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Who are the digital scholars ... and what does it take?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 17 Jun 2013, 05:36

 

The development of digital resources has changed scholarly practice by fundamentally changing the process of scholarly research and communication (Lynch, 2006).

REFERENCE

Lynch, C. (2006), Research Libraries Engage the Digital World: a US-UK Comparative Examination of recent History and Future Prospects’, Arriande Issue 46, http://www.ariande.ac.uk/issue46/lynch/intro.html

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The importance of stories ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Jun 2013, 11:34

Telling stories to others is the means by which unconscious stories become conscious, with language reflecting the person’s mental state (Bucholtz and Hall, 2005).

One way identities are given form is through (auto-)biographical narrative where speakers identify with characters and plots, ethical and moral stances, and the discourses of multiple activity systems (Roth, 2007, Ivanič, 2006).

McConnell (2002), discussing e-learning communities in higher education, argues that students’ identities are negotiated along four dimensions: their purpose as learners, their relationship with tutors, their place in the academic world, and the boundaries between their professional practice and their group work.

REFERENCE

Bucholtz, M. and Hall, K. (2005) 'Identity and interaction: a sociocultural linguistic approach', Discourse Studies, vol., 7, no. 4-5, pp. 585-614.

Ivanic, R. (2006) Language, learning and identification . In R. Kiely, P. Rea-Dickens, H. Woodfield and G. Clibbon (eds.) Language, Culture and Identity in Applied Linguistics . Equinox pp. 7-29 Available from http://www.lancs.ac.uk/lflfe/publications/pubsdocs/Language,%20learning%20and%20identific ation.doc (accessed 2 June 2008)

 

McConnell, D. (2002) 'Negotiation, identity and knowledge in e-learning communities', In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Networked Learning, Sheffield, U.K., pp. 248-257.

Roth, W-M. (2007) 'The ethico-moral nature of identity: Prolegomena to the development of third-generation Cultural-Historical Activity Theory', International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 46, no. 1-2, pp. 83-93

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The Red Nile

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 15 Jun 2013, 18:27

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At times you laugh out loud, always informative, great stories, full of well-known facts with a twist, as well as a myriad of gems. The kind of book I would have bought and sent to people for the pleasure of it ... not sure how that works with an eBook. If Michael Palin had got stuck in Egypt for six years, without the film crew, he might have made a stab at it. I described Robert Twigger to my wife as Michael Palin's mischievous younger brother. (I know Robert, though I've not seen him for twenty years). He's exceedingly bright but very modest, even humble. A boffin you might find going through second hand books in a pile at a charity shop.

There's a intimacy, cleverness and a flash of British funniness throughout. Encyclopedic whilst as readable as an unputdownable novel.

For me this is the very best travel writing. I've bounced into it via an need to take an interest in ethnography in H809 Practice-based research in e-learning. I found myself watching 'Seven Years in Tibet' then reading the book by Heinrich Harer. 'The Red Nile' is written in a similar vein, though Robert's relationship is with the river rather than the Dalai Lama. The book touches on a good deal of anthropological study of the peoples of the Niles (blue and white). It's value is how easy it is to read after all the academic papers, and how quotable and informed it is too.

'It seems peculiar to me that specialisation should involve developing a point of view that obscures the very subject you wish to study'.

This is I will take as a warning as I venture towards doctoral study. My interest is in learning, and e-learning in particular. Learning can apply to many, many fields. We all do it whether we want to or not.

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The future of medicine - wearable and ingested microchips

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Jun 2013, 18:36

Whilst my asthma or condition isn't severe enough to justify it, imagine though taking a pill in which a microchip, 1mm is embedded. A sufficient electric charge is produced when the microchip gets wet and for a short period it transmits data to a computer (could be a wearable device such as a wristband or watch).

Armed with this data, analysed automatically, and read by you or a healthcare professional, your drug regimen and response to it is closely monitored.

In exchange for the 'big data' you 'transmit' and the knowledge on improving drugs and personalising treatment you may assist with research into the condition you have.

Your GP in this scenario may be sidelined as the specifics of your condition that warrants such an intervention goes directly to a consultant or a biochemist ... even a technician of any part of the device falters.

Papers on the above have been published in the last two/three years. This isn't science-fiction, it is science-fact.

The opportunity to dream up stories, let along to consider serious research, are endless. The scariest thing for me remains the prospect of being kept alive 'well beyond my sell by date' - literally rotting away and being conscious of this long, long after I should have been allowed to die or 'turned off'.

I heard recently of an 80 year old who committed suicide 'before it got too late'.

