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Unscrambling the presumptions of research in e-learning educational practice

Activity Theory (AT) according to various authors …. , supposes a quest to solve a problem, an ‘activity theorist’ looking at certain kinds of research, understanding activity system as being driven by outcomes, would therefore annotated the six nodes of the AT pyramid with this in mind.

Fig. 1. Activity Theory (Engeström, 2008)

In contrast, considering the same subject of research, a sociologist would be inclined to look for power structures.

In turn how might a management consultant, or psychologist approach this? And in relation to H809 and the MAODE, how differently would someone educated in each of the following theories approach the same subject matter: behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism and connectedness?

The suggestion that the theory behind a piece of research or OER from H809 TMA02 predisposes a specific research response is like having an undefined medical problem. In turn each specialist offers a view based on the narrow perspective of their specialism.

By way of example, with sinus/earache like symptoms from which I have always ‘suffered’ I in turn visit a neurologist, immunologist and dentist. I discover from each in turn that I must be depressed/stressed, have an allergic response to something, need a tooth filled/crowned. In turns out that I have a pronounced response to house dust mite and due to physical damage to a channel in one part of the maxillary sinus it doesn’t drain so the slightest infection, a mild cold, will cause inflammation and pain. The response that works is primarily preventative with self-medication of prescription pain relief at a dosage that works – co-codomol and occasional antibiotics. (The above over a 33 year period of investigations that included several other excitable consultants who each in turn gleefully hoped that I might have a very rare condition X or Y that they would investigate).

Just as medical specialists are inclined to come at a situation with too narrow a perspective, so too can we when wishing to study, in a learning situation, what is going on … in there (the brains of each student) and externally, the context and situation of the ‘learning’ that they are doing (or having done to them).

Reference

Conole, G., and Oliver, M. (eds.) (2008) Contemporary perspective in e-learning research. Themes, Methods and Impacts on Practice.

Engestrom, Y (2008) From Teams to Knots

Teenagers doing physics with the intervention of a computer to prompt discussion: a paper reviewed

In the abstract we are told that ‘Although ICT resources are commonly expected to produce uniform benefits’ Tolmie (2001) Are they? And that, ‘they are necessarily employed within pre-existing contexts of educational and social activity’. Tolmie (2001)

When and where could a context NOT be pre-existing?? Something is, or is not. Context is an absolute.

Rather, what is that specific context. Otherwise this is tautology. It is like saying that electricity pylons go into an existing landscape. Isn’t this stating the obvious so that a gullible audience nod in agreement?

Tolmie (2001) talks of ‘unexpectedly diverse effects’. Unexpectedly or diverse? Surely not both.

Is this not something of an exaggeration? And in any case, such diverse responses should be either expected, or not presumed either way to be likely or unlikely to happen. It is very dangerous to pre-empt findings.

I visualise the introduction of new technology such as this as drops of ink in a pool of water in a stream  – it has to compete with the mix that is already there, as well as its natural flow and other behaviours – leaking away into the land and evaporation for a start.

My conclusion based on reading the abstract is to: Think people above all else. Internal and external contexts are fluid and based on responses too and feelings.

It is all complex, and more to do with the brains of the individuals than simply their context . Everything can and should be measured in some way, from an agreed benchmark, to monitor, track then analyse. It is far more complex.

Take any class, habituated by the classroom, the people around us and the pattern and behaviour of the teacher … especially on a warm Friday afternoon, no wonder the mind wanders. Just because a person is physically in a classroom, even participating in a task, does not mean that much is going in if they are dreaming of the weekend or Fiona Henderson from the girl’s school down the road …

The expression ‘oversimplified’ used by Tolmie (2001)  is a) hyperbole b) a value judgment.

