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Taken ... as a comedy

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012, 17:54

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Fig. 1. Liam Neeson takes revenge in 'Taken'

Of course our 14 year old son shouldn't have been watching the moview 'Taken', but for the benefit of his 16 year old sister on the long drive home this evening he set about detailing the action.

I found it hand not to laugh all the way through as somehow I had in my mind's eye the film that I have seen three times as he offered his esoteric description - All Liam Neson did apparently was talk in gutural noises and wave his hands about. Dialogue didn't feature, nor characterisation - just the action. What more does it need. (What was it Hitchcock said about dialogue, that is was a sound effect?)

At the end of this our 16 year old daughter perked up and said, 'Granny said I mustn't see this film and then proceeded to describe it in gory detail'. The image of my late mother drawing attention to the nastiest moments in the film brings a smile to my face, 'there's a bit when xxxx' and you mustn't see the bit when yyyy'. Oddly enough the threat of 'white slavery' as a line used with teenage girls wanting to go out late in the 1970s. There was someone ready to snatch my teenage sisters away around every corner of late night Newcastle upon Tyne.

Listenign to Philip Pullman talking about a new anthology of Fairy Tales we are reminded of 'Little Red Riding Hood' and of 'Hansel and Gretal'. The contemporary monsters being the likes of Jimmy Saville and  Gary Glitter.

The problem is - words can be even more vivid as you create something in your mind's eye that can be far worse, closer to home and therefore possible.

Narrative is a powerful thing, as is humour and violence if done correctly.

(Reading this back, this last line suddenly sounds like something that would be said by a Bond Villain)

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

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

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

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Fig.2. Shadow of Pandora - Before EFX

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Fig.3. Pandora - in situ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What purpose does an earworm serve?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 21:53

Today BBC Radio 4 treated us to some insights on the 'earworm'

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Fig. 1 Shaun Keaveny on earworms - today, BBC Radio 4

'Earworm' is a loan translation of the German Ohrwurm - it is a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one's mind, put colloquially as "music being stuck in one's head." Wikipedia

Getting stuff to stick in your head for learning is useful. Use the idea in revision. Hum the tune in your head during an exam.

There are dozens of songs that I will forever associate with a person, place or mood.

Where the ear worm isn't lodged I have tracks that I know will evoke the time and place, just as a time or place will set the music off.

Various examples are given of that tune you can't get out of your head, triggered like all memories by a siteor smell, thought or mood - then stuck. Not just a tune that is getting airplay, but obscure soundscapes from your past. A lecture in psychology from Goldsmith's London shares ideas gleaned from three studies. Powerful stuff.

In relation to learning I'd suggest using an ident and a sting.

Have an opening theme that is repeated - library music serves its purpose though professionally composed music is pretty good too and far less expensive if you know who to ask such as new comers to the industry with unrecognised talent.

Associations are changed - for me Ian Dury was me and Carolyn B and 'Storm's' house when I was fifteen, now it is Peter Cook outside Dingwall's Camden, some thirty years later.

I heard Johnny Cash performing 'Hurt' exactly two years ago (Johnny Vegas on Desert Island Discs) and now have the tune lodged in my head. And the sheet music downloaded so that I can sing it.

With a piece of video you can set the tempo with a 'click track' against which you then cut. Either a composer comes up with music against this tempo or you find something that fits.

As a director the choice is what you consider professionally to fit - but how about in a learning context you encourage students to lay in their own track of music? Synchronised with the click-track might it be more powerfully remembered as a result?

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

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

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Fig. 1 Intracranial recording for epilepsy.

Robert Ludlow, UCL Institute of Neurology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fig 4. Aleks Krotoski

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

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

Once again fascinating.

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

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

 

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We forget, it's only natural - what can we do about it?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Dec 2012, 08:40

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Fig.1. The Forgetting Curve. Ebbinghaus (1885)

'The psychological conclusion demands a distribution of repetitions such that some of them should be produced at a later time, separated from the first repetition by a pause'. (Vygotsky, 1926)

More recently, in the last ten years in fact, Dr B Price Kerfoot of Harvard Medical School (2006) created a platform called SpacedEd (now Qstream) that uses multichoice questions, typically and most successfully with first year medical students, where sets of questions are randomised then sent out as text or email to tackle, I suppose, what Ebbinghaus (1885) identified with his 'Forgetting Curve'. An evidence based paper on the effectiveness of 'spaced learning' showed how there was better retention three months, six months and a year down the line.

