Reading a history of the Armistice after the First World War - I'm a few years ahead of the centenary of 1914, I learn the Lloyd George preferred the former: picking the brains of experts was preferable to resding widely. Studying with Open University can be neither: reading is tightly focused by the content provided and you are penalised rather than admired for widing readily: you are supposed to stick to the text as it is on this that your tutor will assess you. And the participation of experts is random: my seven modules with the OU has had some of the more prominent names of distance and open education as the chair and as tutors, though more often they appear only in the byline or tangentially not daining to take part in discussion or debate - it is their loss and ours. Nor should I sound as if I am denegrating the tutors as here my expectation has come to seek in them an 'educator' - not necessarily a subject matter expert, but a facilitator and an enabler, someone who knows there way around the digital corridors of the Open University Virtual Learning Environment. Studying with the Open University can also be both: it depends so much on the course you are taking and serendipity. If you are goash you ought to be able to approach anyone at all in your faculty - not that you have much sense of what this is. You can read widely simply by extending your reach through references courtesy of the OU library, though I think whst is mesnt here is a more general and broad intellect, that you take an interest, liberally, in the arts and sciences, in history and politics ...
Being online affords a thousand opportunities to both read widely and to pick the brains of experts; what this requires is Web 2.0 literacy - the nous to drill deep when you read in a way that has never before been possible, unless, perhaps you have been privileged enough to have ready access to and the time to use one of the world's elite libraries and your father or mother is a senior academic, government minister or captain of industry who loves to hold 'house parties' at the weekend. For the rest of us, there is now this new landscape - if not a level playing field (there are privileges based on cost and inclusion) - it is one where, with skill, guile, knowledge and experience you can gravitate towards and rope in the people and the books.
I have just downloaded Power Structure - a piece of software I first had on a PowerMac 15 year ago. It came on a pack of foppy discs then. It's been nearly four years since I used it - since my Macbook died. I've been begged and borrowed desktops and laptops for most of the MA ODE and have only got the money together in the last few months to get my own computer and gather in some of my favourite software.
Power Structure prompts me to construct a sound treatment once I have an idea in my head that I want to run with - not suprisingly its something that has come out of the last five months of a module on research. Somehow I've leant towards Web 2.0 or what the healthcare industry is calling Pharma 2.0 and a world where we wear and swallow microchips that gather and record data on our health.
How is knowledge sharing and learning changing?
From four or five months after conception with the formation of the brain, to the moment of brain death we have the capacity to learn, subconsciously as well as consciously. Whether through interlopers prior to birth, in infancy and early childhood, or through family and carers in our final moment, days, weeks, months or years. At both ends of life the Web through a myriad of ways can advise, suggest and inform, and so educate, like never before. While for all the time in between as sponges, participants and students we can access, interact, interpose and interject in an environment where everything that is known and has been understood is presented to us. The interface between person and this Web of knowledge is a fascinating one that deserves close study for its potentially profound impact on what we as humans can achieve as individuals and collectively: Individually through, by with and surfing the established and privileged formal and formal conveyor belt of education through nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary centres of learning. Individually, also through expanding opportunities globally to learn unfettered by such formal education where such established opportunities don’t exist unless hindered through poverty and politics or a lack of communications infrastructure (a robust broadband connection to the Web). And individually and collectively alongside or beyond whatever formal education is provided or exploited by finger tapping into close and expanded networks of people, materials, ideas and activities.
By seeking to peg answers to the role the Web is starting to play, at one end to the very first opportunity, at the micro-biological level to form a thought and at the other end to those micro-seconds at the end of life once the brain ceases to function - and everything else in between, requires an understandings neuroscience and an answer to the question ‘what is going on in there?’ How do we learn?
From an anthropological perspective why and how do we learn? Where can we identify the origins of knowledge sharing and its role in the survival and domination of homo sapiens? And from our migration from the savannas of Eastern Africa to every nook and cranny of Earth, on land and sea, what recognised societal behaviours are playing out online? And are these behaviours mimicked or to a lesser extent transmogrified, warped or elevated by the scope, scale and speed of being connected to so much in such variety?
A history of learning is required. From our innate conscious and subconscious capacity to learn from our immediate family and community how has formal education formed right the way through adding reading, writing and numeracy as a foundation to subject choices and specialisms, so momentarily expanded in secondary education into the single subjects studied at undergraduate level and the niche within a niche at Masters and doctoral levels. And what role has and will formal and informal learning continue to have, at work and play if increasing numbers of people globally have a school or university in their pockets, courtesy of a smartphone or tablet and a connection to the Web?
The global village Marshall Mcluhan described is now, for the person connected to the Web, the global fireplace. It has that ability to gather people around. Where though are its limits? With how many people can we develop and maintain a relationship? Once again, how can an understanding of social networks on the ground inform us about those that form on the Web? Multiplicity reins for some, flitting between a variety of groups while others have their niche interests indulged, celebrated and reinforced. Is there an identifiable geography of such hubs small and large and if visualised what does this tell us? Are the ways we can now learn new or old?
In relation to one aspect of education - medicine - how are we informed and how do we respond as patients and clinicians?
