How do you inhabit your learning and teaching space(s)?

I haven’t blogged for the last couple of weeks, not because I haven’t wanted to, there have been a number of posts that have made want to write.  Mainly it’s because I have at last finished and more importantly submitted my CMALT portfolio, and there have been one or two other work things that have taken up my time.

As an incentive/celebration of submitting the portfolio, on Saturday night I went to the see Scottish’s Ballet’s Autumn Programme.   Before the performance started, Christopher Hampson, Chief Executive and and Artistic Director of the Company, gave an introduction to the three pieces, the first of which was short piece, Drawn to Drone,  by a young Scottish choreographer, Jack Webb. Christopher asked us, the audience, to as we were watching the piece, think about how a dancer “inhabits a space”.

As this mesmerising piece featuring one dancer and two chairs unfolded, I really did think about that. The dancer totally inhabited and filled not only the stage but the whole theatre.

During the rest of the performance and for the rest of the weekend I have been thinking about about how relevant that question of how we inhabit space is to learning and teaching.

Last week I bumped into a colleague who was literally eating lunch on the run. He had  a really full teaching day, but wanted to share how well one particular technique had worked in class. As an introduction to DNA transference with first year law students, he put some pink glitter (borrowed from his daughter) on his hands  then shook hands with a student and got that student to shake hands with another student and so on until there was no trace of the glitter (they got to about 17 handshakes). What a great way to inhabit a learning and teaching space. That glitter lesson is, I am sure, one that none of the students will forget.

Last week there was a quite a bit of debate around educational technology being  a discipline or not. Martin Weller wrote a post about how in many ways (particularly in the UK with ALT) it is, but that maybe there needed to be more of a focus on criticality. Audrey Waters wrote a riposte calling not for more discipline but for the need for “a greater willingness for undisciplining.”   Great posts, both and I encourage you to read them.

I can help feeling though, that ultimately  it’s how we use educational technology that matters, not the discipline of ed tech. We can be as rigorous critical and as we like but if that research is not easily accessible and meaningful to practice then when is the point really?

It’s how we technology  it to inhabit learning spaces that matters, ensuring we can spread the glitter and not be driven by how and when (if ever) we get to use that glitter by ed tech companies. On that note, thank you Michael Feldstein for this brilliant post).

I’m going to follow all of this up in my SEDA keynote next month, which now includes, balancing on window ledges, pigeons, ballet a bit of ed tech and now glitter. How can it fail?

DRAWN TO DRONE from jack webb on Vimeo.

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