If you control the scenario described above, instead of the devices and drugs trying to keep you in perfect health at whatever cost, could you, if controlling them, elect to 'turn down the volume' - to achieve what we all perhaps aspire to with death, and that is to die peacefully in our sleep rather than in a strange bed, surrounded by strange people determined, not matter what level of torture is involved, to keep you alive until you last breath and heart beat?

Rather a few friends are talking about how a parent just died - I'm yet to hear a happy ending.

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Making Connections

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 13 Jun 2013, 08:42

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  • Stuff found behind the sofa
  • Mindstorms - Seymor Papert
  • Seven Years in Tibet - Heinrich Harra
  • The Future of Pharma - Brian Smith
  • H809 EMA
  • EPHMRA Conference 2013
  • P.hD Research

The stuff that came out of the sofa means nothing to me. These got shoved down the back and sides of the thing nearly a decade ago and whilst I can relate these bits to a child and our dog I cannot see the moment where the stuffing took place ... or even how it could have occurred. Lego bits got constructed on the floor. The dog should have been on the floor. We never used 'soothers' with our children so I guess a parent visited, removed one from a baby and it was lost. In learning terms I liken these artifacts to the niche ideas of an author whose context I don't comprehend - given my recent multiple visits to various museums it is also like going to a museum and walking past exhibits for which you have no context.

Mindstorms is often quoted and I can see why. It draws a lot from Piaget and even mentions Claude Levi-Strauss. I need to investigate both further. It ties into the work of Montessori too and the lessons we gain from understanding how children, or infants in particular, learn.

Seven Years in Tibet and other books by Heinrich Harrer might be better books that a film. I enjoyed the film with Brad Pitt as a lesson, not just as entertainment. My wife couldn't handle his Austrian accent. I was intrigued by the Dalai Llama and the breaking of rules which allowed his tutor to get closer than court etiquette would have permitted. It says a lot about formal vs. informal learning. As well as the drive of the pupil to comprehend.

The pharmaceutical industry inevitably touches on any research into use of prescription drugs. This academic, business school authored book, without becoming popularist, provides a serious of invaluable insights that put adherence to drugs in the wider context of funding, government, longer life and big business.

I am pulling together the EMA for H809. This segues into first interviews with potential supervisors for P.hD research in e-learning in healthcare.

My wife baulked at the £2000 fee to attend a Pharma Conference - EPHMRA. She isn't attending and will skip these things unless she joins Big Pharma or agency. Her contacts on the phone will provide some insights. Already though I squirm at 'papers' presented for an by corporate players as I cannot help but find holes - critiques being the modus operandi of H809.

 

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Potty or just excited?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013, 02:22

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Excited and nervous about getting my head around an EMA and turning this into a P.hD proposal I wacked off an email to a contact on the US East Coast not expecting a reply for 24 hours. They're potty too ... either in the office at 9.00pm last night (their time) or taking 'office' emails.

My excuse is the dog decided to dig up her bed an hour ago. (1.00pm)

I have a lot of reading to do. I've made a start on 'The Future of Pharma' which is by an OU Visiting Professor. When I crawl off back to bed (like now) this can had an odd effect on my dreams - trials, drugs, 'Big Pharma' can meld into a horror story. Not helped by a dose of Netflix 'Resident Evil' earlier on either.

'The Worlds Most Important Industry' writes the author - not how too many people see it, but then when did they or a loved one last take any kind of medication that has improved their quality of life? Personally I would have been dead in the first six months ... and at some stage in the last 30 would have succumbed to an asthma attack, flu or bronchitis ... or all three simultaneously. My brother would have died age four.

On the other hand my grandfather made it to 96 and had little to do with doctors. While my mother might have succumbed to a couple of strokes instead of being kept alive in the most pitiful state for an additional three months ...

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The Final Countdown

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The EMA is 12 days away. I ought to get a draft written in the next few days. Meanwhile I am taking a break from the literature review to go through this blog.

I have 165 entries tagged h809. I need to skim through these and add a further tag H809ema. From these I ought to feel reasonably sure that I've not missed anything out from the last 15 weeks. A couple of things I skipped over but I know what these are should I feel the need to look at them.

During this review I will create a mindmap on a whiteboard. At some stage this may be worked up in SimpleMinds and used as the essay plan, or as a table. It'll certainly be crossmatched with the word count for specific parts of the assignment.

At some stage I will edit with an examiner's hat on - does it show that I have been attentive to the 'lessons' of the module? It is showing off, it is a tick box exercise. This is not the place to go off on a tangent or to argue that a different approach is required.