The journey starts at conception with the mixing of DNA and ends once the last electrochemical spark has fired. How, in relation to medicine does the quality (or lack of), scale and variety of information available on the Web inform and impact upon our ideas and actions the length of this lifetime’s journey At one end, parents making decisions regarding having children, then knowledge of pregnancy and foetal development. While at the other end, a child takes part in the decision making process with clinicians and potentially the patient - to ‘call it a day’. Both the patient or person, as participant and the clinicians as interlocutors have, potentially, the same level of information at their fingertips courtesy of the Web. How is this relationship and the outcomes altered where the patient will know more about their own health and a good deal about a clinician’s specialism? The relationship between the doctor and patient, like others, courtesy of the connectivity and capacity of the Web, has changed - transmogrified, melted and flipped all at the same time. It is no longer them and us, though it can be - rather, as in education and other fields, it can be highly personalized and close. Can clinicians be many things to many people? Can any or only some of us cope with such multiplicity? A psychologist may say some will and some won’t, some have the nature for it, others not. Ditto in education. Trained to lead a classroom in a domain of their own, can a teacher take on multiple roles aimed at responding to the unique as well as the common traits of each of their students? While in tertiary education should and can academics continue to be, or expected to be undertake research as well as teach? Where teaching might be more akin to broadcasting, and the classroom or tutorial takes place asynchronously and online as well as live and face-to-face. Disaggregation equals change.
In relation to one aspect of education in medicine and one kind of problem, what role might the Web play to support patients so that they can make an informed decision regarding the taking of potentially life saving, if not simply life improving, medications? Having understood the complexity of reasons why having been prescribed a preventer medication, for example, to reduce or even eliminate the risk of a serious asthma attack, what is going on where a patient elects, sometimes belligerently, not to take the medication. Others are forgetful, some misinformed, for others it is the cost, or the palaver of ordering, collecting and paying for repeat prescriptions.
Information alone isn’t enough, but given the capacity of the web to brief a person on an individual basis, where they are online, what can be done to improve adherence, save lives and enhance the quality of life?
My hypothesis is that a patient can be assisted by an artificial companion of some kind, that is responsive to the person’s vicissitudes while metaphorically sitting on that person’s shoulder i.e. in the ‘Cloud’ and on their smartphone, tablet, headset, laptop or whatever other assistive interface will exist between us and the Web.
An avalanche is coming: Higher education and the revolution ahead
An Avalanche is Coming (not)
No it isn't, or rather - no more than at any specific location around our digital universe. And the idea of a revolution is ludicrous. Do we expect to see guns in schools? (US of A excepted).
Pearson Education want to scare us. This paper is doing the rounds and courtesy of is sensationalist title and its massive quoting of the press in its construction then it will get ample press coverage. Most in academic institutions, some years ago, realised that the change, would be more akin to melting glaciers. Not even of the climate change variety.
I've got an essay crisis on at the moment.
The module is Practice-based research in e-learning with the OU.
The first block and the last five weeks has been spent learning how to review literature so that you feel the authors are credible and the subject has been treated in an objective way with research that is empirically based. There are academic papers and books on the likely or potential changes to Tertiary Education, such as:
- 'Rethinking University Teaching: A conversational framework for effective use of educational technology', Diana Laurillard
- 'Contemporary Perspectives in E-Learning Research: Themes, Methods and Impact on Practice' Grainne Conole
- 'Preparing for Blended e-learning' Allison Littlejohn
- 'Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age' Helen Beetham
- 'The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice'
I have read all of these and am currently reading 'Teenagers and Technology (Adolescence and Society' Chris Davies and Rebecca Eynon which took me to her paper 'Mapping the Digital Divide in Britain: Implications for Learning and Education'.
My sober response to this 'paper' starts with the title.
We should read anything with a sensationalist title with great caution. There are two traps that journalists fall into, or exploit, either to say there is revolution or to say that disaster looming. The sober, academic, empirically researched view is often far more contained, less exciting and so less inclined to gain press attention for its authors - in this case Pearson.
I'm up at 4.15 to write an assignment where I have had to put forward five papers and argue for their inclusion to help me get to the bottom of a research question.
I've read three books, reviewed some 60 and read some 20 papers at least to get this far. The research question is set in Tertiary Education.
In the last month I have been to both University of Southampton and University of Oxford - I don't for example, see Balliol College, Oxford, marking its 750th Anniversary this year, changing that radically. The model works too well, indeed, if anything, the Internet will make these institutions more appealing to students. Indeed I spent over an hour on the phone to a second year English Literature Student last night - from Perth in Western Australia, clearly very bright and motivated. She described how she Googled 'English Literature', found the top universities, then chose the one of the leading Colleges at Oxford.
My alarm bells start to go when a forward is written by 'emeritus' - however amazing their career has been, they have retired and their choice may be for PR reasons.
Excuse the cynic in me.
Are the other two authors, employees of Pearson, learning academics? Neither.
Then I turn to the bibliography and I find pages of citations ... for journalists.
