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Innovating in e-learning is worth it

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 27 May 2011, 21:12

E-learning projects/initiatives of 2000/2001 that cost £120,000 + and went nowhere. Dot.com start-ups that went bust.

Not quite first-hand experience as it wasn't my money or job on the line, but I was involved'sharing an office with the creators of 'Doki' an idea for an immersive language learning experience.

Pioneers of innovation are just that - brave people who go out in the cold with no clothes on.

It is this that I admire so much form the Open University ... 42 years of distance learning (pioneers at the time) and as Professor Jonathan Silvertown says in a video clip on the OU website 'It's as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet to happen - distance no longer matters'.

In terms of initiatives I'm familiar with away from the OU I like what corporate e-learning company Epic have done with the BBC Guidelines.

From my TV days I got a copy of these hefty manual every time a new edition came out - think of a Filofax so densely packed with printed pages that it is has the density (and about as much appeal) as a breeze-block. It was indigestible, however much you had to chew on it. Epic used narrative to create what I can only describe as an engaging tale that for its own sake draws you into the content.

The job is profiled on their website with a quote from someone in BBC Training saying that something that was costing X per head to train in was now a fraction of this for the 16,000 people expected to follow the guidelines.

Can it be costed if it is free?

Open Learn is free.

Or is it? 

As a tool to attract learners, as a duty or desire to support and share with the community (which is glogal now). To use Open Learn you still need a computer, broadband access ... and electricity.

It must work.

It must be worth it. (cash cost, time spent, time given up) It is pointless if a no or low cost none e-learning solution is better. i.e. can you teach someone to ride a bike online?

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Design Museum

The honest image - who are you or were you?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 4 Feb 2013, 09:32

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What image should we use to portray ourselves?

Is there such as thing as best practice? Ought it to be like joining a gym, we have a snapshot taken on a webcam and this current image, no matter how it comes out, becomes who we are?

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Do so few of us dislike or distrust what we see when we look at our faces in the mirror each morning?

It has been the subject of research, role play in online education; I'd like to do some of my own. I began a year ago with this.

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I liked the picture, felt it was healthy, robust and confident and confident.

I should have looked at the date on it. August 2004. Happy and sunny days. You age under stress and from the mid-40s it doesn't take much to add ten years -all that sun in the past, being unwell. As I write below, his spirit, like mine (I hope) remains that of an enthusiastic twenty-something. The same occurred with the Elluminate session we had in H800 the other day, the tutor on the webcam (initially in a scratchy black and white image) is not the person who goes by in the General Forum. Are we all guilty of this. Men included? We go with something in our late thirties or early to mid-forties?

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I then went with this.

An image I long ago used in my eleven year old blog. I wanted something that was indicative of the content and would last. I'm still inclined to run with this. It is indicative of what I think blogging is all about - the contents of your mind, what you think i.e. you 'mind bursts' as I call them on numerous blogs.

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Facebook personas sees me in a number of guises

While on Skype I use a image taken with the webcam on the day of an online interview - this is a month ago, so as contemporary as it gets.

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I have this image fronting Tumblr taken 21 years ago.

In moments of euphoria having just successfully negotiated a 15m pond of slush on a pair of skis in front of a crowd of early May skiers below the Tignes Glacier, France. The day I proposed to my wife. We'd be 'going out together' for three days ... we've now been together, well 21 years. In my original diary we could create banner ads to publicise what we had to say to fellow writers. One of these has a spread as long as the contents of my diaries and blog: they run from a 13 year old Head Chorister in cassock and ruffs, though gap, undergrad, to add exec, video director, with four woman I didn't marry.

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Increasingly, I am thinking of using a self-portrait, that this attempt to capture myself through my minds eye

is more telling that a photograph.

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I could use the drawing I did of a 14 year old

What amuses me most here is how I superimpose these attachments as if I were in a school play, the beard is clearly on the soft face of a pubescent boy - I should have looked at my grandfather for the face I'd get, with the more bulbous nose and pronounced chin. Talking of which, I find it intriguing that I am the spitting image of my grandfather, that my own children see images of him age 20 and think it has to be me. All that changes as he ages into a 40 and 50 year old is he goes bald, whereas I am thus far limited to a thinning of the crown.

This I'm afraid, if the age of my children in the rest of the picture is something to go by, is some seven years ago sad

My only reason for picking it is that I haven't renewed my contact lenses and am inclined, after twenty years wearing them to give up. Maybe laser surgery when I have the cash? This is contemporary. It doesn't say who I am, just 'what' I am. Wearing a child's hat (he's a dad), the headset to record notes onto a digital recorder (for a podcast), a coat he bought for honeymooning in the Alps (we went skiing) 18 years ago …

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I have of course not changed much since 1977

It takes me back to the original point - who are we? how do we representative ourselves online in a single image when we are all a sum of a complex of parts? Is it any wonder that we present multiple selves online, the more so the longer we've lived? I don't remember my father being around to take this picture. though clearly he did. I do remember the great-big wellies though and the joy of water spilling over the top if I could find a puddle or pond deep enough. And the jumpers knitted by my granny (sleeves always too long). And the trees in the garden I climbed behind. And my sister and brother … How set in were the learning process by then?

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The Dracula Spectacula, People's Theatre, Newcastle.

The teeth were made from dentine and fitted by an orthodontist.I rather foolishly sharpened the fangs and bit through my own lip on the last night. I had to sing while gargling my own blood. The joy of memories.

  • Could a daily snap taken when looking in the bathroom mirror be used to tag memories from that 'era' of your life?
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Design Museum

Game-like learning, more trouble than it's worth?

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Game-like learning can be effective with specific target groups, however, like any game, though depending on what it is you are creating, it can be very expensive. A company I worked for produced for a UK Government Department a game-like interactive self-awareness, profile-building game aimed at those being exposed to or already taking drugs, smokine or drinking alchol. A turn on to the targetted group, its entire approach was a turn off to many others. Somehow the more learner-centred we make things, the greater the 'narrowcasting' and therefore the appeal and relevance to some, the great to turn off to others.
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Course overlap H807, H808, H800 ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 8 Jul 2012, 13:29

I had thought as I did H807 that it would be good to do again, that it was all happening too fast, not just relearning how to study, but knowing how best to function in this online environment.

Frank Coterell-Boyce reflected on what an advantage he gopt doing year 6 over in primary school because he was too young for Secondary School. It is extraordinary how empowering it is to feel on top of a subject.

As it turns out there is overlap between H807 and H808; for the most part I am grateful. On the other hand I wonder if I couldn't have done this MA in a year and done 20-30 hours a week instead.

Still, this is a chance for me to make choices regarding the plethora of tools and platforms available. This is the problem, having hundreds of software packages and apps that may or may not make a contribution to a piece of work I may, or may not, at some stage prepare (probably not) and deliver.

I'm surprised how on a second or third go with Skype, Google Docs and Skype that you can feel at home with them and share what they do with others. I translated a swimming coach's CV on sports credentials from Catalan to English using Google Docs this morning. Extraordinary.

I already upload to Flickr and Facebook, and YouTube. I blog anything between 1,000 and 10,000 words a day. I walk around with the means to photograph anything, video anything or record notes on anything all of which can be easily uploaded to a myriad of mostly free platforms.

And if people want me on a mobile device that easy for them to set up.

But what is the contents of my mind worth?

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