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My MAODE

My Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) with the Open University (OU)

H807: Innovations in eLearning – Learning outcomes

H800: Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates

B822: Creativity, Innovation and Change

H808: The e-learning professional

H810: Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students

This completes the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE)

Taken in addition as continual professional development

H809 Practice-based research in educational technology

H818: The Networked Practitioner

High School kids in California given iPads loaded with coursework quickly hacked them.

Do they do any more or less studying? No more, nor less. Technology enhanced learning today is an iPad, a hundred years ago it was a Biro, a couple of hundred years ago it was the book, before that the Codex, before that papyrus … The problem with an iPad is that it is the entire library, a shed load of tools, a living room of multi-media and a phone, and camera, and games console …

Where do I stand academically? Where and what next? And the madness of being.

Master of Arts  in Open and Distance Education (MA ODE) with the Open University, UK (OU)

H800: Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates

H807: Innovations in eLearning – Learning outcomes

H810: Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students

B822: Creativity, Innovation and Change

H808: The e-learning professional

This completes the Masters Degree. I graduate on Saturday 27th April 2013

Currently (March 2013) I am taking H809 as a bridge towards doctoral research or professional consultancy. Complete in June 2013.

H809 Practice-based research in educational technology

I joined the #H817open MOOC for one part of this module. I will register for 2014

H817: Openness and innovation in e-learning.

I am applying to undertake doctoral research in education – using learning technologies.
 
H809 will help prepare for applications starting in January 2014 for an October 2014 start. Most are now a 4 year programme, with a Masters in research to begin. WebSciences at University of Southampton is an interesting option – I attended an Open Day in January.
Too many active interests was a stated issue on childhood school reports. Nothing’s changed.
 
I am looking at an MA in History with the University of Birmingham which would give me the opportunity
study the First World War. (I have written extensively about this through my late grandfather’s memoire ‘That’s Nothing Compared to Passchendaele’)
There is more.
 
I attended the School of Communication Arts, London. A full-time programme in copywriting, art direction and design and have worked in the ‘creative’ and ‘communications’ industries all of my career.
And ‘EAVE’ (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs)
 
My first degree (BA, Hons, Oxford), MA is in Geography.
My dissertationn was on demographics. I love maps. Perhaps I should try to match maps, e-learning and the First World War. Animated it all and add some interviews and ‘drama reconstruction’.
See what happens when you let something fester and wake up in the middle of the night.
 
Neuroscience and long-term memory are fascinating too.
I need my life over. I need to split into three and start again. I need a coffee and a long walk on the South Downs. (I need to go back to bed)
And then there’s Fine Art.
 
And Creative Writing. And cooking. And the garden. There’s teaching, and moderating … and blogging. There are movies. And sailing and swimming coaching. There’s family and friend … ah. Friend? I knew there was something missing in all the above.
Scrap the lot and have a belated 50th birthday to celebrate 20 years of marriage, parenthood and the madness of being. Then sign up to crew in the Round the World Yacht Race.
And if that doesn’t kills me …

 

The memory is the mind process happening in your brain, it can never be the artefact that plays back footage of an experience.


Fig. 1. Bill Gates featured in a 1985 copy of a regional computer magazine

In the introduction to ‘Total Recall’ Bill Gates wonders when he and Gordon Bell first met.

Was in 1983 or 1982. What was the context? Can they pinpoint the moment with certainty? I ask, does it matter? I ask, who cares? What matters is that they met. A moot point if either one of them claims that at this time one took an idea from the other … and they want to claim bragging rights for a new word or financial rights to a product.

The players in this game of life-blogging or developing the digitally automated photographic memory (total recall) are communicating, sharing ideas, creating or stating an identity, forming allegiances and developing ideas or hedging.

Our memory is  selective

Having some sense of what we put in and what we leave out, then having a way to manage what we retrieve how we use this and then add to the record.

As someone who kept a diary and put a portion of it online it surprises me and now worries me when a person I know says that x, or y found out something about them courtesy of this blog (posted 1999-2004).

 

Fig. 2. A grab from my Year 2001 Diaryland Blog. An evening out with the web hopefuls of Wired Sussex, Brighton.

I thought I’d locked the diary long ago – but of course various digital spiders have always been crawling the Internet snapping pages.

