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Jaw dropping, game changing technology

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The last twenty years have been as transitionary for us with computers, digitization and mobile technologies as for our grandparents and great-grandparents a hundred years ago.

Last night my teenage daughter, her boyfriend and my son were in fits of laughter about something in the kitchen. They were watching a 'vine' (a six second looped video) on YouTube. I was caught up in an episode of 'Masters of Sex' (great narrative, naughty ... and educational) when my son came over. I expected him to show me the video playing on his iPhone instead a tap and a swipe and the screen on the smart TV changed and showed the clip.

Having my TV interrupted didn't bother me and the clip was silly enough, what caught my imagination is that so much that last week was, I thought, 'science-fiction' is now 'science-fact'.

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Teenagers and technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 11:11

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Fig.1. Letters from Iwa Jima. Clint Eastwood directed Movie.

In one of those bizarre, magic ways the brain works, last nigmt I watched the Clint Eastwood film 'Letters from Iwo Jima' then stayed up reading in bed (quest for a very specific paper/set of papers on teenagers/young adults, health, presription medication) while waiting for my own teenagers to come in from a concert in Brighton.

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Fig.2. Last minute reading for H809 TMA01

I stumbled upon 'Teenagers and Technology' by Chris Davies and Rebecca Eynon.

After a chapter of this I did a One Click on Amazon and kept on reading through the next couple of chapters.

I kept reading once they got home.

My mind constructed a dream in which instead of bagging letters home from soldiers, I found myself, Japanese of course, constructing, editing and reassembling some kind of scroll or poster. I could 're-enter' this dream but frankly don't see the point - it seems self-evident. I'll be cutting and pasting my final thoughts, possibly literally on a 6ft length of backing wall paper (I like to get away from a keyboard and screen from time to time). Reinforced by a Business School module, B822 Creativity Innovation and Change I found that 'working with dreams' and 'keeping a dream diary' are some of the tools that can be used.

If I wish to I could re-enter this dream over the next few months as a short cut to my subconscious.

We'll see.

I'm not sure how you'd come up with a Harvard Reference for a dream.

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Fig.3. fMRI scan - not mine, though they did me a few years ago

Perhaps in 20 years time when we can where an fMRI scanner like a pair of headphones a set of colourised images of the activity across different parts of the brain could be offered.

Dream on smile

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What is the internet doing to our brains?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:53

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Don't ask this guy!

Carr is no neuroscientist - three decades ago he took a first degree in English Literature (Dartmouth College) followed by a Masters in American Literature (Harvard). He should stick to what he knows.

Studying H809 at the moment we are stripping back research papers to understand their construction and validity. It doesn't take much reading of a book like the one above to realise that it is seriously flawed. It beggars belief that it ever made it infront of the Pulitzer Prize judging panel.

As a book it is a remarkably satisfactory artifact.

Even in paper back the cover has a wonderful fine grittiness to it - like sand. I even open the book and breathed it in. For this experience 10/10. All publishers, especially those online, need to take trouble with the Art Work too. Of course the plaudits sing out 'buy me, buy me' but as reviews go they are about as helpful as one liners on the latest blockbuster.

Carr writes well enough, not quite Bill Bryson, but an easy and intelligent read, an amble through the relevant technologies to the present day.

Carr can be accepted as a cultural and social historian, his mistake is to want to want bash this evidence into shape to support his conception of the Internet and its dangers. It is like saying that ‘rural man’ is different to ‘urban man’, that the motivations, pace and opportunities are different. Whilst this may be true, the sorts of changes to the brain that Carr suggest are not occurring.

Carr's conception of mind is both out of date and misconstrued.

What he suggests in relation to the mind is twaddle on so many levels it feels no more possible or desirable to refute than the enthusiastic chatter of a child. Carr doesn't strike me as someone who easily persuaded when he has something wrong.

  • everything touches our minds
  • everyone is different
  • not everyone has access to the Internet
  • even those who do use it for a myriad of different things in a multitude of ways.
  • years of solitary confinement, or years in the trenches on the Western Front affect different people in different ways.

When you take a set of encyclopedias and ask, 'how do I make this digital?' you get a Microsoft Encarta CD.

When you take the philosophy of an encyclopedia and ask, 'how does digital change our engagement with this?' you get Wikipedia.

How does this relate to e-learning?

It strikes me that much of that learning online has a considerable distance to go in terms of realising the potential of 'electronically enhanced' learning, that we are 'reading' for subjects and supervised by the institution and tutors very much in the style of a Microsoft Encarta CD.

Perhaps a virtual world is the way forward?

Is Carr's problem his infatuation with the past? He is the critic in 1904 looking at the demise of the horse and carriage and writing about the motor-vehicle from the perspective of blocked highways. He is only seeing one aspect of what the new technology has done with reading - reading is either no less relevant, or irrelevant. For millenia before the written word, and for thousands of years since, we have got by and learnt without the need to read from a book. There are better ways to learn - on the fly from eachother.

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B822 All Change!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011, 12:57

A few paragraphs into my first course book after a year of having everything online and I am once again drawn to reflect on the pace, scale and scope of technological advance on the one hand, while people don't change one jot, even to the degree that toppled dictators are shot in the back of the head (scenes my 13 year old son guiltily admitted to following on YouTube without the slightest concern for what my generation would have called a snuff movie and have censored all images, still and moving).

40 years ago: 'No mobile phones, no satellite television, no bio-engineered plants, Cloned animals, Micro-surgery or precision missiles that can hit a ventilation shaft from thousands of miles away'. Henry 2010:13

Just 10 years ago and there is no Facebook nor Google, no YouTube either.

It's getting to the stage when the speed of change is so swift that looking back only 4 years feels like a glimpse of another era without Twitter or iPads. I went from following the Japanese tsunami on various satellite channels, BBC24, CNN the Japanese NHK, to watching it from Smartphone content uploaded to YouTube.

Didn't people once fear that travelling at over 30 mph in a train they would disintegrate ?

Personally I feel that my mind risks disintegration trying to keep up with the rate of change, my mind fed by Zite and Stumbleupon, the spherical probably the latest thing to capture my attention and sustain my interest for longer than a week.

1970-2010

Growing up in the 1970s I often bemoaned the fact, and into the 1980s, that compared to my Grandfather (born 1896, died 1993), that 'not much had happened' OK, I had no desire to wish two world wars on us, but I didn't think colour TV, Stylophones and Space Hoppers were significant (A man or five on the moon was an achievement of course).

By comparison what had 1870-1910 seen?

Age 14 my Grandfather started work as the Office Boy, they had telephones, cars had appeared and were already hogging the roads, Airoplanes  were up and Bleriot had crossed the English Channel .There was no QWERTY keyboards, but movies were stretching to a second reel. 

The forty year stretch 1910 to 1950 saw the establishment of motor vehicles, Airoplanes and telephones,  cinema burgeoned and radio was everywhere with TV in  the wings.

REFERENCE

Ask via Google Yahoo by way of Google

Henry, J (2010) Creativity, cognition and Development. Book 1: 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

Wikipedia via Google 

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I saw this, and thought of YOU

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 12 Aug 2011, 17:30

Armed with an iPad I spend time I might have spent reading the paper or catching the news on TV skipping through Stumbleupon and Zite. Between them, having set some choices, I am therefore fed increasingly targeted nuggests.

