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H800 WK13+14 Activty 3a Vignettes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 04:10

As you read through this part of Weeks 13 and 14 bear the following questions in mind.


VIGNETTE A

How do these students use technology in their studies?

-        It’s real. It was the online labs.

-        program proper CISCO equipment

-        test what you were learning

-        get actual real life work done even though it was still virtual.

-        a proper CISCO router

-        you get to take that away straight away and be able to program real routers.

-        When reading from a book you’ve not got reassurance that you can do it.

Students could use this for a ‘dry run’ offline, before taking the online tests using NetLab, which was much appreciated, as this student’s comment makes clear:

-        Packet Tracer … I’ve got a lot of respect for that – very, very good. Also I like the quick reference of it. You’re reading through something and you want to work out the output for something and you think, oh I’ll check on that and you can fire it up and within 15 seconds you’re logged on.

-        Quizzes will ‘fix in your mind’.

-        The best course I have done with the OU … because there is so much hands-on

-        A good way forward as long as simulations are realistic such as Netlab

Why do this course?

Strategically – to sit the examination for the CCNA qualification.

‘I like the idea of this being a ‘hands-on’ technical industry qualification.

-         encourage frequent practice,

-         reflection on progress

-         study using different media

-         study using different perspectives.

VIGNETTE B

ICT skills are an essential part of the curriculum but not the primary focus

She needs to complete an OU Social Work degree in order to become a registered Social Worker. She is sponsored by her employer and coping with a high workload – two OU courses studied concurrently, plus a job and home responsibilities.

The OU course includes ICT skills activities in all these areas and also skills development in information literacy.

Interviewer: Did you use any of your skills from work to do the exercises?

Student: Yes absolutely … I probably took some stuff from work to be able to do it and I took some stuff from the exercise in order to develop myself in work.

I’ve sort of had to learn a different method of doing things and had to go through it all step by step.

It’s something that will be really useful but at the moment is taking so much time for me to learn how to do it and that’s taken away from time I could be doing other stuff. 'Borrowing time from somewhere else’. Terry O’Sullivan. (2011)

She welcomes the fact that most of her course is available online and it increases the accessibility of it away from her home computer.

(People’s perceptions of how much they can fit in … on the one hand flexible learning allows you to fit it in around other things … but it might encourage some to do additional courses and so have even great pressure on their time. These choices are the students’.)

This student also reported that she used ICT in her personal life, mainly for shopping and booking holidays.

I’ve learned how to do things like – what you call it – screen shots? I remember being really excited about that.

What insights are gained by looking at how students’ experience of technology-enhanced learning is affected by their work practices and vice versa?

Understand their wishes, favoured modus operandi, desire to put learning into practice immediately, desire for support, even acceptance that facts have to be learnt, tried out and put into practice until it becomes second nature.

The modules selected for this research project included two from Technology, two from Social Work, one from Business and one from Computing.

ICT is part of the personal, study and work experience of most students well before they enter a university. As you have seen, students use technologies they already feel confident about to help them study.They may or they may not use the technological tools provided by their university, such as a virtual learning environment (VLE).

Undoubtedly, peer contact, accessing module information and so on are essential for effective study. But you also need to look at how technologies are used in direct support of the learning outcomes for which students are studying.

Richardson’s (2005) account argues that students vary in how they perceive the requirements of the same module, and that, even when this variation in perception is taken into account, they vary also in their approaches to studying.

Six conceptions of learning were identified in these data, and Richardson argues that conceptions of learning are a key influence on approaches to studying, which in turn impacts on learning outcomes.

Learning as:

  • 1 the increase of knowledge
  • 2 memorising
  • 3 the acquisition of facts or procedures
  • 4 the abstraction of meaning
  • 5 an interpretative process aimed at the understanding of reality.
  • 6 a conscious process, fuelled by personal interests and directed at obtaining harmony and happiness or changing society.

As you read each vignette, look out for statements illustrating each of the six themes.

Pay attention to how ICT relates to work experience and vice versa, how (if at all) applying learning to work influences the study process, and so on.

What do these vignettes suggest about the importance of the student’s work when designing modules where ICT plays a key role?

Choice to enable them to fit it around their lives.

Bite-size, in terms of easily isolated activities that can be fitted into a tight period of time … or strung together when a longer study period is possible.

Variety of ways in to accommodate, to some degree, the experiences (or lack of) that they bring with them from their working lives, experience of studying and from home.

As Richardson’s (2005) says students vary in how they perceive the requirements of the same module.

Technologies are used in direct support of the learning outcomes for which students are studying … but are just as readily applied in our daily lives i.e. the boundaries between skills used for work and at home, particularly if computers are used in both locations.

Just because you provide a tool, or put in an activity, or offer additional reading, does not mean students will use them. ‘Students use technologies they already feel confident about to help them study. They may or they may not use the technological tools provided by their university, such as a virtual learning environment (VLE).

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H800 68 Activity 4a: UK students and the Net Generation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 14 May 2011, 16:51

Read Selwyn (2008) ‘An investigation of differences in undergraduates’ academic use of the internet’.

As you read make notes about the differences and divisions he finds between students. Like Kennedy et al. (2008), Selwyn identifies a minority of students who are not fully engaged with new technologies.

What implications do you think this might have for designing learning environments that make use of new technologies?

Write a short posting setting out your thoughts on Selwyn’s article and the question raised in the previous bullet point.

  • Wider Interent Use
  • Access
  • Expertise
  • Year of study
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Ethnic Background
  • Educational background

These are the variables going into the survey.

Why not asked 'what do you parents do?'

Children see you using the technology at home what are they likely to want to do? Even if your parents are together ... if you are looking after dependents and so on.

There are many reasons that are deep beneath the surface that require a lengthier approach to uncover.

All of these are assumptions going into the survey, which is why for the social sciences I far prefer in depth qualitative research rather than what can be shallow quantitative research that cannot cater for the questions that isn't asked i.e. open questions to winkled out the evidence, rather than number crunching through a set of initial assumptions.

There is not, nor was there ever a 'generation Y' or 'digital natives'.

Reasons identified for differences in attitude and skills using the technology:

  • reliability of access
  • cost
  • 'Digital choice' rather than 'digital divide'
  • perceptions of usefullness
  • ease of use
  • other psychological attitudes (Chung and Huang, 2005; Hong et al, 2003; Joiner et al, 2006)
  • not just access, but whether public or private (Hassania, 2006)
  • nature of institutional and faculty support (a postive or negative factor) (Eynon, 2005)

Significance of being a novice or expert at surfing ... simply put, you either know your stuff or you don't. ANd even more significant those who had PRIVATE access to a computer i.e. there is a need to learn alone in your own time at your own pace.

I liken it to two people joining a youth orchestra for the first time.

One student can neither play an instrument yet, or owns one; while the other student has not only played their instrument for some time, but they own it.

Should we be unsurprised, and even pleased that there were no significant differences in terms of students' ethnic background, age, year of study or educational background (in terms of A'level grades).

Here's a challenge ... you present the entire cohort with a device that non have them used before. Even here you'd find, surely, those who take the challenge and conquer it quickly, while others struggle?

Where does personality or aptitude for certain things come into any of this?

The truth is that the authors who believe there is a Net Generation or Google Generation (many don't, they just use it in the headline to get your attention) fail to acknowledge the extraordinary variety and complexity of human nature and the myriad of circumstances that result in the person who finds themselves presenting themselves on day one to an undergraduate, postgraduate or any kind of course.

The differences between disciplines is interesting ... but is it the discipline per se, or the calibre and kinds of learning designers, or the nature of the content .. or the investment in them. The idea that those studying architecture may have been making less use of these technologies surprised me.

Lessons learnt?

A distinct minority need support

Do you concentrate on the 'bright young things' who may excel if they get your special attention, or those who struggle. The professional thing has to be that each receives the same degree of attention, though it will be different for each person.

Play to people's strengths, not their weaknesses.

And treat them as individuals, never a cohort, and certainly don't be so patronising as to treat them as a generation.

The evidence that there is a divide between male and females in relation to using the Internet for content research surprised me.

The call for further research is a given; in a commercial enterprise you have to keep your eye on the ball always. Those who are best at predicting the future all less likely to fall victim to fads and shifts; I daresay they also build a long term following.

 

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H800 65 How do you make the contents of an iPad electronic 'pop-up' book stick?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 10:47

I'm grateful for being introduced to this highly interactive 'pop-up' eletronic book for the iPad. It was suggested that I should show it to my 12 year old son.

I got a one word response 'cool' - said in a tone of voice that implied he was both impressed and intrigued.

From 'Pop-up Press Publications'.

Is this the danger though?

That it's an electronic pop up book?

Engaging enough, but will any of the messages stick?

