#becomingeducational W5: Observing teaching and learning – getting multi-modal

What a great week! We saw many of you in Enricos – and many more of you in the Learning Centre – dashing around observing all the different sorts of learning activities that were taking place in all the different sorts of learning spaces… And we saw people making their collages, comics and posters – getting ready to share their findings in W7. We are really looking forward to all the 3-D objects, the jig saw puzzles, the knitting, the videos, the comics, collages, animations and Posters that you are making…

Here are some tools that might help you:

PowToons: http://www.powtoon.com/tutorials/

Comic Strip: http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/

Storybird: http://storybird.com/classes/becoming-educational/

Or the upsidedown academy: http://www.upsidedownacademy.org/

And then someone said: what about ‘dance’ – how can I represent my findings through dance?!

Dance it!!

And – no – we are not crazy suggesting that you think about using dance. The science community has a competition where people are invited to dance their PhDs’: http://gonzolabs.org/dance/

This is one of our favourites:


So – how would you go about representing your observations though dance? Here are some steps you might take:

1) What did I see? Where was learning taking place? What different sorts of learning was taking place in the different spaces? … MAKE A LIST!!

2) Once you have identified the different learning and the different spaces – THINK – how can I represent each one of those through dance?

3) Design a dance move and some dance steps for each different space and type of learning…. CHOREOGRAPH a small set of steps and movements… and choose the appropriate music.

4) Rehearse your dance steps to the music – make sure that the whole performance is no more than two minutes long if possible.

5) Ask a friend to video you doing the dance – or you video someone else who is prepared to do the dance for you.

6) Edit the video down to about two minutes and post to YouTube – so that you can share the video with us in Week 7.

7) You might want to make a poster – sharing how you put the dance together – and with the YouTube address on it – and display that W7 as well.


Of course – those reflective steps work no matter what ‘mode’ you have chosen:

*What have you actually observed? ALL the different learning – all the different learning spaces…

*How can you represent each thing that you saw: in knitting – in patchwork – in collage – in song – in a poem – in a short story – in an animation…

*Have a go – enjoy the struggle to communicate all the different things that you saw – in the medium that you are experimenting with…

*Wrestle with it till you are happy.


Good luck!

Tom & Sandra

#becomingeducational W4: Is it really only week 4???

Yes – it is only W4 – and boy – such a lot has happened already!!


For this week’s test we wanted to see if you had read the blog!! We know that people are opening the blog – we get stats for that… But are you reading it? Hah!!

Remember – Becoming operates as a ‘flipped classroom’ – you have to engage with the blog to fully engage with the class. In the blog we post up links to articles that you might read – not least to produce your LITERATURE REVIEW or METHOD statement for your RESEARCH PROPOSAL. We reflect on and deepen the learning that we hope takes place each week… and we extend it with links to useful websites and occasionally to Webinars (online seminars) on topics related to becoming an educationalist.

So – what had we hoped that you had spotted and thought about on the blog?

Mainly that – NEXT WEEK…

Next week – W5 – has been scheduled as a Study Week (to help students with children – it’s half term). There is no scheduled class – BUT – there is lots to do!! We have asked you to visit the university as a site of learning – ready to:

PRESENT your findings, W7 – in an EXHIBITION. NOT in Poster Presentations – we want you to present your findings in more creative ways – as a poem or a comic book or a jigsaw puzzle or a piece of knitting… So you need to choose a mode or method of presentation NOW!!

Singly, in pairs or in small groups – explore the University as ‘participant observers’ (look this phrase up and think about it)

For Multi-modal Exhibition: W7


What are people doing?

Where is learning happening?

What stops learning from happening?

What MODE are you going to use to present your findings? (See: Lastrefuge: http://lastrefugelmu.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/artmooc-week-four-through-lens-lessons.html)

Meet us in Enricos!!

We will be Enricos (the university café next door to our usual classroom) from about 10.30 ready to meet up with you informally. You can pop in just to say hello – or to touch base. Or you might want to pop in and have a chat about the module or the course as a whole. Whatever it is that you want – we will be there to meet you!!

Seeding reflection

After thinking about next week, we took a moment this week to reflect on your experiences of university and the course so far. We asked you to:

Reflect on your experiences of the first three and a bit weeks of the course – and to remember, surface, your feelings.

