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On the day I take H818 into the community

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 09:18

In the spirit of doing something different in order to effect change I attended a 'Get Together' organised by Wired Sussex and took the attitude that I would be open to everything and say 'yes' to all.

Over two hours I listened to, shared with and learnt from Neil, Gerry, Olly, Karla, Tristan, Simon, Michael ... and 'TV Simon' as I will call him to differentiated from business managing director 'Simon 16' (16 = number of employees). I only remember the people, what they said and names to faces as, shared with them, I did this thing of pegging a face to a place on a familiar journey - walking through the house.

And so I found Carla at the front door designing jewellery, Gerry on the stairs coaching folk in life skills, Tristan entering my bathroom talking agile eater falls, Kanban and SCRUM techniques while Simon was on the landing with our dog - his blonde hair and scruffy beard in keeping with our blonde Labradoodle perhaps?

Olly was in the garden talking to John, while Neil moved away and subsequently left.

These are only those I met.

There is no so much to follow up on: things to do, things to research, people to get back in touch with. So here's me making some kind of public promise to do so, including having a business card by the time of the next meet up. I own the domain name 'Mind Bursts' which is where I plan to seed ideas and seek ways for them to flourish and bare fruit.

Much of the conversation came from my experience of the Open University's Master of Arts on Open and Distance Education in general (graduated in 2012) and the module H818: The Networked Practitioner that ends tomorrow having submitted End of Module Assignments last week.

 

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The value of Social Learning, lest you forget.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 00:50

Forgetting%2520Curve%25202.JPG

 

Ebbinghaus came up with the 'Forgetting Curve' to indicate how what we learn is soon forgotten unless we continue to engage with it, social learning is a painless way to repeat this engagement process. It also defies the latent loneliness of studying alone with your books and eBooks, LMS and PLE.


The historian EHCarr said 'study a subject until you hear its people speak', in a social learning context you hear these voices. A commentator on Radio 4 (search in my OU Student blog for the reference) said some months ago 'research a subject until the narrative reveals itself' which as my subject of interest is e-learning is achieved by doing this, over a 1000 e-learning posts in my blog and over two years on the Open University's MA in Open & Distance Learning.

I picked up the name Ebbinghaus in a paper written by James Cory- Wright on the Brightwave website, responded to a prompt for disucssion in an Epic Linkedin Group and am posting all of this in my Open University Student Blog to  share with fellow travellers on the MAODE: H807, H808, H 800, H810, H809 and/or any ellectives a person  may choose to do as an alterantive.

Epic and Brightave, along with Kineo and others are part of the e-learning cluster in Brighton.

Find out more at Wired Sussex.

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Meeting of worlds: universities and small businesses

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Apr 2012, 07:58

Back in 'civvy street' having left the OU after a year in Milton Keynes I got chatting with someone now at the University of Brighton who had 20 years at th OU; he laughed at the degree of truth in my calling it (with love) as 'the priesthood' not least because onarrival for interviews in February 2011 I felt as if I was visiting the Vatican.

There were five others from the University of brighton st this evening event at The Skiff in Brighton's ubber trendy North Lanes.

Phil Jones the MD of Wired Sussex did the introductions.

This was to be a shared conversation on how Brighton and Sussex Universities could work with the 'wired' Brighton sector.

Miltos Petridis, New Head of School, Computing, Maths & Engineering. Brighton University gave the presentation.

I was lucky to spend a goid 15 minutes with him before the presentation and heard some fascinating ideas on how algorithms are used to look at vast quantities of email and social media conversations.

Miltos is from the University of Grenwich where he developed an interest in AI, essentially doing clever things with v. large amounts of data.

He said that Universities tend to thrive in times of recession; I should have asked him why?

More people seing security in a qualification?

There is a desire to hook up with alumni long term, especially as so many choose to stay in the area. I liked what one contributor described as 'fine-grained collisions', sandwhich courses and internships for example where undergraduates with desirable niche skills cab put them to good use' in industry'.

Miltos made the point that 'What we are calling clouds a few years ago used to be mainframes'.

Another contibutor with a music degree said that this taught him the value of collaboration, a skill too many graduates lack. I wonder if proof of collaborating online couldn't be offered in evidence?

  • There was talk abput apprenticeships.
  • Being mentored.
  • Creating a sense of accomplishment over a week.

I plan to attend Wrired Sussex events in Brighton regularly, also IVCA meetings in London; networking online isn't enough, it is relationships made face to face that lead to something. So I've rejoined the Institue of Swimming and in constract, the Royal Academy.

(I have always thought the the sides of swimming pools would make a fantastic gallery for art; has anyone to your knowledge done this outside the private home of the very wealthy?)

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Networking

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 17:02

The old fashioned kind ... off-line.

Evenings & weekends I'm a swim coach. Chatting to a parent last night about her son's crisis over course work and exams for GCSEs I mentioned the OU course I was doing. Before I know it I've got an introduction to the person responsible for training at a large county council. I was also able to get some insights into how 'e.learning' has gone. The greatest memory was of too many poor links in the early days so that anyone on a course constantly found they were being linked to the wrong place and coming to a dead end. After a few years of doing it all in-house it is now outsourced.

