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What e-learning looks like

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

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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.

FURTHER READING

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

REFERENCE

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.

Bonkers

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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H809 WK1 DAY 2 Nerves

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 3 Feb 2013, 17:18

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Fig. 1. Lava Lamps - and how we learn - on a rising thermal and in coloured, slimy blobs ...

There is a physiological response to the first moments of a new module - I am nervous. This is like meeting the cast for a student play for the first read through. Intrepidation and expectation. As ever, I know no one, not the tutor or fellow students, though many of us have surely crossed paths on previous MAODE modules. We certainly have all of that in common so will have a set of themes and authors, favourite moments and gripes to share.

Visually I see this as my 'Lava Lamp' year!

The blob is starting to stretch and will at some stage take me away from the Master's Degree - now complete - and onwards either returning to learning and development in the multinational / government department arena of my past, or into research.

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Fig. 2. Lava lamp inspired quilt - illustrates this idea of the thermal. Is this how we learn? It's how I visualise it.

If you want the wordy, academic response then read Kolb.

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Fig. 3. How I see learning occuring - as expressed during H808 - The e-learning professional

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If a moment is to be captured, maybe David Hockney has the answer with a iBrush painting on an iPad.

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Fig.1. Hockney on iPad. Now here's a lifelog to treasure. How does the master i-paint?

This is closer to the truth of a moment, seen through the artist's being, their psychological and physiological approach to what they both see and perceive in front of them. When we do we form a real memory of the actions required to undertake a task. We build on our initial attempts. The memory to ski, to dance, to swim, to skip, to ride a bicycle, to write, to draw, to pay a musical instrument – these cannot be caught by a complex collection of digital recording devices. Perhaps if the player wore a total bodysuit as actors do to play CGI generated character then we'd have a record of the memory of this experience. It wouldn't a digital memory make – just a record.

The Semantic Web aims to standardize transmission and translation of information, is an important effort in this area. (Bell and Gemmel, 2009 p. 220 )

Bell, G., and Gemmel. J (2009)  Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything

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Can I Show it To My Grandparents?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 13:02

This is the first blog I came across in 1998.

A few months later I was up and running. I couldn't code so had to wait for a generic platform to post to. This was Diaryland. Then along came LiveJournal. And five years or so ago I decamped to WordPress.

Millions of words, and millions of bloggers later and the world of self-publishing (we now call it user generated content) is a profoundly important form of global and universal communication.

I like the line 'can I show it to my grandparents' as if in 1998 they would be online and looking.

I re-found these pages courtesy of waybackwhen - type in a defunct web address and discover to your delight or horror that everything that was ever posted online is still out there.

If you thought that locking the pages would save you, you're mistaken.

One click and it's there forever.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - all you need in the learning mix

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 1 Feb 2013, 09:03

JENGA.JPG

I love the beauty of  Jenga. Like Google, it's simple and it works.

Simplicity has a purity about it. Don't knock it. Behind its functionality and its look and feel there will be some hard thinking.

'Keep it simple, stupid'. (K.I.S.S) may be a training cliche but there is considerable truth in it.

I've now had three years here at the OU and here on this Student Blog platform (short of five days, first post 6th Feb 2010).

I've been working on my ideas regarding learning and e-learning design in particular Courtesy of THE OU hosted OLDs MOOC 2013 (Online Learning Design - Massive Open Online Course)

I'm experiencing what feels like undertaking an 8 week written examination - the contents of my brain are being pushed through the cookie cutter.

And out comes this:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

(Of course I had shut down for the gadgets for the day and was brushing my teeth when this came to me).

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The Good

Learning events or activities, moments that make the participant smile, think, reflect, nod in agreement, understand, be informed and generally feel good about the world and this particular learning experience. Hit them with some of this, as the say so succinctly across the Atlantic - at the 'get go'.

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The Bad

The effort required and built into the learning. OK, we want them to love this too, and you can if you're 'in the flow', have done your work, have wrestled with what you didn't understand, asked for help, listen to fellow students, gone out of your way to do extra reading and research until you have it, one way or another.

There needs to be assessment.

An assignment is a soft assessment to me - though like everyone I have terrible days when the thing just slips through my fingers like a snowball on the beach. A dissertation or end of module assignment is tougher, but tough and 'bad' in a certain way - like commitment to a triathlon. And a good analogy as working on and developing three issues at 2,000 words a pop is about right. And you won't get far if you leave training to the week before. It's a slow burn.

