Fig.1 At the Brighton Festival – that’s Verity of ‘Verity & Violet’ – or is she ‘Violet’ ? And what do they all have in common? I changed their nappies.
I’m getting a sense of deja vu as the rhythm of this module reveals itself. Openness comes with some caveats. It is not everyone’s cup of tea.
As people we may change or behaviour in different environments. I am not saying that we as individuals necessarily behave in the same way in an Open Studio online (a virtual studio no less) than we do or would in an open studio, as in a collective in a workshop or ‘atlier’ that is ‘exposed’ to fellow artists – but is nonetheless human interaction with all the usual undercurrents.
What I believe will not work is to put a gaggle of creators in the same room and expect them to collaborate.
The studios of the ‘open’ type that I am aware of are either the classic Rennaisance workshop with a master artist and apprentices at various stages of their own development, or, with a similar dynamic in operation, the ‘occupants’ of the studio are exposed LESS to each other and more to external commentators and contributors and this requires some formality to it .i.e. not simply ‘the person off the street’ but an educator/moderator in their own right.
Is H818:The Networked Practitioner too dependent on chance?
The foibles of a small cohort and the complex, messy, moments ‘we’ are in. Three years of this and, by chance only, surely, six of us in a subgroup jelled. More often the silence and inactivity of the majority makes ‘group work’ a myth – partnerships of two or three were more likely. The only exception I have come across in the ‘real world’ have been actors working together on an improvisation – they have been trained however to disassociate their natural behaviours.
Some of us study with the OU as we cringe at the ‘exposure’ of a course that requires us to meet in the flesh – distance learning suits, to some degree, the lone worker who prefers isolation.
By way of revealing contrast I am a tutor at the School of Communication Arts – a modest though pivitol role given their format and philosophy – exposure to many hundreds of kindred spirits who have been there … a sounding board and catalyst. NOT a contributor, but more an enabler.
My thinking is that to be effective, collaboration or exposure needs to have structure and formality in order to work.
At the Brighton Arts Festival the other evening I wonder how the 80 odd exhibitors would cope if the Corn Exchange was also their workshop? In certain, vulnerable environments, the only comment should be praise. Feedback is invited from those who are trusted.
A school setting is different again, as is college … people share the same space because they have to.
Open Studio apears to try to coral the feedback that comes anyway from a connected, popular and massive sites such as WordPress, Linkedin Groups, Facebook and even Amazon. Though the exposure, if you permit it, is tempered and negotiated – Facebook is gentle amongst family and friends, Linkedin is meterd and professional in a corporate way, WordPress is homespun while Amazon, probably due to the smell of money can be catty – and in any case, the artefact is a doneddeal, it’s not as if, to take a current example, Max Hastings is going to rewrite his book on the First World War because some in the academic community say that it is weak historicaly and strong on journalistic anecdote.
I posed this challenge to an e-learning group on LinkedIn:
‘If you could invited anyone in the world to a dinner party who would it be?’
I could run this every month on a different continent and keep going for a couple of years … 12 might work better as I’d like to include a few undergraduates and graduates … perhaps guests would be asked to bring a member of their faculty, a young work colleague or inspiring student.
I’ve left myself off. As the host I would be at their service. Running the event behind the scenes and enjoying the conversation before and after.
Martin Bean, Vice Chancellor, Open University. Inspirational champion of distance learning and accessible education. The Open University has over 257,000 active students.
Dame Professor Wendy Hall, DBE, FRS, FREng – Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, UK, and Dean of the Faculty of Physical and Applied Sciences.
Vilayanur.S. Ramachandran– Behavioral Neurologist and Professor at the Center for Brain Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. Influential academic/research on how we think in symbols and metaphors
Professor Daphne Koller, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and a Third generation PhD. Informed on big data, open learn and the future of higher education.
Cammy Bean, VC Learning Design, Kineo US. An instructional designer who mixes creativity and the pragmatic.
Sugata Mitra– Professor of Education Technology at the University of Newcastle. Best known for the ‘hole in the wall’ computers used in research in rural India (and city slums).
Donald H Taylor – Founder and CEO of Learning Skills Group and annual Learning Technologies conference in London every year.
Kirstie Donnelly, Director of Product Development, City & Guilds. From linear video production to a global leader in applied, workplace learning.
