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Posts tagged ‘connection’

I have a dream, about music and you

I have a dream and a vision and I believe in connection, and that collaboration allows the creation of far more than one mind could see.

I would like to invite you, whoever you are, wherever you are, to participate in a collaboration contributing to a piece for a concert-type event at my university at the end of April.

It is a positive action event to affirm life, music, and each other called ‘Singing for Unity: Hear our Voices’. It coincides with a certain 100 days, when many of us might like a reminder of the positive aspects of education and the arts. This event is not about politics, but about people, music, and life.

All sorts of contributions are invited: spoken word, music, poetry… It is open.

I would like to make two things- firstly a song. (Yes, I know I play the cello) The old Dylan song – The times they are a changing. I love it. Now here’s the invitation. I had in mind something like the giant internet choir project of Eric Whitacre, but then I thought, hey wait, I can think broader….  And I reached out to a friend in Arizona who recorded sent me an audio track of the chords HERE

and I thought wouldn’t it be great if this could become something more? Remixed into something- a bigger work? The song is the basis and I invite people to contribute how they see – with your dream, your vision. The event will have contributions people from across disciplines at my uni, and I thought it would be a great thing to include the wider educational and artistic community as well.

I would love to have images, music, a verse without words and with different instruments. I would love to have everyone send me their voice, or a talking head, or even just some words that I could edit in over an instrumental section where people said something – a sentence.


I believe in connection.  (that might be what I say)


Maybe people’s ‘I believe’ sentences string together to become a poem in themselves. (You can see this idea developing as I type.)

I am good at ideas, but I need you to make them work, so please take up the invitation. Feel free to contribute anonymously or as you, however you feel comfortable, to either (or both) of these two things (to interpret as you wish):

1.     A contribution to ‘The times they are a changing’, which could be sound, music, image. The basic song is based on the Peter, Paul, & Mary version (because I really like that one) and the guitar backing is here:

2.     A sentence, in audio, typing (you could always leave a comment below, and I am happy to string them together), or a video of you saying something positive. I suggest the beginning ‘I believe’ or ‘I will’ or ‘I am committed to’…

Feel free to comment on the post, email me, or you could even post a letter! (that would be exciting!) Hope you join me as a named or anonymous contributor.

(featured image ‘the way the wind blows’ by Thomas Hawk CC-BY-NC)

Connecting Classes

(3 min read) I have been preparing to participate in Jonathan Worth‘s initiative Connected Classes, or #CClasses on Twitter.

Wait, you say-

Laura, you’re not a photographer? What’s your music class doing connecting with Jonathan’s?

Let me explain…

Jonathan initially devised a way of teaching that allowed students to remain individuals, yet also be a part of a class group, and even a wider global community. He would record part of his #Phonar class content, like an interview with a practitioner in that field, and then when it came to the class everyone would listen to the interview. How does that broaden the learning horizon? It’s how Read more

Show me and I’ll remember forever

Imagine yourself as an undergraduate student, doing your work, studying hard, dealing with friends, cooking, laundry, love, and everything that daily life brings. Now imagine that you somehow think to yourself, I know, 20 years after graduation, I’ll come back and bring my students to share the same experiences that I had. Yeah, that will be awesome.

Who thinks that? ever??

That’s exactly what happened.

I have had fantastic teachers in my life. More than I could ever have hoped for, and there have been times when I have recounted stories to my university students of ‘when this happened…’ and I am aware that the combination of people and places and the resulting experiences at that time was so influential for me, and naturally I would like to share that. Read more

Embracing Open 20 Jan







These are all words that, for me, are synonymous with aspects of good teaching and learning. I didn’t always use all of these in the context of ‘open’ the way I do now. Why the change? I was never against the idea, and I think I always practiced both connected learning and co-learning, but at some point I was introduced to different technological tools, techniques, and then I was encouraged. I’m a student too – always learning to teach better, differently, and part of that for me involves reaching out. I hope to be an encourager for others and perhaps to introduce a few new things…

On January 20th I have the privilege of running a workshop on ‘Embracing Open‘ at the University of Chichester for the Higher Education Academy. It is a day long event that is free to attend for anyone who is a Fellow of the HEA, and there will be points in the day where we invite anyone from around the globe to join in. We’ll be exploring aspects of blogging, Tweets, Google Hangouts, Open Source Learning and CC content, collaborative activities and how all these can be used in different everyday teaching situations across disciplines. There will be opportunities to ‘have a go’ at using all of these, and the day will be dotted with real-time connections with teachers and learners across the globe. Students will be involved too. We’ll be Tweeting with the hashtag #HEAOpen and you are more than welcome to join in! Read more

Connecting and reflecting with #tjc15

(3 min read) Yesterday I was involved with #tjc15, which is like a twitter book club except with journal articles. We discussed the 2011 article by Kop, Fournier, and Mak:

A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses

Typically I don’t do those things – but yesterday I did. I read the article during the twitter conversation and typed/tweeted as I read, and was instantly sparked by a number of things and how they related to me as a teacher.

