I'm at it again. Having upgraded my phone I couldn't resist adding a gadget that will allow me to recreate some movie style effects - or to simply track something or someone with ease.
I'm not quite a BBC Controller, but being the lead on Planet eStream selecting the content that comes onto the college network it supports feels a little like that. I run through some 24 subject areas vacuuming up content that I believe will be of interest to teachers and their students. A few teachers are getting involved too. These programmes can be edited, put into playlists, have slides added and even be turned into interactive quizzes.
The skill lies in the ability of the teacher to integrate it into their learning schedule.
We need to find a way to let students see the Electronic Programme Guide: 70+ channels, all terrestrial, many European and radio too, and some public broadcasters from North America.
Fig.1 Orphan Black
You take on an OU degree and there is one thing you need to steer clear of - TV, especially these compelling series. It took a couple to become hooked. Yes, the TV equivalent of of page-turning plot means you blink and someone has died but there are many reasons to be drawn in: the idea of the many ways a life may spin out, or in this case, out of control; the ethics, dangers and possibilities of cloning, the delicious acting and tour de force from the lead Tatiana Maslany who conjures up many, extraordinarily different versions of herself and dips back and forth between various accents: US East Coast, Brixton UK, Posh Brit, Ukraineian, Ditsy Dish ...
Is the science credible?
The solution is to earn it ... get the hours of studying out of the way first!
There are many reasons to watch this 45 minute drama made by BBC Documentaries:
1) It is a gripping piece of entertainment that incorporates modern music to help evoke the feelings and tone.
2) The sense of what it meant to take part in this conflict to Britain then, and today, is palpable
3) For a piece of screen writing I can think of little that is so sharp, so succinct, so remarkable ...
4) You don't think of it as a documentary. This isn't docu-drama, so much as drama that seamlessly includes a few animated maps and subtitles as does many a movie or TV series these days
5) You too will be recommending that people watch it.
6) The series so far is excellent, this episode stands out as brilliant - I was left weeping in sadness and joy, while reflecting the violent conflict, though not on this scale, is still very much a contemporary issue.
7) You have this week to watch it. (What seems to happen then is that towards the end of the series it will be offered as a DVD)
It took me a year ... no longer, 18 months. Even longer than that, two years, to recognise what it took to get consistently high marks.
I couldn't fathom what people were doing.
Is it a formula? Or just application? Is there a method? Whatever it takes until you feel confident you know what is going on ... so read, read again, ask questions. Then going and read something else. Disagree, agree ... sleep on it. Then, ever so slowly it starts to dawn on you. This is what they are on about. I am prone to read well beyond the listed resources though, picking through papers until I find the one that speaks to me - the voice that expresses it in a way that has ressonance. And I am prone, within reason, to get the book that is cited in a paper I like ... so a collection of second handbooks under the table and a larger collection of eBooks. eBooks I read faster, highlight and take notes as I go along, then migrate notes and quotes into a Google Doc. I kid myself when I have a lot to read that it is different on the Kindle, the iPad or on the TV size screen that is ... well the TV (but my computer too).
A couple of weeks ago I took the TV and put it in the shed. One of those things the size of a pedal car.
No one misses it.
Everyone is on a screen elsewhere in the house. We stream movies. We use BBC iPlayer.
I don't miss clicking between channels looking for something to watch, finding nothing much but glued to the thing for a few things all the same.
That's the way to do Medieval!
A week away in April and I still haven't recovered my old rhythmn. Nor will I. Instead of bloggin I have every conceivable thing to sort out with the house and garden. Somehow both were abandoned for three years - I wonder why that was?
The lawn was so bad I needed an industrial strimmer. The lawnmower I bought in 2007 is still in its original packaging in the shed.
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 ...
Prensky claimed in 2001 that computer use had changed children's brains. So quick? I thought evolution took longer than a week. They sliced Einstein's brain up and found that despite a lifetime of brilliance it was no different to any other lump of grey matter. Prensky could have learnt this from a primer on neuroscience.
This scarmonger had only one goal, to have yet another generation of tired and receptive teachers nod in agreement and blame kit they didn't understand or couldn't use and then the kids themselves. Nonsense. Is it really likely that 'our students' brains have physically changed - and are different from ours?'
Selwyn's 2008 research concludes that Prensky's Generation is no more homogenous than any other, with ample variation in attitudes and exposure to technologies and that in some instances, as in Belgium 'internet use often clashes with rather than complements students progress.'
Don't you find that face-to-face conversations with like minds or planning out an essay on sheets of paper in a quiet room is more effective than having all this yammering and incesant twittering going on around you?
I struggle with McLuhan's point of view because it can be argued in many ways: is he saying that the message is controlled by the affordances of the medium or by the people running the shows? Or both? And in plenty of country's the medium was/is state controlled. While in the US it is controlled by the advertisers. TV lends itself to a certain form of expression; historically there have been and are producers who create TV magic and get the format right, though there are plenty of experiments too that kick against what is possible and an audience will tolerate.
A shift to YouTube is fascinating. I watched the Japanese Disaster's play out live, first on BBC 24hr News, then CNN, then best of all Japanese TV with English voice over NHK all on Freeview. I thought, having sat through IRA bombs and 9/11 that these feeds were the best source ... the closes to being there. My son was getting this on YouTube diretly from people's SmartPhones 'on the ground'. For the Libyan crisis I am taking Twitter Feeds and watching Al Jexera.
The point I feel is that each medium offers different possibilities: print, radio, TV and now online. Everyone is their own producer/director if uploading from a Flip camera or SmartPhone. However, artists will come through. Within the communities that we become a part of there will be someone who is more informed, better at expressing themselves or exploiting the platform. Watching a documentary on Japan my son curses the amateur video producers for not keeping the camera still as vast quantities of water smash into buildings and boats. Not meaning to be flippant but he's probably learning why locked off shots, from a tripod, work better.
From a learning point of view we are 'there,' the internet to a greater degree than print, radio or TV 'puts us on the spot. Is this not closer to reality, to being physically present, which is how historically (35,000 of human kind) we have learnt? By observation, participation and collaboration? Through mistakes and successes?
