Identifying student groupings for legitimate study

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 1 Jun 2013, 05:33

In my quest to understand, who, why and what we are I am fed by the OU Online Library, Google Scholar and Amazon. The paper I am currently writing (Lindroth and Berqusit, Reading 17 in H809) needs me to identify, qualify or reject, as strong or weak, boundaries that define a group of people.

Whilst I can understand the justification for a study of, say the Saami People, also of Hells Angels, and Gamers - those who role play in virtual worlds ... I am struggling with the authors who in this case felt that a decade ago certain students in H.E. could be identified as 'laptopers'. From my point of view if there was any weak culturally identity with a computer those who used Macs might have thought they stood out - or was that 'Think Different' independent mindset just a clever advertising ruse?

TMA03 is proving an enlightening journey that takes me back to an undergraduate module I did on anthropology - then still largelly an historic, geographically definable adventurer into unknown societies. More so than with any other module in the MA ODE family I have taken several steps beyond the confined of the resources. Courtesy of the Web it is with relative ease, and a little damage to my wallet, that I am able not only to pull out papers, but a number of eBooks and second hand paperbacks have also made it to my desk.

Making Knowledge: Explorations of the Indissoluble Relation between Mind, Body and Environment (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Special Issue Book Series) [Kindle Edition] By: Trevor H. J. Marchand

Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series) James Clifford and George Marcus

Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography, Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and) John Van Maanen

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Three years ago ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013, 20:43

Three years ago ... I had an 8 year old Mac Book. I printed everything off (all resources and course notes, a calender too) and I went through the modules block by block, each to a folder by folder. I got through a lot of paper. The Mac died so I borrowed a clapped out PC. Then I got a Kindle. I still printed off. Then two years ago I started to use an iPad ... and between that and the Kindle I only printed off final drafts of assignments.

I don't print anything off at all now.

Not even drafts or final drafts.

I've just treated myself to a new Mac. I don't see the need for a laptop - even the iPad seems heavy compared to the iPad Mini.

The Kindle died.

I took advice from the 87 year old father in law - Mac Mini and a standard monitor. He has a supsersize keyboard with an overlay of supersize letters on it.

Now I'm learning gesturing on a trackpad and remembering that the MAC keyboard has a couple of minor differences - the Apple Command key not the Command Key ... and the @ key has moved.

Gesturing feels like trying to steer a boat for the first time.

Books - I've bought a few - make neat stands for the monitor. I'll get a second tomorrow so that I can read from this blog, eBooks or papers or first draft assignments in one screen - also flick through the 50+ screen grabs and iPad doodles I manage to pull together before I write.

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Reflections on e-learning - September 2010 to September 2012

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 22 Sep 2012, 06:07

New Software

Things I was starting to get my head around in 2010:

• Delicious (don't get it, yet ... or need it?)
• Outlook (Never used it 'til last week not being a PC person)
• Compendium (Created a map for an e-tivity based on my H807 ECA. Populating this to share content with a producer).
• Zoho (signed in but not sure)
• Adobe Share (Been using Adobe products forever so this should get my attention)
• Internet Explorer (new to this Mac user!)
• Dropbox (I've always been a box person)

Where I stand in 2012:

• Skype (use often to friends globally, notably for a job interview with Getty Images, interviewing Dr about Qstream and on an iPad passing my brother and my nephews around a room of cousins between the UK and South Africa at Christmas)
• Delicious (Still struggle, not least as I have more than one account and because I don't see the need to bookmark anything as to Google is quicker and with cookies enabled takes me into my choices)
• Outlook (formerly trained at the OU on Outlook - training on a 2010 version while we had a 2011 in our office. Still hate it having been raised on all things Mac. Outlook has the look, feel and functionality of Microsoft DOS c 1992)
• Google Docs (Use as a store to aggregate content, sometimes to share, wiki-like with fellow OU students who are more ofay with the technology than I am)
• Compendium (Can't stand it - prefer a variety of free iPad Apps, including SimpleMinds, Bubl.us and several others).
• Zoho (signed in and gave up)
• Mahara (signed in a gave up)
• Pebblepad (signed in and gave up - initially making do with the OU's MyStuff, which has been discontinued. Find it easier to aggregate content, while I'm an OU Student in my OU Blog, then cut and paste into one or more WordPress blogs - I had 16 at the last count)
• Adobe Share (Don't have the budgets, may be of interest once back in a commercial office)
• Internet Explorer (Never. Over the period have slowly migrated away from Firefox, like family, use Google Chrome almost exclusively)
• Dropbox (Not really)
• PicasaWeb - download for all images from camera, iPhone and iPad. Fix then post to some 50 albums, some with over 1000 images (the Picasa limit), pay for extra space. Uncertain or lack confidence though in degree of privacy, especially if screengrabs and other images are automatically uploaded to Google + images (same PicasaWeb account in a different format)

Where I stood in 2010 compared to 2012:

