The happy accident – accidental learning #socmedhe18

ben-hershey-550479-unsplash

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

I am trying to write about formality in learning. This is an ongoing theme for me inevitability, given my interest in spaces for learning in which the learner is the prime mover and agent at the centre of their learning.

One of the themes for this is serendipity and happenstance. Another is about degrees of intention (in the mind of the teacher or learner).

Incidental learning connects some of this. Marsick and Watkins (2001) define incidental learning as learning that occurs anywhere under the control of the learner, with learning being unintended, unexpected and sometimes as an unconscious by-product of activity. Incidental learning may be learning that is taken for granted, tacit, or unnoticed. Such learning may be said to happen through osmosis and may be immersive, and in this sense, it can relate to ideas such as built pedagogy (Monahan, 2002) and authentic learning. It may also be implied in ideas about playful learning. For example, Sharples et al. (2015), in their summary of thinking on incidental learning, say it can happen through unstructured play, in which the learner learns through “problem solving, language use, social, physical, and self-regulatory skills.” They also notice that, as with play, persistence and confidence are factors affecting successful learning.
Being proximal to others, especially More Knowledgeable Others (Vygotsky, 1978), is likely to aid incidental learning, therefore. In this way, social media learning spaces characterised by trustful peer networks, are spaces that epitomise incidental learning.

What is the teacher’s role in promoting incidental learning then?

This may come down to establishing an interactive ethos and populating the learning environment with trigger objects including leading questions and comments, posters and pictures, and subliminal objects such as music, diverse books on bookshelves, photos in tweets, etc.

Or the ‘teacher’ may not have a role.

Such ideas may become more important as we consider new modes of learning and more diverse learning communities.

Accidental learning

In discussing the forthcoming Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference (aka ‘event’, ‘happening’, ‘gathering’, ‘do’…) [#SocMedHE18] Sarah Honeychurch (@NomadWarMachine) used the expression ‘accidental learning’. I liked it immediately – I think it is different to incidental learning perhaps. It reminds me of the idea of ‘happy accident‘ used by artists who play with the unexpected and who find value in mistakes. The difference in meaning is nuanced, but it is about knowing to look at and look for the meaning in unintended or unplanned situations as a strategy. With this meaning, educators (as art teachers have always done) can advise their students to take risks and positively value ‘mistakes’ as triggers or catalysts leading to the discovery of ideas and deeper knowledge. It is a strategy, therefore, for developing creativity as an outcome of learning.

Given that the phrase came up in a conversation about the distinctiveness of social media learning environments, does it tell us anything about such spaces? That’s a good question to explore I think. If we are thinking that this is different to incidental learning, it may point us towards the value of the ‘accidents’ that will happen in social media communication. Here are some initial thoughts on that:

  • typos
  • saying something rash that demands clarification or that triggers new lines of thought
  • thinking (too) quickly
  • generating responses and list making (quickly) – [like this]
  • taking risks because it is so easy to do – and allowing risks to ‘fail’ well or badly, but being resilient and philosophical
  • the value of learning from mistakes

So, please feel free to add your own thoughts on whether we need this idea of accidental learning! Does it say something about the distinctiveness of social media learning environments?

Update: This article on accidental learning is useful: Matheson, D. (2003). A conceptual analysis of accidental learning as an educational activity. Education On-Line. Online at: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00003468.htm

References

Marsick, V.J. & Watkins, K.E. (2001). Informal and incidental learning. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. 89, 25-34.

Monahan, T. (2002). Flexible space and built pedagogy: emerging IT embodiments. Inventio, 4(1), 1-19. Online at: http://www.torinmonahan.com/papers/Inventio.html

Sharples, M., Adams, A., Alozie, N., Ferguson, R., FitzGerald, E., Gaved, M., McAndrew, P., Means, B., Remold, J., Rienties, B., Roschelle, J., Vogt, K., Whitelock, D. & Yarnall, L. (2015). Innovating pedagogy 2015: Open University. Innovation Report 4. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Online at: https://iet.open.ac.uk/file/innovating_pedagogy_2015.pdf

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Advertisements
Posted in creativity, learner engagement, learning space, Media-enhanced learning, social media for learning | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Negotiated learning and the subject of teaching

andres-canchon-37439-unsplash

Photo by Andrés Canchón on Unsplash

What is the subject of teaching? In this post, I mull over this question, its several meanings and its implications for negotiated active learning.

