My take on Kolb's Learning Cycle. (Kolb, 1994)
What do you think? How would you interpret this?
Don't be fooled into thinking that when expected to deliver a five minute presentation that it will take less time to write than a ten minute presentation - it won't.
In fact, the harder assignment would be to expect a one minute presentation.
I always thought that it was Jonathan Swift who apologised to a recipient of one of his very long letters that he hadn't had time to write a shorter one. Did he? A Google search gives you Blaise Pascal
Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
This morning I got a lengthy email from someone whose grandfather is featured in a 1918 photograph of RAF cadets I put up on Flickr, I also got a lengthy email from someone sharing a review on a book on the First World War on Amazon. Today, Dan Snow helped launch an initiative through the Imperial War Museum that aims to repeat what the IWM started to do in 1919 - campaign for people to share photographs, artefacts and stories of people who served, suffered, thrived or survived the First World War - this is at the 'Who do you think you are' exhibition at Olympia - I will try to get over on Saturday. And finally, a fascinating conversation with my brother in law on why a gallery curator is inviting people to feedback and respond to works of art through social media - and the curator's philosophy of 'openness' and a desire to move away from the grand voice of the patron in favour of mutliple voices and interpretations. He particularly likes to describe the value of 'dirt' to challenge perceptions and permit the points of view of anyone, and called this dirt 'soil' that would nurture fresh and vibrant ideas - he's Italian, speaks with an accent and chooses his words carefully (he is a tutor in fine art and art history). We got into discussions on learning and why as a student he'd have to queue up early in Bologna in order to hear Umberto Eco. This enthusiastic, reflective discussion continued as he prepares supper and I help - eager to pick up some cullinary tips too.
Fig.1. Rescue having failed a 4 tonne whale is dragged from Stinson Beach.
What I'm doing here is thinking through a five minute online presentation I need to prepare.
Sharing this, if and where feedback can be garnered, then informs the decisions I take.
My immediate idea, often my best, is to do a selfie-video talking to camera while hurtling around a roller-coaster at Thorp Park. It would sum up the terror, thrill, highs and lows of taking a day long workshop with a class of some 40 year 9s (12/13 year olds) in a secondary school that had/has a checkered history.
The second idea, to change the setting radically, would be a workshop with nine on creative problem solving - the objective was to come up with answers to a messy problem, though the motivation to be present for most was to experience a variety of creative problem solving activities that I had lined up. This nine in an organisation, included MBAs, prospective MBAs, a senior lecture, junior and senior managers and officers: colleagues and invited guests from different departments. This example is probably the most appropriate.
A third might be something I attended as a student - apt because doing this in 2009/2010 in part stimulated me to take an interest in learning: I wanted to know what was going wrong. Here we had prospective club swimming coaches doing everything that was unnatural to them - working from a hefty tome of paper, sitting through a lecture/seminar and expecting assessment to be achieved by filling in the blanks on course sheet handouts. This from people with few exceptions who left school with few or no qualifications - often troubled by Dyslexia. They were swimming coaches to dodge this very kind of experience. It was, you could tell, hell for some. The misalignment could not have been greater. Here the immediate visual image, apt given the subject matter, would be to watch a fish out of water drown - or nearly drown and be rescued. What really grated for me in this course was the rubbish that was taught - too many gross simplifications and spurious science.
Based on the above I should challenge myself to do the video as I need to crack loading and editing.
The 'fish out of water', whale actually, I can illustrate from photographs and the experience this summer of being present as a 4 tonne whale beached and drowned on Stinson Beach, California (See Fig.1. above).
We have surely all felt at some point in our school careers like a fish out of water - when we just don't belong. In fact, I wonder if the child who does brilliantly at everything isn't as troubled, and as likely to struggle 'in the real world' as the person for whom classroom teaching is purgatory.
What I couldn't handle when briefly faced with 40 kids is that despite my best efforts I doubt I could fully engage more than five ... and lost five each at both ends of the spectrum - the ones who naturally found it easy and wanted to be stretched and the ones who were like unbroken horses tethered in a rodeo desperate to get up and kick off.
For the rest it was being put in a room for the day away from their TV, computer and phone. Some were at least with their mates.
With the 'mature students' it was the gross miss alignment between how we were being taught and assessed and the outcome we all wanted - we wanted to qualify as a 'senior club coach' - for many, simply to 'tick the box' as they had been coaching national swimmers for many years. The only place to 'teach' practical skills is on location, in situ. In this case, as some basic swim teaching rather than coaching skills are taught, you are 'poolside' with swimmers. Even astronauts have simulators.
Historically we have the inertia of the school and classroom. We have shot our selves in the foot too by needing the kids looked after most of the day while we work too. For that to happen schools need to be more Kibutz-like or like a public school ... and teachers or support staff need to be around from 7.30 am to 6.30 am.
Am I going to experiment with my kids though and home educate? Pick my tutors from the very best online?
Just ten minutes. A live presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?
I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people's words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.
Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:
My grandfather's funeral
My groom's wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)
My father's funeral
My mother's funeral
Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul.
Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.
Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?
We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.
I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn't a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything. eLearning can be the subject matter expect - 'IT' (literally) thinks it knows it all.
So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators - worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and manger those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they'll never be satiated.
I'm 'next door' in a group of 20+ using OULive for a conference - my turn to speak in an hour. Eeeek. Four years online with the OU and I have to say this is proving to be thrilling and engaging ... and the effort everyone puts in clearly the result of a lot of hard work.
