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Moving on ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 11 Jun 2013, 11:18

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Here in Lewes we shut the town centre down for a march as often as we can.

It all stems from 5th November. We had only been here a couple of months and we were enrolled in a Bonfire Society. That was 13 years ago.

The town also has a Moving on parade for all primary schools in the district, not just the town, but from outlying villages. The town centre is closed to traffic and kids, dressed up, carrying banners and whatnot on a theme, march through town and end it with a party in the Paddock - a large field, formerly part of the earthworks around the 11th century Lewes Castle.

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It helps to make an occasion of something when we move on. We're rather good at it:

  • Christenings
  • Marriage
  • Death
  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Graduation

I'm down for Brighton or will try to enroll in Versailles for my graduation. I skipped my first nearly three decades ago. I just didn't feel like moving on. I hadn't felt I'd had an education to justify the fuss. My fault, not theirs. I put in the hours and came out with an OK degree but that isn't why I'll remember my undergraduate years.

I should mark moving on, and away from this blog. It logs, day by day, and in the background countless pages of hidden notes. It has carried me through the Masters in Open & Distance Education.

H809, my bonus track, will mark the end.

For this reason I am migrating most of the content and the journey it records to an external blog.

My Mind Bursts

From time to time I'll post a note at the bottom of the page to say this is where it'll be from June.

My moving on.

By May, I'll also know if the next few years have been set up. We'll see. I may even be back at the OU in some capacity. I rather

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Four ways to be a 'Digital Scholar'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Oct 2011, 05:05

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

Weller (2011 in Chapter 4, 20% of the way through, Kindle Location 1005. Is there a page number related to a print version? Amazon say not in a polite, informative and lengthy e-mail. What therefore is the answer to this referencing conundrum?)

Does Weller's suggestion make anyone who keeps a student blog and shares it openly like this a scholar?

Making us all digital scholars?

(I love the term as a hundred years ago in Census Returns it was used to describe anyone attending an academic institution, whether school or university).

Goals of the Scholarly Activity

  • Provide students with an opportunity to employ their unique skills and talents to pursue a project of their choosing under the mentorship of an expert in the field.
  • Provide mentorship and guidance for students interested in careers that integrate research, teaching, and clinical service (academic medicine).
  • Foster development of analytical thinking skills, rational decision making, and attention to the scientific method.
  • Enhance communication skills.
  • Enhance self-directed learning.

 

Reference

Boyer, E.L. 1990. Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Princeton, NJ.

Weller, M., (2011) The Digital Scholar

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B-learning: as in bathroom, bed, beach or 'in the bath'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 06:48

Could be bed-based learning too, even the beach, or on a boat; all tried for the purposes of testing the device and its possibilities.

TIPS FOR THE BATH

  • Spare towel for the iPad when you put the thing down. I find this is when the water gets cold.
  • Toe control of the hot tap.
  • Contact lenses in (glasses steam up).

The context lends itself to a variety of e-learning topics, the marketing of bathroom products, shampoos in particular.

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A glance might allow the sleuth to identify the make-up of family members.


Takes picture, though this could be uploaded directly to wordpress here I go for Picasa Web, then paste in the code.


DIY tips on a dripping tap would be handy, but isn't that e-training?


Otherwise normal bath activities apply:

  • read a book,
  • listen to the radio ...
  • sleep
  • wash


Surely 'mobile learning' in this context is a misnomer (or unnecessary nomer)

Was book reading ever called mobile or portable reading once cost and size meant that some people took the early printed books with them?

Being without a room of my own, or study even a habitable shed, garage or attic the advantage of having an iPad in the bath is that I am unlikely to be disturbed.

A laptop doesn't work, you get drips in the keyboard and sitting up spoils the point of the bath.

Where do you take your 'mobile device' and in what contexts, times and places is it suitable or conducice to learning?

I find a bench 'in memory to ... ' on cliffs looking over the English Channel at Hope Gap or the mouth of the River Cuckmere below the chalk cliffs of the South Downs known as the 'Seven Sisters' a place to write, especially at first light. For a couple of hours. Train journeys can be good too, so long as it isn't packed.

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Toilet Learning - Just 'situated' learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 09:20

SURVEY ON USE OF SMARTPHONES BY US STUDENTS

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53% of students (mostly undergraduates in this survey of 573 in the US) with a smartphone, typically an iPhone or Blackberry, use it in the bathroom.

Only 28% say they never do.

My only suggestion is to do as in China and wash you hands both before and after.

This gives me t-learning or should that be 'seat-uated' learning.

Situated and contextual learning requires marrying up the place and the learning being done, which could therefore be National Geographic and 'The Oldie' online?

The posh may prefer 'lavatory learning' - which would be 'L-learning'.

Lavatorum Docet

The lavatory teaches

 

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A little learning. Evelyn Waugh (1964)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 07:03

HOLIDAY READING

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A little learning. Evelyn Waugh (1964)

Not an e-book, but as soon as I wanted to take notes or share sentences I wish it had been.

(His less famous, though more successful popular novelist brother Alec Waugh writes a far more enjoyable satire of school-days at Shrewsbury 'The Loom of Youth'. If I wrote about Sedbergh in the 1970s it wouldn't be satire, it would be an act of war - my only revolution was to leave before Sixth Form at which time the bullied would have had to become the bully).

I bookmark by folding over the corners.

Although the pages were falling out I didn't highlight or annotate the pages, though I could have pulled the pages out.

I make three notes:

Knox was known to open and oppose the same motion. The point he makes though is that 'audiences greed for originality is the extraordinary distaste for the obvious.

NOTE REGARDING MOBILE LEARNING

(All would be downloaded as eBooks where they available. They go to the Kindle so that I can read or listen to the book on one device while taking notes onto the iPad. Is this when reading becomes a learning activity? When you take notes? Or simply when you annotate or highlight the text itself ... if you dare do this to a printed book. Anyone shared highlights or notes they have made while or having read a common book? Like an asynchronous book club of the airwaves I guess).

'You learn, in approaching any subject, to search at once for the point that is new, original, eccentric, not for the plain truth.' (Waugh, 1964: 129)

And a note left by a previous reader (my mother, who sent me this book a couple of weeks ago) that reads 'pity'.

Against Waugh's line 'I abandoned my diary on the day I left school and have no source for the following years except inexact memory.'

I didn't. 36 years later and several million words I wonder what I got myself trapped into.

Some keep saying they want me to stop blogging for a couple of years 'to finish the book'. I have plenty to say on that too, though Steven Pressfield has the definitive response, 'resistance'. I say 'anything but,' I will fill my life with 'anything but' that three-five hours a day of effort in front of a keypad or notepad.

Is memory exact?

My diary is an aide memoire, an impression of the moment that changes all the time.

REFERENCE

Waugh, A.E. (1964) A little learning.

I cannot see the value in hereditary he gives to the first chapter, in predetermining the way some turns out, physiologically or psychologically, surely upbringing has more to do with it? He also concentrates on the male professional line. Rather selective? And from our point of view ignorant and sexist?

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H800 wk24 Activity 3 Expressions of learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 8 Nov 2011, 22:05

Think about your own learning – the resources and tools you use, where and when it takes place.

Early mornings from 4.00am, weekends, mornings only 'til 10.00 or so.

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Occasionally some reading in the evening.

But vicariously too, in a conversation, or going for walk, say looking at pebbles and shell washed up on the shore, or the layers of deposits in a chalk cliff.

