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Carnivore to Vegan

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 5 May 2012, 06:54

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I forgot to mention this one but two months ago I was given nasty cholesterol score and a dear friend and neutrionist rather than see me on satins gave me a comprehensive health review, some don'ts and does (recipes) and some supplements.

Six weeks on and my pot belly has gone, my poo still floats and I fart a lot and my cooking range has been extended.

I was also supposed to give up alcohol and coffee; whilst the former is down to close to zero I drink even more coffee, though it is black. My vegetarian daughter is delighted and our shopping bill is down 30%.

Porridge with soya milk every breakfast, fresh pesto and pasta at lunch, home made soup in the evening sometimes turned into a casserole or with brown rice.

And as well as coaching the local swim club I now swim with it too; the extraordinary insight at being the swimmer being coached for the first time in 32 years a bonus. So a healthy mind and a healthy body, both thanks to The OU as it was while living and working up at Milton Keynes that all of this happened.

And I have an exam tomorrow. Just surving this far through the module has been an achievement as life around it has been somewhat difficult.

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B822 exam: 52 hours to go!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 17 Jun 2012, 09:13
Exam preparation. I am spending more time writing out by hand to get my head/body used to this ancient practice of scribling rather than tapping or increasingly speaking what I want to express. Using 12 mnemonics to cover a substantial chunk of the course, each a catalyst into deeper, easily expanded threads on personality types, creative organisations, frameworks, cps techniques, barriers, specific examples and so on. This process must be drawing to a close as I now have a master key mnemonic that ensures a cue into them all. 'My PHD VOICE PR' is of course as meaningless to anyone else as sharing a dream. These 12 letters are the first for all the B822 mnemonics that I have devised, learnt and repeatedly tested myself on; they vary in length from 4 to 15 letters, thus giving me a matrix of some 100 facts/events/issues. These, a 'mind dump' in the first 10-15 minutes form my very own 'smorgasbord' from which I will draw my responses when I finally turn the page and look at the questions. 5 minutes to make my three choices, then 5-10 minutes on an essay plan for each. I give myself then 45 minutes to write each answer and only once all three are 'in the bag' in some form will I allot my remaining time, potentially 5 minutes on each. Can my wrist sustain writing for such a marathon. I doubt it. Is it too late to scribble out longhand for three hours on the trot? I'll do a mock exam this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon and hope my hand doesn't get unduly blistered.
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Talking with your fingers

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'Consider this medium as like talking with your fingers - half-way between spoken conversation and written discourse.' (Hawkridge, Morgan and Jeffs, 1997, quoted in Salmon 2005)

Salmon, G (2005) E-moderating.

The Key to teaching and learning online

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More on creativity from John Cleese (two decades later)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 21:12

John Cleese on Creativity

... and the importance of the unconscious.

  • Sleeping on it.
  • Writing it out a second time having lost the original.
  • The danger of interuption
  • We do not get our ideas from our laptops.
  • Create boundaries of space (to avoid interuptions)
  • Create time

 

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B822 'Creativity, Innovation & Change' Hear what John Cleese has to say on creativity

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 21:11

John%2520Cleese%2520SNIP.JPG

This works for me and plays directly into B822 'Creativity, Innovation & Change'.

Listen then act.

John Cleese on Creativity

I'm going create the space and make the time! And play.

  1. Space
  2. Time
  3. Time
  4. Humour

FURTHER READING

Amabile, T. M. & Sensabaugh, S. J. (1985).  Some factors affecting organizational creativity:  A brief report.  A paper presented at the Creativity Innovation & Entrepreneurship Symposium at the George Washington University, Washington, D. C.

Ekvall, G. & Arvonen, J. (1983). Creative organizational climate:  Construction and validation of a measuring instrument.  Stockholm, Sweden:  The Swedish Council for Management and Organizational Behavior.

