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Why blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Feb 2013, 09:28

'As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect'. Efimova (2009. p 70)

REFERENCE

Efimova, L. (2009) Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD Research Series 2009 (www.novay.nl.dissertations)

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Lilia Efimova - Post PhD on Blogging (with purpose)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013, 09:10

Lilia Efimova

PhD Blogger

http://blog.mathemagenic.com/

REFERENCES

Anjewierden, A, & Efimova, L 2006, 'Understanding Weblog Communities Through Digital Traces: A Framework, a Tool and an Example', Lecture Notes In Computer Science, 4277, pp. 279-289, British Library Document Supply Centre Inside Serials & Conference Proceedings, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

Efimova, LL 2007, 'Getting value from employee weblogs: a knowledge management approach', Online Information -International Meeting-, p. 43, British Library Document Supply Centre Inside Serials & Conference Proceedings, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

Sauer, I, Bialek, D, Efimova, E, Schwartlander, R, Pless, G, & Neuhaus, P 2005, '“ Blogs” and“ Wikis” Are Valuable Software Tools for Communication Within Research Groups', Artificial Organs, 29, 1, pp. 82-89, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

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Three years blogging here

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 6 Feb 2013, 22:09

Day%25252520One%25252520Post%25252520One%252525206%25252520FEB%252525202010.JPG

That's every day. Invaluable.

Day one ... of 1097.

So there ought to be 1097 posts ... it looks like it, but is there some way of knowing?

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Can I Show it To My Grandparents?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 13:02

This is the first blog I came across in 1998.

A few months later I was up and running. I couldn't code so had to wait for a generic platform to post to. This was Diaryland. Then along came LiveJournal. And five years or so ago I decamped to WordPress.

Millions of words, and millions of bloggers later and the world of self-publishing (we now call it user generated content) is a profoundly important form of global and universal communication.

I like the line 'can I show it to my grandparents' as if in 1998 they would be online and looking.

I re-found these pages courtesy of waybackwhen - type in a defunct web address and discover to your delight or horror that everything that was ever posted online is still out there.

If you thought that locking the pages would save you, you're mistaken.

One click and it's there forever.

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What's the point of a portfolio? Whether online or at home in your desk?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 7 Feb 2013, 06:44

Balancing%2520two%2520faces%2520of%2520eportfolios.JPG

Fig. 1. The two faces of e-portfolios. Barrett (2010).

Think of an e-portfolio in terms of:

  • Workspace
  • Showcase
  • Specific academic fields
  • A Learning journey

Evidence (content):

  • Writing
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Research projects
  • Observations by mentors and peers
  • Reflective thinking

(Butler 2006, p. 2) My view is that these tasks, or affordances, are better and well managed by a blog. During 2010 while in my first year of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) not only were we encouraged to use the OU Student Blog platform, but we were also encourages to use the OU eportfolio MyStuff.

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Fig. 2 Müllschlucker

I dutifully 'dumped' and labelled content, even sorted it in an effort to write assignment using this system. I would liken it to a Müllschlucker - a rubbish shoot in a tall appartment block (Isn't the German for it such a great word?)  - it made grabbing and dumping stuff easy. What was far harder was to sift through this content and create meaning from it  a a later date. It didn't have enough of me about it most of the time to trigger recollections. We got a warning that MyStuff would be killed off - I made a stab at sorting through what I'd put there, but like boxes of papers in a lock-up garage I was more relieved when it was over. I also tried a couple of external e-portfolio services: Peppblepad and Mahara for example. I tripped up quickly as the learning curve was too steep for me - and why duplicate what I was enjoying with WordPress?

I'm about to cook a lasagna, so why give me a pick-axe? Or, I want to make a toasted sandwich so why give me a MagiMix? All tools need to be carefully promoted, demonstrated then used in a sandpit with careful instruction and support. Basic scaffolding in other words.

"The overarching purpose of portfolios is to create a sense of personal ownership over one's accomplishments, because ownership engenders feelings of pride, responsibility, and dedication." (Paris and Ayres, 1994,p.10).

"The e-portfolio is the central _and common point for the student experience. It is a reflection of the student as a person undergoing continuous personal development, _not just a store of evidence." (Rebbeck, 2008) Process (a series of activities) Product (the end result of the process) Blogging and keeping an e-portfolio are synonymous

A web-log, or blog, is an online journal that encourages communication of ideas, and individual entries are usually displayed in reverse-chronological order. Barrett  (2010, p6)

Blogs provide an ideal tool to construct learning journals, as discussed by Crichton and Kopp (2008) from the University of Calgary, ‘... that eJournals help to make ePortfolios more authentic and relevant to the students’ lives.’

