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H809 Activity 3.8 : Reflecting in frameworks

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 18:19

Q1. In the light of the podcast and this week's work, consider how you might revise the way in which you are making notes on studies. Do the questions from 1.4 need elaborating?

Questions : what research questions are being addressed?
Setting : what is the sector and setting?
Concepts : what theories, concepts and key terms are being used?
Methods : what methods if data collection and analysis are used?
Findings : what did this research find out?
Limitations : what are the limitations of the methods used?
Implications : what are the implications (if any) for practice, policy or further education?

1) I will still ask, what was the problem? What is the hypothesis? I may ask why this research is being carried. I will certainly look at who the authors are, how the research is funded and the methods used.
2) There's more to setting than a name and an address for where and when something took place. It matters and helps to know the context, the time, people and environment.
3) They may only be noticed if they are unusual or controversial, but there will be reasons why a certain theory or concept is used. This will put a slant on the research, because of the choices made by the authors, the choices that are current and appropriate and whether they have been used before and what the conclusions were then. Activity Theory, for example, is going through changes, Diffusion of Innovation theory transmogrified with the idea of a ‘chasm’. Activity Theory is becoming ‘Cultural Historical’
4) Methods are taking advantage of computers to gather and analyse data, including 'big data' in new and revealing ways.
5) There is inertia of approaches and adopting new technologies, even a bias towards conformity and 'old ways' of doing things which is how and why the breakthroughs and disruption tends to come from outside.
6) The implications are for HE and schools to try to do what industry has been doing for the last 20 years – to embrace change as a constant to be embraced, rather than as a rare occurrence to be resisted. New ways of doing things, new ways if undertaking research, new ways of analysing and sharing the data and outcomes.
7) Keep an open mind. Have a set of questions that require a comprehensive view and be prepared to be a magpie - to think outside these parameters in terms of scope, depth and spread – so cross disciplinary, historic as well as the future.

PODCAST

Interviewer : James Axcel
Interviewees : Dr Peter Twining (PT), Head of Department of Education + Prof. Grainne Conole (GC), Professor of E–learning

Some highlights:

'We've got that rhetoric reality gap where people talks it up (or down) and say what a great thing it is (or dreadful) and it's going to allow us to transform, whatever, and in reality it’s having very little impact on pedagogy in practice'. Grainne Conole (2007)

I've add the opposites in brackets as this is what I find happens in the press - journalists and authors either say X is a bad thing or will create a revolution (which they see as a good thing). A few years ago Nicholas Carr got far to much 'air play' saying that Goolge was making us stupid, while a decade before that Marc Prensky claimed that his take on the 'plastic brain' meants that an entire generation could be defined as 'digital natives'.

GC Has been a shift. Recognition that ICT is critical. Higher Education (HE).
High Education more joined up with HEFCE, JISC and Dfes.
Still a lot of collaborations.
Department for Education and Skills

Impact of Government


PT Students use technology automatically – so education should train skill you up for this and it should be applied in education.
GC How assesses .. every bit, technology transformation ...

Surprise at how little has been done.

Can't disentangle it.
GC Young people immersed. Love being in a technology environment. GC's 9 year old (recorded)

Peter's PhD research a number of frameworks for looking at education.
ICT in education, the confusion, use of terms to mean completely different things, so confusing, impossible to explore describing changes, get the terms, then look at the tools.

Five different types of frameworks related specifically to ICT in learning.

1) Achievements – measuring individual's progress in terms of their learning and using ICT.
2) Cognitive frameworks – impact on the individual, how they think,what's happening in their heads.
3) Software frameworks – the types of software being used, drill and skill, adventure programme, open ended, tutor–tool–tutee. vs. Technology determined.
4) Pedagogical frameworks – the nature of the interaction around computer use as a machine. Teacher, student and computer.Squires and Mcdougal's Perspectives Intersections Paradigm.
5) Evolutionary frameworks – how ICT is being rolled out in a system or classroom.

GC issue if clarity a real problem, with fads and terms.

GC clarification and classification of frameworks is important. The benefits of frameworks is that the do orher some perspective, some view, to give some clarity.