The 'bad' has to be the written examination.

They have to be hated and feared, and like learning lines for that school play, you have to get it right on the night (or day). And what do you do if you act? You have good lines to learn, you learn and rehearse your lines and you practice, and do a test run or two. The curtains going up is the equivalent of your turning the examination paper over. I feel the fear from a year ago - April 2012. I hadn't sat a written exam in 30 years. All my undergraduate and school-boy fears came back. I used rusty techniques that had last seen service during my first degree.

Bad is good. You want to do everything not to feel like you are naked on stage - a dream we all have when faced with such an 'exposing' test?

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The Ugly

Shock 'em. Not scare the witless. Have up your sleeve some smart stuff. Whether an idea or the technology offer a creepy and certainly memorable surprise.

Boring a student into making a fact or issue stick is like throwing mud at a brick wall - it'll stick, it'll coagulate and build up, but is easily washed away in a shower and destroyed in a storm.

Use storytelling techniques perhaps, better still, follow the pattern of a ghost story.

Scare them? I'm back on fear I guess.

We humans are fearful of many things and will go out of our way to avoid, run away or confront our fears. As I said, the idea here isn't to lose your students, but to empathise with them, understand the ugly side of their learning experience then help them confront their worst fears. It is ugly having to tackle the parts of a subject that stink, but inevitably these are the blocks at the base of JENGA.

So can I apply it? And can I go back to bed now?

Which leads me to another theme - we no longer simply bring work home with us, we take it to bed and sleep with it. If this pisses you off then let me introduce you to 'working with dreams'. If you are prepared to get up for an hour in the dead of night, or can flick on a light without invoking divorce then scribble stuff down to catalyse the thought in the morning. Can work wonders, can produce nonsense, can just be some things you need to put on the supermarket shopping list ... or another dream of being naked on the stage, not knowing your lines and needing the lo but all the exits are locked and the orchestra has stopped and you have to say something.

Which, courtesy of the wonders of the mind, has me in the front row of a performance of The Tempest at the University Theatre, Newcastle when I was 13 or 14. Caliban was naked, covered in mud and wearing a prosthetic erect penis.

HORROR!

P.S. And give me 20 minutes searching the Internet and I will be able to name the actor, date the show and possibly even find a picture. Perhaps you'd like to have a go. But before you do so, be very fearful of what the search terms you use might throw up.

P.P.S. It may have been David Suchet, with Juliet Stevenson or some such as Aerial. The performance was in 1974, possibly a precursor to the RSC doing a Newcastle Tour every March at the Theatre Royal and Gulbenkien. It may have been Jim Carter. Or none of these!


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OLDs MOOC 2013 'Precision in creative output'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:27

I spent yesterday afternoon at my alma mater (or one of them at least).

The School of Communication Arts, partially industry financed, develops the creative talents of would be advertising creatives.

'Precision in creative output' is the perfect definition of what is taught.

Working to the exceedingly tight parameters and demands of a creative brief to sell or promote a product or service, the creative teams (there are always at least two people assigned to a problem) must come up with an idea or concept that meets the demands of the brief ... and then craft, cling onto, nurture, protect, raise, build and sell their idea.

A creative director in this situation will try to help maintain the precision which permits the creativity.

If David Jennings worries that learning might be over designed, over engineered and over specified, then reading the above may suggest that I am just adding another layer that wants to see learning as a commercialised, branded, designed and marketed product. Is it not anyway?

My hope is for something far less complex, demanding or expensive that what may seem to be implying - it is about working collaboratively, so trying to bring academics into a new kind of working practice, those in research out of their cupboards and those in the class or lecture hall away from the crowd of students to bravely do something as a joint enterprise - and yes, build on what others have done before.

When it comes down to it all I'd like to see are ideas that are confident, and wear the thinking behind them expressed with skill.

I know from some good experiences that when you get the thinking right the outcome might be easy to deliver on a microbudget ... and if a budget is required one would hope that the quality of the thinking behind the idea will help it get financed. I know this is education, certainly not advertising, or even 'corporate training' - but aren't things like TED lectures and the Khan Academy neat expressions of a simple idea?

Another one I can think of is Qstream - a spaced educational delivery system developed by a Harvard Medical School Prof.

 

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OLDs MOOC 2013 - Week 3 Hang Out on the 7Cs of Learning Design

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 08:52

‘Teachers want support and guidance to help them rethink their design practice, to think beyond content to and activities to make pedagogically informed design decisions that make good use of technologies’.

