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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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H800 WK25 Activity 5 Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:53

To what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

The answer is to look both ways and to do so with aplomb.

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Read Woolgar’s five themes.

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context

 

Liff et al. (2002) demonstrated the importance of ‘third-place’ settings, separate from both home and work, as influential in engaging a wide range of local people in using the internet: museums, trains or jogging circuits. In all these places technology now enables people to learn using the resources of formal education. The idea of ‘place’ takes on a new form, as the boundaries of a multitude of sites are crossed.

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed

Woolgar cites research into surveillance equipment in support of this theme. Counter to expectation, for example, surveillance technologies in the workplace were not found to be generally resisted by workers. However, acceptance was undermined by the failures of the technology to meet design specifications. This led to extra work and sometimes the technology had to be scaled back (Mason et al., 2002). There are differences between staff and students in universities, in terms of perception and usage of ICT.

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities

Electronic communication has multiplied the use of paper in offices, though we can read material online. Learners may feel less need for the printed page. Educators look to substitute electronic supports for expensive and scarce direct tutor contact.

4

The more virtual the more real

One unanticipated outcome of teleworking was that travel increased. Electronic communication increased the number of clients contacted and a face-to-face meeting was then required. Computer-mediated communication is being used, partly because it offers benefits for learning and partly because students seem less able to, or to have less time available for, travel to study centres to attend tutorials. It may be, however, that mediated communication using one tool encourages a somewhat different form using other tools. Thus learners may use forums provided by their institution, but also Facebook, Skype and Twitter.

 

5

The more global the more local

‘The very effort to escape local context, to promote one’s transcendent global (and/or virtual) identity, actually depends on specifically local ways of managing the technology’ (Woolgar, 2002, p.19). In Singapore, for example, the Singapore Institute of Management was the base for provision, and a careful fostering of mutual understandings between the two organisations was developed over at least a decade

Educational provision is typically seen as valid and trusted only if it is located within recognised local institutions and accredited by local awarding bodies – even though the technology enables all aspects of a course to be delivered electronically from the originating institution.

Having just completed the activities about Second Life, to what extent do you think that all five of Woolgar’s themes are relevant to virtual worlds?

1

The uptake and use of the new technologies depend crucially on local social context.

 

Not one bit, in this case any versioning is simply the English language (US).

2

The fears and risks, anticipations and enthusiasms associated with new technologies are unevenly socially distributed.

The context will include access to broadband, a computer, time to indulge, family attitudes to gaming, space in the home, time to indulge, other commitments (persona, family, school and/or work).

3

Virtual technologies supplement rather than substitute for real activities.

 

Substitute. It has become too easy to tap into a game that is, like the modem and some computing devices, on through all waking hours and readily accessible. A blended form of activity often occurs with participants playing together online, sometimes coming round to each other’s houses to do so.

 

4

The more virtual the more real.

On the contrary, seeking out the tricks and cheats is very much the culture of gaming. Even if you don’t have wholly real-life attributes ways are found to defy gravity, walk through walls, I’ve even see a sub-culture underneath or behind the game in which you behave/exist play and muck about ‘subway’ like behind the set, as it were.

 

5

The more global the more local.

In the context of business working at the OU Business and Law School I have first hand knowledge of how OU materials are developed for Russian partners (the 1000th MBA student celebrated this week) and are being initiated in Japan while having various other local centres globally. Though NOT in the US or France where local politics have restricted tutoring on the ground.

Select two of the five themes that you feel most strongly reflect the way in which you perceive the effects that technology is making currently in a context known to you.

Reflection

Example

4

The more virtual the more real

On the one hand there is a culture of gaming that attracts escapism and engenders a rule-breaking sub-culture of hacking with cheats a supplementary and important quest and reward. On the other webcasting and conferences whilst becoming more real, speaking and seeing each other in real-time, nonetheless afford less than real behaviours.

 

I attended a live-cast 250 miles away and did so in my PJs, not dressed for the office. When interviewed by an organisation in New York I set up an redecorated one corner of a bedroom rather than reveal that I was sitting either at the end of a bed, or at the kitchen table, or in an office the size of a walk-in cupboard and as messy as a shed-used as a dump for unwanted stuff. It is a different reality, sometimes a ‘hyper-real,’ that as we become familiar with its nuances will play to these differing attributes and so become distinct from reality … or of course, enrolled in that universe that we call ‘real’, which of course it is.

5

The more global the more local

Thinking directly of the technology, it strikes me that there is a global language: HTML. Are these codes not universal?

Watch the HSBC bank ads and see how we have two distinct types: the importance of local knowledge on the one hand, followed by the current roll-out support for their ‘Key’ which is universal. i.e. there is a duality, that is Janus-like. Aptly Janus is the god of transitions. He is depicted as having two faces on his head facing opposite directions and so look simultaneously into the future and the past, back at the last year and forward to the next. What strikes me about HSBC is that whilst globally owned and operated, it works to meet not impose local cultures; while this new ‘key’ with its diddy 1970s like plastic key-ring calculator code generator and the concept of bolts, locks and vaults, feels highly retro.

 

REFERENCE

Liff, S., Steward, F. and Watts, P. (2002) ‘New public places for internet access: networks for practice-based learning and social inclusion’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.78–98.

Mason, D., Button, G., Lankshear, G. and Coates, S.(2002) ‘Getting real about surveillance and privacy at work’ in Woolgar, S. (ed.) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press, pp.137–52.

Thorpe, M. and Godwin, S. (2006) ‘Computer-mediated interaction in context’ in Markauskaite, L., Goodyear, P. and Reimann, P. (eds) ‘Who’s Learning? Whose Technology?’, Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, University of Sydney, Australia; also available online at http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res20033 (last accessed 10 February 2011).

Thorpe, M. (2008) Effective online interaction: mapping course design to bridge from research to practice, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol.24, no.1, pp.57–72. This article provides an in-depth case study of a well-designed sequence of conferencing and online activity and introduces a particular form of concept mapping called ‘compendium’ to demonstrate the design.

Thorpe, M. (2009) ‘Technology-mediated learning contexts’ in Edwards, R., Biesta, G. and Thorpe, M. (eds) Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching: Communities, Activities and Networks, Abingdon, Routledge, pp.119–32.

Woolgar, S. (1999) ‘Analytic scepticism’ in Dutton, W.D. (ed.) Society on the Line: Information Politics in the Digital Age, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Woolgar, S. (ed.) (2002) Virtual Society? Technology, Cyberbole, Reality, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

 

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Live chat: the impact of new technology on academic research

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 7 Aug 2011, 03:47

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The Impact of Technology on Academic Research

From The Guardian

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H800 activity 4 virtual worlds cross dressing and role-play

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:36

I have an avatar.

