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Reading this with such ease makes me smile and glad to be human and not an android.

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Acocdrnig lo an elgnsih unviesitry

.suttly llie oredr of ietetrs in a wrod

dosen't tnttaer, the ulny thnig thta's

iopmrantt is that the frsit and Isat

Itteer of eevry word is in the crcreot

ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and

one is stiil able to raed the txet wiohtut



Anyone can to say how or why???

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My FlickR

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My Flickr

I keep losing track of this! And then I never know my password. An early adopter of everything my first 1000+ photo gallery was in Kodak Easyshare. I think I managed to rescue all but 300 of pictures before that went 'poof' into the cyber vacuum of nonWWW space.

So much for trusting everything to the 'Cloud'.

Anyone got data on Amstrad floppy discs!?

Even floppies from a Mac Classic.

Do I even want to recover that data?

These days I TRUST the OU to be around tomorrow big grin

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It’s easy to blog, so more should do it.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 11:20
  • low-threshold creation of entries
  • a flexible and personally meaningful way to organise and maintain them
  • opportunities to retrieve, reuse and analyse blog content
  • opportunities to engage with others.
  • fitted in while working on something else
  • providing a way to keep abreast of others ideas
  • capturing ones’ own emergent insights
  • clarifying matters for a public
  • over time ideas on a topic accumulate and connections between them become clearer.
  • feedback from readers turns blogging into a sense-making practice
  • eventually an ideas is ‘ripe’ and ready to become part of a specific task.

Efimova (2008. p. 208)

But how many do it? Ask around in your tutor group. I doubt the figure gets above 5% unless it is compulsary and then I doubt that more than 50% post more than three times during the course of module - a minimum requirement.


Efimova, L. (2009) Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD
Research Series 2009 (www.novay.nl.dissertations)

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H809 A handy blog on qualitative market research

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Qualitative Market Research

David Kreimer

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H809 WK 2 Activity 2.5: Reflecting on the research methods

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 14 Feb 2013, 17:13
In the discussion of task A11 (pp. 279–81) the account of the students’ utterances is plausible, but why is transcript data to be preferred to the video data for such a visual task?

It is words that are being analysed, use of spoken rather than visual language - however important we know facial expression and body language to be.

A criticism sometimes made of quantitative research is that it uses preconceived categories rather than letting findings ‘emerge’ from the data. The ‘Commentary’ on task A11 (pp. 280–1) is qualitative rather than quantitative, but it could be argued that it also uses preconceived categories.

You have to tell readers what you did and why so that they can draw their own conclusions.

Do you think it would be possible to avoid the use of preconceived categories when analysing this data?

Yes, if it is accepted that an exploratory and iterative form of observation and analysis is valid.

When you read the claim on page 281, did you ask yourself if the researchers had looked at whether this was also true of the control group?

Which is why video is necessary compared to audio, that you need all the information that was available to the participants to decide how they would behave.  They’d have had to be blind to be acting on words alone.

Are you convinced that the study effectively demonstrates the authors’ case

Whilst I don’t want to be dismissive of all research because of the bias and problems as long as there is an understanding of this then such research needs to be carried out.

What does the computer add to the analysis?

A new way of doing things and the beginning of ways to analyse ‘big data’ to look for patterns and meaning that was difficult to do before the advent of computers.

What is the status of computer-based text analysis 16 years on?  Spend 20 minutes trying to answer this question by searching the web.

Wegerif in 2009 undertaking extensive study of talk in maths teaching - Data collected through baseline standardised tests, diagnostic tasks, video recordings of group work, summaries of teacher meetings, teacher interviews and evaluations.

Talking Counts: An intervention programme to investigate and develop the role of exploratory talk in young children’s arithmetic.


The second strand is to analyse changes in the children's talk. Whole lessons and group interactions are analysed to identify the relationship between talk and children's learning in mathematics.

Mercer, N. and Sams, C. (2006) “Teaching Children How to Use Language to Solve Maths Problems”, Language and Education, 2

The methodology for making this kind of comparison, as described in more detail in Wegerif and Mercer (1997) and Mercer (2004), combines a detailed qualitative analysis of language used by each group of children in specific episodes of joint activity with a quantitative computer-based analysis of the whole corpus of recorded group talk.

Our grateful thanks also to Open University colleagues Dr Martin Le Voi (for his expert assistance in completing the statistical analysis) and Dr Frank Monaghan (for his critical commentary on this paper).

Mercer, N 2010, 'The analysis of classroom talk: Methods and methodologies', British Journal Of Educational Psychology, 80, 1, pp. 1-14, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 14 February 2013.