In my experience of the last three years of a Masters course in E-learning I have learnt that very few journalists should ever be read on the subject as they always have an agenda - the bias of their paper, the need to sell papers, and the need to sell themselves. What struck me is that NOT ONE of the leading academic figures on the shifts that are inevitable to tertiary education are mentioned here, the names I have given above you may notice, were mostly figures from the OLDS MOOC by the way.
I will read and try to offer a balanced review in due course but fear that the response that it usually elicits in me is the same as the sensationalist titles of these things.
In this case, if its snow then wait for spring and the problem will go away ... and what about all those countries that have no snow?
A few years ago I realised that there was something no right with the concept of a 'digital native' or 'digital immigrant' - both are nonsense.
More recently I've given far too much time to stripping down Nicholas Carr 'The Shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains' more nonsense that at least has be eager to study neuroscience.
Perhaps I like a fight, or debate.
Academia doesn't have to sensationalise - it has to aim to get it right, prove its case, strive for objectivity and 'the truth' and be reviewed.
This looks too like exaggeration 'avalanche' and 'revolution' are well chosen buzz words that will make headlines in the papers - and it lacks the empirical evidence which is a necessity. (And don't be fooled by fellow humans how have been to Harvard or any where else - we're all human, all fallible and usually have an agenda). Must go! J
I may be wrong, but a little more than intuition says read with great caution and make up your own mind - what would or what do fellow OLDS MOOCers think for example?
'Making meaning with metaphors' or some such is a quote from Grainne Conole.
We did a module that was about little else. We cannot help but think in metaphors - neuroscientists such as V J Ramachandran think this is what distinguished us from Neanderthal - we 'think outside the box' as it were. So, metaphors matter and are convincing and plausible and simple.
My take on the Internet and the WWW is to think of Web 1.0 as a digital ocean and Web 2.0 as the entire water cycle (yes, my first degree was Geogrraphy!). So, no harm to have an avalanche in the mix ... but in this context, of a global system, with cyberspace, the avalanche is just one event or a series of events, in one landscape, that is one tiny part of a vast, far more complex and changing system.
I flick open this table I created in order to review the literature for the paper I have to write ... give me a few days and I'l apply it to 'The Avalanche is coming'.
Nice title, what about the content?
Who are the players? What are their credentials. Which institutions did they represent and where are they now. What have the written since and what else are they known for?
QUESTIONS / PROBLEMS
What research questions are being addressed?
How does the research question relate to the design of the research?
What is the sector and setting? (e.g. school, higher education, training, informal learning)
In what ways is the wider literature used in the paper?
What theories, concepts and key terms are being used?
What views of education and learning underpin the research?
What methods of data collection and analysis are used? (e.g. the number of participants; the type of technologies; the use of interviews, surveys, observation, etc.)
What are the limitations of the methods used?
What did this research find out?
What counts as evidence in this work?
Are there any ethical issues associated with the research?
What are the implications (if any) for practice, policy or further research?
Lord David Putnam is quoted in the opening pages.
He is Chancellor of the Open University, an honorary post, he is a former producer of TV commercials and movies who sits on the Labour benches in the House of Lords. Nice chap, but his perspective is to the left and whilst he will listen to the brilliant minds around him when he visits the Open University, he is not an academic himself. i.e. what is expressed are an opinion.
What we need are the facts.
I wonder if the difference between the book selling 'voices' of e-learning are to academics what pop music is to classical music.
They make a great fuss, sing and dance, but lack substance. They are popular and sometimes wrong. Marc Prensky and the Digital Natives compared to Martin Weller's Ring Cycle?!
In 'The Shallows' Nicholas Carr goes out of his way to select anecdotes and references to prop up his thesis that Google is making us stupid. The wise, though less popular and academic approach would have been to make the case both ways with equal effort, to argue that Google is making is smart.
The two propostions would make for a reasonable and reasoned debate. There are two books in it.
Can a popular book sit on the fence?
Fig. 1. Way is will be ...
- Way was
- Way is
- Way will be ...
Web 1.0 Top down and traditional
Web 2.0 Democratization of information - anyone can publish
Web 30 The data takes over - construction and reconstructing itself to form unique and original combinations, even coming up with new ideas?
This is doodled on the back of a handout from the Web Science Docotoral Training Centre, University of Southampton where I had spent the afternoon. Serendipty really - the long train journey in and back and the iPad had run out of juice obling me to do some reading. In any case, pen on paper is often the best place to express thoughts, to 'get them out there' in a skamp or draft form.
This is how Dion Hinchcliffe expresses it:
With a link to hundreds of his diagrams
Fig. 1. The Video Arts development journey from linear storytelling on film to multisourced, chunked, networked and open learning.
Professionally I came in with VHS - shot on Umatic then Betacam, edited on 1" tape then digitally. In 1986 Abbey National still distributed staff news on an AV slide carousel - there has always been inertia, though today change, new versions and upgrades are built into the system - or an accepted way of life. Visiting a regional BBC TV Station in 1989 I thought it was behind the production processes used in Soho and Covent Garden - the advertising industry, events and training business were all quicker to develop.
DVD are missing, as are intranets. Computer based learning in house, in a learning lab, then dispersed on internal systems developed in the mid 1990s. You can put the Philips Laser Disc in there too - mid to late 1980s before the CD-ROM took over.