In World of Warcraft.

My son took me through the set- up, vital for any software, have an informed and experienced teacher.

I wasn't allowed to make one quick choice, I had to look at the options. He had views as well as information concerning all the characters. My wife joins in and we plum for a female as the way she poses and sticks out hefty butt when she shuffles about made us laugh. I think I am a night elf. Unable to give her a real name (all taken) I got for Val d'Isere ... Which gets transmuted into Valdesire. This is a lady with attitude; I guess I see myself as a Lara Croft type smile

Aided by my son he insists we skip the intros.

Intermittently he reaches over and gives me a belt, boots and a sword. And were off. I know I am painfully slow for him but after while I can position myself in front of a hovering, dragon slug thing which seems about as easy to kill as standing on a snail. I gain pouts, collect stuff and go up a few levels.

I assume my son is off to the bathroom when he goes of, actually he has signed on a second computer and with delight says the person I am standing next to, my twin but wearing clothes is him and his (her) name is 'Notvaldesire'.

'Let's have a dual,' he says and knowing what he is like I get my sword out and put in a strike only to have some god-like voice/ figure berate us.

On returning from the shops I ask if anything had happened as my wife had taken over 'Our Val.'

We had to sell all you clothes, he said, to buy a spell that didn't work.'

Having no clothes has me think of the only campus Second Life I'm aware of at Sussex University where I understand that repeated calls go out for everyone in Second Life to take their clothes off sad

Thinking about role play as I wondered through Lewes I saw groups of language students in the same blue-tops and football fans gathering before going off to a match.

This is the town where a substantial part of the town dress up for November 5th, indeed I am in Commercial Square and dress up as a Confederate Soldier each year. We joined as newcomers to the town 11 years ago; as a social network it is extraordinarily effective.

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H800 WK25 Does technology diminish or enhance the role of the educator?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:31

 

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My son might be online playing World of War craft often, but so are two or three of his best mates.

From time to time they down tools (weapons, magic wands or whatever it might be) and head into town, or meet up to kick a ball around. Ditto my daughter whose use of the internet is exclusively to talk more with her immediate circle of friends.

This is real.

A colleague who has had the 'social media manager' tag at the OU has gone the full loop and is a 'Communications Manager' despite being online all day. I see her point, we differentiate new practices with new terms, but drop them once we see them in context.

It has happened sooner that I thought but there ought to be no need to different 'learning' from 'e-learning' as it is just learning that exploits new platforms and tools.

The human element is important.

Our human nature demands that we have physical contact with others. We are sociable, which interestingly has me spending increasingly amounts of time as a 'social media manager' in meetings or calling up people to meet face to face over lunch or a coffee.

I appreciate that the MAODE is all online.

I wonder however if this 'purist' point of view is sustainable or even desirable. Or do those who can and want to meet up do so anyway?

(Meeting a fellow MAODEr for the very first time a few weeks ago was odd. We felt we knew eachother, there was no 'ice to break' as we'd worked on group tasks together in a previous module).

Not once have I imagined the technology making the genuine educator redundant i.e. someone whose modus operandi is to help students acquire knowledge and apply it, even to instill a life long love of learning with some tools and techniques to see them through.

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If on a holiday to the Dordogne you came across a person from the Paleolithic painting in a cave would you leave him to it, or offer him your oils and sable brushes, or show him how to use a digital camera? (or her of course).

You don't change the desire for self-expression, or capturing the world around you.

I know educators in their 80s who marvel at the Internet and the opportunity it offers to inform thousands.

Just think of an academic paper that in the past (and still) may be formally presented to a group of ten in the faculty, a group of thirty at a conference, then published ... and quickly forgotten, compared to an age where such papers are presented face to face as described, but live through livestreaming or a webcast to several hundred, then shared, copied and commented upon by thousands, and before it is even formally published may be gathering in a large readership?

And this is done by nursery, primary and secondary school educators too.

You have an idea for a class, you share it and if it is liked, it is picked up and used in many ways by many different people.

Its no longer a case of saying, 'I wish I had done that.' With permission/creative commons, OER and all that, you can use the fruits of someone else's efforts, tweaked and personalised of course.

I rather think it is an exciting time to be working in education.

Personally I hanker after contact though, to address, mentor and coach people, probably young adults.

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No escape!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 7 Aug 2011, 03:38

I go to the dentist.

He tutors online and has had problems with this. Before and after a check-up, replacement filling and getting rid of scale, we discuss the pros and cons of e-learning over residential schools. Dentistry, quite frankly, isn't one that struck me as something that could be taught online.

Maybe if I'd signed a release form the contents of my mouth could have been chewed over online.

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H800 WK25 Activity Systems and Second Life

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Sep 2011, 14:00
I may be getting this a little or a lot wrong, but where better to share my muddled-thinking than here?

Subject = you or the person you may be obeserving in the virtual world.

Object = I take to be the objective, that which is the object of the activiity (the game)

Rules = that govern the world and the functionality of the game (breaking the rules and finding our using cheats is a game plan with these often built in as an additional layer to the game/ world)

Instruments = I take to be both external (the game console, hesdset and screen for example) as well as instruements internal to the games, as in weapons, magic wands, pots of treasure and so on).

The Community are all players, there being hundreds of thousands online, though a set group in your version of the world, some with whom you may interect, others you may not). It may include others around you in the room whi are znky playing the game, i.e. A father questioning his son and an American teaching eachother swear words sad

Division of labour-who does what. There is generally a naatural leader, I've observed my son in groups of up to five, but typically two or three, working as a pack, more than a team or platoon in a very structured way.

This is my take on it having had to read Engestrom's book From Teams to Knots in which a variety of case studies, including a hospitlal and its relationship with GP surgeries is developed.

I cite and use activity systems all the time, whether to cnsider the relationship between two people developing ideas towgether (like us here Joanne) or between departments, as I did during a daylong away day with the OU Faculty if Business and Law, which I did today.

For me it lets me think beyound a person, or the physical presnce or make up of a group, to understand and to take into consideration influences upon snd eminating from them.

I know Conole has her pyramid thing, and I prefer 'spheres of influence' as a visualised concept, as this models are simply an expression of the complexity of what may be going on and can never take in the true variety of impacts and influences upon and from an individual or group.

My take on it! I may have not got it at all. The person I'd like to quiz is Engestrom himself (he has been known to visit The OU I am told).

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H800 wk25 Anderson's equivalency of interaction theory

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 2 Aug 2011, 20:09
Is the 'trade off' really only between:

Student and tutor Student and student Student and content

Should the tutor not also be engaged with the content?

If not they are a facilitator, not a tutor, not a thinker, equally able to challenge the content as the student must.

My interest is in a tutor who questions the script, not all do. I've had a tutor read the script as if it were Latin, locked in history and imovable.