Thoguths on 'Speaking Freely', hosted by Edwin Newman4 January 1971 by PBS-TV in the USA.
I disagree with the premise that ‘The medium is the message’ or ever was.
The 'Word' wasn't the book itself - its being a book... but the work (the words it contained), to think of it in terms of Bibles being printed 500 years ago.
We have an inclination to hyperbole, today was we go all Internet, just as McLuhan did over TV. And every generation does whether it's the train, car, telegraph, telephone or TV, pages, video-games or Smart-phones. H.G.Wells was like this - at least he had the sense to write fiction most of the time.
Perhaps it is human-nature to crave and celebrate 'advancement' and 'invention.'
Could someone ask a neuroscientist. V.J.Ramanchandran probably has a point of view. I guess courtesy of social networks I could have a message to him in ten minutes. Should I? To make the point? To have a definitive and authoritative answer?
The typo of message as 'massage' is apocryphal surely?
It was a time of social confusion … because everyone of McLuhan generation and cohort were taking LSD weren't they?.
McLuhan is an elusive character best understood for the thoughts he provoked rather than as the source of a consistent and coherent body of ideas. He sound likes Marc Prensky of ‘Digital Natives’ infamy or Douglas Coupland and ‘Generation X’ now reborn as ‘Generation Y’ which I’d like to call ‘Generation Why not?’
'The surge towards the future' (a hackneyed phrase) is not just associated with new digital technologies, such as Web 2.0. The ocean analogies continue with the 'wave of analogue mass communications symbolised by television and the shrinking of the world into what McLuhan named ‘the global village’.' Indeed, though more so than the 1970s the events of the last few days surely make us feel like a global village. I've switched from CNN to NHK a Japanese Channel that has a simultaneous feed in English ... it could be local news. It is local news if we are thinking in terms of a global village. It has taken forty years to come about. TV takes the images from SmartPhones ... though the Internet is getting much of this too.
Speaking Freely, hosted by Edwin Newman4 January 1971 by PBS-TV in the USA.
People suddenly want to be involved in more dynamic patterns.
If this was what was felt in 1971, why is it still the mantra today? It is wishful thinking. Of course people want things packaged. They want to be spoon fed, from several sources. They are greedy for the choices of packages …
I disagree, consumers were being empowered, whether they were influenced by advertising or not (they were), they were not the less making choices.
Intriguing that we want the audience to be the producer, but only in so much as the producer interprets what they want then package it as a TV show.
Instant replay isn’t participation.
It is editing, then playing back in slow motion. This any other trick is firmly at the fingertips of the producer and in 1971 that of the Gallery Vision Mixer.
Commentators cannot help but reflect publicly on what so many quickly accept as the norm, the younger the audience, the more likely they are to consider it the normal modus operandi.
I thought watching CNN coverage 24/7 of the Japanese earthquake had me ‘there.’
I kept inviting my 12 year old son who was watching better footage free of the CNN ads on YouTube. Different generations, different means of consumption.
Old World, New World; His World, My World.
Watching how CNN collated the edited the material looking for the highlights was interesting. How they pimped it up into the mother of all trailers for news on the event touched on the distasteful, treating the event like a series of events from the American Football Series along with graphics, EFX and music. The events in Japan constantly interlaced with adverts … many of them tourist destinations such as Turkey. Incongruent.
If the medium is the message then I'm tired of the message that comes from TV if news like the Japanese earthquakes has to be packaged with such insensitivity and commercialisation. Shame on CNN.
I’d no longer think of editing TV as an artistic process as putting the car into gear at the traffic lights.
In the US they allowed the sponsors to alter their Football game, an idea that never caught on in the old world. A soccer game of four quarters? It isn’t water-polo.
Hints at what we have with SmartPhones, though people are as likely to be watching the news, a cartoon series, a movie or their favourite music.
I simply don’t accept, as someone at school in the 1970s, that at any stage students thought they were gaining control or wanted to participation in the production of learning process.
Things are packaged by those who know better for a reason – they know better, they are supposed to be the teachers, supposed to be the subject matter experts, supposed to be, and can be the only ones who know their audience, their class and can respond accordingly.
Sesame Street does show ‘the entire learning process in action and in the best advertising style’. Advertising works, or they wouldn’t do it. People are persuaded … and people can be persuaded to learn. I wonder what Marshall McLuhan would make of ‘In the Night Garden’ and the ‘Teletubbies’ – learning as entertainment, that is engaging and vicarious rather than the teachery/evangelically and now very dated Sesame Street.
We like to listen, laugh at or be taken in by commentators like Marshall McLuhan, with have our own generation, who get themselves known, on TV, publishing books. I even help them by mentioning their names, from Malcolm Galdwell to Marc Prensky, they are the Athenian Oracle. We should learn to dismiss what they have to say, rather than accept it, to look at the facts ... and if there aren't any to go and do some research so we understand what is actually happening, not what we would like to happen or think is happening.
The best form of participation I can think of regarding TV, no longer the family activity a generation or two came to love, is fighting over the remote control.
This and turning the TV off, rather than on is a form of participation. It's called doing something that doesn't send you to sleep which is partially the premise behind Ragdoll's 'In the Night Garden' by the way (whose your favourite character?)
My daughter is 14 and lives on Facebook, my son is 12 and lives on his X box.
I exaggerate, but as kids who very rarely watch TV (The Simpsons, In Betweeners, Glee, Mock the Week the exception to the rule) and are otherwise online or on iPhones (or the phone) ...
For H800 this is my target audience
Some may call them 'Generation X' or is it 'Generation Y'?
For the purposes of this blog, I call them ... X and Y.
I ask them about if they can remember when they first used the Internet. I should know, I've been blogging about it for a decade. I'll go see.
'Stop going on about the Internet,' I get very quickly from my daughter.
My son is too busy teaching some German kid how to kill zombies. I ask him when the BAFTAs are on (he's hogged the TV). He points out that I can look it up on the Internet.
Then I think
Born in the early 60s. Had my Dad kept asking me about Colour Television and ITV, about the impact of commercials on my niave brain what would I have said?
The same thing.
TV was my reality.
The Internet is my chidlren's reality. Our connection glitches or slows down and we know about it.
