Updated in 2019 as thee 2013 link was dead.
Updated in 2019 as thee 2013 link was dead.
I dutifully followed an OLD MOOC 2013 link to an article that pertained to offer a checklist for a would-be e-learning designer to get their head around the 'context of learning.' The article takes the model and theory of an Activity System and implies they will then offer this as a check list - I literally expected a set of questions and a check box set against the key concepts/issues of an Activity System:
Though by doing so forgets crucial hidden issues such as the 'action' or activity between these points, the historicity of an activity system in a chronology of change, the interaction of more than one activity system to generate an alternative object ... and so on.
It has to be a matter of choice and working practice, but for me an Activity System drawn up as a triangle with interacting nodes on a large sheet of paper is a far better way to visualise and share the components involved. The very process of explaining what each node represents becomes a point of discussion, disagreement and compromise that forces ideas into the open.
Fig. 2. Engestrom's Activity System in practice - addressing accessible e-learning
I have even gone so far as to take out chess pieces and put them at these nodes to represent 'community' for example ... and have pieces of string to denote the activity and interactions.
Fig.3. Getting an Activity System visualised and closer to the real world - as interaction between people.
Then if people aren't flummoxed to add a second activity system to represent separate communities or system with a common goal that through interaction will produce a valid, for different, new and unexpected outcome (or Object 3 if you follow Engestrom closely). In this respect sharing how Activity Systems can help explain the context becomes a creative problem solving exercise and a crucial part of early learning design analysis.
Fig. 4. How Engestrom takes Activity Theory to the next step and conceptualises the interactions between two systems. A meeting of minds or a meeting of institutions?
I found reading about Activity Theory without the classic equilateral triangle rather like trying to describe a rhinoceros without a picture.
Fig. 5. From 'Methods & Tools' (1999) Not a checklist so much as a table.
The above strikes me as rather like itemisizing the parts of a jelly-fish in an Excel Spreadsheet. This works for some people - a unique a tiny minority. The entire purpose of laying out an Activity Sytem as a diagram is to help make the complex seem less so - Kaptelinin et al have done the exact opposite.
Engeström, Y (1999) ‘Activity theory and individual and social transformation’, in Y. Engeström, R, Miettinen and R.-L. Punamaki (eds) Perspectives on Activity Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kaptelinin, V.; Nardi, B. A. & Macaulay, C. (1999), 'Methods & tools: The activity checklist: a tool for representing the "space" of context', interactions 6 (4) , 27--39 .
A year ago I was relishing creative problem solving in business using techniques developed largely by Van Gundy. I just got this 1970s edition hardback through the post from the US. A little indulgent, but hopefully of practical use too.
Odd for me not to have it as an eBook. These days I prefer to shift from iBook to Kindle or to PC screen to read, annotate, note, highlight ... even share online to Twitter and Facebook as a I read.
My interest here is the shift from science-fiction to fact - that AI - artificial intelligence on the web can and is delivering support. This will manifest itself in various ways, including support and assessment of early drafts of written assignments, possibly reading a blog to comment where others don't ... and to aid those who are isolated or at odds with the technology.
This book takes it into the realm of companions, as talking 'pets', as reflections of the user and potentially even after many years of support becoming a virtual record or avatar of the deceased.
Wilks, Y (2010) (ed)Close Engagements with Artificial Companions. Volume 8. Key social, psychological, ethical and design issues. Natural Language Processing. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
I'm always loath to start a blog or learning journal away from the platforms I've used for the last five years - Wordpress since 2007 (www.mymindbursts.com) 1500+ entries and as an OU postrgraduate student here since February 2010 (1000+ entries) ... and before this in Diaryland.com since 1999 1.5m words.
I believe in the format, I've kept a diary for long enough.
I rather like the idea of being able instead to blab into a webcam like Jack Sully in Avatar. I guess I could talk to Siri on the iPad but then it still has to be edited and posted somewhere ... here if it is to be shared (which is the whole point).
My experience with learning online for the last three years (Masters in Open and Distance Education) is that when at this level someone says it'll take 'x hours' in the week I double the number before I decide if I can make the time - this takes care of needing to familiarise myself with the landscape.
I can take 'x hours' and multiply by 4 if there is new software involved, even longer to the point of giving up if it isn't immediately obvious, intuitive and FUN.
I'm doing the OLDS MOOC 2013. A fellow MOOCer (and successful MOADEr too) pointed me towards Pearltrees and I feel in love.
But then again, I take both a professional interest and have the boyish curiosity that makes me click on everything anyway. So we'll see
I've skipped in and out of week 1 trying to follow the instructions blut feeling like one in a thousand playing a game of treasure hunt.
Or, like one of several hundred on the first evening of an OU Residential School. With an added difficulty here - all Holiday In's look the same, but the platforms here are not.
Even Cloudworks, which I tried during an MAODE module, looks as unfamiliar as it did 18 months ago. I couldn't get it then ... though I played ball, wrote and posted, but got no interaction. It felt like I was being sent into the jungle to list the flora and collect insects and meet fellow travellers but what I found as a desert full of chimeras.
Do I join I club when it is clear I've become one of those students the OU will never get rid of?
I signed off H810 at noon - and in so doing complete the 'set' for the Masters in Open and Distance Education.
H810 - Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students
H807 - Innovations in E-learning (replaced by H817 which starts in a few weeks time)
H808 - The E-Learning Professional
H800 - Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates
B822 - Creativity, Innovation and Change (An MBA module, extraordinary and insightful but now rolled into several modules rather than stand alone. A shame, as I came across other non-MBA people doing it as an elective)
I signed on to H809: Practice-based research in educational technolgy for good measure which gives me exactly 7 days to twiddle my thumbs. Actually, I am reading, without pressure, a few books that I stumbled upon over the last 3 years:
Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory. (2009) Ed. Annalisa Sannino, Harry Daniels and Kris Gutierrez. Kindle Version.