This is one I thought worth sharing as we all have one thing in common on this platform - our engagement with the technology.

 

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H800 WK25 Activity 5 Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:53

To what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

The answer is to look both ways and to do so with aplomb.

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Read Woolgar’s five themes.

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context

 

Liff et al. (2002) demonstrated the importance of ‘third-place’ settings, separate from both home and work, as influential in engaging a wide range of local people in using the internet: museums, trains or jogging circuits. In all these places technology now enables people to learn using the resources of formal education. The idea of ‘place’ takes on a new form, as the boundaries of a multitude of sites are crossed.

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed

Woolgar cites research into surveillance equipment in support of this theme. Counter to expectation, for example, surveillance technologies in the workplace were not found to be generally resisted by workers. However, acceptance was undermined by the failures of the technology to meet design specifications. This led to extra work and sometimes the technology had to be scaled back (Mason et al., 2002). There are differences between staff and students in universities, in terms of perception and usage of ICT.

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities

Electronic communication has multiplied the use of paper in offices, though we can read material online. Learners may feel less need for the printed page. Educators look to substitute electronic supports for expensive and scarce direct tutor contact.

4

The more virtual the more real

One unanticipated outcome of teleworking was that travel increased. Electronic communication increased the number of clients contacted and a face-to-face meeting was then required. Computer-mediated communication is being used, partly because it offers benefits for learning and partly because students seem less able to, or to have less time available for, travel to study centres to attend tutorials. It may be, however, that mediated communication using one tool encourages a somewhat different form using other tools. Thus learners may use forums provided by their institution, but also Facebook, Skype and Twitter.

 

5

The more global the more local

‘The very effort to escape local context, to promote one’s transcendent global (and/or virtual) identity, actually depends on specifically local ways of managing the technology’ (Woolgar, 2002, p.19). In Singapore, for example, the Singapore Institute of Management was the base for provision, and a careful fostering of mutual understandings between the two organisations was developed over at least a decade

Educational provision is typically seen as valid and trusted only if it is located within recognised local institutions and accredited by local awarding bodies – even though the technology enables all aspects of a course to be delivered electronically from the originating institution.

Having just completed the activities about Second Life, to what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context.

 

Not one bit, in this case any versioning is simply the English language (US).

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed.

The context will include access to broadband, a computer, time to indulge, family attitudes to gaming, space in the home, time to indulge, other commitments (persona, family, school and/or work).

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities.

 

Substitute. It has become too easy to tap into a game that is, like the modem and some computing devices, on through all waking hours and readily accessible. A blended form of activity often occurs with participants playing together online, sometimes coming round to each other’s houses to do so.

 

4

The more virtual the more real.

On the contrary, seeking out the tricks and cheats is very much the culture of gaming. Even if you don’t have wholly real-life attributes ways are found to defy gravity, walk through walls, I’ve even see a sub-culture underneath or behind the game in which you behave/exist play and muck about ‘subway’ like behind the set, as it were.

 

5

The more global the more local.

In the context of business working at the OU Business and Law School I have first hand knowledge of how OU materials are developed for Russian partners (the 1000th MBA student celebrated this week) and are being initiated in Japan while having various other local centres globally. Though NOT in the US or France where local politics have restricted tutoring on the ground.

Select two of the five themes that you feel most strongly reflect the way in which you perceive the effects that technology is making currently in a context known to you.

Reflection

Example

4

The more virtual the more real

On the one hand there is a culture of gaming that attracts escapism and engenders a rule-breaking sub-culture of hacking with cheats a supplementary and important quest and reward. On the other webcasting and conferences whilst becoming more real, speaking and seeing each other in real-time, nonetheless afford less than real behaviours.

 

I attended a live-cast 250 miles away and did so in my PJs, not dressed for the office. When interviewed by an organisation in New York I set up an redecorated one corner of a bedroom rather than reveal that I was sitting either at the end of a bed, or at the kitchen table, or in an office the size of a walk-in cupboard and as messy as a shed-used as a dump for unwanted stuff. It is a different reality, sometimes a ‘hyper-real,’ that as we become familiar with its nuances will play to these differing attributes and so become distinct from reality … or of course, enrolled in that universe that we call ‘real’, which of course it is.

5

The more global the more local

Thinking directly of the technology, it strikes me that there is a global language: HTML. Are these codes not universal?

Watch the HSBC bank ads and see how we have two distinct types: the importance of local knowledge on the one hand, followed by the current roll-out support for their ‘Key’ which is universal. i.e. there is a duality, that is Janus-like. Aptly Janus is the god of transitions. He is depicted as having two faces on his head facing opposite directions and so look simultaneously into the future and the past, back at the last year and forward to the next. What strikes me about HSBC is that whilst globally owned and operated, it works to meet not impose local cultures; while this new ‘key’ with its diddy 1970s like plastic key-ring calculator code generator and the concept of bolts, locks and vaults, feels highly retro.

 

REFERENCE

Liff, S., Steward, F. and Watts, P. (2002) ‘New public places for internet access: networks for practice-based learning and social inclusion’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.78–98.

Mason, D., Button, G., Lankshear, G. and Coates, S.(2002) ‘Getting real about surveillance and privacy at work’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.137–52.

Thorpe, M. and Godwin, S. (2006) ‘Computer-mediated interaction in context’ in Markauskaite, L., Goodyear, P. and Reimann, P. (eds) ‘Who’s Learning? Whose Technology?’, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, University of Sydney, Australia; also available online at http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res20033 (last accessed 10 February 2011).

Thorpe, M. (2008) Effective online interaction: mapping course design to bridge from research to practice, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol.24, no.1, pp.57–72. This article provides an in-depth case study of a well-designed sequence of conferencing and online activity and introduces a particular form of concept mapping called ‘compendium’ to demonstrate the design.

Thorpe, M. (2009) ‘Technology-mediated learning contexts’ in Edwards, R., Biesta, G. and Thorpe, M. (eds) Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching: Communities, Activities and Networks, Abingdon, Routledge, pp.119–32.

Woolgar, S. (1999) ‘Analytic scepticism’ in Dutton, W.D. (ed.) Society on the Line: Information Politics in the Digital Age, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Woolgar, S. (ed.) (2002) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

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H800 WK5

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:30

What would Edison make of the last decade? (Or my grandfather to come to think of it)

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My knowledge (though not my understanding) of the technological advances of the last 150 years are informed by Stephen Lax

Reflecting on how I blog and its value to a student I note here how, believing I may need to go back and read Wenger from last week I search here and find not only have I done the reading, but I have commented on Wenger in previous weeks and modules.

This immediately bolsters my confidence, like entering a room that I thought was full of strangers when in fact there are many faces I have met before.

What is more, knowing that I can trigger my earlier thinking, even pick up the stage in understanding that I was at, is a form of adaptation.

I wonder if this practice might help from the other direction too, reminding someone of the nuances of their understanding and how it has been informed and developed.

 

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H800 WK27 Technology-Mediated Learning Contexts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 14:30
Technology-mediated learning contexts

Mary Thorpe (2009)

If face-to-face is the answer, how do you (Crook and Light, 2002) replicate the combination of informal and formal discourse opportunities that characterise the face-to-face campus.

