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An unusal and easy win

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Staff at Tizz's in Lewes enjoying the Christmas spirit of late night shopping.

Despite being a 'Learning Technologist' I put myself on the creative and instructional design side of elearning rather than the IT side of things. I don't take well to learning new platforms - but have to. My greatest motivation and drive is where I have a project goal that requires the software.

Today I have added a plugin to Wordpress which allows me to add 360° images. 

Algori plugin for 360 images icon

Here are a few shots I took at Lewes Late Night Shopping last night. 

http://bit.ly/2YmxgoZ 

The win is to be able to say to 'Creative Industries' here at GB MET who use Wordpress to create portfolios of their work that they can now include in these 360°shots too. 




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I've never read enough

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 23 Aug 2019, 13:55

I got through it in an hour.

Using edtech in a way that helps your learners

Having the skills and mindset to embrace constant change in a fluid environment while every emerging technology develops its functionality and sophistication. 

Edtech should always be linked to meaningful formative assessment.

Types of tools

Recent and emerging themes in edtech

  • Assessment/assignment tools
  • Social media
  • Video and audio
  • Collaborative working
  • Games and learner response systems
  • Presentation

Name of the edtech tool

An infographic summarising its benefits

What can it do for teachers and learners

How to use it

How to assess using it

It is wrong to reference Prensky whose theories were entirely hypothetical and once tested proved to be totally wrong. Search here to see the multiple times I have picked up on this one and stripped in bare. Prensky wrote a piece for Atlantic in 2001 - journalist, not research. There was a resonance about it that people wanted to believe. It is nonsense. 

Nonsense like ‘though digital natives are demonstrating advances skills in multitasking at speed’.

When someone was born no more makes them digitally literate than being capable of driving a car or flying a light aircraft. The inverse is the truth: those with the greater digital skills are older and educated: they could afford the devices and the Internet connection. Today, a student who can waste their day playing games, using Instagram and messaging friends cannot even search for something and differentiate between fact and invention, let alone complete a range of digital skills - skills they come to college to be taught from scratch. Indeed, in a vocational college some students baulk at the site of a computer saying they came to study carpentry or motor vehicle maintenance because they wanted nothing to do with them. 

It is also utter nonsense to talk about preferred learning styles such visual and kinaesthetic. Once again, this is a plausible theory that has no basis in fact. The facts are that the highly complex brain exploits multiple parts of the brain stimulated by all the senses in varying circumstances in order to construct a short term memory and in time reconstruct and build on this in the long term memory while clinging on to some sense of it all before some of it, or the best part of it is forgotten. All the senses matter. If a student tells me they prefer to watch videos rather than being given a written test, then I will oblige them to take notes, write essays and do written exams because it has also been shown that the challenge of doing something you don’t like, rather than doing things the way that suits you is more memorable.

At this point the author has lost all credibility and I am loath to read on.

Nor does he know the correct definition of the word ‘indifference’ mistaking it for  

There's a good review of the pros and cons of Nearpod.

Others include: Turnitin, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Learnium, H5P, YouTube, EDpuzzle, TuitionKit, Panopto, Audacity, GarageBand, Padlet, QR codes, G Suite for Education, Lino, Popplet, MindMapfree, WordPress, Notability, Slido, Kahoot!, Quizlet, GoSoapBox, Poll Everywhere, Wordclouds, Plickers, ClassDojo, Explain Everything, Infographics, Canva, PowerPoint, iSpring, 











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Testing eportfolios platforms

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The contest is between Pebblepad, Wordpress, Google Sites and Blurb.

Pebblepad is great for a national or regional institution creating a workbook-like course for swimming or nursing.

I just completed a Swim Coach Level II course through Swim England that used Pebblepad. It was a monster! Demanding, massive and took several months to pull together and upload the required materials.

Wordpress is a blog.

Some tutors at GB MET swear by it and many years of students in Prop Creation / Theatre Design have used Wordpress not just to blog, but as a way to submit work for grading and to develop clients or potential employers. Having been on Wordpress since 2007 you'd think I'd be convinced: I am not. Lately the platform has become overly slick and in the process tricksy. I feel like an artist on ice-skates; it works but I don't feel in control.

Google Sites is like a paired back version of Wordpress. 

For students it does the basics without too much fuss. I'm giving it a go and will report back more fully in due course.

Blurb is new.

For a tool aimed at creating eportfolio like collections of work it has the required focus and simplicity. I could see myself introducing this to students in construction and motor vehicle maintenance; it has that level of practicality about it. I wonder if students in the creative arts would want more scope to design the experience?

On the other hand, from an examiner and tutor's point of view keeping it simple might be he best answer - like putting work up on a studio wall, or in this case on an electronic scroll of paper. 

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Teaching Learning Technologies in practice: Planet eStream.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 22 Mar 2019, 12:50

On Wednesday I took a class of 12 PGCE Level Two Teacher Trainees on a tour of Planet eStream. I inadvertently added into the mix the mind mapping tool SimpleMinds, the 360 tour creator ThingLink and Wordpress blogging.

Becoming a champion for this TV, Video, multi-media educational platform I found I could introduce, demonstrate, elaborate, answer problems and queries and even get them signed in without unnecessary panic.

A number of things have got me here:

  • time to push the boundaries of the different parts of the platform with close to authentic learning challenges, rather than some random 'giving it a go'.
  • Having colleagues and friendly tutors to practice on in small groups until I was ready for something bigger.
  • Taking ownership of the class. Therefore having my own 'session plan' and the means to follow this.

