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Immersed in French

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From E-Learning V

Fig.1. My computer is doing everything in French

Google now offers me search results in both English and French. Clicking on Wikipedia offered me the choice of selecting results that are only in French; I did this, with some trepidation as the change in what it offers as a result. Perhaps the unpredictability of it will do more good than harm. All the little instructions you get to surf the web are also in French now. At a glance you can see that generally a single word in English becomes a multi-syllable in French, or a phrase. I'll also find that in France the default would be the English anyway. I remember how, working in TV, no one said 'magnetescope' instead of 'video', for example. 

I'm now forced to read in French and consequently obliged frequently to look up a word or a grammatical construction.

From E-Learning V

Fig.2. Google Translate

I turn to Google Translate by default. I'd have this open and live on a Smart Watch if I could. With an earpiece giving me the word or phrase in whichever language I required. On its way?

In an instant, at the point of need, I have what I hazzard is an accurate translation; I'm talking about a single word, or a short phrase. Any doubt and I play around with the English translation then see how Google gives me that in French then call on buried memory banks to tell me if that sounds right.

'Le dos' is NOT how to describe the back of a house, for example.

So, I'm getting what I wished for. Will this however translate into a renewed confidence to both speak and write the language?

That's the plan.

Trouble with Java and OU Live

The L120 Student Forum on problems with JAVA now runs to over 45 responses. I don't need to tear my hair out, I can feel it curling up and dying in horror at the thought of having to sort out why my MAC and or Google Chrome are incompatible with JAVA because of the OS 7 operating system. My hope is that I can jump ship and use my wife or son's PC. I do not fancy having to delete OS 7 and reactivate OS 6, then use Safari, still to find that I cannot do the interactive exercises in Session 1, or take part in an OU Live session.

Keeping my learning French from my wife will prove trickier if I am at her computer speaking in French checking my pronounciation. I'm unsure my teenage son will want me anywhere near his computer: I'll ask.

From E-Learning V

Fig.3. Rosetta Stone. Brilliant for fixing pronunciation and accents

Or I skip those bits. I've had a year using Rosetta Stone which has a considerable amount of accent and pronunciation software. 

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W is for Wordpress

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 30 May 2014, 08:45

Wordpress

Etienne Wenger

Wikipedia (A snowman)

Martin Weller

Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.0

Web Sciences

Yorick Wilks

H G Wells

Wired Sussex

Having blogged since 1999, then on Diaryland, I lived through the blogging revolution of 2002-2005 when a plethora of platforms came along. I tentatively tried several, including LiveJournal, Blogger, Tumblr and EduBlogs before settling on WordPress in 2007. It remains the most versatile, open, viewed blogging platform of them all. So easy that it is my default platform for a range of interests: learning, swim teaching and coaching, the First World War and more - a couple of 'Books of Remembrance' even and a multitude of other themes, issues and intersts. Try it. And like here, remember there is one very important option: public or private, in both cases it is still a blog, but when private it can be a diary and a portfolio. Mine is both a learning journal, and a journal. As a resource its value grows with regular use and maintenance - like a garden

When it comes to e-learning academics then there are few bigger names than Martin Weller, but when it comes to a demonstration of global reach through 'user generated content' shared by  hundreds of thousands of people forming interest groups and communities then for me, Wordpress, rather than Wikipedia is the e-learning blogging platform of choice.

I've called Wikipedia a 'snowman' as I had called e-mail a 'snowball' in the same sentence; one you aim, the other last as others add to it. Is it still the default for students? The problem now is that the content is like a granite cliff - unassailable it beleived in its scholarship and increasingly inaccessible as the editors become so entrenched - addressing eachother rather than a specific audience. There needs to be a dial that allows you to tone down or filter the content depending on whether you are a primary school student or have a PhD.

Web Sciences is a subject specialism at the University of Southampton.

Yorick Wilks has developed some interesting ideas on Artificial Intelligence and is at the Oxford Internet Institute.

H G Wells is a visionary, the Douglas Adams of his time.

Etienne Wenger - Communities of Practice Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Martin Weller - The Ed Techie

Tapscott, S. and Williams, D. (2007) Wikinomics; How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, London, Atlantic Books.