Is there not a need for a level of effort and endeavour in education if the content is going to stick (or mean anything)?

It is the question/activity you put to the student(s) that tcreates the educational value.

Something like, our towns going to go for 100% green energy, what do you suggest drawing on ideas from this Al Gore 'book'?

Some learning design issues:

1) Expense

2) How easy is it to update the content

3) How easy is it to share pieces of the content to build you own versions of this i.e. engagement, making it student-centred, rather than technology-centred.

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H800 Wk13 Activity 4b Frankly, Prensky and his lot deserve to be lampooned and satirised

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 11:41

W 13+14: Activity 4b: Making sense of the student experience

Read Bennett et al. (2008) ‘The “digital natives” debate: a critical review of the evidence’.

As you read consider the following questions:

____________________________________________________________________

What do you understand by the use of the term ‘moral panic’?

Or the ‘immoral panic’, or the lunacy that has academics and politicians jumping on catch-phrases like ‘the Net Generation’ that are totally sensationalist, eye-catching, worthless, unfounded, claptrap.

In fact they are pandering to our base desires, the belief or wish that there is a narrative to our existence that says it is always rubbish now and can be fixed by reading their book, with its oh too neat title.

Here's another soap-box wonder who believed she had the answer to everything:

Mary%20Whitehouse.jpg

Moral panic (Cohen, 1976) … Mary Whitehouse caused many in relation to smut on TV.

There is a pressing need for theoretically informed research – the concept of ‘Digital Natives; is popularist and designed to sell a book(s) and the lecture/consultancy services of the person who coined the phrase, ‘Marc Prensky.’

So what is a ‘moral panic’?

Anything that gets JPF (just plain folk, a John Seely Brown expression I love) feeling anxious, that things on right in their world and the false prophet spouting doom and gloom is also the one with the answers - just follow them! Converts then to rant about this High Priest of the quick fix - Prensky is of course right about everything (just read the pages of gushing enthusiasm that he puts in his books. Try reading them; for a different product much of this would be professionally written to go on the back of a Cornflakes packet). The educational world will be saved from the horrors of the natives gone digital, if we only listen to him (then praise him to the hilt).

The research from Bennett says this about Prensky's thesis:

- Little critical scrutiny

- Undertheorised

- Lack of sound empirical basis

Dangerously Bennett reportsto address this proclaimed challenge, some high-profile commentators are arguing for radical changes in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and professional in education.’

Marc%20Prensky%20Teaching%20Digital%20Natives%20GRAB.JPG

Prensky and his lot deserve to be lampooned and satirised

Worse, they are given genuine educators working with technology a bad name. Professional educators are on the side of teachers and lecturers creating tools that are convenient, easy, transportable, and hopefully engaging, best of all permitting a large class, or cohort to have some sense of ‘student-centred’ learning through tools that enable a taste of the that priviledged Oxbridge one-to-one tutorial that 800 years on is far from threatened by e-learning and digital everything, indeed it thrives and has become even more precious and valued.

I was suckered into believing Marc Prensky as a naive MAODE student in my first module, H807.

I wanted to believe that Prensky had the answers to everything because I was working in a business in 2000/2001 that wanted clients to believe that if we created immersive, game-like learning online for them their students would teach themselves. Prensky pushed the problem, we offered a response.

This 'Digital Natives' thing is as vacuous as airfreshening devices in the home; it is a marketing gimmic designed to sell a product.

Prensky has no answers, and befuddles it all for us, worse academics have initially picked up his thread and have been terribly slow to get the research done that quite frankly demonstrates the nonsense that has been used to sell Prensky’s books and lecture series.

'Claims are put forward with limited empirical evidence' ( e.g. Tapscott, 1998) or 'supported by anecdotes and appeals to common-sense beliefs' (e.g. Prensky, 2001), who also cites Captain James T Kirk form Star Trek (sic) … as if a fictional character, or the show (rather than its author) should be the one to cite at all.

Were 'Digital Natives' presented as an ECA it might pass, but the feedback would call it 'light' and poorly referenced.

'The reality is complex and diverse', says Bennett not just across a nation, but probably in many classes themselves. It’s as if Prensky and his crew are suggesting that this generation were born with a third eye or six fingers.

(Actually, they are ‘The Simpson’ Generation and we need to worry that they’ll all turn yellow and chop of a finger from each hand).

Can we take seriously an academic writer who cites Star Trek? And references quotes like this? Prenksy says he studied at Princeton and Harvard? What did he study?

Prensky could be, making it up.There is no means to check most of the references, if you can call them that.

I bought 'Educating Digital Natives' it is unacademic twaddle from beginning to end.

It's no better than one of those self-help books you can pick up in an airport.

 

So what is a ‘moral panic’

Anything that gets JPF (just plain folk, a John Seely Brown expression I love) to have a rant … ideally to rant about how this prophet Prensky is right about everything and the educational world will be saved if we only listen to him (then praise him to the hilt).

What does this article suggest to you about the technological determinist thrust of the Net Generation argument?

Academic writers and current research, writing in calm, objective tones (Kennedy, Conole and others) knock flat every piece of ‘hear say’ from these authors for what it is – journalistic, sensationalist nonsense.

I have to question Marc Prensky’s credentials; I simply cannot believe an academic with a Harvard MA could possibly write like this, indeed I want to ask Harvard to confirm that this is the case.

‘The researchers found that only a minority of the students (around 21%) were engaged in creating their own content and multimedia for the Web, and that a significant proportion of students had lower level skills than might be expected of digital natives.’ (Bennett 2008:02)

Kennedy’s research in Australia says it all.

Emerging technologies are NOT the lifeblood of a generation, far from it. Research amongst students in three Australian universities showed that:

  • 21% blog
  • 24% used social networking
  • 21.5% used podcasts

i.e. far from universal in this generation as the self-publicists of ‘Net Generation’, ‘Digital Natives’ or ‘Millennials’ would have us think.

Is there a theoretical or empirical basis to the arguments that are presented using the terms, Net Generation, Digital Natives or Millennials?

None whatsoever.

As Bennett said, we had a go at kids watching too much TV in the past. This is their lives and ours; it is the world as it is today. Nothing whatsoever has changed physiologically or psychologically about us humans, how we develop and grow.

The concept of any generation been universally similar fails to recognise differences related to:

  • Socio-economic status
  • Cultural/ethnic background
  • Gender
  • Discipline specialisation

Internet use by teenagers is far from uniform

  • Widely varying experiences according to children’s school and home backgrounds (Lee, 2005)
  • Family dynamics
  • Level of domestic affluence

Multiskilling claims … are facts that equate to young people at this stage in their developmental processes and is the same today as it was a thousand or ten thousand years ago – ability to work in fine detail, to work on several tasks at the same time.

‘A significant proportion of young people do not have the levels of access or technology skills predicted by proponents of the digital native idea. Such generalisation about a whole generation of young people thereby focuses attention on technically adept students. With this comes the danger that those less ale will be neglected and that the potential impact of socio-economic and cultural factors will be overlooked’. (Bennett, 2008:02)

Although such claims may appeal to our common-sense perceptions of a rapidly changing world, there is no evidence that multi-tasking is a new phenomenon exclusive to digital natives’, (Bennett, 2008:02)

Just because something resonates with our personal observations doesn’t make it so. Frankly, Prensky et al should be stand-up comics – you have to laugh, at their nonsense and how gullible we are to want to believe them.

‘Generalisations about the ways in which digital natives learn also fail to recognise cognitive differences in young people of different ages and variation within age groups.’ (Bennett, 2008:02)

People change their approach according to their perceptions of the task.

  • ‘It is apparent that there is scant evidence to support this idea, and that emerging research challenges notions of a homogenous generation with technical expertise and a distinctive learning style’. (Bennett, 2008:03)
  • ‘Our analysis of the digital native literature demonstrates a clear mismatch between the confidence with which claims are made and the evidence for such claims.’
  • ‘Arguments are often couched in dramatic language, proclaim a profound change in the world, and pronounce stark generational differences’ (Bennett, 2008:03)
  • ‘Such claims with appeals to sense and recognisable anecdotes are used to declare an emergency situation, and call for urgent and fundamental change.’ (Bennett, 2008:04)

The problem is that Prensky is an easy read.

Too many people prefer this than wading through dry, hard-nosed analysis of the truth. The truth? Business as usual. E-learning to education is what a whole raft of tools were to the housewife in the 1950s and 1960s … they make it easier to get the job done. They make life more convenient.

In the case of education it makes realisation, for some, the dream of more student-centred learning, possible.

