OU blog

Personal Blogs

Picture of Anna Greathead

Student Online Rooms

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018, 11:49

They really want us to use these! Really really!

I understand the theory. I can see that discussion what we are learning, how it applies to our experience and practice, and how we can move forward as a student body is valuable. Imperative maybe. I certainly welcome the chance to bounce ideas, concerns and frustrations off the very people who really are sharing the experience. 

However - I am not sure that John Seely Brown is right when he asserts that the distributed learning group is just as effective as the situated one. 

This could be, at least in part, a technological failing. At present we all have audio and a screen on which we can write messages (although only on the whiteboard and not in a chat format). We can see who is in the group and who is speaking. However - when speaking I can't hear what anyone else is saying so don't know if I am getting 'hmms' of approval or questioning. As with all web based technology the risk of a shaky connection means that the conversation is not seamless. And the lack of actual human people and all of their body language and cues is really sorely felt. 

I think I like my tutor group a lot. I think - were we to meet in a Costa for coffee - then I'd get on well with all of them. But using the online student rooms leaves me either sitting through an awkward silence for fear of starting to speak at the same time as someone else.... or 'taking charge' and worrying that my colleagues resent my assertiveness... or simply listening and not really participating.

It is also difficult to find times to 'meet'. We all have busy schedules and trying to organize it through a forum which people may only check once a day leaves little opportunity for spontaneous chat as might happen if we were on campus together. 

We have a Facebook group which is outside of the OU which I have found more immediate. I wonder if a tutor group WhatsApp group might actually be really useful. I don't even know how to propose that though! 

Share post
image/pngTMA01 diagram.PNG
Picture of Anna Greathead

A word saving diagram!

Visible to anyone in the world

My last blog may have contained a hint of a moan about the word count in this TMA I am writing. This word count has been my nemesis for the last few days as I have edited and rephrased and contracted almost every sentence of this assessment! My overactive brain keeps thinking of things I should have included but hadn't so I keep writing new sentences and then having to steal words from previously written ones to make room for it! 

And then I made this diagram. I am hoping to both demonstrates my understanding of the key concepts we are being asked to discuss and also adds a little personal interpretation. (I am also hoping it doesn't reveal how massively I have misunderstood the whole thing!)

The acquisition metaphor is represented by a one way, downwards pointing arrow from teacher to learner. We are all familiar with this type of learning - it's where a teacher tells us stuff we are supposed to remember. We remember the stuff for papers and exams and (very occasionally!) real life. 

The participation metaphor is represented by a four way arrow between learner and learner, teacher and expert practitioner. This is because there is no one way we learn through the participation metaphor, but the flow of knowledge is also not one way. It flows in all directions.

The study group method - so enthusiastically espoused by John Seely Brown - is a two way arrow between learners. Learners work together to extend their own understanding and thus learners are both learners and teachers. The learning is organic and no linear but the opportunity to properly discuss and debate ensures that better understanding is reached. 

The authentic environment situated cognition learning theory is represented by a one way, though horizontal, arrow from expert practitioner to learner. In this learning type there is still an expert. Teaching may not look so hierarchal but the flow of knowledge and expertise is still one way. 

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

TMA 01 - minus 4 days

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Thursday, 15 Mar 2018, 22:18

I don't know what they want.

I can demonstrate that I understand the papers and other materials they've directed me to

I can give examples of how my thinking about learning, and professional practice, has changed already

I can see how different learning theories fit with different learning practices

But I don't know if that is what they want..... 

The word count is horrifically low. In 500 words they want me to explain how a single H800 activity reflects (or doesn't) my own experience as a learner / teacher AND evaluate the activity as a part of the module. Now I assume I have to give some indication that I understand the material but that takes a couple of hundred words. Relating it to my experience or practice takes another 250.... so it's a mere sentence or two to evaluate the activity. 

And I have to do that three times. For three activities. From three separate weeks. (But not from three of the activities which we have had tutorials about!)

And then there is a discussion about those three tutorial activities. I am to discuss how much they reflect my experience AND engage critically with the text AND refer to other associated writings both within and outside of H800 AND make use of the forum posts and contributions of other students AND include a picture or two to support my argument (what? I am supposed to be making an argument?) AND all of this must be done in 800 words! 

