Mapping information landscapes & Emergent Learning

Personal Research Agenda; Environmental sustainability, architectures of participation

Background; Three factors govern what I now do educationally, in a post-Web2.0 world

1. Being involved in the longest occupation of a UK University, actually Northern Polytechnic in London, for 5 months in 1971; we also occupied the Canteen for 5 years and ran it as a student co-op.

2. Working in government on digital inclusion and realising that, in a representative democracy, no politician is the least bit interested in social inclusion

3. Teaching the Social Impact of Computing and developing my own model of technology-driven social change; NSU, networks, services, users.

Issues; From the first experience, as a key member of the occupation committee, I learnt that socially-organised problem-solving is the best way of understanding anything. Which could be so welcome to this workshop…

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From Access to Content to Context

Beyond Open; #fslt12 MOOC Reflections

Overview; This is my fifth in a sequence of six reflective blog posts on how I developed my teaching and learning practice and reflects on my practice in the noughties. I spent time running workshops in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in Community Learning, become a Visioneer with Culture Online in 2001, an early attempt to create a digital public space. The DfES asks to me develop a ‘Digital Divide Content Strategy’ and we started the Metadata for Community Content project looking at modelling informal e-learning.  I also start work on the Cybrarian project, a Facebook for e-learning that had a working prototype social network, built by Fujitsu before Zuckerburg started his “Hot or Not” coding. It was rejected on the advice of management consultants (who charged £4.5m for that deathless advice), we form lastfridaymob (a pubic technology group), which later reconfigures as the Learner-Generated Contexts Research Group. We present the Open Context Model of Learning at the launch of Open Learn; John Seeley Brown call it the ‘most exciting thing happening in England’. The OU refused to publish it.

Developing informal e-learning nationally; The £250m Community Access to Lifelong Learning (CALL) initiative in 2000 followed Continue reading

The Craft of Teaching

Brokering Learning; reflections for #fslt MOOC

Overview; This third reflective blog post on my learning and teaching is about how I developed my professionalism as a teacher in the After Math of beginning to teach computing in a UK college instead of politics in a USA University; it’s how the light gets in. I think I eventually developed a craft of teaching which, as Malcolm Gladwell and Richard Sennett argue, takes 10,000 hours.

Getting by on teaching alone; Intrigued by my Greek friend Eli Georgeadou’s suggestion that my teaching skills alone enabled me to teach Computing, and also being unemployed with a baby on the way, I decided to take up her offer. Unsurprisingly I got Mathematics (Numeracy Skills), Organisational Theory and English (the Americans had failed to overthrow English), on Computer Studies and Systems Analysis courses. That year was more terrifying than delivering my first class with my arm in a sling after a car crash as I KNEW NUFFINK! No back-up, de nada. I did learn to be completely honest and Continue reading

Curious & Confident (2)

Initial Teaching Experience #fslt12 reflections

Overview; This is my second reflective post (the first was on learning) and is quite complicated because I was the alternative education officer in a Student’s Union when I was 19 then, when I was 28, had an offer to be a teaching assistant in the USA where I started teaching Politics, then when I was back in the UK, had a very significant phone call asking me to teach Computing. Resolving those differences lead me to become a good teacher IMHO, the significant aspects of which I will pick up tomorrow.

Education Officer; In his recent brilliant book, Together, Richard Sennet analyses how we might make co-operation work. He argues that we need to understand dialogic, or collaboratively driven, processes, rather than dialectic, or rationally resolved, processes. Continue reading

Curious & Confident (1)

My life as a learner: reflections #flst12

Overview; This is my opening blog post for the MOOC First Steps in Teaching and Learning and we have been asked to reflect on our practice as learners and teachers. I will cover 4 points, my learning experience, my initial teaching, my practice after understanding teaching (brokering learning) and my open context based practice in a post-Web 2.0 world. Having commenced this process with this blog post I have now decided to do this as 4 daily blog posts; this is part 1.

My learning experience; Actually I have written a complete reflective novel on my experiences of learning called 63/68 A Visceral History. This is a novelisation of the Open Context Model of Learning (ref below) which, like most of my work, was rejected by people in authority in the UK; in this case the Open Universities Open Learn team (how ironic, how elitist too). We had it accepted as a chapter in an Australian book on Web 2.0 based e-learning; finally published 3 years after we gave our talk! It was this ridiculous time delay, in a Web 2.0 world, of publishing a paper likely to be read by perhaps 20 people that prompted me to write a novel reflecting on my own learning, in what Ronan O’Beirne deliciously described as a “pre-theory” story. He’s right! All theory has been removed (though it is loaded with that) and so you have to work out the meaning of the stories for yourself. You know what? That is how I teach. Continue reading

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… Continue reading