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Hear this ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 6 Oct 2014, 05:50
From E-Learning V

Fig.1 The cast of Downton Abbey.

How easy is it to put an accent to the character? Have the casting director and costume people colluded to create a class image of both face and dress? What if we turned all the accents upside down? Or is that what we are starting to see and achieve in 2014?

I caught a few moments of The X Factor last night where Cheryl (from Gateshead) had to let go of some of her singers before the live show: with one exception, and this would include all the singers in the show, there is a girl who is 'well spoken', one would imagine 'upper middle class' (if that phrase is any more or less appropriate than 'working class') - privately educated and at a boarding school one would presume. This girl is torn, possibly ashamed of her accent (or lack of accent). She feels it will make her less popular. These days everyone (in the media world) wants an accent that says where they came from, not an accent that says what 'strata' of class they are from (unless they're going to a fancy dress party as characters from Downton Abbey). We no longer have parents who clip their children around the ear if they speak with a hard 'a'?

Or is living with your accent something to do with self-esteem?

There was a Cambridge Professor of Ancient Music on the radio the other day who sounded very British and 'educated' (like the girl), except for the occasional word that hinted at something else. It turns out that until he was 23 he lived in Fresno, California. His accent transformation was almost total. Was this to blend in with the fabric of the Cambridge architecture.

I have friends who have lived in the states for 25 years: some, by my ear, are totally American, while others have barely changed their accent at all. I think it depends on what they do: the 'English' educated accent carries weight in academia, while the guy working in engineering has spent his career in the US getting rid of his accent. 

Personally I love the richness of accents from every inch of the UK and the world: my only criteria has to be: can people understand what you are saying?

Any of us who think we can speak a foreign language can be guilty of garbling and muddling words and accents in such a way that others haven't a clue what we are saying or meaning: I have a German friend who refuses to accept that often people haven't a clue what she is saying as her German accent is so strong and her choice of words and word order is so un-english. I know that my French has, and still does if I hurry, come over the same way to French people. This is why I am doing L120: to get the grammar in place, and learn to speak French as if I am writing it down perhaps? To slow down and be understood. You can still see that distracted glint in a person's eye though when you know they aren't really listening, but trying to figure out where you come from. Brits think I'm French. The French think I'm Belgian. My wife thinks most of what I say in French is laughable sad Someone her French overtook mine 25 years ago simply because a) she did a course b) she got a job in a French speaking company. She supposedly sounds Parisian while her English accent is 'Oxford' - because that is where she was born and raised. Not a hint of her Polish father and Maltese mother. I retain a hint of 'northern' - most of it was knocked out of me by parents and grandparents who felt it was their duty to raise kids who spoke 'proper'. Result: alienated in my home town Newcastle, and still picked out as 'northern' on words like 'enough' and 'nothing' ... and 'film' (and probably many more), in the south of England. 

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Mind Bursts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 6 Oct 2014, 05:49
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. Niel Macgregor's 'Germany: Memories of a Nation' 

I've loved this phrase 'mind bursts' for longer than I can remember so find it refreshing when something comes along which for me is expression of what I mean.

Niel Macgregor's 'Germany: Memories of a Nation' takes the massive and complex and makes it interesting and explicable by picking focused, memorable starting points. Every episode makes you think, but the one that got me hooked was on Konisberg and Strasbourg, two cities, once German: Konisberg now Russian as Kaliningrad, and Strasbourg now French.

Niel Macgregor's 'The History of the World in 100 Objects' has received some 33 million downloads!! THAT is a 'Massive Open Online Course' (MOOC) without the need for instructional design or assessment. It is informative, educational and entertaining.

Back to Germany though.

We are all probably used to history taught and written about as a series of chronological events, with historians questing for a truth interpreted through the philosophy and means of their era: Niel Macgregor therefore is using 21st century approaches to deliver his history, but what is so memorable and effective are the exceedingly carefully chosen objects, the considered, interpreted and historically accessible language and his smart, even 'other worldly' intelligent and dare I say it 'posh' voice.

Also an exhibition at the British Museum

More in the BBC Radio Series Producer's Blog

 

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Mois international de la contribution francophone 2014

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 04:56

From French Exchange 1979

Fig.1 Mes amis français qui m'a pris à l'île d' Aix en 1979

Normalement si je veux lire français je le fais: aucune problème. Pendant L120, J'ai déjà changé mes paramètres Google pour rechercher et utiliser le français. 