• It is difficult to use these methods to handle large sets of data, because they are so time consuming. It is commonly estimated that transcribing and analysing 1 h of talk using such methods will take between 5 and 12 h of research time;
• it can be difficult to use such analyses to make convincing generalizations, because only specific illustrative examples can be offered; and
• researchers are open to charges of selecting particular examples to support their arguments.
• Actual talk, as data, may be lost early in the analysis. A researcher works only with predefined categories, and so new insights which might be gained from repeated considerations of the original data will be missed;
• the use of pre-determined categories or other target items can limit analysts' sensitivity to what actually happens; and
• coding which depends on the decontextualized identification of language features cannot handle the ways that the meaning of any utterance will depend on its history within the observed dialogue and perhaps in previous encounters between participants.


• An efficient way of handling a lot of data; a researcher can survey a lot of classroom language relatively quickly and analyse a representative sample of events;
• enable numerical comparisons to be made across and within data samples, which can then be subjected to a statistical analysis.
• Any transcribed talk remains throughout the analysis (rather than being reduced to
categories at an early stage) and so the researcher does not have to make initial judgments about meanings which cannot be revised;
• any categories emerging are generated by the analysis, not by codings based on prior assumptions;
• in research reports, examples of talk and interaction can be used to show concrete
illustrations of your analysis: researchers do not ask readers to take on trust the validity of abstracted categorizations;
• the development of joint understanding, or the persistence of apparent
misunderstandings or different points of view, can be pursued through the continuous data of recorded/transcribed talk; and
• because the analytic scheme is not established a priori, the analysis can be expanded to include consideration of any new aspects of communication that emerge in the data.

(Strengths and weaknesses above from Mercer)
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Why blog? Ask Dr Lilia Efimova

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 11:13

Fig. 1. Dr Lilia Efimova - her Phd thesis is on blogging to support knowledge management in the workplace.

  1. Somewhere to “park” emerging insights until the moment they are needed. Efimova (2009. p 75)
  2. Doesn’t require much effort
  3. Somewhere to park ideas
  4. Reading and engaging with others to become aware of issues and themes
  5. Topics accumulate and connections grew and things become clearer.
  6. A set of sense-making practices
  7. “Everyday grounded theory” Efimova (2009. p. 75)
  8. Connecting multiple fragments
  9. Getting into the writing flow
  10. Strengthened by readers’ feedback
  11. A channel for distribution
  12. Publication additional motivation to document emergent ideas
  13. A legitimate place to share thinking in progress
  14. -ve when the need is to be extremely selective and focused. Efimova (2009. p. 80)
  15. To collect in one place the fragmented bits relevant to my thinking Efimova (2009. 3.5.4)
  16. Clusters of conversations
  17. Conversations unfolding
  18. A personal space and a community space simultaneously.
  19. A personal narrative used to articulate and to organise one’s own thinking. (conversation with self. p 90?) around 4.3
  20. An example of hypertext conversation. Efimova (2009. p. 129)
  21. Weblogs provide a space that helps both to develop one’s own point of view and discuss it with others.
  22. Bloggers present their ideas to the world, readers learn from them. Efimova (2009. p. getting things done. staying in touch)



Efimova.L (2009) Passion At Work : Blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD Research Series, No. 24 (Novay/PRS/024)

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H809 Week 2 Timeline Creator

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 20 Oct 2014, 12:07
From E-Learning V

Fig.1. Kent & Medway's Timeline of the Great War

Made with Tiki-toki

And someone's wonderful creation




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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 11:23

Autoenthnography Or, how to write something of substance.

From Richardson (2000) via Lilia Efimova (2009. p. 39)

I've taken the view, with a lifetime of keeping a diary and 14 years blogging that I write whatever comes to mind as I put pen to paper or fingertips to the keyboard. There is a better way:

Substantive Contribution

Does this piece contribute to our understand of social life? Does the writer demonstrate a deeply grounded (if embedded) human world understanding and perspective?

Aesthetic Merit

Does this piece succeed aesthetically? Does the use of creative analytical practices open up the text, invite interpretive responses? Is the text artistically shaped, satisfying, complex, and not boring?


How did the author come to write this? How was the information gathered? Ethical issues? How has the author’s subjectivity been both a producer and a product of this text?

Is there an adequate self-awareness and self-exposure for the reader to make judgements about the point of view? Do authors hold themselves accountable to the stands of knowing and telling of the people they have studied?


Does this affect me? Emotionally? Intellectually? Generate new questions? Move me to write? Move me to try new research practices? Move me to actions?

Lived Experience

Does this text embody a fleshed out sense of lived-experience? Does it seem “true” - a credible account of a cultural, social, or communal sense of the “real”?


Richardson, L. (2000). Evaluating ethnography. Qualitative Inquiry, 6 (2), 253-255


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Why blog?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 15 Feb 2013, 09:28

'As with writing, blogging is not simply formulating in words an idea already developed in one’s mind. It is also about connecting, developing and redefining half-baked ideas. When writing, I often go through the weblog archives to explore connections with what is already there. Reading and rereading what I wrote before shapes and changes what I’m about to write: I often find something unexpected or see patterns only in retrospect'. Efimova (2009. p 70)


Efimova, L. (2009) Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers. Novay PhD Research Series 2009 (www.novay.nl.dissertations)

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Smarty Pants will rule!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013, 14:04

I  have been repeatedly pulled in by various plausible and intelligent thinkers.