Better ‘simplified’, preferably qualification of the term – simplified as in ‘clipped or contained’ that parameters are created because of the remit of the funding process. You are not able to ‘look outside the box’ as only that which takes place in the box is funded. There needs to be some of one and some of the other – research based on ‘tackling circumscribed needs’ while at the same time research that has an open brief and is open ended – that stands back to see the wood for the trees, rather than, to continue the metaphor, to examine only one kind of tree in the woods in order to avert the ‘mentality of one-stop resources’ mentioned by Oliver & Conole (1998)

How else do you address improving a situation other than by identifying the problems?

Anything else is misguided (literally), or indulgent. Far worse, in the NHS, and Post Office and Banking System have been wholesale computing systems that really were alien and universal.

Change management. Everyone has a point. Time to listen and involves matters most. The psychology of innovation. Resistance is despised. (Robinson et al., 1998)

Making the wrong assumptions that blame the teachers rather than the technology – which is a catalyst for complexity, rather than a tool for conformity.

Evaluation work also rarely does more than examine the explicitly intended effects of ICT, and so fails to identify unintended or serendipitous repercussions that may actually be a critical aspect of its impact (Jones, 1998).

But the entire point and context of an exam is to remove such context in the surroundings by placing the student in ‘exam conditions’ in a neutral space, where parameters of time and context are controlled and aim to be common to other students and impartial.

Surroundings mean different things to different people. It is naive and deterministic to think that people are so easily governed by their context. The individual over the surroundings. Unless we think students are like a uniform tribal grouping.

I’m through the reading and taking it further – reading the original paper to see if my concerns and amusement are justified.

I find the gender difference uninsightful and unhelpful – we know this anyway. Men and woman are different physiologically – which includes the brain where there are various documented differences especially between the differing amount of grey and white matter and the concentration of neurones and close connections in women compared to men. But the differences between men and women are not black and white (and their are not racial differences whatsoever) … within these differences there is considerable variety.

Now add each person’s context – which for me starts a few months after conception and every possible influence since – the same chaos theory that says that when a butterfly beats its wings in the Brazilian Jungle there is a typhoon in Malaysia will suggest that that marshmallow your grandmother gave you on Christmas day when you were six while watching Jimmy Saville introduce the Chart Show will influence how you respond to the 14 year old boy you have been paired up with in a physics class who offers you a handful of mini-marshmallows by way of ‘making friends’ who in turn is nervous about this strange but beautiful creature who he hasn’t noticed all year but rather fancies even though his older brother has his eye on her – what was that the teacher said checking the trajectory of your balls on the computer ?????

The wrong approach was taken, though the theory throws up some interesting questions

I will change my opinion as I go through my notes but my current stance is that a quantitative before and after study requires many hundreds of participants in a randomised controlled trial and the gender differences are a distraction – far better to have administered questionnaires before and after and drawn upon each students SATS results or some such to get some sense of where they were coming from in relation to physics.

More interesting pairings would be like-minds and enemies – really. A couple of buddies having a laugh might learn less than a pair who can’t stand each other, or another pair who are rivals.

Have I been watching too many teen movies? Probably.

Already I have a script in my head based on Tolmie in which far from being the less talkative, the FM pairs are chatting away to themselves (in their heads, written and delivered as stream of consciousness voice over), communicating in subtle ways through body language and as a result actually communicating more, not less than the ones who won’t shut up – and who may be playing up to the research conditions.

This is the other fundamental humdinger of a problem – these students are being tested under ‘lab conditions’.

My memories of teenager physics classes are more akin to St.Trinian’s with boys. I even have a diary to call upon which I may look at just to get me into the role. I have a household of teenagers and another five nephews and nieces in this age bracket if I need to be reminded of what it is (and was) like.

Oddly enough, work is often the last thing on their minds. Which is why homework is so important – fewer potential distractions.

This will be less than hearsay in due course – I am also refreshing what it was and is like to be a teenager through some additional reading. Problem is my daughter senses that I am observing her from time to time.

I’m just asking myself the same question I asked when she was born, ‘what is going on in there?’ – but in a quasi-academic rather than father-daughter way.