REFERENCE

Ebbinghaus, H (1885) Memory: A contribution to experimental phsychology.

Kerfoot, B, P (2006) SPACED EDUCATION. Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A randomized Controlled Trial.

Vygotsky, L (1926) Educational Psychology

FURTHER LINKS

Formative Tests Aid Retention

 

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H810 : Learning, Accessibility and Memory

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

 

Ebbinghaus 'Forgetting Curve'

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

 

 

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

 

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Studying e-learning but sometimes the old ways are best!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 26 Jun 2012, 14:59

DSC03517.JPG E-learning can never be replacement learning, rather it is a tool, a support, a method, an approach that enhances distance learning and complements 'learning'. It has its own vibrancy and currency, with a universe of information and even free 'Open' courses at your finger tips ... and is increasingly mobile.

Imagine taking a slate away from a Victorian child and handing them an iPad.

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It would take them no time to figure out what it is about. Increasingly, though my background isn't 'traditional education' I find myself turning to simple skills of involvement and engagement, such as this excuse last month as Lewes and Lewes Old Grammar School celebrate 500 years of teaching with a march through the streets of Lewes and a party in the Paddock (our park).

The Queen had her 60th on the River Thames, we have the 10th of the First World War to think about and an Oxford College has its 750th to mark next year. Keep it simple, dress up, create some banners or the odd float, and march to a band.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even the posters I put up on the wall.

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

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

Why not?

Bowie posters on the wall.

Shakespeare for sure.

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

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

There are lessons worth remembering though.

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

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500 years of Lewes Old Grammar School, so what do they do? Close the High Street and march around town in costume

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 Oct 2014, 08:29

A school parade through Lewes. This is Lewes. This is normal.

I've been marching around in fancy dress for 12 years either as a Confederate Soldier or an early 18th Century Pirate.

Does Lewes produce more historians per head of population than other towns in the UK?

I wonder because all this activity must have an impact, especially on the younger participants. I took over 200 photos this afternoon, and spent a lot of time getting close ups of the 3d 'Banners' that were paraded through town.

The detail and craftsmanship impressed.

The entire set could be used as multiple pegs into the 500 year history of England ... and beyond, this is afterall the town of Tom Paine.

This on the day Scotland starts its yes campaign for independence and I happend to be reading the chapter in the Norman Davies book 'The Isles' on the extraordinary mishaps that resulted in the union of England and Scotland in the first place.

Scotland had gone bust financing an attempt at empire building in central America. I favour independence. Of the 62 ancestors I can trace back to the 18th century one was Irish, and some 50 from Scotland, the rest from the North East or North West of England.

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Going Digital. Another memory aid in a 5,000 year history. A must read for anyone on MAODE, especially H800 and H807

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 22 May 2012, 13:57

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GOING DIGITAL

Evolutionary and revolutionary aspects of digitization

(147th Nobel Symposium June 23-26, 2009. Published 2011)

 

‘A three day discussion on the future of memory’. (Baker, 2011)

 

What is evolutionary or revolutionary when going digital today?


The Pre-digital world. How did we manage?

 

· Where did this come from?

· Access

· What does it mean?

· How academics use it

· Adding value for research

· Where is it all leading to?

 

Videos available here

 

Putting together the best speakers:


· Professor Emma Rothschild, Harvard.