When and if I have time I will migrate some of these entries over to my external blog so that I have them in future years. I think I have a couple of years to do this, but I don't imagine coming back here often once I have completed my studies.

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Information Overload or Cognitive Overload which is the problem?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 07:59

Fig.1 Exhibit A. Vital to any museum. A place to crash, reflect, nod off ... then pick yourself up to do some more.

This is going to read like an excuse to visit yet more museums.

As I reach the end of my Open University learning journey my final task is to write an EMA in which I propose a piece of research on e-learning. My inclination, with 12 days to go, is to look at the use of mobile devices in museums and how the visit experience can be enhanced by personalising the physical journey. It appears the the two problems to deal with are information overload and cognitive overload. There is too much of everything. Whilst I will always applaud serendipity there needs to be a balance between the stuff that you want to stick and the stuff that can be ignored or discarded.

Too many museum visits earlier this week has me wishing I had electric wheels and a pair of Google Glass that could take it in and edit.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art - Barcelona
  • Picasso Museum - Barcelona
  • National Museum of Catalonia - Barcelona
  • Joan Miro Foundation - Barcelona

As I prepare this assignment I plant to queue to get into the Bowie at V&A and try Google WebLab at the Science Museum and possibly the RA and Design Museums too. At least I'm within an hour of London.

My interest is, as I take teenagers to these things, to wish I could get them to that artefact or story about the artifacts creations, or the artist/creative that it will so intrigue them that they are inspired to put some heart into their art or DT.

Two years ago my late mother took her granddaughters around the RA when the Van Gogh exhibition was on. My daughter was treated to my mother, gentle and informed, guiding her then 14 year old granddaughter from quite specific letters, paintings and sketches - pointing things out, talking about technique and the thinking behind it. This was as personalised and as intimate as it gets.

I can understand how Picasso, showing interest and talent, must have been guided by his father who taught art at undergraduate level.

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An impromptu three day trip to Barcelona has left my head in a spin.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 9 Jun 2013, 11:50

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Billed as a ‘Daddy Daughter’ trip we mixed art, architecture, shopping and food (with sunshine). My daughter is contemplating Fine Art at university. In just a few days we packed in hours, on foot, along streets, through galleries and museums and parks, into markets and up and down and through slick airconditioned Barcelona rapid transit system.

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We took in Picasso and Joan Miro museums, through the National Museum of Catalonia El Greco to Dali, on the streets we found Gaudy while the Contemporary Museum of Art gave me Lawrence Werner. Where unable to use a camera (the iPhone, I left my digital SLR at home to keep us down to hand luggage) I bought a postcard, guidebook or did a sketch.

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It left me hungry for more: the food from tapas bars, the architecture and history, the weather and the sea … it has left me full of ideas regarding learning, from seeing Picasso’s early efforts at drawing, through the work of Joan Miro from beginning to end. This 'pass' to six museums is one way to do it - I got around four of these and can return within three months in this ticket. With Gatwick up the road and travelling out of season I may get back later in June or in early July

As a visitor what more do we need than our eyes, feet and a sketch pad or notebook?

Does a digital camera make it too easy? Not permitted to use a camera at the Picasso or Miro what did we lose and the gallery gain? I bought books at the Picasso, Miro and Contemporary Art Museum, though not at the National Museum of Catalonia where I used my iPhone to grab images all the way around.

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Meeting a friend who lives in 'Barca' was revealing - he learnt Spanish in a month. He could. He can focus. Two weeks on the grammar with the right book on a beach, then two weeks intensive studying by day with an hour of conversational Spanish in the evening which he got in exchange for an hour of English conversation. Immeservive and concentrated effort.

To what degree does e-learning remove the need to make an effort and dilute any immersiveness to just one or two senses (to what you see and hear)?

I like to pick up a language in context, through association, trial and error. Signs in multiple languages, like the Rosetta Stone, appear to offer a way into the language … or is this also a short cut ? You won’t learn anything so long as you are offered the translation. I wonder if this can be reverse engineered? Instead of seeing the Spanish world translated through English eyes, how about seeing the English world through Spanish Eyes? To wear glasses that use augmented technology to offer me the day to day in Spanish? What is already being done?

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A plague on my underpants!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 10 Jun 2013, 16:28

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Playing Mercutio in 'Romeo & Juliet' 1983

Thirty years ago, possibly to the week, I performed in a university production of Romeo & Juliet as Mercutio. I've just been watching, to my horror, a digitised copy from the Betamax original.

That's me with the spindly legs in the white tights.

