These seems like a sensible approach - if you can even get their attention once a week for 15 minutes !
|From E-Learning V|
Fig.1. The contents of your learning journal, or e-portfolio or blog could look like this
As I'm prompted to do so, or is this just a MAC thing? I now tag documents downloaded to my desktop. They can be found wherever I or the operating system has buried them.
I tag religiously here (except, since a month ago, when writing from my iPad as it crashes the page and the iPad ?!).
I tag for a number of reasons:
I jot down ideas and thoughts, facts, even grab, cut and paste stuff that may be of use later so tag it so that I can tickle it out later as the mood or need fancies.
By tagging by module, and by activity you can then regularly go back and add a further tag as you plan a TMA (tutor marked assignment) or EMA (end of module assignment). For example, L120 is my current module. I will (or should) add L120A1 perhaps or L120S1 to identify an activity or session (NOT necessarily shared at all if I am giving away answers potentially or breaching copyright too blatantly by privately 'curating' content). Potentially L120TMA1 obviously helps me pull out content pertinent to this. That's the idea anyhow. The OU used to have an e-portfolio called MyStuff, a bit clunky, but it did this and then allowed you to re-shuffled the deck as it were, to give order to the things you picked. In theory you then have a running order for an assignment.
Tag clouds, number of tags or simply the weight and size of the font, indicates the strength and frequency of certain themes and ideas. When playing with the idea of an 'A-to-Z of e-learning' it was easier for me to see, under each letter, what I ought to select ... and then immediately have a load of examples, some academic, some anecdotal, all personal to me, at hand.
I come here to find things I've lost! Amongst 20,000 saved images I know I have a set from early training as a Games Volunteer for the London Olympics. I searched here, clicked on the image and thus found the album in Picasa Web (now Google Pics). Why can't I do that in my picture/photo pages? Because I never tagged the stuff. There is no reliable search based on a visual - yet.
No one can or should do this for you.
My blog and e-portfolio is fundamentally and absolutely of greatest value to me alone. So why allow or encourage others to rummage in the cupboards of my brain? Because it tickles and stimulates me to share views, find common or opposing views and to believe that others are getting something from it.
Fig. 1. Betthany Hughes - The ideas that make us. BBC Radio 4.
The volume of 'educational' content I gather from BBC Radio 4 is remarkable - there is so much of it. Much of it recalled here over the last three years.
Here is a 15 minutes piece that might make you the fiction writer you have always wanted to be.
She derives the word from ancient Greek and its use in Himer's Illiad then interviews an eloquent Aussie Cricket commentator during the Ashes and the author Kate Mosse at her publisher's.
Agony helps us to empathise with another's struggle.
'Struggle, in the form of philosophy of ideas, is at the heart of a good novel', says Kate Mosse, 'otherwise there is no story to tell'.
Jeopardy and contest is central to what makes us human.
And when it comes to the effort of writing:
'Try again, fail again, never mind, fail better', said Sam Beckett.
Anyone in advertising or marketing will be familiar with the Creative Brief; it is an industry standard. I see this run to two or three pages. The copy going to the creative team (copywriter and art director) was meant to be kept to a single page of A4 (this was a JWT). I go along with this. Didn't Churchill when he was First Lord of the Admiralty send away a lengthy document wanting it back as a single page? I like to quote Jonathan Swift who apologised for writing someone a lengthy letter as he hadn't the time to write a short one. Like this 'stream of consciousness' of mine, it pays to edit, to think through and prioritise your thoughts.
In the context of elearning (indeed everything online), I felt it necessary to add the 'delivery' approach as an important creative consideration. I wonder if this team of two: words and visualiser ought to be a team of three that includes the programmer?
All things being equal what makes a piece of learning stand out? Who brings it alive? Who makes it memorable? I think an idea will stick if it hits the proverbial nail on the head, though it risks isolating some. Controversy works too, bland learning like bland advertising is forgetable. Inspirational educators count. There are those whose lectures you want to attend and those who you avoid.
Why not the professional presenter?
In corporate training we hire the likes of Carol Vorderman, Nick Ross and others to present our story; they know how to get a point across. Why can't the academic stand back and accept the role of author? They still get the credit even if someone else speaks the words.
- They make the learning stick.