Gryskiewicz, S. S. (1982).  Creative leadership development and the Kirton adaption-innovation inventory.  An invited paper delivered at the 1982 Occupational Psychology Conference of the British Psychological Society meeting on "Breaking Set:  New Directions in Occupational Psychology" at Sussex University, Brighton, England.

 

MacKinnon, D. W. (1961). Creativity in architects. In D. W.

MacKinnon (Ed.), The creative person (pp. 237–251). Berkeley: University of California, Institute of Personality Assessment Research.

MacKinnon, D. W. (1978). In search of human effectiveness: Identifying and develop

 

MacKinnon, D. W.  (1978). In search of human effectiveness:  Identifying and developing creativity.  Buffalo, New York:  Bearly Limited.

 

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Our memory of how to do things is often tied to the situation in which it was learnt.

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What does this mean for distance learning?

Is this why the odd residential school becomes such a focus and a vital memory? On the MAODE modules there are no tutor groups, nor any residential schools.

Does this make the Tutor Group Forum and the Elluminate sessions all the more important to get right?

The tutorial system of the Oxbridge Colleges does two things: it ties the learning to the personality of a tutor and it socialises learning within a small tutor group from (usually) a single college where the annual cohort may be as low as 30 and generally not far over 100.

How can this be replicated online?

The tutor relationship matters. Better and immediate tools engender the possibility of a closer relationship but the OU isn't geared up for it.

Are Associate Lecturers chosen for the e-moderating skills?

 

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Social Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 12:52

This isn't something new; the best way to learn is from and amongst others. John Seely Brown gets it right when he talks about 'learning from the periphery'. Think how in the playground or when joining a club where there may be no formal induction or training, how you gravitate towards the centre over time as you listen in to conversations, get the drift of what is being said, get up the courage to ask questions (which is hopefully encouraged), and in time gain knowledge and confidence to offer your own unique take and things. In time you gravitate towards the centre; you may even become the centre. the 'leader' or part of the 'leadership' those wise folk at the centre of things.

I recall this as an undergraduate on campus, an outsider for a year, at the centre for a year and then worrying about Finals.

The OU launched 'Social Learn' yesterday.

This is exciting. It brings the hubbub of the eclectic learning community online. This is more than a forum, it is a virtual learning space.

It will take all kinds of participants for it to work otherwise it is like one of those South American Pipe Dreams to build cities from scratch in the Amazon Jungle. It is the people and their ideas, thoughts, knowledge and participation that will bring it to life. It will require moderators, and leaders, and champions, and people to listen and guide and share. It will require moderators:

'The essential role of the e-moderator is promoting human interaction and communication through the modelling, conveying and building of knowledge and skills'. (Salmon, 2005:4)

And a new take on things:

'Online learning calls for the training and development of new kinds of online teachers - to carry out roles not yet widely understood'. (Salmon. 2005:10)

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Hostede and nationall differences when it comes to corporate enterprise

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 17 Jun 2012, 09:10

P

U

G

I

Gives me:


Power Distance

Uncertainty avoidance

Gender (masculinity/feminity to describe the culture not the mix of people)

Individualism/collectivism

 

I need to remember this as:


Pd

Ua

G

Ua

and the author Hofestede and a date.

On reflection, none of the above work. So I go for:

Power Dual Gender INC

which gives me:

  • Power Distance
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
  • Masculine/Femine
  • Individualism/Collectivisim

 

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How to define a 'wicked' problem?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 24 Feb 2014, 15:12

'I could use a colourful swimming costume'.

This pegs the following ideas:

Interconnectness
Complicatedness
Uncertainty
Ambiguity
Conflict
Societal Constraints

And recalling the authors Mason & Mitroff (1981)

However, I need to visualise this. Perhaps the actor James Mason (in his Nabakov role of Herbert Herbert from 'Lolita') with a Russian girl called 'Olga Mitroff'. Everyone around them are wearing colourful Versace swimming costumes whereas their's are plain black. She is black and young, suggesting the 'complexity' required here and they are standing on the end of a springboard, like walking the plank, and holding hands to give me 'conflict' and 'connectedness' even disaproval from those around them and so 'societal constraints'. All I need to do now is peg this further with an orange flavoured fruit Polo. And then be able to add a couple of relevant sentences to each. Assuming there is a question from which this 'mind dump' can provide some detail.