Not suprisingly, more so than a diary entry, this takes me to the moment. Minutes later the large nappy pin holding up my hose (the stuffed, bulbous pants) comes undone. I complete the fight to the death having pulled up my hose more than once - laughter and awareness rather spoils the moment and more liek Franky Howard than Shakespeare I die on the line 'A plague on my underpants'.

Fascinating that even in silhouette I would have recognised my teenage son in how I move.

My wife tells me I don't speak like that any more.

Cruel and revealing to me that I was so dependent on the director -  in this amateur production I minch about more like Malvolio from Twelfth Night.

My fascination in memory is pricked by this.

There is value in forgetting and not having a record of past events yet wearable technology is gradually making it possible to keep a record of everything we do - both visual and audio. Our perceptions are altered by the recalling of a memory. Though of course, this particular memory is still not my visual memory as my perspective will always be caught up in this scene.

REFERENCE

The power to remember and forget

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H809 TMA03 Away

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:29

How often have I written that?

This is almost certainly the last. At least for the time-being. The MA ODE is in the bag and this module, the bonus track of my investigation into e-learning. Just the EMA to go - not just a research proposal, but a PhD research proposal which will be the basis of my seeking to undertake doctoral research in 2014.

If I care to I have some 25 entries for this blog too - rather than using the blog as an e-portfolio though I am finding I am loading everything into and working from Google Docs while drawing from a gallery of albums containing thousands of e-learning related images and screen grabs ... around 1600 in fact.

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Word Count for a TMA

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It is taken me nearly four hours to reduce 1780 words to 1070 words for one part of a 2000 word TMA.

  • It is worth reflecting on this exercise.
  • This is where lasting learning occurs.
  • The intellectual demands and effort means that some of this will stick.
  • I had to prioritise ruthlessly.
  • And then edit like I was writing a Tweet.
  • And as my confidence grew in what I had to say my tone became more precise and decissive.

Now the problem is the other half of the 2000 word TMA.

It now looks, by comparison, somewhat moth-eaten. If I edit with the same approach the word count will come down to 700 or less - so understandably a different kind of effort will be required to identify what I have missed out.

Onwards.

I need it out of the way so that I can get on with my very last EMA.

Which makes this my last TMA.

All the more reason to make it a good one then.

Never understimate how much time should be devoted to 'getting it right' even when you think you've got there with an earlier draft.

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Identifying student groupings for legitimate study

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 1 Jun 2013, 05:33

In my quest to understand, who, why and what we are I am fed by the OU Online Library, Google Scholar and Amazon. The paper I am currently writing (Lindroth and Berqusit, Reading 17 in H809) needs me to identify, qualify or reject, as strong or weak, boundaries that define a group of people.

Whilst I can understand the justification for a study of, say the Saami People, also of Hells Angels, and Gamers - those who role play in virtual worlds ... I am struggling with the authors who in this case felt that a decade ago certain students in H.E. could be identified as 'laptopers'. From my point of view if there was any weak culturally identity with a computer those who used Macs might have thought they stood out - or was that 'Think Different' independent mindset just a clever advertising ruse?

TMA03 is proving an enlightening journey that takes me back to an undergraduate module I did on anthropology - then still largelly an historic, geographically definable adventurer into unknown societies. More so than with any other module in the MA ODE family I have taken several steps beyond the confined of the resources. Courtesy of the Web it is with relative ease, and a little damage to my wallet, that I am able not only to pull out papers, but a number of eBooks and second hand paperbacks have also made it to my desk.

Making Knowledge: Explorations of the Indissoluble Relation between Mind, Body and Environment (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Special Issue Book Series) [Kindle Edition] By: Trevor H. J. Marchand

Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series) James Clifford and George Marcus

Tales of the Field: On Writing Ethnography, Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and) John Van Maanen



 

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Current reading ... recently read, on the go ... just about to start.

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Internet Studies is the 'just about to get stuck in' read. The War of the World from Naill Ferguson is a lyrical and intelligent romp through decades of global conflict ... that only recently ended? Tales of the Field is a wonderful introduction to ethnogrpahy and offers a dozen further reads. Then some 'studies' related stuff. Capital ain't mine ... I got it so my 85 year old father-in-law could read it on my iPad when I was visiting. Teeangers and Technology is a must read from Rebecca Eynon.

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The House and Garden have done for my OU Student Blog ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 May 2013, 06:42

Pulling the house and garden apart has produce a victim ... OU work has to be carried out in a more strategic fashion, typically very early in the morning before the mayhem around me begins.