  • Marshall McLuhan
  • Nicholas Carr
  • Malcolm Gladwell


  • Marc Prensky

They may motivate people to take a closer interest but are without exception populist, picking references that support their thesis to convince the gullible of the new world order. Marc Prensky is garbage from beginnign to end so I cannot understand how the OU has been suckered into pedaling his ill-informed perspective - unless to prevoke debate.

Marshall McLuhan sounded plausible in 1960 but can be shown to have got it wrong - an irrelevance then and of no value to consider today. Nicholas Carr is no better - his goal is to sell books only.

14 years ago my first blog post was 'What's new about new media? Not much'.

As a historian/geographer I simply could not see it this way, in space or time, it wasn't the case that what we were experiencing was very much different to shifts driven by technology that have occurred over the millennia.

But this thesis, 'business as usual' doesn't get you noticed, or heard, or recognised, or making a living selling books or standing up in conferences. There must be an aspect of being human that favours the new against all else. Which explains a good deal. Geographers think in millions of years, Historians in thousands.

Most of us can barely reflect on the tiny period of our own existence ... which is why weather phenomena, technology and war seem of the times.

Smarty Pants will rule!

Clearly a popularist title for the book I am yet to write - on the coming of wearable technology. Starting in our underwear - are we fit? are we agile? what's are heart rate doing? how does this relate to the context of our lives? If the data might save or improve our lives why not?

And a button-sized camera at this level would give an interesting take on the world.

Who remembers the 'Wicked Willy' cartoons?

Though seeing a world through his lens might be a dangerous though intriguing place to go.

I've thought it, someone in California has probably been doing it for the last three years sad

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 20 Oct 2014, 11:44

Why most published research findings are false


Ioannidis, JA 2005, 'Why Most Published Research Findings Are False', Plos Medicine, 2, 8, pp. 696-701, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

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Lilia Efimova - Post PhD on Blogging (with purpose)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013, 09:10

Lilia Efimova

PhD Blogger



Anjewierden, A, & Efimova, L 2006, 'Understanding Weblog Communities Through Digital Traces: A Framework, a Tool and an Example', Lecture Notes In Computer Science, 4277, pp. 279-289, British Library Document Supply Centre Inside Serials & Conference Proceedings, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

Efimova, LL 2007, 'Getting value from employee weblogs: a knowledge management approach', Online Information -International Meeting-, p. 43, British Library Document Supply Centre Inside Serials & Conference Proceedings, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

Sauer, I, Bialek, D, Efimova, E, Schwartlander, R, Pless, G, & Neuhaus, P 2005, '“ Blogs” and“ Wikis” Are Valuable Software Tools for Communication Within Research Groups', Artificial Organs, 29, 1, pp. 82-89, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 12 February 2013.

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Marshall McLuhan

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'After three thousand years of explosion, by means of fragmentary and mechanical technologies, the Western world is imploding. During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man - the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media'.

Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man, 1964

Change a few words and this could have been written last week about the Internet. Someone will be witing this kind of copy for the press, even getting books published in this kind of vien - indeed 'The Shallows' by Nicholas Carr is one of a handful that do this. 'The Clue Train Manifesto' is another. Populist bunkum.

Whilst Marshall McLuhan was well read, what he had to say was sensationalist at the time, and can be dismissed - that or you take what he said and state the the OPPOSITE is how it has turned out.

Fifty years ago authors like McLuhan thought we'd lose the ability to remember because everything was in print and being put onto electronic formats. Today authors like Carr - an MA in American and English Literature hardly makes him a credible webscientist, and Gordon Bell at Microsoft are doing it again - claiming revolution and radical change. It won't happen. It didn't in the past and why should it today. Human life is too transitory, these technologies evolve and are taken up in the context of their age at a snail's pace.




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True or False

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:26


The 15 second quiz

Merriam-Webster - the 'sticky' web dectionary using gamification to build the brand and hold your attention.

Who'd have thought it a decade ago.  'Sticky' was the Holy Grail - but applied to an online dictionary?

I love words.

I have used many online dictionaries, including 'the dictionary' and the OED, and of course Wikipedia. Increasingly I pick Merriam-Webster from the list offered.

The response page is clean (ish) i.e. you get an unclutted, quick and short defintion, which is all you want if you are trying to read a text.

You can, by default, find you are 'embedding' your relationship with the word by adding a comment. What brings you here? Why were you after this word? You may then be intgrigued by the responses other people have left.

Then there's the quick 15 second quiz.

A crafty way to up your Pub Quiz or Mastermind General Knowledge.


