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No Internet Connection

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Feb 2014, 16:36

My thirteen years and more studying with the OU has seen how I learn shift. The current twist is looping back to the less distracted days of being 'off line'. At the same time I have done a couple of things that are very old school:

1) A 'Room of my own' without internet access (my choice) .. down the road with an opt in/ opt out. Also an 'office' (I recently bought the domain name Mindbursts.com.

2) Pen and paper ... and by that I mean a fountain pen with ink cartridges and a pad of lined paper - not quite an exercise book, but close.

Why?

1) I am easily distracted. Studying with the Internet 24/7 it is too tempting to be checking email, responding to forum messages or just browsing, I miss linking to books and journals I read about, but these can wait. Maybe the impluse to purchase or read another book weill reduce by the time I get to consider it in the wee hours back at home. My 'room' is ten miles down the road.

2) Partially this is physiological - I am seeing a physio trying to untangle or unknot some hideous pain in my left elbow which I ascribe to typing up blog entries with my left hand while reclined on the sofa or in bed. Partially it is knowing that there is never a short cut to learning and knowing a subject. I truly believe that mixed methods work - that it helps to take the written word and write it out, and type it out, and talk about it and visualise it. Neurologists will confirm that memory formation requires the  binding of activity across the brain, rather than from just one part of  it.

Meanwhile, I look forward to another e-learning module, H818, with trepidation:

1) I need to demonstrate to myself that I can keep up and even improve on the standard I'm now able to attain. (Time and effort and the only two words to think about).

2) I will be running in tandem with anothe module, taught old-school, at a different university, simultaneously. Already I dread the commute to a monthly day-long tutorial that I can only do by train if I am on a train at 5.20am. It'll make for a very interesting comparison. If the OU offered the module I want to study I would have done it - they don't. This surprises me given the Open Learn work they are doing on the First World War with the Imperial War Museum.

Best wishes to all ... so much for thinking I'd finished with this. Next up I'm applying to the OU to do a PhD so I might be around for a while longer yet.

NOTES

I started an early e-learning module H808 in 2001 ... skipped off the final paper and came back to it all decade later. I have both books and papers from that period which make for amusing reading.

 

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The Final Act - the Old OU Blog Party Game

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Will you be the last one to post here before the OU student blog cum bulletin board is transmogrified into a blog cum social networking cum e-portfolio thingey-me-jig?
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All change!!!!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 6 Sep 2013, 12:15

"The personal blog system is going to be migrated from the old learning system on Monday 9 September. In order to migrate the personal blogs with their content, the system will be made read-only on the 9 September. The blog contents will then be transferred to the new system, which benefits from improved blog functionality. This is a large task and we expect the new personal blogs to be available from Thursday 12 September. As part of the migration, there will be redirects from the old blogs to the new ones and the personal blog link on StudentHome will be updated".

I BELIEVE the OU are using the WordPress Open Platform.

I wish all the team during the migration the best and will support it every inch of the way - if students (I am one, still) can use and share with ease a blog platform their capacity for 'social learning' will be hugely improved. By this I simply mean having the opportunity to share your ideas with fellow idiots until you figure out what is really going on and best of all the input and support of online friends and some brilliant minds who put your problem in such a way that it suddenly makes sense.

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H818 The networked practitioner

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014, 08:00
From Jack Wilson MM

Fig.1. My late grandfather featured in the Consett Gazette in 1917 on receiving the Military Medal.

A few months 'out of the loop' and I feel my knowledge on e-learning draining away - it is such a vibrant and fast moving area that I feel I need to refresh and update at every opportunity, so here I am again with H818 The Networked Practitioner.

There's a practice based element to this which I'll apply to an longheld interest in the First World War.

There'll be a lot of interest, reflection and soul searching over the 100th anniversary from 2014 to 2018. That war is relevant to the Europe and wider Europe we live in today, from Northern Ireland to Syria, via the Balkans and the EU.

I've just read 'The Sleepwalkers. Why Europe went to war in 1914'. By Christopher Clark.

More than any book I have read before on the subject this blows away any myths or propoganda - not least the fact that Germany did not start the war, that award goes to Russia with France's support. I'd have liked to study this period with the OU but the History modules simply don't accommodate this. I'll therefore be going up to the University of Birmingham, in person, once a month for a mamoth day-long series of tutorials and lectures. That's as 'distant' as it gets with very little online support.

