At the end of last year I wrote a post about art I enjoyed in 2014. That was a time-consuming but really enjoyable post to write. And then I saw Stephen Downes’ post – A Year in Photos – and the wonderful photos and text have stimulated me to keep a record of my ‘happenings’ over this year of 2015. This may end up being a more personal series of posts than I am used to writing, given that I am a private person, introverted and have never subscribed to the ‘reveal all’ mantra that the demands of open sharing on the internet seem sometimes to impose. Early in my days of online participation I read Ferreday and Hodgson’s article on the Tyranny of Participation and Collaboration in Networked Learning – and it has stayed with me, although I believe that I am as open and participative as it is a possible for a person with my personality traits to be and as a recent connection Alyson Inundras has said, we are all a mixture of introverted and extraverted. If there isn’t a Feburary post, then it will indicate that I have had second thoughts about this degree of openness!
So I thought I would try and write a monthly post about what I have been doing in all aspects of my life and then maybe at the end of the year it won’t take me as long to collate these, as it did to think about what art I enjoyed in 2014. So here are some thoughts about January. The risk of doing this is that I have nothing to write in February – hopefully not, but quite often I feel that I have nothing to say.
2015 came in with the end of Fedwiki or not the end because I am still following and have signed up for the next Happening. It was a fascinating experience which I did write some blog posts about. Also at the start of this year our house seemed to be folding in on itself – no power and even worse in January no heating. After a friend of our son’s had the carpets and floorboards up trying to detect the problem we established that it was a boiler pump problem, so were returned to light and warmth, but then needed someone to refit the carpets. At the same time a decorator was keeping the house (high maintenance Edwardian) in decorative order should we ever want to, need to, move from one day to the next.
On a more cheerful note, one of our sons who lives with us and has a Masters degree in music technology (he is very talented, but I would say that, I am his Mum) has after 18 months out of work finally found a job as a driver for Age UK. Celebrations! I even cooked a roast dinner the night we heard. Now is the time to reveal that I can always find something better to do than cook and now at least he has some money coming in and hopefully a music related job will turn up soon.
At the start of this year, I also acknowledged (must have done to be writing about it here) that my life is changing and becoming quite challenging in many ways. I am in my late 60s and am aware of the need to be alert to the consequences of ageing. I am personally very fit, but my husband and mother are not so fortunate. This prompted me to agree to write a short article for Lifewide Magazine (Issue 12, 2014 ) which was published just before Christmas – a bit painfully open for me, but helped me to establish where my life is at the moment.
I don’t get many offers of paid contracts these days, and those that I have received recently, for one reason or another, I have turned down – but I seem to work pretty much all day most days on things that I love to think about and work on. In January these areas of work have been:
At the beginning of the month – Fedwiki – what an interesting experience that has been. I am so grateful to Mike Caulfield for inviting me to join the Happening. I had some disturbing online interactions last year and Fedwiki has offered a glimmer of hope that it doesn’t need to be like that.
Working with Roy Williams and Jutta Pauschenwein on emergent learning. This is a rich collaborative experience. We are each such different personalities, but the mix makes for a powerful learning experience.
Another rich collaborative experience is working on rhizomatic learning with Frances Bell. It has been almost a year since we completed the Rhizo14 MOOC. Since then Frances and I have jointly presented at ALTMOOCSIG about our experience and submitted a paper to the Open Praxis journal, which was accepted and will be published any day now. We are now working on two further papers and I find myself deeply drawn to the writing that I have been reading around Deleuze and Guattari’s ideas. What I particularly like about it is the challenge to my ways of thinking and learning. I am hoping that these readings and this learning will change me in positive ways, but for the moment I am simply observing and appreciating.
For the most part January has been a month of hibernating. It always seems to have this effect on me unless we go away. The weather in the UK has, for most of January, been awful, but there is something comforting about hunkering down against the elements with an open fire, a good book or a good film. Talking of films we have been to see:
The Theory of Everything – very disturbing as it relates very closely to my life. My husband broke his neck playing rugby at the age of 20 and has been disabled ever since – so this film was a bit too close to home.
Girl with a Pearl Earring live streamed at Fellinis in Ambleside. This included a virtual trip to the Maurithuis Museum in The Hague – which was a treat – and a meal in Fellini’s vegetarian restaurant.
Finally January saw the publication in Leonardo Journal of a paper I worked on with Roy Williams and Simone Gumtau – Synesthesia From Cross-Modal to Modality-Free Learning and Knowledge . This is a closed journal, but we feel it has been quite an achievement to get published there and there has already been quite a bit of interest in the paper.
Well we are already in February, so time to get this posted!