OU blog

Personal Blogs

Page: 1 2 3
Design Museum

Popplets

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014, 14:40
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. My stab at a popplet.

I added some orange hair. Themed for the 5th of November as this is how I look on the streets of Lewes at this time of year. 

As kids we had a word that sounds very like this ... 'plopplets'. We had a variety of words for poo. 

With thanks to Veronique Masse Du Bois who is using Popplets as part of H818. By sharing and me picking up on it she's achieved some outcome for H818: The Networked Practitioner if I recall having it done this module of the MA ODE last year. 

A sucker for trying out anything new and visual I have downloaded Popplets onto an iPad and will now proceed to mangle the French language, at least the grammar I've supposedly learnt these last two weeks. And illustrate it too. 

Other cool idea organisation Apps I've used:

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Connectedness

Visible to anyone in the world

Fig. 1. Engestrom flipped This is a Activity Theory flipped in the gale of Web 2.0. It makes nodes and 'knotworking' redundant as people can connect anyone old how.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

The Power of asking

Visible to anyone in the world

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

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

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

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

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

On the day I take H818 into the community

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 09:18

In the spirit of doing something different in order to effect change I attended a 'Get Together' organised by Wired Sussex and took the attitude that I would be open to everything and say 'yes' to all.

Over two hours I listened to, shared with and learnt from Neil, Gerry, Olly, Karla, Tristan, Simon, Michael ... and 'TV Simon' as I will call him to differentiated from business managing director 'Simon 16' (16 = number of employees). I only remember the people, what they said and names to faces as, shared with them, I did this thing of pegging a face to a place on a familiar journey - walking through the house.

And so I found Carla at the front door designing jewellery, Gerry on the stairs coaching folk in life skills, Tristan entering my bathroom talking agile eater falls, Kanban and SCRUM techniques while Simon was on the landing with our dog - his blonde hair and scruffy beard in keeping with our blonde Labradoodle perhaps?

Olly was in the garden talking to John, while Neil moved away and subsequently left.

These are only those I met.

There is no so much to follow up on: things to do, things to research, people to get back in touch with. So here's me making some kind of public promise to do so, including having a business card by the time of the next meet up. I own the domain name 'Mind Bursts' which is where I plan to seed ideas and seek ways for them to flourish and bare fruit.

Much of the conversation came from my experience of the Open University's Master of Arts on Open and Distance Education in general (graduated in 2012) and the module H818: The Networked Practitioner that ends tomorrow having submitted End of Module Assignments last week.

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Jonathan Joe had a mouth like an 'O'

Visible to anyone in the world

There is big O, and little o ... and so, so 'o'.  The open movement is I believe big O: a movement, a philosophy, even an evangelical drive to 'put it all out there'. Little 'o' is more circumspect, less brash, less demanding of attention and is, without scaring people, as much as should be expected of the 76% who don't get it, or don't want to get it. Then there is the 'so, so 'o': even the 'no, no 'o' where exposure becomes indecent. I'm not talking about THAT kind of exposure, rather that revealing and sharing of too much, especially if your enthusiasm to be online means that you talk about and show other people like a suburban or office paperizzi.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Chaning behaviours in my Web 2.0 world courtesy of H818: The Networked Practitioner

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 06:51

Trying to rationalise and reflect on what next I've reduced it to this mnemonic:

S=Strategic

C=Connectedness, Collaboration and several other Cs

A=Applied

R=Reciprocal

F=Financed.

In that order too.

S =Strategic is a term I know a few fellow students of the MAODE have used. This means time management to some, curbing the desire to disappear down intellectual rabbit holes to others ... while for me it probably means taking on less and being more focused and less distracted. Immediately on leaving this space I will refine my contacts on Linkedin and reduce the groups I am in yet further. I should concentrate only on people I know or strategically relate to and then make time for them - ditto the groups. I only need to be in a couple. These can be vibrant and worthy of your attention. "S' might also stand for 'sustainable' - see 'financed' below.

C=Collaborative is probably key for me. Historically success has always come from at least two, sometimes a small team of us doing something. I find the second person or others creates a responsibility to see a thing through to its conclusion which may not happen when I am left to my own devices. And of course, two heads are better than one from a problem solving point of view.

A=Applied, over the other 'a' word 'academic'. While the MAODE usually draws from your real life experience I really want to be spending most of my time putting into practice the many insights and skills I have gained on the MAODE and had to bring into play for H818. This means, most likely, returning to L&D - agency side rather than client side. This may happen sooner rather than later as I have a second interview with a learning company this week. This would see me designing learning for workshops and online. 'A' needs also to stand for 'ask' - see 'Financed' and 'O' below. 

R=Reciprocal. This I have known for a decade. There is no 'gaming' the system to create collaboration or connectedness online. You have to be less selfish and more altruistic. It pays to seek out like minds and take an interest in them as they will return the favour. Just a handful of people will do. I feel I had deserted a few of the folk I used to converse with all the time ... and have let relationships with some people from earlier MAODE modules slip. No more!

