CALRG 30th Anniversary – Session 3

[Crossposted to Cloudworks]

Adrian Kirkwood

Evaluating the OU Home Computing policy. First courses in 1988. A meta-project, an organisational activity.

Previously, provided students with computing facilities since 1970s – remote access and at study centres etc.  Desktop computers entered the mass market.  New Home Computing Policy required students – on a few, specific courses – to arrange their own access to a PC.  Huge change in practice, not just for students.

The Home Computer required: “an MS-DOS machine with 512K memory, disk storage, mouse, and capable of supporting graphics”, “the technical strategy does depend on having an MS-DOS capability for under £500”.

Courses: M205 Fundamentals of Computing – ‘foundation’ computing course. DT200 Intro to IT. Sent them a modem! M353 Computational Mathematics – modelling tool.

Very high priority. Practical arrangements, additional costs, course completion impact?

Evaluation team within IET – Tony Kate, Ann Jones, Gill Kirkup, Adrian Kirkwood, Robin Mason, short-term assistants. Interested in longer-term educational and social issues associated with the change, not (just) the logistical and practical ones. Different ways of working all round.

Issues:  Implications for course design. How it could enhance T&L and support.  CMC – very important for a distance education institution, big shift for OU. Many questions about access and equal opps, especially wrt gender and age – a ‘yuppie’ effect on recruitment patterns? Social and physical context – loss of control and knowledge of the setup by the organisation. Institutional change.

Example – DT200 student read “when you receive your materials, copy your materials as a backup”. Student took a photocopy.

What happened?  It wasn’t a disaster in the first year, “we got away with it”, senior management lost interest in those aspects. More course teams added, wealth of information collected and alanysed for internal reports and external publication. Was it institutional research or academic research, or both? It varied across a spectrum.

New, current, project – “English in Action” in Bangladesh – DfID funding over 9 years.  Developing communicative English – spoken particularly – through technology-enhanced interventions.  Access there is still a big issue.

Mike Sharples

Was only here for two years “but it seems like a lot longer”; partly because keeps coming back but partly because it was a very formative experience.  First proper job after PhD. Partly because job interview on 8 Dec 1980 and heard that John Lennon had died, important transition time.  Partly because first person met was Liz Beattie, became partner.

CYCLOPS – in 1980- a telewriting system.  30 years ahead of its time. Had great help – a personal PA, and resources of BT to redevelop it to his requirements.

It was to support OU tutoring – students in Regions – either had telephone tutorials or had to drive to the regional centre.  CYCLOPS meant they could go to a nearby study centres – a few miles rather than fifty or more.

Shared screen telewriting plus phone conference – like an OHP at a distance. Could write, pre-prepared slides, overlay, multiple interaction.  True WYSIWIS. Up to 10 centres connected in a live meeting.  Students preferred it to the other options.

So why not used now?  Framework for evaluation – look micro (HCI), meso, macro (organsitional) levels at each of usability, usefulness, efficiency, etc.

It worked!  Familiar system image (OHP), students operated it with no training.  Opened a cupboard door, connect it up, get it working … and it was Ok. BT conferencing centres started off – BT conference operators weren’t used to managing data connections, so had to set up their own.  Suited lots of interaction.

Worked at meso level too – tutors adapted it to their teqaching style. Adopted conventions – e.g. signing in with your handwriting at the start, identity.  Cyclops studio for pre-prepared illustrations – early Photoshop facility.

At the macro level … it worked for students, matched their needs.  Wrong business model – saved student travel costs but increased OU costs, for facilitator and line charges.  Unacceptable transfer (and increase) of costs.

Fast forward … to Smart Meeting Pro.  By Canadian company that developed SMARTboard.  Meeting room and conferencing system with telewriting system. “See how to write over applications”

Will it work? Probably not.  Micro – over-complex, is an add-on.  Meso – integration and purpose (vs smart boards).  Macro – connections (critical mass required) and meeting support.  Which is a bit sad.

(Mike’s lab do a lot of work with tech companies comparing/evaluating their tools like this.)

For technology to really take off, it has to: appeal to the youth market, and fit in to their social life.  Mini car in the 1960s – part of the 60s social life of London.  The CD-ROM – when marketed as serious CD-I as educational tool got nowhere, took off when part of computer games.  SMS and texting – small business market until teenagers discovered social uses.

