Dot dot dot

Mashing together two prompts today: Wendy’s post for #MoDigiWri and the Daily Create also for today.

I visited the Dotsies site and grabbed the bookmarklet up to my tool bar, then headed over to Wendy’s blog and applied it, screen shot the result and pasted the image into Paint to crop it. The resulting image, here on the left, is her poem translated into dots.

Wendy’s post about code and “hidden” writing  reminds me of Bertrand Russell’s distinction between surface grammar and depth grammar. Is the grammar of the surface more misleading, as he thought? Is the underlying structure of our thought really dots? (Russell didn’t say that, he was talking about philosophical logic – I am applying a poetic licence to his idea that I am sure he would not have approved of.)

Where is all this talk of dots leading me? Watch this space … and remember that “A Line is a Dot That Went for a Walk“.

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Christmas 2018

Christmas lunch – vege roast and all the trimmings for me, Niall, Niall’s mum and aunt Lesley. Served on mum and dad’s dinner service, reminding me of Christmasses past with family – busy days with everybody piled into mum and dad’s house – a surfeit of food, noise and happiness. Today was quieter, but just as happy. Setting the table I felt so lucky for all we have: our wine glasses were a wedding present from a friend, and the tablecloth was a gift from a student to Niall’s dad. The mats and cutlery were bought with money given to us when we married. So many memories, such good food, and such good company.

Now I am in my study relaxing. I have a new drawing book to inspire me, a new knitting book to tempt me, new pens to draw with, new notepads to write in.

And a cat who thinks it is time for food. She is right.

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Curtains


Two years ago I bought the material to make a pair of curtains for my bedroom, but the holidays passed and the curtains didn’t get made.  The material sat around for a while with Lacey using it as a cushion, and then I packed it away in a bag and shoved it under the sofa. Not quite out of sight or out of mind. I could see the bag out of the corner of my eye, guilt-tripping me, but still they didn’t get made.

Finally, this year – almost two years to the day since I bought the material, I have new curtains. This holiday I have more energy (I have been boosting my B12, maybe that helped; I am happier at work, that definitely helped; a few little motivating things happened, I am sure they also helped).

So here they are. Please note that in order to make these curtains I had two apprentices – one to help with the linings, the other to help with the main material. They were diligent with their help and loyal to their chosen material. Note how cleverly each of them takes the smooth material and ruches it. It’s that attention to detail that I love.

cagney curtain

lacey curtain

And here they are, hanging at the windowsill at last.

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Memories

Sunrise

My granny loved the colours of the sky at sunrise and sunset. Once, when redecorating, she opted for blue, grey and terracotta. “Like the colour of the evening sky”, she told me. Often when I see the autumn skies I remember her.

This was the view from campus at 8am this morning

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Glowing

Glowing

I’m behind with #NovDoodle (or, taking it at my own pace!), and did the day 10 “glowing” yesterday. Above is the end result.

First I drew a silhouette of an owl with white crayon on black paper and cut it out. Then I looked around my room for suitable light to shine through it. None of my regular lights looked quite right. 
However, amongst my many Doctor Who possessions is a Tardis light.

Not perfect, but I like it.

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Invisible Grafting

Socks, yes socks! Sarah is a great knitter and Wendy responded to her call out and the results are so cool! Sarah wrote about this project but let’s get some more details on the design.

socks with Fibonacci spiral on them

Fibonacci?

This video inspired some thinking. If the Fibonacci sequence can be incorporated into music then maybe it would be a cool sock design! The swirl is deceptively simple but needed some work to go onto the graph paper. This number sequence makes a swirl that appears in nature. An image of a storm pattern gave Wendy the final design of opposing swirls as in the eye of the storm.

Why love a maths sequence?

Fn=Fn-1+Fn-2
Fibonacci numbers follow an integer sequence. Possible shown in early Indian work of poetry formed by words of two syllables. The design here took the sequence this far:
1,1,2,3,5,8,13

How are the stripes worked out?

Sarah had already made one pair of socks using the Fibonacci sequence of numbers and when Wendy produced the spirals Sarah thought about incorporating some stripes as well, running up and down through the sequence throughout the sock. Wendy’s spiral pattern spanned over 65 rows, a good number of rows for a sock is roughly 100, so Sarah played around with some numbers to make this fit. She ended up with stripes above and below the main spiral pattern in blue and green, using a sequence of: 8 blue, 5 green, 3 blue, 2 green, 1 blue, 1 green for the stripes above the spiral pattern, and stripes of 1 green,1 blue, 2 green,3 blue, 5 green under the spiral pattern and above the heel. The heel is knitted over 32 stitches, so Sarah emphasised the beginning of the Fibonacci sequence by using a stripe of alternate stitches in blue and green across the whole heel, before returning to a full sequence for the foot and toe.The foot sequence was 1 blue, 1 green, 2 blue, 3 green, 5 blue, 8 green,13 blue, 8 green, 5 blue, 3 green, 2 blue, 1 green, 1 blue; and the toe sequence was 2 green, 3 blue, 5 green, 3 blue, 2 green, 1 blue, 1, 2 blue, 1 green, then joined with an invisible grafting stitch.

What about entropy?