My fall back came in several parts:

  1. I thought in part like a Swim Coach and on a set of landscape formatted sheets even gave the duration for each part of the presentation and a cumulative duration to get me through the two hours.
  2. A flip pack of 18 sheets that I could read standing up at a table
  3. Sets of mindmaps, one for the Student experience the other for the Staff experience. I had these as A4 sheets to hand out and as A3 sheets for me to view at a glance. I could call these up on a screen, however, as I found on the day, this was simply a medium sized flat screen that would never be seen across the room.
  4. I also hand some corporate handouts from Planet eStream.
  5. Logging in I signed in as staff and using an incognito window as a student. 
  6. I also had in the tabs the mind maps, the 18 sheets and the final fall back a Slides PPT each of a single image to use as a visual prompt for me. 

There is a lot to get through simply to promote the variety of things the platform can do to support teaching, in particular to create a 'flipped classroom'.

Pob a Ragdoll Production Puppet

I began with a story. How I got out of corporate training and information films and started at a web agency trying and failing to get broadcast TV content online for Ragdoll.

Finding out what subjects the trainee teachers would be teaching I also wondered where they saw themselves on this spectrum and explained a little about 'Diffusion of Innovation Theory' in relation to constant change and attitudes to new technology, software, applications and upgrades and how this manifests itself in the classroom as people who embrace the new and others who reject it all. 

Diffusion of Innovations Chart

I like these simple, bold images, charts or mindmaps to cue an item I want to talk about. In the shorter lesson I skipped much of my introduction and this and got straight into Planet eStream. I think it works better with the context.

The demos I have created included taking an episode of Sheldon, lifting out the long commercial break in the middle and 'topping and tailing' either end. I then 'cut' it into 7 'chapters' that isolated Sheldon's story from the other characters. Each 'sketch' runs for less than a minute. I find these micro-experiences are ideal tasters rather than dissecting a 48 minute Horizon documentary. 

I also used a less than 2 minute long clip from a 1981 edition of Tomorrow's World where the Carry On comedian Kenneth Williams presented. Once again, the demonstration is short and memorable. I ought to find others for a younger audience. Does Oli Murs do a demonstration? What about a clip from Blue Peter 2019?

Sheldon and Kenneth Williams

Other examples of how Planet eStream works included 'grabbing' the radio series 'The Secret History of a School' in ten parts. each under 15 minutes. Here I created an added a suitable 'Thumbnail' for each episode to distinguish each visually.

What I could not do in either session. This we need a morning, afternoon or evening workshop, was to do something in real time, not just find a programme or upload from YouTube, but then edit this piece, create a playlist or make an interactive quiz. These are all straightforward to learn skills.

Here is the quiz editor platform. 

I'm writing this is part of my habitual reflection. Just as I kept a diary here almost every day of my MAODE plus the two further modules that I did, I have now kept a diary for most working days of the 12 months I have been here are GB MET.

Taking these classes I finally feel a 'change career' I began in 2000 is going in the right direction. Back then it was from corporate training and information films to online. Then with my MAODE 2010 to 2013 it temporarily went into tertiary education with the OU but in a communications rather than a learning role. Since then there has been more corporate e-learning, even a further history degree and a digital editor's role, but it is this., however modest, like a private in the army, like a private in the Labour Corps even, I am working with students and teachers.

Sitting in a class assessing where technology has a role is interesting too. More on this in my next post. 

 

 

 

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The Life of the Learning Technologist

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 23 Nov 2018, 05:28

 Roy Castle playing the trumpet

Some decades ago on Blue Peter the inveterate multi-talented Roy Castle set a Guinness Book of Records by playing the same tune on 43 different instruments in four minutes.

Sometimes I feel that being a Learning Technologist is like this. We an not IT support, nor are we Teachers or Tutors, but we can 'play' a multitude of platforms with aplomb - and fix an IT, psychological or learning problem to boot.

Introduced to a fledgling PebblePad while completing my MA ODE with the OU 2010-2013 I have now had it sprung on me, in all places, as a Swim England Swimming Coach. It is this e-portfolio, evidence gathering, assessment supporting platform that will be used to assess whether I merit certification as a coach.

Interestingly, it was mentioned to me the other day, that a tutor was using PebblePad at our college for a similar purpose: I shall have to investigate further. So far I have found it more common for tutors to use a blog, typically WordPress though some using Blogger.

My own ensemble of tools that I use, and some that I have mastered include:

Google Classroom

OpenAthens

Turnitin

Planet E-Stream

ThingLink

WordPress

I have also mastered the use of a 360 Ricoh Theta SC camera - at least for taking stills.

Adobe Lightroom

 

 

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Diaryland and the writer's itch

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Feb 2015, 08:29

1,783,027 words, 1,879 entries over 5,091 pages if printed off. 

This how I left my first blog.

It barely scratches the surface of the memories a brain can recreate. I tried. I have in there repeated efforts to recall the very first things I could ever feasibly have formed as viable memories: or were they words and images put into my head by my mother much later? I also noticed that in the comments I have two years of conversations with the now published author Catherine Valente and, would that I could verify it, a short exchange with Norman Mailer. 

This diary is on 'Diaryland;' started in September 1999, finally ended in March 2006. It feels like landfill: there's so much stuff in there rotting away. Though it doesn't, it's digital. Closed because while I don't give a monkey's about writing on everything I have done, thought about or think where people can be identified it does cause embarrassment and pain. It took me a few years to realise that if I was receiving 200+ views an hour some of these people might know me. No one I knew ever, ever said they were there. Not for a long time. Perhaps they knew I'd close it down if they let on? I tried to obscure names and locations but that just got very confusing. I held a mirror along the Pennines and set everything that had taken place in Northumberland in Cumbria and vice versa. For people's names I tried initials, but 'JV,' for me is a give away, so I cleverly decided to change names by one letter in the alphabet, so 'JV' would become 'KW' and I'd give him the name 'Ken,' for example. I knew a lot of Sallys and Sarahs who all become 'Tamsin' or 'Tabatha' which threw my head into immediately constructing different personas for them. Ken and Tabatha sounds like the relationship between a Barbie doll and a Sacha doll.

