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“Skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.”

Fig.1. Steve Jobs in Isaacson (2011).

‘If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away’.

Apple haven’t created a Steve Jacobs APP to bring him back to life virtually, rather they have created a University within Apple to teach the Apple Way as a management and leadership programme akin to an MBA and run by the former Dean of Yale Business School. Joel Podolny

Jobs quoted the hockey star Wayne Gretzky’s maxim, “Skate where the puck’s going, not where it’s been.” Isaacson (2011). 

“Steve prefers to be in the moment, talking things through. He once told me, ‘If you need slides, it shows you don’t know what you’re talking about.’” Jobs said.  Isaacson Isaacson (2011. p. 387).

Bell and Gemmel get it wrong on lectures. (2009. p 117-118) They make assumptions about the value or otherwise of watching a live lecture in favour of a recorded one.

Whilst this might replace sitting in a class it doesn’t mean that by replaying the video repeatedly the student will be any the wiser or even recall what has been viewed.

Viewing video is a passive exercise, ‘sit back’ rather than ‘sit forward’, Far better that the video is offered as an e-learning module, broken into a dozen pieces, each one different, each one challenging the student in different ways, obliging them to think, to construct, to research, to discuss with others, to answer questions.

I’d like to read this research, understand the way it was undertaken, and how the conclusions were drawn. I’d like to know what other research has been done in this area to get the fullest picture.

On p119 we are given the story of a 7th grade field trip in which students identify leaves of different plants in a forest and we then are asked to imaging 40 years later this 50 year old needing to call upon a digital recording of that event in order to show it to his child. His child, far preferring the psychologically better and warm lesson from her father would feel rejected if made to watch the video.

What is more, the learning, through communication isn’t purely as a result of looking at an object and hearing or being told what it is – the lesson is largely recalled for the emotional impact of delivery from the teacher – how they speech and their body language – were the enthusiastic or bored by the information they had to impart?

My biggest concern about the assumptions of Bell’s lifelogging is that if I take a self-drive car from A to B, a 45 minute journey, will I ever, if called upon be able to drive this route myself

  •  if I have never driven myself
  •  if I’ve never made the choices that would take me this way?

A lifelogging device is akin to driving on autopilot, there is no need to concentrate and without that there is no memory creation – so yes, you would need a recall device. And if you are behaving as if you are not there, why be there? Indeed, to fake it college students might hand their lifelogging devices to one student who would then attend the lecture on everyone else’s behalf.

REFERENCE

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

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

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

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.

 

 

Turning thoughts into action – the life of Z A Pelczynski remembered

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Read cover to cover yesterday, into the evening and small hours. I’m now onto the second read, with various notes to add, references to pursue and further research to undertake.

Yet to be published, I’ll give detials in due course of how to get your hands on a copy.

Why read ‘A Life Remembered’ ?

It’s a fascinating life story from surving the Warsaw Uprising as a teenager to achieving as an Academic and educator in England, Scotland then at various leading universities around the world while pursing various interests and causes with passion and dogged determination. A life lesson? I think so.

What role did Buddhism play in harnessing the creative genius of Steve Jobs

Buddhism and the importance of intuitive thinking. Isaacson (2011:35)

REFERENCE

Isaacson, W (2011) Steve Jobs : the exclusive biography.

Creativity, Innovation and Change meets Innovations in e-learning courtesy of the Open University

The module ended 10 days ago so what am I doing having a dream about the thing?

And given the course, ‘Creativity, Innovation & Change’ then once again, despite my best efforts, I can share with you that ‘Working with Dreams’ is a tricky one for the office.

The dream was about collaboration, not in teams, but in partnership. I’m re-reading the Walter Isaacson biography and tossing notes onto Twitter and Facebook.

My thoughts dwelt on the nature of close collaboration, how likeminds may be LESS useful than minds where there is conflict. The key is to have a common goal, indeed, very different ‘personalities’ by type, experience, background, response are beneficial so long as the ‘GOAL’ is a significant motivation that overrides everything else.

For anyone caring to join in I’ve set up a Steve Jobs: Walter Isaacson discussion group on Linkedin.

Currently I am talking to myself (was it not ever thus).

P.S. My bloods have come but negative, so I feel like taking a cold shower and changing scenes.

Steve Jobs: On applied learning over classroom theory

‘I’m going to be in meetings 24/7 for probably two days and I want you to be in very single one because you’ll learn more in those two days than you would in two years at business school’. Isaacson (2011:521)

‘You’re going to be in the room with the best people in the world making really tough decisions and get to see how the sausage is made’. Isaacson (2011:521)

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs

Trivia, dreams, philosophy, a nail in the foot

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35 years ago Walter Isaacson was studying philosophy at Pembroke College, Oxford under Dr Z A Pelczynski.

Calling my in-laws to thank them for the Steve Jobs biography, stood on a nail and had to be run to the Radcliffe Hospital. Such anecdotes are common as ZAP taught some great young minds; we’ve just been celebrating his 50th Wedding Anniversary and 85th birthday.

I am also working my way through something called the ‘Techniques Library’ from an MBA module with the OU and Stumbleupon a piece about ‘Keeping a dream diary’ which I feel certain I was introduced to some 35 years ago by my older sister.

I have put some of these dreams online at so that others might learn from the technique. I trust I’ve not disclosed anything too personal nor confidential.

There’s always the danger that people believe what you dream is what you think, whereas I believe they indicate how you feel.

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