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Does learning something new enter a phase of such frenzy that the formal aspect of the process is irrelevant.
To say I live, breathe and eat e-learning would be an exaggeration, but the mix of social media (my professional responsibility) and e-learning (my passion as an educator) on top of a foundation of 32 years of ‘educational inclinations’ means that I find myself in a self-constructed maelstrom of activity.
32 years ago, a 17 year old, we lived ‘above the shop,’ as it were, a training centre for a PLC in Cumbria. I listened eagerly to the Training Director and I was allowed to use first 1 inch reel to reel black and white Sony kit used for interview training … and then a hefty VHS camera. I created my first ‘training film’ – ironically titled ‘How to give a slide presentation.
A desire to taken in, and then share, what I think and understand, with others has informed my career.
Meanwhile, whilst reliving and reinventing and/or returning to my video production roots, my current interest is mobile learning – not that it is should be called ‘m-learning,’ just that it is ‘stuff’ with a learning twist, that you can have with you, connect with and use, wherever, whenever and whatever you are.
With a bit of skiing, sailing and swimming
Each in various ways as an educator, and participant: guided skiing, but never the BASI qualification, Offshore Sailing RYA qualification while instructing at RYA Level II and swimming a few weeks of effort of the most senior ASA Certification that is current (Senior Club Coach).
Everything can be taught
My turn around moment on this was a presentation I was linked to when Max Clifford, self-taught PR guru, spoke lucidly and with enthusiasm for students studying PR.
If nothing else, it showed they were passionate about the subject to study it for three years.
(Note to Max, the passionate ones might be 20% of the cohort).
Greek Fish Soup.
I’m yet to reach the position that I can call myself a professional academic, but is it the case the some academics (or is it just mathematicians and philosophers) are also very good cooks?.
My theory is, that they use the period of cooking, to be engaged with one activity … while thinking of something else entirely???
The spread of Open University Business School Partnerships. This is indicative of the organisations, governments and students the OUBS partner with globally.
A week ago I was clearing out the shed and came across a Diablo … a Bowtie-like shape. It struck me that this could be a way to represent the traditional relationship between an organisation and the public, the messages are funnelled through a spot.
I’ve done various drawings on this theme
Each stage represents the spreading of the ‘word’ at and from a variety of ‘touch points’ in an organisation, gradually increasing so that dialogue between people inside and outside an organisation have increased greatly to their mutual benefit.
Then I say this, the light from a small vase on a table.
If I could visually double this up as a mirror image then I’d be getting some sense of the dynamism that is still a vital part of communications, as inventive as always, and usually all the IT tools at its disposal to create, share and respond,
Social Media isn’t replacement anything … it is easy, convenient and of the age. It suits and comes out of the direct way we’ve learnt to communicate through email and messaging.
All I visualise are these lines of ‘activity’ spreading between an institution and its public to create something that might resemble a funnel.
The same thinking applies to education, that the realtionship used to be funnel through a teacher to a student in a classroom who belong to a cohort, or through a lecturer into a lecture hall. The opportunity to create (or the necessity to permit) a broader breadth and depth of two way communication is permitted by social media.
These lines of communication are personal, and one to one.
They are forged through links in websites, links in print and from TV, links offered up through Twitter and blogs. They are conversations that are picked up in Linkedin or Facebook.
The expression ‘old news keeps like fish’ can no longer apply … far from going off, the write message, insight or assistance is kept alive and made even more meaningful as it is shared and stored and linked to.
Competition in tertiary education is a good thing, but the playing field is both muddled and uneven.
Competition is a good thing, but the playing field is both muddled and uneven.
Remember, funding for higher education isn’t simply from the State, but through corporates and research grants. What is more the UK has a long established history of private education at all stages; many parents plan to pay for their children’s education, and where able set funds aside for tertiary education too through savings schemes.
Online support for learning, either blended or 100% at a distance, has become viable for ALL in tertiary education, so they are doing it. Even undergraduates on campus expect the kind of online facilities and support that may until recently been the sole domain of the distance learning student.
In the private sector, where I came from, creating commercial product at any stage: primary, tertiary and secondary was difficult for one simple reason – both students and institutions expected the resources to be free. One model therefore was to have content sponsored. Indeed that’s how I came to succeed in producing careers materials (video) because it was all financed in advance by sponsors and distributed for free. DVD and online based course materials failed because no one would pay for it.