(At the time this photograph was taken Appleby Castle was, aptly, the HQ and Training Centre for a UK based PLC. Managers attended from the US, Australia, Hong Kong, South Africa, the UK and various parts of Europe.)
Fig. 1. My iPad world clock – all I need now is a Pin and a clickable face of the people in a threaded conversation
As I blog I have always been a sucker for analytics – they impact, for better or for worse. Currently I am intrigued by the coverage of the blog, read in 50 different countries spanning four continents every day. What about conversations though? Synchronous and asynchronous group talk, webinars and hangouts have me starting or contributing to discussions from New Zealand and Australia, west to Singapore and Hong Kong then on to United Arab Emirates and South Africa, picking up Turkey, Germany, France and the UK before crossing the pond to New York, Boston and on the west coast San Diago and San Francisco.
What amazes me here, as I have found in tutor groups with the Open University postgraduate course I am completing, is that when a topic goes hot it comes alive and is kept alive over 24 hours as it is picked up by others getting up or coming in from work. We live in extraordinary times.
The current hot topics in relation to e-learning are:
Open and Free Learning
Join me on Linkedin (various e-learning groups) for more.
Fig.1. Web 2.0 is visualised in many ways, Engestrom (2007) Mycorrhizae thinks in term of fungi.
Is this what curation online looks like? Part of a complex web or organism? An aspect of a new ecosystem?
Fig.2. Think of these labels as: curation, blogging, e-learning, moderating, social networks …
Writers, thinkers and bloggers are constantly taking common terms, the meanings of which we feel we understand, and giving them fresh, broader or nuanced meanings.
My understanding of curation is embedded in museums – I overheard the curator of the current Superhuman exhibition at the Wellcome Foundation Museum being interviewed by Aleks Krotovski on Tuesday. When I took a picture using my iPad a member of the museum staff politely told me that ‘the curator asked that people did not take pictures’ (and that the curator was in part to blame as he hadn’t wanted the signage saying ‘don’t take pictures’ too prominent) – curator as stage manager and executive producer of a collection of themed objects. The term ‘object’ itself embracing stills, artefacts, video-clips and activities. You curate stuff in a space and set parameters so that an audience of visitors can get their head around what, in effect, has come the curator’s mind.
In the bizarre ways that these things happen I recall, age six at most, creating a fossil museum with ammonites found in the low rocky cliffs of Beadnell, Northumberland.
I was a curator, I brought together a themed collection of rocks, set them out in a room and invited people in – no doubt in the back of my mind imagining the glass cabinets and displays in the Hancock Museum, Newcastle.
Ian McGreggor of the British Museum with his History of the World in 100 objects is a curator – far more so than an amateur’s eclectic collection of e–stuff. Or am I being a 20th century snob? Craving for academic elitism that is fast vanishing down the plug–hole as the digtal ocean and equally digital–cloud washes and blows over everything?
I search that externalised part of my own mind, an extensive blog 13 years in the writing, for what I’ve said or stumbled upon before regarding ‘curation’ and find three entries, one prompted by my intention to attend this session in Bath and feeding off a visit to the De le Warr, Bexhill and the rest from Martin Weller’s book ‘The Digital Scholar’ in which he lists curation as something universities will need to do. On Chapter 12 he has this list on publishing as:Publishing
I wonder if this following quote gives a sense of Martin Weller‘s comprehension of the term ‘curation’ as used in a Web 2.0 context:
‘If Boyer’s four main scholarly functions were research, application, integration and teaching, then I would propose that those of the digital scholar are engagement, experimentation, reflection and sharing’. Weller (2011).
On a quest to become ‘digital scholars’ or ‘thought leaders’ we should, to change one word –engage, experiment, reflect and curate’? The word, used in this, come to think of it, ought also to include ‘moderate’, even to ‘chair’ or ‘host’.
In 2002 Gilly Salmon, then a lecturer at the Open University Business School, tried to coin the terms e–tivity and e–moderator.
Perhaps then, as these things go, the digital community have not picked up on these terms – instead they have hijacked ‘curation’. We are going through a rich phase of redefining and inventing words and understandably they result in carnage and debate. Academics are guilty I feel of sometimes wanting to be the first to coin a word or use a new phrase or word in a new way because citation will mean that they are then quoted for every more. This happens in academic publishing and study, unfortunately ‘curation’ can leave you wondering about the source. Is ‘jumbling together’ the content of others from multiple sources even more questionable than turning to self–monitored wikis such as wikipedia?