I think there are around 100 pages of some 1500 that I can never get back. It took me a few years to realise that I ought to change names and locations, but this became convoluted.


Fig. 3. Apple have started in an in-house business school, the Apple University, to teach people to be like Steve Jobs.

How might a digital record of a person have assisted with this? And what would be the warnings over diet and over behaviours?

The value of this content would be if I had a life worthy of a biography, but I am no Steve Jobs.

The value might still be for writing, though could have been even then a portfolio for specific subjects of study, such as geography, history, art, filming and writing. In these respects it still is.

Then it becomes an aid to the construction of ideas and the development of knowledge.

Personally, if I wanted to build on my knowledge of meteorology I would start with my Sixth Form classes with Mr Rhodes. I may have some of the newspaper cuttings I kept then of weather systems and may even being able to put some of these to photographs. I have a record of the 1987 Hurricane over Southern England for example.

I might tap into a Physics text book I first opened when I was 14 and recuperating at home from a broken leg.

There are those we know who have stored digitally the product of their illegal behaviour – paedophiles who are hoisted by their own petard when their digital record is recovered or identified. There may always be images that you may never want stored for later retrieval – a scene in a horror film that captures your attention before you flick channels, worse a real car accident … even making the mistake of clicking on footage of the hanging of Saddam Hussian. The image will be even less likely to be wiped from your memory if you have it stored somewhere.

Google, Facebook and other sites and services are not the only ones to capture a digital record of our behaviours – as I know if I write about and publish the activities of others.

Fig. 4. ‘Total capture’, as we ought to call it,  could be the digital equivalent of hoarding

Sensors on and in you will know not only about your body, but your environment: the location, temperature, humidity, sound levels, proximity to wireless devices, amount of light, and air quality. (Bell and Gemmel, 2009 p.217)

Just because we can, does not mean that we should. Bell has a record of such minutiae as when he blew his nose – he has too given the detail of what he captures. I know of someone with an obsessive disorder who keeps the paper tissues he uses to blow his nose.

For what purpose?

A data grab of Ridley Scott or some other director as they plan, develop and create a movie might be a fascinating and rich journey that would serve an apprentice well. A detailed recovery from an illness or accident too. There are problems for which a comprehensive digital capture could be a helpful, valid and possible response. How about wearable underpants that monitor your activity and heat up if you need to exercise – eHot Pants ?! Better still, a junior doctor who has to cram a great deal may extract parts of lessons. However, who or what will have structured these into bite–sized pieces for consumption? Is there a programme that could be written to understand what to grab then offer back? But who would pose the testing question? Or can AI do this? From a set of question types know how to compose one using natural language and create a workable e-tivity such as those produced by Qstream (were SpacedEd).


Fig.5. Watching students of the SCA at work I wonder how life-logging would assist or get in the way.

Reflection in working is a way to think through what they are learning – a grabbed record of kit on their person cannot construct this for them. Without a significant edit it would be cumbersome to review. In a digital format though it could be edited and offered back to aid review. Would the return of the bad or weak idea be disruptive or distracting? It could infect the unconscious. Would there not need to be a guide on how to use this log in the context given the outcomes desired? They can’t be up all night doing it.


Fig. 6 Age 17, for one month, I became a hoarder of a kind, of the pre-digital keep a record of everything kind.

A diarist already, starting a new school, back at home from boarding school and a new life opening up – so I kept bus and theatre tickets, sweet wrappers too. And when I sat down in the late evening to write the day I did so onto sheets of paper I could file. With no parameters I soon found myself writing for two hours. September 1978 is a book. Would a few lines a day, every day, in the tiny patch of a space in an off the shelf Five Year diary do? It would have to.

An exchange trip got the file treatment.

And a gap year job of five months was a photo-journal – one file. And then the diary resorted to one page of A4 in a hardback book. This self selection matters. It makes possible the creation of an artificial record or ‘memory’. The way content is gathered and stored is part of the context and the narrative, and by working within reasonable parameters it leaves the content, in 1980-1990 terms, manageable.

I have letters from parents, grandparents and boyhood ‘girlfriends’ from the age of 8 to 18 … and a few beyond.

