Reclaiming our history ICDE Presentation

Congratulations to Irwin and Martin for presenting this great piece of work using Katy Jordan’s expertise on citation network analysis. A very interesting look at a number of key open and digital learning papers, and connections between other academic and research origins.

Ghosts – @ds106dc #tdc2096

Tell us a ghost story – #tdc2096


Well! Which to tell? This one is simple. The ghost(s) in our house where I grew up used to make the Christmas decorations spin around the light fittings. The baubles would spin at top speed and suddenly stop. Fact.

 

 

 

 

Lovely image from http://www.ahandmadecottage.com/2013/.

DNA: The Secret of Smooth

It seems to me that the Yachtski scale, as a linear device, is increasingly becoming the subject of contention. And with other areas of the Yacht or Nyacht discussion delving into the history of smooth, it is perhaps time to apply some evolutionary genetics to advance our understanding.

 

Introducing Gregor Mendel

When we start to delve into the history of smooth we stumble across an unexpected character, the founding father of genetics, Greg Mendel. What we can reveal is that whilst he was breeding peas in his garden shed, he was also listening to smooth music. In fact, the his garden shed was an old converted boat house, and the pea seeds germinated to the calm relaxing vibes of yacht rock music.

Greg Mendel

Greg Mendel – fan of the #smooth

The science bit!

Recently discovered, some of Mendel’s historic sketches reveal early hidden hypotheses that refute the linearity of the Yachtski Scale. Combinations of what he called ‘smooth heredity factors’ could form only two phenotypes – either audibly smooth (so-called Yacht) or not smooth at all (so-called Nyacht). As he experimented he realised these always fell into the ratio of 3:1. This would account for why the combination of two (or more) supposedly smooth factors may on occasions (25% of the time) produce a non-smooth result (as detected by the fine measurements of the Yachtski instrument).

Taking the pea

However the phenotype was just part of the story and reflected a complex array of genotypic factors underneath.

Mendel's Early Notes

Mendel’s Early Notes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Greg unravelled the mystery of heredity and unpicked the determining genotypes, he found dominant inheritance factors always included the featuring of the singers Kenny and Michael, and songs with the words ‘fool’, ‘heartache’, ‘sailing’ or ‘wind’ in the title. Further experiments showed that recessive inheritance factors that figured in the Nyacht genotype were the year of recording, and the presence of an out-of-tune alto saxophone solo. Perhaps the most radical finding, was the discovery of bass pairings that hold the complimentary strands of genetic material smoothly together. This discovery is often not accredited to Greg.

Bass Pairs

Bass Pairs

 

The CRISPR revolution

Toward the end of his career, Greg had achieved such intricate levels of smooth genotypic combination, it was only to be centuries later where his most hidden secrets were to be revealed. The latest CRISPR technology – Clustered Regularity Interspaced Smooth Pallendromic Repeats – only this week – revealed the wonders of his ultimate experiment. Supreme smoothitude and top of the Yachtski scale. Scientists revealed an animated GIF that Mendel put inside live pea genes all those years ago.

CLICK HERE FOR THE BIG REVEAL!

“That peace only came in death”

TDC1979
The @ds106DC Daily Create took me on an unexpected journey, but then the best ones always do. The task for the community was to share a peace playlist (#ds106 = our community hashtag, #tdc1979 = the daily create (number) 1979). I heard an array of peaceful and evocative music, and instantly had to go and play some Debussy. Peace and tranquility is so perfectly reflected in his music.

What happened next? In an effort to record what I played over thirty years ago in my Grade 8 Distinction Piano Exam (via Garageband, Kawai piano and midi-interface), after a few attempts I pasted a reasonable introduction to a reasonable melody section, being hideously out of practice. The music clashed and created beautiful textures and waves. It was like being thrown around on a calm and then rough sea as the music passages collided with each other.

 

The word ‘peace’ has haunted me ever since I visited the Whitney Plantation, Lousiana in 2016. The plantation is a heart wrenching memorial of the homes and lives of the slaves who were impounded there. I implore you to look up the plantation and the work of John Cummings and colleagues who have fought to tell the stories of the slaves and their children. The quotation was from a series of interviews with the last inhabitants of the plantation, and the lists of beautiful names belie the chilling realisation that these weren’t their real names; they were given, often changed when the children were sold on, empty letters. It is staggering today that many local tourist offices don’t recognise the plantation – and the real stories within it.

I hope the music is fitting for the quotation in some way. The Debussy Arabesque Number 1 is based on a pentatonic scale – based on five notes – rippling up and down. It has an emptiness about it. Debussy often builds up to quite forceful passages and I liked the way they clashed angrily in the recording. Toward the end more of the staccato (jumpy) passages sound more playful, and I like to hope that these children knew what it was to play.