Pearce, N. (2012) ‘Developing students as content scavengers’, OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2012/OER 12 Conference, 16–18 April, Cambridge.

Wilks, Yorick (ed.), Close Engagements with Artificial Companions: Key social, psychological, ethical and design issues. 2010. xxii, 315 pp. (pp. 259–286)

The on going story of the heavy metal umlaut on wikipedia.

http://jonudell.net/udell/gems/umlaut/umlaut.html




 

 

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True or False

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:26

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The 15 second quiz

Merriam-Webster - the 'sticky' web dectionary using gamification to build the brand and hold your attention.

Who'd have thought it a decade ago.  'Sticky' was the Holy Grail - but applied to an online dictionary?

I love words.

I have used many online dictionaries, including 'the dictionary' and the OED, and of course Wikipedia. Increasingly I pick Merriam-Webster from the list offered.

The response page is clean (ish) i.e. you get an unclutted, quick and short defintion, which is all you want if you are trying to read a text.

You can, by default, find you are 'embedding' your relationship with the word by adding a comment. What brings you here? Why were you after this word? You may then be intgrigued by the responses other people have left.

Then there's the quick 15 second quiz.

A crafty way to up your Pub Quiz or Mastermind General Knowledge.

Merriam-Webster%2520Video.JPG

And there's a pithy video clip on some highfalutin stuff about words. Except of course it isn't, you'd just expect it to be so. They're very down to earth. There's the best explanation of the important difference between - its and its - for example.

My distraction? My word(s)

  • Foveal
  • Profoveal

That collection of nodes in the retina we subconsiously use when focusing on the fine detail of something - often used for reading tough texts where the 'profoveal words' i.e. those just out of vision and typically a few down the line from your centre of focus couild distract if and where the word is bold, in colour, underlined ... or the purposes of the research papers I am reading, if the word or phrase has a hyperlink.

Do you want you reader to read at an uninterupted measured pace - or tangle their eyes in barbed wire?

The aim, as they eventually figured out with the printed word, is a form or set of patterns and guidelines that make the reading of text on a screen easier, engaging enough so the the issues and facts begin to stick, without it being a mess.

I often wonder if a 'porta-pront' App - so you read as a Newsreader would do, offers the most uncluttered way to read text?

We're still a long way short of a digital expression of the written word - the guitliest group are academic papers. These are for the most part highly formalised layouts based on analogue moveable print.

Where I can I cut and paste and entire paper into Google Docs, then reformat so that I can scroll through.

Now what on earth did I get up to do 20 minutes ago?!

Ah yes.

This little gem.

Risse, S, & Kliegl, R 2012, 'Evidence for delayed parafoveal-on-foveal effects from word n+2 in reading', Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception And Performance, 38, 4, pp. 1026-1042, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 February 2013.

 

 

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Wikipedia is the diving board ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Feb 2013, 14:34

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... the rest of the Internet is the pool.

I may even skip the diving board these days. I am used to viewing Wikipedia content, but once you get into a subject you may find that a) it is inaccurate b) it is rather thin c) there are choices and selections that build in the bias of the last editor.

So I defer to Britanica, or Google Scholar, then I check the author, or the institution or the credibility of the paper.

You can have huge fun drilling through to the detail.

 

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Here are the newly weds - Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.

I challenged myself to write 60 seconds on the Assisination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and found myself, whether or not I was meant to be there, in the Hapsburg Family blog looking at family photos of historic figures and hearing stories about grandparents and greatgrandparents.

Every morning Sophie Chotek, Franz Ferdindand's non-royal wife, would peel him an apple.

Mmm. Not sure what I'm meant to do with that information!

The power of Wikipedia of course is when you feel suitably informed to go back and correct something. As I got to know all the players in the assassination of 28th June 1914 I was able to go in and correct errors. It said somewhere that Franz was an only child - actuall there is a brother and sister. They, like Franz Ferdinand's father and grandfather the Emperor didn't attend their heir to the Austrian Empire's thone because they thought Sophie beneath their royal status.