Streamling and downloads needs to be expressed very differently too - I'd give it a very thin wedge to start with. Great expectations of bandwidth from 2000 for the next decade meant that the DVD quality of 3D animationa, video and so on was impossible - yet the DVD market died. Someone the ease of distribution and ease of response on the network was considered more important.
Production values remain the thing that set Video Arts apart - and humour. If you are not paying suitable attention to the messages then it is fun to spoke the likes of Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant playing bank branch managers or other actors whose names immediately escape you but you recall from a period drama or a sit come, pops up with their arm in a sling with a health and safety story or as a junior manager with autocratic behaviours.
The laptop, after the desk top, was our first 'mobile computer' of course and today as well as the tablet Smartphones are a devise that plays a role in learning - for a start, everything I can do and read here I can manage on a Smarphone.
You do find new ways to learn - my favourite, a genuine creative problem solving technique according to an Open University MBA module I took - is to express some ideas such as this, or have a first swing at answering part of an assignment - then nod of. A ten minute sleep will do it. Either sinking into unconsciousness or coming back to consciousness I will be aware that I am dwelling on some condundrum and I just may have figured something out. Just don't do this a few hours before an assignment is due and decide as a result of your 'dream spirits' that you are going to rewrite from the top.
I am trying to get my head around the idea of 'curation' and how this overlaps with concepts I understand - blogging and aggregating.
This is a blog - you post stuff that can be kept privately (like an e-portfolio then), can be published to the OU community (like an intranet, bulletin board or posting to a social network group or circle - as with Linkedin and Google+ respectively) or published to the world (a very crowded busy world where some 30,000 blogs posts go up every minute, or is that every second?).
To aggregate content is to draw in links either manually by cutting and lasting or by using a number of buttons or tools, from an RSS Feed to Delicio.us. I think of aggregating as portfolio or filing work, private research - however increasingly in a Web 2.0 context we want to share our lists. Some consider Goolge Docs to be an aggregating service, it is a depository, but so is Picasa for images and Drop Box too - so when does a gallery or collection take on different properties?
I use the expression 'aggregation' to describe what happens as comments attach to a blog post.
You write, others comment. Even to 'like' or 'rate' to my mind is a form of aggregating as your point of view is then attached to that item or asset and bring value as an alert to the browser spiders.
Google is pushing me to use a tool to socialise (and for them to exploit) a gallery I keep of some 8,000 grabs and photos.
Why should I want to? If I release or promote the 450 or so images relating to e-learning then I become a curator - I have opened the museum doors. (I also risk copyright infringements as some of this stuff is just me filling content by grabbing screens, whether text or images).
Regarding Web 2.0 it is as commonplace as TV and radio, indeed I'd say it has almost completely replaced TV for some of us – this is not generational or even specific to a cohort, rather some prefer the online environment to the many others on offer.
In our family the Internet takes precedence over radio, newspapers and magazines. For my personal learning environment PLE I now include the hardware – over the last two years I've gone from clapped out Mac laptop to an iPad: I keep everything online. If I need a laptop or desktop I borrow. My Smarthpone is my 'university in my top pocket' and some. I have a Kindle too for all books, even replacing some I have as hardbacks, while PDFs go to the iPad.
I will preload the Kindle with ample reading as this will go to the beach while the iPad stays at home (cottage).
‘What is the library, when the totality of experience approaches that which can be remembered?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)
Speaking at the Nobel Symposium 'Going Digital' in June 2009 (that ironically took another 2 years before it was published0.
Things are gong to have to speed up in the new age of digital academia and the digital scholar.
We have more than a university in our pockets (an OU course), we have a library of million of books.
(I have an iPhone and iPad. I 'borrow' time on laptops on desktops around the house, libraries at work).
I’ve often pondered from a story telling point of view what it would be like to digitize not the libraries of the world, but something far more complex, the entire contents of someone’s mind. (The Contents of My Mind: a screenplay) It is fast becoming feasible to pull together a substantial part of all that a person may have read and written in their lifetime. (TCMB.COM a website I launched in 2001)
‘Throughout history, libraries have depended on destruction’. (Rausing, 2011:50)
But like taking a calculator into a maths exam, or having books with you as a resource, it isn’t that all this ‘stuff’ is online, it is that the precise piece of information, memory support or elaboration, is now not on the tip of your tongue, but at your fingertips.
Rausing (2011) wonders about the creation of a New library of Alexandria. I wonder if we ought not to be looking for better metaphors.
‘How do we understand the web, when this also means grasping its quasi-biological whole?’ (Rausing, 2011:53)
Tim Berners-Lee thinks of Web 2.0 as a biological form; others have likeminds. But what kind of growth, like an invasive weed circling the globe?
There are many questions. In this respect Rausing is right, and it is appropriate for the web too. We should be asking each other questons.
‘Do we have the imagination and generosity to collaborate? Can we build legal, organisational and financial structures that will preserve, and order, and also share and disseminate, the learning and cultures of the world? Scholars have traditionally gated and protected knowledge, but also shared and distributed it, in libraries, schools and universities. Time and again they have stood for a republic of learning that is wider than the ivory tower. Now is the time to do so again’. (Rausing, 2011:49)
If everything is readily available then the economy of scarcity, as hit the music industry and is fast impacting on movies, applies to books and journals too.