· Dr Lisbet Rausing, Imperial College, London

· Professor Marco Beretta, Bologna/Florence

· Martin Rosenbroek, National Library, The Netherlands

 

Going Digital. Another memory aid in a 5,000 year history. A must read for anyone on MAODE, especially H800 and H807

 

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B822 exam: 52 hours to go!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 17 Jun 2012, 09:13
Exam preparation. I am spending more time writing out by hand to get my head/body used to this ancient practice of scribling rather than tapping or increasingly speaking what I want to express. Using 12 mnemonics to cover a substantial chunk of the course, each a catalyst into deeper, easily expanded threads on personality types, creative organisations, frameworks, cps techniques, barriers, specific examples and so on. This process must be drawing to a close as I now have a master key mnemonic that ensures a cue into them all. 'My PHD VOICE PR' is of course as meaningless to anyone else as sharing a dream. These 12 letters are the first for all the B822 mnemonics that I have devised, learnt and repeatedly tested myself on; they vary in length from 4 to 15 letters, thus giving me a matrix of some 100 facts/events/issues. These, a 'mind dump' in the first 10-15 minutes form my very own 'smorgasbord' from which I will draw my responses when I finally turn the page and look at the questions. 5 minutes to make my three choices, then 5-10 minutes on an essay plan for each. I give myself then 45 minutes to write each answer and only once all three are 'in the bag' in some form will I allot my remaining time, potentially 5 minutes on each. Can my wrist sustain writing for such a marathon. I doubt it. Is it too late to scribble out longhand for three hours on the trot? I'll do a mock exam this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon and hope my hand doesn't get unduly blistered.
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A tonic for TMA blues

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To fill the void I have read 'Goodbye to all that' the Robert Graves biography cover to cover. A book, not on a Kindle or iPad. As I read it twenty years ago and doodled notes in it I repeated the exercise. Nothing I read was familiar until I got to the end which says something of my mind's ability to forget everything very quickly indeed unless it is applied. Applied learning sticks in the learning and stays there through further application.
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If you could recall everything is this helpful or a hinderance?

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‘If someone could retain in his memory everything he had experienced, if he could at any time call up any fragment of his past, he would be nothing like human beings; neither his loves nor his friendships nor his angers nor his capacity to forgive or avenge would resemble ours’. Milan Kundera.
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The Contents of my Brain

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's value? To me, or others?

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

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

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

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

Do I draw on it to write fiction?

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

And all the fictoin, the millions of words.

Will this have a life if put online?

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

 

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H800: 28 What is 'learning?' This is:

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 3 Mar 2011, 16:54

I've been pondering this question for 14 years .. since our daughter was born.

I don't think I gave it a moment's thought at school, university, in further postgraduate studying or courses or even at work where we were producing training films (amongst other things).

Knowing and applying 'stuff' came into it.

Otherwise it was starting to get my head around the neurological processes that had me starting to understand what was going on. Simple really, you expose a person (your daughter, yourself) to something and it results in a stimuli that with repetition becomes embedded.

You cannot help yourself. You pick things up. At what stage have something been learnt though? When you apply it? Or simply knowing that the knowledge is 'there.'

One key moment this last year was coming to an understanding of what 'life-long learning' entails. Even concluding that the less isolated we are the more we learn? Which hardly holds true of the bookworm (or should they now be called webworms?)

Did it help to play Mozart while she was developing in the womb?

Did it help that she was learning to play the piano, draw, type and read all at the same time?

How does she compare to her brother because she apparently has a 'photographic' memory ... while he does not?

i.e. just because the input mechanism allows for good recall does she learn any better, or even less well, than someone who has to make more effort?

My own mind is made of Teflon - nothing sticks! And even if I get it into my head it slides all over the place producing most unusual combinations sad

Am I going to Google 'learning' or look it up in Wikipedia?

Probably not.

I'd prefer to find out what Quentin Blake makes of it ... or Norman Mailer. What did learning mean to Vincent van Gogh? We can probably tell from the many letters he wrote to his brother.

I have read Ian Kershaw's two volume biography of Adolf Hitler.

How did that monster acquire and develop his belief systems?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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En e-portfolio of everything

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Aug 2011, 15:43

To start me off filling an eportfolio with EVERYTHING I've ever experienced I have a mind map in front of me that offers the following:

Big Wellies

A picture of me age five or six in oversize green wellies that I fondly remember as I loved it when I found water deep enough for the wellies to fill with water.

Fog Horn

The fog horn from the Lighthouse on Farnes Islands. I could here it from my bedroom window in Beadnell and like to watch the light as it appeared across the window. Not older than eight.