- Produce multiple ideas and present them.
- Let the audience create and present their own.
Whilst embracing 'Activity Theory' I cannot always use the argument lucidly.
Engestrom presents an idea of how people or communities/groups communicate and learn from each other; when two people start to agree with gushing enthusiasm I'd worry, something else is going on.
(Power play of some kind, or love?)
[These ideas developed further here 'My Mind Bursts']
It is the very act of coming from a different stance that we as individuals begin to form ideas that are in effect beyond our current understanding, and when these 'objects' of understanding collide fresh thinking for both parties occurs.
There is a reason why in advertising (still I hope) a copywriter sits with an art director; this is how ideas form. Sitting in with 'creatives' and becoming one myself I came to appreciate this partnership ... though it has taken me 30 years to understand what is going in.
It has taken the last year with The OU to have my own thinking turned inside out, to let go, to share, to collaborate, rather than try to be that lone author in a garret, hunched shoulders over my work, never sharing it and rarely letting go.
What I have always needed and thrive on are collaborators in the form of agents, producers, editors, publishers, fellow writers and directors, colleagues who facilitate and enable, fellow bloggers too ...
If a blogger blogs, what do you do if you are forever engaged in other social media such as Linkedin or Facebook?
'e-Commentator' already feels like a naff 'noughties' way to express it.
We've had our fill of 'e-tivities' and 'e-learning' haven't we? It is just learning; they are just activities.
I've return to Engestrom often.
My ability to trace my love hate acceptance path through his thinking attests to the value of doing this, my 'learning journal'.
This is what initially had me befuddled and angry:
Two people are the easy part.
The interplay between SIX people because yet more complex.
At arm's length, the objects, the ideas, views or knowledge that they have begins to take on an identity of its own.
'Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift'. Vernon (2011)
Am allowed to do that? Quote myself? It is my 'object 3' moment when it comes to this.
Anyone care to comment?
The challenge when reading papers such as those below is how to make the subject matter comprehensible to the non-academic. Some turn to diagrams, others to metaphors, yet others to cartoons.
I favour the lone speaker free of PowerPoint or even FlipChart.
If they can hold their argument and look into your eyes their conviction can be convincing.
My goal must remain making the complex comprehensible. Academics have a tendency to tie themselves in knots. If they only talk to fellow academics no wonder. I recognise the value of visualising, of animated explanation, of the power of persuasive through discourse, of metaphors, and analogies, of ideas rising out of the confusion to present themselves.
The problem with all things WWW is that it is just trillions of binary Ones and Zeros in the cloud (which is why I like to use the water-cycle as an analogy).
Engeström (2001) article, Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation
The mistake risk takers make is to take too few risks
The dot com or e-learning mistake is to have only one ball in the air.
Like Cirque du Soleil they should juggle a dozen items, who even notices if one drops to the ground and breaks, there's enough going on to amaze.
TV production companies, docs and drama, film companies too, have to have many ideas in development if any are to succeed; when will web producers take the same approach?
28 projects on the go I understand is the figure
I've got four ideas, so seven other people with four ideas each and we're in business as imagicians.
I'm taking the view that if I have an idea it should be expressed and shared, that with legs it will walk, and others might give it a tickle to make it laugh.
Currently there are two ideas eager for my attention (and anyone else who will make a fuss over them).
So instead of holding ideas back, or expressing them in print and sending them to a solicitor (did that) I'm taking the view that the corpus of my inventiveness is of worth and that my ability to have ideas so expressed implies an ability to do so over, and over, and over again.
The first the advent of what I am calling 'Hyper TV.'
These are video based pieces posted like blogs, under 3 minutes duration that can be stuck together like Lego block to create nonsense ... or not. I like the 'not' possibilities that would be the product of million of people being engaged in the activity.
Illustration to follow.
The second is a slider, like a volume control, that takes you through a choice of the following:
Titile, Sub-title, Synopsis, Abstract, Review, Student Precis, Academic Precis, the Report/Journal/Book it self ... then in an explosion of content (and volume) all references, not only linked, but attached ready for instant reading.
Illustation to follow.