Researchers make the mistake of believing that their intervention – in this case using a computer to support a physics class by trying to prompt discussion – is going to make some measurable difference.

Can they not see the bigger picture, and how vast it is?

If each human brain has as many neurons in it as the visible galaxy – 98 billion, and each brain though similar, is connected in different ways, by gender but essentially by genetics, with every remembered moment of waking and sleeping life in between. This is why, to have something measurable, researchers taken to the lab and until recently would have stuck with sea-snails, rats and in the past cats and primates … while gradually observation and measurement of electro-chemical activity in the human brain has become possible.

When it comes to exams surely examiners know that the response to a unique set of questions in an exam, certainly at undergraduate level, if not at post compulsory level, will test the student’s ability to construct a response both from what they know, and what they have to surmise.

REFERENCE

Jones, C. 1998 Evaluating a collaborative online learning environment Active Learning

Oliver, M. & Conole, G. (1998) Evaluating communication and information technologies: a toolkit for practitioners. Active Learning, 8,3–8.

Robinson, H., Smith, M., Galpin, F., Birchall, D., Turner, I. (1998) As good as IT gets: have we reached the limits of what technology can do for us? Active Learning, 9, 50–53.

Tolmie, A. (2001), Examining learning in relation to the contexts of use of ICT. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 17: 235–241. doi: 10.1046/j.0266-4909.2001.00178.

Someone who correctly sensed what was coming in 2004 might be a person to ask what is due in 2013/1014

In this paper from Grainne Conole she says (writing in 2003, published 2004) that wireless, smart and wifi will have a huge impact … prescient. Can you remember how little of what we now take for granted was around in 2004? I was probably using a Psion and a bog-standard phone. 

‘Technologies do have great potential to offer education, however this is a complex multifaceted area; we need rigorous research if we are going to unpick the hype and gain a genuine understanding of how technologies can be used effectively’. (Conole. p.2 2004)

  • Pedagogical
  • Technical
  • Organisational

‘Academics working in this area need to demonstrate that the research is methodologically rigorous, building appropriately on existing knowledge and theories from feeder disciplines and feeding into policy and practice’. (Conole, 2004)

  • effective models for implementation
  • mechanism for embedding the understanding gained from learning theory into design
  • guidelines and good practice
  • literacy needs of tutors and students
  • the nature and development of online communities
  • different forms of communications and collaboration
  • the impact of gaming
  • cultural differences in the use of online courses

‘much of the current research is criticised for being too anecdotal, lacking theoretical underpinning’ (Mitchell, 2000)

This is what you find in the press, newspapers and magazine always go for the anecdotal and sensationalist view of what technology may do. Has technology yet brought the world to an end? I guess the atomic bomb has always, legitimately, been more scary than other technologies although I dare so there are those who say Google will bring about the end of the world.

‘A more detailed critique of the methodological issues of e-learning research and its epistemological underpinnings are discussed elsewhere’. (Olive and Conle, 2004)

  • A better understanding of the benefits and limitations of different methods.
  • More triangulation of results.

What people are looking for:

  • potential efficiency gains and cost effectiveness
  • evidence-based practice with comparison of the benefits of new technologies over existing teaching and learning methods
  • How technologies can be used to improve the student learning experience.

No surprises that in business use of e-learning is benchmarked with cost and outcomes closely followed – are we improving and saving at the same time? Typically travel and accommodation costs are saved where people don’t have to be away from work and learning times can be cut without loss of information retention on the compliance like stuff – health and safety, data protection, equity in the workplace and basic induction (or as American companies call it ‘on boarding’ which sounds to me like something you do with guests on a cruise liner – or is them embarking)

How do we capture experience in a way that we build it back into design and implementation. (Point 8 of 12 p.8 Conole 2004)

What are the inherent affordances of different technologies? (Conole. p. 8 2004)

‘Only time will tell’. (Conole. p. 17, 2004)

Or as I would say, ‘on verra’.

