled, and as likely to struggle 'in the real world' as the person for whom classroom teaching is purgatory.

What I couldn't handle when briefly faced with 40 kids is that despite my best efforts I doubt I could fully engage more than five ... and lost five each at both ends of the spectrum - the ones who naturally found it easy and wanted to be stretched and the ones who were like unbroken horses tethered in a rodeo desperate to get up and kick off.

For the rest it was being put in a room for the day away from their TV, computer and phone. Some were at least with their mates. 

With the 'mature students' it was the gross miss alignment between how we were being taught and assessed and the outcome we all wanted - we wanted to qualify as a 'senior club coach' - for many, simply to 'tick the box' as they had been coaching national swimmers for many years. The only place to 'teach' practical skills is on location, in situ. In this case, as some basic swim teaching rather than coaching skills are taught, you are 'poolside' with swimmers. Even astronauts have simulators.

Historically we have the inertia of the school and classroom. We have shot our selves in the foot too by needing the kids looked after most of the day while we work too. For that to happen schools need to be more Kibutz-like or like a public school ... and teachers or support staff need to be around from 7.30 am to 6.30 am.

Am I going to experiment with my kids though and home educate? Pick my tutors from the very best online?

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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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Livewire with Brightwave

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 23 May 2012, 06:48

A%2520Brightwave%2520Webinar%2520Matt%2520REDACTED%25201.jpg

I have no reason to plug these guys but as an e-learning practioner I want to try and engage with everything 'out there'.

I was fabulously impressed with this service and totally sold on the benefits of blended learning, of doing it live, synchronously with a highly professional, amusing and sparky moderator and equally passionate fellow students.

This is how to learn on line.

Though I appreciate that this level of intensity is unsustainable over the duration of a module, it is nonetheless what the once fornightly Elluminate session ought to be like.

It doesn't require bells and whistles. The platform is simple.

The human interaction is key. We learn best from each other with the right mix of the knowledgeable and the ignorant who are keen to learn.

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LT DAY 2:1 Learning Technologies Day Two: Trying out new positions

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 16:12

It ended here.

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It began with this.

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And this

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Preparation IS everything.

The poster for Reed sums up my current mode - new positions, whether on my own account or employed, freelance or in a business, whether an agency or in-house. My conviction is that I have most to offer embedded in an international organisation's Learning & Development Department using the substantial external 'creation' and production experience that I have while exploiting some knowledge and insights from coaching swimming; the Open University MA in Open & Distance Education binds them; each new module is another thread that makes me a cohesive bundle. H800 opened its doors yesterday. H807 and H808 are done. Practice-based research in educational technology (H809) may follow.

Yesterday at Learning Technologies I felt like a minnow ...

Today I felt like a Manta Ray, sliding between seminars and stands seamlessly, observing, taking notes and pictures, having thoughts that I jotted down or shared with a colleague.

Paper and bumph. Would it have been different armed with an iPad? Suprisingly few were being used. It was all Smart Phones and occasional netbooks or Flip cameras.

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Surely 'bumph' in a bag could be reduced to a PDF file blue-toothed wirelessly into a portable device?

We're not there yet.

I'll be dipping into a referring to this material, its content and contacting the people I met and have subsequently Linked In to for many weeks.

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Freindships and professional relationships may result. Business will be done. We'll have fun.

I hope so.

ON REFLECTION

The Open University should have had a major presence here.

I began the MA ODE in 2001 as a form of business training; I recommend the MA in Open & Distance Education to anyone who will listen. It would complement the careers and interests of hundreds of the thousands attending Learning Technologies 2011, both visitors and those on stands.

Next time?

Next event?


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