GC See a nice little pretty diagram and that explains things and that's it! It is used without understanding its depth.

  • A conflict between trying to understand while keeping the depth.
  • Jonassen Perseptives, backgrounds – constructive, positive ...
  • Fads and trends, constructition and social construction very popular over the last three decades.


Laurillard's conversational – dialogic nature of learning, in contrast to AT for the relationships.

PT underneath the technology the pedagogy translates.

GC People get beguiled and carried away by the technology. Views in Web 1.0 apply to Web 2.0.

PT What is the educational vision? What is the tool we want to use? How we design, how it fits in, a complex change process.

GC Social is important, but learning is learning, and is also individual. Moved from computer aided learning ...

PT A VLE is made to fit current practitioners.

GC Do something amazing – and got repetiton of standard practice, into a very narrow band, depsite millions of permutations.

Q2. Look back at Reading 1 and consider the questions that were asked in that research. Do you think they represent a dominant ‘paradigm’ for research in any particular period? Are the research questions and methods still relevant today?

 

As a business study SWOT analysis McKinsey 7 or for its versatility AT or CHAT would be more likely a way to address the complex interactions that occur in a learning environment where the only variable that ought to be different would be the ‘tool’ as VC rather than TC.

Both are required and complement each other. Greater ‘triangulation’ of the research may have given it more credibility or at least exposed more about the circumstances of the research. Untried methods should have been identified and reasons given for their not being used.

The research questions had quite an influence on the design of the research.

‘Viable option’ in terms of results, costs and other support and inputs. Worse, the same or better than traditional. More or less expensive to put on and run. More or less appropriate for students and instructors. Always felts this was exploratory, may have needed to demonstrate either way that it had a future.

Cannot be the assumptions of the research, rather it should come from the students as participants and instructors as other players. If they were missed then technical staff ought to have been questioned too as both technical and cost barriers would have been an issue.

REFERENCE

Jonassen, D.H. (1996) Computers in the Classroom: methods for critical thinking.

Laurillard, D (2002) Rethinking University Teaching

Squires, D. and McDougall, A. (1994) Choosing and Using Educational software: a teacher's guide.

Twining, P. (2002) 'Enhancing the Impact of Investments in "Educational" ICT (online) PhD Thesis, The OU. http://kn.open.ac.uk/public/document.cfm?documentid=2515

 

 

 

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H800 EMA Mobile

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 6 Sep 2011, 04:34

 

 

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H800:5 To Adobe or not to Adobe?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 14:25

The cost is always the thing, but Adobe shine.

For the creative industries and creatives Adobe are unsurpassable.

They are like the Avid from TV and complement all things MAC for designers, art directors, photographers and video directors.

I hear my name in this mix.

When I assess a new e-learning tool I find myself giving several a go. There are blogs in Diaryland, Edublogs, Wordpress and the OU. I have a presence on YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, in LiveJournal and Blogger. I've tried eportfolio systems MyStuff (OU), Mahara and PebblePad.

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Beyond PowerPoint I've used the Google.doc equivalent Articulate, Captivate and Lectora. And others that may have swept in and out of my life and consciousness untagged, unblogged and unloved.

(The tearing my hair out guy courtesy of MMCLearning whose seminar I attended at Learning Technologies. Give me a moment in my life and I'll do their Diploma in Digital Marketing.)

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I have in front of me the Adobe eLearning Suite 2 on a 30 day trial.

To do this justice I'm thinking to myself 45-90 mins a day.

Will this underline February 2011?

I favour big and established brands like Adobe and can make Adobe Photoshop sing thanks to a training CD-rom I used. DIY learning or self-taught can work.

Now that I've declared my interest I guess I should load it up and make a start.

Twelve years I was learning Dreamweaver ... before that Avid off-line editing.

Tomorrow something else.

I'm sure.

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There's more on this HERE. Though under a Top 100 chart based on under 300 self-selecting 'e-learning' professionals from around the world doesn't strike me as statistically saying much.

(I've given up TV)

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H800:1 A warming introduction (or simply a warm up)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Oct 2014, 16:10

I've just read the introduction to H800.

