I spent yesterday finding and reading papers about community learning and MOOCs, and working on our lovely data from #rhizo14. Eventually, I felt that I was going around in circles and decided to search for images to help me make some sense of what I was reading and thinking. I found lots of great ‘water’ images ( my Twitter network helped me to track down the wonderful resources and remind me that I had some images of my own that I could use).
I thought – what about thinking of water as a metaphor for participation in an online learning experience/ MOOC? I didn’t come to any ground-breaking conclusions but it did open up my thinking.
People can have a lot of fun in water. They can splash around with friends, make a lot of noise, letting off steam. Some people might sit at the side, or dip their toes in the water. Someone might have a pool party and invite people along to their pool.
Sometimes if everyone was splashing around and disturbing the water we could see the big and bright things but be unable to see much detail of what is going on under the surface.
Or the sun may be shining so brightly that we see the reflected sky rather than the water itself.
If the sun was shining very brightly there might be a glare or dazzle that stopped us from seeing below the surface so we mainly see the sun’s glare.
Why might people not get in the water?
It might be beautiful but too cold
Or too hot
Or too toxic
And how would it be if this image captured your learning experience?
But the weird thing is that different people could simultaneously be experiencing ‘water’ as all of those images at the same time. A ‘penguin’ learner could happily dive into Jokulsarlon, if only he were in the right hemisphere, whilst other warm-blooded learners shivered at the edge.
So can these images help us understand our experience and that of others as learners?
We are the Jacques Cousteau researchers who need to don their diving and breathing gear to explore under the surface
or have magic powers like this family in Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Anyway just a bit of fun – I realise that there are gaping holes in the metaphor;)