The EMA could be an interesting challenge - I'm having a cataract operation. Apparently a combination of skiing and sailing has damaged my eyes  (UV damage) ... I'm yet to be convinced of the need for an operation for 'lens replacement' for another decade or two though ... (I have twice worked a season in the French Alps ... 31 and 29 years ago though!) That an having a 'sun lamp' at home when we were growing up ... and my father even got a sunbed. We always wore dark google wit the sunlamp but would lie on the sunbed without any protection reading a book sad

Despite the above I have devoured two additional books for H809 not on the 'reading list' and ordered a third.

  1. David Garson (2011) Validity and Reliability.
  2. John Van Maanen (2011) 2nd Ed. Tales of the Field. On writing ethnography.
  3. James Clifford and George Marcus (1986) Writing culture. The poetics and politics of ethnography.

This is something I miss, that 'standard text', H810 being the exception. Getting to know one or two authors well has a lot to be said for it, rather than constantly dipping between the multiple voices of the Course Team and papers.

Cataract Surgery

(The above is also an excellent example of a succinct, professional explanatory animation).

How to be put off a cataract operation!

Perhaps this is better

Tips (what I'll be telling my teenagers):

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Usa a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses have been popular with people for years, both for comfort and as a fashion accessory. However as studies and research continue to demonstrate a relationship between UV-A/UV-B exposure and ocular disease, the protection of the long-term health of your eyes is yet another reason to wear sunglasses. In order for sunglasses to provide adequate protection for your eyes, they should:

  • Block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
  • Screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light;
  • Have lenses perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection;
  • Have lenses that are gray, green or brown.

What to look for in sunglasses.

(I wonder if I ever wore sunglasses when windsurfing in the 1980s?)

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New blog post

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It took me a year ... no longer, 18 months. Even longer than that, two years, to recognise what it took to get consistently high marks.

I couldn't fathom what people were doing.

Is it a formula? Or just application? Is there a method? Whatever it takes until you feel confident you know what is going on ... so read, read again, ask questions. Then going and read something else. Disagree, agree ... sleep on it. Then, ever so slowly it starts to dawn on you. This is what they are on about. I am prone to read well beyond the listed resources though, picking through papers until I find the one that speaks to me - the voice that expresses it in a way that has ressonance. And I am prone, within reason, to get the book that is cited in a paper I like ... so a collection of second handbooks under the table and a larger collection of eBooks. eBooks I read faster, highlight and take notes as I go along, then migrate notes and quotes into a Google Doc. I kid myself when I have a lot to read that it is different on the Kindle, the iPad or on the TV size screen that is ... well the TV (but my computer too).

A couple of weeks ago I took the TV and put it in the shed. One of those things the size of a pedal car.

No one misses it.

Everyone is on a screen elsewhere in the house. We stream movies. We use BBC iPlayer.

I don't miss clicking between channels looking for something to watch, finding nothing much but glued to the thing for a few things all the same.

Movies?

Ironclad

That's the way to do Medieval!

A week away in April and I still haven't recovered my old rhythmn. Nor will I. Instead of bloggin I have every conceivable thing to sort out with the house and garden. Somehow both were abandoned for three years - I wonder why that was?

The lawn was so bad I needed an industrial strimmer. The lawnmower I bought in 2007 is still in its original packaging in the shed.

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Test driving a Google Chromebook

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In store at PC World - as I use Google Docs, Picasa Web and Google+ for most things this looks like a neat alternative to either Microsoft OR Apple.
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H809: Activity 13.2 - Reflections and notes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 May 2013, 11:03

Participation in ...

Observation of ...

What is the Chicago School?

In sociology and later criminology, the Chicago School (sometimes described as the Ecological School) was the first major body of works emerging during the 1920s and 1930s specialising in urban sociology, and the research into the urban environment by combining theory and ethnographic fieldwork in Chicago, now applied elsewhere. While involving scholars at several Chicago area universities, the term is often used interchangeably to refer to the University of Chicago's sociology department—one of the oldest and one of the most prestigious. (Wikipedia)

Requires a chapter, even a book on it. Possibly a block, even a module in its own right.

Does the ethnography depend upon the physical presence of the enthnographer in the midst of the people being studied? (Hammersley, 2006 :08)

Not any more. An ethnographer in a virtual world amongst virtual people is present. Is, however, an ethnographer present where they to observe footage from Big Brother, either in real time, or post-production (literally). Are we ‘kitchen ethnogrpahers’ when we watch a TV series about a group ‘under observation’?

‘With the availability of mobile phones and portable computers, electronic virtuality is now embedded within actuality in a more dispersed and active way than ever before’. (Hammersley, 2006:08)

Is interviewing ethnographic? (Hammersley, 2006:09) How else do you ‘give voice’ to the participants and capture their perspectives?

