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Flick the arrow and go and do something else for a while

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 22 Nov 2012, 11:36

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Fig. 1. Twister

From time to time I give this a flick - usually when I should be concentrating on an assignment (I am). I just desire to take my head somewhere else for some light relief. For each quadrant put in each of: sport, cooking, fiction (films and novel) and visual arts (drawing, photography)

Today it is the film 'Groundhog Day' - so  a bit of fiction and visual arts in one

This has relevance to learning. There is a moral tale. It even promotes the idea that as a result of effort over time you can be anything. OK, he is an arse for a good while, but then Phil Connors (Bill Murray) learns all kinds of things from 19th Century French poetry to ice-carving, he is a doctor and classical and jazz pianist.

If you know the film, download the script.

Here it is

This is revealing as it gives a half dozen more twists to Phil's antics (good and bad) and gives away the basis of the film - The Frog Prince. He gets tattoos and some biker chicks, carves in stone as well as ice, studies philosophy as well as literature, the drums as well as the piano ... robs a bank as well as the security van and has a long relationship with Nancy until he gets bored with it (and her).

Enjoy

 

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Visualising social learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012, 11:09

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Fig.1 My mother sketching one of us c 1974

Imagine taking a desk and chair and sitting down in the concourse of Liverpool Station with a large computer screen. You are researching and writing up an assignment. People are going to look over your shoulder - some will contribute.

What makes this more or less likely to happen?

I used to sit and draw. This attracted attention. Sometimes I would draw people who sat for me - I was 'getting my hand in' for an A Level in art.

If my mother, an art teacher, were around then she would offer some gentle suggestions, sometimes taking out a sheet of paper to show me how.

Would you like someone to look over your shoulder?

With family around this is inevitable, from the indulgent love of a grandparent and the snidde teasing (potentially) from a sibling.

  • Where do we recreate such ways to learn online?
  • What more can we do to facilitate this?
  • What is it about the human nature to help each other along?
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H810 : Activity 24.1 Navigability of new media - haven't we moved on a bit since 1998?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 7 Feb 2013, 06:41

It is well known that the average quality of websites is poor, “lack of navigability” being the #1 cause of user dissatisfaction [Fleming, 1998; Nielsen, 1999].

Should a link from a reference that gives dated commentary such as this be given in a contemporary piece of e-learning on accessibility?

My frustrations may be leading to enlightenment but when a subject such as e-learning is so fast moving it is laughable to find yourself being referred to comentary published over a decade ago, and so potentially first written down 13 years ago.

At times I wonder why the OU doesn't have a model that can be repeatedly refreshed, at least with every presenation, rather than every decade when the stuff is replaced wholesale. They need a leaner machine - or at least the Institution of Educational Technology does.

I did H807 Innovations in e-learning in 2010 - it has now been replaced by H817 - at tmes H807 told me LESS about innovations in e-learning that I picked up myself working in the industry creating innovative online learning and development in 2000/2001 while my tutor struggled with the online tools sad that was then.

Here we go again, not from the resource, but from someone cited in it :

In 1999, in anticipation of Special Educational Needs and Disability Rights in Education Bill (SENDA), funding was obtained to employ a researcher for 2 days per week over a 6 month period to produce a concise usable guide to the factors which must be taken into account in order to produce accessible online learning materials.

I don't want to know or need to know - all of this should be filtered out.

There needs to be a new model for publishing academic papers - quicker and perishable, with a sell by date.

In fairness, in this instance, I am quoting from a reference of a 2006 publication that is a key resource for H810 Accessible Online Learning. But I have now found several specialists cited in Seale's publication on accessibility who say very different things in 2007 and 2011 respectively compared to how they are referenced in papers these two wrote in 1996 and 2001.

For example, compare these two:

Vanderheiden, G. C., Chisholm, W. A., & Ewers, N. (1997, November 18). Making screen readers work more effectively on the web (1st )

Vanderheiden, G. C.(2007) Redefining Assistive Technology, Accessibility and Disability Based on Recent Technical Advances. Journal of Technology in Human Services Volume 25, Issue 1-2, 2007, pages 147- 158

The beauty of our WWW in 2012 is that a few clicks and a reference can be checked and the latest views of the author considered, yet the module's design doesn't instigate or expect this kind of necessary refreshing.

The other one to look at is:

Stephanidis et al. (2011) Twenty five years of training and education in ICT Design for All and Assistive Technology.

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What happens when you ask an author to sign your copy of their eBook?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 15 Nov 2012, 20:49

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Fig.1 hard copy and e-book 'The New Learning Architect'

I hadn't meant to acquire a paper back copy of the New Learning Architect, it was more a question to an author. How do you sign an eBook? I had thought a screen-grab, import into Brushes then offer the stylus. I'll try that one next time.

Instead Clive offered me a copy of the book - he insisted. I may struggle with paper.

Launching into my second read I can perhaps tackle this differently - physically writing in the notes from the e-version?