I had a full length essay to hand in two days ago but I am so unsure. I have edited, re-edited, cut and pasted, checked the word count a thousand times. As I drive to work, or lie in bed, or watch TV, or do anything really new thoughts come to mind which I suddenly think are key and must be included. So something else must be jettisoned. But what? I've already taken out every adjective. I have phrased things as economically as it is possible to phrase them. 

Thankfully there are 10 marks for spelling and grammar! So I won't get a zero!

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead


Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Thursday, 15 Mar 2018, 22:26

In the introduction for week 5 we were told that the workload for this week as much reduced as they were aware we would be starting to thinking about our first TMA (Tutor Marked Assignment) which is due in 9 days time.

For a start - week 5 has not been a walk in any park! There are a lot of things to get through and whilst I appreciate not all were mandatory there was still a lot. I have not left any optional activity undone as yet - I know it might sound foolish but as I am such a newbie I don't want to risk missing out on any learning or important concepts and ideas.

This week has sent me on quite an enjoyable rabbit warren (can I introduce a new verb - warrening - for when you find yourself a dozen links on from your original article having explored multiple offshoots en route?) as I looked at the work of Wesch. Wesch is an anthropologist which, odd as it sounds, feels more familiar to me than the education and psychology environment I have found myself in. However - the work of Wesch, in common with so many others in my H800 journey to date, has intrigued me and got me thinking but NOT about technology enhanced learning! I am thinking about learning, and technology, and societal change, and educational pedagogy but I am not putting these together in quite the way I think I am supposed to be. 

Which brings me to TMA01. In this I am to choose three activities I have looked at so far and report on them and relate them to my current practice. I could choose almost any which have intrigued me. I could choose almost any for which I had to apply a sociological or philosophical or political analysis. But I have to apply my own experience in learning. 

I have written my first two 500 word sections and I think I am on the right track but the third is proving difficult. Is the sentence 'this form of learning simply won't work well if technology replaces the actual people' an example of 'relating to technology enhanced learning'? I am also suddenly flooded with self doubt. I am not convinced I am clever enough for post-grad study. I understand the material (on one level at least) and I can make links and connections between various arguments (in one sense at least) but I am doubting my ability to write an essay which fulfills their criteria. 

Nine days until it must be in! I have the full word count already. I haven't answered all of their questions... I think! 

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

The participation metaphor - at Wembley

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Sunday, 4 Mar 2018, 16:56

I am not a huge football fan. In fact - I'm not a football fan at all. But I am married to a huge football fan and am mother to two more huge football fans so I have not been able to escape fully from the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal and annual ebb and flow of the fortunes of Tottenham Hotspur!

When young and newly married I went with my husband to a few live matches. I enjoyed them. There was an exhilarating atmosphere and there was usually the promise of beer and burgers at some point. However - I have not been to an actual match for over 20 years. I rarely watch football on television and I have perfected the glazed look just enough to prevent too much football talk being thrown in my direction. I can't block my ears to the shouts, chants, songs and cheers / groans though!

But yesterday they had tickets to see a match at Wembley (where Tottenham are playing this season whilst their new stadium is being built) and my brother and nephew had to drop out due to illness and snow. We had two spare tickets for one adult and one child so I got to go along! 

And whilst watching Spurs beat Huddersfield 2-0 I thought about the participation metaphor of learning! I knew the songs to sing. I knew who a lot of the players were. I knew most of the rules of the game. And crucially I had a couple of experts close by who answered my questions about some of the minutiae. Within an hour I had learned enough of the rules to convincingly join the community of 'Spurs Supporters'. (My bright red coat was problematic it seems... but it was freezing cold and my red coat is toasty warm!)

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

Activity theory.... and was it developed as a Marxist critique of education?

Visible to anyone in the world

The paper I needed to read for Activity 4 of week 4 was by far the most challenging I'd had to read so far. 

I was unable to glean from the paper an explicit definition of 'Activity Theory'. I understand entirely that defining complex concepts often takes more than a sentence, or even a paragraph but I was struggling to get even the loosest grasp which was problematic given that we were supposed to read and comment on the paper in student forums. 

Engestrom tried to take us through the three generations of Activity System theory (variously known as expansive learning) and the 5 principles it espouses plus the four questions about learning which it contains. There were also three levels of learning. Confused yet? I was.