It seems archaic to read the copyright restrictions on this Nobel Symposium set of papers and remarkable to read that one of its authors won’t see their own PhD thesis published until 2020.
‘The academic databases have at least entered the digital realm. Public access – the right to roam – is a press-of-the-button away. But academic monographs, although produced by digitised means, are then, in what is arguably an act of collective academic madness, turned into non-searchable paper products. Moreover, both academic articles and monographs are kept from the public domain for the author’s lifetime plus seventy years. My own PhD dissertation,19 published in 1999, will come into the public domain in about 110 years, around 2120’. (Rausing, 2011:55)
The e-hoarder, the obsessive scanning of stuff. My diaries in my teens got out of hand, I have a month of sweet wrappers and bus tickets, of theatre flyers and shopping lists. All from 1978. Of interest perhaps only because 10,000 teeneragers in the 1970s weren’t doing the same in England at the time.
‘We want ephemera: pamphlet literature, theatre bills, immigrant broad sheets and poetry workshops’. (Rausing, 2011:51)
What then when we can store and collate everything we read? When our thoughts, not just or writings are tagged and shared? Will we become lost in the crowd?
‘What if our next “peasant poet,” as John Clare was known, twitters? What if he writes a blog or a shojo manga? What if he publishes via a desktop, or a vanity publisher? Will his output count as part of legal deposit material?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)
The extraordinary complex human nature will not be diminished; we are what we were 5000 years ago. It will enable some, disable others; be matter of fact or of no significance, a worry or not, in equal measure.
A recent Financial Times article agrees with Robert Darnton, warning that by means of the Books Rights Registry, Google and the publishing industry have created “an effective cartel,” with “significant barriers to entry.” (Rausing, 2011:57)
Much to ponder.
‘If scholars continue to hide away and lock up their knowledge, do they not risk their own irrelevance?’ (Rausing, 2011:61)
Allemansratt : Freedom to roam
The Cloud : A Simple Storage Service that has some 52 billion virtual objects.
Folkbildningsidealet: A "profoundly democratic vision of universal learning and education"?
Incunabula: "Incunabula" is a generic term coined by English book collectors in the seventeenth century to describe the first printed books of the fifteenth century. It is a more elegant replacement for what had previously been called "fifteeners", and is formed of two Latin words meaning literally "in the cradle" or "in swaddling clothes"
Maimonedes : His philosophic masterpiece, the Guide of the Perplexed, is a sustained treatment of Jewish thought and practice that seeks to resolve the conflict between religious knowledge and secular.
Meisterstuecke : German for masterpiece.
Samizdat : An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely.
Schatzkammer : ‘Treasure Room’, and in English, for the collection of treasures, kept in a secure room, often in the basement of a palace or castle.
Ruasing, L(2011) (Last accessed 23rd May 2012) http://www.center.kva.se/svenska/forskning/NS147Abstracts/KVA_Going_Digital_webb.pdf )
Take use of Twitter for example as a PR tool. To traditional corporate marketeers advanced planning, then exact execution is paramount. Yet the immediacy of the tool and using an iPhone to compose responses (as I am now) is fraught with trips.
I was brought up to be ruthlessly intolerant of typos and spelling mistakes, yet today the message should be allowed to dominate and therefore excuse such errors. We are after all 'talking with our fingertips'. Not everyone sees it this way though. Indeed, research has shown (references her in this blog, go see) that a difficult read is a more memorable read: typos, spelling mistakes, silly fonts all help the interesting message to stick. Why? Because rather than being spoon fed the reader has to put in some effort.
Creative types, especially those who generate the ideas, need to work in an environment that because it seeks to innovate, adapt or change, mistakes are expected as an outcome of seeking to find a better way or product, otherwise organisations become moribund.
H800 WK15 Activity 1
Read Haythornthwaite (2008), ‘Ubiquitous Transformations’: Proceedings of the Networked Learning Conference, Halkidiki, 2008.
QQ1 What evidence is there of this shift towards taking responsibility for learning by the learners themselves?
There will be those who come to learning online who are used to being in control online, so they won't feel like a pupil entering a classroom, a student in a lecture hall or tutorial, a stranger in a strange land. Rather they will feel it is their domain, at best a shared domain, more like a visit to the leisure centre than to an elitist insitution where those in it have progressed as a result of proving their elite status.
‘Internet-based trends that emphasize contribution, conversation, participation, and community exercise a significant impact on learning.’ Haythornthwaite 2008:598
‘Participatory action has now spread to many aspects of daily life, often brought together under the label Web 2.0’. (O’Reilly, 2005). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)
It still matters for credibility of the qualification, evidence that you’ve done the work, evidence that you’ve picked the brains of and had your brain picked over by subject matter experts of a reputable established. It matters for the sake of guidance, perhaps the metaphor of railway tracks less appropriate given the freedoms afforded by the mobile internet, but even a kite-surfer has had to take instruction, purchase the right kit, maintain it, then seek and take advice from those wiser and more experienced.
