Choices choices…

I’m fairly active on social media, particularly on twitter (@samgrogan btw…) I have around 980 followers and I follow about 780 accounts, broadly with an education-centric leaning.

In thinking about systematically nurturing a sense of serendipity, I don’t think one could find a much better tool than social media, particularly twitter, because of its temporal speed. I often find I’ve been sent content, or interesting and useful sources via twitter, or more often than not, I just pick them up. I regularly wonder whether or not I would have found said content (which later becomes important in this discussion or that meeting) had I not just happened to see it somewhere near the top of my twitter feed, because I just happened to look at the right time. Right time, right (digital) space, so to speak…

Integrating this tool not just into daily social life, but into our general practice of work is an opportunity to invite in the random source, or the tangential external voice, or the link to something. It’s great for skimming across huge quantities of information – extending the possibility of the relational and the unexpected through networked, rather than linear thinking.

It’s also a cracking opportunity for systematising distraction and diverting ones attention from the task at hand…in-case-of-fire-exit-building-before-tweeting-about-it-poster

Ultimately, it’s another tool for us to use, and like any tool, can be used to good, or bad effect.

Happily, we’re really good at this at Salford – several of our teaching staff have published on the relationship between social media and learning and are recognised as experts in the field. Certainly our nursing twitter feed, for example, (@nursingSUni btw) curated by students and staff is a great example of how to foster an ongoing sense of community within a discipline of practice which sees the students spend a lot of time out on placement – twitter is a key tool here in ensuring a connectedness is maintained. In true cross-disciplinary fashion, Wendy Sinclair, (@wlasinclair btw) one of our lecturers in Nursing has even written a blog for our Business School.

However, like a twitter feed itself, I am wandering off into other avenues of thought…

I think there is also a counterpoint to the tangential content that social media offers; a possibility that would seem to negate the opportunity for the serendipitous moment to occur wherein opposing views and discordant thinking are brought together to produce the unexpected.

This occurs in the fact that, like much of the web traffic we encounter, social media is increasingly targeted and more and more personalised. Adverts come at us based on our browsing history, and, in a wonderfully intelligent digital echo of a Heideggerian ‘being-in-the-world’, we produce our world as we need to see it – our intentionality dictates content. Consequently, if the algorithms sitting behind Amazon’s (other online shops are available…) messages evaluate our thinking and digital choices with the purpose of pushing more of the same theme at us, aspects of choice – aspects of difference, aspects of the unexpected, begin to disappear. Our frames of reference have the potential to quietly and unobtrusively shrink as our social feeds become mirrors of ourselves; homogenized plates of fleeting digital sustenance, which are bound to ‘please’ as they increasingly conform to, and reinforce our world view. Take a look at your facebook pages – it will seem more and more like the whole world agrees with you…

So what to do? How to navigate the tension between free space to wander/ wonder and a regulated space in which we’re simply designing our own increasingly restricted pathways? Check out these two articles from the same source – the debate is very much prescient to our increasingly blended personalised world…

Maybe a starting point would be to invite in contact, to productively ‘cook the conflict’, to take opinion from those with different world views, follow people you might not like, break digital habit, find a different route. It’s sometimes useful to follow the tangential thread. Thematic wandering can produce joyfully unexpected insights. (as well as a whole load of distraction – more cats anyone?)

See you next week.

Messing it up

I’d like to think I’m a habitually tidy person. Clothes are put away, dishes are washed and before moving on to the next thing, the last thing is returned to a state of ‘clean slate’. Sometimes I’ve been known to go too far with this – in a fit of ‘must have a clutter free house’ the remote control for the TV has been known to surface in the fridge.

Anyhow, my point is, despite occasionally finding unusual hiding places for Things That Have Been Left Out, I’m generally neat and ordered. However, all this changes under certain circumstances. These are the circumstances that see me making things, or thinking creatively. I’m lucky enough to be able to do both a lot. Creativity and making are states of being/doing that require differently configured space. Enter Messy Spaces stage right….

I should clarify from the outset, ‘messy’ doesn’t mean disorganised, haphazard doesn’t mean untidy and chaotic doesn’t, in this instance, imply a lack of order. ‘Messy’ here simply means space which becomes governed by an intrinsic set of guidelines, all of which can be adjusted to suit, and which recognise the value in colouring outside the lines, leaving the ‘mess’ on the floor, tacking this to that as a reminder of the other and letting creative intuition and what feels right be a guiding organisational principle. You can read a lightly affirming article on this here.

