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Life is not a game and we are more than merely players

The act of playing chess, and the process of thinking it through is the joy and the learning.

What will be the point as or once all the answers are online?

Where we let algorithms and the Web provide the answers?

Does this mean that anyone can be a doctor so long as they have a smartphone in their pocket and a good connection?

Knowledge acquired is how learning occurs.

The learning process is necessary in order for the brain to make sense of it (or to make nonsense of it)

The key is in the memory making.

We learn, each of us, in a unique way.

Less so because of when or where we were born,

But because we were made this way.

‘Je suis comme je suis, je suis faite comme ca’.

Our DNA is unique and the brain it constructs also.

Not hard considering ….

  • There are some 98 billion neurons in there.
  • And every neuron has some 10,000 connections.

It is this mass of interconnections that makes us both ridiculous and smart,

Able to think in metaphors, provide insight, solve problems, conform, deform and inform.

And fall in and out of love.

Enthusiasms bubble up like farts in the wind.

Is life  like a game of chess?

Are we  its players and pieces whether we like it or not?

It is surely the sense of participation and control that makes life worth living?

Which suggests that absolute machine power – Google-eyed algorithms – could be no better than prison.

Life is not a game,

And we are more than merely players.

There is no need to strut and fret our hour upon the stage.

Unless …

It is a story we tell, defined by our actions and responses,

A rollercoaster of our own making.

There is no need for noise and tension, where we can be cool in war and love.

 

Visual expressions of Open Learning

PART ONE

 Sequence showing my conceptions of the shift in learning.

From traditional top down, to horizontal and collaborative and what’s goes in in the human brain – the interaction between different parts of the brain.

However, whilst this might be an expression of traditional classroom based teaching, through to collaborative Web 1.0 and the semantic Web 2.o as I have illustrated before, the reality is that all of these approaches are going on simultaneously: we still have, and benefit from top down learning – being told or shown stuff, there is collaborative learning, more so in certain subjects.

The second line suggests how things are changing: traditional learning being tipped on its head and on its side or at various angles as an institution, or policy changes, due to the influence of the teacher or because of the subject.

Horizontal learning from siblings, friends, family and extended family – always there in the past goes into hyper-mode as we can connect with ease with many of these people making every day like a family event if you so choose, following and joining in with the antics of others or sharing thoughts on school and life. I should add unconscious learning too – asleep, that sorting process we go through when we dream.

I doubt, from what I am coming to understand about neuroscience, that activity in the brains is greatly different or increased courtesy of the Internet or that stimulation has increased – this is for various reasons: our brain gets bored with the familiar, we turn off, we filter, we select. There is a limit to how much can be process. We give up other things to engage online – though I wouldn’t think giving up ogling at the TV all evening is any loss – the average viewing in the UK is 4 hours a day? Really!!

Open Learning is the last image in the bottom right hand corner – a lot going on, a good deal of connectivity.

But not less perhaps than living in a close, frenetic, village community – more akin to how we lived thousands of years ago with the world at our doorstep rather than our being squirreled away as we now are.

Traditional learning

Informal learning (circles look good, or a hub)

Neuroscience for Dummies (a great intro to the subject, I recommend it!)

Put it all together – as your brain does in sleep, and as occurs anyway as you daydream in class or have a parent help you with homework … 

Open Learn is kindle in the fire … it stokes it up, motivating, demotivating and distracting. Key is the continued connectivity to friends and family wherever they may be. That ‘hub’ of activity you may get after a family holiday or gathering can be with you in your pocket to support and advise. 

Is this what Open Learning looking like? More of what we’ve always had, but now, if you want him, your grandfather can sit on your shoulder all day – in our family my brother would have been asking advice on car maintenance, I would have been quizzing him on first hand detail of the war.  Cousins often get briefings from my father-in-law a retired Oxford Philosophy Tutor.

And now, courtesy of all learning online, open and formal, the action really gets going. Or does it? Is it not simply replacing something else? The very active person in clubs, societies, in a large extended family and so on would be getting this anyway?

PART TWO

This second A2 sheet works with Vygotsky and Engestrom and the idea of how we construct knowledge in a context.