Then – rummage through some newspapers and magazines and choose pictures or words that represented your feelings to you.

Then to produce a collage with those pictures and words …

And to free write briefly on your collage and your feelings.

REFLECT: What did you learn about yourself from doing this activity? What did you learn about the emotional dimension of being a student? Will you consider using this as a research method?

Two things emerged:

ONE – this is an excellent qualitative research method that you might like to use in your own RESEARCH PROJECT!!!

TWO – some of you were confused and a bit worried about the module assignments. This is why we then re-shaped the rest of the session – making sure that we covered the assignments in more detail – and tried to make sense of them with you.

The Assignments

  • Creative Projects – submit evidence of 3 = W30 (30% marks)
  • Research Project:
    • Proposal W10 (10%)
    • Report W20 (20%)
  • Essay W30 (40%).

The Research Project – part 1: The Proposal – due in W10

  • Introduction – What are you researching and why?
  • Literature Review – What have other people written on this topic already? (Do some reading!)
  • Method – How are you going to gather data (and why)? (ALSO – read about Research Methods!)
  • Ethics

***** W9 whole class practical on this!! ****


  • How students make notes … Does it work?
  • Attitudes to academic reading
  • Attitudes to academic writing
  • Student experiences of group work
  • Student experiences of using social media in studying
  • Student attitudes to the weekly blog
  • The emotional dimension of being a student
  • The experience of being a mature student – or a working student or a carer…

DEFINITELY NOT – learning styles!! No – no – and thrice no!!


Qualitative: Get participants to:

  • Make a collage and discuss it
  • Choose a rich picture – and write about
  • Engage in topic mediated dialogue – and record it
  • Free write on the topic you are researching
  • Produce a pattern note or concept map…

DEFINITELY NOT – a questionnaire!!! Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!



  • Over-18 – not vulnerable
  • Give informed consent
  • Right to withdraw
  • Anonymised (no signatures): not possible to identify participants
  • BERA + ethics
  • At least do no harm!!

NEXT – Notemaking

We moved on to consider the role of notemaking in YOUR learning:

  • What: active learning – key words – mnemonic triggers – pictures
  • Why: because it is ACTIVE LEARNING – keeps it interesting – difficult – important
  • How: PREPARE – BE ACTIVE – REVIEW (or forget 98% in 3-weeks!!).


NOTEMAKING: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/note.html

READING: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/reading.html

Textmapping: noteamking from reading

And finally… we asked you to form groups to collectively read, annotate and finally present a text. Obviously because next week is Study Week we cannot present the reading next week – but we have asked you all to be ready to present your reading in W6 – the week after next.


Mark up the text – thinking about WHY it is interesting or useful – and HOW you might use it: Will you use it in your Literature Review?

Turn the text into a COLLAGE POSTER – this will help you understand the text – and it will help us to understand your presentation!!


The belief that we can… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-efficacy

Bandura argues we need models of success in our families, in our communities

THINK ABOUT: South Oxhey – the Unsung Town

South Oxhey was a new town for East Enders after the second world war. It was built in middle England, Herts – and middle England was appalled! They required that the town be invisible – and this was arguably internalised by the residents – who became silenced… Gareth Malone built a choir there:


How often do we hear these voices on television? In what context?

SO – how would you build self-efficacy in yourself? In your students?

Further Reading:

Blogging: http://ds106.us/handbook/blogging/

Giroux on Freire: http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/93016:lessons-to-be-learned-from-paulo-freire-as-education-is-being-taken-over-by-the-mega-rich

Info-Ed: dialogue, praxis and education: http://infed.org/mobi/paulo-freire-dialogue-praxis-and-education/

Summerhill – experiments in emancipatory education: http://www.summerhillschool.co.uk/


Sandra & Tom

#becomingeducational W3: Post-apocalypse

Okay – so some of you are hiding under the desk in the opening ‘test’ – and some of the words had you holding your heads… But this form of instant revision is really important. If we do not revise what we are learning – we will forget 98% of it in just three weeks (see Tony Buzan Use Your Head)!!