(Unfortunately for me this unpicks a piece of the assignment I've just sent off. Activity Systems can't really apply to a digitised world apparently)
Groundswell: winning in a world transformed by social technologies. (2006) Charlene Li, Josh Bernoff. Kindle Version
The Timeless Way of Building. Christopher Alexander (when it arrives from the US)
Often referred to during the MAODE.
Techniques of Structured Problem Solving. VanGundy (when it arrives from the US)
At the core of 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'. We recieved a handbook of problem solving techniques that contained many of these.
Two celebrate completing H810 I have bought myself this. Christopher Alexander is often quotes during the Masters in Open and Distance Education - to design e-learning is like constructing a building.
And then because it's Amazon I find there is another treat, going back a year, from B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change.
The only problem is - we have no shelves. None. Our last house I had a 'study' with floor to ceiling shelves and as many books. Five years after moving the books are still in storage ...
I do books. E-Books. Shelves are redundant. Even a small room can look big if it doesn't feature a stack of books.
I recommend both.
I always ask this, and often respond by going out to get the book in question, but do you have a book you'd recommend?
P.S. I have signed up for H809: Practise Based Educational Technology ... so you got me for a few more months. (If I get onto a PhD programme I might be here for another three years ... )
The final, final, final, final assignment of my Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) ... or just the beginning?
Deep breath, bath and shave. Then ponder 'what next?'
I have never finished an assignment within a few hours of the deadline - it has taken, what 16 assignment and five modules to reach the stage with my FINAL assignment that I am satisfied with my fifth draft and can upload FIVE days ahead of the deadline.
If only I had understood the need to get to this stage, give or take a few days, many months ago ... to get on top of the subject in good time.
I have a week to decide whether to follow H809 on research methods ... with a view to beginning a PhD in September 2013!!!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
My PhD topic might be on user generated content used in social learnign or the development of virtual companion (artificiual intellifence) to support people with dementia or recovering from a stroke.
Or I get a proper job
Now there's a put down! This said by a Cabinet Minister to a Duke. Both fictional and from the pen of Saki.
Far better than 'pleb' - a public school boy cliche.
Should I be doing something else? Of course, I've got an EMA to write on accessible e-learning for students with disabilities.
I'm rewarding myself with something else for an hour or two. Picking my way through 'Story Writing' by Edith R Mirrielees (1949) who while at Stanford taught creative writing to John Steinbeck in 1919.
Courtesy of browsing through my own and two other tutor groups, and looking at the lists produced by a couple of student friends who did H810 in 2010 and 2011 I've developed this 'long list' of 13 issues. I wanted to eliminate concepts and models, which were distracting me. I struggled repeatedly to get these in any order until I did two things:
1) put the issues into my context, knowing the set up and people, what could or would result in something happening for the better in relation to delivering any learning, let alone accessible e-learning for those for whom there are barriers from a variety of known impairments or disabilities
2) create a table of all 13 issues and compare one to the other as less or more important IN MY CONTEXT.
My chosen context is the coaching and teaching of swimming in the UK - with e-learning available for teachers, coaches, club officials, parents and athletes.
I particularly want to thank Simon Carrie who has my point 3 as his first issue - I hadn't given it a moment's thought but in my context, and no doubt in the context of most of us, it cearly is very important - people and tools cost time and money.
(The ones I am likely to pick for the EMA are highlighted - skewed by the needs and practices of my chosen context)
1 Objecti(ive) - The importance of and scoping of the objective as means to an outcome
2 Subject - Significance or role of the subject (student/lecturer) User Centred Design. Involve users in the design.
3 Incentives - Incentives to invest
4 Universal Design - Universal Design/Equity
5= Novice 2 Expert - The role of the novice to learn, participate and develop expertise.
5= Framework for change - A framework for change - An Activity Systems as a model for analysis and action
7 Tools - Role of tools - assistive, web pages, equipment and 'design for all'.
8 Contradictions - Contradictions , conflicts of problems with the actions between components of a recognised activity system
9= Rules - The role of rules (legalese and guidelines) - informal and formal
9= History - What the history of such efforts says about what should be done next and what can be achieved in the future.
11= Division of labour - Division of labour - who is responsible, who is the broker?
11= Community - The community as a ‘community of practices’ or a constellation of connections that engage and participate.
13 Game-like - Game-like play between institutions
What are your thoughts? In your context? How would you prioritise or word these issues? Are there more still (probably).
The two other contexts that interest me are from the point of view of an e-learning agency and from a client point of view.
For the latter - Object(ive) as everyone works to the brief once this is written with clear objectives, universal design for those for whom design as an expressions of creativity and problem solving is important. Tools as agencies are expected to come up with a 'clever' technical response. Framework for change - as in a consultancy capacity the agency will be expected to offer some actionable plan.
For the former - Incentives (as performance Improvement), Rules (legal and mission compliance) and division of labour (who does what) are likely to be significant.
I'm still thinking this through so share it here - actually I'm finding support from fellow MAODErs who did H810 in 2010 and 2011 as our tutor group is so exceptionally quiet .
I've also been following other tutor groups and can't wonder why some of these groups weren't merged some time ago for the benefit of all - putting us in silos isn't working, which shows the lack of flexibility in this 'system'. One caveat, I know from past experience that there will always be some who care to be more active online than others - I recall being part of one tutor group where some six of the 12 were highly engaged online on other platforms anyway so that anything any of us posted was immediately picked up by the others.
