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Fig. 1. A moment to reflect
This by the by was the title of a TV screenplay I submitted to the BBC – rejected otherwise you might have seen it on the box by now and I wouldn’t be sitting here.
As the round up to my final, final MA ODE module H818: The Networked Practitioner it is suggested that we prepare a timeline drawing on possible blog entries, as well as ‘appearances’ in the OpenStudio platform we’ve been using.
I’ve posted some 80 times since H818 began. I’ve posted some, I don’t know, 1000 times here since February 2010?
The surprise is to find a dozen references to H818 from 2012 and when contemplating how I got to the ideas that I delivered for H818 where these may have emerged from. This in turn takes me as far back as a visit to the Science Museum in 2010. Then all manner of things, from the launch of Martin Weller’s book ‘The Digital Scholar’ and attending seminars in Bristol on ‘curation’ and earliest indicators that I may take an MA in First World War studies having tried to write on the subject for … well, 22 years ago another failed TV play optioned by Tyne Tees Television called ‘That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele’ – which is what my late grandfather said to me while we watched the local news featuring a private in the Durham Light Infantry out in Saudi Arabia. He was 96 in 1992 and had joined the DLI in his teens in late 1915.
And all of this for my very, very, very last EMA ever.
And what did I just jot down
‘Word counts in an EMA are anathema to the culture of open education’
My first draft, I haven’t ever dared look, will run to anything between 6,000 and 12,000 words.
Talking of writing … never one to say never, I have committed to a week long ‘retreat’ with a dear friend and writing tutor. My goal is to work on … ‘The Angel of the North’ a story set in the era of the First World War about a woman who flies over the Western Front.
(Actually, I’ve just thought of that. She does fly with an RFC pilot/instructor … and in the final pages is about to set off to attempt to fly the Atlantic for the first time in the wrong direction. She does, as a couple of women did, impersonate a soldier to get herself into the Front Line …)
Oh boy. And I thought I was done with writing. Thought that getting 5,000 words finished was a challenge. It is, but the OU provides the parameters and schedules, the kick up the arse and the carrot that no other kind of writing has yet provided. Except for once.
Meanwhile I must get the kids to school, must walk the dog and must prepare for an online conference I madly volunteered to do a few weeks ago as if I didn’t have enough on … which will include sitting with a veteran of the Second World War this weekend, he was in the Polish Resistance during the Warsaw Uprising. I have a Sony Flip camera and digital sound recorder in my pocket determined to interview him as I did my grandfather …
Onwards to … more of the same I should think
p.s. yes, it is my ‘brian’ – the idea of the brain is so ridiculous.
E-Learning I – MAODE Modules, include innovation in e-learning, professional practices, open learning and ‘creativity, innovation and change’.
E-Learning II Research Practices in use of technology in learning
E-Learning III The Networked Practitioner
Google offers a myriad of ways to share content, whether images or words, from galleries to entire conversations. with circles and hangouts. Unwittingly I’ve been part of their ‘game’ since the outset, an early adopter of Picasa having migrated from Flickr. I’ve not invited much in the way of sharing though I now have over 175 ‘albums’ some of which contain a thousand images (the album max). Many of these albums are closed, or linked only to key family members or friends as they contain family snaps or holiday pictures. Some now contain an archive of deceased relatives (a grandfather, father and mother no less). Others are concept boards or scrapbooks, not just of OU work, far from it … but a place where these snippets of ideas and moments will be for decades while the hardware changes or breaks down, or hard copies, albums and scrapbooks, get lost, or damaged (or both).
I have THREE e-learning album galleries of screengrabs and photos, graphic mash-ups and such like spanning the three years and nine months I’ve been on the MA ODE.
This current E-learning III album is taking everything from H818. It is in every respect an OpenStudio platform – if I chose to share its contents then people may, with various copyright permissions (creative commons) use and re-use the content – though plenty of it I grab as a personal aide memoir and is therefore of copyrighted material.
The value of these becomes greater over time – it is a short hand back into a topic, and in time, indicative of how swiftly things are moving. These platforms are leaking out into formal learning contexts; there could be a tipping point, where someone or something happens that galvanises massive interest, say the ‘Stephen Fry’ personality of Twitter, or the Arab Spring of Twitter where J K Rowling or Tracey Emin open their galleries to the world. Meanwhile, without meaning to be unnecessarily derogatory, OpenStudio is the ‘sheep pen’ while Picasa Web Galleries or Google Galleries are the ‘market’ – the sheep pen is closed and local, while the market is global, open, virtual, connected and online.
