‘What is the library, when the totality of experience approaches that which can be remembered?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)
‘What is the library, when the totality of experience approaches that which can be remembered?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)
Speaking at the Nobel Symposium ‘Going Digital‘ in June 2009 (that ironically took another 2 years before it was published0.
Things are gong to have to speed up in the new age of digital academia and the digital scholar.
We have more than a university in our pockets (an OU course), we have a library of million of books.
(I have an iPhone and iPad. I ‘borrow’ time on laptops on desktops around the house, libraries at work).
I’ve often pondered from a story telling point of view what it would be like to digitize not the libraries of the world, but something far more complex, the entire contents of someone’s mind. (The Contents of My Mind: a screenplay) It is fast becoming feasible to pull together a substantial part of all that a person may have read and written in their lifetime. (TCMB.COM a website I launched in 2001)
‘Throughout history, libraries have depended on destruction’. (Rausing, 2011:50)
But like taking a calculator into a maths exam, or having books with you as a resource, it isn’t that all this ‘stuff’ is online, it is that the precise piece of information, memory support or elaboration, is now not on the tip of your tongue, but at your fingertips.
Rausing (2011) wonders about the creation of a New library of Alexandria. I wonder if we ought not to be looking for better metaphors.
‘How do we understand the web, when this also means grasping its quasi-biological whole?’ (Rausing, 2011:53)
Tim Berners-Lee thinks of Web 2.0 as a biological form; others have likeminds. But what kind of growth, like an invasive weed circling the globe?
There are many questions. In this respect Rausing is right, and it is appropriate for the web too. We should be asking each other questons.
‘Do we have the imagination and generosity to collaborate? Can we build legal, organisational and financial structures that will preserve, and order, and also share and disseminate, the learning and cultures of the world? Scholars have traditionally gated and protected knowledge, but also shared and distributed it, in libraries, schools and universities. Time and again they have stood for a republic of learning that is wider than the ivory tower. Now is the time to do so again’. (Rausing, 2011:49)
If everything is readily available then the economy of scarcity, as hit the music industry and is fast impacting on movies, applies to books and journals too.
It seems archaic to read the copyright restrictions on this Nobel Symposium set of papers and remarkable to read that one of its authors won’t see their own PhD thesis published until 2020.
‘The academic databases have at least entered the digital realm. Public access – the right to roam – is a press-of-the-button away. But academic monographs, although produced by digitised means, are then, in what is arguably an act of collective academic madness, turned into non-searchable paper products. Moreover, both academic articles and monographs are kept from the public domain for the author’s lifetime plus seventy years. My own PhD dissertation,19 published in 1999, will come into the public domain in about 110 years, around 2120’. (Rausing, 2011:55)
The e-hoarder, the obsessive scanning of stuff. My diaries in my teens got out of hand, I have a month of sweet wrappers and bus tickets, of theatre flyers and shopping lists. All from 1978. Of interest perhaps only because 10,000 teeneragers in the 1970s weren’t doing the same in England at the time.
‘We want ephemera: pamphlet literature, theatre bills, immigrant broad sheets and poetry workshops’. (Rausing, 2011:51)
What then when we can store and collate everything we read? When our thoughts, not just or writings are tagged and shared? Will we become lost in the crowd?
‘What if our next “peasant poet,” as John Clare was known, twitters? What if he writes a blog or a shojo manga? What if he publishes via a desktop, or a vanity publisher? Will his output count as part of legal deposit material?’ (Rausing, 2011:52)
The extraordinary complex human nature will not be diminished; we are what we were 5000 years ago. It will enable some, disable others; be matter of fact or of no significance, a worry or not, in equal measure.
A recent Financial Times article agrees with Robert Darnton, warning that by means of the Books Rights Registry, Google and the publishing industry have created “an effective cartel,” with “significant barriers to entry.” (Rausing, 2011:57)
Much to ponder.
‘If scholars continue to hide away and lock up their knowledge, do they not risk their own irrelevance?’ (Rausing, 2011:61)
Allemansratt : Freedom to roam
The Cloud : A Simple Storage Service that has some 52 billion virtual objects.