The answer is in social networks such as Linkedin being alerted every time someone in your circle updates, or adds friends or writes something, though different, there is at least an inclining of this meeting serendipitously around the water-cooler, or passing in the corridor. Also the random offering up of 'people you might know', even if they haven't instigated it. This is beyond face-to-face, but designed to replicate the chance encounter that makes up human intersctions.

In Diaryland (1999) a similar trait is offered as within a set number of 75 friends you always know who has updated i.e. who is active and therefore around and more inclined to engage.

Differs from face-to-face

Why hybrid?
What community?


'Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries'. (Anderson and Dron 2007)

Helping to get the best out of someone and making the case for the PLE, which afterall, is what a person takes with them as they progress, as they invariably will, from one learning institute to another, what is more, having control over this PLE, whereas any VLE is open to change beyond their control.

'Technology self-evidently involves tools, understood as both the physical resources and practical skills required to make use of them, but to focus primarily on the tool or the virtual space would be to make a categorical error, mistaking a component part for the system as a whole'. (Jones and Eshault, 2004)

Thinking of my late grandfather's garage with all its tools, the context would be the mix and combination of tools, some complimentary, some one offs, and the space (once he'd rolled the car out of the garage). Most importantly it would include him, both actively engaged in a task and from my point of view, someone who was always keen to pass on skills and insights. 

Issues regarding identity -practice/familiarity

Trust and authenticity (checking/verification)

'Students may not take up the opportunities offered, or may do so to little good effect.' (Thorpe, 2008:122)

'Asynchronous conferencing for example has fostered both utopic and dystopic views of its potential'. (Haythornthwaite 2006)

The importance of the beginning of the course the same as in face-to-face, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

'That particular aspect of getting everybody involved right at the very beginning really sets the scene for the rest of the course.' (Thorpe 2008:123)

'The designg in effect performs a mix of compulsion and engineered interaction that combines formality with informality.' (Crook and Light, 2002)

'The potential for expansive learning'. (Tuoni-Grohn and Engeström, 2003)

'This is learning that crosses the boundaries of different activity systems, expanding involvement with others and developing both individual and collective learning'. (Cole and Engeström 1993)

'A context has to be reconstructed and participation invited through the use of activities, structured formats and textural genres operating at various levels.' (Thorpe, 2008:130)

'Engeström (2007) emphasizes the importance of learning across multiple activity systems where knowledge is being developed across many sites, from the formal academic context through practioner-focused websites and fora to the workplace. Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries (Anderson and Dron 2007)

A hybrid mix of community and network. (Thorp, 2008:129)

Research

Progressive focusing (Straus, 1987)

REFERENCE

Anderson, T. and Dron,J.(2007)

Crook,C and Light,P (2002) 'Virtual society and the cultural practice of study' in S.Woolgar (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haythornthwaite,C. (2006)

Jones, C. and Esnault,L(2004)

Tuoni-Grohn,T. and Engestrom,Y (2003)
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H800 WK21 Activity 1 Comments on Conole regarding Web 2.0 and education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 12:26

In her chapter, Conole argues that a number of catalytic triggers can be identified in terms of the impact of technology on organisations.

Is this your experience?

That the catalytic triggers themselves influence the outcome?

If a problem or problems are the catalyst then yes the nature of and the implementation itself ought to be in direct correlation. However it is often the case that technologies, indeed innovations, go looking for a problem to fix or that the possibilities of a technology cast a shadow on current practice oblinging change.

Eddison did it both ways, solving problems but also trying to foist gadgets on people, both routes having to find their way to success or failure.

This discounts the impact of people, personalities or champions, CEOs and business owners who will carry the day sticking with or tearing out old technologies seemingly on a whim to replace something.

Can you think of examples of when technologies have had a radical impact on your own practice - either personally or professionally?

Over 25 years I have seen TV production change from big teams with office support to teams of one doing it all themselves, from the introduction of wordprocessing and spreadsheets, to the shift from tape or film to digital, from unionised crews and roles in both the UK and France, to a kind of D.I.Y. TV.

What do you think are some of the key barriers to the uptake of new technologies?

Cost, people, time, disruption, training, transition. From your own experience, can you think of change processes you have been involved with - a new technical system, restructuring of your department, a change in job functionality?

There's a new phone system going in now where the call comes through the PC and calls are taken using a headset or handset. How was the change process managed? A hint at what was coming, followed by decisions on the choices regarding the handset or headset then a whirlwind of activity on coming in Monday morning to find new phones that are so light to handle it's as if they're made of card. A team of eager and helpful people, some strangers, some regulars from the IT department, buzzed about. There has yet to be training on the newsoftware, but I suspect that it is intuative and 'just happens.'

(A few hours later my laptop starts talking to me. I realise it is a supplier. I hastlily plug in the headset. Moments later, by default I find through OUTLOOK I have called someone and leave a message).

Intuitive? Seems so.

What was the impact on individuals?

Acceptance, interest, more for our fingers to do, a step away from having video, an abundance of technical possibility that will trip us up. I'm starting to wonder if having filled our day with kit that means we are on call every moment of the day, carrying the office about with us and now doing two things simultaneously, taking calls while completing spreadsheets, for example.

What was the impact on day-to-day operations?

In this instance it has been fairly seemless, however, we were temporarily tripped up with the wi-fi going down and calls going to the wrong phones. Are calls, like emails, going to be recorded and logged?

Thus adding to the volume of email?

As Mayes, Puttnam and others have argued, education seems to have been slower than other industries in embracing the potential of technologies. Can you think of reasons why this might be the case?

We're dealing with cohorts of people coming through the gates (whether virtual or real, online or campus based learning) not components from China to be assembled. Education has a history of making radical shifts in both practice and use of technology and getting it wrong, which would impact on a generation, year group or cohort going through. I am struck how much that is 'teaching' is a highly human activity, that between student and teacher, not simply between people and course materials.

The person who can learn in isolation is the exception. Whilst e-learning promises so much, my fear is that a significant promise perceived by some is to make money. Whilst accepting the need for funding, education should be run as a business too, the idea that a 'quick buck' can be made by sticking modules online and taking payment up front will lead to many disappointments and poor retention.

Old ways, even if dressed in new clothes, such as pastorlal care and one-to-one guidance is just as necessary, perhaps more so for part-time and distance learners who have significantly more impacts on their day than the 'captive' campus-based student.

Is there anything significantly different about the nature or culture of education that has had an impact?

Hopefully the globalisation of education, made possible by the Internet and suppliers able to serve international audiences, the Western model of education will be diluted, infused with other practices and improved as a consequence. Despite Web 2.0 and its promise of participation and experiential learning we are still bound often to practices of the last 500 years; I would say that I am largely 'reading' for a degree, what is more, the assessment process is equally anachronistic, as it is based on assignments and papers being submitted so that markers can do just as they would have done had I been closed into an examination hall for 3 hours each time.

Do you think this is also true for Web 2.0 technologies?

