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Andrew Middleton
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I am compiling an indicative list of 'Alternative open and flexible ways and ideas for self-organising learning activity socially'.
Beyond the pub and the coffee house, there are numerous examples of self-organising study groups, facilities and ideas committed to self-determined lifelong learning. Though difficult to compare, they are necessary to acknowledge. These include,
• Philosophy in Pubs - a network of self-generated groups in the UK who meet in pubs to discuss philosophical matters;
#DS106 – an example of ‘edupunk’, a term coined by Jim Groom the creator of the ongoing #DS106 digital storytelling course which self-generates through briefs called ‘daily creates’. Edupunk which describes an attitude as much as a method, proposes the use of social networks to subvert established moribund practices in ways that re-imagine and, thereby, liberate higher education;
• edcamps, barcamps, unconferences, special interest groups, hackathons and ‘meetup groups’– event-based self-organising and self-supporting groups, often using the facilities of other organisations including universities;
• Google+ learning communities - self-organised online networks
• Hackerspaces – “community-operated physical places, where people share their interest in tinkering with technology, meet and work on their projects, and learn from each other” (hackerspace.org);
• The Ragged University – coordinates free community events in social spaces like pubs, cafes and libraries;
• Khan Academy – an online study resource that offers short micro-lecture-based courses in the form of YouTube videos. It emphasises learning at one’s own pace and direction;
• P2PU Learning Circles – P2PU supports the development and delivery of online open-access courses. P2PU Learning Circles is a not-for-profit initiative run by volunteers dedicated to improving access to education in support of its online offer. It is a blended approach based on peer-led study groups that connects fellow learners in-person as well as online. It moves the MOOC approach beyond content delivery by embedding learning in local, self-organised groups using home and community-based venues.

Other examples would be most welcome!


My apologies for my belated post. It directly addresses and concludes with the idea of Rogers' 'emergence in action' which works well to describe creativity-in-practice, as do the key ideas in the learning ecologies framework.


"The Creative Moment: the apparently inconsequential"
Andrew Middleton

I am interested in the idea of the ‘apparently inconsequential’. It is a phrase that has emerged for me in the last week or so on several occasions as I have been thinking about the studio as a learning space and whilst trying to understand why many of my colleagues do not notice something that I see as critically important: learning moments in-between dominant learning spaces. This pondering comes from my study of the non-formal learning space; that space which is experienced, but which is mostly unnoticed by managers, planners and designers of universities and their curriculum and co-curriculum. It is a legitimate and significant part of one’s learning ecology of coming to know, knowing, and understanding.
In the last few weeks, I have led discovery workshops for academic staff about the effect of space on student ‘becoming’. I have written about ‘in-between space’, read about Third Space, Third Place, Hybrid Space, liminality, interstitiality. I have desperately written words as a way to find arguments to contest dominant academic interests in formal learning. In all these activities I have been shaking out an intellectual rug in an attempt to discover something that I know exists and that I am nearly ready to reveal to myself.
A complex, invisible, but potentially lucid, conceptualisation awaits me on the tip of my brain. It is not just a matter of intellectual curiosity. I need this idea to crystallise. I know that when I have this explanation I can use it immediately to make clear to everyone that the millions of pounds we are investing in buildings is misdirected or at least of unknown value. I know something (nearly) that others do not seem to know at all.
Creativity in the workshop
Returning to a workshop I ran at our recent university conference on learning spaces, I had an impetuous realisation that the 30 people in the room with me could be mustered to generate a representation of this idea with me.
We were a resource together, each having arrived in this room because our pasts had directed us to momentarily converge, unravel and co-construct something. Already relationships had formed as stories were elicited in the earlier stages of the workshop to reveal that our common interests were founded on uncommon trajectories.
For the moment we had each other. I asked the participants to come to the back of the room, to clear away the desks and chairs. They stood like a group of carol singers ready to respond to my invitation. “Where do you learn?” I asked each in turn. With each response I found a space on the map that we constructed on the whiteboard.
As each response was offered I marked it up on the board. As I wrote I provided a conceptual commentary that established a context for each of their/our contributions. This question, answer, conceptualisation process involved the whole room; our whole mind. This was afforded by the time we set aside, and the opportunity and the space I created. Each participant had moved from sitting in their small group conversations to standing together to draw out and draw upon dimensions of experiences. Some of these dimensions were surprising, and some were more predictable. Each person, in this process, had rich stories to share about their learning and each offered insight for me, the map, and for each other I presume.
Later
I grabbed a photograph of the whiteboard ‘map’. There was something rich there about formal, informal and non-formal learning spaces. I tweeted it immediately and went to my next conference session. I felt ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ hitting my device in my pocket and looked at them later. They reminded me of what we had created earlier in the day and I made a note to think more about the map and reconstruct it in a more visible and intelligible form.
Other ideas occurred to me that helped me to make sense of what we had done. How all this related to lifewide learning in particular and how it related to ideas about both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. I tried to bring these ideas onto the map, but representing them adequately was difficult. Nevertheless I tweeted the revised map out and peers who had not been at the conference picked up on it. They challenged one or two of the ideas in the representation. They were right! So the map goes on and the thinking goes on! And still that idea is waiting to be revealed, but through that moment is getting closer.