Old Software

• Word (Yes, but far less often. I write far more often on the iPad using the AI Writer APP, emailing this to a PC to edit, or uploading into a blog to edit there)
• Filemaker Pro (No longer. I ran it on Macs and iBooks from its inception but others don't prefering of all things the ghastly Excel). Have Bento, baby FileMaker, on the iPad.
• AOL (still with AOL, but prefer Gmail and still thinking about changing supplier to BT or Sky)
• Power Structure (Didn't upgrade, my iBook died and the software is on an rescued harddrive though I doubt it will work with a new operating system)
• Final Draft (An execellent script writing tool though created for linear output)
• Dreamweaver (haven't been near it, I never was a programmer type anyway, though cut my teeth in this in 2000)
• Excell (A very reluctant user - just cannot see how this is used by some to create posters, or run a database that required large quantities of content in a cell. Filemaker Pro is better)

Blogs

• Diaryland (Quite the thing in 1999). Locked forever. Up forever. Sometimes cut and paste. Always amusing to read posts on developments in web-based learning c. 1999
• LiveJournal (Preferred by 2002). A stepping stone out of Diaryland.
• WordPress (Expert) Over a dozen blogs, most notably Mymindbursts, though no longer a diary or journal, but a niche journal largely about e-learning, with subject intersts including creative writing, philosophy, tertiary education, history (First War), online and distance education, theories of education. Also blogs on swim coaching and teaching, on the Machine Gun Corps, on the trials and tribulations of a househusband (from old diaries and blogs), on various fiction themes - but also a number of Books of Condolences, in 2011 for colleagues, but very sadly in 2012 for my mother too.
• EduBlogs (No more)
• Blogger (No longer)
• OuBlog (Extensively for all Masters in Open and Distance Education modules, now on my fifth and final module. Daily reflection, updates, aggregating resources, screen clips, diagrams, images, snips from forums, links to other blogs, tagging to assemble content for assignment, re-blog with re-writes to external blogs. Use it like an e-portfolio with CVs and job descriptions here too.)
• Blipfoto (A picture a day for four or five months - until I have my iPhone to my son. I make do with an iPad and prefer a cheap phone to have kicking around in my pocket or bag ... and to avoid being online when out on the South Downs walking the dog!)

Social Networking

• Facebook (Love hate. Great to be in touch with immediate family and trusted friends only. Got some groups going with boys I knew age 8-13 at boarding prep school. Got out of hand when a relation fell very ill and died as to the appropriateness of sharing our concerns and grief online. Inclined to disengage - do so only to find I am still there?)
• MySpace (Never, though I am there)
• Friends Reunited (Never since they started to charge, or since they came back)
• Linkedin (extensive, professional use with several hundred contacts and activity in many groups. Feed blog content into Linkedin automatically, tailor some content for specific groups, particularly relating to e-learning for corporates and tertiary education)
• Twitter (extensive, professional use. Did use TweetReach and various other tools. URLs shortened from WordPress, will use Bitl.y)

Other

• Flickr (Used to use extensively - migrated all content to Picasa as Flickr tried to socialise the space and I found my pictures being offered for sale!)
• Kodak Easyshare (Rescued 500 of 700 uploaded photos and migrated to Picasa before Kodak closed)
• YouTube (Should be making extensive use of YouTube. Starting to digitise 40 hours of Oxford Undergraduate life 1982-1984. With permissions will migrate clips to the web in due course.)
• Picasa (my favourite now, the teenagers are on Instagram and Tumnblr)
• Ancestry.com (Covered every conceivable ancestor as far back as is possible online. Could make use of the 2011 census to track down a great aunt but not inclined to fork out anymore or to deal with spurious requests from people so off the map in terms of the family tree it is verging on trainspotting.)
• Genes Reunited (as above. Not been near it) Of minor interest at a family funeral to figure out who were the common ancestors - both gentleman born in the 1870s it turned out!

Browsers

• Firefox (very rarely, probably in erro)
• AOL (winding up here for the last 18 months, should have got out long ago.)
• Internet Explorer (avoided at all costs)

What's new?

For the last 18 months extensive use of an iPad and associated Apps, so much so that it is the replacement laptop and even covers as a mobile phone as people know to email me.

Trying to do my final MAODE module on the iPad.

Proving remarkably easy to do so.

Very versatile, especially where resources can be downloaded as PDFs, even to read in Kindle version. Read from the Kindle, note take on the iPad and post online.

Books. We no longer buy them. Is a garage full of wonderful hardbacks worth anything? Glad I never bothered to put up shelves.

Magazines and newspapers. All redundant. Only kept the Guardian on Saturday to have something to line the guinea-pig hutch, when they went so did the newspaper!

TV. Rarely ever watched live. Prefer BBC iPlayer. Exception being the Olympics and Paralympics.

Pen and paper. I do. An A5 notebook and pen. Though prefer to type up notes as I go along.

Twitter Share. Reading an eBook and sharing a line or two with a note directly into Twitter. This aggregates content in an editable format and alerts 'followers' to a good read - usually on learning, education, e-learning, also on social media, story writing and the First World War. Sometimes some great out of copyright literature.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Gillian Wilkinson, Friday, 21 Sep 2012, 18:04)
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More on Steve Jobs and his creation that is Apple Mac

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Oct 2011, 09:20

OU Business School Prof John Naughton is interviewed on Sky News and Al Jezeara on the legacy of Steve Jobs.

Can I get him to join OUBS in LinkedIn where we are reminiscing all things Apple.

Yesterday I gave my first Steve jobs presentation, a coincidence, I'd been put onto his visual, three point, narrative style by a colleague.