Noticing Domain Names I registed in 2001 it raises an eyebrow that I'd nobbled 'Form Photo.' What had I in mind with that one? 'A Grade Essays' speaks for itself ... for the underlyung immorality of it wasn't something I seriously though of persuing, though others did. 'TCMB' stands for 'The Contents of My Brain' and of course, commercial outlets such as 'Reinvention' and 'Skieasy,' both of which I allowed to lapse and long ago lost. Which is a shame.
Two voices are at each other
The one prattles on about 'how to do it', the other is saying 'shut up, go to sleep'.
One I can deal with, two is one too many.
A moment's irritation, tinitus or the fridge rumbling through the floorboards of the house and I think I may just go to sleep when a third voice pops up.
'I've had an idea!'
Oh boy. So I'm back here, getting it off my chest, as it were, though actually it is more a case of getting it out of my head before it drowns in idea number three.
First the sketch.
This time of a TV box.
There may be just enough happening in the frame to keep my son in one place. He regularly does three things at once: plays World of Warcraft, watches 'Mock the Week' or 'Outnumbered' ... and does his homework. Possibly while listening to music on his iTouch. I really can't tell. Though it is apparently possible to have a conversation with him as well. He's twelve. Can't you tell.
I put a title to my idea
'Towards a new kind of Television'
I think 'hyper-television' might be more appropriate.
And what on earth am I doing bringing a copy of Norman Davies, 'The Isles. A History' downstairs?
This, as it has never had a mention these last four months, is my light relief. My escape from all things e-learning and the Internet or the OU, or stuff. (That technical term again). Norman Davies bores me to sleep at night. But it doesn't, not always. This is the second time I've read this tome ('Europe. A History' will follow in due course).
Balances and difference help the mix.
Mixes, mash-ups and such like have a role to play.
A highly advance tome on Competitive Swimming that makes the sport look like civil engineering is another one for bed. It all goes into my head. Sinks away. Or does it? This is why and how this works, blogging, it gives a thought or a fact a second chance to swim to the surface, to bubble up.
Humble, Bubble, Toil and Tumblr
I began this process with a video production workshop in the Senior Common Room (Or Middle Common Room) at Balliol College in March 1982? I just tried searching for the entry in my diary, but obviously that bit hasn't been blogged yet. We had Philips micro-cassette video-cameras. We gave them out to fellow students, gave them the basic language of TV shots and techniques as I understood them courtesy of the Kluwer's Production Manual having by then shot and cut a few dozen hours of material myself.
Kit is almost as cheap today as it was then (we were given it), only the quality is now HD 35mm for a camera the size of and shape of a Ventolin inhaler.
Is it easier to teach the three shot language of video production than say 400 to 2,000 words of vocab to teach English as a Foreign Language?
Of course it is
You don't even have to say anything.
How then to turn basic TV production techniques viral in order to lift the quality of this micro output globally?
Or do people give a monkeys?
If something interesting is going on they'll look at it through any amount of noise. It's called the Zapruder effect. Don't go and see it. How did snuff movies become easy-to-see viewing? The Zapruder effect excuses all the 'You've been framed' clips - rubbish camera work, but cute dog, cat, baby, child, oaf etc:
I take the view that however short, there needs to be an idea behind it, a thought, an occurrence, even a narrative.
I'm constantly reminded of a Radio 4 challenge to three speakers to make their point in 45 seconds.
We got 'Bing Bang', 'String Theory' and the 'Offside Rule'. The first, like the opening pages of Genesis was a story with a beginning middle and end in 135 words or so; the second slightly lost its way, but the analogy worked, whereas anyone listening to an attempt at explaining the offside rule in 45 seconds would be left utterly befuddled.
People prefer story to befuddlement.
So who is going to turn Wikipedia into TV?
I cease to be entertained by it. I fear Wikipedia has had its day. Long live 'WikiTVia.'
Half an hour later. What's this about Norman?
I was googling a plumber ventriloquist venture capital person I know. (I have some versatile friends. He can also identify seven kinds of harvester ant).
'As his colleague Thackeray once observed (this is about Thomas Babington Macaulay), 'He reads twenty books to write a sentence; he travels a hundred miles to make a line description.'
All this reading and travelling can of course be achieved in front of computer screen with access to the Internet.
Many more minds, can be liked-minds and big minds.
Thackeray, quoted by W. Speck, 'Thomas Babington Macaulay', The History of England (Everyman, (London, 1911) vol.II, pp. 488-9.
