Thursday, 24 March 2011

Training walk 1 Devils Dyke and Furkling Escarpment

Gosh have to keep checking the spelling of the second way point. We did a loop which convered part of our 100km walk in July. This covered CP6 to close to WP 8. Lessons learned
1. There are no really big hills in this section (nor anywhere on SDW) but there is hardly any flat.
2. A couple of steepish bits but these pass quickly however constant small up and downs take their toll. Anyone who has walked Seven Sisters will know what I mean.
3. It took us some time...but there was some navigation needed. We went the wrong way even on the SDW (inaccurate signpost and then no signpost) and used the Satnav.
4. It was stunningly beautiful

Monday, 9 November 2009

Professional classes bring world to collapse?

Perkins views-

Art first sight the point of view expressed by Perkin makes some sense and I suppose that there has been a rise in ‘professionalism’ over the last 100 years. However professional classes are not new, something vaguely acknowledged in the piece, Egyptian society had a powerful and effective professional class for example. That we live in a time of unprecedented wealth seems strong (though many are still in poverty) that there are great advances in the distribution of basic good is also a real factor. However it seems the argument rests on the idea that there is ‘a cause’ for change when in fact it might have been a more robust (bit less interesting) argument if it was a regarded as ‘a factor’. The application of science to the way we live has gone through a complete revolution too, and it is the applied sciences that give us both the unprecedented style of life that we have and leave the possibility of mass destruction hanging over our head, wither as the result of nuclear holocaust or through the throttling of our spaceship earth through the over use of resources. We could also take an educational view where the change has come about because vast swates of the population now have an education that was previous denied them and that this leads toa different way of life in its wake.

The chapter is a child of its times though in a way it cannily almost expects the banking crash of last year. This though is surely an example of personal greed over professionalism as much as professionalism destroying itself. There is a crux here about what we mean by profession, but in banking terms it might include the words ‘prudent’ and ‘honest’ characteristics that were absent within the sector, and the struggles now going on might be seen as a debate about how best to reintroduce professional standards.

The article itself does not really deal with the possible effects of continuous growth and the possibility of 0% growth or even contraction in our attempts to achieve this the professional classes are at the moment unable to provide more than a debate and action is lacking. I would have said offhand this is more the effects of free market forces and the ‘shortermism’ that they produce that are in effect acting as manacles on the professional classes who might be able to resolve the situation.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

professional, e-learnign professional

E-learning professional a part of 1.2
RObin Mason gives a picture of someone who has grown with the profession, professionalism here happens almost by default and imperceptibly. This has almost happened to me. I am always somewhat surprised when I find I have been asked along (and paid) for something because people want my 'opinion'. Somehow I feel I am just a teacher with an angle on things but over the years those 'angles' have become more noticeable.
In this I am rather like Gill who got to be an e-learning professional by ' by drift and default'. I think this is open to challenge, I suspect that if we looked at this 'drift and default' in more depth then we would see that there was often a great deal of deliberation. Like a sailor sailing a lifeboat the eventual destination might not be in sight but the day to day course is clearly decided upon. SHe cites the HEA 5 porfessioanl values
Respect for individual learners.
Commitment to incorporating the process and outcomes of relevant research, scholarship and/or professional practice.
Commitment to the development of learning communities.
Commitment to encouraging participation in Higher Education, acknowledging diversity and promoting equality of opportunity.
Commitment to continuing professional development and the evaluation of practice.

These principles do not , as far as I can determine, constitute the mechanism for making a professional but do support the understanding of a philosophical underpinning.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Reflection on reflection

Moon suggests that:

'Reflection is a form of mental processing that we use to fulfill a purpose or to achieve some anticipated outcome. It is applied to gain a better understanding of relatively complicated or unstructured ideas and is largely based on the reprocessing of knowledge, understanding and possibly emotions that we already possess.'

Perhaps there is also a an element of possibility (I would call it future) thinking...'What might happen if...' and suggest that this engagement with possibility is central to the process of reflection. SO reflection may well be the 'reprocessing of knowledge' but it is a reprocessing with some possibility, or more likely possibilities, in mind. One might suggest here then the reflection is a reprocessing and re-purposing of knowledge. In addition to this the engagement of possibility brings with it 'serendipity'. Since possibility is not a known but conjecture there are other alternative possibilities some unexpected, unintended and therefore at times 'serendipitous'.

Moon goes on to look at the role of reflection in learning. Here we are presented with a model that is redolent of a constructivist view of learning. The need to relate what is learned to what is known. One might add that if we use the metaphor of scaffolding then what we are constructing takes account of what lies underneath, but also attempts takes account of what it is thought possible or likely to be further added. Here reflection/learning is something that takes place within a plan. This might be formal, explicit and codified (this course for example) or it may be informal, implicit and fluid. Again the construction of reflection is as dependant on what might come after as it is on what went on before.

More to follow...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Reflectiong on the future

A Tweet this morning hijacked my mind and led to this bauble of a reflection.

T @al2615: Can you reflect on something in the future?

My gut feeling is yes and no. When saying ‘reflection’ in a sense we are making use of metaphor, here comparing a way of thinking with the way images appear (to a greater or lesser degree distorted) in for example water or a mirror. It is important to remember this metaphorical root since it implies with it a limitation and we can find ourselves shackled by the metaphor.

Reflection before action

Reflection for me is a kind of critical review of things done, with the intention of making changes to what I do next. This is like the Denning cycle of plan-do-review. The review feeds the next plan, and is very much part of it and review/plan is what constitutes my reflection. SO when making a professional reflection ‘on action’ it is inextricably linked with future action. If I am to use my reflection for future action (and thereby presumably achieving some goal, aim or objective) then in some way I must be reflecting upon that which does not yet exist. If we have ‘reflection in action’, and ‘reflection on action’, then we can, and I think must, have ‘reflection before action’. SO as a good citizen concerned about the environment I have reflected upon the carbon footprint I leave when flying around the place. I have reflected on the impact this has, I have thought carefully about the harm I have caused. Now I reflect on a possible trip to Prague for a weekend, or a shopping trip to New York. I reflect upon the harm that I will probably cause by doing this and what the ultimate consequences might be. I reflect upon the sort of world I would like my children and your children to live in. I consider what the possible alternatives will be and then make a decision.

Future History-what if reflection

A further version of this is to ‘reflect’ on what might be. 1984, Animal Farm, I robot and the laws of Robotics, Fahrenheit 451 all portray attempts to f=reflect on what might be: often with a cautionary quality to them. This I would call ‘visionary reflection’. It is rather more than mere speculation (though that has its place) and has at it best a striking reflective quality to it since it ‘looks for interrelations beyond the superficial’. They try to take account of historical and current influences and directions and use these to build a critical picture of what might be.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


Still very much trying to get my head around this. Looking at some of the details suggested on the QAA website and then thinking further about possible content highlights one particular question I need to answer viz. Who is going to read the E-Portfolio? I suspect there are several potential audiences...the subject of the portfolio obviously, the institution responsible probably (but is this a continuing contact?) ; current employers maybe; future employers possibly. Given the potential audiences I wonder what the implications are for transparency compared to confidentiality. It seems that there is a fairly obvious tension here. I am not sure I would want my employer, even less a possible future employer, to see a transcript of all my marks for different assignments...this is the sort of information the QAA website has as part of the samples at the end. If I make reflections how much control do I have over who sees those reflections?
I have just made a Wordle from the definitions of e-portfolio. It bears out what I say about PLE but there is a valid distinction between PLE and Personalised Learning.
Wordle: E portfolio definitions