It is, we are, living in highly fluid times.

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H800 WK15 Activity 1 What's the Web 2.0 role of the educator ?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 7 Nov 2011, 22:16

H800 WK15 Activity 1

Read Haythornthwaite (2008), ‘Ubiquitous Transformations’: Proceedings of the Networked Learning Conference, Halkidiki, 2008.

QQ1 What evidence is there of this shift towards taking responsibility for learning by the learners themselves?

There will be those who come to learning online who are used to being in control online, so they won't feel like a pupil entering a classroom, a student in a lecture hall or tutorial, a stranger in a strange land. Rather they will feel it is their domain, at best a shared domain, more like a visit to the leisure centre than to an elitist insitution where those in it have progressed as a result of proving their elite status.

‘Internet-based trends that emphasize contribution, conversation, participation, and community exercise a significant impact on learning.’ Haythornthwaite 2008:598

‘Participatory action has now spread to many aspects of daily life, often brought together under the label Web 2.0’. (O’Reilly, 2005). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)

It still matters for credibility of the qualification, evidence that you’ve done the work, evidence that you’ve picked the brains of and had your brain picked over by subject matter experts of a reputable established. It matters for the sake of guidance, perhaps the metaphor of railway tracks less appropriate given the freedoms afforded by the mobile internet, but even a kite-surfer has had to take instruction, purchase the right kit, maintain it, then seek and take advice from those wiser and more experienced.

I like the idea of the Learner Leader and picking up on the thinking of Cox on ‘participator learning’ and from John Seely-Brown learning ‘learning from the periphery’.

Where appropriate, participants come to shared definition of meanings through collaborative, conversational interaction.

Such emergent learning practices reinforce ideas from:

·         collaborative learning theories (Bruffee, 1993; Koschmann, 1996; Miyake, 2007; Haythornthwaite, Bruce, Andrews, Kazmer, Montague, Preston, 2007),

·         model what others have described as the learning behaviour of experts (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1996).

In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)

QQ2 Is Haythornthwaite’s account an idealised version of learner behaviour in your view?

‘These new media lay the foundation for radical transformations in who learns from whom, where, under what circumstances, and for what and whose purpose. In short, they indicate a transformation to ubiquitous learning – a continuous anytime, anywhere, anyone contribution and retrieval of learning materials on and through the Internet and its technologies, communities, niches and social spaces’. (Haythornthwaite 2008:598)

The reality is that we human beings have far more important, pressing and natural urges and desires that incline us towards those around us, and from communities with whom we find we have the greatest affinities. As young adults our intentions and outlooks may shift, but this would occur anyway, the internet offering, to use as 60s view of television, a ‘window on the world’.

This statement denies that learning takes place outside the classroom or away from formal texts. It has always been the case that substantially more learning goes on in the home, at play, from family and friends. All we’ve discovered, like the devices that many of us now carry around, is that we are always turned on.

‘E-learning’ signifies a transformation in learning rather than a transition from off- to on-line (Andrews & Haythornthwaite, 2007).

As Haythornthwaite indicates here, the technologies are not exclusive.

And as Wellman (2002) suggests the contexts in which transformation occurs are diverse, with each one having a different stance. Transformations that do not fit easily with utopian visions accompany distributed practices, including outsourcing, offshoring, disintermediation, and networked individualism (Wellman, 2001), each of which entails a general redistribution of processes and responsibilities to individuals.

The Pew Internet project (Horrigan, 2006) reports that 71% of the adult population surveyed turn to the Internet for science information because of its convenience, and only 13% because they feel it is more accurate.

Where’re not talking about the adult population, we’re talking about specific cohorts of students who could just as well be in primary, secondary, tertiary or postgraduate education. Whilst in the adult population who go online 1% actively blog, in the undergraduate student population this rises to 34%.

The dominance of Google is waning; increasingly people using mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) use Apps to aggregate content. The choices are becoming more personalised and informed.

But as with many other utopian predictions about how the open nature of the Net will create arenas that transcend foibles of the physical world; our faults have followed us to cyberspace. (Levy, 2004, np). In (Haythornthwaite 2008:601)

QQ3 In the light of your own responses and experience, does this ‘new paradigm’ indicate the redundancy of the practitioner?

Or, on the contrary, does it indicate the need for a practitioner with in-depth knowledge of how new technologies can be harnessed and with the time to provide facilitation and support to students as they take on these new responsibilities?

Making the time to interact with students online (and off) and having this planned into the curriculum is important. More tutors are needed, not fewer as expectations rise about the degree of engagement with others. Tutors or teaching assistant, event students (not just PhD), ought to be paid to be online as a hollow forum, or tutor group that isn’t active delivers the poorer experience. My analogy is to think of it as opening a chain or restaurants; why do some work and other’s fail? The ingredients and the menu is the same, but the context (location and personalities) differ. Getting the mix right and having the flexibility and fluidity and will to alter things as it evolves is vital, but often lacking. Certainly the idea that students would pay a handsome fee and then self-educate has largely been dispelled. The shift is livelier and less formal, more akin to a summer school, or camp, with everyone potentially present. There are academics, particularly in higher education, who seem to lack any desire to teach, preferring to inform at arm’s length from the product of their research. Perhaps it is more than this, it is like meeting in Liverpool Street Station amidst the cacophony of everyone else’s online lives, then taking a group to a museum then a show while the individuals in the group try to work, try to enjoy a holiday, have their kids, dog and mother along for the trip, and are engrossed in a novel, game or TV show. The potential is to be distracted, or engaged, or to juggle between the two.

The answer is in the hubbub of the tutorial, or seminar, the forced taking of sides in a debate, or informed discussions in a forum. The arguments and scholarship is still there, it is simply loose of the shackles of print and that technologies 500 year dominance of education, which is fast ending. Haythornthwaite suggests something has changed; it has, we’re returning to a model that is pre-print, vibrant, engaged, and live and that plays to broader human attributes and skills.

As Haythornthwaite (2008:599) goes on to say, ‘New social skills, or perhaps older ones now transformed online, become essential for a workable online future’.

Such knowledge bases resemble more the already familiar communities of practice (Wenger, 1988) and educational disciplines that an open encyclopaedia.

REFERENCE

Brown, J.S. (2002) The Social Life of Information

Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).

Haythornthwaite, C., Bruce, B. C., Andrews, R., Kazmer, M. M., Montague, R. & Preston, C. (2007). New theories and models of and for online learning. First Monday, 12(8). http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/haythorn/index.html

Horrigan, J. B. (2006). The Internet as a resource for news and information about science. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved July 5, 2007 from: http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Exploratorium_Science.pdf.