We do as we have always done and become habitualised by it. Taking notes, writing essays, revision and testing follows an old pattern that never suited or was appropriate to everyone. Web 2.0 allows you to study with a crowd, to turn to fellow students, alumni, anyone online (even different institutions where they are putting content out in Open Form). Those of us already embedded in these technologies and practices expect to see it as we study and work, to have conversations 'on the record' all the time, to capture thoughts and ideas from the digital wind and allocate them a place in our burgeoning knowledge banks.

Do you think that the hype about Web 2.0 tools is justified?

Neither hype, nor those who decry the potential should be given credence unless one is used to balance the other. All that should count is the empircal evidence that in a snapshot of time states the positon. From such studies, repeated, and longitudinal, it becomes feasible that we can see trends and plan/act accordingly.

Do you think there is any evidence yet that Web 2.0 tools are having a significant and increasing impact on how teachers teach and learners learn?

Very much so. At times, from my experience, course materials are the jumping off spot, a catalyst and guide rather than an absolute. I will often seek out what an author thinks or says now, rather than relying on 'frozen' papers and texts that were assembled for a virtual box of books some years before. If conversations dry up or don't pick up in tutor or other groups I will decamp to a subject specific social network group.

Are we on another 'groundhog day' cycle or is there something significantly different this time?

There is something different that in some respects is a huge loop back thousands of years where like-minds gathered or those eager to learn would listen in then join in. This is made possible by the global reach of the Internet and increasingly affordable, reliable an easy to use kit.

If your conclusion is broadly that each technology is just another cycle of change, with promises not matching reality, is the perspective any different if the lens on this is over a longer time frame?

No and yes. What matters is the perspective of the person behind the lens, their beliefs, knowledge, experience, attitudes, ambitions, influence, power and voice. In other words, has there been a significant change in practice when you take a longer-term, cumulative account of a range of technologies?

It depends, the car caused rapid change, especially for those hit by one.

The Internet feels more like the air we breathe, certainly in Western and Developed Nations (if such distinctions even have any validity)

i.e. Incidents can't be so readily isolated.

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If a blogger blogs, what do you do if you are forever engaged in other social media such as Linkedin or Facebook?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:45

Whilst embracing 'Activity Theory' I cannot always use the argument lucidly.

Engestrom presents an idea of how people or communities/groups communicate and learn from each other; when two people start to agree with gushing enthusiasm I'd worry, something else is going on.

(Power play of some kind, or love?)

[These ideas developed further here 'My Mind Bursts']

It is the very act of coming from a different stance that we as individuals begin to form ideas that are in effect beyond our current understanding, and when these 'objects' of understanding collide fresh thinking for both parties occurs.

There is a reason why in advertising (still I hope) a copywriter sits with an art director; this is how ideas form. Sitting in with 'creatives' and becoming one myself I came to appreciate this partnership ... though it has taken me 30 years to understand what is going in.

It has taken the last year with The OU to have my own thinking turned inside out, to let go, to share, to collaborate, rather than try to be that lone author in a garret, hunched shoulders over my work, never sharing it and rarely letting go.

What I have always needed and thrive on are collaborators in the form of agents, producers, editors, publishers, fellow writers and directors, colleagues who facilitate and enable, fellow bloggers too ...

If a blogger blogs, what do you do if you are forever engaged in other social media such as Linkedin or Facebook?

'e-Commentator' already feels like a naff 'noughties' way to express it.

We've had our fill of 'e-tivities' and 'e-learning' haven't we? It is just learning; they are just activities.

I've return to Engestrom often.

My ability to trace my love hate acceptance path through his thinking attests to the value of doing this, my 'learning journal'.

This is what initially had me befuddled and angry:

Two people are the easy part.

The interplay between SIX people because yet more complex.

At arm's length, the objects, the ideas, views or knowledge that they have begins to take on an identity of its own.

'Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift'. Vernon (2011)

Am allowed to do that? Quote myself? It is my 'object 3' moment when it comes to this.

Anyone care to comment?

The challenge when reading papers such as those below is how to make the subject matter comprehensible to the non-academic. Some turn to diagrams, others to metaphors, yet others to cartoons.

I favour the lone speaker free of PowerPoint or even FlipChart.

If they can hold their argument and look into your eyes their conviction can be convincing.

My goal must remain making the complex comprehensible. Academics have a tendency to tie themselves in knots. If they only talk to fellow academics no wonder. I recognise the value of visualising, of animated explanation, of the power of persuasive through discourse, of metaphors, and analogies, of ideas rising out of the confusion to present themselves.

The problem with all things WWW is that it is just trillions of binary Ones and Zeros in the cloud (which is why I like to use the water-cycle as an analogy).

REFERENCE

Engeström (2001) article, Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation

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ELizabeth 1st to e-learning - four centuries on are we trying to treat everyone like a little princess?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 09:04

The view I have formed during the course of MAODE and now that I am immersed in the perfect pool for e-learning I find that the vastness, and the complexity of the issues, from learning design, to the technology, from course materials to access, the whole gamut of what should or could be done, has been done, rightly or wrongly, and how we respond to current changes (student funding, Internet, global demand for higher education/life-long learning to the highest level) boils down to understanding people.

How and why do people learn?

How is this best achieved?

Always see it, whatever the scale (and there are student cohorts in their thousands on some OU modules), from the perspective of one person and their unique and shifting circumstances, abilities, weaknesses, desires, hopes, technical ability, financial and family situation, geographical location, employment status, mental and health well-being.

It still strikes me that the basic student profile is so limiting in what we are asked to provide, and yet I suspect a few clicks on a drop-down box does influence where we are placed. I know that being on my third and final module is a key reason to allocate me to one group over another, that the desire for this mix of those new to the course and those with more experience is deliberate.

It may suite the OU to have in a group of 16 a split three ways between those on their first, second or third module. Selfishly, it would suit me to be in a tutor group of 'module threes'. We are more alike because of our shared experienced; as like minds we would achieve more. Indeed, I wonder if the needs especially of those on their first module would be better catered for?

A crude marker that assumes mistakenly something about this individuals character and disposition.

I appreciate too, on the other hand, that it could be invasive to go through a heftier profiling process, however, I think such effort would be rewarded and probably show up as improved retention as people's individual circumstances, whether trivial or massive, would be, to some degree at least, accommodated.

An idealist?

Princesses Elizabeth had, in the 16th century, one-to-one tuition, specialists, the best in their field. What she'd learnt dicated by others, preparing her from an early age for what might be expected of her. Four centuries later can something like this not be made possible for many more? All it takes is for someone who knows stuff to spend time with someone who does not.

Above I suggest we need to think harder about the student, as a person, in all their glorious uniqueness.

Perhaps I am saying there are two people in this relationship and it is this failure to respect the importance of them both that is often not met when technology is put between them, not to make this ideal learning relationship possible, but to make any learning at all possible.

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H800:71 Wk13&14 Practice-based learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 11:51

This takes a study introduced this week on learner experiences of distance learning and brings it up to date with the following practice-based learning research.

