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The importance of stories ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Jun 2013, 11:34

Telling stories to others is the means by which unconscious stories become conscious, with language reflecting the person’s mental state (Bucholtz and Hall, 2005).

One way identities are given form is through (auto-)biographical narrative where speakers identify with characters and plots, ethical and moral stances, and the discourses of multiple activity systems (Roth, 2007, Ivanič, 2006).

McConnell (2002), discussing e-learning communities in higher education, argues that students’ identities are negotiated along four dimensions: their purpose as learners, their relationship with tutors, their place in the academic world, and the boundaries between their professional practice and their group work.

REFERENCE

Bucholtz, M. and Hall, K. (2005) 'Identity and interaction: a sociocultural linguistic approach', Discourse Studies, vol., 7, no. 4-5, pp. 585-614.

Ivanic, R. (2006) Language, learning and identification . In R. Kiely, P. Rea-Dickens, H. Woodfield and G. Clibbon (eds.) Language, Culture and Identity in Applied Linguistics . Equinox pp. 7-29 Available from http://www.lancs.ac.uk/lflfe/publications/pubsdocs/Language,%20learning%20and%20identific ation.doc (accessed 2 June 2008)

 

McConnell, D. (2002) 'Negotiation, identity and knowledge in e-learning communities', In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Networked Learning, Sheffield, U.K., pp. 248-257.

Roth, W-M. (2007) 'The ethico-moral nature of identity: Prolegomena to the development of third-generation Cultural-Historical Activity Theory', International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 46, no. 1-2, pp. 83-93

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Why blog? Ask Dr Lilia Efimova

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 11:13

Fig. 1. Dr Lilia Efimova - her Phd thesis is on blogging to support knowledge management in the workplace.

  1. Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
  2. Doesn’t require much effort
  3. Somewhere to park ideas
  4. Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
  5. Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
  6. A set of sense-making practices
  7. “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
  8. Connecting multiple fragments
  9. Getting into the writing flow
  10. Strengthened by readers’ feedback
  11. A channel for distribution
  12. Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
  13. A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
  14. -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
  15. To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
  16. Clusters of conversations
  17. Conversations unfolding
  18. A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
  19. A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
  20. An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
  21. Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
  22. Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)

 

REFERENCE

Efimova.L (2009) Passion At Work : Blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD Research Series, No. 24 (Novay/PRS/024)

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - all you need in the learning mix

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 1 Feb 2013, 09:03

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I love the beauty of  Jenga. Like Google, it's simple and it works.

Simplicity has a purity about it. Don't knock it. Behind its functionality and its look and feel there will be some hard thinking.

'Keep it simple, stupid'. (K.I.S.S) may be a training cliche but there is considerable truth in it.

I've now had three years here at the OU and here on this Student Blog platform (short of five days, first post 6th Feb 2010).

I've been working on my ideas regarding learning and e-learning design in particular Courtesy of THE OU hosted OLDs MOOC 2013 (Online Learning Design - Massive Open Online Course)

I'm experiencing what feels like undertaking an 8 week written examination - the contents of my brain are being pushed through the cookie cutter.

And out comes this:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

(Of course I had shut down for the gadgets for the day and was brushing my teeth when this came to me).

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The Good

Learning events or activities, moments that make the participant smile, think, reflect, nod in agreement, understand, be informed and generally feel good about the world and this particular learning experience. Hit them with some of this, as the say so succinctly across the Atlantic - at the 'get go'.

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The Bad

The effort required and built into the learning. OK, we want them to love this too, and you can if you're 'in the flow', have done your work, have wrestled with what you didn't understand, asked for help, listen to fellow students, gone out of your way to do extra reading and research until you have it, one way or another.

There needs to be assessment.

An assignment is a soft assessment to me - though like everyone I have terrible days when the thing just slips through my fingers like a snowball on the beach. A dissertation or end of module assignment is tougher, but tough and 'bad' in a certain way - like commitment to a triathlon. And a good analogy as working on and developing three issues at 2,000 words a pop is about right. And you won't get far if you leave training to the week before. It's a slow burn.

