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Review, Reflect, Repeat ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 Jan 2015, 09:05

Fig.1. My mash-up from the Start Writing Fiction, OU and FutureLearn MOOC. 

Many weeks after the Open University MOOC on Future Learn closed 'Start Writing Fiction' I find I am returning to the many activities across the eight weeks to refresh, reflect, and build on my knowledge. As well as doing my bit for that 'community' by doing a few reviews (all assignments are peer reviewed). I completed the course in early December.

I return to reflect, to develop ideas, to be reminded of the excellent lessons I have learnt there, and in particular on how we use fact and fiction, whether consciously or not. In pure fantasy writing I find, inevitably, that I ground events in places I know from my youth, or have since researched. I use the hook of reality and my experiences on which to build the fiction. While currently I am embedded in what started as 90/10 fiction to fact I find it is increasingly looking like 95/5 in favour of fact as my imagination is close to the truth about a particular character and his experience of the First World War. All this from a simple exercise in week one called 'Fact or Fiction?' where we are asked first of all two write something that contains three factual elements and one fiction, and then to write something that contains three fictional elements and one factual. There are thousands of these now, many very funny, original or captivating. In week one, I'm guessing that around 10,000 got through the week. How many posted? There are 967 comments. This happens. It is an open course. The same applies for most web content: 95:5 is the ratio of readers to writers. Many people prefer not to do what they feel is 'exposing themselves' online. Why should they.

Anyway, this gives me reason to argue that it is an excellent idea to keep a blog of your OU studies. All of this can remain private, but at least, as I know have in this blog, when the doors close behind a module you can, months, even years later, return to key activities and assignments and build on the lessons you learnt. More importantly, as we all forget with such ease, we can keep the memory of the lessons fresh.

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The value to you of keeping a diary or learning journal

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014, 14:32
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. March 1975 ....

I kept a diary for twenty years: age 13 1/2 to my forties ... with a few months off from decade to decade. It is self-indulgent navel gazing to look back at its contents which I do extremely rarely. An indulgent scrapbook thing covering a teen exchange to France is fun; did a Mars Bar really once cost 3p !! And a photo journal of a five month gap year job working my arse off in a hotel in France too. And have a vibrant record of children from birth to walking and talking too. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.2. A reading list from 1978

It always amazes me should I stumble upon an old school text book or any of the above as my mind is instantly taken back and I am flooded with boyish ideas.

This blog is something else.

This is a Learning Journal and Portfolio and I've kept it since February 2010. Just about all a module's activities go in here (40% hidden). I know where to find stuff because I've tagged it all. Needing to assess how far I have come, and what themes I can see, what I know and can apply from the seven MAODE modules I have completed - five completed the MAODE, the following two could go towards a M.Ed or MSc.

It is fulfilling in itself as an aide memoire to be reminded of how much I have covered, what therefore I should know, how I learn this and in the context of the changing technology how rapidly things are moving. Learning is evolving fast and in due course we'll look back at what has happened and compare it to how we no buy books online, how we book holidays online, and how we communicate with each other. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.3. The wonders of FutureLearn

At the minute e-learning is like a firework that has just exploded; we are watching it in awe. At some moment a thousand fireballs will light up the clouds and we'll take in the whole picture and conclude that things have changed forever.

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Digital Memory - false prophets, commercialisation based on limited knowledge, an inevitable shift ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Sep 2014, 10:43
From E-Learning V 

 

"It's as radical as looking at the difference between the roots of a tree and the petals of a flower".

 

Thanks for the Memory, In Business.

Peter Day Thursday 4th and Sunday 7th September

BBC Radio 4 

The power of serendipity.

At 21:33 last night my wife called from a rural train station. Apologising for being 'like my late Mum', she said there was something on the radio that might interest me. And so, 12 hours later I am about to listen to this for the FOURTH time. This isn’t because of its academic value per se, rather for its irritation factor. Going by the online monnica of ‘MindBursts’ for the best part of a decade hints at where my latent, longterm interests lie. What a mess and joy ‘natural’ memory can be; I’m yet to see an algorithm deliver credible serendipity. When did my mother last call me in this way? She died exactly two years ago. It would have to be about three to two and a half years ago and most likely would have been Samuel Pepys dramatised for radio, or the hints then of the content that is now flooding the airwaves on the First World War.  Letting that memory fizzle, reform and sink back into my brain. Does this programme trivialise or simply ignore the complexity of the brain? No neuroscientist was interviewed. Shame. 

Very often the BBC and Peter Day et al get it right, but here the researchers and writers have got horribly lost, like a kid on their first visit to a fairground they have run about picking up hifhafultiing fag ends, being impressed by trivia, while occasionally calling in an academic or business big hitter. My concentration lapses on each time of listening after 15, then 20, then 25 minutes. The FIFTH and SIXTH listening my start in the middle. What these programme need, regardless of accessibility needs, is a transcript. I could have got this in a couple of sittings by listening to Peter Day while reading the transcript.

There is value in imperfection. There is value in being irritated by a programme. Had this been a lecture I would have had a list of questions at the end, I may even have heckled or muttered my annoyance along the way.

What a hotchpotch.

There are problems of audience, intent, journalist sensationalism, taking such a random and ranging set of examples and setting them as if they warrant or deserve to share the same platform. 

It begins with something that would have a live audience listening to a stand-up comic nodding in agreement: our no longer having phone numbers in our head. Why would we try to recall the complex and the trivia, an area code as a name with and three digit number, say Wideopen 3119 (my home phone when I was a kid) is easy; not so easy, especially after repeated additions and alterations are the lengthy and multiple contacts we have today. And what was wrong with the pocket address book in its day? It wasn't a case of remembering a phone number, so much as remembering where we'd put our address book.

Technology is there to manage our memories. Luciano Floridi

"It's as radical as looking at the difference between the roots of a tree and the petals of a flower".

This is the man who should have carried the programme; instead we get a soundbite at the start and another at the end. As bookends his profound thoughts barely tether this piece. Perhaps it just tries far too hard to cover everything in a myriad of ways and ends up trying to catch smoke rings in its fingers?

We hear from:

Evernote: set up six years ago, a series of digital tools to help people remember everything. Research. Communicate. To visually communicate what you mean. Phil Libbin,

Timehop set up by Jonathan Wegener. The idea is to milk what people put into Facebook. He has big financial backers. Timehop replays a day at a time a year ago, ten years ago, drawing from Facebook. He suggests that ‘old is awesome’. Aimed at getting users, not revenue. Will make money ‘when the time is ripe’. I find it dubious and ethically immoral, even inept naive views of how people want the serendipity of forming and reforming their own memories. His game plan can only be to sell to Facebook. I quit Facebook recently and doubt I will ever return. Far, far, far to invasive and exploitative, and for me, distracting and addictive.

d3i, set up by Oliver Waters. He used to keep a ‘journal’ from ten up to university. So what. Millions do and many for far longer, and in a directed way, say keeping minutes of business meetings led to Linkedin. The key, he thinks, is not keeping the diary yourself. WRONG. D3i is dependent on the nonsense and ephemera that people put into Facebook. a) this Facebook dependence is dangerous and limiting b) a fraction of people are digitally literate or even care, or care to use social media very much c) students, by way of example, are shown to distinguish between their social, digital and student academic lives. My tip is to perhaps keep a dialy log, or diary. Perhaps restrict to a learning journal if you are studying. Or write a travel log for a trip. I have great fun looking at a diary I kept just for a French Exchange I did in my teens. Another for a gap year job in the alps for a season. 