What would happen for telewriting with young people and social networking?  Perhaps the new Nokia 5800 – Facebook, touchscreen – ‘tap here to write something’.  Combine Facebook (social) with telewriting.

Andrew Ravenscroft

Digital dialogues for thikning and learning.

Ideas came from conceptual change in science: collaborative argumentation key in realising stable conceptual change and development.  So developed dialogue modelling work-benge (CoLLeGE), then dialogue games (CSCL), then more flexible, powerful and easily-deployable digital dialogue game tools (InterLoc).

Learners in the ‘social web’ makes this even more crucial.  Worries about ‘The Thinker’, and Vygotsky. Greater emphasis on ‘learning dialogue’ but internalising what?  Home brew vs brewed by experts – quick and inexpert vs long-run.  Homebrew intellect vs Grolsch intellect.

What are we designing, predominantly?  New spaces for learning. Socio-cognative tools.  Improved semantic back-ends and knowledge networks.  Ambient pedagogies and ‘experience design’.  And ‘deep’ learning design.

Need to manage – or constrain – complexit.  Intelligent ‘anti-social’ software – from semantic web to the intentional web?  Sensible computing?  Bouncers on the door of courses.

Patrick McAndrew

Found his interview presentation from when he came to the OU.  Found a picture on his current website taken well before the slides were written.  Reanalysed it as a Wordle – tasks, framework, learning, course.  ‘Open’ doesn’t appear at all.

“Walter Perry told his new staff … .to design the teaching system to suit an individual working in a lighthouse off the coast of Scotland” – Sir John Daniels (no evidence found of whether Walter Perry said precisely that, but it was an idea in circulation)

Open then meant: contained, controlled, costed (course in a box) BUT ALSO available, accessible, all-inclusive, supported.  But that lighthouse keeper audience is shrinking.  Checked the quote a while ago, found a lighthouse keeper doing an OU course … and keeping a blog!  So the audience is changing.  People’s bags contain ‘too much technology’, world is becoming much more connected.

There is still a digital divide, but it’s not for us to solve.  If we assume the problems people have, we’ll get it wrong.  We should reach to the world out there, other initiatives address the digital divide.

We have gone open with our materials – OpenLearn.  Have learning that people are interested in the content, and the social connectivity.

Did a more current Wordle on last paper (with Grainne, Doug, et al) – OER, Learning, design, process, use, resource.  Getting Grolsch for free!

OLnet is about being open to the world in all sorts of ways, including our research approach.  Openness is at the bottom of communicate, share, learn.

Need to move to a more open version of open-ness, free up the control we have of the students. Accept that there is a free route.

Open now = unlimited, freed, free BUT ALSO available, accessible, connected, empowered.

CALRG 30th Anniversary – Session 2

[Crossposted to Cloudworks]

John Cook

Slides available in Slideshare.

Snapshot 1 – Cooperative Problem-Seeking Dialogues in Learning. (2000) to Snapshot 2 – Going for a Local Walkabout: Putting Urban Planning Education in Context with Mobile Phones. (2009)

Music a key feature throughout.  MetaMuse designed to adaptively structure interactions between pairs of cooperating learners – decisions made about traversing State Transition Networks (STNs). AI basis.  Lisp/Mac based.  Generated musical ideas fast so they could get verbalisation/externalisation leading to self-regulation/self-diagnosing – problem-seeking.

Picking up models of how pairs of cooperating learners.

Now at London Met, strange news lately, Learning Technology Research Institute. Prof of TEL, half-time helping university with e-learning. A pocket of excellence in the RAE.  RLO CETL, FP7 project CONTSENS, mobile learning, work with Agnes Kukulska-Hulme.  Urban area study, capturing pictures/VR as they go around. GPS-triggered events, show you old photographs/newsreels of the same area. Students work in pairs to solve tasks.  Schools started looking like prisons, then flatter.  High-end phones (HTC Diamond/N95), builtin voice recorder for capture of notes.

Continuity – the song remains the same?

User data still at the centre, and adaptively structuring interactions.