Workspace or Working Portfolio. Washington Stage University.

  • Or (digital) shoebox.
  • Presentation Portfolios, showcase or ‘showtime.’

John Dewey (1933) discusses both retrospective (for analysis of data) and prospective modes of reflection (for planning). Beck and Bear (2009) studied reflection in the teaching cycle, comparing how pre-service teachers rated the development of their reflection skills in both formative and summative e-folios. E-portfolio%2520based%2520learning%2520KOLB.JPG Fig. 3. JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC. (Page 11)

Reflection is the "heart and soul" of a portfolio, and is essential to brain-based learning (Kolb, 1984; Zull, 2002). Once we have looked back over our body of work, then we have an opportunity to look forward, setting a direction for future learning through goals... reflection in the future tense. Barrett  (2010, p3)

Blogs are organized in reverse chronological order; most showcase portfolios are organized thematically, around a set of learning goals, outcomes or standards. Both levels of reflection and organization are important, and require different strategies for supporting different levels of reflection.

REFERENCE

Barrett, H. (2010). Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 3(1), 6-14. [Online], Available online: http://eft.educom.pt (Accessed 29 SEPT 2010) http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/ (Accessed 4 NOV 2012) Updated version http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/Balancing2.htm (Accessed 4 NOV 2012)

Beck, R. & Bear, S. (2009) "Teacher's Self-Assessment of Reflection Skills as an Outcome of E-Folios" in Adamy & Milman (2009) Evaluating Electronic Portfolios in Teacher Education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishers.

Beetham, H. (2005) e-Portfolios in post-16 learning in the UK: Developments, issues and opportunities www.jisc.ac.uk/media/ documents/themes/elearning/eportfolioped.pdf Bruce, L (1994) Self-Assessment (Last accessed 4Nov2012) http://ozpk.tripod.com/000000selfassess

Butler, P (2006)  Review of the Literature on Portfolios and Eportfolios.  eCDF ePortfolio Project. Massey University College of Education. Palmerston North, New Zealand Crichton, S. and Kopp, G. (2008) "The Value of eJournals to Support ePortfolio Development for Assessment in Teacher Education." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York City, March 24–28, 2008.  An updated version of this paper was published by the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Innovations in Education, 2nd Edition, April 2011. Available online (PDF of book); Printable version of revised article: balancingarticle2.pdf

Dewey,J. (1933) How we think. How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. (1971 ed.). Chicago:Regnery

JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Paris, S., & Ayres, L. (1994). Becoming reflective students and teachers. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association. Rebbeck, G (2008) e-Learning Coordinator, Thanet College, quoted in JISC, 2008). Zull, J. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing

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Blogging, aggregating and curation ... Huh?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 21:38

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).

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This is the tea party of blog platforms, the Wild West is long gone.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 08:38

Going for 250,000 views before graduation. At 1000 views a week and my final module coming up why not. But why? It is'nt a qualitative thing. And I'm never about to post completed assignments. I am, as we alll become online, very aware of the context. This is no different to what we do anywhere, we behave accordingly. 12 years ago online was the Wild West.

 

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Why academics should blog. Matin Weller (from his blog)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012, 15:06

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Professor Martin Weller's BLOG

'In terms of intellectual fulfilment, creativity, networking, impact, productivity, and overall benefit to my scholarly life, blogging wins hands down. I have written books, produced online courses, led research efforts, and directed a number of university projects. While these have all been fulfilling, blogging tops the list because of its room for experimentation and potential to connect to timely intelligent debate. That keeps blogging at the top of the heap'.

Martin Weller (2011)

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Where is a blog is a blog, an e-portfolio, a wiki and forum? Right here!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:58

The Open University provide an OU Student Blog platform, which you are required to use for some modules to build up reflective practice, they also provide a portfolio called MyStuff in which to dump stuff.

As portfolios either system can be used to aggregate content that can be shared, offered with restricted access or kept private.

I have been on the Masters in Open & Distance Education for two years, we have to give blogs, potfolios, wikis and other tools a go.

My conclusion, shared amongst fellow students, is that the 'modern' blog platform, such as Wordpress offers all of this, as in a wonderfully simple, bulletin board kind of way the OU's own blog offering.