There were a lot of 'Js' too for both boys and girls from the 1970s and there is a limited choice of 'Ks' to go with.

Only a few years later bumping into old friends from home and school have they said they knew all about 'X', and 'Y' or looked at the drawings I did of 'K' and the photo of 'T.' The greatest shock was getting into a conversation with my 'petite amie' from my school French Exchange when I was 17 - 33 years after we'd last seen each other. I'd posted a teen sketch I did of her and wrote up in detail how we behaved.

It is of greater value to me not 'cleaned up,' so I keep it closed though once again I'm drawing upon it constantly as it contains a substantial part of a diary I kept from the age of 13 to 28 and a great deal of stories that I wrote drawing on some of those experiences. These are finding life once again thanks to the OU's FutureLearn course 'Start Writing Fiction' and, once again, a close writer/editor relationship that has formed. It is, should I ever get published, a sound example of the value of keeping a 'notebook' as that diary, even as I conceived it age 13 is/was a 'writer's journal'.

What I find touching, then and again today, is that supportive friendships form with fellow writers or readers or editors that is enormously encouraging and guiding; people want my words. I feel like a kind of stand up comic on stage who carries his audience some of the time, then gets hit from time to time by a soft  'carrot' or a bendy 'stick' and subsequently re-adjusts his 'voice' to the one they want to hear. 

Marking five years since I started my OU degree and this blog almost coincided with a logical, deserving step into the legitimate world of e-learning as I completed an 'in-tray' exercise ahead of a second interview. As I prepared to mark this 'Five Years' (a totemic time period for any David Bowie fan) I thought I could be announcing this literal step onto a 'platform'. Though I also had in mind my response to it not happening:

  • no more job applications
  • no more OU courses
  • back to writing with a renewed vengeance and determination. (I feel the Start Writing Fiction course on FutureLearn has refuelled me. I've been a petrol engine trying to run on diesel all y life and they fixed that)
  • once again give a substantial body of unpublished work (manuscripts for novels, screenplays, TV series, radio plays) their chance. (I have made and found the time and was for a couple of years indulged by an agent and producers enough to get interviews to discuss treatments and first scenes. On reflection I was a chef who appeared to promise something delicious but kept serving the thing up either cold or over spiced. SWF has been like a short course in Cordon Blue cookery; I may not be there yet, but at least what I'm now producing is edible).
  • and commit to a two month sailing trip later in the year: the Atlantic via the Canaries and Cape Verde to Bermuda.
  • Meanwhile I have picked out one manuscript, something I dated March 2006 when I boxed it away, that runs to around 100,000 words and 42 chapters. I am revisiting, rewriting and posting this in little bits. It'll take at least six months working 14 hours+ a day.
  • eight hours a week 'work' fails to keep the wolf from the door. I could do with at least 20. 

On verra.

This OU Student Blog, a good deal of it already migrated into a WordPress blog, is coming to its natural conclusion. Five years is long enough. Until I study here again.

Elsewhere at:

www.mymindbursts.com

Writing fiction at:

www.startwritingfiction.wordpress.com = password protected

Diaryland at:

www.jonathan.diaryland.com = password protected

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vs. Dependency

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Jul 2014, 07:57

You'll never learn a thing if someone else does it all for you.

There are the extremes of course of 'looking at someone else's notes', to reading their essay, to collusion where someone assists you big time. Then there is cheating where someone else writes the paper or sits the exam. What I'm talking about is 'taking the plunge'. No video or e-learning course will teach you to swim; you have to enter the water and take your first strokes.

But somethings we like others to do.

I am rubbish with cars. I have put diesel in a petrol car and added oil to the screen-wash. I can check the oil (now), do the screen-wash and check the tyres. Little else.

When it comes to blogging the beauty of this OU Student Blog is that it is straightforward and has been simplified and clarified in various ways over the last couple of years. 'Out there' you can have yourself an equally simple blog, say on WordPress. Fine, until you venture a tad further and want your own domain name (.com), or to add credit card payments (to sell stuff and to invite donations - we're all poverty stricken students right?). It is too easy to become overwhelmed, to fear clicking on the wrong thing. I have deleted a blog. And I have paid for a fancy theme and some other knobs and whistles that I didn't really want. So you find someone else to teach you, but there is a fine line between being taught and having someone else to do it for you.

Struggling to get ww.mindbursts.com in the right place I booked some time with a guy I'd already done some short courses with. He's great, but in some respects like a concert organists who knows how to pull all the bells and whistles with ease - what makes more sense, for him to spend two hours trying to show you how or to do it for you in 15 minutes?

I called early for 30 mins and he was on another call; three minutes later, following some simple instructions I'd done what I was going to ask him to do sad I just have to commit, just have to jump in, get my hands dirty, find out, make mistakes (so long as they aren't expensive).

 

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W is for Wordpress

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 30 May 2014, 08:45

Wordpress

Etienne Wenger

Wikipedia (A snowman)

Martin Weller

Web 2.0, Web 3.0, Web 4.0

Web Sciences

Yorick Wilks

H G Wells

Wired Sussex

Having blogged since 1999, then on Diaryland, I lived through the blogging revolution of 2002-2005 when a plethora of platforms came along. I tentatively tried several, including LiveJournal, Blogger, Tumblr and EduBlogs before settling on WordPress in 2007. It remains the most versatile, open, viewed blogging platform of them all. So easy that it is my default platform for a range of interests: learning, swim teaching and coaching, the First World War and more - a couple of 'Books of Remembrance' even and a multitude of other themes, issues and intersts. Try it. And like here, remember there is one very important option: public or private, in both cases it is still a blog, but when private it can be a diary and a portfolio. Mine is both a learning journal, and a journal. As a resource its value grows with regular use and maintenance - like a garden

When it comes to e-learning academics then there are few bigger names than Martin Weller, but when it comes to a demonstration of global reach through 'user generated content' shared by  hundreds of thousands of people forming interest groups and communities then for me, Wordpress, rather than Wikipedia is the e-learning blogging platform of choice.

