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Becoming Participative

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Create yourself!

When discussing this talk with Vlad, I said I didn’t want to tell the same stories I told when I gave the Everything is a Metaphor talk. Vlad said it is OK to tell the same stories, we have new people. However I reacted against this because there was a period in my life lasting about 10 years, from when I was about 16 to when I was 26, when I refused to tell the same story twice, at least not in exactly the same way.
When I was 7 my Mum became a librarian and everyday after school I would go to the library to meet her before we went home. I learnt very quickly that reading books was a good way to pass an hour or so whilst I waited for her. However I wanted input, more ‘bandwidth’ and, as I read very fast, my Mum quickly got bored giving me a couple of new books every day, so she gave me the Arabian Nights, the 1001 Nights when Scherezade saves her life by telling stories, endless stories, without repeating herself…
And I loved this idea of there being endless seas of stories, which is not unlike the Black Sea if

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Inspiring Creative Learning

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Inspiring Creative Learning; Overview I was asked by Violeta Serbu to prepare a stimulus for the the CROS Camp Learning day in August 2012 and we settled on a title, Inspiring Creative Learning. I will provide information as a series of blog posts, hopefully with responses from Vio, but you are welcome to comment at the end of this blog post. I intend to discuss this in three parts starting with Inspiring, which I think is the hardest aspect to deal with as it is so personal and varies between people so much;

Inspiration is very personal and can come from many directions; family, relationships, friends, people you know, and people you don’t know, people who inspire you in something very specific, people in the media or in films, characters in novels or in TV shows and films. Identifying how any one individual is inspired, and then planning to reproduce that process of inspiration, is very problematic and so very difficult to plan for. Do Elena Ciric or Vlad Atanasiu inspire people in CROS for example?
People; I noticed in writing that list above that it is all about being inspired by individual people. We talk about the importance of role models in the UK, but that worries me because we are also dominated by an ideology of personal achievement,  yet when you analyse  ‘success’ it is a group achievement, even when one person, like Bradley Wiggins in the 2012 Tour de France, is the face of that success. Personally I was inspired by The Beatles in various ways and one description of why they were successful was that people wanted to be in their ‘gang’ of friends (same with any successful pop group really). In fact whilst you might be inspired by individuals it is groups that help you achieve something distinctive.
Group Inspiration; I’ve realised  that I was involved in setting up many group activities in my life, the value of which I didn’t appreciate at the time, but from which I learnt many important lessons that were more useful to me than any hero-worship of some role-model with some probably unrepeatable ability, such as, say, John Lennon. So inspiration that helps develop your abilities is probably different from inspiration that helps provide you with motivation. Read the rest of this entry

Everything is A Metaphor

Presentation at Imaginarium

Background; I gave a talk about making successful education technology projects in the middle of the second day of the #restartedu project Imaginarium, or Restart Education, in Bucharest Rumania.  I called it Everything is a Metaphor because until you have a new metaphors for new ideas it is difficult to get people to understand them, as we shall see. Everything is a Metaphor is on slideshare I will try to open up some of the ideas on the slides in this post.

Roman Road; The opening image is of a Roman road. This came from a conversation in a restaurant in Bucharest on Saturday where I asked what is historically distinctive  about Romania, and I was told that they stopped the Romans on their conquest of Europe (from AD 101-104). So a metaphor about Roman roads seemed useful. Of course everyone can recognise a Roman road but in fact this was the third use of paving. The first was by the Greeks to build overland canals, the second by Persians to build a national postal service and finally the Romans repurposed paving to create roads; the better to conquer Europe. So which metaphor do you see, travel, services or imperialism? Read the rest of this entry

Brief History of Online Platforms

Level2; Generating Ideas for online platforms

Imaginarium Day 1; We are spending 2 days imagining the future of education, with speakers providing 4 inputs, “news from the future” as stimulii. We are starting with Level1 stimulated by stories of children’s democracy at Summerhill school. This post deals with Level 2 The invention of the future (generating ideas for online platforms). My ideas for the future 2021 are here. Here are some other kids ideas.

A brief history of online platforms

1) Is browsing learning? Bernie Dodge; Yes! > WebQuests (the rubric) Start point; set by curriculum, end point by teacher, journey by learning

2) Brokering learning; education professionals must use their expertise of how the education system works to help students negotiate journeys thru learning, I call this “brokering learning

3) Building online learning platforms; key issues a) resource discovery b) learners as researchers need to evaluate c) a learning netiquette for collaboration d) discussion

4) Discussion Groups need moderating; moderation is the key skill in learning online; online learning needs a) resources b) discussion c) learningportfolio. This builds on Howard Rheingold’s concept of virtual communities

5) Virtual Learning Environment’s developed the online classroom concept, but based on Instructional Design invented by the Department of Defence (PLATO) to train military personal. Widespread use in UK Colleges as the more Moodle developed as a default.