JISC LEARNER EXPERIENCE PHASE 2: PB-LXP: LEARNERS’ EXPERIENCE OF ELEARNING IN PRACTICE COURSES: STUDENT CASE STUDIES


 

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Amy Business (Word file, 50k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Andrew Computing (Word file, 56k)

Word icon PBLXP_case study_Alan MEng (Word file, 50k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Barry Computing (Word file, 51k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Brenda Social Work (Word file, 51k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Carol Social Work (Word file, 49k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Denise Social Work (Word file, 45k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Derek Technology(Word file, 51k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Doreen Business (Word file, 42k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Eric MEng (Word file, 189k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Francis Technology(Word file, 50k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Frank Business (Word file, 46k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_George Business (Word file, 45k)

Word icon PBLXP_student case_Brian Social Work (Word file, 47k)

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H800: 50 Wk11 Why arguments (and fights) stick in the mind

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 17:47

There was argument between a couple of Profs on Radio 4 on Thursday evening.

They were disagreeing on how best to describe the movement of photons or something in light waves. She likened it to a Mexican Wave, an idea that he rubbished. I think they ended up with a ‘pass the parcel’ idea as a compromised. Once we’ve listened to them having a go at each other for bit we are told that they are married (and happen both to work for the OU).

It was 'The Light Switch Project'.

This for me demonstrated how debate is memorable, you experience the process by which people struggle to agree, or agree to disagree about something and as a result you take your own stance.

I liken technology creep to a liquid or gas that gets into everything.

It is liberating and enabling though. For example, I’ve seen my children take an interest in something and through ‘how to videos’ online learnt skills that in the past might have taken weeks to pick up from siblings, parents or grandparents.

It can be both a catalyst and an accelerator.

Learning about technology by using technology i.e. context, applied learning … even practice based learning. Learning using technology as a tool to help students learn, Like educational films (the original documentary), radio and TV, slide-projectors and photocopies, biros vs fountain pens, the typewriter then word-processing, video and interactivity through CD-rom, whiteboards and Internet access.

Does it work?

Does use of a Spellchecker improve spelling, or simply make you dependent on the technology? It is a must. Though I’d say the first skill is touch-typing as however advanced the technology may be, the QWERTY keyboard is dominant and for many will be a barrier.

How technology is introduced matters, whether it is bottom up to meet an individual need, or top down as a perceived ‘must have’ or panacea without proper consideration for how it will be used.

The learning design comes first, knowing what resources are available, and from a teacher’s point of view deciding strategically how to mix it up given the choices and whether and how to respond to new apps and technologies as they come on stream.

Is a teacher as performer, coach, subject matter expert in the flesh and in front of a classroom audience of 30+ going to be more effective than a one-to-one with an avatar in a 3D virtual world.

At some stage we’re going to look at the technology and see that all it is doing is trying to recreate what we have already and have done for decades – taking kids out of their homes and putting them in an institution up the road while parents go to work.

If teaching online is so good why not keep the kids at home?

Surely there’s never been a better time to self-educated? Are my children growing up too fast? Does it matter that they have been exposed to so much and can dig around online to see and find out things a generation ago we had limited access too?

Physiologically and mentally they mature at the same time.

I keep the line ‘when I was a boy’ to myself, but I see far more parallels than differences; many things are faster, even instant. You want to speak to a friend or have a question answered and it is. They have no excuse to ask ‘why?’ when they are able to go online and little reason to ask ‘what can I do?’

A grant that must be spent results in a school acquiring a dozen Sony Flips (or a cheaper equivalent) so let’s use them.

The choices have surely become bewildering?

However, who should be making the choices – the head of department, the teacher or the student? Or if I spread this net wider, governments and parents? There is no doubt that reasonable IT skills are vital to employability – it’s getting to the stage where you can’t answer the phone without going through Outlook.

Growing up I took learning to be something that you ticked off; i.e. you thought, I can do that, then moved on. I feel today that this is never possible, that anything you learn is just a step on from your previous position of ignorance that can always be improved either by doing it differently or better i.e. life-long learning is the norm, and ICT makes in possible.

Could we apply the same thinking to household appliances?

Where would we be without a fridge-freezer, electric-steam iron or toaster? We’d manage. Might I suggest that nothing has changed? That ‘amelioration’ of what always has occurred with knowledge transfer is occurring? That the effect in the learner’s mind is physiologically no different to what it has always been?

 

 

 

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H800: 47 H800 Week 8/9 Activity 7 Cloudworks 'Swim lanes' for learning design,

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 14:23

It is one thing to contribute to a flash debate, it is quite another to embrace the Cloudworks platform.

There is only one way to test the water, and that is to get in. We talk of 'swim lanes' for learning design, I like every platform, every social network, business network or here, educational network, to be a visit to another pool, a lido, indoor or out, leisure pool or training pool.

They need to know who you are, you have to sign in. Then you have to change, get in, and give it a go.

So I am for the umpteenth time adding a profile picture and a profile, tagging, finding favourites debates and linking to people.

It all takes time.

Online you control time. Intensive engagement might move things along ... on the other hand, it may irritate those who've been here a while.

It should take time.

Find the rhymn of the place, observe when and where there is a buzz. Identifiy the 'champions,' come in on the periphery, pick up a thread, join in tentatively, give it a go here and there.

I make a contribution to a Flash Debate on the futre and threats to universities

Universities will flourish as they become part of the mainstream and engaged with the world, rather than distinct from it. Relationships with governments, industries, schools (for future students) and alumni (for past student) will develop and become continual, rather than passing. Student cohorts may look the same on the ground, but in the virtual world will be broader and deeper, technology and systems allowing a greater diversity. Not all institutions will have the ability, whether through lack of financing, the burden of their past and costs, to be flexible and change. The overall impact will be of an evolutionary change, though for some it will be a fight for survival.

BRANDING

Established, motivated, well-supported and well known colleges and institutions, where there is strength as a brand, as well as financially, in their governing body and from alumni will thrive. They can afford to exploit the changing circumstances (and they can’t afford not to). Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol, UCL and the OU are not about to go under. On the other hand, new, complacent, poorly supported, little known educational institutions where the sources of income and grants may be narrow or uncertain, with weak leadership and ill-established (or disloyal) alumni will fail.

BUSINESS

The opportunities to flourish are extraordinary; the global demand for tertiary education with tens of millions of people from Asia, for example, seeking higher education over the next decade means that there is a growing and hungry market if you have the right ‘product.’ Education is a business, whether the model is that students are educated for free or pay part of the fees, cash flow matters. Retailing has been in constant flux, from the high street to out of town shopping, with national and international brands dominating, and then online shopping cornering certain markets, from books to electronic goods. Retailers have had to change the mix, where they locate and what they sell. Universities are less agile and less prone to the vicissitudes of short-term purchasing decisions, but the impact on them of new technologies is no less profound. Negotiating their way through this will require skill, the most vulnerable institutions will fail.

QUALIFICATIONS

Letters after your name differentiate you from other candidates for a job or promotion. Where there are many applicants for the same position where you studied, indeed, who you studied with, will matter. It helps to study under the best in your field. It depends entirely on where you wish or plan to go afterwards, where and if a position or job requires a certain qualification, and if a qualification from one or another institution has greater perceived or actual value. However, as those with experience of the job market will tell you, it is how what you have been taught is applied and how you relate to other people, that will determine your success.