Memoir. Lee Hoffmann. He suggests there is value in the trivia of social media. Such as sitting with a grandchild and they ask how you met and you show them rather than tell them. This is horrid. Far better to learn to tell stories and learn to listen to the story teller. Snapping away at the trivia of the day. Gross failing to understanding the nature, quality and accruing and sifting quality of storytelling. A few memories as a child of sitting on my grandfather's knees while he talked about the First World War would be reduced to ... her son, watch the video while I go and do something more useful with my time. Poppycock. If you take the human out of memory then it is counterproductive.

Rather

Improve what we have. All text with voice, all voice with transcripts, all video with text and audio grabs …. I’m unconvinced that the commercial operators have much understanding of how memory works. The company they failed to spot is QStream, which in a far more tailored, and valuable way, works with our propensity to forget to aid memory creation in the brain - which is where you need the information if you are to do anything original with it. 

The Problem

The need to filter and forget, far better to enhance or support memories that have value, rather than those that do not. So much is missed in this programme. The fundamental background understanding of memory and how and why we forget. 

We hear from:

Peter Baron, Google. He's asked to talk about European Court of Justice ‘take down’ law and the legal and social need to forget things like spent court convictions. 

European Data Protection Law

Then there's a thing called 'Chronicle of Life'

Facebook and Flickr, so long as they are profitable.

And someone called Milan Chetti, of Chief of Research at HP, Boston Maschatucets.

If I can spell these names correctly I'll find them online, see what the have to say and re-invent this piece for my own understanding of the situation. I ought also to revisit anything I've tagged: life logging, memory, forgetting and so on in here.

All this will take time that I'm prepared to put in to write an article, if not a paper. 

One of the profound impacts is that the memorisation process of the human brain has been altered already … constant reliance on mobile devices has hurt our short term memory as mankind, while digitisation of events over time can help recall and improve out long term memory. So short term memory being carried by devices, while long term memory is enhanced. So we forget directions and phone numbers as our devices do this for us, storing contact details and getting us from A to Z and home, while deeper.

Ki Commenenti - Chronicle of Life. To store data forever.

Spelling anyone?

What about life logging, what about problem solving, such as dementia, even assisting at school and in the workplace. The answer is smarter, personalised and mobile and AI.

If it can be done, it will be done.

Luciano Floridi (misspelled on the BBC website) again ... 

Innovation, Legislation … but understanding lagging behind

Reshape huge chunks of our lives in ways we haven’t understood.

From E-Learning V

 

Floridi uses the metaphor of sediments and layers, a better analogy, as it starts to create in the minds eye a complex environment, though as connected information, digital content changes as associations, reviews, use and comments accrue. I made the connection to Hjulstrom's Curve as I was helping my son get his head around this for A' Level geography last night. I dug out my own Geography text books but found nothing on Hjulstrom. This came from a considered search and selection online. I started to teach my 16 year old son how to do a more academic search online. His approach lacks so much finesse it is shocking. A few minutes of my TLC and we find a brilliant short video from an Irish Geography teacher that put it all so very well.

The programme annoys me because from Peter Day and the BBC you expect a far higher degree of scientific even academic certainty rather than something that is part the One Show for radio. Luciano Floridi of all those we hear from is the one to track down as he does what the very best academics do; they take the  complex and try to explain it based on sound research and a depth of experience that few of the others have.

A memory isn’t static, now is it tangible, it is a chemical construct of the moment that the human brain reinvents every time we recall a memory. All that we have experience since that event formed a memory impacts on how we recall it. To preserve an aspect of such an event digitally can never be a ‘memory’ : a photograph of your child’s third birthday doesn’t include the smell of candles and chocolate cake that reminds you of your own eighth birthday, or in my case that my father never attended a single birthday, not my birth, not my 21st … he turned up to say he was leaving. No figuring that. And immediately indicating how a memory is a shifting entity and if you think about it for long enough it is probably very personal.

Just because you can, does not mean it has value. For centuries people have kept diaries, but how many are a Samuel Pepys or an Anne Frank? It is the record of events so much as the interpretation and voice of the author sharing memories and consequences of these events. 

My rant not over. This is a subject that fascinates me. 'Mind Bursts' as a thought has been my external blog for seven years and with hints of something on the horizon I bought the dot com last year. 

The problem now, compared to ten years ago, is finding amongst millions people to talk to about this. Finding like-minds used to be so, so much easier before the Internet got out of hand and now deluges us with stuff, with too much commercialised and gamified content that gets in the way. 

If you listen to the end then perhaps 2020 will be the end - there won't be enough electricity generated in the world to store this digital content anymore. Hopefully it'll all implode, there'll be a massive clear out, and no doubt there'll be a healthy re-invention or return to books and photo albums.

Meanwhile, my memory-support system called this e-learning journal, blog, portfolio thingey offers up the following. The value of these tagged posts is that they are my interpretation of ideas from months or years ago that will trigger an aggregation or assimilation of fresh ideas and thoughts, something that can never occur simply by grabbing new, unknown stuff produced by others on the Interent. It matters that saved content connects with your soul, that intangible part of the brain that nothing digital can ever reach or approach at mimicking.

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H818 Activity 2.1 Openness in a connected world of education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 08:14

Fig.1 Posing for a scamp at the School of Communication Arts, 1987

H818 Activity 2.1

I will only publish in open access journals.

I'm not a professional academic. Should I publish then I imagine the calibre of the journal will count for something. As a professional writer (copy, scripts, speaches), with exception of blogging I am used to being paid for my words.

I will share all learning material that I create and own openly online.

From the moment I started to blog I have been part of self-help groups 'publishing' openly on everything from blogging to creative writing, swimming teaching and coaching, social media, the First Worldd War and e-learning. My goal over the next year or so is to produce under a Creative Commons module a series of 30 to 1500+ micro- OERs, one minute pieces with Q&A attached, as what Chris Pegler terms 'Lego Techno Bricks'.

I maintain an online social media identity as a core part of my professional identity.

It lacks professionalism as I don't edit it or write to a definable audience but I have a substantial e-learning blog that largelly, though not exclusively, draws on my MA ODE experiences (in fact I started on the MA ODL in 2001 and blogged on that too). I use Google+, Linkedin and Twitter haphazardly by pushing blog content to actual and potential commentators, participants and followers.

I take a pragmatic approach and release some resources openly if it’s not too much extra work.

I come from corporate communications where created content is closed to employees.

I have concerns about intellectual property and releasing my content openly.

Actual words of fiction I write is my copyright, Factual I care less about. Whilst a blog is largelly like a recorded conversation, a formal paper would need to be recognied in the appropriate way.

I will share all material that I create and own openly online, as soon as I create it.

No. I cannot hope to earn a living or sustain my interests if I cannot both charge for my time and my ouput.

 

 

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On keeping a dairy, a record, a blog, a journal.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jun 2012, 17:54

DSC04813.JPG

Three decades on I can have a laugh online reminding friends and family what we were up to in our early teens.

I stopped keeping a diary when I started to blog in 1999; when you aren't recording events in private you become a reporter. I keep blogs with a focus: e-learning, swimming or the First World War. The diary is now at best 'Blip Photo', a picture a day.

Probably the visual record will be a far better way to recall people and events, people in particular.

Had I a camera strung around my neck in the 1970s and 1980s and could afford the film and printing costs what kind of record might I have?

In conversation with people I new in the 1970s it is staggering what we are starting to recall, the detail of people, food, smells, activities and feelings. As an educator I wonder what we can recall from the classroom, playing fields or swimming pool?

Or is education through secondary, even tertiary levels, 'learning to learn'?