F=Financed. So funded too. Contracted or raising funds for my projects. Applications have gone out seeking funds for the Quick Response Codes Poppy thing - either to apply it to the activities, say of the Western Front Association, or simply to go to schools or associations and give a talk ... which would in due course become a self-contained why and how to e-learning module. This means asking for money. Yes, it is about selling. Amanda Palmer is a reminder of this. Crowd funding is a little distance, while applying to appropriate sources of funding is another. The entrepreneur in me has raised funds commercially too in the past. If I need financing I have to ask for it.

There ought to be an 'O' in this coming out of H818, but I have to differentiate between 'Big O'', 'little o' and 'gratuitous exposure'. I tend to have been the former. It all goes online whatever its value or not. It doesn't take much to make more postings closed and use a blog as an e-portfolio so I will. I use to say to people that the best place to hide a secret was to post it in a blog - the sophistication of the probing search engines means that this is no longer the case (if it ever was?). Serendipity isn't as effective as a request i.e. 'ask'. So 'open', but nuanced. Early in this module we reflected on this. So I wonder what the outcome might be? For some it would be the value of being open at all, whereas for me it is to be less so. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

S.C.A.R.F.

Visible to anyone in the world

Pushed to reflect on H818: The Networked Practitioner, and unique amongst MAODE modules the final unit comes after the EMA. Here we are encouraged not merely to reflect on the experience, but to share our future plans.

I put mine down to significant changes to behaviour based on the mnemonic SCARF:

S = Strategic

C = Connected and collaborative

A = Applied

R = Reciprocal

F = Financed

I'll expand on, then act on these on dues course.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

xMOOC or cMOOC?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:14

The realities of MOOCs

I stumbled upon this succinct article on MOOCs by Ben Betts.

MOOCs are why I returned to the OU having completed the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) at the end of 2012. I followed H817:Openness and Innovation in eLearning, joining the Open but, and have now complete two further modules: H809: Research based practices in Educational Technology (with an eye on research) and the phenomenal H818: The Networked Practitioner (just completed) ... this as the field keeps transforming I intend to stay abreast of it. Indeed, I'll keep on eye on H817 for 2015 as this is a considerable advance on the old H807 I did in 2010 that had its content stuck somewhere between 1999 and 2005.

What is interesting in this article is that the author Ben Betts ponders as a passing thought at the end of the piece on the need to 'learn how to learn'.

This for me is where too many practitioners go wrong - they have their eye so firmly fixed on the 'next big thing' that they forget or ignore the understanding we have gained about how we learn over decades. There needs to be a healthy loop that obliges us to consider the basics: learning theories and to see MOOCs in context - all learning is 'blended' - even the purely online learning module is conducted by someone with their feet or bum firmly on the ground or in a chair.

The other mistake that other authors make too often is to sensationalise activities or developments such as the MOOC. Every advance builds on something else, and for all their strengths they have weaknesses too, and whatever affordances they have may be exploited or ignored. Interesting times and delighted to find an expert author and practitioner to follow.

What I needed, and got from H809 was a grounding in learning theory which at last I am starting to master. If a further course is required for me it would be more on the application of learning theory, probably in the broader setting of 'education' rather than an e-learning context and probably informed by a role educating on the ground - so practice based and applied. Which rather suggests in business - as indeed I did for the best part of 15 years. 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

On blogging. It isn't for the most part. Thoughts on my own future tracks

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 6 Mar 2014, 12:18

I posted my first content to an 'online journal' - no one called them blogs way back then, on the 24th September 1999. I've been at it ever since - every day for at least the first four years then I reviewed my practice, split into a number of parts and specialised. I also took an MA in the next best thing 'Open and Distance Education' (MAODE). So, yes, blogging fascinates me. Twitter as a 'microblog' is not - it is chatting. And many so called blogs are actually something else too - corporate marketing brochures, magazines, radio shows, TV channels, photo dumps and galleries. For me, and those of us writing in 'Diaryland' over a decade ago a blog, like a diary, is something you kept up every day, reflected your daily life and was largely secret: you wrote amongst friends rather than to an audience. This meant that they remained authentic, deep, even 'in confidence'. Has all of that been lost? I wonder. 

What we have here is either a 'learning journal' or 'an e-portfolio' - that's if you want to attach it directly to your studies. Because of it's odd nature and history it is also what was once called a 'Bulletin Board', indeed, I had a go of an early one right here - sort of, that as on a Masters in Open and Distance Learning module in 2001. It really was posting to a bulletin board, a sentence or two attached to any others that were going up. More like an early version of a Student Forum.