Reprise – words and people to think about:

Dialogic versus dialectic




Topic Mediated Dialogue

Research METHOD

Jean Luc Nancy – ‘being with’

Bakhtin – dialogic.

This week’s people and ideas:

Hobbes – we are born in war

Rousseau – we are noble savages

Illich – we need to de-school society

Peter Elbow – freewrite – develop a writing habit

Role of drawing and/or collage in thinking and in research

Role of simulation and role play in teaching and learning

Role of education in society


Research methods

Literature Review.


Why oh why oh why do we have to do all that reading?

As students we join in a conversation about life, the universe and everything that has already started. These ideas – these people – have been useful in helping people think about education. Now it’s your turn to think about and discuss and write about and represent these ideas. So – How do they help you understand education and what it means to be a successful educationalist?

Post-apocalypse: world-building: W0, W5, W10

So – we emerged from our bunkers and we had to re-build the world – but how? we started by drawing our worlds on the table – and then building the worlds that we wanted to see… Take away questions from the activity:

  • What is the purpose of an Education System for a society?
  • What is the purpose of an Education System for an individual?
  • Whose interests do you think an Education System has to serve?
  • What education system or strategy would you put in place – and why?
  • If you had to sum up the ethos or values embraced by your perfect education strategy – what would they be?

On role plays and simulation: We like thinking about education through the medium of this role play/ simulation, centred around re-building the world post-apocalypse – BUT HOW WOULD YOU DO IT?

How would you ‘teach’ this topic – would you do it completely differently? Would you run a different simulation – or would you manage this simulation differently?

Research Project – Proposal – Methods

Many of you turned your table tops into ‘thinking art’ – with drawings, collage, notes… (and many of you used the drawings when you gave your presentations – do that again!!).  WELL – there you go – you have played with another potential RESEARCH METHOD!! Those collages – your drawings – that writing = another rich METHOD that you can consider using in your Research Project.

You might be noticing by now that there are links between creative teaching methods – and creative research methods. What helps students talk and think and be with each other in meaningful ways – also helps us to elicit meaningful or interesting information or data when we are conducting research.

Research project – Proposal – Literature Review

When we conduct research – we have to read what other people have written on the topic or issue or thing that we are researching. So – if you are researching notemaking – you have to find useful articles on the role of notemaking in learning OR on student attitudes to notemaking OR do Cornell Notes help students to learn> – and so on.

If you are going to research the role of creativity in education – here are a couple of cool resources on creative educational practices – read through to be inspired about your own future practice – your own final performance – and your research project.

This is by Norman Jackson (05) ‘Making Higher Education a more creative space’:


This is entitled Innovating Pedagogy – produced by the Open University (2014):


This is a brand new up-to-date publication on the teacher’s role in educational innovation:


AND – if you want a big dollop of inspiration we, your tutors, are involved with this free open online course #creativeHE – which is happening right now – and even if you don’t feel you have the time to participate – you might want to browse through some of the activities, prompts and resources:



You will be asked to present information ‘multi-modally’ when you report back on your W5 explorations

W5 you will be exploring the university as a site or various sites of learning. You will be asked to present the information that you discover back to the whole class in a multi-modal exhibition in W7.

Multi-modal means using more than one ‘mode’ – where writing is a mode – drawing is a mode – collage is a mode etc. So as you used the table tops to draw and collage and write you were being multi-modal. With your re-presentations of your findings, we will ask you to be even more radical than that – try to enjoy the challenge!!

Each group has to present their findings in a different MODE – choose one that challenges you:

Comic book

Jigsaw puzzle

Pack of cards

Marvel Comic




Newspaper article

Memory envelope

Cabinet of curiosity

Short story

3D object

Pop Art


Something knitted or crocheted

Painting or drawing


Academic poster



First come first served!!

Confirm mode in W4 – at latest by W6.

More ways to show what you know:


Good luck – we are waiting to be blown away by your wonderful exhibits!!


Postscript: Writing

A big concern for most students is academic writing – producing essays and other assignments – being assessed and judged…

That is why we ask you to write a weekly blog – not just to torture you – not just to get you actively reflecting on your learning to make the learning conscious – but also to help you to get a writing habit – for that is the best way to get better at writing (see the work of Peter Elbow).