I acknowledge the value of terms such as 'Digital Natives' and 'Generation X' just so long as they are seen for what they are - linguistic shorthand, indeed, linguistic necessity. We do this to offer some phrase or word for an entity, abstract or real, founded in fact, or in this case ... not. However, despite the number of exceptions regarding 'Digital Natives' (i.e. the several billion who worry more about food and water each day), lets say it is representative of those born into the Developed Worlds where a computer and an Internet connection are as likely as hot and cold running water.
Meanwhile, it now frustrates me if a book I have read or would like to read is not yet available as an e-Book
I have taken to the format and now look at most books around the house and can only think 'Second Hand Book' shop or 'Archive' as a curiosity for later generations.
I recall my English teacher Mr Aldridge suggesting there was something magical about a book, its binding, is pages and cover. He'd sniff it. I'd sniff it and sneeze.
No books, less chance for the House Dust Mite.
Frustration over the BAFTAs and my daughter pushes me away and Googles 'TV Listings.' I was lost in the pages of BAFTA.
The world is chaning fast, and only our generation can see it .. is there are name for us?
Too laters? or 'just in timers' rather than 'old timers?'
The mistake risk takers make is to take too few risks
The dot com or e-learning mistake is to have only one ball in the air.
Like Cirque du Soleil they should juggle a dozen items, who even notices if one drops to the ground and breaks, there's enough going on to amaze.
TV production companies, docs and drama, film companies too, have to have many ideas in development if any are to succeed; when will web producers take the same approach?
28 projects on the go I understand is the figure
I've got four ideas, so seven other people with four ideas each and we're in business as imagicians.
For a year, 2000/2001, I worked between companies and across platforms promoting a kind of experience on TV/Computer Screens that has yet to be realised.
I was presenting cross-platform projects (Web and TV) with Anthony Geffen at NABs (Las Vegas) and Mip-com (Cannes).
All credit to Anthony, every pitch he made was followed by my pitch to 'make it digital.' I followed him into pitching sessions in London too ... he had a documentary to finance, could I sell the interactive element behind him.
The wrong time to have big ideas. The bubble burst.
A decade on it intrigues me that the linear experience of the TV documentary is becoming increasingly 'chunked,' more a digital experience than it cares to imagine.
Watching Rome unwrapped you'll miss something if you blink. Go for the ride. I enjoy the irrevant truth of it.
Bloke pontificating to camera amongst ruins and traffic? Not here, not often.
I blogged my way through the experience of 2000/2001.
I may see what has happened to all those people I met; they will have moved on, but I have their name, former company and email address on a piece of card (how quaint). At Learning Technologies my name badge bar code was zapped; anyone asking for a card was living in the last century.
Some Linking In to do here.
They'll find it odd or intrigueded that I can recall, almost verbatim, that conversation we had.
Anyone had a good idea recently?
On the other side of the fence are the clips that managers in Learning and Development Departments can batch together on ready-made platforms, as Video Arts are doing.
You see everyone can be creative, and it's cheaper than bying in the ... the creative.
Someone, somewhere, will have had the right combination of experiences and insights to make all of this work in a new and revolutionary way.
Rome re-lived in a virtual world?
Rome experienced with your finger on the 'zapper' through time, jumping back and through events as you would online?
Or simply watching a linear experience out of the left eye, while the right eye plays a video game on the same screen as my 12 year old does?
The mind boggles
And somewhere out of all of this we extract worth.
Once you have the definitive response to a fact, something composed as a wiki that has been thoroughly reviewed I'd then like to see this thinking, initially just in words, animated via a slider, the kind of volume control we're used to seeing, only this, instead of increasing the volume of sound, increases the number of words.
In this way you choose your moment to read a bit, a bit more, or a lot, the whole thing, and or everything (in theory) that went through the author's mind when they wrote their chapter/boo/report in the first place by having not just the links, but the references open and ready to read in an instance.
The expert mind does this anyway. By the time you've read so extensively on a subject that you hear its authors speaking, you tap into a form of this. You could at any moment offer a summary, or talk for hours on 'your' subject.
I would like this opportunity from the start, from the point of ignorance, to nudge back and forth, to 'rock n roll' as a soundengineer would put it, finding the point to cut a sound track, the 'sweet point' for where I was at, where enough was being said to engage me ... or, were I about to alight from a train, a bitsize thought on which I could chew 'til the opportunity arose to indulge and nudge this 'text volume control' along the scale.
Now think of this as a slice in a pie.
|From Drop Box|
Open it out and you migrate away from text alone to include stills, video and sound. For example, the image-based expression of this concept, and a particular issue/idea/fact/report, begins with a single image, like a book cover, or TV title sequence ... as you run along our 'volume control' the number and range of images expands.
Just a thought.
Two voices are at each other
The one prattles on about 'how to do it', the other is saying 'shut up, go to sleep'.
One I can deal with, two is one too many.
A moment's irritation, tinitus or the fridge rumbling through the floorboards of the house and I think I may just go to sleep when a third voice pops up.
'I've had an idea!'
Oh boy. So I'm back here, getting it off my chest, as it were, though actually it is more a case of getting it out of my head before it drowns in idea number three.
First the sketch.
This time of a TV box.
There may be just enough happening in the frame to keep my son in one place. He regularly does three things at once: plays World of Warcraft, watches 'Mock the Week' or 'Outnumbered' ... and does his homework. Possibly while listening to music on his iTouch. I really can't tell. Though it is apparently possible to have a conversation with him as well. He's twelve. Can't you tell.
I put a title to my idea
'Towards a new kind of Television'
I think 'hyper-television' might be more appropriate.
And what on earth am I doing bringing a copy of Norman Davies, 'The Isles. A History' downstairs?
This, as it has never had a mention these last four months, is my light relief. My escape from all things e-learning and the Internet or the OU, or stuff. (That technical term again). Norman Davies bores me to sleep at night. But it doesn't, not always. This is the second time I've read this tome ('Europe. A History' will follow in due course).
Balances and difference help the mix.
Mixes, mash-ups and such like have a role to play.
