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How do you see an essay? Mindmap or daisy? From the top of your head or from a list of key points? What works for you?

Fig.1. And as an animated set of essays set to music on Animato

What the perfect essay ought to look like – a daisy with six petals (or could then be seven, or twelve?) Depends on the length of the essay I guess and whether it’s for GCSEs, A’Levels, undergraduate or postgraduate assessment. Flower arranging works for me.

Who said I could count 🙁

I see what I expect to see. Or is it deliberate to provoke a response (no, though the modus operandi with engagement is to make mistakes, to stand correction).

Rather it says why in the public (or published) domain I require a second set of eyes to proof read.

Yes, I put these images up a year or so ago.

The difference is stumbling onto the zizzy tool Animoto, and having one teenager doing GCSEs, another doing exams and even I had the first written paper I’ve had to sit in three decades at the end of April.

It helps to have a construct that works for you.

Fig.2. How my essays used to look

For one of my three essays I drew a six or seven petalled daisy-thingey and scribbled my arguments and counter-arguments into each. My introduction was short, the conclusion shorter still.

Fig. 3. This doodle actually appeared at the end of one school geography essay I wrote.

I’ve also got anything between four and eight months before my next and final module. I’m using this opportunity to back pedal, the beauty of the blog is this is a journey through the contents of my head, I’ve been there before so can correct, simplify or elaborate.

I found myself in a Twitter exchange with Professor Martin Weller last night

Fig. 4  I’m re-reading  ‘The Digital Scholar’ (detailed in this blog)

I’m adding images and charts and links and further comment, posting into my external blog ‘my mind bursts’ and alongside this Tweeting both what I wrote and highlights from the book @JJ27VV for this very reason, to seek out feedback. To be corrected or vindicated.

The re-aggitation of my e-learning synapses is an intriguing thing as I feel I can now draw on 2 years of studying with relative ease, and importantly can dip back into where my head has been.

 

Why, as you read through an eBook, you should ‘highlight’ then share on Twitter.

This is just me mashing it all up, but at times I’ve moaned about wanting to read a relevant book from cover to cover, taking and sharing notes, following references, having a chin-wag and learning by default, on the fly ‘vicariously’.

This, I’ve discovered is possible by doing the following:

Buy an eBook, I’m currently doing this to Prof Martin Weller’s ‘The Digital Scholar’ (One of ours, from the Knowledge Media Institute)

You’ll come across his name as often as those of:

Fine me and them on any of the Masters in Open & Distance Education modules. H807, H808, H809, H800 and H810.

As you read through an eBook when you ‘highlight’ something interesting click SHARE and send it to Twitter.

In this way you indicate what interests you (and where you are up to). Step away from reading mode to chat a bit, then press on or go back.

I like it.

Already done this with:

  • Steve Jobs: the exclusive biography. Walter Isaacson
  • The Blind Giant.Being Human in a Digital World. Nick Harkaway

Currently doing this with:

  • The Digital Scholar: How technology is transforming Scholarly Practice. Martin Weller.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front. Erich Maria Remarque
  • Rethinking Pedagogy in a Digital Age. Rhona Sharpe

I’m thinking of doing the same with:

  • Educational Psychology. Vygotsky
  • Mindstorms. Piaget.
  • Flow. The classic book on how to achieve happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

P.S. I’m between modules!

An exciting way to learn with others online

This is just me mashing it all up, but at times I’ve moaned about wanting to read a relevant book from cover to cover, taking and sharing notes, following references, having a chin-wag and learning by default, on the fly ‘vicariously’.

This I’ve discovered is possible by doing the following:

Buy an eBook, I’m currently doing this to Prof Martin Weller’s ‘The Digital Scholar’ (One of Open University’s, from the Knowledge Media Institute, you’ll come across his name as often as those of Grainne Conole, Denise Kirkpartrick, Chris Pegler, Diane Laurillard et al on any of the Masters in Open & Distance Education modules. H807, H808, H809, H800 and H810).

As you read through Kindle (which can be on your desktop, laptop, Kindle, iPad, iPhone etc:) when you ‘highlight’ something interesting click SHARE and send it to Twitter (my prefered, though it can also go to Facebook).