Ten years ago I prepared a report for my employer regarding the production of commercial learning materials, one offs for specific age groups and subjects. My conclusion was don’t, unless it is all paid for upfront. Even the secondary sector is deeply affected by the BBC and their wonderful, free ‘bitesize’ series to support GCSEs.
There must be research on perceptions of UK universities. The cache of the long-established Oxbridge and Russell Group institutions must be substantial. From an employee point of view there are those who will divide hundreds (or thousands) of applications for a few graduate positions into two piles: Oxbridge or not.
Unsound and unfair, but if faced with ostensibly the same grade, but from different instituions, how do you differentiate short of seeing everyone for a first interview or reading exam papers for yourself?
The answer from the student’s point of view used to be the CV thick with extra-curricula activities; I wonder if the future student should pack an e-portfolio, evidence of their worth and potential once away from the student ‘desk’.
The last two decades has seen the private secondary sector buy into/ buy up primary sector ‘prep’ schools even establish pre-prep schools. I wonder to what degree this long-term relationship can be maintained into the tertiary sector?
The Eton Brand, for example, as a University, would be a valid offering in a global market.
I thought 500 page views was a landmark, then 1000. There has been steady growth to 10,000. It went crazy for a week in April with 1,000 views a day then settled back to 150-250 day. Whose counting? Basic analytics are a form of recognition, even reward for the blogger. 50,000 is a biggy that has taken 14 months to achieve. 100,000 is unlikely within the Masters in Open & Distance Education, though a MRes, another module in the MAODE (because it interests me so much) or a MBA are all of interest for later in the year and all would be blogged upon right here.
Are you saying something worthwhile to this audience?
Even if I feel the PC Screen is a mirror and I’m writing this for my benefit first as a reference I can return to later: what did I think? Where is that quote? Where was I in the learning process? Aren’t I glad I’ve moved on! Editing old entries, bringing them up-to-date develops this. As Nabokov wrote,
“I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is”
e-Reading ‘A New Culture of Learning’ backwards in a large font isolating interesting gems I may have missed. Also reading it by search word; ‘play’ works and is appropriate with over 160 mentions.
I liken this to panning for gold.
Once I’ve done this a few times typing out notes may be irrelevant; I’ll know it. ‘Play as the new form of learning?’
One final thought. Two decades ago I liken learning to a nurturing process, of an educator/teacher or course designer/principal sprinkling water on the heads of students buried like heads of lettuce emerging from the ground.
This no longer works for me.
What I now see are kids in a large paddling pool having fun and making up games with toys offered to them by supporting parents and older siblings.
The mantra for e-learning is ‘activity, activity, activity’, perhaps it ought to be ‘play, play, play’; that’s what you’ll come away with if you read John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas ‘A New Culture of Learning; cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.’
Picking this up a year ago at the start of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) I couldn’t relate to it. I hadn’t enough experience of ‘e-moderators’, the term Gilly Salmon uses for Tutors (also Associate Lecturers). A year on I appreciate the complexity of the role, and potentially the considerable demand on their time and efforts to help us students sing – it can’t always happen. If we are a choir, then at times we have to learn to practice in small groups in oour own time.
‘E-tivities’ is a must read at any time. You may not agree with the five-stage approach to online learning but I’d go this route until you know better from experience; i.e. play a game that has rules and works before you make up your own.
It should be a game. It should be playful.
It can be. It often is. I don’t tinker away at the QWERTY keyboard like this if I didn’t enjoy it; as Andrew Sullivan puts it, this is jazz. These ideas the latest from John Seely Brown. Remember in his lecture to the Open University he described it as ‘Bringing Coals to Newcastle’ (Week 1 or 3, H800). That is respect for the Open University who remain the leaders worldwide. As Lord Putnam, the OU Chancellor put it, ‘It’s as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet’. From TV and Radio, with books, videos and CDs sent out computer-based and now e-learning was and is pioneered right here.
More of this then.
And I’ve made a start on this, the seminal John Seely Brown publication:
I do like a good read, something cover to cover (though these days as a e-book, it does make highlighting and note taking massively easier). And we want to share what we think about what these guys say? I put my notes in the OU e-portfolio My Stuff so could/can share pages from there. Just ask.
I can’t be bothered with this:
I read three chapters nd skimmed through the rest.
I was working in a Brighton-based web-agency in 2000. Ten years ago I would have sung from it. A decade on I find it vacuous hype that occasionally gets it right but often does not.
That said, there are books that I dismiss the first time I look, but can be brought back to sing its praises. Another must read, especially for H807 ‘Innovations in E-learning’ is Roger’s ‘Diffusion of Innovations’.