When it's an OU blog.
Admitedly I have a privacy button down there, but the temptation is to hit the 'exposure' button and little the whole world read this drivel (they don't). They got their own stuff to write.
For me a blog requires 'exposure,' it requires honesty ... anything goes. 'The contents of my brian.;
None of these diaries can be this. One might be private, another to be shared with OU students the third open to the world. Three levels of exposure, yet each is from a point of view.
I am on campus, if only a virtual one.
This age and that kind of childhood we had to use fountain pens, never Biros. I learnt to type because I was given a second hand mechanical typewriter as a Christmas present. Odd, I thought. I had wanted an electric guitar.
30 years on my son wanted an electric guitar. With three acoustic guitars in the & little desire to be tutored or to follow his lessons at school the electric guitar didn't materialise for him. Instead his saving, looking after a neighbour's guinea-pigs when they were on holiday & playing with their primary school & nursery age boys ... and some deft online searching, he bought an iTouch.
His bedroom is an emporium to all things iTouch. His three best mates all have an iTouch too now. He's the early adopter ... they follow. He leads & champions wooly hats, T-shirts & trainers Jsut the way he is gregarious & enthusiatic for new 'stuff.'
Homework last night requried some research on the history of Blues. Fed up with being told Google has 94% of the search market in the UK I reverted to 'Ask Jeeves' which I used to prefer or trial over various others a decade ago ? (or less). We were taken to Wikipedia either way.
'I alwyas wiki my home work.' He says.
Like 'to google,' 'to wiki' is now a verb.
He touch types at 40 wpm. He is 11. He has had access to a computer since he was ... 2. He played a Mavis beacon QWERTY keyboard game/learner age 4.
How un-21st century, how clunky is the use of a QWERTY keyboard? What happened to voice recogniton? Why has a better keyboard not been adopted?
Being a 'game boy' he ignore the mouse. He could be shooting at the enemy the way he uses the cursor to get around.
Later in the evening my daughter is doing History Homework. It is the First World War. Her great-grandfather was a machine gunner. Her survived the Somme & Ypres and successfully transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. Three 'Really useful' boxes contain a collection of Imperial War Museum books, his medals, photos & postcards of the time ... even a cutting from the Consett Gazette in which he is featured in November 1917 haveing been awarded the Military Medal. In this box there is a full collection of 54 magazines on 'The Great War' published c.1929 & edited by H.G.Wells. The covers are red, everything else is in black and white.
'When did they invent colour?' She asked.
We discuss this.
We look through the many pages of mules & limbers, mud & soldiers, planes that are barely recognisable has such (a flying hay-rick) and 'tanks' that look as static as pillboxes.
"When did they start inventing things?' She then asked.
By this she means mobile phones, computers, TV sets ... or 'stuff,' as in 'eletronic stuff.'
When did humans ever not invent?
From the perspective of a child, 'innovation' within the context of the world they are familiar with must produce considerable advance. particularly in this era when 'new stuff' is redundant as it hits the shelf.
'What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning.’ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)
Whilst Roger’s categories may be his view of people on an historical landscape of invention they are a simplification - wherein lies our first dilemma - to open our minds to the nature & possibilities of e.learning we need to find a way to engage with its complexity.
We could each come up with our own equally valid descriptors and argue our case.
What is more, there is an in-built bias to these terms: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards. With ‘laggards,’ perhaps like ‘Luddites’ pejoratively considered to be of less worth than the ‘innovators.’
Ideas sell. So does innovation. I know from experience. As the inventive one - the team needed a salesperson. (an early adopter) and a business manager (very much in the late majority verging on being a laggard). A new business, that if successful may prove an innovation works, is like a pop group, made up of an assortment of band members. An innovator alone is like the nutty profession, Mr Brainstorm or from 'Back to the Future', Dr Emit Brown & his ‘flux-capacitor’ that drove his time machine. Does not the innovator sell to the early adopter? What is the point in tryin to sell to the laggard? And what role does the market play for innovations? In advertising we talked of 'preaching to the converted.' In relation to innovative products, you need to be selling to those who are already or are prone to 'buy in' to the new technology, software or service.
Roger’s is surely just one set of stepped criteria, we could as readily differentiate between:
- various levels of success & failure,
- between risk takers vs & the risk averse
- between the foolish & considered
- between experimental vs experiential
- between novelty vs tried & tested
And each or any of these could be researched, charted, put on maps and shared as annotated demographic pyramids.
As Mel Brooks put it in relation to writing:
'Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.'
All Rogers has done is to give some characters types separate terms.
