Friday, June 30, 2006

Sir Ken Robinson on learning to be creative (or educating ourselves out of creativity)

An entertaining (in quintessential British style) talk by Sir Ken Robinson on being out of our minds - learning to be creative (or indeed, educating ourselves out of our creativity)! Robinson uses a series of anecdotes to illustrate the sophisticated level of creativity in children and asks some seemingly obvious questions about where our creativity goes as we grow up. It reaffirms me that there is no such thing as a silly question!

Play video.

It really makes sense that, as educators (and through our training to be educators), we do not take notice of the student's body when facilitating their learning. We may notice when they are not paying attention as a broad view, but as Robinson notes in his talk, it's not so much about not paying attention as beginning to see what students react to or how they act - bodily - in learning settings (and of course beyond!). Recall that fidgetty student? :o)

Have we administrated our education systems to ignore the body? I think so! I think it was one of my TALO colleagues who said that education is in fact a virtual form of learning! We need to get back to 'real' learning as living rather than confining our education as a system.

I hope you enjoy the Robinson's talk; I most certainly did! I laughed - and learned - a lot! :o)

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Going to the next level: baby steps and big breaths

I was reading Michael's post about taking his Web Design course to the next level and as I did I began reflecting on how we're going about revamping our PD workshops around flexible learning and delivery. I sighed that familiar sigh, "how do we get teachers' attention about our workshops?" and "what's in it for our teachers?".

I'm all for the 'go where the teachers are at' approach, and trying to work that way as much as possible AND (you were waiting for the 'but' right? ;oP) while this IS a sound approach to take, it also needs to progress teachers' skills and knowledge about flexible learning and delivery.

I often feel like I start from square one (teachers do too). It's a good place, safe, easy and most teachers are comfortable there. However, (OK that's more like a 'but') there seems to be a much wider gap between square one and step two. Maybe step one is a tad too comfy?

So, square one:
Explore the environment (in our case it's mainly WebCT), and see what the common tools do (Like linking a file, organising pages, loading documents). Teachers usually say that this is good, they can load their documents and subject info there and all students need do is download it - easy! :o)

Step two is more like:
Add communication tools and quizzes (including feedback surveys), get students talking, using the calendar tool, and so on. That's a bit more involved isn't it?

I'm going to guess that it is partly because teachers 'manage' in WebCT (and similar environments) rather than viewing it as a place for students' learning.

Why does it always seem that this gap between square one and step is the hardest one to bridge? Why do I still feel like this question places me back at square one - again?!

Baby steps are fine but a leap of faith is inspiring!

Photo by

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How do I 'experience' the social web?

We experience the World Wide Web through a monitor, a screen. This is very much a visual medium. How might we capture our expereinces and our learnings of this phenomenon?

In line with my interest in arts based inquiry, I've set up this presentation about experiencing the social web.

  • What does it convey to you?
  • What do you notice?
  • What does the 'text' present in and of itself?

Some references to arts based inquiry

Currently reading: Neilsen, L Cole, A & Knowles, J.G (2001) The art of writing inquiry, Nova Scotia, Backalong Books.

Arnold, R (2005) Empathic intelligence: teaching, learning, relating, Sydney, University of New South Wales Press.

Quasthoff, U.M & Becker, T (2005) Narrative interaction, Amsterdam, John Benjamin's Publishing.

Abell, P (1987) The syntax of social life: the theory and method of comparative narratives, Oxford, Clarendon Press.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Presentation for eLearning Networks Online Events, June 15-16!

I'll be presenting as part of the eLearning Networks Online Events (AFLF) on Blogging for Learning, using Apcala. The events focus on social networking for e-learning.

You can register now and you will be able to access the events online from June 8.

I'll be encouraging some discussion on my Apcala blog prior to the presentation on June 15 (5.30-6.30pm AEST - time to be confirmed). If you can't see anything about the blog pilot project on my Apcala then I haven't made it public yet! ;o) ...stay tuned, it's coming soon!

Come and join the conversation prior to June 15 and share your views about blogging for learning!

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