Again I’m sneaking into an online course designed for educators in higher education. ButSandra Sinfield, Senior Lecturer in Education and Learning Development, LondonMet @danceswithcloud, one of the Open Course team, said it was okay, so I’m doing it.
The course is called Creativity for learning in higher education and I’m not sure exactly what to expect but I like the idea of creativity in education and I’m also interested in working with people online around the topic.
Within this course, enablers and barriers to creativity in higher education will be explored, together with related pedagogical theory and literature. Participants will experience learning through play, games, models and stories and will actively experiment with such approaches. This will help them further develop their understanding, knowledge, skills and practices in these areas. Students will be able to critically reflect on their practice and identify opportunities to design, implement and evaluate an imaginative and creative innovation that fosters curiosity, and maximises meaningful active engagement and discovery learning.
I particularly like this sentence:
“Participants will experience learning through play, games, models and stories and will actively experiment with such approaches.”
Sounds like fun.
Outcomes are good too:
On successful completion of this open course, students will be able to:
Critically discuss creative teaching and teaching for student creativity, as a driver for student engagement and learning in their own professional context.
2. Develop and implement an innovation in their own practice and appreciate how their own creativity was involved in the development and implementation process
3. Critically evaluate their innovation.
4. Appreciate and recognise unanticipated outcomes that cannot be predicted in advance.
The open course will incorporate the following themes:
Conceptualising creativity in higher education
Enablers and barriers of creativity in higher education
Learning through play, games, models and stories
The role of curiosity and other intrinsic motivations for engagement
Developing creative methods and practices
Evaluating a pedagogical innovation
The course is part of P2PU.
The Peer 2 Peer University is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements. P2PU creates a model for lifelong learning alongside traditional formal higher education. Leveraging the internet and educational materials openly available online, P2PU enables high-quality low-cost education opportunities.
Let’s go! Trust me to join another online course in the last few days of my term break.
Sometimes the comments section of a blog is vital to further annotation. In this case definitely. So following this series of remixes in Kevin’s post, Terry said the following:
What you have documented is connected learning and what Nick Sousanis refers to as unflattening. The messification of the world by increasing “parallax”. My whole argument in the original comic (and I do think of it as a comic) was that reciprocation was one of the requisite initial conditions for any of the connected learning principles and values. What happened yesterday was proof in practice. What I especially liked was that the rising complexity came from the initial conditions of reciprocity just like chaos theory tells us it does. Our web pages are flat but world they live in is multidimensional across time. Or as Sousanis says, upward and downwards not just north,south,east,and west. We’re not in Flatland anymore, Kevin.
Kevin answered with a summary of what he was trying to do, some reflection and a question:
In the post, I tried to purposefully leave out context and let the visual happen. I imagine some will say, “Say, Huh?” when they see it and wonder about the ping-pong effect. I had hoped others might join in but maybe the pace of the shuttling back and forth between media intimidated others. Or maybe it was Sunday and the folks were offline, unplugged. Or maybe they did not have the context for engaging in a media practice that surfaces connected learning. Surely, it was messification.
I’d like to squabble a bit about whether your initial image is a comic or not. It seems more flowcharty to me. But your push to have it viewed as a comic is what had me do the first iteration, in the comic maker. Looking at your first piece, it seems more of a flowchart, pushing things along. But when you called it a “comic,” I looked for panels … and gutters (see later joke) … and shout-out balloons … and characters … but I wonder if we need all that? How defined must our definitions of comics be?
Why did you call it a comic?
Curiouser and curiouser …
Panels, page, comic grammar (albeit spiral with numbers and arrows to help show movement), tweets as dialogue callouts, and a narrative with lots of characters. I think we can call a tweet an identity with a speech bubble without much of a stretch. And the rhetoric is visual not paragraphs although it gets paragraphy at the end. And the idea is, like Sousanis often shows an overall visual metaphor that supports the ideas in the panel–in this case a spiral.
Ok … I get your thinking …. working in a spiral … strike!