I've called Wikipedia a 'snowman' as I had called e-mail a 'snowball' in the same sentence; one you aim, the other last as others add to it. Is it still the default for students? The problem now is that the content is like a granite cliff - unassailable it beleived in its scholarship and increasingly inaccessible as the editors become so entrenched - addressing eachother rather than a specific audience. There needs to be a dial that allows you to tone down or filter the content depending on whether you are a primary school student or have a PhD.

Web Sciences is a subject specialism at the University of Southampton.

Yorick Wilks has developed some interesting ideas on Artificial Intelligence and is at the Oxford Internet Institute.

H G Wells is a visionary, the Douglas Adams of his time.

Etienne Wenger - Communities of Practice Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Martin Weller - The Ed Techie

Tapscott, S. and Williams, D. (2007) Wikinomics; How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, London, Atlantic Books.

Pearce, N. (2012) ‘Developing students as content scavengers’, OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2012/OER 12 Conference, 16–18 April, Cambridge.

Wilks, Yorick (ed.), Close Engagements with Artificial Companions: Key social, psychological, ethical and design issues. 2010. xxii, 315 pp. (pp. 259–286)

The on going story of the heavy metal umlaut on wikipedia.

http://jonudell.net/udell/gems/umlaut/umlaut.html




 

 

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On blogging. It isn't for the most part. Thoughts on my own future tracks

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 6 Mar 2014, 12:18

I posted my first content to an 'online journal' - no one called them blogs way back then, on the 24th September 1999. I've been at it ever since - every day for at least the first four years then I reviewed my practice, split into a number of parts and specialised. I also took an MA in the next best thing 'Open and Distance Education' (MAODE). So, yes, blogging fascinates me. Twitter as a 'microblog' is not - it is chatting. And many so called blogs are actually something else too - corporate marketing brochures, magazines, radio shows, TV channels, photo dumps and galleries. For me, and those of us writing in 'Diaryland' over a decade ago a blog, like a diary, is something you kept up every day, reflected your daily life and was largely secret: you wrote amongst friends rather than to an audience. This meant that they remained authentic, deep, even 'in confidence'. Has all of that been lost? I wonder. 

What we have here is either a 'learning journal' or 'an e-portfolio' - that's if you want to attach it directly to your studies. Because of it's odd nature and history it is also what was once called a 'Bulletin Board', indeed, I had a go of an early one right here - sort of, that as on a Masters in Open and Distance Learning module in 2001. It really was posting to a bulletin board, a sentence or two attached to any others that were going up. More like an early version of a Student Forum.

Having said all of this, as a direct result of just completing H818: The Networked Practitioner  (EMA away last night). I plan to review, refine and redirect my blogging behaviour. Here it will be business as usual, though only if my relationship with the Open University is continued in some capacity or other (I got up early to do some application forms). Beyond these 'walls' I will professionalise my blog on e-learning and post continent aimed squarely at practitioners - for educators, on learning. I do think the 'e' is redundant regarding e-learning, indeed the 'm' from mobile learning is redundant too. Currently at 'My Mind Bursts' this will go into the fledgling 'Mind Bursts' which will go live once I've got 100 of my choicest posts in there. Or, 25 ... my 'A to Y' of learning, named so courtesy of the Open University where you will find the Computer Help Desk has no 'Z', so don't think you can look up 'zipping files' as I did while struggling to post an EMA. The response I got back was characteristically obtuse. 

The blog I stopped posting to on swimming teaching and coaching (I did for ten years as a direct consequence of taking my kids down to the pool eleven years ago) gets more views per day than any of my other blogs - go figure! It is useful. I answer direct daily questions. The biggest 'seller' is the 45 minute lesson plan for teaching or coaching swimming - I have all strokes, all stages and all problems addressed. That should tell me something. More at the catchily named 'Coaching and Teaching Swimming'.

This by the way is called 'reflection'. I should have Kolb's Learning Cycle spinning through my head right now. I don't. My head is fudge and I need the coffee that is brewing on my desk,

The other blog, 'That's Nothing Compared to Passchendaele', which requires and deserves tidying up started out as the memoir of my late grandfather, a machine gunner in the First World War - the only one who survived it would appear. Actually, in 1992 there was a 75th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Ypres) and there were four of them. One was an ammunition carrier. The other two were machine gunners, you could tell from their thumbs - like the beak of a spoonbill, squished flat from periods of anxiety pressed against the triggers of a Vicker's MKII Machine Gun. Like the swimming thing I need to hone this down to a resource of value - just his story, his words (over three hours of interviews) and photographs with references which would do the historian in me proud.

There will be a lot of 'ditching of babies' - there will be a good deal of painful unknitting of layouts and extraction. 

Are these blogs? Actually no. I ought to think of them as books and give them the professional focus that is required before you can go to print.

And finally, a blog on the use of Quick Response codes in education. This as a consequence of H818 and the ten minute presentations we gave a couple of weeks ago.

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Reflecting on H818: The Open Studio

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 08:06

I'm getting a sense of deja vu as the rhythm of this module reveals itself.

Openness comes with some caveats. It is not everyone's cup of tea.

As people we may change or behaviour in different environments.

I am not saying that we as individuals necessarily behave in the same way in an Open Studio online (a virtual studio no less) than we do or would in an open studio, as in a collective in a workshop or 'atelier' that is 'exposed' to fellow artists -  but is nonetheless human interaction with all the usual undercurrents.

What I believe will not work is to put a gaggle of creators in the same room and expect them to collaborate.