A start has been made.

Attending a Careers Fair in Brighton put on by Wired Sussex delivered three companies that specialise in e.learning. If I can convince them I can be introduced to their clients I may have an in here too. And once again, old fashioned 'face-to-face' interactions is/was the key. As salespeople know it is harder to turn someone down in the flesh and in this context they can see that I am a well-meaning, well-turned out, experienced & savvy bloke.

A start.

 

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Innovators to Laggards ... I do wonder.

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'What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning.’ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)

Whilst Roger’s categories may be his view of people on an historical landscape of invention they are a simplification - wherein lies our first dilemma - to open our minds to the nature & possibilities of e.learning we need to find a way to engage with its complexity.

We could each come up with our own equally valid descriptors and argue our case.

What is more, there is an in-built bias to these terms: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards. With ‘laggards,’ perhaps like ‘Luddites’ pejoratively considered to be of less worth than the ‘innovators.’

Or not?

Ideas sell. So does innovation. I know from experience. As the inventive one  - the team needed a salesperson. (an early adopter) and a business manager (very much in the late majority verging on being a laggard). A new business, that if successful may prove an innovation works, is like a pop group, made up of an assortment of band members. An innovator alone is like the nutty profession, Mr Brainstorm or from 'Back to the Future', Dr Emit Brown & his ‘flux-capacitor’ that drove his time machine. Does not the innovator sell to the early adopter? What is the point in tryin to sell to the laggard? And what role does the market play for innovations? In advertising we talked of 'preaching to the converted.' In relation to innovative products, you need to be selling to those who are already or are prone to 'buy in' to the new technology, software or service.

Roger’s is surely just one set of stepped criteria, we could as readily differentiate between:

  • various levels of success & failure,
  • between risk takers vs & the risk averse
  • between the foolish & considered
  • between experimental vs experiential
  • between novelty vs tried & tested


And each or any of these could be researched, charted, put on maps and shared as annotated demographic pyramids.

As Mel Brooks put it in relation to writing:

'Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.'

All Rogers has done is to give some characters types separate terms.

Aptly, from the world of writing fiction (novels, screenplays) there are the terms ‘protagonist’ & ‘antagonist.’ I wonder if in a screenplay that incorporated characters from Roger’s terms by implication the ‘protagonist’ is the innovator, while the ‘antagonist’ is the laggard. And do you know what, it is the conflict between the two that generates innovation, the one trying to prove themselves right, the storyline in which the ‘early adopters,’ ‘early majority,’ ‘late majority’ & ‘laggards’ literally buy into the service or produc

... or not?

Where else have we been grouped & bunched?

In ‘Sloane Rangers’ Peter York defined a group form Chelsea, a dress sense and background, a typical mode of behaviour and in newspapers at the time other socio-economic groups were dwelt upon and picked up by what they wore and how they spoke.

Labels are used to bully

Would you like to be called a ‘laggard;’ over an ‘innovator.’ Coming out of advertising I am used to those in what we called ‘planning’ categorising customers in all manner of ways to suit the product, the client & the moment. 

In 2001 I took an Enneagram Test and came out as a FIVE.

“Fives are basically on some level estranged from the rest of the world, consequently, their mind is usually their best friend. They like to analyze things and make sense of them (that is their anchor), this makes them great inventors and philosophers. The immense inner world of fives can cause them to lose touch or interest in reality."

http://similarminds.com

Instead of innovators and laggards these ‘tests’ gave you a number. I am not a number, or a term. I’d like to think of myself as something more complex, wouldn't you? As Anais Nin puts it, we are each a book:

‘There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.‘ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)

It is from this complexity, this individualisation (if you must) and tapping into it, that innovation results, and where e.learning innovation is heading. Which is why I am here.

'What's new about new media? Not much!'

So I wrote a decade ago when briefing a team of communications managers from ABB on the use of the web.

What seems innovative today, may not seem so innovative tomorrow. Indeed, is it still innovative once it has become familiar and every day? And might one way of determining when something is no longer innovative when it is adopted by the ‘laggards.' Crystal sets became the wireless that in turn became the radio. carphone, becomes mobies (cellphones), then smart phones (and iphones).

Nearly a decade ago a group of ‘innovators’ met at Sussex Net Ventures. (Tuesday 19th September 2000) At this event hosted by Wired Sussex, Hugh Griffiths of iTouch said there would be

“No killer application but a killer cocktail.”


hugh.griffiths@itouch.com

This cocktail, to result in innovation, requires a team that includes a cross-section of those ‘labelled’ by Rogers: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards.

What makes an innovator?


Why do they stand out? Because they are passionate? Persuasive? Determined? Imaginative? Entrepreneurial? Well educated? Moneyed? All of these things, or none of them.

And why are there so few of them? Henry Miller puts in well in ‘Tropic of Cancer.’

“What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs."

Who can deny the self-belief of Bill Gates? Or Tim Berners-Lee?


Innovators believe in what they are doing. Whether they are successful (and how you measure or determine success is another matter).

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