Having said all of this, as a direct result of just completing H818: The Networked Practitioner  (EMA away last night). I plan to review, refine and redirect my blogging behaviour. Here it will be business as usual, though only if my relationship with the Open University is continued in some capacity or other (I got up early to do some application forms). Beyond these 'walls' I will professionalise my blog on e-learning and post continent aimed squarely at practitioners - for educators, on learning. I do think the 'e' is redundant regarding e-learning, indeed the 'm' from mobile learning is redundant too. Currently at 'My Mind Bursts' this will go into the fledgling 'Mind Bursts' which will go live once I've got 100 of my choicest posts in there. Or, 25 ... my 'A to Y' of learning, named so courtesy of the Open University where you will find the Computer Help Desk has no 'Z', so don't think you can look up 'zipping files' as I did while struggling to post an EMA. The response I got back was characteristically obtuse. 

The blog I stopped posting to on swimming teaching and coaching (I did for ten years as a direct consequence of taking my kids down to the pool eleven years ago) gets more views per day than any of my other blogs - go figure! It is useful. I answer direct daily questions. The biggest 'seller' is the 45 minute lesson plan for teaching or coaching swimming - I have all strokes, all stages and all problems addressed. That should tell me something. More at the catchily named 'Coaching and Teaching Swimming'.

This by the way is called 'reflection'. I should have Kolb's Learning Cycle spinning through my head right now. I don't. My head is fudge and I need the coffee that is brewing on my desk,

The other blog, 'That's Nothing Compared to Passchendaele', which requires and deserves tidying up started out as the memoir of my late grandfather, a machine gunner in the First World War - the only one who survived it would appear. Actually, in 1992 there was a 75th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres) and there were four of them. One was an ammunition carrier. The other two were machine gunners, you could tell from their thumbs - like the beak of a spoonbill, squished flat from periods of anxiety pressed against the triggers of a Vicker's MKII Machine Gun. Like the swimming thing I need to hone this down to a resource of value - just his story, his words (over three hours of interviews) and photographs with references which would do the historian in me proud.

There will be a lot of 'ditching of babies' - there will be a good deal of painful unknitting of layouts and extraction. 

Are these blogs? Actually no. I ought to think of them as books and give them the professional focus that is required before you can go to print.

And finally, a blog on the use of Quick Response codes in education. This as a consequence of H818 and the ten minute presentations we gave a couple of weeks ago.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Blog usage

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 May 2014, 04:40

Is this new?

I've just looked at the statistics and was rather overwhelmed, ok over 600,000 views is going some, but I have been doing this for four years and use this as a blog and e-portfolio by default. 

Are there over 4000 posts! I guess from what I've said this is feasible, perhaps 40% are 'hidden' cut and paste jobs or links or references to books or papers I may never read.

And if I'm less engaged directly here this last year it is because those fellow students on the MAODE haven't been using the OU Student Platform at all ... or very little indeed. I'd recommend it.

The temptation is to stick around to take the 'views' up to 1 million. This will require a few more years. The thing is I don't see myself back on an OU module 'til the autumn of 2015 at the very earliest. I wrap up H818 today then concentrate on things elsewhere.

I say it often.

On verra

'We'll see'

Working in some capacity or researching at the OU would change things.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 5 Mar 2014, 23:09)
Share post
Design Museum

Accidental exposure

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 5 Mar 2014, 07:35

Alerted to the nature of being 'open' and online you'd think someone who has been doing this kind of thing since 1999 would know better.

Taking part in a Google Hangout on Monday with educators in Australia and being away from home I decided to give it a go on the iPad. The awkward thing here is that you can't open a second screen ... and as I eventually discovered you can inadvertently flip the camera.

I decided to sit in one corner of the guest bedroom with the back of the chair and corner of the room as a back drop - what I didn't realise is that somehow, when swiping away from the Google Hangout screen I had flipped the camera so that everyone was now seeing the bed I'd climbed out of earlier that morning. At least it was 10.30am in the UK and 9.30pm in Melbourne - I had made the bed.

Towards the end of the session the assumption was that I'd left - actually I was holding the iPad very carefully as I didn't know, having lost the image, if they were seeing me, the top of my head or my lap, They could hear me perfectly well and they said they had wondered about the bed which rather explained the smirks on some of their faces ... 

I took the iPad to the bedroom window - not to throw it into the garden, but at least to give them something more than a view of the bed - pink blossom on an overgrown shrub looking into a wet garden in the Cotswolds. I find it striking that when a tractor went up the lane the moderator in Australia had to mute the sound - so instant. We can be and are so very much closer than we think courtesy of the Web, that you can be transported into a space so close to another person that it feels you are invading their privacy.

More care next time? Not bother? 

There are plenty of people who will have little to do with the Internet and plenty of others who reveal as little as possible. I'm just glad I hadn't taken the iPad into the bathroom - it does happen.

It was a discussion on creativity in education - one worth doing. I'm yet to look at the recording.