And there's a pithy video clip on some highfalutin stuff about words. Except of course it isn't, you'd just expect it to be so. They're very down to earth. There's the best explanation of the important difference between - its and its - for example.

My distraction? My word(s)

  • Foveal
  • Profoveal

That collection of nodes in the retina we subconsiously use when focusing on the fine detail of something - often used for reading tough texts where the 'profoveal words' i.e. those just out of vision and typically a few down the line from your centre of focus couild distract if and where the word is bold, in colour, underlined ... or the purposes of the research papers I am reading, if the word or phrase has a hyperlink.

Do you want you reader to read at an uninterupted measured pace - or tangle their eyes in barbed wire?

The aim, as they eventually figured out with the printed word, is a form or set of patterns and guidelines that make the reading of text on a screen easier, engaging enough so the the issues and facts begin to stick, without it being a mess.

I often wonder if a 'porta-pront' App - so you read as a Newsreader would do, offers the most uncluttered way to read text?

We're still a long way short of a digital expression of the written word - the guitliest group are academic papers. These are for the most part highly formalised layouts based on analogue moveable print.

Where I can I cut and paste and entire paper into Google Docs, then reformat so that I can scroll through.

Now what on earth did I get up to do 20 minutes ago?!

Ah yes.

This little gem.

Risse, S, & Kliegl, R 2012, 'Evidence for delayed parafoveal-on-foveal effects from word n+2 in reading', Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception And Performance, 38, 4, pp. 1026-1042, PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost, viewed 11 February 2013.



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A quick guide to evaluating websites (for students)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 11 Feb 2013, 10:53

This looks handy.


Florida Gulf University



H809 has as considering the validity of research papers. I'm translating this cautious approach not only to papers, but also to books and websites. This matters. Do they know their subject? Was the research creditable? Do the references stack up? Where, what, under whom and how did the study and come to these concusions? What else have they written? What do others think (reviews in reputable publications can offer an invaluable perspective on some of the popular authors who capture the public's imagination but are often academical spurious).


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H809 Paper 1 Scrutiny of a research paper

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Feb 2013, 20:01

I should dig out the research but hasn't it now been shown that as long as students get to choose between classroom / lecture based, blended or online learning they are all equally happy with the outcome? This might suggest that institutions need to offer this mix ... but it shows how much better it is to start on a positive rather than feeling you have to have your module deliver in a set way whether you like it, or get along with this approach or not.

The other piece of reading I need to reference concerns a study, I think from the 1960s, and mentioned in The Gutenberg Galaxy by Marshall McLuhan that I am reading, that there are significant differences in how people interpret a piece of text, that we bring significant baggage to it, drawing conclusions and seeing patterns, making links and connections that are very much are own. This is particularly the case with 'open texts' that invite thought and require us to construct our own meaning compared to 'closed texts' which aim to present a thesis as an absolute. Is this why so many research papers are dry? Why they leave little impact? It suggests that a paper should be written up in two forms - for peer review and scientific scrutiny on the one hand, and to invite comment, feedback and contributions on the other.

A reason to blog? Your paper is published, then your write it up in a blog in a more accessible and 'open' manner?

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Umberto Eco

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Feb 2013, 07:40

What's there to read?

Where to begin?

A lecture

Umberto Eco (Italy, 1932) is an eclectic theorist whose work in semiotics has contributed greatly to the development of a philosophy of meaning.

The reader of the text must use his/her encyclopedia to actualize the message and yet avoid overinterpreting the textual indices that are present (Interpretation and Overinterpretation, 1992). The model reader (Lector in fabula, 1979) is able to grasp the meaning of the text by discerning the modes of sign production and interpretation (A Theory of Semiotics, 1976 [1975]).

From a biography


ECO, U., The Open Work, trans. Anna Cangogni, Cambridg, MA : Harvard University Press, 1989 [1962].

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The Gutenberg Galaxy

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 10 Feb 2013, 20:03


Reading this as it is name dropped so often. Stripping it bare and re-interpretting it for 2013.

‘I don’t know what I mean until I have heard myself say it', said Irish author and satirist Jonathan Swift

Conversation plays a crucial element of socialised learning.

Courtesy of a Google Hangout we can record and share such interactions such as in this conversation on and around ‘personal knowledge management’.

Here we can both see and hear why the spoken word is so important. Trying to understand the historical nature of this, how and when the written word, or other symbols began to impinge on the spoken word requires investigating the earliest forms of the written word and trying to extrapolate the evidence of this important oral tradition, the impact it had on society and the transition that occurred, after all, it is this transition that fascinates us today as we embrace the Internet.

Humans have been around for between 100,000 and 200,000 years.

(Encyclopedia Britannica). There are pigments and cave painting have been found that are 350,000 years old. (Barham 2013), while here are cave paintings as old as 40,000 years (New Scientist).

