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Ones to watch:
- Academic publishers
- University Faculties
- Research in and of faculties.
- Initiatives to give eReaders preloaded with course books to students.
- Proactive use of eReaders by learners, say junior doctors.
- Research in schools. Related research on mobile learning.
- Drivers include cost savings.
The purchase of books and their distribution is expensive compared to digital versions that are easily uploaded and include a multitude of affordances:
- book marking,
- searching …
Whilst digital versions of millions of books, journals and papers increase access and scope of reading, developers are producing new interactive, multimedia formats even blending eBooks into the learning process with assessment and student analysis through quizzes and games.
A student can find rapidly from vast sources the material they need to see, though distraction is an issue. They can fast track through ‘reading’, branch out or study something else in parallel.
Has this been cornered by Martin Weller?
The Institute of Educational
Technology at the OU is a leader.
Ones to watch:
- Paul Anderson
- Graine Conole
- Tim O’Reilly
- Eileen Scanlon
- John Seely Brown
- George Siemens
- Clay Shirky
- Rhona Sharpe
- M Wesch
- Adam Greenfield
- Brian Kelly
- Stephen Heppel
Ones to follow:
- Martin Weller
- Helen Beetham
- Rhona Sharpe
- Allison Littlejohn
- Chris Pegler
- Sara De Frietas
Open Access: Guardian Higher Education Network
Martin Weller published ‘The Digital Scholar’ in 2011 on a Creative Commons Licence. You can download it for free, or purchase the book or eBook, and then do as you will with it. When I read it I share short excerpts on Twitter. I’ve blogged it from end to end and am now having fun with a simple tool for ‘mashing up’ designs called ‘Studio’. It’s a photo editing tool that allows you to add multiple layers of stuff. I rather see it as a revision tool – it makes you spend more time with the excerpts you pick out.
You cannot be so open that you become an empty vessel … you have to create stuff, get your thoughts out there in one way or another so that others can knock ’em down and make more of them. Ideas need legs. In all this ‘play’ though have I burried my head in its contents and with effort read it deeply? Do we invoke shallow learning and distraction with openness? If we each read the book and met for a tutorial is that not, educationally, a more focused and constructive form of ‘oppenness’?
In relation to scholarship shoulf the old rules, the ‘measures’ of academic prowess count? In the connected world of the 21st century ‘scholarship’ is able to emerge in unconventional ways, freed of the school-to-university conveyor belt.
Weller, M (2011) The Digital scholar
Over 125 million people want a university education – current global provision struggles to cater for 5 milllion – making the source content free doesn’t create an educational package – it lack the scaffolding, assessment and accreditation, but it is food for the hungry.
12th April 2011
I was hopeless at languages but knew that going on a French exchange would do the job; it did I had three weeks in France, then he had three weeks back in England and the friends I made in France had me back for seven weeks over the summer, camping and hitchhiking. Then a gap year working in a busy four star hotel.
Immersive learning, learning by default.
I didn’t expect to feel this way about my MA course. I’ve had some intensive days online, but I know find myself challenged my entire waking day, whether online or not.
I am in the university town of Milton Keynes; I’ll call it that, because my perspective it is. I’m in a house that has five students in it, and it transpires there are houses up and down the road that do the same thing.
I get up and read on my Kindle.
I’m just about through Chris Pegler on Blended Learning (recommended). I walk in with a mechanical engineer and then spend the day in meetings at the OU Faculty of Business and Law on how it is received online, from students, assistant lecturers (tutors) and fellow academics and prospective candidates.
I have lunch in ‘The Hub’ and cannot help but overhear what sounds like an impromptu tutorial on genetics. And then I register at the OU library and enjoy that distraction of wondering the shelves, then as you approach the title you want you discover a couple of other items that could be of interest. Can serendipity be written into the code of someone studying online? It’s preferable to the ‘Amazon Recommends’. (Too pushy)
I return to the house and find myself engaged in the content of a thesis on how teams collaborate in creative activities.
Were the first universities at all akin to this?
Bologna in the 11th century, students staying in the town, in lodgings.
(Had I been at home there would have been several distractions. One person here says how she gets away from home so that she can work on her thesis. Do you require space to learn, just as authors need space to write? Who was it who said you need periods of nothing at all before you could write anything original?)
I need now to engage with the MAODE.
After a two and a half hour discussion on the value of blogging and other social networks in education I wonder if I have the mental energy or desire to do any more. I feel that I can knock a few holes in my head and rather like draining the milk from a coconut just give my head a shake over the keyboard.
A week ago I put ‘the contents of my brain’ online, either in dropbox, or Google docs, on the ou e-portfolio My Stuff, even here … a blog is as good a place as any to store content. Just go tag crazy so that you can find it.
How to encourage others to blog?
As I come across others (and locate the links for the above), I’ll offer more.
The journey I set out on to get to Oxford or Cambridge took two years.
Not getting along with Economics I switched to History after a term in the Lower Sixth. (Not getting on with Sedbergh School, Cumbria, I left !)
My essays, though long (always, my habit, then, as now – why say something in six words when eighteen will do?) Tell Proust to write in sentences of less than six words, in paragraphs that don’t flow from one page to the next (ditto Henry Miller).
Where was I?
See how a stream of consciousness turns into a cascade?
My essays (I still have them. Sad. Very sad). Were on the whole terrible. A ‘C’ grade is typical, a ‘D’ not unknown. So what happened to get me to straight As, an Oxbridge exam and a place to study Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford?
I was bedding down. Putting things in a stack. And working my pile. Perhaps my history tutors detailed notes and bullet points fed on my poor essays? Perhaps the seeds that took root were carefully tendered?
Repeated testing (my self) and learning how to retain then regurgitate great long lists of pertinent facts helped.
Having an essay style I could visualise courtesy of my Geography Teacher helped. (Think of a flower with six or so petals. Each petal is a theme. The stamen is the essay title, the step the introduction and conclusion).
Writing essays over and over again helped. Eventually I got the idea.
Try doing this for an Assignment. You can’t. Yet this process, that took 24+ months to complete can be achieved over a few weeks. Perhaps a blank sheet of paper and exam conditions would be one way of treating it, instead I’ve coming to think of these as an ‘open book’ assessment. There is a deadline, and a time limit, though you’re going to get far longer than the 45 minutes per essay (or was it 23 minutes) while sitting an exam.
Personally, I have to get my head to the stage where I’ve done the e, d, c, and b grade stuff. When I’ve had a chance to sieve and grade and filter and shake … until, perhaps, I reach the stage where if called to do so I could sit this as an exam – or at least take it as a viva.
Not a convert to online learning as an exclusive platform though.
Passion for your tutor, your fellow students … as well as the subject, is better catered for in the flesh.
The way ahead is for ‘traditional’ universities to buy big time into blended learning, double their intake and have a single year group rotating in and out during a SIX term year (three on campus, three on holiday or working online.)
P.S. Did I mention teachers?
Have a very good teacher, it helps. The Royal Grammar School, Newcastle where I transferred to take A’ Levels delivers.