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|From NSSC 3AUG14 ARK|
Fig. 1 Five Lasers, like butterflies
Helming the boat that set the buoys for this race (it’s called ‘Ark’) I got this shot and likened it to butterflies in the back garden. I so wanted to be out there competing in the race and juggling my inabilities to control the dinghy, but got a thrill from this moment all the same with this imbalance of boats. One getting away, the others heading towards the buoy.
My turn next week.
I’ve done 12 hours on a ‘pond’ in various winds on a Laser so feel ready for the sea, and ready for bruises, muscle pain, a dunking: ready too for managed risk: I will have on a wet suit and life jacket. I will have a pouch containing an inhaler (asthmatic) and water.
I like danger. I need the physical and mental thrills I so enjoyed in my ‘youth’. I prefer a challenge. I want to be hit with a stick and offered a carrot. The Open University equivalent of the written exam and recognition of success: Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs) are too infrequent for essay writing to become a way of life, whilst End of Module Assignments (EMAs) lack the danger and challenge of an examination. At Oxford University essays are weekly, read out and shared in a tutor group of two or three and at the end of the year you sit exams – terrifyingly demanding but both proof that you know your stuff and a way to distinguish the pack.
‘Ark’ is a bit of a tug, a diesel engined quasi-fishing vessel on which the day’s race buoys are kept – hunking great things on a long length of rope with a chain and anchor attached. It has a VHS radio so you call back and forth to your harbour of departure and the Race Officer in the clubhouse and RIBS in the bay.
Seven years since I was last on the thing I had with me a cushion I grabbed from the sofa at home not thinking why I did this … until in the chop I recalled how I had broken my coccyx training to do this when I had bounced off the rubbery side of the RIB and landed on the anchor: twice. Broken coccyx. Imagine how they test for this in A&E? Basically someone prods you up the arse and if you scream there’s a problem. This problem then turns into ‘there’s nothing we can do’. But here’s a rubber-ring you may like to have to sit on for the next six weeks … or don’t sit down????
You live and learn, or rather learn through giving things a go until you can get it right enough.
Fig.1 Chair and shade
It was like being back at school: though the ratio of 15 women to 3 men felt like I’d gate-crashed the girl school’s class down the road; I was educated in all male schools from 4 to 19. Of the 15 two were under 20, two were under 30 and the others above 60 and 70. No difference. Just like school. I recognised this swimming with Masters that given any opportunity to be the child that we were we are.
My relationship with art is an odd one: a mother who taught art, had an MA from Durham University in Fine Art, but who discounted at as a career for any of her children. I took it as far as A’levels (under her tutelage).
In 90 minutes we has some history, so thoughts on kit, then we got on with it. I found a secluded spot in the central courtyard (Jerwood Gallery, Hastings). And picked first on the climbing plants on a wall, and then the chair I’d taken out of the class. My challenge was to look at different ways of adding shade. Eventually I found that changing from pen to cotton balls and ink would differentiate between the object and the shadow. This’ll take further work.
Other learning opportunities over the last few days have included:
Power Boat II (Refresher)
It is eight or more years since I did the course and seven years since I’ve been in a power boat. A bit of it came back. And new stuff was added. I need this so that I can operate a ‘rib’ during ‘racing week’ at the local sailing club: laying the course, keeping an eye on the fleet to rescue and assist. The sea can be choppy, the winds strong. Dinghies go over and their mast can pin them to the shallow sand and grit of Seaford Bay.
How to train a pigeon
In her wisdom my daughter has rescued a pigeon with a broken wing. The RSPB and animal sanctuaries aren’t interest. ‘Ralph’ is now accommodated in a garden shed; shits everywhere but is eating from my daughter’s hand. Muggins will be looking after it shortly of course. The volume of pebble-dash shit is impressive as every shit is onto a fresh patch of shed floor – it will be one shit deep, like a carpet by the weekend.
The exhibition on the designer Ivan Chermeyeff at the De La Warr is so good I’ve been back three times. There is no book on this exhibition, though many of his books are nailed to a table to admire (the page it has been opened at), with a few books you can browse. There is an insightful video too – an interview with the designer talking about how he got into fine art and graphic design from an inspiration father. One of the things he talks about is ‘learning to see’. Had photography not been banned I would not have got out a pad of paper and looked more closely at his collages. Had I not taken such a close look I wouldn’t have seen, with magical surprise, that one was made from ephemera collected at the inauguration of JFKennedy as US President on January 20 1961.