This is a gentle, caring, thoughtful 'laying out of the OU stall.' No jargon, clearly written in a reassuring and friendly tone. Even the lay out is more magazine article than academic abstract, I like this. Don't scare new folks on day one. Or me. And old hand now.

Were we gathered in the real world this is the equivalent of tea and cake with the course team and future student colleagues.

Even though this is now my third module towards the MA in Open & Distance Education I begin with trepidation as pressures on my time mount; professionally I am now incorporating the contents of H807 and H808 into my daily life and activities - evangelising about all things to do with e-learning (and the OU), while developing projects and talking to prospective clients and sponsors, employers and potential employees.

Personal Development Planning wrapped up the H808 ECA and is now, along with reflective blogging and use of MyStuff (the OU e-portfolio) very much part of my weekly routine.

I struggled through H807 on an old iBook, succumbing to printing off far too often. With H808 I acquired a new laptop and barely printed off a thing (the ECA and evidence being the exception). Everything went into MyStuff.

(I tried Pebbelpad for several weeks then gave up. Having paid an annual sub of £20 for this I will give it a more thorough try in H800. I sense a need to have an alternative e-portfolio as the OU abandons or replaces MyStuff).

With H800 I feel the need, professionally, for a Smart Phone.

Returning from Learning Technologies 2011 I came away with one conviction - mobile learning and a number of trends (more video, less text; more chunking, easy create software and platforms; the creative/planning/production process being brought inhouse; shake up in higher education; significant investment/development in learning & development departments/functions; thorogh, comprehensive evidence of effectiveness with detailed analytics a key driver ... a list I will continue to develop this week as I finish going through my notes. See below for my take on Learning Technologies 2011)

Going mobile doesn't simply mean learning on the commute, or during a lunch break or riding a chairlift in a ski resort if only), but using the device at a desk, around the house, in corridors. Think of is this way, why do so many of us work from Laptops at a desk, when surely a desktop computer would do a better job. I feel a Smart Phone will simply offer an alternative way to work, as if on a micro-computer ... on a bench overlooking the English Channel. Stuck in traffic (as a passenger) .. even while making supper.

We will see.

Perhaps a Smart Phone and the next peice of business will go hand in hand.

I'll no doubt often using sports related analogies, so I'll treat week one and two as a warm up, rather than a sprint. In previous modules I've been like a pace setter at the start of the four minute mile, dashing off quickly only to retire before the end.

My key thought for H800? Pace.

In any case, I've got a self-assessment tax form to submit, more job interviews, client meetings too - even seeing a Venture Capital organisation. This and some swim coaching and quite a bit of swim club managing/organising (internal training, submission to a national audit, final assessment for the Senior Club Coach certificate). As well as time with family, children, our dog and the guinea-pigs 'E', 'C' & 'A'.

 

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LT2:6 Learning Technologies. Towards e-learning maturity.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 16:01

Theatre 1

Laura Overton opened by saying she'll try to give Fusion Knowledge a run for their money. She competes for the first ten minutes with Fusion Knowledge whose stand is like a Cuckoo's egg in this corner of Learning Technologies 2011.

This is the third time a speaker has stoically acknowledged the competition (volume, noise of other speakers and from stands).

This is something for Learning Technologies to resolve.

Between my notes, taking this pictures and the distractions of the Fusion stand I now wished I too had opened up a Flip and grabbed the seminar. I struggling with my cryptic notes.

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These THREE STEPS, Review, Compare, Act (i.e. benchmark then act) are a digest from 90 steps indentified that I look forward to reviewing. These 90 are group intoed six main 'work streams' Laura explained:

  1. Defining Need
  2. Learner Context
  3. Work Context
  4. Building Capability
  5. Ensuring Engagement
  6. Demonstrate Value

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Benchmarking is based on comparing many business (was the gigure 1200?). With my sports interest I liken this to how in swimming (UK) every year benchmark standards in all events in all age groups, by gender at County, Regional and National levels are recalibrated.

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And this. Which strikes me as a poor way to show a Bell Curve, the Diffusion of Innovations 'S' curve showing early to late adopters, with laggards here shown as 'novices.'

