Recreating todays lesson at home. Music and learning

#becomingeducational W22: The Musical session

This week we invited our old friend and mucker Dave Griffiths to run a session on Music and learning.
We have been to one of Dave’s sessions where we used our voices in call and response and musical rounds, gradually building up our confidence so that we could improvise… and perform differently in different situations (I wowed them at Glastonbury!)…

This week Dave took us through attributes of music – tone, pitch, timbre – volume – rhythm…

And then improvised – the results were astonishing – three amazing compositions that captured a sky dive – a shoal of fish – and rowing… row row rowing… gently up the stream! Brilliant!

Thanks Dave! Thanks to everyone who joined in with such passion…
And thank YOU for writing this week’s class blog!!

Happy Easter everybody!!

Becoming an educationalist blog

Today we had a session on music and learning, It was inspiring, so I set it up at home. One happy 4 year old and an even happier 25 year old.

I had so much fun today during the lesson, It was also great to work with other students in a setting we haven’t covered before, or even usually do. None of us in the group even know how to play an instrument! We were asked to create a piece of music that reflected a picture we were given. We had a picture of rowing boats and made a fun version of row row row your boat. We had rhythm and suspense and it was AMAZE :D.
Music through learning is great for every age and this in particular can help the little ones analyze and critically think without even knowing it. It was 100% learning through play and the…

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#Becomingeducational W21: Of luvvies and gamers

This week we got into our Performance Groups – and somehow there are now FIVE of them – to have some time planning our sessions. Performances start immediately after Easter and run across weeks 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27! Phew. Each group has control over THREE HOURS – from 09.00-12.00 – you can fill up all three hours – or allocate time for setting up and so forth. The choice is yours! BUT – let us KNOW what resources you will need – and WHAT TIME – you want the class to appear.

Getting that Performance sorted – things to think about

Evaluating needs: what is my study space? What does it offer? Who are my students – what are their strengths and needs? What is this course/performance/event – and what is it trying to achieve?

Organising materials: what resources are needed: before/during/after?

Defining goals: what do I want the students to experience? What do they want to learn – how do I know?

Selecting instructional mode and techniques: didactic/experiential/solitary/dialogic… What have I chosen and why?

Content sequence: beginning/middle/end? Other? Why?

Assessment and Feedback: How will I know that the session has been successful? What is success in this context?

Student feedback: Will I be seeking feedback from participants? How? Why?

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Game-ify your learning

Next – we had a splashy and busy session – designing games – with a developmental or Becoming an Educationalist focus… with pitches… We enjoyed all this busy-ness – what did you all think?

AND – did you produce something that is now ready to refine and play as part of your Performance Week?

Tip: As always – reflect: why did we do this? Why did we do it this way? How might I use this in the future?

Questions about Portfolio: evidence of THREE projects

We’ve had some people asking about the portfolio element of the final assessment – due in, in W29. The portfolio has to include evidence of engagement in THREE creative projects – and the joy experienced and lessons learned…

Remember – you will have engaged in several projects for us:

* Observation of formal/informal learning spaces and multimodal exhibition – participant observation – preparing for your Real Research… The challenge and joy of producing a multimodal artefact – rather than – say – an essay…

* Blogging to learn – setting up your blogs – blogging – illustrating and customising blogs – commenting on the blogs of others – and realising the learning potential of blogging

* Develop a digital me: the challenge and difficulty of this – the way you solved the problems – the pride and joy …

* Performance: all of the above!!

You can submit reflections on any three of them… anything that showcases your engagement – growth – joy – development… OR – you can do another SMALL project – for example:

* Explore an artist or some art work that inspires you – what is it about it that is so captivating – how might you use that in your practice as an educationalist?

* Explore an author or some writing (novel/poetry/other) that inspires you – what is it about it that is so captivating – how might you use that in your practice as an educationalist?

* Explore a musician … or dancer.. or scientist… that inspires you – what is it that is so captivating – how might you use that in your practice as an educationalist?

* Attempt to learn something completely new and different – record your learning journey – share highlights of it in some creative way…

FOR THIS ONE – try to have some FUN and JOY!!


Good luck,

Sandra & Tom


#becomingeducational W20: Becoming… critical learners

Our class – our Cave

This week we explored the value of taking control of our own learning – arguing that it is impossible to become a good educationalist if you cannot also become an engaged and active learner or student. Of course when you start a degree the module or course names might mean very little – we have no idea what the course it about – let alone what it might offer us – or what we might actually want from it. First of all we just want to survive – survive the strange new buildings and people – the new demands – and the blind confusion and panic involved in being a student… BUT – at some point it is useful to stop – think – and start again more slowly!