Plenty from the presentation to value and not the time to develop a conversation other than reflecting on how the industry has shifted over the last decade or two, only now finally realising our great hopes of the past.

It's still learning, even if training is now called 'Learning and Development'.

An insightful, timely and valuable morning. Much to build on. The right place to be to get your head around learning on a globa scale for a global audience.

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Reflection on keeping an OU Blog

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 7 Feb 2013, 07:04

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Fig. 1. The Open University's Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).

Expressed as a Wordle. A personal collection of key influencers based on those tagged in this blog. Includes my own reading and indulgences.

On Friday, at midday, this blog reached a significant milestone.

I've been at it for 33 months. I've blogged the best part of FIVE modules now - most of which required or invited some use of the blog platform (or another). I required little encouragement - I used to keep a diary and have found since 1999 that in their digital form they are an extraordinarily versatile way to gather, consider, share and develop ideas.

The investment in time, on average, an hour a day in addition to - though sometimes instead of coursework over 1000+ days.

(This excludes 8 months I spent on the Masters in Open and Distance Learning in 2001)

To mark this event, and as I need to go through this online diary, this e-journal, this 'web-log' (as they were also once momentarily called) ahead of some exciting meetings coming up next week I thought a simple task might be to click through the tags to identify who have been the key influencers in my reading and thinking over the last two and a half years.

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Fig.2. Another way of looking at it. Betham, Conole and Weller are key MOADE authors from the Open University. John Seely Brown is a vital undercurrent, Engestrom one of several enthusiasms like Vygostky. While Gagne, second hand hardback, needs to be on your desk for frequent reference.

What I thought would take an hour has taken nearly 40 hours.

Clicking on a tag opens a corner of my head, the notes take me back to that day, that week, that assignment or task. It also takes me back to the discussions, resources and papers. And when I find an error the proof-reader in me has to fix. Aptly, as we approach November 5th, and living in Lewes where there are marches and fireworks from late October for a couple of weeks peaking of course all evening on the 5th, my head feels as if someone has accidentally set light to a box of assorted fireworks.

Just as well. Meetings these days are like a viva voce with eager ears and probing questions - they want the content of my mind and whatever else I bring to the subject after thirty years in corporate training and communications.

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Fig. 3. Wordle allows you to say how many words you want to include in the mix. To create weight I had to repeat the names I consider most important twice, three or four times in the list. I also removed first names as Wordle would have scattered these into the mix independently like peppercorns in a pan of vegetable stock.

The Task

  • List all authors who have been part of my learning and thinking over the last couple of years.
  • Include authors that my antennae have picked up that are relevant to my interest in learning, design, the moving image and the english language.
  • Visualise this and draw some conclusions

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Fig.4. This even makes three of the key protagonists look like an advertising agency Gagne, Beetham and Conole.

The Outcome

I can never finish. Take this morning. I stumble upon my notes on three case studies on the use of e-portfolios from H807 which I covered from February 2010-September 2010. To begin with I feel compelled to correct the referencing in order to understand the value, pertinence and good manners (let alone the legal duty) to cite things correctly. (Even though this post was locked - a 'private' dump of grabs and my thoughts).

Then I add an image or two.

These days I feel a post requires a visual experssion of its contents to open and benefits from whatever other diagrams, charts or images you can conjure from your mind or a Google Search - 'the word' + images creative commons - is how I play it.

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Fig. 5. From David Oglivy's book 'Ogilvy on advertising' - a simple suggestion - a striking image, a pertinent headline and always caption the picture. Then write your body copy.

A background in advertising has something to do with this and the influence of David Ogilvy.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I spend over two hours on the first of three case studies in just one single post. At the time I rubbished e-portfolios. The notes and references are there. Tapped back in I can now make something of it. A second time round the terms, the ideas - even some of the authors are familiar. It makes for an easier and relevant read. What is more, it is current and pertinent. A blog can be a portfolio - indeed this is what I'd recommend.

From time to time I will have to emerge from this tramp through the jungle of my MAODE mind.

Not least to work, to sleep, to cook and play.

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Fig. 6. In a word

USEFUL LINKS

Wordle

Date duration calculator

REFERENCE

Gagne, R.N. (1965) Conditions of Learning Holt, Rinehart and Winston

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Use of video - too much, too little, just enough?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012, 12:38

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Fig.1. Audio without books - no better than the books on their own. Research shows that what works is when the two work together.

Too many companies are currently touting software that can take a 45 minute lecture and package it in a form that makes in bitesized and tagged - butting it through the MagiMix, diced. I can't say it will necessarily improve or add to the learning experience, though I do like to stop start, rewind, play over, repeat, take notes ... go back to the start.

The definitive research on use of audio and text to enhance effective learning was done in the 1990s and published in various papers starting with 'When two sensory modes are better than one' (1997).

Worth the read and written with the multimedia world that was then emerging in mind.

