Last week we published the latest edition of Lifewide Magazine on the theme of Exploring the Social Age. I was commissioning editor and I worked closely with the Guest Editor Julian Stodd. In many respects the way this collaboration came about was symptomatic of the Social Age. I was doing some research for the last issue of the Magazine when I came across Julian's blog. I liked some of what he had written and emailed him for permission to use one of his blogs. Not only did he say yes but he invited me to a workshop he was running. I accepted his invitation and in this way we formed a relationship which led to me inviting him to guest edit the issue. Essentially, the collaboration has come about because Julian shared his thinking in a very public and accessible way through his blog and I discovered his thinking through purposeful searches driven by interests and curiosity. We both saw the value in each other's ideas, formed a relationship and through that relationship joined each other's communities and networks. In this way each of us is able to progress our own thinking and practice and connect with and influence people we would not have been able to connect with before. This is an example of learning and developing in the Social Age.
In putting the Magazine together I came across a number of articles that provided a perspective on the Social Age. I was pleased with the result.
BUT that is not the end of the story for I have proved to myself yet again that to appropriate the ideas of others I have to connect them to my own current understandings and then use the ideas of others to extend or change my understandings. It is most definitely a constructivist approach.
Over the last few days I have been preparing my lectures for a visit to BNU in Beijing next week. I have been developing a new presentation on the theme of the Social Age and the new culture of learning. Inspite of my work on the Magazine when it comes to presenting ideas I had to start again in organising my thoughts and connecting them to other people's ideas. I have had to engage with the ideas at a deeper level to make sense of them in ways that I can relate to my own life and experiences.
I've always known that when you have to teach something you engage at a deeper level not only to understand ideas but to create the supporting visual representations, documentary and video resources that will enable you to explain in ways that you hope your audience will understand and be able to connect to their own understandings. I approach this as a new learning project which I know will extend into the interactions with my students. In fact I see it as an ecology containing a number of processes and extending over several weeks. I have begun to sketch out the main components of this ecology below and I will refine this over the coming weeks. After listening to John Seeley Brown on Yotube I came to see myself as INDWELLING in my own learning ecology. Indwelling feels like the right sort of state of being for an ecology.
To be continued perhaps next week