In a couple of weeks I will run the second iteration of my own mini-mooc-esque class #MUS654. It isn’t officially sponsored by anyone, or advertised by anyone, and in truth I put it together for the students so they could have a better experience and get connected. I teach a physical class who are all encouraged to follow along… starts in the second week of September. More on that in another post. This is about the article.

There were a few standouts that were definitely worth sharing. Firstly the idea that:

one should question if all adult learners are capable of taking on this responsibility

This made me ask myself (and the twitter community) what about younger learners? I know the context of the article was that of higher education, but my 8 year old uses the computer, self-directs his learning, and dips into various tutorials (with permission and supervision). Why should engagement with this sort of learning not be about younger learners. There is not a magic line when suddenly you have a license to drive your own learning. It happens organically and as we integrate connectivity into schools and the classroom, it is something that should be in the minds of parents and teachers, because it is certainly in the minds of students.

the major challenges is to create a pedagogy that supports human beings

I agree. completely. and this applies to all who are engaged with pedagogy – those classically called ‘learners’ as well as ‘teachers’. The more I teach the more I find I am really a secret, or public, learner. I’m not sure if the traditional infrastructure in higher education regards established teachers as learners, certainly some places do, and there are others where there is still ground to gain on that point. I crave learning, and it is a real challenge to create something that honestly supports all involved. There are so many variables, and the important ones to me have to do with engagement – intrinsically motivated engagement. I tell my students that if there is no point, why bother. I certainly wouldn’t engage just for a grade. Maybe that is a brash statement, but it’s true (for me at least).

So back to the online learning model and connection. In this study there were many registered on the class (1500+), and rather fewer participated on a regular basis (40-60). That is not surprising or uncommon. There were various attempts for engagement and this sentence really rang true:

This highlights the need of participants for social presence, but in a self-determined way.

It reminded me of the classic psychology idea that you are responsible for your actions. (As in thought precedes action (see Bandura, 2001 esp p.4-5) I can advise, tell, direct, ask – but only you can do it. And in creating authentic doing, that aspect of self-direction and self-regulation (see Zimmerman & Schunk, 2001) is essential. It is the magic of achieving something that is truly student-led (forgive the edu-speak).

It made me think, because I don’t know how my open course will unfold, or who will join in, or even who will be interested – it is about making a music curriculum, but has almost mini-courses each week about various core components of music and music learning. We’ll see… and I’ll be learning too.

It brings me back to these two sentences, found at the beginning of the article’s conclusion section:

This research showed the importance of making connections between learners and fellow-learners and between learners and facilitators. Meaningful learning occurs if social and teaching presence forms the basis of design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive processes for the realization of personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes.

I am very glad Laura Gogia organised #tjc15 and hope very much that next month you will join in too. You can read the full article we discussed here.

A story of connection

A friend of mine asked for some stories of connection for an upcoming conference presentation he is giving… and here’s mine. (Alan, you’re in it!) It is yet another little glimpse into the #Musiqualiy story, and the stories keep folding and unfolding. Intricate as fractals.



A piece of the story…

Photo CC licensed: (read time 2 minutes, watch time 3:40)

I received an invitation for my students and me to take part in a project – an externalisation of people’s individual masterpiece for their lives.

WHOA…. that sounds heavy, but really valid and exciting. The idea was that these students in California were questioning their lives and sharing dreams in an effort to find a way to make them happen. or something like that. They asked me to share something – music, images, words, video, anything that held part of my story.

They asked:

How did you get to where you are today?

Where are you going?

What is your masterpiece (dream)?

I passed this request all on to my students and some of them will be sharing and sending bits and pieces. Someone has already sent along a video of them performing some music, and more is in the pipeline. I love to think, and reflection is essential for me, both personally and professionally, so I am game. I believe in teaching it is really important to lead by example, even when that presents a challenge. So last week after cycling home (I often think on the bike. It is when I clear my head and sort things out.) I thought, and sat down and made this piece. It took me a few days to go back and watch it — I wasn’t sure if I dared or not — but I did. and here it is, unedited. It is certainly not my whole story, but in that cycle ride, this is the fragment that I thought I’d share.

Your story of where you’re at or how you got there may be a story, a factual chain of accomplishments, or a description of geographical moves – that is up to you. I think however you interpret it, it is a good question, and worth asking.