Just a note here on the learning process and the online learning experience
Having the opportunity to share thoughts, get it wrong, be corrected, think through the complexities and come to your own conclusions is surely a vital part of learning online? Indeed, using tools such as this, the blog ... and the wiki are what differentiates online learning in 2012/2013 compared to distance learning of a decade ago or more when you got a box of books and DVDs through the post with some instructions on what to read and when to hand in an essay. (Decades ago I've had a file insert sent in the post each month, or an audio cassette - self-directed learning requiring a huge amount of will power).
So, for anyone who wishes to consider why some issue are more important than others, and to clarify the difference between an issue, a model or a concept, here are my thoughts on what to take from Chapters 11,12 and 13.
Having cut out the duplications and overlaps and categorised the 'issues' I can only find ten. I would have thought one way or another THREE can be selected for the EMA from these. The next step is to rank them. I've loaded these into a table and cross-referenced each. I could write 500 words on each - the problems is to write 1800 or so on each of three.
From Chapter 11
1 Game-like play between institutions
3 The role of rules (legalese and guidelines) - informal and formal
From Chapter 12
4 Role of tools
5 Significance or role of the subject (student/lecturer)
6 The importance of and scoping of the objective as means to an outcome.
X Rules (see above)
X Community (see below)
7 Contradictions , conflicts of problems with the actions requires between components of a recognised activity system
8 The role of the novice to learn, participate and develop expertise.
9 What the history of such efforts says about what should be done next and what can be achieved in the future.
From Chapter 13
10 The community as a ‘community of practices’ or a constellation of connections that engage and participate.
I am close to my THIRD YEAR blogging here. Just the most amazing and crazy journey which, if I remember at one stage had me click on a link at the bottom 'jobs' and end up at the Open University itself. I felt rather like a priest visiting the Vatican ... then decided that being away from home all week made me too miserable. Anyway, I particularly enjoy following the Creative Writing Course as so many students post here. I've had my moments of writing fiction ... and scored one minor hit writing, then directing a short film that was bought by Channel 4. No, it clearly didn't spell the beginnign of a new career. But I so still hanker after constructing a long form story - a novel or screenplay. No amount of writing will get you there, you have to read a lot AND take advice.
This is a self-imposed exercise, finding a story for every day of the duration of the First World War - thats 1568 posts to a blog. This story related to 28th June which triggered it all. Like someone fickling the first domino in a domino cascade .... the world came tumbling down, indeed the second world war and the Balkans conflict are all part of the same mess, indeed the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and nationalism in the Middle East probably transcends all of this too.
I should keep on writing - call it 'The 100 Years War' 1914 to 2014.
You are one of the wealthiest and privileged men in the world and likely, by all accounts, to be one of the most powerful men too some day soon, but you are deeply unhappy and married as protocol requires to another European royal.
You are Crown Prince Rudolph of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - wanting for nothing and everything. Your are also crushingly unhappy - the privilege a burden.
Then you fall in love and like royals before you the woman becomes your mistress - two years of bliss are doomed when your father the Emperor demands that it ends. Rather than give each other up you commit suicide, shooting first your 17 year old mistress, then turning the gun on yourself.
Love for a girl and hate for the Empire could only be resolved through violence. The year is 1889.
Some two decades later your nephew, the heir presumptive since your own death, appears to have it all - a compromise had been found when he refused to give up the woman he wished to marry in 1890. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, stunningly wealthy, happily married to the Countess Sophie Chotek - the woman he loves, with three healthy children, and trained up through his military career to rule would expect to become the next emperor soon - his grandfather the Emperor Franz Josef is now in his 80s.
Then, on the morning of Sunday 28th June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand's misplaced 'love' for his subjects and his unquestioning love for his wife puts them both in an open top tourer on a formal visit to the Austro-Hungarian provincial capital of Sarajevo.
Hate looms in the form of the 19 year old Gravilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist, desperately poor, principled, prepared and determined. Under instructions and guidance from the leaders of the radical Serbian terrorist group 'The Black Hand' he finds himself positioned on the route the Archduke will take back and forth through Sarajevo with six others - armed and eager to kill.
In their different ways both Franz Ferdinand and Gravilo Princip disliked what the Austro-Hungarian Empire represented and how it behaved - both had ideas of how the problem could be fixed - Franz through compromise and accommodation - he tabled a federation of Austro-Hungarian states in 1906 -while both Count Rudolph at one end of the scale and Princip at the other, both felt that two bullets from a revolver were the pill that wold fix everything when others controlled your life in a way that you found intolerable.
Two world wars later, nearly 50 million dead and conflict only recently resolved in the Balkans and if there is a one word lesson to take from the 20th century it is 'Diplomacy'.
I can testify personally to the skill and dedication of this extraordinary band of people, who worked tirelessly to anticipate and deal with every conceivable security problem in order to keep us safe.
Could this be said of making e–learning accessible?
Anticipating every conceivable accessibility problem?
My first area of concern is the sporting legacy for disabled people. LOCOG deserves particular praise for delivering the first fully integrated Games, with the Paralympics as much a part of the games as the Olympics.
Surely to be fully intergrated 'both' games would have to run together rather than separately - intergration and equity means like for like, as part of the same commmunity, as fellow people whoever you are.
Can we have the first fully integrated university, with students with disabilities as much a part of the undergraduate world?
