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Mind, Metaphor and Neurons – are we hard-wired to be creative?

1. Are we hard-wired to how we conceptualise ideas?

2. Does this help or hinder the way we use eLearning tools?

3. Will children, say, 50 years from now, look at paper and pen in the same way as a person does now when they take a first look at computer?

4. Are we at some ‘transition’ point, and if we are, what does this mean?

My tutor in H808 asked me this on 12th September.

I feel far better able to reply now after four months of H808 and some fortuitous reading, though I did respond at the time. My forum thread exchange then and reflection on it today will form part of my ECA.

It surprises me that I have subscribed to a magazine at all, but I find the New Scientist offers plenty on our e-world upon which to reflect and insights to all kinds of other things that tickle my brain.

It matters that you read broadly.

The French Film Director Francois Truffaut was a firm believer of reading everything and anything that caught your attention. He’d have loved the web. It matters that you follow what the web offers, then browse the shelves for magazines at the newsagent on the forecourt of your station.

My favourite button that has been crucial to the longevity of my blog (elsewhere) for the last seven years is ‘Enter@Random.’

We don’t think in chronological order.

thinking is a mess, it selects ideas and makes things up sing different sides and corners and crooks and crannies of our brains. I unplugged the calendar on my diary in year one and replaced it with 12 themes that have now grown to 37. For a period there were 37 blogs, but try managing that, to say you end up with a split personality is an understatement.

My tutor put it to me (and us) the H808 Tutor Group:

1. Are we hard-wired to how we conceptualise ideas?

Dr Vilayanur S Ramachandran thinks so. We have a unique capacity to think in metaphors. This matters. It is this ability that makes us creative, allows us to be inventive, it is what makes us human beings.

Read all about in the New Scientist.

Quoted here within the 200 word count permission for a student quote.

Added as for student reading in a non-commercial academic context having read the copyright permissions.

Ramachandran is particularly interested in metaphor because it ties in neatly with his previous work on synaesthesia – a kind of sensory hijack, where, for example, people see numbers as colours or taste words. “Metaphor is our ability to link seemingly unrelated ideas, just like synaesthesia links the senses,” he says.

After spending years working with people who have synaesthesia, he believes “pruning genes” are responsible. In the fetal brain, all parts of the brain are interconnected, but as we age, the connections are pruned. If the pruning genes get it wrong, the connections are off. “If you think of ideas as being enshrined in neural populations in the brain, if you get greater cross-connectivity you’re going to create a propensity towards metaphorical thinking,” he says.

I don’t have synaesthesia, neither does Ramachandran, but he points out to me the strangeness of asking why, say, the cheddar cheese in your sandwich is “sharp”. It’s true, cheese isn’t sharp, it’s soft, so why do I use a tactile adjective to describe a gustatory sensation? “It means our brains are already replete with synaesthetic metaphors,” he says. “Your loud shirt isn’t making any noise, it’s because the same genes that can predispose you to synaesthesia also predispose you to make links between seemingly unrelated ideas, which is the basis of creativity.”

www.NewScientist.com.

Thomson (2010)

Of the 12 photographs in this issue as many as 8, I think, are from the Getty Image bank. I wonder if one day, especially if I’m reading this on an iPad the images will move, rather as the paints are alive in the background of a Harry Potter movie. It wouldn’t take much for a photography to video as well as, or instead of taking a photograph. Indeed, the BBC now permit directors to generate HD TV footage using digital SLR cameras … the lenses are better, the creative choices wider.

Interesting.

2. Does this help or hinder the way we use eLearning tools?

How we use the web, let alone e-learning tools is in its infancy. We are still putting old ways online, still making web-pages into slide shows and calling them immersive learning. Gaming may change this, with the budget. Better, faster tools will enabled more. Collaboration on world wide wikis with like minds, and great minds, contributing will speed up the rate of change.

We’ll think in the same metaphors though, share and reinforce new metaphors and then some Leonardo da Vinci of the 21st century will come along and break it apart. Though we may not appreciate their insights at all.

Mobile learning, smart-phone learning on the move, or whatever you want to call it should shake things up. At first this will be, and is, the same old stuff sent to your phone, basic card to card Q&A even if it includes a bit if video or an animated graph.

I want learning projected onto the back of my scull, I want it in my head, not online or in a device. I want interactions with specific parts of my brain. I want my brain duplicated so that I can take more lessons at the same time, to learn multiple languages and to take several degrees simultaneously.

3. Will children, say, 50 years from now, look at paper and pen in the same way as a person does now when they take a first look at computer?