Why does this all matter?

I've been learning in B822 how to apply a variety of creative problem solving techniques to business problems; both the theory and practice says the the problem you are dealing with has to indicate all the above to warrant a creative problem solving approach.


Beyond the exam I can and will apply this to what I do which has in the past been solving communications problems using creativity in the execution of ideas.

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Creative Problem Solving B822

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 17:46

I stumbled upon this. It is timely for anyone faced with an exam on 24th April for B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change', so much so I am going to transcribe this, analyse and learn its lessons as going through old exam papers this short video, in a fun and engaging way, answers to questions precisely.

This is why I chose to study B822 as an elective within the Masters in Open & Distance Education.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFYLeT9q8tk

 

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A ghost is someone from your future

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 06:19

The iPad came on as I set off to my 'workspace' lighitng up he bedroom and conveninetly helping me locate slippers and dressing gown.

I held the suprisngly bright tablet close so as not to wake my wife.

As I passed a mirroer the errie glow made me think of a ghost and how ghosts might be travellers wandering through your present nosing about, researching their family or on an adventure of some other kind.

An iPad might be a valuable piece of kit for any timetraveller (not that you'd get a signal), handy for keeping a record of what you discover and perhaps a Google Timeline that let's you navigate in both space and time.


Time I went and wrote a trial exam question!

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Suddenly feeling part of a generation that has had their chance and done their bit

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A niece gets engage, another gets married and a colleague takes himself off to hospital feeling something isn't right and has a heart attack. Pefect place and timing. An operation the same night and he is fine. Might have been me, might as well have been. From a biological point of view once we've reproduced and raised them to adulthood what's our purpose? When nieces get married I think of my brother and sisters and wonder if our job is done. So what do are parents in their mid-80s think? Time to fit in another OU degree? I would and probably will.
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Reflecting on the exam process

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The MAODE has no exams, it is all done through assignments. The MBA module I am doing, 'Creativity, Innovation & Change' has three two TMAs and ECA and an exam. The exam is the clincher.

An exam obliges you to do things in a very different way. You not only have to be able to tap into your memory banks, but you need to be able to drill deep enough for substance and then wrap this around the exam questions.

With a TMA all you have to do is wrap what you can pick out of the course books, notes and resources (on the basis that you have read the materials and know where it all is).

Surely as a form of assessment the exam is a crucial form of judging how mauch a person has taken in? Whether they have engaged extensively, iteratively and collaboratively with their student cohort and tutor during the module or whether they have confined themselves to a room with the resources and picked their way through them (or a bit of both).

In addition to the exam and assignment I rather like the idea of the viva, though I have never faced one. This suits my mind set and probably my way of learning, I like to hear what I have to say and respond to others. And I write the way I think, as stream of consciousness.

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Annagrams help in exams

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 10 Apr 2012, 12:49

I like to go into an exam with a handful of anagrams, a couple per paper or theme. I've had them 27 letter long, and have pegged 27 facts against these.

I use visualization as well to walk through the house 'seeing' themes and issues.

I use this http://wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html

COCA DIP

Gives me:

  • Creativity
  • Organisational Structure
  • Cognition
  • Analogical Thinking
  • Developmental Organisations
  • Individual Style
  • Perception

Better still 'SPICES' gives me the 'characteristics of a creative organisation':

empowered Staff

integrated Procedures

Idea development

open Climate

External partnerships

flexible Structures

All of these become part of a 'mind dump' I do in the first 5 minutes just to get my head in the right place.

I've got less than two weeks to come up with a few more of these then practice them relentlessly.