Fig. 1. Father and daughter
From four or five months after conception with the formation of the brain, to the moment of brain death we have the capacity to learn, subconsciously as well as consciously.
Whether through interlopers before birth, in infancy and early childhood, or through family and carers in our last moment, days, weeks, months or years. At both ends of life the Web through a myriad of ways can advise, suggest and inform, and so educate, like never before. While for all the time in between as sponges, participants and students we can access, interact, interpose and interject in an environment where everything that is known and has been understood is presented to us. The interface between person and this Web of knowledge is a fascinating one that deserves close study for its potentially profound impact on what we as humans can do as people and collectively: Individually through, by, with and surfing the established and privileged formal and formal conveyor belt of education through nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary centres of learning. Individually, also through expanding opportunities globally to learn unfettered by such formal education where such established opportunities don’t exist unless hindered through poverty and politics or a lack of communications infrastructure (a robust broadband connection to the Web). And individually and collectively alongside or beyond whatever formal education is provided or exploited by finger tapping into close and expanded networks of people, materials, ideas and activities
Open learning comes of age.
By seeking to peg answers to the role the Web is starting to play, at one end to the very first opportunity, at the micro-biological level to form a thought and at the other end to those micro-seconds at the end of life once the brain ceases to function – and everything else in between, requires an understandings neuroscience and an answer to the question ‘what is going on in there?’ How do we learn?
From an anthropological perspective why and how do we learn?
Where can we identify the origins of knowledge sharing and its role in the survival and domination of homo sapiens? And from our migration from the savannas of Eastern Africa to every nook and cranny of Earth, on land and sea, what recognised societal behaviours are playing out online? And are these behaviours mimicked or to a lesser extent transmogrified, warped or elevated by the scope, scale and speed of being connected to so much in such variety?
A history of learning is required.
From our innate conscious and subconscious capacity to learn from our immediate family and community how has formal education formed right the way through adding reading, writing and numeracy as a foundation to subject choices and specialisms, so momentarily expanded in secondary education into the single subjects studied at undergraduate level and the niche within a niche at Masters and doctoral levels. And what role has and will formal and informal learning continue to have, at work and play if increasing numbers of people globally have a school or university in their pockets, courtesy of a smartphone or tablet and a connection to the Web?
The global village Marshall McLuhan described is now, for the person connected to the Web, the global digital fireplace.
It has that ability to gather people around. Where though are its limits? With how many people can we develop and maintain a relationship? Once again, how can an understanding of social networks on the ground inform us about those that form on the Web? Multiplicity reins for some, flitting between a variety of groups while others have their niche interests indulged, celebrated and reinforced. Is there an identifiable geography of such hubs small and large and if visualised what does this tell us? Are the ways we can now learn new or old?
In relation to one aspect of education – medicine – how are we informed and how do we respond as patients and clinicians?
The journey starts at conception with the mixing of DNA and ends once the last electrochemical spark has fired. How, in relation to medicine does the quality (or lack of), scale and variety of information available on the Web inform and impact upon our ideas and actions the length of this lifetime’s journey At one end, parents making decisions regarding having children, then knowledge of pregnancy and foetal development. While at the other end, a child takes part in the decision-making process with clinicians and potentially the patient – to ‘call it a day’. Both the patient or person, as participant and the clinicians as interlocutors have, potentially, the same level of information at their fingertips courtesy of the Web.
How is this relationship and the outcomes altered where the patient will know more about their own health and a good deal about a clinician’s specialism?
The relationship between the doctor and patient, like others, courtesy of the connectivity and capacity of the Web, has changed – transmogrified, melted and flipped all at the same time. It is no longer them and us, though it can be – rather, as in education and other fields, it can be highly personalized and close.
Can clinicians be many things to many people?
Can any or only some of us cope with such multiplicity? A psychologist may say some will and some won’t, some have the nature for it, others not. Ditto in education. Trained to lead a classroom in a domain of their own, can a teacher take on multiple roles aimed at responding to the unique as well as the common traits of each of their students? While in tertiary education should and can academics continue to be, or expected to be undertake research as well as teach? Where teaching might be more akin to broadcasting, and the classroom or tutorial takes place asynchronously and online as well as live and face-to-face.
Disaggregation equals change.
