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.
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.
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.
- Sand the piano
- Sell the table
- Wash the hedge
- Prune the sofa
My DIY day.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
A 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’.
- 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
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?
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.
The development of digital resources has changed scholarly practice by fundamentally changing the process of scholarly research and communication (Lynch, 2006).
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
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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.
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 ...
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.
Fig.1 Exhibit A. Vital to any museum. A place to crash, reflect, nod off ... then pick yourself up to do some more.
This is going to read like an excuse to visit yet more museums.
As I reach the end of my Open University learning journey my final task is to write an EMA in which I propose a piece of research on e-learning. My inclination, with 12 days to go, is to look at the use of mobile devices in museums and how the visit experience can be enhanced by personalising the physical journey. It appears the the two problems to deal with are information overload and cognitive overload. There is too much of everything. Whilst I will always applaud serendipity there needs to be a balance between the stuff that you want to stick and the stuff that can be ignored or discarded.
Too many museum visits earlier this week has me wishing I had electric wheels and a pair of Google Glass that could take it in and edit.
- Museum of Contemporary Art - Barcelona
- Picasso Museum - Barcelona
- National Museum of Catalonia - Barcelona
- Joan Miro Foundation - Barcelona
As I prepare this assignment I plant to queue to get into the Bowie at V&A and try Google WebLab at the Science Museum and possibly the RA and Design Museums too. At least I'm within an hour of London.
My interest is, as I take teenagers to these things, to wish I could get them to that artefact or story about the artifacts creations, or the artist/creative that it will so intrigue them that they are inspired to put some heart into their art or DT.
Two years ago my late mother took her granddaughters around the RA when the Van Gogh exhibition was on. My daughter was treated to my mother, gentle and informed, guiding her then 14 year old granddaughter from quite specific letters, paintings and sketches - pointing things out, talking about technique and the thinking behind it. This was as personalised and as intimate as it gets.
I can understand how Picasso, showing interest and talent, must have been guided by his father who taught art at undergraduate level.
Billed as a ‘Daddy Daughter’ trip we mixed art, architecture, shopping and food (with sunshine). My daughter is contemplating Fine Art at university. In just a few days we packed in hours, on foot, along streets, through galleries and museums and parks, into markets and up and down and through slick airconditioned Barcelona rapid transit system.
We took in Picasso and Joan Miro museums, through the National Museum of Catalonia El Greco to Dali, on the streets we found Gaudy while the Contemporary Museum of Art gave me Lawrence Werner. Where unable to use a camera (the iPhone, I left my digital SLR at home to keep us down to hand luggage) I bought a postcard, guidebook or did a sketch.
It left me hungry for more: the food from tapas bars, the architecture and history, the weather and the sea … it has left me full of ideas regarding learning, from seeing Picasso’s early efforts at drawing, through the work of Joan Miro from beginning to end. This 'pass' to six museums is one way to do it - I got around four of these and can return within three months in this ticket. With Gatwick up the road and travelling out of season I may get back later in June or in early July
As a visitor what more do we need than our eyes, feet and a sketch pad or notebook?
Does a digital camera make it too easy? Not permitted to use a camera at the Picasso or Miro what did we lose and the gallery gain? I bought books at the Picasso, Miro and Contemporary Art Museum, though not at the National Museum of Catalonia where I used my iPhone to grab images all the way around.
Meeting a friend who lives in 'Barca' was revealing - he learnt Spanish in a month. He could. He can focus. Two weeks on the grammar with the right book on a beach, then two weeks intensive studying by day with an hour of conversational Spanish in the evening which he got in exchange for an hour of English conversation. Immeservive and concentrated effort.
To what degree does e-learning remove the need to make an effort and dilute any immersiveness to just one or two senses (to what you see and hear)?
I like to pick up a language in context, through association, trial and error. Signs in multiple languages, like the Rosetta Stone, appear to offer a way into the language … or is this also a short cut ? You won’t learn anything so long as you are offered the translation. I wonder if this can be reverse engineered? Instead of seeing the Spanish world translated through English eyes, how about seeing the English world through Spanish Eyes? To wear glasses that use augmented technology to offer me the day to day in Spanish? What is already being done?
Playing Mercutio in 'Romeo & Juliet' 1983
Thirty years ago, possibly to the week, I performed in a university production of Romeo & Juliet as Mercutio. I've just been watching, to my horror, a digitised copy from the Betamax original.
That's me with the spindly legs in the white tights.
Not suprisingly, more so than a diary entry, this takes me to the moment. Minutes later the large nappy pin holding up my hose (the stuffed, bulbous pants) comes undone. I complete the fight to the death having pulled up my hose more than once - laughter and awareness rather spoils the moment and more liek Franky Howard than Shakespeare I die on the line 'A plague on my underpants'.
Fascinating that even in silhouette I would have recognised my teenage son in how I move.
My wife tells me I don't speak like that any more.
Cruel and revealing to me that I was so dependent on the director - in this amateur production I minch about more like Malvolio from Twelfth Night.
My fascination in memory is pricked by this.
There is value in forgetting and not having a record of past events yet wearable technology is gradually making it possible to keep a record of everything we do - both visual and audio. Our perceptions are altered by the recalling of a memory. Though of course, this particular memory is still not my visual memory as my perspective will always be caught up in this scene.
How often have I written that?
This is almost certainly the last. At least for the time-being. The MA ODE is in the bag and this module, the bonus track of my investigation into e-learning. Just the EMA to go - not just a research proposal, but a PhD research proposal which will be the basis of my seeking to undertake doctoral research in 2014.
If I care to I have some 25 entries for this blog too - rather than using the blog as an e-portfolio though I am finding I am loading everything into and working from Google Docs while drawing from a gallery of albums containing thousands of e-learning related images and screen grabs ... around 1600 in fact.
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