A highly advance tome on Competitive Swimming that makes the sport look like civil engineering is another one for bed. It all goes into my head. Sinks away. Or does it? This is why and how this works, blogging, it gives a thought or a fact a second chance to swim to the surface, to bubble up.
Humble, Bubble, Toil and Tumblr
I began this process with a video production workshop in the Senior Common Room (Or Middle Common Room) at Balliol College in March 1982? I just tried searching for the entry in my diary, but obviously that bit hasn't been blogged yet. We had Philips micro-cassette video-cameras. We gave them out to fellow students, gave them the basic language of TV shots and techniques as I understood them courtesy of the Kluwer's Production Manual having by then shot and cut a few dozen hours of material myself.
Kit is almost as cheap today as it was then (we were given it), only the quality is now HD 35mm for a camera the size of and shape of a Ventolin inhaler.
Is it easier to teach the three shot language of video production than say 400 to 2,000 words of vocab to teach English as a Foreign Language?
Of course it is
You don't even have to say anything.
How then to turn basic TV production techniques viral in order to lift the quality of this micro output globally?
Or do people give a monkeys?
If something interesting is going on they'll look at it through any amount of noise. It's called the Zapruder effect. Don't go and see it. How did snuff movies become easy-to-see viewing? The Zapruder effect excuses all the 'You've been framed' clips - rubbish camera work, but cute dog, cat, baby, child, oaf etc:
I take the view that however short, there needs to be an idea behind it, a thought, an occurrence, even a narrative.
I'm constantly reminded of a Radio 4 challenge to three speakers to make their point in 45 seconds.
We got 'Bing Bang', 'String Theory' and the 'Offside Rule'. The first, like the opening pages of Genesis was a story with a beginning middle and end in 135 words or so; the second slightly lost its way, but the analogy worked, whereas anyone listening to an attempt at explaining the offside rule in 45 seconds would be left utterly befuddled.
People prefer story to befuddlement.
So who is going to turn Wikipedia into TV?
I cease to be entertained by it. I fear Wikipedia has had its day. Long live 'WikiTVia.'
Half an hour later. What's this about Norman?
I was googling a plumber ventriloquist venture capital person I know. (I have some versatile friends. He can also identify seven kinds of harvester ant).
'As his colleague Thackeray once observed (this is about Thomas Babington Macaulay), 'He reads twenty books to write a sentence; he travels a hundred miles to make a line description.'
All this reading and travelling can of course be achieved in front of computer screen with access to the Internet.
Many more minds, can be liked-minds and big minds.
Thackeray, quoted by W. Speck, 'Thomas Babington Macaulay', The History of England (Everyman, (London, 1911) vol.II, pp. 488-9.
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.
There was a point, certainly when the industry was unionised, when you could only specialise in one function. Production teams, even for something as simple as a 'talking head' interview cutting to a presenter might need six or seven people: producer, production assistant, director, camera, assistant camera, sound, assistant sound and a runner. This doesn't even include the presenter!
With thanks to Neil Anderson for directing me towards the Dia software.
This represents two things, a hierarchical division of roles in TV production, but also as you come towards the base the 'multi-tasking' of the various specialist roles.
When the unions lost influence in the 1980s the technology wasn't there to divide roles too much, but we settled into producer, director, camera, camera assistant and sound as the basic team. Then the producer/director roles merged. With lighter kit with fewer parts the camera assistant or runner would be dropped. Then along came the 'Video Journalist,' basically the self-operating producer/director/camera person with the sound engineer required as a second person and expected to carry kit, set lits etc: too. Meanwhile in post-porduction the editor is gradually taking on the mixing of sound, the creation of title and graphics (one a separate job/function). And then our producer/director/camera person, who can to a basic level edit using software built into the camera, takes on the editing role too - not just what we called 'off-line' editing, but the whole business to finished product. i.e. In broadcast TV, as well as for a wedding video, the production 'team' might be a one man band.
The relevance to H808 regards professionalism and the 'jack of all trades' syndrome that might see or expect a subject matter expert or tutor to have within a portfolio of skills, a growing number of other technical and craft skills. In other words, might a 'professional' be less so as and if they are expected to take on more tasks. If professionalism requires x hours of experience and y amount of technical proficiency, at what point is a subject matter expert tripped up or denied a 21st dialogue with their students because their skills with HTML are poor or non-existent?
From a TV and Film production point of view, with exception, the more roles the producer takes on the small the budget ... and the potential for amateurism. At the base is any of us with a webcam and some basic software. In every one of these functions if you have the budget, then hire someone who has the kit, 3-10 years experience and who knows their 'craft.'
All efforts to deliver the best learning online will fail unless it can be commercialised and can compete in a global market.
Hasn't Google already got its foot jammed in the OU door?
Next the OU VLE will be ditched in favour of all OU courses being operated through Facebook with the OU eportfolio (already being compromised by the OU), ditched in favour of Google Docs or PepplePad. MyStuff is vastily superior - it was designed for the specific purpose of supporting OU students and is intergrated to the platform. Please simply put some effort into making the content interoperable. I've got 883 pages of content to date which I wish to exploit forever.
And why not?
The OU should and does concentrate on its core modus operandi ... sharing the higher education learning experience to as many as possible.
The OU is not and can never be the developer of software. It hasn't the capital or the commercial drive to compete. Instead it sidles up to the BBC and delivers worthy cross-platform learning experiences and indulgences.
The best place to e-learn on the planet?
Here of course. A bit of the OU, with the BBC, with an iPlayer.
I could do with a lot more TV to liven up H808.
I had expected video galore, clips on You Tube and men with beards on BBC2 in the middle of the night.
Let's do H808 TV.
I need a portaprompt.
I can write the script.
P.S. As a TV persion I do however appreciate that when you watch a TV programme you can be fooled - transcribe the script and you'll discover that more often than not the content is pitched at a 12 year old. Without instant links, peer review or collaborative development they can be as effective to learning as seeing a pretty picture in a cook book. The learning comes from gathering in the ingredients then having a go yourself. Anyone for 1066?
I am undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. For the last 18 months, initially every two weeks and now every month I see a therapist. I pay for this myself as the NHS could only offer 20 minutes every six weeks and said I was just 'a bit depressed,' - 'like most people.'