In my role as an educational developer with responsibilities for both staff and curriculum development, the subject can be understood as meaning ‘disciplinary knowledge’ or the focus of study, being the primary concern of the teacher; what is referred to as ‘core knowledge’ in the UKPSF. This meaning creates a safe space, if not comfort zone, for many university academic teachers. The university teacher can assume a strong sense of ownership over this idea of subject.

The second interpretation of the question relates to the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and the ideas of praxis and signature pedagogies (Shulman, 2005): how the ways we teach and the ways we learn reflect our discipline and who we are – our ‘being’.

The third meaning is when subject is used to refer to the actual responsibility of the teacher – the student. The subject is the learner and their education, and all that this means. The student is the teacher’s subject and the basis of a student-centred view of teaching, therefore. I don’t know how many university teachers would agree with me that their primary responsibility is to develop their students capabilities to learn. Teaching, therefore, involves the art of situating their students in their learning.

What does this mean for the design of an effective student-centred curriculum and the pedagogic philosophy informing its delivery?

It alludes to the big ideas of situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and authentic learning (Herrington & Parker, 2013; Maina, 2004). A student-centred design is one that resonates with each and every student. Its delivery gives each student purchase – a way in to an open-ended exploration. This is achieved by situating knowledge as an outcome of reasonable challenge – Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (1978) in which each student (whatever their capability to begin with) is supported to estimate and realise their own potential through a continual sense of ‘stretches’ or accessible challenges.

How does the teacher design a learning context in which each and every student in a large cohort is challenged in this way? What does differentiation look like in reality when student diversity is valued as being a fundamental dimension of a student-centred design philosophy? The answer, I believe, comes through the design of an authentic learning environment using the principles of active learning. In such a space, each student knows to negotiate their engagement with a problem or situation; negotiation being a form of autonomous, yet supported, learning. The nature of the negotiation is dependant on that challenge. It may involve an explicit agreement with their tutor or peers, or negotiation can be more subtle based upon their metacognition and reflexivity – self-direction or critical self-determination eventually. The art of teaching in such a space, then, is to develop such learning capabilities; capabilities that continue to develop to hold each learner in good stead for life.

References

Herrington, J., & Parker, J. (2013). Emerging technologies as cognitive tools for authentic learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44(4), 607-­‐615. doi:10.1111/bjet.12048

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press.

Maina, F. W. (2004). Authentic learning: Perspectives from contemporary educators. Journal of Authentic Learning, 1(1), pp. 1-8.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press.

Posted in active learning, Applied Learning, BYOD, learner engagement | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kitchen and studio-based learning

cc-AT Joan

The Great British Menu is back on UK television at the moment. I am not a fan of cooking programmes – though others are in my household – so, it’s on and inevitably I get caught up in it. Assessment is the central device in these reality programmes, creating tension and the reward.

I am struck by the assessment model on The Great British Menu. Three cooks work together over four days vying to create the best dish for each of four courses. The kitchen is a supportive space, characterised by a degree of banter and mutual respect. Although the cooks are in competition, they are professional and co-operative in attitude. They will discuss amongst themselves what they are each doing and how well they are managing. As they ready their work for presentation and tasting each will support the others, as needed, to plate the food. You wonder that there is never any thought of sabotage – co-operation (not collaboration) overcomes competition in this kitchen. As fellow professionals, they give and take criticism as a constructive opportunity to review their work.

They are judged each day by a respected chef who provides each of them with detailed feedback and awards points, thereby identifying the winner of that round. In arriving at a judgement, the chief chef and each competitor chef will go off to analyse the work. The chief will ask the competitor, “How satisfied are you with what you have done? Why?” The chief asks, ” What Mark would you give yourself for this then?”There is no point in the competitor overblowing their work; the situation demands an honest and justified self-appraisal. You sense that if the competitor did over-estimate their work they would be penalised for not having the capability to make a fair estimation I.e. it would be a sign that they isn’t know what ‘good’ food looked like. The competitor returns to the kitchen and the chief chef makes some notes and comes up with a mark.

Meanwhile, the remaining two cooks are discussing the dish prepared by their fellow competitor. They know to be respectful – after all they don’t want the others to treat their work disrespectfully while they’re being judged. They also give their peer a mark.

As each competitor chef returns to the kitchen they ask “How did it go?” And so forth. They’ll often reveal their own thoughts on the dish, and the mark they awarded. As a viewer you are never sure, at the end of the day, whether the peer assessment is taken into consideration or not, but the important thing here is that, b assessing each other’s cooking, the chefs demonstrate how they are learning from each other and they reveal much about their own knowledge and critical capabilities.