CAMPUS BASED vs DISTANCE LEARNING

Technology is blending the two: increasingly students are opting for this, to be campus-based, but to take advantage of the technology to better manage their time or support their learning. Far from being the death-knell of the traditional university, new technologies will assist in their finding ways to develop and support a broader and deeper student body. Participation and collaboration, socialising away from the screen, is a vital component of the university experience for those coming out of secondary education – the demands and expectations of a mature student are very different. How people get on, how they work together, is a vital lesson that a campus based university offers. Whilst increasingly our online experiences are as ‘real’ as everything else we do, it is how and if we can work as a team that will decide how we progress. The student experiencing this will better know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and suitability for different career paths.

CHANGE

Like retailers, manufacturers, broadcasters, publishers and the post office, we are in a period of significant change, new technology was already having an impact, the economic down turn has aggravated this, obliging some forcing other institutions to act. How this change is managed will decide who survives and who struggles on. There is a fine line to tread between innovating early, or too late, changing wholesale or piecemeal. The wise institution not only spreads its risk, but also casts its opportunism just as wide as spreading your bets covers you in a world where nobody knows what will work or not. Libraries, one of the draws to a campus-based university, cannot be as influential as hundreds of millions of texts become instantly available in digital form. Senior lecturers and researchers should be employed for their ability to communicate, support and rally students around them, not simply because of the paper they are working on. Students will demand more if they feel it is the cash in their pocket that is buying what the institutions offers. Errors, failings and shortcomings of a person, a module or course, can be spread through online reviews and will decide their fate. New blends of courses will invent themselves where a student feels able, supported through e-learning, to cherry pick, even to study simultaneously quite different subjects. Cohorts, if on the ground still that 17-23 year old age group, will become far more diverse, with groupings formed by mutual interest in a subject. Life-long learning, already apparent in some professions, will become more common place as people recognise the need to refresh their understanding of some topics, while gaining new skills and additional insights.

Am I responding to a thread, or like the second or third speaker at an Oxford Union Debating Society getting up to say my piece?

And if I sit on the fence, what kind of debate is that?

We should be obliged to take sides, THAT would be a debate, otherwise it is a conversation, another online tutorial.

Thus far Cloudworks is like a new swimming pool, refreshing and full of opportunity. To thrive, let alone survive, it needs people coming down to swim, to jump in, to train, to meet ...

And once you have your regulars, keep them coming back.

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H800: 45 Week 8 Activity 2 (Parts 1, 2 and 3) Tools for Learning Design

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 5 Oct 2012, 23:18

PART ONE

This is how I develop a Creative Brief ... this happens to be an MAODE exercise on Learning Design.

As a video producer this is the idea I'd sell to the client.

I'd then work with a coach and group of swimmers to set the scene and milk it.

This is the kind of thing corporate clients use to teams of 10,000 employees. This is also how I go about writing scripts, sometimes adding drawings, cut-outs from magazines and photos. Nothing hi-tech at the thinking stage ... which gives people more freedom to contribute.

A whiteboard marker pen on unforgiving wallpaper backing paper (30p a roll in from the reduced bin!). Stuck to the kitchen door.

PART TWO

The Forum Thread deserves as Swim lane of its own with as much activity into it and Elluminate as I have put here into a blog/microblog.

How%20much%20changed%20when%20printed%20arrived%20COMPENDIUM.jpg

Often I find a dedicated thread such as e-Learning Professionals is more likely to guarantee a response to something I say; the reason for this is simple, they have thousands of active members.

There are reliable statistics to say what tiny per centage of people are happy to write, read, comment and contribute. 1% to write, about 4% to comment. This has to be reflected in forum activity too, however much it is required by the course. I've missed out blogs other students keep, and the links back and forth to these.

You'd be surprised how much goes on in the background.

I've found myself working things through with people in different tutor groups, who did the module a year ago ... or who have nothing to do with MAODE but have an answer. Which reminds me of the fantastic diagram drawing tool dia. How does Naughton’s journalistic point of view compare to those of an academic?

I worked through it alone, blogged about it and offered thoughts and replied in the tutor forum.

The degree or blogging I’ve put forward reflects what I consider an invaluable addition to taking part in Forum Threads. You express what you think, ‘stream of consciousness’ into your own blog, edited to140 character for Twitter than take part in a Forum where some back and forth discussion should come about.

The other invaluable form of participation is through a conference call – as Jonathan Swift said, ‘I don’t know what I mean until I have heard myself speak.’

This is akin to a treatment outline for a video. The script in our case is the ad-libs and verbatim responses of student and input from the tutor. I like the idea of swim-lines and can imagine the Tutor online as a coach, rather than a subject matter expert, as a guide and mentor.

The reality is that such rapport develops with fellow students.

It is a shame that there isn’t more continuity through your original cohort. I have used the Compendium to share projects, using the layers to attach documents and have another contribute. For a simple mind map I like bubbl.us, otherwise I’m as likely to do a sketch and photograph it to share … or draw directly into a paint/draw package such as ArtPad using a stylus and Wacom board. Like all tools you need to have a clear use for it, rather than playing in a sandpit. To be able to collaborate in a team people need to be familiar with and using the same software/platforms.

Compendium can be used as a basic mind-map or flow chart and with experience be used for much more, as an e-portfolio of sorts.

It is overly prescriptive. Tools need to be intuitive and follow common practices regarding buttons and outcomes. For a first draft I prefer marker pen on paper, followed by bubbl.us.

As Beetham’s Chapter 2 (Activity 2) points out learners will find their own way through a task regardless. We understand things differently, draw on different experiences and come up with our own metaphors.

Whilst I go with the ‘Swim Lanes’ analogy, I often think the reality is like a Catherine-wheel nailed to a post in the rain.

Should an exercise such as this be addressed in a way that has so scientific connotations? It is surprising how easy it is to share the narrative of a linear activity in a multitude of ways. A simple set of numbered bullet points, perhaps worked up as a presentation. As a board game, one step taken at a time. Or a set of activity cards. You can talk it through by counting five activities off on your fingers. I'll do one of these in the truly, joyful, brilliant www.bubbl.us and post it to my ou blog and extracurricular blog' 'My Mind Bursts' which in turn is fed to Twitter 'jj27vv.'

Make one of these mind maps, then change your mind and be tickled with the way the 'node' or 'bubbl' behaves . Go see! This and a list of wonderful tools from an H808 student who is a primary school teacher in Thailand. Work should be fun, especially learning design. After all, if you don't enjoy it, how do you expect your future students to behave?

PART THREE

Bubbl.us has gone from toy to a grown up tool with layers and the opportunity to add sound, images (stills and moving) and no doubt much more, none of which I have had time to try.

The old bubbl.us was like playing with kid's party balloons and when you deleted a balloon (or node) it blew up and burst into flames. This new version still does some magic to the eye, fading away like a mist, also when you save melting into the background like a rainbow of ice melting.

An extraordinary delight to the senses and apparently of far more practicle use than I credited it with a few months ago.

 

33pxxlo_New-Sheet.jpg

 

Click on this and it takes you to Picassa Dropbox. You can then enlarge it, save the code and help yourself. I think all the images I've put into this OU identify album is 'open to the public.'

Seeing this all again I am reminded of my inspiration David McCandless.

By working on this a few more times an art director or designer would turn it into a thing of beauty; it is this level of inspiration that sells ideas to committees, colleagues and others.