The second image shows the familiar Activity System, an expanded version of how Vygotsy expressed how we learn. The activity system has six interacting components: subject and object, mediated by tools or artefacts, rules, community and division of labour. Enegstrom’s next generation expression of the Activity System is to show two systems interacting, the key here being the interaction of two objects or outcomes to produce a third.

This model is manageable, with set links between the components.

‘In the field’ it is possible to allocate roles to people or departments, to kits and guidelines but then on the second line you start to consider how many activity systems are connected. However, it is no longer simply the case that there is one point of contact – this drive to an outcome or objective.

Already authors wonder if Activity Theory (I have the reference I’ll dig it out for you) can no longer apply, that it has melted.

The middle image in the middle of the bottom row circumvents the set connections to indicated that everything can interact with everything else. Feed this into a multitude of Activity Systems (the final diagram in the bottom right) and you see what complexity is created – the suggestion being that the there is more direct connecting between people with no mediation factors or systems. This assumes that there are no gatekeepers or other barriers, but increasingly, in tertiary education you may find yourself in a discussion alongside the biggest names in your field, whether you are an undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral student, no matter what institution you are signed up to.

In fact, it is far more open than that of course – by chance or because of an enthusiasm or wish to connect anyone in theory can connect with anyone else – or at least with those who are taking part.

Some 4% of the population in Great Britain who by all accounts should be digital residents don’t event visit – there lifestyle choice is not to use the Internet, just as in the past people may have chosen not to have a TV. Another13% don’t have access at all – no connection, no kit, no space or place to use kit that is shared. And this is the UK. So Open Learning, though not exclusive, cannot be called universal.

Of course, being a purist, if you’re interested in Vygotsky you need to study him in Russian. Now where is there an Open Learn course on Russian?

Models work, as do metaphors, but with the digital world are all such models melting like sheet ice in a warming climate? Merged and blurred like so much ink dripped into a digital ocean?

Though Engestrom sees this as things and institutions, I like to see two people here, say an Art Director and Copywriter working together to solve problems. Two heads better than one and all of that. Any psychologists out there might offer me person to person models as alternatives. 

And how many institutions can and do interact? Think of a $100m movie. Think of planning the Olympics. Think of six people with different skills and experiences working together. 

Is this what Open Learning looking like?

At what point does the model break down?

Become redundant? Even ideas of ‘learning from the periphery’ (JS Brown and Duguid) falls apart if there is no centre, and no periphery, if everyone is equally ‘linked in’ with no degrees of separation at all, where you are anyone else’s father, brother or son. (mother, sister or daughter).

Engestrom ends up using the metaphor of a Mycorrhizae fungi growth such as this.  I also found this rather beautiful image. But can art therefore fool? Something beautiful that is attractive and persuasive may not acutally be representative of the ‘truth of the matter’ – but what is?

Mycorrhizae = the real thing (apologies to the originator, when I can find the reference I will add it)

Which has me thinking of something more fluid, like the water cycle (think digital ocean into the could, then back again)

And in a system, as something more dynamic, with patterns behind the chaos.

In which case, to my mind, Open Learn and e-learning is like global warming to the climate – it is simply putting more energy into the system. Just re-annotate the above (which I will eventually get round to doing).

And if this doesn’t make your brain hurt or your jaw drop take a look at this:

Scale of the Universe

and click on ‘Powers of Ten’ which is, I feel, evocative of Open Learning too – scalable from the micro to the infinite.

REFERENCE

Engestrom, Y Various. I recommend ‘From Teams to Knots’

Vygotsky, L (1926 if you want it in Russia, 1974 for the first translations into English)

Rebecca Eynon from the OII  for ‘Mapping the Internet’ stats on GB Internet use.

(I’ll flesh this out in due course. There are a dozen references related to the above. But this is Open Learning. You get my thoughts on this in all its various drafts).

How more deeply embedded is a visual memory if you crafted the drawing or painting that is the catalyst for its recall.

Fig.1. Hockney on iPad. Now here’s a lifelog to treasure. How does the master i-paint?