Personally, I find a 'Learning Journal' an indispensable support to my scatter-brain. Nothing sticks unless I 'engage' through writing, sharing, discussing. I will read a book and not have a clue what it was about unless

I also listed the books I read, and the albums I purchased.

Even the posters I put up on the wall.

Do I want to think back to lesson on Silas Marner?

On the Tolpuddle Martyrs. 'Abba's Greatest Hits?'

Why not?

Bowie posters on the wall.

Shakespeare for sure.

School and the RSC Tour to the Newcastle Theatre Royal created in me a love for Shakespeare.

A few taps on my cerebellum and I can recite Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet.

There are lessons worth remembering though.

And as you focus, particularly on sciences or law and medicine at tertiary level, let alone everything you are "required" to learn in the workplace this is stuff you need to engage with.

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Private diary entries not meant for public consumption

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 04:50

This is a quote in Ian Kershaw's 'The End' (2011) of all things regarding one of many diaries he read researching the downfall of Germany in the final year of The Second World War.

It expresses for me what was or came to be an early perception of the 'online journal' (as they were called before web-log, then 'blog' came along).

I  started to put my diary online in 1999.

I even copied out passages in notebooks that went back a further 20 years. It was an online diary to begin with, even a form of publishing. It morphed into other things as readers and other regular writers emerged.

The reality of 2011 is that this blank space is whatever you want it to be and whatever others make of it: a soap box, a survey, a statement, a chapter of a book, song lyrics, snaps, charts, gobble-de-gook.

The enigma of the private diary uncovered was the sense that this was the truth, how someone thought and behaved.

Today some of us, though not in this space, chose to reveal everything we can regarding what it means to be human. There was an element of 'exposure' but this, what I read in 2000, 2001, 2002, became the appeal and attraction, particularly to many isolated, even depressed people who discovered they weren't alone.

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24 Reasons to Blog

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

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

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

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

You either do or don't?

photo%252520%2525289%252529.JPG

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

QUESTIONS

  • Why do you blog?
  • If you've just started will you keep going?
  • What's the incentive?
  • Do you have an external blog too?
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The 350 year old blog of a 26 year old - Samuel Pepys

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

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

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

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

Samuel%252520Pepys%252520SNIP.JPG

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

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

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

Pepys.jpg

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

Samuel%252520Pepys%252520SNIP%2525202%252520.JPG

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

 

Pepys%2525202.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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Had Pepys blogged would you have read him?

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

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

Pepys is about to be serialised on BBC Radio.

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

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

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

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

Would leaks of practices in Admirality House appeared in Wikileaks?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some would.

Is this the would-be artist’s struggle?

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

I cannot read Pepys.

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

It is all over the place mixing work and play.

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

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21 good reasons to blog a lot

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 15:42

Anais%2520Nin%2520SNIP.JPG

'It seems to me that I follow only the most accessible thread. Three or four threads may be agitated, like telegraph wires, at the same time, and if I were to tap them all I would reveal such a mixture of innocence and duplicity, generosity and calculation, fear and courage. I cannot tell the whole truth simply because I would have to write four journals at once. I often would have to retrace my steps, because of my vice for embellishment'.

Anais Nin

(Henry & June, Journals, July 1932)


A diary can be  many things:

1) a record of what happens to me and around me each day

2) a notebook for whatever I’m reading

3) a record and analysis of dreams

4) a place to try my hand at exposure

5) a place to describe how it is, or isn’t;

6)a place to practise lies

7) a place to drill, thrill and hone my skill

8) a place to underplay, exaggerate or avoid

9) a place to lose myself in Truth

10) a place to play

11) a place where a blank pages means something as a day missed is a day when I’m too ill, too depressed, too drunk or too bored with it writers keep diaries to record events -a writer’s journal I do this; working up events until they have become more real that reality as I obscure what happened with scene setting detail and by bringing narrative order to the muddle of a daily life.

12)  At times I write as a drill, to practice, at others because I feel an obligation, it is what I do most days, every day.

13) I use these pages to extract a writing style and extricate myself from the bland.

Lately a form has emerged as I tripped and stumbled over a keyboard I’ve been hacking at the undergrowth until I have found my way, happily pursing forest paths and following streams back to their source.

14) I keep a diary as a record of events: what I did, where, with whom.

At times I reduce the diary to bullet points, satisfied that I've not lost the day forever to obscurity.

As a painter I had to draw what I saw, from reality, not straight out of the mind or by copying.

As a writer I hoped at first that I could write candidly about reality and once I had established that I could progress to fiction.

Do I want to put my life under the microscope?

Am I writing postcards to myself?

It all counts. It all mounts This writing is never supposed to be a draft of anything Francois Truffaut said he felt it was necessary to read everything to give the mind food and things to smart against. It is worth reading all kinds of things.

So how many diaries or journals do I need?

15) a dream book

16) a diary for a straight log of what I did during the day

17) a journal as a notebook (as here)

18) a memory jogger

19) something for assessment/analysis of what I am thinking and reading

20) a scrapbook.

How many is that? Would four do the trick?

You should try it for a year

There comes that moment when you can reflect on what you were doing exactly a year ago amd to feel the same every time another entry is composed.

I kept a five year day for eight years in my early teens: the five lines per day are hopeless unrevealing.

I washed my hair, cleaned out the rabbit kind of thing. Some rare moments bring back the day or event. I began to record dreams in my mid-teens, tiring off it when I found I could recall four or more dreams each night taking several hours to write them up the following day.

I kept a scrapbook and dairy in a ring-bind folder when I went on an exchange with a French boy and repeated this around my 17th birthday, filling a folder in one month and so realising I needed a different approach.

Then I settled for a page of A4 per day every day, not less and rarely more.

21) Write as much or as little as you like.

Being able to write as much as I liked I found myself filling a dozen pages plus and so quickly lost the detail that would have otherwise identified the day, month and year. I wanted to buy a scrapbook again for ages.

Then along came the Web.

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The Contents of my Brain

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's value? To me, or others?

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

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

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

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

Do I draw on it to write fiction?

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

And all the fictoin, the millions of words.

Will this have a life if put online?

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

 

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H800: 22 Reflecting on H800

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Mar 2013, 00:26

How goes it?

Like a roller-coaster, merrily going along, like the C4 ident:through the loops of a roller-coaster though the shapes I see are 'H' and '800' and '807' and '808' as I pass by.

Then I switch track and venue and find myself on the Mouse-Trap. Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Here there is a rise and dip where you are convinced you will hit a girder. I just did, metaphorically speaking. (Diary entry, August 1980)

Ilness changes things

Nothing more than a rubbish cold made uncomfortable by asthma.

It is a set back of sorts. I can sleep and read. But the spark has gone (for now).

To use a different analogy, if I often think of my mind as a Catherine-wheel, this one has come off and landed in a muddy-puddle.

We're in the week of metaphors for learning.

I can draw on any notes I've taken on this here and in my eportfolio. This is more than an aide-memoire, it favours the choices I made before at the expense of anything new. So I widen my search. The OU Library offers hundreds of thousands of references in relation to 'Education' and 'Metaphor' going back to 1643.

Gathering my thoughts will take time.

There are 26 pages (nearly 12,000 words) to read (course intro, resources). Far, far more if I even start to consider ANY of the additional references or reading.

Give me three months. We have, or I have left, three days.