Witness accounts are flawed.

A witness might lie, but will certainly have a stance, however nuanced, they may even have a false memory. Indeed, over time, the nature of this memory will change other ideas, true or false recollections aggregate to it. And is impacted by the context. (Hammersley, 2006:09)

Rather to record conversations … but who is to set the guidelines? (Hammersley, 2006:10)It can be argued that everything we do or perceive is real. Whether in a virtual world, or dreaming ... or 'the real thing'.

The experience has a form in that an electro-biological process has taken place in all these cases - it's in your head! Science Fiction writers and filmmakers play around with this all the time. My understanding from neuroscience is that typically any memory, or rethinking of a memory or experience, connects with some 15 areas around the brain ... which change (enhance, diminish). The scale and scope amongst our 98 billion neurons is ... well, vast. So much of what we do or experience can and will have only a tiny impact on who we are (genetically decided construction of the brain during foetal development) and what we experience (whether this experience is internal or external). Does the brain even differentiate between conscious and unconsciousness, beyond tagging them one or the other so that, however vivid it was, you know that was a dream where you turned into a flying fish ... or that running around like Conan the Barbarian with the head of a wolf in World of War Craft is not the same as sitting in a Geography class. Neuroscience is trying to see and map fractions of activity in the brain, but this is a long way from offering such human-coloured maps as evidence, say of specific learning having occurred, so short of an objective result we can only rely on the subjective i.e. to ask a lot of probing questions and draw conclusions.

In relation to a face-to-face as virtual, surely there is more in common with a Skype interview 'face to face' and a similar interview over a table ... but there are degrees of virtual and 'real' as an interview when in role play or improvising say as a character in World of Warcraft would surely be more akin to the an exercise that actors do. Or what about role playing real people in order to prepare for a debriefing, or tough interview ... as in media training for managers?

Fascinating ... my curiosity has been re-engaged even if professionally strictly quantitative plays so well into funding mechanisms. You design learning that can be quantified, using  appropriately accommodating learning theories, so that investors can monitor their return.

People in virtual worlds are themselves - but more so.

i.e. in various forms people might either be themselves big time, almost hyping up who they are while others would take a part of themselves and enhance that ... so they roleplay the minor god (in the Greek sense), or swap gender, or role play being a teenager again ... or for that matter being older than they are. i.e. the original person is still at the core of it all.

 

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H809: Activity 13.1

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 May 2013, 11:22

Read pp. 3–8 of Hammersley’s paper, up to the heading ‘Context as virtual’. Identify the ways in which Hammersley talks about context and, in particular, what he identifies as ethnographic understandings of context.

 

In Week 8 context was identified as an issue in research methods generally. How do you think Hammersley addresses the issues concerning context raised in Week 8?

The point made introducing Activity 8.3 is that ‘ Crook and Dymott (2005) adopt a different theoretical approach to learning and context. Hence their research adopts different methodologies compared to the studies discussed by Tolmie.

From Tolmie (2001). Surroundings mean different things to different people. It is naive and deterministic to think that people are so easily governed by their context. The individual over the surroundings. Unless we think students are like a uniform tribal grouping.

‘They are necessarily employed within pre-existing contexts of educational and social activity’. Tolmie (2001) But such ‘contexts’ are or have been radically overhauled, take ESSA in Manchester by way of example. Both how and where the students and teachers interact matters. Rather like product design - form and function. The two are complimentary.

Crook and Dymott (2005) seem focused on the interaction between the various media of life, in particular written texts, lectures and social interactions affect the manner in which we think and express that thinking. Writing to me is a function of the communicating clusters in our brain and will produce the similar ‘comprehension’ results whether cunieform on clay, hieroglyphys on stone, handwriting on papyrus, printing on paper, text on a screen or an annotated animation in a video. The way the brain interlinks with other parts of the brain, and does so in different ways every time a fact is remembered will differ. An item listed on clay will be associated with the act of tapping a hammer into the clay, or an idea expressed via a QWERTY keyboards and printed off might recall the smell of the printer ink .. but does the kernel of the thought differ? To what degree is context the wrapping and associations rather than the information itself?

Learning is both an artefact and a process - the artefact exists as a potential in the brain and when stimulated can in part, through the complexity, be seen in a fMRI scan. The process of learning takes place as an interaction with the world around us, more people, but also the context and ours.

