Sunday, May 02, 2010

Provocative education

Having listened to a telling tail on slideshare, I'm provoked.
The potential for opening up learning is to exploit the longtail effect.

Recently I gave a talk to my colleagues on my phd, and its associated behaviour of blogging my way through one, it crossed my mind, again, that readership through journals is important, but limited. I am convinced that even my small blog at 14395 hits since i started it, is a damn sight more hits than any of my very few academic publications.
When (most) people search for information, google is their friend. The access limitations thrown up by publishing companies is not. The outcome is that knowledge that is freely disseminated gets cited more (formally as well as informally), and knowledge that has barriers to it is less likely to be.

In a health promotion understanding, it would be termed making the healthy choice the easy choice. This involves the 4 A's: being available,accessible,affordable and acceptable.

At present we seem entrenched in making it acceptable as assessed by peer review, but if it is not available we might as well have been *pissing in the wind*, to use the crude vernacular.
Its got to be available and that means making it accessible for free.

What an ANT analysis might say of this: it is less about what is 'true' in any understandings of that word, than about how connections to particular knowledge is made easier or harder.
Situating knowledge matters: where you put your hard penned words as an academic matters. Feel free to be peer reviewed and also make it freely available.
Getting it sighted is how a world of difference gets made.
To be cited, you need to be accessible.
Sited, sighted, and cited.

Some ways to increase accessibility:
blogging, tweeting, use
and consider using slideshare- just a thought, writing a report on the funding that one obtains from one's institution to get to a conference, gets read by how many? What if instead the slides and a podcast are shared instead...

This provocation to my thinking was in response to an excellent slideshow on academic outputs as collateral damage by Martin Weller, Professor of education at the open Uni in the UK.
Some great visual metaphors in this slideshare, to watch out for:
Painting the dinosaur
And embracing unpredictability

Thanks to Heather for the tweet, twent mins of a sunday morning well spent.