I’ve just been listening over the OLDs MOOC hangout for Week 3 and particularly enjoyed the Q&A with

Professor Gráinne Conole

The sentence above stood out from the 60 minutes, as well as how this was put into context for the MOOC in Week 3 and coming up in Week 8. Personally I wish we’d had something like this to begin the week. I got in early, did a couple of activities then followed the noise from the active design group I've joined. Give others a turn. Let things roll over. This works. Leave gaps and sometimes others will come along and think, OK, he's done that so I can see how it works, or might work for me. I won't bother with that tool, I'll try something else and see what people make of it. I cherry picked and as this hangout suggests and recommends, I’ll go back and pick out more as required. I enjoyed downloading, colouring in, cutting out then using the Activity Cards. This is more my thing than the EXCEL spreadsheet - which I planned on a sheet of paper then transferred over. I might use an APP to generate such a thing. I find EXCEL somewhat heavy handed, or I’d want to design it in a way that I like. We learnt about the background to 7Cs. The background and context was invaluable. Credibility ought not be taken for granted. Work like this needs to be put on a pedestal and people told of its credentials and worth - i.e sell it to me! 7Cs is an OU with OU Learning Design Initiative with JISC through the Curriculum Design Programme. Activity Profile and Course Map. Trialed thoroughly. Gráinne Conole continued this work with the JISC funded CARPE Dium learning design workshops at Leicester whiuch provides a ' rich storyboard of learning design'. More on this from: Gabi Witthaus Ming Nei More at http://www.olds.ac.uk/ And http://e4innovation.com/ Overarching conceptual framework A lot Cs here: Conceptualise - vision for the course, who is it for, what is the nature of the learners and personas Course features - the essence of it. Creative activity - capture, communicate and consider Conceptual Combine - into course map and activity profile Consolidate - running it as face to face, or VLE, or more specialised learning design tool, or …. From Gráinne's blog:

7 cs of learning design fromGráinne Conole

7Cs element
Learning Design tool
Conceptualise
Course features
Design Narratives
Personas
Analysing context: factors and concerns
Capture
Resource audit
Repository search strategy
Create
Course map
Activity profile
Task swimlane
Storyboard
Communicate
E-moderating framework
Mapping forums, blogs and wikis
Communicative affordances
Collaborate
Collaborative affordances
CSCL Pedagogical Patterns
Consider
Assessment Pedagogical Patterns
Learning outcomes map

With current thinking on 7Cs Various systems offered and can be tried. Listening to OLDs MOOCers it appears that the 7Cs framework has been received well

  • It articulates what teachers already do.
  • There are 7 aspects in a whole design process.
  • What level are you teaching, what level of support do they need etc:
  • Teachers (all of us I would say, educators, learning designers, L&D managers) are bewildered by the range of tools, the range of approaches so fall back on their own content. So use the tools to think about the activities, the core essence of hte course.

Gráinne introduced the work of Helen Keegan, Augmented Reality and risk. More on use of augmented learning 7Cs has been found useful in Australia

  • Indigenous Culture on locality.
  • Introducing elements of serendipity.
  • Activity profile
  • Is it the right mix of learning for what you want the students to do.
  • Correlation of time mapped out to what students are achieving … so she is poor at communication in Spanish … and there is little communication in the course she is doing.

Is this the right tool set?

  • Covers all the aspects of design.
  • Getting a taster for these in the course.

‘A huge amount in the MOOC is mix and pic, so take your time, come back to the resources. Six months down the line, you discover which ones you like’.

  • Some love the activity profiles some don’t, so find the mix that works for you.
  • Some with learning outcomes.
  • Some with the content.
  • Some with the characteristics of the context of the learners.
  • Different tools will mean different things to different people.

‘We’re offering a Smörgåsbord of offerings that you can develop and use over time. Pick the ones that are relevant to you, don’t feel that you have to use all of them’.

Larnica Declaration on Learning Design

(More coming up in WK 8 to act as a springboard to reflect)

  • What is learning design?
  • How has it come about?
  • Why is it different to structural design?