I am doing the classic ‘expand and contract’ of problem solving – the problem is finding an area of research I can believe in and sustain for four years. Though for H809 all I need is a title of a research paper. I still would prefer to be narrowing down the areas that interest me:

  • memory
  • virtual worlds
  • blogging
  • spaced education (see memory)
  • lifelogging / sensecam (see memory)
  • Artificial Intelligence (learning companion … see memory?)

Whilst the research question ought to come first, I hope that Activity Theory will have a role to play too.

REFERENCE

Conole, G (2004) E-learning the hype and the reality

Oliver, M. and Conole, G. (2004) Methodology and e-learning. ELRC research paper. No. 4

 

 

Making sense of the complexities of e-learning

Wordle

And is visualised in many ways, Engestrom (2007) <img src=" mce_href=" mce_src="http://learn.open.ac.uk/ mce_href="Mycorrhizae thinks in term of fungi.

My own take is a lichen:

The language you use carries with it connotations and hidden assumptions. You need to make things as clear and as explicit as possible to develop shared meaning and understanding to avoid confusion. Conole (2011:404) Indeed. Conole in one sentence manages several metaphors:

· Different lenses

· Digital landscape

· Navigate through this space

So we’ve go camera lenses/how the eye sees, we have a landscape that has a physical presence, where a digital one does not and then we have an image of a Tall Ship on an ocean passing through this landscape (or at least I do). You might see a GPS device, a map and compass on a the Yorkshire Fells. Language creates images in our minds eye. The danger of a metaphor is when it creates parameters or absolutes.

I find it problematic that descpite the tools around us we are obliged to communicate with words. We could use images, we can use live audio, but we are yet to construct and respond to these activites with a piece to webcam.

Conole and Oliver mention four levels of description:

1. Flat vocabulary

2. More complex vocabulary

3. Classification schemas or models

4. Metaphors

Which is the most persuasive? The most effective and memorable?

This set of words is used to describe cloudworks. Only the last stands out as pertinent to Web 2.0 and the kinds of apt terms for e-learning 2011.

  • Practice
  • Design
  • Case study
  • Resource
  • Design template
  • Link to site
  • Request for advice
  • Evolving dialogue

Metaphors are indeed ‘powerful ways of meaning making’. (Conole. 2011.406)

Ref: Metaphors we live by. Lakoff and Johnson (1980)

Over the last 18 months I have returned repeatedly to the importance and value of metaphors, drawing on neuroscience and literature. There are 28 entries in which metaphor is discussed. This is perhaps the most insightful as it draws on an article in the New Scientist.

Morgan’s Metaphors discussed by Conole, White and Oliver (2007)

1. Machines

2. Brains

3. Organisms

4. Cultures

5. Political systems

Whatever works for you, but importantly, what you can use that is comprehended by others.

Presenting on Social Media over the last few weeks I have repeatedly used images of the Solar System to develop ideas of gravity and magnitude, spheres of influence and impacts. It is one way to try and make sense of it. The other one I use is the water-cycle, but as that can turn into an A’ Level geography class.

Some futher thoughts from Conole

‘These and other tools are beginning to enable us to embed more meaning in the objects and connections within the digital space. The tools can also be used to navigate through the digital space, providing particular narrative paths of meaning to address different goals or interests.’ (Conole, 2011:409)

‘The approach needs to shift to harnessing the networked aspects of new technologies, so that individuals foster their own set of meaningful connections to support their practice, whether this be teachers and seeking connections to support them in developing and delivering their teaching, or learners in search of connections to support and evidence of their learning. (Conole. 2011:410)

‘Those not engaging with technologies or without access are getting left further and further behind. We need to be mindful that the egalitarian, liberal view of new technologies is a myth; power and dynamics remain, niches develop and evolve. Applications of metaphorical notions of ecology, culture and politics can help us better understand and deal with these complexities. (Conole. 2011:410)

How do we describe and make sense of digital environments?