If there is a generational shift it ought to be that more people are gaining access to an education on their terms. We have moved from a teacher-centred model of teaching (Kember, 1997) … which only existed/exists of necessity (not everyone has ever been wealthy to give their children a personal governess then tutor) … to supporting students’ active learning, the student-centred model (Gibbs, 1995).

If there is, what do you think are the key features of this change in generations?

How might these changes affect education?

Did serendipity bring me to this?

'An evaluation of students' perceptions and engagement with e-learning components in a campus based university'. (2011) Afam Ituma

All your answers to the MAODE in eight pages.

 

 

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Spreading the word through multiple links in social media

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 13 May 2011, 15:44

A week ago I was clearing out the shed and came across a Diablo ... a Bowtie-like shape. It struck me that this could be a way to represent the traditional relationship between an organisation and the public, the messages are funnelled through a spot.

I've done various drawings on this theme

Each stage represents the spreading of the 'word' at and from a variety of 'touch points' in an organisation, gradually increasing so that dialogue between people inside and outside an organisation have increased greatly to their mutual benefit.

DSC01718.JPG

Then I say this, the light from a small vase on a table.

If I could visually double this up as a mirror image then I'd be getting some sense of the dynamism that is still a vital part of communications, as inventive as always, and usually all the IT tools at its disposal to create, share and respond,

DSC01725.JPG

Social Media isn't replacement anything ... it is easy, convenient and of the age. It suits and comes out of the direct way we've learnt to communicate through email and messaging.

All I visualise are these lines of 'activity' spreading between an institution and its public to create something that might resemble a funnel.

The same thinking applies to education, that the realtionship used to be funnel through a teacher to a student in a classroom who belong to a cohort, or through a lecturer into a lecture hall. The opportunity to create (or the necessity to permit) a broader breadth and depth of two way communication is permitted by social media.

These lines of communication are personal, and one to one.

They are forged through links in websites, links in print and from TV, links offered up through Twitter and blogs. They are conversations that are picked up in Linkedin or Facebook.

The expression 'old news keeps like fish' can no longer apply ... far from going off, the write message, insight or assistance is kept alive and made even more meaningful as it is shared and stored and linked to.

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H800 62 The Masters in Open and Distance Education in eight neat pages

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 13 May 2011, 18:43

Interested in e-learning? I am. This says it all to date. Read and share.

Did serendipty bring me to this?

I thought I'd linked to it in the reading. 'An evaluation of students' perceptions and engagement with e-learning components in a campus based university'. (2011) Afam Ituma

This is the OU MAODE in 8 pages.

Enjoy!

 

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H800:61 Wk13 Activity 2a

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 14:02

There’s far more going on than simply technology and it’s a moot point to know when the technology is changing society or responding to society, the two are in a spiralling dance we see, hear and know more – our close relationships are even closer and then those we have kept at arm’s length are drawn in too.

This might make an interesting debate in Cloudworks. It is one of Grainne Conole’s.

‘The old labels of primary, second and tertiary education and work-based learning perhaps have no meaning now in the complex, changing environment’. (Conole, 2007.02)

And this might be interesting to answer:

What does it mean to be a learner in a modern complex environment?

This is valuable, the set of progressions Conole picks out: monitoring, recording, sharing, aggregating information, synthesising, providing evidence, assessing in from form, validating.

And a reminder of the team behind and beside the student as they learn: ‘the student themselves, of course, is the most important one, but also the peers that they work with the tutors who support them, the course developers who provide the course and the environment for them to work in, the senior managers and other support staff who provide the enabling framework, the quality assurance body and validating bodies, as well as professional bodies and, of course, employers’. (Conole, 2007.03)

And there’s more:

‘Education is no longer simple and classified into different boxes and boundaries, for the wider, societal environment in which students are now working and learning is different and constantly changing’. (Conole, 2007.03)

And interesting take on blogging:

Personal blogs both have the ability to provide personal reflective journal but also as a means of experts providing a filter on a complex changing environment.

But has anything changed?

‘It begs the question of does this offer a whole new dimension of learning or again is it more of the same?’ Conole asks and continues later, suggesting that Web2.0 technology ‘is just an integral part of their toolkit that they use to provide support for their learning. They’re also very critically aware now of the pros and cons of different things and they vote with their feet. If they can’t see the benefit they won’t use it’.

And further thoughts on which to dwell:

‘Because so much content is freely available and easily accessible they view it very differently. It has low intrinsic value. They expect high degrees of interactivity. They expect to be able to mix and match and interact and change’. (Conole, 2007)

And future research?

We’re particularly interested in looking at how students are learning across different boundaries and I think this related very much to progression in terms of breaking down those boundaries or silos I talked about before.

We no longer have primary, secondary, tertiary and work-based learning. The whole thing is mixing and changing and interconnecting.

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H800: 59 Seeing the wood for the trees - the activity and the module they sit in

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 04:35

I sit next to a senior learning designer in the Open University Business School - he is wrapping up a new module for the MBA course. I'm in late doing course work - we talk as we return from the kitchen with coffee.

This is clearly way beyond what an online course can deliver in terms of the impromptu face-to-face, one-to-one mini tutorial. I'll just milk it and promise to share insights.

He knows I have struggled with getting into this week's activities; however, late in the day (last night), having finally got through all the reading and made notes and looked back on previous weeks, I told him how important it was, indeed how significant Richardson's set of papers, the reference to the previous work is.

I shall revist this week repeatedly not only as we head towards TMAO2, but for the duration of H800 and beyond.

Perhaps I can hear in the back of my mind the conversations that were had when creating H800 and each academic chose or was allocated a week, or set of weeks. Did they sit down with a learning designer? Did they work it all out from home? I do at least now fully respect and understand why they should and will refer to their own reports, papers, research and books. These are but the published corners of their minds ... and we, after all, are trying to get inside their heads, just they want to tickle the contents of our brains.

Marton, Sfard, Saljo, Richardson ... there is some quality thinking in hear to extract and play with.

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The Now Revolution - let battle commence

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 May 2011, 18:52

My blogging skills were noticed. The task now it to focus them for a good cause - that cause if the Open University.

My reading and training list includes Facebook, Twitter and Linked in. Various books cover all the ground. As I child I had 'My very own learning to cook book.' The equivalent is the 'Dummies' series. I read them all 'Blogging for Dummies', 'Facebook for Dummies', even 'Twitter for Dummies'. They are written by the people who helped build these platforms and the mix of humour and practicle advise is invaluable.

This does it for Social Media

The%20NOW%20Revolution%20COVER%20GRAB.jpg

This, introduced in a Hubspot Webinar last week is a worthwhile read.

You could read a chapter a night and put what you read into practice the next day. Sounds like an OU MBA course - practised based learning. From my point of view I am seeking out that relationship where I can be pupil to a Master (Barrister), or shadow a Partner (Solicitor) ... even apprentice to a skilled craftsperson.

The skills of social media marketing and just a side step away from 'e-moderating' from what I see. My role is to act as a catalyst, to listen, comment and engage in equal measure.

The first time I visited the OU Campus I was gobsmacked by its scale. Today I was once again impressed by the quality of in-house training (on the Open Source Software used here called Drupal).

I took notes ... because it gave me some insight into the arguments for using Open Source. (Not so much from in the lion's den, but my head in its mouth).

I've read somewhere that students should look at the kind of organisation they are learning with. I have found already that 'flexibility' and support' don't just apply to students ... but applies to employees too.

New comers into distance learning will find this a difficult reputation to match.

p.s. I heard a great line from an OU academic the other day, 'it's as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet to happen'.

Now that its upon us can you think of anywhere on the globe better placed to flourish?

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H800:57 Learning design and moderating students online

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:12

Some thoughts on e-moderating from Gilly Salmon all from 'E-moderating'. (2003)

Perhaps we ought to call them Tutors or Associate Lecturers though, rather than moderators.

What do you think?

'It is worth structuring your course to provide participants with rhythm, enticement, flow and pace to their online study.' p63

'We have found that the first few weeks of being online is a critical time for group forming and confidence building'. p64

You've got to make a good first impression, enough, but not overpowering, leading the way?

'Participants in online learning are involved in a variety of communities of learning and practice at the same time, and have a myriad of other responsibilities. Some of these may be similar in values and beliefs and norms of behaviour to those of the course groups and some may not. You need to build enticement, inclusiveness and pacing to make your experience stand out'. p65

Should this come from the Tutor or from Learning Design? Who sets the pace? It depends on whether the module is an obstacle course or the shot-put.

'Long message take time to read and respond to (but may be more worthwhile than short ones). p66

I guess to stay friends with your fellow students and the Tutor you should keep the length down a bit ... but do they read it at all?

'Summarizing, archiving and weaving are the key skills for the e-moderator. They save participant's time, and enable participation in new ways. Furthermore, the more successful an e-moderator is, the more likely he or she will be overwhelmed by success in terms of many student messages'.