Last night the pub quiz ended on the music round and extra points for the hidden link.

We got as far as 'occupations' - lacking taste I thought the answer was jobs - Steve Jobs.

Not Mac users?

I will buy a Mac this weakend to replace the one that died after eight years (though surgically extracted into an external hard drive). She was called Suzi, I'll call my new Mac 'Steve'.

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H800 80 Week 19: Mobile devices, mobile learners & Web 2.0

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 5 Oct 2012, 06:28

From materials and commentary prepared by John Pettit (2008)

Of courses it is learning if it is on a mobile phone or any other device. Do we mean informal or formal learning? Vicarious learning or didactic? Stumbling across knowledge, or reading formerly to pass an exam? Does it matter? These devices blur the distinction between a means of educating that may eventually look dated and specific to an era.

Do we need campus based universities?

Kids can have their kicks in Ibiza then study online while holding down their first job.

Give the campus over to the retired and unemployed.

Do we need schools?

And if so, instead of being at the centre of a child's education, perhaps they become as tangential as a visit to the leisure centre of supermarket because you are better linkedin to the educators and the content when you're away from the place and all its distractions.

When do you ever not learn even if you don’t know it?

It depends entirely on what the device is being used for. Apps have shown how versatile we are at throwing activities and qualities at these devices. People want this stuff.

Is a laptop mobile? What about the old Apple Classic? I used to take it out into the garden on an extension cable and view it inside a cardboard box while sunbathing. Was that mobile? I can read in the bath on a Kindle and click through RSS feeds on the iPad while the Kettle boils. Might it simply feel as if all these people are following me around?

There are degress of mobility. Working in TV we carried around with us monitors to watch content back during a shoot. The thing was no more portable than a hod stacked with bricks.

When I read formal and informal learning I wonder if this equates to whether the learning is hard or easy. I have acquired knowledge in a formal setting and had a laugh, equally in an informal context without the self-motivation and will I have found informal learning very hard to do.

It is sometimes claimed that handheld digital devices allow students to learn at anytime, anywhere. A more nuanced position argues that the devices have the potential for ‘any time anywhere’ learning but that many other factors come into play.

For example, some devices may be easy to handle but have small screens that don’t allow easy reading.

Far from being hard to read the small screen is better suited to the narrow field of close vision that we have. So what if it is like looking through a letter box. If you want to concentrate why look at more?

A device can become too small. Too portable. As a video producer I have seen kit shrink so much that a device the size of a child’s shoe will generate a HD image and for \$75 a day you could hire a camera that delivers 35mm quality. Making a film though with a device so small creates instability, you need some weight on your shoulder if you want to keep the image steady.

The portability and size of screen is less relevant than the affordances of the device, the fact that an iPad doesn’t support Flash, or Android is having problems with Google Apps, that is, if you are using learning materials that require specific functionality that isn’t working.

As for screen size, people may watch a blockbuster movie on a giant screen at the Odeon Leicester Square or on a Smartphone or palm-sized gaming device that is no bigger than a spectacle case; here what matters as with any movie, is the quality of the narrative, not the size of the screen.

Where a device’s portability comes into its own, as the person who recently made a phone call from the top of Everest, is the portability. Another extreme might be a cave diver with a device the plots the route for a cave system, or a glaciologists relaying pictures of a feature in a Greenland ice-sheet to colleagues thousands of miles away that informs the research.

‘Patterns of usage differ widely, and the fit between people’s lives and the devices they use can be very close.’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28)

Is an apt way to express a new term being used in the Open University Business School to describe applied or practice-based learning that gets away from the ‘distance’ tag, that is to call it ‘nearness’ learning. (Fleck, 2011). I also like the idea of ‘intense but provisional,’ people’s attitudes are brand specific, with the Mac vs. PC split of computing now a split between Windows, Mac and Android (and others).

People chose brands to simplify the choices that have to be made between a plethora of devices, between Sony, Nokia, Goole and Windows, as well as between network suppliers, be that O2, Vodafone or others.

There is another way of looking at it though, if you come to see that all these devices offer the same sets of services and tools, from QWERTY keyboards, to a camera, from messaging to phone calls, to the hundreds of thousands of Apps, and in the case of the latest Windows phone … Windows software from Outlook to Docs, PPT to Excel.

Is size such an issue?

People have managed needlepoint for centuries and once painted miniatures. There is an appeal for the tiny sometimes, just as there is for the massive. In this respect the device becomes a reflection of the person’s personality, as well as the depth of their pockets, the availability of others services, from a signal to 3G (or not), even to the power to charge batteries.

Personal choice, celebration of variety, offering a smorgasbord rather than the continental breakfast.

‘That well-known random-access device consisting of ink on bound sheets of paper may still have plenty of life in it yet!’ (Pettit and Kukulska-Hulme, 2007, p.28) expressed in 2007 is how in 2011 writers in the e-magazine Reconstruction 6.4 describe the ‘long-tail’ of the blog, that definitions have become meaningless, suggesting that the varieties of ways to do or have what we have continued to call a ‘blog’ is as varied as the ways we have over many centuries come to use paper.

Drawing on a paper written in 2007 on research presumably undertaken a couple of years previously, it strikes me that ‘the world has moved on’, to say the least – though not enough. This exercise is looking at the extraordinary capabilities and uses for a device that in 2011 can offer somewhat more than was possible four years ago. This doesn’t mean to say we have the things.

