Uncategorized

The end…or just the beginning?

Today I completed  my FLS task for Unit EDFD459. Although, it’s hardly a finality. This task had me engaged in hours and hours of research – readings, viewing videos, seeing images, following news updates- of the Refugee Crisis our world is witnessing. I can never unsee those images now, or forget the things I have read. So, no, it is not by any means final. I think I will always take an active interest in the plight of the refugees of this world now, as their stories have touched me and affected me deeply.

My PLN started as an eyebrow-raise (or 2)…and many moments of staring blankly at the PC screen, but has grown and developed, and taken me on a  learning journey I’ve not experienced before.

I hope to keep it going – I will endeavour to (pinky-swear) as a new path now opens up before me, now that I am almost Course Complete my 4th Year upgrade in Education.

Thank you to anyone who has clicked on it (accidently or otherwise), and even read some of it! In our busy, busy lives, your time spent doing that is greatly appreciated.

Enjoy your day!

DT

Future Learning Space · Right to Education · Uncategorized

Permanent Impermanence

The above image is of the Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.

Its “residents” – are permanent impermanents.  I heard that term recently, and wish I could give credit to its creator, but I don’t know who originally coined the term. Its inference is clinical, and seemingly, without feeling, but it so effectively captures the liminality – I would say chronic liminality in fact – that these refugees are suspended in.

In emergency and conflict-affected settings, such as Za’atari, what are the fundamentals of learning?  Here, in this space, individuals have been stripped bare of everything they have known and held dear, commencing with their citizen status first and foremost.  Once their immediate basic needs have been met, how is their “Right to Education” recognised and validated?  What is the absolute, Top-of-the-List priorities for agencies like UNESCO, Save the Children and World Vision in the educational context?

For the people at grass-roots level, offering support and care for refugees – the fundamental educational goal, according to UNESCO, is to increase educational opportunities for those affected – children and adults alike – and to devise, incorporate and implement innovative solutions to the delivery of education in these settings.  The one thing all agencies currently appear to be championing is the use and integration of, and providing opportunites for, mLearning. That is, Mobile Learning.

According to UNESCO, mLearning is the ability to access/provide educational material on personal mobile devices (eg. Smartphones, tablets) and is generally self-paced, and readily accessible – round the clock, and from almost any location.  E-Learning is the dispersing of educational knowledge and content over the Internet, and can be either via synchronous or asynchronous learning.  If you like, e-Learning is the WHAT, and mLearning is the HOW.

How Mobile Phones are helping to take education to hard to reach children

The application of ICT in providing opportunities for educating refugees, helps improve accessibility to, quality and management of education in refugee settings.  Using mLearning and e-Learning with innovative solutions to education on the move is helping address refugees’ Right to Education.

The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
T.H. White, The Once and Future King

6 Learning Spaces · Future Learning Space · Uncategorized

When words fail

Thinking about my final piece of assessment for one of my units in my degree upgrade this semester – designing a learning space for refugee children in a current refugee facility.

I have spent many, many hours researching, reading, and watching, viewing images and videos of refugee camps, and the children who occupy them. It is hard not to feel….well- it’s hard not to feel, full stop. It has been difficult to bring into focus my thoughts and ideas for the learning space I want to develop, as I keep holding my head in my hands saying Good God, Where Do I Even START??!!

Watch Clouds over Sidra

With all the needs and priorities the people in these camps have, my task is to look at the children,  their needs and their right to receive an education, and base my development of a learning space on that – all the while being ever mindful of the trauma they have suffered, and quite possibly, continue to suffer, and their absolute need for both healing, and learning.

My focus for the Future Learning Space is on using Art Therapy for children in the Calais Jungle Refugee Camp. However, with recent news just this last week, that the facility is to be dismantled (what an awful term) in the very near future, a learning space in “no set space” is quite challenging.

My idea is to develop a safe learning space – drawing on, and utilising the principals of some of the 6 Learning Spaces I have developed knowledge and understanding of during this Unit – a space where children can explore, express and nurture their innate creativity and intrinsic empathy.

In an environment of uncertainty, despair and displacement I believe it is crucial for children to be given the opportunity to create and develop artistic expression – at a time when many of them may find that words fail to express what is going on in their minds. Evidence of  the power of Art Therapy can be see in this video by the Art Therapy Institute.