Folkbildningsidealet: A “profoundly democratic vision of universal learning and education”?
Incunabula: “Incunabula” is a generic term coined by English book collectors in the seventeenth century to describe the first printed books of the fifteenth century. It is a more elegant replacement for what had previously been called “fifteeners”, and is formed of two Latin words meaning literally “in the cradle” or “in swaddling clothes”
Maimonedes : His philosophic masterpiece, the Guide of the Perplexed, is a sustained treatment of Jewish thought and practice that seeks to resolve the conflict between religious knowledge and secular.
Meisterstuecke : German for masterpiece.
Samizdat : An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely.
Schatzkammer : ‘Treasure Room’, and in English, for the collection of treasures, kept in a secure room, often in the basement of a palace or castle.
Ruasing, L(2011) (Last accessed 23rd May 2012) http://www.center.kva.se/svenska/forskning/NS147Abstracts/KVA_Going_Digital_webb.pdf )
Reading Martin Weller, ‘The Ed Techie’ who sounds uncharacteristically gloomy about the way technology is so omnipresent in his piece ‘we’re all doomed’ I comment, regarding children seeing us on smartphones or computers, or perhaps another generation seeing their parents stuck in front of the TV or sitting by the radio, that it is us, their parents or grandparents who project onto them the idea that what they are dealing with could be problematic; it is their reality.
Whilst we worry about the differences that we see: smartphones, tablets, computers, Multi-channel interactive TV, computer games and so on, they worry about the very same thing we did and young people their age have always worried about: relationships, haircuts, horrible homework, play. They still want to go out to be WITH people. I think we worry unnecessarily given the resilience of who we are as human beings. My only call would be to see smartphones, iPads, computers and the Internet as complementary tools; my anguish I have found has been to shoehorn ways of doing things into a computer screen, software or App. A book or software can’ t teach you to swim.
Using Dad’s Army may illustrate his perception of the problem but just as this was one generation’s TV entertainment, so Misfits or the Inbetweeners belongs to this generation.
Discussing this with Ian Singleton of icanplayit.com two weeks ago, I was Linked In to the author from JISC Doug Belshaw a few days later.
This conversation could soon link to a myriad of people cited and listed in the JISC report on Mobile and Wireless Technologies. This smorgasbord of a review will take a few weeks to consume; I’ll want the recipe and I’ll be back for more, repeatedly. It is a module in its own right.
It requires the early morning to take a three hour stab at this. Kukulska-Hulme (2010) says “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”
As a student of e-learning the value of Doug Belshaw’s JISC review is broad. Whilst mobile learning is the main theme, there is a suitable warming up to the topic via the development of e-learning and a broad acknowledgement of the key thinkers of pedagogy which touches on innovations in learning and the debunking of Prensky and his idea of digital natives.
It makes a good read for anyone studying Open and Distance Education with the Open University.
The theme that the author may not have seen that is pervasive throughout, is the idea of the e-learning entrepreneur; this seems inevitable with a device and technology that puts learning into the pocket of the learner.
Laptops and smartphones become a learn as I please, when and where I want, device. I wonder too, when cameras will become phones?
Reflecting on the devices that got unwrapped this Christmas some of us might prefer the Canon or Sony camera that uploads directly to Facebook, Kodak or Picasa without the interface of phone and laptop, or even a memory card.
If ou can think of it, it has been done.
This is one of those documents that will takes weeks of consideration as I wish to read all the references too, not that I doubt the author, but because often I find thinking such as this is like a digital conversation caught in the wind and there are a dozen other voices speaking at the same time. I’ve not come across Traxler before, for example. He’s cited 12 times in this review.
Though, just because someone else has already done it, does not mean that I might not do it better?
JISC Spotlight The presentation. “Students no longer need to engage with information and discussion at the expense of real life but can do so as part of real life as they move about the world, using their own devices to connect them to people and ideas, ideas and information of their own choosing, perhaps using their own devices to generate and produce content and conversation as well as store and consume them.” (Traxler, 2009, p.70)
Why therefore bother with a traditional university education at all?
