Towards Maturity - Benchmarking e-learning
Microsoft Research Silicon Valley
Email: GBell At Microsoft.com is the most reliable communication link
Mobile phone & answering machine: (415) 640 8255 best voice link
Office & Computer LYNC Phone: (415) 972-6542; this rings on my PC
FAX only if you must: MS fax gateway(425) 936-7329 address to "gbell"
Microsoft Office: 835 Market Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, CA, 94103
Gordon Bell is a principal researcher in the Microsoft Research Silicon Valley Laboratory, working in the San Francisco Laboratory. His interests include extreme lifelogging, digital lives, preserving everything in cyberspace, and cloud computing as a new computer class and platform. He proselytizes Jim Gray’s Fourth Paradigm of Science.
Gordon has long evangelized scalable systems starting with his interest in multiprocessors (mP) beginning in 1965 with the design of Digital's PDP-6, PDP-10's antecedent, one of the first mPs and the first timesharing computer. He continues this interest with various talks about trends in future supercomputing (see Papers… presentations, etc.) and especially clustered systems formed from cost-effective “personal computers”. As Digital's VP of R&D he was responsible for the VAX Computing Environment. In 1987, he led the cross-agency group as head of NSF's Computing Directorate that made "the plan" for the National Research and Education Network (NREN)aka the Internet.
When joining Microsoft in 1995, Gordon had started focusing on the use of computers and the necessity of telepresence: being there without really being there, then. "There" can be a different place, right now, or a compressed and different time (a presentation or recording of an earlier event). In 1999 this project was extended to include multimedia in the home (visit Papers… presentations, etc.).
He puts nearly all of his atom- and electron-based bits in his local Cyberspace—the MyLifeBits project c1998-2007. This includes everything he has accumulated, written, photographed, presented, and owns (e.g. CDs). In February 2005 an epiphany occurred with the realization that MyLifeBits goes beyond Vannevar Bush's "memex" and is a personal transaction processing database for everything described in June 14, 2005 SIGMOD Keynote. The MyLifeBits project with Jim Gemmell is described in an article by us in the March 2007 Scientific American. Alec Wilkinson described Gordon and the MyLifeBits effort in the 28 May 2007 issue of the New Yorker. By the publication of the book the final epiphany was that our e-memories are where the records reside and bio-memories are just URLs into these records.
He and Jim Gemmell have written a book entitled Total Recall: How the e-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything which was published in=n September 2009. You can order it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, orIndieBound. Please check out the Total Recall book website. Your Life, Uploaded: The Digital Way to Better Memory, Health, and Productivity is the paperback version published September 2010. It is available in Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese.
The remainder of the site includes these pages:
- Papers, books, PowerPoint presentations, videos since 1995, when joining Microsoft
- Extended Bio-- education, work history, honors... Alaska fishing and France biking
- Vitae: Listing of books, computers, interviews, papers, patents, projects, and videos
- THE COMPUTER MUSEUM ARCHIVE An archive of The Computer Museum in Boston 1980-1998.
5. Gordon's Cyber Museum that has Bell's books, the Hollerith Patent, the CDC 8600 Manual, a talk about Seymour Cray, an album of supercomputer photos, posters about the history of computing, etc.
6. Gordon's Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Cyber Museum has artifacts, books, brochures, clippings, manuals, memos (e.g. The VAX Strategy), memorabilia, photos, posters, presentations, etc. relating to Digital Equipment Corporation a.k.a. DEC.
7. Supercomputing and the CyberInfrastructure lists articles, memos, talks, and testimony regarding the various aspects of high performance computing including funding, goals, and problems in reaching to the Teraflops in 1995 and Petaflops in 2010.
Bell's Law of Computer Classes and Class formation was first described in 1972 with the emergence of a new, lower priced microcomputer class based on the microprocessor. Microsoft Technical Report MSR-TR-2007-146 describes the law and gives the implication for multiple cores per chip, etc. Established market class computers are introduced at a constant price with increasing functionality (or performance). Technology advances in semiconductors, storage, interfaces and networks enable a new computer class (platform) to form about every decade to serve a new need. Each new usually lower priced class is maintained as a quasi independent industry (market). Classes include: mainframes (60's), minicomputers (70's), networked workstations and personal computers (80's), browser-web-server structure (90's), web services (2000's), palm computing (1995), convergence of cell phones and computers (2003), and Wireless Sensor Networks aka motes (2004). Beginning in the 1990s, a single class of scalable computers called clusters built from a few to tens of thousands of commodity microcomputer-storage-networked bricks began to cover and replace mainframes, minis, and workstation. Bell predicts home and body area networks will form by 2010. See also the description of several laws (e.g. Moore's, Metcalfe's, Bill's, Nathan's, Bell's) that govern the computer industry is given in Laws, a talk by Jim Gray and Gordon Bell.