Physics

This is an O'Level Physics book that was sent home for me to read. I misssed an entire term of school as I had broken my leg rather badly in a skiing accident. I don't have the book, but I have it (and most others) listed. I could in theory recover a substantial number of the books I have EVER read?

Geography Essay

In text books I kept for my favourite subject that I went on to study at Oxford.

Tots TV

That my 14 year old daughter was watching on YouTube. She remarked, as she sang along, how she could remember the words. So could I. We used to watch it together since she was two or three.

Which triggered this idea of recalling distant memories and what prompts it required: a photo, a taste, a book title ...

Where e-portfolios still fail ... and I have a diary of 17000 pages, is the tagging. You have to find the words. I'd prefer to tage visually, so a an image to represent every page, or every event on every page? But what about a smell, taste or sound?

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H800: 22 Reflecting on H800

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

How goes it?

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

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

Ilness changes things

Nothing more than a rubbish cold made uncomfortable by asthma.

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

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

We're in the week of metaphors for learning.

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

Gathering my thoughts will take time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next pool? Where is that?

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

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

Piaget next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have always used sleep to reflect on ideas.

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

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

Going back to tagging.

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

There has to be a trigger, surely?

Can any of these be used?

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

The mind boggles; or at least mine does.

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

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

Are there better ways to tag?

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

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

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

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

See.

Testing works.

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

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


Like an e-portfolio?

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

REFERENCE

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

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

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

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

1: Who are you in the dream?

2: Who are you with in the dream?

3: What details stand out?

4: What do you feel about these details?

5: What are the various actions in the dream?

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

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

8: What does the dream want from you?

9: What are the various feelings in this dream?

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

11: Why did you need this dream?

12: Why have you had this dream right now?

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

14: What questions arise because of this dream work?

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

16: What is being wounded in this dream?

17: What is being healed in this dream?

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

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

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

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

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

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

24: What is being accepted in this dream?

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

26: What questions does this dream ask of you?

27: Why are you not dealing with this situation?

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

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

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

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

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

Bingo! Eureka!

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

So that's explained, 44 years on.

Nothing like giving it time ...

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Rubbish fonts are more memorable, ditch usability and make the brain work for the information.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 13 Nov 2012, 20:46

From BBC Radio 4 Today New scientific research reveals that students learn better when learning is made harder, specifically when using a font that is more challenging to read. Neuroscience blogger Jonah Lehrer discusses his own gut feeling that we remember ugly fonts much more easily.

 

Comically ugly fonts are the best.

 

So perhaps I should blog like this?

 

Ugly%20Fonts%20make%20it%20memorable.JPG

Try these:

 

Anglo%20Zulu%20Wars%20FONT%20GRAB.JPG

 

And what about handwriting?

 

DSC00372.JPG

 

'It’s a really interesting way to convey information', says Jonah Lehrer, 'as it can take a lot of work to decipher handwriting'.

 

How about these for examples if you’ve forgotten what handwriting looks like?


 

Diary%20Grab%20%20JAN%205%20FIVES%20FLIP%20GRAB.JPG

 

or this?

 

Dodgey%20Handwriting%20example.JPG

 

Let's get back to handwriting.

Or find a way to handwrite here. With a stylus and tablet?

The handwritten note, letter, or journal entry tells you something about the writer' mood, gender, age, level of education (or intoxication), even their occupation.

I've collected hand-written letters between 1969 and 1993 from family members and friends, including my grandfather whose 1918 RAF Log Book I feature above. If ever published, these artefacts will be best read in their original form rather than transcribed.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P1110008.JPG
From 11-01-2011

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

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Dear,dear, e-diary ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Nov 2011, 18:03

There's a piece in the New Scientist this last fortnight about the merits of not only keeping a diary, but digitising every moment of your waking life. The piece opens with the suggestion that at this time of year everyone is buying a diary; they're not. Most of us buy a diary in August as an academic diary if you have anything to do with educaiton (student, teacher, academic or parent) is a much more logical thing to have to carry you through the shool year. In any case, who cares where you start your diary if its digital or even a Filofax insert.