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and this which desires that business aspire to entire the Top Quartile (though if all businesses did so wouldn't the way in which the scale is measured simply shift i.e. there can only be businesses in the Top Quartile as long as there are others in each of the others. I'm sure someone who is doing a Maths degree will kindly step in and explain this too me. I'll ask Laura Overton too as she was very, very keen for people to fire questions in her direction.

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Here we have the collated findings from a brief survey done with companies that the audience were asksed to do too. I took an inside view of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) and with only three exceptions gave them a 1 out of 9, suggestions that on this benchmark they are wofuelly behind the rest of the world. I'd can see the value of every company doing this in order to gauge how they compare and therefore how fit they are to compete using advanced learning & development resources.

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Perhaps there is a case for making a digital record of things we experience for later appraisail.

I appreciate entirely the value of benchmarking. This depends on the quailty, scale and currency of the data. I trust that in a market such as this it will be up to date.

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If I can locate those who recorded this even on their Flip cameras, or view it as a podcast courtesy of Learning Technologies I will do so. I'll aslo add here any correspondence I have with Laura Overton.

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Moodle it for £5k

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 09:56

Prices fly, then collapse. Services and products you need to buy in or off the shelf you can suddenly build for yourself. Web design and web sites have gone flat-pack in the simplicity and pricing.

 

Not the first time I've used IKEA as a model.Life has become far easier with the expert made redundant. Now we can all do it. All that's requires is an experience mind.


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LT2:4 Learning Technologies. Telling Storis.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 05:38

Once upon a time ...

Did you here about ...

Three men went into a bar ...

Stories and humour work.

In the 1980s for a training film that told a story you went to Melrose for humour you went to Video Arts.

Video Arts were at Learning Technologies. I went to their presentation twice. Everything they are doing I applaud. They are reinventing themselves.

Melrose fell 15 years ago (or so). The market couldn't sustain the expense and somehow we always find ways to tell a new story. Whereas comedy never changes. All Video Arts need to do is to re-shoot with fresh actors on a fresh set.

Meanwhile I do Epic No.2 too.

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I don't need convincing that stories work.

Get up to make a presentation and you will hold your audience if you say, 'a funny thing happened to me on the way here ...'

You are about to tell a story (or a bad joke), but hopefully something true, or convincing.

With a child 'once upon a time ... ' can lead to anything you like. As a parent you make up bedtime stories and you find a way to keep them awake.

(Which is why my wife long ago banned me from bedtime stories. Too exciting, too long ... kept them awake).

So to the value of Storytelling.

I love the way Epic handled the BBC Guidelines challenge.

I have a copy.

How would I describe this fat, pack A5 arch-lever file manual of don't and don'ts and more don'ts?

(I'll dig it out and take a picture)

It's about as engaging as a brick wrapped in last week's Sunday Newspapers.

Trainspotting for creatives?

Coming from advertising you see that a story can be told in 30 seconds.

I was on Kit-Kat. 'Have a break. Have a Kit-kat.' This was the era of epics in microcosm, classic adds such as 'Middle of the road.'

Ask. Do ask.

'Like all good learning we're going to be interacting.' Said Naomi Norman.

And we did, to a degree.

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I love the science. I cannot get enough on how the mind retains and uses information.

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is not rocket science, it is obvious. Human kind have spent far longer sitting around fires telling tales than watching TV.

Academics in education recommend the use of narrative.

‘Stories are the method by which people impose order and reason upon the world.’ Fisher. (1987)

‘By framing events in a story it permits individuals to interpret their environment, and importantly it provides a framework for making decisions about actions and their likely outcomes.’ Weller. (2009:45)

‘Narrative … is a useful means of imposing order and causality on an otherwise unstructured and unconnected set of events, but it also means that some detail is omitted in order to fit into the narrative, and other factors are only considered in the limited sense in which they can be accommodated with the narrative.’ Weller (2009:48)

* spontaneous inclination to engage in a dialogue with material

* to improve some form of organisation upon it

* to make comparison with it

Bruner (1996.97)

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But what I look forward to is the story.

 

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As I boy I was sent to boarding prep school.

The 'dormitory captain' an older boy who supervised Ihe younger ones (i was eight) would tell a ghost story.