It takes skill and thought to get it right - we've all heard of 'Death by Power Point' - we used to try to avoid 'Death by talking head' - this doesn't add much, what you want is the voice over explaining actions as they take place with text superimposed where the action takes place - even captions and subtitled can cause a cognitive split, increase mental overload and diminish the effectiveness of the learning experience.

REFERENCE

Tindall-Ford, S, Chandler, P, & Sweller, J 1997, 'When two sensory modes are better than one', Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 3, 4, pp. 257-287

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What do memories look like? And if you have an image in your head then what does a digital memory look like?

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Fig. 1. Shadows below the Fredrikson-Stallard installation 'Pandora' with additional Neon EFX

Fredrikson Stallard piece for the Digital Memory Gallery sponsored by Swarovski called 'Pandora' is a collaboration between Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard, two British Avant-Garde designers. This is a picture of the shadow beneath the chandellier put through a Neon EFX.

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Fig.2. Shadow of Pandora - Before EFX

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Fig.3. Pandora - in situ.

Like flames in a fire just look. Actually, a fire place touches more senses with the smell of the fire, or damp people around it - let alone a spark that might scorch the carpet or the back of your wrist. (Now there's an idea - though not one that health & safety would allow through).

In relation to memory, where I entered a gallery and did not take a picture what control does anyone have of the memory the experience created or the image I have?

If supra-human digital devices are used to store what we see and hear for later management and manipulation somewhere what kinds of permissions, copyright and privacy laws might we breach? How many people do you see and hear, and therefore place and potentially identify during the day - especially if this includes lengthy walks along the South Bank, across Tower Bridge to Tower Hill and the length of Regent's Street? Historically we shared memories through stories - creating a visual impression in the narrative and perhaps exaggerating interactions for effect. I contend that the most vivid 'virtual world' we can create is not a digital one, but what we create for ourselves in our mind's eye.

In learning terms there is a lot to be said for keeping it simple - a story well told, without illustration.

The 'bard' holding the attention of the audience alone on the stage or at the end of a classroom. A speaker who is alert to the audience and well enough informed and confident to shift the emphasis and nuance of their story to suit the audience on the night. How can such flexibility be built into distance and e-learning? Hard without some live element and  synchronous tutorials. Radio is vivid. Try some BBC Radio drama.

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Fig. 4. Southover Bonfire Society - at the bonfire sight, November 5th 2011

For a super-sensory experience marching on Bonfire Night in the East Sussex town of Lewes meets all the above criteria and more:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • Experience
  • Touch, taste and smell
  • and the emotionally charged atmosphere in relation to family, community, pageantry and history.

(Marching was a wonderful family induction to the community when we moved here in 2000).

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What's the difference between teaching a 14 year old compared to a 42 year old?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 15:01

Fig.1. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum

Both would learn from each other if given half a chance.

In swimming we talk about Long Term Athlete Development to differentiate by age and gender from around sge 4/5 to adult competitive swimmers in their 20s. Being a Masters swimmer too I reckon we regress.

What role does context play? I'm sure the 41 year old learns differently at a desk in an office than on an iPad at home.

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Museums and galleries - what can you recommend?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 14:58

Fig.1. Lawrence Lek at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London.

Seen it once, then again with my 14 year old son - and for a third time with my 16 year old daughter next week. Potentially with other members of our extended family and friends too. I should have bought a season ticket.

The Design Museum is unique - I spent time with EVERY exhibit. I need a couple of hours every day over ten days. That's how much it resonates with me - the stories, the process, the end result.

There are three galleries:

FIRST FLOOR

Fig.2. Jessica Ennis takes the stairs to the first floor seven at a time

Innovation in Sport - design with a bias towards the Olympics and Paralympics, with Formal 1, Le Mans, hand-gliding, surfind and a few other sports too. Sixteen sports people silhouettes on the walls in the stairwell - how do you physically match up to Jessica Ennis, Messi, Phelps or Sharapova?

SECOND FLOOR

Fig. 3. A 3d rendering of a crystal whose shape is formed by your presence and movement (courtesy of a Konex device and a laser)

Digital Memory - a dozen designers, architects and conceptual artists play with Swarovski crystal to express what memory is. Most mind blowing, all beautifully displayed with headsets explaining what is going on in the artist's words and other interactive screens - and 'augmented' content from wif-fi and 3g.

SECOND FLOOR - SECOND GALLERY

Fig. 4. Yuri Suzuki at the Design Museum

Designers in Residence - six young innovators set a brief, there journey of discovery, experiment and creation lovingly recreated with video, artefacts, audio and displays - and a take-away booklet.

With half-term upon us where do you recommend taking children, young adults and their friends? How does this change if you are their grandparent or parent of a friend? Can you cater for them all? What might it cost?

The cost of getting into the Tower of London made my jaw-drop - £23 for an adult? £55 for a family ticket!! I think I'll leave it for another 1000 years.