From the recorded memoirs of my late grandfather Jack Wilson, (Vernon, 2008) I wonder how, as an office boy age 14-18 he responded or changed to going from a ‘copy writer’ using 'copying ink' and using carbon paper to using the Blickenfurentstater typewriter that was brought round to the office one morning … and handed to him to master. It intrigues me that even a hundred years ago one generation might hand ‘new technology’ to the youngest member of the team or group … as if we expect the youthful mind and attitude to be more plastic? He lived through a period of extraordinary change - first motorcars, typewriters, telephones, aeroplanes … ‘total war’ … part and parcel (his expression) of these technological innovations were changes in society, not least caused by the First World War. Yet in all of this I can’t see how the context can be isolated from the far more significant influence of the person as an individual or in their community … that historically calamitous events and physical change to the environment fail to have a profound effect, collectively, on who or what we are as humans. Was it Prof. Robert Winston who said that Homo Sapiens doing Cave Paintings has more, not less, in common with a concert pianist in the 20th century? I do rather think that the capacity and scope of the human brain rather outweighs context.

Is context a red herring? Would it not be more interesting to understand what is going on in the brain of the person? That internal ‘context’ is surely where the ‘action’ i.e. the learning and memory formation, is taking place?

REFERENCE

Crook, C. and Dymott, R. (2005) ‘ICT and the literacy practices of student writing’ in Monteith, M. (ed.) Teaching Secondary School Literacies with ICT, Maidenhead, Open University Press.

Tolmie, A. (2001), Examining learning in relation to the contexts of use of ICT. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 17: 235–241. doi: 10.1046/j.0266-4909.2001.00178.

Vernon, J.F (2008) That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele (accaessed 9th May 2013. http://machineguncorps.com/)

 

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Connectivism - a first bibliography

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 May 2013, 11:23

Academic

Title

Dave Cormier

Connectivism: Its place in theory-informed research and innovation in technology-enabled learning

de Waard, I. (2011). Explore a new learning frontier: MOOCs. Retrieved from Learning Solutions Magazine website: http://bit. ly/mSi4q


McAuley, A., Stewart, B., Siemens, G., & Cormier, D. (2010). The MOOC model for digital practice.


de Waard, I. (2011). Explore a New Learning Frontier–MOOCs (Jul 11).


Dave Cormier’s blog

http://davecormier.com/edblog/


Stephen Downes

Downes, S. (2010). New technology supporting informal learning. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence, 2(1), 27-33.


Mackness, J., Mak, S., & Williams, R. (2010). The ideals and reality of participating in a MOOC. In Networked Learing Conference (pp. 266-275). University of Lancaster.


Calvani, A. (2009). Connectivism: new paradigm or fascinating pot-pourri?. Journal of E-learning and Knowledge Society, 4(1).


Kop, R., & Hill, A. (2008). Connectivism: Learning theory of the future or vestige of the past?. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning,9(3).

Jim Groom

Stevens, V. What’s with the MOOCs?*** On the Internet*** March 2013–Volume 16, Number 4.


Mahraj, K. (2012). Using information expertise to enhance massive open online courses. Public Services Quarterly, 8(4), 359-368.


McGuire, Mark. "Open Strategies in Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges."


Casanova, Diogo. "Punking up Education! New perspectives for teaching and learning." Indagatio Didactica 2.1 (2010): 84-93.



George Siemens

Siemens, G. (2006). Connectivism: Learning theory or pastime of the self-amused.Retrieved February, 2, 2008.


Siemens, G. (2010). Teaching in social and technological networks. Connectivism: networked and social learning.




 

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A new chapter begins ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 8 May 2013, 04:42

Four months into making the decision to pursue this route I have taken my first step towards doctoral research. I had to collate qualification certificates from ancient degrees - which was an interesting experience. And talk to OU Tutors about an academic reference. It feels as scary as putting in an EMA, except that here the result is either pass or fail.

If I can stick to this plan then the full round of applications starts in January 2014.

As much work as possible until September 2014 would be a good idea.

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H809: Activity 11.7

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 4 May 2013, 05:16

Reading 11: Richardson (2012)

Face to face versus online tuition: Preference, performance and pass rates in white and ethnic minority students

 

Make notes as before. You can keep your notes on paper, in Word on your computer, or in your blog.

We suggest that you use the questions from Activity 1.4 (or elaborations of these questions) to guide your note taking.

In addition, we want you to try to classify the studies using Tables 11.1 and 11.2.

We also want you to note any difficulties you have with this task:

  • Are there words or concepts you don’t understand?

  • Are there statistical terms or methods that are new to you?

Finally, how convinced were you by the research?