People buy into ideas. People like to be inspired.

The pedagogy must of course be sound, the right offering of activities, outcomes and learner flexibility and support is the OU magic mix.

P.S. Don't imagine I was familiar with any of these tools until I started the MAODE in Feb 2010, most of everything I now use I was introduced to by someone here.

PART FOUR

Add the role of the Tutor.

Get in a designer and make it a thing of information beauty.

Sell it internally and externally.

Schedule, produce.

Watch what happens and adjust accordingly.

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h800: 44 Week 8 Activity 2. On learner's emotional responses to technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 15:22
DSC00677.JPG

Pic from MMC Learning

'An approach to learning activity design (Sharpe et al. 2005) concluded that, as well as ICT skills, key issues were learners’ emotional relationship to the technologies they were offered – especially feelings of frustration and alienation – and issues around time management.'

In our tutor group and module forums we've gone through time management at length.

Understandably.

Though I suspect that for many of us time passing is the only certain thing in our lives. It has required therapy for me to downplay events when they DON'T go to plan ... that life as a Dad, husband, parent, portfolio-worker person, studying (two courses, this and sports related), as well as feeding the guinea-pigs, putting out the rubbish, sorting the recycling, putting air in the tyres on the car, fixing the fence ... collecting children from an event, taking them to the station ... let alone the other generation, four relatives in their 80s and 135 and 210 miles away.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

No schedule set for the morning, let alone the day or the week can be followed. (Which is why I get my hours in 4.40 am to 7.00am each early morning ... more pleasant with the sun joining me at last)

So, to the emotional response to technology.

I've come to apply the same kind of thinking to technology, yet more technology, especially if I don't like the look of it, as something that WILL, in the fullness of time, have value.

There is no point putting off engagement with it.

The same applies to a difficult to read text (there has been plenty of that lately). It WILL become clear, it just may take three or more attempts, could involve getting advice from others in the peer group, a search on the web and dare I say it a BOOK. I actually pick up copies of 'Facebook for Dummies' and 'Blogging for Dummies' as a matter of standard practice from the library (remember them?). These books are authentic, scurrilous and engaging. The body and mind enjoy the break from the computer screen.

I got 'Digital Marketing for Dummies' for my Kindle though ... how else can I read it in the bath while holding a coffee in my right hand (I am right handed) and 'the book' in my left, perfectly able to flick on through pages with my thumb.

Design isn't just programming when it comes to software.

Compare Mac to PC. Mac not only works, but it is obvious, intuitive and often beautiful to look at.

We are so used to the extraordinary simplicity of Google, YouTube and Facebook that we baulk if a piece of software, perhaps Open Source, doesn't have the look and feel of the familiar. It IS a DESIGN issue, as in creating a love affair with the object that has both form and function, rather than function alone.

Compendium; it is versatile, engaging and intelligent ... but could it dress better and be more intuitive and less 'nerdy' ?

Rethinking%20Pedagogy%20for%20a%20Digital%20Age.JPG

More from Sharpe and Beetham:

'The use of technologies can compound existing differences among learners due to their gender, culture and first language'. Beetham and Sharpe (2007)

I like this too:

Learners cannot therefore be treated as a bundle of disparate needs: they are actors, not factors, in the learning situation. (ibid)

And this:

They make sense of the tasks they are set in terms of their own goals and perspectives, and they may experience tasks quite differently if digital technologies – with all the social and cultural meanings that they carry – are involved. (ibid)

Perhaps we should be seeking advice on these feelings too, how they can get in the way of us tackling technology or a tough read/assignment. After all, if motivated, people will overcome such problems, but if we become demotivated it is habit forming.

REFERENCE

Beetham, H and Sharpe, R 'Rethinking Pedagogy for the digital age'. (2007)

p.s. This book needs an emotionally appropriate cover. Might I suggest a design from Helen A Dalby. Personally I'd like to see academic publishers make all book iPad friendly with illustrations throughout, maybe video and some interactivity too. Why stick with the rough, when you could make it smooth and cool. Video introduction from each of the authors please ... and links to their blog.

Sharpe, R, Benfield, G., lessner, E. and de cicco, E. (2005) Scoping Study for the Pedagogy strand of the JISC e-Learning Programme, Bristol: JISC. Online. Available. www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name+elearning pedagogy

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H800: 42 What's the issue, the technology or people?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Mar 2011, 12:50

People.

Innovations are who and what we are as human kind. We will advance and trip over each other with each apparent theme or phase.

Web 2.0 or Web 3.0?

It makes no difference if you are unable to carry an audience, your public, your students. Whether they pay for it, or it is free. It comes down to the ability and enthusiasm of a group of people, sometimes the charisma of an individual.

I see learning environments rise and fall on the ability and availability of a single person, some systems flourish and expand - others wither.

Can one person duplicate and transmogrify into a dozen or more parts? Can others pick up on their enthusiasm and replicate it?

Often not.

The technology is not a panacea.

It makes of us a village, a community ... then we must behave as if we are in a village or community, which in turn requires that we know how, when and where to contact people and who we are dealing with.

 

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H800:3 Technology (the mobile kind)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:45

In fact any kind.

Coming out of H807 I felt I was 'readoing for a degree' in the traditional sense of the words.

Entering H808 I found there'd be stuff I'd have to use, no escape.

In both instances I eventually got down to it; read masses in H807 and started to learn or relearn how to take an academic approach to research, reading and writing nad in H808 I tried everything, mastered some, reviewed everything, and saw gaps worth filling.

Just as there is the time to read everything there isn't the time to try everything either. Whatever the software does (or is called) there will be six others just as good. Like all good consumers I may go by brand name, so Google, Microsoft, Adobe and even Facebook and Twitter are in.

Go with recommendations from fellow students who can demonstrate what they can do with these tools and talk about it at length; anything else might lead you down a blind alley.

Have two or three versions of something on the go until you're happy. I'm for Firefox as a browser, but still use GoogleChrome while trying mywebsearch from time to time. I've had and have pictures in KodakEasyshare but find everything (as the rest of the family) now feeds into Picasa (I find it intuitive, streaming content from camera, through an edit, online then blogged in minutes).

So I have to go mobile.

My Sony Ericson is more matchbox that Smartphone, a pager, camera, phone thingey. Today I resolved to open the manual (I bought the thing 13 months ago). I have some pics trapped on the phone. I decide to find out how to get them onto the memory card, into Picasa Gallery and online. I find I might be able to send them to my Picasa Account or my daughter's Facebook account. Odd that one. The picas route fails but I correctly identify one of the three versions of me running around Facebook and successfully upload a series of pictures taken over Christmas 2009. All the pics are sideways on and I cannot see that Facebook has an edit function.

I consider this to be an achievement; though I suppose there will be a cost. If its a £1 pic then I'm £12 down. Luckily I stopped it from uploading 93 pics.

Now however whenever I go to my phone I have a stream of Facebook drivel from my cousins various activities, with an occasional piece of nonsense from my 12 and 14 year old. How do I turn this off? (How did I turn it on!) Is it costing me anything.

What's the use?

Learning Technologies say they are plenty of uses. I agree. Were this a business phone and a business Facebook group and everyone was chatting on a theme then being able to engage, or disengage from this lively on topic banter would be of value.