It is complex and multifaceted

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?

My head’s like a hedge-hog with its paws on a Van de Graff generator

Or a guinea-pig chewing an electric cable behind the TV.

Same thing

Strange things are going on with my head.

The synapses are snapping.

This is the state of my mind.

It’s exciting. It’s exploitable.

The internal goings on of my cerebellum have gone from guinea-pig to hedgehog via a Frankenstein-like jolt of the old juice.

Last like this?

Undergraduate 1983.

(And most of yesterday, and the day before of course).

This is what studying does to my mind. It’s taken eleven months in OU Land. The buzz began … a few weeks ago.

It is like going from clueless first year undergraduate to the second year. Even online, you need to get the lay of the land. Even now that are vast waves of OU activities, e-tivites, buttons, bolt-holes and affordances to discover, chew over, toy with and adopt, or adapt and move on, or stay with, or who knows what.

Funny. I never use the OU library anymore.

Once signed I just Google. Same thing? Instance … rather than the time it takes to make a coffee.

Web-entrepreneur 2000. I was buzzing then too, mind and on two postgraduate courses – the OU (a somewhat earlier version of Open and Distance Learning) that in technology terms was like using a hand-pushed lawnmower to cut a path through a waterlogged meadow full of cattle. The mismatch between cutting-edge practice with a leading web agency and the course was the difference between reading an e-book or going into the Bodleian and thumbing through a vast, leather-bound index.

The best place to think on the planet. At a desk surrounded by ancient books … with a lap-top. It’s as if you are sitting inside the minds of everyone who has ever thought there before. Now we can get an inkling of this when you feel like minds are listening. Are they?

I feel the desire once more to spill the content of my mind … to empty every moment I have sought to catch. Why? Not just because I can (although I appreciate there are plenty of people who keep diaries all there lives. But because of the way it wakens up your mind to a version of a moment in your past. These moments flip and change perspective as you revisit them. Most odd.

“It’s a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger that memory becomes.”

Nabakov.

Note the time. I have slept in the last 24 hours.

About four hours between 15h30 and midnight in two or three chunks.

Actually I’ve buzzed a lot over the years. It’s who I am, when I’m being me at my best.

Skieasy was an interesting idea.

I still have the chess set I made out of a selection of bottled-waters. Dasani, that Coca-cola flop, is the King of the Black Pieces. I cheated a bit, Copella with their squared off bottles are the Castles and I had to use Fabreze for the Horses.

INSERT PIC HERE

There are currently several voices in my head, people from the past, smiling and asking questions.

I’m being emotive and passionate about some new fangled way to do use video and they’re listening. I feel this way about the Internet. My head is firmly back in 2000, with the electricity of an undergraduate and the knowledge of a PhD. (I could have one if the various courses I’ve done had been or could be validated and LinkedIn). Eventually.

I intend to study for life, life-long learning – literally.

I’m planning a module beyond the MA in Open and Distance Education that I’ll complete in October 2011.

Foundations in research probably rather than a different subject, though in good time Modern History (yet again), and Geography (yet again).

E-learning enables this

Fine Art can never happen; I can’t hunker down like that. (Unless I can do Fine Art via an A3 sized tablet? If it’s good enough for Hockney, it’s good enough for art students. Fine Art as a e-learning course. (Now there’s a challenge. And an opportunity.)

Never say never when it comes to e-learning. Someone will be running an e-learning Fine Art MA within the year. You could use a Kinex to draw onto a tablet rolled like a piece of Clingfilm onto a pane of glass. Observed at work by your tutor a million miles away (or a few hundred at least). You see it is possible.

Never say never when it comes to e-learning, which is why I propose a new module for the MA in Open and Distance Education. It’s called ‘The E-learning Entrepreneur.’ Any one listening? (Not at 2h05). I’ll linkIn with it and see what bubbles up from the digtal hyrdrosphere.

I don’t care if it takes six years for each one of these courses, I’ll be around for a long while yet.