We are in a break, sort of, so I'm not doing the equivalent of sitting in the back row texting my mates.
A good deal of the EMA will be to reflect on this experience, rather than the 'artefact' we deliver tonight. It has very much a case that my fellow students have helped me to set all kinds of parameters while introducing me to new platforms and supporting my output.
It amazes me how when reading something and pointed to a footnote or reference that if I choose to do so a few clicks and the reference is before my eyes. Reading up on the First World War there are books from 1914-18 that are freely available in digital form - the additional insight is when you glance at such a reference is to wonder why an author chose that sentence or paragraph, often I find there is something far more interesting being said.
All of this has me reflecting on 'interpretation' and how increasingly, because we can, we should, because we can, check up on authors - certainly take them off their academic pedestals as their word is never absolute, is inevitably biased - and sometimes they get it wrong.
There are two kinds of connectedness here:
1) with references the author has used - how selected, why they thought them of relevance or interest (and the authority and credibility of these references)
2) with fellow readers - which, if you want a response, I increasingly find in Amazon of all places. There are always a few people who have picked through the text, who are willing and able to other a response or to sleuth it out with you.
How does this change things?
The Web puts at anyone's fingertips resources that until recently were the exclusive domain of university libraries - the older, wealthier universities having the richest pickings and broadest range of references. To 'look something up' as we now do in a few moments could take a couple of days. 'Learning at the speed of need' is a phrase I like, used in the context of applied learning in business, but just as apt here.
As a consequence, earlier in their careers, students will have a broader and stronger, personal perspective. And as a consequence there will be more people 'out there' to join an informed discussion. And as a consequence more new ideas will come to fruition sooner and faster. And as a consequence, collectively, or common understanding will grow and develop faster than before.
At least we have a roof ...
Here in East Sussex we have got of mildly so far. Flooded in 2001 the defences are centimetres away from being breeched but fine. The wind and sudden down pours final has me up. I'd be staggered if there is less than a few television aerials down.
Best wishes to anyone who is caught up in major flooding - I don't suppose you'll be reading this. I know we love our internet but when shelter is absent priorities change.
If you are doing a Masters of Open and Distance Education Module (MAODE) you should be aware of an interested in the conference that is currently running in CloudWorks and OULive.
Access to the conference sessions is limited to H818 participants, MA ODE alumni, and IET staff.
If you fall into one of these categories and would like to register for the conference, please complete this short Registration Form.
Fig. 1. Lewes War Memorial, East Sussex, England J F Vernon (2011)
The problem with war memorials is that those named on them risk becoming forgotten words on a list.
By using the Web we can find out who these people named on the war memorials were and where they lived; we can try to put a face to the name and a story to the name … and then we can share what we find.
There are more than 54,000 war memorials in Great Britain, most of these put up after the First World War. There is barely a community without one. Significant interest already exists, especially as we approach the centenary of the First World War making this initiative a potentially easy one to add to what is already taking place.
Fig. 2. British Legion Poppy featuring a Quick Response Code
In his 2011 book ‘The Digital Scholar’ Martin Weller shares the thoughts of Brian Lamb to describe those technologies that ‘lend themselves to … the networked and open approach’ as ‘fast, cheap and out of control’. It was with this in mind, taking an interest in the centenary of the First World War and obsession with war memorials that I started to think about using Quick Response codes as a personalised entry point to the Web that anyone could generate in order to share a story about someone who served in the conflict, and to do so both online and on the street. Quick Response codes are fast, they are free and their potential in learning has yet to be realised.
Worn in this way, featured in the center of your commemoration Poppy, you can share directly with others the person whose life you wish to remember, as well as directing people to the content online and inviting them to ‘adopt’ a name from a war memorial themselves. Though exploiting the Web, this is designed as a ‘blended’ experience that uses face-to-face, community and classroom experiences, as well as taking people outside to monuments, buildings, streets and battlefields.
Esponsorvik (2014 )
Fig. 3. Toyota Quick Response Code and Using a TV remote control Espensorvik. Flickr
‘QR codes’ are a product of the car manufacturing industry. Faced with increasingly complex components, Denso, a supplier to Toyota, came up with what is a 2 dimensional bar code in the 1990s (Denso, 2010). Made free of patent, and using free software anyone can now generate their own unique QR code. You can even print them out on standardised sticky label stationery.
Fig. 4. Google Search ‘Quick Response Codes Education Images’ (2014)
There are a myriad of uses for QR codes, from embedding information that is read and stored by the device to a quick link to rich content online. Barrett, 2012). The interest here is to use QR codes to link to learning resources, in mobile, or ‘m-learning’ contexts in particular and for users to both read and write such context. I liken QR codes to using your phone as a remote control to click to a TV channel (Fig 3) . You point a smartphone, or tablet at the QR code to read it and go instantly, pretty much, to a web page.
Their use in education in the last decade has been limited. ‘Refereed (sic) papers are few’ (Gradel & Edson, 2012), but between these and other published reports, suggestions can be made regarding their strengths or weaknesses.
If QR codes are to be used successfully then champions need to be identified to take up the cause in schools, colleges and local associations. Whilst QR codes use the power of the Web to connect people to rich content, that they may create themselves, a good deal of thoughtful planning will be necessary ‘in the classroom’, not just explaining how to make use of QR codes, but also working them in, where appropriate to current learning schedules where QR codes used in this way will meet clear learning objectives. Support online could be provided in a short eLearning module. What has been shown repeatedly, in museums and ‘out in the field’, is that simply ‘put out there’ the QR codes are ignored (Gradel & Edson, 2012). An innovation such as this requires considerable promotion and support. This makes the idea of wearing your own QR code on a Commemoration Poppy all the more appealing, as each person becomes an ambassador on the ground, for that nugget of information, especially if they are responsible for creating and hosting that content. The opportunity exists, therefore, mentored and guided by educators, with support online, for schools, colleges and associations to engage people in bringing the stories of those named on our war memorials alive. In this way a deeper and more meaningful connection is made with the past and our relationship to it.