The 'bad' has to be the written examination.

They have to be hated and feared, and like learning lines for that school play, you have to get it right on the night (or day). And what do you do if you act? You have good lines to learn, you learn and rehearse your lines and you practice, and do a test run or two. The curtains going up is the equivalent of your turning the examination paper over. I feel the fear from a year ago - April 2012. I hadn't sat a written exam in 30 years. All my undergraduate and school-boy fears came back. I used rusty techniques that had last seen service during my first degree.

Bad is good. You want to do everything not to feel like you are naked on stage - a dream we all have when faced with such an 'exposing' test?

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The Ugly

Shock 'em. Not scare the witless. Have up your sleeve some smart stuff. Whether an idea or the technology offer a creepy and certainly memorable surprise.

Boring a student into making a fact or issue stick is like throwing mud at a brick wall - it'll stick, it'll coagulate and build up, but is easily washed away in a shower and destroyed in a storm.

Use storytelling techniques perhaps, better still, follow the pattern of a ghost story.

Scare them? I'm back on fear I guess.

We humans are fearful of many things and will go out of our way to avoid, run away or confront our fears. As I said, the idea here isn't to lose your students, but to empathise with them, understand the ugly side of their learning experience then help them confront their worst fears. It is ugly having to tackle the parts of a subject that stink, but inevitably these are the blocks at the base of JENGA.

So can I apply it? And can I go back to bed now?

Which leads me to another theme - we no longer simply bring work home with us, we take it to bed and sleep with it. If this pisses you off then let me introduce you to 'working with dreams'. If you are prepared to get up for an hour in the dead of night, or can flick on a light without invoking divorce then scribble stuff down to catalyse the thought in the morning. Can work wonders, can produce nonsense, can just be some things you need to put on the supermarket shopping list ... or another dream of being naked on the stage, not knowing your lines and needing the lo but all the exits are locked and the orchestra has stopped and you have to say something.

Which, courtesy of the wonders of the mind, has me in the front row of a performance of The Tempest at the University Theatre, Newcastle when I was 13 or 14. Caliban was naked, covered in mud and wearing a prosthetic erect penis.

HORROR!

P.S. And give me 20 minutes searching the Internet and I will be able to name the actor, date the show and possibly even find a picture. Perhaps you'd like to have a go. But before you do so, be very fearful of what the search terms you use might throw up.

P.P.S. It may have been David Suchet, with Juliet Stevenson or some such as Aerial. The performance was in 1974, possibly a precursor to the RSC doing a Newcastle Tour every March at the Theatre Royal and Gulbenkien. It may have been Jim Carter. Or none of these!


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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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How long should a video be? A bit like saying should a book have one page or a thousand?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Mar 2013, 00:15


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Fig. 1. Fighting for his life - part of a corporate training series aimed at the emergency services and utility companies to create greater understanding of the need to report incidents as they occur.

Some times 10 seconds is too long for a video - while ten hours doesn't even start to do justice to the speaker or theme.

I wouldn't give extreme views the time of day, on the other hand, I would listen to everything Mandela had to say for hours. Horses for courses.

Stats lie - they certainly require interpretation.

Is a minute or ten minutes of video too much or too little? When do people turn off or tune in to a piece of AV, whether a movie, TV show, video or slide show mocked-up in PowerPoint? 'Death by PowerPoint start for me in this first second.

Research from the Open University shows that people decide whether to continue watching a piece of video in under 35 seconds. This is not the same as a 45 minute lecture from an expert that is required as part of a formal course - though there should always be a transcript. Personally I work between the two and replay if there is something important.

Who needs the research? You can tell intuitively if what you are about to see is of interest or not?

My 35 seconds video? A party balloon is blown up by someone with breathing difficulties. The words on the balloon gradually appear - 'The Cost of Asthma' - the professionally composed and performed music tugs at the heart strings and a professional broadcaster says some pithy words.

My 35 hour video?

Interviews with some if the greatest thinkers alive in the planet today. Vitally, especially online, as producers we offer what is a smorgasbord - the viewer decides what to put in their plate and whether to eat it - and whether to stuff it down or take it in bite-sized pieces.