It is extraordinary the relationship between our minds and out limbs, or arms and finger tips. With training we can sight read a score and play complex musical pieces, we can scroll, cut, edit, fly and colourise images into a piece of drama that has us crying, or heads in our hands and we can type, like the clappers.

We can draw too, and sculpt, and swim and dance and do gymnastics.

Our relationship with the nerves in our body is a complex one. As for handwriting, our relationship with fountain pens, marker pens and pencils? It ought to be a skill still taught at school, there need to be handwriting competitions as there once were … even if they are tied into art classes and design.

How different is a stylus on a tablet to a piece of chalk on a slate?

I implore my children to write and draw. An illegible Christmas list is no list at all. They’d type, they do type. Yet how backwards is a QWERTY keyboard?

4. Are we at some ‘transition’ point, and if we are, what does this mean?

Yes. And I mean to be part of it.

We have reached the Tipping Point.

A book a read if I recall in 2001 when we thought we were approaching a tipping point, actually we were reaching the point at which the first e-bubble would burst. First and last? These things go in cycles, whatever the politicians do to stymie human nature. Greed and regret, progress, reflection, reinvention … then we do it all over.

We’re not even less violent than we were at the times of the Viking raids.

Meandering? A stream of consciousness? Reflection? Regurgitation?

All of this, and it all matters. You don’t have to read it, and you probably haven’t. This is here for me to find when I need it in seven months or seven years time.

It is remarkable how your views change; so it matters to have what you originally thought in front of you. There are memories I have that haven’t just been reworked over the decades, but have become different events. This isn’t simply age, though that has much to do with it, I view what I did as a child or teenager as I observe my own children today, the difference is, I can’t influence the behaviour and actions of my younger self, though I can, I hope listen to and guide my own children to actions and decisions they will feel comfortable with in the years to come

REFERENCE

Thomson, H (2010) V. S. Ramachandran: Mind, metaphor and mirror neurons 10 January 2011 by Helen Thomson Magazine issue 2794.

Digital brain or digital ocean?

Does your e-portfolio get in the way or support what you do?

Whoever you are?

Whoever has a stake in it.

I recommend the use of e-portfolios, whether or not they are packaged as such.

Often the affordances are there either way. An assemblage of tools and services to store, collate, elaborate upon, develop, select and share all that can be digitised. Text for the most part, but images too, still and moving. And numbers, as stats or formulae. Assets in polite society, ‘stuff’; for a Saxon word and something in Latin for anyone trying to pull rank.

Whatever definition we come up with for ‘e-portfolios’, someone else has another one.

And why not, this is but functional flotsam-and-jetsam on the Digital Ocean?

Forget ‘clouds’, for me this is a ‘digital ocean’; an ocean that is nothing more than binary code, but forms into ‘bits’ that do things and ‘bits and bites’ that have things done to them. My first blog in September 1999 covered this.

Perhaps I should shift my thinking and take in ideas of both oceans and clouds, the binary code the water molecules that form the water cycle? (Google this for a trillion images)

Oceans and clouds of digitised products and processes

Now there’s an idea. Fluid, changing, responsive … predictable to a degree … other times chaotic anre not so.

All e-portfolios are squirts of ink into this ocean. All content is drips, drops and an occasional multi-coloured deluge.

Though pre-empting bespoke consultative decision making on behalf of a client, real or imaginary, my simple advice regarding e-portfolios is – do it all.

1) Your own – that does the business and ought to be the final repository for e-materials that are being shared or assessed, that is easy-peasy to link or upload for those who are expert in these things or have a system that they play well and with which they can ‘sing.’

2) A smorgasbord of off the shelf e-portfolios that people may get free, or as part of their trade or other association, or be happy to subscribe for (after all, there’s a good deal that can be done with them that is personal, off-campus and away from work).

3) Their own. The end result, the content and where and how it is finally presented is all that matters. In any case, there is every chance that your students are more e-literate than you are, speak the code like their Mother Tongue and will do what so many students have done before them and re-invent the digital wheel. The content is its own subject matter expert – it is out there being freely exchanged and wikified to the ‘nth’ degree of finality.

4) With institutional, administrative, management and support from academics and tutors that alsos encourages peer support and so enables 1, 2 & 3.

And miraculously for me … under 500 words.

Though the first edit pushed this to 800. And if I care to reference and quote the dozen shoulders I’ve stood on to get here …

I’ll ruin it.

Perhaps I will. (Perhaps I have?)

