Tag Archives: Peer interaction

What would Wittgenstein think of remix?⤴


We were playing a game at the weekend, which Kevin started.

We answered by making an acrostic of the word we guessed until we got it right

Then Wendy put her twist on it. Different game, different rules. Obviously related – that’s how remix rolls, and the challenge is to work out what the new rules are, or how the old ones apply.

And that got me thinking: what would Wittgenstein think of remix? I think he’d have understood that it’s all a matter of what game you are playing.

“However many rules you give me—I give a rule which justifies my employment of your rules” (Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics [RFM] I-113).

Learning as Performance⤴


Today I gave a presentation for the #SocMedHE20 conference. It was a conference with a difference as it was all online – presenters were asked to submit up to 5 tweets which we then scheduled to be tweeted from the conference account. Here’s mine – partly done to nudge myself to write a paper about it (the conference will have a special issue of the Journal of Social Media for Learning). Here’s what I said as a warm up:

My basic idea is that, at least for those of us who practice and share out in the open, learning can be seen as a performance – in a similar way to the thought that teaching is a performance (the sage on the stage). I’ll be using #CLMOOC and #DS106 to illustrate my answer.



It took me a long time to start doing the Daily Create. I wanted to participate, but I was not sure I should, or could. Although it’s an open community, I still felt that I’d be an interloper, rudely bursting into a private conversation (and I’ve heard others say this about similar situations, so I know that this is an issue for open educators, but I am going to side step this for today). And the people participating all seemed so proficient – they seemed to do it all so expertly and effortlessly that I was sure that my feeble efforts would not be worthy (again, there’s lots here to tease out that I will pass over for now). Still, I finally took the plunge on March 19th 2016, and now I have 1148 submissions under my belt. For the last couple of years I have made sure to submit something every single day. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to submit my daily create, other days it takes a few hours, but every day I make sure that I do something – it’s now part of my everyday practice. Sometimes it’s a real struggle to find the time, and sometimes I feel that I am not putting in the effort that I should, but doing something every day helps me in ways I don’t always recall at the time.

So this is my resolution for 2020 – to keep on keeping on. To submit to the daily create every day, to continue with my doodling challenges, and to rejoice in playful learning.




One reason that I like participating in daily drawing challenges is that it encourages me to try to draw something new, rather than doodling the same shapes that have become familiar to me. So when I saw that it was a poinsettia for Thursday’s drawing I was a bit daunted, but luckily I had a few minutes before going into a workshop to do and image search. I searched for poinsettia outline and scrolled through the results to get a feel for the basic shapes. Then I grabbed some crayons and a notepad and headed off to the seminar room. As the prof spoke, I sketched some basic shapes in pencil without worrying too much what the end result was going to be – I wanted to get the shape of the petal/leaf right. Then, when I was confident drawing them freehand I got out my 0.5 micron pen (I usually have one of these in my bag) and drew the basic outline. Then I got out my crayons (I could sense at this point how envious the others at my table were that I had something to occupy my hands!) and coloured it in. The end result is not perfect – I’d meant to sketch some more leaf detail on the red petals, but the workshop was over.

Imagine how pleased I was to see this post by Sheri talking about how she’d taken inspiration from my drawing – this is connected learning at its best.

PS: tomorrow it’s a narwal. Um, eek?

Creative playfulness⤴


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?

A picture is worth 1000 words⤴


150 words

If a picture is worth 1000 words, I reckon I am giving you 150 words worth in the above image.

How I did this:

  1. Opened GIMP and found an image I liked from my files.
  2. Used Filters – Render – Patterns – Grid to impose a grid on the image.
  3. Dragged the width up so there were exactly 4 rows of boxes
  4. Used the rectangular tool to make it a 5×4 grid
  5. Opened a new window and pasted this in as a new layer
  6. Used the lasso tool to cut out 3 squares (proportion: 150/1000 words)
  7. Opened a new window and drew a 5×4 grid in above
  8. Copied the part of the image I had selected with the lasso  tool and added as a new layer
  9. Exported
  10. Uploaded to Flickr

Rule of thirds⤴


Rule of Thirds

I took the photo in the middle of this image yesterday and used it as inspiration for my daily doodle. Such beautiful flowers, fading so fast as we are home all day with the heating on at the moment. Today I used it for the daily create. Here’s what I did:

  1. Cropped it slightly, then uploaded it to Lunapic and added a filter (beauty).
  2. Downloaded the result to my PC
  3. Opened Powerpoint and inserted the original image, resizing it to fit
  4. Inserted the new image and resized
  5. Copied the new image 7 more times to tile it
  6. Selected all and grouped the image
  7. Saved as picture to my PC
  8. Opened in Paint and resized to 25% to reduce the file size
  9. Uploaded to Flickr as a CC-BY-SA-NC
  10. Added to this post.
  11. Published.

The peace of silence⤴


There’s so much emphasis at the moment in active learning, often accompanied with the (implicit) belief that this needs to be a collaborative activity. I think both are important, and also enjoyable – but sometimes peace and solitude are just as productive, if not more.

Today I have spent time in my kitchen away from social media  – chopping fruit and veg for relish, stirring together chocolate and nuts for fudge, churning yogurt and vanilla for ice cream and then stirring the remainder of the Christmas pudding through it. As I cooked, my mind wandered – thinking about PhD stuff, and presentations I need to write, and things I have read over the last few days.

Bacon says somewhere that there are three elements to learning: reading, writing and discussing. But of course there’s another – thinking is also important, and I worry that this vital element is being overlooked.  Today I made space for it.

Dots, dots everywhere⤴



Today’s dots – a freshly baked batch of oatcakes. Time is of the essence with these – they need to be quickly mixed together and rolled out while the dough is still warm, else the mixture sets and becomes unworkable. In addition, the more it is rolled out, the harder it is to use, so these are imperfect – quickly cut out and put onto a baking tray. They won’t last long anyway – they are too tasty, we have so much cheese in the house right now, and they are also perfect for a quick snack.

Holiday time is a luxury I appreciate – time to bake, time to relax. Doodling, reading recipes, recharging my batteries. Knitting – always knitting – more dots here in the selection of yarns I have chosen for a scarf for mum – oddments from projects made for family and friends (I will tell her the pale blue is from a sweater I made for dad, she will appreciate that).


No metaphors today, just happy relaxed writing.