Stone Age man's first forays into art were taking place at the same time as the development of more efficient hunting equipment, including tools that combined both wooden handles and stone implements. (BBC, 2012).

Art and technology therefore go hand in hand - implying that the new tools of the Internet will spawn flourishing new wave of creation, which I believe to be the case. This era will be as remarkable for the development of the Web into every aspect of our lives as it will be for a epoch identifying renaissance - a new way of seeing things.

We’ve been seeking ways to communicate beyond the transience of the spoken word for millennia.

McLuhan takes us to the spoken word memorised in song and poetry (Lord, 1960 p. 3) while a contemporary writer, Viktor Mayer-Schonbeger, (2009. p. 25) also talks about how rhyme and meter facilitated remembering. McLuhan draws on 1950s scholarship on Shakespeare and asks us to understand that Lear tells us of shifting political views in the Tudor era as a consequence of a burgeoning mechanical age and the growth of print publishing. (Cruttwell, 1955)

McLuhan suggests that the left-wing Machiavellianism in Lear who submits to 'a darker purpose' to subdivide of his kingdom is indicative of how society say itself developing at a time of change in Tudor times.

Was Shakespeare clairvoyant?

Did audiences hang on his words as other generations harken the thoughts of  H G Wells, Aldouz Huxley, George Orwell and Karl Popper, perhaps as we do with the likes Alan de Bouton and Malcolm Gladwell?

'The Word as spoken or sung, together with a visual image of the speaker or singer, has meanwhile been regaining its hold through electrical engineering'. xii. Wrote Prof. Harry Levin to the preface of The Singer of Tales.

Was a revolution caused by the development of and use of the phonetic alphabet?

Or from the use of barter to the use of money? Was the 'technological revolution' of which McLuhan speaks quoting Peter Drucker, the product of a change in society or did society change because of the 'technological revolution'? (Drucker, 1961) Was it ever a revolution?

We need to be careful in our choice of words - a development in the way cave paintings are done may be called a ‘revolution’ but something that took thousands of years to come about is hardly that.

Similarly periods in modern history are rarely so revolutionary when we stand back and plot the diffusion of an innovation (Rogers, 2005) which Rogers defines as “an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. (Rogers, 2005. p. 12). To my thinking, ‘diffusion’ appears to be a better way to consider what has been occurring over the last few decades in relation to ‘technology enhanced communications’, the Internet and the World Wide Web. But to my ears ‘diffusion’ sounds like ‘transfusion’ or ‘infusion’ - something that melts into the fabric of our existence.

If we think of society as a complex tapestry of interwoven systems then the Web is a phenomenon that has been absorbed into what already exists - this sounds like an evolving process rather than any revolution. In context of course, this is a ‘revolution’ that is only apparent as such by those who have lived through the change; just as baby boomers grew up with television and may not relate to the perspective that McLuhan gives it and those born in the last decade or so take mobile phones and the Internet as part of their reality with no sense of what came before.

Clay tablets, papyri and the printing press evolved. We are often surprised at just how long the transition took.

To use socio-political terms that evoke conflict and battle is a mistake. Neither the printing press, nor radio, nor television, nor the Internet have been ‘revolutions’ with events to spark them akin to the storming of the Bastille in 1789 or the February Revolution in Russia in 1917 - they have been evolutionary. Are we living in 'two forms of contrasted forms of society and experience' as Marshall McLuhan suggested occurred in the Elizabethan Age between the typographical and the mechanical ages? Then occurred between in the 1960s  between the industrial and electrical ages? 'Rendering individualism obsolete'. (McLuhan 1962. p. 1)

Individualism requires definition. Did it come with the universal adult suffrage?

Was it bestowed on people, or is it a personality trait? Are we not all at some point alone and individual, as well as part of a family, community or wider culture and society? We are surely both a part and part of humanity at the same time? Edward Hall (1959), tells us that ‘all man–made material things can be treated asextensions of what man once did with his body or some specialized part of his body.

The Internet can therefore become and is already an extension of our minds.

A diarist since 1975 I have blogged since 1999 and have put portions of the handwritten diary online too - tagging it so that it can be searched by theme and incident, often charting my progress through subjects as diverse as English Literature, British History, Geography, Anthropology and Remote Sensing from Space, Sports Coaching (swimming, water-polo and sailing). This aide memoire has a new level of sophistication when I can refer to and even read text books I had to use in my teens. It is an extension of my mind as the moments I write about are from my personal experience - there is already a record in my mind. What is the Internet doing to society?

What role has it played in the ‘Arab Spring’?

McLuhan considered the work of Karl Popper on the detribalization of Greece in the ancient world). Was an oral tradition manifesting itself in the written word the cause of conflict between Athens and Sparta? McLuhan talks of ‘the Open Society’ in the era of television the way we do with the Internet. We talked about the ‘Global Village’ in the 1980s and 1990s so what do we have now? Karl Popper developed an idea that from closed societies  (1965) through speech, drum and ear we came to  our open societies functioning by way of abstract relations such as exchange or co–operation. – to the entire human family into a single global tribe.