I wanted to play but didn’t know how. Terry and Kevin told me they used Snagit but I discovered that it cost quite a bit, and told them so in the following comment:
You two are brilliant. And this is great – the comic battle which happened so fast and now the articulation in the comments section. The reason I didn’t join in is because I’m not as adept at the technical side. Lots of ideas but need time to learn new making skills. Wasn’t prepared to pay $68 for Snagit. I think if my technical/making skills were improved I’d be able to capture the concepts that fly around in my head. Thank you for being brilliant!
In the next couple of comments Terry and Kevin expressed their commitment to inclusiveness in online courses:
This is where danger can creep in … leaving people out who want an entry way in but can’t find the door … Terry and I were building on past experiences via CLMOOC, Rhizowhatever, and more … and could riff … but were others feeling invited in? I know his initial invite was inclusive .. but once I responded, did the world tilt in only one direction?
No need for real answers to those questions … but this is what sits at the back of my mind (it’s a crowded place some days)
Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation here
The only way is to help Tania play the game. The repertoire is not that extensive to get in the game. I think the attitude of play is the one that gets folks hung up. I felt very bad to exclude anyone. No like. Want more messiness in the mix. Want more mix. Gotta get Tania into the game.
And my reply
Ha ha! I will not be defeated by lack of technology. I have 2 and a half offerings. One is a sauce (reduction).
I did a poor version of blackout poetry using a printed copy of one of the remixes. Considering it was late on a school night and the lights interfered with the ipad photo of the printout, it’s surprising anyone can make out anything. Still, I thought, if technology isn’t working for me, I’ll just move across to another possibility.
Then I had a crazy idea: I asked my son (music student) to take a look at the remixed content and, based on the feeling he got from the look of it all, compose something quickly. He (Maxim) said:
What – now?
And I’m like: Oh yes, just something quick, whatever inspires you after looking at these comics. A kind of musical paragraph. And he did. Within 20 minutes I could share his Soundcloud link to a midi version (which he said might suit the comic style more) and the version with Sibelius sounds. If you look at that one you can see the comments Terry and Kevin have made which are visible in the music itself – very cool.
At this point I went to bed. It was late but I had to force myself to sleep because the creative exchange was so invigorating. In the morning I saw Terry’s remix of Maxim’s audio file.
Terry tweeted it out, saying: Wanted more pinbally busy-ness so I layered maxim soundtracks n2 Popcornmaker–remix?
Well, guess who couldn’t resist the remix? Here’s Kevin’s version, rich with imagery: For Maxim it was a new experience because he assumed music he whipped up would be of no value, and there it was, being listened to and commented on. But wait, there’s more! I also shared the score which was remixed immediately!
The river does not run dry for some people! This could go on and on. In fact, when I tried to explain the whole thing to friends I kept starting somewhere and then saying – no, I’ve got to go back a bit – and then kept going back and back through the rabbit hole. Backwards through the rabbit hole like pressing rewind. Exhilarating. I hope that this documentation is not too confusing, and that it has captured some of that outpouring of creative makes and remixes, that joy which comes from adding another layer, playfully hacking and not knowing when to stop.
Susan Watson cracked me up with her comic, The Systems of Comics. She is very clever and funny.
That’s too small to read but you can see the original here. Terry must have made hundreds of these. Here’s one. I decided to try and make my own. It is the first in a series of Personal Conversations at Melbourne High School.
I have a plan for this series and also for another to give our students voice. I’ve already asked some of our students for help. This should be fun.
And the Bigger (AlmostEvil) Plan is to infiltrate learning spaces in my school like a stealthy villain. One of my recent posts expressed frustration about the school system which resists reform and may have to be levelled first in order to be rebuilt. After reading Terry’s comment
I think I am done with reform as a way of re-thinking. I put a lot more faith in kind subversion, asking forgiveness and not permission, under the radar, subrosa, authentic learning.
I decided to act on an unformed idea I’d had nagging me for a while.
Taking the library out to the school is not a new idea but I think I need to up the ante with it. My new, as yet embryonic, idea is to hack the staffroom in a surprising way. Something along the lines of setting up a small and changeable pop-up shop/library when nobody’s looking. For example, mark the space somehow with a few artifacts, then leave things that beg to be played with and change these regularly. Some ideas so far: puzzles, gorgeous design pages for colouring in, quirky articles – and comics! Like this one. So I envisage leaving one comic per series and updating regularly. Series like ‘Professional conversations at MHS’ and ‘Student conversations at MHS’, and so on.