There are other pieces of software on my hit list for H800.

My attitude is to jump in fully clothed, wearing a life-jacket with a smile on my face. I my flouder, I may swim. I may need the life-jacket, I may not. But at some stage I'll be hawled into a community lifeboat, pick up and oar and start to row. A few weeks in I might be at the helm and a few weeks after this I may strip off and dive in off the prow to go looking for something fresh.

i.e. behave like a teenager even if you're not. And if you get stuck ... ask a teenager. What I love about my children is that they will gladly offer to help. I then see that they are as clueless as me at first but after a few goes they manage to crack the code.

 

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Educational Technolgy or E-Learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Dec 2010, 04:18

It is interesting when the OU advertise and promote postgraduate research in e-learning that it is called technology enhanced learning.

Why? Is one the brand name, the other a descriptor.

Postgraduate Research Studentships. Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology.

'With an international reputation for research, a supportive environment and excellent research facilities, CREET offers unique opportunities for postgraduate research to study the theory, application and practice of Education, Technology Enhanced Learning, and Languages and Literacies.'

Why isn't it the Centre for Research in Education and E-learning?

Or just the Centre for Research in Education?

Was there ever a Centre for Research in Web-based learning, or computer-based learning or interactive learning?

Or is m-learning a subset of e-learning which is a subset of technology enhanced learning that is a subset of learning that is a subset of education?

I'd like to visualise this with a set of seven Semeyenov Russian nesting dolls.

Something like this, from the littlest up.

  1. m-learning
  2. computer-based learning
  3. e-learning
  4. technology-enhanced learning
  5. life-long learning
  6. education
  7. life the universe and everything

There are differences, sub-sets and overlaps. Where would i-learning go (interactive, as in Philips laser discs and CD-roms?)


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Thomas Edison and innovation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 12 Dec 2010, 05:07

For anyone embarking on H807 'Innovation in E-learning,' although it isn't part of the course work (yet), I'd recommend listening to the following discussion on Thomas Edison.

The participants are right to suggest that in establishing a lab for inventions Edision create a model that has been followed by others. This may be particularly pertinent when you look at Facebook and Google, also the history of Apple - possibly also of Dyson. Indeed anyone who wishes to be engaged in successful innovative practice.

It would make an interesting discusion point for units on collaboration and leadership.

What delivers success?

How do you thrive on change?

Why is commercialisation vital to success?

 

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Retrofitting prose with references, name dropping and blog stats

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 May 2014, 08:24

I consider it to be an expression of the progress that I am making that the first part of the TMA I have just written I completed in a straight three hour run with nothing more than a treatment in the form of a Venn Diagram doodled on a sheet of A3 to draw upon and the assignment title and defining outline pasted onto the top of the page on which I have been typing.

There are notes and figures and grabs all over the place.

I immersed myself in the topic last night when I keyed in 'learning' to MyStuff and found I had 463 assets to ponder. Though nearly discombobulated by the sluggishness of MyStuff I just about had enough in the titles and tags of the saved pieces to know if something was or was not worth reviewing. It was an interesting journey, not least that for me H808 is very much the second module, with H807 feeling like a foundation course before the real thing. And yet for some people I appreciate H808 is their first or even their last module towards the MA.

Talking of which, I registered for H800 in February 2011.

I feel I'm on a roll and don't want to take a break.

Between getting the kids into school and making a fresh pot of coffee the thought I had wanted to share here was the problem I potentially face with the essay I've just written. Previously I have used a list of referenced ideas and strung them together like fairy-lights to produce an essay that may not flow, or wrap well around itself well, but does the business. I fear if I now try to retrofit references and quotes that I may spoil it. On the other hand, this is the difference between writing a letter home and an academic paper.

My belief is that I know to whom I am referring when I use their ideas and dropping in their names and correcting any misquotes and incorrect expressions of their ideas will do the job.

On verra.

Another figure that I spied ... I've hit 10000 hits in my OU blog, which translates as 1000 per month. As we have no way to read the stats that underly these figures I can only make a conservative guess that 50-75% of all of this action is me. On the other hand, I do notice that I've been getting 25, then 50 and possibly 100 'hits' a day even when I've not blogged at all. Vanity or curiosity, or both.

Do emerge from the electronic woodwork please.

A comment is part of the collaborative process that is the essence of the full e-learning experience.

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Filemaker Pro

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 18:00

In an effort to bring myself into the 21st century technologically I am revisiting Filemaker Pro as a piece of software I have used since it was developed in 1994, though not upgraded in eight years.

Whilst it is a relief to find current versions are familiar in terms of the way fields are created and popualted with 'assets' it is a pain that to transfer material I am going to have to retrofit an earlier version of Filemaker and use this as a electronic stepping stone.

The reward will be to have data that I am familiar with that I can then manipulate and share in a Web 2.0 way. The intention is then to populate this with a substantial number of documents to familiarise myself with how it operates with text. It used to be the case that files could not contain much more than 150 words.

Then I will use Filemaker Pro to build by OU e-portfolio for H808.

The problem no doubt remains of 'interoperability.' Does my using Filemaker Pro necessitate others to have the same software? To use its extensive functionality, probably so ... however, on a 31 day free trial I  think much could covered and from this user's point of view, the investment in a light version of Filemaker Pro may be more beneficial that going down to the route of a customised PLE of various recommended software tools, or going for Google Docs.

Meanwhile my OU Blog and MyStuff get the lot! (Just to be safe)

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Google Docs

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 9 Sep 2010, 07:08

Prompted to give Google Docs a go I find within a couple of minutes I am Google-smacked!

Overwhelmingly impressive.

e-Life transforming. e-Things will never be the same.

I've only just crept on from Word 2002 in the last few weeks, so to be hit with so much more I feel like someone who has been trying to ski on a dry-slope strapped to planks of wood who has just been let loose on an Olympic Piste in the latest Salamon gear!

My 'MyStuff' days (six months actually) are also numbered. I knew that I had to 'populate' such a resource with material to give myself something to play with, but Google Docs without any doubt, on first impressions takes what MyStuff could have been in the commercial arena and realises it.

Google Docs has translated the desiress, hopes and expectations I had for MyStuff into a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

All I want to do now is share, share, share ... and go and compare.

And write more and read more and never leave my desk again.

In fact, I may re-instigate my exercise-bike as work-station. This is a standard exercisebike with the handle bars removed. Instead I have a lectern of sorts with a keyboard sensibly covered in a plastic skin. In this way I can type and bike!

Yee-ha!

(The second term of the day, did it with heebie-jeebies an hour ago, that I have put through the OED online)

Between them, the OED online and Google Docs leave me feeling like a kid on Christmas Morning with two brilliant but quite unexpected gifts!

Yee-hoo-oo-o!

And then I put a document into Google Docs, my piece on H808 First Impressions (below) and out of curiosity had it translated into French.

OMG

Though I understand French well enough to work in the country and can speak it OK, my written French is attrocious. Has this just given me the facility to communicate at a reasonable level with written French? Its an incredible, by default personalised language learning tool if nothing else.

Perhaps I could head for France in the next couple of months after all?

On verra.

I've regained the will to live.

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