What is your experience of being a learner?

If I'm not learning something new or building on my knowledge I am bored. I'm staggered I survived formal learning, I found the Oxford approach tedious, skipped all lectures, and relied instead on libraries and Blackwells which could between them supply every book or journal I wanted.

I failed to get far with a correspondence course on writing.

I learn best with a mixture of doing, reading/workshops and further application. I can be inspired or frustrated by my peer group. They can be a vital part of the mix, a course I did across Europe having the most refreshing mix of people.

What tools and resources do you use?

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I'm slowly getting it all down to the iPad for its speed to the web, then grabbing and pasting into websites that I use as folders, eportfolios, writer's journal as well as open blogs. I also chuck things into my email folders to collate, aggregate or check through later.

What are your views on different technologies?

I make the time to try most things and will become temporarily hooked. Currently fixated on Linkedin, Wordpress blogs and Stumbleupon.

Likely to read most content as an eBook putting notes into iWriter. This is in stark contrast to printing everything off a year ago then filing it.

Forever grabbing screenshots or taking pics that go from Picasa to Picasa Web and then into blogs.

Can you think of examples where technology has made a significant difference to the way you learn?

When I started the MAODE I fell back on methods I had used during A' levels snd quickly filled several files.

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A year on and I hold the iPad in my right hand and manage a kind of touchtyping with the other. I try not to rely on harddrives and memory sticks instead putting it online, increasingly as private or password protected entries in a number of blogs hat act as themes or categories.

I would worry about learning away from The OU and finding the VLE not up to scratch or being cut-off from fellow students.

Can you think of counter examples where you had a bad experience of a particular technology?

I hate Outlook and Excel.

I both instances I feel the nerd has taken over, that my mothball of a mnd is being shoe-horned into a match-box. Worse, My unregimented, freefalling, excitable mind is being containerised, my best thoughts quaterised. It disables some minds and enables the petty. These are to me like walking in crocodiles to the school dining hall; they are overly prescriptive.

I am starting to hate Word 2011 in favour of an iPad App, iWriter which is less like trying to write while dressed as a Morris Dancer and playing the Great Whurlitzer.

Interested in the potential of computers I joined an undergraduate group in 1983 but found having to learn programming was akin to sticking stamps onto envelopes with my toes.

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I used interactive DVDs successfully to learn AdobePhotoshop, FilemakerPro and Dreamweaver.

Simply a voice talking through the screen shots then getting you to do the same. The next best thing to having someone sit at your side and be your guide.

All self-paced, vital as I might prefer to do 20 intensive hours in one shot rather than nibbling at it.

What did this do to your motivation for learning?

There must be intrinsic motivation.

How did you deal with the situation?

Giving up. Which I know now was unnecessary. Thinking my mind isn't suited to a thing instead of tackling it.

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Support is vital.

Some formal training, then support at your shoulder. Time to figure it out. Understanding as you get it wrong. Those expert at these things can be unsympathetic to new comers, assuming their knowledge, rather that helping or nuturing.

Had the motivation been there could I have found my own way into the technology I do wonder.

I love the intuitive, where the learning is self-directed and incremental. Anything that needs an instruction manual or behaves like the off-side rule will put me off.

I love the Sony flip. IT just does video. Like Google 'just does search'.

Excessive bells and whistles should be offered as Apps to add later rather than being offered up front.

Visualing metaphors I use to explain learning online:

It is like the letter a ...

  • A dandelion in seed (Content online)

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  • The solar system (Social Media Networks)

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  • Drops of ink in water (Content online)

 

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Akin to my ever changing Personal Learning Environment mindmap:

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  • Lichen (How your knowledge grows/links)
  • Ball-bearings (Dependency and interaction)
  • A map (layouts, representation)
  • The water-cycle (Binary code as water molecules)
  • A Catherine-wheel (Spinning beautifully then falling of its stand!)

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  • A glider riding a thermal (Personal development)
  • Delibes, Lakme. (Music as metaphor. Dance. Entanglement. Rising)
  • Learning to sight read music
  • Soaring and bound

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  • Swimming pool (coaching/training)

Each might emphasise different aspects of the process: –

  • What is being learnt
  • Contexts
  • Audiences

Ways of expressing yourself

  • Empathy
  • Shared experience

What artifacts (tools, resources, etc.) are being used?

Where and when things are happening

  • IPad
  • Photoscspe
  • Picasa
  • Artpad
  • Bubbl.us
  • Wordle
  • MRI scan
  • Engestrom's activity systems
  • Google Images
  • David Mcandless
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H800 WK23 Activity 2 Making sense out of complexity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 1 Nov 2011, 16:44

 

Wordle

 

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And is visualised in many ways, Engestrom (2007) Mycorrhizae thinks in term of fungi.

My own take is a lichen:

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The language you use carries with it connotations and hidden assumptions. You need to make things as clear and as explicit as possible to develop shared meaning and understanding to avoid confusion. Conole (2011:404) Indeed. Conole in one sentence manages several metaphors:

· Different lenses

· Digital landscape

· Navigate through this space

So we've go camera lenses/how the eye sees, we have a landscape that has a physical presence, where a digital one does not and then we have an image of a Tall Ship on an ocean passing through this landscape (or at least I do). You might see a GPS device, a map and compass on a the Yorkshire Fells. Language creates images in our minds eye. The danger of a metaphor is when it creates parameters or absolutes.

I find it problematic that descpite the tools around us we are obliged to communicate with words. We could use images, we can use live audio, but we are yet to construct and respond to these activites with a piece to webcam.

Conole and Oliver mention four levels of description:

1. Flat vocabulary

2. More complex vocabulary

3. Classification schemas or models

4. Metaphors

Which is the most persuasive? The most effective and memorable?

This set of words is used to describe cloudworks. Only the last stands out as pertinent to Web 2.0 and the kinds of apt terms for e-learning 2011.

  • Practice
  • Design
  • Case study
  • Resource
  • Design template
  • Link to site
  • Request for advice
  • Evolving dialogue

Metaphors are indeed 'powerful ways of meaning making'. (Conole. 2011.406)

Ref: Metaphors we live by. Lakoff and Johnson (1980)

Over the last 18 months I have returned repeatedly to the importance and value of metaphors, drawing on neuroscience and literature. There are 28 entries in which metaphor is discussed. This is perhaps the most insightful as it draws on an article in the New Scientist.

Morgan’s Metaphors discussed by Conole, White and Oliver (2007)

1. Machines

2. Brains

3. Organisms

4. Cultures

5. Political systems

Whatever works for you, but importantly, what you can use that is comprehended by others.

Presenting on Social Media over the last few weeks I have repeatedly used images of the Solar System to develop ideas of gravity and magnitude, spheres of influence and impacts. It is one way to try and make sense of it. The other one I use is the water-cycle, but as that can turn into an A' Level geography class.

Some futher thoughts from Conole

‘These and other tools are beginning to enable us to embed more meaning in the objects and connections within the digital space. The tools can also be used to navigate through the digital space, providing particular narrative paths of meaning to address different goals or interests.’ (Conole, 2011:409)

‘The approach needs to shift to harnessing the networked aspects of new technologies, so that individuals foster their own set of meaningful connections to support their practice, whether this be teachers and seeking connections to support them in developing and delivering their teaching, or learners in search of connections to support and evidence of their learning. (Conole. 2011:410)

‘Those not engaging with technologies or without access are getting left further and further behind. We need to be mindful that the egalitarian, liberal view of new technologies is a myth; power and dynamics remain, niches develop and evolve. Applications of metaphorical notions of ecology, culture and politics can help us better understand and deal with these complexities. (Conole. 2011:410)

How do we describe and make sense of digital environments?

