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

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

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

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

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

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

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

Is this just me?

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

 

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Take me I'm e-free!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010, 15:25

Software providers and platforms are tumbling over each other to offer us something for free.

  • Facebook
  • Google Docs
  • The BBC
  • KodakEasy Share
  • Apps for smartphones
  • Dropbox

the list is long ...

One hundred years ago or so, what could have been the outcome had the development of the horseless-carriage/ automobile been based on giving them away for free?

What about the development of photography?

Or of flight (the Wright-Brohters got into a right hoohah over people using what they claimed to be patented technlogy).

Why, if I have thought it through correctly, am planning therefore to purchase Filemaker Pro for £250 or so?

What are these providers of 'free software' and 'storage' doing if not mining your soul and making you dependent on their services so that you are eventually compelled to take out a subscription for the rest of your life, possibly to store stuff that once went into the attic, shed or garage .... for free, for ever.

What is they model to 'monetise' their products and services?

Or will your every thought, oir message to Mum be tagged wit han ad or hit with a pop up advert?

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Put in the disc, and close the door

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 14 Sep 2010, 14:49

Twenty five years ago or so my wife was given this instruction when using a computer for the first time. Like most of the students in the Computer Lab at UCL, London they duly put in the disc, and made sure the door to the lab was closed.

My son had a piece of homework last night that said 'explain what the words in italics mean.'

So he explained what it meant to put words in italics.

I learnt from the an interview on BBC Radio 4 yesterday that the way to 'happiness' and in the context of H808 'The e-Learning Professional' too perhaps, could be to follow the advice you find on the back of a juice carton.

'Stand up in a cool place.'

On rumaging through the fridge all I found was:

'Best before sell by date' and 'Shake Well before pouring.'

We expect instructions to be literal.

We even assume a pattern. No wonder we are so often tripped up when using new software that has its quirks or strange attributes.

Meanwhile, whilst in H807 I was overwhelmed by the amount of reading, in H808 I feel overwhelmed by the desire and need to try out and use regularly a plethora of e-portfolios, and other content sharing and storing software. At the same time, having not used an upgraded version of Word in six years, or Microsoft Outlook ever I am having to tackle rather a lot.

For how long can you afford not to upgrade if eventually when you do so the software looks and behaves in such a foreign way that you feel like a beginner?

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Sunday 12th September 2010

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 14 Sep 2010, 14:54

Some of the software I am trying to get my head around:

  • Outllook
  • Zoho
  • Compendium
  • Learning Clubs
  • Word (2002-2010)
  • Skype
  • Google Docs
  • Mahara
  • Peeblepad

COMPENDIUM 09.15 12th SEPT 2010

Having created the contents for a map inside my home page I cannot figure out how to save it or to create another map. Listing through the movie, or screencast, or animation, or whatever you want to call it, I pick up, at last on the concept of a map being like a folder so by typing M I get a map (or folder) in which to build my content. Of course at first I do not simply type m, I type CTRL 'm' as I expect it to function in this way. Wrong, just type the letter 'm'. So, one step forward, three steps back, four steps forward and I get theresad

With a Map open, it being a folder, I hazzard a guess that my first experimental Knowledge Map can, through drop and drag go into this Mapfolder. Wrong. No probs. I spent 30 mins thinking it through, I can delete it all and start afresh and do a better job of it second time round. Just as well this isn't a real job.

Things need to be called what they do or are. When is a folder not a folder? When its a map. But it isn't a map, it's an electronic flip chart, or organiser, or plannogramme. It isn't a map in the Ordance Survey sense of the word. Though is it a Mind Map. (Didn't someone try to trademark the term?)

I press on.

I do expect this. Learn a bit. Have a bit of a go. Delete. Try again.

I take the project I developed in H807 and type in the 'Learning Problem' and put this at the core of building a response, not the assignment, but the way forward to seek financing, assemble a team, budget, schedule and then produce a piece of e-learning.

I rock 'n roll between the Knowledge Map I am constructing and the instruction in the Screencast Movie. I have seen that there are several of these, so will inch forward taking instruction, giving it a go, and hopefully producing something of use by the end of it. The test will be to send it to a.n.other for their input.

Making a Start. The second time.

  • Type M to start a folder/file thingey
  • Stuff includes:
  • Pro Nodes and Con Nodes
  • 'Populating' nodes with uploads, links and type notes/lists.
  • Questions
  • Ideas
  • Arguments
  • Linking ideas
  • Connecting up 'fragments' or 'ideas' (stuff, or assets, or nuggets)
  • Bringing in ideas (from folder and files, various types/formats)

 (As I'm in the process of migrating folder from my ancient iBook to a second hand PC laptop the 'assets' I might attach/enclose at this time aren't available. This 'dual existance' on MAC and PC can be resolve by using another e-learning tool - clouds. These assets, strategically chosen and appropriately protected, out to be online. Like I guess several hundred photographs that are currently 'shared' between Kodak Eashare (new version) and Flickr ... as well as Face Book.)

COMPENDIUM 11.45 12th SEPT 2010

Already feel I am creating a Map in Compendium that collates my thinking to date in a single page of links rather than a 2,000 proposal or a Power Point Presentation.

