Archive for December, 2009

Social Media Sessions in the New Year

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
Early in the New Year, I’m running a short series of sessions with my colleague LeRoy Hill on social media for Postgraduate Researchers and Early Career Researchers on Jubilee Campus. The Jubilee Graduate Centre is hosting the sessions and providing facilities and refreshments. Centre Manager Tracy Sisson is enthusiastic about the project and has been very helpful in organising the sessions.
We’ve just started publicising the three sessions and hopefully we can get enough interest to fill the 20 places we are allowing for each one. We want the sessions to be informal and quite interactive, and it would be nice to get a mix of attendees from the Schools of Education, Computer Science and Business – could provide an interesting range of perspectives!
We are busy designing the sessions and compiling a complimentary online resource with links to tools, tutorials, and and other useful references – lots to do each side of Christmas.
All sessions take place in B14 from 12 noon to 1.30pm on the following days:
Session One: Monday 18 January 2009
Introductory session providing an overview of social media and a discussion of their underlying concepts, values and technologies.
Session Two: Friday 5 February 2009
A focus on blogging and microblogging, the sharing of resources such as texts, presentations, images and video, and forms of tagging and aggregation.
Session Three: Wednesday 17 February 2009
A focus on social networking, bookmarking and collaboration through social networking sites, wikis, and other participatory tools.
Anyone wishing to attend should contact Tracy Sisson at jubilee-graduate-centre@nottingham.ac.uk

Early next year, I’m running a short series of sessions with my colleague LeRoy Hill on social media for Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers based at Jubilee Campus. The Jubilee Graduate Centre is hosting the sessions and providing facilities and refreshments. Centre Manager Tracy Sisson is enthusiastic about the project and has been very helpful in organising everything.

We’ve just started publicising the three sessions and hopefully we can get enough interest to fill the 20 places we are allowing for each one. We want the sessions to be informal and quite interactive, and it would be nice to get a mix of attendees from the Schools of Education, Computer Science and Business – could provide an interesting range of perspectives.

We are busy designing the sessions and compiling a complimentary online resource with links to tools, tutorials, and and other useful references – lots to do each side of Christmas.

All sessions take place in B14 from 12 noon to 1.30pm on the following days:

Session One: Monday 18 January 2010
Introductory session providing an overview of social media and a discussion of their underlying concepts, values and technologies.

Session Two: Friday 5 February 2010
A focus on blogging and microblogging, the sharing of resources such as texts, presentations, images and video, and forms of tagging and aggregation.

Session Three: Wednesday 17 February 2010
A focus on social networking, bookmarking and collaboration through social networking sites, wikis, and other participatory tools.

Anyone wishing to attend should contact Tracy at jubilee-graduate-centre@nottingham.ac.uk

The (Mis)education of Lennie Godber: ‘Stir’ as a Community of Practice – or – Situation Comedy meets Situated Learning

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
Porridge, arguably one of the best British television comedies of all time, is a prison-set sitcom originally broadcast on BBC between 1974 and 1977. Watching re-runs of the show recently, it struck me that whilst the central character Norman Stanley Fletcher (Ronnie Barker) – an old hand at prison – gets most of the laughs, the main narrative arc is actually provided by the learning trajectory of new offender Lennie Godber (Richard Beckinsale).
The value of these two characters as a comedic double act is largely derived from the development and maturation of their master-apprentice relationship; most acutely observed in an early, classic episode, ‘A Night In’ in which the two first share a cell together.
Lave and Wenger (1991) situates learning in a specific context within a particular social and physical environment. Learning is seen as a process of socialisation into a community of practice that is at first legitimately peripheral but increases gradually in engagement and complexity. The negotiation of meaning and a process of identity formation within the community of practice are essentially informal – they do not align themselves with institutional structures though they are not totally independent of them.
Over the course of the two series we see Godber – young, vulnerable and initially naive of prison ways –  ‘learn the ropes.’ His education is not so much formed by formal prison rules and routines, but by learning how to bend the system, and put one over the ‘screws’ (prison officers) – largely under the tutelage of Fletcher. We see him increasingly adopt the prison slang (carefully moderated for the original seventies primetime TV audience), conform to unofficial hierarchies, and learn the importance of prison ‘currency’; toothpaste, teabags and in particular, snout (tobacco).
Superbly penned by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it’s probably one of the greatest portrayals of peripheral participatory learning we have in popular culture – and still very funny.