Levy, S. (Oct. 4, 2004). Memo to bloggers: Heal thyselves. Newsweek. Retrieved May 17, 2007 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6098633/site/newsweek.

Wellman, B. (2001). The rise of networked individualism, In. L. Keeble (Ed.), Community Networks Online (pp. 17-42). London: Taylor & Francis.

 

 

 

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H800 WK5

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 14:30

What would Edison make of the last decade? (Or my grandfather to come to think of it)

DSC01940.JPG

My knowledge (though not my understanding) of the technological advances of the last 150 years are informed by Stephen Lax

Reflecting on how I blog and its value to a student I note here how, believing I may need to go back and read Wenger from last week I search here and find not only have I done the reading, but I have commented on Wenger in previous weeks and modules.

This immediately bolsters my confidence, like entering a room that I thought was full of strangers when in fact there are many faces I have met before.

What is more, knowing that I can trigger my earlier thinking, even pick up the stage in understanding that I was at, is a form of adaptation.

I wonder if this practice might help from the other direction too, reminding someone of the nuances of their understanding and how it has been informed and developed.

 

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H800 WK 24 Activity 2 Phenomonography ... and all that Jazz.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011, 07:37

Read Jones and Asensio (2001), ‘Experiences of assessment: using phenomenography for evaluation’.

As you read, consider the following questions:

  1. In the example provided by Jones and Asensio, do you think there was any way that the design of the assessment led to the students’ divergent understandings of the task?
  2. How would you respond to the problem raised in this paper if you were asked to design a learning activity or an assessment?

It depends as much on how assessment is carried out, as to the design of the learning. If a tighly prescriptive, tick-box response is required to prove that the student can read, draw common interpretations and put it down in a standard, structured way then there should not be room for interpretation, perspective, point of view or originality.

This isn't maths, there is always going to be more than one responce.

I find in this paper of far greater interest the points regarding interpretation of others' intentions in order to be able to work together.

Enemies can meet in a debating chamber because they know the rules and the desired outcome; they may give very different responses in a written assessment.

If this is the case then I assume that the materials being discussed here are for an undergraduate programme.

Course structure can invite students to fulfil all manner of tasks by offering points towards assessment scores. In my experience this has been a completely futile endeavour if my contribution then widely misses the mark as interpretted by a system that requires you to line up 1000 match sticks in a particular way.

(Research by the way shows that if you make a task optional no one does it; why offer it then?)

I celebrate the idea that 'students' experiences vary in what may be unpredictable ways from the course designers' intentions. (Jones & Asensio, 2001)

I've worked all my carrier where originality and creativity are applauded. 'Creativity is mistakes,' so if a student gets the wrong end the stick in their response I'd be keen to have built in to the marking the flexibility to accommodate this.

So, is it a problem?

That depends on the desired outcomes, the seriousness of going slightly or a long way off the intended target and whether the intention is to get a stock answer from each student, or constant variety.

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It's all a load of Zite

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I find myself engrossed in the App, Zite

I understand too how and why Apps are making Google redundant.

Why search when what you are looking for is served up to you?

Having selected a few categories what is offered I find engaging, stimulating, relevant and quotable.

I have my aggregated stories on e-Learning and social media, of course, but also the arts and writing, science and technology.

Such a tool drawing on the contents of The OU Library 'Education' section would be even more precise. A sort of electronic serendipity, instead of browsing the aisles the articles are offered up to be to suit my predilection.

The only issue is when do I stop to think, to write and share instead of hitting the IN, Twitter or Facebook buttons?

Follow me on Twitter jj27vv, or in Linkedin where all the best stuff is shared.

Do the same.

My key spheres of influence of e-learning, social media, education, literature and the arts, and business.

 

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Simplicity, blindingly obvious, steps is key to e-learning.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 30 Jul 2011, 08:45

Anything and everything else would require an extraordinary detailed and qualified profile of the person.

This personalisation cannot be the one to one Oxbridge tutorial in which rapport between student and pofessor may develop and be sustained over years. Understandably The OU will not behave like Tescos and gather at every touch point your behaviour and respond accordingly. Though it would be advantageous to the individual if they did.

The technology steps in, but even call-centre staff have learnt or been taught the obvious: there is a client/customer relationship going on here and guess who matters most?

Any barriers that exist between formal and informal learning have long collapsed.

Do you want to publisize this?

Tools such as Zite and StumbleUpon stretch your learning into students and academics in competing institutions.

Others with who you interact are key, not least the tutor to whom you have been assigned.

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This changes everything ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Sep 2011, 06:38

Stumbleupon, Zite, Read It Later.

Three iPad Apps and I feel myself being drawn closer to the people and content that defines and makes me.

Sharing for further discussion on Linkedin, some to the wind on Twitter and occasionally irritating or intriguing family and freinds on Facebook.

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MAODE H800 A moment of enlightenment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:27

I would like to be studying an applied MAODE.

This should be a joint collaboration between the Institute of Educational Technology and the Open University Business and Law School.

applied is the operative word.

Not a Masters in Open and Distance Education, but an aMAODE.

18 months ago I signed up to the MAODE (I might have done an MA in Fine Art ... for which I was qualified. Where would I be now?)

Never mind

My mother, tutored by Quentin Bell at Durham University in the 1950s, had me teaching fine art somewhere. (Our family for the last four generations seem not to generate progeny until they are at least in their third decade)

Maybe, e-Art?

I may pick this up next and become a e-learning verions of David McAndless.

Information is beautiful

Go Google.

24 months ago several friends signed up to an e-learning course with Sussex University. They are now constructing e-learning, I am not.

Why?

The difference, dare I suggest, is did I want to be a mechanic, or the engineer?

  • Can The OU be less precious and offer more of both?
  • My first ECA was an entirely practicle, commercial piece of e-learning that was shot down ...
  • for being blended
  • and 'of this world.'
  • It is all 'of this world'.

It is only learning, not e-learning, but o-learning.

Only Learning.

P.S. It ain't rocket science. As Martin Weller shows in his VLE book.

What we as potential practioners of online learnning is a dip in the training pool. As a Swimming Coach, and former competitive swimmer, what strikes me is that I am yet to stick my toes in the water.

Frankly, my concern, is that if I come up with another commercial e-learning project for an ECA it will like the other one be rubbished because the markers are looking for an academic paper, not a viable e-learning project.

This is where the tectonic plates of theory and practice meet. Is anyone on the MAODE doing it to become an academic?


