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Fig.1. YouTube video for the Museum of London‘s NFC initiative in 2011
Having picked through links that came to a dead end in a fascinating paper on the variety of technologies and tactics being used by museums in relation to mobile learning I started to see and read more and more about the use of QR codes (those matrix two-dimensional bar codes you use with a smartphone) and NFC ‘Near Field Communication‘ which is becoming an industry in its own right.
Having been kept awake at night about a need for ‘constructing knowledge’ rather than being fed it I knew that visitors, students especially, need to engage with their surroundings by somehow seeking and constructing their own views.
Without QR and NFC the simplest expression of this is taking notes, and or photographs of exhibits – not just selfies with a mummy or your mates. Possibly doing bits of video. And from these images cutting/editing and pasting a few entries in a blog, Prezi or SlideShare. QR and NFC feed the visitor controlled and curated bite-size nuggets, so more than just a snap shot, you can have audio and video files, as well as more images and text.
Fig.2. South Downs Way QR Code.
Successful trials mean that these have spread. Funny I’ve not noticed them living in Lewes and walking the dog most days on the South Downs. I’ll take a look. NFCs have been used extensively, for 90 exhibits, at the Museum of London – so a visit is required. Though I won’t be ditching my iPhone. Apple does not support NFC believing that the technology is still in its infancy … like Flash, like Betamax and VHS, and all that stuff, a battle will be fought over the NFC benchmark.
So 60% penetration of smartphones in the population … most of all of which can use a QR code, but less using a early version of NFCs. My experience?
Fig.3. QR Codes at the Design Museum
Last year a visit to the Design Museum I found the ‘Visualizing the mind’ exhibition littered with QR codes.
They didn’t work. Just as well they had ample computers. How often do organisations jump on the IT bandwagon only for a couple of wheels to fall off further down the road?
Meanwhile I’m off to walk the dog .. then using a trip to see Gravity at the Odeon Leicester Square with my kids to include an educational tour to the Museum of London (always handy to have a teenager around when using mobile technology).
‘REPORTING RESEARCH’ 2013, Interpretation Journal, 18, 1, pp. 4-7, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 10 November 2013.
FIG.1. Projected onto the sitting room wall
The migration between kit and now the use of multiple devices tells its own story – that and my enhanced levels of digital literacies.
And dependency on my Open University blog???
I am too used to starting there then cutting and pasting the HTML results into WordPress (here). This platform works because it is kept simple. OK, you have to get your head around a few basics (which are good for any blogging platform), but the thing is stable and robust – it hasn’t changed much in three years and it is always there.
Either I’ll wean myself off it or I’ll plugin to another module of course and be here for another decade.
You get used to a thing – especially when it works. Calls to other institutions regarding their VLE have left me cold – some still old school box of books and turn up for an all day Saturday face-to-face once a month as your only tutor and peer group contact.
From a clapped out Mac Book that died and a Psion I moved on to a borrowed PC laptop … and scrounging computer access around the home. Only recently I got a Mac Mini – for the previous 18 months I’ve been fine on an iPad with moments on my wife’s PC to view and print off DOCX.
The Mac Mini gets what ever screen my teenage son leaves me with – he tends to snaffle away any new screen I get, just swaps them over. I may take me days to realise something is afoot.
And then there is the above – projected onto a wall with me working on a wifi keyboard and touchpad. It changes things. Next to this screen there is a large whiteboard. I get up and doodle.
As for the sitting room? Long gone.
Cries for a TV to bring the family together fall on deaf ears. Why would any of us gather to watch ONE version of an event when we can each take or leave our news, or films, or anything else as we please on a bigger or smaller screen in various other rooms and cubby-holes around the house?
An iPad mini will replicate when I had a decade ago with a Psion, something handheld, light and discrete that I can tap on whenever I wish and wherever I am.
‘The Private Life of the Brain’ Susan Greenfield is my current highly recommended read. It is certain to take you off on a tangent from whatever you are studying, but if offers a layperson’s view of the inner workings of the brain.
Try putting any letter from the alphabet in front of ‘learning’ and you’ll be able to say something about it.
It is learning whether you prefix with an ‘e’, ‘m’ or ‘b’ as in – electronic, mobile or blended.
Increasingly the opportunities, particularly with learning on a hand-held computer – 20th century terms for the 21st century smart phone or table – are for ‘a’ or ‘s’ learning – standing for applied or ‘action learning’ that is ‘situated’.
For example, I use a combination of an iPad or Kindle when coaching swimmers – not just for registers, but to show images from a swim drills book.
I am waiting for the wrist or lapel badge computer – an iPad the size of a Nano or ring. Will these come to be known as ‘w’ learning or ‘r’ learning or has ‘e-learning’ become generic? The Google display will be one to watch.
5th May 2012
‘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 )
This is just me mashing it all up, but at times I’ve moaned about wanting to read a relevant book from cover to cover, taking and sharing notes, following references, having a chin-wag and learning by default, on the fly ‘vicariously’.
This, I’ve discovered is possible by doing the following:
Buy an eBook, I’m currently doing this to Prof Martin Weller’s ‘The Digital Scholar’ (One of ours, from the Knowledge Media Institute)
You’ll come across his name as often as those of:
- Grainne Conole
- Denise Kirkpartrick
- Gilly Salmon
- Chris Pegler
- Martin Weller
- Diane Laurillard
- Agnes Kukulska-Hulme
Fine me and them on any of the Masters in Open & Distance Education modules. H807, H808, H809, H800 and H810.