It is complex and multifaceted

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H800 wk 23 Making meaning of complexity and change through Grainne Conole and metaphor

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Sep 2011, 08:30

H800 wk23 a Activity 2

Stepping over the edge

'A key characteristic of these new technologies is "learning by doing" - users need to be immersed in and "play with" the affordances that these new digital environments offer, and hence over time get a sense of how they can change practice.' Conole (2011:403)

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MY STUDENT BLOG AS A WORDLE

Whilst I may highlight and annotate, doing do on paper isn't the easiest way to share; using a screen reader is worse because I find myself not enjoying having the obvious affordances, such as cut and paste, disabled.

I have an iPad to learn from it and to share what I discover.

It is both the angle and the devil on my shoulder.

Does it super-size my mind?

It thrills and engages it, indulges and expands, but also risks loosing me in its labarynthine tangles.

Saved for now by a To Do list that I refresh and follow.

But then I find an idea from Conole (see above) that is key.

The internet is a trip to the sea, it is somewhere to play and discover.

We may require Lifeguards and laneropes but it remains largelly an environment that can only be understood through engagement.

You will get you face wet,you may get bitten by a crab.

To share this thinking I must go online, and cannot help myself.  For the last three months I click through Linkedin, reading and responding.

For the next three it may be Stumbleupon, which through tricks and traits I find increasingly insightful, feeding me like a favourite aunt or uncle , the weirdness of the www. 

Serendipity would be a better word for it. 

I am rewarded by 25 minutes of browsing with 'new finds' that becomes stuff that I recommend which in turn obliges me to update my profile, might I even say 'brand tag' the finds as 'mymindbursts'. (I need two days off to take stock and write up some ten ore more blog entries.

Draft I know will do, from my experience as a diarist, just enough to trigger a more expansive and reflecive entry)".

To remind myself:

Monday 11th

Livestream on Social Media Metrics from IET. Five presenters. All to write up from my notes and screengrabs, cushioned or suffocated by the 'official' word and slides that have since gone up.

Tuesday 12th

Picklejar Social Media for HE in which Tracy Payle shares insights from a number of Universites and through activities tips my thinking upside down and shakes it out onto the conference room table. I come away enlightened and as I had wanted, more confident if mot emboldened.

Thursday 20th

Faculty discussion on VLE and my experiences of The OU VLE to date. I take a look at the poster in the Post Room and discover a 'common room' I had been unaware of.

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H800 WK21 Activity 1c. Web 2.0 Tools for Learning - what I recommend

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 12:48

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It isn't for lack of overwhelming, immersive and engaging content online, especially 'how to' movies and 'clips' in YouTube, its how you as an individual cope with this inexhaustible choice.

Armed with an 3G tablet and sim card will we find we are learning more on the fly, taking it with us, much of it free, some of it guided and paid for?

Taking advantage of participation (John Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (John Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it 'serendipitous learning.' (me I think).

I'm finding that 18 months in, and having really started this gig in 1998 when from the agency end we were migrating interactive DVD based learning to the Web, that I of necessity must balance the tools I can play (musical instrument metaphor), compared to those I play with (sandpit, training pool metaphor) ... and I suppose those ones I am obliged to master whether I like it or not (prescriptive tools for work and study - in at the deep end metaphor?!).

Conole (2011) invites us to use 'metaphors for meaning making'.

I always have, often visualising these metaphors. Just search this diary on 'Metaphor' to see what comes up. Also try words or phrases such as 'traffic light', 'nurture', 'gardening', 'swimming', 'spheres of influence', 'hub', 'serendipity' as well as 'water' and 'water-cycle'.

I therefore offer the following:

Linkedin (For Forums, like this, in groups and networks)

Wordpress (for blogging, sharing, wiki like affordances, training, updates)

iPad (or Tablet) (Whilst PCs and Laptops have considerable power and versatility

Twitter (only for niche/target live discussions or quasi-synchronous conversations.

The rest of it is 'Twitter Twaddle'

Spam of the worst kind being pumped out by pre-assigned links as CoTweets or random disconnected thoughts. This is killing some forums where RSS feeds of this stuff overwhelms any chance of a conversation).

I've seen two Forums killed, temporarily I hope, by this stuff, the largest victim being the Oxford University Alumni group.

I believe it is simply the case of a new moderator niavely permitting Twitter feeds in on a discussion, ie. having the conversations between 30 disrupted by the disconnected chattering of 300.

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H800 wk21 Reading Grainne Conole on Web 2.0

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 1 Sep 2011, 09:15
Notes from Chapter 2 of 'Stepping over the edge' (2011)
Grainne Conole
There are positive and negative stances regarding Technologies. It helps to get some perspective.
Web 2.0 requires new strategies and policies With Web 2 .0 dialogue and sharing flourishes Greater use should be made of metaphor for meaning making

Look to 'participatory cultures' for clues Benefits including peer to peer learning (comms) A changed attitude to IP Diversification of cultural expression Development of skills valued in the modern workplace A more empowered sense of citizenship
See Table 1 Changing toolsets against functionality
Web 2.0 =
User Generated Content Collective Knowledge Building Wisdom of Crowds
Fragmentation of Voice
There are benefits:
Collaboration Co-construction Sharing
There are issues regarding:
Quality Privacy Copyright
Learn through experiential interaction rather than guided step by step instruction.
The information flow through the system is radically different in a digital world, and hence there is a need for reconceptualisation of the best processes to support this.   Conole. 2011:404
The fallacy is to think that social networks are just made up of people.They're not: Social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object. Engestrom (2005)

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From not blog to a blogging empire in a day

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Jul 2011, 21:45
I've challenged myself to set up from scratch a new blog in Wordpress with a dot.com domain name, theme, title, categories, social media affordances and other bits besides in under 10 minutes. I then give myself 5 minutes to add comments as it goes to 'The Wall' (Facebook), is sent out in Twitter even posted to a Group in Linkedin. If I can I will load then lift, or simply lift from my Picasa Website, an appropriate picture. Once you get into this you invent blog names like you're trying to name a band. Some names I have owned include: My mind bursts Writing 4 the Skip Formphoto MartiniLearning Mylegalease Reinvention Shoestring Mind Bursts Thewellyman (75956)
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Tablet technology - From 1988

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Apple started this journey in 1988

See pics and videos of the iPad Ancestors

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If a blogger blogs, what do you do if you are forever engaged in other social media such as Linkedin or Facebook?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:45

Whilst embracing 'Activity Theory' I cannot always use the argument lucidly.

Engestrom presents an idea of how people or communities/groups communicate and learn from each other; when two people start to agree with gushing enthusiasm I'd worry, something else is going on.

(Power play of some kind, or love?)

[These ideas developed further here 'My Mind Bursts']

It is the very act of coming from a different stance that we as individuals begin to form ideas that are in effect beyond our current understanding, and when these 'objects' of understanding collide fresh thinking for both parties occurs.

There is a reason why in advertising (still I hope) a copywriter sits with an art director; this is how ideas form. Sitting in with 'creatives' and becoming one myself I came to appreciate this partnership ... though it has taken me 30 years to understand what is going in.