The Global kitchen counter (where I work, on my feet, all day), or the global ‘desk’ if we are sharing from a workspace …

or even the ‘global pocket’ when I think of how an Open University Business School MBA student described doing an MBA using an iPad and a smartphone as a ‘university in my pocket’. You join a webinar or Google Hangout and find yourself in another person’s kitchen, study or even their bed. (Enjoying one such hangout with a group of postgraduate students of the Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education - MAODE - we agreed for one session to treat it as a pyjama party. Odd, but representative of the age we live in - fellow students were joining from the UK, Germany, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates). I have been part of such a group with people in New Zealand and California - with people half asleep because it is either very late at night, or very early in the morning.

McLuhan  (1965. p. 7) concludes that the 'open society' was affected by phonetic literacy ...

... and is now threatened with eradication by electric media. Writing fifty years ago is it not time we re-appraised McLuhan’s work and put it in context. We need to take his thesis of its pedestal. Whilst it drew attention at the time it is wrong to suggest that what he had to say in relation to the mass media (radio and TV) if even correct then, others insight in the era of the Internet.  This process of creating an open society has a far broader brief and with a far finer grain today - , the TV of the sitting room viewed by a family, is now a smart device in your pocket that goes with you to the lavatory, to bed, as you commute between work and in coffee and lunch breaks.

It will soon be wearable, not only always on, but always attached as goggles, glasses, ear-piece, strap or badge. If 'technology extended senses' McLuhan, 1965. p.8 then the technology we hold, pocket and wear today, are a prosthesis to our senses and to the manner in which the product of these senses is stored, labelled, interpreted, shared, re-lived, and reflected upon.

If Mercators maps and cartography altered 16th century mentality what do Google Maps and Street View do for ours?

Did  the world of sound gives way to the world of vision? (McLuhan, 1965 p.19). What could we learn from anthropologists who looked at non–literate natives with literate natives, the non–literate man with the Western man. Synchronous conversation online is bringing us back to the power and value of the spoken word - even if it can be recorded, visualised with video and transcripted to form text. The power, nuance and understanding from an interchange is clear.


Barham, L (2013) From Hand to Handle: The First Industrial Revolution

Carpenter, E and H M McLuhan (19xx) 'Explorations in communications'. Acoustic Space

Cruttwell, P (1955) The Shakespearean Moment (New York; Columbia) New York. Random House.

Hall, E.T. (1959) The Silent Langauge Lord, A.A. (1960) The Singer of the Tales (Cambridge. M.A. Harvard University Press)

Drucker, Peter F. "The technological revolution: notes on the relationship of technology, science, and culture." Technology and Culture 2.4 (1961): 342-351.

Mayer-Schönberger, V (2009) Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age

Popper, K. (1945)  The Open Society and Its Enemies, Volume One. Routledge (1945, reprint 2006)

Rogers, E.E. (1962) The Diffusion of Innovations.

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OLDs MOOC 2013 WK5 Activity 1.2 Design-Based Research:A Decade of Progress in Education Research

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 14:06

Skim through the article Design-Based Research:A Decade of Progress in Education Research? by Anderson and Shattuck, noting in particular the section on iterative design

Bridging the chasm between design and execution

I found this article on design based research not only fascinating, but oddly synchronous with the MAODE (Master of Arts: Open and Distance Education) module I am currently doing - H809 Practice based research in educational technology - as my interest is in how we construct learning programmes for use through our various Internet connected devices.

‘DBR is a methodology designed by and for educators that seeks to increase the impact, transfer, and translation of education research into improved practice’. (Anderson and Shattuck, 2012. p. 16)

We are currently stripping down a couple of papers.

I can see that I will automate this process, do a review of who, what, when, why a paper is written. Then check as a skim read for other signs that make it credible for my interests (or creditable at all).

  • Being Situated in a Real Educational Context
  • Focusing on the Design and Testing of a Significant Intervention
  • Involving multiple iterations
  • Involving a Collaborative Partnership Between Researchers and Practitioners
  • Evolution of Design principles

In action research, the educator is both researcher and teacher
(Kuhn & Quigley, 1997).

This becomes inevitable. And is played out in just about anything we do if we think either that there is a problem with it or that it can be improved and we want to improve it. On the one hand as player and participant we are in the best position to understand what is going on, on the other we may be so adapted to certain behaviours and to the familiarity of a situation that we cannot see it with either fresh eyes or the eyes of an objective observer. These are techniques and attitudes that can be taught. 

Mingfong, Yam San, and Ek Ming (2010) identified four design characteristics that they suggest must be aligned to create effective interventions. These are:

  1. Frameworks for learning,
  2. The affordances of the chosen instructional tools,
  3. Domain knowledge presentation,
  4. Contextual limitations

(Mingfong et al 1020 p. 470).