If a moment is to be captured, maybe David Hockney has the answer with a iBrush painting on an iPad. This is closer to the truth of a moment, seen through the artist’s being, their psychological and physiological approach to what they both see and perceive in front of them.

When we do we form a real memory of the actions required to undertake a task. We build on our initial attempts. The memory to ski, to dance, to swim, to skip, to ride a bicycle, to write, to draw, to pay a musical instrument – these cannot be caught by a complex collection of digital recording devices. Perhaps if the player wore a total bodysuit as actors do to play CGI generated character then we’d have a record of the memory of this experience. It wouldn’t a digital memory make – just a record.

The Semantic Web aims to standardize transmission and translation of information, is an important effort in this area. (Bell and Gemmel, 2009 p. 220 )

Is it really necessary, possible or desirable to take the moronic  qualities of sports coverage and impose it on a person going about their every day and far less eventful day. This is the premise for a comedy sketch. (Bell and Gemmel, 2009. p. 224)

Fig. 2.  How we learn. Conceptualised in SimpleMinds while taking the Open University Masters in Open and Distance Education.

All praise to the blogger Mark Stewart but does such a record need to be entertaining to gain validity and so a place in Digital Lives  at the British Library. (Bell and Gemmel, 2009. p. 225)

Though remembering and talking through a difficult time can also offer its solution. However, these is a difference between hoarding the memory or keeping it to yourself, and letting it go. The wrong memories permanently on recall will be multiple albatrosses.

Take WW1 veterans, or any war veterans, some want to tell, some went to bury. Why should people in the future feel obliged to record it all, to have more than enough to bring it back?

As written language is such a recent phenomenon it is perhaps not the best or even the most natural way to remember.

Going back we had the drawn image and the spoken word, but never the absolute of a panoramic or 360 digital picture, but rather moment filtered through the mind and expressed at the fingertips as a painting or drawing.

Fig. 3. Web 1.0 invigorated by Web 2.0 into a water-cycle of, appropriately, clouds.

Weather systems and water courses, urban run–off and transpiration.

Here the flotsam and jetsam of web content, the good, the bad, the ugly and ridiculous, the massive, the moving, the invaluable as well as the ephemera, is agitated, mixed–up and circulated, viewed, pinched, reborn, mashed up, bashed up or left to atrophy – but it is in the mix and open for business. Find it and the thought, or image, or sound bite,  the message, the idea is yours to dwell upon and utilise. It is education, revelation and knowledge of a new order. Expect more of the same and the unexpected.

 

Automatically captured autobiographical metadata

W3c semantic web stack

W3c semantic web stack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Automatically captured autobiographical metadata : Mischa Tuffield (2006)

Faculty of Engineering, science and mathematics. School of Electronics and Computer Science. Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia Group.

Supervisors: Nigel Shadbolt, David Millard.

Those who know me well will understand why this subject fascinates me – a diarist since I was 13, blogging since 1999 and recently completed a Master’s Degree in Open and Distance Education with the Open University. Over a decade ago I registered domain names like ‘The Contents of My Mind’ and ‘TCMB’ but didn’t know how to take my enthusiasm and turn it into a research project or product.

Know I do … or nearly do.

There’s a reason to this day why I blog as ‘My Mind Bursts’.

Current reading is on the combined themes of memory support, lifelogging, augmented learning and virtual companions – there’s considerable overlap into supporting those with diminishing senses or memory with illness or old age, as well as enhancing the learning and information retrieval and manipulation process.

An infrastructure for capturing and exploitation of personal metadata to drive research into context aware systems.

  • Capture of personal experiences
  • Context aware systems
  • Multimedia annotation systems
  • Narrative generation
  • Semantic Web enabling technologies
  • A contextual log of a user’s digital life.
  • To facilitate auto–biographical narrative generation.

Towards a methodology for the capture and storage of personal metadata and is proposed as a framework for multimedia asset management.

PROBLEM

Information overload, or infosmog (Shadbolt and O’Hara, 2003)

A liberation of personal information.