I could still tell 'the Monkey's Paw,' or 'The Mist,' or the 'Broken Stair.'

 

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I've been telling stories every since.

 

REFERENCE

Bruner, J.S. (1996) ‘Frames of thinking: ways of making meaning.’ In Olson, D and Torrance, N (eds) Modes of thought. Explorations in culture and cognition, pp. 93-105.

Fisher, W.R. (1987) Human communication as Narration: toward philosophy of reason, value and action.

Weller, M. (2007) Virtual Learning Environment. using, choosing and developing your VLE.

P.S.

More on Epic in due course. I've found a second page of notes. In the meant time yo can contact them yourselves:

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LT2:3 Learning Technologies. Where Twitter, like notes on scraps of paper, enter the domain of the virtual classroom.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Nov 2012, 16:44

Collaborative Learning using Twitter and Adobe Captivate

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I was persuaded by the softly spoken Akshay Bhavadwaj.

He asked us to think back to when we’d been in a classroom, when we could interact, asking questions of folks. He’s not the product of the British public school then, where collaboration was thought of as cheating and if you spoke out of turn you'd get hit by a piece of well aimed chalk or the wooden board rubber.

Old times, past times.

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I’m a convert to collaboration in all things; that sharing bolsters thinking, empowers and engages the mind.

70% drop out of online courses due to learner isolationwe are told.

This is because candidates will click in, click around then click off somewhere else unless they find someone, not just something, with which to engage.

My take here is that this is where those organising a course must step in. However, time (and cost) a limiting factor, I understand why the Open University wants, encourages and needs students who know their way around, or know anything, to share and support new comers. It may happen naturally in a large enough, engaged, tuned in, Net savvy community, but otherwise it needs a nudge (and the tools).

Should a cohort of students on a module, or in a Tutor group be sharing Twitter account details? This is when I feel myself splitting into various versions of me, the student being one, the commercial, family man and swimming coach the others.

Akshay explained how to use Twitter to circumvent a course Learning Management System (LMS).

it is easy to use Twitter. I.e. use what people are familiar with. This presumes of course that most in a cohort have the device, the means and inclination to use Twitter.

  • Overcome learner isolation
  • Hold learner interest

Akshay then went on to set up a virtual classroom with those attending the seminar and showed how using Twitter it was easy to quickly set something up.

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It worked, but those who have taught in a class or lecture hall recently, especially at Secondary Level, would have serious doubts about encouraging the use of smartphones in class. My experience is that students will listen to music with earplug cables snuck up shirtsleeves or text each other – the idea of using their device (at their cost?) to engage with classmates strikes me as odd.

In a virtual classroom however, this would be a different matter.

Using devices used for social networking and communicating between friends in a learning setting may not appeal to some. It smacks of bringing work home; but do we no longer have any choice ?

Life Long learning also means learning anywhere, anytime, anyhow.

If I understand what is going on correctly, then some corporates can purchase help desk services, real people paid to mill around and be around to be supportive. It’s no different to second year students keeping an eye out for first years at university …

I then went over to the Adobe stand, returning two or three times.

These are the tools I'd like to get my hands on. I feel an affinity to Adobe as I do to Mac.

As long as it pays to pay, then it is understandable that some tools cost something.

Pay peanuts and you get monkeys? Pay nothing and you get Open Source.

To discuss.

 

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LT2:2 Learning Technologies Day Two: Warming up to a mind-filling day

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 28 Jan 2011, 14:17

Warm Up

LT2:2 Blog 2

If I’m swimming lengths or running lengths then three minutes into my conference warm up I met Jonathan and Steve from Raise the Bar.

As a swimming coach who is currently on the last of 11 parts of the Senior Club Coach certificate, who produces training videos and has an interest in career development I am bound to find using sport and sporting personalities of interest.

Speaking to Jonathan Stanger from Raise the bar I wish that I’d recorded the conversation to play here as a podcast, even to have had a person with a Steadicam floating over my shoulder to record it all for later editing (that would incorporate their footage).

Jonathan talks with conviction and passion (it must be a Jonathan thing).

