Author Archives: NomadWarMachine

Catching my breath⤴

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Bee

Phew, I am glad May is over. Annual review and a deadline to submit a draft lit review in the same week – both done. I am apparently on track to submit by January 2020. I hope I can cope – I have spent the last few weeks either writing or feeling guilty that I was not writing. Today I gave myself permission to take a day off. I have gardened, doodled, read for fun, relaxed.

I’m not going to share my draft lit review here – it’s not that interesting. A whistle stop tour of some educational theories with a nod to constructionism, and a note to myself to think more about tinkering as an approach.

Creative playfulness⤴

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I submitted a draft of my PhD discussion chapter yesterday. It’s over 7,000 words, so I won’t post it all here! I can never remember the actual title of my thesis – but I am looking broadly about how peer interaction helps to support learning, and I am using CLMOOC (and a bit of DS106) to think about the question. My draft thesis statement at the moment is this:

CLMOOC is best conceptualised as being an affinity space, or affinity network, in which the principles and values of connected learning support and facilitate a participatory culture of lifelong learners who engage in reciprocal and collaborative practices such as remix. This ethos of creative playfulness leads to meaningful learning because members of CLMOOC perceive themselves to be in a safe space where they can experiment and learn new skills without fear of ridicule or censure, and can ask openly for help and advice as they need it. Much of the learning that occurs in CLMOOC is emergent and thus unplanned in one sense, and the structure and ethos of CLMOOC are carefully designed so that they support and facilitate this emergent learning. However, although this structure is carefully designed, this design is not immediately obvious.

I’ve done various types of analysis – some social network analysis (using TAGS), and a textual analysis of some CLMOOC tweets. To do this, I focused on the 2016 summer pop-up, as looking at the 40K tweets I have in my TAGS database would have taken me years. My summary of that analysis is this:

CLMOOC is a highly connected, non-hierarchical community of lifelong learners with an ethos of social justice who support each other and learn through creative play. In summary, CLMOOC has the following features:

  • Connected community: the social network visualisations in particular show that CLMOOC is a highly connected community of learners, and the thematic analysis shows that many members feel a sense of belonging and being connected to each other;
  • Communicative conversations: the content analysis shows that many of the conversations in CLMOOC are more than just informal chit-chat. They are:
    • highly cognitive and meta-cognitive: members talk about teaching and learning and consider how to apply what they are learning to their own teaching practices;
    • highly social and supportive: members praise each other, are not afraid to show their feelings for each other and their appreciation for what others are doing;
  • Creative and collaborative: the thematic analysis shows that CLMOOC is a maker space where participants engage in reciprocal creative play and that this leads to serendipitous and surprising happenings and emergent learning.

I am calling CLMOOC an affinity space, or affinity network, based on my reading of writings by James Paul Gee and Mimi Ito (especially the book some of us recently read together), and characterising the interactions that we engage in as HOMAGO. In order to explain this, I’m adding some examples of the sorts of collaborative and reciprocal activities we play around with. I’m also adding pictures to make it look pretty (all CLMOOC designed with CC licences, of course. At the moment my examples are:

  • Off the cuff play: I’ve used our giffing around as an example here,
  • Volunteer suggestion: I’ve used the badges from CLMOOC 2016, and Ron’s artwork,
  • Shared practice: I thought Silent Sunday would be good here. with a collage of a few pf the pictures,
  • Collaborative: I’ve chosen Story Jumpers for this, with a pic of Miss Direction,
  • Transcending the virtual: well, the postcards have to be mentioned, don’t they? I have a pic of my pin board to illustrate this,
  • I have not added this yet, but I will write something aboutdaily rituals – either the daily creates from DS106, or the daily doodles some of us have been drawing.

I’m also suggesting that the broad values we subscribe to are those of connected learning: that is, learning that is socially connected, interest-driven, and oriented towards educational opportunity.

In the next section, I’m going to look at the design of CLMOOC, using papers written by Anna, Christina, Mia and Stephanie as a starting point.

So what do you think? Does this sound like CLMOOC to you? What have I missed out? What would you want me to say about CLMOOC?

The Future of Learning⤴

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“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. Education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” Dewey, Democracy and Education.

I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience recently.

Not as the ability to spring back up when knocked down (though that can be a good thing).

But as the ability to adapt, to look at a new situation and think about how one can apply one’s existing skills.

resilience (n.)
1620s, “act of rebounding,” from Latin resiliens, present participle of resilire “to rebound, recoil,” from re- “back” (see re-) + salire “to jump, leap” (see salient (adj.)). Compare result (v.). Meaning “elasticity” is from 1824.

There’s no jobs for life now, we are frequently told. Bring on life long learning.

Transferable skills.

Graduate attributes.

Resilience.

Buzz words.

Life long learning is an attitude.

#CLMOOC, #DS106, #LTHEChat.

The future of learning is networked.

A post for OpenBlog19

Good enough⤴

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Disco ball
Image by author CC-NC-SA

I was asked this week how I write. Quickly, I said – in odd moments snatched whenever I can find them. I try not to think too much about what I’m writing – I scribble words on scraps of paper, I doodle on the scribbles and scribble some more.

I try not to worry about choosing perfect words and phrases – I often use square brackets to remind myself that parts need polishing – that the words I have scribbled there are placeholders. But, when I finally sit myself in front of a word processor and force myself to type up all the scribbles, I often find that those temporary words are fine.

Of course I do revise what I write – over time, as I edit, I will refine what I say – add to it, delete parts -but often the parts that I wrote as placeholders turn out to be good enough.

Being “good enough” is very much the ethos of the remix culture of DS106 and CLMOOC. We don’t mind about things being perfect -though we appreciate and value skill, expertise etc. they are not the only sorts of things we value. As I write up my PhD thesis I think about this, and wonder how to link what I am discovering about my affinity networks and maker spaces into something that I can use in HE.

National Unicorn Day⤴

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Today is National Unicorn Day. Yes, really. Some of you might know that the unicorn’s Scotland’s national animal. And in these dark, uncertain days, I think we need a miracle to see us out of Brexit, out of te UK, out of austerity.

Here’s our national animal standing proud on the steps of our Uni chapel.
Happy Unicorn day, all

IMG_2154

Making time⤴

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However busy I am, I try to make time for two daily rituals – one the DS106 Daily Create, a daily challenge open to anyone to participate as they wish, the other a Daily Doodle prompt I’ve been following for some time with my CLMooc friends. I glory in all my tools – my pens, my crayons, my paper, my inks. Old friends and new friends, as Terry says. Micron pens to outline (sometimes with a pencil first). Crayons for familiarity – I have so many sets of crayons. Here I try to take a picture, but my helper wants in on the act:

Quite right, why take pictures of Sharpies, when I can stroke a cat.

Onnotation⤴

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I see everybody’s annotation. I applaud Terry’s innotation. Here I raise you all with my onnotation.

How I did this:

  1. Screen capped Terry’s post and saved it to my PC
  2. Drew a canary bird and scanned it to my PC
  3. Opened both in GIMP
  4. Cut around the tweety bird with the lasso tool
  5. Pasted as a layer into the screen cap image, positioned where I wanted it and exported the image with a new file name
  6. Moved the tweety bird and repeated, again changing the file name (onnotation1, onnotation2 …).
  7. I did this six times in total.
  8. Closed all the windows
  9. Opened all of the (six) images of bird-on-blog that I had saved as layers
  10. Exported as gif, tweeking the settings to get the animation to the speed I wanted (I chose a 200 millisecond delay).
  11. Saved to my PC.