The problem now, isn’t simply, for me at least, is the overwhelming volume of content I have put online, which despite adopting various approaches to keep track of it, has split into a number of blogs (OU, Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr), a number of cloud galleries/warehouses in the sky (Flick, Dropbox, Kodak and Picasa Galleries, My Stuff, Pebblepad).

It is apt that I blog under the name ‘my mind bursts’, because it has, and is.

Like having a thought, or recalling some event or fact seemingly on a whim, I find I stumble across these ‘mind bursts’ quite by accident, forgetting the number of blogs, for example, that I for a period started only to abandon so that ‘serendipity’ has a role to play through the myriad of links I’ve also made. None of this has helped by finding myself with three Facebook accounts and unsure how to delete the ‘right’ one.

The attitude can only be to ride this like the web surfer of a decade ago – to run with it, rather than try and control it. You meet friends coming off a training a Liverpool Station, you do not need to know who else is on the concourse, the timetables for every train that day, week or year. To cope with the overwhelming quantity of stuff tools to filter out what matters to you at that moment is coming to matter most.

Currently I find myself repeatedly drawn to the activities of Hugo Dixon, a former Economist and FT journalist, who set up a business he called ‘Breaking Views’ to counter what he already by then perceived as a deluge of online information and the old print-based expression ‘Breaking News’; we would come to need as some pundits predicted fifteen years ago, ‘information managers’ or ‘information management systems’.

I wish I could reference the expression properly but ‘Freedom is lack of choice’ is one of my favourites; sometimes filters and parameters have their place. I enjoy using a Kindle as much for its limitations; it is something I can take to bed knowing that it’ll send me to sleep, while an iPad keeps me up all night.

REFERENCES

Fleck, J (2011) Association of MBAs Conference Video 2011

Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2007). Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1), pp. 17–33.

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H800: 60 Week 13*14 Activity 1a Attitudes to and integration of technology into the classroom and lecture hall

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 May 2011, 16:37

As you watch the video consider and make notes on how it relates to the more general findings from the broader research literature discussed earlier.

Also consider the following questions:

1. Is the message being presented in this visual way any different from the primarily text-based presentation of findings used so far this week?
2. How important is the medium and the technologies themselves in terms of conveying messages about this research area?
3. What are the implications for your own practice?

Catchy music. Well exectued. Memorable. Viral.4.5 million views to date.

The execution is persuasive; this is how advertisers do it. You have a message, you find a director who knows how to put it over in way that works.

I've done this myself a few times.

The music is crucial and often not considered in the budget.

Library music might, but rarely works.

Far better to pay for a peice to be composed; I have worked with plenty of student composers who've created a terrifc mood, what I wanted, cued to a click track and the images on the screen. I've also used copyright music and begged persmission from composers, such as some Michael Nyman music I wanted to use.

As a teaser or catalyst at the start of a week (or module,or course) this kind of thing is fantastic, but it is a trailer ... it is not an objective report. The music dictates how the director wants us to think.

These underviewed clips could do with a bit of TLC.

I also need to afford to have them transferred to a higher defintion.

Here's a simply exercise to demonstrate who the music skews the mood, impact and desire outcome; turn off the sound and play the video to 'Anarchy in the UK' the Sex Pistols, or 'She's Like a Rainbow' Rolling Stones. Do you feel so sympathetic now?

Is not this the kind of music played to claw at our heart strings when our charity is being requested to house the homeless and feed the poor?

If you think you can turn a report or piece of research into an objective and compelling piece of TV you are wrong

a) There must be a narrative

b) There is a need for conflict

c) Controversy helps

A polite debate to a live audience that gets out of hand does the trick, but this is hardly the Jeremy Kyle show.

Increasingly, though my background is the spin of advertising and stakeholder communications, I want to learn how to research and present sound, objective facts - the kind of evidence upon which people can act on the basis that the thoroughness and professionalism of the approach has isolated the problems which others can then address.

The nonsense spoken about 'The Net Generation' et al. implies that arming one cohort with laptops (a 1999s thing), now with tablets (preferably an iPad) will deliver.

This ain't how it happens. Never has with technology and never will.

Were I the Headmaster of a school I'd want to see technology used to play to the strengths of the subject being taught.

In art classes and music they are going to get a pad of A3 cartridge paper, some soft pencils, putty rubber and a knife; in music they're going to get an 'unplugged' music instrument to master.

In Chemistry they can have a white board that shows interactive animations of chemical processes taking place in what would otherwise be dangerous experiments.

In H807 I bemoaned the fact that I wasn't being hit with the kind of gizmo-worlds I'd been brought up to create for corporate clients - they want to see their money on the screen. We 'read' for the Masters in Open and Distance Education. When faced with a video, if a transcript isn't provided, I have to take notes verbatim ditto podcasts.

Reading and the technical demands of typing and word-processing might be as far as it needs to go.

Where any technology is less intuitive or easy that word-processing then don't bother. Nor assume people have the 'right' skills - having had a Mac since the early 90s I find some Microsoft software like being presented with a unicycle with a square wheel.

I like the phrases 'disruptive technologies', 'catalysts for change' and 'pedagogical innovation'.