On the fifth day each chef has taken on board the feedback they have received from the chief chef (their mentor) and from their peers and applied this to improve their respective dishes.

The programme’s format changes at the end of the series when the best dishes from the best chefs are selected to form the menu at a prestigious gala event. This is the motivational prize that creates the ultimate conceit for the show.

There’s a lot to be learnt here in terms of good teaching practices in general, but particularly in relation to studio-based learning.

The kitchen is a vibrant and authentic learning environment – there is action and integrated feedback everywhere you look as the chefs work meticulously through a range of processes to execute their ideas by applying their skills. You here them mutter frustration when they make silly, self-defeating mistakes and you see the creative flow when they are working skilfully and at pace. You see them continually stretch themselves to excel, to the extent that sometimes they are clearly over ambitious. While occasionally they fail, you wonder at what there aspired to achieve and what they have learnt about themselves in the process.the cooks are always critically reflecting on their work, usually managing a high degree of useful objectivity. Their self-assessment, often being overly critical on themselves, is so typical of what we know about self-assessment in education. It is also clear that the value of this is not about the actual marks they award themselves, but how you learn through self-evaluation.

The co-operative nature of peer assessment is well-modelled. This is about creating a professional learning environment of mutual respect. The need to award a mark is a device to make the peers conclude through making a critical decision. In all cases, assessment in this studio environment is fair and supported by evidence. It is criterion-based too, although we never see a rubric. The criteria are in the shows narrative: taste, texture, interpretation of the task, creativity, organisation, and so forth.

All of these ingredients reflect an ideal student-centred learning environment, but looking at Shaffer’s (2007) framework for the studio as a coherent system, the open social space of the kitchen and its equipment equate to the surface structures of a studio, the design, execution and assessment methods employed by the cooks equates to the pedagogical activities, and the deployment of skills and knowledge about cuisine equate to the epistemology.

Posted in active learning, creativity, learning space, studio-based learning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Creative responsibility

Patch-bay

Decisions decisions…

I spent the day in the studio a few days ago with some of my band. This set of sessions has been going on for a while and we came armed with a list of parts that needed to be recorded and edited which would keep us busy enough for the day. These days band members tend to be more often on different continents than in Leeds, our spiritual home. It means we have had to radically examine our ideas about what ‘band’ and creative process mean in practice. In educational lingo that equates to how we enact our team creativity! More on education in a minute, but first let me outline something about the process of writing and recording in a band.

We write our own material. The ‘we’ is interesting. One of us (usually not the drummer!) arrives at a rehearsal either with ‘a song’ or a musical idea to build upon. But we don’t arrive with all the parts worked out. We may use adjectives to describe the essence of the ideas we bring or describe how they feel, as we see it. Often this is by comparing the new idea to other songs. But at that point, the initiator hands their right over the new song to the band who will deconstruct and reconstruct the idea. It may go nowhere but, in my experience, you can create a gem from anything if you are in the right collective frame of mind. Let’s call that having ‘team flow’. So, for every song, a long process begins; one that involves everyone in a constant process of making decisions until, to everyone’s surprise, you have allowed the idea to come to its fruition – at least as far as the rehearsal room is concerned.

In this most recent set of sessions, unusually, one of the band has been caught up recording an album with his other (more successful) band and doing gigs. That left the remaining three of us with a quandary – can we stay productive without one of the team in the room to be part of that continuous discourse of decision making? Well, with his consent, we decided we would. In some respects, being down one person has made us considerably more decisive and productive. The band is very sociable and we tend to spend as much time in banter as in being productive. Time is also a lot more precious for us than it used to be in the ’80s when we were a Leeds ‘Indie’ band on the dole. So the ‘dynamic’ is different. On the other hand, we have found ourselves thinking about our missing friend, asking, “what would he think/do?” And this demonstrates a capacity for surrogate creativity, the implications for educational teamwork being about the capacity of a team to think collectively in a critical and reflective way as the team dynamic evolves. You have to consciously put yourself into that mode and it takes some experience to know this.