Five years ago I was temporarily diagnosed A.D.H.D.
This was turned on its head by specialists in London who couldn't distract me and found that as the tasks I was giving to do got harder my concentration improved. Ritlan had been fun. My problem was boredom. Always has been. Whenever there is a family gathering should we discuss the first words of various nieces and nephews, let alone the adults, one of my siblings or my mother will say my first word was 'why?' and my first phrase was 'I'm bored.'
I'm still bored and I'm still asking why. I was 49 last week.
I think too much. Rather than thinking less, please can someone put me in a situation where I can think until my brain hurts.
A best moment for me, outside the exam room ... a TV programme than was going to go live in 90 mins. The MD pulls the entire theme and my producer looks at me and says let's do something new from scratch. It was that or waste the expense of presenters, camera crews (live, multi-camera, galley staff, support staff etc: etc No rewrites, no rehearsals, that script was handed out with minutes to go. Unprepared the interviewees were fresh. it worked. I'm good at doing 'from the top of my head.'
By reflecting on how I behave in certain situations, coming to understand the situations and my upbringing I am changing some of my behaviour - much of the time. This 'reflection' has at times been recorded, transcribed and chewed over - just like this. More often I treat the moment, the hour for what it is> I do wonder if I dwelt on it more often, whent back over these discussions if I would embed the change?
My late father when in his mid-twenty to mid-thirties ( I am told and believe) would spend an hour or so with his mother coming home. (That or he was having an affair - more likely?) Something of a matriarch my grand-mother, I could imagine this regular reflection facilitating and guiding my father's success. Reflection or dictation, being told what to do or coming to yor own decisions? I wonder. It's value, doubtful beyond building a substantial PLC. In terms of his relationships (catastrophic he went through four marriages). I was staying with him as marriage three collapsed. He was attending Relate. He enjoyed these sessions, admitted he was probably mad and came out of these sessions rationalising who he was without any intention of changing. It gave him an excuse.
If any component of this was reflection, then it was reflection reinforced a modus operandi, rather than changing it.
Wherein lies my issue with reflection and blogging. Is it necessarily something that results in change, or even something for the better?
Didn't Hitler write Mien Kampf while gaoled? This is narcissistic, self-indulgent reflection that gave him the opportunity to develop self-belief in his warped ideas.
See, reflection can back-fire, bringing the worst out of people, not necessarily the best.
The desired outcome of reflection as a form of thinking in an academic context is to help embed ideas and facts.
It is an aid to a neurological process, by using the information in a variety of ways it comes to matter more, priorities are made, choices taken, you form you own view of what matters and what does not. However, you share this reflection and immediately it is being written for an audience; you reflect and submit this as evidence in an assignment and the first thing you do is to check the requirements of the paper, and how it will be marked and then you adjust, edit and as a consequence contort the truth that reflection should try to uncover.
If reflection has worked then I can see a need to return to live or as-live TV. I thrive on pressure - head pressure.
As a producer in 2001 I attended numerous pitches with cross-platform projects developed with a leading independent broadcast documentary production company.
Whilst there was always an eagerness to have these meetings it proved quite impossible to raise finances at a time when most organisations were scrutinising their web-production budgets and pulling back, or pulling out.
One project was developed through the European TV and Film development initiative EAVE.
Nine years on it is interesting to see that efforts are once again being made with such ideas, however, they are growing from the Internet as a platform, rather than the TV and a computer sitting side by side.
Observing with interest my 12 year old following a make lifted from YouTube in one frame while watching an episode of the Simpsons in another on this laptop while also sliding through a music video on an iTouch made me realise that interaction for his generation is multifaceted.
As an aside, intrigued that Google is the same age as him, 12, he reflected on what browser we used before Google. The suggestion that we used books to find out information left him dumbfounded. The world has moved on.
We used to talk about activities such as watching TV or reading a book as "sit back" while using a computer or video game was "sit forward."
I wonder if the reality, like finding a point of equilibrium on a rocking-chair isn't a bit of both?
You can watch a TV programme, and play a video game? They can be different things, rather than interacting ... indeed they being separate activities, affording different ways of engagement, makes this set up possible.
Which leaves me with a final thought -
We can watch two or more linear TV programmes simultaneously without losing the thread, but try doing two video games at the same time. They're not static like chess.
The podcast H808 e-learning SMEs.
(Makes them sound like a prog rock band of the 1960s. Perhaps they were?)
[V. Long version here. 4,000 words +. 1,000 or under in H808 Tutor Forum.
Edited versions in the next 24 hours/couple of days in EduBlogs at www.mindbursts.edublogs.org]
I may be a professional swimming coach (amongst several things), but my head coach told me ‘I think too much.’ Think less and get the athletes to do more. Keep it simple. If there is any context however where thinking is the currency, literally if we are talking professionalism, then the more I think the more professional I become.
Many would say that a 3,000 word blog entry is 'unprofessional.'
I call it shared reflection, the 'uncut version.' It is the outcome of over five hours thinking on the topic. Hours banked. Ideas turned into cash. By definition when I have made two years worth of regular deposits I may call myself and even be defined as an 'e-learning professional' with the MA to suggest I have joined that club, and a job that for the remuneration I receive makes me a professional rather than a wishful thinking wannabe.
It is unprofessional as a post-graduate student to be flippant and/or verbose.
A professional would keep this down to 500 words, yet I am stretching it to 3,000. The uncut version. Reflection in action. My mind at work. Not the athlete sharing a few ‘mots justes’ after a successful race, but the race itself and all the training before hand. The choice words, bullet point form only with an abridged commentary goes into my Tutor Group Forum. Under 250 words there, is my targert. Under 1,000 words per OU blog had been my thinking too. Blown that then.
Watching the TV I fall asleep.
Listening to the radio (i.e. any audio) I do something else - I’d be distracted anyway, I have to.
In an effort to get into my head the points being made by OUr E-learning Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) I first read the transcripts provided and then listened to the podcast while reading the text.
What shocked me was how much I had missed.
I do less than skim read it appears, all I must do is to look at patterns and shapes. No wonder I learn so little when I do nothing more than read.