A note in relation to countries with poor fixed-lined telephone systems:

'Mobile connectivity through cellular systems will provide access to many more people who will 'leap-frog' over others, technologically, by missing out interim stages'. p70

And a note in relation what learning means.

'What we know of learning is that we want people to change what they actually do, we need to offer experiences that shuffle backwards and forwards between what they already know, and what they are prepared to develop, between specific details and their implications in wider contexts, and between practice and reflection.' (Harvey and Knight, 1996)

Meanwhile I have 60 pages of course work to read, take notes, and comment on ... and then comment on the comments of others in the Tutor Group Forum .. and then I can climb into a hot elluminate session.

(Or should that be a bath?)

REFERENCE

Harvey, L and Knight, P (1996) Transforming Higher Education, SRHE and Open University, Buckingham.

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Everything is miscellaneous

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 16:11

Think of this as a leaf

We've gone through an era of learning as 'trees of knowledge'; now all the leaves have blown off. With everything tagged and searchable you can still find what you need on the ground.

This is the idea

I buy this, more or less. I'd been thinking of it like this for some years, but today I've moved on - it doesn't work.

It doesn't work given that the leaves can be any asset that can be digitised. With the leaf analogy we have to set parameters and have types of leaf (even across plant species, or across the cycle of seasons in temperate climate, there isn't scale or variety that is adequate).

I question digital data or aggregations of binary code being given an organic reference

I prefer to think of the Internet and the World Wide Web as an ocean and 'stuff' as water molecules.With this analogy we can throw in the water-cycle, icebergs and glaciers, clouds, rivers and tributaries ... snow and storms.

Everything is random

It is until you give it value, until you file or tag it. If you neither file nor tag, then your digital 'stuff' may was well not exist, not for sharing at least. How will you find it?

'Everything is miscellaneous' (David Weinberger) is a worthwhile read: cover-to-cover.

'The best digital strategy is to dump everything into one large miscellaneous pile and leave it to the machines to find exactly the table settings we need for tonight's dinner'. p85

I was reading 'The Cluetrain Manifesto' that includes a David Weinberger contribution too - I loathe it (for now). I'll keep wondering why:

Because it reads like a collection of smalmy articles for 'Esquire' ?

Because it invites dialogue but in print form there is none - like going to a party and only being in a position to listen to the guys who have had too much to drink and think they know it all.

Harsh?

(This may be a love/hate relationship developing here ... it challenges me to return to the text. Which reminds me, it was intriguing to find the OU Library copy of the book full of pencil mark highlights and notes. See, a reader couldn't resist i.e. it isn't content for print).

Weinberger imagined what it would be like to be sitting in a new home with 157 moving boxes all labelled 'miscellaneous' - (87) Sound like a great way to get out of a house, just box it up and go. I even like the random nature of what you then find yourself with.

Where is the role of serendipity in this searchable and tagged world of ours?

Thinking allowed?

 

 

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H800: 50 Wk11 Why arguments (and fights) stick in the mind

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 17:47

There was argument between a couple of Profs on Radio 4 on Thursday evening.

They were disagreeing on how best to describe the movement of photons or something in light waves. She likened it to a Mexican Wave, an idea that he rubbished. I think they ended up with a ‘pass the parcel’ idea as a compromised. Once we’ve listened to them having a go at each other for bit we are told that they are married (and happen both to work for the OU).

It was 'The Light Switch Project'.

This for me demonstrated how debate is memorable, you experience the process by which people struggle to agree, or agree to disagree about something and as a result you take your own stance.

I liken technology creep to a liquid or gas that gets into everything.

It is liberating and enabling though. For example, I’ve seen my children take an interest in something and through ‘how to videos’ online learnt skills that in the past might have taken weeks to pick up from siblings, parents or grandparents.

It can be both a catalyst and an accelerator.

Learning about technology by using technology i.e. context, applied learning … even practice based learning. Learning using technology as a tool to help students learn, Like educational films (the original documentary), radio and TV, slide-projectors and photocopies, biros vs fountain pens, the typewriter then word-processing, video and interactivity through CD-rom, whiteboards and Internet access.

Does it work?

Does use of a Spellchecker improve spelling, or simply make you dependent on the technology? It is a must. Though I’d say the first skill is touch-typing as however advanced the technology may be, the QWERTY keyboard is dominant and for many will be a barrier.

How technology is introduced matters, whether it is bottom up to meet an individual need, or top down as a perceived ‘must have’ or panacea without proper consideration for how it will be used.

The learning design comes first, knowing what resources are available, and from a teacher’s point of view deciding strategically how to mix it up given the choices and whether and how to respond to new apps and technologies as they come on stream.

Is a teacher as performer, coach, subject matter expert in the flesh and in front of a classroom audience of 30+ going to be more effective than a one-to-one with an avatar in a 3D virtual world.

At some stage we’re going to look at the technology and see that all it is doing is trying to recreate what we have already and have done for decades – taking kids out of their homes and putting them in an institution up the road while parents go to work.

If teaching online is so good why not keep the kids at home?

Surely there’s never been a better time to self-educated? Are my children growing up too fast? Does it matter that they have been exposed to so much and can dig around online to see and find out things a generation ago we had limited access too?

Physiologically and mentally they mature at the same time.

I keep the line ‘when I was a boy’ to myself, but I see far more parallels than differences; many things are faster, even instant. You want to speak to a friend or have a question answered and it is. They have no excuse to ask ‘why?’ when they are able to go online and little reason to ask ‘what can I do?’

A grant that must be spent results in a school acquiring a dozen Sony Flips (or a cheaper equivalent) so let’s use them.

The choices have surely become bewildering?

However, who should be making the choices – the head of department, the teacher or the student? Or if I spread this net wider, governments and parents? There is no doubt that reasonable IT skills are vital to employability – it’s getting to the stage where you can’t answer the phone without going through Outlook.

Growing up I took learning to be something that you ticked off; i.e. you thought, I can do that, then moved on. I feel today that this is never possible, that anything you learn is just a step on from your previous position of ignorance that can always be improved either by doing it differently or better i.e. life-long learning is the norm, and ICT makes in possible.

Could we apply the same thinking to household appliances?

Where would we be without a fridge-freezer, electric-steam iron or toaster? We’d manage. Might I suggest that nothing has changed? That ‘amelioration’ of what always has occurred with knowledge transfer is occurring? That the effect in the learner’s mind is physiologically no different to what it has always been?

 

 

 

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On using Twitter in Education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 12:05

My concern, as I'm guilty of it as a blogger, is that it changes how you 'talk.'

My blogging voice is light and journalistic - it is difficult to escape this in an assignment, however many references I put on or re-writes I do.

A different mindset is required, literally wearing a different hat and taking a different approach from the start.

As a professional writer I ought to be able to write for different audiences. I'm not sure I can, indeed my voice has always bee the 'spoken word' for TV and Video with scripts design to visualise rather than say anything at all.

I find and consider Twitter to be an invaluable exercise in being succinct; stylistically this has to be a good thing.

However, as I found myself doing recently, something I wrote, after an edit, looked and read like x16 140 character Tweats strung together.

Surely engagement of any kind, a conversation over coffee, over lunch, Tweating or blogs, helps internalise and sought out issues and confusion in the student's mind. It is an activity even if it is being measured?

I wonder if a 'viva voce' in a video conference (Skype, Elluminate) wouldn't demonstrate the value of social networks in education, that it would be apparent that those who are talking about their topic in cyberspace are more likely to have formed some points of view of their own.

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Want to blog? Sources of inspiration and getting it down.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Feb 2013, 12:06

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ON BLOGGING

Sources of inspiration and getting it down.

Get this for a start: Use of Blogs (2006) Axel Bruns and Joanna Jacobs.

It persuades you why to blog. Each chapter is written like an academic paper - an essay at least. Chapter 5 I found I was copying out verbatim (which I can't do here). Go see 'Can Blogging Unspin PR' Trevor Cook.

Your starting off point can be anything at all, once you start (for me at least) it is like opening a vein.

Who cares if it is a note to yourself. If it’s work or course work remember that you can compose then recraft as often as you like; what is more, you can turn access on or off as you please too – even allow comments as you please – with other blog platforms the list of linking choices is as broad as the destination board at Heathrow – you can ‘blog’ to a person, a group, people in different groups and so on (though this is a level of complication may turn the novice off).

If you are at all stuck for content ideas then my suggestions are:

1) Write about the deep past (everything you write is of course in the past) – what this might means is thinking of your earliest experiences of whatever your blog may be about – if it is about education then try these:

2) Your best friend at nursery school

3) Your first day at school

4) The funniest thing that your witnessed or did at school

5) The first thing you learnt and how

6) Add a caption to an old photograph then expand these thoughts into the era.