I’m trying a soft approach to hacking the school system. If, as I’ve said in a previous post, teacher librarians find it challenging to collaborate with teachers because teachers are driven to keep up with the curriculum, then we can entice them, seduce them in a way, with curriculum-irrelevant playful things that help them slow down, make things, laugh, and take a break from the system. Why not? My aim is to distract teachers, disrupt their single focus so that they might be more open to joining me in collaborative play in class.
And if that’s too ambitious, at least their (mis-)perception of teacher librarians (another blog post) might be popped like a giant bubble containing nothing but air. And that created space is something I will try to inhabit.
All ideas for a soft hack of learning spaces will be taken seriously and collected in a special container.
Corrupted Image Files: Distort and corrupt your images. Oh yeah! Here are two webapps we tried: Glitch Images or gifmelter
Mosaic: Smash or take apart stuff (stuff that is yours :0) and reconfigure it, mosaic-like, into something new. Go Gallagher with a watermelon. Take apart an old clock. Use broken dishes to make a traditional mosaic.
And best of all, the invitation is to get busy and cause trouble.
Today may be the end of your [school year], but it should also be the first day of your new [summer pd] disobedience.” We want you to mess around with ideas around making by questioning who gets to make here, who gets access to this space, who benefits from the ways we name ourselves here? “It’s time to get busy. It’s your turn to cause trouble.
I’ve been busy offline lately but I’ve seen a lot of creativity shared and responded to already. I’m happy to see familiar faces from previous MOOCs (many much more experienced than I am – a newbie) and lots of new people I’m excited to know.
Making – it makes me a little nervous because I usually express myself in words but I’ve enjoyed using photos and creating visual stories so I’m going to give it a go. At school we’re about to start a baby makerspace in the library and I’m thinking the #CLMOOC might help me contribute in a way that is different from robotics and hands-on making.
Our first task:
So, what’s the first thing you usually do when you enter a room of folks with some familiar and unfamiliar faces—you introduce yourself, right? So let’s unravel “the introduction” to dive into the Connected Learning principle of equity. The theme this week is Unmaking Introductions. Let’s consider the ways we name, present, and represent ourselves and the boundaries or memberships those introductions create. How do we name ourselves in different contexts—personally? professionally? online? What happens when those contexts converge? How might we take apart our introductions to answer some of these questions? What will happen when we put them back together again to share them in CLMOOC?
I’m not even halfway through the wonderful, varied responses – poems, drawings, other art work, word clouds, cartoons, videos, music and so much more – and I’m getting a foretaste of what this mooc is about.
I put together a slide presentation using photos and images as writing and reflection prompts.
After I shared my untro in the Facebook group I was overwhelmed with the warmth of people’s responses. Especially when Terry Elliott took what I had and added music.
Thank you, Terry, for your generosity – taking the time to re-interpret my untro. I agree, your translation takes it to a new level. Thank you, also, to everyone for your warm responses.
Connected learning really is about people connecting to people and learning together in a holistic way, not just trading content or skills but relating on a personal level. You’ll understand what I mean when you read the responses from people in the Facebook group. People are not afraid to use language you would not normally see in a teacher/student context, eg. Susan Watson said “I have a feel for who you are, a sense of your humanity”; Teresha Freckleton Petite said: I can tell you a vibrant soul”; Terry Elliott said ” You are worth that slow consideration as I see layers and layers and layers of beautiful introspection and vulnerable sharing. We are all lucky to know you”; Sarah Honeychurch said “Love you even more after this”; Anna Smith said she had an affinity with me after she had seen my presentation.
I am not relating all these things go boost my ego – although I was very touched by all the generous responses – but to highlight how differently a connected learning MOOC works to a traditional course. Not only are our untros very personal, the community feedback is also personal. I’m interested in getting a sense of how this kind of learning – connected, open, creative – might work in schools to address the issue of intrinsic/extrinsic motivation. I wouldn’t say this is intrinsic but contributing to #CLMOOC is contributing to the community, and the community’s response is a powerful motivation.