Weller also says:
‘If the intention is to encourage engagement then low-quality routes may be more fruitful than seeking to produce professional broadcast material’. Weller (2011)
‘Low quality individual items because of their obvious ease of production, can be seen as an invitation to participate’. Weller (2011)
Is curation a dirty word? Is curated content reliable? What does it mean in the corporate world?
At a self–managed meeting of the curious courtesy of Wee–Learning in the vault of a pub called ‘The Cock’ in Bristol last Thursday (18th October 2012) Sam Burrough , who represents the online learning of thousands of learners in the financial sector in Bristol, UK – put ‘curation’ in the context of when it continual professional development and personal development planning – his drive is to get internal learners to seek out pertinent courses and content for themselves rather than waiting for and relying on a course list. As well as self–development reading and curating content themselves will make them more connected in and out of the company as well as gaining a better understanding of the technology. – so looking for relative content to solve their problems that they can share or make available to others.
Sam introduced Beth Kanter, Robin Good and Howard Rheingold.
Indeed those who use term may prefer ‘curation’ to describe what they do over ‘sharing’ just as professional bloggers like Andrew Sullivan (The Daily Beast) simply describe themselves as journalists. Amateur aggregation of content from other sources with no comment or original content of your own is surely the equivalent of cutting out articles from newspapers and magazines and putting them in a scrapbook? But I can’t see the phrase ‘to e–scrapbook’ catching on.
Earlier in his book Weller (2011:Chapter 2) lists university functions as:
· Change can be quick
· No assumptions are unassailable
· Form and function are different
· Boundaries are blurred.
· We can’t wrap libraries and such like in cotton wool if their time is over.
· Global networks, unpredictable environments, rapid response.
Robin Good (2012) likens Google to Macdonalds, whereas the curator runs a bespoke restaurant. He talks about curation as ‘sense making’ not just links. That curation helps people to learn better and faster from people they know or respect.
Rowlands in a 2008 study talks of ‘skimming and skipping’ about instead of deep reading. Easily distracted, or persuasively detracted’. Of what value is e–curation where an algorithm packaged as Stumbleupon, ScoopIt or Evenote assembles vicariously content gleaned from noisy self–publishing amateurs, professional online newspapers and academic studies mashing them up in one place and giving them the look of a professional edited paper?
Is ‘e–curation’ nothing more that semi–automatic ‘skittish bouncing behaviour’ Wijekumar et al. (2006).
You see, curation supposes authority, supposes in the sense of managing a collection for a museum that a panel of scholars or authorities has appointed this ‘curator’ as they have some kind of scholarly or professional track record of expertise to warrant tenure and the title. In our Web 2.0 world just as anyone can publish, so too can anyone ‘curate’. We are back with hiw Weller (2011) describes Web 2.0 as the ‘mass democratisation of expression’.
My teenager children (16 year old girl, 14 year old boy) share images on Tumblr and Instagram – a tumbling riot of choice images grabbed and reblogged into a visual expression of who they aspire to be, or who they are or the people they want to attract. Is this ‘curation’ or self–expression, or even a quest for identity and understanding who they are through others? There is no boundary between what they do, curation and publishing – indeed, where either one galavanises huge interest they become champion curators surely? This isn’t even a museum of the person, for the person, but a visual stream of consciousness by a person created by the people for the people. Perhaps this is the answer – blurring the boundaries between blog, gallery, library and museum we each become the curators of the external expression of the contents of our minds forming in total a waterfall of information and ideas. As a reader, visitor or learner you are the fish swimming in this river, dipping in and out and through it. The space is an interplay between what others contribute and what you elect to tangle with.
Curation is more than aggregating stuff, there is a sense of purpose, a theme, even if it is a current in this digital river, this torrent, this deluge of information – the content is gathered, and presented in a certain way.
The curator is making choices that they think will impart value to the content pulled in. Someone has made choices on the visitor’s behalf. The collection is assembled for a purpose, to change minds, to open heads, to instigate a journey, to act as a catalyst for learning and and the creation of understanding. Some curators will trawl for their catch like deep-sea fishermen, others will be more akin to specialist shop keepers stocking their shelves with gems and taking the time to meet and know their customers.