7) A birthday party

8) A Christmas

9) A first book

All of these are possible jumping off points; once you’re in flight you’ll be surprised how easy it is to steer back to where you had planned to be - who cares about the journey you took to get there – you can leave it in or edit out the first paragraph / chapter.

If you kept a diary at any time in your life – milk it! Put it up, selectively, verbatim and / or relived – you can even retrofit the date.

Getting it down

There is a beauty and simplicity to pen/pencil onto paper. Personally I find typing it up afterwards tedious and will find myself inevitably expanding beyond the way the thing was initially written. The mistake here is that you can/do with ease turn a natural, conversational flow of thoughts into something else – verbose at best, disjoined at worst. You then get into editing and saving sections/chunks for future entries.

Ideally, whether you have notes, an essay plan or mind map to guide you, I’d recommend typing directly into the Blank Box. The QWERTY keyboard is a piano keyboard and you’re playing a ditty or having a jam.

Most blog platforms have ample editing tools, the only warning is to save regularly in some if you are prone to distraction.

Even back up onto a clipboard or Word, though personally I’m not a fan of overworking a piece in Word first.

Have a notepad, record a thought on paper or into a digital recorder, have a device that you can readily use on the go – my most fruitful blogging years were when I had a Psion – I could type this spec-case sized device and draw it into my Mac to upload.

I’ll discover in due course an iPad can offer this facility – I believe it will (and some).

A final thought for now – if you can touch-type and write stream of consciousness then how many words can you get down in so many minutes?

Let’s say you think at FIVE words a second, talk at THREE words a second and type at 40-60 words a minute. In theory in five minutes you can blog between 200 and 300 words. Perfect length. Have a plan, three or so points to make and fire away.

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Bedsit for mature students - a meeting of unlike minds

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Nov 2011, 16:39

I've had five nights in a guest house with FIVE OU students/academics: 3 PhD students and one 2 years post doctoral, while I come in a long way behind as I'm yet to complete my MA (though in theory it is my second MA, and I have done TWO post-graduate courses the equivalent of MAs that were not accredited). So I am another natural for life-long learning.

Conversations - who we are, defined by what we do, what we know, what we don't know and what we think.

Key components missing from online experience are: rapport, facial expressions as we listen or talk, the reciprocal nature of dialogue there is, or should be a natural see-saw of give and receive, of request and response which asynchronous threads struggle to provide.

I have had thought that as someone who kept a diary before blogging came along that this makes me a natural blogger - it helps.

There is another habit or trait that is equally important and may help others get started - the tradition in school of 'taking notes' and even 'call reports' or 'minutes' of meetings. These are starting points for a blog, the trick is to type it all up in real time, as you go along, then edit/censor before you post. Even post into a private page to exploit the affordances of the blog, the date, the place, the tags and categories and how much easier it is to find tagged information than it is to file it, whether on a desktop harddrive or printed out and put into a filing cabinet.

At its simplest level these notes are an aide memoire - they could be an audio record (Tony Benn) and Captain T Kirk - or they coule be a video log (surely you have seen Avatar - 'this is science' he says, dismissive of the importance of reflection, and right to be so given what trouble his personal record made public causes). It may even be the case that someone else takes down your every thought (Churchill's secretaries).

A writer's journal - excerpts and ntoes, can only be of practical value to their author - and if they become a successful author, authority or powerful/influential person - then to academics once archived (we love to study the creative process).

A 'Secret' Dairy is just that (or in the case of H.G.Wells locked down for 50 years, or Mark Twain 100 years). I hope the genre hasn't died just because of the compulsion to blog it, and the volume of traffic and interest that such candor, exposure or disclosure can bring. Is that it, bloggers just crave an audience? THey are in fact wannabe lead singers or actors? They'll say anything if they get an audience, the problem being with a blog to know if that audience is there.

Which is why good stats are vital. Forget comments asa guide to 'readers,' and a universal 'page views' means little. We need stats on the pages viewed, to know which are or become the hot topics. We need personalised lay-outs and we need to DROP the idea of reverse chronology which by dating an entry also ages it, and by stages gives it a sell by date.

Just because a blog puts you on a soapbox and lets you artificially put up the volume. People get around this in simple ways, they keep their blog locked, or off-line, write under a psuedonym and disguise the main character/location (but risk exposure/scandal) or they buy a hard back notebook/diary and do it that way.

________________________________________________

Note to self:

5:3:1 used to be the north American ratio of promotion, maintaining and creating a website.

1:3:5 was the mistake we said us Brits always made, putting everything into development/creation and little into getting an audience (and therefore customers).

I wonder if the desirable ratio for web 2.0 is more like 3:5:1, whereby the effort to maintain, to be active online, to be engaged in social media networking/social influence marketing is both a form of advertising AND part of the creation process?

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Blogging a dead horse

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 16:44

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The more I read, the more I research, the more I listen and the more I gush to others about blogging, the more I feel that it is like ...'trying to flog a dead horse to make it pull a load'.

Not the act of blogging, but the actions required to convert people.

People (students) don't see there value; to read a few well written, apposite blogs, fine. A person that in this environment has something to offering pertaining to their course. Or for entertainment. (Stephen Fry's Tweats form a micro-blog after all), micro only in the sense that you are restricted by character count per entry. If these parameters are like a letter-box then Stephen Fry is posting plenty himself and garnering a gargantuan response).

I have infront of me 'Exploring students' understand of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in Higher Education'. It was a conference item at ALT-C 2007: Beyond Control: Association Technologies Conference, 4-6 September, Nottingham, UK.

One of its Six authors is Grainne Conole, an OU senior academic, a blogging practioner and evangelical online chatter-box and good-egg. She wants us all to blog, and understands the magic of a comment ... she likes to make new friends and understands the reciprocal nature of reading and leaving salient comments. It's T.L.C. online.

I just clicked away and posted this in her blog:

I'm faced with the dilemma of having to split my professional, student and blogging personas; I recently joined the Open University Business School. This three way split has me locking down one diary and 'friends' gathered over a decade and tripping over the other two selves, starting afresh with contacts and what I blog wearing my professional hat. I am certain such possible conflicts of interest occur for anyone working in online media communications - broadcasting on behalf of your employer; indeed, my contacts in senior PR and Media roles of various organisations have the weakest of online profiles, even though two of them are published authors.

On the other hand just as I really got going in Facebook to connect with my brother and his family in South Africa and organise my mother's 80th, I find that living away from home during the week I come online to have some sense of what my own family are up to - just a shame our dog doesn't blog, 'stick chasing across the South Downs' would do it.

Currently reading your 2007 paper 'Exploring students' understanding of how blogs and blogging can support distance learning in Higher Education'. Are Learning Designers (and those who work with them) 'flogging a dead horse?' The analogy I'm about to use in my OU student blog is that I am starting to feel like a Tuba player at a football match - no one is interested, they're watching the game. Maybe if I could network with the other instrument players in the crowd we could have a jam-session. As another paper on blogging discovered 'birds of a feather flock together', we do this and find kindred spirits. The problem in OU student blogging platforms is that we are overly pigoen-holed, not just by course, but by module and tutor group (and sub-groups within these).

I liken the Internet to a digital ocean; currently blogging as an OU student is like blogging in fish tank, in a warehouse full of fish tanks. And every so often someone kindly comes along and divides us up even more, creating barriers, rather than opportunities. Please can we just all be tipped into the same ocean?

I then went off to Facebook, via my external blog My Mind Bursts.

I only sat down to transfer notes from a pad ... and am yet to transcribe a single word of it.

I was going to say, anything short of writing directly into 'the white box' that you are presented with on your chosen blog platform or platforms snacks of something else: a repository, a writer's journal, a student's e-portfolio that they leave open ... keep forgetting in the lecture hall, that they photocopy and leave on benches outside the refrecatory.

Reading 'Everything is miscellaneous' David Weinberger I find a like mind a) the idea of miscellany, that each page, each asset, whether ostensibly part of something (like this) is like an autumn leave scattered on the forest floor. These leaves never compost down and those that are tagged stay on the top of the pile, those that people find or are guided too most often, stay on the top of the pile ... and did it not long ago reach the stage where the leaves on the forest floor are so deep that they have buried the trees?

I put a slightly inept first draft phrase into Yammer the OU Personnel 'Twitter-like' feed about dandelions and pomegranates. I've used the dandelion metaphor many times, the pomegranate too, but had never put them together.