Il y a quelques secondes j'ai decouvert que des les pages de Wikipédia sont en français aussi parce que c'est le 'mois international de la contribution francophone 2014'. L'idée est que je vais lire en français habituellement en fasaint L120 comme si je travaillais en France et je vis là déjà

On verra. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.2.  'Les Origines de la Guerre Mondiale 1914-1918'. Pierre Renouvin

Je lis 'Les Origines de la Guerre Mondiale 1914-1918'. Mon vocabulaire français sera d'autant sur ​​l'histoire militaire, l'équipement, les commandants et les effets de la guerre mondiale - en utilisant un langage d'une centaine d'années.

From E-Learning V

Fig.3 Grâce à Google Maps et mon journal 1979 j'ai trouvé la maison exacte où je suis resté il ya 35 ans. Sur la droite , 28 Avenue Camille Pelletan, Rochefort. Ma chambre était au troisième étage à l'arrière.

Je vais donc sortir le journal, j'ai écrit quand j'ai 17 ans quand je suis allé sur une visite d'échange 'French Exchange' en France à la Rochelle. C'est quand mon amour pour la France et les Français et certainment les Françaises sont commencé.

From E-Learning V

Fig.4. Un extrait de mon journal mai 1979 cum album couvrant ma visite à Rochefort

Mon amie a été appelé Frederic, le mec je restais avec. Curieusement, je suis en contact avec LUI grâce à LinkedIn il y a deux ans. Son anglais est parfait, mois, j'avais reçu un grade 'C' en 'O' Level French'; c'est la première fois que je l'ai étudié depuis 1978 même si j'ai été en utilisant Rosetta Stone c'est année dernière.

A note in English

On seeing this picture of Freddy's home for the first time since I stayed there I immediately could hear the buzz of the mobilettes that took students up and down the streets and would be the sound that greeted me in the morning. They were a very traditional family, with grandparents living in the house, his mother a widower. Breakfast was cake dipped in a bowl of hot chocolate while the evening meal was served in several courses, the peas served in a juice as a course in itself. My memory is jogged because I kept a diary: more of a scrapbook as it includes tickets, programmes, sweet wrappers and postcards, as well as an album of photographs. Fred made me a tape of songs too and wrote out the lyrics to the adorable Francoise Hardy. And he introduced me to the poetry of Jacques Prevert. I even learnt the first lines to 'Je Suis, Comme Je Suis.' 

What did French teenagers listen to then ... as now?! Supertramp!!!

Jacques Prevert gets passionate

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Definitely 'yes'

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From E-Learning V

Fig.1 Quote from John Gardener

My writing tutor Susannah Waters quoted Gardener during a one to one on plotting last week; 'the vivid and continuous dream' is what she described as my job as an author. That evening she read out the 3,000 words I'd written that form a lynchpin scene in the novel I want to write. 

I would have welcomed the support and pointers three decades ago. That was then; this is now.

Even half an hour spent here is a half hour lost? Or a jinks?

We'll see.

Part of the 'definitely yes' for me was recognition that a) the isolation and TLC of a retreat works and b) having someone to deliver words to every few days is crucial - writing for an audience makes you concentrate, as does preparing and giving a presentation, or reading out an essay in a tutorial. 

 

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Detail at your fingertips

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 14:11
From E-Learning V

Fig.1 Moon phases in May 1917

Studying with the OU for the last four years it soon become natural to conduct online niche searches for books and papers related to course work. You learn also how to tag, store and gather the information and ideas that you find: this is one answer to that, a blog that serves several purposes, not least as a learning journal and e-portfolio. 

Searching for the obscure, that essential detail that forms such a vital part of the sensory palette used by the writer, is as easy to find and just as necessary. This morning I stepped out one May evening in 1917 and wanted some hint of what I'd see, hear and feel: a few searches and I can see a waxing moon at 10.00pm on a cooling evening as the temperature dips below 12 degree C, and the noise, in this instance of thousands of men in Nissen huts around a camp soon giving way to a robin trilling and burbling in the trees and the sound of the sea washing against the Channel Coast. 

These details are far more than accessories that overlay character and plot; they are what gives it credibility. Writing on and as the Great War rages requires significant care. The wrong detail will throw a reader, worse I'll end up in a conversation about my claims. Posting a piece of fiction some years ago an irate reader told me what I'd said was rot and went on to correct me - I had been writing fiction. I'd said that a character called Gustav Hemmel changed his name to George Hepple and fakes his own death - the reality is that he went missing over the English Channel in his plane. 

