Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Thoughts on first day of FOS course

Last night was my first experience of a Twitter shower via the FOS chat, I was using http://tweetchat.com/room/FOSchat  It did not seem to let me add images to my contributions but was handy as the hashtag was added automatically - I often forget to paste in a hashtag when in focused discussions. Looking in my Twitter account I see images were posted and the conversation does make more sense however Tweetchat was an interesting experience.

Earlier in the day I was at the JISC connect more event in Bristol, two names I know via Twitter and was interested to see in person were Sarah Knight and James Clay but I also spotted a fair few names on badges that belong to people I now know are in the FOS community - missed opportunities to say hello.

One of the themes in the Twitter shower was teachers using Twitter for CPD I see that working on at least two levels both of which rely on the 'Gift Society' a concept coined I believe by the founder of Facebook.  One is the use of Twitter as a portal to other resources, often blogs or other professional information sharing sites and sometimes I see links to published journals. The other is professional discourse often between people ho have never met but who are non the less willing and keen to help each other out. The image below shows someone considering the use of some new software (Showbie) then Mr Parkinson and Mark Anderson offering advice.

Twitter in that example is being used to check whether some software is worth trying out, it can take hours to work out how to use new software and sometimes the software is not what we are looking for so this can be a timesaving filter and in this case has added a further option - 'Classroom' OK that might add in more time working out which is best but the whole experience increases the users knowledge so contributes towards their professional development.

Another theme was around Identity and whether to split professional and personal identities. I do that by having two main blogs this one for more professional posts although it is also my learning journal, I also have a blog that is more about family life and have tried others themed on my personal interests.

As far as online identity in my professional world goes another image I wanted to add to the chat is shown in the extract from a blog post on use of audio pasted below. I teach in a fully online world, although I have been in HE since 1998 I have only ever done two traditional lectures from a lecture theatre. The first time I meet 99% of my students is at graduation so conveying a sense of who I am is very different to most teachers who have the classroom or lecture theatre in which most students can construct a sense of who the tutor is via their body language, voice and other real world clues. My courses are predicated on content being of less value than discourse, content is relatively simple honed down to essentials, as the discussions evolve they become the content. For most people text is a very efficient means of hosting asynchronous discussion, it is quick to write and to read and as my students are all in work they need to be able to study at times that are convenient to them, hence text tends to dominate.

One of the first activities I ask students to do when they join the course is to share aspirations, this starts to convey some sense of who they are and who they hope to become:
1. via padlet http://padlet.com/ian_tindal/before_i_graduate
2. via creating a poster, this starts their journey towards using media to handle and present information. http://ii-learning.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Posters reveal comments to see some of their interactions.

A fair few years ago I started adding podcasts to my online teaching, it was an experiment - could my voice add an extra dimension of inspiration or would the spontaneity help me convey things I would not think of including in text?  The impact on conveying identity was something I had not really looked for. I shy away from video as having my image recorded puts me off balance and I lose the flow of what I want to convey. The image should open full size and clearer if clicked on. The original post is here http://ii-learning.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/voices-in-machine-reflections-on-use.html

Another theme I though about but couldn't articulate well in the heat of the moment relates to what it means to be ITC proficient:

So what does ICT proficient mean in a rapidly evolving world - ability to constantly adapt?

Q have humans always been doing this? What is new?

What is new is a huge theme, yes humans have been adapting for a long time as have many animals but this very recent evolution to electronic/digital capability and communications faces us with both an attenuation and amplification of complexity in that machines can now relieve us of the burden of vast calculations that would take us months or even years with pen and paper but can be done by well designed software / hardware combinations in seconds. Then there is the amplification of complexity via increasing the social capabilities beyond the located. The first recordings of images and then text in all forms meant information could be accessed by people without the author being present and long after they had ceased to exist. We had to adapt from social learning, through shared experience and conversation held by being with someone, to also having access to the cave or rock surface on which information was recorded, the viewer had to travel to where the information was recorded. Transcribed, then printed, words in books added portability but access was still relatively limited until mass production. Images of newspaper readers on buses and in other public places show newspapers were as attention grabbing as smart devices are today - As a child I remember my gran complaining about how people used to talk more before the war and blaming newspapers, radio and TV for that. Sitting in a train or bus today we appear to have a moved away from public conversation but many people focused on their smart devices are not isolated, much of the time they are absorbed in socially networked conversations with a reach far greater than my gran could ever have achieved or imagined.

So what is new is the diversity of ICT capability and the potential scale of interaction. Anyone with a modern digital device can be a talker or a publisher, generating text and rich media via photos, audio and captured or streamed video or combinations of all. Many people will only do that in their own language but that only scratches the surface as to what is out there. As part of my EdD lit review and a paper I am writing I am looking to find out: 'what is known about this topic' I stumbled across some academic journal resources in Spanish which fortunately I can translate reasonably well, that got me thinking that what we generally find out is just what is known about x topic in languages we understand. Twitter and other social media tends to have translation built in although it is not always perfect it is a lot better than it was a few years ago, we can paste slabs of text from digital documents into Google translate but how often do we bother? I have 1000 words to articulate 'what is known about this topic' in the paper I am writing - that is a bit like presenting an image of one of my fingers as what is known about the being who I am - a tiny almost meaningless insight - what is new is that we have more information that we can cope with so we have to compromise. We have to be careful when reading or writing, we have no chance of knowing what there is to know, more than ever before it is clear that we can not claim breadth of knowledge on a topic or originality in the insights or new contributions we might make to that topic.

One last thing it was suggested we map out digital me - I did that in CMapTools but not yet worked out to share the interactive media version so here is a screen shot without the rollovers and links to media that are on the original. Again it needs to be clicked on to read properly.

Have been monitoring my use of Twitter today to see whether it gets in the way of every day workflow, not a great objective survey thing but I try to keep my behaviour constant with my norms which includes the fairly unusual practice of keeping many windows open for weeks, right now I have 11 browser windows open hosting 52 tabs so its easy to to visit places... as I write this I am having a conversation about PREVENT in Twitter - I hit Twitter while waiting for the phone to be answered and looked at my notifications then timeline spotted / read the prevent discussion. Phone not answered, Grabbed a screen shot of an image for my lit review then started log in to remote desktop so I can use Photoshop to modify the image, while that was opening I had time for 3 responses in Twitter. I had to attach the image to an email to send from my Mac to my remote desktop - 30 secs while it uploaded so another response in Twitter. 30 secs for Photoshop to open so time to read responses to my responses. Then time out for 2 mins to write this. As I am mostly working on a paper for my EdD course today I have found occasional forays into Twitter to be useful diversions, research is concentration heavy and breaks are needed, some people (self included) head to the kitchen for a bit of grazing while mulling things over, hopefully browsing Twitter while ruminating on my research will be a healthier option than grazing.

Weird that having spellchecked this I see that the Google powered Blogger spellchecker does not recognise Google as a word!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian it was great to connect with you yesterday . I really enjoyed reading this blog post, particularly the bit about the 'gift society' this definitely captures the supportive and collaborative atmosphere that we are experiencing on our journey in FOS together ...


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