The Wellcome Foundation 'Super Human' exhibition and other galleries are free (and lunch is great too).

The Design Museum was £11 for an adult, £7 for a student

Where in the world do you go? We all have our favourites.

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What do you understand by the word 'curation'? What does it mean in relation to content online?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014, 13:01

Fig.1. Bristol Fighter at the Imperial Museum

My understanding of curation is embedded in museums - I overheard the curator of the current Superhuman exhibition at the Wellcome Foundation Museum being interviewed by Aleks Krotovski on Tuesday.

When I took a picture using my iPad a member of the museum staff  politely told me that 'the curator asked that people did not take pictures' (and that the curator was in part to blame as he hadn't wanted the signage saying 'don't take pictures' too prominent) – curator as stage manager and executive producer of a collection of themed objects. The term 'object' itself embracing stills, artefacts, video-clips and activities. You curate stuff in a space and set parameters so that an audience of visitors can get their head around what, in effect, has come the curator's mind.

In the bizarre ways that these things happen I recall, age six at most, creating a fossil museum with ammonites found in the low rocky cliffs of Beadnell, Northumberland.

I was a curator, I brought together a themed collection of rocks, set them out in a room and invited people in – no doubt in the back of my mind imagining the glass cabinets and displays in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle.

Ian McGreggor of the British Museum with his History of the World in 100 objects is a curator - far more so than an amateur's eclectic collection of e–stuff. Or am I being a 20th century snob? Craving for academic elitism that is fast vanishing down the plug–hole as the digtal ocean and equally digital–cloud washes and blows over everything? I search that externalised part of my own mind, an extensive blog 13 years in the writing, for what I've said or stumbled upon before regarding 'curation' and find three entries, one prompted by my intention to attend this session in Bath and feeding off a visit to the De le Warr, Bexhill and the rest from Martin Weller's book 'The Digital Scholar' in which he lists curation as something universities will need to do. On Chapter 12 he has this list on publishing as:

  • Publishing
  • Research
  • Authoring
  • Submission
  • Rejection/modification
  • Publication
  • Dissemination

WHY?

  • Accepted practice
  • Academic respectability
  • Reward and tenure
  • Dissemination
  • Curation

I wonder if this following quote gives a sense of Martin Weller's comprehension of the term 'curation' as used in a Web 2.0 context:

'If Boyer's four main scholarly functions were research, application, integration and teaching, then I would propose that those of the digital scholar are engagement, experimentation, reflection and sharing'. Weller (2011).

On a quest to become 'digital scholars' or 'thought leaders' we should, to change one word –engage, experiment, reflect and curate'? The word, used in this, come to think of it, ought also to include 'moderate', even to 'chair' or 'host'.

In 2002 Gilly Salmon, then a lecturer at the Open University Business School, tried to coin the terms e–tivity and e–moderator.

Perhaps then, as these things go, the digital community have not picked up on these terms – instead they have hijacked 'curation'. We are going through a rich phase of redefining and inventing words and understandably they result in carnage and debate. Academics are guilty I feel of sometimes wanting to be the first to coin a word or use a new phrase or word in a new way because citation will mean that they are then quoted for every more. This happens in academic publishing and study, unfortunately 'curation' can leave you wondering about the source. Is 'jumbling together' the content of others from multiple sources even more questionable than turning to self–monitored wikis such as wikipedia?

Weller also says:

'If the intention is to encourage engagement then low-quality routes may be more fruitful than seeking to produce professional broadcast material'. Weller (2011) and 'Low quality individual items because of their obvious ease of production, can be seen as an invitation to participate'. Weller (2011)

Is curation a dirty word? Is curated content reliable? What does it mean in the corporate world?

REFERENCE

Krotovski, A (2012) The Digital Human. BBC Radio 4 (last accessed 22 October 2012)
McGreggor, I (2011) The History of the World in 100 Objects –http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/about/british-museum-objects/ + Neil McGreggor
http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/ahow/all
Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities: the key to active only learning. Sterling, VA : Stylus Publishing Inc. ISSN 0 7494 3686 7
Salmon, G (2002) e-moderation
Stodd, J (2012) https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/creating-and-sustaining-high-performance-learning-cultures/
Sullivan, A (2000-2012) The Daily Beast
Weller, M (2011) The Digital Human. More from Martin Weller in his blog: http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/Wijekumar, K. J., Meyer, B. J. F., Wagoner, D., & Ferguson, L. (2006). Technology affordances:  The "real story" in research with K-12 and undergraduate learners. British Journal of  Educational Technology, 37(2), 191-209.

 

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H810 Activity 15.1 Assistive Technology

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Oct 2014, 10:55

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Fig.1 Assitive technologies to improve access to e-learning

There are a myriad of hardware and software tools that alongside other assistive technologies a disabled person may use to improve access to learning. As part of the MA in Open and Distance Educaiton (MAODE) module H810 Accessible Online Learning : Supporting Disabled Students we are reviewing the widest range of circumstances and tools - and MBA like applying these to our own contexts.