Back at my desk NO WEBCAM even attached, just as well, I'm eating breakfast, in pyjama's having crawled out of bed far, far, far too early in a drive to close down a 5,000 words EMA for H818: The Networked Practitioner. 

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

EMA Blues

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 2 Mar 2014, 16:49

Not at home and thinking of excuses not to get on with this - I have my laptop but left the charger at the front door, poor signal out here in the wilds of ... The Cotswolds, and busy. 

But instead I find the connecting is good, the last draft in Google docs is easy enough to work on (though no tables) and sitting by an open fire it is very conducive to refkection - though not hard graft. Just two days away from it makes it all look like a gargantuan task. I'm not short of words, rather the opposite, having to extract the bare bones to generate 5000 words from notes - this is where keeping a blog can feel counterproductive. Must I work through the 70+ posts on H818 in order to write the EMA? Apparently so.

I may try to tackle it as a 12 minute presentation - could I get up and talk it through with an audience unfamiliar with the module ?

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

What is it with the End of Module Assignment?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 20:30

 

Fig. 1 What kind of greenhouse or green-shed does your EMA look like??

Why is it always the hardest thing I've ever had to write before?

I feel like an architect/builder, who having spent five months on a job thinks he has finished and is told that NOW they want me to build a model of the building and present this for scrutiny.

In other words, the work has been done, the lessons have been taken, the knowledge has been gained ... 

And now they want me to prove it. Couldn't I just be scrutinised over Skype?

This isn't an essay title, but rather 5000 words in three parts with it tightly prescriptive both on required content and how any of this will relate to marks. It does my head in because, to go back to the architecture or building analogy I do find that I put up a greenhouse only to find they wanted a garden shed with solar panels. By the time I realise this I have a day left and decide to put in a bit more glass ... and paint it green.

So it sort of fits the bill!!!

Anyway, I've got a week to get it written and plan to get it done in the next couple of days. I've got the parts laid out across the floor and the instructions in my hands.

A greenhouse from Ikea.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

My OU Years

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 17:21

Fig.1 Odd that, 12 years and I've gained hair, glasses and a tie.

In February 2001 I began an OU module on Open & Distance Learning - last year I graduated with the Masters in Open & Distance Education (MAODE). Since then I've taken a couple more MAODE modules to stay up to date. Impossible given that any MAODE module is out of date before it goes live?

In 2001 distance learning looked like this:

Fig.2. Some of the books that came in my OU 'Box' at the start of the module

The next direction has to be horizontally into the Open University (again), or vertically towards a PhD. Or both? Or neither.

Meanwhile, I sincerely recommend that anyone with any interest in the way education is going to follow the BBC tonight. 

BBC Radio 4 8.00pm

The Classroom of the Future

Is it an OU co-production? These days these things usually are.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

I did something once ...

Visible to anyone in the world

 

My take on Kolb's Learning Cycle. (Kolb, 1994)

What do you think? How would you interpret this?

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:32

Don't be fooled into thinking that when expected to deliver a five minute presentation that it will take less time to write than a ten minute presentation - it won't.

In fact, the harder assignment would be to expect a one minute presentation.

I always thought that it was Jonathan Swift who apologised to a recipient of one of his very long letters that he hadn't had time to write a shorter one. Did he? A Google search gives you Blaise Pascal

Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

A shivver of vibrancy in a project to use QR codes as another way to egage people in remembering the combatants of the First World War

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 18:39

This morning I got a lengthy email from someone whose grandfather is featured in a 1918 photograph of RAF cadets I put up on Flickr, I also got a lengthy email from someone sharing a review on a book on the First World War on Amazon. Today, Dan Snow helped launch an initiative through the Imperial War Museum that aims to repeat what the IWM started to do in 1919 - campaign for people to share photographs, artefacts and stories of people who served, suffered, thrived or survived the First World War - this is at the 'Who do you think you are' exhibition at Olympia - I will try to get over on Saturday. And finally, a fascinating conversation with my brother in law on why a gallery curator is inviting people to feedback and respond to works of art through social media - and the curator's philosophy of 'openness' and a desire to move away from the grand voice of the patron in favour of mutliple voices and interpretations. He particularly likes to describe the value of 'dirt' to challenge perceptions and permit the points of view of anyone, and called this dirt 'soil' that would nurture fresh and vibrant ideas - he's Italian, speaks with an accent and chooses his words carefully (he is a tutor in fine art and art history). We got into discussions on learning and why as a student he'd have to queue up early in Bologna in order to hear Umberto Eco. This enthusiastic, reflective discussion continued as he prepares supper and I help - eager to pick up some cullinary tips too.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Reflection: we are all so very, very, different when it comes to learning

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014, 13:25

Just ten minutes. A live presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?

I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people's words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.

Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:

My grandfather's funeral

My groom's wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)

My father's funeral

My mother's funeral 

...

Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul. 

Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.

...

Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?

...

We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.