I'm not tired, which is the worry; it'll catch up with me. When I wake up with a clear, original thought I've learnt to run with it. Time was I could have put on a light, scribbled a bit then drifted off again. 17 years of marriage (and 20 years together) I've learnt to get up. And once I'm up, then I know it'll be a while before I can sleep again.
(I'll sleep on the train into London; at least I can't overshoot. I once got on the train at Oxford on the way into town and woke up in Cardiff).
I have the thought nailed, or rather sketched out, literally, with a Faber-Castell Artist Pen onto an A5 sheet of cartridge paper in Derwent hardback sketch book. This seems like a waste of good paper (and a good pen), but this doodle, more of a diagram, almost says it all. My vision, my argument, my persuasive thought. My revolution?
Almost enough, because I then show how I'll animate my expression of this idea by drawing it out in a storyboard. I can do it in seven images (I thought it would take more). I hear myself presenting this without needing to do so, though, believing myself quite capable of forgetting this entire episode I'll write it out too.
I once though of myself as an innovator, even an entrepreneur. I had some modest success too. Enough to think such ideas could make me. I realise at this moment that such ideas are the product of intense mental stimulation. To say that H808 has been stimulating would be to under value how it has tickled my synapses. The last time I felt I didn't need to sleep I was an undergraduate; I won't make that mistake. We bodies have needs. So, to write, then to bed.
(This undergraduate thing though, or graduate as I now am ... however mature. There has to be something about the culture and context of studying that tips certain people into this mode).
You may get the full, animated, voice over podcast of the thing later in the week. I'll create the animation myself using a magic drawing tool called ArtPad and do so using a stylus onto a Wacom board.
(Never before, using a plastic stylus on an a plastic ice-rink of a tablet have I had the sensation that I am using a drawing or painting tool using real ink or paint. I can't wait 'til I can afford an A3 sized Wacom board ... drawing comes from the shoulder, not the wrist and certainly not the finger tips. You need scale. Which reminds me, where is the book I have on Quentin Blake?)
Now where's a Venture Capitalist when you need one at 04.07am. That and a plumber, the contents of the upstairs bathroom (loo, bath and sink) are flooding out underneath the downstairs loo. Pleasant. A venture capitalist who is a plumber. Now there's something I doubt that can even be found if you search in Ga-Ga Googleland.
Nearly three hours after sitting down to work on the ECA I have blogged ONE only of the two ideas in my mind (expressing them takes considerably longer than simply having them). The good news is that this effort has developed my ability to use Artpad and a tablet to do a sketch and share it, to link articles from New Scientist and my entries to various versions of me. I have contributed to the Tutor Group and H808 Course forums, and so no doubt confirmed my approach to the ECA, which is still 9 days away ... and grabbed, cut or loaded five or six items into my OU eportfolio, which I still trust will be successfully transmogrified into something better during the course of 2011 without content being lost. I really do not want to give a week to transferring over 1000 pages ... one at a time. Currently nothing will export by the routes supplied.
I'm not ADHD but I am easily distracted, drawn into a web of my own making as I click here, there and everywhere to achieve some simple goal.
However, I am grinning from ear to ear because my brain is buzzing with ideas; I like it this way. I'll keep the blog on quantum evolution 'til tomorrow. Meanwhile I have to have a haircut, and decorate a wall in my wife's study so that when I am on Skype to New York this evening I don't look as if I've just got out of bed ... which is of course how anyone looks if they work from home and call this work.
The thing is there are relevant voices speaking to me from all kinds of directions.
I relish the LinkedIn E-learning 2.0 forum threads that pop up all day; they are read, some deserve a response, or at least being snatched for future reference. And when I want to achieve something with an image, audio or video, I will stick with the software, or ditch it for something else, until I get the outcome I desire.
So am I learning, even if the contents of my head must wait while my fingers play.