This isn’t an 'airport thriller' I can read at break-neck speed chaisng the protagonist as he is in turn chased; this requires a different kind of reading.
It requires effort.
I must work with the text, make notes. Just highlighting choices words and sentences isn’t enough either. Effort I can do. It is consistent effort unless I am working under exam conditions where I struggle. There is always something more interesting to read.
Historically, when successful academically, it has been a huge effort and very time consuming for me. I have to take notes (long hand). Then I have to take notes on the notes. I have to make lists, take quotes and re-order the material. I may still not make sense of it. I need to chase up a few references. I need to find my own patterns. I need to discuss it. Argue about it, agree and disagree. And then, gathering up a wad of papers and scraps of paper the whole lot needs to compost for a few months. Then, and only then, might I start to ‘get it,’ and have something constructive and original to say.
Do any of us have this kind of time anymore? Did we ever?
(My late father, my daughter and a friend, a partner in one of the world's leading law firms, all have/had photographic memories. They would have read the transcript and been able to pick out its salient points after the first swift reading. Not so me, not so us?)
The process you see playing out here is an attempt to mulch the content, slow cook it and hope that I can achieve something in five hours that would normall require five months.
The second time round with the SME podcast I first worked with the text, highlighting points and generally trying to get my head around it. If you’ve come across Jakob Nielsen’s ‘Writing for the Web,’ this is what I did – isolating sentences and ideas, creating headings, sub-headings and bullet points, in a word ‘chunking. In fact, I begin to get close to doing what Richard Northridge recommends in the ‘OU Guide to Studying’ (1990) note taking, creating concept cards and then even looking for links and patterns in the text itself.
This takes time and requires effort. I’m not great on effort. My modus operandi is (or has been) to take in volumes of material, but if this is only at a surface level no wonder I am often more frustrated than informed.
Less is more. Rather than chasing a reference, another report or book, I need, at first, to ensure that the text I have in front of me has been dissected, not consumed, not afforded nothing more than a passing glance, but pulled apart, then reconstructed.
Not the expected outcome of this simple task – my faltering approach to learning laid bare, but a valuable lesson at the start of the module.
At last I’m listening to the podcast.
I made myself think, made myself listen, I 'sat forward' (the technical term for interacting, for engagement.) I made myself read and take notes, made me list the contrasting ideas, the arguments for and against, the justifications ... and to cluster these ideas and adjust my own thoughts accordingly based on my experience.
I had something to think about as I listened.
Do I have anything in common with these e-learning professionals in relation to assumptions and aims?
Do I have different understandings of what it means to be an ‘elearning professional’?
Is there a distinct elearning profession, or is elearning simply an aspect of other professions?
The profession of teacher?
The profession of a university lecturer or academic?
The profession of a trainer or staff developer or a human resources developer in private corporate bodies?
Is there an elearning professional?
And should I be describing my job as that of an elearning professional?
My short reply, given my background in sports coaching, is simple.
If you are paid you are a professional.
If you are the athlete and not paid you are an amateur.
If you’re the coach and not paid you are a volunteer.
Therefore, if someone is good enough and experienced enough (or simply good at selling themselves and their ideas) – and they are remunerated for their efforts, then they are a professional.
Rebecca Addlington is a professional athlete. Bill Furness, her coach, is a professional too.
At my swimming club all the swimmers are amateur, though some through bursaries to pay for County and Regional development training are by definition quasi-professional as they are receiving benefits if not in cash, then in kind. Some of the coaches and I do not define myself as a swimming coach; it’s a hobby that’s got out of hand.
I have ‘put in the hours.’
(Which I can qualify by saying I have put in the appropriate hours. i.e. time will not make you a professional, the enduring focus of your efforts will)
One of the key themes of the podcast made by each of the speakers is that a professional has put in the time.
They have put in the effort, gained experience that is directly or indirectly relevant to their e-learning expertise – and by dint of this expertise (and being paid by the OU, for books and reports, lectures and workshops too perhaps) they are all professionals.
At the swimming club many of us (its the biggest club in the South of England) have earned our places through years of experience, gaining qualifications and attending regular courses (CPD) to retain a licence to teach or coach aquatics. Many of us, paid or not, can call ourselves 'professionals.'
Just as I’ve reduced my core thought to that of the contract between a professional and an amateur, by picking out the ideas of each speaker and doing something similar a number of interesting points regarding what it means to be an ‘e-learning professional’ emerge.
In this see-saw of ideas the protagonists have a habit of changing places.
By defining professional we should also think what it means to be unprofessional.
I’ve allowed this dance to play out as it leaves me with an image of a professional being circled by the professional wannabe, the unprofessional (as yet), the layperson, the naive, virgin student. A mass of non-professionals clamoring around the few.
The points and arguments frequently fall into another diametrically opposed set: the qualitative vs. quantitative, an objective point vs. the subjective, a value judgment vs. the facts. Everything overlaps - a Venn Diagram of the points would show sets within sets.
· Amateur vs. Professional (there are many highly ‘professional’ amateurs)
· Ineffective vs. effective.
· Hasn’t done it for long vs. been doing it for a long time
· Undergraduate vs. PhD (A sub-set of the above)
· Hasn’t put in the hours vs. has put in the hours (more of the same)
· Immature vs. Mature (a variation of the same. Though professionalism is not a consequence of maturity)
· Inexperienced vs. Experienced.(Experience that takes time to acquire, and a certain manner to be effective)
· A new field vs. an established field. (Disagree. Though a new field of subset of a professional activity would be definably professional).
· New vs. Established. (as above)
· No established standards vs. abides by general and specific received standards.
· Acting alone or part of a professional association.
· Part of the UK Higher Education Academy or not. (a subset of the above)
· Part of a legitimate community or not. (as above)
· Committed vs. Uncommitted.
· Respectful vs. Disrespectful.
· Respect for the individual learner, incorporating research and scholarship, the development of learning communities online is a hugely strong component in professional elearning practice. (successfully combines the subjective and unquantifiable with the quantifiable and objective)
· Juvenile and professional vs. professional only if matured. (as Robin Mason)
· Unlicensed vs. Licensed.
· Genuine vs. not genuine.
· Unrecognised vs. Recognised.
