The Future of Learning in a Networked World (FLNW) traveling open space conference finished on Friday. Much has been blogged, moblogged, video-ed, audio-ed, and written, and everyone will have their own meanings and perspectives….. I guess the significant outcome for me is that I’ve started blogging again! Leigh and Rose both made good arguments for the continuation of the email discussions by blog , and I think they’re right. The email discussions on the Google group were intense and provocative but networked learning needs to happen in the wider network – not on a group list (if I understand Stephen’s view of networked learning correctly)…….
I took the picture on the last day – walking back from the Museum Hotel along the waterfront where I delivered Barbara’s trousers, and reflecting on the unfolding discussion about the groups vs networks issue (sometimes hotly) debated on the tour. The quote is from the NZ playwright Bruce Mason and is part of the Wellington Writers Walk. It linked in my mind in some way to debates on the tour about the nature of groups, networks, coteries, ritual, spaces – there were indeed some magical moments. Seeing Terry Barnett (NorthTec Chief Executive) immersed in a Second Life workshop with Jo and Sean, me playing guitar with Sparker and Rose, Teemu skyping home for breakfast in Finland, a really challenging and affirming debate on our CeLDD course, new connections between NZ Flexible Learning Leaders and the Australian FLLs on the tour (see more of my own photos) …. and just the general stir and excitement that the conference created.
As I mentioned at the Thursday evening gathering, we shouldn’t under-estimate the significance of the (un)conference. It may have disrupted some traditional conceptions of what a conference is, but overall I think it was true to its theme and image – the bee hopping across NZ, buzzing, pollinating, linking.
I wore several hats during the tour – participant, sponsor, organiser, provocateur, and I won’t attempt now to evaluate or sum up the significance from all those different perspectives. Like everyone else I need some time to reflect, digest, absorb. My intitial impression though is that the tour did show quite convincingly that there is a whole new world of learning emerging, and there is much that we have to (re)think about at many different levels in NZ education – pedagogy, practice, policy, purse-strings, …. I for one will continue to explore this here at Flexilearn as I get this blog into shape.
On an ordinary human level though, I just want to thank the tour for their energy and commitment to the vision, and for seeing it through to the end. Thanks to Leigh for your courage in making it happen; to Teemu for wisdom grounded in Finnish tradition and new media design; Konrad for new insights into the ZPD; Sparker, Rose, Sean, Jo, Alex, Marg, and Michael (whom I didn’t get to meet) for forging closer connections across the ditch; Barbara for bee-ing there; and Stephen for making me think (of which more in the next post).