Back to the studio, with the drummer now on tour too with another very successful band in America, we’re down to the two of us. This has never happened before in this band. Here we are working through our list of guitar parts, vocals, and more experimental additions like eBow, bottleneck guitar and hurdy gurdy ideas – the frivolous bits that can sometimes really make a song work. The two of us keep saying things like “I just want to try this idea…” Eventually we begin to think about our next day in the studio and how we will decide what to keep and where to take the tracks next. Well, the team remains in spirit even if half of its members can’t be there in person. Those who are there are tasked with making the team’s decisions, knowing that if they couldn’t be there, others would take on the team’s creative responsibility. There is a trust built around vision and design principles and those in the room need to bring both their personal experience and their commitment to the vision to bear.

At one point my fellow bandmate says he feels uneasy about making executive decisions. I know what he means. At this stage in the production we are making decisions that close down options and give the work its focus and character. But I realise that whoever is involved, the process of writing, arranging and producing a song can be understood quite simply as a continuous, intensive flow of individual and collective decision making in which you constantly respond to everything, from the nuanced to the structural. This goes for most team-based creative processes.

Being creative means being a responsive and imaginative decision maker. As someone who has always been in at least one band since the age of 13, I have always valued education as an opportunity for students to experience working creatively in groups – it’s a fantastic experience. While many students will have creative endeavours outside of the curriculum, group-based learning provides a structured environment to learn about being creatively responsible and effective in a structured way. To me, this is a key skill, the outcomes of which are valued in most situations.

Posted in active learning, belonging, BYOD, creativity, learner engagement, Literacies and intelligence, studio-based learning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Creating happiness and flow

Photo by Amauri Salas on Unsplash

Photo by Amauri Salas on Unsplash

Listening to 6 Music this morning, Marie-Ann Hobbs noted how both Viv Albertine and Johnny Marr could not equate happiness with creativity. Instead, creativity seems to be something quite separate. – a drive to be productive.

I do a lot of creative things and, in each case, the experience is of a creative urge – an unstoppable drive in the pursuit of good feelings, but which, in all likelihood, will be characteristised by a sense of struggle and often despair. So, ironically, happiness is rarely part of the creative process itself, but it is behind the motivation to engage creatively attracting me like a light at the end of the tunnel.

Happiness relates to creativity usually in two ways for me. And there is a third, but rare, state that can be experienced if everything falls into place.

Firstly, creativity and happiness are there in the sense of anticipation when I mentally construct often idealistic pictures of what I am going to produce. At this stage, I know I am setting myself up for a challenge, and possibly for a fall, but the pure joy of imagining ideas and possibilities creates an energy. I know this energy is usually insatiable, nevertheless, there is a belief somewhere that I will one day do something excellent (on my own terms).

Secondly, in some cases, happiness can be found in the sense of pride many years later when I can look back objectively on what I achieved. This happiness requires the passage of time. Whether it is art, music, writing or teaching I never like what I have done when I finish doing it. Finishing a creative episode therefore usually involves creating or having a constraint of some sort – usually time. Switching off the creative, critical mind and the heightened subjectivity involved in making creative decisions is very difficult. This usually means I have a strong sense of dissatisfaction when producing work. I can’t read, view or listen to things I do. For example, I have a thoroughly researched article that I have written and rewritten through an immersive set of iterations this year. It is probably or at least possibly excellent and, if not, I am fairly sure the peer review will be a valuable and constructive experience – so this reticence to submit is not that I am worried by the criticism I might receive from others, it is that my immersive flow was interrupted at that final point and I now have to summon up a new energy, and interest, in seeing the job through. As a creative person, ironically, the creative struggle of problem-solving provides the intrinsic drive – not the satisfaction of having finished something.

There is a third state of creative happiness and I hope (as I always do) to experience this over the next three days. I am in various bands or, more correctly, I am involved in variously music-related endeavours including two bands of very long standing. So, after all this time, there is an intrinsic happiness that comes from purposeful sociability centred on making things with other people – writing, arranging and recording songs. The third state, one that I often do experience when writing music, is that idea of flow. It is a fleeting sense of everything and everyone coming together; being on the same page; being in the right frame of mind. Usually, this is about being relaxed, trusting your instinct, playing with cliche and irony to find originality, and not over-thinking anything. Together. So flow is a rare and much-desired example of where creativity and process do come together. The feeling is so strong and bankable that it energises all future ideas of being creative, setting up intrinsic motivation around creativity.

So I am obviously happy in that pre-state today. My bandmates and I have set ourselves quite a challenge as we have much of the album recorded (I trust it’s good – I won’t be listening for a while of course). But we need one or two new tracks and it is critical we get the drums down by Wednesday. That becomes the constraint around which other parts are layered over the next while. I believe constraints create an amazing condition to trust what you know and find your flow.