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The hermeneutic space

Firstly we reflected on five things that we actively want from Becoming – how we’ll know when we’ve got them… and what we feel about the module now – and YES – this will help you with the end of course ESSAY!!

So – what did people actually want from Becoming?

As well as research skills, people wanted to become more creative and to engage in different sorts of learning activities; to be pushed into engaging positively – especially with things outside current comfort zones – for example to get more confidence online. People wanted a good teaching experience – to be part of dialogic practice and to grow in confidence. Some wanted to experience different ways of designing lessons, learning and teaching – to experience and to learn about different sorts of engaging tasks and practices. Still others wanted to develop their critical and analytical thinking – especially with respect to the reading – and in the process learn and become more comfortable with the different terminologies and academic language. People wanted more confidence in giving presentations – and to build their confidence and social capital in general. Some saw Becoming as a journey – to their learning – to their career: “becoming what I’m meant to be.”

After voicing our own hopes and expectations – we compared these to the 14 principles for improving higher learning: Angelo: A “Teacher’s Dozen”: Fourteen General, Research-Based Principles for Improving Higher Learning in Our Classrooms: – actively discussing the first few in class: active learning is essential; we need to focus – be aware of what is important in the subject; learners must have their own goals (explicit, reasonable, positive) – and it helps if these are congruent with the teacher’s goals; we remember by connecting new learning to old schema; we may need to unlearn what we already know – and this is difficult; and  – as the notemakers know already – personally and meaningfully organised information is retained.

Tip: Reflect on the 14 principles: how far are students themselves in control of these – how far are they down to teaching practice? How far might they help you to become a more successful educationalist? How far will they help you with the Becoming essay?

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Getting jiggy with the MLE/VLE

Yup – we are all digital residents now – and much of the digi in university is delivered through its Managed or Virtual Learning Environment (MLE/VLE) – so the next class investigation asked: How would YOU design a VLE?

In LondonMet we used BlackBoard’s WebLearn – and if you really wanted to get serious with taking control of your own teaching right now – you could access this free version of BB – and design your own VLE: Things to think about:

Who are our students? Young/old? So what? Academic capital or not? So what? TIME or not? So what? Digital visitor or resident? So what?

Why WebLearn: What’s it really for? Who is it really for? What could or should it do? What would you really like to see in there? What about the Social Media?

Pedagogic models?

Interestingly, CourseSites offers different pedagogic models – to help you think about and structure your online space:

Activity: hands-on, fieldwork, PBL – with conversations and live chat

Case Study: develops knowledge through cases – enabling brainstorming, blogging and the application of theory.

Conference session: allowing collaboration in a web environment.

Constructivism: facilitating the construction of learning – with groups, sharing, knowledge-base and reflection.

Expedition-based: active/exploratory – with base camp, storytelling and My Trip Journal.

Experiential: knowledge created through concrete experiences – hands-on plus reflection. Round table, our blogs and my reactions.

Question: Do any of these inspire you? Could any of these be used productively in F2F teaching as well as on line?

And finally – a bit of Critical Pedagogy

When thinking about designing learning and teaching it is useful not just to reproduce what we already know – but to think differently about who and what education is for – or what it could or should be for; to think about social justice or ethics or humane ways of behaving – factors not always present in traditional schooling! So here are some tips from Critical Pedagogy – things to think about when DESIGNING your own teaching – and perhaps to use when EVALUATING the learning and teaching that you experience:

Content is …  a proposal…  to inspect, laugh about, jump off from.

Narrative structure: All courses are compositions, and as such they should tell a story…The course should begin one place and end someplace decidedly elsewhere…

Open-ended questions: Yes or no questions are for computers, not people…

Actual work, no busy: Activity in a course should never be empty … Learning isn’t an act of recall…

No assessments: … A course should be challenging enough that just getting through it is an accomplishment (and compelling enough that learners want to get to the end of the story).

Business casual: … use contractions or ellipses or emoticons or ironic parentheticals or risky language (or run-on sentences)… Perfect grammar shakes no one’s hand, gives no hugs.


Also Mayer on Principles of designing multimedia learning:

Tip: Start thinking about all this in relation to your Becoming essay!!