Could this kind of learning work in secondary school? How could it work?
Is there room for a different kind of assessment in which the language involves words like ‘love’ in relation to the person, not just the work? Is this too weird or does this start to touch upon a real way of engaging learners? Is this a true social context for learning?
I said I’d come back and share the zines we saw yesterday at the unconference at The Library at the Dock and a few snaps of the workshop.
Ashley and Sarah are very creative and ran the zine workshop as well as doing the infographics (not sure what you actually call these visual captures that evolve during a talk). You can see more of their lovely little books/zines on their website.
We have a few ideas about how to use zines in our own library. There’s something lovely about handmade, small booklets for things like promotional material. It would also be nice to offer a zine making session for our students.
And since we are on the topic of making things…
Some of the 3D printed artifacts. These bunnies have the best view.
And here are the visual summaries created by Ashley and Sarah during the talks and performance at the unconference. I’ve just found out it’s called sketchnoting.
Some great captures of Abe’s most compelling messages.
The whole day was a visual feast – with the gorgeous views
Here’s the final version of the play (although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Google doc version continues to evolve).
My THANK YOU: My original story, Mr X loses his battle for objectivity, has been stormed, hacked and now exists as an evolved creation belonging to those playing and learning in the rhizome (#rhizo15). It is no longer mine and that’s a fantastic thing, something I’m excited about. Thank you, everyone, for the experience – in particular to Kevin for putting together the audio files – but also to those contributing voices, to the voices in the chat comments for the evolving Google doc, to those on Twitter and other social media platforms, to the creative people designing promos, and anyone else I’ve forgotten. I know it sounds as if I’m accepting an Oscar (haha) but I really do want to thank all of you for the fun we’ve had together.
#Rhizoradio presents a radio play courtesy of the #rhizo15 community:
Ms Y1: Good afternoon. Please take a seat. Mr Arborescent will be with you shortly.
Me0: Thank you.
Inner Voice1: I take a seat and settle into the chair which is terribly uncomfortable. I am too large for the chair and always have been, but I’ve accepted it with the appropriate …
Ms Y2: So, Mr Arborescent will see you now. I assume you’ve brought your papers.
Me1: Er – papers?
Ms Y3: Yes, your CV, your references, your learning objectives.
Ms Y4:Never mind. Please go down the corridor. It’s the first red door after blue one…
Me3: Er – thank you.
Inner Voice2: I walk until I find the door. I knock twice.)
Me4: (mumbling to self, wandering hallways) How come there are so many doors here?
(knock on the door followed by sound of door squeaking open)
Mr Arborescent1: Come in, please. I would like to introduce you to Dr. Certain and Ms. KnowItAll
Inner Voice3: I enter the room. Mr Arborescent is sitting behind a large wooden desk, studying me. The two other committee members on either side of him.
Mr Arborescent2: Please, sit down.
Inner Voice4 My Thoughts (in my head)Narrator: I do.
Mr Arborescent3: So, you’re applying for the rest of your life, are you?
Ms. KnowItAll1: (interrupting) She IS.
Mr Arborescent4: You realise that you’re one of many millions of applicants – all wanting to keep learning for the rest of their lives, don’t you?
Me6: Yes. I understand. But you know, I myself am multiple…
Mr Arborescent5: (interrupts) Show me your learning objectives, please.
Me7: Well…I – um…
Dr. Certain1: This is outrageous!
Mr Arborescent6: (sighs) You do have learning objectives, don’t you? I hope you are not wasting my time.
Me8: N-not exactly.
Mr Arborescent7: Well how exactly do you intend to get through life without objectives? How will you know where you are going? How will you know when you get there? What data will you use?
Dr. Certain2: One cannot get through life without knowing where one is going. Where one is going is far more important than where one is. I certainly know where I’m going, where I came from, where my children will go.
Inner Voice5: Arborescent’s brow is seriously furrowed.
Me9: Actually – I don’t have objectives but –
Mr Arborescent8: You realise that we are talking about the rest of your life, don’t you? This is no laughing matter.
Me10: Well – if I could explain. I don’t, as you’ve said, have learning objectives for the rest of my life but what I do have is learning subjectives.