The thing to remember is that one size does not fit all, indeed the technology ought to offer additional variety, not replace what has gone before.

Some 'services' I am so familiar with, as well all, that I wouldn't have thought to suggest they had a role in education; mobile phones, laptops are put of the landscape in work, school and the home. Not all, but many. We must remember the notable exceptions to owning or becoming familiar with these tools.

As for PDAs and memory sticks are these not history? PDAs replaced by SmartPhones and memory sticks replaced by portable hard-drives and the 'cloud'. And thus the demise of Pagers, floppy discs and zip drives.

I still crave a Psion.

Will an iPad fill that gap? Or a Nokia E7? I'm looking for a keyboard and screen that I can treat like a spec case with the power to put people on Mars.

Any suggestions?

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Meanwhile, but to the activity at my fingertips:

(We mustn't call them tasks I'm told, sets the wrong tone. So why not e-tivities? Do I need to ask?! I came across someone referring to e-quality and wanted to report them to the abuse of the English Language through the prefixing of 'e.')

The dichotomy between students and staff is slowly disappearing - perhaps it has gone.

There never was a Net Generation in my book, often if is (as we would expect) the teacher who is the master of the technology ... they should be. This is the role we adults have before our children. We teach and nurture them, not the other way around. They generally learn from us, we have to crack it, add and embellish.

Were the students of the 'Pill' Generation in the 1960s not more rebellious then this lot?

Taught by teachers born between two World Wars, the differences must have been extreme. There are of course some biological reasons why until the students are adults, there will be significant barriers and differences. And whose to say, person by person, when intellectually maturity sets in. I'd say that I've only got there in my 50th year - I've enjoyed being a boy too much, until recently I could only be taught like a first year A' Level Student (spoon fed).

Sharpe et al (2005) is a must read for the Masters in Open and Distance Education.

I don't know why it and a couple of other books are boxed up and sent out to anyone who registers early. It is reassuring to return to authors whose voices you come to trust over the 18 or so months.

We learn that students have:

• A mixed view about technologies
• Feel pressured to do more (there's little faster or more efficient that simply reading a paper)
• Have mixed experiences and expectations of their tutor (someone remind us, we are POSTGRADUATES)

Pedagogy (does it work?)

Learner differences (which can be extraordinarily diverse compared to a cohort of undergraduates terming up on campus with the same accent, same outlook, same educational background ... and not that long ago in some Oxford Colleges, the same gender too).

Beetham et al (2005) should be another set book.

By reading MAODE blogs I've spotted in advance the books that are most often refereed to and bought them. I have around a dozen now and had I a hand in reinventing the MAODE far from spending £100k with some of the top video production companies and web agencies in the land to 'pimp it up,' I'd been handing out these books and e-books.

'Distributed collaboration' here we come.

I've often likened the experience of MAODE, or is it just postgraduate learning with the OU, as my head being like the chocolate shaker at Cafe Nero. I've had chocolate pixie dust tipped into my head and someone keeps lifting me up by the ankles like a new born baby and giving me a good shake. My ideas have been turned on their head, not least the desire and interest in sharing whatever I think. It serves a purpose not to be previous about what you think. Not quite like getting it wrong on National Radio and being correctly by a few thousand emails, but you are often set right, or put on the right path, by hearing what your fellow students think.

Find me on Linkedin. I'm forever joining groups and discussions and find the feeds from the busiest groups

Oblinger and Oblinger (2005) Educating the Net Generation sounds like a must read. What are the reviews? I couldn't find it. Or is it a paper? There are plenty of texts written on the theme - most I'd give a wide birth.

Their points are:

• weaving in the technology to current practice
• kids who've grown up with it
• its becoming ubiquitous
• they use the web for homework (so what, we use it for work and pleasure too don't we ... and did from the start. The kids are copying Mum and Dad when they learn to touch type by the age of 6, NOT the other way round. They crave to get online because their parents do; it was ever thus.)
• there is more surface level learning (right through to university ... and at the BA level too often, students learn what they are told to learn, from the surface, whether from the web, a text book or print out ... whatever it takes to pass the exam. Why I am told the Oxbridge BA sees itself as an MA programmer for undergraduates.
• More visual. I would love papers to be illustrated, just a photo or apt cartoon above the abstract. Why shouldn't academic writers hook their readers too. Randy Pausch did in a paper he wrote while at Disney working and researching the skills of an 'imagineer'.
• they want 'just in time' answers and it needs to be experiential (Conole & Dyke 2004; Gibson, 1979). We should celebrate this achievement ... its what managers in business have been trying to incorporate into business practice for decades.

(54622)

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Kindle 9:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 18 Feb 2011, 07:41

It took a few years to wear away most of the letters on my MAC keyboard.

I feel my nails (now trimmed, I play the guitar) will scratch away the letters on the keyboard within a month. I touch type so that shouldn't be a concern, but there are one or to Amstrad-like foibles with the keyboard/symbols, capitals choices that makes it somewhat akin to a ten year old mobile phone.

Another Kindle note to myself is to buy on demand as I read on demand

Unlike buying several books that will make their pressence known around the hosue until they are read I could find myself buying all kinds of things for the Kindle that never get read. That said, five hours short of owning a Kindle for a week I have read three books from cover to cover, highlighting and taking notes along the way. I'm half way through Vygotsky and swallowed hard through the first Chapter of Prensky early this morning.