Some other nonsense had crept in about Princip eating a sandwhich after the earlier failed attempt to blow Franz Ferdinand up with a hand thrown bomb. (There were no fewer that seven of them up and down the street waiting for thier chance).

It'll be interesting to see what nonsense the film makers bring to the countless revisting and rewriting of this period in history - scripts will have been written, any series will be in production.

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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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Masters in Open and Distance Education: Module H800: WK21 My Personal Learning Environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:42

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From this consider Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) vs. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and I come away, as I often do, seeking a compromise, the best of both - a basic, easy to use, and reliable VLE with students who may come with nothing, or a good deal, but was I have done will over the course of a couple of favourite tools and ways of doing things.

The two are like dripping coloured ink into a fish tank. My fingers aggitate between the two.

Until Google takes over all of it, there are too.

In my case I've gone from an old Mac Book and printing stuff off to having everything online, using blogs like e-portfolios and switching between an iPad and a laptop.

(78,099 page views)

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H800: 19 Week 2 Activity 6 University Libraries vs Google

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:39

Dr Ian Rowlands The Google Generation

The key thoughts that I take from Ian Rowlands talk on the Google Generation are :

  • Disintermediation
  • Extravagant Claims
  • Diversity and segmentation (he picked out three clusters)
  • Google and Wikipedia dependence
  • Text based to visual
  • The mental maps of children
  • Books as chapters
  • Good students and ‘good’ research techniques
  • A mental map of information

Disintermediation

The middleman, or the ‘intermediary function’ has been cut out. He mentioned travel agents, we could just as easily exclude secretaries (because of word processors), the post man and(because of email), people in ‘middle management’ because analytics run from the shop floor, or retail outlet to a directors computer and … even the teacher as subject matter expert.

The Extravagant Claims as popular commentators, authors and publications become mashed-up with serious study.

These are the Marc Prensky (Digital Natives) and Malcolm Bradbury (The Tipping Point) types who take indicators from genuine research and then exaggerate and extend the claims and findings.

They are not ‘one homogenous blob’ as Dr Rowland puts it.

There is diversity by age, gender, and exposure to IT. This is complex picture is exactly what advertising agency and product marketing departments understand and it was about time educators took a similar approach to understand the minutiae of the ‘audience’ who will choose to purchase information from their libraries …. Or not, that fails to attract interest because a headline is easier to consume than a 30 page report. There is segmenting by diversity type … something librarians once did for users, but now readers can do for themselves.

Do modern users care or understand the relevance of what they find

Can they not differentiate between dirt or a pearl? That a Google search is not a library search and that there are more sources than Wikipedia?

We’re shifting from text based to a preference for the visual. But has not the visual always been preeminent. People learn less from reading than they do by observing and doing, always have done. Indeed, has not there simply been a period of text based education elitism?

The mental maps of children are indeed different

Rowland expresses concern about this as if it isn’t commonly understood. It would help if those in education took a formal course in education as teachers in primary and secondary education are required to do, they therefore might understand something about childhood development, developmental psychology and basic neuroscience.

Each generation is a product of how and where it is brought up and what they are exposed to; if we have a Net Generation today, then in the past we have had generations brought up with Television, with Movies, with the car, and before that the train … and further back still, the first generations to be literate and have books. It isn't helpful to isolate the Google generation and think they're different from us. They're not. There's a continuum. Dr Rowland

Books as chapters

Is this not the same with tracks from albums, rather than the entire LP concept?

Good search technique students get better grades than poor search technique students

Is it the good research technique, or the good student that gets the results? I’m not convinced the correct correlation is being made here.

We need a mental map of information so that stuff doesn’t get ‘hidden behind the screen.’

From the point of view of methods of communicating the information I would prefer a summary and article to a informal talk cum-lecture. Armed with a verbatim transcript I will immediately do a search for words and phrases that would have been edited out of any written piece on the subject. So out come the following:

‘actually’ 19 uses.

‘really’ 56 uses

‘very’ 54 uses

‘you know’ 20 uses

‘simply’ 12 uses

‘literally’ 3 uses

‘sorts of’ 4 uses

(This I should add is a very modest tally of a normal convesational style that would occur with anyone except a seasoned broadcaster. The point is, you don't want to read a verbatim transcript).