Gordon was with his Diamond Exchange colleagues at the Boulders, Carefree, AZ where the group tested the Segway, a dual-processor, two wheeled, computer and Human Transporter. Since the test in 2002, he has taken and recommended tours in the Pacificia near San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Yes, this is a product endorsement. Right is the Ford SUV version
Illl-health has impacted on my activity online. This in itself is an insight. On the one hand we lable people for analysis, putting them into groups that vary from 'creator' all the way through to 'inactive' in order to simply its complexity, but more importantly in order to be able to share and discuss.
It has to be two, even three years since I did some long overdue 'digital housekeeping'. It isn't in my nature to go through my virtual pack of cards to put them in order; indeed, is order of any kind necessary so long as you have tagger thoroughly? It is, because such tags are no less valid just because you thoughts, ideas, assignments, references, quotes, pics, charts, grabs and so on are now collated. Indeed, these groups, chronologies and narratives are offering their own insights.
I've been inclined to equate 'stuff' (digital assets) as vegetation in a compost bin, however, this 'stuff' doesn't simply rot, rather it replicates itself ... then rots and transmogrifies in various ways. You think too hard and analogies fail because of the versatility, fluidity and complexity of the World Wide Web 2.0.
Creation is a part of what I do. There is considerable searching, grabbing, highlighting and note-taking too. Screen grabs and 'Snips' are treated like photographs and dealt with off-line in 'Picasa', online they are uploaded to Picasa Web and Dropbox. From here the url is shared in various ways in this blog and elsewhere. This 200GB album was looking like Wembley Stadium after a rock concert so I've gone in and begun to sort out and clean up my 'digital litter'.
What I find is that a grab, chart or image can instantly induce recollection of why I chose the image in the first place; the thinking behind the choice is revived. On their own these images will mean very different things to others until I add the text.
Certain habits, such as titles, tags and references save you scrambling around later. Too often a great chart from a survey is rendered, in academic circles, useless, if I cannot locate the source. I can feel like riding a bicycle with square wheels ensuring that quotes and images are properly referenced at the time you highlight, note or grab, but it means that when you put them into an assignment, or simply a presentation or blog, this reference, usually with a URL is readily available.
This suits the kind of person who for a very short period (one month), not only kept a diary, but stuck the ephemera of the day into the folder/scrapbook too. Unsustainable, but extraordinary how a 3d bus ticket from the 1970s does more to remind me of the Yellow 45 bus I took along the 'Great North Road' to primary school then any words (that I couldn't have written at the time) to explain it.
Intermittently, having come across him during H808, I think about the Microsoft programmer who uses a digital device to RECORD everything he does, all day (sound and vision). That's the easy part. The hard part is creating the software to extract and store content of worth. The problem is that the mind, which must equate to how innovative we are, is anything but well ordered.
How often do we stop and think?
I may be an atheist but perhaps on the seventh day we should rest; we unplugged the router, put the phone on charge for the following week, turn off the TV and buy a paper? Or go to church ... or the non-religious equivalent.
A search for 'Microsoft' in this diary brings me the name 'Gordon Bell', the entry I wrote in January and a link to the New Scientist article and its author. Gordon Bell wrote that he hoped eventually to unconver some patterns 'you would never have gleaned unaided.'
I very rarely look at old diaries. Doing so I was in despair. Neither the chronology, nor the day of the week is relevant, rather it is the unlinked themes that run through it, but to get at those requires transcription and digitisation.
I'd prefer to live life than live about the life I lived.
What Microsoft may achieve, though Google are surely doing it, is to formulate a better way to manager knowledge.
Which brings me to my final though for now, and that is to go entirely Google.
I use Google tools extensively already.
I've never done much with 'Blogger' prefering 'Wordpress,' but Google makes it seamless, indeed, collectively Google tools are half-way between a virtual learning environment (VLE) and that amorphous collection of tools we collectively give the term 'personal learning environment' (PLE).
I use this blog as an e-portfolio.
It now holds notes from entire books, ad well as an assembly of key points for the H800 EMA.
This way I can pick up where I left off via desktop, laptop or iPad.
I know there are other even better ways to do this, Google Docs and Dropbox, but what I like here is the search function, tags and chronology.
On the basis that I always tag I can now assemble searches by author or topic.