Professor James Dalziel

2011 ALTC National Teaching Fellow

  • Driven by people in Europe and colleagues in Australia.
  • What is learning design? How has it come about?
  • How is it distinct from instructional design?
  • Major Epiphany moment Sept 2012
  • Two days in Cyprus
  • Timeline of key moments since 199 learning design

REF: Key books on design science (Dianna Laurillard)  Teaching Design as a Science It’s aimed to be pedagogically neutral so that it can be used across a range of methodologies and pedagogies.

  • Tools for guidance and support
  • Tools for visualisation
  • Tools for sharing like Cloudworks

What works for you

  • It depends on the nature of how people want to go about things
  • Visual
  • Linear
  • Connect and be sociable
  • Open, unstructured … to form some kind of navigatable way through, as well as enjoying the serendipity. Having the options of the long and short routes.
  • Is something more needed in the middle ground. B MOOCs.

BLOG http://www.larnacadeclaration.org

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The idea of gathering a substantial part of one’s life experience fascinates me, as it has often inspired others

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013, 09:42

Fig. 1. Hands by Escher.

The danger is for it to become one’s modus operandi, that the act of gathering is what you become. I recall many decades ago, possibly when I started to keep a diary when I was 13, a documentary - that can no doubt now be found on the Internet - on a number of diarists. There were not the well-known authors or celebrity politicians, but the obscure keeper of the heart beat, those who would toil for two hours a day writing about what they had done, which was to edit what they’d written about the day before … if this starts to look like a drawing by Escher then perhaps this illustrates how life-logging could get out of hand, that it turns you inside out, that it causes implosion rather than explosion. It may harm, as well as do good. We are too complex for this to be a panacea or a solution for everybody. A myriad of book, TV and Film expressions of memory, its total recall, false recall, falsehoods and precisions abound. I think of the Leeloo in The Fifth Element learning about Human Kind flicking through TV Channels.

Fig. 2. Leeloo learns from TV what the human race is doing to itself

Always the shortcut for an alien to get into our collective heads and history. Daryl Hannah does it in Splash too. Digitisation of our existence, in part or total, implies that such a record can be stored (it can) and retrieved in an objective and viable way (doubtful). Bell (2009) offers his own recollections, sci-fi shorts and novels, films too that of course push the extremes of outcomes for the purposes of storytelling rather than seeking more mundane truth about what digitization of our life story may do for us.

Fig. 3. Swim Longer, Faster

There are valid and valuable alternatives - we do it anyway when we make a gallery of family photos - that is the selective archiving of digital memory, the choices over what to store, where to put it, how to share then exploit this data. I’m not personally interested in the vital signs of Gordon Bell’s heart-attack prone body, but were I a young athlete, a competitive swimmer, such a record during training and out of the pool is of value both to me and my coach. I am interested in Gordon Bell’s ideas - the value added, not a pictoral record of the 12-20 events that can be marked during a typical waking day, images grabbed as a digital camera hung around his neck snaps ever 20-30 seconds, or more so, if it senses ‘change’ - gets up, moves to another room, talks to someone, browses the web … and I assume defecates, eats a meal and lets his eyes linger on … whatever takes his human fancy.

How do we record what the mind’s eye sees?

How do we capture ideas and thoughts? How do we even edit from a digital grab in front of our eyes and pick out what the mind is concentrating on? A simple click of a digital camera doesn’t do this, indeed it does the opposite - it obscure the moment through failing to pick out what matters. Add sound and you add noise that the mind, sensibly filters out. So a digital record isn’t even what is being remembered. I hesitate as I write - I here two clocks. No, the kitchen clock and the clicking of the transformer powering the laptop. And the wind. And the distant rumble of the fridge. This is why I get up at 4.00am. Fewer distractions. I’ve been a sound engineer and directed short films. I understand how and why we have to filter out extraneous noises to control what we understand the mind of the protagonist is registering. If the life-logger is in a trance, hypnotized, day dreaming or simply distracted the record from the device they are wearing is worse than an irrelevance, it is actually a false cue, a false record.

Fig. 4. Part of the brain and the tiniest essence of what is needed to form a memory

Mind is the product of actions within a biological entity. To capture a memory you’d have to capture an electro-chemical instance

across hundreds of millions of synapses.

Fig. 5. Diving of Beadnell Harbour, 1949. My later mother in her teens.

An automatically harvested digital record must often camouflage what might have made the moment a memory. I smell old fish heads and I see the harbour at Beadnell where as a child fisherman brought in a handful of boats every early morning. What if I smell old fish as I take rubbish to recycle? Or by a bin down the road from a fish and chip shop. What do my eyes see, and what does my mind see?