Here I am making something I want to read, easier to read.

All that counts is how the information goes in, if there is motivation to engage with it, and how the information is then labelled, enabled, packaged and chunked in your mind.

Are the right kind of neurological activities going on that result in the information withering, or proving fruitful?

Is it to be engaged in deep learning, or is it just ‘stuff’ top be learnt, tested and dropped?

The key word for any expression of information that matters to me is EFFORT.

Has the person wishing to communicate something made the effort to get it right?

We have a plethora of choices

A subject we may be interested in may be delivered as a lecture, a workshop, a classroom talk, a presentation of any kind, an after dinner or at the dinner table, live or recorded, in vision or not, edited or not. It may be a paper, a leaflet or pamphlet. It may be a formal study or report, an assignment or essay, even a thesis, a chapter in a book, or entry in Wikipedia.

It might also be the basis for an entire course of study or a module within one. The subject of a three minute news story, with an interview and cut-aways, or a documentary, or a panel debate. It might be a poster, a website, a blog entry or email as body text or an attachment.

It can be many things and all things. One dish can make a smorgasbord

There are lectures and there are informal talks, some like this, perhaps ought not to receive wide circulation, it may be unfair to take a speaker out of context. I get the feeling that this is an intimate, even informal, sharing of ideas, a catalyst to get a discussion going amongst a group of professionals.

From a learning point of view I cannot sit back and listen to these things and get much from it

This is didactic, being talked to. My attendance at lectures as an undergraduate stopped during my first term and I doubt I attended ANY lecture afterwards; it was easier to read their book, as I felt most lecturers were ‘reading from their book.’ So I got their book from the faculty library, or got to it first in the Bodleian, or bought it from Blackwell’s (all three within a 2 minute bike ride of each other). Just as a sheet of grabs of bullet points from a Power Point presentation are NOT ‘presenter notes,’ nor is a verbatim transcript of the person talking.

This is LAZY, though of value as a point of ACCESS best practice.

If I can read the presentation then I’ll do so, not at three words a second (the spoken voice) and ideally not with all the ticks and circumlocutions that slow the spoken word down in what can be an indulgent perambulation around a subject. Academics are not broadcasters. What do we read at? Nine words a second?

When someone was born does NOT dictate whether they are or are not exposed to a plethora of electronic gadgets, tools and resources.

Whilst they have to have been born after the technology has come into existence and popular use, this does not mean that they are ‘brought up in an immersive rich media interactive culture’.

If we take everyone born on the planet after 1993 the percentage exposed to this immersive media immediately and understandably drops massively. It is a western, developed, first world phenomenon.

 

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H800:12 WK1 Activity 4 The Google Generation - True or False?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011, 23:57

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Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Written in 2007 (published 11 January 2008). Reviewed in 2011.

Part of the Week 1 jollies for H800.

(This picks up where I left off in the Forum Thread)

After a year of MAODE, a decade blogging and longer keeping journals (and old course work from both school and uni I might add) I feel I can tap into my own first, second, third or fourth take on a topic.

Increasingly, where this is digitised my preferred learning approach is to add to this information/knowledge, often turning my ideas inside out.

We are yet to have a ‘generation,’ (a spurious and loose term in this context) that has passed through primary, secondary and tertiary education ‘wired up’ to any consistent degree from which to gather empirical research. Indeed, I wonder when things will bottom out, when we’ve gone the equivalent journey of the first horseless-carriage on the Turnpikes of England to the 8 lanes in both directions on the M1 south of Leicester – or from the Wright Brothers to men on the moon.

I’d like to encourage learners to move on from copying, or cutting and pasting in any form, to generating drafts, and better drafts of their take on a topic, even if this is just a doodle, a podcast or cryptic set of messages in a synchronous or asynchronous discussion i.e. to originate.

I lapped up expressions such as Digital Natives, an expression/metaphor only that has been debunked as lacking any basis in fact.

I fear this is the same when it comes to talking about ‘Generation X, Y or Z.’ It isn’t generational, it is down to education, which is down to socio-economic background, wealth, access (technical, physical, geographic, as well as mental), culture, even your parent’s job and attitude.