Once upon, a long time ago, I failed to take proper note of an issue of Mad Magazine, which I never read often, and it wasn't my copy, that featured a neferous business character who had a video phone, or TV phone (I don't know what they were called by the cominc in 1972 or whenever the issue came out). Perhaps it was a mock-advertisement for a roller-blind that had on it pictures designed to fool the caller, so a picture of him working late at the office, when in fact he was at a cocktail party, or ill at home, when in fact he was sunning himself in Hawaii, this kind of thing. These days, sitting infront of a webcam, you can be weraing pyjamas on the lower half and a collar and tie in vision ... you can tidy up one corner of your office/study, even decorate this one wall. Or, the modern day equivalent, would be a green screen and a video feed of wherever it is you may be pretending to be.
A share this with fellow Skypers. Ahead of an interview on Skype I will at least have a hair cut and iron a shirt. I'll even have a bath, though we haven't got as far as 'smelly.cam' yet, or have we?
Meanwhile, what blew my mind and had me reaching for the keyboard was this.
It may not find me the copy of Mad Magazine I'm looking for, but it strikes me as a mightily useful platform/tool.
It was a cartoon by Don Martin
Personally I miss trips to the National Archive or to the National Repositoiry of Newspapers; like surfing the web, it is extraordinary what you find, even when you weren't looking for it.
This juggling image became a doodle on a pad of A3 to a Hanna and Barbera cartoon in my head.
Various deadlines approach; the various balls that I'm juggling I kick about, drop, pop in my pocket and kick out of field. Some are golf balls, others party balloons filled with helium, there's an unwelcome medicine ball and assorted brickbats.
Forget the balls.
Until I visualised them I had three monsters in the air: H808 Unit 10 Task, the H808 ECA and a job interview.
Everything has been screaming at me that the only item that matters, with its Tuesday evening deadline, is the job interview. Where I get things wrong in my head is how I prioritise jobs (or rather don't). For me the other two tasks are standing patiently in the queue and should be dealt with first. I'm managing outpatients in an ER and have a case of toothache, then a liver transplant who needs to be booked in while a young woman is giving birth at the end of the line
Returning to juggling.
The Unit 10 Task is (was) an apple. It's danced around for a while, I've taken a few bites from it and dropped the core on the floor. If it gets any attention I'll respond, but for now it is done.
The H808 ECA has been in preparation since the course began. What might be the most burdensome task, collecting the evidence, is actually the least burdensome.
A) I have vast quantities of blogs, eportfolio assets and screen grabs.
I'll write on the basis that I can choose evidence as I would add a footnote or paste in a picture or attach a document - I don't need to look at hundreds of items, but rather I need to go and find the item(s) to support, rather than to initiate my thinking. What I visualised as a trunk packed with papers that I could barely lift over my head, I now see as papers pegged to a washing-line. I can go over and remove what I want when I wish.
B) The job interview brings together my work and experience as a swimming coach and swimming club volunteer and professional, along with all the hoops I've passed through and training that I have done.
It is complementary, though the swimming is irrelevant. It is the coaching of participants and development of fellow coaches that counts here, as well as having and being able to share a vision for the club that is the driver for the next five years. This is how and where I've been able to put what I learn into practice.
c) The job interview brings in everything I'm doing at the OU and everything I did over two decades before hand.
When I set out on the MA ODE in February 2010 (for the second time having started a version of it in 2001!) its purpose (like other professional development I've done) is/was to act as a bridge that would enable and justify a dialogue with potential clients ... or an employee. What I visualised as that nutter who juggles chainsaws I now see as a gift. What I don't know yet, is if this a gift that will be offered to me, or that in a game of Job Interview pass-the-parcel will be unwrapped by a.n.other.
Serendipity had me turning an hour of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I'd recommend it) into professional career development advice as the therapist I've been seeing for 18 months does both professionally.
I recorded that session and am working now on assembling events and experiences using S*T*A*R, as in:
Looking at examples of each matched to the job specification, many of which I drew out in MyStuff some months ago. (It let's you do this).
Coincidentally this of course relates to H808 'The E-Learning Professional' and the ECA as I'm being required to look at my where I stand in relation to personal development planning - how far I've come and how far I need and want to go with it.
Serendipty is the word that comes to mind.
To construct the ECA I've fallen back on a script development technique, even so far as thinking of it as a three act structure with a narrative storyline and characters (my fellow students no less). This is visualised as a kind of washing line, with some posts somewhat taller than others. The 'evidence' I liken to turning points in the script, key events or moments across the module.
It works for me.
Somewhat more complex that a six petalled flower as essay shape (See below) but a structure on which I can build all the same.
