Tag Archives: Peer interaction

A picture is worth 1000 words⤴

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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⤴

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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⤴

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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⤴

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Oatcakes

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).

Yarn

No metaphors today, just happy relaxed writing.

Miscommunication⤴

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Close up, blurry image of a pink flower

Random moments of misconnection:

George, a Chinese UG, tells me how hard it is to study independently when there is so much he does not understand in lectures. He struggles to understand aurally and finds it hard to use lecture notes to find out what he missed because he … does not know what he missed. We talk about strategies, I suggest some support networks. I tell him not to struggle alone.

Later that day some of us struggle in an LTHEChat as the terminology used by the question setter is obscure. I laugh with my network. It does not matter to me that I am not understanding as nothing hangs on it. Still, I feel frustrated that an opportunity for a conversation was lost.

Unboundeq runs scavenger hunts. These are FUN! We share blurry, close up pics of everyday objects with each other and try to guess what they are. It’s hard. I realise how difficult it is to anticipate what others will and will not find obvious.

We also talk about ALT-text, and realise how hard it is to add this in a way that makes visual activities inclusive. I don’t feel I have an answer to that.

There’s a lot to process here.

Reclaiming Lurking⤴

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Stalker

Lurking is a potential problem for theories of social constructivism and principles of active learning. It’s also a problem for data analytics – if the student is not VISIBLE, how do we KNOW that they are learning? The invisible are easy to ignore, easy to problemetise, easy to marginalise, easy to other, easy to shame. It is tempting to chivvy them into participation, but participation without intrinsic engagement and motivation is futile, is facile, is inauthentic. A pedagogic approach that emphasises the visible over all else ignores autonomy, dismisses reasons, denies that another story might exist. This type of approach can force us all to join in the jolly learning games FOR OUR OWN GOOD.

All of this makes me shudder with memories of the forced jollity of childhood – the insistence upon JOINING IN – no sitting in the corner READING quietly while the rest of the (good) children are PLAYING NICELY together. (If you know Joyce Grenfell you will hear her voice here.) I felt odd. I am not shy, yet for most of my life I had no way of describing my need to sometimes pause and reflect before speaking. Now I know that I am not alone – that others (sometimes) feel as I do. But I digress.

When we other the silent participants we risk confusing what is countable, what is trackable, what is noticeable,  for what is important – we risk confusing meaningful learning with what is easy to assess. But learning is not a counting noun – Dave Cormier taught us that. And, if we are not careful, we send students the message that spending time in quiet reflection is somehow wrong, that spending time learning conventions is wrong, that watching is cheating, that this behaviour is FREELOADING and that is JUST NOT CRICKET.

Yet learning often takes time. Thoughts need to percolate. Fine wine is not made overnight. this blog post, for example, began with a discussion on Twitter, and has been knocking around in my head ever since.

So I am stating, here and now, that I am reclaiming lurking. I am reclaiming the behaviour, and I am reclaiming the word. Lurking is allowed. Lurking. Is. Allowed. There, I said it aloud (lol).

I’ve written about this with others before. I’ve used Lave and Wenger’s idea of legitimate peripheral participation to suggest that lurking can be a legitimate strategy for those new to a community and its norms. I’ve talked about how our Facebook groups can help shyer students, and those without English as a native language, to take their time to respond in their own way. I’ve run a Twitter chat to talk in more detail about this. I’m not saying anything new. But the current emphasis on student engagement and active learning makes me want to emphasise this more. Lurking is a legitimate behaviour. It is something we all do from time to time. I lurk, you lurk, we all lurk. (Note, by the way, that I am talking about a behaviour here, and not a type of person – lurking is relational, is situational, is context dependent.)

We learn a lot by doing, I know. We should encourage our students to participate. We should ensure that the digitally shy can be helped to find their voice, that students build their digital capabilities as well as their academic ones. All of these will help them both within academia and beyond it. But any insistence on one size fitting all, of active learning being the only ‘proper’ way of learning, needs to stop.

So the question becomes, I think: how do we, as compassionate educators, allow students opportunities to learn what, when and how they want to learn?

Image of Cagney, lurking in our garden

A haiku for the weekend⤴

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Writing a chunk of my lit review this weekend. I am not sure if these are my favourite books, but they are definitely some of the ones that have had the most influence on my thinking. Some are old friends, others recent recommendations from friends. So it’s opportune that today’s Daily Create asks us to write a haiku about our favourite book. Here’s mine:

Creating with friends

Making, sharing, remixing

Participating

 

Twitter chat personas⤴

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Say cheese

I’ve been thinking a lot about the different ways of interacting, or not, on Twitter this week, and I’ve come up with a rough list of types of engagement in Twitter conversations:

  • Academic:  adds relevant academic references
  • Networker: links to others/brings other tweeps into the conversation
  • Self-publicist: always twists the conversation to talk about their work; provides links to their work over and over again
  • Cheerleader: RTs with added positive comments about the original post
  • Enthusiast: replies to say how great everybody and their ideas are
  • Lurker: likes posts, might RT without added comment, but does not post
  • Critic: disagrees, adds alternative points of view, but does so in a positive way*
  • Troll: no need to define these*

What do you think? Do you recognise yourself or others in this categorisation? Ha:ve I missed out any personas you’d include?

* Thanks to Len for these two

It depends how you look at it⤴

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Blind men and elephant3

There’s a story that’s often told about a bunch of blind men and an elephant. Each man only encounters a part of the elephant and, based on their partial understanding, disagree with the others about the *real* nature of the animal. I wrote about this years ago on another site, now lost, and I can’t remember exactly what I said, butI said something related during rhizo15.

I’m not a fan of pretending that educational researchers can be objective. However, I don’t think that an implication of this is that all educational research is a matter of subjective opinion – there’s an alternative candidate that’s worth consideration.

Perspectivism is the view that every point of view is a matter of perspective.* Everybody has their own perspective, and it’s important to recognise that this might not be the whole story. This doesn’t mean that truth is subjective, or relative – perspectives can be better or worse than others, and some perspectives can be aggregated to make a bigger story, as the blind men can do in order to get a fuller picture of the elephant – if they take the time to listen to each other.

Rhizomes are like this. Each of us finds our own way of navigating then, each of us have our own perspective. We can often understand others’, and we can agree or disagree with them. Rhizomes are heterogeneous multiplicities, to use some of D&G’s words.

Perspectivism grounds my methodology and my ethical approach for my PhD. I am looking at CLMOOC and putting my interpretation on what I see there, then making my interpretation open to others to agree, or disagree. I’m not pretending to have all of the answers, but I am suggesting a point of view that I think is plausible. I think that’s how educational research should be viewed.

* There’s a lot more to this, of course. I’m not suggesting that there is no such thing as objective truth, it’s more complicated than that. But this will suffice for here.

Summer doodles, and more⤴

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Hello all – how’s July for you so far? Here in Glasgow it’s hot, and I am hiding in my study looking out over our garden with berries ripening, potato plants thriving- so much promise, so much sun.

But, luckily, as I hide in my cool study, I have plenty to occupy me. Because this is July, and CLMooc has a month of creativity to inspire me Come and join us, if you will, as we share pictures and poems with each other before joining up with a wider community from the middle of July.

All are welcome. I hope to see you there. If you like, I’ll also send you a postcard.