I then return to these pages to edit or add.
I like having the HTML coding so that I can cut and paste into an external blog.
Images: photos, screen grabs or snips, as well as photos and charts, come from Picasa Web.
In a concerted effort to narrow down my ideas I am trying to cover the EMA in images only. As a result of all of this I believe I know my stuff, the problem, is to demonstrate that to others in a format that is academic rather than journalistic and highly visualised.
I ought to use the affordances of PowerPoint to construct this thing, using the frames like cards that I can move about and bullet points as a way to construct the treatment. Then write it up, and read it out. Better still record this and play it back to be sure of it's sense before checking further that it meets all the criteria.
With excellent planning H800 gives us this time, whereas in H807 and H808 I'm sure there was course work offered, but very few people coming out to do it.
Could the contents of this blog be put into FileMaker Pro?
Would that make it more versatile?
A friend asked my son if he was doing compulsive RE at the dinner table the other night. My son said yes, not really knowing what his friend had asked.
I explained the difference between compulsory and compulsive and then improvised someone with 'compulsive RE' disorder that meant they were constantly genuflecting to everyday objects, getting down on their knees to pray and singing hymns.
Everyone joined in with their ideas and we had a laugh.
Maybe they both learnt the meaning of the two words?
Mistakes come in many forms, from the impertinent, to the accidental, but as Greyson Perry says about art and creativity, 'Creativity is mistakes.' And sometimes very funny.
"It's a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger that memory becomes."
We are generally the better persuaded by the reasons we discover for ourselves than by those given to us by others'. Lec
The pleasure of reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books. Lec
'The surest way to corrupt a young man is to teach him to esteem more highly those who think alike than those who think differently'. Nietzsche
'Analogy is the only language understood by the subconscious mind'. Jung
"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." Jung
"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. " Jung
Down with something hideous and find myself on antibiotics. Want to be studying but haven't the head for it, not academic papers.
As an asthmatic I wonder if the kind of videos I used to produce as interactive Apps might be of value?
Watch several movies, the wonderful 'Barefoot in the Park' with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, the TV movie on the rise of Hitler with Robert Carlyle and 'The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain' with Hugh Grant and Tara Fitzgerald.
'The Rise of Evil' is historically accurate though somewhat eager, understandably, to ensure that Hitler has no redeeming points. I'd recommend it as viewing alongside the two volume biography by Ian Kershaw.
'Barefoot in the Park' which I must have seen on TV in the 1970s drew me into the wonders of a stage play making it onto the big screen. I also admire the way five days of sex is handled by showing newspapers being put outside their hotel bedroom door every morning. I thought Paul put his shoes out to be polished, another film?
A call from a colleague with a major corporate and we talk social media learning for nearly three hours.
During this time I repeatedly search this blog, using the e-portfolio that it has become, sending charts and grabs from Picasa and from the iPad, creating a mind-map in Bubbl.us and balancing how the MA in Open and Distance Learning compares to the OU MBA he completed last year and the MRes he is doing now.
Just a phone call. We could have gone to Skype, Elluminate or even Google+. The phone freed up the laptop. Several photos picked up from workshops, as well as screen grabs, were emailed from the iPad which was also running.
Fig.1. Social Media Learning Mind Map
Timely as I am procrastinating over the ECA which will be on the use of Forums and Mobile devices in e-learning.
A reminder of how a synchronous conversation can achieve so much, especially when there were items set before our eyes to discuss.
We also discussed (I hadn't the energy to take many notes. In retrospect I wish I'd recorded it):
- Belbin Team Roles
- Activity Theory
- Management Mindsets
- Web 2.0
- Learning on the periphery
- Vicarious Learning
- Medical Market Research
- TV Production
- The role of an Alumni Board
- Blogs as 'electronic paper'
It was invaluable to have the external point of view, someone from a global comany of thousands talking about social media learning. Looking at the devices we now have, such as smartphones and tablets, it was particularly interesting to be reminded of human nature, how devices may be used for things and in ways that they were not designed.
Whilst the iPad permits mobility, we often use it when static: in our favourite chair, recumbant on the sofa, even in bed or in the bath. Is this mobile learning? It's hardly getting out of the house, drawing down data on the run using augmented technology to enhance the environment your in. And simply having content on an iPad so that you can using the touch screen to open and close the text, enlarging text, flipping the screen size between portrait and landscape all the time - the joy of its tactile nature. Unable to sleep I use the light from the iPad as a torch to sneak away from the marital bed and passed the children's bedrooms and to find my way downstairs withouth having to put the landing light on.