To provide a legacy for children with disabilities who are being educated in mainstream schools, as most are, we need teachers to be appropriately trained, to know what assistive technology and software is available and where to get it. These teachers do not currently receive this training automatically but are instead expected to undertake training voluntarily in their own time.
The Government must change this system.
They should also make funds available to schools to bring in outside coaches to help.
My time at Goldmansachs taught me about leadership in the most demanding environments. I discovered the value of working with talented people and the benefits of teamwork; that there is nothing worse than an unhappy client; the importance of communicating clear goals; and the need to execute against these goals day in and day out to the highest standards.
It is that experience which has guided my work at London 2012, where I have also enjoyed the unstinting support and wise guidance of my noble friend Lord Coe, with whom I shared a trust and friendship which enabled us to meet the project's many and diverse challenges.
The Games on their own were never going to change the world and it is not fair to expect that.
I believed that they could provide a moment that would open the public's eyes to possibilities for disabled people and a moment where, at a basic level, the public would stop talking about the "real", the "normal" or the "proper" Games when they meant the Olympics and "the other Olympics" when they really meant the Paralympics.
Language is the dress of thought, and inclusion is more than putting a few Paralympic images on a poster or in a line-up
Equality is not a tick-box exercise. There has to be substance beneath it. LOCOG proved that time and time again.
It celebrated the similarities between the Games and, where appropriate, the differences.
Never once in all my time involved in these Games did I feel like a second-class citizen in sport. I cannot say that that has always been the case. The legacy is more than sport and physical activity.
On a personal level, very recently, I had difficulty getting off a train. I had to sit on the floor by the toilet, push my chair off the steps before I shuffled to the door to transfer off.
Do we really need to wait until 2020 to have accessible transport?
If we can deliver an amazing Games, we can do other big projects too. Recently, I was invited to a dinner where I had to use the back entrance to get in. When I wanted to use the bathroom, it took several minutes to find a ramp and, while I was in the bathroom, it was taken away and I could not get back down the steps-not quite inclusion.
Education's rightful place should be at the epicentre of the Olympic sports legacy. We need a revolution, on the back of a successful Games, in the delivery of school sport. Every primary school needs dedicated physical education delivered to national curriculum standard; provided by well-trained, focused individuals; and supported by a vibrant, accessible and sustainable interschool sports programme which is, in turn, supported and linked into the national governing body competition calendars.
If there was ever fertile ground for David Cameron's vision of the big society, it is through sport and recreation.
Control, power, jobs and funding needs to be shifted from bureaucratic, micromanaged structures under the influence of Whitehall to families, clubs, volunteers, community groups and schools, who should be empowered with the task of translating the inspiration of the Games into participation.
While I have focused on the BOA today and the vital need to deliver on the Olympic sports legacy, there is no doubt that equal attention should be given to the British Paralympic Association and to sport for those with disabilities.
For this summer gave us a moment to understand the abilities of the world's Olympians, not their disabilities.
Disability access was one of the largest areas under discussion. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, is not present but I remember saying to him, "Listen, it is not about disability; it is about the Olympics. We have the disability stuff in place".
Those discussions probably helped to make the Paralympic Games such a success. We undertook the relevant work at an early stage.
Lord Hall of Birkinhead
Being involved in the arts and culture can give you a sense of confidence and self-worth and that is why it is so important that the arts remain strong within the national curriculum, and why they should be included in the new English baccalaureate. That would be a good legacy of the Games. When the Globe Theatre ambitiously put on all 37 Shakespeare plays in 37 different languages, people came from all around the world and 80% of those who came had never been to the Globe before.
It was an extraordinary outcome.
We need to look at ways of continuing that. One idea is a biennale, which is one of the things that the board I chair is looking at for the Government. It would be good to know that the Government are building on what was achieved this summer in terms of new audiences.
Fig. 1. The Video Arts development journey from linear storytelling on film to multisourced, chunked, networked and open learning.
Professionally I came in with VHS - shot on Umatic then Betacam, edited on 1" tape then digitally. In 1986 Abbey National still distributed staff news on an AV slide carousel - there has always been inertia, though today change, new versions and upgrades are built into the system - or an accepted way of life. Visiting a regional BBC TV Station in 1989 I thought it was behind the production processes used in Soho and Covent Garden - the advertising industry, events and training business were all quicker to develop.
DVD are missing, as are intranets. Computer based learning in house, in a learning lab, then dispersed on internal systems developed in the mid 1990s. You can put the Philips Laser Disc in there too - mid to late 1980s before the CD-ROM took over.
Streamling and downloads needs to be expressed very differently too - I'd give it a very thin wedge to start with. Great expectations of bandwidth from 2000 for the next decade meant that the DVD quality of 3D animationa, video and so on was impossible - yet the DVD market died. Someone the ease of distribution and ease of response on the network was considered more important.
Production values remain the thing that set Video Arts apart - and humour. If you are not paying suitable attention to the messages then it is fun to spoke the likes of Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant playing bank branch managers or other actors whose names immediately escape you but you recall from a period drama or a sit come, pops up with their arm in a sling with a health and safety story or as a junior manager with autocratic behaviours.
The laptop, after the desk top, was our first 'mobile computer' of course and today as well as the tablet Smartphones are a devise that plays a role in learning - for a start, everything I can do and read here I can manage on a Smarphone.
You do find new ways to learn - my favourite, a genuine creative problem solving technique according to an Open University MBA module I took - is to express some ideas such as this, or have a first swing at answering part of an assignment - then nod of. A ten minute sleep will do it. Either sinking into unconsciousness or coming back to consciousness I will be aware that I am dwelling on some condundrum and I just may have figured something out. Just don't do this a few hours before an assignment is due and decide as a result of your 'dream spirits' that you are going to rewrite from the top.