Copyright © 2010, The New York Times Company. Photography by Jim Wilson
Fig. 5. Handheld curator: IPod Touches and visitors at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (The New York Times)
According to the 2009 Horizon report (Horizon, 2009) the following would be of growing significance in teaching: mobile devices, clouding computing and the personal web. As an innovative approach, QR codes exploit all three of these developments.
Use of QR codes in learning however has had mixed results. Simply putting a QR code in front of a museum artifact, as they’ve done at the Museum of London and did at the Design Museum does not work (Vernon, 2013) – there is plenty already, there is little to attract or promote their use, not everyone has a smartphone or tablet of course and the technology is often not robust – ‘out of use’ signs are familiar. Outdoors QR codes added to signs in the South Downs National Park, for example, barely received a view a day during a three month trial and in some instances there was no signal at all (Kerry-Bedel 2011; South Downs, 2012).
Where QR codes have been successful is in targeted learning experiences in schools (Tucker, 2011; Gradel & Edson, 2012), where the affordances of the QR code have been exploited to form part of an engaging, constructive and collective learning experience. To be effective this initiative with war memorials requires galvanising people to take part in a joint exercise – easier with a class in school or college, less easy with the general public unless it is through a national, regional or local community association or interest group.
Examples where QR codes work include where participants are ‘equipped’, and where they can take an active role, such as in ‘on the spot’ surveys or quizzes, where they are prompted into cooperative learning and where timely ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ are given. (Awano, 2007: Information Standards Committee 2008; So 2008; Robinson, 2010; Hicks & Sinkinson, 2011; Ryerson Library & Archives, 2012.)
K Lepi (2012)Copyright 2013 © Edudemic All rights reserved
Fig 6 . A Simple Guide to Four Complex Learning Theories. Lepi (2012)
The theory behind the idea of using QR codes in a mobile and open way, is that in the digital age ‘connectivism’ is the ‘modus operandi’. In this diagram (Fig. 5) from Edudemic (Edudemic 2012) traditional and digital theories are concerned. All are relevant, each has its place, with the digital environment offering new and additional approaches to learning.
Whilst traditional learning methods have their role in schools, lecture halls and with mature students too, the complete learning package requires a level and quality of interaction and connectedness that can only be achieved on the Web and be effective where the body of learners is large and their approach is open and shared so that knowledge acquisition comes through the challenges and rewards of such intercourse. Connections won’t occur however unless they are nurtured. By way of example, wishing to support and promote the combat memoirs of my late grandfather John Arthur Wilson MM (Vernon, 2012) a number of organisations will be approached up and down the UK in relation to his experiences in the Durham Light Infantry, Machine Gun Corps and Royal Air Force. The Web will both help identify, forge and maintain and develop first and subsequent connections in what would hopefully be, to be effective, a two way, shared, open and reciprocal relationship. The beauty of having content already online is that others can quickly view it and images, text and sound files, even video, adjusted to suit different audiences, or uses - and used freely where appropriate copyright permissions are given.
JFVernon 2010 from statistics from Jakob Nielsen (1999)
Fig 7 . Creators, commentators and readers - how use of the Web stacks up. Vernon (2010) after Nielsen (1999)
This degree of connectedness does not come naturally. Just as there can be no expectation that people will use a QR code because it is there – they won’t. With an innovative approach such as this promotion is crucial. Significant time, thought and effort need to be put into letting people know what is taking place and supporting their participation.
Only a fraction of a population are naturally inclined to generate content.
Jakob Nielsen (1999) would suggest that as few as 1% create content (Fig. 6). If content is therefore to be created by participants then very large numbers need to be made aware of the initiative. Online, openness helps when it is massive. Participation is improved where it is supported and moderated. Creators, commentators and readers each have a role to play.
The balance needs to be found between the qualities of a tool that is fast and cheap and where out of control means that something isn’t used in a way to benefit a formal learning requirement. On the one hand those who want to generate content can be encouraged to do so, while in a formal setting the intention would that everyone generates content of some form in order to receive feedback and assessment.
J F Vernon (2011)
Fig 8. The Newcastle War Memorial by Sir William Goscombe John RA
The potential weakness of using QR codes are the requirement for participants to have a suitable device, say a smartphone or tablet and the possible communication fees when connecting away from a free wi-fi source – which is likely to be the case at a war memorial (Gradel & Edson, 2012). Reading from and using a smartphone or tablet may also present accessibility issues, from the need for dexterity and reading content that isn’t offered in alternative forms, such as text sizes and background or audio alternatives.
There are many examples where local councils feel a war memorial or building is so important that they have invested in information placards on site (Fig. 7). As commemoration of those who served and died in the First World War is of local and national interest funding is potentially available to help support initiatives such as these through the Heritage Lottery Fund, while organisations such as the Western Front Association have funding for branch activities too.