THREE HOURS working on writing fiction, five days a week, is the goal . The OU will have me for TWO hours a day (averaged with longer stints at the weekend). That's the plan. 

On verra. Il faut que j'ecris ici en francaise de temps en temps.

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Free Distance Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 14:12
From E-Learning V

Turn on Radio 4: leave it on and listen from the other side of the kitchen, bedroom, sitting room or bath. Take notes when you hear something interesting. I'm now well through a book on research done into happiness mentioned on Saturday Live and am starting to make 'Homefront' a daily fix. Blog about it and discuss: that's the e in e-learning. That and having the book in eBook form. And quite a bit of Radio 4 is OU anyway: The Bottom Line and that one on statistics come to mind.

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To make myself ill ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 14:16
From E-Learning V

Fig.1 All images too disgusting to share ... so here's a diagram instead!

Unusual that during a hospital visit the consultant asks me to make myself ill and return the following week for a biopsy. This is testing for 'Lichen Planus' - an unpleseant ulcerating of the soft tissues of the mouth. Breakfast the morning before will therefore be: a packet of hullahoops, a chocolate HobNob, martmite on toast with tomato ketchup, a spoonful of heated up Chicken Phal, cheap icecream say a 'Feast' and a small glass of Spanish lager, or Guiness or Newcastle Brown Ale. I can then rinse my mouth out with a specific brand of mouthwash that contains some chemical that causes a reaction.

I predict ulcers, a large blood spot and what are like raised, scratch marks inside my mouth. If I really eat the above I think I'll be sick. Come to think of it, if a handful of HulaHoops does the job why bother with the rest?

I will have some prescribed pain relief and an anaesthetising mouthwash to use straight afterwards.

 

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On happiness, memory and a whole lot more

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 14:19

Saturday Live, September 27th 2014

From 2BlogI

Fig. 1 Saturday Live, Sept 27th BBC Radio 4

A three hour car journey is sustained by pieces of Radio 4: this jad me wanting to pull over and take notes, instead I've been into iPlayer. There were pieces about memory and happiness that tickled my interest. I still need to listen a third time to find the point that to paraphrase had something to do with why or how memories are formed by key moments, not the endless ephemera that surrounds them: this is the key error made by all of these Apps and gadgets that aim to 'keep memories' for you by photographing and recording your day. Many of my most memorable moments in a 24 hour period are either dreams or thoughts - there's no photographin them.

Paul Dolan is dubbed the Professor of Happiness. I downloaded his book half an hour ago. A smart and academic-lite response rather than a 'how to book' 

 

 

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On writing fiction

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 7 Apr 2015, 10:44
From Writing

Fig. 1 The Writers' Retreat, Sheepwash, Devon

have filed away somewhere all my writing efforts that begins with 'Adam & Evie' - a kind of Blue Lagoon in space that I wrote when I was 13. Since then, forty years ago, I have filled a garage, or at least a corner of one. Much of my effort is on Amstrad floppy discs, ZIP drives, CDs and harddrives. Some is printed off. Some are TV series and screenplays. You haven't heard about me because it is all rubbish: around a fireplace I could tell you the story, even illustrate it with photos from my research, but until this week I could not get from my head to yours the story I wanted to tell.

This all changed this week. Though I fell short of the goal of four, 2,500 scenes written I delivered one 3,000 word scene, developed several others, sketched out seven or so more and worked on the story arc. Last night three writers read from their work: an author whose third book comes out this week, my tutor who has two books published and two in the wings - and me. It worked. I had their attention, it gripped and scared them more than I could imagine and there was half an hour of discussion about the place and events.

Crucial to me is understanding the concept of a 'scene' and its needs in terms of writing, what my tutor Susannah Waters describes as a 'palette of senses.'

A new year, an new age (I turned 53 an hour ago) and a new opportunity to 'get stuff out' On verra.

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Sheets

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 14:35
From 2BlogI

Fig.1 My nemesis: a feather duvet

Abandoning a feather filled duvet in the B&B 'retreat' in Devon for health reasons (asthma) I find my feet tucked, contained and strapped into place like it was the 1960s and I'm eight years old and sleeping over at my Granny's house. 

The efforts to learn how to write a novel are thus far proving highly productive: one 3000 word scene written, substantial plotting, seven further scenes concieved with another two reaching the 1000 word mark, two key characters established with a third making his presence felt. 

All would be fine except next week sees my head back against the grindstone and L120 over my shoulder. The trick would be to do it all in French.