My thinking was this, if the seed is this blog entry, or a Tweat or even a message in Facebook i.e. an idea, thought, asset or message, a seed if you were scattered to the wind to find its own fortune then developing social media for an institution, whilst the asset, these words, are still a seed, they are coming from a pomegranate, not a dandelion. The reason being that understandably if you are expressing the views of others, collectively or individually, you cannot just hold you thoughts up to the wind and blow. The opening of the pomegranate is, as it were, the necessary processes and procedures. This analogy falls apart though if you have an image of Jamie Oliver holding a pomegranate half in one hand while smashing it with a wooden rolling pin with the other ... the OU are not smashing me on the head to extract words like nasla mucus. Rather, at first at least, they will be extracted by me using tweezers.

All this and my 16 pages of notes on blogging handwritten into a Shorthand Pad remain unused.

To overcome my reluctance to write up what I feel I have already expressed I realise I could just photograph my notepad ... in fact, I'll do this and just see how folk manage with my handwriting.

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My first week at the Open University Business School

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 29 Apr 2011, 06:30

Yammer WK1 DY1

Dutifully and out of habit I have kept a diary, not online. This records who I meet, what I learn, notes on what I am responsible for. So a day diary.

I'd like to think by the end of the week I could, and should reflect on this, even assess how I have got on.

There is a schedule over three to five weeks that I've shared in relation to my first 'cycle' of activity.

Outside work hours I've had an extraordinary week in a guest house with three quasi-permanent PhD student guests with three others at various times popping in for a night or two - all PhDs or PhD students.

Conversations at work, in relation the MAODE are rolled into conversations in relation to collaboration in teaching creativity (PhD thesis), slow moving atomic particles in the Martian atmosphere (Post Doctoral) and mechanical engineering (PhD).

And how to cook (as one guest has never been away from home).

The MAODE has not taken a back seat, indeed I'm in the curious position of it being on the back burner all day as I sit in an open plan office that includes the curriculum and teaching team.

With blogging the MAODE theme I have had plenty of people to practice on (my household want to blog, I've got two as far as Facebook, one chasing recommended urls and putting meta-tags in her blog for the first time) and of course it is a topic of conversation 'over the water-cooler in relation to student participation.

I'm looking for answers in 'Everything is Miscellaneous' David Weinberger and 'Use of Blogs' Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs, but could as easily recommend books on how and why to keep a diary ... it is the same, with the added bonus if you want it, of finding yourself in a dialogue with helpful and supportive like-minds.

 

 

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Immersive Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 15:19

I was hopeless at languages but knew that going on a French exchange would do the job; it did I had three weeks in France, then he had three weeks back in England and the friends I made in France had me back for seven weeks over the summer, camping and hitchhiking. Then a gap year working in a busy four star hotel.

Immersive learning, learning by default.

I didn't expect to feel this way about my MA course. I've had some intensive days online, but I know find myself challenged my entire waking day, whether online or not.

I am in the university town of Milton Keynes; I'll call it that, because my perspective it is. I'm in a house that has five students in it, and it transpires there are houses up and down the road that do the same thing.

I get up and read on my Kindle.

I'm just about through Chris Pegler on Blended Learning (recommended). I walk in with a mechanical engineer and then spend the day in meetings at the OU Faculty of Business and Law on how it is received online, from students, assistant lecturers (tutors) and fellow academics and prospective candidates. 

I have lunch in 'The Hub' and cannot help but overhear what sounds like an impromptu tutorial on genetics. And then I register at the OU library and enjoy that distraction of wondering the shelves, then as you approach the title you want you discover a couple of other items that could be of interest. Can serendipity be written into the code of someone studying online? It's preferable to the 'Amazon Recommends'. (Too pushy)

I return to the house and find myself engaged in the content of a thesis on how teams collaborate in creative activities.

Were the first universities at all akin to this?

Bologna in the 11th century, students staying in the town, in lodgings.

(Had I been at home there would have been several distractions. One person here says how she gets away from home so that she can work on her thesis. Do you require space to learn, just as authors need space to write? Who was it who said you need periods of nothing at all before you could write anything original?)

I need now to engage with the MAODE.

After a two and a half hour discussion on the value of blogging and other social networks in education I wonder if I have the mental energy or desire to do any more. I feel that I can knock a few holes in my head and rather like draining the milk from a coconut just give my head a shake over the keyboard.

A week ago I put 'the contents of my brain' online, either in dropbox, or Google docs, on the ou e-portfolio My Stuff, even here ... a blog is as good a place as any to store content. Just go tag crazy so that you can find it.

How to encourage others to blog?

Recommend some great academic, student orientated blogs. Martin Weller's name came up. I'd recommend Doug Belshaw from the JISC. Then there's Terry O'Sullivan on marketing. And Les Budd. 

As I come across others (and locate the links for the above), I'll offer more.

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H800: 47 H800 Week 8/9 Activity 7 Cloudworks 'Swim lanes' for learning design,

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 14:23

It is one thing to contribute to a flash debate, it is quite another to embrace the Cloudworks platform.

There is only one way to test the water, and that is to get in. We talk of 'swim lanes' for learning design, I like every platform, every social network, business network or here, educational network, to be a visit to another pool, a lido, indoor or out, leisure pool or training pool.

They need to know who you are, you have to sign in. Then you have to change, get in, and give it a go.

So I am for the umpteenth time adding a profile picture and a profile, tagging, finding favourites debates and linking to people.

It all takes time.

Online you control time. Intensive engagement might move things along ... on the other hand, it may irritate those who've been here a while.

It should take time.

Find the rhymn of the place, observe when and where there is a buzz. Identifiy the 'champions,' come in on the periphery, pick up a thread, join in tentatively, give it a go here and there.

I make a contribution to a Flash Debate on the futre and threats to universities

Universities will flourish as they become part of the mainstream and engaged with the world, rather than distinct from it. Relationships with governments, industries, schools (for future students) and alumni (for past student) will develop and become continual, rather than passing. Student cohorts may look the same on the ground, but in the virtual world will be broader and deeper, technology and systems allowing a greater diversity. Not all institutions will have the ability, whether through lack of financing, the burden of their past and costs, to be flexible and change. The overall impact will be of an evolutionary change, though for some it will be a fight for survival.

BRANDING

Established, motivated, well-supported and well known colleges and institutions, where there is strength as a brand, as well as financially, in their governing body and from alumni will thrive. They can afford to exploit the changing circumstances (and they can’t afford not to). Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, Bristol, UCL and the OU are not about to go under. On the other hand, new, complacent, poorly supported, little known educational institutions where the sources of income and grants may be narrow or uncertain, with weak leadership and ill-established (or disloyal) alumni will fail.

BUSINESS

The opportunities to flourish are extraordinary; the global demand for tertiary education with tens of millions of people from Asia, for example, seeking higher education over the next decade means that there is a growing and hungry market if you have the right ‘product.’ Education is a business, whether the model is that students are educated for free or pay part of the fees, cash flow matters. Retailing has been in constant flux, from the high street to out of town shopping, with national and international brands dominating, and then online shopping cornering certain markets, from books to electronic goods. Retailers have had to change the mix, where they locate and what they sell. Universities are less agile and less prone to the vicissitudes of short-term purchasing decisions, but the impact on them of new technologies is no less profound. Negotiating their way through this will require skill, the most vulnerable institutions will fail.

QUALIFICATIONS

Letters after your name differentiate you from other candidates for a job or promotion. Where there are many applicants for the same position where you studied, indeed, who you studied with, will matter. It helps to study under the best in your field. It depends entirely on where you wish or plan to go afterwards, where and if a position or job requires a certain qualification, and if a qualification from one or another institution has greater perceived or actual value. However, as those with experience of the job market will tell you, it is how what you have been taught is applied and how you relate to other people, that will determine your success.

CAMPUS BASED vs DISTANCE LEARNING

Technology is blending the two: increasingly students are opting for this, to be campus-based, but to take advantage of the technology to better manage their time or support their learning. Far from being the death-knell of the traditional university, new technologies will assist in their finding ways to develop and support a broader and deeper student body. Participation and collaboration, socialising away from the screen, is a vital component of the university experience for those coming out of secondary education – the demands and expectations of a mature student are very different. How people get on, how they work together, is a vital lesson that a campus based university offers. Whilst increasingly our online experiences are as ‘real’ as everything else we do, it is how and if we can work as a team that will decide how we progress. The student experiencing this will better know themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, and suitability for different career paths.