It went first into a scrapbook, then the journal I kept in September 1979 on as many sheets of lined sheets from a pad that I cared to fill. I filled an arch-lever file in four weeks so gave up on such nonsense and reverted to a simpler plan of writing a page of A4, around 500 words, per day, into a hardback notebook, for ever.
Courtesy of Google and on the hunt for a quote that goes something along the lines of 'analogies taught the world to think,' I stumbled across the Quote Garden.
What strikes me is my feeling that the time engaged with the medium of the Internet is not a boast that it is wise to make, that it is counter-intuitive, that the best ideas are more likely to come from someone who got access to a computer with a broadband connection for the first time a few months ago and is bouncing out ideas like a sparkling Catherine-wheel that's come un-nailed.
Wherein lies the dilemma for every creative working in this field - or pond, or my favourite analogy ... in this 'digital ocean.'
If the likes of Google and Facebook have gone from minows to sharks, to leviathons worthy of the era of the dinosaurs, when does something new come along like a water-born virus and kill them off?
Or are Google, Facebook, Amazon an EBay vast shoals, even a branded variety of species now that are less vulnerable to such attack?
Faced with three deadlines over the next ten days what do I do? Something else.
I like something else, these sparks.
Where was I?
Working on a piece about wikis. I wish this were a wiki. I like them. They suit me. I will be an engaged participant, a catylst, a stirrer-upper ... though not necessarily an initiator or completer, because serendipty engages me and distraction takes me off again.
What does that make me in this digital ocean?
One of these?
Who are you?
Go fishing and post your fishy-self image in the comment box!
The point being that people learn a great deal that improves their knowledge and ability to carry out tasks, however this does not receive formal recognition so is not able to contribute to any professionalisation of their occupation.
Daft. The paradigm must shift. Or be ignored.
I'm spending time with a mate and colleague next week (weather permitting) who has put mobile learning into the Middle East and now has the financing to do more in 3D.
A great mind and practical delivery of learning as linear, then interactive video and CD, to websites with a good deal of programming in between over the last twenty years.
There is a time to ditch the gaining of a further qualification.
Indeed, when I took up a version of this MA course in February 2001 it was for me nothing more than a piece of CPD on top of another post-graduate course I was doing in the production of cross-platform multimedia, the only person to be doing this through the EU funded programme EAVE ... all of this to feed into a full-time job producing innovative, cutting edge and online learning. I was studying at my expense to improve or tweak my practical application of all of this.
Surely the collobartive exercises of the last two weeks have shown that several people can do more than one person on their own? Why do teachers and educators operate in isolation trying to re-invent the wheel for the thousandth time when a learning experience or product shared is going to deliver something effective and fantastic?
CPD, which is the OU's MAODE, does not turn me into an e-learning professional.
I'm not interested in letters after my name; I have the M.A. and have put a couple of other post-graduate courses under my belt too.
The ONLY thing that counts is how I apply this learning.
The letters or professional tag mean diddly-squat.
All us of should be willing to be judged by our peers as to our professional status ... are we employed in this capacity? Do with have clients to serve or clients to win?
Don't get me wrong, for me this course is invaluable, a treat and indulgence, like grated Truffle on pasta.
I guess my mate and I will be back on Skype if the roads look poor. I'm not going to waste a hour of my life, let alone a day stuck in traffic on the M23, M20 or M40 trying to get to Bath on Tuesday.
My motivation? A good idea, a sponsor ... then do it.
Then pick up from what I've learnt in TV, have 26 ideas on the go with various grants, sponsors and clients supporting further development.
My next course, or refresher course?
REFERENCE. Professional Development fo Elearning. A Framework for the NEw Zealand Tertiary Education Sector. 2009.
Some of the software is too clever by half. All of it has foibles.
Docx might punch some useful quasi-intuitive tools but it smacks of Apple pixie dust sprinkled over DOS. Failing to share docx word and excel docs with others with older software on PCs, let alone with MACs harks back to the early 1990s when this kind of incompatibility was common and a constant frustration in the 'creative industries' between those who were MAC based and those on a PC.