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The subject matter

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 14:39
From Writing

Prince Edward was sent to France during the First World War. He lost his virginity in an Amiens brothel soon after his 21st birthday and recieved the Military Cross for duties that included the organising of firewood collections. 

 

 

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Wretchedness of allergies

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 08:43
From 2BlogI

Fig.1. Raycop

My habit when travelling is to take at least my own pillow, even a duvet and a mattress cover; this because of asthma and rhinitis and a fairly severe allergy to house mite dust (their faeces). I have on long stays ended up sleeping in bathrooms, on balconies, even in a tent in the garden. Most frustraingly with two more nights to go on what is otherwise turning into a transformstive, even pivital writing experience, it feels as if I have had a rubber tube shoved up my left nostril and a sack of sand liberally sprinkled with pepper, had been poured into my head then packed into place with the handle of a wooden spoon. I've been stuffed. The result is miserable, a face that aches, earache, a,igraine lije headache and a left eyeball that feels as if it is swimming in chillies. 

The swollen soft membranes of my mouth and sinuses, even if I evacuated to the sea, may take anything from a few days to a few weeks to clear; work is severely compromised and my mood has sunk. A shame as the lessons and experiences I am having with my writing are hugely promising. 

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Eight hours

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 08:49
From 2BlogI

Fig.1 Another writer on the retreat in Devon

I use an hour glass to count the time I spend 'at it'. Five hours pulling together ideas, then three hours writing. 600 words. Which is a multiple of ten less than I'd historically generate. I need to speak to my tutor about what this may or may not have achieved. Progress if I am successfully transplanting images and sounds from my head to hers, otherwise not. 

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Writing Retreat

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 08:52

Fig. 1 Retreats for You, Sheepwash, Devon

Day One.

An hour with my tutor yesterday evening. Buzzed, but fell asleep soon after. It was a four hour drive yesterday afternoon/evening and I'd been up since 4.00 am or something. Which is when I woke this morning and rattled off 1 1/2 following guidelines on how to 'set the scene'.

Armed with a pot of coffee I plan to get another hour in before breakfast.

The goal is to write four completed scenes, each of around 2,500 words this week. I may, a new experience for me, write each of these scenes several times as I try out the approaches I've been given.

The premise for my novel got the thumbs up as did my 'voice': not so hot were the gaping holes in my scene setting - I leave far too much untold.

On verra. 

By the end of the week I will decide either to give up once and for all, or that there's a future in it and the boxes of manuscripts, scripts, zip drives, discs and flopping discs, hard drives, notebooks and diaries have served a purpose or should go to the skip.

And I'll rejoin the family for my birthday.

 

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Bart's Bash: The Guinness Book of Records Challenge

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 08:58
From Bart's Bash 21SEPT14

Fig. 1 Some of the 30 boats taking part in our 'Bart's Challenge' 

The idea is to make it into the Guinness Book of Records. All over the world clubs took to the water. I had the Guinness Book of Records adjudicator on the rescue boat with me. The race had to be so long, with at least 25 participants. Photos and video was required for starts and finishes. She enjoyed it so much she helped lay and pull in buouys for the course.

Andy 'Bart' Simpson, a Brit, died racing in the America's Cup last year.

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Essay writing style: clay or concrete aggregate?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 1 Oct 2014, 15:10
From River Ouse Low Tide

My tried and tested methodology, beyond the doomed 'winging it' is 'concrete aggregate'. Other weeks or months I accumulate a lot of stuff, much of it in a blog like this; not quite a relational database but the 'stuff' is here, tagged and of reasonable relevance. In a now defunct OU ePortfolio called 'MyStuff' or 'MyOU' - I forget, you could then shuffle and rank your gobbets of nonsense and so, discounting the volume of stuff, potentially, have a treatment that could then be turned into an essay.

Such stuff, if it contains, 10,000 words, often with chunks of verbatim passages, can be a hell of a task to hack into shape. You build in bold forms out of concrete and can only get it to look like a garden, or park sculpture, with a pneumatic drill and chisel. Sometimes it works. You get there. It is dry and workable. You'll more than pass. It depends on the subject, the module and the specific expectations of the assignment. Where you need to tick many boxes this approach may work well.

Clay is the better way forward in most situations. Here you build up your arguments in logical steps then refine them at the end. This, particularly in the social sciences, is where the tutor wants to see how you argue you case, drawing together arguments and facts, mostly those you've been exposed to in the module, though allowing for some reading beyond the module. You have to express your opinion, rather than listing the views of others. Get it right and this is the only way to reach the upper grades? Get it wrong, which is the risk, and you may end up with a hollow or limp structure with grades to match. 