My approach is simple. Tackle it on the surface, drill into an author or topic that is of interest and expect to pick up on and pick through this again later this module, later this year ... or next existence. (I believe in multiple existences and flux. We are transitory and changing)

As well as tapping into the OU Blog and e-portfolio the blog I've kept since 1999 might have something to say on metaphor. If I care to I might even rummage through A'Level English Literature folders from the 1970s, just to trigger something. Engaged and enabled by Vygotsky and others in relation to memory and learning I value this ability to tap into past thoughts/studying with ease.

(Ought others to be sold the idea of a life-long blog?)

Otherwise I have gone from learn to swim in the training pool, to swimming lengths in the main pool ... to observer/coach who will participate, but has a towel over his shoulders and is looking around.

The next pool? Where is that?

I'm not the same person who set out on this journey 12 months ago.

On the other hand, having a Kindle makes me feel more like a teenager swotting for an Oxbridge examination; I like having several books on the go. I'll be through 'Educational Psychology (Vygotsky) by the end of the day and am already picking through and adding to copious notes.

Piaget next?

Then a little kite-boarding as I head away from the swimming pool that has been an MA with the OU?!

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On blogging vs keeping a diary or are they the same thing?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 18:18

Maketh up a quote at ye beginning of thy book; it will make people think thou art clever.

Christopher Marlowe ‘The Obscure Tragedie’ Act II, Scene ii.

The following comes from a seminal book on diary keeping by Tristine Rainer.

Here are some key thoughts

Some of this thinking can be brought up to date in the context of keeping a diary online; the essential principals remain the same.

A dairy is many things:

‘Everything and anything goes. You cannot do it wrong. There are no mistakes. At any time you can change your point of view, your style, your book, the pen you write with, the direction you write on the pages, the language in which you write, the subjects you include, or the audience you write to. You can misspell, write ungrammatically, enter incorrect dates, exaggerate, curse, pray, write poetically, eloquently, angrily, lovingly. You can past in photographs, newspaper clippings, cancelled checks, letters, quotes, drawings, doodles, dried flowers, business cards, or labels. You can write on lined paper or blank paper, violet paper or yellow, expensive bond or newsprint.’

Tristine Rainer, ‘The New Diary’ 1976.

‘Flow, spontaneity and intuition are the key words. You don’t have to plan what you are going to do. You discover what you have done once you have set it down.’ Tristine Rainer.

Keep it all in one place

‘When the dreams like next to the fantasies, and political thoughts next to personal complaints, they all seem to learn from each other.’

This works for blogging:

Write Spontaneously

Write quickly so that you don’t know what will come next. How the unexpected can happen. Surprise yourself.

Write Honestly

Be open about what you really feel. Few diaries actually lie to themselves in a dairy, but many out of shyness with themselves avoid writing about the most intimate aspects of a situation.

Write Deeply

Anais Nin, disappointed with her childhood diaries, developed the practice of sitting quietly for a few minutes before beginning to write. She would close her eyes and allow the most important incident or feeling of the day or of the period of time since she last wrote to surface in her mind. That incident or feeling became her first sentence.

Write Correctly

Expressive language is not a science. There are no rules. You are writing for yourself, so self-expression is the key. Test the range of your natural voice – it will develop. Errors are part of the form of the diary, as they are part of life.

Choose your audience

Your best audience is your future self. In ten years time you won’t remember the situation unless you capture all its sensual vitality now.

Value contradictions

In time they will develop towards a larger truth; leave them in.

‘Some diarists find when they go several weeks without writing they begin to feel off balance and take it as a signal that they are avoiding the inner self.’

Those of us who keep a diary regularly are stuck with it; whether it appears online, and which bits of appear online is another matter.

‘We taught the diary as an exercise in creative will; as an exercise in synthesis; as a means to create a world according to our wishes, not those of others; as a means of creating the self, of giving birth to ourselves.’

Anais Nin, December 1976.

There’s more to follow from Tristine Rainer on basic diary devices and special techniques.

P.S. The Marlowe quote is John O’Farrel’s invention and appears in ‘I blame the scapegoats.’

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The best form of ‘cognitive housekeeping’ is to sleep on it.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Nov 2011, 17:58

So I blogged three months ago when considering the merits and demerits of keeping a learning journal and reflective writing.

It transpires that sleep really does sort the ‘memory wheat from the chaff’ according to a report in the Journal of Neuroscience, DOI, 10,1,1523.jneuorsci.3575-10.2011) referred to in the current New Scientist. This Week. 5 FEB 2011.

‘It turns out that during sleep the brain specifically preserves nuggets of thought it previously tagged as important.’ Ferris Jabr says.

I have always used sleep to reflect on ideas.

If I expect or wish to actively dwell on something I will go to sleep with the final thought on my mind, a pen and pad of paper by my side. Cat naps are good for this too. I will position myself with pillows and a book, or article and drift off as I finish. Waking up ten or twenty minutes later I glance straight back at the page and will feel a greater connection with it.

I wonder if there is commercial value in working from home and doing so up 'til the point you need to fall asleep? It's how my wife works when she is compiling a hefty report. It's how I work when I have an assignment, or a script to deliver ... or a producton to complete. The work never stops and it doesn't stop me sleeping.

Going back to tagging.

How does the mind do this? In curious ways. We all know how a memory can be tagged with a smell or a sound. For me how mothballs remind me of my Granny’s cupboard (an image of it immediately in my mind). A Kenwood blender will always remind me of my mother grings biscuits to put on the basae of a cheesecake. And a sherbert dip the Caravan Shop, Beadnell, Northumberland. Often when a random recollection enters my consciousness I try to think what has triggered it: the way the light falls on a tree, the exhaust from a car or even a slight discomfort in my stomach. It is random. Indeed, is a random thought not impossible?

There has to be a trigger, surely?

Can any of these be used?

Perhaps I could categorise content here, or in an eportfolio by taste. So chocolate digestive biscuits might be used to recall anecdotes. Toothpaste might be used to recall statistics. Varieties of Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts might be associated with people I have got to know (a bit) during the MAODE.

The mind boggles; or at least mine does.

Colour and images (Still or moving) is as much as we can do so far.

I’m intrigued by memory games. I like the journey around a familiar setting where you place objects you need to remember in familiar places so that you can recall a list of things. Here the tag is somewhere familiar juxtaposed with the fresh information.

Are there better ways to tag?

Look at my ridiculously long list of tags here. Am I being obtuse? When I think of a tag do I come up with a word I've not yet used? How conducive is that to recalling this entry, or grouping similar entries to do the job?

I like the way some blogs (Wordpress/EduBlogs) prompt you to use a tag you’ve applied before; it offers some order to it all. I long ago lost track of the 17000 entries in my blog. Would I want to categorise them all anyhow? I think I managed 37. I prefer the 'enter@random' button I installed.

Going back to this idea of tagging by taste/smell, might a word (the category) be given division by taste/smell, texture and colour? How though would such categories work in a digital form? Am all I doing here recreating a person’s shed, stuff shoved under their bed or stacked in a garage, or put in a trunk or tuck box in the attic?

In the test reported in the Neuroscientist those who went to bed in the knowledge that they would be tested on the information they had looked at that day had a 12% better recall.

See.

Testing works.

It doesn’t happen in MAODE, if at all. When are we put on the spot? When are we expected ever to playback a definition under ‘duress’?

‘There is an active memory process during sleep that selects certain memories and puts them in long-term storage.’


Like an e-portfolio?

Is the amount of sleep I've had, the 350 or so nights since I started the MAODE ... part of the learning environment required?