Thankfully, I’m not alone – there are other examples…

As part of my PhD I shadowed Vincent Dance Theatre through the 10 week devising and rehearsal process for a touring piece called If We Go On. The making space for this work was inhabited by the company for the entirety of the devising process. Although the space was tidied to a certain extent at the end of each day, there was a clear sense of accumulation of material with the state of the space at the end of the day carrying forward into the next day. What I’m highlighting is that the gathering and reworking of performance material was not entirely ordered, and that this was deliberate. There were numerous occasions where the latest version of a given piece of text was misplaced and then found floating in amongst stacks of other pieces of paper, or maybe it was tucked into other lists and thoughts elsewhere in the space. Prominent value was given to the unpredictability of intuitive making processes.

As I was documenting VDT’s work, I too was making a productive mess. for the duration of the PhD – certainly its latter stages, my study at home remained a physical testament to the tangential thought processes of writing. Books, post-it notes, scribbles and mind maps spread were all over the floor as they jostled for space alongside scraps of digital footage and audio recordings. All of this was very messy, but not without order – whilst I’ll freely admit that to the casual passerby my room gave the appearance that we’d suffered a very localised burglary, it actually had a spatial sense of order aligned to the cognitive organisation of topics I was writing about.

Crucially messy spaces allow for making to occur – whether it be sensible or intelligible matter that is being played with and made into something, making spaces are a call to adventure, a call to dance to a different tune (or indeed write a new tune of ones own design). Making space affords us the delicious possibility of literally ‘messing up’, of productively making mistakes and importantly, offers the possibility of creative subversion. Public spaces such as this are ‘dangerous’: they promote autonomy, new thinking and innovative practices. Out there in the world of the public domain there are fewer opportunities for such space to exist.

But in the educational domain….?

Primary schools seem to have clung on to these making spaces – take a look below…

Similarly the private sector has some good examples of making spaces; the value of making and messy space as a catalyst for disruptive creativity has been recognised – for instance, the similarities between the primary school environments seen above and some of Google’s spaces are striking…

At the University of Salford, whilst we already have practical spaces around campus ranging from theatre spaces, to a podiatry clinic to a full-scale energy house, we’re developing more messy space – we’re thinking about messy spaces and making spaces as part of the development of our Industrial Collaboration Zones. These are the sandpits, the meeting places for making things, for kinesthetic learning and for the real world.

Welcomingly, by making something, our students can move away from the popular notion of ‘student as consumer’ – they become producers. More than this, with the notion of co-creation embedded into our strategy at Salford, students become co-producers; of their graduating skillset, of their portfolio and more fundamentally and profoundly, of themselves and their potential. Making and producing the ‘messy’ is a key part of this becoming – it’s essential for ongoing success as pointed out in this great Guardian article.

So, in the interests of helping produce graduates who can invent, and test and disrupt and create, bring on the making, bring on the clutter, bring on disruptive process, bring on messy.

(Please tidy away when finished.)

 

See you next week.

Double Click on ‘yes’…

I was in Southampton on Thursday and Friday this week. I was presenting at UKAT 2016 on some of the work we’ve been doing at the University of Salford towards enhancing the student experience. It was great (unintended) timing for such a presentation as the results of the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey were published the day before and we’ve bounced up a pleasing 12 places, with improvements noted across all aspects of the survey, which is good news. (Unsurprisingly I nudged mention of this into the talk)

However, useful and vibrant through the conference was, this blog entry focuses on the bits of space and time around the formalised and organised elements of the event.

After the first day of presentations had concluded, I had intended to grab a quick bite to eat somewhere and then hole myself up in my room to do some work for the remainder of the evening. In the end, I went straight back to my room, did only a couple of hours of work and then, on the basis of an email from my PA, headed out.

Now, I could have been studious and carried on working deep into the night – working in HE, recognition of more needing to be done is taken as given. However, I had to admit to myself that after a caffeine-fuelled conference day the grey matter was not perhaps at its sharpest. I also then realised that for the rest of the evening I had no further calls to make, commitments to hold, or dates to keep. It dawned on me (and some of you will find this odd – bear with…) that I had no plan for the remaining hours of Thursday. The possibility of just pootling for the evening poked its head above the green timeblock parapets of the outlook diary.