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H800:12 WK1 Activity 4 The Google Generation - True or False?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011, 23:57

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. Written in 2007 (published 11 January 2008). Reviewed in 2011.

Part of the Week 1 jollies for H800.

(This picks up where I left off in the Forum Thread)

After a year of MAODE, a decade blogging and longer keeping journals (and old course work from both school and uni I might add) I feel I can tap into my own first, second, third or fourth take on a topic.

Increasingly, where this is digitised my preferred learning approach is to add to this information/knowledge, often turning my ideas inside out.

We are yet to have a ‘generation,’ (a spurious and loose term in this context) that has passed through primary, secondary and tertiary education ‘wired up’ to any consistent degree from which to gather empirical research. Indeed, I wonder when things will bottom out, when we’ve gone the equivalent journey of the first horseless-carriage on the Turnpikes of England to the 8 lanes in both directions on the M1 south of Leicester – or from the Wright Brothers to men on the moon.

I’d like to encourage learners to move on from copying, or cutting and pasting in any form, to generating drafts, and better drafts of their take on a topic, even if this is just a doodle, a podcast or cryptic set of messages in a synchronous or asynchronous discussion i.e. to originate.

I lapped up expressions such as Digital Natives, an expression/metaphor only that has been debunked as lacking any basis in fact.

I fear this is the same when it comes to talking about ‘Generation X, Y or Z.’ It isn’t generational, it is down to education, which is down to socio-economic background, wealth, access (technical, physical, geographic, as well as mental), culture, even your parent’s job and attitude.

My 85 year old Father-in-law is Mac ready and has been wired to the Internet its entire life; does this make him of this ‘Generation?’

If x billion struggle to find clean drinking water and a meal a day, where do they stand?

They’ve not been born on Planet Google, so don’t have this generational opportunity.

I find it short sighted of the authors not to go for a ‘longitudinal’ (sic) study. It strikes me as the perfect topic of a JISC, Open University, BBC tie in, the filming part funding the research that is then published every three years for the next thirty, for example.

Trying to decide who is Generation X, or Generation Y or the ‘Google Generation’ strikes me as fraught as trying to decide when the islands we inhabit became, or could have been called in turn England, Scotland, Wales, Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

We could spend an unwarranted amount of time deciding who is in and who is out and not agreed.

We can’t it’s like pouring water through a sieve. The creator of IMBD, a computer geek and film buff was born in the 60s (or 70s). Highly IT literate, then as now, he is not of the ‘Google Generation’ as defined as being born after 1993, but is surely of the type?

Personally I was introduced to computers as part of the School of Geography initiative at Oxford in 1982.

Admittedly my first computer was an Amstrad, followed by an early Apple, but I’ve not been without a computer for the best part of thirty years. I can still give my 12 year old a run for his money (though he does get called in to sought our browser problems).

And should this report be quoting Wikipedia?

Surely it is the author we should quote if something is to be correctly cited; anyone could have written this (anyone did).

Reading this I wonder if one day the Bodleian Library will be like a zoo?

The public will have access to view a few paid students who recreate the times of yore when they had to read from a book and take notes, and look up titles in a vast leather-bound tome into which we strips of paper were intermittently stuck. (not so long ago).

Is there indeed, any point in the campus based university gathered around a library when all his millions, or hundreds of millions of books have been Googliefied?

Will collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Durham (Edinburgh and Dublin? Harvard ?) become even more elite as they become hugely expensive compared to offerings such as the Open University?

There may be no limit to how much and how fast content can be transmitted … the entire Library of Congress in 3 seconds I am told, but there are severe limits to how much you can read and remember, let alone make sense of and store.

Is this not the next step?

To rewire our minds with apps and plug-ins? I smile at the idea of ‘power browsing’ or the new one for me ‘bouncing’ the horizontal drift across papers and references rather than drilling vertically, driven by a reading list no doubt.

I can give a name to something I did as an undergraduate 1981-1984. Reading Geography I began I the Map room (skipped all lectures) and then spent my morning, if necessary moving between libraries, particularly the Rhodes Library and Radcliffe Science Library, by way of the School of Geography Library, of course, and sometimes into the Radcliffe Camera or the PPE Reading Rooms.

I bounced physically.

I bounced digitally online as a preferred way of doing things. Though this often leaves me feeling overwhelmed by the things I could read, but haven’t read, that I’d like to read. Which is good reason ONLY to read the latest paper, to check even here if the paper we are asked to read has not already been superseded by this or fellow authors.

Old digitised news keeps like a nasty smell in the wind?

Users are promiscuous, diverse and volatile and it is clear that these behaviours represent a serious challenge for traditional information providers, nurtured in a hardcopy paradigm and, in many respects, still tied to it. (p9)

The problem with the short read and low tolerance of readers is the way papers have thus far gone from print version to digital version without, yet, thorough transmogrification.

We await new acceptable ways to write, and submit and share knowledge that is less formal and to anyone versed in reading online, digestible.

All authors for the web would do well to read Jakob Nielsen on web usability.

There is a way to do it. If it looks like it belongs in a journal or book, you are getting it wrong

Do the authors appreciate that labelling the behaviour ‘squirreling’ is self-fulfilling?

