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H810 Activity 14.1 Using assistive technology - reflection on access to learning through acccess to work

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 21 Oct 2012, 14:42


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Fig.1 From 'Access to work' a video from MicroLink

Any of us could or will stumble the first time we are faced with a new tool or piece of software - I'd like to see any of us tested using a tool such as Delicious or ScoopIt and see how we get on, or trying to use a Microwriter, programme the washing machine or even turn on someone else's Microwave.

All experiences become familiar in time if we give them a go or get some useful tips. The same implies whether or not you have a disability or combination of disabilities or not.

To make sense of the plethora of accessibility tools, software and built-in 'assists' - and the equally enormous combinations and varieties of people who may benefit from using them I am having to get into my minds eye four people, or 'personas' who have quite different needs and imagine them, in context, wanting to and trying to use tools that ought to improve access for them. Some intriguingly are likely to suit all users if they offer a short cut or a different way into the information - I prefer a transcript over lectures. I like to use narrator in the car or when busy with some other task like painting the shed - the book is read to me as I can't do what I am doing and look at the screen at the same time. I call this the 'Montesori Effect' - how meeting a learning challenge for one community of learners you gain insights and create tools that benefit everyone.

As for any of us, when it comes to learning, context is important whether we have the space, time, kit and inclination. There is a big difference between giving something a go and having to use it with a set goal in mind. Anyone remember the first time they had to create something using PowerPoint, or Word come to think of it? Or writing a blog - let alone embedding images, video or audio.

Some of this reminds me of my first computer - an Amstrad. All green text and no mouse. My father got himself a Microwriter and mastered it. Bizarre. Confined to a wheelchair (badly broken leg from skiing) for some months in my early teens I ought to have been able to keep up with school work - but somehow a box of books didn't do it for me.

When I get stuck I can now turn to a son, daughter or my wife who may or may not be able to help. We also pick up the phone to 'The Lewes Computer Guy' for technical fixes. Had I a disability how likely is it that I can turn to someone with the very same set of challenges that I face for tips and advice? On some context a blind person will and can turn to a supportive community, but this might not be so easy if you are, or feel like, the only person with Dyslexia or Cerebral Palsy at your schoolor university.

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You are where you work

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:49

What makes a university campus such as Harvard or Oxford a hotbed for entrepreneurs? Is this recreated in closed networks online or at Residential School. How come some buildings induce mental stagnation and disaffection whilst others are a delight? Where (no company or organisation names) have you worked where the architecture, landscaping and office lay-out are conducive to innovation?

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/01/23/tony-hsieh-las-vegas-zappos/

Serendipitous interactions, or what Tony Hseih calls 'spontaneous collisions' between people, are what spark ideas and facilitate relationships that lead to stronger ties and more ideas.

Have you worked for such a company?

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/01/23/tony-hsieh-las-vegas-zappos/

Hsieh calls his people "culture magicians". Steve Jobs designed this into fabric of Pixar and Apple.

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Try juggling several balls, a trunk, a chain-saw and an apple.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 9 Jan 2011, 08:57

This juggling image became a doodle on a pad of A3 to a Hanna and Barbera cartoon in my head.

Various deadlines approach; the various balls that I'm juggling I kick about, drop, pop in my pocket and kick out of field. Some are golf balls, others party balloons filled with helium, there's an unwelcome medicine ball and assorted brickbats.

Forget the balls.

Until I visualised them I had three monsters in the air: H808 Unit 10 Task, the H808 ECA and a job interview.

Everything has been screaming at me that the only item that matters, with its Tuesday evening deadline, is the job interview. Where I get things wrong in my head is how I prioritise jobs (or rather don't). For me the other two tasks are standing patiently in the queue and should be dealt with first. I'm managing outpatients in an ER and have a case of toothache, then a liver transplant who needs to be booked in while a young woman is giving birth at the end of the line sad

Returning to juggling.

The Unit 10 Task is (was) an apple. It's danced around for a while, I've taken a few bites from it and dropped the core on the floor. If it gets any attention I'll respond,  but for now it is done.

The H808 ECA has been in preparation since the course began. What might be the most burdensome task, collecting the evidence, is actually the least burdensome.

A) I have vast quantities of blogs, eportfolio assets and screen grabs.