This is where the email comes in – I’d had a catch up with Emma, my PA, earlier on in the day and my inbox was therefore replete with the flags and reminders (red flag for I have to do it, green flag for Emma has done it and purple flag for I should have definitely done it by now…) There was also a thoughtful email pointing out the location of a Southampton cinema.

Ooohhh….

(Reader, you can almost hear the synaptic cogs)

So, a short time later, with the directions to the cinema winging their way to my feet via the magic of iphone earphones and the Google map app, I wandered across Southampton to the Harbourside Cinema, diverting myself for food along the way and causing the map’s voice to become irked with the task of re-routing me several times over. The route I eventually took embraced several dark alleys and less populated areas, one major road, a conversation with someone who was also looking for somewhere and was lost (re-enter Google stage right) a fox and the sea (thankfully the edge rather than the middle – I wasn’t that lost). From hotel to cinema was a series of delightfully unexpected and eclectic nocturnal vignettes strung together by the theme of being a little bit misplaced.

However, digressions and distractions having been vaulted, I arrived at the cinema. I haven’t been to the cinema in ages. I dislike the multiplex experience – I feel like I’m sliding towards inadvertent participation in Huxley’s dystopian Brave New World. The Harbourside experience is anything but this; Comfy sofas, subdued lighting and all the feeling of a local arts space, rather than a corporate monolith. And it had a bar serving local food and craft beers. Mine had a slice of orange in it. I may have had two. (Danger is my middle name.)

The film was OK; not great, but certainly not awful, but, with only three people in the auditorium to cap it off, (I felt like the film was being screened for me) the experience as a whole was a deliciously indulgent interlude in the pre-planned. I had been afforded the delight of the unusual; a gem of an evening gifted and crafted by virtue of accepting suggestion.

And there’s my point. Accepting and acting upon the impromptu implied suggestion in the email led to a far richer evening than I had expected. All the best bits were things that I didn’t plan on, but ended up inviting in as a result of an initial internal ‘yes’. Importantly, the evening-as-interlude gave me a liminal space, like that of a ludic act or a game; time aside wherein I could take (or not take) whatever Southampton decided to offer.

It’s fairly obvious that this liminal space; space aside is vital in creativity, in fostering the unexpected and in systematising serendipity. But by and large, it seems to be the exceptional or rarer space, rather than the norm. Does it have to be, in order to retain its certain special nature? Might we mainstream it and flip the model of the everyday on its head? One aspect is clear; to enter/ operate in such space, to turn the key to this particular door, one has to be willing to invite, recognise and act upon suggestion when given. Recognising such gifts as they fly past us is a skill in itself.

I haven’t had gifts arrive by email before…

See you next week.

Once Upon A Time There Was A…

I think this post treads further along the line of thought opened up by last week’s musings…

As we take the first steps towards formal launch of our new five-year strategy and ten year vision at the university of Salford, I become continually reawakened to the fact that language is important. I’m not just talking (no pun intended) about the spoken, but the whole multivalent lexicon that a person, or a group uses to share ideas. The nuances in this language not only shape action, but can also shape our perceptions and our experiences of the world. Two anecdotes to explain what I mean…

Actor training at Bath Spa University

After leaving freelance work as a performer, my first academic post was as a lecturer at Bath Spa University. During that time I was privileged to work under Gunduz Kalic, training actors on the BA (Hons) Performing Arts programme. Stemming from Kalic’s direction, there was a specific vocabulary of terms, phrases and practices on the programme. One notable example was the way in which an actor would describe what has traditionally been called motivation or objective – essentially a label given to the driving impetus for a character in any given unit of action. Gunduz reframed this motivation as ‘urge’ i.e. ‘I have an urge to….’ Moreover, the way in which this ‘urge’ was described foregrounded action; the actor would use it an order to the self to do something. An urge for a unit of action might be phrased as ‘ make them stop’ or, ‘Get out of here’ or ‘win the competition’. The effect of this linguistic frame upon the work of undergraduate actors was considerable. Far from carrying their character’s motivations in their heads as cranial, conceptual notions, use of ‘urge’ moved this drive into the gut; into the body of the performer, producing an intensely embodied response and a deeper emotional literacy that sat with the whole bodymind, rather than residing from the neck upwards.