REFERENCE

Sleep Selectively Enhances Memory Expected to Be of Future Relevance
Wilhelm et al. J. Neurosci..2011; 31: 1563-1569

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One day at a time, one year at a time, each decade of his life

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011, 18:49

1976 – 1983 -

I could keep going to Jan 2011. Like a returning diarist the New Year offers hope and a desire to record what goes on, though some of the tougher times would make better reading.

Reading this I could imagine a character who comes out of a coma with the New Year's Fire Works but nods off again by February 1st. There's a thought. There's a screenplay. There's another year or two of my life lost inside my head ...

January 5th

1976
Got up late, had bath, watched T.V. XXX and I were sent to our rooms, I couldn’t care because I had records, radio, typewriter, crayons etc: Watched TV. Cycled, Took down Xmas decorations and tree. Dad rang. No Tuesday. Didn’t mind. Used to him. Watched heart surgery on Horizon.

1977
Up at 8ish, breakfast with XXX and XXX, get stuff and leave dead on 9. Smash ice on pool. Wait for Mum 15 mins. Dad going to a meeting at Middlesbrough. Home, nothing changed, odd pieces of money from Aunties, chess from Uncle XXX. Still haven’t got rec: player, get record from Realm Records. No money though. Try to get rec: players in Town. Talk to XXX, bath, hair, TV, fall to sleep.

1978
Sleepy – read book. I, Claudius, Robert Graves. XXX at King’s Cross. XXX gets off to school. Phone me at 12 – stopped – continued. Very persistent, glad I answered – to meet XXX in Town. Tell her about disco – couldn’t get her Mum’s permission. Wonder town, Sit in restaurant for an hour left at 5. Danced at GRC with XXX

1979
Tell Mum were coming home on Sat. Train + XXX, Have People’s ringing P about a Top hat. Must try and get all my gear back somehow. More interesting XXX, in bed most of the day, XXX and more XXX and more comments about XXX with XXX.

1980
Felt ill in morning and up early and bath, Breakfast with XXX, late so not for XXX and Dad. Drift round Paris, stop at Cafe, then Louvre for the rest of the day. Late lunch and Eiffel Tower, slowly drive to Le Havre – pouring, Find Taverne Basque and have beautiful end of hold French meal., Mostly ski-estates on ferry, only Fiji for XXX.

1981
Strong wind – cleared snow and filled bus with Japanese (took photos of us). Clear Maison Rose, returned and sat in Cafeteria, Told off by Mme R as though I didn’t work. V. little to do so just got bored. Skied. Binding lose and broke twice. Up button lift and x4 the Telecabine (great) just starting to get legs (met XXX) – deadly, clean ski room/chocs for XXX (bleeper went) able to go early (7.10pm) really needed it as was most chattered.

1981
Hate the near depredation of the customs having to look through the boot. Expectantly. Dad missed a turning. As I did. He blew up. Rain and floods became snow at Appleby. Wanted to dash on to Newcastle to see XXX. After mean. Burst tire outside Appleby. A66 closed to Brough so drove via Brampton and straight to XXX’s. Being quite Telly ... Andrew XXX. Out for Midnight hedge, soaked but fun came in late and nicely ‘til 1.00 great to be back.

1983
Man rip to find out what I will to – to Hexham Infirmary with Mrs XXX and Granny and XXX, Plaster off and re enraged badly diagnosis by a seemingly drunk Dr XXX was to leave them alone. Work at 4.00 TV & XXX home to change before Tuxedo junction and had to get trews from Jonathan XXX, Mike XXX, Simon XXX, Rob XXX etc home to a bath end of dear but climb into bed for XXX v had the mattress from XXX’s room and on floor.

and on, and on, and on ...

Meaningless to non-participants (or should that read combatants) but most of these notes bring back the events of the day to me. Try this with a clear object in mind, studying a course with the Open University, a speculative project you want to bring about, clearly know when and what to keep private ... even write it in a book rather than online. Though I don’t think anyone has read anything I’ve locked online.

But do it. Even 50 words a day adds up over a year. And after a year it might inspire you to write 100 words a day. That's how I got going age 13 years 6 months. Exactly like Adrian Molehouse.

At family gatherings, several big ones are due in 2011, I am known as the archivist, I have the stories too, memories passed down to me of brothers and sisters growing up, but also of our long gone ‘ancient aunts’ who would all be 105+ by now. Photos of them too, old double 8mm film, me at my christening, photos of a World War 1 machine gunner, another an RFC bomber pilot.

Memories can be treasured. They should be treasured.

It doesn’t diminish the genre of keeping a diary to do so online, or to share some of the content with others, or do what the internet is great at doing – ‘Chunk’ your stuff into bite-size pieces; some of the above looks like a Twitter, keep to 250 words for a blog, but do it every day.

If words aren’t your thing load a picture a day, just one of many you may have snapped that will remind you of this day forever.

I listened to a busker sitting on Cliffe Bridge, Lewes yesterday afternoon.

Great, Passionate, Rough, Poignant. Thinking about it I wish I’d gone over and asked if I could take a snap, or video him on the phone for YouTube. I’ll do so next time I see him.

That would have nailed the day for me.

Then tag it. I have a tag fetish going. I do try to use the same word, but it looks as if I try to make up something different for the same thing, which rather spoils the purpose. Though I do rather like the ridiculous, tumbling, cascade of words and typos I have going in my tag clog, list thingey (another technical term that is a natz less technical that ‘stuff.’ all if which are eminently quantable to, of or by someone or something somewhere.

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Dreams. If you've just had one, try this.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Apr 2015, 07:04

"Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day." — C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

1: Who are you in the dream?

2: Who are you with in the dream?

3: What details stand out?

4: What do you feel about these details?

5: What are the various actions in the dream?

6: How are you acting and behaving in this dream?

7: What relation does this dream have to your personality?

8: What does the dream want from you?

9: What are the various feelings in this dream?

10: What relation does this dream have to what is happening right now in your life?

11: Why did you need this dream?

12: Why have you had this dream right now?

13: What relation does this dream have to something in your future?

14: What questions arise because of this dream work?

15: Who or what is the adversary in the dream?

16: What is being wounded in this dream?

17: What is being healed in this dream?

18: What or who is the helping or healing force in this dream?

19: Who or what is your companion in this dream?

20: Who are your helpers and guides in life as well as in your dreams?

21: What symbols in this dream are important to you?

22: What actions might this dream be suggesting you consider?

23: What can happen if you work actively with this dream?

24: What is being accepted in this dream?

25: What choices can you make because of having this dream?

26: What questions does this dream ask of you?

27: Why are you not dealing with this situation?

28: What do you want to ask your dream spirits?

My older sister got me into this in the 1970s when I was in my early teens.

I would cite where it came from if I had the foggiest idea. Do help if you know as I think we all deserve to be recognised (and occasionally rewarded) for the words we write.

Extraordinary as the mind is, reading a few lines about a dream I had 35 years ago does bring it all back.

Actually I can recall a dream I had when I as about four, being strangled by Rolf Harris. I asked my mother recently if my father had a beard at the time, he didn't, though there were plenty of times he said 'I could strangle you.'

Bingo! Eureka!

That's it, I wanted him to be like Rolf Harris but he was rubbish at painting and wanted to kill me smile

So that's explained, 44 years on.

Nothing like giving it time ...

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The importance of the words

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:15

Writing is everything.

I'd master it now. Keeping a blog is a sure darned way to do that. Handwritten is fine; find yourself the perfect pen.

Writing, or rather the ability to write.

It is the key to communication, to learning and to e-learning, and a great deal else besides.

On my passport it says 'writer, director.'