My grandfather made it to 97 and never lost his marbles. Bless. He died with some thoughts on Newcastle United and a swig of Newcastle Brown Ale (he’d worked in brewing from the age of 14 to retirement).

My mind wanders. Good. It should. So should yours.

New thinking doesn’t idle around in one pocket of your subconscious, it dances like a Minx feeding on your the maelstrom of your mind.

And I’m yet to say what I sat down to write. Right.

Doodles on backs of envelopes. I have a lot of envelopes. I must have invested in a large supply a decade ago. Stick down the back and use them for notes. Light, a soft write with a gel-pen. Takes a doodle. A gem. An idea.

This process started 48 hours ago.

One image. A second. (The PDP thermal idea). And since then I’ve been revisited by an idea I had in …. 1998, I suppose.

ADD SKETCH HERE … currently on

a) the back of an envelope

b) on a piece of scrap wallpaper (very good for doodles as you can spread wide)

and c) in my head (which should be in bed)

Title, Synopsis, Abstract, Review, Précis, Student Notes, Book, Book + References.

This is a volume control for ‘volume’ of words rather than sound.

Depending the time you have to engaged with the contents of the author’s (or authors’ heads) you skate or roll this slider back and forth until you hit on a what you’re prepared to take in. You can always expand, if the mind takes you there … you can always roll into the synopsis if your train comes in or you see an email you’re prepared to answer.

(Email, I’m starting to treat it like the old postal service – two deliveries a day, at a time to suit me. So before breakfast and after lunch. If you want me otherwise phone.)

Where was I? So, text volume control thingy.

I was just learning Dreamweaver, on a Mac, probably an LCII or something c.1998.

Maybe or earlier. TBT hadn’t been born I was sleeping where he’d shortly be sleeping (actually I was sitting where he was born a few weeks later, at home, caught by me some time before the Midwife made it over from Cheltenham. Another story.)

I won’t have a record of it, I was months away from blogging. Unless, which is likely, I was keeping a diary off-line. Would that be ‘logging?It’ll be just as lost though as it’ll be a floppy disc. Or were there CDs by then? Or possibly an IOMEGA Zip drive?

And now we have LCD TVs the size and thickness of a postage stamp.

Re-reading ‘Contemporary perspective in E-Learning Research’ can’t help my sleeplessness.

Far from boring me to sleep, which it did six months ago, I find single words are scorched into my forehead and sentences are like liquid gold being poured down my ear. Oh dear. I think I understand it.

I commit a book crime.

Historically I have always read a book and taken notes at the same time. This goes back to Oxbridge Entrance exam reading lists and beyond.

Get it while it’s hot on the first shot.

I did this with Conole et al in August.

I could even read those notes, but those notes WERE WRITTEN BY SOMEONE ELSE.

So I have to start over, this is TAKE TWO.

Anyway.

The sacrilege is the use of coloured Marker Stabilo Market pens on the pages of the book. This is because I’m treating the book as if it isn’t there, as if it is in an iPad (I don’t have one, I’ll give me my address if you feel I should have one).

Yes, I am using a highlighter pen on the paper-based text because I’ve got so used to doing this in e-journals exported into Word.

Of course, this Stabilo Pen should DOUBLE as a TEXT READER so that said highlighted words could be drawn straight into my laptop and quoted here … with the link and correct Harvard Reference put in place for me too. Pretty please. Tech person reading.

(Do tech people read? I suspect they call it something else. Scan?)

Oh heck. Not another idea. It’s only 1h36. (or was when I started. That was nearly an hour ago. I don’t edit, I know not how, I ellaborate.)

I have this fear that having an idea is pointless, because whatever you can think of someone has done it before.

Which makes this a race, catching wave after wave after wave of information as it comes in on the digital ocean, hoping, believing, that from time to time it’ll be a big wave, my wave and I’ll ride it like a pro-surfer. Enough. I need a coffee. That’ll send me to sleep.