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Why blog? A lecturer's perspective

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:28

Why blog? The lecturer's story

Dr Matthew Ashton's blog

Six months updating it roughly once a day.  Around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.

WHY?

A rewarding experience

New ways of teaching learning student engagement

A wide range of political topics every week.  Students don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. An excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.

Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge.

Saturday on “Political advertising”  helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning. 

By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources. 

Encouraging writing and research

500 words acts as a warm  up exercise  A way of stockpiling material. Prepared

New ways of sharing ideas and research findings

VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals can take years.

It can act as an unofficial means of peer review.

Engaging with people outside the academic

Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds.

For instance I’ve had some  illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution. 

In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.

Raising your academic profile

It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university. 

On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania. 

On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.

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OU Student Blog ANALYTICS

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 16 Feb 2012, 18:20

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As they're not offered in any detail I don't fret, but for the first time in 2 years, in fact in after about 735 days blogging on this OU platform (most days, sometimes more than once) I thought I start taking a look at what is going in.

I need to pull this apart a but further. I need to look at year on year, at course starts, particularly MAODE modules as well as seasonal and weekly shifts. Perhaps time of day.

Not that anyone needs to know 'when is the best time to blog on the OU Student platform'.

The answer is a little and often (and never miss more than 2 or 3 days in a row)

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Academic paper on blogging

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Birds of a Feather: How personality influences blog writing and reading. (2010) Jami Li and Mark Chignell. Science Direct. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 68 (2010) 589-602  
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Blogging and digital scholarship

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Jun 2014, 15:26

Blogs as thought sharing

Non-linearity

Criticalness and multivariate collision

Shaohui and Lihua (2008)

'Amateurs' often create content which addresses subjects that academics may not and also in a manner which differs from traditional teaching', Weller (2011)

Generating content as a by-product of what is done anyway: Keeping notes working up ideas Weller (2011)

Networking = crowd sourcing

Lazy web = access to experts

Reciprocity is key

The relationship between a blogger and a reader is maintained if the blogger provides interesting and regular updates.

Reference

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar. How technology is transforming scholarly practice. Bloomsbury

Shaohui, W and Lihua, M. (2008) The application of blog in modern education

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24 Reasons to Blog

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 05:03

'Many if the characteristics which would be frowned upon in scholarly articles, such as subjectivity, humour, and personal opinion, are vital elements in developing a dialogue in blogs'. Weller (2011)

I had another stab at this (did one yesterday on the fly). This one I've given a bit more thought as I am keen to promote the idea of blogging to colleagues; the more the merrier to me. It goes under the title 'User Generate Content'.

I do wonder though if it isn't a mindset, that I'd have the same issues getting people to take up drawing or singing.

You either do or don't?

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I realise that to get this right in the learning context you must define who the learner is and put it in context.

QUESTIONS

  • Why do you blog?
  • If you've just started will you keep going?
  • What's the incentive?
  • Do you have an external blog too?
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27 Reasons to blog

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 05:14

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I've forgotten a few, not least the ones that got me started here:

  • As an ice-breaker (introducing ourselves by way of holiday snaps and pets ... not to be recommended for setting the appropriate tone).
  • Reflection (and learning how to do this correctly).
  • Stream of consciousness
  • A Writer's Journal
  • As an e-portfolio

So I've missed out some important ones sad Visiting Channel Flip I was treated to a screening of Lee Hardcastle's new stop animation horror short. Is this blogging, or having your own TV channel?

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The Digital Scholar (2011) Martin Weller NOTES

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 31 May 2012, 10:26

Martin Weller (2011)

INTRODUCTION

Introduced to the power of blogging by John Naughton

(Worth following in the Guardian. Surely a demonstration of how academics blur the line between academic and journalistic writing styles successfully, just as Weller intimates that students will have to learn to differentiate between social networking writing styles and the academic style of an assignment, paper or thesis?)

· Explain things in depth

· Give all sides to the argument

· Why academics can't do the elevator pitch

The Digital Scholar was written through a blog to explore the advent of new technologies.

Wrote his last book on VLEs in 2004.

(By coincidence I am using it to prop up the iPad)

  • Online databases
  • Searching
  • Bookmarks from Delicious
  • Google Reader
  • cited posts from blogs, but not only text, also video.