porridge

Porridge is a prison sitcom originally broadcast by the BBC between 1974 and 1977. Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it’s widely considered to be one of the best British television comedies of all time. Watching re-runs of the show recently, it struck me that whilst the central character Norman Stanley Fletcher (Ronnie Barker) – an habitual criminal and an old hand at prison – provides most of the laughs, the main narrative arc concerns the learning trajectory of new offender Lennie Godber (Richard Beckinsale).

The value of these two characters as a comedic double act is largely derived from the development and maturation of their master-apprentice relationship; most acutely observed in an early, classic episode A Night In, in which the two first share a cell together.

Lave and Wenger (1991) situate learning within specific social and physical environments. Learning is seen as a process of socialisation into a community of practice that is at first peripheral but increases gradually in engagement and complexity. Identity development and negotiation of meaning are essentially informal; unaligned with – though not entirely independent of – institutional structures.

Over the course of three series we see Godber – young, vulnerable and initially naive of prison ways – learn the ropes; an education not so much shaped by formal prison rules and routines, but by learning how to bend them, and put one over the ‘screws’ (prison officers) – largely under the mentorship of Fletcher. We see him increasingly adopt the prison slang (carefully moderated for the original seventies primetime TV audience), conform to inmate hierarchies, and learn the importance of prison ‘currency’ such as toothpaste, liquorice allsorts and in particular, snout (tobacco).

Reference

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The Student Voice

Friday, December 4th, 2009
This coming Monday, I’m presenting a symposium with Odessa Dariel (and on behalf of absent Claire Mann), at the SRHE Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference at Celtic Manor, Newport.
The presentations will address our ongoing work as student interns with the Visual Learning Lab (VLL). Student interns have played an integral role in VLL activities since June 2008, working with Schools across the University of Nottingham to deliver workshops and provide training and support for both staff and students in new learning technologies and related pedagogies. Our role was recognised as offering a unique position with which to undertake research that promotes the development of the ‘student voice.’
We recently conducted a series of focus groups in a number of Schools across the University asking undergraduate students about their learning experiences. In the last few weeks we have started delivering the key findings to teaching staff in participating Schools in a number of participatory workshops based around a video we made. We are looking to extend this to PGCHE and MA (Ed.) students in the New Year.
We have adopted the Participation Action Research (PAR) model as a broad methodology for the project. PAR is a research method built on progressive ‘action-refection’ cycles enabling ongoing communication and collaboration between researchers, students and tutors.
We hope to replicate the video workshop in the final part of our symposium, and as such the conference will itself constitute a further strand of our own reflective practice.

This coming Monday, I’m presenting a symposium with Odessa Dariel (and on behalf of Claire Mann), at the SRHE Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference at Celtic Manor, Newport.

The presentations will address our ongoing work as student interns with the Visual Learning Lab (VLL). Student interns have played an integral role in VLL activities since June 2008, promoting visual learning across the University of Nottingham, providing support for both staff and students in new learning technologies and related pedagogies. Our role was recognised as offering a unique position with which to undertake research that promotes the development of the ‘student voice.’

We recently conducted a series of focus groups in a number of Schools across the University asking undergraduate students about their learning experiences. In the last few weeks we have started delivering the key findings to teaching staff in participating Schools through interactive workshops based around a video we produced. We are looking to extend this to PGCHE and MA (Ed.) students in the New Year.

We have adopted a Participation Action Research (PAR) model as a broad methodology for the project, with progressive ‘action-refection’ cycles enabling ongoing communication and collaboration between researchers, students and tutors.

We hope to replicate the video workshop in the final part of our symposium, and as such the conference will itself constitute a further strand of our own reflective practice.