In this way you indicate what interests you (and where you are up to). Step away from reading mode to chat a bit, then press on or go back.

I like it.

Already done this with:

  • Steve Jobs: the exclusive biography. Walter Isaacson
  • The Blind Giant.Being Human in a Digital World. Nick Harkaway

Currently doing this with:

  • The Digital Scholar: How technology is transforming Scholarly Practice. Martin Weller.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front. Erich Maria Remarque
  • Rethinking Pedagogy in a Digital Age. Rhona Sharpe

I’m thinking of doing the same with:

  • Educational Psychology. Vygotsky
  • Mindstorms. Piaget.
  • Flow. The classic book on how to achieve happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

P.S. Follow me ‘jj27vv’ on Twitter

Tools for Learning Design

PART ONE

This is how I develop a Creative Brief … this happens to be an MAODE exercise on Learning Design.

As a video producer this is the idea I’d sell to the client.

I’d then work with a coach and group of swimmers to set the scene and milk it.

This is the kind of thing corporate clients use to teams of 10,000 employees. This is also how I go about writing scripts, sometimes adding drawings, cut-outs from magazines and photos. Nothing hi-tech at the thinking stage … which gives people more freedom to contribute.

A whiteboard marker pen on unforgiving wallpaper backing paper (30p a roll in from the reduced bin!). Stuck to the kitchen door.

PART TWO

The Forum Thread deserves as Swim lane of its own with as much activity into it and Elluminate as I have put here into a blog/microblog.

Often I find a dedicated thread such as e-Learning Professionals is more likely to guarantee a response to something I say; the reason for this is simple, they have thousands of active members.

There are reliable statistics to say what tiny per centage of people are happy to write, read, comment and contribute. 1% to write, about 4% to comment. This has to be reflected in forum activity too, however much it is required by the course. I’ve missed out blogs other students keep, and the links back and forth to these.

You’d be surprised how much goes on in the background.

I’ve found myself working things through with people in different tutor groups, who did the module a year ago … or who have nothing to do with MAODE but have an answer. Which reminds me of the fantastic diagram drawing tool dia. How does Naughton’s journalistic point of view compare to those of an academic?

I worked through it alone, blogged about it and offered thoughts and replied in the tutor forum.

The degree or blogging I’ve put forward reflects what I consider an invaluable addition to taking part in Forum Threads. You express what you think, ‘stream of consciousness’ into your own blog, edited to140 character for Twitter than take part in a Forum where some back and forth discussion should come about.

The other invaluable form of participation is through a conference call – as Jonathan Swift said, ‘I don’t know what I mean until I have heard myself speak.’

This is akin to a treatment outline for a video. The script in our case is the ad-libs and verbatim responses of student and input from the tutor. I like the idea of swim-lines and can imagine the Tutor online as a coach, rather than a subject matter expert, as a guide and mentor.

The reality is that such rapport develops with fellow students.

It is a shame that there isn’t more continuity through your original cohort. I have used the Compendium to share projects, using the layers to attach documents and have another contribute. For a simple mind map I like bubbl.us, otherwise I’m as likely to do a sketch and photograph it to share … or draw directly into a paint/draw package such as ArtPad using a stylus and Wacom board. Like all tools you need to have a clear use for it, rather than playing in a sandpit. To be able to collaborate in a team people need to be familiar with and using the same software/platforms.

Compendium can be used as a basic mind-map or flow chart and with experience be used for much more, as an e-portfolio of sorts.

It is overly prescriptive. Tools need to be intuitive and follow common practices regarding buttons and outcomes. For a first draft I prefer marker pen on paper, followed by bubbl.us.

As Beetham’s Chapter 2 (Activity 2) points out learners will find their own way through a task regardless. We understand things differently, draw on different experiences and come up with our own metaphors.

Whilst I go with the ‘Swim Lanes’ analogy, I often think the reality is like a Catherine-wheel nailed to a post in the rain.

