Belated summary of what Deb did during Open Education Week 2015 !

H800 Week 3 OU LIVE REFLECTIONS ( When Charlie met Harry …. ?)

Reflecting on the experience of the OU LIVE tutorial and breakout room discussion and using the questions provided as a prompt … ( Permission has also been kindly given by all those involved to refer to comments etc )

What were your experiences and feelings during the session?

charlie meets harryI enjoyed the whole experience of the OU Live Session in Week 3 with Janet, Adrian, Cathy and Gillian ( although we lost connection with Cathy at the beginning :() …. I’m not new to OU Live but I found that there were some functions that I hadn’t used before in OU Live.   For example the ability to move between whiteboard views – reflecting on this I realise now that I have used the facility before to move between slides but hadn’t made the connection with the white board facility. Gillian took me through how to do this in (call it practical research for participation learning  ! )and before I knew it I was zipping around between the whiteboards at speed.

Another thing I also hadn’t experienced before was the joy of feeling as if I had been teleported between the main and the break out room. I just couldn’t get visions out of my head of a little Debbie being picked up and whizzed through the ether before landing softly in the breakout room … like a sort of mix between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter  …

Anyhow, we stayed quite a while longer than planned it was another great opportunity to meet with others and grapple with both the technology and the task that we had been set…

What did you learn about the Sfard paper itself? Were some parts of the session more useful than others in this respect?

I found some of Sfard’s writing quite difficult to get to grips with. I had to read it a couple of times and even though some of the ideas were sort of familiar, I still found that I needed to read it carefully.  photo 2

However, I found that miraculously as soon as Janet started her tutorial things started to make much more sense…. Was this because I had acquired some initial knowledge but by having it explained to me ( perhaps in a different way) that I was able to consolidate my knowledge through participation in the tutorial ?

I had a bit of a light bulb moment when we looked at the key concepts and the metaphorical mappings and Janet started to offer up examples and scenarios – this made the learning much more ‘real’ for me.

This was brought even more to life by the activities that we were asked to do which really helped me make sense of the terminology ( at least I think it did ! ) For me the whole idea of  blurry (fuzzy)  boundaries between acquisition and participation seem to get even more blurred the more I think about them …

I found both parts of the session useful – I liked the way Janet explained things and gave us a lovely warm welcome when we arrived. I also liked the breakout room discussion as we all worked really well together and I learnt a lot about the tech from actually doing it !

2015-02-27_2108_sfard 2015-02-27_2108_keywords

This sort of consolidates my previous view that I really do learn better by ‘doing’ and as I consider myself quite a visual learner I suppose using the clipart during the activities also appealed to my learning style.

In our breakout rooms we found that we talked a lot (mostly about Sfard ) but didn’t actually write all that much down – I think what could have helped here on reflection was either a role allocation of scribe ( perhaps turn taking) or even, if we had felt more confident with using alternative software packages we could have used  those to capture ideas and then paste into the white board – I found that I thought I was typing away but it didn’t work a lot of the time ! I think Adrian and Gill experienced the same … anyhow although I don’t expect anyone can read it,  here is what we came up with  …


Can you come to any (perhaps tentative) views about the pros and cons of OU Live for the task you were set, in the context of a Masters module of this kind? Do you feel, for example, that this synchronous event carries more status when compared with online forums? (You’ll remember from Week 3a that Goodyear (2006) argues that this is the case.)

I think OU live is a great tool for collaborative learning. I find that just having the verbal conversation with people allows me to make a much more meaningful connection with them and for me,  this helps me to form and build relationships with other students on the course. Reflecting on why this occurs is not so easy. Could it be that people start to seem more ‘ real’ and human – I wonder how this relates to Identity ?

I was reminded of my early days with the OU (..ahem back in the dark ages in the late 1990’s ! )  and the interactions that we had then between students. Those were initially face to face during (well spaced out) tutorials and then later when Online Conferencing was first introduced well that was like a whole other world going on – particularly because it just wasnt ‘ the norm’ to have an online presence so people in the real world just didn’t get it !

Although Online Conferencing that I used back then ( I think it was called First Class ?)  helped with connecting to other students through forum discussions and chats etc I think OU live takes this to a different level in helping with feelings of isolation etc because of the verbal / visual capabilities  – I also think it foster a real sense of community and these days it could be argued that because it is more common place for people to have an online presence through social media etc perhaps this feels more familiar ?

I would still recognise however that even though these days communicating online is much more commonplace it can still spark up feelings of anxiety for people who are new to using it and indeed having to take that first ‘ leap of faith’ can be quite a daunting experience.

How far, if at all, would OU Live or a similar tool be useful in your own context?

We use Blackboard Collaborate in work. I use it quite a lot for online collaborative activities etc and it works really well. We have also started using it for some of our online courses and I think this will grow.

How would you design the activities? If you are already using a tool of this kind, how do the activities you run compare with the session you have just completed?

Funnily enough I have just studied one of our courses where we have incorporated Collaborate to. Interestingly the design of the course doesn’t introduce Collaborate until over half way through the course . I found that a bit odd and have fed this back that for me having it earlier in the course would help to form a sense of community and start to develop the relationships that I refer to above. I also think having some kind of interactive session like the clip art exercise worked really well.


Sfard, A. (1998) ‘On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one’, Educational Researcher, vol.27, no.2, pp.4–13; also available online at login?url= stable/ 1176193 (last accessed 18 November 2014).

Bayne, S. (2005) ‘Deceit, desire and control: the identities of learners and teachers in cyberspace’ in Land, R. and Bayne, S. (eds) Education in Cyberspace, Abingdon, RoutledgeFalmer.

Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006), Swindon, ESRC.

Week 2 A1: We participate therefore we are?