Inner Voice6: The room is silent. Uncomfortably silent.
Mr Arborescent9: I’m not sure what you’re playing at, but as I’ve already said, there are millions of people applying for this privilege. You’ve come here completely unprepared.
Me11: If I could just explain – I think you will understand that it’s possible to continue learning through life with learning subjectives in place of objectives.
Inner Voice7: Mr Arborescent lowered his thick rimmed glasses and peered intensely and unpleasantly at me.
Inner Voice8: I continued before he could speak.
Me12: You see, subjectives are a type of objective … only seen from a different perspective.
Mr Arborescent10: A different perspective! Please explain. (eye rolling) (to himself): Oh, you educators and your theories of learning …
Dr. Certain3: There is only one perspective: the RIGHT one!
Me13 (ignoring Dr. Certain): Well, with objectives you start from the end and work backwards whereas with subjectives you are free to move any which way and even simultaneously. Subjectives are based on learners’ needs, not dictated as in the objectives… There’s freedom in the journey.
Inner Voice9: Their looks of contempt did not deter me. In fact, they spurred me on. I realized, I had to make them understand.
Me14: You see, I’ve developed an allergy to things which support objectives. Things like preconceived ideas, data entered carefully into spreadsheets, dot points, meta-metrics, the narrow suffocating strangulation of finite theories, that sort of thing. I have an aversion to these things and I become so ill that I am unable to function.
Mr Arborescent11: I’m not sure our health insurance policy covers such sickness. The government plan only goes so far.
(Ms. KnowItAll adds over Arborescent: Oh, it won’t cover this, I can tell you!)
However, Go on… How would you measure, report your learning? Reveal your rubrics! What kind of standards are you following? Aversion is no justification…
Me15: Neither is measurement! We need to put learning at the center of our…er learning, not measurement and accountability you know. It’s my own learning here and i reserve the right to direct it however I see fit! It is my human right…
Dr. Certain4: Impossible! We will tell you what you need to know! Learning must be visible!
Inner Voice10: Arborescent’s eyes narrowed, and he started tapping a pencil on his desk. he seemed sort of annoyed at me.
Mr. Arborescent12: go on…
Inner Voice11: I swallowed.
Me16: (whispering in Egyptian Arabic: w ba3dein ba2aaa)
Me17: I need to approach life in a less organised, predetermined way. I need to include the way I feel, for example, in the way I understand life. I need to include questions and doubts in the way I make sense of things, I need mood changes and I also need to be able to synthesize seemingly illogical things into a new way of seeing. I need to follow – what I refer to as learning subjectives.
Mr Arborescent13 (all simultaneously): Preposterous! Absolutely preposterous. We need data! Not whimsy feelings! What is this? Some kind of therapy session?
Ms. KnowItAll2: She is completely unsuitable! No idea what she needs to learn.
Dr. Certain5: If we allow this, we invite chaos. Then where will we be? People learning anything?!! Outrageous! There are things everyone MUST know!
Inner Voice12: Their outbursts moved the large desk forward and Arborescent’s four generation family photos fell down with a crash.
Mr. Arborescent14: Now look what you’ve done!
Dr. Certain6: I saw this coming. Chaos, I tell you.
Me18: you do know that by accepting me, you are accepting multiples, right?
Mr. Arborescent15: Who said we were accepting you?
Ms. KnowItAll3: Certainly not I!
Me19: Although I appear as one person to you, I am a multiplicity. Because I am embracing my subjectivity, you will have access to all of the open aspects of my identity and influences beyond my person. Didn’t you notice the different voices, accents and languages used throughout this discussion?
MrA – What you are telling me is that you are rejecting MY good common sense and traditional values and insisting on this groundless faith in what can only be described as blasphemous nonsense. This is a NON-SENSE! Do you hear me?! You will not be able to go through lifelong learning clinging to these asinine beliefs. Get out! All of you!
