OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

I am the Ghost in the Machine

Visible to anyone in the world

Working with a Richoh Thetga SC 360 camera I am finding that I keep ending up in the picture. Inadvertently I may have set the self-timer. I take the picture then re-emerge from my hiding place and end up in the picture. Nor have I got the electronic settings right. AUTO clearly has too low a shutter speed in order to allow the maximum light into the 'frame'.

On the one hand I am enjoying the novelty and the experimentation. On the other hand I am constantly questioning their use and value in education. A 360 image is just one of many kinds of image, and framing that could be used. The question should not be 'how do we use this technology' and shoe-horn it into a piece of learning, but rather what is the desired learning outcome and what tools would be best suited to achieve this.

Colleges are only just beginning to have the resources to have a Learning Technologist on board, however we also need Learning Design.

My aim will be to import both Learning Design and Communications skills to the tasks at hand. As a 'communicator" i will start to introduce the 'Creative Brief' in order to help establish the context in which a piece of work will be delivered. I will also start to think about the learning design, Of course all of this should be done with the 'subject matter expert' - the tutor. 

On a scale of tutor involvement we can go from a classroom or tutorial where the students are expected to hang on the educator's every word. At the other end of the scale the tutor, and subject team, involvement is hidden in the design and content as a piece of self-directed learning. In between we have blended learning where a class are monitored and guided by a human presence - ostensibly they have work to get on with, but someone is there to get them started, to direct them and keep them focused.

So much to do! So much to learn! So much to achieve!

Any of the coures content I am working on could of course be used with many thousands of students, and be repeated each year (so long as the syllabus remains the same). With scale there ought to be a better budget too.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Scene Building

Visible to anyone in the world

Who am I? (Point of view). Who is accessing this scene for the reader?

Stay in that person’s head – same applies to omniscient narrator. Stay in their age, their voice, their way of thinking/see/noticing, because of who they are and where they are, both emotionally and physically, and contextually (time of relating this story).

Now, from that person’s viewpoint, i.e. you are him or her:

What can you see?

What can you hear?

What can you smell?

What do you touch?

What do you taste?

i.e put me in that place.

What are you doing?

Show me state of mind/emotions/reactions

What are you saying?

What are you thinking?

With thanks to Susannah Waters for this.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

What's a MOOC from FutureLearn life? It's as easy as turning the pages of a book

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Jan 2015, 11:12

My interest is e-learning. A decade ago it was web-based learning and before that it was online learning ... as compared to 'offline' learning on an intranet or in a computer learning centre. Across this period, whether on Laser disc, CD-rom, DVD, or online the key words to describe a successful piece of learning might include: easy to use, intuitive, effective, measurable results, gamified and impressive. 'Impressive' for a corporate client has always been important - they want to see how their money is spent. It matters to jazz a thing up, to find a way to deliver exception creative qualities in both the ideas and the execution of these ideas. In H.E. this 'impressiveness' has been thin on the ground the experience and view of H.E. that someone talking to camera with a slide show or whiteboard will do the job; it doesn't, not any more.

At the risk of writing a list I want to think about the 'enhanced learning' experiences that have impressed over the last 15 years:

Audi Shop DVD - Gold Award Winner at the IVCA awards. Stunning animated 3D animations of the engine. Like a 3D animated Dorling Kindersley

What are you like? - Gold Award Winner at the IVCA awards. An interactive life and career guide for teenagers done in the style of 'In Betweeners' and 'Some Girls' - nailed the audience with creative tone and visual effects. This won BAFTAs, the IVCA Grand Prix and NMA Effectiveness Awards. 

Ideafisher - first on floppy discs, then a CD. It did in the 1990s what various websites do today by linking vast collections of aggregated ideas and concepts that it filters out and offers up. The closest I've felt to AI for creativity.

MMC - online marketing courses. These were, for me, in 2010, an early example of stringing the face to camera lecture together with course notes to create a course. Still more like a self-directed traditional lecture series but the volume of content was admirable and some of the tools to control the viewing and reading experience were innovative.

TED Lectures. Are they learning? Or are they TV? Are they modelled on the BBC's Annual Reith Lecture series? Top of the Pops for the lecture circuit so tasters and Open Education Resources for grander things. 