CHANGE

Like retailers, manufacturers, broadcasters, publishers and the post office, we are in a period of significant change, new technology was already having an impact, the economic down turn has aggravated this, obliging some forcing other institutions to act. How this change is managed will decide who survives and who struggles on. There is a fine line to tread between innovating early, or too late, changing wholesale or piecemeal. The wise institution not only spreads its risk, but also casts its opportunism just as wide as spreading your bets covers you in a world where nobody knows what will work or not. Libraries, one of the draws to a campus-based university, cannot be as influential as hundreds of millions of texts become instantly available in digital form. Senior lecturers and researchers should be employed for their ability to communicate, support and rally students around them, not simply because of the paper they are working on. Students will demand more if they feel it is the cash in their pocket that is buying what the institutions offers. Errors, failings and shortcomings of a person, a module or course, can be spread through online reviews and will decide their fate. New blends of courses will invent themselves where a student feels able, supported through e-learning, to cherry pick, even to study simultaneously quite different subjects. Cohorts, if on the ground still that 17-23 year old age group, will become far more diverse, with groupings formed by mutual interest in a subject. Life-long learning, already apparent in some professions, will become more common place as people recognise the need to refresh their understanding of some topics, while gaining new skills and additional insights.

Am I responding to a thread, or like the second or third speaker at an Oxford Union Debating Society getting up to say my piece?

And if I sit on the fence, what kind of debate is that?

We should be obliged to take sides, THAT would be a debate, otherwise it is a conversation, another online tutorial.

Thus far Cloudworks is like a new swimming pool, refreshing and full of opportunity. To thrive, let alone survive, it needs people coming down to swim, to jump in, to train, to meet ...

And once you have your regulars, keep them coming back.

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H800: 46 The card-based Hybrid Learning Model and a card-based Tool Kit for writers.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:21

H800%20Wk8%20HLM%20GRAB.JPG

From HLM Flash DemoVideo player: Flash Demo

For someone who does NOT have a formal teaching background this for me is the first time in 13 months that I have something practical that is based in learning, not 'e-learning' that I feel can apply immediately to any learning context: instructing sailing, teaching swimming, advising on digital marketing, supporting a team making a short film ... and especially thinking of ways to occupy children who are now on a three week holiday.

Blogspot from conference presentation of HLM

Institutional e-learning services

HLM Grid

I found this exercise extraordinarily useful. In the space of an hour I felt I assembled the makings of a series of activities, a module that might take place over a weekend, or a week or two. Thinking of this as learning first, and e-learning second helped.

I decided on creating a course on 'marketing to the social web.'

I've always fallen back on system, surveys and so on. A set of questions, in this case cards, that you can mix about, sets the process up. A similar end result might be achieved in different ways, but here, falling back on the cards and working with these options helps you to get something down. Indeed, having the cards makes you appreciate at every stage you could approach it differently. It would highlight any repetitive approach, something some online educators are guilty of i.e. a course where every activity is a person talking to camera with a transcript of what they say. And no better than the weekly lecture and reading list which was almost my entire three year undergraduate experience.

The graphics worry me. I do think there is value in engaging the best graphic designer for things like this, to come up with something universal. I wonder how some learners would interpret a class that involved the use of flash cards with coloured in cartoons on them. Given the ability of the www to offer choices I'd give users a choice of a dozen alternative images for each activity.

As I'm looking at various courses on digital marketing I'll see how I can add to this.

Activity/Task –Objective

Learning Event

Teacher’s Role

Learner’s Role

Resources

Tools (inc. Technologies)

Other comments

Survey on current awareness of advertising/marketing in social networks

RECEIVES

Explain

Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

24 hours of Google Alerts, Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin.

EXPLORES

Coach

Research

WWW

Min six people sharing task to cover entire 24 hour period.

Write in a blog, microblog. As text from the spoken word. Writing within parameters, not just Twitter’s 140 characters, but other word counts.

IMITATES

Perform

Apply

Perform

Reflect

WWW

Twitter

Wordpress

LiveJournal

Blogger

Writers & Artists Handbook.

Voice Recognition Software

Touch Typing Software

Trying to develop a fluid, immediate, even ‘stream of consciousness’ approach to writing.

Image only in a blog.

CREATES

Coach

Create

WWW

Flickr

Tumblr

Facebook

Digital Camera

Mobile Phone

Webcam

Comment on blogs, join in forum discussion .

EXPERIMENTERS

Explain

Practice

WWW

Blogging for Dummies.

Letters to the editor. Letters.

RSS

Within the group and beyond

Add sound to a blog … voice, music, live (Skype) and broadcast (podcast).

PRACTICES

Coach

Perform

WWW

Podbean

Headset

Microphone

Group

Measure

RECEIVES

Apply

Questions

WWW

Analytics

Neilsen

Research companies

Tools

Technorati

Google Analytics

Buzzmetrics

Group

Promote (PR, advertising, marketing)

EXPERIMENT

Perform

Explains

Explore

Perform

WWW

Viral Video

Event

D&AD DVD

Mobile platforms

DVD player

Group

Survey on final awareness of advertising/marketing in/to social networks.

RECEIVES

Explain

Evaluate

Review

WWW

Marketing to the Social Web as key resource.

Survey Monkey

(e-reader)

Individual

 

The Writer's Tool Kit

All these cards had me thinking of  a writer's tool kit, 'The Observation Deck' by Naomi Epel. In that period where I wrote fiction all day I often dipped into this, simply to keep me going. In pratise it is far more useful for someone who blogs all the time as it triggers a line of thought.

DSC01578.JPG

If you're running a creative writing course this IS your learning design done; each week take a different card from the box and do.

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The Contents of my Brain

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 23 Jan 2013, 12:41

The current generation will be able to begin to achieve a fraction of this if they please; all I have to go on are diaries I stared in March 1975 and efforts since then to recall all the events, feelings and dreams of my life to that point.

This alongside photoalbums, scrapbooks and sketch books, with lists of books read and films seen, maps of places visited and a complete extended family tree ought to offer a perspective of who or what I am.

Does any of it impact on how I think and behave?

Without my mind is it not simply a repository of typical memories and learning experiences of a boy growing up in the North East of England?

Blogging since 1999 there are like minds out there, though none have come back with an approximation of the same experiences (its been an odd, if not in some people's eyes, bizarre, even extraordinary roller-coaster of a ride).

It's value? To me, or others?

I could analyse it 'til the day I die. My goal is no longer to understand me, but to understand human kind. And to better understand the value of exercises such as this, not simply hoarding everything, but of consciously chosing to keep or record certain things.

For now I will exploit the tools that are offered. In theory anything already digitised on computers going back to the 1980s could now be put online and potentially shared. Can I extract material from a Floppy-disc, from an Amstrad Disc, from a zip-drive? Should I add super8mm cine-flim already digistised on betacam masters? And the books Iv'e read, beyond listing them do I add links even re-read some of them? And a handful of school exercise books (geography and maths) A'Level folders on Modern History. I kept nothing from three years of university, yet this is where the learning experience ought to have been the most intense. But I had no plans to take that forward had I?

My university learning was spent on the stage or behind a video camera.

Should I undertake such an exercise without a purpose in mind?

Do I draw on it to write fiction?

There is a TV screenplay 'The Contents of My Mind' that could be stripped down and re-written, even shared.

And all the fictoin, the millions of words.

Will this have a life if put online?

Is it not the storyteller's sole desire to be heard? To have an attentive audience?

 

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Blog, e-portfolio, wiki, cloudworks ... tutor and module forums

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 07:46

I need them all roled into one. When it comes to a blog/e-portfolio I have to wonder if this is not it - pretty much.

I can deposit documents here as well as anywhere else, but keep the page private.

Following the activities if fellow MAODErs on H807, which I did a year ago, is refreshing. Do this for a couple of years and I can keep the topic and its lesson's fresh. I can also follow H809 which I would have liked to have done. Indeed, might the OU call it a MA* if you do additional modules beyond those required for the MA?

As I prepare to up sticks, move town and job I'm hoping to compensate for some of the disruption by getting everything I may need online so that it can be accessed from anywhere.

I'm yet to break away from the OU e-portfolio My Stuff. It may be clunky, but it works and it is integrated. I've never been happy with Pebble Pad. Perhaps I just run with Dropbox? Picassa Dropbox has become indispensable. Rather than think about compressing images I take pics and grab frames/windows and post them here for later use and linking. With images feeding into several blogs and OU forums too I can't afford for this to be comprised ... or I'd lose any pics and diagrams that I've created.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Threads

The assumption is that we don't wish to interact in real time otherwise more tools would be provided to co-ordinate synchronous meetings. My experience is that with a little co-ordination such meetings are extraordinarily valuable, to motivate pressing on with the course, let alone to resolve issues or to share learning. With retention of students such an issue it surprises me that the OU isn't more proactive.

As a tutor do I hope that all my students will stay the course, or do I expect 40% to fall by the wayside?

We seem to be in denial of obvious means of getting in touch too: email, messaging, Skype.

