A conversation has affordance for involving you on a journey. You don't know where it will take you but you have to get involved in order to realise this potential. Conversations happen in a context like #creativeHE an if you don't get involved you miss the opportunity to have that conversation forever. Here is an example from Day 3 #creativeHE.
A conversation has to begin somewhere and this one started when a participant shared an experience and a challenge she was tussling with. She shared her ideas and the tools she had used to create a picture. She talked about fieldwork and maps which was something I could relate to as I have been a geology teacher in the past. In fact I love maps - wherever I go I will buy a map and I love wandering around with a map as I did recently in Barcelona.
Importantly she invited other people to share their ideas so I did and received an appreciative thank you. I then shared some of my own experiences about using maps and this brought others into the conversation and the idea of maps suddenly took on a life of its own. I wanted to keep the conversation going so made a post about using maps and invited comments responses from another participant really opened up the idea. The important things that emerged for me were:
- reinforced belief that you have to get involved to have a conversation that takes you in the direction you would like to go and opens up directions you had not imagined
- conversational relationships with two different people from which other conversations might flow
- the wisdom that more and better ideas can generated in relaxed but purposeful conversation and facilitated group conversations
- links to new resources that I could use in future
- new insights about maps and the ways they might be used to help students think and learn
- some interesting contexts and practices that can be used to stimulate students' imaginations and the integrative thinking so necessary for creativity
Through this process I made my own thinking explicit. Regardless of whether we are travelling through a landscape/townscape or a scape of concepts making and using maps is essential to exploring new territory especially when it is COMPLEX. I also realised that my awareness of what I had learnt, my ability to reflect and draw out my learning, had been enhanced by making a map of the conversation as it unfolded (see pdf file below)
In the spirit, but not to the letter, I MADE REPRESENTATION of this conversation about maps through a picture - my preferred medium of self expression. I did try making the physical model but the symbolism felt artificial so I returned to making a picture. It shows three people in a conversation in which we each drew on the maps we hold of our experiences and selected from our experiences some that could be connected in the context of the conversation. By sharing and discussing we co-created meanings.
The insight I gained from doing this was through purposeful conversation you end up with a BIGGER/BETTER MAP OF YOUR WORLD that you didn't have before.
If creativity involves changing our understandings, seeing the world differently, then we must recognise that the sort of scenario I have described involves creativity of the mini-c variety (Kaufman and Beghetto 2009)
Kaufman, J.C. and Beghetto, R.A. (2009) Beyond Big and Little: The Four C Model of Creativity. Review of General Psychology 13, 1, 1-12.