Perhaps science and maths should have been the root to take? If there is value in reflection it is how I might support my children as they have to make subject choices, choices over universities and their careers beyond. Seeing this I am more likely show empathy to any young person’s plight.


Fig. 7. A boy’s letter home from Mowden Hall School. Presumably Sunday 14th July 1974 as we wrote letters home after morning Chapel. I can see it now, in Mr Sullivan’s Room, French. Mr Farrow possibly on duty. His nose and figures yellow from the piper he smoked … looks like I would have been younger. He never did turn up on Saturday … or any school fixture. Ever. See? The pain returns. 

I have letters I wrote too. I feel comfortable about the letters I wrote going online, but understandably shouldn’t ‘publish’ the long lost words of others. I might like to use the affordances of a blog or e-portfolio, but in doing so I would, like Gordon Bell, keep the lock tightly fixed on ‘Private’. Is it immoral to digitise private letters, even those written to you. How will or would people respond to you if they suspected you would scan or photograph everything, load it somewhere and by doing so risk exposing it to the world or having it hacked into.

People do things they regret when relationships fall apart – publishing online all the letters or emails or texts or photos they ever sent you?

Putting online anything and everything you have that you did together? Laws would very quickly put a dent in the act of trying to keep a digital record. In the changing rooms of a public swimming pool? In the urinals of a gents toilets? It isn’t hard to think of other examples of where it is inappropriate to record what is going on. I hit record when my wife was giving birth – when she found out she was upset. I’ve listened once and can understand why the trauma of that moment should be forgotten as the picture of our baby daughter 30 minutes later is the one to ‘peg’ to those days.

Selection will be the interface between events

What is grabbed, how is it tagged, recalled and used? Selection puts the protagonist in a life story back in control, rather than ‘tagging’ a person and automatically and comprehensively recording everything willy-nilly.

We don’t simply externalise an idea to store it, we externalise ideas so that they can be shared and potentially changed. Growing up we learn a variety of skills, such as writing, drawing or making charts not simply to create an analogue record, but as a life skill enabling communications with others. Modern digital skills come into this too.

Just because there is a digital record of much that I have done, does not mean I don’t forget.

If many others have or create such a digital record why should it prevent them from acting in the present? A person’s behaviour is a product of their past whether or not they have a record of it. And a record of your past may either influence you to do more of the same, or to do something different. It depends on who you are.

The memory is the mind process happening in your brain, it can never be the artefact that plays back footage of an experience.

REFERENCES

Bell, G., and Gemmel. J (2009)  Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything

Blackmore, Y (2012) Virtual Health Coach. (accessed 28 Jan 2013 http://mobihealthnews.com/16177/study-virtual-coach-improves-activity-levels-for-overweight-obese/

Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography (Kindle Locations 3421-3422). Hachette Littlehampton. Kindle Edition.

Ituma, A (2011), ‘An Evaluation of Students’ Perceptions and Engagement with E-Learning Components in a Campus Based University’,Active Learning In Higher Education, 12, 1, pp. 57-68, ERIC, EBSCOhost, viewed 13 December 2012.

Kandel, E. (2006) The Emergence of a New Science of Mind.

Kennedy G., Dalgarno B., Bennett S., Gray K., Waycott J., Judd T., Bishop A., Maton K., Krause K. & Chang R. (2009) Educating the Net Generation – A Handbook of Findings for Practice and Policy. Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Available at: http://www.altc.edu.au/ system/files/resources/CG6-25_Melbourne_Kennedy_ Handbook_July09.pdf (last accessed 19 October 2009).

Mayer-Schönberger, V (2009) Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age

Myhrvold, N Princeton Alumni (accessed 29 Jan 2013 http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pwb/04/1122/ )

Schmandt-Besserat (1992) How Writing Came About.

Vernon, J.F. (2011) Life according to Anais Nin, Henry Miller and Samuel Pepys
(accessed 28 Jan 2013 http://mymindbursts.com/2011/08/13/1162/ )

W. Boyd Rayward Wells, H,G. World Brain.
http://people.lis.illinois.edu/~wrayward/HGWellsideaofWB_JASIS.pdf

Waybackmachine
http://archive.org/web/web.php

Wixted and Carpenter, (2006) “The Wickelgren Power Law and the Ebbinghaus Savings Function,” 133– 34.