Blogging for around five years

Also keeps a scrapbook like blog in Tumblr.

(I’ve used Flickr, and Tumblr, even Kodak Gallery in its time. Now I put everything into Picasa Web. The 250 grabs, charts and images are open to share. Dion Hinchcliffe offers his social media diagrams free as separate assets in Flickr River).

  • A way to offer drafts to ask for feedback
  • Sharing resources
  • Working in an intellectually vibrant environment
  • Google alerts providing updates on key words
  • Keeping abreast of the field
  • Declining attendance of conferences

‘With special thanks to’

By sharing content online I believe I may finally find my own way to publication.

Many of these services did not exist or were in their infancy in 2004.

Blogs in particular

A book

There significant changes:

1) The quantity of information available - all digital compared

2) 3000 on Twitter, 2000 subscribe to his blog

Appeals

Distributed, global resource to contemporary issues, puss of new technologies,

contributions by video and audio

3) The richness and range of contributions to include blogs, comments and

debate, video and conferences.

 

A shift I attitude to the legitimacy of these contributions.

 

Both a physical object and complementary material.

Grainne Conole using cloudworks.

Another posting a weekly video to encourage debate.

 

Concept of scholarship

 

Suffiently broad term, not only teaching and research,

not just engaged in research and employed by universities.

 

In a digital

Someone who employs digital and open technologies in a particular field.

Bloggers link to each other, democratic and easy to set up.

Epitomy of the kind

of technlogy that results in innovation.

Read or unread, daily or months,

specialist or generalist.

 

How do we recognise talent?


Should people separate out that academic and informal lives?


· Quantity

· Role of social networks

· Range of resources

 

Transformation of practice


All scholars are digital if they use a word processor and PowerPoint. But this

is 'business as usual'.

 

1) Digital

All digital files and shared by the same method.

 

2) Networked, nor longer isolated.

Easy distribution VS restriction of

scholarship to libraries, conferences, lectures and seminars. Once digitised the

barriers come down.

Dunbar. Friends 150. Reinforce with interaction. Online with a wide group of

peers.

 

3) Openness

Tim O'Reilly 2004 the architecture of participation.

Finely worked material of the journal, compared to seeing where things will lead

by sharing.

 

Digital, Networked, Open.


E.g collaboration between two people (Frank & Sally)

 

The value of a person's individual network for distribution.

The collaboration of two academics sharing their outputs they go along ... Just

a shift?

Collective impact changes everything.

 

Fast, cheap and out of control.


Brian Lamb. 1970 documentary. intersection of

all three is significant to education.

Fast to write and set up, no need for central services.

Cheap tools that have a premium, no need to turn to a budget holder.

Out of control. Outside normal institutional controls.

Money/payment and the need to persist with a certain system.

Student record systems need to be robust.

 

The good enough revolution. Wired (2009)


E.g. Flip video ... Cheap, fast and everywhere.

Dinky, lower power technology that is just good enough.

VS. Dystopian and Utopian points of view.

VS. Technological determination - humans controlled by the kit, rather than the

kit controlling the people.

 

Unpredictable

 

Taking something and using it in a way never imagined

E.g. Flickr started as a game that used photo sharing.

Social construction of technology

Complex process of co-construction

Adoption of new technology is changing scholarship. Boyer 1990

1) Context

2) Evidence

3) Other industry changes in music and newspapers

4) Boyer 1990 scholarship discovery, integration, practice, application,

teaching

*

*

*

*

9) How digital scholarship may change teaching

10) Analogy of networked weather - you can't help but be touched by it.

Digital

Networked

Open

New publishing and conferencing

13) adoption

14) anxieties

Education

1

2

3) Irrelevant

 

Not peripheral, or an issue to resolve, but rather changes to society ... As

John Seely Brown.


VS. Suggestions that our students have changed and cites Marc Prensky.

 

Separating myths from the hype.

What are the solid foundations.

A truism regarding exposure to computers. Prensky 5,000 books, 10,000 digital,

20,000 TV US

75% of 9-19 have access to a computer at home UK

72% South Africa

To get information

To research say on personal health

Oblinger and oblinger

Livingstone

 

Net Gen disappointed


Gen X against pointless interaction in class and kind of connection online.

Cannot correlate truancy to educational irrelevance.

net Gens more likely to be disappointed by how tech is used.

Net gens differentiate between writing to socialise compared to writing for

school.