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On a beach several thousand miles from home ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013, 06:04
20130820-213542.jpg I had no expectations as we set off from Sausalito to check out Stinson Beach early yesterday morning but soon fell in love with it though my constant comparison to Northumberland got on my wife's nerves - this was like Beadnell Bay, the fog over Tamalpais like crossing the Pennines and Redwood Creek like Cragside. The American twist was to come across a 42ft fin whale that had washed ashore. Within a couple of hours there are two TV crews, a couple of print journalists and a radio reporter. It died. The autopsy later in the afternoon was followed with views from a helicopter on local news. The biggest creature we had on Beadnell Beach wad a dead grey seal. As I returned to the car I wondered about the Tsunami Warning signs around the beach and looked out to sea when a loud alarm was sounded. We headed back to Stinson this morning to hire kayaks only to find we could not enter the water due to sharks being spotted 300yds offshore. I know all this as I recognised the Park Ranger from the day before and asked a few questions. At 1.40pm, he told me, he saw a shark with what looked like a seal in its jaws. The protocol required that the beach would be closed for five days. Visiting America really is like stepping into a movie for us Brits ... we did a wedding last week which was a cross between 'Bill and Ted's Great Adventure' and 'Parenthood'. This week has yet to turn into 'Jaws' or 'Crash'.
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Filling the gaping hole ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 07:30

I won't study at the OU just out of habit and I'll have to take on more work to pay for it, but I am looking to continue my studies here. Nothing else works but the relentlessness of it. I miss the 'railways tracks' of the VLE that punctuate my week with some reading with meaning and an activity or two or six or more.

Perhaps after a lifetime of wishing I could write as well as read French this is something I should tackle?

Having said that - a recent visit to Belgium and I was surprised when people looked at my blankly when I spoke French - for them it was Flemish or English. I gave up apologising for speaking English and slipped, usually, into a fluent conversation. It seems that Belgium is close to us, even if we aren't close to them. Like Scandinavia I think it has something to do with back to back English TV.

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1913: The year before the storm

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I am reading the e-Book and following it as it is read on BBC Radio 4. It is interesting from a learning point of view to wonder how I can miss things I pick up later on reading, or miss things on reading that I hear in the broadcast. The experience is something of a car chase - sometimes I am ahead, sometimes behind. And a fascinating prelude to the Great War, how much it was in the air and how the creative arts might respond.
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Personal Learning Environment - 2013

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 08:05

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FIG.1. Projected onto the sitting room wall

The migration between kit and now the use of multiple devices tells its own story - that and my enhanced levels of digital literacies. And dependency on my OU blog??? I am too used to starting here then cutting and pasting the HTML results into WordPress. This platform works because it is kept simple. OK, you have to get your head around a few basics (which are good for any blogging platform), but the thing is stable and robust - it hasn't changed much in three years and it is always there.

Either I'll wean myself off it or I'll plugin to another module of course and be here for another decade. You get used to a thing - especially when it works. Calls to other institutions regarding their VLE have left me cold - some still old school box of books and turn up for an all day Saturday face-to-face once a month as your only tutor and peer group contact.

From a clapped out Mac Book that died and a Psion I moved on to a borrowed PC laptop ... and scrounging computer access around the home. Only recently I got a Mac Mini - for the previous 18 months I've been fine on an iPad with moments on my wife's PC to view and print off DOCX.

The Mac Mini gets what ever screen my teenage son leaves me with - he tends to snaffle away any new screen I get, just swaps them over. I may take me days to realise something is afoot.

And then there is the above - projected onto a wall with me working on a wifi keyboard and touchpad. It changes things. Next to this screen there is a large whiteboard. I get up and doodle.

As for the sitting room? Long gone. Cries for a TV to bring the family together fall on deaf ears. Why would any of us gather to watch ONE version of an event when we can each take or leave our news, or films, or anything else as we please on a bigger or smaller screen in various other rooms and cubbyholes around the house?

An iPad mini will replicate when I had a decade ago with a Psion, something handheld, light and discrete that I can tap on whenever I wish and wherever I am.