DSC01936.JPG
From Drop Box

(Note to self a month later ... it is applied. In every module, particularly H807 'Innovations in E-Learning' we are constantly pressed to put e-learning in an applied context with which we are familiar)

 

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Tutor as host - its your party and your responsibility to make it work

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 30 May 2012, 11:29

This from Mary Thorpe (2009)

If face-to-face is the answer, how do you  replicate the combination of informal and formal discourse opportunities that characterise the face-to-face campus. (Crook and Light, 2002)

The answer is in social networks such as Linkedin being alerted every time someone in your circle updates, or adds friends or writes something, though different, there is at least an inclining of this meeting serendipitously around the water-cooler, or passing in the corridor. Also the random offering up of 'people you might know', even if they haven't instigated it.

This is beyond face-to-face, but designed to replicate the chance encounter that makes up human intersctions.

In Diaryland (1999) a similar trait is offered as within a set number of 75 friends you always know who has updated i.e. who is active and therefore around and more inclined to engage. All that matters is this sense of sharing the same space. It matters therefore that you are present often enough to be someone in this environment and that the affordances of the platform alert others to your presence.

The debate over the differences between face-to-face are dry

Why hybrid?

What community?

As the two worlds are now so familiar to many people, this is like saying, what is the difference between the Rugby Club and the Bridge Club.

There is no other difference. The means of engagement are ultimately the same, between one person and another. Like everything as you become familiar with these platforms, and as your friends are online too, you accept their presence or otherwise as if you have bumped into them walking the dog or a conference.

This isn't revolution, it is barely even evolution, it is us being people with a bunch of different tools as we crafty humans have done for millenia.

'Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries.(Anderson and Dron 2007)

Better still you start to allow tools like Stumbleupon and Zite to do this for you, by feeding in a specific, tailored profile you can get these aggregators to draw down who you are and feed back intelligence.

The day we don't trust it we drop these tools like a hot-potato and go somewhere else.

They CANNOT afford to get it wrong.

I signed up in error to MY LIFE, I say this because I only wanted to trial it on a monthly basis. The moment I was on the phone was the moment I was reimbursed, which actually is a sound thing.

This expression, this test of 'trust' might be enough to take me back (except that I feel the entire idea was mine in 2001).

'Technology self-evidently involves tools, understood as both the physical resources and practical skills required to make use of them, but to focus primarily on the tool or the virtual space would be to make a categorical error, mistaking a component part for the system as a whole (Jones and Eshault, 2004)

We still use pen and paper, we still talk to each other face to face, we may even share how we are getting on with our parents over Sunday Lunch.

This isn't replacement technology, it is hyper complementary technology, it is as convenient as having a hanky on which to blow your nose, no more. You pull out your smartphone to share a thought. Or in my case at 3.10am I get up, doodle an idea for a video production and then stick up a discussion question to a number of Linkedin groups.

Serendipity

Thinking of my late grandfather's garage with all its tools, the context would be the mix and combination of tools, some complimentary, some one offs, and the space (once he'd rolled the car out of the garage). Most importantly it would include him, both actively engaged in a task and from my point of view, someone who was always keen to pass on skills and insights.

Issues regarding identity -practice/familiarity

Trust and authenticity (checking/verification) 'Students may not take up the opportunities offered, or may do so to little good effect.' (Thorpe, 2008:122) 'Asynchronous conferencing for example has fostered both utopic and dystopic views of its potential (Haythornthwaite 2006)

The importance of the beginning of the course the same as in face-to-face, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.

'That particular aspect of getting everybody involved right at the very beginning really sets the scene for the rest of the course.' (Thorpe 2008:123)

Tutor as host.

A good start is forgiving. A poor start is far harder to retrieve. The problem institutionally is if your are overwhelmed by students. Are there enough tutors? Are there even intermediaries to step in? 'The design in effect performs a mix of compulsion and engineered interaction that combines formality with informality.' (Crook and Light, 2002)

Too much of either is a killer. Overly familiar and talking about pets and holidays in the middle of a forum puts your off. So do course materials on the rare occasion with The OU when it is if your are interrupting the conversation between a couple of professors who have developed their own private language that only means something to each other. (This isn't far from the truth). 'The potential for expansive learning' (Tuoni-Grohn and Engestrom, 2003)

We all want our heads cracked open like a part-boiled egg. 'This is learning that crosses the boundaries of different activity systems, expanding involvement with others and developing both individual and collective learning'. (Cole and Engestrom 1993)

I call it Pixie dust over Object 3.

Object 3 must be the moment Dyson and his team come up with the airstream device. Innovation, inspiration and originality is there in front of us, like Macbeth's dagger, tantilizingly before our hands.

So talk to Lady Macbeth and your colleagues, let it out, share your thoughts, make the dagger real, You may find it's more of a tickling stick.

'A context has to be reconstructed and participation invited through the use of activities, structured formats and textural genres operating at various levels.' (Thorpe, 2008:130)

I no longer think this is the case. We aren't creating false or mimicking landscapes or environments online, rather we know what these environments are and behave accordingly.

This comes with experience, it IS NOT, and has NEVER BEEN GENERATIONAL.

I am not the only forty something who despite my children being infront of a computer before they could walk have vastly more experience of the internet and computers than they do. I challenge them to keep up or catch up, indeed, I am quick to run after them if I think they are discovering something I too have not tried.

Ask me for evidence, research by educational institutions in the UK, US and Australia, that debunk Generation X and Digital Natives as utter TOSH.

Engestrom (2007) emphasizes the importance of learning across multiple activity systems where knowledge is being developed across many sites, from the formal academic context through practioner-focused websites and fora to the workplace.

Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries (Anderson and Dron 2007)

True.

But like an allotment you might start as an idea, the worth comes from putting in some time and effort.

A hybrid mix of community and network. (Thorp, 2008:129)

Yes, like weeds in the allotment and a few cacti on a tray of sand in the shed.


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Is there value in writing for the ratings?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 28 Jul 2011, 11:00

This is addictive.

And if I ask I'll be told it has nothing to do with the content, either the volume, voice, or frequency/consistency of updating -1,000 page views a day is the current rate.

This may be to do with specific alerts to one or two folk who may be searching through for specific content.

What you get, for example, if you search VLE, will be a narrarive that runs from my incomprehension, to this current entry.

Searching Prensky shows me go from adulation, through doubt, to my current desire to ridicule his every pronouncemnt as sensationlism.

Even search Weller and you'll find this niave newcomer picking holes in academics who quote themselves and use words like 'enculturation' (weller) and 'massification' (conole).

My goal had been to achieve 100,000 page views by the time I finished the MAODE thinking I was near the end. Actually I have another two modules to go.

Do I therefore make 250,000 page views the goal?

Meanwhile outside the walled garden of The OU despite my best efforts 70 page views is/was exceptional, with 10 page views more typical.

I find myself advising anyone who wants to blog, despite the attractions of Wordpress, Livejournal, Blogger, Edublog and Diaryland, that you will find a niche audience here and ultimately find your feet.