Those who like writing and have an aptitude are more likely to blog so no point

in getting those with poor writing skills to blog.

 

A good deal of variance.

 

Brown 2009.

 

Teens poor performance, low patience, poor

reading and poor research skills.

 

· Express themselves in personal language

· Just print off

· Visiting a narrow range of sites

· Don't question its reliability

· 21% blogs

 

The net Gen literature sees difference where none exists.

 

  • Older gens did homework in front of TV
  • Did a previous gen have an ambiguous view.
  • Similar angst amongst students in 1908, 1960s and now. Unable to show causality.
  • Differences between net gen students and general public. Differences are not
  • significant.
  • General decline in literature reading.

Bennett et al (2008) not net Gen difference.

 

18-22 students outnumbered by mature students in the US.

 

Google, Dec 2009.

87 billion of 131 billion searches.

55.6 million in 2007 to Wikipedia

Facebook, 500m, 130 friends, once a day

YouTube, in June 2008, content 91 viewers in 2008

 

Significant activity online across a range of society.

 

Future liberation of topics.

 

Griffiths (2008) graffiti artists share and behave in a way that educationalists

would design into a programme of learning, and so it is with many other topics,

on or off the curriculum, formal or informal, from knitting to physics.

Learn as the key motivational desire.

 

Physics 100,000

FLOSS communities

Demonstrates many of the characteristics:

Mentoring

Communities of practice

Learning by doing

Self directed learning

 

Communities can form that would have previously been unable to do so due to

geographical and other barriers.

 

Openness in education - shift driven by technology.

Make academic papers open.

 

Broader trend and philosophy of the Internet.

 

Web 2.0

Top 10

Public or semi-public sharing of personal information

MIT Open 2002

1 million visitors

132 million tertiary students worldwide in 2004

OU 3 million within 2 years and helped recruit students to courses 7,000.

Slideshare

More traffic than MIT

Several hundred years to create the lecture Based models

Using third party content in their lectures.

 

How do universities remain relevant to society?


Apple to iTunes

Guardian to Podcasts

Stephen Downes 10,000 hits per day (video)

Boundaries between sectors less clear-cut

Some perfect storm ... Convenient for some to see. The Net Gen literature is

exaggerated, overblown, HE is not about to face a tectonic shift.

Firm evidence of benefits and that it is necessary.

 

Critical mass

 

Ubiquity

Invisibility

Brown

2007 those using social networks in the minority, now in the majority.

Give students relevant skills.

Asses which of these technologies will be significant.

 

Why do Students choose a university?


Not because of the technology used.

Core suitability

Academic reputation

Jobs

Teaching qualities

 

Non-academic reasons:


Proximity to homes

Scholarships

Non academic services

Cost of living in the uni area

Job prospects (while studying)

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A little learning. Evelyn Waugh (1964)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 07:03

HOLIDAY READING

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A little learning. Evelyn Waugh (1964)

Not an e-book, but as soon as I wanted to take notes or share sentences I wish it had been.

(His less famous, though more successful popular novelist brother Alec Waugh writes a far more enjoyable satire of school-days at Shrewsbury 'The Loom of Youth'. If I wrote about Sedbergh in the 1970s it wouldn't be satire, it would be an act of war - my only revolution was to leave before Sixth Form at which time the bullied would have had to become the bully).

I bookmark by folding over the corners.

Although the pages were falling out I didn't highlight or annotate the pages, though I could have pulled the pages out.

I make three notes:

Knox was known to open and oppose the same motion. The point he makes though is that 'audiences greed for originality is the extraordinary distaste for the obvious.

NOTE REGARDING MOBILE LEARNING

(All would be downloaded as eBooks where they available. They go to the Kindle so that I can read or listen to the book on one device while taking notes onto the iPad. Is this when reading becomes a learning activity? When you take notes? Or simply when you annotate or highlight the text itself ... if you dare do this to a printed book. Anyone shared highlights or notes they have made while or having read a common book? Like an asynchronous book club of the airwaves I guess).

'You learn, in approaching any subject, to search at once for the point that is new, original, eccentric, not for the plain truth.' (Waugh, 1964: 129)

And a note left by a previous reader (my mother, who sent me this book a couple of weeks ago) that reads 'pity'.

Against Waugh's line 'I abandoned my diary on the day I left school and have no source for the following years except inexact memory.'

I didn't. 36 years later and several million words I wonder what I got myself trapped into.