Nick Sousanis is an inspiration in his writings and visual work. The swirl on the entropy page here: http://spinweaveandcut.com/sketching-entropy/ is eerily familiar to the Fibonacci spiral. This page talks about the inevitable change in things and the downward flow of the river of life.
“Each of us, during our brief time in the stream, has the opportunity to reflect on the forces that set this in motion, and reach in to send up something uniquely our own against the flow.” (Sousanis, 2013)

Collaborations are like that.

Resources:
Blog Post http://www.nomadwarmachine.co.uk/2018/10/07/fibonacci-socks/
Nick Sousanis post on sketching entropy: http://spinweaveandcut.com/sketching-entropy/

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Fibonacci socks

socks with Fibonacci spiral on them

I made socks. In response to my suggestion Wendy sent me a pattern for a Fibonacci spiral.

I worked out the rest of the pattern using Fibonacci numbers for the stripes:

I’m really pleased with the result. So if you’d like me to knit you socks …

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Pollok Park

A trip out today to Pollok Park. Virginia creeper around the Edwardian House:

IMG_3523

Standing on a bridge over the river Cart

IMG_3517

Zooming in:

IMG_3518

Looking for horses that bite and kick:

IMG_3519

Autumn is here, but this Indian Balsam is still flowering

IMG_3521

Indian Balsam

 

 

 

 

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Miscommunication

Close up, blurry image of a pink flower

Random moments of misconnection:

George, a Chinese UG, tells me how hard it is to study independently when there is so much he does not understand in lectures. He struggles to understand aurally and finds it hard to use lecture notes to find out what he missed because he … does not know what he missed. We talk about strategies, I suggest some support networks. I tell him not to struggle alone.

Later that day some of us struggle in an LTHEChat as the terminology used by the question setter is obscure. I laugh with my network. It does not matter to me that I am not understanding as nothing hangs on it. Still, I feel frustrated that an opportunity for a conversation was lost.

Unboundeq runs scavenger hunts. These are FUN! We share blurry, close up pics of everyday objects with each other and try to guess what they are. It’s hard. I realise how difficult it is to anticipate what others will and will not find obvious.

We also talk about ALT-text, and realise how hard it is to add this in a way that makes visual activities inclusive. I don’t feel I have an answer to that.

There’s a lot to process here.

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Reclaiming Lurking

Stalker

Lurking is a potential problem for theories of social constructivism and principles of active learning. It’s also a problem for data analytics – if the student is not VISIBLE, how do we KNOW that they are learning? The invisible are easy to ignore, easy to problemetise, easy to marginalise, easy to other, easy to shame. It is tempting to chivvy them into participation, but participation without intrinsic engagement and motivation is futile, is facile, is inauthentic. A pedagogic approach that emphasises the visible over all else ignores autonomy, dismisses reasons, denies that another story might exist. This type of approach can force us all to join in the jolly learning games FOR OUR OWN GOOD.

All of this makes me shudder with memories of the forced jollity of childhood – the insistence upon JOINING IN – no sitting in the corner READING quietly while the rest of the (good) children are PLAYING NICELY together. (If you know Joyce Grenfell you will hear her voice here.) I felt odd. I am not shy, yet for most of my life I had no way of describing my need to sometimes pause and reflect before speaking. Now I know that I am not alone – that others (sometimes) feel as I do. But I digress.

When we other the silent participants we risk confusing what is countable, what is trackable, what is noticeable,  for what is important – we risk confusing meaningful learning with what is easy to assess. But learning is not a counting noun – Dave Cormier taught us that. And, if we are not careful, we send students the message that spending time in quiet reflection is somehow wrong, that spending time learning conventions is wrong, that watching is cheating, that this behaviour is FREELOADING and that is JUST NOT CRICKET.

Yet learning often takes time. Thoughts need to percolate. Fine wine is not made overnight. this blog post, for example, began with a discussion on Twitter, and has been knocking around in my head ever since.

So I am stating, here and now, that I am reclaiming lurking. I am reclaiming the behaviour, and I am reclaiming the word. Lurking is allowed. Lurking. Is. Allowed. There, I said it aloud (lol).

I’ve written about this with others before. I’ve used Lave and Wenger’s idea of legitimate peripheral participation to suggest that lurking can be a legitimate strategy for those new to a community and its norms. I’ve talked about how our Facebook groups can help shyer students, and those without English as a native language, to take their time to respond in their own way. I’ve run a Twitter chat to talk in more detail about this. I’m not saying anything new. But the current emphasis on student engagement and active learning makes me want to emphasise this more. Lurking is a legitimate behaviour. It is something we all do from time to time. I lurk, you lurk, we all lurk. (Note, by the way, that I am talking about a behaviour here, and not a type of person – lurking is relational, is situational, is context dependent.)

We learn a lot by doing, I know. We should encourage our students to participate. We should ensure that the digitally shy can be helped to find their voice, that students build their digital capabilities as well as their academic ones. All of these will help them both within academia and beyond it. But any insistence on one size fitting all, of active learning being the only ‘proper’ way of learning, needs to stop.

So the question becomes, I think: how do we, as compassionate educators, allow students opportunities to learn what, when and how they want to learn?

Image of Cagney, lurking in our garden

Posted in #CLMOOC, #rhizo15, Academia, Critical pedagogy, Facebook, Learning, Online learning, Peer interaction, PhD, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments