Lines of Thought: the Serendipitous Emergence of Collaborative Learning

Honeychurch, S. and Taleo, W. (2021) Lines of Thought: the Serendipitous Emergence of Collaborative Learning. ALT Annual Conference 2021, 07-09 Sep 2021.

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What happens when you give an open invitation to edutwitter to collaboratively write a poem, and encourage remixes? Over the last few months we have watched a collaborative project unfold in ways that continue to amaze, inspire and nourish us. This has opened up a conversation about the power of online collaborations and the adaptability of these for more formal models of learning. In January 2021 one of the authors tweeted a joke about writing a 106-line poem. The other author took this line of thought and designed a collaborative challenge - to contribute lines of thought and collectively write the poem. Over 48 hours, 44 people worked on a shared Google Doc making over 4,000 edits. The outcome was a poem titled: 106 Lines of Thought. As we watched it unfold we began to think of ways to remix it. We created a second opportunity - to ask people to record poem stanzas that we would stitch together. 21 people offered, and an orated version of the poem was produced. Hearing the voices bought an intimacy into the project and allowed different parts of the poem to stand alone. We then saw the poem remixed into forms we had never imagined. This relates to the conference theme of digital well-being.The past year has been a challenge for all of us, educators and learners alike, and opportunities to connect authentically with others have become even more important. Our online communities have sustained us throughout this pandemic, highlighting for us the importance of collaborations that permit making learning personally relevant. This is vital for the well-being of educators as well as students - one author had recently lost her job in the HE sector and this project sustained a connection with other educators. We will explain the genesis of the project and show some results. We will discuss the educational theories that underpin the practices of remix, showing how these seemingly trivial practices of creative playfulness allow deep and meaningful learning to serendipitously emerge. We reflect critically on the project, appreciating our luck in having participants who understood the underlying philosophy of the DS106 community and acknowledging the privileged status of participants with regard to digital literacy and digital access. We also acknowledge a possible lack of diversity: while we know our participants were global, with an open project there is no attempt to be equitable or ensure a diverse mix of people respond. While our example is of online educators spontaneously participating, we show how this can be adapted for use with a multiplicity of situations, and help build learning communities based on trust and authentic participation. We suggest a post-pandemic pedagogy will harness the power of online collaboration and show learners the freedom of serious fun.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Honeychurch, Dr Sarah
Authors: Honeychurch, S., and Taleo, W.
College/School:University Services > Learning and Teaching Services Division
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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