My lines of enquiry can take me in some peculiar places.
All I wanted to do was write a 60 second piece on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the streets of Sarajevo on the morning of Sunday 28th June 1914. (Around 300 words to read, 260 or so out loud for video, even less with pauses)
Not a simple issue, and after a day of reading and several thousand words and enough for a 20 minute documentary I conclude that the story has to begin centuries before with the conquest of the Balkans by the Ottoman Empire ... then first ideas for a Greater Serbian State free not just of the Ottoman Empire, but also of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from around 1901.
There were seven assassins on the street - trained, armed with revolvers and hand-thrown bombs ready to act. It was well organised, the target agreed many months before, the nationalist group behind it already with a successful regicide on its books.
Had the Archduke listened to advice he would not have been in Sarajevo and he most certainly would not have returned to the streets after the first failed attempt on his life when a bomb was thrown at this car but ended up under the vehicle behind seriously wounded several and injuring many more.
The vital thing for all students to understand is that treaties, the Great Powers taking sides, and agitations of many kinds had the players on the field eager to get started. When you've got a fight brewing in the playground and the kids, teachers and authorities are all shouting 'Fight! Fight! Fight!' that is what will happen. The assassination by a lone killer of the leader of the French Socialist Party Jean Jaures, who was determined to find a peaceful solution in late July 1914 indicated the mood - the assassin was considered heroic.
I've been through the sixty minutes that take the 19 year old Gavrilo Princip from one side of the Quay Appel at around 10.15 am as the entoruage pass to the opposite side of the Street and the Rue Frans Joseph where he is standing with a revolver by the side of the road when the entourage returns stops in front of him and starts to reverse putting the assassin less that 5ft away from the Archduke and Duchess at around 10.50 am. Princip is a good shot, he's been practising for months. He shot twice - once at the Archduke, then at the Duchess. The first bullet entered the Archduke's neck. piercing the external jugular and lodging itself in his spine. At this short range it suggests that the bullet 'mushroomed' on impact, otherwise it would surely have penetrated the rear seat of the vehicle. The second bullet entered the Duchess's abdomen.
Curious to see it all in my mind's eye I Google away and have ample to read on gunshots to the neck - including medical and surgical papers I can read through the OU Library. A hundred years on a surgeon on hand and a dash to the hospital and the Archduke may have survived - though damage to his spine would have left him a quadriplegic. 65-60% fatality even today. Also a 30% chance of brain damage. Ligation of the vein. Count Harrac was at the Archduke's side put a handkerchief against the wound, what he needed to do was reach in and grip either side of the severed vein.
To save the Duchess it sounds as if a laparotomy would have been required urgently using procedures to control the damage done to the abdomen - such surgery only started to become common place in the 1950s. An 'abbreviated laparotomy with physiologic resuscitation in the intensive care unit and staged abdominal reconstruction' would have done the job - indeed I've just read about people with multiple shots across the abdomen from a machine gun who survive - in 2011. So fly in the air ambulance time machine and bring her out ... or just get there a few moments earlier and stop the whole shenanigans.
This below, for a contemporary take on field surgery in a war zone is a gripping, heartwarming, informed read. I guess after 6 weeks in somewhere like Iraq an US surgeon is ready for Chicago or the Comptons, Los Angeles.
Surgeon Soldier in Iraq – Part 2: Exsanguinating Hemorrhage
Fig. 1. End of Year 2012 Ante-smoking TV commercial and campaign
If you find the current anti-smoking ads powerful, in which a cigarette grows a life-like tumour as it is smoked, then imagine what the word 'disembowel' conjures up?
I do not suggest that you Google the word as I did wanting to correct my spelling 'disembowl' - which, if correctly defined might mean nothing more challenging that taking a bowl out of a cupboard, or away from a child who is playing with their breakfast.
I deliberately offer neither a link, nor an image.
It shocked me that even I could so naively stumble upon a gallery of such horrific proportions that includes CCTV footage of road accidents and the aftermath of murders, killings and war zone collateral damage. I am now forever damaged. My mind will run amok with these images forever - to scrub them would require cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnosis.
If I ever need to put my teenage children off the idea of riding on a motorbike, or getting a motorbike of their own I know what Google search will will put them off, potentially keep them off a pedal bike too. I've now seen what happens when a truck hits a stationary motorbike that is waiting to take, in this instance, a left turn off the main road.
I believe in the power of images - for advertising and for learning purposes.
I believe that the more genuine the image, however contrived and constructed, in its appropriate context - the more memorable the facts, events and circumstances are as a force to inform or educate. I believe also that where this image is animated, live or as live video, with both visual and auditory clues, the more powerful it becomes.
The police don't show reconstructions of traffic accidents to drunk or reckless drivers - they show them the real thing.
Fig.1 Groundhog Day staring Bill Murray
At what point does the protagonist in the film 'Groundhog Day' - TV weatherman Phil Connors played by Bill Murray - unite the Punxsutawney community? How does he do it? And what does this tell you about communities of practice? (Wenger 1998)
Fig. 2. Chick Peas - a metaphor for the potential congealing effect of 'reificaiton'
Issues related to creating accessible e-learning
Pour some dry chickpeas into a tall container such as a measuring jug add water and leave to soak overnight. The result is that the chickpeas swell so tightly together that they are immovable unless you prize them out with a knife - sometimes the communities of practice are embedded and immovable and the only answer could be a bulldozer - literally to tear down the buildings and start again.