If permission is required for personalisation of a British Legion poppy using a QR code, then alternatives may be required, from working with other suitable groups such as the Imperial War Museum or Western Front Association to putting the QR code on a badge instead. Where used in the field it is likely that a teacher would put out sets of QR coded markers in advance and collect them afterwards. Where a photograph in a town featuring before and after views permission may also be required if any kind of QR coded plaque or poster is to be put up. Other inventive ways to use a QR code would be to attach them to an obstacle course like trench experience where each code triggers elements of a task, sound effects or narrative in keeping with the setting. By way of example, at the ‘In Flanders Museum’ in Ypres a number of exhibits require the visitor to duck, crawl or crane their neck before supporting audio or lighting is triggered by a Near Field code in a bracelet.
J F Vernon (1989-2014)
Fig. 9. The memoir of a Machine Gunner and RFC Fighter Pilot. ‘That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele’
In his 2011 book ‘The Digital Scholar’ Martin Weller shares the ideas of Robert Capps (2009) who coined the term ‘the good enough revolution’ – in relation to creating and sharing content in an open culture. This precludes being prescriptive or from expecting perfection. Whilst output on the First World War from the BBC, the Imperial War Museum or the Open University should understandably attain a certain professional standard, the kind of creation required of those research names on war memorials should take inspiration from that is more than just ‘good enough, from ‘pinning’ names from a war memorial to a home address, to ‘pinning’ submitted World War One photographs to Google maps over former battlefields, as well as numerous inventive YouTube videos and memoirs presented as blogs.
Awano, Y (2007). Brief pictorial description of new mobile technologies used in cultural institutions in Japan. The Journal of Museum Education, 32(1), 17-25 Barrett, T (2012). 50 Interesting ways to use QR codes to support learning. (Last accessed 6th Feb 2014 https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfNzY1aHNkdzV4Y3I&hl=en_GB&authkey=COX05IsF
Denso (2010a). QR Code Standardization. (Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/qrstandard-e.html ) Edudemic. Traditional Learning Theories. (Accessed 19th April 2013) http://edudemic.com/2012/12/a-simple-guide-to-4-complex-learning-theories/
Gradel, K., & Edson, A. J. (2012). Higher ed QR code resource guide.
Hicks, A., & Sinkinson, C. (2011). Situated questions and answers: Responding to library users with QR codes. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(1), 60–69.
Horizon Report 2009 (2009) Educause (Accessed 14th Feb 2014 http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/2009-horizon-report )
Information Standards Committee (2008) Section 3: QR code, Synthesis Journal. (From http://www.itsc.org.sg/pdf/synthesis08/Three_QR_Code.pdf )
Kerry-Bedel, A (2011) Smartphone technology – the future of heritage interpretation: Its in conservation (Accessed 14th February 2014 http://www.kbstconsulting.co.uk/QR/images/ITIC.pdf )
Lepi, K (2012) A Simple Guide To 4 Complex Learning Theories. Edudemic eMagazine 24th December 2012. (Accessed 14th February 2014. http://www.edudemic.com/a-simple-guide-to-4-complex-learning-theories/ )
New York Times. The Best Tour Guide May Be in Your Purse. Article by Keith Schneider. 18 March 2010. Copyright © 2010, The New York Times Company http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/18/arts/artsspecial/18SMART.html
Nielsen, J (1999) Web Usability Robinson, K. (2010). Mobile phones and libraries: Experimenting with the technology. ALISS Quarterly, 5(3), 21–22 Ryerson University Library & Archives (2012). QR codes. Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.ryerson.ca/library/qr/. So, S. (2008). A Study on the Acceptance of Mobile Phones for Teaching and Learning with a group of Pre-service teachers in Hong Kong. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 1(1), 81-92. South Downs (2012) Use of QR Codes (Accessed 14 Feb 2014 http://southdownsforum.ning.com/forum/topics/signposting-and-qr-codes ) Tucker, A. (2011). What are those checkerboard things? How QR codes can enrich student projects. Tech Directions, 71(4), 14-16.
Vernon J.F. (2012) (Blog Post) (Accessed 14th February 2014 http://machineguncorps.com/jack-wilson-mm/ )
Vernon, J.F. (2013) (Blog Post) Mobile learning at the Museum of London: QR codes and NFCs (Accessed 14th February 2014) http://mymindbursts.com/2013/11/10/molqr1/
Weller, M (2011) The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. 5% Loc 239 of 4873
|From E-Learning III|
Repetition or re-visiting is vital. We cannot help but change our perspective as we gain more experience, insights and knowledge. We need repetition in order to get 'stuff' into the deeper recesses of our brains where wonders are worked. Therefore, far better to exposure to brilliance often, rather than giving them something less than brilliant simply because it is new, or an alternative. If nothing else Web 2.0 ought to be giving students the chance to find and limit themselves to the best.
I was up at 3.30am and I'm not even presenting. I use these early hours to write - pulling together ideas before they blow away in the wind of daily life in a household where the number of teenagers has suddenly doubled. We have the older teenager couple, and the young teenager couple ... and the parents of two of this lot looking at each other and thinking 'we're teenagers too'.
Three hours of short presentations and without exception each has an impact and contribution to my thinking an practice.
This despite the presence of a lorry full of blokes with pneumatic drills who attacked the house an hour ago - cavity wall insulation.
I am sitting here with industrial strength headphones - for a 'test to destruction' I'd say that these Klipsch headphones are doing their job admirably. I 'suffer' from having acute hearing ... I do hear the pins drop a mile away. I need headphones like this whenever I leave the house otherwise travelling is a nightmare.
Is this normal?
The great value of a session like this is to listen to your fellow students - a voice, more than a face, evokes character and conviction. Not that I ever doubted it but everyone is clearly smart, focused and keen to 'play the game' when it comes to using online tools.