I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn't a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything. eLearning can be the subject matter expect - 'IT' (literally) thinks it knows it all.

So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators - worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and manger those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they'll never be satiated.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Eeek! I'm about to go live in an OU Live Conference

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 18:40

I'm 'next door' in a group of 20+ using OULive for a conference - my turn to speak in an hour. Eeeek. Four years online with the OU and I have to say this is proving to be thrilling and engaging ... and the effort everyone puts in clearly the result of a lot of hard work.

We are in a break, sort of, so I'm not doing the equivalent of sitting in the back row texting my mates.

A good deal of the EMA will be to reflect on this experience, rather than the 'artefact' we deliver tonight. It has very much a case that my fellow students have helped me to set all kinds of parameters while introducing me to new platforms and supporting my output.

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Curiosity Satisfied

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 14:57

It amazes me how when reading something and pointed to a footnote or reference that if I choose to do so a few clicks and the reference is before my eyes. Reading up on the First World War there are books from 1914-18 that are freely available in digital form - the additional insight is when you glance at such a reference is to wonder why an author chose that sentence or paragraph, often I find there is something far more interesting being said.

All of this has me reflecting on 'interpretation' and how increasingly, because we can, we should, because we can, check up on authors - certainly take them off their academic pedestals as their word is never absolute, is inevitably biased - and sometimes they get it wrong.

There are two kinds of connectedness here:

1) with references the author has used - how selected, why they thought them of relevance or interest (and the authority and credibility of these references)

2) with fellow readers - which, if you want a response, I increasingly find in Amazon of all places. There are always a few people who have picked  through the text, who are willing and able to other a response or to sleuth it out with you.

How does this change things?

The Web puts at anyone's fingertips resources that until recently were the exclusive domain of university libraries - the older, wealthier universities having the richest pickings and broadest range of references. To 'look something up' as we now do in a few moments could take a couple of days. 'Learning at the speed of need' is a phrase I like, used in the context of applied learning in business, but just as apt here.

As a consequence, earlier in their careers, students will have a broader and stronger, personal perspective. And as a consequence there will be more people 'out there' to join an informed discussion. And as a consequence more new ideas will come to fruition sooner and faster. And as a consequence, collectively, or common understanding will grow and develop faster than before.

 

Permalink
Share post
Design Museum

Leveraging mobile technologies and Web 2.0 tools to engage those with an interest in the centenary of the First World War in the stories of the people of the era using strategically placed Quick Response codes.

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:56

If you are doing a Masters of Open and Distance Education Module (MAODE) you should be aware of an interested in the conference that is currently running in CloudWorks and OULive.

Access to the conference sessions is limited to H818 participants, MA ODE alumni, and IET staff.

If you fall into one of these categories and would like to register for the conference, please complete this short Registration Form.

Fig. 1. Lewes War Memorial, East Sussex, England     J F Vernon (2011)

The problem with war memorials is that those named on them risk becoming forgotten words on a list.

By using the Web we can find out who these people named on the war memorials were and where they lived; we can try to put a face to the name and a story to the name  … and then we can share what we find.

There are more than 54,000 war memorials in Great Britain, most of these put up after the First World War. There is barely a community without one. Significant interest already exists, especially as we approach the centenary of the First World War making this initiative a potentially easy one to add to what is already taking place. 

 

Fig. 2. British Legion Poppy featuring a Quick Response Code

In his 2011 book ‘The Digital Scholar’ Martin Weller  shares the thoughts of Brian Lamb to describe those technologies that ‘lend themselves to … the networked and open approach’ as ‘fast, cheap and out of control’. It was with this in mind, taking an interest in the centenary of the First World War and obsession with war memorials that I started to think about using Quick Response codes as a personalised entry point to the Web that anyone could generate in order to share a story about someone who served in the conflict, and to do so both online and on the street. Quick Response codes are fast, they are free and their potential in learning has yet to be realised.

Worn in this way, featured in the center of your commemoration Poppy, you can share directly with others the person whose life you wish to remember, as well as directing people to the content online and inviting them to ‘adopt’ a name from a war memorial themselves. Though exploiting the Web, this is designed as a ‘blended’ experience that uses face-to-face, community and classroom experiences, as well as taking people outside to monuments, buildings, streets and battlefields.

 

    Esponsorvik (2014 )

Fig. 3. Toyota Quick Response Code and Using a TV remote control Espensorvik. Flickr

‘QR codes’ are a product of the car manufacturing industry. Faced with increasingly complex components, Denso, a supplier to Toyota, came up with what is a 2 dimensional bar code in the 1990s (Denso, 2010). Made free of patent, and using free software anyone can now generate their own unique QR code. You can even print them out on standardised sticky label stationery.