Should an exercise such as this be addressed in a way that has so scientific connotations? It is surprising how easy it is to share the narrative of a linear activity in a multitude of ways. A simple set of numbered bullet points, perhaps worked up as a presentation. As a board game, one step taken at a time. Or a set of activity cards. You can talk it through by counting five activities off on your fingers. I’ll do one of these in the truly, joyful, brilliant http://www.bubbl.us and post it to my ou blog and extracurricular blog’ ‘My Mind Bursts’ which in turn is fed to Twitter ‘jj27vv.’

Make one of these mind maps, then change your mind and be tickled with the way the ‘node’ or ‘bubbl’ behaves . Go see! This and a list of wonderful tools from an H808 student who is a primary school teacher in Thailand. Work should be fun, especially learning design. After all, if you don’t enjoy it, how do you expect your future students to behave?

PART THREE

Bubbl.us has gone from toy to a grown up tool with layers and the opportunity to add sound, images (stills and moving) and no doubt much more, none of which I have had time to try.

The old bubbl.us was like playing with kid’s party balloons and when you deleted a balloon (or node) it blew up and burst into flames. This new version still does some magic to the eye, fading away like a mist, also when you save melting into the background like a rainbow of ice melting.

An extraordinary delight to the senses and apparently of far more practicle use than I credited it with a few months ago.

Click on this and it takes you to Picassa Dropbox. You can then enlarge it, save the code and help yourself. I think all the images I’ve put into this OU identify album is ‘open to the public.’

Seeing this all again I am reminded of my inspiration David McCandless.

By working on this a few more times an art director or designer would turn it into a thing of beauty; it is this level of inspiration that sells ideas to committees, colleagues and others.

People buy into ideas. People like to be inspired.

The pedagogy must of course be sound, the right offering of activities, outcomes and learner flexibility and support is the OU magic mix.

P.S. Don’t imagine I was familiar with any of these tools until I started the MAODE in Feb 2010, most of everything I now use I was introduced to by someone here.

PART FOUR

Add the role of the Tutor.

Get in a designer and make it a thing of information beauty.

Sell it internally and externally.

Schedule, produce.

Watch what happens and adjust accordingly.

Use of video (Part Four)

What makes an elearning forum tick?

This is the crux of social learning for me, what John Seely Brown calls ‘learning at the periphery’ or Cox (2006) calls ‘vicarious’ learning and I have dubbed ‘learning through serendipity’. As a result of taking part you acquire knowledge, you develop your thinking and underststaning. It was no different for me learning French. The school way was hopeless, what I required was total immersion, which is what I got in my late teens turning up in France on an exchange, making friends and returning … then working a gap year as far from English speakers as possible. This is how I learn, many of us prefer this informal approach. Its something that corporate elearning companies and corporate learning departments have yet to tap into. Perhaps because it lacks measurement, that there appear to be no parameters.

There are many ways to get content noticed. All the traditional tricks of promotion are required here too. Email databases, events, trade promotions, press advertising and business cards; online is not a panacea, neither is it replacement technology. It is part of the world we live in, a choice, something else, that complements other ways of doing things.

The ‘long tail’ refers to the way content has a life before, during and after being posted. There is a story to tell in its creation and promotion; its release should factor in for a long shelf life, then there is this ‘after life’, how once posted content may then be picked up by others and developed into different, better and alternative things. Keep tabs on this and content online becomes more like street theatre, or talking from a soap box on Hyde Park Corner, it is an opportunity to engage with an audience.

I like to blog, use Linkedin and Twitter.

Better to be the master of some platforms than a jack of all trades.

REFERENCE

Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).

Creative swiping: what would you take?

Over the course of a single working day, keep an eye out for examples of good practice wherever you may find them.

During a commute, reading a newspaper, magazine or journal, observing ‘things’ (tangible products) in action or experiencing some service delivery.

How could any of these be adapted to suit your organisation?

Try and discover a good idea that could be adapted to suit your organisation from the experiences of as many of the following as you can:

A member of your family (at work or school or wherever)
A friend
A colleague
A supplier
A competitor
A customer

  • Tesco customer suggestions and response board
  • Free content on Facebook; pay for the piece of paper.
  • OMU plasticated wall for planning
  • Electronic sign in at Doctor’s Surgery
  • Barcode entry to Gamesmaker Training
  • Rotating three lanes at swimming club so each in turn gets the attention of the coach.
  • Self-service check-out at WHSmith, Victoria Yo Sushi conveyor-belt food servings
  • Social Media Marketing eLearning from MMC learning
  • Keeping a diary

What has anyone else come across?