There isn't enough of it.
The OU has a habit of designing the life and risk out of a module. Bring it back. Vibrancy and energy are born of risk.
Seery, M, Holman, E, & Silver, R 2010, 'Whatever does not kill us: Cumulative lifetime adversity, vulnerability, and resilience', Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 99, 6, pp. 1025-1041, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2014.
And failure is good for deep learning Seeley Brown http://www.johnseelybrown.com/newlearning.pdf
The 'visitor' vs. 'resident' differentiation rings true and is based on sound research. Prensky's original ideas of the 'digital native' have no foundation at all either in his own research (he did none) or even on an academic literature research. I look forward to returning to the papers, notes and discussions on this that I have in this blog - even showing how I went from niave believer to outright objector.
If you read most of Prensky's output as I have now done you will either be horrified or laugh or cry at the absurd statements that he makes and the truly riidiculous attempts at 'cod' academic writing where references are, to put it bluntly, complete buncum. He will quote, as if it counts, the very words used by Spock in an episode of Star Trek ... and give this as a footnote and reference as if watching the episode yourself will in anyway qualify his arguement, or he will quote someone and say, 'Mr Smith from England writing to The Times' as if this is a recognised and accepted way to reference - there is rarely any opportunity to check the references he offers - I've tried often and repeatedly fail. He gained an MA from Harvard, he states, but rarely reaches the most basic academic standards in much of his writing. Take a close look at 'Teaching Digital Natives' - it is counterproductive and will go against anything teachers have been taught. He is rightfully accused of hyperbole and scarmongering. Because he is controversial it does spark debate. There have been too many 'catchy phrases' regarding eLearning. There are now many research papers, by senior, experienced academics and their teams who repeat their research with students every few years. There has never been a 'digital native' - they are as illusive as the yeti. Invaluable to try and define different user types when it comes to technology, but it is as complex as any grouping, tagging or labelling of people can be.
With six OU modules under my belt, five MA ODE and one MBA module and a year working at the OU Business School my personal and inhouse experience of these live tutor moderate sessions convinces me that, for all their foiblee Elluminate before and OU Live now are vital tools - they can give you some of that residential scholol/tutorial feel but CRUCIALLY they are an often well needed injection of 'humanity' if I can put it that way: humour, friendship, sharing and even team building and committment. My very best experiences of the MA ODE have been during and after such sessions - I wonder therefore if I go back through this OU student blog I can identify a 'bounce in my tone' coming out of them. There may be stats that if nothing else coming into and leaving a Live session increases activity and improves motivation - even works in favour of commitment and seeing it through?
Sometimes the appeal of the Elluminate sessions was so great that we'd meet up in Google Hangouts too afterwards to keep it going ... the most memorable, and 'clean, open and honest' in an OU student way, was the 'pyjama party' we had. A laugh and worthy as a 'memory making' experience - and this with people across several time zones. We clearly had amongst us something of a hyper-gregarious 'party girl' (not a sexist term I trust, would 'party person' be better? Anyway, it isn't gender specific, more the outgoing, gregarious, organising, doing person).
So yes, a crucial ingredient that personally I feel should be right at the start of any module. Hear a person laugh or sneeze, get a sense of who we all are and buy into that natural inclination amongst us to want to learn together, help each other out and feel we belong to a thing.
To add to my experience of this I will keep signing up to things so it is about time I wrote this up ... doing a traditional, on campus MA is an extraordinary contrast. I really feel that it had might as well be the 1960s: long reading lists, back to back lectures (I fall asleep in the afternoon) and picking an essay title every couple of months for assessment ... but you chat over coffee and share a sandwich in the canteen and slowly form a bond, even if it's as if we are fellow galley slaves and to graduate will require two years of rowing! And come to think of it, one of the impromptu 'hang outs' we did in an MA ODE module included food and drink ...
What I miss was getting to know six or seven people as people - not the 2dimensional 'Gravatar' and biog, but, as it can slip out, a person doing 'person' things even as simple as ducking out to answer the door or put on the kettle. Though odd if you think of them as a formal learning gathering where in one case a fellow student always brought a plate of food to the session and the other tended to be in bed - once, LOL, with her grumbling husband at her side trying to read a book! People eh!?
This is the point, to a degree, the door just open a chink, you see a little bit into the lives of your fellow students.
And do we learn something? I don't remember, but is the learning the LEAST important reason for doing these things?
Fascinating, but possibly a couple of years since I did one.
Use of Quick Response (QR) codes for eLearning
Fig.1 Easily generated, at no cost, a QR code is a 3D barcode that holds ample information to take you via a scanning App on your smart phone or tablet to rich multimedia content.
They were developed in 1994 by Denso-Wave (Denso, 2010) to support parts use in a slick 'just-in time' Toyota car factory.
And made patent free by them in 1997.
You come across them far more often in France and Germany, or if you go that far in North America, as well as Japan and China. Over in California last summer I photographed them in all kinds of places ...
More on mobile learning from Kukulska-Hulme, 2005., quoting So (2008) of the importance of:
Student's engagement by way of evaluating their own work is a good strategy to motivate students. p. 95
Since 2009 Horizon report mobile devices, clouding computing and the personal web make ‘informational way stations … delivering contextually-relevant content’ Cohen (2011) have become possible.