Fig. 4. Google Search ‘Quick Response Codes Education Images’ (2014)

There are a myriad of uses for QR codes, from embedding information that is read and stored by the device to a quick link to rich content online. Barrett, 2012). The interest here is to use QR codes to link to learning resources, in mobile, or ‘m-learning’ contexts in particular and for users to both read and write such context. I liken QR codes to using your phone as a remote control to click to a TV channel (Fig 3) . You point a smartphone, or tablet at the QR code to read it and go instantly, pretty much, to a web page.

Their use in education in the last decade has been limited. ‘Refereed (sic) papers are few’ (Gradel & Edson, 2012), but between these and other published reports, suggestions can be made regarding their strengths or weaknesses.

If QR codes are to be used successfully then champions need to be identified to take up the cause in schools, colleges and local associations. Whilst QR codes use the power of the Web to connect people to rich content, that they may create themselves, a good deal of thoughtful planning will be necessary ‘in the classroom’, not just explaining how to make use of QR codes, but also working them in, where appropriate to current learning schedules where QR codes used in this way will meet clear learning objectives. Support online could be provided in a short eLearning module. What has been shown repeatedly, in museums and ‘out in the field’, is that simply ‘put out there’ the QR codes are ignored (Gradel & Edson, 2012). An innovation such as this requires considerable promotion and support.  This makes the idea of wearing your own QR code on a Commemoration Poppy all the more appealing, as each person becomes an ambassador on the ground, for that nugget of information, especially if they are responsible for creating and hosting that content. The opportunity exists, therefore, mentored and guided by educators, with support online, for schools, colleges and associations to engage people in bringing the stories of those named on our war memorials alive. In this way a deeper and more meaningful connection is made with the past and our relationship to it.

Copyright © 2010, The New York Times Company. Photography by Jim Wilson

Fig. 5. Handheld curator:  IPod Touches and visitors at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (The New York Times)

According to the 2009 Horizon report (Horizon, 2009) the following would be of growing significance in teaching: mobile devices, clouding computing and the personal web. As an innovative approach, QR codes exploit all three of these developments.

Use of QR codes in learning however has had mixed results. Simply putting a QR code in front of a museum artifact, as they’ve done at the Museum of London and did at the Design Museum does not work (Vernon, 2013)  – there is plenty already, there is little to attract or promote their use, not everyone has a smartphone or tablet of course and the technology is often not robust – ‘out of use’ signs are familiar. Outdoors QR codes added to signs in the South Downs National Park, for example, barely received a view a day during a three month trial and in some instances there was no signal at all (Kerry-Bedel 2011; South Downs, 2012).

Where QR codes have been successful is in targeted learning experiences in schools (Tucker, 2011; Gradel & Edson, 2012), where the affordances of the QR code have been exploited to form part of an engaging, constructive and collective learning experience. To be effective this initiative with war memorials requires galvanising people to take part in a joint exercise – easier with a class in school or college, less easy with the general public unless it is through a national, regional or local community association or interest group.

Examples where QR codes work include where participants are ‘equipped’, and where they can take an active role, such as in ‘on the spot’ surveys or quizzes, where they are prompted into cooperative learning and where timely ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ are given. (Awano, 2007: Information Standards Committee 2008; So 2008; Robinson, 2010; Hicks & Sinkinson, 2011; Ryerson Library & Archives, 2012.)

K Lepi (2012)Copyright 2013 © Edudemic All rights reserved

Fig 6 . A Simple Guide to Four Complex  Learning Theories. Lepi (2012)

The theory behind the idea of using QR codes in a mobile and open way, is that in the digital age ‘connectivism’ is the ‘modus operandi’. In this diagram (Fig. 5)  from Edudemic (Edudemic 2012) traditional and digital theories are concerned. All are relevant, each has its place, with the digital environment offering new and additional approaches to learning.

Whilst traditional learning methods have their role in schools, lecture halls and with mature students too, the complete learning package requires a level and quality of interaction and connectedness that can only be achieved on the Web and be effective where the body of learners is large and their approach is open and shared so that knowledge acquisition comes through the challenges and rewards of such intercourse. Connections won’t occur however unless they are nurtured. By way of example, wishing to support and promote the combat memoirs of my late grandfather John Arthur Wilson MM (Vernon, 2012) a number of organisations will be approached up and down the UK in relation to his experiences in the Durham Light Infantry, Machine Gun Corps and Royal Air Force. The Web will both help identify, forge and maintain and develop first and subsequent connections in what would hopefully be, to be effective, a two way, shared, open and reciprocal relationship. The beauty of having content  already online is that others can quickly view it and images, text and sound files, even video, adjusted to suit different audiences, or uses - and used freely where appropriate copyright permissions are given.

JFVernon 2010 from statistics from Jakob Nielsen (1999)

Fig 7 . Creators, commentators and readers - how use of the Web stacks up. Vernon (2010) after Nielsen (1999)

This degree of connectedness does not come naturally. Just as there can be no expectation that people will use a QR code because it is there – they won’t. With an innovative approach such as this promotion is crucial. Significant time, thought and effort need to be put into letting people know what is taking place and supporting their participation.