Up at 3.56am. Potty. But a couple of hours later and if I have been distracted I can only blame myself. The dog is asleep at my feet, the family sleep above me, though my head is full of domestic grief, not ours, but my daughter's boyfriends family starting a messy break-up with him temporarily ejected from his home and seeking sanctuary which we feel unable to offer.
Back to business.
My response too often is quick and emotional, this can apply to domestic life as well as work. I lead with the heart. I am learning to do otherwise, to make the time, to try to be rational, to avoid tipping from radical alternatives of hate and love, yes and no ... there is always a middle way, however hard it may be to negotiate or to my mind however dull 'middle of the road' might feel.
Middle of the road gets things done, with drama, in a professional manner, which may be the point in a module on the 'e-learning professional.'
H808, UNIT 6 A COLLABORATIVE EXERCISE
Having had some successful experiences I know what it takes, what skills, tools, timekeeping and commitment works. Where in the past I have been introduced by others to some simple online tools to share, collaborate and contribute work in an engaging way, both synchronously and asynchronously ... it may be my turn to get out of the passenger seat and take the wheel. Often you find the 'vehicle' drives in automatic, Skype and sync.in for example, Google Docs too, are far easier than you may at first imagine.
Tools for co-ordinating availability between people on opposite sides of the globe anyone? Personally I operate as if in three places ... spending a few hours on the Indian subcontinent, a few hours in the UK .... then reappearing on the West Coast of the US!
The 24 hour economy should not mean that you work for 24 hours. Or does it? Perhaps we'll reach the stage where we keep links with people permanently open wherever we go, as if they are sitting on our shoulders, forever at our side, omnipresent and god like (in the Greek sense).
On reading, taking notes and managing your feelings i.e how to study
There are notes, nothing more, which makes me wonder why I share them with the world. In this instance I am sharing notes on 'hot to study.' (I liked the typo so left it in.'
This 1990 OU's guide came into my possession by the most circuitous of routes. My father-in-law, a long retired Oxford Don, sent it to his 12 year old grand-daughter on seeing her end of term report
Problem is, not that she has read the book at all, if it appealed in any way then she might shun what her immediate future offers: GCSEs then A' Levels which requires a lot of learning, but not a great deal of thinking. (Or does it?)
Here are some notes for Chapter Two 'Reading and Note Taking'
In relation to 900 words or so we were asked to read as an activity:
This takes, we are advised to:
- Skim read - 9 minutes
- Read - 15 minutes
- Read with care (and taking notes) - 27 minutes.
I read it in 3 mins.
Did I speed read? Did I take anything in?
I managed to make notes afterwards, indeed having been asked to answer some questions even more information came to mind. Perhaps this is how I should do it ... perhaps the important stuff is more likely to come to mind if I give it some thought rather than note taking at the same time. I may not have a photographic memory ... do I skate over things? Would it help if I slowed it down? I'd have to read more strategically though, to trust the choices made for me.
An OU IDEA 'Concept Cards'
To jot down concepts and ideas that you DON’T understand so that you can look them up at later, i.e. don’t only makes notes on the things that make sense.
Historically (last decade) I've used FileMaker Pro.
Whatever its short coming I am using the OU e-portfolio, expecting to be able to transfer/migrate the 500 pages of contents over to an off-the-shelf e-portfolio or anything new the OU comes up with in due course.
Taking the hint that ntoes shold be taken of ideas of interest, and value, rahter than taking notes on everything I picked out this:
Creating interest where there is none – when your enthusiasm for a topic wanes think how others think who have found something if interest.
Like a child, too often if a topic or activities doesn't appeal I make excuses and do something else, rather than finding a way to engage.
Questions make reading interesting.
You need to read with a couple of questions in the back of your mind so that you engage with the information.
My questions on the OU 1990 Study Guide?
- What’s changed in 20 years?
- How much is just the same?
- How can I apply this in relation to e-learning in 2010?
- What advice would others find useful that may be second nature to me? (That I take for granted).
I liken my approach to studying to the way I wandered across the South Downs for five hours yesterday.
I hadn’t even been sure if I’d walk a stretch of the South Downs Way from Newhaven when I dropped the car off for a service, but I had walking boots on and waterproofs in a rucksack. I had no map, but have walked half the route out of Newhaven towards Lewes, and half the route out of Lewes South. Having followede the River Ouse to Southease I then followed signs for the South Downs Way which took me way off any direct track to Lewes in a couple of huge loops. The mile along the road from Southease to Rodmell would have saved a three mile deviation up onto the Downs. But did I want to risk either the dog or me being run over?