Fig 1. Your life? Remembered or forgotten?
Digitally record or better to delete?
It frustrates me to try to read two complementary books e in two different formats – the first is marketed in its traditional hardback edition with a designer cover and eye-grabbing introduction from Bill Gates, while the second, an eBook I find understated – as if it is ashamed to compete. They are a pair. Twins separated at birth. They argue from opposite sides of the digital coin, one in favour of digitizing everything under the sun, the other for circumspection and deletion. Perhaps there should be a face off at the Oxford Union Debating Society. My role here is to bring them together and in doing so provide a one word conclusion: selection.
‘Total Recall’ (Bell and Gemmel, 2009) with its film-reference title and sensationalist headline ‘how the e-memory revolution will change everything’ risks ostracizing a discerning academic readership in favour of sales reputation and coining a phrase or two. It’s hero Gordon Bell might be the protagonist in the movie. The is is shame is that at the heart of what is more biography than academic presentation there is the desire to be taken seriously – a second edition could fix this – there needs to be a sequel. My copy of Total Recall arrived via trans-Atlantic snail mail in hardback, with it’s zingy dust jacket – it feels like a real book. I’m no bibliophile but I wonder if the pages are uncut and this edition has been pulled from a reject pile. It was discounted Amazon and as I’m after the words contained in the book rather than the physical artifact its state ought not to be a concern. Though the fact that it is a physical book rather pegs it to a bygone era. Total recall refers to the idea of a photographic or ‘eidetic memory’ – this needs to be stated.
Fig. 2. DELETE
‘Delete’ (2009) Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is subtitled ‘The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age’ and sounds as if it was authored by a vampire from Transylvania. It is a foil to ‘Total Recall’ with Viktor the antagonist to ‘Flash Drive’ Gordon. Delete hasn’t been – its in its fourth printing, needless to say I got mine in seconds as a Kindle version. I only ever by a book if I have to. I am too used to the affordances of the eBook to skim, search, highlight and share – and to have it on multiple devices, the Kindle, iPad, laptop and smartphone.
The copyright notice in Total Recall on ‘the scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet’ is ironic because this is what Bell does with his life – he has scanned and uploaded his life (though access is totally private). A double irony as he elects for Web 1.0 but won’t join the Semantic Web 2.0 and share.
I have been an exponent of ‘exposure’ – the release of a substantial part of who you are for others to chew over.
The online diary.
The way forward stands between the two, selective extreme gathering, storing and retrieval of your personal archive, while discretely deleting the irrelevant, possibly illegal (copyright, plagiarised, libel) and otherwise potentially reputationally damaging to kith or kin. (How can these be avoided if you wear a device around your neck that takes a digital snap every few seconds?)
They could be landform and landfill.
- Infographic: Who Reads eBooks? (the-digital-reader.com)
- Enjoy Ron Shusett’s Interview with Craft Screenwriting! (lcoonline.wordpress.com)
- Tracker, scanner, detector, spy… (thehindu.com)
- Five Reasons Why You Should See Total Recall (binsidetv.net)
- Google Glass – Interactive Glasses (threekingsclub.wordpress.com)
E-Portfolios? Blog, content aggregator or storage in the cloud? Is there more to this for e-learning?
Fig. 1. The two faces of e-portfolios. Barrett (2010).
Think of an e-portfolio in terms of:
- Specific academic fields
- A Learning journey
- Research projects
- Observations by mentors and peers
- Reflective thinking
(Butler 2006, p. 2)
My view is that these tasks, or affordances, are better and well managed by a blog. During 2010 while in my first year of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) not only were we encouraged to use the OU Student Blog platform, but we were also encourages to use the OU eportfolio MyStuff.
Fig. 2 Müllschlucker
I dutifully ‘dumped’ and labelled content, even sorted it in an effort to write assignment using this system. I would liken it to a Müllschlucker – a rubbish shoot in a tall appartment block (Isn’t the German for it such a great word?) – it made grabbing and dumping stuff easy.
What was far harder was to sift through this content and create meaning from it a a later date. It didn’t have enough of me about it most of the time to trigger recollections. We got a warning that MyStuff would be killed off – I made a stab at sorting through what I’d put there, but like boxes of papers in a lock-up garage I was more relieved when it was over. I also tried a couple of external e-portfolio services: Peppblepad and Mahara for example. I tripped up quickly as the learning curve was too steep for me – and why duplicate what I was enjoying with WordPress?