Landmarks

Landmarks, by Robert Macfarlane is a fantastic book about the connections between language and the land. In the opening pages he demonstrates the power language has to shape how we see the world. He mentions the word smeuse; a word from Sussex dialect describing the little pathlet in a hedgerow formed by the regular passage of a small animal. This word has snuck into my mind – smeused its way in if you like, such that now, whenever I’m on walks like this one, I can’t help but spot smeuses with delightful regularity… Language is the basis of this discovery – words shape intentionality.

So, in the context of a communal endeavour, such as that found at Salford University, developing a shared lexicon, or language; a verbal/ non verbal/ physical/ pictorial/ multi-sensory mode of describing the doing, is critical in shaping the doing itself and fostering collective ideas and collaboration.

I think, at the heart of a successful lexicon, one which inspires cooperation and belief, is the notion of story, or narrative. Call it a shared vision, a common set of values, a brilliant idea, or a framework of concepts – it’s a thing which shapes, and is shaped by, the language surrounding it. Cooperation is based on our ability to effectively tell and believe in stories and align in purpose under a common understanding.

A lot of my thinking here comes from Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,  by Yuval Noah Harari. Harari places the idea of story as fundamental to the way in which language helps share and shape ideas. As one with a background in performance, I’ve seen and felt first hand many times over the force of a good story well told. Neil Gaiman, a master storyteller of our time has also penned a wonderful piece on the powerful nature of stories.

A university (itself a constantly shifting multi-stranded story) has (many) stories. At Salford, we’re just really beginning to work towards writing and telling our next chapter – one which has Industrial Collaboration Zones (ICZs)at its heart. These ICZs are a new, contemporary echo of a longstanding tradition of practice at Salford. As we try to unfold the story of our ICZs and chip the shape of them out of the current landscape, it strikes me that developing an increasingly sensitised, shared, yet agile and flexible language-as-story is absolutely necessary to this process.

Like the ‘urge’ work from my experience at Bath Spa University, this multi-modal language needs the drive of action at its core. Like the smeuses, it inherently begs revelry in applied curiosity. Above all, this story needs to facilitate engagement, offering participants the opportunity to tell and devise their own stories through it. It’s there for the inventing… It’s the irresistible call to adventure offered by; ‘Once upon a time there was a…

See you next week.

It’s All About Timing…

I’ve had a good week. Unusually, it’s been a very ‘me’ centred week, where I’ve focused on, or participated in, a number of activities and actions which have been specifically intended to develop me in some way. I’m separating this from the the ongoing process of self development arising as a natural consequence of the day to day activity. There has been more deliberate practice than in a usual week and at the end of the week, whist sometimes revisiting familiar territory, this focus has opened up new possibilities and threads of exploration. I’m now looking forward to trying new ideas out and itching to experiment and put things into practice…

There have been three things in particular that made it a good week. On their own, each of them were positive occurrences, however, placed together, they became more than just the sum total of their parts.

360 degrees

At the University of Salford, members of the university management team have just undertaken a 360 feedback process. This week I received my feedback from that process. It was a fascinating insight into how others perceive me set against my own perceptions of my work and the means by which I try to undertake my role. The detail gave some really useful points for my consideration – thoughts towards improvement and also (pleasingly) numerous suggestions for areas in which I can place more personal faith and capitalise upon my practice to take these perceived strengths further. It’s great to have all the analysis in one document. This precious document is now mine, for dissemination and further action as I wish or see fit. As a first step I’ve given it to my PA to read in full. I’ve written down my thoughts on what I’d like to work on – I’m going to need Emma’s help in making it carry positive echoes in a structural and organisational sphere that goes beyond just my own actions.

Strategic Leadership Programme

As part of my ongoing professional development at Salford I’ve enrolled on the Leadership Foundation’s Strategic Leadership Programme. This week saw me spend two days on the first of two short residentials between now and September. The days were packed, fast paced and lively. Approximately 20 of us are on the programme – it was great to meet likeminded individuals, all of whom brought projects from their home institutions to form the personalised content of the course as it progresses. Action Learning Sets have been initiated and were interspersed with wider group discussions and exercises over the two days. There was a huge amount of stimulus, constructive challenge and collegiate support through the sesions. No doubt as I reflect further on the learning I’ll be revisiting it in these posts.