My 85 year old Father-in-law is Mac ready and has been wired to the Internet its entire life; does this make him of this ‘Generation?’

If x billion struggle to find clean drinking water and a meal a day, where do they stand?

They’ve not been born on Planet Google, so don’t have this generational opportunity.

I find it short sighted of the authors not to go for a ‘longitudinal’ (sic) study. It strikes me as the perfect topic of a JISC, Open University, BBC tie in, the filming part funding the research that is then published every three years for the next thirty, for example.

Trying to decide who is Generation X, or Generation Y or the ‘Google Generation’ strikes me as fraught as trying to decide when the islands we inhabit became, or could have been called in turn England, Scotland, Wales, Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

We could spend an unwarranted amount of time deciding who is in and who is out and not agreed.

We can’t it’s like pouring water through a sieve. The creator of IMBD, a computer geek and film buff was born in the 60s (or 70s). Highly IT literate, then as now, he is not of the ‘Google Generation’ as defined as being born after 1993, but is surely of the type?

Personally I was introduced to computers as part of the School of Geography initiative at Oxford in 1982.

Admittedly my first computer was an Amstrad, followed by an early Apple, but I’ve not been without a computer for the best part of thirty years. I can still give my 12 year old a run for his money (though he does get called in to sought our browser problems).

And should this report be quoting Wikipedia?

Surely it is the author we should quote if something is to be correctly cited; anyone could have written this (anyone did).

Reading this I wonder if one day the Bodleian Library will be like a zoo?

The public will have access to view a few paid students who recreate the times of yore when they had to read from a book and take notes, and look up titles in a vast leather-bound tome into which we strips of paper were intermittently stuck. (not so long ago).

Is there indeed, any point in the campus based university gathered around a library when all his millions, or hundreds of millions of books have been Googliefied?

Will collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Durham (Edinburgh and Dublin? Harvard ?) become even more elite as they become hugely expensive compared to offerings such as the Open University?

There may be no limit to how much and how fast content can be transmitted … the entire Library of Congress in 3 seconds I am told, but there are severe limits to how much you can read and remember, let alone make sense of and store.

Is this not the next step?

To rewire our minds with apps and plug-ins? I smile at the idea of ‘power browsing’ or the new one for me ‘bouncing’ the horizontal drift across papers and references rather than drilling vertically, driven by a reading list no doubt.

I can give a name to something I did as an undergraduate 1981-1984. Reading Geography I began I the Map room (skipped all lectures) and then spent my morning, if necessary moving between libraries, particularly the Rhodes Library and Radcliffe Science Library, by way of the School of Geography Library, of course, and sometimes into the Radcliffe Camera or the PPE Reading Rooms.

I bounced physically.

I bounced digitally online as a preferred way of doing things. Though this often leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the things I could read, but haven’t read, that I’d like to read. Which is good reason ONLY to read the latest paper, to check even here if the paper we are asked to read has not already been superseded by this or fellow authors.

Old digitised news keeps like a nasty smell in the wind?

Users are promiscuous, diverse and volatile and it is clear that these behaviours represent a serious challenge for traditional information providers, nurtured in a hardcopy paradigm and, in many respects, still tied to it. (p9)

The problem with the short read and low tolerance of readers is the way papers have thus far gone from print version to digital version without, yet, thorough transmogrification.

We await new acceptable ways to write, and submit and share knowledge that is less formal and to anyone versed in reading online, digestible.

All authors for the web would do well to read Jakob Nielsen on web usability.

There is a way to do it. If it looks like it belongs in a journal or book, you are getting it wrong

Do the authors appreciate that labelling the behaviour ‘squirreling’ is self-fulfilling?

It normalises the behaviour if anyone reads about it. Whilst metaphors are a useful way to explain, in one person’s words, what is going on, such metaphors soon become accepted as fact.

There is a running debate across a series of article in the New Scientist on the way humans think in metaphors (good, can’t help it), and how ideas expressed as metaphors then set unfounded parameters on how we think (not so good, and includes things like the selfish gene, competition and so on).