Stories are so important. People are important.

Resilience (again) – a critique.

Just sharing this super post by Dr Dave Webster and Dr Nicola Rivers, provoked by a recent learning and teaching event which caused Dave to think about the pervasive nature of the term ‘resilience’ and what it stands for.

Read the blog post here:

A Contrary View: Critiquing Discourses of Resilience in Education

They refer to the term ‘snowflake‘ used to describe students which was new to me, and probably from some crap agency handbook of market segmentation. There needs to be a demographic term for people who sit around degrading other’s in society ‘waste of space’ I’d call them.

Nicola and Dave talked about the associations of the term resilience with weakness and lack of being able.  Here is my summing up of the Twitter and blog responses to a previous post of mine on the subject which got quite a barrage of responses.

Resilience. Do you want to talk about it? Yes they did!

The community need to draw together to reframe this narrative and empower the students in our care, not to label them as failures. My thoughts about the term ‘snowflake’ I cannot possibly publish here.

A wall, a bothy and open.

Just prepping for #OER17 and a wall is an odd image to use to represent open, but this is a special wall.

Side gate “Wayside”, Kearsney Court near Dover. CC BY Viv Rolfe

We were guardians of this wall once. Our house was behind it. It was the Victorian kitchen garden designed by Thomas Mawson at Kearsney Court. This was the side door from the kitchen garden into the main park. We never locked it. And it was wonderful on occasions when inquisitive people from the park would just open it and walk into our garden. Walls can be open too.

“And through Wall’s chink poor souls they are content”
(A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare).

What I like about these memories is that we were guardians of these walls, and the amazing conservatories, terraces, ponds, steps and pathways within it. We never own houses do we – they seem to own us for that short period of time. I feel the same about our education system – those of us that work there are passing through it at this moment in time, and I can’t help but feel we aren’t providing the nurturing and attention it needs.

Kearsney Court

Back gate “Wayside”, Kearsney Court near Dover. CC BY Viv Rolfe

In the 1987 hurricane, when the insurance company came around to inspect the damage to the roads and driveway caused by innumerable trees having been blown down, I remember the man’s face froze in horror when he saw the wall. He said that it would bankrupt the company if it was damaged. It was a miracle that although trees were blown down on all four sides, the walls were untouched.

One memorable Saturday night after I had left home, the family were having a bonfire in the garden which got slightly out of hand. The next thing they knew was a fireman peering over the wall. My mum climbed the wall to explain that everything was under control. He checked that there was nothing more he could do, and Muvva explained – “well you can get your ladders, I’m stuck on this wall”.

Kearsney Court

Peeking In “Wayside”, Kearsney Court near Dover. CC BY Viv Rolfe

There were more types of apple trees, plum trees, pear trees than I could ever name or remember. There were lilacs of every colour. Each main wall had remnants of fruit cages, metal frames and brackets to ensure early and late crops growing on the South-facing and North-facing walls. There was a vinery and melon pit. The ornamental pond was a land mark on German World War II maps to indicate the flying route from Dover up to London. There were acres of daffodils in the spring and a clematis in every corner.

It was a truely shared space. Ducks from the park used to make nests to hatch their ducklings. There were rabbits, foxes and badgers. A green woodpecker spent the best part of a day creating a hole in one of the apple trees. He pecked for hours and hours. Misses Pecker came to inspect the next day, and to no avail. The hole was clearly no good. They never returned. We looked at what he had created and it was the smoothest and most perfect hole in the tree that you could imagine.

It was a wonderful house – well, quite small bungalow really. It originally was the gardener’s ‘bothy’. It looked along the Alkham Valley and you couldn’t see another single roof. How lucky was I spending some of my time there. My parents stretched themselves financially, and the snooty local estate agent frowned when they turned up to view it in a battered old Morris Minor. The intention was that my Nan could live with us – but sadly she never made it. I used to so regret not being able to walk her round the garden to savour the different plants, and being blind, it would have been the most amazing sensory garden for her. She never made it away from the horrors and fumes of the A13 in Essex where she lived for most of her life.

Walls can be wonderful if you can peep over them or walk through them. Humans turn them into barriers. You need the walls to protect and cultivate the things within. Openness in education needs to be nurturing, hopeful and touchable. But ultimately what is the point if people can’t freely come in and you choose not to share beyond the walls?

Open Quotes


 

 

 

 

 

Open Education 1972. CC BY Viv Rolfe

Quotations from:
Resnick LB (1972). Open Education: Some Tasks for Technology.” Educational Technology 12(1), 70-76.
Katz L G (1972). Research on Open Education: Problems and Issues.

Photographs taken in 2015 as part of Muvva’s 80th Birthday ramble.