There's criticism of the Five Year Diary format, those diaries with a few lines to cover the day's events - where did Twitter get their idea from. A few lines every day is far easier to achieve than a page or more per day. I should know, I've been at it long enough.

Parameters, as any writer will know, matter.

They contain what might otherwise be a stream of never ending unconsciousness

Deadlines and word counts are helpful.

I wish I could do the research against the clock too. I have to give X hours to each topic, I would happily give x weeks and a some stage in that week I'd see I could press on for a month. I get this way when my curiosity is taking me off on a mental ramble.

The idea of keeping an objective, digitally record of everything you do does intrigue, not because of the data it captures, though I've had a few years that would be fun to re-live, but what it misses out. This is the idea of a researcher at Micrsoft who is recording his every action (and motion). However, the process misses out how you feel, and what you think.

And would have to be deactivated going through airports, going to the bank or Post Office, swimming with the kids in a public pool ... there's quite a list.

'It's a matter of love,' wrote Nabakov, 'the more you love a memory the stronger than memory becomes.'

How is such strength afforded a memory that remains on the surface of the mind, as there is no need to make the mental effort to embedded it, or to recall it, other than watching it over like a movie. A very bad, very dull, badly lit and performed movie.

'By having everything in e-memory you don't have to remember anymore.'

On the contrary by short-circuiting the implicit, instinctive natural memories making myelination process of the brain you are replacing something fluid and static, albeit it a multitude of snapshots.

 

 

 

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Paste as ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 18:03

Someone points out how to cut and paste text across formats with ease and you find it is used as often as the Caps or Enter key.

I take it for granted that I copy, 'paste as unformatted' text all the time.

This allows you to pick text from any source and immediately rid yourself of the HTML coding and formatting; this puts you in control. It is quicker too.

Personally, I find manipulating text in various ways like making up a recipe with ingredients that I want in a way that I understand.

Dull, but Arial font, 12 point, is how EVERYTHING ends up. If think my brain is ready for information expressed in this way and fast-tracks the synapses.

P.S. With a computer in each room of the house, usually on, I find I can tap away, and tap into stuff on a whim.

Currently picking my way through the development history of Spaced-Ed as an interactive spaced education platform for first year medical students at Harvard. I can't fault it. Indeed, I would propose what I am doing as a two week module in the yet to be developed module 'The E-learning Entrepreneur.'

Commercialisation demands professionalism and accountability. Generating income is better that stats, not only are people using something you've invented, but they are willing to pay for it. The cash allows you to develop it further, and in due course fight off or buy up the competition.

Why in the UK are we determined to do it all for free? Is this an excuse?

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The use of narrative in e-learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 15 Oct 2012, 10:28

I fully buy into the idea of using narrative in teaching.

Without the pyrotechnics of e-technology some imagination from a well informed agent, perhaps assisted by a scriptwriter, could produce a script that is engaging, a journey from which a learner may deviate if something so intrigues them, a pattern with a beginning, middle and end that everyone can follow.

‘Teachers use narrative to teach children difficult concepts and to bring structure to the curriculum.’ Egan (1988)

REF

Bruner (1996.97) ‘Meaning Making’

  • spontaneous inclination to engage in a dialogue with material
  • to improve some form of organisation upon it
  • to make comparison with it

REF

McCloskey, D.N. (1990) Storytelling in economics

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.

It has been shown that experts in any field tend to embody knowledge in the form of narrative.

Schon, D (1983) The Reflective Practitioner: How professionals think in action.

‘Stories are the method by which people impose order and reason upon the world.’ Fisher. (1987) REF Fisher, W.R. (1987) Human communication as Narration: toward philosophy of reason, value and action.

‘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)

The framework is the logic of the narrative, the logic of the plot, the role-play of the protagonist (you the learner), the battle you have with antagonists (concepts you can’t grasp) supported by your allies (the community of learners, your tutor and institution) leading to a crisis (the ECA or exam), but resolved with a happy ending (one hopes).

Film-makers, naturally, but also documentary film-makers, bang on about the ‘narrative’ and the ‘story.’

This is how facts, whether naturally linear or not, need to be presented, if an audience, or a larger part of that audience, are to be suitably engaged by a topic.