  • Ease of publishing. (House and Davis, 2005)
  • Towards a web–accessibke Knowledge Base (KB)
  • Photocopain.
  • Adhereance to as many W3C recommendations as possible.
  • Semantic Web (Berners–Lee et al, 2001)

Scientific American article to assemble and integrate personal information into web accessible resources (Shadbolt et al., 2006)

Exposing information in a structured snd standard form … using Resource Description Framework (RDF) Manola and Miller, 2004)
Universal Resource Identifier (URI)
Friend of a Friend (FOAF)
Memories for Life (M4L)
Semantic Squirrels Group (SSSIG)

Image classification, content–based indexing and retrieval,
Content and context based services

  • Marc Davis (2004a)
  • Spatial
  • Temporal
  • Social

Design methods to generate narratives from bespoken knowledge bases

  • Alani et al., 2003
  • Geurts et al., 2003
  • Mulholland et al., 2004

so automatically, not hand– crafted metadata.

The Semantic Logger (Tuffield et al., 2006a)

Photo annotation
Recommender system (Tuffield et al., 2006a) and (Loizou and Dasmahaptra, 2006)
Posting of data to the knowledge database.

By virtue of knowledge integration alone, added value emerges. (Tuffield,  2006.  p. 20)

Community of practice identification (Alani et al., 2003a)

Simile Project at MIT

(As a diarist since I was 13 I came to seek a way to say enough to recall the day. I needed the trigger, not the detail. The boring stuff might not work as such a trigger).

Clustering algorithms

FURTHER LINKS TO EXPLORE

The World Wide Web Consortium

The AKT project

Friend of a Friend 

The Memories for Life Network 

The Semantic Squirrels SIG

The Semantic Logger Downloads Page 

The Semantic Logger

Simile Project

3RDFizers

Open Knowledge Project

Google Maps API

The Flickr API

Wikipedia Categories

Work undertaken my Marc Davis at Berkeley provides insight into how context can be combined with content to aid the identification of faces inside photographs (Davis et al., 2006).

FURTHER RESEARCH

I am proposing the design of a human centric personal image search and browsing task, similar to that undertaken by Mor Naaman (Naaman et al., 2004). This is presented as a manner of evaluating the utility of the various asset management. The results of this experiment is intended as a contribution to the identification of useful automatically captured metadata to aid memory recall.

REFERENCES

T. Berners-Lee, J. Hendler, and O. Lassila. The Semantic Web. Scientific American, 284(5), May 2001.

Marc Davis, Michael Smith, Fred Stentiford, Adetokunbo Bambidele, John Canny, Nathan Good, Simon King, and Rajkumar Janakiraman. Using context and similarity for face and location identification. In Proceedings of the IS&T/SPIE 18th Annual Symposium on Electronic Imaging Science and Technology Internet Imaging VII. IS&T/SPIE Press, 2006.

J. Gemmel, G. Bell, R. Lueder, S. Drucker, and C. Wong. MyLifeBits: fulfilling the memex vision. In MULTIMEDIA ’02: Proceedings of the 10th ACM international conference in Multimedia, pages 235–238, 2002.

J. Gemmell, A. Aris, and R. Lueder. Telling stories with MyLifeBits. ICME 2005, 8: 6–9, July 2005.

Carsten Rother, Sanjiv Kumar, Vladimir Kolmogorov, and Andrew Blake. Digital tapestry. In CVPR ’05: Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR’05) – Volume 1, pages 589–596, Washington, DC, USA, 2005. IEEE Computer Society. ISBN 0-7695-2372-2.

L. Sauermann, A. Bernandi, and A. Dengel. Overview and outlook on the semantic desktop. In Proc. of Semantic Desktop Workshop at the ISWC, 2005.

N. Shadbolt and K. O’Hara. AKTuality: An overview of the aims, ambitions and assumptions of the advanced knowledge technologies interdisciplinary research collaboration. AKT Selected Papers 03, pages 1–11, 2003.

Nigel R. Shadbolt, Wendy Hall, and Tim Berners-Lee. The Semantic Web: Revisted. IEE-Intelligent System, 21(3):96–101, May 2006.

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