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What is a learning activty? Grainne Conole

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Sep 2011, 09:40

Beetham provides a simple definition

"an interaction between a learner or learners and an environment (optionally including content resources, tools and instruments, computer systems and services, 'real world' events and objects) that is carried out in response to a task with an intended learning outcome." (Beetham, 2004)

Conole has developed a learning activity taxonomy (Conole, 2007; Conole, 2008) that attempts to consider all aspects and factors involved in developing a learning activity, from the pedagogical context in which the activity occurs through to the nature and types of tasks undertaken by the learner. The taxonomy is based on the premise that learning activities are achieved through completion of a series of tasks in order to achieve intended learning outcomes. The taxonomy was derived by working with practitioners to elicit the stages involved in the design process and consists of three main components:

  • The context within which the activity occurs; this includes the subject, level of difficulty, the intended learning outcomes and the environment within which the activity takes place.
  • The pedagogy (learning and teaching approaches) adopted. These are grouped into three categories – associative (acquisition of skills through sequences of concepts/tasks and feedback), cognitive (construction of meaning based on prior experience and context) and situative (learning in social and/or authentic settings).
  • The tasks undertaken, which specifies the type of task, the (teaching) techniques used to support the task, any associated tools and resources, the interaction and roles of those involved and the assessments associated with the learning activity. In particular the types of tasks which a student might do as part of the learning activity are described in detail and grouped into six categories; assimilative (attending and understanding content), information handling (e.g. gathering and classifying resources or manipulating data), adaptive (use of modelling or simulation software), communicative (dialogic activities, e.g. pair dialogues or group-based discussions), productive (construction of an artefact such as a written essay, new chemical compound or a sculpture) and experiential (practising skills in a particular context or undertaking an investigation).
  • http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/2473 (Accessed 4/4/11)
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H800: 45 Week 8 Activity 2 (Part 4) Tools for Learning Design

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 16:14

Is this a model or an expression of what took place?

At what point, by adding Tutor engagement, and then picking out individuals in relation to their tutor group forum participation do you make assumptions?

A questionnaire would elicit the facts.

At some point the complexity of the activity shown diminishes the ease at which the chart is interpreted.

33pysds_H800-WK8-Act3.jpg

 

I'd replaced the imploring 'HAVE FUN!' with the more germane 'ENGAGE!' i.e. take part, I say this because debate and discussion may not be fund with a smile.

Often I liken a session that spins out of control as a Catherine-Wheel nailed to a post that fizzles and falls ... or winds down. Some activities can be like this, 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'

They tend to be the most fulfilling, where everyone in the group takes part. Or at least SIX on a regular basis to give the thing some spin.

Failure to participate is the killer; with it an activity can be a wild success, drawing people in, urging them to take part. Without them you are on your own 'with your books and your thoughts.'

The reality of distance learning online is a bit of both, the trick is to be able to engage and disengage with reasonable flexibility, not feeling guilty whether you are quiet for a period or when you are ever-present.

The role of the tutor is a tricky one

Mentor and coach, or subject matter expert? Institutional insider to guide? Overseer? Absent landlord? Marker? Assessor? Animateur?

The role is changing. It will be as different as it is in the 'real' world from the one-to-one private tutor, or the 'gang master' running 60 students via pre-recorded video lecture. Customers, as students can call themselves with greater validity if they are paying significant sums, will be demanding.

'Change is all around us'.

(Sung to the tune of Wet, Wet, Wet's 'love is all around us').

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H800: 45 Week 8 Activity 2 (Parts 1, 2 and 3) Tools for Learning Design

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 5 Oct 2012, 23:18

PART ONE

This is how I develop a Creative Brief ... this happens to be an MAODE exercise on Learning Design.

As a video producer this is the idea I'd sell to the client.

I'd then work with a coach and group of swimmers to set the scene and milk it.

This is the kind of thing corporate clients use to teams of 10,000 employees. This is also how I go about writing scripts, sometimes adding drawings, cut-outs from magazines and photos. Nothing hi-tech at the thinking stage ... which gives people more freedom to contribute.

A whiteboard marker pen on unforgiving wallpaper backing paper (30p a roll in from the reduced bin!). Stuck to the kitchen door.

PART TWO

The Forum Thread deserves as Swim lane of its own with as much activity into it and Elluminate as I have put here into a blog/microblog.

How%20much%20changed%20when%20printed%20arrived%20COMPENDIUM.jpg

Often I find a dedicated thread such as e-Learning Professionals is more likely to guarantee a response to something I say; the reason for this is simple, they have thousands of active members.

There are reliable statistics to say what tiny per centage of people are happy to write, read, comment and contribute. 1% to write, about 4% to comment. This has to be reflected in forum activity too, however much it is required by the course. I've missed out blogs other students keep, and the links back and forth to these.

You'd be surprised how much goes on in the background.

I've found myself working things through with people in different tutor groups, who did the module a year ago ... or who have nothing to do with MAODE but have an answer. Which reminds me of the fantastic diagram drawing tool dia. How does Naughton’s journalistic point of view compare to those of an academic?

I worked through it alone, blogged about it and offered thoughts and replied in the tutor forum.

The degree or blogging I’ve put forward reflects what I consider an invaluable addition to taking part in Forum Threads. You express what you think, ‘stream of consciousness’ into your own blog, edited to140 character for Twitter than take part in a Forum where some back and forth discussion should come about.

The other invaluable form of participation is through a conference call – as Jonathan Swift said, ‘I don’t know what I mean until I have heard myself speak.’

This is akin to a treatment outline for a video. The script in our case is the ad-libs and verbatim responses of student and input from the tutor. I like the idea of swim-lines and can imagine the Tutor online as a coach, rather than a subject matter expert, as a guide and mentor.

The reality is that such rapport develops with fellow students.

It is a shame that there isn’t more continuity through your original cohort. I have used the Compendium to share projects, using the layers to attach documents and have another contribute. For a simple mind map I like bubbl.us, otherwise I’m as likely to do a sketch and photograph it to share … or draw directly into a paint/draw package such as ArtPad using a stylus and Wacom board. Like all tools you need to have a clear use for it, rather than playing in a sandpit. To be able to collaborate in a team people need to be familiar with and using the same software/platforms.

Compendium can be used as a basic mind-map or flow chart and with experience be used for much more, as an e-portfolio of sorts.

It is overly prescriptive. Tools need to be intuitive and follow common practices regarding buttons and outcomes. For a first draft I prefer marker pen on paper, followed by bubbl.us.

As Beetham’s Chapter 2 (Activity 2) points out learners will find their own way through a task regardless. We understand things differently, draw on different experiences and come up with our own metaphors.

Whilst I go with the ‘Swim Lanes’ analogy, I often think the reality is like a Catherine-wheel nailed to a post in the rain.

Should an exercise such as this be addressed in a way that has so scientific connotations? It is surprising how easy it is to share the narrative of a linear activity in a multitude of ways. A simple set of numbered bullet points, perhaps worked up as a presentation. As a board game, one step taken at a time. Or a set of activity cards. You can talk it through by counting five activities off on your fingers. I'll do one of these in the truly, joyful, brilliant www.bubbl.us and post it to my ou blog and extracurricular blog' 'My Mind Bursts' which in turn is fed to Twitter 'jj27vv.'

Make one of these mind maps, then change your mind and be tickled with the way the 'node' or 'bubbl' behaves . Go see! This and a list of wonderful tools from an H808 student who is a primary school teacher in Thailand. Work should be fun, especially learning design. After all, if you don't enjoy it, how do you expect your future students to behave?

PART THREE

Bubbl.us has gone from toy to a grown up tool with layers and the opportunity to add sound, images (stills and moving) and no doubt much more, none of which I have had time to try.

The old bubbl.us was like playing with kid's party balloons and when you deleted a balloon (or node) it blew up and burst into flames. This new version still does some magic to the eye, fading away like a mist, also when you save melting into the background like a rainbow of ice melting.

An extraordinary delight to the senses and apparently of far more practicle use than I credited it with a few months ago.

 

33pxxlo_New-Sheet.jpg

 

Click on this and it takes you to Picassa Dropbox. You can then enlarge it, save the code and help yourself. I think all the images I've put into this OU identify album is 'open to the public.'

Seeing this all again I am reminded of my inspiration David McCandless.

By working on this a few more times an art director or designer would turn it into a thing of beauty; it is this level of inspiration that sells ideas to committees, colleagues and others.

People buy into ideas. People like to be inspired.

The pedagogy must of course be sound, the right offering of activities, outcomes and learner flexibility and support is the OU magic mix.

P.S. Don't imagine I was familiar with any of these tools until I started the MAODE in Feb 2010, most of everything I now use I was introduced to by someone here.

PART FOUR

Add the role of the Tutor.

Get in a designer and make it a thing of information beauty.

Sell it internally and externally.

Schedule, produce.

Watch what happens and adjust accordingly.

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