Unwrapping the Fun in Assessment & Feedback

A podcast recorded on December 2020 when I talk a lot about assessment, feedback and participatory learning

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Pandemic Postcards

I’ve been thinking about sending some postcards recently, but not having a theme in mind to motivate my doodling, so this tweet from Karen was just the prompt I needed.

Today’s been a dreich day, so while I’ve been watching TV and drinking tea I’ve had an idea and made a start.

Postcard grids

Can you guess what they are going to be? [Update – sneak peak below]

Post Pandemic Cards
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Strontian

As travel restrictions lofted, we were so happy to be able to travel up to the Highlands again. As usual, we stopped at Inveruglas to stretch our legs. We were surprised to see show on the top of the mountain.

Inveruglas

Onwards to the ferry for the short journey over from Corran to Ardgour

Corran Point Lighthouse
Corran Point Lighthouse

Strontian itself was wonderful. Here’s the view from the pub beer garden

Strontian

And the view from our cabin windows

Iona Cabin
Iona Cabin

We did so little – just sat and enjoyed the scenery.

Strontian
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Line of Thought-une Teller

Fortune Teller

Another line of flight from the lines of thought. As I was playing around with papier mache for the plate, I remembered the flippy clicky things we used to make when we were children – a bit of thinking and Googling revealed that these are called paper fortune tellers or chatterboxes. I found some simple instructions to help me remember how to fold one. These are often done with numbers and colours, so I looked at the words in the poem and found that there were exactly four colours that I could use: green, greens, silver and turquoise. I decided to use nouns instead of numbers, and allocate them randomly to number between 1-8: bird, child, cat, snowdrop, wings, human, seeds, trees. The final panels in the game are “fortunes”, so I looked back to the poem and chose some appropriate phrases:

Fortune Teller
  • wonder rises
  • hope springs eternal
  • you notice gratitude
  • you glide, introspective
  • your mind shifts to stars
  • invisibly lifted, you soar higher
  • will you help us fly?
  • will you knit our thoughts together?
Fortunes

I wrote those into the appropriate panels and folded the clicker together. I had planned, at the beginning, to draw this all on my PC, type in all of the words and print it out, but I like the retro look of this version. It now sits on my desk, in one of my in trays, reminding me to pause and ask my fortune.

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Lines of Thought

It started with a tweet

It became a Daily Create

T.S. Eliot wrote in his poem The Waste Land ‘You cannot say, or guess, for you know only / A heap of broken images…’. Add your line of thought to this Shared Google Doc  #DS106 poem and see if we can get to 106 lines of thought that are a collection of images, not broken.  Or tweet @wentale.

And then it took off. Kevin made a word cloud

People sampled the poem, a stanza echoed in my head:

Take this hammer, take this chisel
Take some time to work alone
Shatter the surface of intentions
Surface this collaborative poem

I needed to make this tangible – why did I start thinking about papier mache? … And so the idea was born. I printed the poem and ripped it up. I found a saucer and diluted glue. Over a few days I pasted and pasted. I saved my favourite stanza and glued it to the middle. I painted with fountain pen ink, I sprayed with varnish.

Lines of Thought

Sometimes we don’t know what we need until it happens. This grounded me, relaxed me, took me out of myself. It’s on a shelf in my line of sight to remind me to pause sometimes and simply be.

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Collective Hope

Some collaborations keep giving and giving, making me smile and giving me hope. Last year some of us put together a calendar on the theme of hope – pictures we had drawn, photos we had taken, words we had written. I have it printed out and pinned to my study wall, reminding me of my friends, and my collaborative community. This is the image I submitted – a swan with their cygnet looking out over our local pond.

Parent and child

When I saw the call for submissions to the OERxDomains21 conference, I asked Wendy if we might submit something based on this calendar, so we did. That was last week and the recording is here.

As an additional activity, Wendy and I also asked participants to submit words or images to a Google presentation so we could put together a collaborative Zine (see slide 2 for the finished Zine).

I printed a copy out for myself – here it is.

OERxDomains21 Zine
OERxDomains21 Zine

These projects keep me going – they sustain me and remind me of the power of creative playfulness.

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Spring

Mugdock
Mugdock Quarry
Forsythia
Cherry blossom
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Permission to have fun

I was told this week that we’re only meant to be dong work that is essential. Now, if this is true, then I know that it’s being said for good reasons – that our senior management are saying this out of a concern for staff – out of a wish to give people permission only to do what is needed and not to worry that they are not doing enough.

But the person who told me about this had understood it in another way. in their interpretation, we are not allowed to do anything that is not essential work – and they were feeling guilty for doing something that they enjoyed, but that was not considered essential.

I might have forgotten about this, but a couple of other conversations this week have got me thinking about it, and realising how important it is, especially right now, that we give ourselves permission to do things that are not essential – that we give ourselves permission to enjoy our work and our leisure time.

I know this – I write about it in my PhD and I practice it every day. CLMOOC and DS106 are good for me – they are serious fun. I laugh a lot, and learn a lot. But I still find it hard to give myself permission to spend time at work on things that are not visibly, immediately useful. This week, thanks to conversations with friends, I realised that I have been feeling guilty about any time I spent doing things I enjoy. If I’m not constantly working on things that I can show to others, then I’ve been worrying that others will think that I am not pulling my weight. And, of course, I am not the only one feeling like this.

So this weekend, as I chip away at my thesis, I want to remind everyone that it’s ok to enjoy your work, its absolutely fine to do some things that are not essential but that are enjoyable, and that we all need to give ourselves permission to have fun, serious or not.

Posted in #CLMOOC, Love, PhD | Tagged | 2 Comments

What would Wittgenstein think of remix?

We were playing a game at the weekend, which Kevin started.

We answered by making an acrostic of the word we guessed until we got it right

Then Wendy put her twist on it. Different game, different rules. Obviously related – that’s how remix rolls, and the challenge is to work out what the new rules are, or how the old ones apply.

And that got me thinking: what would Wittgenstein think of remix? I think he’d have understood that it’s all a matter of what game you are playing.

“However many rules you give me—I give a rule which justifies my employment of your rules” (Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics [RFM] I-113).

Posted in #CLMOOC, Learning, Online learning, Peer interaction, Rhizomes, Wittgenstein | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Tying it all together

Nearly there. This week I spoke to my supervisor and my Graduate School and I have sent off my “intention to submit” by March 31st 2021. It’s almost done- I just need to finish the final chapters and give it a thorough edit.

Thesis Structure

It’s been a long journey – as I scrawled down on a scrap of paper this week, my thesis has gone through changes: I began by looking at collaborative learning, moved to thinking about peer interactions and am ending with a rich picture of participatory learning.

Nearly there

I’ll leave the thanks for the acknowledgements, but for now I will give a shout out for my loyal little research assistant, who keeps me going through it all.

Research Assistant
Research Assistant
Posted in #CLMOOC, Academia, Editing, Learning, MOOC, Researcher Journal, Writing | Tagged , | 2 Comments