I love the messiness of the human brain - did evolution see this coming?

In ‘Delete’ Mayer-Schönberger (2009. p. 1) suggests that forgetting, until recently was the norm, whereas today, courtesy of our digital existences, forgetting has become the exception. I think we still forget - we don’t try to remember phone numbers and addresses as we think we have them in our phone - until we wipe or lose the thing. In the past we’d write them down, even make the effort to remember the things. It is this need to ‘make an effort’ to construct a memory that I fear could be discombobulated. I’m disappointed though that Mayer-Schönberger stumbles for the false-conception ‘digital natives’ - this is the mistaken impression that there exists a generation that is more predisposed and able than any other when it comes to all things digital. Kids aren’t the only ones with times on their hands, or a passion for the new, or even the budget and will to be online. The empirical evidence shows that the concept of a digital native is unsound - there aren’t any. (Jones et al, 2010., Kennedy et al, 2009., Bennet and Maton, 2010., Ituma, 2011) The internet and digital possibilities have not created the perfect memory. (Mayer-Schönberger 2009. p. 3)

To start with how do we define ‘memory’ ?

A digital record is an artefact, it isn’t what is remembered at all. Indeed, the very nature of memory is that it is different every time you recall a fact or an event. It becomes nuanced, and coloured. It cannot help itself.

Fig. 6. Ink drops as ideas in a digital ocean

A memory like drops of ink in a pond touches different molecules every time you drip, drip, drip. When I hear a family story of what I did as a child, then see the film footage I create a false memory - I think I remember that I see, but the perspective might be from my adult father holding a camera, or my mother retelling the story through ‘rose tinted glasses’.

Fig. 7. Not the first attempt at a diary, that was when I was 11 ½ .

I kept a diary from March 1973 to 1992 or so. I learnt to write enough, a few bullet points in a five year diary in the first years - enough to recall other elements of that day. I don’t need the whole day. I could keep a record of what I read as I read so little - just text books and the odd novel. How might my mind treat my revisting any of these texts? How well and quickly would it be recalled? Can this be measured? Do I want it cluttering the front of my brain?

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The power to remember and the need to forget

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013, 11:10

IMG_5090.JPG

Fig 1. Your life? Remembered or forgotten?

Digitally record or better to delete?

INTRODUCTION

It frustrates me to try and read two complementary books in two different formats - the first is marketed in its traditional hardback edition with a designer cover and eye-grabbing introduction from Bill Gates, while the second, an eBook I find understated - as if it is ashamed to compete. They are a pair. Twins separated at birth. They argue from opposite sides of the digital coin, one in favour of digitizing everything under the sun, the other for circumspection and deletion. Perhaps there should be a face off at the Oxford Union Debating Society. My role here is to bring them together and in doing so provide a one word conclusion: selection.

TOTAL RECALL

‘Total Recall’ (Bell and Gemmel, 2009) with its film-reference title and sensationalist headline ‘how the e-memory revolution will change everything’ risks ostracising a discerning academic readership in favour of sales reputation and coining a phrase or two. It’s hero Gordon Bell might be the protagonist in the movie. The shame is that at the heart of what is more biography than academic presentation there is the desire to be taken seriously - a second edition could fix this - there needs to be a sequel. My copy of Total Recall arrived via trans-Atlantic snail mail in hardback. It took over a week. With its zingy dust jacket - it feels like a real book. I’m no bibliophile but I wonder if the pages are uncut and this edition has been pulled from a reject pile. It was discounted Amazon and as I’m after the words contained in the book rather than the physical artifact its state ought not to be a concern. Though the fact that it is a physical book rather pegs it to a bygone era. Total recall refers to the idea of a photographic or 'eidetic memory' - this needs to be stated and ought to be a design feature of the book. It ought to be an e-book.

 

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Fig.2 DELETE

‘Delete’ (2009) Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is subtitled ‘The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age’ and sounds as if it was authored by a vampire from Transylvania. It is a foil to ‘Total Recall’ with Viktor the antagonist to ‘Flash Drive’ Gordon. Delete hasn’t been - its in its fourth printing, needless to say I got mine in seconds as a Kindle version. I only ever buy a book-book if I have to. I am too used to the affordances of the eBook to skim, search, highlight and share - and to have on a Kindle, iBook, laptop and smartphone to browse as I wish.