You had might was well ask 'how many pages should there be in a book?' or 'how many posts in a blog?' It depends on many things: context, budget, goal, resources, subject matter, audience, platform, shelf-life ...

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Beware the 'unhappy valley' of storytelling

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

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Fig.1 Beware the 'unhappy valley' of storytelling

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

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

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Girl with a pearl earring and the use if linear narrative in e-learning

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E–learning supposes that it is online and interactive, this doesn't preclude the use of narrative. If I watch the film, Girl with a pesrl earring' then a BBC 4 Documentary in Johannes Vermeer and I go online to interact with fellow viewers, undertake research and write a blog entry or two – this is interaction, I am engaged.

Not that any learning instution has the funding to produce a movie that cost many millions. I wonder though how an executive producer might exploit the assets in this movie, certain scenes or still images for example. I like to paint and draw so the way it is illustrated in film fascinates me, in this film, shot with the eye of a Dutch Master we get some key moments in the creation of a film demonstrated, from first inspiration, to the initial presentation, the first layers and the art of mixing paints. On this score which films do I rate as showing what it is to be an artist and which do not?

Titanic. Kate Winslet - Rubbish La Belle Noissease. Emanuelle Beart - Brilliant One Summer. Liv Tyler - OK

There are many, many others. I'll add to this list and fix any inaccuracies as I go along. Please do offer your suggestions.

Back to the use of narrative, a story well told, that is memorable, relevant and inspirational. This takes craft skills that producers (production managers) and clients (sponsors) need to be reminded cost a good deal to get right. It matters that the words spoken ring true, that characters are cast with imagination, that the direction is subtle and professional. Even with a photostory scripting requires care if it is to appear authentic, and we must remembered, as shown in 'Girl with a pearl earring' that we communicate a great deal through facial expression and body language rather than by what we say.

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Research a subject until the narrative reveals itself or Read in a subject ubtil you can hear the people speak (history)

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Both apply, but why tell the former to A'level Oxbridge students? And neither is likely to work particularly well until you are into postgraduate studying even at PhD level surely? That or give it ten years. Nor do any of us have the time or inclination if the goal is to complete a module or gain a qualification. In both cases, the first was said on the radio six months ago or so while the second, quoted by Bill Clinton in his autobiography, is said in a general introduction to history by EHCarr (I think, do correct me if you know better as my best efforts struggle to find where it is written down).
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Stories and Metaphor 12th January 2012

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012, 06:16

From the B822 Techniques Library we learn that we relate to stories; the parallels to our own lives provide meaning.

I'd say that to be successful audiences must feel empathy with any story, whether for entertainment or to get attention in a business context.

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Bill Naylor takes this well attended session.

He starts with the story of a Merchant

(I thought we were going to get the 'Merchant of Venice'. It felt like something from 14th century Italy, like a piece from Bocacio's Decameron).

The story concerned a merchant, his beautiful daughter and a money lender. Unable to pay back the loan the money lender suggests a deal, his daughter in marriage and the debt will be dropped. To help the merchant he offers to put two stones in a bag, one white, one black to be picked out by the daughter. It is agreed. The daughter happens to see the money lender putting two black stones in the bag. What does she do?

We offer our solutions, though none get the Merchant off the hook and save the daughter.

  1. Take none
  2. Take both
  3. Pick a pebble.

CHEAT

  • Herself by picking up a white pebble and hiding it in her hand.

Transpose the rules

Actually she dropped the black pebble and said they'd know which one it was.

To create strategic clarity

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"Stories stick in your mind like mental velcro." Naylor (2011)

  • They create strategic clarity
  • They create a connection
  • They embed values
  • They compel or inspire to take action
  • They are revealing
  • Stories connect us to a purpose and improve our performance

Quotes Henry V on the eve of The Battle of Agincourt

E.g. Chairman of the board.

STORYTELLING AT WORK

  • An icebreaker
  • Induction
  • Communications
  • Learning. (Boje 1991)
  • Strategy
  • Action

A story usedby De Bono about Columbus

Egg on its end. Breaks the tip so that it would stand on its end. Once done anyone can do it.