If you are really interested in developing your own writing why not use 750-words http://750words.com/ – and/or sign up for a WRITING MONTH: http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/announcements/digital-writing-month-2015/

#becomingeducational: W2: Whoops Apocalypse!!

So – after we all produced our name plates illustrated to reveal something about ourselves, we started with a quick quiz – reflecting back on what we covered last week – and why we covered it.  This was not meant to be a pass or fail test – but something dialogic or discursive  – a quality that we think it very valuable in meaningful education. So if people did not know the answers – they could point to a friend and the conversation could continue.

BTW: Really liked the point about Object Based Learning – when someone said: ”Because you were the object you had to answer our questions!!” Oh yes! AND so happy that people were already blogging – and starting their own subject dictionaries. Tip: Technophiles amongst you might like to start up a class wiki (an editable shared webspace – e.g. PBwiki: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neHt9G3R7TE) where you can collaborate on producing a shared Subject Dictionary??

Simulation and role play: The nuclear bunker

Our first group activity was the nuclear bunker – in groups of ten deciding who stays and who goes… In the de-brief, we discussed what our decisions might reveal to us about our taken-for-granted values – and how we perhaps need to surface our values in our journey to becoming successful educationalists. We considered the values or qualities a successful educationalist ‘should’ possess… See: <http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/take5/simulations.html>.

Tom went on to speak about ‘common sense’, Utilitarianism and Neo-Kantianism as over-riding narratives in our worlds. Again – no answers here – but more questions: what do we take away from that discussion? What are we now thinking about? How are we thinking? Should or could we be thinking differently?

Tips: As always – when reflecting on the sessions – don’t just think about what we did – but consider why we did it that way – and how you might adapt the session in your own practice in the future.

Topic Mediated Dialogue (TMD)

TMD is a way of mediating (or enabling) dialogue by setting specific topics to discuss. In this case we offered three provocative statements about education – all quite negative. Did you notice that one was from a general Marxist position, one from a Daily Mail right wing perspective – and one from a more libertarian position?

After discussion, people drew a representation of one of their conversation partners – and Tom managed to show some pictures – comparing them with the self-representations that started the day.

The big tip: think about using TMD as research method

A research method is the way (the method) that we go about collecting data or evidence or raw material on a subject or topic that we are researching. So – if you wanted to know what your fellow students FELT about, say, academic writing – you could get them into pairs or threes – give them three controversial or provocative statements about academic writing and let them discuss freely.

To turn those discussions into DATA that you could analyse you could:

  • Record the conversations
  • Ask the participants to write a short piece that reflected their experience of the conversation
  • Get participants to make a collage or draw a ‘rich picture’ that captured their experience of the conversation
  • Ask the participants to produce a pattern note or concept map of the conversation.

After that you could then analyse the data – those conversations or that writing or those pictures or those pattern notes – to see what they revealed about your participants’ feelings about academic writing.

Tip: If you are interested in ‘researcher-interpreted dialogue’ – you might want to read this:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0N3pJlgca_MC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=Research+Methods+%2B+Topic+Mediated+Dialogue&source=bl&ots=X1q-6Gn645&sig=HoL7rN35NT_obqaI-9PSg_k6kTM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBGoVChMIu9if_52zyAIVgj0UCh2-nQbO#v=onepage&q=Research%20Methods%20%2B%20Topic%20Mediated%20Dialogue&f=false (sorry – could not work out a way of getting the shorter URL).

In that example the researcher asked the participants to produce concept maps that they then interpreted.

Why are we mentioning this?

Remember your Research Proposals have to be handed in in W10!! So, to be on the ball, check out everything that we do each week and work out how far it is useful to you in preparing your proposal:

  • Are we offering your something to think about and research further?
  • Are we offering you something to read to help you put together your literature review?
  • Are we suggesting interesting methods that will help you to collect rich data to analyse?

Generally we are trying to do many of these things at once – so be on your toes!

AND – this is why it is so important for you to actively reflect on our sessions each week. Our sessions are designed to be interactive and experiential, we are not telling you stuff (well – okay – we are a bit) – but, you are hopefully experiencing many different things all at the same time. However, all those experiences will slip away and be lost if you don’t do something with them. Make those experiences conscious – turn them into learning. That is why you need to spend some time reflecting on everything: in conversation with friends, on your own in your blog, when reading and commenting on someone else’s blog. That way, you are telling yourself what’s what!

