Everything Unplugged

Royal Festival Hall 2 May 2012

Everything meets every week and began as School of Everything Unplugged, emerging from Dougald Hine & Paul Miller‘s learning start-up as a kind of reflective space for ongoing discussions.  Any topic related to learning that members want to discuss that week is up for discussion; the subtitle is “learning conversations” This week it was stress and learning as a gently rambling group discussion, without any real lead (although proposed & explained by David Jennings. We also try to invite someone along almost every week to challenge us to broaden the discussions. If you want to come along you can join the group on Facebook

There are core members including me (now). David Jennings (@agilelearn) and Tony Hall (@tonyhall) have been there since the start on 9/9/9. Regulars include Annie, Lucy, Ian, Paul, Patrick, (yep it is a bit blokey), irregulars include Clodagh, Bronya and Sara. This week we were unusually reflective going back to the origins of the group, which I looked up and tweeted to some response namely “how we enable learning in extra-institutional contexts through conversations around people’s interests” what might be called Open Learning. There was a feeling that as a group we are all the same page when it comes to open learning but we have very diverse practice; home, cultural, contextual, agile, convivial, social media, school, doctoral, inclusion, policy, work-based. #extremecollaboration

Open Academic Practice; The new JISC funded project on Open Academic practice is underway and I have signed up with the Open Brookes project and their MOOC which runs from 21 May to 12 June 2012 and this blog will be where I feed my reflections back into the process. However I want to use the OAP initiative, which tends to interpret “open” as “access” to university, to examine broader issues of Open Academic Practice as Nigel Ecclesfield and I described in “Co-creating Open Scholarship” as I think open is currently defined far too narrowly. It is defined by Universities about their traditional education practice. It needs to be so much more…

Learning Conversations in times of Austerity; The Unplugged group collectively produced a newspaper a year ago called Agile Learning Unplugged to capture some of the discussions and the diverse range of ideas of the characters invloved . The idea of Agile Learning came together following David Jennings’s and Seb Schmoller’s discussions about the impact of austerity on learning provision and what responses might be appropriate . Their conclusion was that Agile Learning might “allow a scaling-down of learning to match the human experience rather than the scaling up of institutions attempting to engage with financial opportunities that globalisation seemed to offer” which we have continued to see following the Brown Review of HE which prompted the student occupations in 2010/11. #upthefees

Open Learning as principle. I see open learning in the terms I identified in the Emergent Learning Model, the self-organisation of social groups, like Everything Unplugged, coming first (as communities of scholars originally self-organised before Universities came along). Following the self-identification of their learning interests various resources might then be accessed or created. Access to resources in times of information scarcity was how Universities originally came about. Having a library of 30 books (Oxford University) or 135 books (Cambridge University – 1209) in one place was the original solution to information scarcity. In the present distributed collaborative world we have Information Obesity (as Drew Whitworth puts it) and can as easily create as consume. The Open Academic Practice initiative seems a belated and limited response to this information abundance based on Access to university, to which Khan has promoted the idea of the flipped curriculum. In this blog I want to look at new models of learning in a world where we are as likely to create as consume and to use collaborative tools as listen to experts; who created the failed world we now live in. As Ben Hammersley put it in An Internet of People we have to learn how to move from a hierarchical society to a networked one.

WikiQuals has emerged in the same way and I will be referencing our work as part of this blog. WikiQuals is interested in post-hoc accreditation strategies and approaches and includes some Everything Unpluggedstars. We have already been looking at the role of Affinity as part of learning support rather than competition as part of educational accreditation. I’ve already realised that WikiQuals reflects more of a rhizomatic approach than a massive online one as Affinity is about relationships. I love those guys!

NeXT I will be investigating these ideas in depth during the MOOC which runs from May 21st for 5 weeks.



3 thoughts on “Everything Unplugged

  1. Pingback: Personal Learning Networks: why? « Patrick's Blog

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