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Intitial ponderings on learner's owrnership of their learning

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The main part of TMA04 is an essay in which we discuss the following question:

‘Learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning.’

I have done a fair amount of thinking about this so far. I have been weighing up the ideas of learner agency and how far this equates to ownership. I have wondered which learners should own their learning - surely we don't expect pre-school children to hold this responsibility? How about people who simple must get their 'health and safety' certificate to comply with workplace regulations?

I have considered the idea from the point of view of exam boards and institutions who wish qualifications and awards to have consistency and reputation, and who represent the 'experts' in any given subject area.

At lunch time today my daughter, who is 18 and awaiting A-level results, asked what I was studying at the moment. I told her the question and she rolled her eyes and exclaimed 'I'm bored already' (not an atypical response - she's a scientist through and through and has yet to comprehend the fascination I have with the more existential and ephemeral questions posed by social science!). However - she did immediately follow up with 'I know what the answer is though' (told you she was a scientist!).

Her answer 'It's going to be somewhere in the middle.'

As we discussed what she meant I had to acknowledge that maybe she had more of a grasp of social sciences that I had realised! For every question for which there is an argument and a counter-argument there is unlikely to be a firm conclusion drawn by anyone which is close to either extreme.

And once more I am battling about the very nature of learning! One the one hand I am an idealist who believes learning to be a sacred and precious thing which need no end other than itself (hence I spend hours every day listening to podcasts about every subject I can think of, hence I try to read 50 books every year from a wide variety of genres, hence I sometimes find myself watching documentaries late at night about the design of junction 6 of the M6!) and then also remembering that part of the joy of learning is found in the achievement and affirmation accorded by a good mark, a certificate, letters after your name.

H800 is, to a large extent, a long thought process about how the rapid development of technology in the last 20 years has changed learning at every level and for every player and how we can envision further changes in the future. It is entirely possible, even probable, that one impact is the learner now has more agency and more ownership of their own learning.... but they still must share it somewhat with the people or institutions who will eventually assess them.

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Picture of Anna Greathead

Studying at work

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I have not been a good student! A busy life and a heatwave has distracted me (again - I know!) and I am once more starting a week having not completed the last one. Today we are planning a student 'meet up' in the online room though. We are to discuss our next assignment so I was keen to get going and at least get the bones of the thing lodged in my head. 

Although I am not supposed to be working, my daughter has got a casual summer job at my place of work (which is 90 minutes bus journey away from home) so I decided to come into work, do my studies (no distractions) and give her a lift both ways. 

So far it's ok but I do keep getting sucked into work stuff! 

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Fell off the wagon :(

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In my last post I blamed the wait for my marked TMA for my feelings of disengagement but 2 weeks after I got it back I am only just properly logging in to my OU account. I have flitted in and out, I attended a tutorial (for which I was pretty unprepared) and I kept making plans to 'really get stuck in for a few hours this evening'. It's not been happening.

I do have a lot going on. My eldest child is, as I type, on a plane en route to Hong Kong where he will spend the next 5 weeks. He's been very chilled about it leaving me to complete the appropriate and necessary amount of worrying! My next child finished her A-level exams less than a fortnight ago leaving the whole household in a quivering heap of nervous exhaustion. I have two other children and a husband who have been somewhat neglected plus I have moved into a period at work which requires a fair amount of travel and diminished energy for study. Plus it is gorgeously sunshiny outside and studying is an inside activity. 

Thankfully an extension for TMA03 was agreed by my kind tutor! 

I imagine I can't be unique in a cyclical pattern of being 'in control' and 'on top of it' and 'coping fine' to the absolute opposite. 

Self directed adult studies require you to be a grown up. Absolutely no one harasses me to study. No one checks I am keeping up with the reading and the responsibility to log in and do the stuff lies entirely with me. Adulting is a skill which even an old woman of 44 sometimes finds tricky! 

Anyway - I now have the bones of my TMA3 together. I have started the activities for weeks 21/22 and I have looked at TMA04 and liked what I saw - it's more academic and less personal context dependent which is a relief. 

Just have to keep this up! What I really need is for my mum to draw a sticker chart and promise me a MacDonalds when I complete it! big grin

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