I keep dipping my toe in and changing stuff. Then losing the sense of it. Give me a real-time conversation in a tutor group any day.

As I child I was taught to draw; my mother gave us all kinds of advice, a key moment being knowing when to stop. I can do this with a drawing or painting, with words, they just keep spilling into consciousness. You over draw or paint and you end up with mud and no way back. We were not allowed to use a rubber. We had to commit, make a linear journey (literally) and know went to stop.

Wherein lies the skill of the editor, the skill and advice of the agent and the commercial nose of a publisher.

Great Stuff – The Water Cycle

17th Sept 2011

Water-Cycle Images offered under Creative Commons

http://quizlet.com/2634344/water-cycle-with-pictures-flash-cards/

How I see learning in Web 2.0 where everything is digitized, shared, communicated and changed. Simply write over the terms and phrases here with:

  • Web 2.0
  • Digital Asset
  • E-tivities
  • User Generated Content
  • Forums
  • Social Learning
  • Mobile Devices
  • Cloud Computing
  • Computers
  • Internet
  • Communities of Learning
  • E-Books

… and so on

Images / Visualisation

REF: Gray (2011) H800-11B / EMA Tutor Group Forum / h800 overview framework Janet Gray Post 1. 26 August 2011, 16:01h800 overview framework (accessed 6SEPT2011)

 

At Learning Technologies, 2011.

Kerfoot,B,P (2008) Interactive Spaced-Education to Teach the Physical Examination: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Armstrong,E.G., O’Sullivan,P.M., JOURNAL OF GENERAL INTERNAL MEDICINE Volume 23, Number 7 Harvard Medical International.

1. Spore 2. External hypha 3. Intracellular arbuscule 4. Vesicle
5. Intercellular coiled hyphae 6. Mycelial strand 7. Sheath 8. Hartigs net
9. Intercellular net with penetrating hyphae
10. more or less loose sheath

Metaphor used by Yrjo Engestrom, illustration from http://www.microbiologyprocedure.com/mycorrhizae/ectomycorrhizae.html

From Amazon.co.uk Kindle

 

History of Kings and Queens

Davies, N. (1999, 2000) The Isles. A History. MacMillan.

Yrjö Engeström

Engeström, Y. (2007). From communities of practice to mycorrhizae. In J. Hughes, N. Jewson & L. Unwin (Eds.), Communities of practice: Critical perspectives. London: Routledge

Illustration by Vernon (2011) Ideas expressed by Elliot (2008). Elliott, B. (2008)

Assessment 2.0: Modernising Assessment in the Age of Web 2.0 [online], Scottish Qualifications Authority; available from http://www.scribd.com/doc/461041/Assessment-20 (Accessed 1 February 2010).

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: (2007)

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. Carnegie Mellon University. Peer Feedback. Three people per team, Five Projects. Fifteen data points making it statistically valid. A bar chart on how easy you are to work with. Hard feedback to ignore. Last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals, this included the importance of collaborating in a team effort when undertaking a project.

From  first known use Doran, G. T. (1981). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. Management Review, Volume 70, Issue 11(AMA FORUM), pp. 35-36.

From Spaced-Ed (Accessed 8 September 2011)

Metaphor and meaning making

The right metaphor is used in context.

From Learning Technologies 2011

By understanding your audience you come to understand what metaphors will have resonance.

By working in the communications industry, by reading a good deal, looking at even more, you develop a sense of what is cliché.

Whilst clichés work, indeed repetition of expressions that work make sense, in many contexts the cliché fails to make an impression, for example, thinking of a multinational like players in an orchestra.

I like, from a design point of view, the idea of ‘Swim Lanes’ because as a swim coach I understand the relationship between the coach/coaching team and the athlete.

The sense of personal development makes sense, as do the motivations and effort. The trick for me is to translate this into programmes of study.

This image has more power to my mind than a pool with water in it, the lane ropes out and Bill Furniss blowing a whistle at Rebecca Adlington.

We will get bored of the sports cliché these next 12 months.

  • If learning design is like swim lanes, then what has happened here?
  • No one signed up for the course and the organisation went bust?
  • Lack of support?
  • Course materials out of date?
  • Systems failure with the VLE that leaves the experience somewhat less like swimming up and down a pool?

All we are doing here is trying to get others inside our head, or better still, to create something extra corporeal, like the ‘Object 3’ in Engestrom’s learning systems.

12 metaphors visualised to aid thinking about the brilliance of blogging

Why blog?