In relation to one aspect of education in medicine and one kind of problem, what role might the Web play to support patients so that they can make an informed decision regarding the taking of potentially life saving, if not simply life improving, medications? Having understood the complexity of reasons why having been prescribed a preventer medication, for example, to reduce or even eliminate the risk of a serious asthma attack, what is going on where a patient elects, sometimes belligerently, not to take the medication. Others are forgetful, some misinformed, for others it is the cost, or the palaver of ordering, collecting and paying for repeat prescriptions. Information alone isn’t enough, but given the capacity of the web to brief a person on an individual basis, where they are online, what can be done to improve adherence, save lives and enhance the quality of life?
My hypothesis is that a patient can be assisted by an artificial companion of some kind, that is responsive to the person’s vicissitudes while metaphorically sitting on that person’s shoulder i.e. in the ‘Cloud’ and on their smartphone, tablet, headset, laptop or whatever other assistive interface will exist between us and the Web.
Fig. 2. Where it ends … more or less
At a parent’s side when they die is a profound experience. The breathing stopped and a trillion memories drained away. To what degree will this no longer be the case when a life logged digitally becomes a life in part preserved?
What is the point in playing chess if you let a computer give you the answers and all you do is move the pieces?
The act of playing chess, and the process of thinking it through is the joy and the learning.
- What will be the point as or once all the answers are online?
- Where we let algorithms and the Web provide the answers?
Does this mean that anyone can be a doctor so long as they have a smartphone in their pocket and a good connection?
Knowledge acquired is how learning occurs.
- The learning process is necessary in order for the brain to make sense of it (or not)
- And we do so, each of us, in an utterly unique way.
- Less so because of when or where we were born,
- But because we were made this way.
‘Je suis comme je suis, je suis faite comme ca’.
Our DNA is unique and the brain it constructs also.
Not hard considering considering:
- There are some 98 billion neurons in there.
- And every neuron has some 10,000 connections.
It is this mass of interconnections that makes us both ridiculous and smart,
Able to think in metaphors, provide insight, solve problems, conform, deform and inform.
And fall in and out of love.
Enthusiasms bubble up like farts in the wind.
Life is like a game of chess
We are its players and pieces whether we like it or not.
It is the sense of participation and control that makes life worth living.
Which suggests that absolute machine power – Google-eyed algorithms could be no better than prison.
Life is not a game though
And we are more than merely players.
There is no need to strut and fret our hour upon the stage.
It is a story we tell, defined by our actions and responses
A rollercoaster of our own making.
There is no need for noise and tension,
where we can be cool in war and love.
- 5 Star iPhone & iPad game, Chess Pro w/ Coach, temporarily free (Reg. $10) (9to5toys.com)
- Do Adult Brains Generate New Neurons? Nuclear Testing From The 1960s Helps Scientist Decide (medicalnewstoday.com)
Getting to the end of the 600 page biography I struggle to draw a conclusion. Perhaps he was Janus like, always looking in two directions, impish, black and white, loved it or hated it. Able to bend. Loyal (at least to his wife), even to certain friends. Selective then. He was in love with the way his mind worked. He has been instrumental in changing the world and I feel better for having followed his products, if not his creed.
My iBook died in 2011; I have to replace it. Do I need a laptop if I have an iPad though? My inclination is to have something large and powerful enough to cut movies. The ‘Full Monty’ a 90 minute piece, to translate scripts I’ve written even developed as photo journals and start bringing some of the scenes to life.
Life’s a Game of Pinball
I would have been the witch doctor in a tribe,
The pinball that kicks away from the small black hole,
Disappears, then comes back for more.
I’m the ball which gets flipped and flapped, which dings and dongs.
Can you hear it?
Ding, sling, ping, dong!
Rumble, tumble, ping-ding-ring.
Ping! Ding, sling, ping, dong!
I’ve been fascinated by the relationship between Anais Nin and Henry Miller for two decades and wish, even if it only meant being Richard Osborne to their relationship, that I could have been their watching it unfold and hearing about it from each of them.
Is this what the celebrity tabloid press do fifty, sixty years on? At best there is commentary and interview, at worst the photographs that make it look sordid.
Can they be studied in an elective on American literature? Would it be just American? She was French/ Cuban.
She wrote about D.H.Lawrence, so I will write about her (or Henry) or both.
The relationship fascinates, how couples are the making of their work. As if taking a lover catalyses creativity.
Just pages into her first Journal I am marking down long tracts which I want to record and discuss.