It has taken the last year with The OU to have my own thinking turned inside out, to let go, to share, to collaborate, rather than try to be that lone author in a garret, hunched shoulders over my work, never sharing it and rarely letting go.

What I have always needed and thrive on are collaborators in the form of agents, producers, editors, publishers, fellow writers and directors, colleagues who facilitate and enable, fellow bloggers too ...

If a blogger blogs, what do you do if you are forever engaged in other social media such as Linkedin or Facebook?

'e-Commentator' already feels like a naff 'noughties' way to express it.

We've had our fill of 'e-tivities' and 'e-learning' haven't we? It is just learning; they are just activities.

I've return to Engestrom often.

My ability to trace my love hate acceptance path through his thinking attests to the value of doing this, my 'learning journal'.

This is what initially had me befuddled and angry:

Two people are the easy part.

The interplay between SIX people because yet more complex.

At arm's length, the objects, the ideas, views or knowledge that they have begins to take on an identity of its own.

'Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift'. Vernon (2011)

Am allowed to do that? Quote myself? It is my 'object 3' moment when it comes to this.

Anyone care to comment?

The challenge when reading papers such as those below is how to make the subject matter comprehensible to the non-academic. Some turn to diagrams, others to metaphors, yet others to cartoons.

I favour the lone speaker free of PowerPoint or even FlipChart.

If they can hold their argument and look into your eyes their conviction can be convincing.

My goal must remain making the complex comprehensible. Academics have a tendency to tie themselves in knots. If they only talk to fellow academics no wonder. I recognise the value of visualising, of animated explanation, of the power of persuasive through discourse, of metaphors, and analogies, of ideas rising out of the confusion to present themselves.

The problem with all things WWW is that it is just trillions of binary Ones and Zeros in the cloud (which is why I like to use the water-cycle as an analogy).

REFERENCE

Engeström (2001) article, Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation

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Why the world wide web 2.0 changes learning forever.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 4 Nov 2011, 19:55

A pedagogy of abundance explains a good deal and changes everything

 

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From Dion Hinchcliffe

A pedagogy of abundance

This forms a chapter in Martin Well's new book.

If you are studying the Masters in Open and Distance Education MAODE (any module) with The OU you need to read this.

Weller takes us through a series of clearly expressed, persuasive steps, a brief history about the more recent shifts in education and how Web 2.0 changes everything.

I conclude that the nature of learning is reverting to its natural, un-institutionalised and a pre-formal classroom based model, whereby you learn on the fly vicariously, turning to groups and individuals of your own choosing, exploiting the abundance of the web to inform and connect, an apprentice of anything, perhaps even at times with a tutor or fellow students, in an experience that is more akin to that of a governess to child, or tutor to older student or expert and scholar.

Boyer (1990) established what scholars do

1) Discovery

2) Integration

3) Application

4) Teaching

It intrigues me that this set of activities or practices is precisely what one does in social media:

1) Seeking out through research those 'spheres of influence' where the discussions are generating something fresh and pertinent, that is informed, even scholarly and that you proactively integrate this 'sphere of influence' which might be an individual (blog, podcast, video) or a social media platform group, into your own online 'realm of thinking' through bookmarks, joining a group (and engaging in its vortex).

2) Engaging tentatively in some forums.

3) From observation on the periphery (Seely-Brown) to growing levels of participation you gain the confidence to apply what you understand to the degree that you too in turn not only express your thoughts in blogs, forums and discussion groups, but

4) find yourself teaching others, itself a learning experience. Weller implies that to understand what could happen in education we ought to consider the shift in the way in which we purchase digital artifacts compared to the physical object, that just as the abundance of music, movies and books in digital form has altered our behaviours regarding shops and shopping, so the ready availability of digitised learning materials is inevitably altering the way students view and purchase education.

We are moving from a model based on the economics of scarcity to an economics of abundance.

Here, though Weller doesn't offer it, a brief consideration of how centres of learning formed in the distant past is of value. How students gathered around a scholar, then as the technology made possible, books containing information and scholarly thought were gathered into collections.

The student and educators had to be physically present and thus our university towns were formed.

The formation of and subsequent success of establishments such as the Open University (begun 42 years ago) shows that separation of student and campus was possible where the technology and logistics meant that through books, TV, radio, tapes, and subsequently DVDs and the Internet the learning experience could be divorced from the campus. This dependence on the physical artifact is now dissolving too, the expense is no longer represented in the book, indeed the idea of a collection of many chapters in one place is challenged as the Internet allows far greater tailoring of content to the learning object.

Is this not a return to a more natural way of doing things?

Should we be turning for input here from to the social anthropologist and educational psychologist here?

Have we ever learnt in units of engagement that endure through the entire contents of a book in one sitting?

I wonder if the cook book as a model for e-learning is an apt one?

Chris Anderson (2008)

The future modus operandi might be to give away '90% of a product to earn 1 %'. The logic of accepting the way in which digital stuff is created, marketed and sold implies that the 'long tail of higher education' (let's keep kids at school for now), will give much more control to the student purchasing their education; that niche and tailored learning will be desired.

Of far greater worry, unless you and your institution are readily able to embrace change as an early adopter, is that modules themselves, like a set of wikipaedia pages offered in a myriad of personalised sequences, can be assembled like a set of smart Lego bricks by the learner themselves making substantial parts of an institution's functions redundant. Indeed, being able to slot in up-to-date content, easily achieved beyond the confines of a module, is indicative of a weakening in the relationship between institution and student.

There is less dependence on specific course materials when most references can be sourced with ease.

Even the social aspect of the campus based education is challenged

Think of it as a form of tourism, education as an opportunity to socialise, be entertained and to entertain, then this can be done online. (Don't we all go to university as undergraduates for the 'crack'?)

The gap between the physical and the virtual experience has closed

Can learning be purchased, consumed and certified like an eBook from Amazon?

Should the Milton Keynes Campus of the Open University be taking greater head of the vast distribution warehouses of Amazon on the other side of the M1?

Do you need the expert if their insights can be purchased through various forms of asynchronous communication? (a book) Or their synchronous insights and expertise supported by the hour through a webinar or Skype-enabled tutorial? If the sphere of influence is reduced to that of professor and scholar, as that between a piano teacher and pianist do we need the institution at all?

And in a world where all qualifications are not the same even if they have the same name, is the only outcome that matters for the individual, their job and how they consequently perform (or if it is an MBA how their business performs)?

If the same learning outcomes are offered, using largely the same set of materials in a sequence that is logical and engaging and will in any case be far more challenged or enabled by the context in which the student is learning, then surely the deciding factor is price and the only way to decide on which price to pay has to be a combination of the depths of your pockets and the perceived and actual desirability of the brand.

If Harvard Business School, for example, as the Mercedes of business schools, can now offer, like the car manufacturer, a range of products to suit different pockets, all with the same brand values and distributed with ease over the Internet, then how do others compete?

Or what if its star product, once limited by the physical limitations of a campus and the manageability of a cohort can be purchased by thousands?

Perhaps in a growing market, with significant demand, space remains for many players and new players. However, as any Internet search shows, if you are learning online the deciding point, exactly as a purchase of a packet of Cornflakes, comes as you reach up to the shelf and select product B rather than product A.