 

 

Try putting any letter from the alphabet in front of ‘learning’ and you’ll be able to say something about it.

It is learning whether you prefix with an ‘e’, ‘m’ or ‘b’ as in – electronic, mobile or blended.

Increasingly the opportunities, particularly with learning on a hand-held computer – 20th century terms for the 21st century smart phone or table – are for ‘a’ or ‘s’ learning – standing for applied or ‘action learning’ that is ‘situated’.

For example, I use a combination of an iPad or Kindle when coaching swimmers – not just for registers, but to show images from a swim drills book.

I am waiting for the wrist or lapel badge computer – an iPad the size of a Nano or ring. Will these come to be known as ‘w’ learning or ‘r’ learning or has ‘e-learning’ become generic? The Google display will be one to watch.

What’s your ‘personal learning environment’ or PLE? Is it like Facebook? Will it change with fashion?

Fig 1. MY PLE

First Half 2012 (earlier PLEs in the blog here)

The blogs, Picasa, increasingly eBooks from Kindle on a Kindle and the iPad. Tweeted. This locates like-minds but also provides my notes in my Twitter feed. Google as ubiquitous as QWERTY. Facebook for social/family; Linkedin for work related groups, interests and contacts (e-learning, corporate communications)

My OU Blog in the student environment and its mirror my external blog in WordPress IS a blog, learning journal, e-portfolio, forum and deposit. It can be a link to ‘like-minds’ too (and job opportunities)

I want an article I cut and paste the reference in Google.

If I can’t have it I repeat this in the OU Library resource fist by title, then by author. I find I can, almost without exception, read whatever takes my interest. Brilliance for the curious and ever-hungry mind.

Increasingly I photo and screen grab everything, manipulate in Picasa then load online where I can file, further manipulate and share. A better e-portfolio and an e-portfolio as it is image based. My e-learning folder tops 350+ images.

When busy on an OU Module the ‘OU Learning Environment expands to fill 1/3rd of the screen: the learning journey, resources, activities and student forums are my world for 6-9 months’.

In truth I need to video my activity and then do a time in motion audit. Tricky as I don’t have a laptop or desktop anymore. All is done (most) on the move on an iPad or iPhone. I ‘borrow’ my son’s desktop when he’s at school or early mornings on my wife’s laptop. Which explains why EVERYTHING is online, I could go to the library or an Internet cafe and work just as well.

‘A university in my pocket’?

Or ‘a university in the clouds’, literally as envisaged in the 1960s by Michael Young et al and featured on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The New Elizabethans’ (in association with the Open University of course)

  • A pivotal role in the creation of the welfare state
  • Groundbreaking work as a social scientist in the East End
  • His creation of the Open University

P.S. Which reminds me: the Open University was devised for those with a fraction of the opportunities I have had so I need to treat it with huge respect.

Fig 2. My PLE July 2011

A year on my choice of blogs has greatly reduced. I still access Diaryland as it has 1,700+ entries to draw upon from 1999 to 2006. StumbleUpon I still use and need to add to the current PLE. I don’t go near Xing. I haven’t indicated the digital tools, the hardware I use to access this (these) online resources.

But what’s more important, the phone or the conversation?

Yes, I dip into Wikipedia but frequently I scroll down for alternative equally valid answers from the long established sources that have finally got themselves online. TED lectures I’ve missed out too. I must watch several a month.

I haven’t add family and friends because where they are part of my world, increasingly online through Facebook, they are not directly part of my PLE.

However, it would be foolish to ignore the vital role family and the context of family, community and school play in learning.

FURTHER LINKS TO MY OPEN UNIVERSITY STUDENT BLOG ON PLEs

Virtual Learning Environments vs. Personal Learning Environments

Virtual Learning Environments or Personal Learning Environments

Google+

Technology Mediated Learning Spaces

The reality check. Must PLEs be technology enables to qualify as PLE?

The Challenge Facing Course Design 1997 vs. 2012

What’s wrong with educational social networking?

My Personal Learning Environment (2011)

Sometimes only paper will do

Digital Housekeeping. Recording everything.