I like that, though I think of my skill as a visualiser and the writing and directing is rarely TV, but corporate and classroom training, desk-top learning, and product launches, change brand and change management.  Still there can be drama in it, and tears, and death, and love, and life, and music and dance. We go underwater and scale mountains, enter shear caves of nuclear power plants and wade through sewers, track super-models along catwalks in Paris and record the last words of a man dying of cancer in Carlisle.

I see things in pictures.

Perhaps the MA in Fine Art IS what I should have started a year ago ... though I fear I may have missed out.

It's easy enough I find to get my 'hand back in' if I want to draw something as it is rather like riding a bike, or skiing in deep powder snow, or racing a Fireball, or pushing off a wall in Breaststroke and emerging from a legal transition half way down a 25m pool ... once you've put in the days, months, years (even decades) learning to do these things, barring ill-health and great age, you ought to be able to do them for some time to come.

Which reminds me, I want to crack written French in 2011.

Clients think of me as something in addition to writing and directing (I produce), but no. that's not it; there are words, voices, images, cut together and linked in various ways that form linear and non-linear assemblages, but to them I am 'a problem solved', a job delivered, with passion, on time, on budget (of course), sometimes as a team of one, but sometimes in a team of a few or many more. I do wonder if sometimes an email with the finally agreed Creative Brief is the end of the process, rather than beginning.

Today, once you've solved that you can invite everyone to come up with their own creative execution.

Now there's a thought I'd not heard coming.

All of this takes words, expressing and solving the problem and sharing this requires words. A fast, reliable typing speed helps too. So perhaps my Mum was right to get me a typewriter when I was 13 when I wanted an electric guitar.

Sometimes I find the problem for the client and share it with them in all its beautiful ghastliness.

This is what good writing means. And experience. And judgment. And belief. And your approach and thoroughness. And the write people around you. And sometimes conviction that £60,000 will deliver the job, but £600 will not.

Good writing is less about the words chosen and put on the page (unless you are a novelist or poet, and I am neither), no, good writing is a good idea, clearly expressed, in as few words as possible. (Which in due course requires editing something like this).

Who is it who said the selling is a good idea?

That all it takes to sell something, is to have a good idea.

Good writing has a purpose and the author knows how to put the words to work by addressing a problem, because you know your audience and whether you or someone else is the subject matter expert, it is your responsibility, even if the words are hidden by a creative brief, a synopsis, treatments and scripts, to get the message across ... like, with some or many images (photos, graphics, cartoons), or with the spoken words and/or similar images that move ...

A swimming club session plan written on a whiteboard to take a squad of swimmers can be beautifully written if it is magically composed, and serves its immediate purpose. The good swimming coach rarely leaves such things in the head. It is thought-out, it is planned, it fits into the scheme of things, it is the right session for that hour or two.

Good writing hits a chord; it too is of the moment.

I conclude that a good teacher, a good tutor, educator, practitioner of e-learning ... all have this ability to write well at the core of their being. They are confident with words, words that are as carefully chosen even if spoken on the fly, as a result of their experience and all the lesson plans or scripts, or class programmes, they have written in the past that bubble up to the surface when faced with a problem - a fresh student.

(My only caveat is the from the podcasts I've heard before an educator is interviewed they should at least have the wisdom to do some media training).

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For 26 years this is all I could write about ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 May 2012, 16:50

Then you settle into married life and children and, as I now do, I celebrate my 18th Wedding anniversary, my younger sister's 25th and the 50th anniversary of my in-laws.

I read about people who plan to digitise their life. The ephemera I have includes the diaries and a trunk of handwritten letters; rememeber them? And letters this boy sent to his Mum from about the age of 8.

Wherein lies the value of it? A useful habit, as it turns out, but do we expect our want a new generation to store every text, every message, every Facebook entry. Are these not stored whether they like it or not ... and potentially shared. Whose business should it be, when and if to 'disclose' or 'expose' a life. It can be of value, but it can also be harmful.

On the reverse side of this card is a note to my fiance, written on the 17th February 1992. We'd been engaged for 8 months, were living apart and would be together that summer and remain together now.

The value of reflection here, is a reminder of these sentiments. The value of any record, any stirred memory, can be to reinforce it, to be cherished, forgotten or dealt with. But if you haven't taken notes, you rely on the vagaries of your mind. So perhaps a massively scaled down version of digitising everything you do may have value, like a broach you press on occassion 'for the record.

All of this STILL coming from a single Opinion piece in the New Scientist (23 December to 1 Jan) about someone digitising every moment of their existence.

P1110008.JPG
From 11-01-2011

This is how the 'professional' student or corporate blog should look ... not social networking, no flirting, no personal stuff, just the business - something to chew on.

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Where we'll be in 2025 from the perspective of someone in 1975

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 9 Jan 2011, 09:02

For the introduction of my H808 ECA I've visualised a Movie Poster.

Man 2025 from 1975 Sunday Colour Supplement

 

This comes from a Sunday Newspaper, in 1975.

This image, along with some shots of the diary went into a blog in 2003. In 2006 I tried to establish which paper this image came from and failed. You'd imagine something right wing like the Sunday Telegraph, though it is more like to have been the Observer, or even the Radio Times? Strikingly there was no view taken on this pose looking for all intense and purposes like one of Hitler's Aryan few. The thinking behind it was that by 2025 we'd all be mixed raced, bald (for no apparent reason) and semi-naked due to our ability to control the climate.

The only reason I chose this as my personal movie poster for now is a desire to reconnect to my youth and a sense that I had a future, another 14 years at least! I wouldn't mind getting fit again too, overweight at 90kg and doing no exercise for several years has me far, far, far from this absurd image. Though age 19, with hair, this was me courtesy of swimming every day for an hour or more and sailing/windsurfing in the summer and skiing in the winter. Heady days.

Politically I should mention here that I swing between green, yellow, blue and red ... ocasionally even purple. I blend my vote too, rarely voting for the same lot between local and national elections and often preferring the independent choice. At uni I was a member of both the Conservative and the Labour parties sad

Who cares? I do. I can keep them all at arms length, especially the two parties that keep asking me to stand ... oh yes! My busy body considered an asset in local refuse collection, building, transport and various pollution issues. I should keep my mouth shut, but as you can see, I don't and it isn't difficult to point content like this (editted) to a person that matters.

For the conclusion I've visualised a Film Review.

I've also done a cartoon of one of the course authors as a weightlifter with the words RESEARCH on one end of the bar and the word PRACTICE on the other; the idea being that you get mentally fit by doing a work out that balances research and practice.

Where I come unstuck is with the PDP matrix.

 

1%20Your%20PDP%20pan%20for%20H808ECA.JPG
From Drop Box

 

I look at this and I see a train station message board on some concourse such as Crewe with few destinations of interest. I'll have to work on this.

The least  I want is the Message Board at St. Pancras International with Paris, Lille and Brussels written up, though my most inspired train message board will always be Gar du Nord, Paris. As a teenage my jaw always dropped to see destinations like Berlin, Moscow and Turin, where across the channel pre Eurotunnel you were supposed to get excited about Ore, Doncaster and Birmigham International sad

Any ideas? Perhaps if I visualised it as an Advent Calender? Or a box of chocolates (life, is after all, life a box of chocolates according to Forrest Gump).

Ideas on a plate please.

P.S. A reminder to myself to dig out a collection of scrapbooks from 1987-88 when I was at London's, School of Communication Arts and perhaps a reminder to start doing this again. Or do I? I'm getting into the habit of photographing things that catch my eye, uploading, cropping and fixing, then tagging and putting them online. Perhaps I'm a candidate after all for the e-diary, a record of everything, all day.