I have a tendency to follow my nose (like the dog, her nose took her into a fresh cow pat). She rolled in it.
My reading takes me through a series of cascades as I pick first one reference to chase, then another in this article or essay and so on. Its as if, despite being given the road map through a Maize Maze I insist on looking down every avenue myself, so that I can find out for myself.
If I study in exactly the same way as my fellow students, reading strategically, only reading the course references as there isn’t apparently time to do much more … won’t we all come out the same? A goal for my studying is to have my own perspective eventually, not to project the opinions of another.
Elaborately Cautious Language
’In every day life we cheerfully use language as a blunt instrument for cudgelling our way through the cut and thrust of events around us. However, in academic writing language is meant to be used more like a scalpel, cutting precisely between closely related arguments, so that they can be prised apart and analysed in detail.’ Northridge (1990:29)
An academic text is not a narrative – it is an argument.
An academic text aims to be unemotional, detached and logical.
Whilst I can understand applying this to a TMA or ECA, this is surely not the required or desired approach in what is called a Blog? And for writing in a forum, should we reference everything? It doesn't half interrupt the flow of ideas. If talking over coffee or a glass of wine would we cite references we knowingly made? The lines distinguishing the spoken word to text or TXT or blogging and messaging are blurred if not broken.
Manage Feelings 2.6 Northridge (1990:31)
Find ways of:
- building upon your enthusiasms
- avoiding sinking into despair
- making the topic interesting
- accepting specialist language
- accepting academic text styles
- constructing valid criticisms
My preferred approach to reaching:
- while travelling (trains, planes, ferries and yachts)
Though surely not
- in bed
- on the kitchen table in the middle of the night
- in the pub
- on holiday
(though this can be exactly what I do/have done)
- a room of my own
(married life, children and a modest home have left me with a cluttered shed or lock-up garage packed with the contents of our last house - we moved three years ago).
Skim paragraph ahead, then read more slowly using the ‘mile stones’ to guide you.
Skimming – about the text
Reading – follow the argument
Lighting skim – very fast.
I typically 'light skim' the last chapters of a Stephen King novel, as the plot becomes ludicrous yet I feel an obligation to have glanced across the page in case at some stage sanity returns (it never does). Though the story will reach a resolution.
Intensive Study – very slow
Something new, something I don’t understand. Something I need to understand or want to understand. But never the small print of a bank overdraft facility. Probably the diaries of Anais Nin and the novels of Henry Miller. Probably the history of WWI, as I need to glean info from it for my own writing. And of course the books and papers I read for H807 (Innovations in E-Learning) and will read for H808 (The eLearning Professional).
Is it making me think?
Am I getting a better grasp of the subject?
‘The underlying purpose of reading is to develop your thoughts; to weave new ideas and information into the understanding you already have and to give new angles to your thinking.’ Northridge, (1990:34)
My reading speed, 300 wpm? i.e. far to quick, but is a page a minute that fast? it does depend of course on the writing style and my familiarity or otherwise with the concepts.
The purpose of reading = 'rethinking' Northridge, (1990:34)
I like that 're-thinking.' So building on what you now already, whether or not you think you know much at all ... or know a great deal.
- To develop your thoughts
- To weave new ideas and information into the understanding you already have
- To give new angles to your thinking
The point of reading:
‘The point of reading is to be able to understand what you read and to be able to get back the ideas at some future point when you need them again.’ Northridge, (1990:38)
The point of taking notes:
‘Taking notes forces you to think; to ‘grapple’ with the ideas in the text as you read them, because you have to decide what to write down and how to say it.’ Northridge, (1990:44)
I don't grapple at the note taking stage, I find it more mundane than that, I do desire a tussle at some stage, which is why I can find the manner in which we engage asynchronously (its nature) somewhat tame. I don't recommend debating online either, or getting into an argument (or even a heavy discussion) ... when in Elluminate, messaging or anything else.
This is why the face-to-face tutorial at least, fellow students over a beer in the MCR or in a formal debating chamber ideas gain a voice, that becomes your Word, and your Voice.
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