 

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Not recommended

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 3 Oct 2014, 09:09
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. Over doing the reading

I'm trying to put to bed what might be my 27th assignment: the last three have been non-OU but the same rules apply: whether tutor marked assignment, end of module assignment or an essay.

Have I ever been cut out for this?

Clearly, getting from TMAs in the 50s and a couple of EMAs in the 40s to TMAs in the 80s (and beyond) and EMAs in the 60s and 70s (though never beyond) indicates that I've learnt how to provide what is required ... and by default, that I have also learnt something (though my brain will complicate, and bury everything that goes in so fast that it's like putting rotten tomatoes onto the compost heap).

This is what I prefer by far: 'writing from the hip' I call it, or 'jazz writing' where a stream of consciousness, or drivel, fills the page.

I am taking a moments break from the nightshift.

This nightshift, awake at 2.00 am and writing by 2.30am has, over several years, become my default position whenever I need a three hour run at something; even the dog is asleep. I have to struggle to hear much more than a buzz in my head and either the tapping on this keyboard or scratching away of pen on paper.

Can I bring to some kind of conclusion this 'learning journal' in relation to writing 'the perfect essay'? 

Despite my best wishes I am NOT a strategic worker or thinker: my curiosity is too much of a pull. I do exactly what I was warned against a year ago - 'vanishing down rabbit holes'. I am the White Rabbit and Alice combined; an intriguing reference enthrals me so off I go. If I can I will source the paper, even get the long out of print book - I may even read the thing, take notes and then pop my head of this hole and wonder what the feck I'm playing at.

An essay needs a copse, not a forest. Imagine what it is like trying to turn an forest into an essay: too much wood (far too much paper). Not simply tough to digest, but any intrinsic pleasure from the act of writing at last is diminished by my knowledge of how much I will have to leave out. 

In the dead of night.

Giving up alcohol and coffee has not helped.

In every respect the alcohol was by far the easiest thing to cut back and cut out - just the conclusion to a ten year minor skirmish that ultimately was or is a medical irritant (allergic to it). Last week I managed 48 hours, or as it 36 hours without coffee. Hardly an achievement given that I was comatose, walking wounded or asleep for the duration. A mug first thing since has found me taking an afternoon siesta and still sleeping for seven + hours. I am sitting with the requisite jug of coffee now. 

I'll get to the end of this and do it justice

'On reflection' the couple of EMAs in the 40s I received was because having done the work, and got reasonable TMAs I blew it with this last struggle and deadlines ending up submitting the latests draft as the seconds disappeared. This time I have had months, really, months and even now I have another three days. I just want to do what I know has to be done: get a good draft finished a few days before, then do the re-read and edit. Nothing less will do and only then can I feel I've done all that I feel I am capable of. The truth is this does not, nor never has come naturally to me. I prefer being up on my feet doing and taking part with a team of people.

Take a nap, then, trusting to my wits and the fresh sea air, I'll be bobbing around offshore by mid-morning taking part in some global sailing charity event. 

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French L120

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By changing my Google settings to include FRENCH, though not fluent, I now get searches that include French language results. In a tiny way I can tickle my brain a bit as I take this module. 

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What's that book?

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I know there's an OU library, and I can recommend Google Scholar too ... but there is a fallback position that works when these have failed. Believe it or not, Amazon.

Going on nothing more than 'Quoted in Mountcastle, 'On the Move' I track down the author John W Mountcastle and various books of his, including this one, on Amazon. I don't need to buy it, just reference it correctly unlike the author where I first found him.

A module could be written entirely around a set of books, ideally eBooks, available on Amazon. A canny college might prepurchase a dozen such books and preload them onto something like a Kindle 'Paperwhite' and give them to students. I'd buy it; the idea at least.

The University of Northumbria preloaded all the books for First Year Law Students course onto an iPad which they gave to students back in 2011.

 

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Better out than in

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 18 Sep 2014, 07:26

No gadget or software or App will do your learning for you; you have to get the right content into you brain where it can be applied and added to. Garbage in, is garbage out and information you abandon will fester - not die, but transmogrify or lay dormant.

There are both techniques and Apps that that help you to get 'stuff' into your brain.

Take good notes from lectures and books, including TED lectures and Internet based 'linear' content, as well as eBooks and multimedia.