Better to go straight to work and learn on the job, not simply as a trainee or apprentice, but by tapping into institutional and corporate learning. This is important The wider mobility of society has led to ‘approx-meetings’ and ‘socially negotiated time’ (2009:73) which, although mobile devices have not been designed specifically for educational purposes, has a knock-on effect upon formal education.
This disruptive effect has both a strong and a weak element, argues Traxler.
The ‘weak’ element of the disruption due to mobile devices in formal education is at the level of nuisance – such as ‘cheating’ during examinations, inappropriate photographs, devices beeping during class time. The ‘strong’ element of disruption, on the other hand, “challenge[s] the authority of the curriculum and the institutions of formal learning” (2009, p.77); students can effectively become gatekeepers and organisers of learning for other students in a way institutions have only been able to do previously.
Given the fragmented nature of the current mobile learning environment, there are multiple definitions of mobile learning; however, most of these definitions recognise the importance of
• and conversation.
“[Mobile learning involves the] exploitation of ubiquitous handheld hardware, wireless networking and mobile telephony to facilitate, support enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning”
Due to funding arrangements, which sector is involved, and country-specific contexts, mobile learning means different things to different communities.
• On the go
• Every day
• Between classes and home (and work)
• Conflicts of complements formal learning
• More interactive
Woodill (2010:53) identifies seven main affordances of mobile learning:
5. Context sensitivity
Belshaw (201) Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review 2010 Doug Belshaw, JISC infoNet
Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Learning in a Mobile Age’ (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12, January-March 2009)
Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Students and mobile devices: choosing which dream’ (in ALT-C 2009 “In dreams begins responsibility” – choice, evidence and change, Traxler, John (Professor of Mobile Learning, University of Wolverhampton)
Getting the Mix Right Again: An updated and theoretical rationale for Interaction. How to be effective and efficient in meeting diverse student needs. Terry Anderson (2003)
Wagner’s (1994) “reciprocal events that require at least two objects and two actions. Interactions occur when these objects and events mutually influence one another” (p. 8).
A comment left on a blog is therefore a reciprocal interaction, like an asynchronous discussion in a forum, as there are two people (subjects) with in respective cases two objects (the blog and the comment) and two actions (the writing of the blog, the composition of a response in the form of a comment).
This does not, as Anderson suggests, negate Daniel and Marquis’s (1998) definition of interaction needing to refer “in a restrictive manner to cover only those activities where the student is in two-way contact with another person (or persons)” (Daniel and Marquis, 1988, p. 339). In 1989 they could not have known how texting would develop into meaningful interaction between two or more people, or the way in which asynchronous discussion could occur online.
- Sims (1999) argues that interactivity allows for learner control, adaptation of the learner program, various forms of participation and communication, and as aiding the development of meaningful learning.
- Lipman (1991) and Wenger (2001) say that interactivity is fundamental to the creation of the learning communities.
- Jonassen (1991) says that another person’s perspective is a key learning component in constructivist learning theories.
- Langer (1989) says that interaction develops mindfulness in learners.
There is a history of interaction as a theory in education
- Dewey (1916) from inert information from another to your own understanding and interpretation in your head.
- Holmberg (1989) between tutor and student, whether postal or on the phone.
- Laurilard (1997) interaction between tutor, content and students.
The difference between formal and informal learning.
One, Anderson argues, is purposively designed to have a learning outcome. Though I do wonder, based on a recent Elluminate session in which we considered a formal and informal learning design for teaching The Green Cross Code if the informal miss has greater impact, the shock of the unexpected when you are nearly hit … Or as a driver or passenger you nearly hit (or even do hit) another?
Since both formal and informal learning can result from interaction between and amongst students alone, or as result of interaction between student and content, the participation of a teacher cannot be a defining feature of an educational interaction. (Anderson, 2003)
Anderson, 2003 suggested that due to the increasing computational power and storage capacity of computers (Moore’s Law), their increase in functionality when networked (Metcalfe’s Law), and related geometric increases in a host of technical developments (Kurzweil, 1999) created opportunity to transform student-teacher and student-student interaction into enhanced forms of student-content interaction.