Whilst blogging implies creating content or self-publishing, curation is aggregating content by one person for others – going out with a broom to sweep autumn leaves into a pile then picking out the russet red ones. It isn’t publishing either, these leaves are literally individual pages, not entire books, they are, in the parlance ‘bite–sized’ pieces of information.
At what point does it cease to be curation?
The London Underground Lost Property Office is not a curated space – this stuff has been pushed into the space, not pulled. Push or pull are key words when it comes to curation, especially where the curation is prompted by the desire to respond to a problem – such as engaging people to take responsibility for their own learning by providing them with a space with blurred boundaries that will contain, more often than not, objects that satisfy and pique their cursioty in order that they then go on to construct their own understanding.
They wax lyrical and test their knowledge and understanding in a way that varies from after-dinner speaking and chat, to Oxford Dons in the Senior Common Room over a glass of sherry. The French would call them intellectual or even philosophers. A spin–off of the TV show is a new Radio series called ‘The Museum of Curiosity’.
Online, comments left by people become objects in this curated space – these are ‘items’.
They have a permanence, not only that, whether or not attributed, they can be shared, duplicated and re–versioned. Whilst you curate them in spaces you control, what happens once the item has been shared on? It may no longer be in such an attractive space at all? You may not even be credited as the author, which puts into question copyright, plagiarism and proper referencing.
Sam Burroughs (2012) likes the idea that you ’learn for myself’, and how it started with blogs then moved onto tools such as Delicious, the Digo +tag, organise with key words and RSS feeds. There are various RSS aggregators. Sam has come across 250 curation tools. How do you know which are the best? You give them a whirl or ask others what they think. Some to try include:
What tools for curating content can you recommend?
But can an algorithm curate? At what point is is less a pile of autumn leaves and more of a compost heap of meaningful ideas that ferment and enrich the plants around it?
Curation is a form of stage management, even direction, a conscious decision to put some things in and leave others out, to appeal to a visitor or imagined personas with certain needs and expectations. If this journey works, if the story draws them in, then by default they will be changed and therefore have learnt something.
This particular blog, one of several developing over the last week, feed by discussions online, blog posts, articles and face-to-face presentations and meetings, is written with special thanks to Thomas Garrod who is doing a very good job of cajoling me to get my head around this – though I should say that it is our joint heads – as there several of us are struggling with the term ‘curation’ and question its validity.
What do you think?
Gold, R (2012) http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-revolution-leaderboard. In interview –http://masternewmedia.org about curation – what it is, what it requires, why it’s important, how to do it.
Kanter, B (2012) Seak, Sense, Share – take the pain out of finding content.
Krotovski, A (2012) The Digital Human. BBC Radio 4 (last accessed 22 October 2012)
McGreggor, I (2011) The History of the World in 100 Objects –http://www.bbc.co.uk/ahistoryoftheworld/about/british-museum-objects/ + Neil McGreggor
Rheingold, H (2012) Exploring Mind Amplifiers since 1964 http://rheingold.com/
Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities: the key to active only learning. Sterling, VA : Stylus Publishing Inc. ISSN 0 7494 3686 7 Salmon, G (2002) e-moderation
Stodd, J (2012) https://julianstodd.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/creating-and-sustaining-high-performance-learning-cultures/
Sullivan, A (2000-2012) The Daily Beast
Weller, M (2011) The Digital Human. More from Martin Weller in his blog: http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/Wijekumar, K. J., Meyer, B. J. F., Wagoner, D., & Ferguson, L. (2006). Technology affordances: The “real story” in research with K-12 and undergraduate learners. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(2), 191-209.
Rowlands et al (2008) British Library Google Generation study.
First the Royal Academy, meeting with the author of ‘Exploring the World of Social Learning’ Julian Stodd having made the connection on Linkedin a couple of weeks ago, so – read the book, met the author and now we pick over each other’s brains – how we learn is a mutual fascination.
Fig. 2. A doodle of Medusa‘s severed head in the hand of Perseus
A second viewing of ‘Bronzes’, this time with a drawing pen and pad of cartridge paper – photography not permitted. I wanted to see if my hand was ‘in’ or ‘off’. Most of my time was spent circling the decapitated body of Medusa.