Design practice—whether in the manufacture of cars or of fashions—usually evolves through the creation and testing of prototypes, iterative refinement, and continuous evolution of the design, as it is tested in authentic practice. (Anderson and Shattuck, 2012. p. 17)

“Research through mistakes.”  (Anderson and Shattuck, 2012. p. 17)

I came across this in the OU MBA module B822 'creativity, innovation and change' - where mistakes are recognised as a test and a way forward, rather than a barrier to change or innovation.

Grayson Perry - is one of several artists and creatives who talk positively of mistakes. It's how we learn.

Martin Sorrell - on mistakes in business

There are many others - a search 'mistakes' in this blog will find more.

Further Reading

Journal of the Learning Sciences, vol. 13, no. 1; Educational Researcher, vol. 32, no. 1; and
Educational Psychologist, vol. 39, no. 4.


Anderson, T, & Shattuck, J 2012, 'Design-Based Research:A Decade of Progress in Education Research?', Educational Researcher, 1, p. 16, JSTOR Arts & Sciences IV, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 February 2013.

Mingfong, J., Yam San, C., & Ek Ming, T. (2010). Unpacking the design process in design-based research. In Proceedings opedagogy

Kuhn, G., & Quigley, A. (1997). Understanding and using action research in practice settings. In A. Quigley & G. Kuhne (Eds.), Creating practical knowledge through action research (pp. 23–40). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Looi, C.-K., Chen, W. the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (Vol. 2). International Society of the Learning Sciences.

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Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Mar 2013, 06:47


Fig. 1. Way is will be ...

  • Way was
  • Way is
  • Way will be ...

Web 1.0 Top down and traditional

Web 2.0 Democratization of information - anyone can publish

Web 30 The data takes over - construction and reconstructing itself to form unique and original combinations, even coming up with new ideas?

This is doodled on the back of a handout from the Web Science Docotoral Training Centre, University of Southampton where I had spent the afternoon. Serendipty really - the long train journey in and back and the iPad had run out of juice obling me to do some reading. In any case, pen on paper is often the best place to express thoughts, to 'get them out there' in a skamp or draft form.

This is how Dion Hinchcliffe expresses it:


With a link to hundreds of his diagrams


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Three years blogging here

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 6 Feb 2013, 22:09


That's every day. Invaluable.

Day one ... of 1097.

So there ought to be 1097 posts ... it looks like it, but is there some way of knowing?

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Wikipedia is the diving board ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Feb 2013, 14:34


... the rest of the Internet is the pool.

I may even skip the diving board these days. I am used to viewing Wikipedia content, but once you get into a subject you may find that a) it is inaccurate b) it is rather thin c) there are choices and selections that build in the bias of the last editor.

So I defer to Britanica, or Google Scholar, then I check the author, or the institution or the credibility of the paper.

You can have huge fun drilling through to the detail.



Here are the newly weds - Franz Ferdinand and Sophie.

I challenged myself to write 60 seconds on the Assisination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and found myself, whether or not I was meant to be there, in the Hapsburg Family blog looking at family photos of historic figures and hearing stories about grandparents and greatgrandparents.

Every morning Sophie Chotek, Franz Ferdindand's non-royal wife, would peel him an apple.

Mmm. Not sure what I'm meant to do with that information!

The power of Wikipedia of course is when you feel suitably informed to go back and correct something. As I got to know all the players in the assassination of 28th June 1914 I was able to go in and correct errors. It said somewhere that Franz was an only child - actuall there is a brother and sister. They, like Franz Ferdinand's father and grandfather the Emperor didn't attend their heir to the Austrian Empire's thone because they thought Sophie beneath their royal status.

Some other nonsense had crept in about Princip eating a sandwhich after the earlier failed attempt to blow Franz Ferdinand up with a hand thrown bomb. (There were no fewer that seven of them up and down the street waiting for thier chance).

It'll be interesting to see what nonsense the film makers bring to the countless revisting and rewriting of this period in history - scripts will have been written, any series will be in production.

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What e-learning looks like

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Feb 2013, 12:01


Fig. 1.

Spaced education Randomized controlled trial. Kerfoot et al 2008.


Since 2006 Harvard Medical School has used a straightforward spaced education tool to deliver sets of questions to medical students. These multiple choice questions are both the resource and the test, they teach as you go through the 'pack'. In the case of urology there are 100 questions. A randomised controlled test shows how those who use the system do so much better than those who do not. It helps to lodge information in the long term memory, by feeding questions back to participatns, even once they have got them right, the natural tendency to forget is thwarted.


Kerfoot, B, P (2008) Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Armstrong,E.G., O’Sullivan,P.M., JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Volume 23, Number 7 Harvard Medical International.