The studios of the 'open' type that I am aware of are either the classic Renaissance workshop with a master artist and apprentices at various stages of their own development, or,  with a similar dynamic in operation, the 'occupants' of the studio are exposed LESS to each other and more to external commentators and contributors and this requires some formality to it .i.e. not simply 'the person off the street' but an educator/moderator in their own right.

Is H818:The Networked Practitioner too dependent on chance?

The foibles of a small cohort and the complex, messy, moments 'we' are in. Three years of this and, by chance only, surely, six of  us in a subgroup jelled. More often the silence and inactivity of the majority makes 'group work' a myth - partnerships of two or three were more likely. The only exception I have come across in the 'real world' have been actors working together on an improvisation - they have been trained however to disassociate their natural behaviours.

Some of us study with the OU as we cringe at the 'exposure' of a course that requires us to meet in the flesh - distance learning suits, to some degree, the lone worker who prefers isolation.

By way of revealing contrast I am a mentor at the School of Communication Arts

Modest though pivotal role given their format and philosophy - exposure to many hundreds of kindred spirits who have been there ...  a sounding board and catalyst. NOT a contributor, but more an enabler. 

We'll see. My thinking is that to be effective, collaboration or exposure needs to have structure and formality in order to work.

At the Brighton Arts Festival the other evening I wonder how the 80 odd exhibitors would cope if the Corn Exchange was also their workshop?

In certain, vulnerable environments, the only comment should be praise. Feedback is invited from those who are trusted.

A school setting is different again, as is college ... people share the same space because they have to.

Open Studio apears to try to coral the feedback that comes anyway from a connected, popular and massive sites such as WordPress, Linkedin Groups, Facebook and even Amazon. Though the exposure, if you permit it, is tempered and negotiated - Facebook is gentle amongst family and friends, Linkedin is meterd and professional in a corporate way, Wordpress is homespun while Amazon, probably due to the smell of money can be catty - and in any case, the artefact is a doneddeal, it's not as if, to take a current example, Max Hastings is going to rewrite his book on the First World War because some in the academic community say that it is weak historicaly and strong on journalistic anecdote.

We'll see.

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H809 : Can blogging be worthy of academic study?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 2 Apr 2013, 12:07

I did a search in my own blog knowing that somewhere I cited an academic who described blogging as 'whatever you can do on electronic paper'.

Chatting about this at dinner my 14 year old son trumped my conversation with his mother as I tried to define a blog and what can go into one with one word 'anything'.

For me there has been a slow shift from text (the weblog-cum-dairy journal thingey), to adding pictures (which have become photo / image galleries, photostreams of Flickr and concept boards of Pinterest), to adding video ... to adding 'anything' - apps, interactivity, grabs, mashups, music ...

My starting place is here.

This 'eportofolio, writers journal, aggregating, dumping ground, place for reflection and course work'.

You see, is it a blog at all? This platform, I'm glad, has its design roots in a Bulletin board.

The limitations of our OU Student Blog platform works in its favour.

I can only put in two search terms. In Google I might write a sentence and get a million links, in my wordpress blog it might offer have the contents.

Less is more.

Here I search 'blog paper' and get 112 posts that contain both words.

I'll spin through these an add a unique tag. My starting place.

But to study blogging would be like researching the flotsam and jetsam that floats across our oceans - after a tsunami.

RESEARCH

Starting with a book published in 2006 'Use of Blogs' I want to read a paper 'Bloggers vs. Journalists' published in 2005. A search finds richer, more up to date content. Do I even bother with this first paper? (ironic that we even call them papers).

I can't read everything so how do I select?

  • Toggle through the abstract, check out the authors, see where else such and such a paper has been cited.
  • Prioritise.
  • Use RefWorks rather than my habit to date of downloading papers that MIGHT be of interest.

Whilst storage space is so inexpensive it is virtually free there is no need to clutter my harddrive, dropbox or Google Docs space.

Which makes me think of one of my other favourite metaphors - kicking autumn leaves into the breeze. That or drowning in info overload, or as the Robert de Nero character in Brazil, Archibald 'Harry' Tuttle, who vanishes in a pile of discared paper ... my mind wanders. We do. It does.

I stumble in the OU Library as I find I am offered everything under the sun. I am used to being offered academic papers only. So far all I'm getting are scanned images of articles in newsapers on blogging. All feels very inside out.

Where's the 'turn off the printed stuff' button?

I fear that just as I have never desired to be a journalist, prefering the free form of your own diary, letters, and of course blogging and forums online, I will struggle to write within the parameters of an academic paper. I'm managing assignment here, so I guess I'm learning to split the two. A useful lesson to have learnt.

Serendipity

Is this a research methodology?

I am looking at a book on bloggin, 'Use of Blogs' (Bruns & Jacobs, 2006). I have it open on p.31 Notes (i.e. references) for the chapter Journalists and News Bloggers.

As I pick through these articles, papers and reviews written between 2002 and 2005 I find several of the authors, a decade on, are big names in the Journalism/Blogger debate. It's as if I am looking at a tray of seedlings.

It strikes me as easier to start in 2006 with 27 starting points when the field of debate was narrow, rather than coming in from 2013 and finding myself parachuting into a mature Amazonian jungle of mixed up printed and digital, journalism and blog content.

Courtesy of the OU Library and RefWorks I have nailed this article after a decade of searching:

Druckerman, P (1999) Ellen Levy Has Got The Write Project For the Internet Age --- It's a Year of Scribbling Down Almost Everything; Ah, Yes, It Was a Raisin Bagel, New York, N.Y., United States, New York, N.Y.

Reading this around 23rd /24th September 1999 prompted me to start blogging

Then I'd been reading blogs for a few months but had a mental block with uploading HTML files and then along came the first 'ready made' DIY blogging platforms.

The last 12 years makes amusing reading - particularly the battle between journalists and bloggers. And who has won? Is there a difference anymore? Journalists blog and bloggers are journalists and entire newspapers are more blog-like from The Huffington Post to the FT ... which within three years will close all its print operations.