  • Story of a young character on his first day having a word with a gruff character on the train in.
  • The story of the fat man in the bath in relation to consumer law and returned products, in this case a bath that had sat for 5 months. Bill at a builder's merchants.
  • Splintered toilet seat. The lady had a history of such issues.
  • The thin man in the shower. Covered in soap he couldn't turn it off.

SPECTRUM

  • Little s
  • Anecdotes
  • Examples
  • Rcounts
  • Big S
  • Movies
  • Epics

IMAGE

VS. The uncanny valley of business story telling ... Plummets.

ELEMENTS

  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Resolution

MYTHICAL THEMES

  • Creation
  • Struggle for self-discovery and identity
  • Battles, warriors, heroes (building of the M62)
  • Jack Welch 'neutron bomb' Manager of the Century. 'Winning' Topping and tailing'
  • Finance the top, ditch the bottom. (not unlike Steve Jobs)
  • Love, self-sacrifice, dedication
  • Wisdom and maturity

Three Huberts on a hill, three rivals.

Owns a race horse, only half, which half? The rear end as it eats less.

WHERE USED

  • Induction
  • Formal and informal settings
  • Before an event
  • Teaming courses
  • Newsletters
  • Customer meetings
  • Social events
  • Team building sessions

Left brain right brain

(Simplistic and superseded?)

HOW STORIES WORK

  • Auditory types NLP
  • Absorbed playfulness (winnicott, 1972)
  • An excursion from the problem.
  • Stimulate new ideas
  • Convey hidden messages (do you tell them or leave them to dwell on it)
  • Enable uncurious learning

De Bono's 'Thinking Hats'

  • Unsconscious
  • Feta on the verge of sleep (best for learning)
  • Relaxed awareness (best for learning)

... Achieved through story telling, with learning supported by light music.

CAVEAT

  • Stuck in the metaphor
  • Persuasiveness of advertising

WORKSHOP

  • Participants write the first line of a story that others complete. John Brucker on metaphor.
  • Write an essay 10 mins
  • Draw a mind map of the story

Write a statement in 3 sentences of 5,7 and 5 syllables. (Japanese Haiku poetry form)

E.g. sales director or purchasing director, what is best for the company and what is best for me.

DEVELOP

  • In pairs use why?
  • Write a sentence on the problem
  • Boundary examination
  • Options for for As.

Jack welch

'My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener who provided water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course I had to pull up a few weeds as well'. Jack Welch.

COMPONENTS OF THE METAPHPOR

  • Topic :  the original concept
  • Vehicle
  • Ground
  • Tension
  • Zolta Kovecses Metaphor: a practical introduction.
  • John Brooker, yesand.biz

Joke

  • Set up, and punch.
  • Friend broken up with wife. With his best friend. Going to miss the friend.

SHOULD I QUIT MY JOB ?

  • Metaphor: swimming Linguistic: Am I too far from the shore.
  • With a systematic framework.

Mind Maps

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Rich Pictures

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FURTHER LINKS:

http://www.imagethink.net/

 

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Like founding Rome, social media needs to be tackled in more than one way

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Romulus and Remus nursed by the roman capitoline wolf

You may know the story of Romulus & Remus, brought up by a she-wolf on the hills above the River Tiber, they were the founders of Rome, though only one would give the city their name.

One day, looking down at the Tiber the brother's decided to found a great city. They agreed to build a wall encircling a piece of promising land and to do so separately, starting opposite each other, at a distance and meeting in the middle. Romulus builds his wall low and makes quick progress laying out a great arc that heads towards his brother Remus. Remus builds as high as a man, his wall is tall, but progress away from the River is slow. Eventually the two Walls meet. Remus cannot contain his mirth at his brother's low wall and mockingly starts to jump over it back and forth. Unable to contain his anger Romulus picks up a shovel and knocks his brother across the head as he makes another leap.

Social media is like founding Rome; you can steadily drip, drip content and news like Romulus or you can build high and make an impact like Remus.