But we’ll see…

Creativity and learning

This does explain a lot about my thinking on education and creating effective learning environments. I think creativity is an important and healthy part of learning that embraces constraints and challenges linked to ideas of satisfaction. Learning co-operatively through creative decision-making creates a rich and immersive space for learning; one that is highly stimulating, but not superficial and not about immediate gratification. A creative learning experience should foster pride or self-esteem – ultimately. This means it should involve a deep and meaningful struggle, the value of which is often not appreciated in the short-term, but which continues to inspire and drive you in years to come.

Posted in creativity, learner engagement, learning space | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The tweet is the new photograph

I am reading Susan Sontag’s seminal book On Photography from 1977. It’s interesting reading the book in an age where the act of photographing the world has exploded beyond what Sontag could have imagined – even though her critique of everyday photography takes the mass proliferation of the acquired image as its starting point.

I am struck how social media in general, but especially the tweet or WhatsApp, Instagram or Snapchat message, have directly replaced the role of the photograph in everyday life. As you read the following, replace ‘photograph’ with ‘tweet’ (etc.).

“A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture-taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights—to interfere with, to invade, or to ignore whatever is going on. Our very sense of situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions. The omnipresence of cameras persuasively suggests that time consists of interesting events, events worth photographing. This, in turn, makes it easy to feel that any event, once underway, and whatever its moral character, should be allowed to complete itself—so that something else can be brought into the world, the photograph. After the event has ended, the picture will still exist, conferring on the event a kind of immortality (and importance) it would never otherwise have enjoyed.” (P. 11)

The act of social mediation, in its various forms, is ‘one with ever more peremptory rights’… Positively, the act of acquisition is an intervention that, with critical decisiveness, demonstrates the learning agency afforded by social media.

Posted in Digital Placemaking, Literacies and intelligence, Possibilities, social media for learning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Productive failure, drawing and erasing – exploring visual literacies #twalk #possibilities

Walk cards with proposition statements and visual trigger

Walk cards with proposition statements and visual trigger

More walking, talking and Twalking (just about)

I co-led a Twalk today on the subject of visual literacies as part of Sheffield Hallam University’s Learning & Teaching Conference with my colleague Helen Rodger. It was billed simply as a learning walk and it was only this morning that I put it out there as a #twalk. Strictly speaking it wasn’t as I had not published the route, questions/topics, or engaged other walking groups in other places (hence, the defining qualities of a Twalk are revealed by what I didn’t do). But this morning I did put it out there because I realised that there was interest beyond SHU once I had tweeted that I was leading a walk.

The conference theme of conversation and learning experience was very apt for exploring the walking methodology. The nature of conversational learning is central to the ideas of learning walk, Twalks and tweetchats as spaces for learning.

The idea for the visual literacies focus for the walk today was a response to my own daily involvement with Instagram as a dimension of my leisure walking and my personal observation that the act of having to take a photograph each day has changed my visual acuity. Looking deeply is a practiced habit. I thought this would feature in this walk, but when it came to submitting the proposal I decided I wanted to see if this came out of conversation rather than by pre-populating the conversation, so to speak. As far as I am aware, it didn’t! Another day for that then…

Normally I hand out a walking ‘map’ to guide my learning walks and Twalks: itinerary, questions, hashtags, etc. This time I used laminated cards (see above). One-sided A6 postcard-sized with a title, a proposition statement, and an image. Each card was used to scaffold 10 minutes of the walk. I had produced 4 sets, and there were 10 of us. The cards felt good and were practical. Originated in PowerPoint, I was able to segue from in-class intro slide for backgrounding the theme and ‘problem’ to projecting the first ‘card’. This meant I could

  1. explain how the cards should be used to scaffold conversation on the walk,
  2. switch off the projector,
  3. ask people to look at the very same card in their hand, and
  4. invite them to walk and talk.

All in one breath! That worked very well. I liked everything about the card-based approach especially the provocative image and proposition statement. I could have included a single Twalk hashtag – but that was an afterthought today.

It’s the third Twalk I have done in a conference setting and I think it is particularly appropriate. You really notice the change in tone as you bring a group into a conversational mode and, I believe, people feel very comfortable with walking and talking. In my intro I said, “You know, it should feel just like it does when you go out for a Sunday walk on Stanedge Edge with friends and family.” (Most Sheffield people do that ‘promenade’ in the Peak District every now and then because it is so near and very accessible).