VAN BECK CLIMB

For example gives me the 12 precepts of creative problem solving:

  • Value of playfulness
  • Adopt a set to break sets it is there already,
  • Nurture it
  • Broad picture, local detail
  • Explore the givens
  • Connect and be receptive
  • Know what you really want
  • Cycle often and close late
  • Love the looseness
  • Involve other people
  • Manage the process
  • Build up, don't break down

Where I come unstuck here is for the question to include all 12 precepts and say pick ONE to discuss for 45 minutes, whereas all I can deliver is a few minutes in each.

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GoMo e-learning and m-learning

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Call it me-learning? Cut and pasting a short module from a PDF to GoMo which enables content across all mobile platforms. Adding images and video, multichoice questions and 'hot spots'. If the MAODE is Sandhurst, then this is machine-gun training in the front line.
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Any political scientists out there?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 6 Apr 2012, 05:50
I'm looking for people with an interest in John Plamenatz and what he had to say on Machiavelli, Hobbes and Roussea.
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Revision

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 08:24

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This works for me.

I enjoy the sun, I read, I think, I absorb, I take notes ... and fall asleep.

When I drift into consciousness I will think myself into a topic, recall an anagram or mnemonic I have made up, then pick up my notes and press on.

Does it work? It can.

You have to make and take the time.

Myelination%2520SNIP.JPG

Recoverable memories don't sit for long on the surface of the brain, they need to be embedded. Myelination needs to take place.

P.S. You also have to hope the dog doesn't get bored or get into a fight.

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Pegging to remember a set of facts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 07:14

On having come up with he anagram 'Van Beck Climb' to remember the 12 precepts of 'Creative Problem Solving' (COS) (see below in this blog) I found I kept forgetting what each letter refered to I therefore visualised entering the house and in turn:

Seeing a set of hockey sticks to represent 'value of play ', while sitting on the stairs there is an adopted girl with a broken chess set to represent 'adopt the set to break sets'. Further up on the wall there really is a framed drawing of my wife 'nurturing ' the children to represent 'nurture the givens' while I imagine a far larger painting on the landing to represent 'broad picture, local detail'.

There are many doors to 'explore' and people with whom I should 'connect and be receptive to' while I must 'know what I really want'.

In a large lounge there are many people. To meet them all I am on a bike so 'cycle often and close late' however my clothes are 'loose' and i fall off so need to 'involve people', there being so many I 'manage the process' and finally 'build up to knock down'. Or some such.

Having got this straight I then hope to add detail, make sense of it all and have a few authors such as Handy and Schon to quote.

Will I get a question on this?

Do I need to? Even sime of it i'd certain to come up as these precepts are vital to the creative problem solving techniques as taught.

Looking at one exam question it said take ONE precept and write about it sad

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Exams

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 07:27

These are absent from the Masters is Open & Distsnce Education (MAODE).

This in part is what attracted me to these modules. However, the current elective I opted for (B822) has an exam. The game has changed. This is far more than an assignment that can be molded and grown over weeks, assessed pre-emptively, even shared with others then submitted. Glacier.JPG

Glacier

An exam requires the construction of a glacier, through the drip, drip, drip of content.

From this glacier (in my case) three substantial blocks must drop into the ocean, as they melt I must mold them so that the tip above the surface is a landscape I can recreate intimately.

From this landscape, during the examination process, I recreate, as required, a bespoke response to each question.

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Exam techniques for B822 'Creativity, Innovation & Change'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Apr 2012, 07:53

Stage One

I've punched my way through the three main course books which are named blocks 1, 2 and 3 and could just as well be expressed as some 60 + activities over the 20 or so weeks.

Unusually for me and influenced by seeing what others do (an advantage of a face to face tutorials) I too have 'defaced' my course books with highlighter pens, biro and notes. (A school career in which text books were bought and resold/recycled meant that unitl recently I kept books in a pristine condition. I wonder of being able to diddle about with electronic versions has encouraged me to do this?)