Some keep saying they want me to stop blogging for a couple of years 'to finish the book'. I have plenty to say on that too, though Steven Pressfield has the definitive response, 'resistance'. I say 'anything but,' I will fill my life with 'anything but' that three-five hours a day of effort in front of a keypad or notepad.

Is memory exact?

My diary is an aide memoire, an impression of the moment that changes all the time.

REFERENCE

Waugh, A.E. (1964) A little learning.

I cannot see the value in hereditary he gives to the first chapter, in predetermining the way some turns out, physiologically or psychologically, surely upbringing has more to do with it? He also concentrates on the male professional line. Rather selective? And from our point of view ignorant and sexist?

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Why blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011, 23:05
Did we last go to Cornwall in 2001? Though convinced a search in my diary (blog) says otherwise - 2003. The events enough to bring it all back in a way that an album of family photos had failed to do.
Better than my mind? Evidence of a life so far? Proof? Apply this to the subject you are studying and to work.
I may yet put my A' level course work online for My benefit.
The hyper-mind that goes beyond what we do naturally by remembering the detail our minds have long forgotten (understandably)
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The 350 year old blog of a 26 year old - Samuel Pepys

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 05:25

Episode One (Saved in BBC iPlayer for one week from broadcast)

Episode Two (10h45 Today, repeated 19h45 this evening)

This first episode is a wonderful interplay between domestic and civil life, the prospect of joining the ship that will fetch the King from exile, while the 'wench' who works for them refuses to kill the turkey they've been feeding up because it's her friend.

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On the 1st of January 1660, the 26 year old Samuel Pepys decides to start keeping a diary.

He's behind with his rent, he goes out too often, and drinks too much. He lies awake worrying about work, and despite being happily married, can't keep his hands off other women.

He gives us eyewitness accounts of some of the great events of the 17th century but he also tells us what people ate, wore, what they did for fun, the tricks they played on each other, what they expected of marriage, and of love affairs.

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This BBC radio drama is on every day at 10.45 and again in the evening at 19.45. Episode 2 today.

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Follow Samuel Pepys on Twitter. You get regular 140 characters or less updates.

 

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Read his diary, offered on a the basis of 'on this day 350 years ago.'

Nothing's changed much, the most important things in our life are loves, family and friends. Our lives may touch on the politics and events of the time, they may not. Pepy's got through the restoration of the King, Plague and the Fire of London.

He so often ends is entry with, 'and so to bed'.

For radio for boring bits have been left out; it therfore reads like a novel.

Not a recommended style for these pages, but great for an external blog in Wordpress, Blogger or LiveJournal. Or my favourite, Diaryland.

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Why blog? Why not!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:10

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As an advocate for and practioner of blogging since 1999 and I couldn't let this pass by (even though I am meant to be writing at TMA that is due today).

Search 'blog' or 'blogging' in my OU Student Blog (here) or click on one of the tags.

The research shows that in the overall active online community of many millions online:

95% read (lurk/observe/consume blogs)

4% will go one step further and engage (i.e. add a comment)

1% actually 'create' (write essentially, though this may now include blogs that are essentially photogalleries or YouTube  uploads)

Neilsen, J (2011).

In the student population (the study was last done in 2009 with undergraduates in Australia), the figure rises to 34% having uploaded content to a blog ... 'in the last 12 months'. (which for my money means they are not blogging at all).

Good luck, enjoy!

They have a multitude of uses and value and I will of course say that this value greatly increases over time.

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Had Pepys blogged would you have read him?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 13 Aug 2011, 09:47

If Samuel Pepys had he blogged would you have read it?

Pepys is about to be serialised on BBC Radio.

This occurs once a decade. The excuse might be his 350th anniversary.

Were he still alive, in his early thirties. Like the Robert Heinlein character Lazarua Long. What would his set have made of social media?

His blog would have been read as the day's events unfolded.

Would he have been able to keep his secrets for long?

Would leaks of practices in Admirality House appeared in Wikileaks?

Would citizen detective work spotted Pepys as he entered and later left massage parlours?

And whilst we may not witness the Fire of London, or the Great Plague, we have had Aids and Terrorist Attacks, riots too.

The essentials of life tick over as they have always done; we live, we love, we get things right and make mistakes, we carry on, we may survive into old age.

The trailer justifies why a young person might keep a diary.

Had millions been doing so in the 17th century would we be that interested in Pepys?