According to Educause (2009) ‘The QR Code is the next-generation barcode, facilitating tagging of information, social media, and other popular content in today’s digital content eveolution’,
Use of QR codes has had a mixed response in the UK. Although ubiquitous in China, Japan and North America they are less prevalent in the UK. Their use in museums and national parks has thus far been limited whereas in formal education, to support school trips, there has been greater success. The generation of as well as the use of QR codes within a programme of learning appeals to students who use smart devices and increasingly expect the use of technology and access to the Web as part of their learning experience.
Obituaries and picture/video-memoirs found on cemetery markers, gravestones, and monuments (Naumannm, 2011; Ruane, 2011)
Video/audio guides and tours of tourism locations, museums, aquariums, zoos (Awano, 2007; Information Standards Committee, 2008)
On-demand multimedia tours and information for spaces, events, specialised audiences, shows, museums, dispalys (Barrett, 2012; Tucker, 2011)
Libraries are using QR codes to download audio tours to patrons’ mobile phones so that they can take self-guided tours. (Robinson, 2010; Ryerson University Library & Services, 2010)
France’s biggest science museum used QR codes to connect its physical exhibits to its library holdings, and vice versa (Vandi, 2011)
The South Downs National Park, as an experiment, put QR codes on signage (B-K, 2011)
The Museum of London uses both QR codes and NT codes.
Work where participants are equipped, to survey and for co-operative learning and FAQs that are applicable to targeted learning goals (Gradel & Edson, 2012a)
Awano, Y (2007). Brief pictorial description of new mobile technologies used in cultural institutions in Japan. The Journal of Museum Education, 32(1), 17-25
Barrett, T (2012). 50 Interesting ways to use QR codes to support learning. (Last accessed 6th Feb 2014 https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AclS3lrlFkCIZGhuMnZjdjVfNzY1aHNkdzV4Y3I&hl=en_GB&authkey=COX05IsF
Kerry-Bedel, A (2011) Its in conservation
Denso (2010a). QR Code Standardization. (Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.denso-wave.com/qrcode/qrstandard-e.html )
Hicks, A., & Sinkinson, C. (2011). Situated questions and answers: Responding to library users with QR codes. Reference & User Services Quarterly, 51(1), 60–69.
Information Standards Committee (2008) Section 3: QR code, Synthesis Journal. (From http://www.itsc.org.sg/pdf/synthesis08/Three_QR_Code.pdf )
Robinson, K. (2010). Mobile phones and libraries: Experimenting with the technology. ALISS Quarterly, 5(3), 21–22.
Ryerson University Library & Archives (2012). QR codes. Retrieved 6th Feb 2014, from http://www.ryerson.ca/library/qr/.
Gradel, K., & Edson, A. J. (2012a). Higher ed QR code resource guide.
So, S. (2008). A Study on the Acceptance of Mobile Phones for Teaching and Learning with a group of Pre-service teachers in Hong Kong. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 1(1), 81-92.
South Downs Use of QR Codes (2012) http://southdownsforum.ning.com/forum/topics/signposting-and-qr-codes
Tucker, A. (2011). What are those checkerboard things? How QR codes can enrich student projects. Tech Directions, 71(4), 14-16.
Vandi, C. (2011). How to create new services between library resources, museum exhibitions and virtual collections. Library Hi Tech News, 28(2), 15–19.
A year ago OU Computer Services undid my hard work and the tagging of some 2000 posts here was lost - all attempts to get an explanation, or apology or a fix have failed. This is what I find the OU can do - silence when it suits them. No one will answer because to apologise would be to admit fault. Having invested so much time in what is a record, learning journal and eportfolio it is galling. At least I was well down the line of cutting and pasting it all into an external blog, but this still does not change the fact that I was using the blog to aggregate themes and ideas which they destroyed. A blog that we are encouraged to use and we have access to for three further years beyond graduation. I am a student first, but also a customer who had no forked out £x,000 to be here. If I press hard enough I will get some legalease that will point out that the OU can do as they please.
So much for the power of the digital - I should have hand written it all into notebooks.
Four years ago I decided to complete a learning journey I started in 2001 - redundancy and the loss of a parent tripped me up that time. Over the last four years I have lost a second parent, a mother in law and changed jobs twice, though I am yet to fulfil the promise that I thought eLearning offered. There is no doubt that graduating in 2003 rather than 2013 would have made me stand out whereas now I am just one of many. Then to have the MAODE still requires a subject specialism ...
There is a risk that my being here could continue as MSc and PhD look attractive as does Higher Education rather than L&D. I will blog, on my terms, in WordPress and keep a presence here as long as I am doing an OU module - which currently stretches to my seventh.
Something I never contemplated and will challenge me for another five months is to find myself a masters student of three universities - Open, Birmingham and Brookes. You could say that I have caught this learning bug, or am reverting to type - an insatiable curiosity that no book or TV programme alone can satisfy. There is an urge to do a further MA in Environmental Change when an MA in First World War studies ends in 2015. To what end? The intention has always been to apply my learning rather than to wallow in it, for the experience to be a catalyst for output.
A conference presentation for H818: The Networked Practitioner
In relation to the First World War, during its centenary commemoration, there are many places, such as war memorials, cemeteries, historic houses and battlefields that are bereft of quality, supporting information. With consideration for the needs and interests of visitors to such sites rich, multimedia information, such as audio guides and photographs, links to databases and to others with a similar interest can be provided through the use of Quick Response (QR) codes. Of interest here is to personalise commemorisation through the use of a self-generated QR code and content with the code put onto a British Legion Poppy.