Using a blog for reflective practice, laudable, is another matter. I was just about to reflect on the H800 story so far. In particular no longer having the time or energy, despite the inclination to read everything..

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H800 WK24 Technology-mediated learning contexts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Aug 2011, 04:08

I am three weeks behind on loading content to any blog sadthese are insights from external and internal workshops, two last week, two this, plus a long weekend in Brussels interiewing MBA students.

I get anxious if I don't expel this stuff and share it somewhere online.

I'm programmed this way, keeping a diary since 1975 and a blog since 1999. It is a daily thing, like prayers, meditation or a shower.

What others pick up as I off-load is anyone's guess; there is a theme to it though - LEARNING ONLINE. 

Try Stumbleupon, also Zite which I have set up as my personal copy taster (content aggregator). 

Meanwhile on the third reading I am starting to see the two case studies and understand what was going on in the Mary Thorpe chapter (2009) I am used to seeing communications like this better expressed and communicated with animations, movies, the author talking it through. Randy Pausch in his TED 'last lecture' says how he causes a stir by getting a single colour photo above the abstract of a paperhe wrote on 3d technology. The academic community must move on from paper and thinking like we did on paper; paper is over. Enter my head insted. Dee what I think. Know if my opinions are credible, you can followmy every thought with few smart searches.

When, oh when will the dry academic paper be replaced by something equally scholarly, but far more easily read, shared and understood?

A load of photos would be a good start. A podcast from the author in place of the abstract. Video clips. Comments. Links that never die. Content and references that up date themselves.

2009 research from the IET (Richardson) shows that where students have a choice between working online or off, that they are equally satisfied with the outcome. This says to me the debate over face to face and online is over. It had might as well be on whether you have a seminar indoors or out, or whether you have sherry with your tutorial or not.

Differences are reduced as we become familiar with the technology and what to expect from it. We must accept that those amongst us are at different stages of this familiarity process. 

The NCSL experience might be familiar to many of us. In H807 I was part of a tutor sub-group that generated 109 responses over 14 days between six of us. This, with participants in Hong Kong, Germany and various parts of the UK would have been impossible face to face. The conversations, and responsibilities for the ; were picked up around the clock. I don't see this as a hybrid of face2face, but rather a disctint entity in its own write born from a different seed, as it were. The hybridisation occurs as online and offline activities cross-fertilise, like augmented reality.

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My Personal Learning Environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 00:29

When something works I'll go back and use it repeatedly. I find the way in which I seek out, exploit, share and develop ideas to do with E-Learning and Social Media is fluid. I run with new tools as I find them, the three latest: stumbleupon, Allmyfavourites and Zite, which do the same kind of thing, helping to reduce the overwhelming amount of information being generated and sent my way to stuff that may be of value and interest me.

I've aslo may a tentative start in Social Networking Site Xing, using Google Translation to help with my rudimentary German.

 

JFV%252520PLE%25252028%252520JULY%2525202011.JPG

 

Created using iPad APP 'MindCreator'.

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Top 10 Most Influential eLearning Bloggers

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Top 10 Most Influential eLearning Bloggers http://www.elearningcouncil.com/top-10-most-influential-elearning-bloggers
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H800 WK23 Activity 2 Making sense out of complexity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 1 Nov 2011, 16:44

 

Wordle

 

Mycorrhizae%252520ENGESTROM%2525202007%252520SNIP%2525202%252520Google%252520Images.JPG

And is visualised in many ways, Engestrom (2007) Mycorrhizae thinks in term of fungi.

My own take is a lichen:

Capture%252520Chondrus%252520Crispus%252520as%252520a%252520visualisation%252520of%252520a%252520Social%252520Media%252520Network.JPG

The language you use carries with it connotations and hidden assumptions. You need to make things as clear and as explicit as possible to develop shared meaning and understanding to avoid confusion. Conole (2011:404) Indeed. Conole in one sentence manages several metaphors:

· Different lenses

· Digital landscape

· Navigate through this space

So we've go camera lenses/how the eye sees, we have a landscape that has a physical presence, where a digital one does not and then we have an image of a Tall Ship on an ocean passing through this landscape (or at least I do). You might see a GPS device, a map and compass on a the Yorkshire Fells. Language creates images in our minds eye. The danger of a metaphor is when it creates parameters or absolutes.

I find it problematic that descpite the tools around us we are obliged to communicate with words. We could use images, we can use live audio, but we are yet to construct and respond to these activites with a piece to webcam.

Conole and Oliver mention four levels of description:

1. Flat vocabulary

2. More complex vocabulary

3. Classification schemas or models

4. Metaphors

Which is the most persuasive? The most effective and memorable?

This set of words is used to describe cloudworks. Only the last stands out as pertinent to Web 2.0 and the kinds of apt terms for e-learning 2011.

  • Practice
  • Design
  • Case study
  • Resource
  • Design template
  • Link to site
  • Request for advice
  • Evolving dialogue

Metaphors are indeed 'powerful ways of meaning making'. (Conole. 2011.406)

Ref: Metaphors we live by. Lakoff and Johnson (1980)

Over the last 18 months I have returned repeatedly to the importance and value of metaphors, drawing on neuroscience and literature. There are 28 entries in which metaphor is discussed. This is perhaps the most insightful as it draws on an article in the New Scientist.

Morgan’s Metaphors discussed by Conole, White and Oliver (2007)

1. Machines

2. Brains

3. Organisms

4. Cultures

5. Political systems

Whatever works for you, but importantly, what you can use that is comprehended by others.

Presenting on Social Media over the last few weeks I have repeatedly used images of the Solar System to develop ideas of gravity and magnitude, spheres of influence and impacts. It is one way to try and make sense of it. The other one I use is the water-cycle, but as that can turn into an A' Level geography class.

Some futher thoughts from Conole

‘These and other tools are beginning to enable us to embed more meaning in the objects and connections within the digital space. The tools can also be used to navigate through the digital space, providing particular narrative paths of meaning to address different goals or interests.’ (Conole, 2011:409)

‘The approach needs to shift to harnessing the networked aspects of new technologies, so that individuals foster their own set of meaningful connections to support their practice, whether this be teachers and seeking connections to support them in developing and delivering their teaching, or learners in search of connections to support and evidence of their learning. (Conole. 2011:410)

‘Those not engaging with technologies or without access are getting left further and further behind. We need to be mindful that the egalitarian, liberal view of new technologies is a myth; power and dynamics remain, niches develop and evolve. Applications of metaphorical notions of ecology, culture and politics can help us better understand and deal with these complexities. (Conole. 2011:410)

How do we describe and make sense of digital environments?

It is complex and multifaceted

WK23%252520Wordle.JPG

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H800 wk21-22 Activity 3 2011 Horizon Report

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 4 Nov 2011, 04:52

An hour and a half has been allocated to this; I have given it the best part of six.