6) Diana Laurillard in Rethinking University Education 1994 proposed a “conversational model” as the basis for Technology-Enhanced Learning Design

7 Learning Resources (catalogued in the National Grid for Learning & YAHOO) evolved into Learning Objects (early apps). Bite-Size learning with “formative assessment” emerged see

8 Learning Objects evolved into Learning Sequences (James Dalziel) or Learning Activity Management Systems. This allowed for co-creation of learning; teachers could sequence or learners could sequence.

9 O’Reilly announced the (resource-destination) Web had evolved into the (Read/Write) Web 2.0 a system in permanent beta allowing for architectures of participation to be developed by aggregating tools

10. The Read/Write Web allowed for the Read/Write collaborative tool of wiki’s to be developed; Wikipedia emerged as a collaborative resource destination

11. Hyper-fast search (google) meant search optimisation; resource evaluation more important but google skewed by advertising; reputation arrives

12 Some people developed social networks which was a platform (location) allowing a shift to learning being based online; Facebook dating agency for fun, NING for serious collaborative work (Classroom 2.0), ELGG for education-driven portfolio approaches

13 Social tagging arrives collaborative metadata for a collaborative web, delicious

14. Personal learning environments PLE’s, user-generated aggregation arrives; these are the resources that help my learning

15. Open Learning arrives; mostly as a content-push model, such as iTunes University, or MIT OCW lecture notes

16. Smart phones (“my post-modern University” Tony Hall) allowed for portable aggregation, permanent interaction

17. Personal learning networks stimulated by the arrival of Twitter; these are the people who help my social learning

18 Context-responsive learning arrives; open context modelling and augmented reality

19 Emergent Learning puts informal learning at the centre of the learning model

20 Ambient Learning puts cities at the centre of context-responsive learning

21 Aggregate then Curate emerges as a resource aggregation model.

22 Digital Scholar’s can now Co-create Open Scholarship


23 Mind Wide Open – This is your brain on learning…

Beyond the Classroom; “All learning a mixture of theorising and socialising”

Beyond the Web; what we have learnt from working with the participative affordances of the web and new technology is that instead of representational, hierarchical education we need creative, interactive, participative learning. Next we need to learn how to Put Context into Knowledge…

Links; Apologies! Links will be added during the day, this is a mob upload…

Imagining Education Futures

Issues in Imagining Futures

Background; These are notes which will shape my opening workshop at the Imaginarium. I will start by setting out a range of questions to answer to help shape a development framework with which we might be able to express what kind of future we want to build.

Dilemmas; There are a number of dilemmas that need to be resolved before we can start to envision futures. They represent some of the values that we will use to provide the framework with which we might design that future.

Education OR Learning; Are we designing an educational system or learning processes?

Subject-driven OR Interest-driven; Will we build around traditional subjects or learner interests?

International OR Local; Will we look for the “best” we can identify from global experiences or draw on local traditions, experiences, narratives and crafts?

Individual OR Collaborative; Will the focus of this future be individual achievement or collaborative endeavours?

Representative OR Participative; Will we be preparing learners to work within representative or participative contexts?

Hierarchical OR Networked;  Do we think the future will be about hierarchies or networks?

Issues; With these dilemmas in mind, and mindful of the values we wish to embody in our project we than have (at least) ten issues to address in developing our education future. They are;

1) Pedagogy; Will our chosen approach be subject-based based pedagogy, collaborative andragogy or creative heutagogy or perhaps one of the emerging ideas like Connectionism, or even a synthesis? Read the rest of this entry

Creating the Imaginarium

Imagining Education Futures 2012

Blog; This blog has been set up to support the CROS project in Bucharest who are running a weekend event called Imaginarium concerned with envisioning the future of education (or should that be learning) in Romania. Initially it will be written by @fredgarnett. Other attendees such as Graham Attwell will be invited to contribute, and a GoogleDoc will be created to help capture people’s ideas

CROS; Is an activist group of Romania students based in Bucharest who self-organise activities for graduates. More inf on the CROS Facebook page. Consequently I hope some pages on this blog will be in Romanian!

Imaginarium; on the future of education will be discussed from Friday February 24 to Monday February 27 2012; 

GoogleDocs; We are looking to list 100 ideas about the future of education. Your ideas can be added on the 100 Ideas doc here. One  link per idea please.

The University Project LondonVlad Atanasiu and I met at the University Project at Hub Westminster in London in the Autumn; more info on what we did there on the univproject wiki.

WikiQuals; I talked about my WikiQuals ideas at the University Project. It has since turned into an active WikiQuals project.

Hello world!

This is the blog for the CROSQuals project at the Imaginarium in Bucharest February 25/26 2012.

It is related to the WikiQuals project and derived from workshops at the University Project. I hope you enjoy it and comment; @fredgarnett