'Congealing experiences into thingness'. Seale (2006:179) or derived from Wenger (1998)
This is what happens when 'reification causes inertia' Wenger in Seale (2006:189).
'Reification' is the treatment of something abstract as a material or concrete thing. Britannica, 2012.
To ‘reify’ it to thingify’. Chandler (2000) , ‘it’s a linguistic categorization, its the conceptualization of spheres of influence, such as ‘social’,’educational’ or ‘technological’.’ (ibid)
'Reification creates points of focus around which the negotiation of meaning becomes organized'. Seale (2006)
It has taken over a century for a car to be tested that can take a blind person from a to b - the huge data processing requirements used to scan the road ahead could surely be harnessed to 'scan the road ahead' to make learning materials that have already been digitised more accessible.
Participating and reification - by doing you give abstract concepts form.
1) Institutional and individual factors need to be considered simultaneously.
2) Inclusivity (and equity), rather than disability and impairments, should be the perspective i.e. the fix is with society rather than the individual.
3) Evidence based.
4) Multifaceted approach.
5) Cultural and systemic change at both policy and practice levels.
6) Social mobility and lifelong learning were ambitions of Peter Mandelson (2009).
7) Nothing should be put or left in isolation - workshops with children from the British Dyslexia Association included self-esteem, literacy, numeracy, study skills and best use of technology.
8) Encouraging diversity, equity of access and student access.
9) Methods should be adapted to suit the circumstances under which they are being applied.
10) Technical and non-technical people need to work together to tackle the problems.
11) A shared repertoire of community practices ...
12) Design for participation not use .... so you let the late arrivals to the party in even if they don't drink or smoke (how would you integrated mermaids?)
13) Brokering by those who have multiple memberships of groups - though the greater the number of groups to which they belong the more likely this is all to be tangential.
14) Might I read constellation and even think collegiate?
15) If we think of a solar system rather than a constellation what if most are lifeless and inaccessible?
16) Brokers with legitimacy may cross the boundaries between communities of practice. Wenger (1998)
17) Boundary practices Seale (2003)
Fig. 3. John Niell, CBE, CEO and Group Chairman of UGC
Increasingly I find that corporate and institutional examples of where a huge change has occured are the product of the extraordinary vision and leadership of one person, who advocates putting the individual at the centre of things. Paying lip service to this isn't enough, John Neil CBE, CEO and now Chairman of the Unipart Group of Companies (UGC) called it 'The Unipart Way'.
Britannica (2012) Definition of reification. (Last accessed 22 Dec 2012 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/496484/reification)
Chandler, D (2000) Definition of Reify. (Last accessed 22 Dec 2012 http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/tecdet/tdet05.html)
Seale, J. (2006) E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice, Abingdon, Routledge; also available online at http://learn2.open.ac.uk/ mod/ subpage/ view.php?id=153062 (last accessed 23 Dec 2012).
Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Learning and identity
The concepts of learning and identity are closely interwoven and seen as a social process of making meaning, primly inspired by the situated learning. (Wenger 1998)
Identity is not only about our self image or other people’s image of ourselves, it is our way of living our everyday life, it is the layers of experiences and interpretations that we have made by participating in social practices (Wenger 1998) the nature of participation, power, enterprise, mutual engagement and sociality, shared repertoire, and identity
‘Legitimate peripheral participation is not itself an educational form, much less a pedagogical strategy or a teaching technique. It is an analytical viewpoint on learning, a way of understanding learning. We hope to make clear as we proceed that learning through legitimate peripheral participation takes place no matter which educational form provides a context for learning, or whether there is any intentional educational form at all'. (Lave and Wenger 1991, page 40).
Communities of Practice was developed by considering a wide range of apprenticeship learning situations, from traditional tailors through to participation in communities such as alcoholics anonymous.
Learning is thus characterised as a process of changing participation, from initial peripheral participation of the apprentice or, more generally, newcomer to the practices to the fuller participation available to a 'master' or old timer in the practices.
Wenger (1998) identifies three essential features:
Engaging in practice over a period of time develops a shared repertoire of practices,
understandings, routines, actions, and artefacts (Wenger 1998).
Participation in communities of practice is not only about learning to do, but as a part of doing, it is about learning to be (Lave and Wenger 1991)
Firstly, it shifts the focus from teaching to learning and the practices the learner engages in (Adler 1998).
Secondly, it recharacterises the role of the teacher as not primarily being a holder of knowledge but an expert in the practices of a subject based community. The teacher exemplifies for the learner how to legitimately participate in these practices.
Thirdly, as a situated theory of learning it helps to explains the issue of a lack of ‘transfer’ of knowledge from school to non-school contexts (see Evans 2000; Lave 1988; Lerman 1999, for a discussion of this issue).
Fourthly, it recognises the intimate connection between the ‘subject’ practices and the pedagogical practices and therefore helps us to understand why different pedagogies not only influence the amount that is learned but also what is learned. The acquisition (Lave 1988) or representational model (Seely Brown and Duguid 1989) of learning in school contexts distinguishes between what the students are to learn or to ‘acquire’, and the means by which this learning occurs. A division is made between subject and pedagogy.
Fifthly, it highlights the extent to which educators are not imparting knowledge nor even only helping their students to engage in particular social practices but rather to become particular types of human beings. Thus it opens avenues of inquiry to understand learners' patterns of identification and non-identification with schools mathematics (see for example, Boaler 2000)
The community of practice model, based on the metaphor or actuality of apprenticeship learning identifies three basic positions that participants take up.
These can be referred to in the following way:
However, it is clear that the basic positions in a classroom are not like this, there is generally a single teacher and a relatively large number of pupils. Moreover, the trajectory of participation of the student is not to become a teacher (Adler 1998; Lemke 1997; Lerman 1998).