In a way the interaction with the content of various kinds in mixed ways that goes on in the head Dewey (1916) has been the goal of the developers of interactive learning all along, in the training context this has occurred as facilitator-led learning was gradually transcended by workbooks in the 1980 s, video-led and interactive (on laser-disc then Interactive DVD before) in the 1990s before efforts occurred to migrate content and interactivity to the web from the 1990s.
The multiple interplay of Anderson and Garrison’s (1998) Fig. 1 rings true, though how content without a student or teacher interloper baffles me and in 2011 teacher in the broadest sense should take in all educators and ancillary stakeholders.
There is no single medium that supports the educational experience in a manner that is superior in all ways to that supported via other media.
Clark’s (1994), Kozma’s (1994) Russell (2000) and many others show that there is ’a complicated interaction between content, student preference and need, institutional capacity and preference, and teaching and learning approaches to learning’.
There is also evidence that many students deliberately choose learning programs that allow them to minimize the amount of student-teacher and student-student interaction required (May, 2003; Kramarae, 2003).
While Anderson (2003) concludes that there is ’a wide range of need and preference for different combinations of paced and un-paced, synchronous and asynchronous activity, and also a strong desire for variety and exposure to different modes and modularities of educational provision and activity.’
From these observations and from the literature debate, Anderson developed an equivalency theorem as follows:
Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction is at a high level:
The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience.
High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience.
This theorem implies that an instructional designer can substitute one type of interaction for one of the others (at the same level) with little loss in educational effectiveness – thus the label of an equivalency theory.
Student-teacher interaction currently has the highest perceived value amongst students, and thus commands highest scores.
There is some evidence to suggest value in “vicarious interaction,” in which non-active participants gain from observing and empathizing with active participants (Sutton, 2001; Fulford and Zhang, 1993).
Also Cox (2006) with a nod to John Seely- (2007) (both from week 2 of module H800 of the Masters in Open and Distance Education.
For planning or development purposes, designers are encouraged to build into their programs strategic amounts of each type of interaction, and to develop activities that will encourage this amount of interaction.
This interests me because I wonder if we could take the call-centre principal and apply it to social media, a collective engagement of substance.
At Athabasca University, Anderson writes, students had access (7 days a week, 12 hours a day) to call centre staff. They were equipped with FAQ databases, course syllabi, and a limited amount of content knowledge to answer a wide variety of student inquiries.
Would this help with retention?
It would contribute to engagement. It did contribute to deeper learning. Are we now saying that this interaction must come from fellow students? Or alumni groups in social networks?
I know that in the corporate sector Epic offer clients a ‘call-centre’ like service as they have realised that online interactive learning naturally throws up situations where students want to talk to an informed and sympathetic person. No one wants to be passed from pillow to post. I say this as an informed online learner who has not just had to sleep on a problem, but the nature of responses either send you to sleep or leave you wanting to bang your head against a post.
I loathe this kind of academic language.
This is where academics address each other, a PhD student to their sponsor perhaps. It puts students and the inquisitive mind at arm’s length.
This will change in the Web 2.0 world as this content gets an airing well-beyond its original place in a printed journal and with a few tags and comments gets spread rapidly across thousands rather than a handful of readers.
‘The equivalency theorem proposed in this paper is not as complicated nor as technically detailed as other theories relevant to distance education (e.g., Jaspers, 1991; Saba and Shearer, 1994). However, its simplicity allows it to function as an accessible heuristic for distance education delivery design’. Anderson (2003)
The choice of words then this massive compound-noun says to me this person is trying to sound clever, elitist and worthy of the academic status they aspire to. It is poor communication. Even the chunk of referencing sticks in the gullet. We should in theory reference every word we utter, as none are our own, all could be tagged back to someone, somewhere.
Clarity counts. It is an important part of communication.
By quoting Wilson here Anderson reveals his motives. Sometimes academics what to coin a phrase or word: e-tivity (Salmon, 2002), sometimes a phrase: digital natives (Prensky, 2001, 2003, but read Jones to put this terms where they belong), sometimes a theorem, this one being ‘The Equivalency Theorem’.
Wilson (1997), Anderson tells us, described three functions that a good educational theory performs.
I’ll let you read the conclusion in the paper for these.
My interest is not in developing a theorem, my quest is for understanding that I may then apply.