Use your notes for essays

Use your essays and notes from which to revise

The ONLY App I have come across that has been tested with a randomized controlled trial and had a dozen or more papers published on it is a platform developed at Harvard Medical School, now called QStream, though developed and tested as 'Spaced-Ed'.

I'm writing this after a THREE HOUR stint from the early hours extricating and sorting 'digital' information from the computer into a format that my head can deal with: sheets of paper, cards, lists ... 

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Print Off

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014, 07:58
From E-Learning V

Fig.1 One of the most thorough, and balanced studies of both the British and German Armies and their tactics. 

There comes a time when trying to read your notes taken over five months, six lectures and two dozen books that you have to print the stuff out. Two printer cartridges later (couldn't get it to print draft) and I have some 400 pages. Nuts. Glad I did it though as I'd have wasted my time doing all this preparstion otherwise. And one more book to read that may finally pull it all together. The theory goes that the British Army survived two world wars with a doctrine of 'control command' while the Germans used 'command chaos'. Inefficiency however defeated efficiency.

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Better together ...

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From 2BlogI

I have a garage full of boxes of cuttings and found this from the early 1990s when I still had wanderlust, and no kids to put through school and keep near to friends. It struck me regarding Scotland that we will be connected whatever happens. 

We heard the debate for an independent Scotland and for a united UK - what about the case for an independent England freed from the 'burden' of the expense of Scotland? Or would having the equivalent of Greece tethered to 'our' head be a far worse burden in the long run. 

Whatever happens lets all wear kilts this weekend.

 

 

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What impact does alcohol have on the brain?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 14 Sep 2014, 08:36

Fig.1 Does alcohol have a permanent effect on the brain?

The answer is 'yes', though of course it is dependant on many variables: binge drinking is bad, like a blow to the head. This comprehensive heavy-weight article I Googled, 'Alcohol's Damaging Effects on the Brain' satisfies my initial curiosity, then the above shocking image catches my eye.

Dare I ask if we know any child who clearly showed such facial traits?

Far too late to do anything about it though.

After this paper like post from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism I eventually start looking to chase up a few references (the very best way to satisfy you curiosity and layer detail onto the ideas you are gathering) when I read that 'memory formation and retrieval are highly influenced by factors such as attention and motivation'.

From E-Learning V

This quote from Kensinger E A et al in the Journal of Neuroscience 2003. Title: What neural correlates underlie successful encoding and retrieval? Not Found in the OU Library so I cut and paste into Google Scholar and there it is to download as a PDF.

It is not surprising that scientific research shows (not speculation) that distraction diminishes attention and therefore retention, nor surprising that a low level distraction has less impact than a high one.

Does a teenager (or any of us) supposedly doing homework while

a) interacting on Facebook

b) answering text messages

c) streaming a movie and/or

d) playing a video game

... complete a task half as well than when focused?

Exam conditions aren't just best for exams:

turn off the radio and phone, shut the door, put up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign, give yourself a set period of time in which to concentrate ... and reward yourself at the end of it (not with alcohol though).

Why we all need a 'room of our own'? (Even if you have to wait until someone else vacates it).

Better an hour studying when motivated and focused, then three hours while streaming a movie, or answering email?

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Design Museum

No coffee for 36 hours

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 14 Sep 2014, 08:40
From 2BlogI

Fig.1. My kind of coffee - in a mug with a punch

Usually any effort to quit coffee ends within an hour; not counting being ill. I am going around in a fug, slept fou four hours during the day today. This can take nine days I have read. 

Had to have a coffee. I cannot spend another day like a Zombie. This might sound like an alcoholic coming off the wagon. ONE mug of coffee with breakfast; my planned quota for the day.

I must have been drinking coffee by the mug, and during A' Levels by the pint mug, since my teens. Of late, the last decade, the quantities have become absurd, frighteningly so with an early energy drink in 2001 if I recall - a real mood changer. And no unusual to have more like six mugs of espresso strength coffee by mid-morning. 

I had a problem

Some more neat coffee mug ideas

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Design Museum

Dead Swimmer

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From Swimming

Fig. 'Dead Swimmer' to 'Streamlined'

One of my favourite swimming drills across all levels of swimmer. Back to teaching after 18 months (or is it two years). Loaded on a Kindle I show it to swimmers in the water and walk them through it. We repeat it in the deep end of the pool and later build in gliding and kicking drills.

Of course, every kind of drill and programme can be found on YouTube. 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 13 Sep 2014, 22:50)
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