Enriching the broadcast transmission

Tony Hirst

Given growing interest around second screen complements to live broadcasts, are Comms looking at ways in which we might provide social media annotations/enrichment around broadcast materials at time of transmission

(eg along lines of http://blog.ouseful.info/2010/02/16/broadcast-support-thinking-about-virtual-revolution/ )

and maybe also as value add content around timeshifted/personally scheduled content?

(See also: http://blog.ouseful.info/2010/11/23/time-yet-for-twitter-captions-on-bbc-iplayer-content/ )

 

The Digital Scholar: The Nature of Scholarship

Scholarly promotes:

  • Discovering knowledge
  • Adding layers
  • Comparing
  • Referencing and acknowledging
  • Sampling
  • Illustrating
  • Representing

Palmer, Teffeau and Pirmann (2009)

  • Searching (browsing)
  • Collecting
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Collaborating

Boyer (1990)

Need to recruit to teach, not research.

‘Knowledge is acquired through research, synthesis, practice and teaching’. Boyer (1990)

• Discovery

• Application

• Teaching

Favours humanities, lone scholars and a culture of ‘possessive individualism’ (Rosenzweig, 2007)

Isn’t the term digital harking back to the 1990s? Should we not be talking about E-scholarship?

• Build

• Create tools to build and analyse

• New intellectual products

Borgman (2007)

‘The Internet lies at the core of an advanced scholarly information infrastructure to facilitate distributed, data and information-intensive collaborative research’.

N.B. The sharing of data and data itself constitute knowledge capital, comparable with published articles

  • Changes in how scholars communicate, outputs and the networks they operate in.
  • Discovery or ‘genesis research’
  • Datasets being more readily shared.
  • Data visualisation and information is beautiful.

New forms of journal publishing see the journal of Visualized Experiments. http://www.Jove.com

John Seely Brown

Academics as brand

Outreach and viral appeal …when the right person tweets you.

Through openness of two kinds, sharing and being.

Higher citation impact of open articles of 36% to 172%

Networking = crowd sourcing

Lazy web = access to experts

Reciprocity is key

The relationship between a blogger and a reader is maintained if the blogger provides interesting and regular updates.

An economy of reciprocity

The more you give online that is of value to those in your network then the more ‘credit’ you establish.

Sarah Horrigan (2009) lists Twitter etiquette that could be … Advice on establishing reciprocity.

• Fill in your profile

• Picture please

• Not a private club

• Participate

• Update

• Learn the importance of @ and ‘d’.

• Retweet selectively

Nowak and Roche (2007)

Upstream reciprocity

A recipient of an act of kindness is more likely to help others.

Openness the sine qua non

• Sharing

• Reciprocity

GSA. Centralise LMSs:

David Wiley

Michael Wesch

Larry Lessor

Where Academics get stuck – identity and status.

Zittrain (2008) ‘generatively’ ‘a system’s capacity to produce unanticipated change through unfiltered contributions from broad and varied audiences’.

Low product OERs encourages further participation. The implicit message in these OERs is that the consumer can become a producer – they are an invitation to participate precisely because of their low quality.

KEY

In educational terms it may be that both (big OERs and little OERs) have a role to play within a learning context or course. Learners may want to feel the reassurance of the quality brand material for core content, but they may also want a mixture of the more social, participatory media that encourages them to contribute’.

  • Joshua Bell playing on the underground story.
  • Top violinist using an instrument worth 3.5 million dollars.
  • Context of big OER compared to little.
  • Naive to think putting stuff onto YouTube will get it noticed.

The Digtal Scholar (2011) Martin Weller

Alerted by a Tweat, I bought the book in minutes.

There’s never a better time than ‘Now’.

Purchase your copy here.

Unwell, so having it read to me on the Kindle, while taking notes on an iPad.