Important research issues: equity of access to cultural resources for education; learner generated context; appropriation; mobility and learning pathways; informal learning.

Informal learning has taken him to being an Investigative DJ on

Rick Holliman

Diverse media in here, multiple streams of information, affects how we use and produce information.  Particularly interested in science communication.

Abstract done as tweets – key events.

Followed Martian invasion – meteorite harbouring fossilised remains of ancient bacteria (?). Very controversial – was it an artifact or a real microfossil?  Much tabloid interest; interested in how science communicated in the media.

Then Dolly the sheep, 1997. Key questions – why is there only one sheep? Because the scientists doing it didn’t expect it to work, so used genetic material from their freezer … and then it did. So some controversy in the scientific – but not public – media about whether she was an actual clone because the background testing not done.

Another thing at the same time … shift in to online word in terms of news, around the UK general election. Guardian Unlimited, Electronic Telegraph.

Finger-length ratio: established in the womb, dependent on hormone balance at that time.  That’s fairly clear, but what that means in later life is much less clear.

Broadsheets changed from broad to tabloid , or compact, or Berliner. Categorisation becomes difficult – and newspapers exist in multiple formats too.  ‘Elite and popular’ almost works for printed media, but not for broadcast or online.

Language is changing, the way we describe things is also changing: abuse of vowels and pronouns is rife. The result of txting?

Many complexities of consumption and production, and data collection and analysis.

Claire O’Malley

Her new boss was on the Dolly the sheep team … and he has finished where she’s finishing.  Twenty years from NATO Advanced Research Workshop 1989, to CSCL 2009.

Conference proceedings in 1989 used a cartoon of ‘Computer-Supported Co-operative Learning’ showing a teacher standing on a computer (Mac SE) as a podium, pointing at a blackboard with ‘E=mc^2’ (shared representation), computer supporting interaction (!) but not getting in the way of teacher-student interaction (looking at each other).

Shared representations – several projects. Conceptual Change in Science. Ros Driver. 1980s, Ideas still here in latest project. More recently: Ambient Wood (Yvonne Rogers) – same thing but the technology is different. Get students to investigate real things, unmediated, but script the investigation (scripting is CSCL current buzzword) – give them representations of those.  Now Personal Inquiry (PI) with Eileen Scanlon et al.  Again, new technology but idea the same: unmediated science, mediation to help learners talk about it.

Another strand – communication. Shared ARK – Josie Taylor, Simon Buckingham Shum. Video-mediated communication with shared science simulation. Real-world question about whether to run or walk in the rain. (Answer is a brisk walk.) High-quality analogue video, real time, even enabled eye contact. (Cool!)  Video-Mediated Communication – link to superfast Janet ATM connect, very high-bandwidth digital video early/mid 90s – two video streams at once! Focus on talk that was produced. Task – same map, other instructs on a route using talking-heads video.

Interesting snippets of findings from all this video:

Despite the quality of connection – bandwidth, latency, eye contact – people don’t talk the same way as if they were face-to-face.  They just don’t.  Whether in next room or across continents.  The task can be differentially affected by that.

So if you want a bargain and you’re on dodgy ground, use the telephone not the video. If your case is strong, use video because you can persuade more.

People think that if they’re on a video, they’ll somehow leak the truth when they’re trying to deceive.  Likewise, they think they can pick up lies from others.  But people are awful at spotting lies on video, and if they do leak the truth when trying to deceive, it’s by voice, not by what they show.

People who can see each other tend to say less than on audio-only channels; gestures – nodding etc – are crucial to maintaining smoothness of interaction.

LEAD project – EU-funded – mediating f2f communication with computers using text chat … like we’re doing now in this conference with the Twitter backstream.  Good route for more interactive lectures.

Digital Replay System – these contexts produce great streams of data that take ages to analyse and make sense of.  National Centre for e-Social Science, to help people make sense of large datasets like this.  Digital ethnographyThings like auto-analysis of head-nodding.

On the ‘Horizon’ – new EPSRC Digital Economy Hub – at Nottingham – research on ubiquitous computing, big building.  Cloud computing, specks etc … very many people you don’t know will have a lot of data about you that you don’t know. How do we make it acceptable for people that they do? How do we deal with issues of privacy, identity, security?