 

 

 

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E-diary, e-reader, e-by god what next?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 9 Jan 2011, 08:58

I'll have had 3,000 words out of the New Scientist article, 'Dear, E-Diary' before I'm finished. (New Scientist 23 December / 1 January).


I can think of little else, how pointless it would be to record all that you do and see and hear all day. And then, taking a swimming group this morning, armed with a digital recorder and headset I wondered if recording my instructions and tips to the swimmers over 2 hours +, if done every week for a few months, at least following through all the strokes, progressions and skills, if this could become the basis of a podcast series reduced to 4-6 mins each? The kids would initially say something about the headset and mouthpiece ... and probably offer some commentary, most of which I could now lift out having mastered WavePad.

On verra.

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A diary 1975 to the present day - with gaps

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 23 Oct 2011, 07:53

I gave up buying the Guardian on Saturday after a decade or more of doing so in favour of receiving the New Scientist every week; it is simple.

Too much that I read in the paper I know already and the Colour supplement's target audience is the bottom of the bin.

I am rewarded this week with

  • a) the news that Google have digitised 5 million books
  • b) a piece on blogging 'Dear e-diary ... '

This ought to be how anyone who blog begins their entry, 'dear diary;' blogging sounds like something Morris Dancer's do in slippers after hours behind the pub.

Alun Anderson passess through the history of the diary with some clumsy thoughts on such things becoming popular gifts in the 1820s and the number of diaries inviting us to buy them at this time of year on supermarket shelves - actually I find the Academic diary is more popular in late August.

Never mind

In one respect he is right; along with New Year's resolutions, keeping a diary from January 1st is up there.

Of course, we all decide to do this on the 5th or 6th so have to invent an entry or three or four for the previous days. I've just been looking on shelves where old diaries are stored ... (this stuff gets an outing once or twice a decade). For reasons suggested above, some of the first few days of the New Year draw a blank, though I appear to have an unbroken record for the 5th and 6th of January since 1976. (I should add that the diary record over 34 years has about 13 years of blanks, so I'm not such an obsessive.

I have an unbroken run from 1983 to 1987 and 1978-1982 are complete, but largely little more than a five liner in a Five Year diary.

September 1979 is interesting though, short of the technology, I just about achieved what Gordon Bell, a senior researcher at Microsoft is up to ... recording absolutely everything that ever happens to him with a digital camera strung around his neck. (I trust he'll call it albatross).

We've seen how relentlessly dull TV manufatured life can be from Big Brother, why will Gordon's life be any better, or will the presence of the digital recorder prompt him into doing something 'worth recording,' i.e. mucking up any science he may think is going on.

What I did, not knowing for how long I'd do it, was to open the parameters of my diary page entries, from five lines every day, to an A4 sheet (no more, never missed), to as much as it could take; it took a couple of hours to write every night, which would of course lead to that vital practice of reflecting on the process of writing itself. That and every bust ticket into town (Newcastlte), the Commodores ?! Tuxedo Junction. And the 'swimming baths.' (sic). A play at the Gulbenkien. Godspell at the Theatre Royal. A Mars Bar for 3p.

Totall Recall: How the e-memory revolution will change everything.

No it won't.

All the years I Twittered into a Five Year diary (about 60 words), my aim was to put in something that would remind me what happend that exact day; I'm forever staggered how I've achieved this on very little indeed. It requires a key, not the detail, just an Alice in Wonderland key that opens up the rest of it.

This is what Microsoft should be thinking about, not oceans of everything, but the meaningful flotsam and jetsam, that and the person saying what they think and feel about what is going on. Find me the third-party device that can record thoughts, feelings and dreams - it's a thing of fiction.

This item is written by the former editor-in-chief of the New Scientist, Alun Anderson.

It amuses me to see that the new New Scientist editor-in-chief is Roger Highfield. I don't suppose he can tell me what we ate when I had dinner with him in November 1984 in Wood Green (give me a sec) ... I can. And curiouser, and curiouser, though there's not a jot recorded on what we spoke about that night, I've an inkling I could share.

It is empowering to know I can ferret around in an old diary for ten minutes to get these answers; doing the same with some 16000 blog entries saves me a few moments. Away from my desk, diaries or the Internet however, I'm sure that all this ferreting around in the past has kept these memories accessible.

Gordon Bell will eventually unconver some patterns 'you would never have gleaned unaided;' I feel I'm ahead of the Mircosoft game.

On verra.

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Pepys teaches the 21st century blogger everything.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 5 Jan 2011, 11:45

On how Pepys kept his diary

(From the author's diary 2/1/1993

With comments in relation to blogging in OU land.

Pepys composed his diary in five stages:

First, the accumulation of bills, minutes, official papers, news books and rough notes on a day's proceedings.

Second, the gathering of these into a form which combined accounts with diary style notes.

Third, the entering of the account and business matters into the appropriate manuscript/books, and the first revision of the general entries which were intended for the final manuscript.

Fourth, entry of these notes into the diary-book (with care and over time), adapted to the space.

Fifth, reading over the entries that had been made shortly before, making small corrections and stylistic improvements and inserting some further details at the ends of paragraphs and entries.'

From W. Matthews, 'Introduction to Pepys Diaries II, ppcii

How many steps do you take when writing your blog entry? One or none? That an workm but it can also be a flop. Are you saying what you meant? Should you be saying it at all? Who are you writing it for in any case? If it's meant for your Tutor do they pop by? Never. If it's meant for your Tutor group should they comment? I wish they would, just a note 'yep, been here' would do for me sometimes.


William Matthews goes on to say what makes a good diary and what makes a bad one.

'Almost all diaries that give genuine and protracted pleasure to an ordinary reader do so because the diarists possessed, instinctively or by training, some of the verbal, intellectual and emotional talents that characterise the novelist. Diaries are not novels; they are bound to reality, with its deplorable habit of providing excellent story situations and so artistically satisfactory ends.'

(What amuses me is the mixture of French, Spanish and Latin Pepys uses to hide what he was getting up to with various girls; not something the modern diariast would do, the detail of any encounter always producing the most hits. But diarist as novelist? Perhaps. Below you'll find an Oxford tutor making the case for journalism in essay writing style.)

But also the man, Pepys, because of his variety of amateur interests had a passion for life which sustains a diary which requires a rich weave of activity if it is to remain interesting.

'Pepys was a typical 17th century virtuoso, a man who justified himself by the diversity of his interests.'

W.M. Pepys VI, 'Diary as literature, ppCx
ii

'His literary instinct led Pepys to relate a story excitingly whenever the materials gave him the chance ... diaries bring a reader closer to human actuality than any other form of writing. As life-records they present a natural disorder and emphasis which is artfully rearranged in biography, and so somewhat corrupted. As self-delineations they deal directly with people and events which in the novel are subjected to the stresses and conventions of art and design. And in many ways they are the most natural and instinctive product of the art of writing.' (W.M. Pepys Vol 1, ppCXii)

REFERENCE

Matthews, W et al (2000) Pepys' Diary (Highbridge Classics) (2000) Robert Latham, Samuel Pepys, Michael Maloney (edit contributors)

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H800 tips on blogging - keeping a diary online

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 18:50

Tips on keeping a journal

From a blog first posted by this author 06/10/2003 www.jonathan.diaryland.com (Locked. Accessed 4JAN11)

‘When people ask me how to keep a Diary, I refer them to Ira Progoff's Intensive Journal [method]....One cannot help being amazed by what emerges from this skilled inner journey. All the elements we attribute to the poet, the artist, become available to everyone, to all levels of society.’ Anais Nin 1974 (In the introduction to Ira Progoff's book)

Like many young men I came to Anais Nin and Henry Miller through the Philip Kaufman film 'Henry and June.' I was living in Paris and soon found myself buying up hardback copies of Anais Nin's Journals and copies of Henry Miller's opus: Sexus, Plexus, and Nexus, as well as Tropic of Cancer ... All worthy insights on how to blog. Their letters are a good read too.