This opens up the possibility of providing information at war memorials, large and small, even down to the single name, as well as at sites, buildings and on battlefields, for example informing walkers and cyclists that the old airfield was once a training area for the Royal Flying Corps showing them photographs of what it looked like or that that council building that was a convalescence home or that part of the Downs that had trenches dug in it for training or the concrete pill-box on the former Western Front where it is known an officer and two of his men died.
QR codes, orginally the creation of a supplier to Toyota, have grown in popular use in Japan and China in the 1990s, then the US, Canada and Germany. They are now used at point of sale for marketing purposes, and increasingly in libraries and museums were research is indicating how they can best be used. Implementation issues relate to the percentage of the population that do not have smart devices, the possible cost of 2G and 3G away from free Wi-Fi and adequate support for the use of QR codes which are not yet ubiquitous in the UK.
The purpose of this paper is to pull together current experiences of the use of QR codes in order to consider ways they could add to the our collective understanding of the events of the First World War. QR codes offer multiple potentials, not simply providing rich mobile multimedia content, but letting people create their own content and QR codes, to share, form hubs of like-minds and respond in their own way whether by contributing to the historical debate, offering their own family stories or being inspired or angered by the events as described and wanting to express their views in prose, poetry, painting or performance.
Too busy to reflect or to remember? Your brain is like Gouda - a blog can fill in some of the holes.
The more I study at masters level and beyond what eLearning has to offer, the more I conclude that whatever the platform the learner needs to put in time, effort and engagement. All the eLearning can do is to provide content of the highest relevance and quality in a timely, cost effective, relevant and memorable fashion. Does it motivate? Does it engage? Is its effectiveness measurable? Do they change behaviours? Do they remember or at least have a response to the content?
Learning online it helps to have such a seamless, intuitive and frequently refreshed learning platform with the Open University.
I satisfied a life long itch to use this 24 letter word in an essay and successfully did so in a masters level history essay on the way TV producers tell 'The Great War' story. On closer inspection the markers ought to have deleted it as 'antiestablishmentarianism' would have been correct. Next essay I'll see if I can get 'disconbobulate' in somewhere.
You’re missing a trick if you're ignoring eBooks.
My experience studying at postgraduate level over the last four years, first with the Open University and now with the University of Birmingham as well is that we need to consider and experience the affordances of both.
I will own the book and the eBook in some circumstances as they offer a different experience and options.
If you are studying a subject in a social context online it helps to be able to share what you find and think as you read. I did this with Martin Weller’s book ‘The Digital Scholar’ and found he was reading along through Twitter and my blog. I find where I have the printed book that I take photos of pages, mash these up and then share online – or resort to pen, paper and note taking in the traditional, lonely way. Then there are the huge tomes, some of the history books I am getting through right now that run to 900 pages – it is so much easier to carry around on the iPad. Using an eBook I highlight by themes of my choosing, add notes, Tweet short passages, seek out threads on single characters, link directly to references and post mashups from screen-grabs rather than photos straight into a e-portfolio so that the idea or issues are tagged and ready for later use.
Non-fiction books will become like some LPs of the past – do you want all the tracks or just your choice?
If I can buy 12 chapters of a book for £8.99 on Kindle, when will I be able to buy for 99p that one chapter I need? Speaking to a senior engineer from Amazon over the summer (old friends who moved to Silicon Valley twenty years ago) he wondered if the ‘transformative’ period for books was about to occur, just as it has occurred with music.
There will be a better, personalised hybrid form in due course, several of which I have tried. So far they have been marred by only one thing – poor content, the clickable, multimedia, well linked experience is apt for the 21st century.
Nothing replaces scholarship though , it’s just going to take a while to make the transition.
It just dawned on me that I am two weeks short of blogging here for four years. Recently, and for this module in particular, my blogging has greatly diminished. This is a shame as it is an invaluable resource for me: it is an open eportfolio where notes and activities from the modules, usually with adequate referencing, allows me to search for and quickly make fully cited points in assignment.
Two parents have died over this time: my mother and my mother-in-law. My step-father was within hours of passing away but somehow survived pneumonia and is out of intensive care and feelingsorry for himself that he is still around
Teens are passing through A' Levels and GCSEs.
Interviews to undertake PhD research just fell short last year. The applications start going in again this week though in truth and out of necessity, as had always been the plan, the corporate world of learning and development (L&D) beckons me back.
My step brother found my grandfather's ashes in the bottom of an old cupboard in the barn. I have him with me. The temptation is to chat with him about all that I am coming to understand about the First World War in which in served first as a machine gunner, then in RFC/RAF as a flight cadet and fighter pilot. Having left school at 14 to work his education never had the chance to develop as he would have liked. I'll fill him in. He'd be fascinated to know why the things that happened happened that way: the Somme and Paschendaele in particular. He'd have an iPod too. The technological advances would have thrilled him - this from a boy who remebered the first car and going to an exhibition of flying to see an aeroplane.
Fig.1. My groups, sets, nets and collectives ... based on an article (unpublished 2014) by Dron & Anderson.
Groups: Any OU Tutor group - you are put in it, you don't, in an informed way, form a group or elect to join one group over another. I also belong to a 'group as cohort' of some 16-20 postgrad students on the university of Birmingham's First World War (British Military History). Here only by default of signing up in 2013. But also groups you join or form yourself. Or is a set a sub-group?
Sets: OU Tutor groups can become 'set-like' and 'net-like' - it depends wholly on serendipity that would only be resolved through psychological profiling to ensure a mix that would foster team work! An example of a set that is becoming a networked group are the reader review forums in Amazon. In the last year threaded discussions, particularly on controversial books, have become heated, protracted and informative. I belong to such sets related to Elearning as well as books coming out to mark or exploit the centenary of the First World War.