As you read through an eBook when you ‘highlight’ something interesting click SHARE and send it to Twitter.
In this way you indicate what interests you (and where you are up to). Step away from reading mode to chat a bit, then press on or go back.
I like it.
Already done this with:
- Steve Jobs: the exclusive biography. Walter Isaacson
- The Blind Giant.Being Human in a Digital World. Nick Harkaway
Currently doing this with:
- The Digital Scholar: How technology is transforming Scholarly Practice. Martin Weller.
- All Quiet on the Western Front. Erich Maria Remarque
- Rethinking Pedagogy in a Digital Age. Rhona Sharpe
I’m thinking of doing the same with:
- Educational Psychology. Vygotsky
- Mindstorms. Piaget.
- Flow. The classic book on how to achieve happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
P.S. I’m between modules!
- A universal property of human nature (though it doesn’t mean we are all equally good at it). Jonah Lehrer.
What is creativity?
A different kind of mental activity to sweating it out at the office, or the ‘ah ha’ moment in the shower. the epiphany.
Bob Dylan and his moment of insight (May 1965) when he least expected it (or wanted it), after a year long tour he took a break.
- The cortex sharing a secret with us. Jonah Lehrer.
Testament to unconscious ideas.
Value of collaboration, being surrounded by the right people, the big city, the ‘cluster’, such as Shakespeare moving to London (what was it about the 1580s and 1590s in London?).
Can we recreate another age of genius?
Grit. Single-mindedness. Persistance. Putting in the 10,000 hours.
Joanna Kavenna is a novelist.
Preparing for the ‘great out pouring’ then the potentially gruelling, striving.Defamiliarising yourself.
Robin Rimbaud – aka Scanner
Neurons firing, the heart beating. The social interactions that feed into this world.
Neuroscience confirms what we had always thought was necessary or going on, such as Coleridge going for walks (or Steve Jobs).
- Easily distracted.
A wall chart showing 22 projects. A morning, an afternoon and an evening session then quit.
Dr Rachel O’Reilly is a research fellow in the Chemistry Department at the University of Warwick.
A chemist. How to take a material and improve it. Problem solving for a company, the ‘audience’ we report back to, or funders, another ‘audience’.
And here’s a creative team to die for:
Steve Jobs and Pixar
Breaking out of the mindset
Preposterous process of ‘growing a baby’ and a new encounter breaks you out of your mindset and habit.
Childhood play and do i.e. ‘playfulness’ compared to the business-like ‘job’ at a desk (even at a keyboard).
If you are at all successful, you are then expected to reproduce what you did before and the habitual way you work becomes a habit. Andrew Marr. (And what publishers/the public expect and want).
A writer and a musician want to change their voice.
Being in the right place at the right time.
The ‘Semilweis knee-jerk reaction’.
[While doing some of this at Connect Wisdom]
Peak ages of creativity
- Poetry early 30, like Physicists.
- Novelists mid 40s
- Caused by ‘enculturation’.
- So always try new things, constantly risk reinvention.
- Painters peak late.
- Historian late.
Inestimable confluences of influences. The writer who is obsessed with reading other people’s works as well as writing.
- Jonah Lehrer: The Origins of Creative Insight & Why You Need Grit (swiss-miss.com)
- On Bob Dylan’s lyrics vs. Jonah Lehrer (shortformblog.com)
In the right context with the right people role play can be used to help see or experience a problem from a different perspective. Here however, Virginia Woolf and friends pull off a hoax and a treated as royal guests on one of His Majesty’s battleships.
So many people describe this OU Business School module (B822 : Creativity, Management & Change) and the residential school I am currently attending as something that changed their lives; I’ve been waiting for that moment, or for a series of insights to congregate and like a celestial choir sing something special.
I was up at 5.00 am and writing (of course), taking a swim at 6.45 am in the pool here at the Heathrow Marriott, into an Elective at 8.00 am and the first Tutor Workshop at 9.00 am.
The second workshop kicked in after lunch at 1.30 pm then from 7.00 pm three more hour long electives in a row.
At no stage was I ever tried or bored, indeed I feel embarrassed even writing this, the very thought!?
Too much new, too important, too interesting, too interested. Like my second week at nursery school: amongst friends, secure, allowed and expected to have fun. Alert.
It was in the very last cessation today, during an hour of guided relaxation, shoes off lying on the conference room floor, lights out, soft music playing that my unconscious gave me a two word tip and did its best to visualise the love my children have for me and I have for them. I’m still trying to see what love looks like: white, a slightly crumpled unopened rosebud the size and shape of chicory but made of paper, or tissue. I tried (in the semi-conscious dream-like state that I was in) to cup ‘love’ in my hands as if I was scooping up water but it proved illusive, like a cloud.
After we were brought out of our semi-unconscious state (I fell asleep momentarily three times) we were all asked to share what we experienced; I eventually chirped up with the word ‘profound’.
The detail of the day is here too, all typed up with pictures (courtesy of iPad and iPhone) of flip-charts, post-it notes, finger-paintings and slides. This will take a week to prepare as posts.