I may have nodded off (ill with a heavy cold) but I reckon my mind just goes into cruise mode continuing whatever I was doing, mostly skating my fingers around an iPad dipping into pools of mind-mashing stuff.

The Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) is to blame. At last we have a way to engage with the latest thinking even though the module was designed and written some years ago. We are asked to read and make notes in the 2011 Horizon Report from the New Medium Consortium. I've printed it off, but can see there would be no need just as soon as an A3 or Fulscap clipboard sized tablet is released.

I start by making notes in 'notes' on the ipad. In moments I feel a compulsion to Tweet some of this, and between url shortening and TweetDeck, then Linkedin and Facebook I fins I am sprinkling the electronic dust of enlightenment each way I csn think.

Horizon 2011 (My Notes July 2011)

The world of work is increasingly collaborate driven by increasingly the global and cooperative nature of business. Horizon 2011

The challenges of privacy and control affect adoption and deployment. Horizon 2011.

Digital media literacy continues its rise in importnce. Horizon 2011

The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital technologies morph and change so quickly at a rate that generally outpaces curriculum development. Horizon 2011

Reconciling new forms of scholarly activity with old standards continues to be difficult. Horizon 2011

New models of learning are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university. Horizon 2011

Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students and teachers alike. Horizon 2011

Given the plethora and wealth of user generated content ... There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. Horizon 2011

Three horizon lines are offered:

Near-term

E-books + note-taking, sharing, immersive engagement, changing our notion of what it means to read. (engagement)

Mobiles + everyone has one, access to affordable and reliable networks.+ increasdingly the first choice for Internet access.

Second Term

Augmented reality (spotify, 4squared) an easy extension of expectations and practices. Horizon 2011

Game-based learning +to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking.

Far Term

Gesture based computing

Learning analytics

Our research indicates that all six of these technologies, taken together, will have a significant impact on learning-focused organizations within the next five years. Horizon 2011

My view is that they have been cautious over the pace and readiness for adoption; I find I am wedded to mobility, the dexterity, manipulable and versatility of an iPad.

I churn though e-books in preference to TV as if the book was a new invention.

I read in multiple ways and sizes and speeds, skim reading, or takes notes, or just reading my notes and highlights. On long drives I wear a headset and let the book read itself to me. I find I take in something different, as if I've seen the bricks that construct the sentences and paragraphs, but now I'm getting the cement as a form of sense making.

As invited to do I click on www.Navigator.nmc.org and have been there ever since. I found my way here at visual complexity and have ventured into a dozen sites, ultimately downloading the App iWriter convinced by its sales blurb:

“iA Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that makes sure that all your thoughts go into the text instead of the program. One of our goals was to create a writing app without settings. When opening Writer, all you can do is write. The only option you have is full screen and FocusMode. To increase the pleasure of writing is exactly what we intended when creating Writer. A better tool doesn’t make a better craftsman, but a good tool makes working a pleasure.”

and the quality of everything else I saw that the Information Architects (iA) team are doing.

Regarding the second adoption horizon I feel we are there.

I had it explained to me at UCL on Tuesday and could immediately relate to it and indeed have stepped into that mode already a few times. While 'game-based learning' is very much my son's world. I only permit the amount if time he is engage, because he is engaged, with a headset, in a team, constructing and deconstructing the worlds he is active in.

Which draws that horizon that is meant to be three or more years away far, far closer.

There is more reading yet to do. I cannot be. Told to read seven pages and then ignore the next 26. That's like going to a recommended restaurant, having a lyrical starter then sitting around while everyone else indulges themselves on the main course.

Talking of restaurants, the other product I want from iA is there Web Trend Map.

It uses the idea of restaurants to give weight to various web forces that are the given visual weighting and a spatial setting that overlays the Tokyo underground map.

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H800 WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 20:59

H800 WK21-22 Activity 2d VLE vs. PLE who wins?

  • John Petit
  • Martin Weller
  • Niall Sclater

Stephen Downes – Students own education

· How much do they actually differ in their views?

· What is my perspective?

· Freedom is lack of choice

· Parameters work

· Creativity is mistakes

· Have rules, the mischievous or skilled will break them anyway

· The end result counts.

a) This isn’t a debate. Neither takes sides and the chair interjects his own thoughts. A debate, whether at school, university or in a club, or in a court of law or the House of Commons, is purposely adversarial, people take sides, even take a stance on a point of view they may not wholly support, in order to winkle out answers that may stand somewhere between the two combatants.

b) During the MAODE this might be the second such offering as a ‘debate,’ the last being as weak. What is more I have attended a Faculty debate which shilly-shallied around the issues with at times from an audience’s point of view it being hard to know whose side the speakers were on?

c) As well as deploring the lack of rigour regarding what should or should not be defined as a debate, the vacuous nature of the conversations means that you don’t gain one single new piece of evidence either way. Generalities are not arguments, neither side attempts to offer a knock-out blow, indeed Martin Weller seems keen to speak for both sides of the argument throughout.

When Martin Weller implies that a VLE constrains because ‘There are so many fantastic tools out there that are free and robust and easy to use.’ I would like a) example b) research based evidence regarding such tools, which do offer some compelling arguments, these commercial and branded products have to offer something refreshing and valuable.

Unlike some university offering they are therefore not only effective, but vitally, they are fun, tactile, smartly constructed, well-funded, give cache to the user, are easy to share, champion and become evangelical about, explored, exploited and developed further. Here I compare Compendium with the delight of bubbl.us.

Here I compare blogging in the confines of the abandoned cold-frame that is the Victorian OU student blogging platform compared to the Las Vegas experience of WordPress.

I can even compare how WordPress performs externally compared to the shackled version provided by the OU. On the one hand there is a desire to treat students like sheep; there is even a suggestion in this chatty-thing between Niall Sclater and Martin Weller than OU undergraduates ought to offer the most basic environment in which to operate. Access is an important point, but you don’t develop players in an orchestra by shutting everyone in a hall and giving them a kazoo. And if that Kazoo requires instructions then it deserves being ignored. Having lived with it for a year the OU e-portfolio My Stuff might best be described as some kind of organ-grinder with the functionality and fun-factor of Microsoft DOS circa 1991.

Martin Weller makes the point about tools that might be used this before, during and after their university experience. There is a set of ICT tools covering word-processing, databases, number manipulation, calendars and communications that are a vital suite of skills; skills that some might already have, or partially have … or not have at all. The problem is in the accommodation of this widely differing skill set.

JV Exposure to new, or similar, experience of better as well as weaker programmes/tools, fashion, peer group, nature of the subject they are studying, their ambitions, who they are, how much time they have, their kit, connection and inclinations, let alone the context of where they are going online.

