Photo elicitation as open learning space

Bureau_of_land_management

Before dispensing with the short paper myself and Kathrine Jensen presented at #OER16 I wanted to return to an image we used.
The slides we used in our presentation were embedded in the previous post. The title image is reproduced here. Made available under a Creative Commons attribution licence by CC BY 2.0 Mypublic lands https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/ on Flickr, the image immediately and powerfully communicated many of the ideas we had planned to explore.
Though we had prepared a series of slides and the presentation addressed points not represented in this picture, it was evident that a discussion around learning spaces using only this photograph as a script, would have produced an equally rewarding discussion. To be clear, the point I am making here does not pertain only to this specific photograph, but to any photograph in which the viewer can search for connections to a question, theme or problem.
Imagine you are in our session and we ask you a question such as, “How does this image represent your ideal learning space?” I think we can see how we could spend 20 to 60 minutes deeply exploring ideas about the qualities of ideal learning spaces.
Let me talk you through what I saw.
Our talk was about ‘Finding the open in the in-between: changing culture and space in higher education’. What do you see?
We are looking at an image rich in saturated colours. It is a large open and unpopulated space. The swirls of layered rock may suggest movement, connection, or fluctuation within the context of something apparently certain, almost concrete.
There is freedom to gaze and contemplate as your eyes follow the picture and its suggestion of continuity or connectivity. There are areas of light and shade, and there’s a sense of dynamism. While light and shadow or openness and containment are binaries, on closer inspection we can see how there are no stark divisions and how surfaces merge and roll into each other.
There are dominant spaces and liminal in-between spaces and the textures of the rocks are rough, abrasive, porous, smooth, worn and eroded.
Each of these thoughts, and more to the point the thoughts of others in the room, provide a way in to think and then talk about the problem question. Using the image a prompt or structure for an informed discussion could have been interesting and could have helped us elicit experience and ideas from those who joined us.
Next time I think!

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About amiddlet50

Educational developer working in academic innovation in higher education in the UK
This entry was posted in Academic innovation, learning space, MELSIG, Possibilities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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