'The Private Life of the Brain' Susan Greenfield is my current highly recommended read. It is certain to take you off on a tangent from whatever you are studying, but if offers a layperson's view of the inner workings of the brain.

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Novice to expert : behaviourist, constructivist, social constructivist.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 15 Jul 2013, 18:57
As ‘learning’ proceeds from novice to expert, the nature of learning changes profoundly and the pedagogy based on one stage (learning as behaviour, learning as the construction of knowledge and meaning, learning as social practice) will be inappropriate for another. Beetham & Sharpe (2007:21)
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Mind Change

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 08:46

My belligerent stance on the impact of computers to the brain - not much in my view, we're too complex, our brains too massive (94 billion neurons) has been tipped on its head courtesy of a short interview on good old BBC's Woman's Hour last Thursday. The interviewee was Susan Greenfield (Professor & Baroness). She invited listeners to get in touch if they wanted the facts on 'mind change' - as big as 'climate change' in her view, that as the brain is affected by everything that hours spent infront of a 2 dimensional world (sound and vision) our minds, especially younger, plastic brains, will form connections that make these people different.

I particularly liked the thought that all the time a child spends infront of a screen is time NOT spent 'climbing trees, interacting face to face and having hugs'. I may be adrift at the moment but have a reading list for the summer.

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New blog post

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  • Sand the piano
  • Sell the table
  • Wash the hedge
  • Prune the sofa

My DIY day.

 

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4 days in Ypres

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 07:26
The obsessive in me required that I filled the OU gap so I have been walking in and out of Ypres looking for spots where my grandfather 'worked' in 1917. I use the term 'work' as he considered it a job. Some job sitting behind a Vicker's Machine Gun. It killed most of them. 96 years after he was here and 21 since he died I finally walked the routes and adjusted once again the images I had in my head of the Ypres Salient. And then I found Egypt House up by Houthulst Forrest where he took some scrapnel fragments and he burried two mates. When he was over for the 75th anniversary of the Third Battle of Ypres (known as Passchendale) he marked the spot with a wreath and broke down in tears. I've felt close to the same looking at registers of names in war cemeteries - especially where I know the names from the hours I spent listening to and then recording my grandfather's memoirs - there was ample opportunity for this as he lived into his 97th year, unlike George Wannop, Dick Piper, Harry Gartenfeld and the many, many others typically aged 19-23 who met a horrible death out here. My late grandfather spared no detail. It is fascinating what impressions I constructed as boy and how these adjusted as I became more informed. To my minds eye as a boy this all took place in the landscape of Northumberland somewhere north east of Alnwick with little war damage to farmhouses or pill boxes. IWM photos gave me a black and white, scared, broken and flat though claustrophobic landscape. Being here opens it out again - the Ypres Canal is as wide as the Tyne, not some British slither and finally this 'salient' can be seen as a vast arena ... 20km across? with the escarpment a series of pimples, while on foot the flatness turns out to be crumpled, like sheets on a bed with streams which made it such a mudbath crossing every halfmile or so. With the 100th anniversary of 1914-18 nearly upon us the museums are getting their act together. 'In Flanders Fields' in the Old Cloth Hall, Ypres is the most stunning exhibition I have visited anywhere on WW1 and very much a 21st interactive and multimedia affair. Www.machineguncorps.com is where I'm pulling together photos, maps and links and where in due course I'll put intervies with Corporal Jack Wilson, M.M. MGC.
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It's over ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 27 Jun 2013, 09:12

And a tear comes to my eyes ... what a hell of a journey! 1239 days. 1 point decides whether I finally get a distinction 84 vs. 85. But do I care? Staying with this learning for the next decade counts for more. Bon voyaye. I'm out of here!!

504,950 views too. Feck! I guess it'll take an OU PhD to push this to 1,000,000 ...

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Preparation, preparation, preparation ...

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And breathing space.

How I prepare a TMA or EMA is completely unlike anything I did in the early days, even in the first couple of years or more of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MA ODE). It is far more like designing an Airfix model, making the parts, then constructing the thing. At this stage, having thought about and written up all the component parts I did a rough assembly and came up with 3437 words for a 4000 word assignment.