Might it be, that having been the only product for several decades, the Open University's 'product A' is competing with a rich alphabet of alternatives, many written and supported without doubt if you look at the lists of academics and personal by people who were originally taught by or taught at The OU.

If the model is to give away the digital object and make money on the physical then Oxbridge, Ivy League and other campus based institutions could potentially increase their intake 12 fold by running all courses online, with physical presence limited to three one week long residential sessions.

The College turns into a B&B with the residents changing every week, rather like the turn around days you have at a resort.

At no stage is contact with fellow students, tutors or the college itself ever diminished, as everyone is readily contactable thanks to a smartphone and a laptop. Likewise distance learning Institutions such as The OU to compete with these upstarts should offer a campus based experience by creating permanent bases strategically all over the world.

  • Freemium
  • The Long Tail

If we think of education as music, then we have two forms, the folk form inexpensively delivered in homes and community spaces and the elite form of the expert or most popular performer in access-restricted palaces and assembly halls. Whilst historically we have seen the music industry of the last century as the democratisation music, in hindsight, with the Internet, even this looks like a restrictive practice, holding purchasers back by the schedule of production, distribution and sales. Books are going the same way as CDs; as both are formats for learning materials, is it not simply the case that with lectures, tutorials and assessment online, that there is an expectation from all quarters that we can have it all, anywhere, any time? And that this can be achieved by any institution. It isn't difficult to digitise content, you simply don't go to print. Brand, like purchasing Cornflakes, the price and what you can afford is the only differentiator.

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An activist model.

While access to expertise remains rare, we have access to journals, videos, blogs, podcasts, slidecasts, also discussion forums, comments, and blogs. Weller (2011)

And these experts, certainly in distance learning institutions, are often bound only, like the students, by lengthy threads to remote locations. Their reputation, the weight of their knowledge a product of those parts of their thinking that has been published for public consumption. It then comes down to the quality of learning experience through tutors, online and other support. We should think of each online module as a virtual game, with all those ins and outs and possibilities thoroughly tested for the experience; exactly, in fact, as occurs in the Institute of Educational Technology at The OU.

Siemens (2005) considers the shift to greater control by the learner rather than the institution.

Constructivism, social constructivism and now connectivism are the learning paradigms. If education at close quarters in the Oxbrdige tutorial, involves dialogue, reflection and critical analysis, these are the same qualities that can be achieved online at less cost and at greater convenience.

The essence of learning

Conole (2008) Web 2.0 the collective and the network.

As in the physical world with its cliques and networks, from old school-tie to Free Masons, so online, despite our desire to exploit the ability to connect, there are controls and limits. You cannot wade in and exchange with much authority, the hero expert author of the books or papers yiu have come to admire. Seely-Brown and others are right to consider how all of us, unwittingly or deliberately, first engage as an apprentice of some sort. We must begin on the periphery. If dropped into the heart of things too soon our ignorance will mean we have no purchase at the centre and centrifugal forces will cast us aside.

As one commentator is right to point out, the Internet is the real world. A movie, or novel is fiction, but online with increasing ease, we behave in just the same way with someone a thousand miles away as someone sitting opposite us.

Web 2.0 = niche communities, social purposes, collective political action, amateur journalism, social commentary.

Just as we can have the successful, recognised and respected amateur journalist and amateur sports coach, so surely can we have the amateur academic, if only in the sense that none of these people are paid. We can all surely think of professional journalists, coaches and academics who are amateurish in their words, actions and thoughts. Just as there are successful 'citizen journalists' even the 'amateur novelist' who self-publish are there not likely to be 'amateur scholars' even tutors, anyone with that vocational desire to share their thinking in order to develop the knowledge of others?

Have we not reached a stage with the plethora of quality content online and the multitude of groups that you could join, that you could learn a great deal to a high academic standard or level of performance, entirely for free both in cost terms and the constructs of an educational institution. You may not have the piece of paper at the end of it or the letters after your name, or indeed the title before your name, but when did any qualification qualify you to do something with it?

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Seely-Brown and Adler (2008) talk of this shift to participation and demand-pull.

They talk of education being:

  • Free
  • Abundant
  • Varied
  • Easy
  • Socially based Connections light

Shirky (2008) Organisations

User generated content

In a world of abundance the emphasis is less on the creation of new learning materials than on the selection, aggregation and interpretation of existing materials. We don't need more, we need systems that let us draw in the freshest and most significant content on the fly. Dare I also suggest that just as music is easily copied and shared for free, that course content, and the learning design can just as easily be lifted and reconstituted? Weller 2011 i.e. New learning content becomes the remit of students who through the abundance of stuff and connectivity generate new content. The trick is to isolate those places where people of a like-minds gather. You cannot join more than a handful of groups and take part and so contribute or gain anything. The tasks therefore becomes to find or form such groups.

Barrows and Tamblyn (1980) problem based learning. Is identified as the old way of learning.

That you present a problem then teach a way to solve it.

Wenger (1998) the social role of learning and apprenticeship as 'legitimate peripheral learning'

Bacon and Dillon (2006) Communities of practice.

Siemens and connectivism.

The real issue is user-based content. Eric Schmidt, CEO Google. More content is generated and put online in any two days in 2011 than was created, published or broadcast between the development of the first means of mass distribution, the printing press and the coming of the Internet. We do in our millions, with extraordinary ease, in 48 hours what had taken some 600 years to do.

REFERENCE

Weller, M. (2011) in Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, 249 pp223-236

 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 26 Jun 2011, 03:15)
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Social Media Matters for communications and education

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:21
I have drifted over to my mind bursts - just Google it and take your pick. I have in effect for the last three months been doing a second module in parallel while also starting a new job. One naturally feeds into the other. Applied learning works. There is no formal course of action; though there is naturally a significant amoint of activity; I like to scramble up any new learning curve, especially this one because it fascinates me. I've always been a natural networker, not working the crowd, but genuinely enjoying the company of people, listening to their ideas, woes, beliefs, their enthusiams too. If something is being said about Social Media I am reading about it online, joining groups on it (join me in Linkedin), and getting books on it- everyone an e-book with each one treated as if it belongs to a compulsory reading list. Ask about these, or spin through this blog; in most cases I start the entry with a picture of the book. I've reviewed them too which amuses me becuase by Googling my name several of this reviews are top ranked. (69133)
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H800 WK13+14 Activty 3a Vignettes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Aug 2011, 04:10

As you read through this part of Weeks 13 and 14 bear the following questions in mind.


VIGNETTE A

How do these students use technology in their studies?

-        It’s real. It was the online labs.

-        program proper CISCO equipment

-        test what you were learning

-        get actual real life work done even though it was still virtual.

-        a proper CISCO router

-        you get to take that away straight away and be able to program real routers.

-        When reading from a book you’ve not got reassurance that you can do it.

Students could use this for a ‘dry run’ offline, before taking the online tests using NetLab, which was much appreciated, as this student’s comment makes clear:

-        Packet Tracer … I’ve got a lot of respect for that – very, very good. Also I like the quick reference of it. You’re reading through something and you want to work out the output for something and you think, oh I’ll check on that and you can fire it up and within 15 seconds you’re logged on.

-        Quizzes will ‘fix in your mind’.

-        The best course I have done with the OU … because there is so much hands-on

-        A good way forward as long as simulations are realistic such as Netlab

Why do this course?

Strategically – to sit the examination for the CCNA qualification.

‘I like the idea of this being a ‘hands-on’ technical industry qualification.