From this I will extract through notes what I consider to be key points and people.

This isn't second guessing the exam questions so much as covering topics that I believe I understand and can write about adequatetly.

This isn't the time to fill in significant gaps unless I feel there are any.

Tapping into the content benefits from some techniques that served me well decades ago and I know discover are taught to revision clases: anagrams and mnemonics.

I once had dozens of these, one in particular, a sentence that gave the key letter into some 27 facts on Elizabethan history which swirls around my head to this day three decades later.

I am learning another to get me through OU MBA Module exam B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

We were introduced to 12 precepts in relation to running a creative problem solving exercise or workshop. These I feel are crucial. Unlike a chronology of events in history or the order of the planets from the sun, there is no order to these precepts which makes devising an anagram or mnemonic all the easier. All the easier too now that there is readily availiable software to help.

AEBVBLNICKCM doesn't look promising

I began with 'an early bird values breakfast' which would give me

  • Adopt a set to break sets
  • Explore the 'givens'
  • Broad picture, local detail
  • Value Play
  • Build up, don't break down

Then I Googled an anagram tool which gave me all the letters in VAN BECK CLIMB

  1. Value play
  2. Adopt a set to break sets
  3. Nurture : it is already there
  4. Broad picture, local detail
  5. Explore the givens
  6. Connect and be receptive
  7. Know what you really want
  8. Cycle often and close late
  9. Live with looseness
  10. Involve others
  11. Manage the process
  12. Build up and break down

All I have to do is test my ability to

  • A) match all 12 letters to the phrases above
  • B) know what these phrases mean
  • C) use this as a 'brain dump' to help answer the question, rather than shoe-horning the above into a question.
  • D) Repeat the above in a variety of ways, perhaps 8 - 12 times evenly across all 3 blocks

If techniques on remembering stuff for exams interests you do ask; I have a variety of approaches up my sleeve (that fall short of having a piece of paper up your sleeve).

I was thinking of devising a list around the word

HIGHLAND SPRING

Seems a bit futile though. More ingenous, though cheating of course, would be to reprint the entire HIGHLAND SPRING label with a series of craftily hidden anagrams, mnemonics and other clues with the 'contents' a variety of authors and dates.


 

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Meeting of worlds: universities and small businesses

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Apr 2012, 07:58

Back in 'civvy street' having left the OU after a year in Milton Keynes I got chatting with someone now at the University of Brighton who had 20 years at th OU; he laughed at the degree of truth in my calling it (with love) as 'the priesthood' not least because onarrival for interviews in February 2011 I felt as if I was visiting the Vatican.

There were five others from the University of brighton st this evening event at The Skiff in Brighton's ubber trendy North Lanes.

Phil Jones the MD of Wired Sussex did the introductions.

This was to be a shared conversation on how Brighton and Sussex Universities could work with the 'wired' Brighton sector.

Miltos Petridis, New Head of School, Computing, Maths & Engineering. Brighton University gave the presentation.

I was lucky to spend a goid 15 minutes with him before the presentation and heard some fascinating ideas on how algorithms are used to look at vast quantities of email and social media conversations.

Miltos is from the University of Grenwich where he developed an interest in AI, essentially doing clever things with v. large amounts of data.

He said that Universities tend to thrive in times of recession; I should have asked him why?

More people seing security in a qualification?

There is a desire to hook up with alumni long term, especially as so many choose to stay in the area. I liked what one contributor described as 'fine-grained collisions', sandwhich courses and internships for example where undergraduates with desirable niche skills cab put them to good use' in industry'.

Miltos made the point that 'What we are calling clouds a few years ago used to be mainframes'.

Another contibutor with a music degree said that this taught him the value of collaboration, a skill too many graduates lack. I wonder if proof of collaborating online couldn't be offered in evidence?

  • There was talk abput apprenticeships.
  • Being mentored.
  • Creating a sense of accomplishment over a week.