When I wander off I pick up the thread on the iPhone.

It’s surprising how much can be read while the kettle boils.

In due course and I’ll have my very own 3,000 word interpretation of this 50,000+ worder, far more once I’ve added my notes, thoughts additional references and illustrations.

My web 2.0 sensibilities are for the online equivalent of the Illustrated, hardback coffee-table book, with video and podcasts, interactivity and links.

I’d have Dion Hinchcliffe‘s graphic designer do some colour diagrams, Steven Appleby provide some cartoons, while I would interview the author for YouTube and set it all to something suitably camp like Mike Oldfield with a Roger Dean poster decorating the set.

When do we get the webinar?

And I pre-emptivelly wrote a review in Amazon on the basis of the first two chapters, hearing the author debate and speak the subject and reading his blog (as well as his earlier book that he brings up as a way of looking at how things have changed since 2006).

P.S. Buy you e-book version now then return here to discuss, or find you in Linked in or Google+ …

Or for some blended learning if you live near Lewes, East Sussex, over at the Needlemakers for a coffee.

My ‘take-aways’ so far:

  • Digital, Networked, Open.
  • Fast, cheap and out of control.
  • Why students choose one university over another.
  • The ‘good enough’ revolution. Wired (2009)
  • The unpredicatable use of technology.
  • (and Martin Weller‘s daughter, he writes on page one, didn’t think, based on his ‘ellevator pitch’ that the book would do very well. This, with a bit of ‘airplay’ on the blogosphere, need not be the case. Get to work tweeting, noting, sharing, putting into Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Xing and Viadeo. I can’t see a movie in it though).
 

 

Does technology diminish or enhance the role of the educator?

My son might be online playing World of War craft often, but so are two or three of his best mates.

From time to time they down tools (weapons, magic wands or whatever it might be) and head into town, or meet up to kick a ball around. Ditto my daughter whose use of the internet is exclusively to talk more with her immediate circle of friends.

This is real.

A colleague who has had the ‘social media manager’ tag at the OU has gone the full loop and is a ‘Communications Manager’ despite being online all day. I see her point, we differentiate new practices with new terms, but drop them once we see them in context.

It has happened sooner that I thought but there ought to be no need to different ‘learning’ from ‘e-learning’ as it is just learning that exploits new platforms and tools.

The human element is important.

Our human nature demands that we have physical contact with others. We are sociable, which interestingly has me spending increasingly amounts of time as a ‘social media manager’ in meetings or calling up people to meet face to face over lunch or a coffee.

I appreciate that the MAODE is all online.

I wonder however if this ‘purist’ point of view is sustainable or even desirable. Or do those who can and want to meet up do so anyway?

(Meeting a fellow MAODEr for the very first time a few weeks ago was odd. We felt we knew each other, there was no ‘ice to break’ as we’d worked on group tasks together in a previous module).

Not once have I imagined the technology making the genuine educator redundant i.e. someone whose modus operandi is to help students acquire knowledge and apply it, even to instill a life long love of learning with some tools and techniques to see them through.

If on a holiday to the Dordogne you came across a person from the Paleolithic painting in a cave would you leave him to it, or offer him your oils and sable brushes, or show him how to use a digital camera? (or her of course).

You don’t change the desire for self-expression, or capturing the world around you.

I know educators in their 80s who marvel at the Internet and the opportunity it offers to inform thousands.

Just think of an academic paper that in the past (and still) may be formally presented to a group of ten in the faculty, a group of thirty at a conference, then published … and quickly forgotten, compared to an age where such papers are presented face to face as described, but live through live streaming or a webcast to several hundred, then shared, copied and commented upon by thousands, and before it is even formally published may be gathering in a large readership?

And this is done by nursery, primary and secondary school educators too.

You have an idea for a class, you share it and if it is liked, it is picked up and used in many ways by many different people.

Its no longer a case of saying, ‘I wish I had done that.’ With permission/creative commons, OER and all that, you can use the fruits of someone else’s efforts, tweaked and personalised of course.

I rather think it is an exciting time to be working in education.

Personally I hanker after contact though, to address, mentor and coach people, probably young adults.

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