This reflective mood is also triggered when I make myself take stock of the progress we have made with Lifewide Education. A year in the life of a project is a significant chunk of time to think about and evaluate the effects of trying to turn ideas into reality.
During the year our community of interest grew steadily and we currently have around 320 registered members. We maintained our existing websites and our presence on Facebook, Linked-in and Twitter and we added our Values Exchange website which enables us to be part of a global network of Vx sites concerned with values and ethics in education. It also gives us new capacity to undertake on-line surveys. Since April we have undertaken four surveys. It has proved to be particularly useful in engaging people before an event so that the results of the survey can be utilised in the presentations - for example a keynote presentation at the annual SEDA conference was formed around the results of a survey into creativity in educational development.
Under the editorial stewardship of Jenny Willis, we produced four issues of LIfewide Magazine each dedicated to a theme that enabled us to add new knowledge and understanding to our lifewide concept. Brian Cooper's diligent editing enabled us to publish eleven chapters in our Lifewide Education E-Book - including conceptual reviews and syntheses on wellbeing and learning ecologies, moving biographical accounts of lifewide learning, research into wellbeing and learning ecologies and overviews of lifewide learning in universities and colleges. Our research and scholarship has focused primarily on examining the idea and perceptions of wellbeing and developing and applying the concept of learning ecologies to individuals' learning and development processes, work that will continue through the coming year.
We also developed further our tools for supporting lifewide learning and my daughter (one of our student volunteers) helped us pilot our approach and successfully completed the Lifewide Development Award (LDA) providing future learners with an example of an on-line portfolio of recorded learning and development. We also explored the idea of Open Badges and we are now introducing them in the current stage of piloting. We are working with Christine Fountain at Southampton Solent University's Business School with students on the HR Management masters course to examine the ways in which the LDA might be incorporated into the learning experiences of students.
Members of the team contributed to, and or participated in a total of ten conferences in the UK and overseas. In June, after submitting a paper outlining the idea of an EU-wide Lifewide Development Award I was invited to participate in an EU Foresight workshop by the research group who support development of EU educational policy. This was the first time that LWE has been invited to share our views in a close to policy forum. Through our involvement in conferences we have formed new relationships have with people who are sympathetic to lifewide learning in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China and Argentina. Ultimately, our future lies in the relationships we form with the people who want to promote and implement lifewide learning in their own educational and learning contexts.
Periodically taking stock of where you have got to in any project is a necessary and important aspect of the development process. It helps you maintain that sense of wellbeing knowing that you have tried to fulfil your purposes. Looking back enables you to take pride in achievements and develop a better and more realistic perspective on what has been accomplished so that questions of what to do next become clearer.
Documenting achievements makes public the ways in which you have lived your life according to the purposes and goals you have established. Publishing our annual review so that the community can appreciate the hard work and contributions that many individuals have made enables the members of the team to gain the credit they deserve. None of the things we have achieved in 2013 would have been possible without the help, support and encouragement of a wonderful group of volunteers and the generous financial support of our corporate sponsor Chalk Mountain Education and Media Services.
Kiboko's latest illustration sums conveys well the way in which the achievements and experiences of the past year provides the launchpad for the future.The coming year will inevitably bring with it new challenges and opportunities which we can face with confidence. In March we will achieve another of our ambitions - to host our first national conference on lifewide learning and education in universities and colleges and publish a new E-book on lifewide learning and education in universities and colleges.