Both approaches have their merits, on the one hand having and maintaining a presence while on the other doing something 'big'. If only one person is faced with the task of 'building Rome' what should they do?

Already I see the need for two people and two roles, the first, the 'low wall' is the website that is a consistent presence, not simply static web pages, but blog-like where visitors contribute content and share what is there. The 'high wall' are the events, or highlights, from commissioned videos or iTunes, to live forums and Webinars.

Neither should be seen as exclusive to the Internet, like the wall that surrounds Rome, web presence should be seen as part of the real world integrated with open days and events, mail outs by post or email, PR and traditional advertising too.

P.S. I was told this story as a boy, probably age 10 or 11, probably my first Latin lesson with Mr Byers. The story stuck, an example of the power of narrative, the Latin did not, though I had to study the subject for another four or five years. Translating 'oderint' as 'they smelt' was my highlight.

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HOLIDAY VIEWING

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Should I ever be struggling to create conflict in a story all I need to do is watch a movie like 'Kick Ass' before I go to bed. Last night my sleep was disturbed by a battle between two online libraries; all I recall are the bazooka sized holes in all the books. An absurd image because I knew also that the conflict was between two online libraries.
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H800 WK19 Twitter

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Jul 2012, 17:52

I feel like a Kaizoo player in front of the Great Whirlitzer organ.

Reading 'Twitter for Dummies' doesn't help, but I am trying to master Linkedin, WordPress and Facebook at the same time. Which strikes me as trying to learn to play the violin, obeo and piano at the same time as having to conduct.

Thus far I manage the following:

  • Compose blog in Wordpress.
  • Tweet.
  • If it is OU related add the appropriate #.
  • May also add ^JV

I've been doing this for the 'Made in Britain' series with Evan Davies which starts on Monday with Business School input.

My handle in Twitter is JJ27VV. Someone had my name. This has stuck for a few years.

As I get my head around the OUBS website and this content is refreshed I and others authorised/enabled to do so, will Tweet pertinent content too.

Adding to the noise? Or or value? A must have ... because everyone esle is doing it?

I may Tweet things I find of interest, adding the hashtag or not. I am just as likely to 'Share' by sending the content to one of several WordPress blogs first.

There IS an educational value to this constant chattering, and that is to listen in and join conversations on something that is current.

So this week it might be conversatons on m-learning. (A suffix that is likely to become more quickly redundant than e-learning).

I wish I had the details to quote the person properly but in an interview a few weeks ago someone said 'research into a subject until the narrative reveals itself'.

I feel I have reached a stage where conversations that made no sense to me a year ago, now make sense and I can pick out threads, create my own narrative from it, even place the 'level' of conversation somewhere along that person's learning journey so that I can compare it to mine.

This in turn, again, there is a person to quote ... makes learning with this technology more akin to direct, face-to-face conversations that in the past would only be picked up by physically being on campus, in a student common room, lecture hall or tutor group.

The 'democratization' of education that I dismissed a year ago occurs because more often or not, the undergraduate gets to listen in and even join in discussion in the 'senior common room,' as it were.

This in turn picks up John Seely Brown's idea of learning through participation, starting on the periphery whoever you are and through listening and engagement slowly being enrolled and brought into the group.

Off hand I can think of my brother who develop his passion for all things mechanical buy watching his grandfather, then hanging around competent hobbyist mechanics, or pestering people who were servicing Mums car. He read the magazine, watch the TV shows, 'listen in' to the conversations and goings on around go-kart race tracks. He never had a lesson but is more than capable of rebuilding any car under the sun today.

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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 value of electronic literacy in the Internet Age

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 06:32

Did serendipity bring me to ‘Contemporary Perspectives in E-learning Research.’ Conole and Oliver (2007) or did I notice that H808 students were reading and critting it?

Either way I bought it as I’m yet to get my head around e-Reader.

Can you recommend an e-Reader?

A kindle or the Sony Reader perhaps? I can’t see the point in an iPad for reading academic journals and books. I don’t want to be printing off a forest and filing on shelves I don’t have either.