Aptly, from the world of writing fiction (novels, screenplays) there are the terms ‘protagonist’ & ‘antagonist.’ I wonder if in a screenplay that incorporated characters from Roger’s terms by implication the ‘protagonist’ is the innovator, while the ‘antagonist’ is the laggard. And do you know what, it is the conflict between the two that generates innovation, the one trying to prove themselves right, the storyline in which the ‘early adopters,’ ‘early majority,’ ‘late majority’ & ‘laggards’ literally buy into the service or produc
... or not?
Where else have we been grouped & bunched?
In ‘Sloane Rangers’ Peter York defined a group form Chelsea, a dress sense and background, a typical mode of behaviour and in newspapers at the time other socio-economic groups were dwelt upon and picked up by what they wore and how they spoke.
Labels are used to bully
Would you like to be called a ‘laggard;’ over an ‘innovator.’ Coming out of advertising I am used to those in what we called ‘planning’ categorising customers in all manner of ways to suit the product, the client & the moment.
In 2001 I took an Enneagram Test and came out as a FIVE.
“Fives are basically on some level estranged from the rest of the world, consequently, their mind is usually their best friend. They like to analyze things and make sense of them (that is their anchor), this makes them great inventors and philosophers. The immense inner world of fives can cause them to lose touch or interest in reality."
Instead of innovators and laggards these ‘tests’ gave you a number. I am not a number, or a term. I’d like to think of myself as something more complex, wouldn't you? As Anais Nin puts it, we are each a book:
‘There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.‘ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)
It is from this complexity, this individualisation (if you must) and tapping into it, that innovation results, and where e.learning innovation is heading. Which is why I am here.
'What's new about new media? Not much!'
So I wrote a decade ago when briefing a team of communications managers from ABB on the use of the web.
What seems innovative today, may not seem so innovative tomorrow. Indeed, is it still innovative once it has become familiar and every day? And might one way of determining when something is no longer innovative when it is adopted by the ‘laggards.' Crystal sets became the wireless that in turn became the radio. carphone, becomes mobies (cellphones), then smart phones (and iphones).
Nearly a decade ago a group of ‘innovators’ met at Sussex Net Ventures. (Tuesday 19th September 2000) At this event hosted by Wired Sussex, Hugh Griffiths of iTouch said there would be
“No killer application but a killer cocktail.”
This cocktail, to result in innovation, requires a team that includes a cross-section of those ‘labelled’ by Rogers: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority & laggards.
What makes an innovator?
Why do they stand out? Because they are passionate? Persuasive? Determined? Imaginative? Entrepreneurial? Well educated? Moneyed? All of these things, or none of them.
And why are there so few of them? Henry Miller puts in well in ‘Tropic of Cancer.’
“What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs."
Who can deny the self-belief of Bill Gates? Or Tim Berners-Lee?
Innovators believe in what they are doing. Whether they are successful (and how you measure or determine success is another matter).
'It seems to me that I follow only the most accessible thread. Three or four threads may be agitated, like telegraph wires, at the same time, and if I were to tap them all I would reveal such a mixture of innocence and duplicity, generosity and calculation, fear and courage.'
(Henry & June, Journals, July 1932 Anais Nin)
For the umpteenth time as several hooks snag I don't know whether to blog in one space or several. The compromise will be to keep this for and about the OU. Therefore 'e.learning & innovation,' even 'innovations in e.learning.'
The problem Anais Nin had related to the 'threads' in her life, her various interests that broadly split between her love life, her efforts to become a published writer of fiction & what the journals gradually become first to her and then to the people (and fans) who read them.
My response has been, having stared a blog, that mimicked a diary and was simply an 'online journal' to split by purpose, by content (the the degree of exposure I was prepared to make/the adult nature of the material) and even by design. Things quickly got in a muddle & I returned to the single blog model, only to find I could not please all, or many (or even any but a handful) of the readers. By which time it had ceased to be a diary, or even an online journal.
I will persevere with WordPress where the old blog will be migrated. This could take some time. 8,000 hours if I go entry by entry. Oops. Maybe not them. I can be more selective than that. The intention will be to use current blogging tools to find & establish threads of ideas, topics, stories, people & events. To what end though?
Then there'll be a blog for teaching & coaching swimming aimed only at fellow teachers & coaches - so not on how to swim, or how to swim faster ... just how to teach or coach people to swim and then to swim faster.
There is relevance to this in relation to 'innovations in e.learning.
What is most likely to produce an innovation? By being prescriptive, or saying 'anything goes?' Or a bit of both. Somehow.
Or am I talking here about inventiveness & creativity?
And extended working of a response to a thread on placing a list of concepts relating to e.learning on a grid.
Understanding how we are placing these concepts is a path of academic study in its own right.
The fascinating thing is to be at a moment in history (again perhaps) where language, or at least certain new words and new concepts are fluid.
Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norman French ... Creole
'Definitions' offered by Wikipedia and the like cannot be 'solid' or 'set within parameters.