Only a fraction of a population are naturally inclined to generate content.

Jakob Nielsen (1999) would suggest that as few as 1% create content (Fig. 6). If content is therefore to be created by participants then very large numbers need to be made aware of the initiative. Online, openness helps when it is massive. Participation is improved where it is supported and moderated. Creators, commentators and readers each have a role to play.

The balance needs to be found between the qualities of a tool that is fast and cheap and where out of control means that something isn’t used in a way to benefit a formal learning requirement. On the one hand those who want to generate content can be encouraged to do so, while in a formal setting the intention would that everyone generates content of some form in order to receive feedback and assessment.

 

 

J F Vernon (2011) 

Fig 8. The Newcastle War Memorial by Sir William Goscombe John RA

The potential weakness of using QR codes are the requirement for participants to have a suitable device, say a smartphone or tablet and the possible communication fees when connecting away from a free wi-fi source – which is likely to be the case at a war memorial (Gradel & Edson, 2012). Reading from and using a smartphone or tablet may also present accessibility issues, from the need for dexterity and reading content that isn’t offered in alternative forms, such as text sizes and background or audio alternatives.

There are many examples where local councils feel a war memorial or building is so important that they have invested in information placards on site (Fig. 7). As commemoration of those who served and died in the First World War is of local and national interest funding is potentially available to help support initiatives such as these through the Heritage Lottery Fund, while organisations such as the Western Front Association have funding for branch activities too.

If permission is required for personalisation of a British Legion poppy using a QR code, then alternatives may be required, from working with other suitable groups such as the Imperial War Museum or Western Front Association to putting the QR code on a badge instead. Where used in the field it is likely that a teacher would put out sets of QR coded markers in advance and collect them afterwards. Where a photograph in a town featuring before and after views permission may also be required if any kind of QR coded plaque or poster is to be put up. Other inventive ways to use a QR code would be to attach them to an obstacle course like trench experience where each code triggers elements of a task, sound effects or narrative in keeping with the setting.  By way of example, at the ‘In Flanders Museum’ in Ypres a number of exhibits require the visitor to duck, crawl or crane their neck before supporting audio or lighting is triggered by a Near Field code in a bracelet.

  J F Vernon (1989-2014)

Fig. 9. The memoir of a Machine Gunner and RFC Fighter Pilot. ‘That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele’

In his 2011 book ‘The Digital Scholar’ Martin Weller shares the ideas of Robert Capps (2009) who coined the term ‘the good enough revolution’ – in relation to creating and sharing content in an open culture. This precludes being prescriptive or from expecting perfection. Whilst output on the First World War from the BBC, the Imperial War Museum or the Open University should understandably attain a certain professional standard, the kind of creation required of those research names on war memorials should take inspiration from that is more than just ‘good enough, from ‘pinning’ names from a war memorial to a home address, to ‘pinning’ submitted World War One photographs to Google maps over former battlefields, as well as numerous inventive YouTube videos and memoirs presented as blogs.

REFERENCE

Awano, Y (2007). Brief pictorial description of new mobile technologies used in cultural institutions in Japan. The Journal of Museum Education, 32(1), 17-25 Barrett, T (2012). 50 Interesting ways to use QR codes to support learning. (Last accessed 6th Feb 2014  https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfNzY1aHNkdzV4Y3I&hl=en_GB&authkey=COX05IsF

Denso (2010a). QR Code Standardization. (Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/qrstandard-e.html ) Edudemic. Traditional Learning Theories. (Accessed 19th April 2013) http://edudemic.com/2012/12/a-simple-guide-to-4-complex-learning-theories/

Gradel, K., & Edson, A. J. (2012). Higher ed QR code resource guide.

Hicks, A., & Sinkinson, C. (2011). Situated questions and answers: Responding to library users with QR codes. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(1), 60–69.

Horizon Report 2009 (2009) Educause (Accessed 14th Feb 2014 http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/2009-horizon-report )

Information Standards Committee (2008) Section 3: QR code, Synthesis Journal. (From http://www.itsc.org.sg/pdf/synthesis08/Three_QR_Code.pdf )

Kerry-Bedel, A (2011) Smartphone technology – the future of heritage interpretation: Its in conservation (Accessed 14th February 2014 http://www.kbstconsulting.co.uk/QR/images/ITIC.pdf )

Lepi, K (2012) A Simple Guide To 4 Complex Learning Theories. Edudemic eMagazine 24th December 2012. (Accessed 14th February 2014. http://www.edudemic.com/a-simple-guide-to-4-complex-learning-theories/ )

New York Times. The Best Tour Guide May Be in Your Purse. Article by Keith Schneider. 18 March 2010. Copyright © 2010, The New York Times Company http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/arts/artsspecial/18SMART.html