Technology Enhanced Learning End of Module Images / Visualisation

Technology Enhanced Learning End of Module Assignment Course Specifics

What’s wrong with Educational Social Networking? (EDU)

H800: Technology Enhanced Learning. An online module from the Open University

Where’s technology in education taking us? MAs like A’ Levels? MBAs and PhDs for all?

As you watch the video consider and make notes on how it relates to the more general findings from the broader research literature discussed earlier.

Also consider the following questions:

  1. Is the message being presented in this visual way any different from the primarily text-based presentation of findings used so far this week?
  2. How important is the medium and the technologies themselves in terms of conveying messages about this research area?
  3. What are the implications for your own practice?

Catchy music. Well exectued. Memorable. Viral.4.5 million views to date.

The execution is persuasive; this is how advertisers do it. You have a message, you find a director who knows how to put it over in way that works.

I’ve done this myself a few times.

The music is crucial and often not considered in the budget.

Library music might, but rarely works.

Far better to pay for a peice to be composed; I have worked with plenty of student composers who’ve created a terrifc mood, what I wanted, cued to a click track and the images on the screen. I’ve also used copyright music and begged persmission from composers, such as some Michael Nyman music I wanted to use.

As a teaser or catalyst at the start of a week (or module,or course) this kind of thing is fantastic, but it is a trailer … it is not an objective report. The music dictates how the director wants us to think.

These underviewed clips could do with a bit of TLC.

I also need to afford to have them transferred to a higher defintion.

Here’s a simply exercise to demonstrate who the music skews the mood, impact and desire outcome; turn off the sound and play the video to ‘Anarchy in the UK’ the Sex Pistols, or ‘She’s Like a Rainbow’ Rolling Stones. Do you feel so sympathetic now?

Is not this the kind of music played to claw at our heart strings when our charity is being requested to house the homeless and feed the poor?

If you think you can turn a report or piece of research into an objective and compelling piece of TV you are wrong

a) There must be a narrative

b) There is a need for conflict

c) Controversy helps

A polite debate to a live audience that gets out of hand does the trick, but this is hardly the Jeremy Kyle show.

Increasingly, though my background is the spin of advertising and stakeholder communications, I want to learn how to research and present sound, objective facts – the kind of evidence upon which people can act on the basis that the thoroughness and professionalism of the approach has isolated the problems which others can then address.

The nonsense spoken about ‘The Net Generation’ et al. implies that arming one cohort with laptops (a 1999s thing), now with tablets (preferably an iPad) will deliver.

This ain’t how it happens. Never has with technology and never will.

Were I the Headmaster of a school I’d want to see technology used to play to the strengths of the subject being taught.

In art classes and music they are going to get a pad of A3 cartridge paper, some soft pencils, putty rubber and a knife; in music they’re going to get an ‘unplugged’ music instrument to master.

In Chemistry they can have a white board that shows interactive animations of chemical processes taking place in what would otherwise be dangerous experiments.

In H807 I bemoaned the fact that I wasn’t being hit with the kind of gizmo-worlds I’d been brought up to create for corporate clients – they want to see their money on the screen. We ‘read’ for the Masters in Open and Distance Education. When faced with a video, if a transcript isn’t provided, I have to take notes verbatim ditto podcasts.

Reading and the technical demands of typing and word-processing might be as far as it needs to go.

Where any technology is less intuitive or easy that word-processing then don’t bother. Nor assume people have the ‘right’ skills – having had a Mac since the early 90s I find some Microsoft software like being presented with a unicycle with a square wheel.

I like the phrases ‘disruptive technologies’, ‘catalysts for change’ and ‘pedagogical innovation’.

The thing to remember is that one size does not fit all, indeed the technology ought to offer additional variety, not replace what has gone before.

Some ‘services’ I am so familiar with, as well all, that I wouldn’t have thought to suggest they had a role in education; mobile phones, laptops are put of the landscape in work, school and the home. Not all, but many. We must remember the notable exceptions to owning or becoming familiar with these tools.

As for PDAs and memory sticks are these not history? PDAs replaced by SmartPhones and memory sticks replaced by portable hard-drives and the ‘cloud’. And thus the demise of Pagers, floppy discs and zip drives.

I still crave a Psion.

Will an iPad fill that gap? Or a Nokia E7? I’m looking for a keyboard and screen that I can treat like a spec case with the power to put people on Mars.