Kerfoot, B, P., & Brotschi, E (2009a), ‘Online spaced education to teach urology to medical students: a multi-institutional randomized trial’,American Journal Of Surgery, 197, 1, pp. 89-95

Matzie, K, Kerfoot, B, P., Hafler, J, & Breen, E (2009b), ‘Spaced education improves the feedback that surgical residents give to medical students: a randomized trial’, American Journal Of Surgery, 197, 2, pp. 252-257

Kerfoot, B, P., Armstrong, E, & O'Sullivan, P n.d., (2009c) 'Interactive spaced-education to teach the physical examination: A randomized controlled trial', Journal Of General Internal Medicine, 23, 7, pp. 973-978, Science Citation Index, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 February 2013.

Shaw, T, Long, A, Chopra, S, & Kerfoot, B,P. (2011), ‘Impact on clinical behavior of face-to-face continuing medical education blended with online spaced education: A randomized controlled trial’, Journal Of Continuing Education In The Health Professions, 31, 2, pp. 103-108



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I had a dream ... and I blame the Open University

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 18 Nov 2013, 15:06

Fig. 1. A mash-up in Picasa of a 3D laser generated image generated at the Design Museum during their 'Digital Crystal' exhibition.

The image exists and is transformed by the presence of the observer in front of a Kinex device making this a one-off and an expression or interpretation of that exact moment.

'Working with dreams' and 'Keeping a dream journal' are taught creative problem solving techniques at the Open University Business School. I did B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' in 2012 (Henry et al 2010). I have the problem solving toolkit. I even got a hardback copy of VanGundy's book on creative problem solving.

Using your unconscious isn't difficult. Just go to bed early with a 'work' related book and be prepared to write it down when you stir.

I woke soon after 4.00am.

I'd nodded off between 9.30 and 11.30 so feel I've had my sleep.

Virtual bodies for first year medical students to work on, an automated mash-up of your 'lifelog' to stimulate new thinking and the traditional class, lecture and university as a hub for millions - for every student you have in a lecture hall you have 1000 online.

Making it happen is another matter.

I'm writing letters and with far greater consideration working on a topic or too for research.

"Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day." — C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

How to work with a dream or metaphorical image:

  • Enter the dream
  • Study the dream
  • Become the images
  • Integrate the viewpoints
  • Rework the dream

Appreciating, reflecting, looking forward and emerging


Glouberman, D. (1989) Life Choices and Life Changes Through Imagework, London, Unwin, pp. 232-6

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs. Little Brown.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving (2nd edn), New York: Van Nostran Reinhold.



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Lonely Little Cloudworks

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 11:29

Lonely Little Clouds

There are all kinds of ways to share your learning online.

Have you tried Cloudworks?

The group I've been wokring in have dubbed them 'lonely little clouds'.

They are.

I takes me a while to spot my own, let alone find anyone else or specific group activity. Navigation is a nightmare. Instead of being tethered to the ground like a kit, every time you enter Cloudworks it is like trying to get a helium filled party baloon to go in a specific direction by blowing on it.

Serendipty built in.

There's no sign in page. To login in I click through pages until something I want to do requires a sign in.


Blog posts can be the same.

Finding the place, space, time and group where there will be some co-ordinated as well as vicarious engagement is not so easy. Getting it to work is a science not an art.

I had experience of listServ in 2001 on the original Masters in Open and Distance Learning.

I rather think it was a bit like this platform. It worked because you could respond in turn.

I also find the right forums in Linkedin work where there are enough people contributing to the degree that an asynchronous conversation becomes quasi synchronous.

There are ways and habits and even an acquired culture of behaviours with all of these.

The most valuable insights I have gained comes from being part of this Open University Student Blogging Platform.

You have a basic blog, but every post from all students is posted in a strict chronology just like the old, threaded ListServ. One hand on top of the other.

Like cards being dealt from a pack.

Your voice gets its chance. Never mind if it isn't picked up. It has its life in your blog too.

It's as if it is getting two chances of being spotted. A third would be to 'stack' an entry in a subject specifc platform too. i.e. common categories creating another distinct list.

This means that anyone who is active has a chance of being read.

There's no obligation. But it impies when you post publically that you are part of a collective enterprise rather than a diarist writing on your space, strictly on your terms.

And it doesn't offer bells and whistles.

Nor should it. This platform offers a way in for the novice. In fact, I recall how I struggled three years ago when I first joined in. Why couldn't it be like WordPress or Blogger or LiveJournal? I'm glad that it isn't, glad that there is a sense of continuity with bulletin boards and the ListServe.

It works.

Both from my own modules and especially the eclectic mix of everyone else here, I have been introduced to a wonderful myriad of possibilities, ideas and perspectives.

There's a very tricky balance that decides if one means of communicating catches on, or even works with a particular group.

I am going to throw myself at the OLDs MOOC afain this afternoon and see if I can see where my head should be.



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