How stable is any word?
We know how a generation can take a word to heart and alter, even flip its meaning: wicked, gay, cool, ugly ...
My view is that we are all right in where we place the concepts (on the grid, axes exiting//new & formal//informal) ... and we could each in turn shift things around. Indeed, as I revist this exercise over the following weeks I'm sure I'll do exactly that.
Wherein lies the purpose of the task - we come to our own understanding through engagement with the subject matter ... and those who have been 'here' for a few months are more may be ahead (or at least in a different place). similarly a word can be hijaked. Off the top of my head think of 'Beatles' & 'Oasis.' Thinking longer, how the word 'traffic,' has for example gone from the inane movement of people, goods & vehicles ... to the illegal, & criminal kidnap, expert, trading, rape & prostitution of young woman.
The caveat is that without considerable common ground on what the concepts mean, communication and then action become difficult. To use a hackneyed phrase, 'we all need to be singing from the same hymn sheet.'
Were this a live project with money, clients, schedule & problems to solve, coming to a working agreement would be crucial.
Here's another thought. How are we each saying these words? How we say them adds an important additional layer. Not just any accents, but our state of mind, whether we speak with confidence or we are hesitatnt ... and then during the course of a conversation how we alter how we use the term.
There is good reason for meeting face-to-face. How we say a word is just the start, of course. Our body language adds yet more. Saying 'Just-in-time learning' I might act out a factory worked sifting through widgets on a conveyor belt. Is this your idea of 'just-in-time' - intellectually it is managed somewhat differently and there are different degrees of 'Jit.' There are elements that form part of a predicted learning progression ... and other ;unique' grabs on nuggets of learning that are more literally 'just-in-time.'
I have stubbornly kept with a clunky, bare coded blog site whilst around me new wonders have formed.
Diaryland has been around since Sept 1999. The format's hardly changed,. It feels like using a slate while flying through space to Mars.
There was a period, around 2002/2003 when too many new blog sites were forming. I tried one or two, then fell back on a basic format in Diarlyland which gives the user considerable control to create a bespoke layout. I tied my head in knots with HTML ... then left it to a nascent web designed ... only to attempt some crafty alterations (innovations/experiments) to it myself and nearly bring the roof down.
I didn't care. I had become tired of some of the weirdest layouts where the text was virtually impossible to read. Style over matter. The content never king.
It's ideas that appeal to me. Ideas and how they form.
Despite this and given my desire to climb a mountain that has grown beneath my feet, I will be working in WordPress ... though this evening getting in was proving difficult.
At the autumn of 1999 Ellen Levy was featured in the Washington Times. She had just completed a 'web log' - an entry for every day, for a year. Someone thought it was a first. She had included 800 photographs. The journalist thought there might be some 40,000 blogs by then.
I wonder what's happened to Ellen Levy?
Did blogs catch on?
She thought her 'online diary' might chart her professional relationships and so help her with her work.
My mind has needed the break; I can feel it getting back into gear. The excitement is still there. Its been well fed - writing, reading & consuming so much - doing things that would have never crossed my mind during the headiest days of working at a Web Agency. The habit of keeping a journal has meant that while periods I may not of been online, plenty was being typed up and filed. No return to a traditional pen in a notebook 'journal' has been possible
Chasing 'readers' was ridiculous. It transformed things. It does. Then you havea a few fans and you pander to the things they enjoy to read. It is no longer a blog. No longer the contents of my brain.
What patterns might I find in 1,600 entries & some 1.5 million words? How long would it take me to transfer the text, edit it (yet again) & tag it? Why do activities of no apparent value appeal to me so much? From this is invention born? Who cares? My brain's done nothing interesting.
My favourite button in all of 'that' is nothing sophisticated at all. It is the 'random entry' button - sometimes chaos is more interesting than order.
Think about it, I was. Whilst we attempt to order nad box and tag and list and group our thoughts ... don't we find inspiration and fluke insights in the oddest of random places? The smell of the screenwash on the windscreen bring up recollections of a journey through France? A dream that visually had nothing to do with any of this, but from the feelings it engendered at everything to do with a sense of 'missing the boat; and then trying to catch up by taking a plane ... and then missing this too.
Circumstances and necessity have taken me back to a pad of paper & a pencil.
Years now of typing in, typing up, scanning in and saving 'stuff' digitally finds me returning to the safe, solid & 'real' storing, sharing & manipulation of 'stuff.'
Lack of space in the house had me taking of the kitchen/dining table with the laptop. My 'office' took over the place & I got fed-up of needing to work at 5.00am so that it could be cleared away.
Then the Laptop screen bust.
It's an iBook. It's pushing seven years old (which in laptop years, as in doggie years, probably makes it due for retirement). It is no longer a laptop & it is no longer on the dining room table ... or on my lap out and about. Instead it is on a desk the width of a large shelf at the end of the bed.