So far in H800 I have felt at a disadvantage due to my studies to date having not been in either education or psychology as it seemed that these were the two disciplines most of our vocabulary and concepts were coming from. However this time my sociology degree came into the fore and was very useful! As a sociology student the one thing I can sniff out a mile off is a Marxist analysis! And once I had identified that in the 5th principle "the possibility of expansive transformation, a collective change effort" and in the 3rd learning level "radical questioning of the context" there was a Marxist revolution I worked backwards with that in mind and it all came into focus! 

In our current society we tend to look at the individual and how individuals shape their societies, their cultures, their history and their values. In a Marxist analysis the process is often reversed and the individual is seen as much a product of their society as society is seen as a product of the individuals. Once I had comprehended that an 'Activity System' was a culture which informed the actions of individuals whilst also being informed by those same individuals the argument being made became clearer. 

This epiphany also made the case study make a lot more sense!

The case study was of health professionals in Finland who were finding that the care offered to sick children was patchy due to inadequate communication between the carers. This was not only inefficient and frustrating but was also potentially dangerous. The problem was solved through meetings, negotiation, input from all parties involved and a few failed attempts. The learning message here is that organisations learn as well as individuals but that there is not always an expert in a learning situation. In fact - in this case there were many experts but each of them was only expert at a small part of the process. In order for the big picture situation to improve it was vital that the teams and experts collaborate and make compromises in their practice and expectations. The health care system, as a whole (activity system) had to learn by listening to the experts within it. 

Once again I have been challenged to remember that learning is not something which only happens formally and within educational institutions. I think this is going to be the most fundamental life lesson I will get from these studies. 

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

The culture of learning

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018, 19:36

Very often my husband will ask me 'What does xxxxxx mean?' He's come across an unfamiliar word whilst reading and he wants me to define it for him. (He's an engineer, I am a vociferous reader). Every single time I ask 'can you read the sentence to me?' I think he has suspected that I have used this as a cheat but often I know what the word means but my explanation will only make sense to him if I explain what it means in that sentence.

I was therefore delighted to read this in the this week's discussion paper:

Experienced readers implicitly under stand that words are situated. They, therefore, ask for the rest of the sentence or the context before committing themselves to an interpretation of a word. 

The paper "Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning" by Brown, Collins and Duguid explains this repeatedly using different examples. Their basic point is that learning anything isolated from the context in which it is used, or the culture of the practitioners who use it, will not lead to robust understanding.

Certain cited examples resonated with me more than others. The way that children and young people expand their vocabulary by simply living in the culture of their language makes so much sense to me. The idea of learning a language, or expanding your vocabulary, armed only with a dictionary is absurd. 

Later in the paper the authors refer to 'tools'. In this context these tools could be mathematical formulae, grammar rules or scientific facts, but it helped me to envision them as hammers, chisels and machinery. (The authors also use this equivalency). It is very possible to acquire a tool but be unable to use it. It is possible to learn how to properly use a tool but not understand why it is useful in any wider context. A useful member of any community will not only be able to use a tool but to understand its place as well. 

The argument being built is that formal education settings (principally schools) give their students a multitude of tools but never the experience of using those tools as part of a wider culture. They call the mind the way that apprentices learn their trades - first by being tasked with the simplest jobs but all the time seeing how the operation works, how the experts develop their craft, the vocabulary of the profession and the culture of the community. A school provides none of this context to the learner - they are handed tools in isolation from the culture in which they are supposed to be used.

The school has become a culture in itself. The tools acquired are those necessary to thrive within that culture of knowledge which can be distributed, assessed and then tested. Exams may be passed but the learner is no closer to being a practitioner, much less an expert in the subject matter they've learned. They are not enculturated.

The paper, then, however goes on to suggest how maths could be taught differently and I have to confess the 'different way' looks a lot like how I recall being taught maths in the 70s and 80s.

The principle takeaway message seems to be that education does not prepare people for life within the culture of the practitioners of their field of learning. The apprenticeship alternative is much better at creating practitioners rather than people who are educated in facts about the practice.

In real life I can absolutely observe this. My husband works for a motor manufacturer and recruits engineering graduates. Not one of them is 'ready to go' as they begin their career. They all need many months of acclimatization to both the realities of the workplace in general and to that employer specifically. The company also runs a successful and competitive apprenticeship scheme where young people can spend five years working within the company whilst also attending university to acquire the necessary knowledge for their discipline and a degree. Similarly my eldest child is training to be a primary school teacher - it is clear that he learns much more in his placements than he does in his lectures. 