Thinking about it, a steadicam tour of the entire event, like a quick-march around an Ikea store, would offer a valuable view of it all ... we should have moved on from chunky exhibition directories by now. I didn't notice anyone flicking through the PDF version on an iPad either.

Raise the Bar. Stand 219

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  • Goal Setting
  • Bringing out strengths
  • Making an impact
  • Body language
  • Confidence
  • Energy
  • Emerging leaders
  • Feedback and best practice
  • PDP = performance development programme

Key words and buzz words

Personalities have a role to play, they can inspire. It implies to those attending such events/courses that they matter, that getting insights from the best makes them the best.

I believe that motivational presentations have their place

They are uplifting; a personal story of overcoming hurdles/obstacles while striving for success is our own life story. Ideas expressed by the right person may last a lifetime. Now what was it that Roger Uttley said to me when he was playing for Gosforth FC (Newcastle FC since 1996). We lived out the back of the rugby pitch (now a gated estate of executive homes): I would have been 12 or so. I'll look it up later.

Why do we listen to sporting legends or our own sporting heroes?

We will have a period of 18 months where the sports analogies will fly; a good result for team GB will see stock prices rise as the national spirits picks up its pace too.

My hope is to be covering swimming extensively, using HD cameras above and below water, to follow the development of swimmers, coaches and the clubs they belong to and so to raise the temperature in the pool, as well as the bar.

Raise the Bar clients to be proud of: NatWest, Metropolitan Police, Lloyds TSB, RBS, Caudex Medical, Unum, Boots, Talisman, TMB.

P.S.

Most seminars were covered and at various stages I spotted a broadcast crew and other camera people about. Where is all this footage going? In need to be in the public domain soon all we'll have all moved on.

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LT DAY 2:1 Learning Technologies Day Two: Trying out new positions

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 16:12

It ended here.

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It began with this.

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And this

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Preparation IS everything.

The poster for Reed sums up my current mode - new positions, whether on my own account or employed, freelance or in a business, whether an agency or in-house. My conviction is that I have most to offer embedded in an international organisation's Learning & Development Department using the substantial external 'creation' and production experience that I have while exploiting some knowledge and insights from coaching swimming; the Open University MA in Open & Distance Education binds them; each new module is another thread that makes me a cohesive bundle. H800 opened its doors yesterday. H807 and H808 are done. Practice-based research in educational technology (H809) may follow.

Yesterday at Learning Technologies I felt like a minnow ...

Today I felt like a Manta Ray, sliding between seminars and stands seamlessly, observing, taking notes and pictures, having thoughts that I jotted down or shared with a colleague.

Paper and bumph. Would it have been different armed with an iPad? Suprisingly few were being used. It was all Smart Phones and occasional netbooks or Flip cameras.

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Surely 'bumph' in a bag could be reduced to a PDF file blue-toothed wirelessly into a portable device?

We're not there yet.

I'll be dipping into a referring to this material, its content and contacting the people I met and have subsequently Linked In to for many weeks.

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Freindships and professional relationships may result. Business will be done. We'll have fun.

I hope so.

ON REFLECTION

The Open University should have had a major presence here.

I began the MA ODE in 2001 as a form of business training; I recommend the MA in Open & Distance Education to anyone who will listen. It would complement the careers and interests of hundreds of the thousands attending Learning Technologies 2011, both visitors and those on stands.

Next time?

Next event?


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LT1.1 Learning Technologies. Day One. Snack from the eLearning Smorgasbord of Learning Technologies 2011

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 16:05

Olympia is like the interior of some vast World War II Normandy Gun Emplacement – all exposed blocks of concrete, exposed pipes, clattering stairwells and distant skylights.

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The catering is marginally better than that at Conference League game of football.

The layout of stands (or should I call them stalls) reminds me of an East European Department store in the early 1990s.

On registration you are handed a fat catalogue worthy of IKEA, sadly your journey around the show is anything like as smooth or as comprehensive – more like shuffling through a multi-story car-park full of baldy parked 4x4s.

The lecture ‘theatres’ are open plan and back to back; they conflict for attention. The combination of two speakers at it, never mind music from surrounding stands, obliges a ‘sit-forward and concentrate’ mentality. Imagine two noisy street shows in action simultaneously on the cobles of Covent Garden.

