Books

  • Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

    June 24 roundup

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I left the Open University this month. I had a lovely leaving party with colleagues (funded by ourselves I hasten to add). Maren and I marked the end of that era with a holiday in Sardinia. Since I’ve returned I’ve blogged some thoughts about the OU, and am now busy setting other activities in motion. I have joined the board of Trustees for the National Extension College and have my first board meeting next week. It’s largely been a period of establishing a new working environment. I handed back my university Macbook and bought myself a nice shiny iMac. I’ve been setting…

  • Asides,  Books,  politics

    The Misery of narrative

    I’ve been re-reading Stephen King’s Misery recently. For those of you who don’t know the story, it features a writer, Paul Sheldon, who after a car accident finds himself in the isolated house of his “number 1 fan” Annie Wilkes. Wilkes is psychotic, and becomes enraged when she reads the latest of his Misery historical romance books, in which he has killed off the main character. She tortures him and forces him to write a new Misery novel, just for her. It is foremost a great horror novel, but it also acts as an obvious allegory for the relationship between writer and their audience and their own work. From a…

  • Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

    May 24 roundup

    (I’ve been going through some old photos – I’m the little blond one in the above, where it appears that I grew up in the 1930s) I’ve been having a “Month of Lasts” as my OU clock ticks down: Last Open Programme meeting, last JIME meeting, last Applaud Steering committee, last research theme meeting. Shedding all those roles and activities one accumulates like burrs on a poodle running through a field of burdock feels liberating. I’m not quite sure what will replace the interaction, structure and activity that meetings provide though. We do of course like to portray the meeting as the irritating guest at our work wedding, but across…

  • a sunset over a bay in west wales
    Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

    April 24 round up

    I was looking forward to April, I had booked study leave and had a number of small, fun projects I wanted to get started. Well, it transpired that April had other plans. For no particular reason I had a mental health wobble in the first week, and was just getting over that when an elderly parent emergency arose, which necessitated several trips and stays in Bedfordshire. This included missing the much anticipated hockey playoff weekend in Nottingham with my daughter, and abandoning a holiday in West Wales. Add in an emergency dental appointment, and yes, April can do one. I looked back at my google doc for plans for this…

  • Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

    March 24 round up

    It’s been a busy presentation month. I gave a metaphors talk for Rikke Toft Nørgård’s Digital Pedagogy and Learning special interest group. I like these more informal presentations, and we had a fun chat about Nordic metaphors afterwards. I hosted a session for the European Digital Education Hub, on learning environments. Preparing for this prompted me to think more about AI enhanced learning environments, so it was one of those presentations that help move along your own thinking. Dominic Orr joined me and gave an excellent overview of the work they do at Atingi. I’ve blogged about the OER24 experience, so won’t say more here except to say it warmed…

  • Books,  monthly roundup,  Music,  post-OU

    February 24 roundup

    (photo shows Irwin DeVries, Audrey Watters, Brian Lamb and Rajiv Jhangiani in 2015) As February comes to an end, I feel I am entering the wind down phase of my Open University career, with departure scheduled for June. The replacement for my role on the Open Programme is being recruited, we’re planning for my last GO-GN workshop at OER24, and I’m handing over editorship of JIME. It leaves one in a slight liminal space mentally and work wise – I’m busy doing handover, and continuing workload, but I’m not required for planning things that will take place after I leave. It’s not so much that I have less work, but…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Books,  monthly roundup,  Music

    September round up

    Well, this was an eventful month in this household. Maren stood down as CEO of ALT and is off to ventures new. If you’re interested in leadership coaching or consultancy on running virtual teams, then drop her a line. And then I announced that I’ll be leaving the Open University (although not until next June). All change here! I visited the ALT-C conference just for the dinner to see Maren get an award and have her send off. I did manage to attend one talk though, which was David Kernohan’s fascinating dive into the ALTC archive. He presented the various themes that had emerged and disappeared over the years in…

css.php