Actually this is too many words - not a problem as I know where the fat lies, ideas expressed in too large a chunk. After that it's a case of getting the prose to flow.

Prioritise and give it time to breathe. I've pretty much given up on social media too - this is study journal and a moment to reflect. 'Blogging' and writing an academic paper are very different things - even journalism doesn't get close. Blogging is playing in the sand, journalism is a papier-mache self-indulgent sculpture, whereas academic writing is gathering together a complete set of artefacts, carefully arranging them in a cabinet and including all the labels.

 

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Time to write

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 20:55

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Fig.1 H809 EMA Mindmap (for fellow H809 / MA ODErs I've added a PDF version in the TMA Forum) Created using Simpleminds.

  • H809 - Practice-based research in e-learning
  • MA ODE - Masters in Open and Distance Education
  • TMA - Tutor Marked Assignment
  • PDF - PDF

Yonks ago I realised for me the best time to study was v.early in the morning. 4.00 am to breakfast isn't unusual, 5.00 am is more typical. All it costs is an early night. This is easy too - no television. Its move from the shed to the dump is imminent.

A week ahead of schedule I find I have an EMA to complete - this'll give me a three hour, exam like run of it. Even the dog knows not to bother me.

For those on the same path the mindmap of my H809 EMA is above.

Ask if you're interested in a legible PDF version.

This gorse bush off density has patterns within it that I can decipher. The net result ought to come out somewhere around the 4,000 word mark too. This approach could not be more different to my earliest TMAs and EMAs three years ago - they were too often the product of what I call 'jazz writing' (this kind of thing), just tapping away to see where it takes you. This process used to start on scrolls of backing wallpaper taped to my bedroom wall. Now it goes onto a whiteboard first.

As always this blog is an e-portfolio: most notes, moments in student forums and references are in here.

I recommend using a blog platform in this way. You can default to 'private', or share with the OU community ... or 'anyone in the world'. One simple addition to this would be a 'share with your module cohort'.

By now I have clicked through some 165 posts taggeed H809 and can refer to H809ema for those picked out for it.

One split occured - I very much wanted to explore the use of augmented reality in museum visits, but found instead a combination of necessity and logic taking me back to the H809 TMA 01 and a substantial reversioning of it. Quite coincidentally this proposed research on adherence to preventer drugs amongst moderate to severe asthmatics had me taking a very close interest on a rare visit to a hospital outpatient's. Nasal endoscopy must look like a circus trick to the casual observer as the consultant carefully 'lances' my skull through the nose with a slender and flexible rod on which there is a tiny camera and light. 'Yes, I can see the damage from surgery' he declares (this was 33 years ago), 'but no signs of cancer'.

There's a relief.

An unexplained nose bleed lasting the best part of 10 weeks was put down to my good-boy adherence to a steroid nasal spray that had damaged the soft tissue. And the medical profession wonder why drug adherence can be so low? 20% to 60% 33 years on and courtesy of the OU Library I found a wholly convincing diagnosis - allergic rhinitis. The 'paper' runs to over 80 pages excluding references and has some 20 contributors (Bousquet, 2008). I'll so miss access to the online library as most papers appear to cost around the £9 to download. This desire to remain attached by a digital umbilical chord to such a resource is one reason I wish to pursue yet more postgraduate studying and potentially even an academic career. I get extraordinary satisfaction browsing 'stuff' to feed my curiosity.

When I stop diddling around here I'll pick off this mindmap in a strick clockwise direction from around 1 O'Clock.

Simpleminds is great as a free App. It's taken me a couple of years to get round to paying £6 for a version that can be exported into a word file though I rather enjoy the slower, more considered 'cut and paste' which adds another opportunity to reflect, expand or ditch an idea.

REFERENCE

Bousquet, J, Khaltaev, N, Cruz, A, Denburg, J, Fokkens, W, Togias, A, Zuberbier, T, Baena-Cagnani, C, Canonica, G, Van Weel, C, Agache, I, Aït-Khaled, N, Bachert, C, Blaiss, M, Bonini, S, Boulet, L, Bousquet, P, Camargos, P, Carlsen, K, & Chen, Y (2008) 'Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) 2008 Update (in collaboration with the World Health Organization, GA2LEN', Allergy, 63, pp. 8-160, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 19 June 2013.