My immediate dilemma is starting to realise how Compendium could be used for several other projects that became hopeless tangled over the last decade. These are speculative writing and TV or film production projects. For instance, 'The Watersprites' is a photojournal that in part tells the story as well as identifying intended locations for shooting. It is also a shortfilm on YouTube. It is also a synopsis, more than one treatment, a handful of characters and a few too many scripts that would benefit greatly from this approach. I can see that by being reminded visually of where a project is going, parameters are set and a logical outcome is more likely.

Knowledge Mapping contains the fireworks and permits them.

  • Assigning tags
  • 'Harvesting' tags from one map or many
  • with a nod to Mac users (probably the presenters prefered platform)
  • But how to save? Can I assume this map will still be there when I come back?

I like the way a problem or tentative proposal can be thought through and shared without it needing to become what may on appearanve read like or look like a finished document.

COMPENDIUM 15.30 12th SEPT 2010 Part Two

I needed the break. The fact that I am playing more with the Knowledge Map I have created rather that listening to more 'how to movies ...' is a positive sign. The fact that I have pulled out a set of A1 card and laminated overlays of a presentation I gave a fw weeks ago ... is a positive step. I think I can create electronic, digitally enhanced versions of these on Compendium, the 'retro-fit' part of the learning process, but the end result something I can then share with colleagues.

I think with these A1 sheets I will photgraph them (far too large to scan) then create an overlay in Adobe Photoshop which in turn will be one of a series of slides in Power Point.

These in turn will be linked and expanded with Compendium so that at each step furthe information can be drawn upon. This is a five year/six year plan so we'll be coming back to it repeatedly using it to guide decissions as well as to provide evidence. (This is swimming, our National Governing Body, the ASA want all clubs to achieve then retain a national standard for best practice. We hold three accreditations and are aspiring to a fourth).

Tidying up a Knowledge Map with an 'arrange.'

With my example 'control R' turned an organic, flowing chart of links into a hideous 1960s string art thing that didn't read well at all. In other cases it doe work well, it depends rather on how well developed your thinking is. 

Organising the world the way you think about it

I like the sound of this ... which is good if you want to create something original (which I do), but is somewhat harder if you are trying to conform, i.e. to follow a pattern expected by others (for examples in an assessment). Even a Hollywood Movie ... there are certain prescribed patterns and expectations.

 

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Learning new software tools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Web-Based Training (Part One)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 07:19

DSC04712.JPG

Web-Based Training (WBT) (2000)

Margaret Driscoll

I bought this book in 2001. Nearly a decade on I am delighted how apt it remains, even if the term may now have been superseded by e-learning - while cyberlearning had currency for a few years too and before this we had 'interactive learning'.

Even a decade on I recommend the book.

Training and learning are in different camps, one supposing a component of applied engagement (health and safety, fixing photocopiers, burying uranium trioxide, driving a delivery van, making cars, selling phones, employee induction) while the other is essentially cognitive (though with its physicality in this kind of prestidigitation).

Yet we made ‘training programmes’ on things like cognitive behavioural therapy. Corporate and government clients had the money to do these things.

Driscoll’s definition of WBT is somewhat longer than Weller’s definition (2007) of e-learning (electronically enhanced learning with a large component of engagement on the Internet). A bit ‘wishy-washy’ my exacting Geography A’ Level teacher would have said.

Hardly a clear definition if it has a let out clause. But when was anything clear about what e-learning is or is not, or should be? The term remains a pig in a poke; its most redeeming factor being that it is a word, not a sentence, and fits that cluster of words that includes e-mail.

Web-based training Driscoll (2000) says should be:

  • Interactive
  • Non-linear
  • Easy to use graphic interface
  • Structured lessons
  • Effective use of multimedia
  • Attention to educational details
  • Attention to technical details
  • Learner control

I like that. I can apply it in 2011. I did.

I was reading ‘Web-Based Training’ (and using the accompanying CD-rom) in 2001 and then active in the development of learning, or knowledge distribution and communication websites for the NHS, FT Knowledge ... and best of all, Ragdoll, the home of Pob, Rosie and Jim, Teletubbies and the addictive pleasures of ‘The Night Garden.’

We may call ourselves students, mature students even, or simply post-graduates, but would we call ourselves ‘Adult Learners.’

It’s never a way I would have defined my clients, or rather their audiences/colleagues, when developing learning materials for them in the 1980s and 1990s. Too often they were defined as ‘stakeholders,’ just as well I saw them as people and wrote scripts per-the-script, as if for only one person.

That worked, producing for an umbrella term does not.

Adult Learning doesn’t conjure up innovative e-learning, perhaps because of the connotations Adult Learning has inelation to the catalogue of F.E. courses then comes through the door every July or August.

This definition of an ‘adult learner’ would apply to everyone doing an OU course surely?

The special characteristics of adult learners Driscoll (2000:14)

  • Have real-life experience
  • Prefer problem-centred learning
  • Are continuous learners
  • Have varied learning styles
  • Have responsibilities beyond the training situation
  • Expect learning to be meaningful
  • Prefer to manage their own learning

With some of these definitions baring more weight than others, don’t you think?

REFERENCE

And additional references used by Driscoll but not cited above:

References (Adult Learning)

Knowles (1994) Andragogy in action. Applying modern principles of adult learning.

Brookfield (1991) Understanding and facilitating adult learning

Cross (1992) Adults as learns: increasing participation and facilitating learning.

Freire (1970) A cultural action for freedom

Merriam and Caffarella (1991) Learning in adulthood

Kidd (1973) How adults learn

 

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