When I started this course I did wonder if it couldn't be covered in a weekend residential – boy am I mistaken.

So much so that I think it should be a 60 pointer over several more months.

If we can remember back to the Paralympics just think of the vast scale and variety of access issues these athletes had, then add cognitive impairments for which the Olympics are unable to cater - then think of any impairment as a position on a spectrum that includes us - our vision, our hearing, our mobility and cognitive skills are on here somewhere too. Indeed, there are tools that come out of assistive technology that have value to all of us, from automatic captioning, tagging and transcription of video, to screens over which we have greater control. Here area few I picked out:

HEAD POINTERS

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Head pointers need to suit the precise needs, wishes and expectations of the user and may be used in conjunction with other tools and software. A sophisticated package such as TrackerPro costs £1,288 and includes head, visor and shoulder kit, a tracking webcame and software. At this level it can be used to engage with computer games, as well as to use packages designed to suit the users other needs in relation to visual and audio impairment. These packages are supported by assessors.

KEYBOARDS

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Keyboards come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, textures and colours, with various overlays and supporting software for single hand or head pointer use too.

Integrated with screens, wheelchair, hardware and software a market leader for people with considerable mobile impairment, voice and sight impairment such as DynaVox Vmax will cost £9,000. There is considerable online support, with videos too. Setting up and support from an assessor is provided.

Beyond the tools provided with the operating system or browsers which will magnify images to a reasonable degree, there are software bundles such iZoom (PC) £321 and VisioVoice (MAC) £232 with a far greater level of sophistication and adjustment to suit users with sight impairments, dyslexia and mobility requirements. Working with a variety of inputting devices this allows the user to make many kinds of adjustments to the way information is displayed.

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H810 Activity 14.1 Using assistive technology - reflection on access to learning through acccess to work

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 21 Oct 2012, 14:42


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Fig.1 From 'Access to work' a video from MicroLink

Any of us could or will stumble the first time we are faced with a new tool or piece of software - I'd like to see any of us tested using a tool such as Delicious or ScoopIt and see how we get on, or trying to use a Microwriter, programme the washing machine or even turn on someone else's Microwave.

All experiences become familiar in time if we give them a go or get some useful tips. The same implies whether or not you have a disability or combination of disabilities or not.

To make sense of the plethora of accessibility tools, software and built-in 'assists' - and the equally enormous combinations and varieties of people who may benefit from using them I am having to get into my minds eye four people, or 'personas' who have quite different needs and imagine them, in context, wanting to and trying to use tools that ought to improve access for them. Some intriguingly are likely to suit all users if they offer a short cut or a different way into the information - I prefer a transcript over lectures. I like to use narrator in the car or when busy with some other task like painting the shed - the book is read to me as I can't do what I am doing and look at the screen at the same time. I call this the 'Montesori Effect' - how meeting a learning challenge for one community of learners you gain insights and create tools that benefit everyone.

As for any of us, when it comes to learning, context is important whether we have the space, time, kit and inclination. There is a big difference between giving something a go and having to use it with a set goal in mind. Anyone remember the first time they had to create something using PowerPoint, or Word come to think of it? Or writing a blog - let alone embedding images, video or audio.

Some of this reminds me of my first computer - an Amstrad. All green text and no mouse. My father got himself a Microwriter and mastered it. Bizarre. Confined to a wheelchair (badly broken leg from skiing) for some months in my early teens I ought to have been able to keep up with school work - but somehow a box of books didn't do it for me.

When I get stuck I can now turn to a son, daughter or my wife who may or may not be able to help. We also pick up the phone to 'The Lewes Computer Guy' for technical fixes. Had I a disability how likely is it that I can turn to someone with the very same set of challenges that I face for tips and advice? On some context a blind person will and can turn to a supportive community, but this might not be so easy if you are, or feel like, the only person with Dyslexia or Cerebral Palsy at your schoolor university.

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Beware the 'unhappy valley' of storytelling

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 20 Oct 2012, 20:44

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Fig.1 Beware the 'unhappy valley' of storytelling

I was introduced to this concept at the Open University Business School Residential for 'Creativity, Innovation & Change'. The thought is that in business - and I believe this applies to politics too - you can apply narrative but only take it so far. Case studies work, anecdotes snd short stories too but take care about how far you apply it before you. call on professional input.

Producing narrative drama for training I will plan a treatment then take this to a professional writer - people with credits for drama series or serials. Anything less can sink you into this 'unhappy valley'. This also applies to casting actors and using a director with a track record in drama. What you want is something creditable.

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IQ is QI while curation is something we can all do

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 20 Oct 2012, 20:45

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Fig.1. QI and IQ or Eggor and Ego

Writing in October 2012 - 'curation' as a theme has just been hijaked. Anything goes. Indeed I'd call this the 'Desert Island Discs' of the 21st century.