Fig. 3. Icarus – far smaller than I imagined (see below for the publicity shot)
On then to the Wellcome Foundation. In this instance I’d taken one snap on the iPad and was approached and politely advised that photography was not allowed.
A guide book for £1 will serve as a suitable aide memoire.
Only yesterday I was listening to and enthusing about Aleks Krotoski on ‘The Digital Brain’ on BBC Radio 4 and blogged about the series so it was with considerable surprise when I overheard her familiar voice and found her at my shoulder about interview the exhibition’s curator. I guess therefore that I listened in on part of the content for a future broadcast.
Upstairs I watched an operation to remove a cancerous growth recorded in real-time from the surgeon’s point of view, then Project 22 in which a woman photographs everything that she eats as she eats it for one year and one day – age 22.
Once again fascinating.
A selective record of a year. Can a record of an entire be undertaken with some degree of necessary selection? Or could a software algorithm sort it all out for you if a memory enhancing device records everything that you do and experience.
Other than the £1 guide, unusually, I have not come away with bags of books though I would recommend the Blackwell’s bookstore at the Wellcome Foundation for bizarre stocking fillers – I Liked the ‘blood bath’ – blood-like bath salts offered in a surgical drip bag, or highlighter pens as syringes.
It isn’t for lack of overwhelming, immersive and engaging content online, especially ‘how to’ movies and ‘clips’ in YouTube, its how you as an individual cope with this inexhaustible choice.
Armed with an 3G tablet and sim card will we find we are learning more on the fly, taking it with us, much of it free, some of it guided and paid for?
Taking advantage of participation (John Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (John Seely-Brown), vicarious learning (Cox) and if you can get your tongue around it ‘serendipitous learning.’ (me I think).
I’m finding that 18 months in, and having really started this gig in 1998 when from the agency end we were migrating interactive DVD based learning to the Web, that I of necessity must balance the tools I can play (musical instrument metaphor), compared to those I play with (sandpit, training pool metaphor) … and I suppose those ones I am obliged to master whether I like it or not (prescriptive tools for work and study – in at the deep end metaphor?!).
Conole (2011) invites us to use ‘metaphors for meaning making’.
I always have, often visualising these metaphors. Just search this diary on ‘Metaphor’ to see what comes up. Also try words or phrases such as ‘traffic light’, ‘nurture’, ‘gardening’, ‘swimming’, ‘spheres of influence’, ‘hub’, ‘serendipity’ as well as ‘water’ and ‘water-cycle’.
I therefore offer the following:
Linkedin (For Forums, like this, in groups and networks)
WordPress (for blogging, sharing, wiki like affordances, training, updates)
iPad (or Tablet) (Whilst PCs and Laptops have considerable power and versatility
Twitter (only for niche/target live discussions or quasi-synchronous conversations.
The rest of it is ‘Twitter Twaddle’
Spam of the worst kind being pumped out by pre-assigned links as CoTweets or random disconnected thoughts. This is killing some forums where RSS feeds of this stuff overwhelms any chance of a conversation).
I’ve seen two Forums killed, temporarily I hope, by this stuff, the largest victim being the Oxford University Alumni group.
I believe it is simply the case of a new moderator niavely permitting Twitter feeds in on a discussion, ie. having the conversations between 30 disrupted by the disconnected chattering of 300.
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).
As a result of taking part you acquire knowledge, you develop your thinking and understanding.
It was no different for me learning French. The school way was hopeless, what I required was total immersion, which is what I got in my late teens turning up in France on an exchange, making friends and returning … then working a gap year as far from English speakers as possible. This is how I learn, many of us prefer this informal approach.
Is it something that corporate e-learning companies and corporate learning departments have yet to tap into?
Gilly Salmon introduced the idea of the e-moderator and e-tivities in 2002.
It still takes excellent moderation, what the French call an ‘animateur’ – someone to host the event and keep it bubbling along nicely.
The mix of attendees matters too. 100 minimum sound like a big number but observation, experience and research show that around 95% observe, 4% take part and only 1% are more actively engaged.
Whilst this 1%, even the 5% are necessary what does this say about the contributions the other 95% could be making?
This is where events need to have a long tail, to be stored, aggregated, developed, talked over and blogged at greater length. What Grainne Conole calls ‘meaning making’.
Perhaps because it lacks measurement, that there appear to be no parameters.