Something to read for your literature review

Interesting if long paper on emergent learning:



Postscript: Are you feeling out of your comfort zone?

University is all about change – and it is hard to change. None of us likes changing – and it is perhaps more difficult for us, the so-called non-traditional students, who yes want to change – but do not want to ‘betray’ their class or culture or community… Just how far should we go – and how in control are we of our changes?

But being a student requires that we do change – otherwise why bother going to university in the first place? So – start to trust yourself – you won’t betray anyone if you do change a bit! And start to embrace change as a positive: get involved, make new friends and do new things!

Tips: TRY – FAIL – TRY AGAIN – FAIL AGAIN – BUT FAIL BETTER!!  Check out our POSITIVE THINKING resources: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/positive.html

#becomingeducational – the first session!!


We have a new room – and for the whole first three hours of the day!! TM-G-45!!

So from next week – meet in TM-G-45 at 09.00 – and relax knowing that we can be there all morning!


Thank you

Thank you all for a lively and stimulating class on Wednesday morning! By now you should all be in the process of composing your own reflections on the session, considering:

  • What we did
  • Why we did it
  • Why we did it that way
  • What you gained from the whole session – as a student now
  • What you gained from the session as a future educationalist: are there strategies that we used that you will want to note down to use later in your own practice?
  • What questions you still need to ask
  • What you are going to do next – that is:
    • create a blog – write your first blog post
    • illustrate your blog post to bring it alive
    • join Twitter – tweet out the link to your first blog post – using the hashtag #becomingeducational
    • check out the WebLearn space – read the Module Handbook – follow some links in the WordCloud…
    • create a list of all the module assignments – with their deadlines
    • start writing your first thoughts about all the assignments that we have set you…
    • start your own Subject Dictionary – with all those key words that we have started using – what do they mean?
    • read something: What? Why?
  • When you are going to read and comment on the blogposts of some of your class mates.

Metaphors for teaching/learning

In class we suggested that you think about your own metaphors for teaching/learning – and suggested our own: VIKING – not a pillager or plunderer – but someone who plunges into the unknown with comrades and high hopes! What’s your metaphor for ‘teaching’ or ‘teacher’ or ‘educationalist’? Here’s a blogpost from a #creativeHE course on that topic: https://debbaffled.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/creative-he-travel-guide-metaphor-week-1-connecting/

Why don’t you illustrate your first blog post with your own picture of what a teacher or a learner is?

Becoming… and ‘skills’

You also asked us what ‘skills’ we would be learning in or on the module – too many too count!! But if you are particularly interested in how ‘study and academic skills’ are tackled in University these days – read this paper: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED434152.pdf TIP: A very useful paper for the whole class to read in preparation for their RESEARCH PROJECTS.

If you are interested in developing your own study strategies, you might want to look at this crowd-sourced guide to study success: https://ugc.futurelearn.com/other_assets/learning-guide/the-crowdsourced-guide-to-learning.pdf – as well as our very own Study Hub: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/studyhub/index.html

What is a successful educationalist?

And if we’re getting digital – check out this video record of a Webinar on sharing expertise and power in the school classroom: http://connectedlearning.tv/distributing-expertise-classroom

Module Handbook

Don’t forget to log-in the WebLearn version of this module and access the full module handbook which covers in more detail all that we attempted to cover in our first Object Based Learning session.

Explore the other resources that we have placed there for you. The WordCloud for example consists of key words used about becoming an educationalist – if you click on the words you may be taken to articles to read or other things to think about. These are all useful for the module generally – and definitely useful for your Research Projects.

Peer Mentors

And finally… we mentioned that from next week we will be joined by the Peer Mentors in the fourth hour. We have scheduled the Peer Mentor sessions to take place in ICT labs – so do use the peer mentors to help you to set up and customise your blogs – and later on you can work with them on your ‘Develop a Digital Me’ projects… You might also think about what questions you might like to ask the Peer Mentors – after all – they are second year students –they have survived this first year – they can help!

All the best,

Tom & Sandra