No longer being a student, or a child with his own bedroom (this doesn't last long guys, if you are in this position) & therefore sharing a bed (& bedroom) - it has its pleasures & comforts. No longer being a student ... & sharing a bedroom means that access therefore to this cornucopiea of semi-retired, quasi-disabled techno-stuff may only occur when hers truly is up. I'm a lark, she's an owl. Access is denied 'til mid morning.
Unless I tip myself into the 'study,' a broom-cupboard that takes a desk and a narrow set of shelves, one person, one office-chair - her office chair.
Pencil & Paper
I don't even have a fountain pen that functions. Ink on paper would be my preference if I must put pen to paper. I like a good pen, but I will lose them. But I no longer have teh luxury of replacing them when lost.
Poverty has its lessons. (If I dare even call it that).
So I am using a pencil on paper. The pencil needs to be sharpened every few lines, so I clutch a sharpener in one hand, the pencil in the other. I flick through pages of a tatty book and make notes. These pages & this book, given my inclination to box & store said 'stuff' could be around in fifty years time.
I have double 8 film shot by my late father in the 1960s - on film, on a digital Beta master, on VHS & DVD. It exists.
I have diaries, from the 'Five Year Diary' bought for me in 1976 & the others - hardback A4 lined for the most part - for the following 16 years. All boxed & safe.
I 'postcard' photos of my late grandfather - one is dated 1905, others 1918. I have pics of other relatives across the century.
And our wedding
And our infant children
But find me the CD of photos taken on holiday in Cornwall 6 years ago. It is buried in a stack of labelled Photo-CDs.
Find me a photo I took of Lewes Castle in the snow only a month ago ... it is lost amongst hundreds of versions of this and other photographs that have been loaded onto this PC over the last couple of weeks from four different phones & any of three digital cameras. Each of appears to have a different way of doing this, uses a different software programme too.
Please don't tell me I should have sytems, methods & to do this or that to resolve the clutter. A computer each to start with.
The digitisation of everything will be our undoing - it will result in a block, a jam, a mental breakdown.
In a reflexive mood, you see.
Preparing for an exam in a month's time I find I am falling back on old methods - methods that worked for me before. The notes on a piece of paper. The re-hashing of these notes. Then attempts to recall the information or to answer questions from a mock paper. All of this I do offline, on paper as described above.
Just as watching TV, we are told, can be like a person smoking canabis - semi-comatose, I do wonder if despite this interactivity, that screens, removed by one step from 'reality' are therefore less conducive to forming deeper mylenation in the mind and so the information is less likely to be retained.
In any case, the input here is on a QWERTY keyboard, whilst the 'exam' will be black Biro to paper. Something else gets lost in translation.
There is no easy way to make the information stick - not, at least in my case, without visualisation & engagement, without a battle in which the pathways in my brian take on some significance.
"I recently met a organisation about building a social media presence. They had a website, facebook page and you tube channel so they believed they had a very good social media presence. However, nothing had been updated in over 3 months and only one member of staff new how to update the website. Most of the employees had only visited the facebook page and youTube channel when they were launched 6 months earlier.
"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.
In an environment in which the coining of phrases is endemic I wish to invent the term wet.learning - learning that is conducted in and around water in relation to teaching people to swim and teaching teachers and coaches how to teach people to swim.
By defintion you cannot have anything electric or electronic around water; this negates e.learning of any kind.
even paper learning (p.learning) can be problematic as the stuff invariably gets wet, goes soggy, tears and is binned.
so we are left with orginal learning (o.learning), which like orginal sin committed by Adam & Eve is done in a semi-naked state.
I mock, I must. I've been involved in education, mostly corporate, and have never deemed it necessary to call it v.learning when we used video, though interactive learning & training became common place (though never called i.learning or i.training) - it was sometimes called 'clever' or 'smart' learning though ... but never c.learning or s.learning.
So back to wet learning ...
undertaken poolside where the acoustics are atrocious we often resort to grunts, sign language and waving our arms & limbs about in demonstration.
Did our ancestors in cave teach cave-kids to paint in such ways?
If there is to be any final definition of e.learning it should be 'effecitive learning,' the alternative be "*.learning."
Trying voice recognition software and expected to use it fifteen years ago I fail to see its everyday application. (Inform me otherwise, please).
A generation typing in TXT may in time stick with an keyboard that goes ABC/DEF while touch screens and icons are still an expensive novelty, limited yet again by those who create the software in a language that they can use and favour with English often the mother tongue and culturally the was screens are read, the images and colours used, of Western origin.
And within this, take one tiny Empirical-like imposition that took many years to address – all Microsoft dictionaries favoured American English.
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