· Inexperienced vs. Experienced.
· Independent vs. tied (to government or a business).(disagree)
· Technical foundation vs. no technical foundation
· No need for a label, e-learning professional vs. professional enhancer. (strongly agree)
· Takes time vs. no time.(as Robin Mason and Robin Goodfellow. You have to put in the time to become a professional. Which I guess applies as much to the professional criminal, as the Professional lawyer. Little p, Big P- see below)
· Part of the mainstream vs. Specialist. (disagree)
· ‘Lone Ranger’ and early stages of innovation ... vs. early majority and established (themes of Rogers)
· Enthusiasts vs. the not interested. (strongly agree)
· Society and the professionalisation of modern life (quotable)
· Sport in the 20th century and professional vs. amateurs in sport
· Traditional and modern professionals
· Autonomous vs. dependent
· Trustworthy vs. (spin/PR/Branding/Agenda)
· Not part of a trade association or governing body vs. part of such an association
· Generalist vs. specialist
· An outside vs. part of something
· Formalised standards vs. none
· Unmonitored vs. monitored
· Is there a distinct elearning profession, or is elearning simply an aspect of other professions?
· Little ‘p’ pr big ‘P.’
Jonathan Vernon (moi)
· Doesn’t look the part vs. looks the part.
· Lacks form vs. has form.
· Self-taught vs. ‘done a course.’
· Qualified (with the piece of paper to prove it) vs. Unqualified (however expert they may be).
Some thoughts on the points identified above
It is worth reflecting on Robin Mason’s point about ‘putting in the hours.’
The suggestion that genius and expertise requires 10,000 hours of effort is no urban myth. A study carried out at the Berlin Music Conservatoire identified three groups of graduates. Asked to estimate how many hours of practice and playing each student had put in since picking up an instrument they were then divided into three distinct categories: up to 4,000 hours, up to 8,000 hours and up to 10,000 hours. The first became teachers, the second category got places in orchestras whilst the tiny number who had put in 10,000 hours (takes around 10 years to do this) were most likely to be the solo artists, the concert pianists, the mavericks, the Vanessa Maes and Mozarts. Whilst all these categories are professionals, they are paid for their skills, the use of the word ‘professional’ to distinguish those who are expert, who have attained a certain standard, would in my view apply to the musicians who have made it into a top orchestra – with the soloists in a category beyond the ‘professional.’ Our ‘OU H808 E-learning SME professionals', given the decades of thought they have put into what we now define as ‘e-learning’, have been part of this ‘orchestra’ of professionals for some time, and who knows, we may have a Mozart amongst them. Personally, I've not read enough from any of them yet to know any better. I look forward to hearing what they have to say and how they say it.
Interestingly, Robin Mason returns repeatedly to a theme of time passing, of gaining, requiring or acquiring maturity of thought. Though I feel as if I am clutching at ideas in an amorphous cloud here, my sense is that whether it is professional with a big P or a little p, that the word ‘maturity'; might say it all.
What does maturity imply?
Growing up, lessons learnt, age, growth, adult hood, a way of behaving, able to fit in and contribute to a community and so on.
I disagree with Gill Kirkup
If I have understood her correctly regarding her suggesting that only in an established field is something professional whilst in a new field this is not possible. We can all think of (or at least imagine) an unprofessional ‘professional.’ The corrupt lawyer, the doctor struck off the medical register, the TV food expert who is not a doctor at all (and so a sham professional).
In 2000 I would have defined myself, as some of the panel here would have done, as what is now termed an ‘e-learning’ professional. After fifteen years in corporate communications, training and learning, creating linear, then non-linear and ultimately web-based materials the companies and government department for whom I worked through various production companies had to see me as ‘professional.’ I hadn’t done the post-graduate studying, but I’d learnt through observation and experience (first carrying video kit into the changing rooms of a nuclear power plant age 17 assisting with a training film for BNFL at Sellafield).
Interestingly, I don’t currently consider myself to be an e-learning or a learning professional and even with the MA I hope to gain in 2011 I will by my own definition not be a professional until I am being paid for my expertise.
To use a horse-racing term I lack 'form.'
I'm literally out of the race (for now).
Being studious here and building my confidence is part of the plan to regain the 'professional' tag.
Does a barrister on retirement cease to be a professional lawyer?
Socio-econonmically he/she would still be defined as a 'professional' would they not?
I agree however, very much, with Gill Kirkup’s views regarding ‘respect’ and her definition of an e-learning professional within the academic community.
‘Respect for the individual learner, incorporating research and scholarship, the development of learning communities online is a hugely strong component in professional elearning practice.’
(This, for me, successfully combines the subjective and unquantifiable with the quantifiable and objective. i.e. you can be a professional Professional).
I disagree with Robin Goodfellow’s view that a professional must be independent vs. tied (to government or a business). If we look beyond e-learning professionals and academia it would be quite wrong to say that someone is not professional simply because they represent the interests of an organisation or government department, let alone are being paid to take a certain stance or have a strongly held view (left or right wing politically, religious or atheist and so on).
If nothing else, I believe I have shown above that there is a natural dichotomy, if not a debate even an implicit conflict, between views on whether a person, or institution, or field of study, can be defined as professional or not, worthy of study or not.
It is engagement in such a debate where a professional proves their credentials.
A professional is a match for anyone, whilst the unprofessional would not play by the rules, make excuses, bow out...
Dare I imply that all the above are differentiating between the educated and uneducated?
Is it so black and white? Students at school, scholars as Edwardian’s would have defined them, and undergraduates, graduates too, in terms of education can never be defined as ‘professional.’
Or can they?
The government pays students to go to college, to stay on in secondary school after the age of 16 – does not this make them pros, like a boy of a similar age getting paid to play football in an academy, they literally ‘turn pro.’
I agree with Robin Goodfellow that there is ‘need for a label’, that what is currently the e-learning professional may be the ‘professional enhancer ‘of the future if the UK HE Academy has their way (though I doubt the term will stick). Just as Robin was (we were) once web-based learning professionals, or learning professionals, or professionals in education...
Big P, little p (Chris Jones) is the most memorable expression of an idea in relation to the professional Professional that I take from this and a worthy talking point. And 2,500 words in I could sum it up with a Twitter count.