What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning. There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. To give as much meaning to one’s life as possible seems right to me. For example, I am not committed to any of the political movements which I find full of fanaticism and injustice, but in the face of each human being I act democratically and humanely. I give each human being his due. I disregard class and possessions. If it is the value of their spirit, of their human qualities, I pay my respect to, and to their needs as fast as I am able to fulfil them. If all of us acted in unison as I acted individually, there would be no wars and no poverty. I have made myself personally responsible for the fate of every human being who has come my way.’ (Anais Nin, Journals Vol 1)
If we see life as a novel then we deliberately set out to make it worthy of a novel.
If this novel is written on a daily basis as experiences unfold then surely the diarist goes out of their way to ensure that they experience and do things worthy of a novel?
Pepys is about to be serialised on BBC Radio.
The trailer justifies why a young person might keep a diary. Had millions been doing so in the 17th century would we be that interested in Pepys? Possibly, given that those blogs that are published are easily described as nefarious and sordid.
They take lovers, they are unfaithful to other halves, they go to places and do things they would never otherwise have done? Some would.
Is this the would-be artist’s struggle?
Is this what defines a frustrated creative?
The desire to express and share what they make of life and to have actions in their lives worth sharing.
I prefer to be the witch doctor in a tribe, the oddball.
From a diary entry of Saturday 17th October 1992. Thought over 19 years on.
The Open University Merry-go-round. Join a course, do another and never get off their life-long learning ride
Were I back on the H807 Merry-go-round, I’d love to do the Innovations in E-Learning module over again … indeed, given the pace of change maybe a three year refresher is required.
I’d have loved some of this:
Which was my third e-book purchase.
I have read it, highlighted it, reviewed it, shared notes via Facebook on it as I went along and will blog about it at length in due course. And Twitter this, and that. And respond to comments.
Most important of all, I am acting on this books advice which means I now have feed from Google Alerts, and Technorati amongst many other suggestions on how someone who feel they have a voice can find like minds.
Is looking at this better than reading the chapter around it?
Best of all is to share it and discuss with those who know better, or want to know better. My opinion is your opinion put through the kitchen-blender.
In the first moments of a conversation with Dr B Price Kerfoot on Skype did he not think what I was thinking? That the public images we had of each other were probably a decade old?
I didn’t take a screen grab, but the 30 something doctor in collar, tie and white coat taken in the sunshine, perhaps on the day of a promotion could have been his younger brother, when, if he can excuse me describing him thus, I saw the same person, a thick head of greying hair, a face, like mine, like the bark of a mature tree rather than a sapling.
As I write below, his spirit, like mine (I hope) remains that of an enthusiastic twenty-something.
The same occurred with the Elluminate session we had in H800 the other day … Shaun on the webcam (initially in a scratchy black and white image) is not the person who goes by in the General Forum. Are we all guilty of this. men included? We go with something in our late thirties or early to mid-forties?
What image should we use to portray ourselves?
Is their such as thing as best practice? Ought it to be like joining a gym, we have a snapshot taken on a webcam and this current image, no matter how it comes out, becomes who we are?
There’d be a riot of complaints.
Do so few of use dislike or distrust what we see when we look at our faces in the mirror each morning?
It has been the subject of research, role play in online education; I’d like to do some of my own.
I began a year ago with this. I liked the picture, felt it was healthy, robust and confidenct and reasonably confident. I should have looked at the date on it. August 2004. Happy and sunny days. You age under stress and from the mid-40s it doesn’t take much to add ten years -all that sun in the past, being unwell.
I then went with this.
An image I long ago used in my eleven year old blog. I wanted something that was indicative of the content and would last. I’m still inclined to run with this. It is indicative of what I think blogging is all about – the contents of your mind, what you think i.e. you ‘mind bursts’ as I call them on numerous blogs.
In my three Facebook personas I am in turn:
While on Skype I use a image taken with the webcam on the day of an online interview – this is a month ago, so as contemporary as it gets.
I have this image fronting Tumblr taken 21 years ago, in moments of euphoria having just successfully negotiated a 15m pond of slush on a pair of skis in front of a crowd of early May skiers below the Tignes Glacier, France. The day I proposed to my wife. We’d be ‘going out together’ for three days … we’ve now been together, well 21 years.
In my original diary we could create banner adds to publicise what we had to say to fellow writers. One of these has a spread as long as the contents of my diaries and blog: they run from a 13 year old Head Chorister in cassock and ruffs, though gap, undergrad, to ad exec, video director, with four woman I didn’t marry.
My first professional ‘portrait’ for the Worth Media corporate website was this:
Increasingly, I am thinking of using a self-portrait, that this attempt to capture myself through my minds eye is more telling that a photograph.