An important paper, dense, chronological, logical, a great intellect chew.
Anderson (2003) ends with this:
‘I am convinced that many of these alternatives should be focused on creating the most cost effective and accessible alternatives that can scale to meet the burgeoning global demand for effective and affordable life-long learning opportunities. In most cases, these models will drastically reduce the amount of teacher-student interaction, and substitute it with increased student-student and student-content interaction. For many, this scenario is a frightening one, but one that is in keeping with our tradition of expanding educational access and opportunity, and thus not one we should abhor’.
Eight years on I feel like sounding him out.
Was he prescient?
Where is he now?
The fact Anderson has missed is the greater desire for increased personalisation, learning tailor to the individual and increased interaction through social networks, with the knowledgeable as well as the ignorant (whether or not they are the person’s tutor or faculty academics).
Actually, the group I find silent are the tutors and academics.
They are too busy with their heads in their professional thoughts unable to offer up a piece of their minds without attaching a price or allocated time to it. Is this the difference between a professional musician and a busker?
Anderson, T., and Garrison, D.R. (1998). Learning in a networked world: New roles and responsibilities. In C. Gibson (Ed.), Distance Learners in Higher Education. (p. 97-112). Madison, WI.: Atwood Publishing.
Anderson, T. (2003). Modes of interaction in distance education: Recent developments and research questions. In M. Moore (Ed.) Handbook of Distance Education. (p. 129-144). Mahwah, NJ.: Erlbaum.
Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).
Fulford, C. P., and Zhang, S. (1993). Perceptions of Interaction: The critical predictor in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 7(3), 8
John Seely-Brown October 2007 webcast: http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=1063&s=31
The transcript of that session:
Jaspers, F. (1991). Interactivity or Instruction? A reaction to Merrill. Educational Technology, 31(3), 21 – 24.
Jonassen, D. (1991). Evaluating constructivistic learning. Educational
Technology, 31(10), 28 – 33.
Jones, C (2010) A new generation of learners? The Net Generation and Digital Natives
Kurzweil, R. (1999). The age of spiritual machines. New York: Penguin Group.
Langer, E. (1989). Mindfulness. Reading, MA.: Addison-Wesley.
Lipman, M. (1991). Thinking in Education. Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge University Press.
Saba, F., and Shearer, R. (1994). Verifying key theoretical concepts in a dynamic model of distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), 36 – 59.
Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, London, RoutledgeFalmer.
Sims, R. (1999). Interactivity on stage: Strategies for learner-designer communication. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3), 257 – 272.
Retrieved May 25, 2002 from: http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/ajet/ajet15/sims.html
Sutton, L. (2001). The principles of vicarious interaction in computer-mediated communications. Journal of Interactive Educational Communications, 7(3), 223 –
242. Retrieved July 15, 2003 from: http://www.eas.asu.edu/elearn/research/suttonnew.pdf
Wagner, E.D. (1994). In support of a functional definition of interaction.
American Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 6 – 26.
Wenger, E. (2001). Supporting communities of practice: A survey of community-orientated technologies. (1.3 Ed.) Shareware. Retrieved Mar 12, 2003 from: http://www.ewenger.com/tech/
Wilson, B. (1997). Thoughts on theory in educational technology. Educational Technology, 37(1), 22 – 26.
‘It isn’t jsut the ability to write, it’s the ability to type. We’re so passionate about the next gadget but are bound to the speed and accuracy of our fingers on a QWERTY keyboard’.
I just spotted the errors in this a few days after posting; I guess hitting the ‘spell-check’ key would help.
Engrossed in the delivery of tertiary education support (VLE), communications and course materials to mobile devices (Smartphones and Tables).
The OU has 35,000 students using such devices regularly now. Small in a student population of 300,000+ but growing as each new cohort arrives with a device they are familiar with in their hands.
The Open University Business School (OUBS) has made its new MBA accessible by these decivces. The Open University has reversioned its VLE for such use too. Reading student blogs I’ve found several writers blogging about how they keep up with Forums and the Work Load on their iPhone while reading and note taking course work on their iPad. All of this away from the desk, and even away from places where a laptop might have done the trick.