I’m making these notes as the instigator / lead facilitator, meddler and curator (and a few other things) for the Creative Pedagogies and Learning Ecologies #creativeHE conversation. Their purpose is to help me reflect on how I am building an ecology within which I am hoping participants will not only learn but have a chance to use their creativity as this is the theme which underlies our conversation. What sort of pedagogic thinking and practices am I using?
In my first post I talked about design. In this post I want to consider the idea of engagement. Engagement means many things. In the context of this #creativeHE conversation it means building a proposition about the value of the conversation and trying to convey this value mostly by email, twitter, linked in, and via the website, but also when I get a chance to talk to people. Much time, effort and care goes into crafting these communications and distributing them in a timely fashion – not too early and not too late. The proposition is underpinned by a working paper which sets out some ideas for discussion.
Another element of engagement is to try to find and persuade specific individuals who can make particular contributions to join the conversation. There is much relationship building through this process.
At this point I had to pause to marvel at the splendor of this wonderful sunset.
Engagement also means using existing tools (like EM's pedagogic model sage-guide-meddler) to help people think . It also means creating new tools, like for example the on-line student survey questionnaire we will use to try to gain useful perspectives and encouraging participants to persuade people they know to complete it.
Once the conversation starts engagement involves effort in real time - posting and responding cannot be put off until another time it has to be done in the present for it to have value. As a leader it is necessary make a post at the start of each day (whatever that means in a globally connected world. In fact because of my recent visit to Australia I am thinking in terms of UK and Australian time.
Making a daily post to try and orient and provoke conversation, and energise and motivate participants to contribute, usually with questions to open up the conversation. It's essential that I respond to posts in ways that value and are respectful of each contribution and where possible try to add something useful by building on ideas that have been shared and perhaps opening up the possibility of further responses through questions or alternative perspectives. Engagement also means sensing when participants do not understand and trying to represent ideas in different ways so that they might come to understand something that I believe while not being blind to seeing alternative interpretations and possibilities. It requires a readiness to improvise and draw on resources that were not part of thinking at the start of the process and add new ideas and resources as it feels right to do so.
And then there is also the matter of engaging facilitators encouraging and prompting them to make a timely contribution when I know there are particular things they might contribute. Similarly their ideas and feedback by email engage me in dialogue and shifts my thinking in the process.