As travel restrictions lofted, we were so happy to be able to travel up to the Highlands again. As usual, we stopped at Inveruglas to stretch our legs. We were surprised to see show on the top of the mountain.
Onwards to the ferry for the short journey over from Corran to Ardgour
Strontian itself was wonderful. Here’s the view from the pub beer garden
And the view from our cabin windows
We did so little – just sat and enjoyed the scenery.
Another line of flight from the lines of thought. As I was playing around with papier mache for the plate, I remembered the flippy clicky things we used to make when we were children – a bit of thinking and Googling revealed that these are called paper fortune tellers or chatterboxes. I found some simple instructions to help me remember how to fold one. These are often done with numbers and colours, so I looked at the words in the poem and found that there were exactly four colours that I could use: green, greens, silver and turquoise. I decided to use nouns instead of numbers, and allocate them randomly to number between 1-8: bird, child, cat, snowdrop, wings, human, seeds, trees. The final panels in the game are “fortunes”, so I looked back to the poem and chose some appropriate phrases:
hope springs eternal
you notice gratitude
you glide, introspective
your mind shifts to stars
invisibly lifted, you soar higher
will you help us fly?
will you knit our thoughts together?
I wrote those into the appropriate panels and folded the clicker together. I had planned, at the beginning, to draw this all on my PC, type in all of the words and print it out, but I like the retro look of this version. It now sits on my desk, in one of my in trays, reminding me to pause and ask my fortune.
T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem The Waste Land ‘You cannot say, or guess, for you know only / A heap of broken images…’. Add your line of thought to this Shared Google Doc #DS106 poem and see if we can get to 106 lines of thought that are a collection of images, not broken. Or tweet @wentale.
And then it took off. Kevin made a word cloud
People sampled the poem, a stanza echoed in my head:
Take this hammer, take this chisel Take some time to work alone Shatter the surface of intentions Surface this collaborative poem
I needed to make this tangible – why did I start thinking about papier mache? … And so the idea was born. I printed the poem and ripped it up. I found a saucer and diluted glue. Over a few days I pasted and pasted. I saved my favourite stanza and glued it to the middle. I painted with fountain pen ink, I sprayed with varnish.
Sometimes we don’t know what we need until it happens. This grounded me, relaxed me, took me out of myself. It’s on a shelf in my line of sight to remind me to pause sometimes and simply be.
Some collaborations keep giving and giving, making me smile and giving me hope. Last year some of us put together a calendar on the theme of hope – pictures we had drawn, photos we had taken, words we had written. I have it printed out and pinned to my study wall, reminding me of my friends, and my collaborative community.
When I saw the call for submissions to the OERxDomains21 conference, I asked Wendy if we might submit something based on this calendar, so we did. That was last week and the recording is here.
As an additional activity, Wendy and I also asked participants to submit words or images to a Google presentation so we could put together a collaborative Zine (see slide 2 for the finished Zine).
These projects keep me going – they sustain me and remind me of the power of creative playfulness.
I was told this week that we’re only meant to be dong work that is essential. Now, if this is true, then I know that it’s being said for good reasons – that our senior management are saying this out of a concern for staff – out of a wish to give people permission only to do what is needed and not to worry that they are not doing enough.
But the person who told me about this had understood it in another way. in their interpretation, we are not allowed to do anything that is not essential work – and they were feeling guilty for doing something that they enjoyed, but that was not considered essential.
I might have forgotten about this, but a couple of other conversations this week have got me thinking about it, and realising how important it is, especially right now, that we give ourselves permission to do things that are not essential – that we give ourselves permission to enjoy our work and our leisure time.
I know this – I write about it in my PhD and I practice it every day. CLMOOC and DS106 are good for me – they are serious fun. I laugh a lot, and learn a lot. But I still find it hard to give myself permission to spend time at work on things that are not visibly, immediately useful. This week, thanks to conversations with friends, I realised that I have been feeling guilty about any time I spent doing things I enjoy. If I’m not constantly working on things that I can show to others, then I’ve been worrying that others will think that I am not pulling my weight. And, of course, I am not the only one feeling like this.
So this weekend, as I chip away at my thesis, I want to remind everyone that it’s ok to enjoy your work, its absolutely fine to do some things that are not essential but that are enjoyable, and that we all need to give ourselves permission to have fun, serious or not.
Nearly there. This week I spoke to my supervisor and my Graduate School and I have sent off my “intention to submit” by March 31st 2021. It’s almost done- I just need to finish the final chapters and give it a thorough edit.
It’s been a long journey – as I scrawled down on a scrap of paper this week, my thesis has gone through changes from looking at collaborative learning, through to thinking about peer interactions and ending with a rich picture of participatory learning.
I’ll leave the thanks for the acknowledgements, but for now I will give a shout out for my loyal little research assistant, who keeps me going through it all.
Yesterday, as part of the SocMedHE20 conference, we ran a competition to guess where Hamish the Cow was. Hamish was originally knitted by me back in the old world of social contact, before we realised we’d have to run this year’s event online. I remembered him this week, so we devised a plan to photoedit him into a series of images of Glasgow and tweet them out during the day using the hashtags #WheresHamishNoo and #WinHamishTheCoo We had a lot of fun. Maybe you will too.
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.
The months go so quickly at the moment, but my photos remind me of what we’ve been doing. Mugdock continues to be a joy – harder now the nights are drawing in, but walks in the later afternoon help to blow away the cobwebs. And there was a kestrel.