Any suggestions?

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Meanwhile, but to the activity at my fingertips:

(We mustn’t call them tasks I’m told, sets the wrong tone. So why not e-tivities? Do I need to ask?! I came across someone referring to e-quality and wanted to report them to the abuse of the English Language through the prefixing of ‘e.’)

The dichotomy between students and staff is slowly disappearing – perhaps it has gone.

There never was a Net Generation in my book, often if is (as we would expect) the teacher who is the master of the technology … they should be. This is the role we adults have before our children. We teach and nurture them, not the other way around. They generally learn from us, we have to crack it, add and embellish.

Were the students of the ‘Pill’ Generation in the 1960s not more rebellious then this lot?

Taught by teachers born between two World Wars, the differences must have been extreme. There are of course some biological reasons why until the students are adults, there will be significant barriers and differences. And whose to say, person by person, when intellectually maturity sets in. I’d say that I’ve only got there in my 50th year – I’ve enjoyed being a boy too much, until recently I could only be taught like a first year A’ Level Student (spoon fed).

Sharpe et al (2005) is a must read for the Masters in Open and Distance Education.

I don’t know why it and a couple of other books are boxed up and sent out to anyone who registers early. It is reassuring to return to authors whose voices you come to trust over the 18 or so months.

We learn that students have:

  • A mixed view about technologies
  • Feel pressured to do more (there’s little faster or more efficient that simply reading a paper)
  • Have mixed experiences and expectations of their tutor (someone remind us, we are POSTGRADUATES)

Pedagogy (does it work?)

Learner differences (which can be extraordinarily diverse compared to a cohort of undergraduates terming up on campus with the same accent, same outlook, same educational background … and not that long ago in some Oxford Colleges, the same gender too).

Beetham et al (2005) should be another set book.

By reading MAODE blogs I’ve spotted in advance the books that are most often refereed to and bought them. I have around a dozen now and had I a hand in reinventing the MAODE far from spending £100k with some of the top video production companies and web agencies in the land to ‘pimp it up,’ I’d been handing out these books and e-books.

‘Distributed collaboration’ here we come.

I’ve often likened the experience of MAODE, or is it just postgraduate learning with the OU, as my head being like the chocolate shaker at Cafe Nero. I’ve had chocolate pixie dust tipped into my head and someone keeps lifting me up by the ankles like a new born baby and giving me a good shake. My ideas have been turned on their head, not least the desire and interest in sharing whatever I think. It serves a purpose not to be previous about what you think. Not quite like getting it wrong on National Radio and being correctly by a few thousand emails, but you are often set right, or put on the right path, by hearing what your fellow students think.

Find me on Linkedin. I’m forever joining groups and discussions and find the feeds from the busiest groups

Oblinger and Oblinger (2005) Educating the Net Generation sounds like a must read. What are the reviews? I couldn’t find it. Or is it a paper? There are plenty of texts written on the theme – most I’d give a wide birth.

Their points are:

  • weaving in the technology to current practice
  • kids who’ve grown up with it
  • its becoming ubiquitous
  • they use the web for homework (so what, we use it for work and pleasure too don’t we … and did from the start. The kids are copying Mum and Dad when they learn to touch type by the age of 6, NOT the other way round. They crave to get online because their parents do; it was ever thus.)
  • there is more surface level learning (right through to university … and at the BA level too often, students learn what they are told to learn, from the surface, whether from the web, a text book or print out … whatever it takes to pass the exam. Why I am told the Oxbridge BA sees itself as an MA programmer for undergraduates.
  • More visual. I would love papers to be illustrated, just a photo or apt cartoon above the abstract. Why shouldn’t academic writers hook their readers too. Randy Pausch did in a paper he wrote while at Disney working and researching the skills of an ‘imagineer’.
  • they want ‘just in time’ answers and it needs to be experiential (Conole & Dyke 2004; Gibson, 1979). We should celebrate this achievement … its what managers in business have been trying to incorporate into business practice for decades.

Expansive Learning and the activity systems of Engestrom

I’ve taken this, from Engestrom and considered this as the interplay between SIX people (or groups) – or a mix of the two. Six people who are bringing to the discussion their different backgrounds and ideas in order to address a topic. At arm’s length, the objects, the ideas, views or knowledge that they have begins to take on an identity of its own.