I like the idea of the Learner Leader and picking up on the thinking of Cox on ‘participator learning’ and from John Seely-Brown learning ‘learning from the periphery’.
Where appropriate, participants come to shared definition of meanings through collaborative, conversational interaction.
Such emergent learning practices reinforce ideas from:
· collaborative learning theories (Bruffee, 1993; Koschmann, 1996; Miyake, 2007; Haythornthwaite, Bruce, Andrews, Kazmer, Montague, Preston, 2007),
· model what others have described as the learning behaviour of experts (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1996).
In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)
QQ2 Is Haythornthwaite’s account an idealised version of learner behaviour in your view?
‘These new media lay the foundation for radical transformations in who learns from whom, where, under what circumstances, and for what and whose purpose. In short, they indicate a transformation to ubiquitous learning – a continuous anytime, anywhere, anyone contribution and retrieval of learning materials on and through the Internet and its technologies, communities, niches and social spaces’. (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)
The reality is that we human beings have far more important, pressing and natural urges and desires that incline us towards those around us, and from communities with whom we find we have the greatest affinities. As young adults our intentions and outlooks may shift, but this would occur anyway, the internet offering, to use as 60s view of television, a ‘window on the world’.
This statement denies that learning takes place outside the classroom or away from formal texts. It has always been the case that substantially more learning goes on in the home, at play, from family and friends. All we’ve discovered, like the devices that many of us now carry around, is that we are always turned on.
‘E-learning’ signifies a transformation in learning rather than a transition from off- to on-line (Andrews & Haythornthwaite, 2007).
As Haythornthwaite indicates here, the technologies are not exclusive.
And as Wellman (2002) suggests the contexts in which transformation occurs are diverse, with each one having a different stance. Transformations that do not fit easily with utopian visions accompany distributed practices, including outsourcing, offshoring, disintermediation, and networked individualism (Wellman, 2001), each of which entails a general redistribution of processes and responsibilities to individuals.
The Pew Internet project (Horrigan, 2006) reports that 71% of the adult population surveyed turn to the Internet for science information because of its convenience, and only 13% because they feel it is more accurate.
Where’re not talking about the adult population, we’re talking about specific cohorts of students who could just as well be in primary, secondary, tertiary or postgraduate education. Whilst in the adult population who go online 1% actively blog, in the undergraduate student population this rises to 34%.
The dominance of Google is waning; increasingly people using mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) use Apps to aggregate content. The choices are becoming more personalised and informed.
But as with many other utopian predictions about how the open nature of the Net will create arenas that transcend foibles of the physical world; our faults have followed us to cyberspace. (Levy, 2004, np). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)
QQ3 In the light of your own responses and experience, does this ‘new paradigm’ indicate the redundancy of the practitioner?
Or, on the contrary, does it indicate the need for a practitioner with in-depth knowledge of how new technologies can be harnessed and with the time to provide facilitation and support to students as they take on these new responsibilities?
Making the time to interact with students online (and off) and having this planned into the curriculum is important. More tutors are needed, not fewer as expectations rise about the degree of engagement with others. Tutors or teaching assistant, event students (not just PhD), ought to be paid to be online as a hollow forum, or tutor group that isn’t active delivers the poorer experience. My analogy is to think of it as opening a chain or restaurants; why do some work and other’s fail? The ingredients and the menu is the same, but the context (location and personalities) differ. Getting the mix right and having the flexibility and fluidity and will to alter things as it evolves is vital, but often lacking. Certainly the idea that students would pay a handsome fee and then self-educate has largely been dispelled. The shift is livelier and less formal, more akin to a summer school, or camp, with everyone potentially present. There are academics, particularly in higher education, who seem to lack any desire to teach, preferring to inform at arm’s length from the product of their research. Perhaps it is more than this, it is like meeting in Liverpool Street Station amidst the cacophony of everyone else’s online lives, then taking a group to a museum then a show while the individuals in the group try to work, try to enjoy a holiday, have their kids, dog and mother along for the trip, and are engrossed in a novel, game or TV show. The potential is to be distracted, or engaged, or to juggle between the two.
The answer is in the hubbub of the tutorial, or seminar, the forced taking of sides in a debate, or informed discussions in a forum. The arguments and scholarship is still there, it is simply loose of the shackles of print and that technologies 500 year dominance of education, which is fast ending. Haythornthwaite suggests something has changed; it has, we’re returning to a model that is pre-print, vibrant, engaged, and live and that plays to broader human attributes and skills.
As Haythornthwaite (2008:599) goes on to say, ‘New social skills, or perhaps older ones now transformed online, become essential for a workable online future’.
Such knowledge bases resemble more the already familiar communities of practice (Wenger, 1988) and educational disciplines that an open encyclopaedia.
Brown, J.S. (2002) The Social Life of Information
Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).
Haythornthwaite, C., Bruce, B. C., Andrews, R., Kazmer, M. M., Montague, R. & Preston, C. (2007). New theories and models of and for online learning. First Monday, 12(8). http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/haythorn/index.html
Horrigan, J. B. (2006). The Internet as a resource for news and information about science. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved July 5, 2007 from: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Exploratorium_Science.pdf.
