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Fig.1. Attention seeking Google
It is rare – so rare that this is a first – that an image, nudging towards cliché is so well executed that I love it. Google IS eyeballs. This not only expresses how we see … but it is what metaphorically is going on in the backs of our minds. We are becoming Google compliant. I want Google to feed me instantly what I want. So I need a second, mischievous profile that does otherwise, who leaves everything on automatic and goes away for a week.
The beauty of the human condition is that wherever we go, whatever we do, someone must and will do the opposite.
Perhaps Google will become like a cup of tea – a daily fix, but not the drug the guides and fixates.
This is my approach, it works for me.
Everything goes in here: notes from what I read or come across, sometimes so I didn’t lose track of them, course related comments I post on people’s blogs too.
A good deal of this remains hidden (private), however I will sometimes ‘expose’ notes and cryptic thoughts in case someone can make sense of it for me, or chivvy me along to construct some rounded thoughts and sentences with the stuff.
There’s some random stuff too.
Tagging matters immensely.
‘Search’ leaves it to chance, which might help you serendipitously to come across a thought or note you had, but is scrappy and can be time wasting, rather be tag happy and have a system.
Everything gets the module reference, if there is an activity reference this is added as a single word such as ‘h807activity3.4’ or some such so that it can be searched for and found with ease.
Come TMA time I revisit all the content from that block and start adding the tag, for example, ‘h807tma2’, or as I’m currently doing ‘b822tma3’.
Gathered in one search list I then go through each relevant post refining my thinking.
At some stage I may add further tags to identify arguments or to give it a chronology if that isn’t apparent. I then cut and paste to a word document.
I MAY assemble in PowerPoint simply to help shuffle ideas around.
Hardly. Each to their own. I panic like anyone else over an assignment but know the stuff is here and having done the reading and activities and having shared my thinking and had this coloured and shaped by others that I ought to be able to assemble a cogent case.
Tags are strategic, Search is more random.
I switch between the two when revisiting note
- A Talk With Ted About Growing Up With Aspergers, Revisited (lifeandink.com)
Think of this as a leaf
We’ve gone through an era of learning as ‘trees of knowledge’; now all the leaves have blown off. With everything tagged and searchable you can still find what you need on the ground.
This is the idea
I buy this, more or less. I’d been thinking of it like this for some years, but today I’ve moved on – it doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work given that the leaves can be any asset that can be digitised. With the leaf analogy we have to set parameters and have types of leaf (even across plant species, or across the cycle of seasons in temperate climate, there isn’t scale or variety that is adequate).
I question digital data or aggregations of binary code being given an organic reference
I prefer to think of the Internet and the World Wide Web as an ocean and ‘stuff’ as water molecules.With this analogy we can throw in the water-cycle, icebergs and glaciers, clouds, rivers and tributaries … snow and storms.
Everything is random
It is until you give it value, until you file or tag it. If you neither file nor tag, then your digital ‘stuff’ may was well not exist, not for sharing at least. How will you find it?
‘Everything is miscellaneous’ (David Weinberger) is a worthwhile read: cover-to-cover.
‘The best digital strategy is to dump everything into one large miscellaneous pile and leave it to the machines to find exactly the table settings we need for tonight’s dinner’. p85
I was reading ‘The Cluetrain Manifesto’ that includes a David Weinberger contribution too – I loathe it (for now). I’ll keep wondering why:
Because it reads like a collection of smalmy articles for ‘Esquire’ ?
Because it invites dialogue but in print form there is none – like going to a party and only being in a position to listen to the guys who have had too much to drink and think they know it all.
(This may be a love/hate relationship developing here … it challenges me to return to the text. Which reminds me, it was intriguing to find the OU Library copy of the book full of pencil mark highlights and notes. See, a reader couldn’t resist i.e. it isn’t content for print).
Weinberger imagined what it would be like to be sitting in a new home with 157 moving boxes all labelled ‘miscellaneous’ – (87) Sound like a great way to get out of a house, just box it up and go. I even like the random nature of what you then find yourself with.
Where is the role of serendipity in this searchable and tagged world of ours?
So I blogged three months ago when considering the merits and demerits of keeping a learning journal and reflective writing.
It transpires that sleep really does sort the ‘memory wheat from the chaff’ according to a report in the Journal of Neuroscience, DOI, 10,1,1523.jneuorsci.3575-10.2011) referred to in the current New Scientist. This Week. 5 FEB 2011.
‘It turns out that during sleep the brain specifically preserves nuggets of thought it previously tagged as important.’ Ferris Jabr says.
I have always used sleep to reflect on ideas.
If I expect or wish to actively dwell on something I will go to sleep with the final thought on my mind, a pen and pad of paper by my side. Cat naps are good for this too. I will position myself with pillows and a book, or article and drift off as I finish. Waking up ten or twenty minutes later I glance straight back at the page and will feel a greater connection with it.
I wonder if there is commercial value in working from home and doing so up ’til the point you need to fall asleep? It’s how my wife works when she is compiling a hefty report. It’s how I work when I have an assignment, or a script to deliver … or a production to complete. The work never stops and it doesn’t stop me sleeping.
Going back to tagging.
How does the mind do this? In curious ways. We all know how a memory can be tagged with a smell or a sound. For me how mothballs remind me of my Granny’s cupboard (an image of it immediately in my mind). A Kenwood blender will always remind me of my mother ginger biscuits to put on the base of a cheesecake. And a sherbert dip the Caravan Shop, Beadnell, Northumberland. Often when a random recollection enters my consciousness I try to think what has triggered it: the way the light falls on a tree, the exhaust from a car or even a slight discomfort in my stomach. It is random. Indeed, is a random thought not impossible?
There has to be a trigger, surely?
Can any of these be used?
Perhaps I could categorise content here, or in an eportfolio by taste. So chocolate digestive biscuits might be used to recall anecdotes. Toothpaste might be used to recall statistics. Varieties of Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts might be associated with people I have got to know (a bit) during the MAODE.
The mind boggles; or at least mine does.
Colour and images (Still or moving) is as much as we can do so far.
I’m intrigued by memory games. I like the journey around a familiar setting where you place objects you need to remember in familiar places so that you can recall a list of things. Here the tag is somewhere familiar juxtaposed with the fresh information.
Are there better ways to tag?
Look at my ridiculously long list of tags here. Am I being obtuse? When I think of a tag do I come up with a word I’ve not yet used? How conducive is that to recalling this entry, or grouping similar entries to do the job?
I like the way some blogs (WordPress/EduBlogs) prompt you to use a tag you’ve applied before; it offers some order to it all. I long ago lost track of the 17000 entries in my blog. Would I want to categorise them all anyhow? I think I managed 37. I prefer the ‘enter@random’ button I installed.
Going back to this idea of tagging by taste/smell, might a word (the category) be given division by taste/smell, texture and colour? How though would such categories work in a digital form? Am all I doing here recreating a person’s shed, stuff shoved under their bed or stacked in a garage, or put in a trunk or tuck box in the attic?
In the test reported in the Neuroscientist those who went to bed in the knowledge that they would be tested on the information they had looked at that day had a 12% better recall.
It doesn’t happen in MAODE, if at all. When are we put on the spot? When are we expected ever to playback a definition under ‘duress’?
‘There is an active memory process during sleep that selects certain memories and puts them in long-term storage.’
Like an e-portfolio?
Is the amount of sleep I’ve had, the 350 or so nights since I started the MAODE … part of the learning environment required?
Sleep Selectively Enhances Memory Expected to Be of Future Relevance
Wilhelm et al. J. Neurosci..2011; 31: 1563-1569