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Fig. 1. The Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).
Expressed as a Wordle. A personal collection of key influencers based on those tagged in this blog. Includes my own reading and indulgences.
On Friday, at midday, my ou student blog reached a significant milestone.
I’ve been at it for 33 months. I’ve blogged the best part of FIVE modules now – most of which required or invited some use of the blog platform (or another). It required little encouragement – I used to keep a diary and have found since 1999 that in their digital form they are an extraordinarily versatile way to gather, consider, share and develop ideas.
- H807 – Innovations in e-Learning
- H808 – Technology Enhanced Learning: Practices and debate
- H800 – The e-Learning Professional
- B822 – Creativity, Innovation & Change
- H810 – Accessibility online learning: supporting disabled students
The investment in time, on average, an hour a day in addition to – though sometimes instead of coursework over 1000+ days.
(This excludes 8 months I spent on the Masters in Open and Distance Learning in 2001)
To mark this event, and as I need to go through this online diary, this e-journal, this ‘web-log’ (as they were also once momentarily called) ahead of some exciting meetings coming up next week I thought a simple task might be to click through the tags to identify who have been the key influencers in my reading and thinking over the last two and a half years.
Fig.2. Another way of looking at it. Betham, Conole and Weller are key MOADE authors from the Open University. John Seely Brown is a vital undercurrent, Engestrom one of several enthusiasms like Vygostky. While Gagne, second hand hardback, needs to be on your desk for frequent reference.
What I thought would take an hour has taken nearly 40 hours.
Clicking on a tag opens a corner of my head, the notes take me back to that day, that week, that assignment or task. It also takes me back to the discussions, resources and papers. And when I find an error the proof-reader in me has to fix. Aptly, as we approach November 5th, and living in Lewes where there are marches and fireworks from late October for a couple of weeks peaking of course all evening on the 5th, my head feels as if someone has accidentally set light to a box of assorted fireworks.
Just as well. Meetings these days are like a viva voce with eager ears and probing questions – they want the content of my mind and whatever else I bring to the subject after thirty years in corporate training and communications.
Fig. 3. Wordle allows you to say how many words you want to include in the mix. To create weight I had to repeat the names I consider most important twice, three or four times in the list. I also removed first names as these would scattered into the mix independently like peppercorns in a pan of vegetable stock.
- List all authors who have been part of my learning and thinking over the last couple of years.
- Include authors that my antennae have picked up that are relevant to my interest in learning, design, the moving image and the english language.
- Visualise this and draw some conclusions
I can never finish. Take this morning. I stumble upon my notes on three case studies on the use of e-portfolios from H807 which I covered from February 2010-September 2010. To begin with I feel compelled to correct the referencing in order to understand the value, pertinence and good manners (let alone the legal duty) to cite things correctly. (Even though this post was locked – a ‘private’ dump of grabs and my thoughts).
Then I add an image or two.
These days I feel a post requires a visual expression of its contents to open and benefits from whatever other diagrams, charts or images you can conjure from your mind or a Google Search – ‘the word’ + images creative commons – is how I play it.
Fig. 5. From David Oglivy’s book ‘Ogilvy on advertising’ – a simple suggestion – a striking image, a pertinent headline and always caption the picture. Then write your body copy.
A background in advertising has something to do with this and the influence of David Ogilvy.
I spend over two hours on the first of three case studies in just one single post. At the time I rubbished e-portfolios. The notes and references are there. Tapped back in I can now make something of it. A second time round the terms, the ideas – even some of the authors are familiar. It makes for an easier and relevant read. What is more, it is current and pertinent. A blog can be a portfolio – indeed this is what I’d recommend.
From time to time I will have to emerge from this tramp through the jungle of my MAODE mind.
Not least to work, to sleep, to cook and play.
Fig. 6. In a word
Along the way this behaviour, these actions, me being me, has found me working at the Open University for a year, and then at Lumesse a global corporate e-learning company. In the last month two international organisations have had me in, in the last week four more have been in touch online including interest from Australia, France and North America. Next week a magical triad may occur when I broker a collaboration between two of them with me holding their respective hands to initiate a project. There could be no better validation for the quality, depth, impact and life-changing consequences of seeing this OU degree through.
On verra (we will see)
Gagne, R.N. (1965) Conditions of Learning : Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Discussing this with Ian Singleton of icanplayit.com two weeks ago, I was Linked In to the author from JISC Doug Belshaw a few days later.
This conversation could soon link to a myriad of people cited and listed in the JISC report on Mobile and Wireless Technologies. This smorgasbord of a review will take a few weeks to consume; I’ll want the recipe and I’ll be back for more, repeatedly. It is a module in its own right.
It requires the early morning to take a three hour stab at this. Kukulska-Hulme (2010) says “Mobile learning is here to stay, even if in a few years’ time it may no longer be distinguishable from ‘just learning’.”
As a student of e-learning the value of Doug Belshaw’s JISC review is broad. Whilst mobile learning is the main theme, there is a suitable warming up to the topic via the development of e-learning and a broad acknowledgement of the key thinkers of pedagogy which touches on innovations in learning and the debunking of Prensky and his idea of digital natives.
It makes a good read for anyone studying Open and Distance Education with the Open University.
The theme that the author may not have seen that is pervasive throughout, is the idea of the e-learning entrepreneur; this seems inevitable with a device and technology that puts learning into the pocket of the learner.