Group Genius

Finally, I’ve been nodded towards Group Genius by Keith Sawyer. The book draws on a number of familiar (to me) frameworks to explore the notion of genius as residing in a group dynamic, or collective process. Inspiration and understanding is taken from improvisation theatre and jazz ensembles alongside a group orientated take on Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of flow. (I wrote about this a couple of posts back) It’s a great read. I thoroughly recommended it to anyone interested in fostering creative team dynamics. Whilst some of the content is very familiar on a personal level, the book comes at just the right time for me to channel it into several threads of work at Salford. Timely just ain’t the word…

It all ties together…

So, aside from a chance to reflect upon my professional practice in the context of Higher Education, this week has seen a meeting of things which all came together at the right time. One has sparked actions and been given language by the other, which has been consolidated and expanded upon by the third (its not quite as linear as that, but you get the picture…)

Above all, the connections and spaces between the topics above are just as interesting as the topics themselves. I can see the relationships between the various things above have begun to frame a possible articulation of thoughts, directions and ideas which have been swimming around in my mind for a while. This is something that is very valuable to me in my position, as the learning of the last week has begun to point towards a language I might use in communication of ideas. It’s simply serendipitous and wonderful timing that these unrelated influences have arrived with me in the same week. It feels like a birthday has arrived early.

I think I’m also consciously looking out for connections and inviting myself to seek out relationships between the apparently unconnected. It’s when I start putting this with that because of an intuitive sense that the two unrelated fragments might work together that unpredicted sparks begin to appear – some useful, others not so. However, this week, the resulting spark from connecting the previously unrelated has been the beginnings of a useful lexicon – a real step forward. Watch this space….

See you next week.

Take a Chance?

I went to the 2016 Educational Strategy Forum with one of my colleagues this week. The two day event in Windsor had a very packed agenda containing a mixture of talks, networking and short business meetings (some pre-arranged) with various vendors and sponsors of the event (it was free for participants on the basis of sponsorship by a number of companies engaged in developing edtech and the services and structures that support the student learning journey). In the evening we had dinner – again hosted by some of the event sponsors.

Whilst the content and information contained within the event itself was certainly interesting at worst, illuminating at best and informative throughout, what struck me most about the event across its two days was the way it was designed – its format and structures.

The geographical architecture of the conference held at the Beaumont Estate  created a variety of spaces and settings in which interactions could occur. Some spaces were set up with small high tables and chairs – think towards the round tables and chairs set around pillars in a typical pub. There were also a number of rooms set up café style and used for presentations, some working hot-desk areas and then there were the little spaces within and across these rooms; sofas grouped together or clusters of comfy chairs around low coffee tables. Additionally, power sockets were ubiquitous, offering delegates the possibility of setting up a pop up office.

There were no large, open spaces, and there were only two ways in or out of the section of the hotel occupied by the event. Seating at the main talks and presentations was not assigned and, like myself, many delegates sat at different tables throughout the event, leading to there being an ever shifting collection of colleagues around me.

In a similar vein, the shape of each session also changed frequently. There were fairly traditional talks and presentations, debates, 1-2-1 meetings, a fairly exhausting ‘speed dating’ session, and numerous informal meetings and exchanges of ideas and thoughts. There were also concurrent events happening much of the time; the colour of one’s lanyard dictated which ‘stream’ of events to attend.

I mention all of this detail because it seems that deliberately fostering the opportunity for short meetings, chance or otherwise, was a key aspect of the event design – it encouraged interactions which might (or might not) be the beginning of something more – these were not prolonged engagements, but initial sparks. I gained the feeling that there was always the possibility of meeting someone round the next corner – indeed, I actually met two more colleagues I didn’t know were attending by chance in a corridor – it was these kind of encounters the event nudged to the surface. It was an enjoyable, fast paced and ‘full’ event.

I travelled back from Windsor with my colleague. Having dissected the event and agreed actions to take forward, and realising that connecting to Virgin wifi on a train is a task akin to nailing mist to a wall, we played cards.

We played two games, only one of which has a name repeatable in polite company. Both however, have rules which allow the player full rein for devious behaviour, causing the other player woe of varying scales. It was thoroughly enjoyable to play (just) within the rules whilst at the same making the most of the chance happenings that offered, or took away advantage.

It would seem that a certain degree of chance delights the participant. Chance within agreed parameters or rules can be seen as both play and perhaps playful – it invites in unexpected or unforeseen possibilities within a wider stable framework. The state of play itself isn’t fixed and static; a known thing with a predetermined outcome, but a state which contains flux, a degree of unpredictability, and the possibility of the unexpected. Roger Caillois explains that, ‘an outcome known in advance, with no possibility of error or surprise, clearly leading to an inescapable result is incompatible with the nature of play’ (Caillois 2001:7).