-         encourage frequent practice,

-         reflection on progress

-         study using different media

-         study using different perspectives.

VIGNETTE B

ICT skills are an essential part of the curriculum but not the primary focus

She needs to complete an OU Social Work degree in order to become a registered Social Worker. She is sponsored by her employer and coping with a high workload – two OU courses studied concurrently, plus a job and home responsibilities.

The OU course includes ICT skills activities in all these areas and also skills development in information literacy.

Interviewer: Did you use any of your skills from work to do the exercises?

Student: Yes absolutely … I probably took some stuff from work to be able to do it and I took some stuff from the exercise in order to develop myself in work.

I’ve sort of had to learn a different method of doing things and had to go through it all step by step.

It’s something that will be really useful but at the moment is taking so much time for me to learn how to do it and that’s taken away from time I could be doing other stuff. 'Borrowing time from somewhere else’. Terry O’Sullivan. (2011)

She welcomes the fact that most of her course is available online and it increases the accessibility of it away from her home computer.

(People’s perceptions of how much they can fit in … on the one hand flexible learning allows you to fit it in around other things … but it might encourage some to do additional courses and so have even great pressure on their time. These choices are the students’.)

This student also reported that she used ICT in her personal life, mainly for shopping and booking holidays.

I’ve learned how to do things like – what you call it – screen shots? I remember being really excited about that.

What insights are gained by looking at how students’ experience of technology-enhanced learning is affected by their work practices and vice versa?

Understand their wishes, favoured modus operandi, desire to put learning into practice immediately, desire for support, even acceptance that facts have to be learnt, tried out and put into practice until it becomes second nature.

The modules selected for this research project included two from Technology, two from Social Work, one from Business and one from Computing.

ICT is part of the personal, study and work experience of most students well before they enter a university. As you have seen, students use technologies they already feel confident about to help them study.They may or they may not use the technological tools provided by their university, such as a virtual learning environment (VLE).

Undoubtedly, peer contact, accessing module information and so on are essential for effective study. But you also need to look at how technologies are used in direct support of the learning outcomes for which students are studying.

Richardson’s (2005) account argues that students vary in how they perceive the requirements of the same module, and that, even when this variation in perception is taken into account, they vary also in their approaches to studying.

Six conceptions of learning were identified in these data, and Richardson argues that conceptions of learning are a key influence on approaches to studying, which in turn impacts on learning outcomes.

Learning as:

  • 1 the increase of knowledge
  • 2 memorising
  • 3 the acquisition of facts or procedures
  • 4 the abstraction of meaning
  • 5 an interpretative process aimed at the understanding of reality.
  • 6 a conscious process, fuelled by personal interests and directed at obtaining harmony and happiness or changing society.

As you read each vignette, look out for statements illustrating each of the six themes.

Pay attention to how ICT relates to work experience and vice versa, how (if at all) applying learning to work influences the study process, and so on.

What do these vignettes suggest about the importance of the student’s work when designing modules where ICT plays a key role?

Choice to enable them to fit it around their lives.

Bite-size, in terms of easily isolated activities that can be fitted into a tight period of time … or strung together when a longer study period is possible.

Variety of ways in to accommodate, to some degree, the experiences (or lack of) that they bring with them from their working lives, experience of studying and from home.

As Richardson’s (2005) says students vary in how they perceive the requirements of the same module.

Technologies are used in direct support of the learning outcomes for which students are studying … but are just as readily applied in our daily lives i.e. the boundaries between skills used for work and at home, particularly if computers are used in both locations.

Just because you provide a tool, or put in an activity, or offer additional reading, does not mean students will use them. ‘Students use technologies they already feel confident about to help them study. They may or they may not use the technological tools provided by their university, such as a virtual learning environment (VLE).

(57855)

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Have we yet reached the moment when there is as much 'life' online as off?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 26 Feb 2012, 06:13

Too busy to blog? I can't be, it's my job.

I should be emptying the contents of my OU Student mind into this ... and here (www.mymindbursts.com) while doing a DR Who-like Confidential at the OU Business School.

On my second read of A New Culture of Learning. At this rate I'll have highlighted in chapter by chapter. It is WORTH the quick read.

The day has been spent gathering intelligence (content), then understanding how best to spread the good word via platforms I felt I was reasonably familiar with: Linked In, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr for example. There's a new side to it when you are here to converse and join in 24/7.

Coming to it from the Masters in Open and Distance Education I feel as if I am stepping over a stream, not chasm ... there is no great divide. Indeed, I can see that for some, and perhaps in time the edges that distinguish them will blur into Social Media Education - that these platforms are part of the mix, like the words written here, that form each of our experiences with the learning process.

Coming out of a webinar an hour ago (from Boston), I won't forget this message:

You need to be spending 1/3 of your time reading blogs, 1/3 of your time leaving comments on other people's blogs and 1/3 of your time writing your own blog if you want to develop an 'audience.'

Does anyone who thinks they blog seriously do that here?

I'm always struck by how our expectations are at first that as soon as we post something there will be thousands out of the hundreds of millions of people out there to read our staff; they will, but you have to play the game.

The above doesn't give much time for tagging. Maybe I'd adjust the above therefore to 30-30-30-10 with 10% of your time given over to thoughtful tagging.

(49867)

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My Mind Bursts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:22

It is 10 years since I last registered a domain name.

Here I am

My Mind Bursts

It's the mirror of all that goes on here +

A good deal or reading and writing (fiction)

And in time a good deal more

Like my favourite blog entries of the last 12 years.

& Digital Marketing

 

 

 

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Spaced-Ed

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 11:43

SpacedEd is a platform designed to allow learners and teachers to harness the educational benefits of spaced education.

Spaced education is a novel method of online education developed and rigorously investigated by Dr. B. Price Kerfoot (Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School).

It is based upon two core psychology research findings:the spacing effect and the testing effect.

In more than 10 randomized trials completed to date, spaced education has been found to:

  1. Improve knowledge acquisition
  2. Increase long-term knowledge retention (out to 2 years)
  3. Change behavior
  4. Boost learners' abilities to accurately self-assess their knowledge.
  5. In addition, spaced education is extremely well-accepted by learners.
  6. The spacing effect refers to the psychology research finding that information which is presented and repeated over spaced intervals is learned and retained more effectively, in comparison to traditional bolus ('binge-and-purge') methods of education.
  7. The testing effect refers to the research finding that the long-term retention of information is significantly improved by testing learners on this information.
  8. Testing is not merely a means to measure a learner's level of knowledge, but rather causes knowledge to be stored more effectively in long-term memory.
  9. The spaced education methodology is content-neutral and thus can be utilized to learn most anything.
  10. Potential applications range from teaching chemistry concepts to high school students to reinforcing Arabic language skills among health workers in the Middle East.
  11. It can also be used to reinforce educational material which was initially presented in the classroom.
  12. The full multi-media capabilities of the Internet can be harnessed to create a rich and effective learning experience.
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The importance of the words

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

Writing is everything.

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

Writing, or rather the ability to write.

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

On my passport it says 'writer, director.'