Laptops and smartphones become a learn as I please, when and where I want, device. I wonder too, when cameras will become phones?
Reflecting on the devices that got unwrapped this Christmas some of us might prefer the Canon or Sony camera that uploads directly to Facebook, Kodak or Picasa without the interface of phone and laptop, or even a memory card.
If ou can think of it, it has been done.
This is one of those documents that will takes weeks of consideration as I wish to read all the references too, not that I doubt the author, but because often I find thinking such as this is like a digital conversation caught in the wind and there are a dozen other voices speaking at the same time. I’ve not come across Traxler before, for example. He’s cited 12 times in this review.
Though, just because someone else has already done it, does not mean that I might not do it better?
JISC Spotlight The presentation. “Students no longer need to engage with information and discussion at the expense of real life but can do so as part of real life as they move about the world, using their own devices to connect them to people and ideas, ideas and information of their own choosing, perhaps using their own devices to generate and produce content and conversation as well as store and consume them.” (Traxler, 2009, p.70)
Why therefore bother with a traditional university education at all?
Better to go straight to work and learn on the job, not simply as a trainee or apprentice, but by tapping into institutional and corporate learning. This is important The wider mobility of society has led to ‘approx-meetings’ and ‘socially negotiated time’ (2009:73) which, although mobile devices have not been designed specifically for educational purposes, has a knock-on effect upon formal education.
This disruptive effect has both a strong and a weak element, argues Traxler.
The ‘weak’ element of the disruption due to mobile devices in formal education is at the level of nuisance – such as ‘cheating’ during examinations, inappropriate photographs, devices beeping during class time. The ‘strong’ element of disruption, on the other hand, “challenge[s] the authority of the curriculum and the institutions of formal learning” (2009, p.77); students can effectively become gatekeepers and organisers of learning for other students in a way institutions have only been able to do previously.
Given the fragmented nature of the current mobile learning environment, there are multiple definitions of mobile learning; however, most of these definitions recognise the importance of
• and conversation.
“[Mobile learning involves the] exploitation of ubiquitous handheld hardware, wireless networking and mobile telephony to facilitate, support enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning”
Due to funding arrangements, which sector is involved, and country-specific contexts, mobile learning means different things to different communities.
• On the go
• Every day
• Between classes and home (and work)
• Conflicts of complements formal learning
• More interactive
Woodill (2010:53) identifies seven main affordances of mobile learning:
5. Context sensitivity
Belshaw (201) Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review 2010 Doug Belshaw, JISC infoNet
Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Learning in a Mobile Age’ (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 1(1), 1-12, January-March 2009)
Traxler, J. (2009) ‘Students and mobile devices: choosing which dream’ (in ALT-C 2009 “In dreams begins responsibility” – choice, evidence and change, Traxler, John (Professor of Mobile Learning, University of Wolverhampton)
Down with something hideous and find myself on antibiotics. Want to be studying but haven’t the head for it, not academic papers.
As an asthmatic I wonder if the kind of videos I used to produce as interactive Apps might be of value?
Watch several movies, the wonderful ‘Barefoot in the Park’ with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda, the TV movie on the rise of Hitler with Robert Carlyle and ‘The Englishman who went up a hill and came down a mountain’ with Hugh Grant and Tara Fitzgerald.
‘The Rise of Evil’ is historically accurate though somewhat eager, understandably, to ensure that Hitler has no redeeming points. I’d recommend it as viewing alongside the two volume biography by Ian Kershaw.
‘Barefoot in the Park’ which I must have seen on TV in the 1970s drew me into the wonders of a stage play making it onto the big screen. I also admire the way five days of sex is handled by showing newspapers being put outside their hotel bedroom door every morning. I thought Paul put his shoes out to be polished, another film?
The idea of thinking of e-learning as a chicken tikka is sound, though I’d perhaps prefer pizza or a Chinese takeaway.
Whether it’s e – learning or m- learning, it must be ME learning.
Rosemary Luckin, Diane Brewster, Pearce, du Boulay, Siddons – Corbay.
From Mobile Learning:a hand book for educators and trainers. John Traxler and Agnes Kukulksha-Hulme (2005)
I read this on vacation in a couple of days in between learning to surf on the north Cornwall beach of Mawgan Porth. I have barely managed a day without dwelling on either e-learning or social media, dreaming of them even when a signal is difficult to come by (on the knoll above the farmhouse where we are staying).
Written in 2005 and so based on research of the previous five years I have to wonder at my haste to download it (e-book). It takes me back to my own first forays into online learning in 2001 when amongst others FT Knowledge was my account.
The problem with the content is that is is woefully out of date. All the research being done at the time was on the useless PDAs of the time; I stuck with a PSION that served me well as a pocket word-processor.
‘Whichever mode of delivery I choose, the meal I eat will still be Chicken Tikka’. Luckin et al (2005:122)
The only idea of lasting significance that I have taken from the entire book is this one, that and fig.1 which I’m a mind map indicates the many devices that provide mobility, ALL of which now reside in an iPad or iPhone with all problems long ago resolved by commercial organisations rather than any institution who without fail take far too long to commit to anything and invariably design by committee trying to please everyone so put everything in, and rarely consider the commercial feasibility of their actions.
On reflection, ‘take-away’ says it all for e-learning as convenience is everything.
Luckin,R., Brewster,D., du Boulay, P., Corbay, S. (2005) in Mobile Learning. A handbook for educators and trainers. Edited by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme and John Traxler.