It normalises the behaviour if anyone reads about it. Whilst metaphors are a useful way to explain, in one person’s words, what is going on, such metaphors soon become accepted as fact.

There is a running debate across a series of article in the New Scientist on the way humans think in metaphors (good, can’t help it), and how ideas expressed as metaphors then set unfounded parameters on how we think (not so good, and includes things like the selfish gene, competition and so on).

This dipping, bouncing and squirreling, horizontal browsing, low attention span, four to eight minute viewing diverse ‘one size does not fit all’ individual would make for an interesting cartoon character. I wonder if Steven Appleby or Quentin Blake would oblige. ________________________________________________________________________________

Why ‘huge’ and why ‘very’ ? Qualify. Facts. Evidence. And why even, 'very, very.' This isn't academic writing, it's hear say and exaggeration.

There’s a category missing from the graph – branded information, such as Wikipedia, or Harvard Business Publication, Oxford or Cambridge University Press and Blackwell’s, to name put a few.

Where so much information is available, and so many offerings on the same topic, the key for anyone is to feel they are reading a reliable source.

The point being made later about ‘brand’ presence for BL … something we will see more of with the commercialisation of information. Even Wikipedia cannot be free for ever, while the likes of Wikileaks, for its mischief making and spy-value will always be funded from nefarious sources.

There are very very few controlled studies that account for age and information seeking behaviour systematically: as a result there is much mis-information and much speculation about how young people supposedly behave in cyberspace. (p14)

Observational studies have shown that young people scan online pages very rapidly (boys especially) and click extensively on hyperlinks - rather than reading sequentially. Users make very little use of advanced search facilities, assuming that search engines understand’ their queries. They tend to move rapidly from page to page, spending little time reading or digesting information and they have difficulty making relevance judgements about the pages they retrieve. (p14)

Wikipedia and YouTube both exhibit a marked age separation between viewers of content (mainly 18-24s) and content generators (mainly 45-54s and 35-44s respectively). (p16, ref 17)

‘there is a considerable danger that younger users will resent the library invading what they regards as their space. There is a big difference between being where our users are’ and `being USEFUL to our users where they are’.

Surely it would be easy to compare a population that have access and those who do not?

Simply take a group from a developed, rich Western nation and compare them to a group that are not, that don’t have the internet access, video games or mobile phones.

REFERENCE

Information behaviour of the researcher of the future. UCL 11 JAN 2008

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When is a blog, not a blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 15 Jan 2011, 18:37

When it's a photo-journal.

As I work from home I alleviate the boredom of the day by at various times moving to my wife's desk.

Assuming she is not, which she often isn't because she has a laptop and also likes to spend part of the day looking out the front window.

Meanwhile I might shut myself in here. Actually at the end of the bed like a teenager doing A' Levels, in this case on an iBook which I think is eight years old, which in dog-years makes it about 86. The battery has been replaced, the screen has gone and the operating system doesn't support most Flash and crucifies MyStuff. I did H807 on this and nearly didn't survive the experience.

And then I get fed up with computer screens, and do this (onto recycled paper used for professional projects which risks getting me very confused if I look at the wrong side of the sheet).

And so I spend an afternoon away from the computer and have found this an effective way forward.

Which is often the case.

I also like to write on wallpaper backing sheets that come in long scrolls. I have one taped to the wall above the bed right now. My wife tollerated its presence last night, she may not once I've scrawled H808 ECA stuff all over it.

Of course, if a picture is worth 1,000 words then I have once again said far, far too much.

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H808 activity 6

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 18:35

Some of the software is too clever by half. All of it has foibles.

Docx might punch some useful quasi-intuitive tools but it smacks of Apple pixie dust sprinkled over DOS. Failing to share docx word and excel docs with others with older software on PCs, let alone with MACs harks back to the early 1990s when this kind of incompatibility was common and a constant frustration in the 'creative industries' between those who were MAC based and those on a PC.

Up at 3.56am. Potty. But a couple of hours later and if I have been distracted I can only blame myself. The dog is asleep at my feet, the family sleep above me, though my head is full of domestic grief, not ours, but my daughter's boyfriends family starting a messy break-up with him temporarily ejected from his home and seeking sanctuary which we feel unable to offer.

My response too often is quick and emotional, this can apply to domestic life as well as work. I lead with the heart. I am learning to do otherwise, to make the time, to try to be rational, to avoid tipping from radical alternatives of hate and love, yes and no ... there is always a middle way, however hard it may be to negotiate or to my mind however dull 'middle of the road' might feel.

Middle of the road gets things done, with drama, in a professional manner, which may be the point in a module on the 'e-learning professional.'

H808, UNIT 6 A COLLABORATIVE EXERCISE

Having had some successful experiences I know what it takes, what skills, tools, timekeeping and commitment works. Where in the past I have been introduced by others to some simple online tools to share, collaborate and contribute work in an engaging way, both synchronously and asynchronously ... it may be my turn to get out of the passenger seat and take the wheel. Often you find the 'vehicle' drives in automatic, Skype and sync.in for example, Google Docs too, are far easier than you may at first imagine.

Tools for co-ordinating availability between people on opposite sides of the globe anyone? Personally I operate as if in three places ... spending a few hours on the Indian subcontinent, a few hours in the UK .... then reappearing on the West Coast of the US!