This dipping, bouncing and squirreling, horizontal browsing, low attention span, four to eight minute viewing diverse ‘one size does not fit all’ individual would make for an interesting cartoon character. I wonder if Steven Appleby or Quentin Blake would oblige. ________________________________________________________________________________

Why ‘huge’ and why ‘very’ ? Qualify. Facts. Evidence. And why even, 'very, very.' This isn't academic writing, it's hear say and exaggeration.

There’s a category missing from the graph – branded information, such as Wikipedia, or Harvard Business Publication, Oxford or Cambridge University Press and Blackwell’s, to name put a few.

Where so much information is available, and so many offerings on the same topic, the key for anyone is to feel they are reading a reliable source.

The point being made later about ‘brand’ presence for BL … something we will see more of with the commercialisation of information. Even Wikipedia cannot be free for ever, while the likes of Wikileaks, for its mischief making and spy-value will always be funded from nefarious sources.

There are very very few controlled studies that account for age and information seeking behaviour systematically: as a result there is much mis-information and much speculation about how young people supposedly behave in cyberspace. (p14)

Observational studies have shown that young people scan online pages very rapidly (boys especially) and click extensively on hyperlinks - rather than reading sequentially. Users make very little use of advanced search facilities, assuming that search engines `understand’ their queries. They tend to move rapidly from page to page, spending little time reading or digesting information and they have difficulty making relevance judgements about the pages they retrieve. (p14)

Wikipedia and YouTube both exhibit a marked age separation between viewers of content (mainly 18-24s) and content generators (mainly 45-54s and 35-44s respectively). (p16, ref 17)

‘there is a considerable danger that younger users will resent the library invading what they regards as their space. There is a big difference between `being where our users are’ and `being USEFUL to our users where they are’.

Surely it would be easy to compare a population that have access and those who do not?

Simply take a group from a developed, rich Western nation and compare them to a group that are not, that don’t have the internet access, video games or mobile phones.

REFERENCE

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. UCL 11 JAN 2008

 

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Sleep is fuitile. I'll keep it for the weekend

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Oct 2011, 13:24

Two voices are at each other

The one prattles on about 'how to do it', the other is saying 'shut up, go to sleep'.

One I can deal with, two is one too many.

A moment's irritation, tinitus or the fridge rumbling through the floorboards of the house and I think I may just go to sleep when a third voice pops up.

'I've had an idea!'

Oh boy. So I'm back here, getting it off my chest, as it were, though actually it is more a case of getting it out of my head before it drowns in idea number three.

First the sketch.

This time of a TV box.

There may be just enough happening in the frame to keep my son in one place. He regularly does three things at once: plays World of Warcraft, watches 'Mock the Week' or 'Outnumbered' ... and does his homework. Possibly while listening to music on his iTouch. I really can't tell. Though it is apparently possible to have a conversation with him as well. He's twelve. Can't you tell.

I put a title to my idea

'Towards a new kind of Television'

I think 'hyper-television' might be more appropriate.

And what on earth am I doing bringing a copy of Norman Davies, 'The Isles. A History' downstairs?

This, as it has never had a mention these last four months, is my light relief. My escape from all things e-learning and the Internet or the OU, or stuff. (That technical term again). Norman Davies bores me to sleep at night. But it doesn't, not always. This is the second time I've read this tome ('Europe. A History' will follow in due course).

Balances and difference help the mix.

Mixes, mash-ups and such like have a role to play.

A highly advance tome on Competitive Swimming that makes the sport look like civil engineering is another one for bed. It all goes into my head. Sinks away. Or does it? This is why and how this works, blogging, it gives a thought or a fact a second chance to swim to the surface, to bubble up.

Humble, Bubble, Toil and Tumblr

How to?

I began this process with a video production workshop in the Senior Common Room (Or Middle Common Room) at Balliol College in March 1982? I just tried searching for the entry in my diary, but obviously that bit hasn't been blogged yet. We had Philips micro-cassette video-cameras. We gave them out to fellow students, gave them the basic language of TV shots and techniques as I understood them courtesy of the Kluwer's Production Manual having by then shot and cut a few dozen hours of material myself.