To be used in learning and to be a genre to study blogging needs to be part of formative assessment

A blog therefore becomes 'an active demonstration of learning' with cumulative feedback. I've only received ONE Tutor comment in my OU blog and that was to say why was I blogging and not getting on with my TMA. This person had their head so stuffed inside primary school education of the 1960s it made me feel like tossing my cap in the air.

Why MAODE students blog (Kerewella et al, 2009) depends on their perceptions of, and for:

  1. an audience
  2. community
  3. the utility of and need for comments
  4. presentational style of the blog content
  5. overarching factors related to the technological context
  6. the pedagogical context of the course

Cited x30

REFERENCES

'Bloggers vs. journalist: The next 100 year War?' 2011, Public Relations Tactics, 18, 4, p. 17, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2013.

Bruns, A. Jacobs, J. (2006) Use of Blogs.

Kerawalla, L, Minocha, S, Kirkup, G, & Conole, G (2009) 'An empirically grounded framework to guide blogging in higher education', Journal Of Computer Assisted Learning, 25, 1, pp. 31-42, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2013.

Rosen, J. (2007) 'Web Users Open the Gates', Washington Post, The, n.d., UK & Ireland Reference Centre, EBSCOhost, viewed 18 February 2013.

 

 

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Can I Show it To My Grandparents?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 13:02

This is the first blog I came across in 1998.

A few months later I was up and running. I couldn't code so had to wait for a generic platform to post to. This was Diaryland. Then along came LiveJournal. And five years or so ago I decamped to WordPress.

Millions of words, and millions of bloggers later and the world of self-publishing (we now call it user generated content) is a profoundly important form of global and universal communication.

I like the line 'can I show it to my grandparents' as if in 1998 they would be online and looking.

I re-found these pages courtesy of waybackwhen - type in a defunct web address and discover to your delight or horror that everything that was ever posted online is still out there.

If you thought that locking the pages would save you, you're mistaken.

One click and it's there forever.

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OLDs MOOC Reflection 1

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 18 Jan 2013, 16:03

I'm always loath to start a blog or learning journal away from the platforms I've used for the last five years - Wordpress since 2007 (www.mymindbursts.com) 1500+ entries and as an OU postrgraduate student here since February 2010 (1000+ entries) ... and before this in Diaryland.com since 1999 1.5m words.

I believe in the format, I've kept a diary for long enough.

I rather like the idea of being able instead to blab into a webcam like Jack Sully in Avatar. I guess I could talk to Siri on the iPad but then it still has to be edited and posted somewhere ... here if it is to be shared (which is the whole point).

My experience with learning online for the last three years (Masters in Open and Distance Education) is that when at this level someone says it'll take 'x hours' in the week I double the number before I decide if I can make the time - this takes care of needing to familiarise myself with the landscape.

I can take 'x hours' and multiply by 4 if there is new software involved, even longer to the point of giving up if it isn't immediately obvious, intuitive and FUN.

I'm doing the OLDS MOOC 2013. A fellow MOOCer (and successful MOADEr too) pointed me towards Pearltrees and I feel in love.

But then again, I take both a professional interest and have the boyish curiosity that makes me click on everything anyway. So we'll see

I've skipped in and out of week 1 trying to follow the instructions blut feeling like one in a thousand playing a game of treasure hunt.

Or, like one of several hundred on the first evening of an OU Residential School. With an added difficulty here - all Holiday In's look the same, but the platforms here are not.

Even Cloudworks, which I tried during an MAODE module, looks as unfamiliar as it did 18 months ago. I couldn't get it then ... though I played ball, wrote and posted, but got no interaction. It felt like I was being sent into the jungle to list the flora and collect insects and meet fellow travellers but what I found as a desert full of chimeras.

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They've been at it again

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 26 Aug 2012, 08:44

The virtual swing-doors on my final OU module opened today.

Some time next year I will graduate with a Masters in Open and Distance Education - and unlike my undergraduate degree of many years ago I will feel that I have worked for it, earned it and want the thing - I'll even dress up for my first graduation ceremony.

I have been outside the course system for all of four months so it was with delight though suprise to find thst our virtual learning environment (VLE) has changed yet again. I will have screen grabs somewhere of what it looked like in 2010 and 2011 - I believe I even have seen a screen grab of when I was doing this in 2001.

On the one hand we are getting some 3D shading to lift the 'Learning Schedule' off the page, but we also have a plethora of minute and meaningless icons. I can't figure out what some of them are supposed to represent. Instead of going with recognisable images The OU appear to have tried to go one better but gone one worse - there is no point in replacing or even complementing a title or sub-heading with something that is incomprehensible nor recognised.

A load of stuff has migrated over to the left hand side of the screen - I know that research has long shown that this is where the eye first looks and expects this content to be.

The rest of it I'll discover and re-discover in due course. I prefer the minimalist approach - if it isn't vital don't show it, rather offer options to vall up extras instead of having them on the page regardless. Too many of these links I will NEVER use, except as an exercise in the first week. It's too like entering a grand house knowing that it has far more rooms than you will ever enter and where you risk getting lost.

Less is more.

I am however starting to think that I'll be able to do this almost entirely on an iPad (I don't have my own laptop or desktop and this is cheaper).

An APP for writing on this platform would help - like I have writing in Wordpress.

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My Personal Learning Environment: what is yours?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Jun 2012, 01:11

photo.JPG

Fig 1. MY PLE

First Half 2012 (earlier PLEs in the blog here)

The blogs, Picasa, increasingly eBooks from Kindle on a Kindle and the iPad. Tweeted. This locates like-minds but also provides my notes in my Twitter feed. Google as ubiquitous as QWERTY. Facebook for social/family; Linkedin for work related groups, interests and contacts (e-learning, corporate communcations)

My OU Blog in the student environment and its mirror my external blog in wordpress IS a blog, learning journal, e-portfolio, forum and deposit. It can be a link to 'like-minds' too (and job opportunities)

I want an article I cut and paste the reference in Google.