However - I am reluctant to summarize the article the way I first reacted to is - "School is Stupid". School (or formal education in general) provides the general knowledge necessary to hang specific skills and cultures upon. No skilled engineer can get by without basic and advanced maths within their skillset and they cannot learn the advanced maths before they've mastered the basic maths. Every teacher must be able to read and write. Without those basic skills then all of the classroom time in the world will not make them competent teachers. 

Examinations and tests may not demonstrate robust and usable knowledge but maybe they do demonstrate something else of value - tenacity in study, a foundational level of knowledge and skill on which specific expertise can be built, tools which will be reviewed and revisited later in life when their use and purpose become clearer.

Additionally I am reluctant to throw 'school' under any bus as it also fulfills other purposes. School is one of the few things almost all people in developed nations (and increasingly across the globe) have in common. There is much to be learned in the interaction with peers, the response to structure and the linear (though poorly situated!) acquisition of knowledge. 

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

Defining Learning

Visible to anyone in the world

Prepare your own definition of learning.... should take 3 to 3.5 hours. 

I suppose the length of time allocated to this activity should have alerted me to the fact I was on a rabbit warren journey - deeper and deeper, more and more forks in the burrow to note and come back to, no signposted final destination and all whilst in an extremely unfamiliar environment. 

I began at Wikipedia which is a strategy some may roll their eyes at but I defend it nonetheless. Wikipedia is written in language I understand and, in the event of a term or concept being unfamiliar to me, it's likely to be underlined in blue and will deftly take me to a place where I can learn that straight away. (And then, before I know it, I will have 42 Wikipedia tabs open on my desktop and will still be clicking!)

The Wikipedia article was a very good starting point. I was pleased to immediately be able to recognize some words which aligned to Sfard's Acquisition Metaphor and a few which also brought to mind her Participation Metaphor, as well as concepts such as Identity Change. 

I then went to my favourite online place - the OU Library! I literally searched 'What is Learning?'  and the first hopeful hit was a book called What is Learning? by Mark Haselgrove, dated July 2016. I was very hopeful about this book as it was written in a very readable style and there were concise chapters. Hazelgrove described very well how learning is not restricted to people (animals, plants and machines all 'learn') and he made practically no mention of education or schooling at all. He began at the start of the human journey with Habituation, moving on to Conditioned Responses and there is kind of stopped. Whilst I absolutely can see how vital these early learning experiences are (we learned not to touch a fire as it hurt, we learned that if we didn't wipe our feet we got told off) I think that this is only part of what I am being asked to define. 

I then found the book How We Learn by Henry Boyd Bode. My initial search made me think this was published in 2007 but the opening paragraph (where the word 'man' was used in a context where both men and women clearly should have been) made me double check and I saw it had actually been published in 1940. He made the distinction between learning a skill as an apprentice and learning 'the three Rs' as a pupil and how the method must necessarily be different. I was interested in the way he described the fact that 'learning theory' is (or was) little thought of by teachers and students who simply do what they have always done without question, and with the desired outcomes. His book went on to be far more psychological and even philosophical so I book marked it - trying to kid myself I'll come back later to learn more!

My third, and most successful hit was Education and Learning: An evidence based approach  by Mellanby and Theobald from 2014. There is a nice mixture between theory and examples to demonstrate it. They look at the purpose of education, which must (surely!) be connected in some way to the purpose and nature of learning. The most interesting idea in the first few chapters is the idea of education is for the reproduction of a culture. I initially recoiled at this idea - imagining history lessons reporting colonial triumph or literature only celebrating the works of homegrown authors - but I realized that the term was intended to convey the passing on of values and, as they quoted Thomas Arnold as saying, "The best that has been known and thought." 

I have also asked my considerable number of Facebook friends for ideas. Many are teachers, all have been students, but I don't know if any have studied H800! I'll report back!

My tentative first draft of the 'answer' to the posed question is: Learning is both spontaneous and deliberate and protects and maintains the learner, their community and their culture; it can be seen in the gain of knowledge and understanding; it can be for the improvement of the individual and others.

