A new paper on Emergent Learning in IRRODL

The next issue of IRRODL (International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 13, No 4, 2012) has been published. This issue includes a paper written by Roy Williams, Simone Gumtau and me –  Footprints of Emergence.

In this paper we continue to explore the ideas around emergent learning which we first discussed in a paper published (also in IRRODL) in 2011 – Emergent Learning and Learning Ecologies in Web 2.0

In that paper we focused on developing our understanding of emergent and prescribed learning in relation to ways of working on the Web.

In the Footprints paper just published, we have explored how we might recognise a curriculum that promotes emergent or prescribed learning and suggested a framework for doing this. We are hoping that through this work we will be able to work collaboratively with others to examine a variety of curricula and learning environments (from curricula in more formal settings such as schools and Higher Education, to more informal settings such as MOOCs), and so further develop our understanding of the factors that lead to different degrees of emergent or prescribed learning.

In addition, we are beginning to see possible links between these ideas and those we have developed in a second paper – Synaesthesia and Embodied Learning which we have submitted to the Leonardo Journal

We have already presented some of the ideas associated with the Footprints framework at a conference at Stirling University in June of this year. (See also blog post – Learn by unlearning; see by unseeing)

Further presentations related to the paper will be to:

  • CPsquare community –  – in the week of November 19th as one of their Research and Development series of events. For this we hope to use the Footprints framework to discuss learning in CPsquare  with community members.
  •  We are also in the process of seeking funding to develop the  Footprints framework further.

What I particularly like about this work (apart from the pleasure of working with Roy and Simone) is that it is continually in progress. It has not been a ‘one off’. In fact  whilst the publication process has actually been quite fast (about 6 months), it has felt slow, since out conversations around this work have been ongoing and our thinking is continually developing and evolving.

So it’s great to see the paper published.

This looks to be an interesting issue of IRRODL with contributions from some authors I recognise and follow – so I am looking forward to reading the papers.

World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day

In the last couple of years I have found myself doing more and more work related to autism. This has mostly been with Birmingham University’s Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) where the work has involved

  • working on writing online training materials, such as those currently being produced for the Autism Education Trust ,
  • working with Scottish Autism  to support the development of a community of practice to share best practice across distributed services, and

At the same time, the way in which children on the autism spectrum learn in a responsive environment designed especially for them (MEDIATE) has featured as a case study in both the most recent research papers I have been working on with Roy Williams and Simone Gumtau.

One – Synaesthesia and Embodied Learning has just been submitted to The Future of Theory in Education Conference, due to take place at Stirling University in June of this year.

Williams, R., Gumtau, S. & Mackness, J. (2012) Synaesthesia and Embodied Learning. (Paper accepted for ‘Theorising Education 2012: The Future of Theory in Education: Traditions, Trends and Trajectories Conference which is taking place 7-9 June 2012, at University of Stirling).

The second – a paper on complexity, learning environments and emergent learning – will be (fingers crossed) submitted within the next month, although we are also presenting a workshop (clinic) on this at the Stirling Conference.

What has been interesting for me in all this work is to get a glimpse into how people on the autism spectrum learn and reflect on how this informs teaching and learning with other groups. There are some intriguing links and challenges.