Nielsen, J (1999) Web Usability Robinson, K. (2010). Mobile phones and libraries: Experimenting with the technology. ALISS Quarterly, 5(3), 21–22 Ryerson University Library & Archives (2012). QR codes. Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.ryerson.ca/library/qr/. So, S. (2008). A Study on the Acceptance of Mobile Phones for Teaching and Learning with a group of Pre-service teachers in Hong Kong. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 1(1), 81-92. South Downs (2012)  Use of QR Codes (Accessed 14 Feb 2014 http://southdownsforum.ning.com/forum/topics/signposting-and-qr-codes ) Tucker, A. (2011). What are those checkerboard things? How QR codes can enrich student projects. Tech Directions, 71(4), 14-16.

Vernon J.F. (2012) (Blog Post)  (Accessed 14th February 2014 http://machineguncorps.com/jack-wilson-mm/ )

Vernon, J.F. (2013) (Blog Post) Mobile learning at the Museum of London: QR codes and NFCs (Accessed 14th February 2014) http://mymindbursts.com/2013/11/10/molqr1/

Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. 5% Loc 239 of 4873  

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Repeat. Remember. Be Original

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 23:44
From E-Learning III

Repetition or re-visiting is vital. We cannot help but change our perspective as we gain more experience, insights and knowledge. We need repetition in order to get 'stuff' into the deeper recesses of our brains where wonders are worked. Therefore, far better to exposure to brilliance often, rather than giving them something less than brilliant simply because it is new, or an alternative. If nothing else Web 2.0 ought to be giving students the chance to find and limit themselves to the best.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

H818 Conference: Day One

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:29

I was up at 3.30am and I'm not even presenting. I use these early hours to write - pulling together ideas before they blow away in the wind of daily life in a household where the number of teenagers has suddenly doubled. We have the older teenager couple, and the young teenager couple ... and the parents of two of this lot looking at each other and thinking 'we're teenagers too'.

Three hours of short presentations and without exception each has an impact and contribution to my thinking an practice.

This despite the presence of a lorry full of blokes with pneumatic drills who attacked the house an hour ago - cavity wall insulation.

I am sitting here with industrial strength headphones - for a 'test to destruction' I'd say that these Klipsch headphones are doing their job admirably. I 'suffer' from having acute hearing ... I do hear the pins drop a mile away. I need headphones like this whenever I leave the house otherwise travelling is a nightmare. 

Is this normal?

The great value of a session like this is to listen to your fellow students - a voice, more than a face, evokes character and conviction. Not that I ever doubted it but everyone is clearly smart, focused and keen to 'play the game' when it comes to using online tools.

There isn't enough of it.

The OU has a habit of designing the life and risk out of a module. Bring it back. Vibrancy and energy are born of risk.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Rebecca Kowalski, Thursday, 13 Feb 2014, 14:34)
Share post
Design Museum

The value of adversity in learning

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 18:33

Seery, M, Holman, E, & Silver, R 2010, 'Whatever does not kill us: Cumulative lifetime adversity, vulnerability, and resilience', Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 99, 6, pp. 1025-1041, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2014.

And failure is good for deep learning  Seeley Brown http://www.johnseelybrown.com/newlearning.pdf 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Stopping the use of unqualified and ridiculous terms such as 'Digital Native' and 'Digital Immigrant'

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 18:32

The 'visitor' vs. 'resident' differentiation rings true and is based on sound research. Prensky's original ideas of the 'digital native' have no foundation at all either in his own research (he did none) or even on an academic literature research. I look forward to returning to the papers, notes and discussions on this that I have in this blog - even showing how I went from niave believer to outright objector.

If you read most of Prensky's output as I have now done you will either be horrified or laugh or cry at the absurd statements that he makes and the truly riidiculous attempts at 'cod' academic writing where references are, to put it bluntly, complete buncum. He will quote, as if it counts, the very words used by Spock in an episode of Star Trek ... and give this as a footnote and reference as if watching the episode yourself will in anyway qualify his arguement, or he will quote someone and say, 'Mr Smith from England writing to The Times' as if this is a recognised and accepted way to reference - there is rarely any opportunity to check the references he offers - I've tried often and repeatedly fail. He gained an MA from Harvard, he states, but rarely reaches the most basic academic standards in much of his writing. Take a close look at 'Teaching Digital Natives' - it is counterproductive and will go against anything teachers have been taught. He is rightfully accused of hyperbole and scarmongering. Because he is controversial it does spark debate. There have been too many 'catchy phrases' regarding eLearning. There are now many research papers, by senior, experienced academics and their teams who repeat their research with students every few years. There has never been a 'digital native' - they are as illusive as the yeti. Invaluable to try and define different user types when it comes to technology, but it is as complex as any grouping, tagging or labelling of people can be.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014, 23:25)
Share post
Page: 1 2 3

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 5463074