Lockdown Adventures

This is one of the blogposts meant to go live a couple of months ago, and then things went head over heels in a thousand different directions, and suddenly it is the end of summer. Anyway, the issue I have been pondering is the relationship between our lockdown micro-adventures and pedagogy. There is learning to be had in there I think and a reason for writing this post is working out loud to explore the connection. Let me know if this makes sense to you.

Micro-Adventures

During the one-a-day times of lockdown and staying within the 5 mile radius. We went on many micro-adventures. I learned there is a local wetland with adjoined birch woodland, that there are way more golf courses than I thought, that there is a nature reserve–beautiful and full of junk, broken glass, rubbish, and half burned ground. And oh my gosh golf courses! How huge can these be? I never visited one as I find golf about as interesting as watching paint dry, but the grounds are brilliant. I have taken to a particular one in our area, as it also keeps some wild spots, has ponds, and bluebells, and hills, and views. There is also an old track that used to be used for cross country horse riding, in most places the tracks and installed obstacles are gently taken over by nature again. Which makes it ideal for mountain bikes!

So what happened was that instead of looking far, scanning the horizon, as we do when hiking or kayaking. We had to learn to look closer. Pay attention, become more aware. And I truly think this happened. I have never before managed to take as many photos of song birds in the garden or on walks as I did during the intensive phase of lockdown (plus a very grumpy looking heron).

Image collage of birds showing yellowhammer, wren, and a particularly grouchy heron

Thrown Back

We are thrown back onto our selves during this hard lockdown. There is no where to go–literally. To escape the funny states of mind. To distract from whatever internal noise, dialogue or monologue had become too loud. So the focus is internalised. Very hard, particularly if you are not used to this state of being.
Therefore, proverbially looking out for the internal songbirds became a coping strategy. Two strategies that were my internal ‘discover the songbirds’ moments:

  1. Back to my academic roots
  2. Embracing creative practice

And I think therein lies the link between micro adventures and work. We are not going out for work. We are at home in whatever setting is available. From home office (I am very grateful!), to the infamous ironing-board standing desk (which unfortunately doesn’t work for me; I am too tall) work adventures are limited in physical scope just as much as our one-a-day micro-adventures. So, I looked closely and finally picked up the folders and boxes that I meant to sort for months (well many, many, many months). And found some treasures! Did you know my undergraduate dissertation was about using scenario technique for active e-learning experience? Funny that, innit?

Written in 2002 (I think). Yup. Who knew right? So that was a first successful micro-work-adventure cull. Another one was rediscovering my undergraduate vade mecum ‘Didaktische Modelle’*, when I rediscovered a copied chapter in one of the said folders. Now this rediscovery, and subsequent purchase of the latest edition has actually led to the development of a guidance document for our institution!**
All the things you can do in the time reclaimed from commuting and office distractions!

So micro-work-adventure one: going back to my academic roots in Erziehungswissenschaften. It turned out these roots were pretty pertinent to the situation.

Creativity to the fore!

The second one is more difficult to explain. Besides one major act of creativity (publication forthcoming) digital-micro-adventures had a significant impact on my pedagogy. Besides all the input from social networks, free CPD and conferences, the interesting experiences colleagues from all over the world share during the monthly SoTL walk** (come on, join in!) have inevitably influenced what I am doing. I tried to collect some of it in this document https://tinyurl.com/yxvb7xhe (feel free to add yourself as author and add comments).

Writing, redesigning this blog, creating materials, such as the 101 teaching prompts or the digital asset register (look at the resource pages for more: https://acdevadventures.blog/home/resources-landing-page/) were crucial to staying sane during lockdown.

Being creative–creating something–as well as connecting with colleagues on social media, was a way to leave the physical enclosure. Go on adventure, discover new things through external input, but also discover new things from within–the hidden woodlands, the forgotten paths.

*Jank, W., & Meyer, H. (2019). Didaktische Modelle (13th ed.). Cornelsen Verlag GmbH.
**Check out this post for details
***https://sites.rmit.edu.au/seh-sotl/2020/07/19/join-the-july-sotl-walk/

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