If I can't have it I repeat this in the OU Library resource fist by title, then by author. I find I can, almost without exception, read whatever takes my interest. Brilliance for the curious and ever-hungry mind.

Increasinly I photo and screen grab everything, manipulate in Picasa then load online where I can file, further manipulate and share. A better e-portfolio and an e-portfolio as it is image based. My e-learning folder tops 350+ images.

When busy on an OU Module the 'OU Learning Environment expands to fill 1/3rd of the screen: the learning journey, resources, activities and student forums are my world for 6-9 months'.

In truth I need to video my activity and then do a time in motion audit. Tricky as I don't have a laptop or desktop anymore. All is done (most) on the move on an iPad or iPhone. I 'borrow' my son's desktop when he's at school or early mornings on my wife's laptop. Which explains why EVERYTHING is online, I could go to the library or an Internet cafe and work just as well.

'A university in my pocket'?

Michael%2520Young%2520IMAGE.JPG

Or 'a university in the clouds', literally as envisaged in the 1960s by Michael Young et al and featured on BBC Radio 4's 'The New Elizabethans' (in association with the Open University of course)

  • A pivotal role in the creation of the welfare state
  • Groundbreaking work as a social scientist in the East End
  • His creation of the Open University

P.S. Which reminds me: the Open University was devised for those with a fraction of the opportunities I have had so I need to treat it with huge respect.

JFV%252520PLE%25252028%252520JULY%2525202011.JPG

Fig 2. My PLE July 2011

A year on my choice of blogs has greatly reduced. I still access Diaryland as it has 1,700+ entries to draw upon from 1999 to 2006. StumbleUpon I still use and need to add to the current PLE. I don't go near Xing. I haven't indicated the digital tools, the hardware I use to access this (these) online resources.

But what's more important, the phone or the conversation?

Yes, I dip into Wikipedia but frequently I scroll down for alternative equally valid answers from the long established sources that have finally got themselves online. TED lectures I've missed out too. I must watch several a month.

I haven't add family and friends because where they are part of my world, increasingly online through Facebook, they are not directly part of my PLE.

However, it would be foolish to ignore the vital role family and the context of family, community and school play in learning.

FURTHER LINKS IN THIS BLOG ON PLEs

Virtual Learning Environments vs. Personal Learning Environments

Virtual Learning Environments or Personal Learning Environments

Google+

Technology Mediated Learning Spaces

The reality check. Must PLEs be technology enables to qualify as PLE?

The Challenge Facing Course Design 1997 vs. 2012

What’s wrong with educational social networking?

My Personal Learning Environment (2011)

Sometimes only paper will do

Digital Housekeeping. Recording everything.

H800 EMA Images / Visualisation

H800 EMA Course Specifics

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

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Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin: how to use them for e-learning

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Lifelong%2520Learning%2520Venn%2520Diagram%2520May%25202010.jpg

 

Engage, enquire, listen, take an interest, seek out like-minds, involve, share ... respond, reciprocate, develop.

This has NOTHING to do with pushing products or services, this is about developing thoughts, acquiring leads into new avenues of enquiry, dropping hints and serendipity.

Increasinly however these three are functioning in the same way, however different they look.

Like ink drops in a tank of water

The visualised option is YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr (I'm yet to develop content for Pinterest)

Blogs are more sedate, more inclined to asynchronicity, whereas with Facebook I find at various times of the day (depends on the person) the messages become synchronous.

An iPad and iPhone (or any similar device) is crucial. With some people the more immediate the response the great the level of engagement, like one hand being placed on top of another the thoughts come thick and fast.

With many ways into social media I've opted for a paid service. Content Wisdom. For a monthly sub I get to dip into a catalogue of video based, lecture-like presentations as well as joining a regular webinar.

Join me on Linkedin, I'm active in various e-learning groups.

Join me on Twitter 'jj27vv' where I am making various lists to follow conversations on e-learning

Don't come find me on Facebook! Friends, family and face-to-face contact first is my rule here.

Wordpress. 16 blogs and rising, by My Mind Bursts is the main outlet and at last approaching 1,000 entries which are usefully themed on e-learning (post graduate theory and e-learning for business) and creativity (writing and producing fiction, and creative problem solving)

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Use of video in elearning (part 7)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 11:24

Corporate%2520Video%2520SOCIAL%2520RESPONSE%2520SNIP%25204.JPG

What makes an elearning forum tick?

This is the crux of social learning for me, what John Seely Brown calls 'learning at the periphery' or Cox calls 'vicarious' learning and I have dubbed 'learning through serendipity'. As a result of taking part you acquire knowledge, you develop your thinking and underststanind. It was no different for me learning French. The school way was hopeless, what I required was total immersion, which is what I got in my late teens turning up in France on an exchange, making friends and returning ... then wokring a gap year as far from English speakers as possible. This is how I learn, many of us prefer this informal approach. Its something that corporate elearning companies and corporate learning departments have yet to tap into. Perhaps because it lacks measurement, that there appear to be no parameters.

There are many ways to get content noticed. All the traditional tricks of promotion are required here too. Email databases, events, trade promotions, press advertising and business cards; online is not a panacea, neither is it replacement technology. It is part of the world we live in, a choice, something else, that complements other ways of doing things.

The 'long tail' refers to the way content has a life before, during and after being posted. There is a story to tell in its creation and promotion; its release should factor in for a long shelf life, then there is this 'after life', how once posted content may then be picked up by others and developed into different, better and alternative things. Keep tabs on this and content online becomes more like street theatre, or taling from a soap box on Hyde Park Corner, it is an opportunity to engage with an audience.