Possibly, given that those blogs that are published are easily described as nefarious and sordid.

They take lovers, they are unfaithful to other halves, they go to places and do things they would never otherwise have done?

Some would.

Is this the would-be artist’s struggle?

Is this what defines a frustrated creative? The desire to express and share what they make of life and to have actions in their lives worth sharing.

I cannot read Pepys.

He would not have made an easy blog. He is cyrptic and inconsistent. The juicy moments are rare. It is a writer's journal, an aide-memoir.

It is all over the place mixing work and play.

But he never was looking for readers in his life time.

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One thousand words on the hour every hour for 24 hours?

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Any takers? I did this in 2002 and 2003. A blogathon. The first? The process is extraordinary because if you haven't developed an immediate conversational style online yet this obligation to write 1,000 fresh words on the hour will develop in you the ability to write what you think as the thought is formed. Google 'stream of consciousness' it has many past masters.
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Ten page views today, a hundred tomorrow, a thousand before the year is out?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Aug 2011, 20:43

Achieving a thousand page views for a blog per day takes time if your content is all you've got; I'd like to get others up to 10 per day, then a 100; it grows on you.

A thousand takes a year, a decade ago it took a couple of weeks. You had to know what to write, and where to write it. What's changed?

Here the interest is clear. How are you getting on with your course? What motivates you to keep going? And especially share when you are stumped and about to throw in the towel.

We've all been there.

My mistake a decade ago was to do exactly this ...

Have reasons to stop, so simply cut off the water. I said nothing to The OU or anyone. I just stopped. Had I shared my dire straits I know the community would have given me a reality check and put me back on my feet.

Some of the blogs featured in my student blog here achieve 10k, even 20k a day. Though these are highly commercialised, linked to the hilt and featured in national and international press.

Andrew Sullivan is the million views a month man.

The ONE thing they all do is so, so, easy to achieve.

Every day. Something. A picture and comment will do. What's that expression, 'a penny for your thoughts' that's all they do some days. If you want tips on putting pics in here ask, it took me a few months to figure it out ... then do something quicker and easier.

Other days of course these mega-bloggers come in with serious commentary and opinion, they take a stance. These are NOT academics, they are citizen journalists with an opinion, a point of view, even a political, cultural, or religious bias. But you know where they stand. That's the point. It helps to know that you strongly agree, or strongly disagree with these people.

This is where academics stumble, or rather sit on the fence. Academics can't debate, it is like watching toothless geriatrics argue over a chicken wing that they know neither can bite into.

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H800 WK15 Activity 4 Role-Play - An Avatar

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:17

The entertainment and learning continues.

I didn't think playing World of Warcraft would become like a game of Monopoly, kind of.

My wife decided she too should be introduced to our son's world. Her response is to moan about how long he spends online. My reposte is always that he is learning (he is supervised, he does this in the sitting room).

I haven't taken notes (perhaps I should), but I am aware that there are bonds with his closest friends that transcend the screen.

Leaving my Avatar in their safe hands I go off to do some errands.

I return to find this.

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I had left her at Level something with oodles of gold and a sack full of weaponry; she was also clothed, I am informed that to buy some vital spell my son had advised my wife (operating the avatar) to sell all her clothes.

My son then delights in showing the she will dance sad

In narrative terms I would say my son is playing the role of the 'Trickster'.

What compensates him for having to teach/shadow his parents in this world is that he will from time to time do this. It isn't difficult to imagine what kind of tricks the highly adapt and experienced Virtual Worlders in a class of young teenagers would (do) behave if given the chance to gain or exploit the upper-hand.

Why female?

As I went through the various characters in the alternative 'camps' my son muttered things about his perceptions of the types of people in the avatar skins. He had no issues with this 'character'. I feel disembodied, primarily because I have entered a world that he has mastered, so like going skiing with someone who does extreme and heli-skiing while I am on the nursery slopes (with a sledge).

As I passed the 'controls' to my wife, and indeed, in my absence my son can be this character anyway, it had me thinking of 'her' in the same way as one of the many pet guinea-pigs we had until recently. Part of the family, but at arms' length.

Jonathan Franzen bemoaned authors who could only write as themselves, indeed at Harvard being part of a writer's group where most people could do little else than invent characters who had been on a gap year or had a difficult term at school.