Both the conference structure and the card games on the way home were playful exercises in engineered chance; little surprises were uncovered within a (comforting?) framework of the expected.

Building on this, it strikes me that a playful sense of jouissance, a sense of safe danger might be part of what we are trying to create at the University of Salford as we build our Industrial Collaboration Zones (ICZs). They are interdisciplinary exploring, making and meeting places for translating thinking into applied action. At their best they’ll become creative play spaces where deliberate chance is deliberately given a chance. We’re developing their structures at the moment. It’s an exciting time…

See you next week.

Walking the Dragon’s Back

Last Sunday I went on one of my favourite day walks  – the Dragon’s Back.

I went with our dog. We’ve had our dog now for about three and half years. She was a rescue puppy and has a stub for a tail. We’re not sure why. Her name is Willow. Somewhere along the line, this name has been suffixed with ‘Pants’, resulting in Willow-Pants. Again, I don’t know the reason behind this. Occasionally, the original section of her name will disappear when I’m calling her. When she is out of sight on a walk, (as she often is) the frequent solo audio performances given by the solitary suffix offer the mildly alarming impression that I’m trundling along on my own, sporadically shouting out the word ‘Pants!’ to a listening woodland or hill top path. It’s the little things…

Anyhow, Willow and I went on a walk. For me, a typical day walk can be anything between 8-20 miles. On these walks I’m more often than not alone with the dog. I thoroughly enjoy the solitude of this activity and paradoxically often wish that I could share the experience only arrived at by being on my own. Having hiked in many countries and continents, I can say with conviction that I find the Peak District to be one of the most beautiful places to walk in the world. It gives me a quiet call to nature as soon as I step out my door and I enjoy some of my most peaceful and profound periods of personal peace and contentedness when I’m quietly padding along with the hills for company and a pack on my back.

If I’m lucky, the walk will contain one or two periods of time when I am lost. Not literally lost, (although that is often the merry case – my ‘shortcuts’ are the stuff of legend amongst friends), but lost-absorbed in the moment of doing. In those liminal bubbles, space-time starts to curve and I find myself connected to my surroundings to the point of merging, and yet I’m somehow insulated from them. It feels as if, in a state of hyper awareness, everything I need is within reach – perceptual horizons are extended beyond my immediate phenomenal environment.

This ‘extended’ state of being has been approached from various disciplines and practices and has attracted numerous descriptors; John Dewey called it ‘imaginative unification’, Abraham Maslow termed it ‘peak experience’ and Victor Turner described it as ‘communitas’, to name but a few . I’m sure I’ll write more on this in future posts as I try to pick at it from various perspectives, but in the meantime, back to the circumstances of this particular instance…

Thinking back to last week’s walk, it occurred as I hit a ridge on Hollins Hill, and was able to look through sharp afternoon winter sunshine over a stile towards Chrome Hill,  nicknamed the Dragon’s Back for obvious reasons: (I took the shot below on a different walk)14883863978_1ca3874b06_o

I’d walked Chrome Hill earlier in the day, so there was a certain amount of satisfaction in surveying conquered ground, coupled with a delight in being outside, immersed in such beauty and unencumbered by the constraints of walls – literal or technological. I was acutely aware of experiencing a grounded connection with the wide world around me; a phenomenological pleasure in participating in the essence of something inexplicably complex and so simple. All senses firing, with the body-mind moving in an accelerated state of what Csikszentmihalyi called flow consciousness.

Whilst this instance isn’t replicable in itself, (nor should it be) I’m beginning to understand and seek out, on a personal level, the circumstances and conditions which lead to a greater chance of encountering this state of being-doing. Csikszentmihalyi called it the flow channel – a state wherein we become absorbed and the ‘doing’ begins to steer us, rather than the reverse. There’s even a diagram y’know.

flow-diagram

With an eye on my weekday preoccupation, (I’ll be the first to admit, it does seep into evenings, weekends and the wee small hours) one thought (of many) and one question (of very many) surfaces…

Flow is a wholly positive telenomic state; that is, one experiences a sense of positive personal expansion through flow engagement in a given activity – lost in becoming more, so to speak. Technically then, it’s the autotelic telenomy of self.

Wouldn’t it be great if we built learning environments/ patterns that were designed and created as an invite to foster flow engagement as one aspect of learning? There’s already thinking on and debate this

See you next week.