'If the intention is to encourage engagement then low-quality routes may be more fruitful than seeking to produce professional broadcast material'. Weller (2011)

My notes from last night fester - the value is what my mind involuntarily offers up.

'Low quality individual items because of their obvious ease of production, can be seen as an invitation to participate'. Weller (2011)

You see, a better stimulus for discussion is the innocent suggestion, the niave remark, the foolish error - accepted as thus and corrected by those who are two steps ahead on this learning journey, or better still for me, are on an entirely different journey so skew your thinking in new ways.

Which rather suggests that the idea of sitting through a lecture where someone tells you how it is - is over.

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What's going on in there? A look at the brain and thoughts on the mind

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 17:10

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Fig. 1 Intracranial recording for epilepsy.

Robert Ludlow, UCL Institute of Neurology

First the Royal Academy, meeting with the author of 'Exploring the World of Social Learning' Julian Stodd having made the connection on Linkedin a couple of weeks ago, so - read the book, met the author and now we pick over each other's brains - how we learn is a mutual fascination.

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Fig. 2. A doodle of Medusa's severed head in the hand of Perseus

A second viewing of 'Bronzes', this time with a drawing pen and pad of cartridge paper - photography not permitted. I wanted to see if my hand was 'in' or 'off'. Most of my time was spent circling the decapitated body of Medusa.

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Fig. 3. Icarus - far smaller than I imagined (see below for the publicity shot)

On then to the Wellcome Foundation. In this instance I'd taken one snap on the iPad and was approached and politely advised that photography was not allowed.

A guide book for £1 will serve as a suitable aide memoire.

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Fig 4. Aleks Krotoski

Only yesterday I was listening to and enthusing about Aleks Krotoski on 'The Digital Brain' on BBC Radio 4 and blogged about the series so it was with considerable surprise when I overheard her familiar voice and found her at my shoulder about interview the exhibition's curator. I guess therefore that I listened in on part of the content for a future broadcast.

Upstairs I watched an operation to remove a cancerous growth recorded in real-time from the surgeon's point of view, then Project 22 in which a woman photographs everything that she eats as she eats it for one year and one day - age 22.

Once again fascinating.

A selective record of a year. Can a record of an entire be undertaken with some degree of necessary selection? Or could a software algorithm sort it all out for you if a memory enhancing device records everything that you do and experience.

Other than the £1 guide, unusually, I have not come away with bags of books though I would recommend the Blackwells bookstore at the Wellcome Foundation for bizarre stocking fillers - I Liked the 'blood bath' - blood-like bathsalts offered in a surgical drip bag, or highlighter pens as syringes.

 

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How do we memorise? Crucial listening in relation to learning and assessment online.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012, 20:35



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LINK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01h8nnt

Memory - a fascinating and insoired starting point to understand how we remember and what out digital world can do to help or hinder.

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Understanding what primes us to behave in a certain way must have impacts on social behaviour

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 07:50

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Fig.1. Eyes & Ears - A public awareness film produced featuring the Emergency Services and members of the cast of Byker Grove

Understanding what primes us to behave in a certain way must have impacts on social behaviour, from the London Riots of 2011 and police behaviour at Hillsborough in 1989, through to schooling, training, coaching and e-learning - and of course, how hypnotists play their tricks.

  • Are we so vulnerable and easily led because we cannot think about too much at the same time?
  • How must this influence the savvy learning designer?
  • Surely the context of any learning environment must be highly significant, from the buildings and resources, to your peers?

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Fig. 2. A Oxford Tutorial - now as in the 1950s

  • Do Ivy League and Oxbridge Colleges have a centuries old model that works still in the 21st century?
  • Why do some libraries work better than others and why do we like to meet for coffee or for a drink?
  • Are we primed to open up, to be more or less receptive to ideas?
  • What therefore does the loan learner do studying at a distance, even if they are online?
  • What makes the experience immersive?
  • Synchronous learning in a webinar or seminar?
  • Active engagement in a discussion, multi-choice quiz or virtual world?
  • And how might they prep their context?
  • Close the curtains, dress to study?


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Fig. 3. Thinking, fast and slow

I was introduced to this concept by Daniel Kahneman in his 2011 book 'Thinking, Fast and Slowly' in the Linkedin Group for alumni of the Open University MBA Module 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

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Some online tutor sessions work, some do not. Some social platforms work, others do not. Why?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:58

Gagne (1970 pp29-30) suggests that instruction in an organized group discussion develops the use and generalizaton of knowledge – or knowledge transfer. Oxbridge tutors contend that the 'Oxbridge Tutorial' – a weekly, structured micro-meeting of two or three people, achieves this. One student reads out a short essay that the tutor and students discuss.

'When properly led', Gagne continues, 'such discussions, where the knowledge itself has been initially mastered', not only stimulates the production of new extensions of knowledge by students but also provides a convenient means of critical evaluation and discrimination of these ideas. Gagne (ibid).