I’m about to cook a lasagna, so why give me a pick-axe? Or, I want to make a toasted sandwich so why give me a MagiMix? All tools need to be carefully promoted, demonstrated then used in a sandpit with careful instruction and support. Basic scaffolding in other words.
“The overarching purpose of portfolios is to create a sense of personal ownership over one’s accomplishments, because ownership engenders feelings of pride, responsibility, and dedication.” (Paris and Ayres, 1994,p.10).
“The e-portfolio is the central _and common point for the student experience. It is a reflection of the student as a person undergoing continuous personal development, _not just a store of evidence.” (Rebbeck, 2008)
Process (a series of activities)
Product (the end result of the process)
Blogging and keeping an e-portfolio are synonymous
A web log, or blog, is an online journal that encourages communication of ideas, and individual entries are usually displayed in reverse-chronological order. Barrett (2010, p6)
Blogs provide an ideal tool to construct learning journals, as discussed by Crichton and Kopp (2008) from the University of Calgary, ‘… that eJournals help to make ePortfolios more authentic and relevant to the students’ lives.’
Workspace or Working Portfolio. Washington Stage University.
- Or (digital) shoebox.
- Presentation Portfolios, showcase or ‘showtime.’
John Dewey (1933) discusses both retrospective (for analysis of data) and prospective modes of reflection (for planning).
Beck and Bear (2009) studied reflection in the teaching cycle, comparing how pre-service teachers rated the development of their reflection skills in both formative and summative e-folios.
Fig. 3. JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC. (Page 11)
Reflection is the “heart and soul” of a portfolio, and is essential to brain-based learning (Kolb, 1984; Zull, 2002).
Once we have looked back over our body of work, then we have an opportunity to look forward, setting a direction for future learning through goals… reflection in the future tense. Barrett (2010, p3)
Blogs are organized in reverse chronological order; most showcase portfolios are organized thematically, around a set of learning goals, outcomes or standards. Both levels of reflection and organization are important, and require different strategies for supporting different levels of reflection.
Barrett, H. (2010). Balancing the Two Faces of ePortfolios. Educação, Formação & Tecnologias, 3(1), 6-14. [Online], Available online: http://eft.educom.pt (Accessed 29 SEPT 2010) http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/ (Accessed 4 NOV 2012) Updated version http://electronicportfolios.org/balance/Balancing2.htm (Accessed 4 NOV 2012)
Beck, R. & Bear, S. (2009) “Teacher’s Self-Assessment of Reflection Skills as an Outcome of E-Folios” in Adamy & Milman (2009) Evaluating Electronic Portfolios in Teacher Education. Charlotte: Information Age Publishers.
Beetham, H. (2005) e-Portfolios in post-16 learning in the UK: Developments, issues and opportunities www.jisc.ac.uk/media/ documents/themes/elearning/eportfolioped.pdf
Bruce, L (1994) Self-Assessment (Last accessed 4Nov2012) http://ozpk.tripod.com/000000selfassess
Butler, P (2006) Review of the Literature on Portfolios and Eportfolios. eCDF ePortfolio Project. Massey University College of Education. Palmerston North, New Zealand
Crichton, S. and Kopp, G. (2008) “The Value of eJournals to Support ePortfolio Development for Assessment in Teacher Education.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York City, March 24–28, 2008. An updated version of this paper was published by the British Columbia Ministry of Education, Innovations in Education, 2nd Edition, April 2011. Available online (PDF of book); Printable version of revised article: balancingarticle2.pdf
Dewey,J. (1933) How we think. How we think: A restatement of the relation of reflective thinking to the educative process. (1971 ed.). Chicago: Regnery
JISC (2008) Effective Practice with E-portfolios. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of JISC.
Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Paris, S., & Ayres, L. (1994). Becoming reflective students and teachers. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Rebbeck, G (2008) e-Learning Coordinator, Thanet College, quoted in JISC, 2008).
Zull, J. (2002). The Art of Changing the Brain. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing
- Teachers Guide on The Use of ePortfolios in Education (educatorstechnology.com)
- ePortfolios: More than a tool? (imagincation.com)
- Fwd: Manchester Workshop – How can e-Portfolios Support 21st Century Learning? (academic-practice.blogspot.com)
- 2012 Eportfolio Forum to be live-streamed (eportfoliosaustralia.wordpress.com)
- Facebook-folio? (imagincation.com)
- Mobile devices, mobile learners and Web 2.0 (mymindbursts.com)
- Enhanced learning as a mind-map, mind dump, composting exercise from where ideas brew (mymindbursts.com)