#FOLC W1: Facilitating on-line learning and communication

Hello to my new learning community, #FOLC. I am looking forward to working with you all – and learning new things to bring back to my own practice.


Okay – that’s not really my picture – but it represents how I am feeling right now – what a year!

Bit of history

Just recently I have taken quite a few MOOCs (massive open online course) to experience virtual learning from the student perspective – and I learned much to bring back to my F2F classrooms – including the need for every member of every class to help build a welcoming and supportive learning space for us all. We all need to be friendly, welcoming and helpful: make a Comment, ‘like’ a post, ‘Reply’ where possible. We are the course 😀

I am also taking #LiveArtHistory – a Coursera MOOC for artists, animators and gamers: https://class.coursera.org/livearthistory-001/wiki/overview . Last year, I took Penn State’s Introduction to Art (#artmooc: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/artmooc-introduction-to-art-concepts.html) – and loved a course that had me making art – and thinking about building art practices into all my teaching and learning: to build confidence, to develop multi-modal forms of expression, to experience different ways of thinking and communicating. In this digital world, it has never been more important to bring real art practice into every day teaching – learning – and most importantly into assessment. I hope that I get to explore these ideas with you, my fellow #FOLCers.

For me – art is fundamental to learning – to expression – to being human, we are art. We are often taught at school that we cannot ‘do’ art – that we are not good enough – and this cuts us off from ourselves.  I re-discovered the place of art when I started doing a daily water colour to de-stress – a meditation to start each day. Soon my walls were covered with my misshapen pictures – and I discovered new joy and a new confidence. I try to build artwork into all my teaching – and helped put on a small conference to help others do this also: 


These are the pictures that Chris O’Reilly took of our artful day: https://plus.google.com/photos/111292261919257411213/albums/5974268028746180785 – and if you look at the very last couple – you can see that Raquel Duran, our Visual Scribe for the day, illustrated a bit of Tom Burns and my comment, ‘We’ve always been visual’ with an image of a cave painting.  

And that is art – the magical mystical boundary between us and what we see, hear, feel, believe, imagine, seek… and that hopefully is our teaching and learning also!


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