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

I see things in pictures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My mind is repeatedly blown apart

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:16

Once upon, a long time ago, I failed to take proper note of an issue of Mad Magazine, which I never read often, and it wasn't my copy, that featured a neferous business character who had a video phone, or TV phone (I don't know what they were called by the cominc in 1972 or whenever the issue came out). Perhaps it was a mock-advertisement for a roller-blind that had on it pictures designed to fool the caller, so a picture of him working late at the office, when in fact he was at a cocktail party, or ill at home, when in fact he was sunning himself in Hawaii, this kind of thing. These days, sitting infront of a webcam, you can be weraing pyjamas on the lower half and a collar and tie in vision ... you can tidy up one corner of your office/study, even decorate this one wall. Or, the modern day equivalent, would be a green screen and a video feed of wherever it is you may be pretending to be.

A share this with fellow Skypers. Ahead of an interview on Skype I will at least have a hair cut and iron a shirt. I'll even have a bath, though we haven't got as far as 'smelly.cam' yet, or have we?

Meanwhile, what blew my mind and had me reaching for the keyboard was this.

It may not find me the copy of Mad Magazine I'm looking for, but it strikes me as a mightily useful platform/tool.

It was a cartoon by Don Martin

Personally I miss trips to the National Archive or to the National Repositoiry of Newspapers; like surfing the web, it is extraordinary what you find, even when you weren't looking for it.



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H808 e-portfolios. Life Logging and e-folios

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Nov 2011, 15:26

E-portfolios, good or bad thing?

Could they not become unduly burdensome? I have this image of us turning into snails with this vast aggregations of information on our backs (even if it is digital).

Are they for everyone?

New Scientist this week (16 OCT 2010, vol 208. No. 2782) puts 'Life Logging' into its '50 Ideas that will change science forever'list.

It all started with Vannevar Bursh in 1945 with something he called 'an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.' Fifty years on Bill Gates is quites as saying 'someday computer will store everything a person has ever seen and heard.' Somewhat over ambitiouisly (especially as it went nowhere), in 2000 I registered domain names 'The Contents of My Brain' and 'TMCB' thinking that there could be a place for an electronic diary, scrap-book, journal, album thingey.

I lacked the wherewithal or ambition to develop this further, in any case, I recall meeting the folk from Digitalbrain who seemed to be doing a good job of it.

Does there need to be a market leader?

Using a variety of platforms are not e-portfolios being achieved?

Some people look forwards, some look back.

Which kind person succeeds? A sparsely filled e-portfolio might be a good sign - they are getting on with doing.

And whilst I'm a fervent Futurist, is there not a place for real portfolios (artwork), albums (photos, including those framed and on the wall in a real gallery), books on shelves and files in trunks.

I recently found my H801 file, March 2001. Course work printed out, the few articles sourced online printed off, even a painfully thin listserve thread forum message thingey. And an assignment on DCode a CD-rom for schools that won national and international awards including a Palm D'or for Multimedia at Canne in 1998).

Had I put this online would I have referred to it over the last decade? Instead serendipty leads me to finding in in a box in the garage. Does an eportfolio facilitate serendipty, or is the process of loading it with 'stuff' going to be too prescriptive so that ultimately it narrows minds, rather than opens them up?

Old news keeps like fish.

Where does this expression come from?

Does it apply to course work too?

Even if I had an e-portfolio of what value would my old History, Geography and English A' levels essays be? Do they have more value digitised and online than in a file in a box in garage by the sea?

The brain does something e-portfolios are yet able to do well, which is to forget stuff, to abandon content yet be prepared to re-link if required to do so.

Time to quiz the neuroscientist me thinks.

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I've been asked to bash my fingers flat with a tent-peg sledge hammer

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 08:11

Despite using the OU e-portfolio MyStuff for six months I am yet to upload a document, rather than pre-editing and pasting in notes.

As an exercise I am uploading the reading for Core Activity 2.4 on Reflective writing.

This serves several purposes:

a) testing the affordances of the technology - easy tagging and location of complete reports

b) collecting reports on a topic that interests me very much for future and extended use.

None of this changes my need to read, note take, take notes on the notes, reference other sources, see what other people say, blog it, then sleep on it (the best kind of 'cognitive housekeeping'.)

There is a set of 17 questions I use to analyse a dream. This usually reduces down to a core feeling or two. It intrigues me what my head delivers over night.

Could a dream be offered as evidence of reflection?

I cannot prove it happened. I cannot prove its contents, the places, people or events. Yet they are real. They exist. They have a material form do they not? We just have no way of copying them. Yet.

Now wonder Sussex University dropped the assessment of Learning Journals.

As soon as you set a parameter of length you diminish the stream of consciousness that is the mind at work; anything else is forced - considered: or is this the point?They are considered thoughts?

Reflecting I will enjoy. I live my life in the past.

Indeed I spend so much time writing about what I've done I sometimes wonder if I'm living my life in reverse.

Having to edit the stuff will be like hitting the fingers that are gently tapping away at this keyboard with a 1kg club lump wooden sledge hammer camping peg mallet.

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What's wrong with Educational Social Networking? (EDU)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 01:04

DSC04711.JPG

Isn’t ‘re-invention’ the word? (Rogers, P114 & P115, 2002)

Not wholesale repurposing, but as Rogers puts it 'It should be acknowledged that rejection, discontinuance and re-invention frequently occur during the diffusion of an innovation and that such behaviour may be rational and appropriate from the individual's point of view.' (Rogers, p114 2002)

I wonder how my experience might have been with a group of colleagues or friends, signing up together ... but might this too ‘spoil the party.’ And how over a longer period fellow students would be emailing and messaging and getting on the phone ... let alone meeting up.

This fascinates me primarily because I am convinced that collaboration, sharing, discussion and so on is crucial to a deeper learning outcome. But does this not have to be down to the drive of the individual and permitted by the institution they belong to?

How much motivation can others really offer or be expected to offer?

If neither a carrot or stick will work with adult learners, especially in a online environment, then what do you do? ‘You can take a horse to the trough, but you can’t make it drink.’ As I’m about to take a course on the Psychology of Sport as a Senior Swimming Coach I may gain some further insights into waht motivates people to do something and how outsiders can influence this in a positive way.

And just because we’re invited to drink from this trough once, dos not mean we will do it again, or often or with enthusiasm. Our moods will wax and wane, or commitments beyond the course will impinge.

Deep learning, as I’ve learnt, benefits from, even requires a rapport with one or several others at various levels of understanding – a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or experts, a tutor, a couple of fellow students on the course, and perhaps someone more junior who can be in turn mentored or tutored by us (first years being buddied by a second year, a post-grad student supervising a fresher).

How much this mix can be set by what little the OU or other Distance Learning Provider knows about an individual is quite another matter.

Do you run a call-centre like team of facilitators/moderators ... or aspire to the one-to-one relationship of tutor or governess to student mimicking some land-owning/aristocratic model of the distant past? Where is or how can that rapport that can work between student and tutor be recreated here? Or is this something for a DPhil?

A free-for-all would create imbalances, inevitably ... for the institution. But whose experience are we prioritising here?

Whilst a balance must be found, if the best outcomes are to give tutors and SMEs much more time online to forge relationships then this should be - a good coach attracts the best athletes and attracts the interest of other coaches. How does she do that? (Expertise, training and personality ... enthusiasm, putting the athlete at the centre of things)

Perhaps by pursuing ‘educational social networking’ institutions are shooting themselves in the financial foot?

The time put in to make a freer networking between students, tutors and SMEs, with students in different time zones and different priorities would be prohibitive. Undergraduates studying on campus, in a homophilous cohort, with fewer worries (other than debt) don’t know how fortunate they are to have this opportunity to study, probably for the only time, before the life of the wider world impinges.