 

Providing refugee children with the necessary materials, and safe physical space for them to engage in expressing their deepest thoughts, is something I hope to explore further, and, in some way, hopefully initiate thinking, conversation and actions in other educators. This emotive, and powerful account of one Syrian man’s desire to help the kids in his refugee camp, through creative therapies demonstrates just how essential it is for children living with trauma to have opportunities for expression through art. Its confronting, yet compelling, and had me in tears, and hit by a wall of different emotions.

Saving Syria’s Refugee Children

Using Art Therapy in my Future Learning Space is just one component. Incorporating this with Teachers Without Borders, and one of their initiatives – Child-Friendly Spaces- is the crux of my FLS.  Teachers Without Borders (TWB from now on) is an international non-profit organisation, which serves to connect teachers worldwide to each other,  to information, and to enact change by providing support to communities in need of developing, and/or reinstating education.

 

Child-Friendly Spaces need to be able to be established quickly, and are there to offer support, care and protection of children in emergency settings and areas of conflict.  They are spaces that build positivity, avoid causing harm, are highly inclusive and non-discriminatory.  They are stimulating, participatory and secure and supportive. (Based on Guidelines for Child-Friendly-Spaces-in-Emergencies, retrieved from: https://www.scribd.com/document/269780134/Guidelines-for-Child-Friendly-Spaces#download

My Future Learning Space will draw upon TWB, UNESCO, World Vision, Art Therapy research and current practices, Resources including articles, videos and links, and incorporate a number or the 6 Learning Spaces I have discussed in this PLN in earlier posts.  At this point I have no idea where this journey will take me, or whether I will hit dead ends, or find cracks to slip through and find surprising new pathways.  Watch this space!

 

 

 

Professional Development Artefact · Uncategorized

The 6 Learning Spaces – my Weebly website

After much blood, sweat and tears – and plenty of borderline neglect to my own family, I have published my 6 Learning Spaces P.D. Artefact (Assessment piece) with thanks to the magic of Weebly.

You can access this Artefact by clicking here : http://6learningspacespd.weebly.com

I have never used Weebly before, or for that matter, created my own website before, so for me this is all big-ticket stuff!  I’m sure there are many so very proficient and adept at working their magic with I.T. – and I am in awe of you, for it is certainly not something that comes easily to this Digital Immigrant.

If you would like to add any further resources, links or your own ideas after reading the Artefact, please feel free to do so below.

 

Uncategorized

The Liminal Space

The Liminal Space…..a doorway…….being “in-between”……the “space” a person is suspended in during a right of passage.  It’s where one finds oneself when leaving behind what is known, and before embarking on what is to be.  A place of waiting, before a transformational shift in one’s journey.  A place where learning can happen, is happening, if we are open to it.

Thinking about Liminal Space for me personally, conjures up The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The Wardrobe is the penultimate Liminal Space- a doorway, and place of “in-betweenness”, that signals pending change or transformation.

This year for me has been my “Wardrobe”…returning to full-time uni, whilst simultaneously parenting 3 children, and helping my husband with our business…leaving behind the  life I had known, and not yet embarking on the life I will experience as a returning teacher.  Its a period of waiting – albeit juggling many things whilst “waiting”- before I step out the other side and into what is to be. Change is in the wind, Mary Poppins…..

In fact, there have been many many moments I have found myself in liminality.  Leaving school, but not yet joining the workforce. Travelling around the world. Waiting the birth of my first child. The death of a parent. The death of a sibling. The first born becoming a teenager. Many things I had not had happen before, or experienced, that took me from where I had been, suspended me in state of waiting, before I exited into where I would be from then on. Chronic liminality almost!

What does Liminal Space conjure up for you?

What are your  liminal spaces?

(Featured image retrieved from tumblr.com)

Uncategorized

Curation in education

Curation – The Musical. Yes, it exists.

Curation is undoubtedly THE buzz word in education circles these days, but the concept is not new.  Teacher-librarians have been “curating” content for eons, as have most classroom teachers – but in the 21st Century, curating has gone digital.

There are a myriad of curation tools and websites, blogs, videos and device-friendly applications to assist the curator in us all.  Curating is not just making a list, or collecting random gems of information. It is purposeful, crafted and must make meaning for the user/curator.

Here is a list of 5 valuable Curation Tools you might like to check out:

Bag the Web

Educlipper

Livebinders

Scoop.it

TES Teach with Blendspace

Do you use curation tools?  What are your favourites?