  • Old ways vs. New ways
  • Isolated vs. Connected
  • Visible vs. Invisible or rather
  • Silent or a presence or sphere of influence

____________________________________________________________

 What do you think?

  • As an academic
  • As an author (or wannabe writer)
  • As a journalist or ‘citizen journalist’
  • You have something to say
  • You want to be heard
  • It’s your job

_____________________________________________________________

You need the social media skills

  • Reputation
  • CV
  • Google your name
  • Interview on Skype

__________________________________________________________________

You want:

  • To be heard
  • To engage
  • To influence
  • To compete

_____________________________________________________________

Beware:

A)  the limitations of the metaphor
B)  imposing old constructs onto new such as:

  • a website as a brochure
  • a blog as a diary, journal or log
___________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

It is everything and anything online:

  • A digital ocean

  • A digital water-cycle

  • An ecosystem

  • Swim Lanes as a metaphor for learning design

  • Overwhelming volumes of stuff
  • It matters

____________________________________________________________

Distance Learning to Nearness Learning

No longer ‘broadcasting’ but ‘peer-to-peer’, ‘one-to-one’ or ‘group’ influencing

The value lies in the influence of the personal relationship

  • rarely synchronous
  • even more rare to be face to face
  • but as a presence or voice,

  • it is vital.

______________________________________________________________

Analogies make us think, express ideas and through simplification the clarify

  • Ring of blogs (max, ma, min and micro)
  • Ring of Social Media Activities (Linkedin, Facebook and Xing)
  • Saturn’s rings and moons
    A metaphor for collection of webpages, a vibrant, dense, sharp, insightful blogs with a mix of Social Media Networking activity in Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.
    INSERT RINGS SKETCH

The pattern that  matters to me is between people.

Which I tried to bring to life with a set of chess pieces. I need to work on this, perhaps lay the relationships out on the floor of a conference hall?

Activity systems illustrate how people solve problems are  innovation and generate influence through interaction

_________________________________________________________________________

Who reads, who comments who creates?

__________________________________________________________________________

Conversations between people, content fed in, discussed, shared, informing the website or informed by it.

BLOGGING

Individual or group/team enterprise

Author or contributor

(Guest writers)

Effort, patience, time …

  • Listen
  • Comment
  • Create

WHAT TYPE OF BLOG?

‘Everything and anything goes. You cannot do it wrong. There are no mistakes. At any time you can change your point of view, your style, your book, the pen you write with, the direction you write on the pages, the language in which you write, the subjects you include, or the audience you write to. You can misspell, write ungrammatically, enter incorrect dates, exaggerate, curse, pray, write poetically, eloquently, angrily, lovingly. You can past in photographs, newspaper clippings, cancelled checks, letters, quotes, drawings, doodles, dried flowers, business cards, or labels. You can write on lined paper or blank paper, violet paper or yellow, expensive bond or newsprint.’

Tristine Rainer, ‘The New Diary’ 1976.

CREATE

______________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMEND

  • Niche (person or team)
  • Comprehensive (an extension of the website)

Also personal, unique even quirky … Has a point of view, voice.
N.b. Consistent … Pace can change, but at least like a fire that never goes out … Or it will.

Beating writer’s block – controlled stimulation to get you going

SOCIAL MEDIA as the ‘Water-Cooler’

Two words:

‘Be Sociable’

LEARNING ONLINE

Why the groundswell?

And why now?

Making meaning of complexity and change through metaphor

H800 wk23 a Activity 2

Stepping over the edge

‘A key characteristic of these new technologies is “learning by doing” – users need to be immersed in and “play with” the affordances that these new digital environments offer, and hence over time get a sense of how they can change practice.’ Conole (2011:403)

MY STUDENT BLOG AS A WORDLE

Whilst I may highlight and annotate, doing do on paper isn’t the easiest way to share; using a screen reader is worse because I find myself not enjoying having the obvious affordances, such as cut and paste, disabled.

I have an iPad to learn from it and to share what I discover.

It is both the angle and the devil on my shoulder.

Does it super-size my mind?

It thrills and engages it, indulges and expands, but also risks loosing me in its labarynthine tangles.

Saved for now by a To Do list that I refresh and follow.

But then I find an idea from Conole (see above) that is key.

The internet is a trip to the sea, it is somewhere to play and discover.

We may require Lifeguards and lane ropes but it remains largely an environment that can only be understood through engagement.

You will get you face wet,you may get bitten by a crab.

To share this thinking I must go online, and cannot help myself.  For the last three months I click through Linkedin, reading and responding.