‘Expansive learning is based on Vygotsky, though three times removed; it implies that we learn within activity pockets as individuals and groups. The interplay between these groups are the consequential objects of learning that in turn transmogrify in the presence of other objects. Solving problems, dealing with contradictions, may come about as these learning systems slide or shift’.

Amyone care to comment?

This is my take on a topic that has taken me through the briar-bush and out the other side. Has the struggle been worth it. The challenge I feel I face when reading papers such is this is how to make the subject matter comprehensible to the non-academic, I challenge I throw down to every academic: it is possible to make yourselves understood by the majority, rather than a minority.

REFERENCE

Engeström (2001) article, Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation

The medium is the message – Marshall McLuhan

I struggle with McLuhan‘s point of view  because it can be argued in many ways: is he saying that the message is controlled by the affordances of the medium or by the people running the shows? Or both?

And in plenty of country’s the medium was/is state controlled.

While in the US it is controlled by the advertisers. TV lends itself to a certain form of expression; historically there have been and are producers who create TV magic and get the format right, though there are plenty of experiments too that kick against what is possible and an audience will tolerate.

A shift to YouTube is fascinating.

I watched the Japanese Disaster‘s play out live, first on BBC 24hr News, then CNN, then best of all Japanese TV with English voice over NHK all on Freeview. I thought, having sat through IRA bombs and 9/11 that these feeds were the best source … the closes to being there. My son was getting this on YouTube directly from people’s SmartPhones ‘on the ground’. For the Libyan crisis I am taking Twitter Feeds and watching Al Jexera.

The point I feel is that each medium offers different possibilities: print, radio, TV and now online.

Everyone is their own producer/director if uploading from a Flip camera or SmartPhone. However, artists will come through. Within the communities that we become a part of there will be someone who is more informed, better at expressing themselves or exploiting the platform. Watching a documentary on Japan my son curses the amateur video producers for not keeping the camera still as vast quantities of water smash into buildings and boats. Not meaning to be flippant but he’s probably learning why locked off shots, from a tripod, work better.

From a learning point of view we are ‘there,’ the internet to a greater degree than print, radio or TV ‘puts us on the spot.

Is this not closer to reality, to being physically present, which is how historically (35,000 of human kind) we have learnt? By observation, participation and collaboration? Through mistakes and successes?

 

Interacting activity systems: Engestrom

1). What kind of theory of learning is offered by classic activity theory?

A single activity system unit that works upon an object and delivers an outcome

2). What are the five principles of current activity theory? According to Engeström:

  1. A collective, artifact-mediated and object-orientated activity system, seen in its network relations ot other activity systems, is taken as the prime unit of analysis.
  2. Multi-voicedness of activity systems. A community of multiple points of view, traditional and interests.
  3. Age and history
  4. Contradictions as sources of change and development – accumulating structural tensions within and between activity systems.
  5. The possibility of expansive transformations.

3). What is the problem with the ‘standard’ theories of learning that expansive learning addresses?

Standard theory equates to lasting behaviour change whereas expansive learning considers a sideways shift of the entire activity system.

created using Art Pad

I was thinking in terms of trying to boil two pans on water on one hob; the flames between the pans cause more conflict than harmony. Shift both pans to the left or right and the heat is under each activity rather than between them.

I’ll get out a pad of paper and try some more of these.

4) What is the criticism that Engeström makes of the apprenticeship model of learning?

Doesn’t permit the development of original thinking. (I disagree. It depends on the person you are apprenticed too. Think of the many great artists who learnt their craft under a great master, then broke loose).

In relation to e-learning or are we calling it technology-enhanced learning here I fully recognise the value of participation, letting go of your thoughts and therefore being one of these ‘activity systems’ so that a shared ‘third object’ (Engestrom, 2001) as it were, moves forward.

The best colloborative work is like this, my experience being those video production, often drama based, that require multiple inputs from people with very different, and specific talents.

I’ve gone on to try and express the Engestrom diagram in 3D, and drawing six activity systems … i.e creating greater complexity to begin getting closer to the highly complex reality and in turn a different diagram/illustration entirely.

REFERENCE

Engeström (2001) article, Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation

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