There are plenty of approaches that I am not familiar - what worries me or interests me is I cannot comprehend why or how the research question was ever considered one that would produce a valid result of any kind. It strikes me as working with a woefully small sample. It strike me that the words 'ethnic and black' are, like 'climate change' in there to garner funding. It also takes a ludicrously parocial and simplistic view of the human condition and what defines us as people. To be truly detereminisitic why not define people by the ward where they werebrn, or the LEA region where they were educated? The idea that this study could ever distinguish between online and face-to-face seems obvious - why do it if the study is akin to taking a magnifying glass to one corner of a Persian carpet ... then repeating the exercise somewhere else on the same carpet. These are pre-Web 2.0 techniques imposed onto a 'connecting' world in a period of transition.

 

Race a discredited term – rather use 'ethnitcity'

 

Many minorities within white.

 

(Why not have students offer an identity of their own construction? How would you define yourself? My choice would be Oxbridge Educated Atheist English ...

 

Not, do you fit into any of these categories, and if you do, are there any correlations ... but rather drawn from the students themselves are their preferable, better and more representative ways of doing it?

 

The contrast, in the examples chosen, between online and face–to–face is simply not great enough. Neither, either taking an holisitic view could surely be expected to impinge on who the individual is (genetic, DNA, neurobiological) or their background, upbringing or present individual circumstances (where/how they live, family, finances ....)

 

I prefer face–to–face – does this show a conservatism in that group? An unwillingness to try something untried?

 

Is the author asking the right questions?

 

How exclusively online is online where a student may be able to discuss at length the contents of their course with family, friends and colleagues – even people who have already done the course?

 

The quality of online tuition I have received during the MA ODE has almost always been hugely below expectations. Fsce to face the tutor hasti engage for the full time that you and other students are present, while the impression I have, too often, with online tutors is that they are watching the clock and give individual enquiries and questions inadequate consideration.

 

Carefull about making inferences due to causal factors as students chose the kind of tuition they would receive.

 

Sample, far, far too small.

 

REFERENCE

 

Richardson, J. T. E. (2012) ‘Face-to-face versus online tuition: Preference, performance and pass rates in white and ethnic minority students’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 17-27; also avilable online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ doi/ 10.1111/ j.1467-8535.2010.01147.x/ pdf (Last accessed 04 April 2013).

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Learning or e-learning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 2 May 2013, 05:29

If you could study full time at a college where there are only 30 students - all the same year group, and you work in teams of two or three - would you?

This 'college' has 500 mentors - people 'from industry' who come in as volunteers so that several times a week, if not most afternoons, the students have experienced people to listen and learn from how does this benefit the learning process? Is it 'learning from the periphery' when the 'centre' comes to you? It is socially-constructed, and cognitive?

How does this contrast and compare with 'learning at a distance' 'old school' with a box of books and DVDs or here on the MA ODE with everything online?

As a mentor at the School of Communication Arts, London I go in to sit with pairs of students for anything between 15 minutes and an hour. I listen. I try to be a sounding board and catalyst. I try to motivate. I refuse to judge or infect/impose myself, rather helping them to draw their own conclusions.

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A game of four halves ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013, 11:00

I don't follow football, I simply taxi my son to games. Today they played the same team ... then played them again. This is due to a back log of postponed games over the season due to frost, wet and snow.

They won the first and lost the second.

Why not make it like waterpolo - a game of four quarters?

Why not have a goal in each corner.

Anything to relieve the tediousness of it.

Meanwhile we left as a boy wrapped in tinfoil awaited an ambulance having been kicked in the head ... then taken a header.

I asked my son why they don't wear helmets, afterall, this is what he wore recently on a skiining holiday.

And the Ref was of course rubbish.

He should have an earpiece, and he and the line refs should have helmet cams.

In fact, why don't they put a chip in the ball.

Or put a chip in every player.

You could then do the entire thing online from the comfort of your bedroom.

 

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Graduation Day at The Dome, Brighton. MA ODE

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 27 Apr 2013, 15:34

1.jpg

I'd just paid £50 to hire a gown so I thought I'd save the £65 to £195 on the 'Official Graduation Photo'. This is the one that gets put in a frame with my certificate then. A positve, even emotional experience and a reminder of what the OU stands for and what it means to all of us to do this journey. This should be 2003, but never mind ... got there in the end!

Applications go out in various directions for funded doctoral research ... and one curiosity, an MA in History at Birmingham on 'The Great War' to try and finish a project I started over 22 years ago on the Machine Gun Corps.

I thanked my 14 year old son for coming along as I drove him around to a friend's house and he said, 'No, thank you for inviting me'.

Meanwhile, back to H809.

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