For the next three it may be Stumbleupon, which through tricks and traits I find increasingly insightful, feeding me like a favourite aunt or uncle , the weirdness of the www.

Serendipity would be a better word for it.

I am rewarded by 25 minutes of browsing with ‘new finds’ that becomes stuff that I recommend which in turn obliges me to update my profile, might I even say ‘brand tag’ the finds as ‘mymindbursts’. (I need two days off to take stock and write up some ten on more blog entries.

Draft I know will do, from my experience as a diarist, just enough to trigger a more expansive and reflective entry)”.

To remind myself:

Monday 11th

Livestream on Social Media Metrics from IET. Five presenters. All to write up from my notes and screengrabs, cushioned or suffocated by the ‘official’ word and slides that have since gone up.

Tuesday 12th

Picklejar Social Media for HE in which Tracy Payle shares insights from a number of universities and through activities tips my thinking upside down and shakes it out onto the conference room table. I come away enlightened and as I had wanted, more confident if mot emboldened.

Thursday 20th

Faculty discussion on VLE and my experiences of The OU VLE to date. I take a look at the poster in the Post Room and discover a ‘common room’ I had been unaware of.

E-learning explained – Making meaning from metaphor

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 (Seely-Brown), learning on the periphery (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 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.

Mind, metaphor and mirror neurons – and the impact on blogging

1. Are we hard-wired to how we conceptualise ideas?

2. Does this help or hinder the way we use eLearning tools?

3. Will children, say, 50 years from now, look at paper and pen in the same way as a person does now when they take a first look at computer?

4. Are we at some ‘transition’ point, and if we are, what does this mean?

My tutor in H808 asked me this on 12th September.

I feel far better able to reply now after four months of H808 and some fortuitous reading, though I did respond at the time. My forum thread exchange then and reflection on it today will form part of my ECA.

It surprises me that I have subscribed to a magazine at all, but I find the New Scientist offers plenty on our e-world upon which to reflect and insights to all kinds of other things that tickle my brain.

It matters that you read broadly.

The French Film Director Francois Truffaut was a firm believer of reading everything and anything that caught your attention. He’d have loved the web. It matters that you follow what the web offers, then browse the shelves for magazines at the newsagent on the forecourt of your station.

My favourite button that has been crucial to the longevity of my blog (elsewhere) for the last seven years is ‘Enter@Random.’

We don’t think in chronological order.

thinking is a mess, it selects ideas and makes things up sing different sides and corners and crooks and crannies of our brains. I unplugged the calendar on my diary in year one and replaced it with 12 themes that have now grown to 37. For a period there were 37 blogs, but try managing that, to say you end up with a split personality is an understatement.

My tutor put it to me (and us) the H808 Tutor Group:

1. Are we hard-wired to how we conceptualise ideas?

Dr Vilayanur S Ramachandran thinks so. We have a unique capacity to think in metaphors. This matters. It is this ability that makes us creative, allows us to be inventive, it is what makes us human beings.

Read all about in the New Scientist.

Quoted here within the 200 word count permission for a student quote.

Added as for student reading in a non-commercial academic context having read the copyright permissions.

Ramachandran is particularly interested in metaphor because it ties in neatly with his previous work on synaesthesia – a kind of sensory hijack, where, for example, people see numbers as colours or taste words. “Metaphor is our ability to link seemingly unrelated ideas, just like synaesthesia links the senses,” he says.

After spending years working with people who have synaesthesia, he believes “pruning genes” are responsible. In the fetal brain, all parts of the brain are interconnected, but as we age, the connections are pruned. If the pruning genes get it wrong, the connections are off. “If you think of ideas as being enshrined in neural populations in the brain, if you get greater cross-connectivity you’re going to create a propensity towards metaphorical thinking,” he says.

I don’t have synaesthesia, neither does Ramachandran, but he points out to me the strangeness of asking why, say, the cheddar cheese in your sandwich is “sharp”. It’s true, cheese isn’t sharp, it’s soft, so why do I use a tactile adjective to describe a gustatory sensation? “It means our brains are already replete with synaesthetic metaphors,” he says. “Your loud shirt isn’t making any noise, it’s because the same genes that can predispose you to synaesthesia also predispose you to make links between seemingly unrelated ideas, which is the basis of creativity.”

www.NewScientist.com.