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

Metaphors for Learning

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Tuesday, 20 Feb 2018, 15:30

The main activity I have been engaged in on Week 3 of H800 is reading a paper by Anna Sfard about metaphors for learning. I have been quite gratified to see that my reading, reflection and learning thus far have already led me to similar thoughts as those expressed in the paper albeit with a different vocabulary.

The two 'metaphors' described as 'Acquisition Metaphor' (AM) and 'Participatory Metaphor'.

Acquisition metaphor characterizes knowledge as a 'thing'.

"the growth of knowledge in the process of learning has been analysed in terms of concept development. Concepts are to be understood as basic units of knowledge that can be accumulated, gradually refined, and combined to form ever richer cognitive structures."


"The language of "knowledge acquisition" and "concept development" makes us think about the human mind as a container to be filled with certain materials and about the learner as becoming an owner of these materials."

It is easy to identify how this metaphor is used in education at all levels, and even more broadly within learning. Even the most ‘immersive’ of learning environments such as a young child acquiring language I am reminded of how life with a young child involves a lot of answering ‘what’s that?’ kind of questions. Parents usually continually ‘transfer knowledge’ for their offspring to acquire – “Look at the car. It’s a red car. It’s going fast.” The child is taught the words and concepts car, red and fast (aside from the connections and associated grammar).

Schooling seems to be very rooted in the AM. Especially in the contemporary ‘data driven’ atmosphere of league tables and Ofsted reports. Children are taught facts, methods and concepts which can be easily quantified and tested. The test results are compiled and the schools compared to one another (not to mention the children themselves) based on them. The danger is that schools will teach children to pass the test to acquire the right data to be compared favourably. (My personal view is that this has already happened).

Our familiarity with the AM means that we (or maybe it is just I) gravitate to this kind of education after school as well. When I go into ‘learning mode’ I seek out experts who can inform me of facts. The expert may be a person, a book, a journal, a website – but I want the information to be presented to me in easily digested bite size chunks. My early experience of the Open University has been slightly alarming in its open approach to learner initiated learning. Where is the text book? When are the lectures? What ‘facts’ should I be memorising?

I found it harder to identify specific examples of my own learning by PM. Maybe that is because I have conflated ‘education’ with ‘learning’ and have undervalued the skills and knowledge I have gained outside of a formal educational environment. In feeding back in the student group forum the example I gave for this kind of learning is kind of embarrassing! I used the example of learning to be a parent and housekeeper. So parochial! However – it is well known that children don’t come with a text book (or at least not one single text book!) and that cooking for a family is a significant task which requires skill, knowledge, planning and flexibility. Like almost all parents I felt like I was making it up as I was going along and certainly I had more coherent theories and strategies of child rearing before I actually had children to rear! However – 20 years on the task is in hand and going ok!

Others in the group have suggested areas of PM such as driving and using a smart phone which I think are good examples. Skills you simply cannot learn without actually doing them. Skills where trial and error are a key part of the learning process. I would also add swimming, playing a musical instrument, dance and sport. There are facts one must know, things to learn and acquire – but without participating in the activity you cannot master the skill.

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead


Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Sunday, 18 Feb 2018, 19:51

I am astonished by how many things I have never considered before! Over the last two weeks of H800 these dichotomies have begun to crystalize in my mind:

Education vs Learning

Education (specifically schooling) is linear, systematic, ordered, knowledge focused, teacher-centric, data driven, testable, general

Learning is immersive, organic, understanding focused, learner driven, specific

Knowledge vs Understanding

I *know* how a plane flies - the air goes over the wings faster than it goes under the wings. It makes no sense to me whatsoever so I don't understand how a plane flies. 

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

Reflections after a day at a university

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Wednesday, 14 Feb 2018, 23:28

I've spent today with my daughter who is applying to universities for 2019 entry (she's planning a gap year) and we have been at Lancaster University.

Part of the day was spent with current students in the course she is likely to take. One student - Lewis - said these things which I though it worth recording:

"I find I don't learn that much from my lectures, I learn far more from talking about it at my tutor groups afterwards."

"They record a lot of the lectures. Some people watch them rather than go to the lecture but it's also useful if you want to check on something and can watch it again later."

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

Changing pedagogy in education around the world

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Wednesday, 14 Feb 2018, 23:29

Look on the Web for up-to-date information about another country with low resource and infrastructure that has adopted a different pedagogy and consider an explanation of the differences.

This was the instruction for this part of this week. 

