The story behind the story

People like stories. The stories we tell ourselves help us to make sense of the world. In my last post, I briefly celebrated the creation of a new green space on campus.  It was my interpretation of what I saw. An unloved building pulled down and in its place, not a shiny new building, but an open rectangle of grass. I marvelled that the land had … Continue reading The story behind the story

habits & HABITATS

habits & HABITATS: An ethnography of learning entanglement – in PhD form – is finally finished. Four years in the making it will be accessible via The Sydney eRepository, shortly. Clicking on the image above will take you to an interactive time line that will give a feel for the learning environment that inspired my work. I am indebted to all who made this journey … Continue reading habits & HABITATS

Present at a distance and distant when present…

The past two and a half years have been punctuated with moments in which I have become acutely aware of being both the object of my research – the learner; and the subject of the enterprise of – learning. So it comes as no surprise that the 2014 Networked Learning Conference provided me with pause for thought. In this post I will reflect on the … Continue reading Present at a distance and distant when present…

Lense three: Observing the role of the curator

Mr Alexander arrived five minutes before the lesson started. Using furniture, he created a teaching zone. He was visible to the students as they entered the building – his eyes smiling as he waited for them to join him. He greeted them, and as a critical mass was reached, he began talking to those present. He went over what had been done and as the … Continue reading Lense three: Observing the role of the curator

Lense two: Observing the latent power of place

The large welcoming entry acted to draw the students in. Situated at the top of a rise, adjacent to two outdoor seating areas, there is generous space on both sides of the doors and the transition from one area to the next is gradual. Once inside, Marcus had sight of five different zones: to his left a gallery displaying student work; alongside that, an audio … Continue reading Lense two: Observing the latent power of place

Lense one: Observing the materiality of things

The doors through which Marcus entered the learning environment were generous, allowing him to pause as he entered. He moved through the entrance, visually scanning the space. He located his teacher within a semi-circular seating arrangement, made his way towards him, and took a seat. Was any of that material? Did the presence of large doors, leading Marcus to a central point from where he … Continue reading Lense one: Observing the materiality of things

A lesson through three lenses

What follows is a description of a single lesson that took place in a different environment, within the same school.  In subsequent posts I will walk you through it from three different perspectives.  Marcus and his year eight cohort spilled through the generous doors of the shared learning space. The students were halfway through a French language project and they made their way towards their … Continue reading A lesson through three lenses

Edward and Isobel develop a method

Part of the way through a learning session, dedicated to maths, my attention was drawn to the far upper corner of the Zone where I could see Edward sitting on the floor whilst Isabel jumped around him. As I approached I could see that Edward was doing his best to hold two 30cm rulers, one on top of the other, in order to measure the … Continue reading Edward and Isobel develop a method

Processional, rather than successional

In wrestling with the notions of time and space in learning ecologies – I have come across an interesting way of thinking about skill. Tim Ingold in Being Alive describes the difference between tasks which are performed as a series of discrete steps, which he describes as being successional, and those which he describes as being processional – where every step is a measured response … Continue reading Processional, rather than successional