Forty years on from when Gagne wrote this there are what are meant to be or hoped to be learning contexts where this kind of knowledge transfer through group discussion can still work – or may fail to work – either because the degree of subject mastery between students is too broad or there are too many students, or the wrong mix of students.

For example, in the Open University's Masters of Open and Distance Education (MAODE) between 12 and 16 postgraduate students meet online in a series of strucutured online tutor forums – some of these work, some do not. As these meetings are largelly not compulsory and as they are asynchronous and online, it is rare to have people in them together – the discussions are threaded. What is more, in any tutor group there will typically be a mixture of students who are on their first, their second, third, fourth or even fifth module of the Master's – some of whom, given the parameters offered by flexible and distance learning, may have spread these modules over five years. Then there is the task and how it is set, whether the participants are meant to work alone or collaboratively – the simplest and most frequent model online is an expectation to read resources and share notes and thoughts. However, personal experience over five such modules suggests that the committed engagement of say six people, working collaboratively on a clear set of tasks and activities with a time limit and climactic conclusion of delivering a joint project, works best.

Too many of these online tutorials drift, or fizzle out: too few posts, posts that are two long, fragmented posts linking to pages elsewhere, the indifference of participants, the lack of, or nature of the tutor involvement, excessive and misplaced social chat, or discussing subjects that are off topic ... It depends very much on the mix, inclinations, availability and level of 'knowledge mastery' as to how such online tutorials work out. As well as the eclectic combination of students the role, availability, online and other teaching skills, even the personality of the tutor and of course THEIR knowledge experience and mastery matters.

Just reflect on how such workshops or seminars may work or fail face–to–face – the hunger for knowledge on the topic under discussion, the mix of personalities and the degree to which their experience or level of understanding is the same, at slight or considerable variance, let alone any differences of culture, background, gender or in a business setting – position and the department they have come from.

Ideally the workshop convener, or what the French call an 'animateur' should, assemble or construct such groups with great care, like a director casting actors to perform a piece of improvisation. Different contexts offer different opportunities. As a graduate trainee in an advertising agency six of us were repeatedly assembled, the various departmental specialists and directors playing roles at specific times – bit players in these scenarios. On reflection, stage management by a team in the HR department had been vital. It is therefore 'stage management' that I consider of significant importance when trying to construct such collective learning experiences online in a corporate setting.

CONCLUSION

Know your players, cast with care, give direction, record what goes on and step in to nudge, re–kindle, stop or start conversations or activities.

REFERENCE

Gagne, R (1970) The Conditions of Learning

ADDITIONAL LINKS

Robert Gagne Wikispaces

Theories of Learning

Cognitive Design Principles

The Nine Events - from Kevin the Librarian

Various Models of learning - Illustrated

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Can you think of a memorable learning event when 'the penny dropped'?

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I have sailed for decades and could usually manage a Bolen knot by counting through the required actions. Then, in a yachting class I had it demonstrated and described as a 'gripping knot'. That's all I've needed ever since to tie this knot in a crisis, underwater, upside down or anywhere else - i.e. I needed to know why not just how. The why is the the learning objective.

Other's are coming to me - like the definition of an isthmus and a peninsula because they were beautifully drawn and coloured in - and was followed by a sharp clip around the ear. I was 6 and my older brother had come into the class and I wanted to give him a kiss.

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From iPad to hardback - sometimes you have no choice

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:23

Sometimes the only version is a second-hand hardback copy:

in this instance viaAmazon and the University of Bradford

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Can you recommend a good read on learning? A must have however deep we get into the digital ocean?

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Should we call it e-learning anymore?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 7 Oct 2012, 06:18

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It is learning whether you prefix with an 'e', 'm' or 'b' as in - electronic, mobile or blended.

Increasingly the opportunities, particularly with learning on a hand-held computer - 20th century terms for the 21st century smart phone or table - are for 'a' or 's' learning - standing for applied or 'action learning' that is 'situated'.

For example, I use a combination of an iPad or Kindle when coaching swimmers - not just for registers, but to show images from a swim drills book.

I am waiting for the wrist or lapel badge computer - an iPad the size of a Nano or ring. Will these come to be known as 'w' learning or 'r' learning or has 'e-learning' become generic? The Google display will be one to watch.😳

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H810 : Learning, Accessibility and Memory

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Oct 2014, 11:34

 

Ebbinghaus 'Forgetting Curve'

What does this say in relation to disabled students? What chances do we give them to record, then repeat or store components of their learning experience?

 

 

Where learning takes place at the most basic level. In relatoin to accessibility anything that hinders access to and accommodation of this process is a potential barrier or impact to learning.

 

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H810 - Accessibility - Coming Out!