Inner Voice13: There was only one thing to do. I wasted no time. In my mind I drew a cage around this dreadful man and his colleagues and locked them in. Tossed the key. Walked away. Their ranting and raving were repulsive. I transformed it into the sound of crashing waves and let it wash away from me, to become nothing in the infinite sea. I left them there in their salt water turbulence, thrashing at the iron bars. They were now but molluscs, doomed to forage in the mud amongst rhizomatic sea grasses for eternity. I had more important things to do. I had a subjective life to lead and I was quite willing and even pleased to not know exactly where I was going.
Inner Voice14: So I started talking to my multiple selves.
MeA: we don’t need them! We don’t need no certified learning! We don’t need no thought control! They don’t even get our weltanschauung. We will continue without them.
MeB: or interdependently! Let’s make our own organization. Our own rhizome. Divide & conquer!
MeC: and wait, to have impact, we need to challenge authority, to break down the institutional structures so more people can benefit from our idea of subjectives and so we can liberate them from these neoliberal chains. This is idtihad. That’s oppression in Arabic. It is zulm. Injustice in Arabic, though it has a much stronger connotation in Arabic.
MeD: i don’t know what you’re talking about, I just wanna have fun with my learning. Let’s write a song or write a play…
Me20: or we could just lead our subjective life, create our own space… We might need to wander a bit to find it.
MeB: exactly! I guess it can be a space not an organization… I don’t think we can convert him. He is too far gone … (sounds of ranting still in the background)
Me21: Learning is natural and intrinsic… Like a rhizome, like a phoenix.. Her defasında küllerimden doğarım… learning is actually rising from the ashes… I don’t need any objectives, I only need my subjectives to reborn and start a new cycle of learning…
MeC: and we need to think of ways of liberating the oppressor. We need to fight for other people’s rights… Subvert the system, cause a revolution, plant the seed, nurture the ideas, rewild ourselves without becoming the next oppressors!
MeF: yeah right, like that worked for Egypt…
MeB: Tell me why we wanted that job again?
MeC: I don’t even remember anymore. What a learning experience this has been!
MeG: Hey! You lot are so noisy! I am trying to sleep here! Jeesh. Haud yer wheesht!
MeH: (tentative hesitant self) 爸爸常说 忍一时风平浪静，退一步海阔天空. 怎么办?Should I try to negotiate in this potential zone of change? But these folks are resistant to any new ideas …
MeI: Ils refusent de comprendre! Les abandonner déjà!
Inner Voice15: And so from that moment it continued, with A caged and continuing to splutter in the sea, in a mind, I stood up, breathed deeply, and turned to leave those four walls and walk into the rest of my life. I moved out of the room, slammed the door behind and me and the company sign fell to the floor with a crash. I picked it up and read “Peachson Advanced Testing Systems” and tossed the sign into the trash can. I had better things to do with my life, anyway.
Me22: I did get that job, and I get it again and again every day. It’s only when I forget the contract I made with myself that day – the subjectives, and get mixed up with too many objectives – that I sometimes see Arborescence rear its head (still in the cage though – haha!). Fortunately I have some pretty good friends and co-learners who remind me that the book hasn’t been written yet; we just keep writing.
We’re in the 4th unit of Connected Courses: Diversity, equity and access. I thought I’d look back at some of the previous questions and objectives from which we’ve been making meaning together. Only now have I realised that each unit has a ‘design touchstone’, and while I was investigating what this could mean and how these linked to each other, I decided to re-familiarise myself with the first one: Water.
I watched again the video of the speech given by David Foster Wallace to Kenyon College’s 2005 graduating class. The video starts with the story of two young fish swimming along when they meet an older fish swimming the other way. The older fish asks ‘How’s the water?’, and after they’ve passed him, one of the younger fish asks ‘What the hell is water?’
A rough summary of the message would be that the most obvious and important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Foster postulates that a Liberal Arts education is not as much about filling you with knowledge as it is about teaching you how to think – not in terms of the capacity to think (which we all have ) – but in terms of the choice of what to think about. He mentions that we often live unconsciously, that is, not questioning where our belief systems come from, and he encourages us to have a critical awareness of ourselves and our certainties. He talks about our default setting which positions us as the centre of the universe and suggests we do the hard work to rid ourselves of this hard wiring which leads us to interpret everything personally by learning how to exercise some control over what and how we think, and being conscious and aware enough so that we choose what we pay attention to and understand how we construct meaning from our experiences.