Some months ago there was a news story concerning how much could be expressed in 40 seconds – BBC Radio 4, Today Programme. Any recollections?

Three experts were called and in turn tried to explain:

1) Bing Bang

2) String Theory

3) The Offside Rule in soccer

Bing Bang was pure narrative, like Genesis in the Bible, with a clear beginning, middle and end.

String Theory had a narrative in they way the theory came about, and just about got there.

The Offside Rule didn't even started well, then got hopelessly lost in ifs and buts and maybes. (I got lost at least. Coming to all three equally ignorant I only came away with full understanding of one, some understanding of the second, and barely a clue with the Offside Rule)

The use of scenarios:

  • as a device for determining functionality
  • as a means for engaging users in the stakeholder’s consultation

Having spent too considerable a part of my working life trying to write original screenplays and TV dramas I am versed in writing themes and strategies, storytelling in three acts, with turning points and a climax, antagonists and protagonists.

I use software like Final Draft and Power Structure.

These tools could as easily be used to compose and craft a piece of e-learning. Perhaps I’ll be given the opportunity to do so.

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)

Writing a narrative, for a novel or screenplay, is to some degree formulaic.

Is design of e-learning as straight-forward?

A decade ago it looked complex, five years ago with HTML code package in plug-ins and excellent ‘off-the-shelf’ software coming along the process appeared less out of reach.

Today I wonder if it is more matter-of-fact than some make out?

Addressing problems, devising a plan (a synopsis, then a treatment), threading it together … maybe its having it operate apart from the tutor or lecturer or teacher is what concerns you (teachers, lectures, profs). You are the ones who must learn to ‘let go of your baby,’ to have an actor or presenter deliver your lines. Once, and well. Or write in a team, as writers on a soap opera.

It works to follow the pattern rather than break it.

It strikes me that in e-learning design there may be only a few structures to cover most topics – really, there can only be so many ways to tell/teach/help someone understand a concept … or to do something, and remember the facts, the arguments and concepts … to be able to do it, repeatedly, build on this and even develop an idea independently to the next stage or level.

There is little meat on a popular documentary

There are micro-narratives and their are journeys, some more literal than others, for example, currently there’s a BBC documentary series, ‘The Normans’ and the third or so series of ‘Coast.’

From an educational point of view, what do audiences ‘learn’ from these programmes?

Can they typically recall anything at all, or do we/are we semi-conscious when watching TV, leaning back, not leaning forward, mentally as alert as someone smoking a joint. (Apocryphal or true?)

Try reading the script, try transcribing what is said and look at how far it goes.

Not very far at all.

Such programmes/series can be a catalyst to go to the website or buy the books, but otherwise the information is extremely thin, predictable and ‘safe.’)

If only links could be embedded into the programme so that as you view the programme relevant pages from the Internet wold automatically be called up.

Do you watch TV with a laptop?

Many do. Traders can manage several screens at a time, why not as mere mortals too?It becomes more engaging when you field of vision is nothing but screens, on topic. My preferred way of working is to have two screens, two computers, a mac and a PC, side by side. They do different things, they behave in different ways. I have a team of two, not one.

The medium may introduce a topic or theme, but there is little meat on the bone and we can be swayed by:

  • bias
  • the view of the author/presenter/channel
    • (commissioning editor)
  • negative or positive

(For any longer list of concerns take a course in media studies.)

And if its on a commercial channel there are interruptions for adverts, while even the BBC chase ratings.

Even seen a lecturer take a commercial break

How about the some rich e-learning sponsored by Lucoxade, Andrex or Persil?

This is how schools receive interactive cd-rom and online websites ‘for free.’

REFERENCE

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

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The Contents of my Brain

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 22 Apr 2010, 14:47

What matters is what I have in my head and how I use it. If through background, experience and training I can express a thought and do so in a variety of ways: text, voice, video, presentation in the flesh ... then so be it.

All efforts I have made over three decades to keep diaries, letters, books and videos has been funnelled into this experience. My conclusion is that all that matters is what I take with me in my head as I step away from this keyboard ... and that when I die the contents of my brain and its way of connecting things goes with me.

 

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