Stalls, not stands, was the behaviour too of some selling their services, with leaflets thrust into your hands and conversations started that you didn’t want whether eye contact was made or not); the inclination is to make a blunt response; the danger is that you soon find yourselves burdened with the equivalent of every Sunday newspaper in one go.

There was a hint of desperation about some of it.

None of this is conducive to enjoyment or appropriate for a showcase of e-learning technology 2011.

Despite this I’m preparing to return for a second day.

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I attended with a producer from E-Learning Productions. I go wearing three hats: producer of content, learning manager wannabe and Open University MA student in his 'second year' of Open and Distance Education - starting H800 around now (I think the virtual gates to the module open on the 27th).

The quality of the Learning Technologies presentations (with one exception) and the stands that we chose, rather than chose us, was impressive.

Much of it rings true, reinforcing our views on where we feel the market is going, this was especially the case with the Video Arts presentation ‘Video learning: anywhere, anytime and just in time.’

Blog entries below indicate where and why I think video will take over from print; this was demonstrated by Video Arts.


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Drawing on a back catalogue of high quality, humour and drama-based learning Video Arts have created a digital platform that allows users to pick ‘n mix clips to assemble a learning programme of their own.

These ‘chunks’ of ‘stuff’ make a bespoke learning programme.

I question how ‘right way, wrong way’ illustrated with humour always works, wondering if the humour and the performance is recalled, but the message lost. Which is why I’d expect all learning to be measured for effectiveness, the brutal answers of success or failure being the test of a good learning programme.

Emerging challenges in learning: proving the business value answered any concerns or interest I might have in gauging effectiveness.

Though competing with presentation immediately behind in Theatre 2, Jeff Berk delivered an insightful, packed, brutally stark means to measure the effectiveness of training.

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Jeff's background as an auditor showed, but my creative head said that whatever ways or means of communicating ideas, of sharing knowledge and experience, of teaching, of learning, that I may devise or select ‘off-the-shelf’ or from one of these ‘stalls,’ www.Knowledgeadvisors.com will tell me if it worked or not, if not why not, if so where so, and what to change and how.

An invaluable service that must form the part of any learning and training programme budget.

The thread of the presentation, that felt like an attempt to run through the contents of Wikipedia in 30 minutes, was that Training Managers should ‘replace the smile sheet, with the smart sheet.’

I buy that.

Jeff spoke of ‘improving human capital performance.'

I like the idea of ‘sensitivity analysis’ and ‘action metrics’ helping the learning consultant in a business discussion identifying actual rather than perceived problems to get a fix.

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I take away too the idea of ‘Scrap Learning’ and ‘Pointers for Change,’ as well as ‘Actionable Metrics,’ a ‘dashboard of summarised information for senior managers.

Had I been to Learning Technologies the week before rather than a week before a job interview I wonder if the outcome would have been different?

This stuff matters, and now I know it.

Jeffrey Berk is quotable; it is corporate speak at its best. ‘Leverage methodology into the spirit of the technology,’ he said.

There’s a White Paper ‘Standard Reports of the Future’ that you can request by email Jeff the COO of Knowledge Advisors on jberk@knowledgeadvisors.com.

Leadership for the 21st Century and how to achieve it was a dreary, ill-considered Slide Show read out by a presenter who I sensed hadn’t seen the slides until the moment they appeared on the wall behind him. He read, verbatim from notes, his head buried in the lectern.

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No introduction, just started reading as if someone had put 50p in a Juke Box.

The best demonstration of how to present badly I have ever witnessed and after two minutes I was desperate to escape.

Mercifully what was billed as 30 minute presentation barely lasted 10.

The clichéd jigsaw piece analogy, the lengthy self-quoting of the long dead American who devised the programmed smacked of an attempt to sell 1970s fashioned Moon Boots at a desert oasis.

Fusion Learning have a theatre-cum-stand.

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They compete successfully with the hubbub and take the idea of the market stall to its obvious corporate conclusion. It would be unfair to say that Steve Dineen was selling product out the back of a lorry, but the simple lay-out of stand as platform, replete with headset and microphone suggested something of this ilk. Though no visitor to a street market is going to be sitting in front of a laptop, watching an interactive presentation and receiving a back massage.