It also was clear how both devices and approaches to learning cannot be isolated, we got our joint heads around Engestrom's 'Activity Systems'. The technology is complementary, the move to personalise everything through device and software choices.
I'd played Devil's Adocat a couple of times suggesting that 'nothing had changed' only to come away agreeing that many of my behaviours were/are different as a direct result of Web 2.0. I have gone from learning in private, hunched over my books never showing it to anyone to a situations where, more like someone tending a public garden, or at least one seen from the street, people can see my thinking. Ironically, it is the end result that often fails to appear because I'm not about to post TMAs and ECAs online.
Some authors I quoted/cited during the conversation:
- John Seely Brown
- Jonathan Swift
To which I subsequently add as a result of browsing the blog and so re-engaging with my own experience within the chronology of the module; it is this, after all, that is to be examined, rather than my knowledge from this and the preceding modules. A learning design fault?
- H807 You diddle about with every instrument in the orchestra and several that have just been invented.
- H808 You learn to conduct, or at least why a conductor is important (even if you can't play an instrument or read music).
- H800 You learn to play an electronic keyboard
I quoted Swift as saying (paraphrasing) 'I don't know what I mean until I hear myself speak'. If anyone has any idea how to cite this please do offer your thoughts.
More authors to consider in this context (mobile learning, forums, e-learning, web 2.0):
- Bacon and Dillon
Other topics that we should have discussed:
- User Generated Content
- Collective Intelligence
- Problem based learning
- Demand Pull
BEING DEVELOPED FURTHER HERE
Blogging here in OU land is to do so within a 'walled garden' (a technical term for a safe haven, a nursery if you will, polytunnel or cold frame if you prefer, even the training pool in a Leisure Complex rather than the open sea.
Can I gather my thoughts this way? That's the idea. More than an aide memoir once you have 100 entries + (there are more like 500 here) with tags, they can be as personal as you decide, and you can search anyway.
What I have found over ten years blogging, and 18 months here, is that almost EVERYTHING you write and tag, title (and categorise if you cut, paste and duplicate into an external blog) sparks off a memory of when and why you made that note or had that thought: you can build on this.
So why go public?
This is where a blog differs from the private diary or journal (which are valuable in their own right). A blog, shared with a discrete tutor group, or just your tutor, with the cohort for that module or the entire course, let alone ALL current OU students and the www, is guided by comments. These are always supportive, constructive, considered and relevant. Only ONCE was I ever 'flamed' and that was nine years ago on an external blog. The thoughts of those on other courses are often the most insightful of all as they come unburdened, curious and willing to challenge.
Interest in, even compulsion to use Facebook can be turned into a positive where there is focus and purpose, being in touch with those with whom you want a relationship, not social, but social - like, in most cases you do better business and you develop a sense of trust or at least common purpose.
There are 43,000 members of the OU student Facebook site.
They are there to decide on courses, share as we do in forums their trials and tribulations while being offered ideas and tips, as well as seeking advice. It requires monitoring and moderation, like a good host you act as a catalyst (if required). A great deal is self-generated. There is learning as you'd find in any group or individuals sharing ideas. But can it be formalised? (would you want to run a class during break or recess?) And what happens if students shift to Google+ or others, or do you provide your own social learning network within a 'walled garden.'
For close friends they may have a separate account, or use different networks such as Tumblr.
1. Capable of division into symmetrical halves by only one longitudinal plane passing through the axis.[Wordnet]
2. Symmetrical bilaterally; -- said of organisms, or parts of organisms, capable of division into two symmetrical halves only in a single plane.[Websters]
3. Being bilateral. [Eve - graph theoretic]
4. Rarely used base adjective of the adverb zygomorphously.[Eve - graph theoretic]
Eric Schmidt's MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival
18 months ago the OU forums were full of it:
"The problem for schools at the moment is that many teachers do not have the levels of digital literacy held by many of their students. This is magnified by the fact that the 'decision makers' in schools - i.e. the senior management team are less likely to have the skills needed due to their ... 'experience' so see less value in elearning and ict.
They have the power to effect change and innovate but are less likely to use it.
I Loved this offered by fellow OU Student Clive Hilton yesterday (see his entry below)
Mind maps can be such twaddle.
For a few days I taught Tony Burzan in Secondary Schools; the best mind map wasn't a mind map at all, it was a football field.
I was not invited to continue with my efforts to teach memory tricks and cheats after that my second only effort to occupy 40 Year 9s.
Another blog, another day ...
An eventful seven hours or so. Despite the need for an essay plan, bullet points or an ordered list.