Kit is almost as cheap  today as it was then (we were given it), only the quality is now HD 35mm for a camera the size of and shape of a Ventolin inhaler.

Is it easier to teach the three shot language of video production than say 400 to 2,000 words of vocab to teach English as a Foreign Language?

Of course it is

You don't even have to say anything.

How then to turn basic TV production techniques viral in order to lift the quality of this micro output globally?

Or do people give a monkeys?

If something interesting is going on they'll look at it through any amount of noise. It's called the Zapruder effect. Don't go and see it. How did snuff movies become easy-to-see viewing? The Zapruder effect excuses all the 'You've been framed' clips - rubbish camera work, but cute dog, cat, baby, child, oaf etc:

We'll see

I take the view that however short, there needs to be an idea behind it, a thought, an occurrence, even a narrative.

I'm constantly reminded of a Radio 4 challenge to three speakers to make their point in 45 seconds.

We got 'Bing Bang', 'String Theory' and the 'Offside Rule'. The first, like the opening pages of Genesis was a story with a beginning middle and end in 135 words or so; the second slightly lost its way, but the analogy worked, whereas anyone listening to an attempt at explaining the offside rule in 45 seconds would be left utterly befuddled.

People prefer story to befuddlement.

So who is going to turn Wikipedia into TV?

I cease to be entertained by it. I fear Wikipedia has had its day. Long live 'WikiTVia.'

Half an hour later. What's this about Norman?

I was googling a plumber ventriloquist venture capital person I know. (I have some versatile friends. He can also identify seven kinds of harvester ant).

'As his colleague Thackeray once observed (this is about Thomas Babington Macaulay), 'He reads twenty books to write a sentence; he travels a hundred miles to make a line description.'

All this reading and travelling can of course be achieved in front of computer screen with access to the Internet.

Many more minds, can be liked-minds and big minds.

REFERENCE

Thackeray, quoted by W. Speck, 'Thomas Babington Macaulay', The History of England (Everyman, (London, 1911) vol.II, pp. 488-9.


 

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Wikipedia and SpacedED

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

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

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

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Linguistics, Semantics ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 15:56

And extended working of a response to a thread on placing a list of concepts relating to e.learning on a grid.

Understanding how we are placing these concepts is a path of academic study in its own right.

Semantics

The fascinating thing is to be at a moment in history (again perhaps) where language, or at least certain new words and new concepts are fluid.

Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norman French ... Creole

'Definitions' offered by Wikipedia and the like cannot be 'solid' or 'set within parameters.

How stable is any word?

We know how a generation can take a word to heart and alter, even flip its meaning: wicked, gay, cool, ugly ...

My view is that we are all right in where we place the concepts (on the grid, axes exiting//new & formal//informal) ... and we could each in turn shift things around. Indeed, as I revist this exercise over the following weeks I'm sure I'll do exactly that.

Wherein lies the purpose of the task - we come to our own understanding through engagement with the subject matter ... and those who have been 'here' for a few months are more may be ahead (or at least in a different place). similarly a word can be hijaked. Off the top of my head think of 'Beatles' & 'Oasis.' Thinking longer, how the word 'traffic,' has for example gone from the inane movement of people, goods & vehicles ... to the illegal, & criminal kidnap, expert, trading, rape & prostitution of young woman.

The caveat is that without considerable common ground on what the concepts mean, communication and then action become difficult. To use a hackneyed phrase, 'we all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet.'

Were this a live project with money, clients, schedule & problems to solve, coming to a working agreement would be crucial.

Here's another thought. How are we each saying these words? How we say them adds an important additional layer. Not just any accents, but our state of mind, whether we speak with confidence or we are hesitatnt ... and then during the course of a conversation how we alter how we use the term.

There is good reason for meeting face-to-face. How we say a word is just the start, of course. Our body language adds yet more. Saying 'Just-in-time learning' I might act out a factory worked sifting through widgets on a conveyor belt. Is this your idea of 'just-in-time' - intellectually it is managed somewhat differently and there are different degrees of 'Jit.' There are elements that form part of a predicted learning progression ... and other ;unique' grabs on nuggets of learning that are more literally 'just-in-time.'

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