Are Personal Learning Environment (PLE) a way or the way forward?

If I have this concept right, i.e. with the formal relationships and tutor relationship given equal potential, the tools in one place on the same homepage is a suitable progression from the VLE) Perhaps OU students are doing this anyway by starting at their own Blog or Home Page and simply anchoring the pages from the OU that matter most to them?

The New Scientist is running an interesting essay in its current edition which touches on all of this.

New Scientist (week 10th July 2010) has a piece called 'Generation F' by Richard Fisher (2010).


* 400 million worldwide ... on social networking sites.
* The importance of weak ties as well as close ones.
* The time it takes to forge 'reliable and trustworthy' ties.
* The value of 'acquaintances' to provide relevant and trustworthy news/information.

The article is prone to the some hyperbole:

Social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace) the 'harbingers of a sea change in our social evolution, in the same way that the arrival of language informed our ancestors.' (Donarth, 2009)

Danah Boyd (2009) describes Facebook as ‘an essential utility like water or electricity.’

Academics are just as guilty of this kind of thing, there’s been plenty of it in the reading for H807 the democratising of education, ‘starting the world anew’ ala Tom Paine etc: and claims made in the last ten/twenty years regarding ICT and education, what it could do, will do ... but hasn’t.

The essay is of value though for how, and if, social networking can be used short-term purposes:

'Online social networking appears to be 'very good for servicing relationships, but not for building them de novo.' (Dunbar, 2010)

H807 tries to use an ‘educational social networking’ approach, or does it. Perhaps it is deliberately more self-contained than this. Though with emphasis on authors such as Salmon (2002) and her model for e-tivities, undue emphasis is put on getting people talking and working together? Is that so necessary.

Isn’t experience showing that this is wishful thinking?

The OU must have research on this. Why do more people quit a an online distance learning course (20-50%) compared to a traditional distance learning course? What are the views on conversations, synchronous or asynchronous between fellow students and students in the wide OU community and tutors?

At various times, the ‘weakest links’ to fellow OU students through the OU blog has produced some useful support and insights for H807, yet engagement through our own Cafe/General Forum can surely only be described as minimal?

Whilst deeper learning experiences do come from sharing (like this), it isn’t happening to the degree the OU would like?

Collaboration between some random people I may meet at the bus stop when the service is delayed is not the same as forging an academic bond with some one or some many who are equally engaged with the material, whether their opinions are the antithesis of mine would be immaterial – indeed, disagreement would be better, it feeds discussion. This is NOT a criticism of H807, we have a common purpose, we have elected to do H807, there is a common profile intellectually and absolutely the variety of life experiences enriches the experience. But clearly, as individuals, our approaches to learning, IT skills, time allocated to the task and for many other reasons will and does negate against certain ways of learning. Such as this.

If on the one hand the wishes of some students, maybe most, to stay at arms length aren’t the wishes or hopes of others who would like to engage with a wider circle being denied?

The sought of relationships between students that the OU is hoping for can surely only developed over a few years rather than a few months.

Jeff Hancock (2008) of Cornell University '... found that those with Facebook access asked questions to which they already knew the answers or raised things they had in common, and as a result were much more successful at winning people over.' (New Scientist, 10July2010).

We experienced the ease with which we could share personal information, there was no drilling or phfishing for information, but clearly I will know more about some people than others. It relevance is another matter, the buy-in to these people could eventually result in a bond of sorts, at least as working on this platform is concerned. I would have to look back through the way we respond to each other to see if the above occurred ... deliberately asking certain people certain things even though we knew the answer, as a catalyst to conversation. This does not work discussing trivia such as pets and the weather (though I’ve indulged in plenty of that too ... it doesn’t lead to conversations on costing programming, what Vygotsky means about scaffolding or whether we are fed up with e-tivities, e-granaries, e-moderators ... and e-jobs.

Mid-way through the unit we read Elliot (2008) and I took an interest in the way 'lifelong learning' functions.


I was looking at this as an adult learner environment, the merging of social, family and work through social networking sites and the communication habits and styles of all three merging into and becoming a messed up single entity. Historically it wasn't long ago that work, family and social words were one ... fifty years ago, seventy or a hundred years? No more.

Both of these points, revealing more and the merging, or coalescent, or the dropping of barriers between these spheres is changing behaviours.

'Increased visibility also means our various social spheres - family, work and friends- are merging and so we will have to prepare for new societal norms. 'Well have to learn how to live a more transparent life.' (Holtzman, 2009)

The idea of 'Exposure' was used be Ellen Levy in 1999 (Levy, 1999) after she had spent a year keeping a blog and photojournal, then a novel activity. (Washington Post, 24th September, 1999).

What an employer, parent, friends or colleagues make of this is another matter, but then again, one day we’ll all be walking around with our DNA profile on a dog-tag (or embedded under our skin on a microchip).

The relevance of all of this?


How far can the individual be indulged within the parameters of an online course, that must retain students and prove its worth to the institution (financial, academic, members), the students (worth it financially, academically, career wise ... and personally) ... and the wider community (grants, knowledgeable workforce, content and informed citizens)

Je suis comme je suis
Je suis faite comme ça

(Jacques Prevert, 1946)

I am what I am, I was made this way.
....

REFERENCE


Donath, J. New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com, p40. From Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, vol.13, p 231)

Dunbar, R. (2009) How many friends does one person need? Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com.

Elliott, B. (2008) Assessment 2.0: Modernising Assessment in the Age of Web 2.0 [online], Scottish Qualifications Authority; available from http://www.scribd.com/doc/461041/Assessment-20 (Accessed 1 February 2010).

Ellison, N (2007) The Benefits of Facebook "Friends:" Social Capital and College Students' Use of Online Social Network Sites
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Volume 12, Issue 4, Date: July 2007, Pages: 1143-1168
Nicole B. Ellison, Charles Steinfield, Cliff Lampe. (Accessed 11 July 2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com.

Fisher, R (2010) New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com

Granoveter, M, S. (1973) The Strength of Weak Ties. The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, No. 6 (May, 1973), pp. 1360-1380 http://www.jstor.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/action/exportSingleCitation?singleCitation=true&suffix=2776392
(Accessed 11 July 2010)
Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com. The University of Chicago Press.

Golbeck, J (2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com.

Hancock, J. (2008) I know something you don't: the use of asymmetric personal information for interpersonal advantage
Jeffrey T. Hancock, Catalina L. Toma, Kate Fenner. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com. (Accessed 11 July 2010)

Holtzman, H (2010) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com

Kearns, M. (2009) Behavioral experiments on biased voting in networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol 106, p1347) http://www.pnas.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/106/5/1347.full.pdf+html (Accessed 11 July 2010) Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com.

Levy, E. (1999) Featured in article in the Washinton Post, 24 September 2010. See more at http://businessinnovationfactory.com/iss/innovators/ellen-levy
(accessed 11 July 2010)

Prevert, J, (146) Paroles.

Pentland, S (2010) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Quoted in New Scientist. 10 July 2010. Volume 207 N0 2768. www.newscientist.com

Rogers, E.M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovations (5th edn), New York, Simon and Schuster.

Salmon, E (2002) E-tivities the key to online learning. Kogan Page.

Tom Tong, S (2008) Too Much of a Good Thing? The Relationship Between Number of Friends and Interpersonal Impressions on Facebook. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, vol13 p531-549)

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