One way of reconceptualising or extending Communities of Practice is to consider learning as taking place in 'ecologies of practices' (Boylan 2004)
Adler, J. (1998) "Lights and limits: Recontextualising Lave and Wenger to theorise knowledge ofteaching and of learning school mathematics." In Situated Cognition and the Learning of Mathematics, ed. Anne Watson, 161-177. Oxford: Centre for Mathematics Education, University of Oxford Department of Educational Studies.
Boaler, J. (2000) "Mathematics from another world: Traditional communities and the alienation of learners." Journal of Mathematical Behaviour 18, no. 3: 379-397.
Boylan, M (2004) Questioning (in) school mathematics: Lifeworlds and ecologies of practice PhD Thesis. Sheffield Hallam University
Herting, K (2006) Balancing on a thin line - Thoughts from a study of Swedish voluntary leaders in children’s football. AARE’s 36th Annual International Education Research Conference Adelaide Australia November 27 -30 2006
Lave, J, and Wenger.E (1991) Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lemke, J. (1997) "Cognition, context, and learning: A social semiotic perspective." In Situated Cognition: Social, Semiotic, and Psychological Perspectives, ed. David Kirshner and JamesWhitson, 37-56. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Lerman, S. (1998) "Learning as social practice: An appreciative critique." In Situated
Cognition and the Learning of Mathematics, ed. Anne Watson, 33-42. Oxford: Centre for
Mathematics Education, University of Oxford Department of Educational Studies.
Seely Brown, J, and P. Duguid. (1991) Organisational learning and communities of practice: Toward a unified view of working, learning and innovation. Accessed November 2000. Available from http://www.parc.xerox.com/ops/members/brown/papers/orglearning.htm.
Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Examples of internal artefacts might include a policy, an inaccessible resource that a student has complained about or a new module outline that you are developing.
Examples of external artefacts might include an article you have read, a proprietary authoring tool or guidelines on a website.
(AGENCY = a 50 or less web agency that specialises in the creation of e-learning. Some the 'Kall-Kwik' for e-learning, what would have been leaflets, posters, linear video or afternoon workshops turned into e-learning on a tight budget and schedule - slick production in a team of six+ specialists - previously linear video for facilitated workshops, or video with a workbook, then interactive on disc, before moving to intranets and online.)
(CLIENT = a national or multinational of 10,000+ employees hungry for training, both compliance and management training. Keen to exploit e-learning tools and eagerly trying to use social learning too. I have worked for very many and inside a few.)
Professionally I have worked 20 years in the latter and 2 years in the former.
(SWIMMING = from the perspective of a 1000+ club that is five clubs in one offering: teaching and competitive swimming, mastes, waterpolo and disability swimming. As a coach and club officer I have been involved in teaching, coaching, swimming, implementing change and undertaking every four years a mamoth audit called 'Swim21' that leads to the creation of an Improvement Plan. Equity, Disability and Child Protection, Data Protection and Personal Development are key relevant issues)
AGENCY - Style Guide, ISO 9000?, Web Usability, Training, Experience, Exposure …
CLIENT - Style Guide, Mission, Vision, Corporate Responsibility …
SWIMMING - Improvement Plan for Swim21, Disability Officer Role Description, National Disability Classification for competitive swimmers, CPD as workshops and online. Two groups of for disabled swimmers. Regional hub. +ve/-ve outcomes of the Paralympics.
Are there any artefacts that you think you and your colleagues have over-relied on or misused to the point that they are now negatively influencing your practice? If so, why do you think this is?
AGENCY - JAWS Screenreader, the browser will sought it out … a PDF once we’ve finished.
CLIENT - policy and a person, Style Guide
SWIMMING - Swim21, the experience of those working with disabled people.
Is there any evidence for mutual engagement, joint enterprise or shared repertoire in the community (or communities) you belong to?
AGENCY - none
CLIENT - token, until you see Take3 video
SWIMMING - with local special needs schools, severe disabilities, dyslexia and in mainstream.
What has influenced whether or not the people in your community are all working in pursuit of the same accessibility enterprise or objective?
AGENCY - None
CLIENT - HR by organisation
SWIMMING - forcing hand to get one or one or two into an equity course, more onto disability and as a requirement onto child protection which is relevant.
Seale discusses the development of accessibility within an organisation as the creation of a constellation of practice rather than a community of practice. How helpful do you think this approach is?
AGENCY - piecemeal, turn it on like a switch, distraction for the most junior.
CLIENT - probably
SWIMMING - Yes, with the ASA the sun, outlying planets and their satellites.
Yes, as the efforts of one trying to be everyone and be everywhere doesn’t work, not will a constellation of people in silos.
Do you think that the model shown in Figure 13.1 on page 182 would be useful as a trigger for discussion within your organisation?
The McKinsey model also highlights the fact that, in creating whole organisational change, attention must be paid to different elements of the organisation. This supports our findings about the need to take a multi-pronged approach, be systematic and holistic, take an embedded approach, and target multiple institutional functions. May and Bridger (2010:96) The Seale (2006) puts people into silos.
I find the constellation of communities works as a metaphor that might be a children’s round-about or the petals of a flower. It gets everything into one place, but it doesn’t suggest how they interact. The MsKinsey 7S model on the other hand, developed by a global management consultancy and regularly applied to organizational and team problems, is a tool that can be understood and applied in your context to help identify and solve complex problems.
See The McKinsey 7S Framework, Mind Tools (1995–2009) http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_91.htm
Would it enable you and your colleagues to identify what changes or developments are needed and why they are needed?