Collectives: a writers group that formed between 1999 and 2002 in Diaryland, a group with interests related to grandparents and great-grandparents who were either combatants in the Machine Gun Corps the Royal Flying Corps or during the Third Battle of Ypres, 'Passchendaele'; applied eLearning in business (corporate eL & D), probably a still quasi-association of OpenStudio links of the more active and reciprocally linked students - especially if and where these have 'leaked' into external social platforms (LinkedIn and WordPress blogs).
Whilst the terms are interesting they are open to considerable debate and constant change. Instead of terms, network theory should be brought in to give the number, strength and 'vibrancy' otherwise we risk being stuck in a debate on semantics. Web 2.0 connectedness is too big, too messy, too fast changing ...
Creating things in a social context - construct, connect, social cognition - is not new. Think of university student amateur theatre groups from uni, to the Fringe and 'Beyond the Fringe'. The greater the sharing, the greater the benefits - unless that becomes your modus operandi and the assessment process is out of kilter, typically reverting to an essay rather than the artefact as a product of a collective effort (such as an end of term play, exhibition, film or other event that is conducive to collective enterprise).
'Permission to make mistakes' is the creed of creatives and entrepreneurs alike. Connectedness equates also to distraction - at some stage you have to close yourself off, shut the doors and turn off the Internet. i.e. for all the networking writing is a lonely and singular task. Team tsks are a different story.
We have needed typology since Noah's Ark, to try and agree terms so that conversations can be succinct and make sense. The risk here, and I've seen it in learning design, is that the terms become set in concrete in the minds and in the usage of an exclusive handful of academics and so ceases to be pertinent to others who cannot speak in that rarified language - this article shows a creep in that direction.
The likelihood of 'creativity' emerging from the kindle formed by the twig-like links between groups and sets, the natural 'serendipity' of creation evolving from mistakes and exposure to a myriad of ideas has been put on speed by Web 2.0.
Do you understand the same thing from Dron and Anderson’s four terms?
On the basis of definitions provided by the Merriam-Webster dictionary it is difficult to distinguish between groups and nets as both contain people that are connected in some way, or between collectives and groups, as a collective is a group. A set suggests belonging or use, which also makes it group-like, though less ‘connected’. For these reasons I disagree with the way Dron & Anderson (2014) try to define these terms.
Were these categories useful?
No. There are other and more suitable ways to look at how people relate to each other … and relate to themselves (there are internal relationships that allows the individual to take sides, and have an internal debate). Activity Theory tries to show how groups, also called nodes are connected; Yrjo Engestrom has developed the idea to talk not of ‘networks’ but of ‘knotworking’, the tangle of attachments that form where a node connects. Better though would be to think move on from a debate about the terms which will always be ill-defined and contentious and think of network analysis as a science. Networks are of interest because of how much they tell us about the way systems behave, so much so that it is considered a science worthy of study. The ‘read-write Web’ as the authors call it, or the Semantic Web or Web 2.0 is readily suited to network analysis.
What additional questions would you like to ask them?
Independently of sets, groups, collectives and nets ‘memes’ as ephemeral artefacts are also nodes that represent ideas that float as it were between the connections between people. Identifying such memes and seeing how they connect and how such connections and links shift is of interest. This might identify people in ‘sets’ taking as its meaning to ‘set course’ or take a direction … this movement in a common direction towards or with the meme is what identifies this aggregation of shared ideas.
The authors indicate considerable bias by using phrases such as the ‘protective cave of closed systems’ implying that isolation, or working alone is a negative, even an absolute. In any day we will elect to be alone or with others … while at night we may think we are alone when we sleep but our unconscious mind has other ideas. Similarly to suggest that leaving such a cave is a ‘leap into the unknown’ may be how they feel to ‘expose themselves’ but is not how anyone who is inclined to perform sees it - for them ‘being on the stage or in the limelight’ is a leap into the known.
Their argument is weak and hurried. The neuroscience, Darwinianism and psychological aspects of learning individually or in a community, team or or as tribal activity requires far greater development, probably with a neuroscience, evolutionary biologist and a psychologist contributing to the paper.
‘Increased exposure to knowledge also means increased exposure to ignorance, and sometimes, malevolence’.
Think of Hamlet. He exposed himself to the ignorance and malevolence of his own tortured mind. You don’t have to expose yourself or your ideas to feel these things.
Whilst the ‘read-write Web’ exposes us to new ideas and ideas with more flavour (Dron & Anderson, 2014), they also do the opposite, exposing us to old ideas and the bland. It is like walking through a metropolis - you cannot be influenced by everything, only by those things you find or stumbleupon. This might reinforce your beliefs, or alter them depending on how and where you look.
Engestrom (2008). From Teams to Knots (Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive and Computational Perspectives) (p. 238). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
For all the gadgets I've gathered around me and despite for 18 months doing everything on a screen through a keyboard or touchpad, I know have a whiteboard and put sheets of paper on the wall. I take notes. And when I need to hunker down I pick one of these and commit.
Green - One Minute
Yellow - Three Minutes
Black - Thirty Minutes
Blue - An hour
I practice I find 3 minutes does the job and I may keep going for several hours. My heart is telling me not to panic then the adrenalin rush kicks in.
An hour is just that. It is a pre-arranged slot and I find I am yawning at 55 minutes, as if I am waiting for the class to end.
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