I could use the drawing I did of a 14 year old .. with sketched in variations of what I imagined I’d look like with a beard or moustache. What amuses me most here is how I superimpose these attachments as if I were in a school play, the beard is clearly on the soft face of a pre-pubescent boy – I should have looked at my grandfather for the face I’d get, with the more bulbous nose and pronounced chin.
Talking of which, I find it both intriguing and damming that I am the spitting image of my grandfather, that my own children see images of him age 20 and think it has to be me. All that changes as he ages into a 40 and 50 year old is he goes bald, whereas I am thus far limited to a thinning of the crown.
This I’m afraid, if the age of my children in the rest of the picture is something to go by, is some seven years ago 🙁
My only reason for picking it is that I haven’t renewed my contact lenses and am inclined, after twenty years wearing them to give up. Maybe laser surgery when I have the cash?
This is contemporary. It doesn’t say who I am, just ‘what’ I am. Wearing a child’s hat (he’s a dad), the head-set to record notes onto a digital recorder (for a podcast), a coat he bought for honeymooning in the Alps (we went skiing) 18 years ago …
I have of course. not changed much since 1979:
The Dracular Spectacula, People’s Theatre, Newcastle. The teeth were made from dentine and fitted by an orthodontist.I rather foolishly sharpened the fangs and bit through my own lip on the last night. I had to sing while gargling my own blood. The joy of memories.
Which rather takes me back to the original point – who are we? how do we representative ourselves online in a single image when we are all a sum of a complex of parts?
Is it any wonder that we present multiple selves online, the more so the longer we’ve lived?
I don’t remember my father being around to take this picture. though clearly he did. I do remember the great-big wellies though and the joy of water spilling over the top if I could find a puddle or pond deep enough. And the jumpers knitted by my granny (sleeves always too long). And the trees in the garden I climbed behind. And my sister and brother …
How set in were the learning process by then?
My behaviour and responses? What learning experiences would count? At home or school … had I even started, or was I climbing up the curtains at the nursery school at the end of Pollwarth Drive?
Dave Pelzer author of ‘A Boy Called it’ his some tips on sticking to your plans;
I like this book for its simplicity; it is also very short. Five or six ideas are enough to keep in your head at any one time.
1. Be resilient
2. Learn to fly
3. No one is perfect
4. Let go of your past
a. ‘You cannot move forward until you free yourself from the shackles of your past.’
5. Deal with everyday problems
a. ‘Settle your problems as promptly and as thoroughly as you are able.’
6. Rest your mind.
a. Get a good night’s sleep.
7. Let go, let rip daily.
8. Purge your soul
9. If you have been subjected to negative surroundings, use them to make you strive for something better.
10. Limit your response to negative settings and, if necessary, make a clean break.
11. Overcome your guilt. Make amends and move on.
12. Don’t give yourself away in the vain hope of appeasing others.
13. To help yourself, be yourself.
14. Never go to bed upset.
15. Resolve matters before they envelop you. Compromise.
16. Hate no one. It is like a cancer.
17. Forgiveness cleanses.
18. When life’s not fair.
a. ‘Before you quit on yourself when life isn’t fair, exhaust all your options for making things happen.’
19. How badly do I want it?
a. Resolve to make things happen to you.
20. What have I accomplished?
a. Ask yourself what can you not accomplish when you truly commit to that one thing?
21. Know what you want and determine to make it happen.
22. What is truly important to me?
23. Attempt the so-called ‘impossible’ until it becomes an everyday part of your life.
24. Don’t give your best away.
a. ‘We allow self-doubt, time, situations or whatever else to erode our dreams. We quit on ourselves. We carry regret, regret turns into frustration, frustration into anger, anger into sorrow. We’ve lost one of life’s most precious gifts: the excitement, the fear, the heart-pounding sensation of taking a step outside our protective womb.’
25. Go the distance.
a. ‘Part of the thrill of success is the journey of the struggle. If it were easy everyone would be doing it.’
26. Be happy.
a. The older we get, the more complacent, hopeless and despondent we become.
27. A consistent, positive attitude makes a world of difference.
28. There may not be a tomorrow to count on, so live the best life that you can today.
29. Start saying positive, rather than negative things about myself (and everyone around me).
30. Focus. If you have no goal or the self-belief that you can accomplish them, you will end up going nowhere.
a. A little bit of adversity can help to realign you, make you humble and make you want it more.
31. Deflect negativity.
a. Flush it away and replace it with something positive (from a positive environment).
32. Every day see the brighter side of things.