Levy, S. (Oct. 4, 2004). Memo to bloggers: Heal thyselves. Newsweek. Retrieved May 17, 2007 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6098633/site/newsweek.
Wellman, B. (2001). The rise of networked individualism, In. L. Keeble (Ed.), Community Networks Online (pp. 17-42). London: Taylor & Francis.
Large scale open source e-learning systems at the Open University UK Niall Sclater (2008)
Welcome to a mega-university (Daniel, 1996)
Requires exceptionally feature rich, robust and scalable e- learning systems.
Founded in 1069 not 1970(JV)
(Slight slip on the iPad there, but an interesting idea that we might be able to trace the origins of The OU to 1069 rather than 1969, which would place The OU as an older institution of the founding universities of Bologna in that century and the Oxford and Cambridge Colleges of a century later)
'Creativity is mistakes'
(Greyson Perry 2011. Search this blog for more)
I applaud the mistakes we make typing at a thousand words an hour on a keyboard that's akin to ice-skating in well-worn calf-skin slippers. This aren't Freudian slips they're breaks and laughs in our stream of consciouness; ideas we didn't know that had formed that break-out.
The OU 2008 to 2011
Was 180,000 OU students in 2008 now it is 210,000.
Was 7,000 associate lecturers now more like 8,000 or is it 10,000?
Online conferencing and e-assessment expertise disparate systems vs consolidation and unity of design LMS to restrict, present and monitor enrolled students.
+ collaborative activities through forums, blog and wikis.
Control as a means to acceptance therefore Open Source rather than commercial software vs fears about systems nor people being ready for it after the failure of UKe university.
Mark Dougiamas and Moodle with the leadership drive and qualities of Linux Tordvalds.
- Understand the entire application
- Optimize at every opportunity
- Spot new requirements
Ensure that they are fulfilled
Enabling socio-constructivist learning
- Prisoners and the visually impaired.
- Enhancement to the calendar system so that students can keep track of their work and tutors can keep track of them.
- Additions of an eportfolio and audio both now semi-defunct.
- Issues over deadlines, over responsibility for key functionality, over whether to incorporate blogs or not, the value or otherwise of comments functionality and the delays over seeking consensus.
To Wiki OU or to wiki SP?
NB How to move from a primarily print-based educational paradigm to one that also effectively exploits the dynamic, interactive and communicative aspects of the Internet. p9
Rather like saying that we want to integrate text books that pop-up and exercise books that deliver assessments as a kind of origami; at some stage like a glob of stuff in a lava-lamp the new platform will spawn an entirely distinct way of learning.(JV)
Many in the faculty have been engaged for large parts of their working lives in the development of text for a large part of their working lives and do not have the inclination or skills to think about delivering parts of their courses as podcasts or wikis. p9
NB Enhancing the learning experience for students.
Ensuring central quality control, copyright clearance, branding and good design and high- quality audio recordings often means that faculty and tutors feel they have less autonomy and can be less creative than they wish. p10
Or abandon the institutional LMS for PLSs. p11
Not so much food for thought, than a smorgasbord; not so much an hour and a half to ponder, but the weekend and beyond, including walking the dogs and when asleep.
I dream in page flips on an iPad.
I've been engaged in some bizarre dream world in which multiple varieties of fish leap from one pool to another. I presume this is some intellectual dance that is going on and ought to take time out to reflect on this.
I blame it on the level of digital interactivity, not just this QWERTY keyboard typing thing (which I do with my eyes shut as a party piece), but the way I constantly exchange hands when using an iPad, flipping the page from portrait to horizontal, opening the page out or closing it down, wiping the tip of my little finger across the page to flip a page or roll down through content.
I even wonder if six years playing the flute and piano with some seriousness haa not made this adaptation all the more easy?
All I need now is a mouth-piece, something like a gum-shield or orthodontic plate so that I am given additional control to select and highlight by moving my tongue.
Never so far fetched as you may imagine.
Now answer the following:
What criteria should we use to assess whether our LMS is meeting our requirements?
Might we be better served by a different (possibly open source product)?
What are the benefits and the challenges of our institution’s engaging with an open source community, given its inevitable compromises and delays?
In what ways are we using our LMS to control the experience of learners, and how are we using it to empower them?
How can we avoid getting tied up in discussions surrounding technologies and keep our focus on finding solutions that enhance the learning experience for our students?
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.
This journey is a three decades old; I was using technology-enhanced kit as a 17 year old when I sat myself in front of a Sony reel to reel set up used for interviewing technique, looked at the result then made a video on how to produce a slide show.
It staggers me than 30 years on a slide show online is considered to be innovative or even an advance on what was available in the 1970s.
In 1985 Abbey National were sending carousels of slides around branches to inform staff of what was going on; I was part of the company that turned this into video.
Come the late 1990s what happens?
We’re back to slide shows online, better known as the basic website. Far from seeing an advance in communications standards a good deal of the last twenty years has been the equivalent of treading water, efforts to put online what we did person to person, face to face.
