tracing contoured landscapes

abstract lines

CC Image Source:

This week has traced a contoured landscape similar to the image above: Trough, dip, peak, slide and ripple. 

Holidays can be like that, especially when your household is jumbled with young adults coming late/ going soon/ sleeping in/ conspiring. Our bathroom smells like a perfumed hothouse; the garden shrouds mobile-phone-volume conversations that leach to neighbours, and bewitch a fiefdom of ranging cats. Schedules are continually re-negotiated, hair curled/straightened, dresses discarded, footsteps beat on floorboards, hasty farewells cast like spells, then doors echo in closing, and a singular absence prevails.

It must be nearly time to return to the other realm. The sane one. School.

Preparation for this return is one of the reasons I bear witness to our daughters’ comingsandgoings. I am in the study working on this wiki. Working, that is, when I’m not learning from the magnificent entity that is Educational Technology and Media Massive Open Online Course (ETMOOC) transmogrified via Twitter Thursday 8 am Perth time into #etmchat. Yowza! What carnival-scale mayhem this generates for participants more often bent seriously (like me) over planning documents, or found in our characteristic habitat of grading and papers.

ETMOOC is seriously fun.

As to its schedule, formality collides with asynchronous joy in a calendar of events, meantime Google+ community never stops. What’s the term for this kind of learning? A wallow? Awash? Feels like the compass point of distraction while on my laptop with ready access to tabbed browsing. Feel compelled to journey without restraint. Time is my marker. Here’s illumination crafted by Swedish poet and 2011 Nobel prizewinner Tomas Transtromer:

Time is not a straightline, it’s more of a labyrinth, and if you press close to the wall at the right place you can hear the hurrying steps and voices, you can hear yourself walking past there on the other side… (quoted in Garner, 1995, p.47).


CC Image Source:

In the spirit of making learning visible, myself-as-different-other has travelled shadowy alongside this week, monitoring processes I undertake to think and understand. Hmmm – what does this look like?

  • finished reading Wiliam’s Embedded Formative Assessment in preparation for our unit on Leading Accountability and Measurement at uni this semester; also explains why I’m planning to engage more fully with learning portfolios and intentionally showcase an  ”incremental view of ability” (Wiliam, 2011, p.157)
  •  engaged in a Google hangout with where I learned that *prototyping* is a means of nudging change, and that subversion can be done “thoughtfully” via @GETideas #etmchat
  • travelled once more into UWA library to collect Reinventing Project-Based Learning where I discovered that DuFour’s 3 key elements for focusing a professional learning community are: Ensure students learn; create a culture of collaboration for school improvement; and focus on results (Boss & Krauss, 2007, p. 32)
  • took stock as a fellow river-visitor sprinkled ashes from a vessel until there was no more left to distribute; this last weighed heavily, but I haven’t yet finished thinking about what I learned. Something significant about time’s purchase, no doubt, but currently a stone in my heart.

There it is. My week’s landscape. Mapped and moulded. Reviewed and retold. Nothing like the reality of a lived experience (as editors we always neaten), but still with me, considered, undergoing re-assembly as a possible contour of ubiquitous learning, and a convoluted labyrinth.

Selected references

Boss, S. & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing project-based learning: Your field guide to real-world projects in the digital age. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education.

Garner, H. (1995). True stories. Melbourne: The Text Publishing Company.

Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.