I like to blog, use Linkedin and Twitter.

Better to be the master of some platforms than a jack of all  trades.

 

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Ticking off the countries as anyone can gather in a global 'audience'

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As I boy I had a Phillips Atlas. I shaded in all the counties if the UK as in my peripatetic way I stayed with friends, divorced parents and went on holiday. (I still have it stored in a Really Useful box in a garage).

Decades later I know the few counties that I haven't ticked off. I am not widely travelled: France regularly, otherwise the odd trip to Hong Kong, US, Spain, Sweden, Cyprus ... However, it would appear that my blog is picked up all over the planet. My task then is to have views from those countries not yet picked out in the terrific metrics that are provided by Wordpress.

Why not China? Is Wordpress blocked. How about Finland? I don't think Greenland is feasible.

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Another First and once again gobsmacked - by the OU interface and the performance of the iPhone

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Sep 2011, 11:16

 

photo%25255B2%25255D.jpg

My first smartphone is an iPhone.

As I am writing about mobile learning for an EMA I needed one didn't I ? In any case it's my birthday in three weeks time. Without the kit to test it for yourself you remain a second hand learner.

I am gobsmacked at how dinky it all is after the iPad.

photo%25255B1%25255D.jpg

Some Apps work even better in miniature, for example the spaced learning aide-memoir site Spaced-Ed saw me signing up for further micro-courses.

 

photo%25255B3%25255D.jpg

I am into Linkedin, Wordpress and Twitter too; each of these offers a simplified variation of its larger sibling.

This tiny keyboard defies its ability to type at all defies logic, I feel as if I am trying to play a harp wearing gardening gloves.

In relation to where else I can take all that this device offers my immediate thought was confined to a coffin, or under the bed if you'd prefer or perhaps on a bunk in a small yacht.

Unlike the iPad I am could take this for a run or under-dressed spring skiing.

Reading%252520for%252520DUMMIES%252520PHOTO.jpg

Getting all my Kindle books here with the reader could allow me to cycle the South Downs while listening to a book, not that the Kindle is so hard to have in a jacket pocket.

Much more to discover; my 45 words per minute typing down to 60 characters a minute may render my stream of consciousness less steam and more substance.

On Verra

P.S. I need them for nothing else but had to resort to reading glasses; I dare say there will be yet smaller devices such as a voice-activated iBadge?

P.P.S. No spellchecker and it irritates me that its is automatically miscorrected to it's.

P.P.S. 12 hours later I find myself at a desk with a large screen editing this (spacing mostly), the iPad on my knees like a figure from a book I have reviewed her ... but the figure is an image in Picasa Web. I started on the iPhone (using it as an iTouch at the moment, wifi only) running through 8 items: colleague blog update, Linkedin Group updates, shared doc on Social Media 'Must do' list with links, and while the kettle boiled a few stabs at basic French from an App which I'll ditch as it is too basic and the next step requires payment).

ON REFLECTION

Not only managing the distractions, but the ease at which the Apps can extract payment through the likes of iTunes.

iTunes U is another matter -free learning, on the go wherever you go (and even when you need to go).

 

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Google Gone

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 11 Aug 2011, 20:55
As in Google+
You have to be fickle.
First there was Compuserve, Diaryland and Friends Reunited.
Then AOL, LiveJournal and MySpace.
Then along came YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr.
and Google, Facebook and Twitter.
A one stop shop would do me fine, thing is, I far prefer Wordpress over Blogger.
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Masters in Open and Distance Education: Module H800: WK21 My Personal Learning Environment

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:42

My%252520PLE.JPG

From this consider Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) vs. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) and I come away, as I often do, seeking a compromise, the best of both - a basic, easy to use, and reliable VLE with students who may come with nothing, or a good deal, but was I have done will over the course of a couple of favourite tools and ways of doing things.

The two are like dripping coloured ink into a fish tank. My fingers aggitate between the two.

Until Google takes over all of it, there are too.

In my case I've gone from an old Mac Book and printing stuff off to having everything online, using blogs like e-portfolios and switching between an iPad and a laptop.

(78,099 page views)

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H800 wk21 activity 2e To what extent are you using web 2.0 technologies?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 13 Jul 2011, 21:36

SEE MINDMAP ABOVE

H800 WK21 Activity 2 ep

How does your representation compare with the tables of tools and functionality described in the Conole chapter you read earlier in Activity 1b?

All of these st some stage and more especially using a tablet and Apps, or laptop away from my desk.

+ e- readers

+ RSS feeds

+Google Docs

+picasa dropbox

+Blog as eportfolio and exercise book

+Blog for presentstion and wiki-like

+flash online shared calender

Intranetmicroblog Yammer

+ Skype

To what extent are you using Web 2.0 technologies?

Extensively

Send notes as email to blog and others

Outlook remotely

Blogs to aggregate and share

RSS feeds aggregating messages

Online Forums frequently

How far are you using Mobile 2.0, as explored in Week 19?

Extensively using a 3g enabled tablet In what ways has your own practice and use of technologies changed in the last five to ten years? An early adopter once more. Professionally necessary to take an interest in everything Blogging since 1999 so used to putting content online

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

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

JVTVCV%2520SNIP%2520STRIP%25204.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

I therefore offer the following:

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

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

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

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

The rest of it is 'Twitter Twaddle'

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

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

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

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From not blog to a blogging empire in a day

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

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 18 Jun 2011, 15:54
Bellow there were the 18 pages I used in a presentation on Social Media. Each page is like a slide in Power Point. Having paused to take comments I should add these too - make it Wiki-like. In my social media website in wordpress I can offer a password to each page. Why? To practice what I preach. Collaborate. Two minds are better than one and many are better still. I see this here to indicate that a blog is but a collection of affordances; you can do as you wish.
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