There are many ways to get content noticed. All the traditional tricks of promotion are required here too.
Email databases, events, trade promotions, press advertising and business cards; online is not a panacea, neither is it replacement technology. It is part of the world we live in, a choice, something else, that complements other ways of doing things.
The ‘long tail’ refers to the way content has a life before, during and after being posted.
There is a story to tell in its creation and promotion; its release should factor in for a long shelf life, then there is this ‘after life’, how once posted content may then be picked up by others and developed into different, better and alternative things. Keep tabs on this and content online becomes more like street theatre, or talking from a soap box on Hyde Park Corner, it is an opportunity to engage with an audience.
I like to blog, use Linkedin and Twitter.
Better to be the master of some platforms than a jack of all trades.
Skype (use often to friends globally, notably for a job interview with Getty Images, conducting an interview about Spaced Education and on an iPad passing my brother and my nephews around a room of cousins between the UK and South Africa at Christmas)
Delicious (Still struggle, not least as I have more than one account and because I don’t see the need to bookmark anything as to Google is quicker and with cookies enabled takes me into my choices)
Outlook (formerly trained at the OU on Outlook – training on a 2010 version while we had a 2011 in our office. Still hate it having been raised on all things Mac. Outlook has the look, feel and functionality of Microsoft DOS c 1992)
Google Docs (Use as a store to aggregate content, sometimes to share, wiki-like with fellow OU students who are more up to date with the technology than I am)
Compendium (Can’t stand it – prefer a variety of free iPad Apps, including SimpleMinds, Bubl.us and several others).
Pebblepad (signed in and gave up – initially making do with the OU’s MyStuff, which has been discontinued. Find it easier to aggregate content, while I’m an OU Student in my OU Blog, then cut and paste into one or more WordPress blogs – I had 16 at the last count)
Adobe Share (Don’t have the budgets, may be of interest once back in a commercial office)
Internet Explorer (Never. Over the period have slowly migrated away from Firefox, like family, use Google Chrome almost exclusively)
Dropbox (Not really)
PicasaWeb – download for all images from camera, iPhone and iPad. Fix then post to some 50 albums, some with over 1000 images (the Picasa limit), pay for extra space. Uncertain or lack confidence though in degree of privacy, especially if screen grabs and other images are automatically uploaded to Google + images (same PicasaWeb account in a different format)
Where I stood in 2010 compared to 2012:
Word (Yes, but far less often. I write far more often on the iPad using the AI Writer APP, emailing this to a PC to edit, or uploading into a blog to edit there)
Filemaker Pro (No longer. I ran it on Macs and iBooks from its inception but others don’t preferring of all things the ghastly Excel). Have Bento, baby FileMaker, on the iPad.
AOL (still with AOL, but prefer Gmail and still thinking about changing supplier to BT or Sky)
Power Structure (Didn’t upgrade, my iBook died and the software is on an rescued hard drive though I doubt it will work with a new operating system)
Final Draft (An excellent script writing tool though created for linear output)
Adobe Photoshop (Haven’t upgraded, making do with Picasa)
Dreamweaver (haven’t been near it, I never was a programmer type anyway, though cut my teeth in this in 2000)
Excell (A very reluctant user – just cannot see how this is used by some to create posters, or run a database that required large quantities of content in a cell. Filemaker Pro is better)
Diaryland (Quite the thing in 1999). Locked forever. Up forever. Sometimes cut and paste. Always amusing to read posts on developments in web-based learning c. 1999
LiveJournal (Preferred by 2002). A stepping stone out of Diaryland.
WordPress (Expert) Over a dozen blogs, most notably Mymindbursts, though no longer a diary or journal, but a niche journal largely about e-learning, with subject interests including creative writing, philosophy, tertiary education, history (First War), online and distance education, theories of education. Also blogs on swim coaching and teaching, on the Machine Gun Corps, on the trials and tribulations of a househusband (from old diaries and blogs), on various fiction themes – but also a number of Books of Condolences, in 2011 for colleagues, but very sadly in 2012 for my mother too.
OuBlog (Extensively for all Masters in Open and Distance Education modules, now on my fifth and final module. Daily reflection, updates, aggregating resources, screen clips, diagrams, images, snips from forums, links to other blogs, tagging to assemble content for assignment, re-blog with re-writes to external blogs. Use it like an e-portfolio with CVs and job descriptions here too.)