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Is life a disease? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association - fifth edition (DSM-5)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 16 May 2014, 06:25

 

Anne Cooke and John McGowanA new edition of the ‘dictionary’ of mental illnesses was published this year – the catchily named, DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, fifth edition). Compared to its predecessors, it classifies many more types of behaviour as ‘mental disorders’.

For example, binge eating is now a disease, and you may also be categorised as mentally ill if you spend too long in front of your computer, if you are shy, or if you feel just feel sad.
 
Each edition of the DSM introduces us to new illnesses.
  • The first edition, published in 1952, was 132 pages long.
  • The 1987 edition was 569 pages a
  • The 2013 edition as it has 1000.John McGowan and Anne Cooke
Its publication has provoked fierce arguments. Advocates say how important it is that illnesses are identified and treated. Critics claim that that it will lead to millions of us being unnecessarily labelled as sick and put on drugs. Some even believe that many of the conditions are simply inventions dreamed up for the benefit of pharmaceutical giants. W
 
Anne and John will introduce the main issues, and ask the question, ‘Is life a disease?’
 
Anne and John both blog regularly at Discursive of Tunbridge Wells. You can also follow them on Twitter (@CCCUAppPsy).
 

My view is that we should think of disease as the status quo, that  we all have something wrong with us, that this variety is part of what makes us human - we are not a troop of baboons, rather we are 7 billion lonely people, each unique, with very different brains, but also different responses to and vulnerabilities to disease. Modern science and computing in particular allows these conditions to be identified; many more such patterns will become clear as data is streamed into computers for analysis from people wearing or ingesting smart medical devices.

If this isn't a hypothesis that has been tested maybe I should take a look?

The 'error' surely is to think we can provide everyone with 'perfect health' - what will it do to us if all our 'problems' are ironed out? Will it make us less inventive? Do we have to live to 120? We need to struggle in order to progress - everything about the development of homo sapiens sapiens has been in response to problems, dangers, disease and events. I guess we'll just keep coming up with or creating new problems, in any case, even if we all had perfect health our brains - how wired during foetal development, and then what we are exposed to as we grow up, despite aspects of tribalism, makes for further difference.
 
Yes, life is a disease.
 
And the day we think we have eradicated all disease we or nature will come up with something new. In fact, I think if you had a population of 1000 people with no perceived health problems at all that within a few months one or more of them would develop some kind of psychosis - become a hypochondriac or self-harm or develop a Messiah complex just to ensure that the community had difference, a catalyst as it were, within it.
The DSM probably says the the joker/clown or comedian is a disease - a narcissistic craving for attention and adulation?
 
Anne Cooke is a clinical psychologist who has spent many years working in the NHS with people who are diagnosed as mentally ill. She works at Canterbury Christ Church University, training clinical psychologists for the NHS. She is currently editing a second edition of the British Psychological Society’s report ‘Understanding Psychosis’ and is interested in the way that we as a society think about and respond to emotional distress.
 
John McGowan is also a Clinical Psychologist. Like Anne has followed many years in the NHS by moving to academia and training clinical psychologists. As well as conducting research into self-harm and suicide he is currently editing a new British Psychological Society Report on Depression. He has written for The Guardian, the Health Service Journal and (most significantly) is an occasional columnist for Viva Lewes.

 

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Storytelling

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I have just downloaded Power Structure - a piece of software I first had on a PowerMac 15 year ago. It came on a pack of foppy discs then. It's been nearly four years since I used it - since my Macbook died. I've been begged and borrowed desktops and laptops for most of the MA ODE and have only got the money together in the last few months to get my own computer and gather in some of my favourite software.

Power Structure prompts me to construct a sound treatment once I have an idea in my head that I want to run with - not suprisingly its something that has come out of the last five months of a module on research. Somehow I've leant towards Web 2.0 or what the healthcare industry is calling Pharma 2.0 and a world where we wear and swallow microchips that gather and record data on our health.

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Ignorance of the digital resident

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 17 Jun 2013, 08:25
Despite 20 years in front of Macs I couldn't find the on/off button on the tracker pad when the batteries went flat - luckily I caught the eye of a 15 year old before he went to school. I love Apple, but sometimes they love to reinvent everything.
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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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