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There has been enough on the radio about people with disabilities struggling for all kinds of reasons to 'come out' that it must be a severe issue inTertiary Edypucation too - where people, clearly those with a hidden disability, go out of their way to deny that they could be at a disadvantage. Wherein lies the problem, better in a socilaized learning context to conform, than standard out or given 'preferential' treatment. The fact is that education was meant for an elite, privileged and powerful few - only now is education becoming 'Open'. Education is power - to be kept from all kinds of people with disabled people just others on a long list of those for whom barriers existed, and have been knocked down in one form and rebuilt in others. An Eton education doesn't close doors does it?
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MAODE - some contemporary theories of learning - all levels including the workplace

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 22:03

Expansive Learning

Engestrom (2006) The idea of internal contradictions of change, with a model of learning activity based in horizontal, not vertical learning and 'knotworking' whereby the nodes and collective ownership of learning changes.

 

Learning that is top down and stems from:

  1. Socialization
  2. Externalization
  3. Combination
  4. Internalization

Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995)

Learning comes about from participation in culturally valued practices in which something useful is produced – though participation and acquisition alone cannot be enough to make major change. Engestrom (2006:61)

When it comes to learning on campus think about the 'hidden curriculum of what it means to be a student'. Bateston (1972)

REFERENCE

Bateston (1972) Steps to an ecology of mind: collected essays in anthropology, psychiatry, evolution and epistomelogy. New York. Ballantine Books.

Engestrom Y, (2006) Learning by expanding. An activity theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki. Orienta–Konsultit.

Lave and Wenger (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge.

Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) The Knowledge Creating Company: How Japanese companies create the dynamics for learning

 

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Transformational Learning - with an angle on accessibility (H810)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 8 Oct 2012, 13:29

'If we were to look at the whole of contemporary culture in the West culture as a kind of school and consider adult roles as courses in which we are enrolled, most adults have a full and demanding schedule'. Kegan (2006:39)

Piaget (1954) Assimilative or accommodative processes?

  • Understand your students - don't presuppose anything.
  • Learning for knowledge and skills, everyone will be challenged to improve the repertoire of their skills.
  • Not what I want to teach, but what, after assessment, they need to learn. No longer had a flexible peg jumping through an institutional, departmental, and academic or LD designed module, but a flexible peg and an accommodating hole.

No two people can possibly be learning the same thing, no matter what common assessment students undertake – the student with a disability, or disabilities, whatever these are and how they affect or impact on this individual – will be acquiring knowledge or a skill that has or is in some way transformed or  translated, the focus diluted or pinpointed through a note–taker, reduced range,  voice of an audio–reader, missing a lecture or seeing it from only one perspective, access denied or field or lab work excluded through their choices,  risk assessment, health and safety, time, money, people and other such barriers – though sometimes enhanced if a live debate becomes an asynchronous forum or verbatim transcripts of audio and provided to all. Having a much different take on the lesson can be advantwgeous as a differentiator.

What is the disabled person's frame of reference?

  • Each learner's experience of learning and their relationship with the subject.  Kegan (2006:45)
  • Where the learner is coming from as well as where they are hoping to go in order to bridge the two – this applies to all learners whatever their circumstances.
  • Where the bridge metaphor is week is to visualise the physical person in transit rather than a myriad of billions of complex bridging actions occurring between neurones in the learner's brain. (Kegan, 2006:47) So a spider gram might be better, showing how close to a goal the learner is.
  • Not just knowing more, but knowing differently. (Ronald Heifetz, 1995)

Mezirow (2000) Transfer of authority from educator to learner. How rapidly will this transformational shift occur, which is a function of how far along they are on a particular bridge.

How do define an adult, self–directed learner?

Skill, style, self–confidence.

What if, for example, we define, say Boris Johnson by what he can do – read Latin, ride a bicycle through traffic and play whiff-whaff, not by what he cannot do, say brush his hair or swim 1000m Front crawl.

While what if I define X by what he cannot do – say, get up in the morning or speak in anything shorter than a paragraph, rather than what he can do, swim the Channel and empathise with others.

Need to read: Hegel, The phemonology of mind.

This is why:

Hegel attempts to outline the fundamental nature and conditions of human knowledge in these first three chapters. He asserts that the mind does not immediately grasp the objects in the world, concurring with Kant, who said that knowledge is not knowledge of “things-in-themselves,” or of pure inputs from the  senses. A long-standing debate raged in philosophy between those who believed that “matter” was the most important part of knowledge and those who privileged “mind.”

REFERENCE

Kegan, R (2006) 'What "form" transformstions? A constructive-developmental approach to transformative learning. An abridged version of a chapter that appeared in Jack Mezirow et al. in 'Learning as Transformation' (2000). In ‘Contemporary Theories of Learning' (2009) Knud Illeris.

Mezirow, J. (2000) "Learning to think like an adult - Core concepts of Transformational Theory." IN J.Mezirow and Associates: Learning as Transformaton: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000.

Piaget, J. (1954) The Construction of Reality in the Child. New York: Basic Books.

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