It is insightful to think yourself into the role of a.n.other, old, young, male, female, different cultures and class. Doing the reading I am impressed and informed by those with series injuries or disabilities who can find a compensatory form of existence when playing in these worlds (exactly like the movie Avatar of course in which the protagonist, paralysed from the waist down, finds legs).

Thinking further, might or could behaviours be like that of controlling a ventriloquist's dummy?

That you let your avatar be your more bold and outspoken alter-ego?

A mindfield for teachers. I wouldn't like to enter such a world with a bunch of young teenagers!

This is why South Korea has it right putting all new teachers through e-learning training.

I learnt that World of Warcraft is far too robust for cheats, indeed that the culture of its creation mean there are none. In one respect, again, like a movie (the narrative theme), the world is consistent even though it is of course 'other wordly'.

I also learn that my wife has bought stuff from other avatars in the belief that these purchases would get our son through a level without him having to spend hours/days on a quest. I think she should appreciate that this thing is never ending.

In a learning context you can't buy yourself a skill or knowledge set.

Plagiarism tools should pick it up if you have bought a paper, but more importantly there will be an assignment at some stage that is robust and designed to test what you know. However, as I have shown with my wife taking over my Avatar, could not, and do not people do this?

As the learning, not the qualificaiton, is that what matters to me in MAODE might I share this entire experience with another? Split the cost and do the work together, but only one of us taking the credit?

We are a devious lot, we humans. If something can be got for free ...

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Regarding 'dressing-up' and role play I was reminded as I ran through a list of authors I have read extensively that Virginia Woolf and some friends once dressed up as Middle-Eastern Royalty and were entertained by the officers on a vessel of Her Majesty's Navy.

There is in us, all of us (certainly as children), to dress up and role play as a form of learning (and entertainment). Are virtual worlds not simply playing to this innate trait?

And rock musicians? From Alice Cooper and David Bowie to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber

Many are acting out a fantasy or role-playing.

Are we not obliged to take silly-names in things like Twitter anyway as most variatons of our own name have gone? Was there not a first-adopter, classroom clown approach to email addresses too that some might regret, certainly change in due course?

As a diarist going online I regret being open simply because I see now how open and revelatory people want to be, which is best achieved by remaining anonymous, the best and apt blogger going by the name of 'Invisabledon' (see below) being one such person who after a decade I can only know as a bloke in his 40s or 50s living in North America. Going in as myself had its compensations from a 'branding' point of view but such first-name 'public' secret diarists are rare. (I locked this diary in 2006 and am slowly migrating some of the 17000 pages to www.mymindbursts.com).

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This from Diaryland shows that kinds of names people adopt. Do they then live up to the names they choose? Often they do.

If you are interested in blogging, this platform, launched in 1999, has barely changed though copied a thousand times over. Here a limited list of 'buddies' (75) are revealed in a simply menu that tells the blogger when someone last updated. I've long ago abandoned blogging here, but you would edit out those who didn't update, certainly once they'd got the the 3 month mark. I can't think of any blog platform that gives you this kind of insight into a selection of fellow participants.

Parameters, as here, have their virtues.

(Like learning music, you don't start with a cathedral organ, but a piano and Grades 1-3. Being given the full orchestra may be overwhelming).

Something else they have are 'Diary Rings', sets of like-minds who opt in to a huge variety of 'circles of friends' which sounds like (and is like) Google + Circles.

The problem/issue Diaryland has, and they have stuck with this, is to refuse ALL advertising anywhere so leaving it, clearly, underfinanced so unable to modernise.

For a blog coach looking for a 'training pool' to put novices testing the water I can think of no better place. You even have to learn or remember some Basic HTML.

 

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Why bother to blog? There are some good reasons if you're an academic:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Nov 2011, 16:16
Why blog? The lecturer's story

Dr Matthew  Ashton's blog

http://drmatthewashton.com/

Six months updating it roughly once a day.  around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.

WHY? A rewarding experience

1) New ways of:

teaching learning student engagement

A wide range of political topics every week.  Students  don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. an excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.

Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge. 

Saturday on “Political advertising”  helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning. 

By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources. 

2) Encouraging writing and research

500 words acts as a warm  up exercise  A way of stockpiling material. Prepared 3) New ways of sharing ideas and research  findings

VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals  can take years.

It  can act as an unofficial means of peer review.

4) Engaging with people outside the academic 

Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds. For instance I’ve had some  illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution. 

 In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.

5) Raising your academic profile

It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university. 

On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania. 

On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.

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