From walk propositions to Twalk questions

Deciding to twalk-ify my walk created one problem. The proposition statements were too detailed for a Twalk, though provocative for a walk. You can see them on the cards above. Prior to the session I opened a Google Doc, framed them as questions, and included the relevant hashtags. During the walk i kept the document open and pasted the questions periodically. I began with one or two lead-up posts as you normally do in a tweetchat:

  • “#twalk #visualliteracies #possibilities join us in person or on twitter for 4 questions between 1 and 2pm #SHULT18”
  1. #twalk #visualliteracies #possibilities Q1 How do you visualise information in your teaching? #SHULT18
  2. #twalk #visualliteracies #possibilities photograph an object and explain how it will help us to save the world! #SHULT18
  3. #twalk #visualliteracies #possibilities Q2 How do you visualise metaphor in your teaching? #SHULT18
  4. #twalk #visualliteracies #possibilities Q3 How does visualisation promote confidence and fluency amongst your students? #SHULT18
  5. #twalk #visualliteracies #possibilities Q4 How does visualisation promote creative and critical thinking amongst your students? #SHULT18

Note I had 4 questions but threw in an extra challenge activity mid-way to photograph an object. One of the walkers asked me to photograph the train station in response to this which I did for her. She didn’t have a smart device with her or didn’t want to use it if she did.

As I noted at the University of Liverpool last week in my virtual visit, most photographing and tweeting were done by a dedicated person and today it was the same. I was not only doing most of the facilitating at our ‘pause points’ but doing the photographing and tweeting too. On another day, I would look to have a ‘scribe role’ looking after the social media as we did at the mini-Twalk at #socmedhe17.

Health and safety was an issue for me: walking down several flights of stairs, going through a revolving door, and crossing one of Sheffield city centre’s busiest roads twice – all while tweeting in the shiny sun… not sensible Andrew… Be warned!

Visual literacies

The topic was great. Very fitting for this conference and the staff group. I have previously published a continuum framework on the use of images and their relation to playful learning (Middleton, 2015). Today we explored some of this beginning with image as conveyor of information, then looking at the use of visual metaphor. But we also considered the visual in the context of creative and critical thinking and in relation to the ubiquity of the screen, mobile technology, and social media.

In the walk we talked about the various ways in which graphic media are incorporated in teaching and learning: photographs, infographics, CAD, web pages, diagrams, drawing, flow charts, concept maps, and visual elements such as tables within texts. We discussed how images give us access to situations and objects that are inaccessible due to cost, location and size. That brought us to a discussion about simulation. We talked about visual representation of complexity or organisational structures and we talked about the ubiquity of screens and the habitual use of photographs in social media.

We discussed how images lend themselves to divergent thinking and open-ended discourse and how divergent thinking is not always desirable in some disciplines where exacting processes and convergent thinking are needed.

I keep finding myself talking about the learning value of productive failure, uncertainty, and complexity in my thinking about studio-based learning. This makes me think about the ephemeral and, in terms of graphics, ideas such as sketching, drafting and drawing, and erasing. We discussed the value of ambiguity as a context for conceptual thinking, but the malleability of the visual – as in redrawing and reshaping – is also important if we are thinking about the versatility of the visual in comparison to written text.

Classroom

We started, albeit briefly, in a classroom and we returned to the classroom for a 5 minute plenary discussion. This is new for me – normally learning walks have begun in a specific non-formal location and ended at whatever the 5th landmark turned out to be. But I have to say, I liked it today. Getting back to the class with enough time to wrap up was useful. And indeed, nobody was in a rush to get out of the room so the conversation ran over 5 or 10 minutes because I think everyone bonded on the walk and didn’t really want it to end!

Next

I had to cancel a walk a couple of weeks ago. It was a twilight walk for senior managers that conflicted with England’s first game in the World Cup. It didn’t feel right to compete. Tonight we have the semi-final, but plenty of time to get home first.

So I am still thinking about rescheduling the twilight walk, but I think it will have to be next academic year.

On 3rd October I am meant to be leading the #GlobalTwalk – an induction-focused Twalk on the D3BC concept. It’s time for me to finalise plans, maps, etc for that. So stay posted!

Reference

Middleton, A. (2015). Room for imagining: The playful mind. Creative Academic Magazine, ‘Exploring Play in Education’, June 2015.

Posted in learning space, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment