• edtech,  Film

    Ed tech indie horror

    I’ve been reading some interesting takes on horror recently: the meta-fiction of Native American author Stephen Graham-Jones; the influential feminist analysis of horror exploitation movies Men, Women and Chainsaws by Carol Clover; a personal account of the importance of horror in Kris Rose’s Final Girl: How Horror Movies Made Me a Better Feminist; and The Black Guy Dies First, Robin Means Coleman’s analysis of black representation in horror. And it got me thinking about analogies to ed tech. I know, as usual. First of all, the horror take… It has to be acknowledged up front that horror is often problematic – slasher films centre on the male gaze; women tend…

  • Books,  metaphor

    Dangers of tech metaphors in nature

    In Metaphors of Ed Tech I suggested that we should approach metaphors drawn from nature with caution, writing: “it is worth emphasising that metaphors drawn from nature are probably the most prevalent, and the most dangerous, of metaphors. Making appeals to what is deemed ‘natural’ and applying it to any form of human endeavour has led to justifications for social Darwinism, misogyny and repression, with the implication that certain states are naturally occurring and therefore inevitable.” But the opposite is also true – we need to be wary of technological metaphors applied to nature. I came to appreciate this because I’ve been reading Merlin Sheldrake’s intriguing overview of fungal life…

  • GO-GN,  higher ed

    Meticulous informality of GO-GN

    A few years ago, I used the term ‘meticulous informality‘ to describe what I liked about the ALT conferences. Maren has blogged how it’s a term we’ve discussed since occasionally on dog walks. Both parts of the term are equally important for participants in an event: informality encourages participation and suggests equality; meticulous means care and support. One without the other is not sufficient – just meticulous can be stuffy and hierarchical, and solely informal can be chaotic and confusing. Without it being an explicit intention, it captures our approach to GO-GN also. Having just hosted the largest GO-GN workshop in Edmonton, I know how much time and care goes…

  • monthly roundup

    January round up

    Despite being 27 weeks into the year it is still only January apparently. I gave a keynote at an informative event organised by the Open University in Wales (pictured with my colleague John Butcher), to celebrate the launch of their Access Insight Project, looking at the experience of Access and Foundation students across Wales. It’s an excellent report, with HE and FE providers across Wales all collaborating effectively (not always the case in higher/further ed). I was asked to give a ‘provocative’ talk before lunch to get people chatting. Provocative can often be a synonym for ‘obnoxious’ but I hope I avoided that. I worked up the metaphor of the…

  • post-OU

    Congestion of the brain or creative constraint?

    I recently read an account of the infamous Victorian murder of three-year-old Saville Ken, investigated by Jack Whicher. At one point Detective Whicher is widely pilloried for his conclusion (later proven to be correct), and he resigns from the police, with “congestion of the brain” cited as the reason. The Victorians were big on congestion (at least three people die of congestion of the bowels in the book), with its hints of ethers and natural flows. Congestion of the brain could mean literal blood clotting, and a cause of strokes, or dementia, to a more symbolic, metaphorical congestion. It was cited as the cause of Poe’s death, probably as a…

  • edtech,  higher ed

    The Post Office lessons for ed tech

    I expect we’ll see a lot of these types of posts so I apologise in advance for bandwagon jumping. For those outside the UK, there has been a recent TV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which has dramatised the Post Office scandal, where hundreds of sub postmasters were falsely accused (and convicted) of fraud because of a faulty accounting system that was rolled out in the 00s. The TV series has caused fresh outcry, actions and recriminations, and is probably one of the most important drams made in the last decade or so. Like many people I had vaguely followed the story, but not until the TV series…

  • Books,  open degree

    The range of the Open Degree

    I finally got around to reading David Epstein’s Range last year. It’s one of those popular books that makes a very powerful case, although you suspect some reporting of the academic findings may be over-simplified or contrary evidence maybe overlooked. But even so, it is a valuable validation of the multidisciplinary approach to education. As the Director of the Open Programme at the OU, which has a multidisciplinary open degree where students can combine over 250 modules into their own pathway, a combined stem degree focused on science pathways and a postgraduate Open Masters, this is of course, something that appeals to me. I’ve talked about interdisciplinarity in educational technology…

  • Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

    December round up

    I had an unexpected bounty of speaking invites for December, presenting about educational technology as an interdisciplinary topic for the Open Programme, an internal workshop on social media for researchers with my colleague Arosha Bandara and the keynote for the Social Media in Higher Education conference. These last two talks were interesting in that they made me reflect on how much has changed in the social media landscape over the past few years. Arosha and I gave a similar talk back in 2019, and this was a more cautious, nuanced one post pandemic and post-Musk Twitter. The talks prompted me to tidy up my social media presence a bit, and…

  • conference,  digital scholarship,  twitter

    Social media as festive metaphors

    I gave the keynote at the Social Media in Higher Education conference on Tuesday. As it was the in the week before the Christmas break, I chose to adapt my social media choices as 70s disco track idea and use festive metaphors. First of all I emphasised the problems with using metaphors, and how festive metaphors can highlight this – not everyone celebrates Christmas, and not everyone celebrates it in the same way. The metaphor can therefore be excluding or get in the way of the point you are trying to make. I hope there was enough social recognition of the metaphors however for them to be meaningful. I wanted…

  • Music

    Vinyl of the year

    In no particular order, here are some vinyl highlights. Usual rules – only new releases this year (not reissues) and I have to have purchased it on vinyl. A pretty good year. Boygenius – The Record. I am a big fan of all three artists who make up Boygenius, and they manage that feat so rarely achieved with supergroups of retaining their own identities and also becoming something new. They pretty much take it in turns on each track which adds to the sense that “this is a Lucy song” or “this is a Phoebe track” but also that they have each others backs. Not Strong Enough is a classic…

css.php