The copyright notice in Total Recall on ‘the scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet’ is ironic because this is what Bell does with his life - he has scanned and uploaded his life (though access is totally private). A double irony as he elects for Web 1.0 but won’t join the Semantic Web 2.0 and share. I have been an exponent of ‘exposure’ - the release of a substantial part of who you are for others to chew over. The online diary.

The way forward stands between the two, selective extreme gathering, storing and retrieval of your personal archive, while discretely deleting the irrelevant, possibly illegal (copyright, plagiarism, stalking, libel) and otherwise potentially reputationally damaging to kith or kin.

They could be landform and landfill.

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Don't look through these 'mighty illusions' if you have an essay crisis ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 30 Jan 2013, 11:13

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Mighty Illusions

(I just can't sleep. I'm waiting for the roof to come off the house, a tree to land on the car or Dorothy and Toto to fly by)

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Vygotsky

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:25

As several post-Vygotskians have pointed out (Davydov & Radikhovskii, 1985; Robbins, 2001; Van der Veer & Valsiner, 1991; Wersch, 1985) Vygotsky's monism can be linked to Spinoza's ontological distinction between substance attribute.

 

If anyone at all has the foggiest idea what this sentence means please, please try and explain!

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Open University Learning Design Initiative

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 26 Jan 2013, 16:30

If you're interested in learning design, this is good:

Open University Learning Design Initiative

 

 

 

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OLDS MOOC WK 3 Activity 2 (or 1b)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 09:48

Fig. 1. Activity Cards for curriculum planning downloaded from JISC

I'm very glad to be doing this OU hosted Massive Open Online Course on Learning Design

I have a couple of weeks in hand and desperately wanted to make and do stuff. I've joined one Cloudscape where the aim is to design learning on DIY Multimedia. I have three projects of my own too - not takers from others as they're rather 'out of the box' - ideas around lifelogging, augmented learning and virtual companions.

This exercise I recommend. Indeed, I think getting away from the screen and using bits of paper, getting on the phone, not relying on webinars ... and meeting face-to-face all makes sense.

OLD MOOC WK 3 Activity 2 Course Cards

Getting off the computer and into an activity, ideally a collaborative one, is always productive. A carefully moderated workshop can reveal the unexpected, more importantly it is an informed way to prioritise issues and to use a the combined expertise of a variety of people. From the OU Course B822 Creative Innovation and Change I learnt the value of constructing a team of people to address a problem - from different backgrounds, with different responsibilities and outlooks, even someone to rock the boat. No one person’s voice is allowed to override the views of others. Such a group would achieve a lot with this OULDI pack. Though game-like it is a valid and valuable tool.

Working alone there were a number of hurdles to overcome:

A black and white printer.
The sheets were printed off then painted. Not liking the look of the purple these cards all become yellow.
Ideally they would all be spray-glued to backing card to make them more robust - at least so that they don’t curl up at the edges.
On the first sweep I got the 38 number of cards down to 26. This was gradually reduced in 2s and 3s until there were the requisite 16.



Fig.2. Used a pairs table the 16 cards were ranked

Using a paired-sets in a table I was able to rank these 16 - clearly the exercise of discussing these with colleagues would have been extremely useful and the process of deliberation brought up issues of budget, resources and time-scale, and even refined the project as it is conceived and visualised as a certain number of activities.



Fig. 3. In rank order a diamond was created with the chosen cards.

  1. Problem Based
  2. Applied Concepts
  3. Mentoring in work-place
  4. Collaborative
  5. Scaffolded learning
  6. Practice based
  7. Student generated content
  8. Day Schools
  9. Blended approach
  10. Authentic resources
  11. Practice placement
  12. Professional community
  13. Portfolio or eportfolio
  14. Peer-support
  15. Active discovert
  16. Step by step instruction

Choose a maximum of 12 cards from the pack which define the key features of your course or module.

Step by step instructions Guidance and Support
Scaffolded learning  
Mentoring in the workplace  
Applied concepts Content and Experience
Authentic resources  
Problem-based  
Practice-based  
Collaborative Communication and Collaboration
Practice placement  
Day schools  
Student generated content Reflection and Demonstration
Portfolio or e-portfolio  

 

In terms of the module DIY Mutli-media I become very aware of the value of learning alongside an expert, of being with skilled practitioners even - and very much the need to have a project brief to work to. So very much a hands on learning experience with authentic tools to create a real object or digital asset, or activity. This would also take the learners away from the computer screen, even out of the classroom into a design studio or agency. In fact the 'Online' card didn't make it into the 16. Even though this is to develop skills in use of digital multimedia tools I felt I was organising a workshop for potters, painters and tapestry weavers i.e. there is a highly practical element to it and there's nothing better than having a live guide at your shoulder ... and if there has to be a compromise then it would be live or 'as live' instruction over the Internet.