In this respect Martin Weller is right to say that ‘some kind of default learning environment’ is required first of all.

Caveat: You are going to need people to use the same kind of things in order to be able to communicate.

· University blog vs. their own bog.

· University e-portfolio vs. their own portfolio.

· Elluminate vs. Skype.

· Mac vs. PC,

· Tablet vs. laptop.

· Desktop vs. smartphone.

· Paper vs. e-Reader.

· University Forum vs. Linked in or others.

· Twitter vs. Yammer.

Swimming analogy: training pool, leisure pool, main pool, diving pool, Jacuzzi.

Niall Sclater makes a point about a student using an external blog that doesn’t have a screen reader. Do browsers not offer this as a default now? Whilst I doubt the quality of translation I’ve been having fun putting everything I normally look at into French or loading content onto an e-reader and having it read to me on long car journeys. The beauty of Web 2.0 and Open Learn is that developers love to solve problems then share their work. Open Learn allows these fixers to crack on at a pace that no institution can match.

Perhaps issues regarding passwords is one such problem which is no longer a problem with management systems. Saving passwords etc.: Other problems we have all see rise and fall might include spam. The next problem will be to filter out spam in the form of ‘Twitter Twaddle’ the overwhelming flack of pre-written RSS grabbed institutional and corporate messages that should without exception be ‘flagged’ by readers as spam until it stops. I never had a conversation with a piece of direct mail shoved at me through my letter box, or spam come to that matter. Here largely the walled, university environment in which to study, is protected from the swelling noise of distraction on the outside,

Niall Sclater talks about the Wiki on OU VLE, in Moodle ‘comprises what we consider is the most useful functionality for students. The OU ‘cut out a lot of the bells and whistles you find in MediaWiki’. New to wikis I enjoyed being eased into their use, but like a keen skier, or swimmer, having found my ‘legs’ I wanted incremental progressions. Being compelled to stay in the training pool, or on the nursery slopes, to return to by Kazoo metaphor, is like having Grade 5 flute, but having to play with six novice recorder players in Kindergarten. We move on and therefore what is offered should move with us.

Universities fail abysmally to sell their products to their captive audiences.

Commercial products are sold, invitingly to everyone who comes within earshot. There is a commercial naivety and intellectual arrogance sometimes over stuff created that must be great, because it is the invention of brilliant minds … and that its brilliance will be self-evident even if it sits their within its highly branded overcoat waiting for some time to take an interest and take it out for a test drive. Creators of these tools forget that a quick search using some of the terms related to the affordances of the product being offered will invariably produce something more appealing from the likes of Google, Adobe, Apple or Microsoft.

Nail Sclater points out that some students can be confused by too much functionality. I agree. If there is a product that has far too much functionality, it is Elluminate. And even for a library search, it ought to be as simple as the real thing … you go to a counter and ask for a title. Google gets it right. Keep it simple. Others are at last following suit. Or is the Google God now omnipresent?

Martin Weller stumbles when he says that Nail ‘hits on two arguments against decentralised PLEs by

a) Giving three arguments

a. Authentication

b. Integration

c. Robustness

b) He is meant to be in favour of PLEs.

i.e. academics are incapable of debate because they are, to use of Martin Weller’s favourite terms ‘contextualised’ to sit on the fence. A debate should be a contest, a bullfight ideally with a clear winner, the other party a convincing looser.

You wouldn’t let a soldier chose his weapons then enter the fray. There has to be a modicum of formal training across a variety of tools, and in a controlled, stepped fashion in order to bring people along, communally, for retention and to engender collaboration and participation and all that benefits that come from that.

Who at a time of change is going to declare their role, or department redundant? Brought into a new role, Social Media Manager, I feel I will have succeed in 12 months if I have handed over the keys to others, spread some of the glory about. That’s how I see it, a little bit of everybody’s lives. You can wordprocess, you can do some aspect of Social Media. There are other functions though that long ago were circumvented by clever software. Web 2.0 deplores the gatekeeper. It wants to put everything ‘out there,’ enabling everyone and anyone to make of it what they need and please.

Personally I’ve been loading content, text and images, in diaryland since Sept 1999 and have never had an issue with access, yet I have repeatedly found my OU e-portfolio failed, or that while composing a response in a forum the system fell-down and I lost what I was doing.

Nial Sclater argues in favour of VLEs to ensure usability, access, extension to students, common ground on terms of tools, opportunity and form an assessment point of view, use of content too.

While Martin Weller wants to ‘Support’ – an argument for VLEs. (I’ve now made the point several times that Martin Weller seemed unsure of which side he was on, and by personality and from experience, will never take a side in any case).

We DO want people going away being able to use package X. Do we turn out Roy Castle types who can play loads of instruments not very well, or a virtuoso performer who can at least play the cello well?

JP stepping in ‘as my confidence grew I got to know that and my confidence grew across the year as I got to know that and one or two other very limited and well-supported tools’

Nial Sclater’s point that the same tool is required for collaboration and assessment. This applies also to reading the materials provided and doing the activities so that these are the points of reference for assessments (as currently practised). How can a Tutor mark an assessment that is based on vegetables from a walled Victorian kitchen garden, when the student offers flowers grown from seed in a tub? To return to my sporting analogy, how might I judge a person’s ability to swim after 12 weeks if they’ve been learning how to sail?

Parameters have a purpose.

The greatest resistance to a writer is having no sense of purpose, no goals, no parameters, no set pieces, no one to be on their case. A free for all, perhaps as the new London Business and Finance School is finding, is that just giving students the lot and telling them to get on with it is not conducive to a viable learning experience. (Nor do I think it’ll deliver someone is able to work with others).

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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

My%252520PLE.JPG

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 wk21 activity 2e To what extent are you using web 2.0 technologies?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:36

SEE MINDMAP ABOVE

H800 WK21 Activity 2 ep

How does your representation compare with the tables of tools and functionality described in the Conole chapter you read earlier in Activity 1b?

All of these st some stage and more especially using a tablet and Apps, or laptop away from my desk.

+ e- readers

+ RSS feeds

+Google Docs

+picasa dropbox

+Blog as eportfolio and exercise book

+Blog for presentstion and wiki-like

+flash online shared calender

Intranetmicroblog Yammer

+ Skype

To what extent are you using Web 2.0 technologies?

Extensively

Send notes as email to blog and others

Outlook remotely

Blogs to aggregate and share

RSS feeds aggregating messages

Online Forums frequently

How far are you using Mobile 2.0, as explored in Week 19?

Extensively using a 3g enabled tablet In what ways has your own practice and use of technologies changed in the last five to ten years? An early adopter once more. Professionally necessary to take an interest in everything Blogging since 1999 so used to putting content online

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