Social Learn

Just back from a Web2.0 event in rural Buckinghamshire. Flat farmland and red brick. No opportunities for exploring the areas natural heritage. Plenty other things to think about.

The idea that learning is a social activity and that feeling part of a learning community is key to engaging and retaining learners is quite well worn. It is something that a distance learning deliverer like the Open University takes very seriously. Social Learn is an OU project that is exploring the form and function of social networking and Web2.0 tools to develop learning communities. It draws on the open learn programme (free but not accredited learning resources) and it exploring some fairly interesting ideas. Especially regarding giving content away and selling services – like student support and accreditation.

It was an intense few days. The workshops had presentations running while like top stuck fingers twittered or blogged or added to discussion threads on the ning network. I feel the most exciting element was the idea that free and intuitive technologies could be pulled together to create your own personal space. A facebook/igooogle/blog/wiki/forum/all sorts of different things for the learner. Beta will be out in July, so we will see what it feels like.

Cycling to Gallanach – Muck May’08

Mid May took us to Muck visiting.

Follow the road from the pier, as you approach the prow of the hill – slowly ambling past darkly ploughed fields – the rest of the Small Isles open before you, smudged hills clasped to the sea.

With kids, charcoal, beers, salad and catch of the day we set to finding fire wood and building a BBQ in the sand.

The beach was surprisingly free of fishing plastics and sea bleached wood. Perhaps I am too used to the fishfarm detritus. As we widened the search the low fast upright stride of a ringed plover caught our attention. We left them in peace.

We dug a pit, ringed it with stones. Using grass, seaweed, dried manure and the odd twig, we lit the fire. Fresh Mackerel, small but fine. When I was growing up it was always with oatmeal. Hauling them into the boat, off the darrows, gut them on the shore, and then round the houses. Things change.

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