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Quotes can be scattered around a presentation like baubles on an over-decorated Christmas tree, but this one from Einstein worked in this context.

‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ Albert Einstein.

Fusion Universal take an idea that is a decade old and do it better.

How to animation on Microsoft Product delivered via a searchable ‘just in time format.’

For example, I can’t get my head around the plethora of choices regarding headers and footers in the new word package. Type, search, click and I get a voiced animation of how to do it. A decade ago I bought this kind of thing on a CD-ROM for £75, today I take out an annual subscription, select from a multitude of bite-size ‘info drops’ and may even contribute my own ‘how to ‘ clips should I think I have a fix, a better fix, or an alternative fix or just fancy myself as a presenter, voice over artists and director/writer of video-based assets.

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Like Steve, I too change into ‘soft shoes’ when faced with being on my feet all day.

Had I a budget this alone would have had me signing up to their services.

He wore sheepskin moccasins. I think if all delegates left their shoes at registration and padded around in slippers or socks it would be conducive to a far more chilled atmosphere.

walk around the lanes in Brighton and you will come across many of the organisations presenting here; Epic, Kineo, Edvantage and Brightwave are four that come to mind. Perhaps these organisations should band together to bring customers to them on the Brighton Seafront; or does Wired Sussex does this already? __________________________________________________________________________________

Naomi Norman introduced Epic beginning with a reminder of their impactful, PR coup, the annual e-learning debate in the Oxford Union.

This is a non-Oxford event, despite the implied cache, that uses the debating chamber ahead of the academic year.

It attracts interest, not least to Epic’s LinkedIn E-learning forum that I find a constant stream of intelligent, current thinking, or as Naomi put it, ‘good, memorable, engaging interactions.’

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The presentation in relation to mobile learning is succinctly expressed as:

‘Learning in the moment, Learning across space and learning across time.’

We saw highly simplified 2d animations that mixed a bit of silent movie text and Captain Pugwash paper-cut outs to give gobbets of information on First Aid. More at www.firstaid.co.k (free download).

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Also some of the 20 hours of materials, 4 hours of it video, for Collins for whom Epic have turned an entire two years GCSE Maths Curriculum into a smart phone App.

My colleague and I debated some of the more confusing visuals for this course on the way home and reckoned our children would only engage with the content if they had to, and would probably try to cram it all in the day before an exam. i.e. parents become tutors and facilitators, somehow having to cajole some interest in engagement early on, with rewards for completion of modules.

The idea that a book will teach a 13 year old something, let alone a game like platform, ignores the fact that in isolation this kind of self-directed learning doesn’t happen without the outside influence of schools, parents and most especially peer pressure.

Marcus Boyes clicked through a mobile learning website developed by Epic.

It was a convincing demonstration of how rapidly a complex task that may have taken many months, can be compressed into a few weeks, leaving content creators to compose. I liken it to an conductor having an assembled brass band with players who can play and instruments that work, rather than finding you have to first make the instruments and then learn how to play them.

Go compose.

Far from farting about (as he put it) I found Marcus informed, engaged, practical and agile. He is the perfect tech savvy person, passionate about what he does and mindful of the need to make things easy. I want to go home and 'make an App' myself. In fact, with a shelf of 4,000 charts, 400 photos and about 10,000 words the Skieasy Books I took to Collins in 1991 may yet find their way into publication.

I can see virtue in going straight to Mobile application.

If it works in this format then you’ve got something write, as Einstein desires, you’ve made it simple. Then you get all the gains of being mobile, engaging the learning any moment in the day when they have downtime.

There’s a White Paper. Stand 54. Or from Epic’s website.Or from me now that I'vedownloaded it.

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Go register. They're worth it.

And this App for LinkedIn from EIPC looks useful.

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I like these papers, but sometimes question their academic validity.

A white paper pre-supposes peer review and scrutiny in an academic setting. Has this happened? I let my OU colleagues take a view. If published in a reputable journal I'd buy it.

Go see.

Much more on Video Arts to follow.


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