I feel that I need to go back and revisit readings many times to have the ideas and issues float to the top of my consciousness where they are in view and so that they don’t sink to the bottom and get forgotten. Connected Courses has enabled me to construct meaning in conversations with people and in the solitude of my own thoughts. I’m beginning to feel as if I’m conscious of the water.
It’s interesting to note that although Connected Courses is designed for faculty within higher education who are looking at developing online, open courses, so far the technology part of constructing the courses has been in the background. This is a valuable lesson for schools introducing new technologies to support teaching and learning. In Connected Courses we started with the why and we moved at our own pace supported by the network of participants. Expertise has been distributed and sense making has not only been in the form of text; participants have shared creative responses which have included drawings, comics, songs and other audio, slides and video and more. Some people have tried new things!
We’ve been given the opportunity to construct meaning together, and given choices about how much and what we focus on. My opinion is that this approach has enabled me to look more deeply into selected things. I haven’t felt rushed or forced in any way; I’ve had choice and control. At first I may have felt intimidated by learning in an academic cohort, but now I feel energized. It’s been fun!
Still following the mental thread from my last post. I’m feeling restless in my professional position at the moment, a mini crisis which is usually a part of preventing stagnation and breaking through to a better flow. I’m not sure if I can adequately explain it (feeling unwell) so what I’ll do instead is share talks and articles which have resonated.
First off, I revisited Charles Leadbeater’s old TED talk. This article reminded me of this.
[ted id=892 width=560 height=315]
And Charles’ more recent TED talk. The man can talk. If only I could communicate so well.
[ted id=63 width=560 height=315]
The piece by Richard Elmore has a standout phrase for me which is that ‘a progressive dissociation between learning and schooling’. This is very disturbing, particularly if you believe it. It makes me question everything we do in school. It makes me think that whatever assessment we have for teaching is ineffective. Do our compulsory self-evaluations for renewed registration mean anything? Isn’t it relatively easy to justify what we do using the relevant terminology? Isn’t it really about the students? When are we going to assess our teaching based on what our students really need in life? I can’t recall that conversation in any staff meeting or curriculum day program.
A ship in the harbour is safe but that’s not what ships are for – photo by Joel Robinson
You might think I’m being negative but I’m just breaking things up a little, thinking about what I could do, in my free space as teacher librarian, unfettered by marking and curriculum guidelines, to create wonderful, surprising, fun learning opportunities. Anyone join me?
I leave you with this.
[ted id=949 width=560 height=315]
Wait, another one. Many voices and much sense here.
I saw this film on Tom Barrett’s blog post. It’s a powerful film about young people’s behaviour on the web and the extreme reaction of the law as they succumb to ‘stealing’ that which is to easy to take.
Not so long ago information wasn’t as accessible and tantalising as it is now. You only had one identity (unless you were a celebrity). Now people, predominantly young people, enjoy and possibly cultivate an online identity which may or may not be identical to their face-to-face identity. They enjoy audience most of the time through mobile technologies. Even when their blog posts claim that they are alone in their despair and will not be heard by anyone, they are generally enjoying the thought of being ‘read’ by their ‘friends’.
It’s an exciting time with the possibility of connecting with so many instantly, the possibility of finding so much information, viewing and copying so many images, so much music. It can be a confusing time, not knowing if something is true (as sometimes occurs with news on Twitter) or if it has been played with.
As educators we should try to understand the online existence from the inside, and from that perspective proceed with instruction and guidance so that young people approach that part of their life as wisely as we would hope they approach any part of their life. We should not overdramatise, not use fear-mongering, not pull them back. There is so much to be enjoyed, so much creativity possible. This needs to be tempered by an informed knowledge of how to use and share information, images and music responsibly and legally. So much is shared through Creative Commons, and it is a very good idea to attribute everything; it’s just manners.
I like the fact that this film is open source, and that it encourages people to remix and take a personal spin on what’s available.
It’s an exciting time. Let’s be open to it, be informed and respectful of each other. As educators let’s support young people in a world that doesn’t stand still, let’s not police them inappropriately.