I tried to write a TMA from a mind map and got myself as ludicrously tied in knots as it is with unlinked threads and a failure to group the content; a Venn Diagram would have worked better. Which is a point as applicable to the software that creates these things, know your tools and choices and make them. Sometimes the old, simple ways work best. Essays and assignments, like a narrative, are linear.
My A' level Geography teacher Mr D.Rhodes of the Newcastle R.G.S had the best approach.
An essay should look like a flower
- six petals = six ideas
- the stamen = the topic
- the stem = the introduction and conclusion.
A shorthand doodle at the end of an essay would often feature such a flower with ONE huge leaf until I got the picture.
An essay plan or treatment, unlike a mind-map, requires effort, concentration and thought.
Could be bed-based learning too, even the beach, or on a boat; all tried for the purposes of testing the device and its possibilities.
TIPS FOR THE BATH
- Spare towel for the iPad when you put the thing down. I find this is when the water gets cold.
- Toe control of the hot tap.
- Contact lenses in (glasses steam up).
The context lends itself to a variety of e-learning topics, the marketing of bathroom products, shampoos in particular.
A glance might allow the sleuth to identify the make-up of family members.
Takes picture, though this could be uploaded directly to wordpress here I go for Picasa Web, then paste in the code.
DIY tips on a dripping tap would be handy, but isn't that e-training?
Otherwise normal bath activities apply:
- read a book,
- listen to the radio ...
Surely 'mobile learning' in this context is a misnomer (or unnecessary nomer)
Was book reading ever called mobile or portable reading once cost and size meant that some people took the early printed books with them?
Being without a room of my own, or study even a habitable shed, garage or attic the advantage of having an iPad in the bath is that I am unlikely to be disturbed.
A laptop doesn't work, you get drips in the keyboard and sitting up spoils the point of the bath.
Where do you take your 'mobile device' and in what contexts, times and places is it suitable or conducice to learning?
I find a bench 'in memory to ... ' on cliffs looking over the English Channel at Hope Gap or the mouth of the River Cuckmere below the chalk cliffs of the South Downs known as the 'Seven Sisters' a place to write, especially at first light. For a couple of hours. Train journeys can be good too, so long as it isn't packed.
53% of students (mostly undergraduates in this survey of 573 in the US) with a smartphone, typically an iPhone or Blackberry, use it in the bathroom.
Only 28% say they never do.
My only suggestion is to do as in China and wash you hands both before and after.
This gives me t-learning or should that be 'seat-uated' learning.
Situated and contextual learning requires marrying up the place and the learning being done, which could therefore be National Geographic and 'The Oldie' online?
The posh may prefer 'lavatory learning' - which would be 'L-learning'.
The lavatory teaches
This has me thinking and going through http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/qualification/F10.htm
With the MA in mind I have done:
H807 Innovations in e-learning
H808 The e-learning professional
And will complete next month:
H800 Technology Enhanced Learning
For the 180 credits required for the MA there is no choice (unless I am misreading it) but to do the only two remaining 30 credit modules:
H810 Accessible Online Learning
H809 Practice-based Research in Educational Technology
Or have I got that wrong?
With this in mind it's H810 in September then H809 in February 2012.
To confuse issues there are professional reasons to start the MBA programme from October. Decision time then as I won't be doing two courses concurrently. Something I tried by doing over a three year period the UKCC ASA Senior Club Coach (swimming) qualification ...
Freedom is LACK of choice.
I look forward to H810. Search H810 in the OU Student Blogs for an idea of what it is about; we did a rich, engaging and valuable period on accessibility in H807.
I'd do H807 again as I feel it was wasted on me. It took me six months to get into the postgraduate groove and my IT skills despite being online for a decade were woefully inadequate. The disappointment is that the reading and activities cannot possibly be contemporary so that you feel as if it is 2005 at best, 2003 at worst. I expected technological fireworks; at least I understand why that is not realistic. Perhaps the model whereby a module that aims to be innovative is designed and reinvented continually?
H800 is the 60 pointer but I have found it LESS onerous that previous 30 Pointer modules, not only is it spread thinner, but the pace is adjusted, the roll-over and degree of repetition embeds the learning outcomes and a TMA as prep for the ECA is inspired.
What next is asked by many MA qualified postgraduates I am finding. We hanker after more but short of a PhD what can be offered? Indeed, I think there is a gap in Tertiarty, or should it be called 'quartertiary' education?
If offered a further choice of modules beyond the MA I'd do them ... Towards at MA+ or MA* ?? Though in truth for how the thinking is applied, as a form of CPD.
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