## Personal Blogs

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H818: The Networked Practitioner introduced all manner of traits that might be developed in relation to openness and online learning in particular. One idea was that of 'asking' - so crowd funding at one level and direct requests at the other rather than simply passively waiting for someone to come along and as if by osmosis offer their assistance with really knowing what it is that you want.

Asking to some, is selling to others. They are the same thing. We ask for funding, we ask for fees, we ask to be paid for our services.

The simplest example of an easy ask that is a by product of simply 'getting stuff out there' came yesterday from the British Library. They have just launched a web resource that gives free access to many hundreds of files, images  and artefacts that relate to the First World War.

The simple ask was for me to link to them from my blog on the First World War. My views aren't big, it is a niche subject to be interest in the Machine Gun Corps 1914-1918! But the 'ask' worked and in a small way this 'connectedness' with a little direct input should help give the subject matter some vibrancy.

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## Amanda Palmer: Share, share alike and ask

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:44

Fig. 1. Amanda Palmer TED Talk

A fellow student on H818 The networked Practitioner found this 13 minute TED talk from Amanda Palmer who secured $1.2m in crowdsouring to record an album. I reflect on the significance of her life story and perspective on asking for, trusting and giving. It isn't a collaborative endeavour where the crowd take part, but rather closer to a performer seeking recompense from an audience that permits them to do more of the same. I doubt 'crowd funding' will kill of the X Factor. Personaly I get what she is saying and will press on with a crowd sourcing project - a few people saying they'd put in$200 encourages me. I need to raise about $20,000 to digitise video 'archive' I shot as an undergraduate in the 1980s. That's just the start of it. Self-funding short-films that cost £10,000 to make for £500 TV rights doesn't work for anyone. In 1999 when I started to blog 'we' paired up with a designer who did the platform and coding for free ... but we'd ask for donations. These generally came from the same people who were trying to make a go of this new medium so I guess the funds were circulating in a closed community - or, what I think is the case, for those who create there are 96% others who partake, or consume. Like the trobadors. What Amanda Palmer expresses IS common to much that is created on the web, certainly, for its earliest days of 'share and share alike' that I had felt had long gone. This sense of connection with people though comes from pleasing that fraction of a huge population. Fig.2. Amanda Palmer in her days as the 8ft Bride living statue Personally I have never given money to a living statue, though I have never shouted abuse at them either. I have however busked in my teens, even getting into bars and restaurants to do a set and by default found people wanted to pay me when I sat in parks drawing and would do portraits - I couldn't part with the drawings as I needed them for my A'Level portfolio. But I personally liked the sensation and drew satisfaction for doing something that others enjoyed that they couldn't do themselves - perhaps this explains my love for performance and theatre, another activity I long ago quit in favour of efforts to get and keep 'that job' that people yelling from cars would talk about. I wonder if this too explains the inclination of educators to 'do it for free', at least from the security of tenure with a college, school or university? My father in law is an 85 year old academic who has 'given it away' all his life, going way, way beyond allotted 'hours' as a tutor ... the consequence is that he does have hundreds turn out to 'gigs' and 'fund raisers' for his net project. So, interestingly, I think there is a lesson here that has a good deal to do with openness in education. This isn't the same as collaboration though. An audience gives their time, their presence, or food, or a sofa to sleep on - even money when it is asked for, and even inspite of not asking for it in the case of the$10 from the bloke who burned Amanda's CD that he had been given as a gift.

Openness, I wonder, from characters such as Amanda, is a psychological need for some and a requirement in society. We are still, as human beings, pre-urban, pre-monetised, where in a self-supporting community a community of people could meet all their needs - including the need to be entertained and taken out of our heads. Perhaps an anthropologist would describe Amanda Palmer as a natural 'witch doctor'. Amanda wonders if 'the internet is taking us back, about a few people loving us enough' - to a sense of shared society and community.

I like the comparison between sleeping on someone's couch and crowd surfing (though it wasn't her on the couch in this story). THAT is more usual, and I've done this too, hitching through France in my teens (again), on more than one occasion we were taken home, given a meal and either allowed to put our tent up in a garden or given the couch to sleep on.

So how does this explain or justify 'crowd sourcing'?

It comes down to trust. Which also means having a thick skin or ignoring some of the vitriol written in the comments to this TED lecture - nothing like controversy to get the fingers typing.

'The perfect tools won't help us (I'm paraphrasing) if we can't face each other and give and receive fearlessly and ask without shame'. Amanda Palmer, TED Talk 12:11

But will this mean that like Cacofinix some musicians will play even when they don't have a commercial future?

The number of buskers who deserve my £1 are rare ... sometimes I give them £1 because I admire their nerve. Sometimes they too should keep quiet - they might get more as a living statue. I'll have to go and listen to Amanda Palmer's music now. This isn't sustainable for the film industry ... how can a movie costing \$200m make its money back on handouts? Or is crowdsourcing and handouts an alternative means of funding?

I'll know when I've tried it.

If educators are funded by the state, from taxation, are they living on hand outs? Is the BBC a product of this culture of hand outs too? If during a MOOC participants are asked to pay what they can afford will this permit those who can't pay to continue thanks to the largesse of those who can and want to?

I'm off to make a donation to a friend who has spent his life writing - and to a lesser or greater degree getting published. How else can we enjoy commentators?

Couchsurfing IS my father in law staying with his former pupils whenever he travels to north America or continental Europe - they want to put him up, and on a lecturer's pension he couldn't travel otherwise. He didn't need the Internet to develop this crowd either - though it makes it easier to be in touch these days.

In education the Amanda Palmer as lecturer would put on a free gig and then take the hat around - those who could pay might pay over the odds, those who couldn't pay would have the benefit of her talk, while those who could pay but don't make up that fraction of society who habitually take and give nothing back anyway.

To what degree have religions relied on the largesse of followers? A hat being passed around at a gig? The hat going round after a performance by a juggler in Covent Garden ... or the collection box going round after a church service?

Thought provoking in its controversy.

I've not seen so many NEGATIVE comments coming out of a TED lecture before either.

Some Music (think 'Hazel O'Connor, Breaking Glass 1980):

In My Mind

The Oasis Music Video

The Killing Type

Dear Daily Mail

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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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