The revelation is that with Web 3.0 technology, social networking, online all the time, available to communicate and so learn, to share, whether vicariously, as participant or providing, linking to or creating content all we are achieving is what is done in the real world x10000 … because you don’t have to be there.
Made to think about Attendance
Because I couldn't. Somehow the technology or actions required to move from one hall to another overcame and IO found myself stuck in the same hall as the Keynote speech quite unable to figure out how to move.
Still, I could click through the presentation slides of Doug Belshaw and came up with my interpretation of attendance.
Attendance requires 'engagement,' it also requires 'effort,' which in simplest terms needs 'motivation' and a willingness to battle against barriers that you may come up against that in your personal circumstances are large or small. Today 'engagement' probably also requires 'collaboration', 'participation' and via blogs/social media etc: 'publication.'
For an H800 WK 5 activity I'm contemplating the transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
Meanwhile I'm reading a book that wants to move me on from Web 3.0 to Web 4.0.
Is this akin to the Neanderthal form of teaching that was Modern History at Oxford, ending I think around 1702. My daughter is styding Modern History and takes in the Second World War - this feels like yesterday (though my parents were children during that war).
Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 is starting to feel ancient.
Web 3.0 is where it's happening.
Web 4.0 is where it's going ... until and only if we coin a different term to trump it.
Never has my head hurt so much, I feel like all the Dr Who's in one ... a person from each era contained in the same being, loyal to each, while desperate to be embraced by the latest think, very conscious that the religion of tomorrow is of more value that the beliefs of the distant past of ... well twenty years ago.
Dion Hinchliffe does it this way:''
I'm uncertain which or what analogy to use, but if you are studying 'innovations in e-learning' how can what is going on right now not be far more relevant to the thinking of a decade ago, let alone a few years ago?
It's as if this is 1911 and we're style unsure (as they were) if heavy-than-air machines would get off the ground. H.G.Wells had his heroes in dirigibles.
Were I back on the H807 Merry-go-round, I'd love to do the Innovations in E-Learning module over again ... indeed, given the pace of change maybe a three year refresher is required.
I'd have loved some of this:
Which was my third e-book purchase.
I have read it, highlighted it, reviewed it, shared notes via Facebook on it as I went along and will blog about it at length in due course. And Twitter this, and that. And respond to comments.
Most important of all, I am acting on this books advice which means I now have feed from Google Alerts, and Technorati amongst many other suggestions on how someone who feel they have a voice can find like minds.
Is looking at this better than reading the chapter around it?
Best of all is to share it and discuss with those who know better, or want to know better. My opinion is your opinion put through the kitchen-blender.
NOTES INTERVIEW WITH GREGOR KENNEDY
The idea of the Digital Natives piqued Dr Gregor Kennedy’s interest as did the alarmist talk, particularly from North America that radical change in teaching would be required because a generation of Internet savvy students were entering tertiary education on mass.
Dr Kennedy, with a background in psychology, was particularly interested because he doubted the claims made by Prensky regarding neuroplasticity.
What Kennedy wished to establish was what are students’ experiences with technology and what therefore would be the best course of action for institutions as it is they, not the student who would have to make the decisions about the technology being used.
What is more, if these students were ‘Digital Natives’ then the staff would be ‘Digital Immigrants,’ so by including them in the survey Kennedy could consider both facets of the claim.
It was revealed that staff were more familiar and advanced with the practical tools, though a minority of students (15%) had more experience with Web 2.0 tools than some staff. i.e. there is a mixed and complex picture.
Kennedy and his eight person team took a measured and evidence-based approach.
This research debunked the idea of the Digital Immigrant as well as the Digital Native. It wasn’t surprising to find that academic staff were more adept in their information literacy skills than student, in this population at least the digital divide was in fact in the opposite direction to that promoted by Prensky.
Importantly there was ‘a raft of core technologies where students and staff show similar profiles’. i.e. there is no sweeping generational divide between groups at all or any suggestion that the way teaching and learning is carried out in higher education should undergo some radical change to accommodate these students.
The reality is that students come in with a rather simplistic reliance on just two or three limited tools, such as Google and Wikipedia.
Just because they are using widely available and hugely popular tools, in 2006 MySpace, though by now surely Facebook. What is more there is great diversity in students’ familiarity with blogging, podcasting and wikis, using the web for general information, instant messaging and mobiles.
There are cultural differences in the way different groups in the community are using technologies. In one papers a student asked “what is a blog?” Some students were just unaware of some of these technologies – which greatly surprised the researches, while in other cases some students were more familiar and adept at Web 2.0 tools that university staff.
Access to and familiarity with Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 tools is complex; nothing suggested a single cohort could be identified, certainly not one based on date of birth.
‘If you’re going to use these kinds of technologies, you need to be mindful of the diversity of the student groups that you’re using them with’.
The Three universities studied:
Around 2,000 student surveys.
1. Melbourne, traditional, founded around 1850. 2. Wollongong in the 1970s with broader teaching and learning and often the first time someone from a family has attended university. 3. Charles Sturt University a newer university.
The thing that’s important is that we’re going in to try and find evidence to support a construct that has been talked about in our community.
This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.