Reflections on the webcast by John Seely Brown

Your work so far on H800 includes some individual reading, listening and perhaps viewing. Does Brown’s argument imply that this is less valuable than your group work? It is illogical for John Seely Brown to claim that study groups are the “best indicator for success” when he is asking us to listen to one person – himself! – in lecture mode.’


Well listened to the first 20 minutes for the talk – Personally I could listen to him all day – for me he has such a lovely way of speaking – although I admit that some of it went over my head though but some of it really struck a chord.

At first glance it might seem a bit contradictory ( perhaps illogical ) as the environment of the talk lends itself to a traditional lecture format and doesn’t embrace some of the techniques that would truly allow the audience to be part of the experience and therefore engage in collaborative learning  ( I say this of only the parts that I have viewed so far of course )

I agree that the purpose of Brown’s presentation was to endorse the value of study groups and for me the key thing here is that he focuses on the value of social construction of ‘understanding’ rather than the knowledge aspect. I don’t think he particularly mean that individual learning was less valuable , just that collaborative could offer additional value…?


 What are the implications of his argument for your own use of technology – in your own learning and teaching?As usual, please interpret ‘teaching’ very broadly to include a wide range of roles. If you are not working in technology-enhanced learning, consider the role of technology in your informal support of others – friends, family members, colleagues

For me I find it incredibly helpful to reinforce my own understanding of a concept within a group although I would certainly agree with some of the points that have been made on the discussion forum that discussions can be stressful ! I think the key to collaborative learning is creating a safe and respectful environment where people feel supported , valued and reassured that no question is a stupid one !

What are your reactions to Brown’s style of presentation? What are its strengths and weaknesses compared with other presentations you have seen?

I liked listening to him and it did not seem like ‘death by Powerpoint’  but again because of the potential contraction between the nature of the talk and the chosen talk environment, what would have been interesting to see is what happened after the lecture ?  I quickly whizzed to the end but it does stop at the end of the talk which is of course not unusual but I did wonder did people talk about it afterwards ?  Would that interaction led to a deeper level of understanding  of the issues raised in the talk and as that would have taken place in a social context would that have then backed up Seely Brown’s argument that ‘Understanding not knowledge is socially constructed ?’


Week 1 Activity 4: Generations of information seekers

Click to access UCL_Reading_research.pdf

What follows starts with a quick exercise to focus your thinking about the Google Generation.

  • Below are four statements about that generation. Two statements have been described as myths by the authors of the study from which the graph is taken: please try to identify those two statements. And, in your view, how accurate are each of the other statements?

    1. ‘They [the Google Generation] need to feel constantly connected to the web’

    2. ‘They are the “cut-and-paste” generation’

    3. ‘They pick up computer skills by trial and error’

    4. ‘They are expert searchers’

Which of Statements 1–4 above, if any, apply to you?

I think that in some way most of these statements could apply to me, although to varying degrees.  I’m pretty much a daily user of the web through both my work, my study and my home life. I definitely pick up computer skills by trial and error and I would class myself as an ‘ ok but could do better’ searcher … In terms of the cut and paste generation .. that is a tricky one .. I can see in one way it could apply but it does seem an almost ‘dismissive’ turn of phrase – not sure about that. I’m definitely not part of what I see as the ‘google generation’ though age wise ..

Which method in the graph above do you depend on most?

I guess I’m probably right in the middle of the graph age wise and I would pretty much use all of the methods mentioned, it depends on the task really.

Week 1 Activity 3 : How much changed when printing arrived?

Thanks, Gutenberg – but we’re too pressed for time to read

  • What strikes you as interesting?

Mmm … I liked this article … well I did until I tried to look up the link it mentions in to the study by the British Library and researchers at University College London. The link to the study which the article says is available from seems to reach a dead link … now it could just be me and my little old computer perhaps but if it isn’t me and if the link truly is dead then this might well provide another aspect to the ‘power browsing’ and quick wins referred to in the article – did I bother trying to get to the study after my fruitless effort ? Well no …. will I look it up at some point in the future ? Possibly but probably not … Could I just be satisfied with reading (skimming) the summary info provided in the article (for a quick win) rather than looking at the study directly ? Probably ….  certainly food for thought on the old surface / deep learning debate 🙂


  • How clear do you find the argument about the First Law of Technology – for example, the point about overestimating?

Well I could see where he was going with it, but I found that I needed more information in relation to where this ‘law’ had come from and whether there were any other laws that went with it … so I guess from the article itself , only a hint of the underlying principles of the laws of technology was given and therefore no I dont think it was particularly clear.

A quick google of this later gave several results eventually leading me to this blog post by Michael Sacasas which I found quite accessible to read and this gives a useful summary of all six laws of technology which have become known as Kranzberg’s Laws ….well that is assuming that I have stumbled upon the correct set of laws ….



Kranzberg, Melvin (1986) Technology and History: “Kranzberg’s Laws”, Technology and Culture, Vol. 27, No. 3, pp. 544-560.

I also found this useful video on You Tube by Connor Owens which gives a useful overview …

Week 1 Activity 2 : Sharing your reactions

Something that interested me …

I’m really interested in how people learn both in formal situations and informal contexts. I love the idea of the fact that you can learn without realising you are learning ( if you know what I mean). I’m really interested in the different attitudes and behaviours that people have towards use of technology for their own learning and I’m looking forward to working in a collaborative setting as we go through the course.

My Chosen Learning Outcome

For me I guess the key learning outcome would come under Cognitive Skills  and developing my ability to  ‘use …differing perspectives to make sense of your own and others’ experience of learning with technologies’ .  Working with other people and learning about their values and attitudes towards the use of technology will really help with this 🙂