The key to this kind of writing is to let go, it isn't an exercise book, that's what an e-portfolio does, acts as a more discrete, shareable repository of assessable / gradeable work. Of course, what's the difference between a blog, an e-portfolio and a wiki come to think of it? Very little, indeed if you call them an e-journal, e-portfolio and e-agenda you may recognise that binds them. The are simply compartments within the digital ocean, compartments that allow for some osmis and transfer of e-fluids, which can be e-text, e-video, e-audio, or e-drawings. Can you see why I feel the 'e-' is redundant?

From wikipeadia I learn that:

Ira Progoff (August 2, 1921 – January 1, 1998)

Ira Progoff was an American psychotherapist, best known for his development of the Intensive Journal Method while at Drew University. His main interest was in depth psychology and particularly the humanistic adaptation of Jungian ideas to the lives of ordinary people.

Some ideas on how to start your diary

(For diary read blog. As it is the New Year now is as good a time as any to make a start)

In ‘The New Diary’ by Tristine Rainer.

  • Begin with a self-portrait
  • Begin with a period
  • Begin with today

Each time I come back to this diary after an absence of weeks, months or years I approach it in one of these ways: I assess who I am, go over the previous period when I’ve been away from the diary, and count these musings as my first entry. (Tristine Rainer)

There’s now a National Diary Archive in the US

Someone thinks they have worth.

Will the handwritten diary, like the handwritten letter outlive the digital era? If someone digs up a sealed chest in five hundred years time and faced with some books, some letters and a memory stick which do you think they wil read first?

From Ira Progoff’s 'A Journal Workshop' seven useful techniques for diary writing are offered:

1. List or Period Log

2. Portrait or Life History Log

3. Map of consciousness (Recapitulations and rememberings)

4. Stepping Stones/Scenes from our lives

5. Twilight Imagery Log

6. Altered point of view

7. Unsent letter

8. Dialogue Dimension

Over these days my desire is to reach some conclusions regarding the modern blog, its use in education and how to describe the benefits to the uninitiated and unimpressed.

How about this; whilst it is possible to paste anything in here, keep it live and real.

You may have notes, so paste them in and add. This is not an eportfolio, nor a repository - it is an open letter, more so in the OU Platform as this is being pinned to a digital noticeboard.

That's it. A letter.

If spoken then in the style of Alistair Cooke's 'Letter from America.

And remember, this isn't a letter that expects a reply (for reply read comment) as it is written to its author. The value, take note OU, is barely in the present, but six months, six years even sixteen years down the line.

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On Blogging

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 15:47

With thanks to a fellow OU student who asked 'why?'

I’ve blogged since Sept 1999.

More importantly I’ve kept a diary since March 1976 (I was 14 1/2)  ... with substantial two or three year breaks I should add in the 80s, 90s and 00s ... and only on a few occasions ‘every day of every year.’

The diary was never read by others and never of interest to them. Except on one occasion I was aware my girlfriend was looking at it so I wrote some especially nice things about her and she did likewise. A comment, you could say. That was a one off. (She also read that on our first date I thought she had bad breath. Lesson learnt. If you are going to express your mind, keep it private or lie, or jsut leave things out ... and keep it under lock and key).

The appeal in the early days of blogging was to have an electronic form of the ‘journal’ I kept, however this gradually changed into something quite different with the then new additions of ‘friends’ and ‘favourites’ and all the other ‘sticky things’ (technical web term) that are common-place. 

Two things start to happen

1) you make a couple of ‘friends’ you relate to really well and find you’re only truly interested in them and you can develop ideas, support each other and so on i.e. collaboration. (We formed a successful writers group).

2) you go crazy for the statistics and start to wonder why certain pages are read and which get the most hits ... and what you have to do or say to get more hits.

This OU Blog-a-long-a-thon scroll is better for the lack of the many tools, quirks and quasi-personalisation tools that commercial blogsites now offer. 

At this stage the realisation is that you are no longer keeping a journal, nor is it private. Indeed you very quickly find there is a considerable amount of fiction, flaming and writing gibberish simply to fill a page and have your profile picked up in some blog rank-a-thingy somewhere.

I call this turning into an 'e-j'.

It's value is ephemeral. It is not a journal anymore. There's no value in privacy, indeed 'disclosure' and 'exposure' become the way to deliver a high ranking blog. My tactic was to circumvent the entire blog premise by removing any sense of it being a 'log,' writing entries that are tagged or stored by theme, rather than the day they are written on.

I try not to do it in what I call ‘OU Land’ where I am increasingly trying to be more professional and circumspect.

The temptation to write to provoke, or to intrigue is still there which will cause me trouble when it gets to submitting anything for ‘reflection’ because there may not be anything there ... which is why I am starting to post the ‘bland, objective, reflective kind of thing required’ but keeping it private.

There’s a piece on the addictive nature of games and the Internet in the New Scientist. (See below. I wrote about it last week).

I would say between 2002 and 2006 I probably spent far, far too long blogging. When you post 10,000 words on one day and have 1.6 million words online (largely unpublishable farting into cyberspace) I think you could say there was a problem.

Most of this serves no good purpose at all, other than tinkering at the QWERTY keyboard, the piano equivalent of playing chop-sticks. i.e. you quicklky find you are getting the same, repetitive tune.

I never, or rarely read over my old, hand written diaries (a decade is the right kind of timespan to afford them any worth), yet reading a page in a blog is a click away, a search word away. It's as if very day and any day is given equal value. But is it of value to learn that I tend to wash my hair on a Thursday?

Feedback is like gold, it is recognition, and in a tiny way rewarding and flattering.

Once again, there can be an obsessive hankering for comment, to the degree that your views and what you write is geared to nothing else, whilst in OU Land, a type of blogging experience, within the context of academic study, 'hits' count for nothing, whereas there is the potential to gain marks through objective reflection.

And finally ...

Blogging transmogrified through comments, friends and favourites away from being an online journal, to being a form of social networking. The blogging landscape is now so varied and vast that it often ceases to be blogging at all.

Facebook is the equivalent of blogging onto a Post it note that you then stick to the side of a bus.

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Blogging. A private journal, journalistic or academic?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:05

Three Degrees of Blogging

If it plays to how it is defined, a ‘weblog’ then it should be nothing more than a captain’s log, in the style of Star Trek, that logs position and events as they occur.

Web pages, cobbled together into a journal like experience defy what the web affords.

The person who keeps a diary in a hardback notebook, or one of those Five Year Diaries with a flimsy padlock, have to keep notes on specific dates in the calendar, online the daily webpage is a falsehood, it is a devise that obliges something that is wholly unnecessary.

Personally, long ago, I ditched all pretence at writing a daily entry (even if I did so), by archiving entries by category.

Weblog as webstorage or repository.

More like the modern e-portfolio I suppose. The idea concept is easily controverted. Writing pages of fiction, with comments turned on make sharing and critique immediately possible. Allow any number of readers to contribute directly to the pages and the weblog becomes both a blog and a wiki.

Can we ‘wikify’ a website?

And do I coin such a word as soon as I tell my dictionary to accept the term? Which makes me wonder – is there a way for multiple users to share the contents of their dictionaries?

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