At the start of the week I got some very good feedback on another version of the chapter I have been working on from my friend John who is a very important part of my learning ecology where lifewide education is concerned... I also had an interesting conversation with my son which involved me asking him questions about his understandings of learning ecologies particularly in the context of his university course. What emerged was useful in helping me progress my thinking about the relationship of learning ecologies associated with studying at university.
But the most significant thing I did was begin building a new learning ecology to develop knowledge for a talk I'm giving in November... Its still about 3 months off but I know how slow these processes can be. I want to find about the ways in which educational developers view their creativity in relation to their development work. I decided to keep a record of my process to help me recognise and define my learning ecology.
1 Wrote an abstract for the conference cannibalising an abstract I had written but committing myself to a new theme that I new I had to research
2 Already in email conversation with JC invited him to be my first subject
3 Created a rough plan for gaining knowledge and interacting with people
4 Spent some time searching using google scholar for obvious resources - eg 'relationship between creativity and development' 'creativity and educational development' - found nothing
5 Began compiling a list of educational developers I knew who I would approach
6 Went on SEDA website and began searching through the journals for names of educational developers who had written articles for Educational Developments.
7 Began thinking of social networks that I might engage and designed a simple enquiry which I posted in two Linked-In networks. 'If, as Enrico Coen claims, 'creativity is a developmental process and development is a creative process,' then the two concepts are inextricably linked. What aspects of your development work cause you to use your creativity and how do you develop through this process? I will happily produce a summary of any contributions.'
8 In email conversation with an e-portfolio developer KC invited her to contribute an interview. - she agreed
The actions with JC and KC showed that I was trying to engage people who I was already engaged with. The invitations I sent to talk to me about the role of their creativity in development caused me to think about the questions I would ask them.
In my google search I discovered a review of Enrico Coen's which included an idea that was central to what I wanted to explore 'creativity is a developmental process and development is a creative process'. I formed my central research question around this.
In the context of your work as a developer in the field of education - What is the relationship between your creativity, your development work and your own development?
1) A chance email on the SEDA maillist mentioning an educational developer by name led to me contacting her by email to invite her to share her views. This required me to formulate an email enquiry.. Once this had been done I was more confident in contacting people.
2) I decided to cast my net more widely (internationally) and designed an email questionnaire. I googled educational developer blogs and found a number of contacts in the USA, Australia and Canada and contacted them speculatively..
3) Returning to Linked-in I spent several hours searching for 'educational developers'. I ended up with a list of twenty many of whom I knew and wrote a personalised email to each inviting them to share their perspectives through my simple questionnaire.
This morning I had one reply to my enquiry with a set of responses and then another really interesting email from someone I had not seen for over 13 years indicating that they were very interested in a conversation. I replied at leangth.
TO BE CONTINUED
Reflections on my learning ecology: With reference to my tool for visualising the components of a learning ecology. I had a context (a problem or challenge in my working life), I had the will and my decision to act was driven by a concern for the amount of time I had left to do the work. I used my imagination to create a rough plan of how I would proceed. I used my capability and knowledge of unstructured enquiry processes to make a start and trusted that what I sought would emerge. I made good use of google and Linked-in (especially) and used my existing knowledge resources derived from my work on creativity and how people bring about change in universities, I also used my knowledge of people I knew of who were involved in educational development. I used my existing relationships - making it a more personal and more natural engagement and more likely that the people I was interacting with would respond. I tried to personalise all my email communications. Results are limited so far but because I trust my process and believe that people will see the value and be interested in the outcomes - I believe that the information and insights I need will flow.