Chapter 11 of ‘Contemporary Perspectives in E-learning Research’ looks at ‘Academic literacy in the 21st century’

E-literacy is an irresistible term of course.

‘Electronic Literacy’ or ‘E-literacy’

‘Involving the capacity to locate, organise, interpret and use digital information.’ Conole (2007:160)

Martin (2003) appears to get the credit for coining the term.

There are many forms of literacy, all have their place:

  • information literacy
  • digital literacy
  • electronic communication
  • computer literacy
  • transliteracy
  • information/IT skills
  • computer-mediated communications
  • knowledge construction
  • research


Shetzer and Warshauer (2000), McKenna (2002), ‘Writing as a social practice’ (Ivonic et al, 1999)

These literacies are:

  • shaped by disciplinary norms
  • institutional power dynamics
  • impact of audience
  • notions of identity


‘What we choose to read and how we read may lead to fundamental changes in our understanding of authoritative scholarship.’ Conole (2007:160)

It interesting that Google is often the preferred means of locating academic information (Borphy et al, 2004). Does this apply to undergraduates and graduates? At times frustrated with the OU Library Services I ended up in Google Scholastic but no longer had the access privileges so had to back pedal. Too often links given in text, journals and book are out of date. By way of example of the three links I wished to follow up in this chapter I found only one and that was at a different URL I am yet to find the SCONUL or SCORM articles.

SCONUL (1999) ‘information skills in higher education’, SCONUL position paper. Available online at: www.sconul.ac.uk/activities/inf-lit/papers/seven-pillars.html (CAN’T FIND)

SCORM (2004) Shareable content object reference model. http://www.adlnet.org/scorm/history/2004/index.cfm (ERROR PAGE)

Ingraham (2005b) Filmic and even melodramatic narrative ... used purposefully.

Ingraham (2005b) Exploring the Frontiers of E-learning: border, outposts and migration. ALT-j, 2005. 6-8 Sept 2005.

Beyond the ‘essentially medieval apprenticeship system’ (Ingraham and Ingraham, 2006) ‘E-Quality: a dialogue between quality and academia’, E-learning, 31) http://www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/content/pdfs/3/issue3_1.asp

(ACCESSED 16 AUG 2010. But not at this address, but at this onesmile

http://www.wwwords.co.uk/pdf/freetoview.asp?j=elea&vol=3&issue=1&year=2006&article=11_Ingraham_ELEA_3_1_web

I have a problem with some PDF files too, but that’s down to an eight year old iBook not being able to upgrade to the latest ADOBE PDF software. A new iBook beckons.

This theme of literacy given a book in its own right. How though do institutions recognise the many different ways students may wish to pursue and assemble content and information in future?

Literacy and multiple literacies (Kress, 1997)

‘It is a normal and fundamental characteristic of language and literacy to be constantly remade in relation to the needs of the moment.’ Conole (2007:169)

Kress, G (1997) Before writing: rethinking the paths to literacy.

‘The are many ways of making and communicating meaning in the world today.’ Conole (2007:169)

The goals of education

The development of ‘concrete-operational skills of technical reason coupled with functional, utilitarian language skill.’ (Jones, 1991)

Two conflicting directions for education

‘The desire to stimulate the growth of autonomous, entrepreneurial, IT-literate, multi-skilled individuals’ or ‘the desire to create a compliant, low-expectation labour force inured to the demands of flexibilisation.’ Conole (2007:171)

Surely this isn’t a case of either or, and surely both ends of the scale can be viewed positively – society needs a community of people working at different jobs to remain viable and coherent. Conole should be quoting Government policy here but prefer to suggest that there is a choice while clearly favouring one over the other.

Prison Officers, we are told, don’t need a university degree; they aren’t the only ones. Unless you want people to endure their necessary jobs like Marvin the Paranoid Android. Adams. (1979)

REF Kress, G (2003) Literacy in the new media age.

REFERENCE

Adams, D (1979) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Conole, G and Oliver, M (eds)  2007. Contemporary perspectives in E-Learning Research. Themes, methods and impact on practice.







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