Rosetta Stone - iPad App

Pure simplicity. I love these. I gave a year to an intermediate course in French, learnt some grammar and fixed several problems with my pronunciation. Like that game 'Pairs' you play as a child: a pack of cards with pairs of images on one side that you pair up. With considered, only sometimes over art-directed photography. Repetitive, always in the language you are learning. The next best thing to being dropped in amongst native speakers as an infant. It just works.

iTunesU - The History of English in One Minute.

Not so much a course as a series of stunning and memorable cartoon pieces that galvanise your interest. The next step is to follow through with a free trial course through OpenLearn and perhaps a nudge then towards a formal course with the Open University proper. 

FutureLearn - the entire platform.

As easy as reading a book. I've done eight of these and have another three on the go (two for review rather than as a participant). Across the myriad of subjects and offerings there are differences, all gems, but some are more outstanding than others. It is no surprise that those MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) produced by the Open University are some of the very best; it's what you'd expect with their experience. Other university's shine through for their confidence with the the platform too, for example, 'How to read a mind' from the University of Nottingham. 

MOOCs I love enough to repeat:

Start Writing Fiction: From the Open University

I may have been through this a couple of times in full and now dip back into it as I get my head into gear. I'll do this as often as it takes to get the thinking to stick. It's working. I read as a writer. I will interrupt a story to pick out how a succinct character description works.  I'm also chasing up a myriad of links into further Open University courses and support on creative writing. For example: next steps, creative writing tasters, and audio tasters on iTunes. 

MOOCs I may repeat next year ... or follow similar topics from these providers:

Word War 1: Trauma and Memory: From the Open University with the BBC

World War 1: Paris 1919 - A New World: From the University of Glasgow with the BBC

MOOCs I admire that target their academic audiences with precision:

How to Read a Mind: The University of Nottingham

Shakespeare's Hamlet: From the University of Birmingham

Web Science: How the Web is changing: From the University of Southampton

 

 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Future Learn WW1 Aviation

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014, 21:55

 Fig. 1 Flight Cadet John Arthur Minty, RAF Crail late 1918

A fascinating stimulus to further study, though by its title and how grouped in WW1 themes by FutureLearn I would have expected the focus to have been the rise of aviation during the First World War to the exclusuion of all else, with some introduction to aviation coming into the Great War and a period to reflect on the interwar years. There have been criticisms by fellow travellers on the broad and 'open' nature of the learning experience as if kearning should be exclusive and elitist. 'Open' should mean exactly that for a myriad of reasons. Fundamentally this is about the quality of learning through the amazing 'connectedness' of the Internet and the recreation online of a 'community of practice'. It is also about what the former Xerox Head of Learning John Seely Brown calls 'learning from the periphery' where experts at the centre attract and welcome the newcomers on the fringe and finally, it is about 'vicarious' learning, not always knowing what you are going to get - the many insights and surprises that we've had here. I'm sure people aren't making full use of the tools to filter these massive threaded discussions: by recent activity across the topics, by those you follow and where there may be a reply to your own comment. To design, write and manage a MOOC you need to do them. 

Most MOOCS and most online courses, struggle with the quizzes. These deserve as much thought and preparation as a lecture series. They are hard to do well. The very best examples I've found were created on a platform called 'Spaced-Ed' now QStream by a team originating from the Harvard Medical School supporting Junior Doctors. Multiple choice can be a stimulating learning experience in its own right: challenging participants to use what they have learnt, and adding to this knowledge by making them think through responses that are not necessarily obvious. Replies to getting the answer right or wrong need to recognise the choices made and then inform, guide or further the learning experience. For the only example I've seen across six FutureLearn MOOCs where they are getting it right is The OU's module on 'Start Writing Fiction' where the 'quiz' makes you think. They don't need to be light-hearted.

If the BBC are closely involved in the production of video sequences then I'd expect three things: ideas around presentation that work, are relevant and make you think; media training for non-professional presenters and however done to 'broadcast' standards technically and stylistically.

What a truly brilliant discussion. I need to get my head around this and my copious notes from my mechanically minded late grandfather who trained as a fighter pilot in 1918 and was fascinated by the engines and had a few near-fatal scrapes with the things when they failed mid-flight. I'll wake him up, or bring his ashes over to the computer so that he can listen in!

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

H800:3 Technology (the mobile kind)

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:45

In fact any kind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I have to go mobile.

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

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

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

What's the use?

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

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

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

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

 

Permalink
Share post

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.

Total visits to this blog: 5190575