Where to begin? Well - I've learned something and I headed into the OU library instead of to Google! Initially I searched for changes to educational pedagogy in Botswana - it's not quite a country I plucked out of the air as I had a glorious day there in 2016 and fell in love with the atmosphere of the country as well as the amazing scenery in the very small corner I saw. 

I found this article: Problem-Based Learning Pedagogies in Teacher Education: The Case of Botswana

I was very interested in the article but it became clear that this was not exactly what was being asked for. Botswana certainly qualifies as low resource and low infrastructure but the article was about a small scale experiment rather than a national effort to change their educational pedagogy. 

I then went less specific. I selected 'education', 'foreign countries' and 'pedagogy' and then limited the results to anything from 2014 onwards. 

The next article I found was this one: Using Technology and Mentorship  to Improve Teacher Pedagogy and Educational Opportunities  in Rural Nicaragua

This article seemed very relevant. There was a lot of material about why the current system was unsuccessful by many measures and some of the things which have been, or could be, done to tackle those issues. However - again it seemed like a small scale experiment rather than a national policy. 

Finally I found this: Bringing a student-centered participatory pedagogy to scale in Colombia

I think I have it! Whilst there isn't a lot about technology in here there is a lot about the value of student centred learning, the teacher as facilitator rather than fact regurgitator, learners working in peer groups and so on. 

Share post
Picture of Anna Greathead

Week 1, H800. A post-graduate newbie!

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Anna Greathead, Wednesday, 14 Feb 2018, 23:31

I have not formally studied anything since 1996. I signed up to do MAODE in a mad moment when I thought I wouldn't be busy by the time February rolled around! I really didn't know what to expect and I was apprehensive.

Technically week 1 has been slightly less of a challenge than I expected. Whilst I use computers and technology all the time I have only the most passing familiarity with how anything actually works and I was somewhat intimidated by the idea that there would need to be a wide variety of materials to download, save, print, annotate and so on. I bought, just this week, a new laptop as our old PC showed itself unfit for the job. I've also bought some USB headphones. 

I am under no illusions that week 1 has been an 'easing in' exercise. We have watched, read and listened to people who have made interesting and thought provoking arguments and points. We have conversed on the forum (so far it's been very friendly and supportive - long may that continue) and I have looked at some of the extra reading and also followed some links provided by others in my tutor group. I have found it fascinating.

Things which have grabbed my attention this week:

1. A reflection on the short and long term effects of the invention of the printing press in Europe was simply mind blowing. As a sociology graduate the details about the lengthening of childhood - not for sentimental reasons but simply because it takes longer to learn to read and write than to speak and listen - was so interesting. This sent me on a train of thought as I considered the impact of other technologies in a much wider and long term way.

2. A TED talk linked to by a tutorial group colleague by Sugata Mitra inspired me! His account of how organically children can learn by themselves with little adult intervention (The School in the Cloud) turned my experience and expectation of education upside down. I reflected on how this could work in a context where formal schooling is the norm and whether adults who have been formally schooled in a western setting may be ruined for this kind of peer to peer learning. The SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environment) seems miraculous but I wonder if it can be effectively used alongside more traditional and familiar schooling methods or if it really is an either / or situation.

3. A webcast (Dr Ian Rowlands) about the 'google generation' multi tasking also made me think a lot. (I watched it and then read the transcript). In common with the interview with Gregor Kennedy there was a discussion about whether the generation who had grown up with the internet were fundamentally different in their learning behaviours, or if they simply were using new technologies to behave exactly as all generations have behaved. I recalled my own undergrad studies where I could often be found with ten books on a library desk, a few folders crammed with print outs and photo copies of journal articles and a fellow student to discuss things with. I was a pre-google multitasker! My (tentative) conclusion is that learning to be a focused student has always taken some people some time and that the advent of the internet hasn't altered that - it just makes the multitasking (procrastinating? distraction?!) easier to log and count.  

So far many of our resources have been very old (2008 may not sound that long ago but it was before widespread social media penetration and before the smartphone was ubiquitous) which concerns me a little. Surely the changes between 2008 and 2018 are at least as much, if not more, than the changes between 1998 and 2008?

I am looking forward to exploring the online library. A few experimental searches have convinced me it is a veritable treasure trove of fascinating and relevant material (not to mention fascinating, irrelevant and time consuming!).  

Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 700