I plan to attend Wrired Sussex events in Brighton regularly, also IVCA meetings in London; networking online isn't enough, it is relationships made face to face that lead to something. So I've rejoined the Institue of Swimming and in constract, the Royal Academy.

(I have always thought the the sides of swimming pools would make a fantastic gallery for art; has anyone to your knowledge done this outside the private home of the very wealthy?)

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Revising for an exam

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Apr 2012, 07:59

I know what it takes but don't feel that the course has prepared me for a written exam.

We need to have been writing an essay a week, not one every six weeks.

Then, armed with your best essays you reduce these down to key themes.

From these themes and a list of must have authors I dream up a few mnemonics and mind maps that I can 'dump' onto a blank sheet in the first 5 to 10 minutes so I have these as an aide memoire.

Recalling distant early summers revising for exams I am doing all of this in the sun, either on the South Downs or today on the shingle beach at Seaford.

There are three course books and three blocks.

I am ploughing through these at the rate of 3 hours per day reducing each to key thoughts and must have ideas. I'll then test myself repeatedly until I can get a good range of ideas and evidence onto a sheet. Whilst I don't like exams I can there is no alternative, that assessments alone sent in electronically are too prone to patchy work even plagiarism, that being galanised to get the right stuff into your head means something, all the better if it is applied.

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What the Scandinavians know about children's literature

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Mariella%2520Fostrup.JPG

 

With Mariella Fostrup

I liked the comment from Professor Maria Nikolajeva when she quoted Leonard Helsing as saying 'all pedagogical art is bad art, but all good art is pedagogical'. So if you write a children's book from the point of view of creating good literature the learning will come naturally.

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Amazing designs

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IMG_1278.JPG

I have never before photographed a urinal (though the ease of doing this with a smartphone makes the practice possible). I thought these were something special.

They are off the River Room, Millbank. I was at a presentation given by the commercial learning company Epic.

There is, despite their beauty, a design problem. The globule dropping from the bottom of the urinal means they have to be placed higher up the wall. I'm 6ft and found the reach ideal, anyone much shorter would struggle. And might not that globule get smashed off by a careless janitor pushing an industrial cleaner into the gents?

IMG_1277.JPG

Like a little boy I found my feet raised from the ground.

Great looking, but impractical? Design over form?

They don't have to be toilets, indeed, better that they are not perhaps. But if you've come across a piece of 'urban design' that caught your attention please do share.

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Use of video in elearning (part 7)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 4 Oct 2012, 11:24

Corporate%2520Video%2520SOCIAL%2520RESPONSE%2520SNIP%25204.JPG

What makes an elearning forum tick?

This is the crux of social learning for me, what John Seely Brown calls 'learning at the periphery' or Cox calls 'vicarious' learning and I have dubbed 'learning through serendipity'. As a result of taking part you acquire knowledge, you develop your thinking and underststanind. It was no different for me learning French. The school way was hopeless, what I required was total immersion, which is what I got in my late teens turning up in France on an exchange, making friends and returning ... then wokring a gap year as far from English speakers as possible. This is how I learn, many of us prefer this informal approach. Its something that corporate elearning companies and corporate learning departments have yet to tap into. Perhaps because it lacks measurement, that there appear to be no parameters.

There are many ways to get content noticed. All the traditional tricks of promotion are required here too. Email databases, events, trade promotions, press advertising and business cards; online is not a panacea, neither is it replacement technology. It is part of the world we live in, a choice, something else, that complements other ways of doing things.

The 'long tail' refers to the way content has a life before, during and after being posted. There is a story to tell in its creation and promotion; its release should factor in for a long shelf life, then there is this 'after life', how once posted content may then be picked up by others and developed into different, better and alternative things. Keep tabs on this and content online becomes more like street theatre, or taling from a soap box on Hyde Park Corner, it is an opportunity to engage with an audience.

I like to blog, use Linkedin and Twitter.

Better to be the master of some platforms than a jack of all  trades.

 

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