The 24 hour economy should not mean that you work for 24 hours. Or does it? Perhaps we'll reach the stage where we keep links with people permanently open wherever we go, as if they are sitting on our shoulders, forever at our side, omnipresent and god like (in the Greek sense).

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The beginning of life as we now know it ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 20:40

It wasn't Adam and Eve, it was Douglas and Stephen, as in Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry.

Fry's account of his love affair with technology through a BBC micro, then early Macs is a wonder.

The Fry Chronicles is read by the author on BBC Radio 4.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vjl1f

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by 'Fitch' Fitchett, Friday, 29 Oct 2010, 11:42)
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Multiple browsers

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Oct 2010, 05:49

Goaded into this by H807 and H808, Innovations in E-Learning and the E-learning Professional, I find I am often using two or three software tools to do the same task instead of one. Call it research, or do I like to cherry pick the different way they do things?

I have slipped into using Google Chrome and Firefox as my preferred browsers. I'm also mixing between a PC and a Mac, though I've abandoned Internet Explorer and AOL.

A few weeks using Outlook and I risk smashing the PC (not its fault) or is it? To resolve problems I am having to ring a tech friend as the help prompts are obtuse - worse than a politician who has their prepared answer to whatever question is asked of them which results in some baffling non sequitur.

In one week I have lost ALL my AOL emails (not that seven/eight years of these things were worth keeping I suppose) and now ALL outgoing emails are being bounced back in my face.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I love Mac because it is friendly and intuitive. I loathe most things Microsoft because they are neither.

Is this just me?

If you've never owned a Mac, save up, go buy one.

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Learning new software tools

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Oct 2011, 14:56

I wonder if I'm weary of learning to use yet another software tool? Those that intuitively add to what I know already are easy, whereas new platforms are not.

A Mac user since the days of the 'Classic' I find common tools such as Outlook quite foreign, plenty of functionality, but very mathematical, boxy and dry. I need to use it to tie in with the work I do with a swimming club.

I'm not even great with Excel having only used it for basic accounts. When it comes to creating and managing a database I have always used FileMaker Pro - I prefer the flexibility of layouts as I like to have bespoke pages depending on what information is being collated.

Any tips on merging contact data from Excell to Outlook would be appreciated.

Meanwhile I'm beginning to use Google Docs and Compendium, but rather than 'playing' I need a specific task to undertake that will require their use. Anyone have some suggestions?

• Share the writing of a short story?
• Collaborate on an article related to e-learning?
• Design a piece of e-Learning on spec?

(I actually would like some collaborators to consider how to share some of the work of a soon to be 85 Oxford Don. Politics, Philosophy and since retiring 'Leadership')

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QWERTY vs a fountain pen

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:08

This age and that kind of childhood we had to use fountain pens, never Biros. I learnt to type because I was given a second hand mechanical typewriter as a Christmas present. Odd, I thought. I had wanted an electric guitar.

30 years on my son wanted an electric guitar. With three acoustic guitars in the & little desire to be tutored or to follow his lessons at school the electric guitar didn't materialise for him. Instead his saving, looking after a neighbour's guinea-pigs when they were on holiday & playing with their primary school & nursery age boys ... and some deft online searching, he bought an iTouch.

His bedroom is an emporium to all things iTouch. His three best mates all have an iTouch too now. He's the early adopter ... they follow. He leads & champions wooly hats, T-shirts & trainers Jsut the way he is gregarious & enthusiatic for new 'stuff.'

Homework last night requried some research on the history of Blues. Fed up with being told Google has 94% of the search market in the UK I reverted to 'Ask Jeeves' which I used to prefer or trial over various others a decade ago ? (or less). We were taken to Wikipedia either way.

'I alwyas wiki my home work.' He says.

Like 'to google,' 'to wiki' is now a verb.

He touch types at 40 wpm. He is 11. He has had access to a computer since he was ... 2. He played a Mavis beacon QWERTY keyboard game/learner age 4.

How un-21st century, how clunky is the use of a QWERTY keyboard? What happened to voice recogniton? Why has a better keyboard not been adopted?

Being a 'game boy' he ignore the mouse. He could be shooting at the enemy the way he uses the cursor to get around.

Later in the evening my daughter is doing History Homework. It is the First World War. Her great-grandfather was a machine gunner. Her survived the Somme & Ypres and successfully transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Three 'Really useful' boxes contain a collection of Imperial War Museum books, his medals, photos & postcards of the time ... even a cutting from the Consett Gazette in which he is featured in November 1917 haveing been awarded the Military Medal. In this box there is a full collection of 54 magazines on 'The Great War' published c.1929 & edited by H.G.Wells. The covers are red, everything else is in black and white.

'When did they invent colour?' She asked.

We discuss this.

We look through the many pages of mules & limbers, mud & soldiers, planes that are barely recognisable has such (a flying hay-rick) and 'tanks' that look as static as pillboxes.

"When did they start inventing things?' She then asked.

By this she means mobile phones, computers, TV sets ... or 'stuff,' as in 'eletronic stuff.'

When did humans ever not invent?

From the perspective of a child, 'innovation' within the context of the world they are familiar with must produce considerable advance. particularly in this era when 'new stuff' is redundant as it hits the shelf.

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