Anything’s possible.

I look at this, my invention, my interpretation of how Personal Development Planning can lift a life, raise your spirits, send your career into a controled cycle of advancement and I want to sing about it. I want to be on this ride and bringing others along with me.

What can go wrong?

Coffee poisoning.

So, this Microsoft guy who is recording every moment of his day (and night? and ablusions?). You have to be at the head of the team, not the pond fodder. I gave this a momentary go voice recording three one hour swim coaching sessions. I am yet to listen over. Perhaps I’ll do it once to see what lessons I learn.

On the other hand, someone interested in coaching swimmers may listen to the lot of it. And with nothing in vision there are no Safeguarding Children issues … I consciously only used swimmer’s names once I had hit pause.

My coffee’s cold.

Do I warm it up? I’ll not sleep. I haven’t exhausted the possibilities.

A swimming pool beacons.

Once was the time I swam every day. I’ll do so again. I can subdue my mind only if I sink the body around it.

e-learning is a term compromising one letter representing a physical property of technology (e for electronic)

I wonder of e-learning as a term will last, like email?

What’s happened to ‘new media?’ I guess it’s no longer new. What’s happend to ‘web-based learning?’ I guess the web is there, like air, so we don’t need to refer to its existance, it just is. And so on to ‘online learning’ which at the OU has usrped ‘open learning.’

I like this thought:

‘Whereas education is by definition a multi-faceted activity understood to involve a variety of players and activities – teachers and teaching; students and studying; institutions and structures, information, knowledge and, it is hoped, learning.

e-learning is a term compromising one letter representing a physical property of technology (e for electronic) and the hoped-for outcome (learning) for one participant in the interaction.

Given the power of language to constrain our thinking, is our current circumscribed terminology making it increasingly difficult to keep in mind and focus on elements of this expanding activity that, while not readily apparent in the term ‘e-learning’ itself, must be understood and included when establishing policy and researching the phenomenon?’

(Melody Thompson, 2007 in Conole and Oliver, 2007:187)

REFERENCE

Conole, G and Oliver, M (2007) Research in E-Learning

Creative visual e-tivities

I feel I compromised what I truly believed about the Creation of e-tivities, but have the Salmon book.

It has been leant on, like a crutch, become an answer for the unimaginative and non-committal. The first ‘How to design e-moderating.’

Whilst the thinking is sound, why are the cartoons that are meant to deliver the impressive thoughts so … weak? Publishers and authors would be surprised how inexpensive it is to hire a Stephen Appleby or a Quentin Blake.

Some of us study art, some of us are more tuned into visuals than words … so how can an author so compromise themselves in this way?

If the purpose is to communicate then the quality of the written word ought to be matched by a similar quality of graphics, art work and photography.

A BBC Radio 4 programme on maths and statistics introduced me to the work of David McCandless. Information is Beautiful (2009). This is how I think, as a ‘visualiser,’ what I would prefer to do, not mind maps, but design, graphics and intelligent single page expressions of complex ideas, facts, stats and links. The entire e-learning world needs to switch its emphasis away from the written word – lectures are the spoken word, tutorials and the spoken word and all the other stuff that goes on in tutor groups.

THIS is the way to illustrate the contents of your mind.

Why, why why do wordsmiths run academia? They aren’t better thinkers, they are restricted thinkers … their only way of expression is through words and they are so incapable of getting beyond the written word that when it comes to something as simple as an illustration they are paralysed.

If their purpose is to communicate, then like the ace communicators in advertising they should work in teams of two, copywriter and art director … two minds are better than one, especially is one can see what the other is thinking.

Where … how … can this component of VISUAL communication be put into learning, let alone e-learning

This isn’t about accessibility, brains are being disenfranchised because the tools, so far, are so limiting that many worthy bright minds are understandably being discombobulated (or something).

I need to be expressing this through a Wacom board, with diagrams and images, and a voice, possibly mine …

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