Blipfoto (A picture a day for four or five months – until I have my iPhone to my son. I make do with an iPad and prefer a cheap phone to have kicking around in my pocket or bag … and to avoid being online when out on the South Downs walking the dog!)
Facebook (Love hate. Great to be in touch with immediate family and trusted friends only. Got some groups going with boys I knew age 8-13 at boarding prep school. Got out of hand when a relation fell very ill and died as to the appropriateness of sharing our concerns and grief online. Inclined to disengage – do so only to find I am still there?)
Linkedin (extensive, professional use with several hundred contacts and activity in many groups. Feed blog content into Linkedin automatically, tailor some content for specific groups, particularly relating to e-learning for corporates and tertiary education)
Twitter (extensive, professional use. Did use TweetReach and various other tools. URLs shortened from WordPress, will use Bitl.y)
Flickr (Used to use extensively – migrated all content to Picasa as Flickr tried to socialize the space and I found my pictures being offered for sale!)
Kodak Easyshare (Rescued 500 of 700 uploaded photos and migrated to Picasa before Kodak closed)
YouTube (Should be making extensive use of YouTube. Starting to digitise 40 hours of Oxford Undergraduate life 1982-1984. With permissions will migrate clips to the web in due course.)
Picasa (my favourite now, the teenagers are on Instagram and Tumnblr)
Ancestry.com (Covered every conceivable ancestor as far back as is possible online. Could make use of the 2011 census to track down a great aunt but not inclined to fork out anymore or to deal with spurious requests from people so off the map in terms of the family tree it is verging on trainspotting.)
Genes Reunited (as above. Not been near it) Of minor interest at a family funeral to figure out who were the common ancestors – both gentleman born in the 1870s it turned out!
For the last 18 months extensive use of an iPad and associated Apps, so much so that it is the replacement laptop and even covers as a mobile phone as people know to email me.
Trying to do my final MAODE module on the iPad.
Proving remarkably easy to do so.
Very versatile, especially where resources can be downloaded as PDFs, even to read in Kindle version. Read from the Kindle, note take on the iPad and post online.
Books. We no longer buy them. Is a garage full of wonderful hardbacks worth anything? Glad I never bothered to put up shelves.
Magazines and newspapers. All redundant. Only kept the Guardian on Saturday to have something to line the guinea-pig hutch, when they went so did the newspaper!
TV. Rarely ever watched live. Prefer BBC iPlayer. Exception being the Olympics and Paralympics.
Pen and paper. I do. An A5 notebook and pen. Though prefer to type up notes as I go along.
Twitter Share. Reading an eBook and sharing a line or two with a note directly into Twitter. This aggregates content in an editable format and alerts ‘followers’ to a good read – usually on learning, education, e-learning, also on social media, story writing and the First World War. Sometimes some great out of copyright literature.
Engage, enquire, listen, take an interest, seek out like-minds, involve, share … respond, reciprocate, develop.
This has NOTHING to do with pushing products or services, this is about developing thoughts, acquiring leads into new avenues of enquiry, dropping hints and serendipity.
Increasinly however these three are functioning in the same way, however different they look.
Like ink drops in a tank of water
The visualised option is YouTube, Flickr and Tumblr (I’m yet to develop content for Pinterest)
Blogs are more sedate, more inclined to asynchronicity, whereas with Facebook I find at various times of the day (depends on the person) the messages become synchronous.
An iPad and iPhone (or any similar device) is crucial. With some people the more immediate the response the great the level of engagement, like one hand being placed on top of another the thoughts come thick and fast.
With many ways into social media I’ve opted for a paid service. Content Wisdom. For a monthly sub I get to dip into a catalogue of video based, lecture-like presentations as well as joining a regular webinar.
Join me on Linkedin, I’m active in various e-learning groups.
Join me on Twitter ‘jj27vv’ where I am making various lists to follow conversations on e-learning
Don’t come find me on Facebook! Friends, family and face-to-face contact first is my rule here.
WordPress. 16 blogs and rising, by My Mind Bursts is the main outlet and at last approaching 1,000 entries which are usefully themed on e-learning (post graduate theory and e-learning for business) and creativity (writing and producing fiction, and creative problem solving)