I'll write on the basis that I can choose evidence as I would add a footnote or paste in a picture or attach a document - I don't need to look at hundreds of items, but rather I need to go and find the item(s) to support, rather than to initiate my thinking. What I visualised as a trunk packed with papers that I could barely lift over my head, I now see as papers pegged to a washing-line. I can go over and remove what I want when I wish.

B) The job interview brings together my work and experience as a swimming coach and swimming club volunteer and professional, along with all the hoops I've passed through and training that I have done.

It is complementary, though the swimming is irrelevant. It is the coaching of participants and development of fellow coaches that counts here, as well as having and being able to share a vision for the club that is the driver for the next five years. This is how and where I've been able to put what I learn into practice.

c) The job interview brings in everything I'm doing at the OU and everything I did over two decades before hand.

When I set out on the MA ODE in February 2010 (for the second time having started a version of it in 2001!) its purpose (like other professional development I've done) is/was to act as a bridge that would enable and justify a dialogue with potential clients ... or an employee. What I visualised as that nutter who juggles chainsaws I now see as a gift. What I don't know yet, is if this a gift that will be offered to me, or that in a game of Job Interview pass-the-parcel will be unwrapped by a.n.other.

Serendipity had me turning an hour of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I'd recommend it) into professional career development advice as the therapist I've been seeing for 18 months does both professionally.

I recorded that session and am working now on assembling events and experiences using S*T*A*R, as in:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Actions
  • Results

Looking at examples of each matched to the job specification, many of which I drew out in MyStuff some months ago. (It let's you do this).

Coincidentally this of course relates to H808 'The E-Learning Professional' and the ECA as I'm being required to look at my where I stand in relation to personal development planning - how far I've come and how far I need and want to go with it.

Serendipty is the word that comes to mind.

To construct the ECA I've fallen back on a script development technique, even so far as thinking of it as a three act structure with a narrative storyline and characters (my fellow students no less). This is visualised as a kind of washing line, with some posts somewhat taller than others. The 'evidence' I liken to turning points in the script, key events or moments across the module.

It works for me.

Somewhat more complex that a six petalled flower as essay shape (See below) but a structure on which I can build all the same.

It went first into a scrapbook, then the journal I kept in September 1979 on as many sheets of lined sheets from a pad that I cared to fill. I filled an arch-lever file in four weeks so gave up on such nonsense and reverted to a simpler plan of writing a page of A4, around 500 words, per day, into a hardback notebook, for ever.

 

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E-portfolios (the Government perspective)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 8 Oct 2010, 11:35

The drivers and issues regarding e-portfolios from a Government perspective is all about creative the life-long tax-paying, contributing 'Citizen.'

 

Bubbl.us Government drivers for e-portfolios

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New blog post

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010, 07:40

Seventeen weeks into a twenty two week course H807, Innovations in E-learning, I decide that I have to get a desk - flat-pack and cheap, as I can't work effectively with a broken laptop (screen gone) perched on the end of the bed leaning on a toy 'trolley compute console' thingey with printers and files in stacks on the floor. No cupboards, no shelves. The house still has that 'just moved in' feeling ... or rather, just emptied the removal van.

We've been here for nearly 3 years.

Life, eh? I've learnt that if you don't sort a place out in the first few weeks you never do, we never have. Though there is a lovely hedge around the garden. Pity you can't grew furniture too.

So why am I still perched on the end of the bed peering at a screen between a stack of ring-binders?

Lovely desk, but my son has it. He has homework to do too.

Does it matter?

For me, I've always liked a desk, shelves and desk space ... somewhere to spread out. I've always liked a 'room of my own,' as Virginia Woolf put it and was ok until the assemblages of family pressed in and the need to relocate out of the country and into a town for schools and easier commutability to London led to a series of compacting exercises.

Excuses?

I think I'll take the dog for a walk on the South Downs.

As Nietzsche said, 'how can anyone become a thinker, if he does not spend at least a third of the day without passions, people and books?'

Or is the dog a passion?

And the South Downs?

Try High Barn to Hope Gap and the River Cuckmere with the chalk cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head in the distance and the English Channel Horizon 15 miles or so away.

Where I think.

(I think !?)

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