Professional is an adjective and a noun.
Anyone can be described as ‘professional,’ (adjective) by dint of their behaviour and experience, however to be a ‘professional’, (noun), various criteria should be met. Depending on how your measure up, by Chris Jones’s definition, you are either Big or Little P.(I can think of other categories where a similar way of looking at things could be applied, for example, ‘engineer’. The person who fixes my washing machine may call himself an ‘engineer,’ but Isambard Kingdom Brunel was an ‘Engineer’. A sports psychologist is no longer allowed to call themselves such, they are sports scientists. So Psychologist, if not professional, not has a legally binding form of expression and use).
I disagree however with Chris Jone’s view that Professionals (big P you notice) have to be specialists whilst implicitly, if they are professional at all (little p) they are not, or unlikely to be so if they are part of the mainstream.
Or do I?
(I'm changing my mind as I write this, reflecting on a matter tends to do this. You twist yourself in so many knots and then find you are looking in the opposite direction - and happy to do so)
Is there an implicit elitism here that makes me uncomfortable, an obvious them and us?
As a Professional I am not ‘part of the mainstream’ ?
Yes, that’s it.
You see the ‘mainstream’ is the population, everyone, in the universe that we are discussing. Professionals are of the mainstream, of society, even if they are a subset community within the broader community.
The likes of Richard Dawkin and Stephen Hawkings are 'professional Professionals' by their engagement with the world, not because of an elitist, hide-themselves away hermit like attitude to knowledge acquisition. Do Simon Schama and Neil Ferguson fall into the same category of professionalism?
Be published and damned, broadcast and be damned even more?
But you don't have to be famous to be Professional (though I dare say you'd cease to be professional if you became infamous).
Or have I been making a mistake through-out this internal debate ... this reflection – that we have always only been discussing Big P professionalism ONLY as part of ‘the whole thing,’ i.e. the specific category of the ‘e-learning Professional’ and just as this time round I haven’t given a moment’s thought to ‘e-learning’ as a term, I have nonetheless unnecessarily dissected the term ‘professional.’
I’m yet to click through the OED online.
I daren’t. It may be my undoing.
Back to my idea of a Venn Diagram.
If ‘professionals’ is the universe then we have two subsets, Professionals (Big P) and professionals (little p) (the noun only). Far smaller, and intersecting both these sets, we have ‘e-learning.’ There are in e-learning little P and Big P professionals.
Still with me?
But there are also non-professionals, and even the unprofessional to consider. Can they also be defined as Non-professionals (Big N) and Unprofessionals (Big U).
Might a professional be defined as someone with 'qualified confidence in their field?'
Not finished yet
I've got a Venn Diagram to draw, some visualising to do.
Can a loner be a professional?
I enjoyed Chris Jones's point about the ‘Lone Ranger’ that in early stages of innovation there are maverick, loners having a go at something new way ahead of anyone else - think Dr Emmett Brown in 'Back to the Future' tinkering away at the construction of a time-travelling automobile. Are such people professionals or even professional? Does this 'odd-ball' behaviour disenfranchise you from the professional community, even if you have the mind the size of a planet?
A consultant escapes the hospital ward for a couple of years to undertake research. Just because they are beavering away on their own, being a 'Lone Ranger' doesn't disqualify them from the category of 'Professional,' (Big P), or even 'professional Professional' (little p, Big P).
Dare I suggest that our panel of e-learning experts are 'professional e-Professionals' ?
I don't even begin to delve into the thinking behind innovation diffusion. This is an entire module in its own right. It is called 'Innovations in E-learning', or H807 for short.
For more read 'Diffusion of Innovations' E.M.Rogers. (2005) 5th edition.
Nor am I going to teach the definition 'e-learning.'
Is there a professional 'look.'
Forgive me if I make a comparison here between the need for barristers to put on the appropriate garb in court and so look Professional with a big p, compared to those wishing to be called professional and seen as Professional who don't look the part. Poolside as coaches it is expected that all teachers are appropriately dressed in the club colours and well groomed - this looks professional. There was once a time when teachers wore a jacket and tie, so looked professional like fellow professionals such as lawyers and doctors. Don't academic look the part, 'look professional' in their gowns and mortar-boards?
And having addressed 'looks' can someone sound 'professional?
Think how a director chooses actors to play a role. Look at Michael Cane in 'Educating Rita,' is this the stereotypical professional Professor?
Another discussion, but coming from corporate communications we have been through exercises of using authentic presenters (people who work at the place) compared to buying in 'professional' presenters. To do justice to the message in the TV medium the professional broadcasters were far better at putting over the points the client wanted to make.
As I said, another discussion, a different thread.
P.S. It would be unprofessional to post such a long entry into a tutor forum, where a 500 word, even a 250 word version will be posted (the bullet points, or just my thoughts on the key bullet points ... or just where I strongly agree or disagree).
Lesson Learnt ?
Professionals put in the time and effort, and follow rather than ignore guidelines for the community in which they operate.
It strikes me that academics, like creatives, are more interested in reputation and recognition than money.
Is it not striking that not one of our panel mention it?
Can you be a professional without it?
And what about spelling and grammar?
The ability to communicate. Have I mentioned that. Can the professional spell?
‘The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters, meetings, introductions which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a great amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.
My obsession of the last decade has been my life on-line. My life in words. My life with people I have never met and will never meet.
I found the above in a journal entry I wrote in 1992; I am regurgitating it on-line, in bite-size form, elsewhere - the 2,000 words or more I would write not right for this on-line sheet of OU soft paper on a roll that tears about where people get bored with my say and want to get a word in edge ways.
Nin, A. (1946) Vol 4, Journals, May 1946.
So here's the edge of the paper -
Pure serendipity but I have caught this documentary twice in the last couple of weeks on UK terrestrial TV.
So insightful on the way the human mind works. How such tiny nuances of sensory information can help us recollect genuine memories ... or to create false memories.
There is relevance here.
How does the mind gather and retain and use information ? And how can the trivial take on extraordinary importance. And importantly, what is the effect of online-learning that deprives us of some important memory-binding tools.
What do you think?
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