My first career was in television

I got out of a graduate position in an advertising agency and became the 'runner' and 'production assistant' in a micro-production company. We were six and were down to three for most of the time. I learnt by latching onto an experience BBC Producer - so directing, producing and writing. Then on the job. In time I supplemented this with trade association workshops and some formal day or afternoon workshops. After four years I took a fulltime course. This exercise has made me see how much multi-media production is a craft skill - we may use keyboard and computer screens, but so do TV editors these days too. I've even used a broadcast video camera with iPad touchscreen like controls on the viewing monitor (nightmare!) ... for someone used to buttons and knobs.

I have been hugely encouraged to get away from screens and be with people face to face despite believing in all things e-learning. Even major practitioners will talk about activities away from the screen, or phoning a friend or colleague ... even expecting a phone call or a debriefing workshop. This is because those commissioning learning want results and will break away from the shoehorn of e-learning to do so ... great for scale, great for compliance, but hardly 'human'.

Perhaps the 'e-' is coming detached from 'learning'.

Learning is the thing, whether it is online, face to face, mobile or augmented. The 'e' has to stand for 'effective' - did it work! And student analytics and feedback will quickly tell you if you are getting it right or wrong.

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Swimtag

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 29 Jan 2013, 22:49

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Fig. 1. Swimtag

Swimtag today, skitag tomorrow

Serendipity had me click on Swimtag and I'm hooked - as a swimmer and coach, but for the purposes of this note as a prospective PhD student looking for a research project for the next three years.

My interest is in e-learning, sport and virtual assistants / augmented learning.

Armed with a set of swimtags I'd like to research their use with a range of swimmers: masters, elite athletes, learn to swim and swimmers with disabilities. We have all of these in our 1000+ member swimming club Mid Sussex Marlins SC. Early days - I have only just completed a Masters in Open & Distance Education and am tentatively speaking to potential supervisors at the Open University, Oxford Internet Institute and Web Sciences at Southampton University with a view to submitting a doctoral research project in the next couple of months.

My vision is how swimtag becomes as commonplace as swim goggles, then translates into other sports and other fields, including business, but also as a potential prothesis for people suffering from dementia or memory loss so potentially tied into other data capture devices.

I am seriously looking at funded PhD research for the next 3/4 years.

I am interested in e-learning, so Learning & Development particularly for v. large organisations. There is a groundswell of interest in devices/software that enhance or support memory and learning. There is a fertile crossover between health - providing support say to those who would benefit from cognitive support, what we call 'lifelogging' - so gathering pertinent data about the world around you, then using this in an artificially edited form (using Artificial Intelligence algorithms) to supplement memory loss or to enhance learning potential as a virtual companion. Those recovering from a stroke or with dementia included.

It may sound like science fiction but people have been working on these ideas for a decade or more.

I appreciate that simply tagging vulnerable people who may wander off and not know how to find their way home is one way to support but I'm thinking about quality of life and facilitating memory and communication too.

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90 EdTech tools

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 27 Mar 2019, 15:52

The 90 Hottest EdTech Tools

Updated in 2019 as thee 2013 link was dead. 

 

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OLDS MOOC 2013 'Methods & tools: The activity checklist: a tool for representing the "space" of context'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014, 09:44

Fig. 1. Durer's Rhino.

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:

  • Tools
  • Subject
  • Object
  • Rules
  • Community
  • Division of Labour

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.

REFERENCE

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 .

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Creative Problem Solving with Van Gundy

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:12

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.

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Close engagements with artificial companions

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 24 Feb 2013, 07:57

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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.

REFERENCE

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.

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OLDs MOOC Reflection 1

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 18 Jan 2013, 16:03

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.

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He's bonkers ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 17 Jan 2013, 16:27

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.

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Time to celebrate

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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.

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And then because it's Amazon I find there is another treat, going back a year, from B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change.

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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 ... )

 

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H810 EMA AWAY !!!!

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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?'

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H810 End of Module Assignment - done!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 13 Jan 2013, 10:15

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 sad

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