AGENCY - yes, if a crisis occurs or there is a budget to stand back and take a look at what is going on.
CLIENT - bottom line and society …
SWIMMING - audit, action team, top to bottom, holistic, time … introduce, understand, apply.
Would the labels on the figure be different for your organisation? If so, how and why?
Yes, because none of my contexts are in Higher Education. I look at the diagram, then at a room full of people. Many people will be in several ‘communities’ so the model quickly breaks down.
May, H. and Bridger, K. (2010) Developing and Embedding Inclusive Policy and Practice in Higher Education, York, The Higher Education Academy; also available online at http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ assets/ York/ documents/ ourwork/ inclusion/ DevelopingEmbeddingInclusivePolicyPractice_ReportFinal.pdf (last accessed 28 August 2012).
Seale, J. (2006) E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice, Abingdon, Routledge; also available online at http://learn2.open.ac.uk/ mod/ subpage/ view.php?id=153062 (last accessed 28 August 2012).
Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1) Engagement with all
Bringing about effective change in inclusive policy and practice is less to do with the
specific method or approach employed and more to do with ensuring that a range of
stakeholder groups is sought and an appropriate range of methods or approaches are
used that are fit for purpose by being both relevant to the context and to the particular
groups they seek to engage. May and Bridger (2010:99) Having a diverse team, with different roles, views and experiences, can contribute to an initiative’s success. (ibid)
Fig. 1 A constellation of accessible e-learning practices.
2) No single method as a panacea
A variety of methods are needed to facilitate inclusive policy and practice. No one
method is sufficient, particularly given the nature and scale of change required to bring
about inclusive policy and practice. May and Bridger (2010:98)
Fig.2. McKinsey 7S model from the May and Bridger (2010:96)
3) Institutional and individual factors
A key finding of this study has been that sustainable and effective inclusive cultural change will only come about through institutions focusing simultaneously on both institutional and individual factors. May and Bridger (2010:05)
The Last Leg Adam Hills stand up on TV Thursday 20th December
'If the Paralympics is covered well, it can change the way you look at and treat people with disabilities,' says Adam Hills, presenter of C4's late-night show The Last Leg
An evening with Adam Hills should be the opening presentation on the module H810 Accessible Online Learning - for a start we'd have to ditch the term 'disabled' for something else - these kinds of labels and tags have had their day.
'The power of images is very great and it can be harnessed as many interpreters of fairy tales in pictures and on film have understood'. Marina Warner
'What's the use of a book without illustrations?' Ask Marina Warner reading from Alice in Wonderland.
A question she goes on to answer. To mark the bicentenary of the first edition of the Grimm brothers' Children's and Household Tales in 1812 Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in this BBC Radio 4 Series.
These evocative stories have always stirred vivid images in the minds of artists, from the angular drawings of an early David Hockney to Dickens' Victorian illustrator George Cruikshank. Through these artists' impressions, we paint a new picture of the tales' vital contribution to the long tradition of visual storytelling.
"Filling up your mindscape"
Fig.3. David Hockney - Etchings for Grimms Fairy Tales
You should attract then hold the attention of your audience - these may be readers, listeners or students, but you have to be sensitive to the craft skills of storytelling. It requires a good deal to keep the mind alert.
Hi Adam, yes I agree that 'responsibility' comes up and that is what I come across even before people start to look at the tools - eyes glaze over on the discovery that there are many tools and lengthy guidelines and they'll conclude that it is potentially not worth the effort for them or the client ... in certain contexts - sports have strict guidelines relating to accessibility, as do places of education ... workplace education is another matter and I sometimes wonder if people just don't think there could possibly be anyone in their workforce who could have a disability that would prevent them using the internet ... otherwise how could they do their job. A number of charities have paid for an insightful video that introduces the viewer to a dozen or so people with disabilities in the workplace to understand where assistance and support comes from. We should remember that many have been on top of this themselves, often being early adopters of the technology for the benefits it brings to them - they don't need help necessarily, but could probably show you a few things if you need to personalise a browser.
I've had an incling that Engestrom has something interesting to say and I've misquoted him and convinced people that it means x, when it actually means y with no one wanting to correct me. As I indicated above to Christopher I wanted to crack this once and for all, especially as I am in the final weeks of the MAODE.
This therefore is essential reading. Find a case history that you might be familiar with and take it from there. These are thorough case studies from beginnign to end of consultancy like projects he and his team have undertaken for, amongst others, a TV production company, a court, a regional health service in Finland - so hospitals, specialist clincs and GP surgeries ... courts and think and several others.
Engeström.Y (2008) From Teams to Knots: Activity-theoretical studies of Collaboration and Learning at Work. Learning in doing: Social, Cognitive & Computational Perspectives. Cambridge University Press. Series Editor Emeritus. John Seely Brown.
This brings it up to date.
Engeström.Y (2011) Learning by expanding: ten years after (last accessed 19 Dec 20-12) http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Paper/Engestrom/expanding/intro.htm
My take on it includes drawing up an activity system on a large piece of board and adding some chess pieces - to get it into my head that all these nodes are people dealing with oither people even if they manifest themselves as tools or rules - someone wrote or designed them, and someone effectively holds the 'keys. Also to remind myself of the historical point of view .. a half eaten Toblerone.
Various manifestations of this in my Blog.
If you want to share thoughts and have time to get your head around it do please get in touch. It is my hope that I can research, construct and use an Activity System for real. I just think it is a way to get inside a subject thoroughly to understand the actions that are working and those that are misfiring or getting stuck, blocked or shredded.
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