Thomson (2010)

Of the 12 photographs in this issue as many as 8, I think, are from the Getty Image bank. I wonder if one day, especially if I’m reading this on an iPad the images will move, rather as the paints are alive in the background of a Harry Potter movie. It wouldn’t take much for a photography to video as well as, or instead of taking a photograph. Indeed, the BBC now permit directors to generate HD TV footage using digital SLR cameras … the lenses are better, the creative choices wider.

Interesting.

2. Does this help or hinder the way we use eLearning tools?

How we use the web, let alone e-learning tools is in its infancy. We are still putting old ways online, still making web-pages into slide shows and calling them immersive learning. Gaming may change this, with the budget. Better, faster tools will enabled more. Collaboration on world wide wikis with like minds, and great minds, contributing will speed up the rate of change.

We’ll think in the same metaphors though, share and reinforce new metaphors and then some Leonardo da Vinci of the 21st century will come along and break it apart. Though we may not appreciate their insights at all.

Mobile learning, smart-phone learning on the move, or whatever you want to call it should shake things up. At first this will be, and is, the same old stuff sent to your phone, basic card to card Q&A even if it includes a bit if video or an animated graph.

I want learning projected onto the back of my scull, I want it in my head, not online or in a device. I want interactions with specific parts of my brain. I want my brain duplicated so that I can take more lessons at the same time, to learn multiple languages and to take several degrees simultaneously.

3. Will children, say, 50 years from now, look at paper and pen in the same way as a person does now when they take a first look at computer?

It is extraordinary the relationship between our minds and out limbs, or arms and finger tips. With training we can sight read a score and play complex musical pieces, we can scroll, cut, edit, fly and colourise images into a piece of drama that has us crying, or heads in our hands and we can type, like the clappers.

We can draw too, and sculpt, and swim and dance and do gymnastics.

Our relationship with the nerves in our body is a complex one. As for handwriting, our relationship with fountain pens, marker pens and pencils? It ought to be a skill still taught at school, there need to be handwriting competitions as there once were … even if they are tied into art classes and design.

How different is a stylus on a tablet to a piece of chalk on a slate?

I implore my children to write and draw. An illegible Christmas list is no list at all. They’d type, they do type. Yet how backwards is a QWERTY keyboard?

4. Are we at some ‘transition’ point, and if we are, what does this mean?

Yes. And I mean to be part of it.

We have reached the Tipping Point.

A book a read if I recall in 2001 when we thought we were approaching a tipping point, actually we were reaching the point at which the first e-bubble would burst. First and last? These things go in cycles, whatever the politicians do to stymie human nature. Greed and regret, progress, reflection, reinvention … then we do it all over.

We’re not even less violent than we were at the times of the Viking raids.

Meandering? A stream of consciousness? Reflection? Regurgitation?

All of this, and it all matters. You don’t have to read it, and you probably haven’t. This is here for me to find when I need it in seven months or seven years time.

It is remarkable how your views change; so it matters to have what you originally thought in front of you. There are memories I have that haven’t just been reworked over the decades, but have become different events. This isn’t simply age, though that has much to do with it, I view what I did as a child or teenager as I observe my own children today, the difference is, I can’t influence the behaviour and actions of my younger self, though I can, I hope listen to and guide my own children to actions and decisions they will feel comfortable with in the years to come

REFERENCE

Thomson, H (2010) V. S. Ramachandran: Mind, metaphor and mirror neurons 10 January 2011 by Helen Thomson Magazine issue 2794.

XXX

I gave a presentation on social media to the OU School of Law. After taking advice I dropped a lengthy though illustrated ‘talk’ in favour of my favourite Web 2.0 metaphor the ‘Traffic Light.’

Here I think of red as a webpage, amber as a blog and green as quasi-synchrnous discussion in a forum on the likes of Linkedin.

I then went into WordPress and showed how easy it is to create a blog. I have now created so many practising, 16, that the dropbox of the blogs I managed struggled to load and the last tag for ‘create a new blog’ was off the screen.

I also find myself wanting to keep all these prematurely born blogs, especially ‘possibly in German’ which I took from a Post it Note that caught my eye (had planned to be out there next week filming) and appleby-castle@wordpress.com which I took from a postcard on my desk.

To my surprise on Garry Slapper’s advice I put in ‘OULaw’ and got it. Having broken off to discuss the values and uses of a blog I then put in some text to illustrate how easy it was to write a blog then Tweet the results, even share it to a LinkedIn Group, Facebook et al.

XXX I out as the title, XXX I put in the body of which was turned into a Tweet XXX and linking url. I was about to Tweet when it was pointed out that I might get the wrong kind of traffic.

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