This brief episode amongst many helps to describe what Rogers (1961/2004:350) refers to as “the emergence in action of a novel relational product growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people, or circumstances of his/her life” and represents the potential of the educational developer to lead creativity.

Belatedly, and in-between the usual avalanche of commitments, I make it here! Sorry people I am here and I am really interested by this discussion.
The word in-between is apt. It describe the nature of my contribution on 'in-between space' but also how I have taken the opportunity to respond and create something -

"The Creative Moment: the apparently inconsequential"
Andrew Middleton

I am interested in the idea of the ‘apparently inconsequential’. It is a phrase that has emerged for me in the last week or so on several occasions as I have been thinking about the studio as a learning space and whilst trying to understand why many of my colleagues do not notice something that I see as critically important: learning moments in-between dominant learning spaces. This pondering comes from my study of the non-formal learning space; that space which is experienced, but which is mostly unnoticed by managers, planners and designers of universities and their curriculum and co-curriculum. It is a legitimate and significant part of one’s learning ecology of coming to know, knowing, and understanding.
In the last few weeks, I have led discovery workshops for academic staff about the effect of space on student ‘becoming’. I have written about ‘in-between space’, read about Third Space, Third Place, Hybrid Space, liminality, interstitiality. I have desperately written words as a way to find arguments to contest dominant academic interests in formal learning. In all these activities I have been shaking out an intellectual rug in an attempt to discover something that I know exists and that I am nearly ready to reveal to myself.
A complex, invisible, but potentially lucid, conceptualisation awaits me on the tip of my brain. It is not just a matter of intellectual curiosity. I need this idea to crystallise. I know that when I have this explanation I can use it immediately to make clear to everyone that the millions of pounds we are investing in buildings is misdirected or at least of unknown value. I know something (nearly) that others do not seem to know at all.
Creativity in the workshop
Returning to a workshop I ran at our recent university conference on learning spaces, I had an impetuous realisation that the 30 people in the room with me could be mustered to generate a representation of this idea with me.
We were a resource together, each having arrived in this room because our pasts had directed us to momentarily converge, unravel and co-construct something. Already relationships had formed as stories were elicited in the earlier stages of the workshop to reveal that our common interests were founded on uncommon trajectories.
For the moment we had each other. I asked the participants to come to the back of the room, to clear away the desks and chairs. They stood like a group of carol singers ready to respond to my invitation. “Where do you learn?” I asked each in turn. With each response I found a space on the map that we constructed on the whiteboard.
As each response was offered I marked it up on the board. As I wrote I provided a conceptual commentary that established a context for each of their/our contributions. This question, answer, conceptualisation process involved the whole room; our whole mind. This was afforded by the time we set aside, and the opportunity and the space I created. Each participant had moved from sitting in their small group conversations to standing together to draw out and draw upon dimensions of experiences. Some of these dimensions were surprising, and some were more predictable. Each person, in this process, had rich stories to share about their learning and each offered insight for me, the map, and for each other I presume.
Later
I grabbed a photograph of the whiteboard ‘map’. There was something rich there about formal, informal and non-formal learning spaces. I tweeted it immediately and went to my next conference session. I felt ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ hitting my device in my pocket and looked at them later. They reminded me of what we had created earlier in the day and I made a note to think more about the map and reconstruct it in a more visible and intelligible form.
Other ideas occurred to me that helped me to make sense of what we had done. How all this related to lifewide learning in particular and how it related to ideas about both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. I tried to bring these ideas onto the map, but representing them adequately was difficult. Nevertheless I tweeted the revised map out and peers who had not been at the conference picked up on it. They challenged one or two of the ideas in the representation. They were right! So the map goes on and the thinking goes on! And still that idea is waiting to be revealed, but through that moment is getting closer.

This brief episode amongst many helps to describe what Rogers (1961/2004:350) refers to as “the emergence in action of a novel relational product growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people, or circumstances of his/her life” and represents the potential of the educational developer to lead creativity.




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I'd appreciate your thoughts on this question

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How we design social media for learning into the curriculum - a workshop

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A workshop to explore how note making is enhanced as a social activity by using smart and social media

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Professional development, professional profiles and professional recognition of students and staff connect in LinkedIn. This presentation from #socmedhe15  makes the connections between the need to present yourself and keep that profile fresh

I've launched a new network today up north to explore note making imaginatively. Interesting mix of educational developers and disabled student support people. 2 persperctives, 10+ universities, 100s of new bits of ground being found...

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my presentation for the panel session  on the Purpose of Assessment at the SHU Learning & Teach Exchange 15/09/15
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