Mike’s daisy: spoken

man's left hand holding a 2-flower daisy chain above grass with daisies.
How many daisies does it take to make a chain? Now we have two!

I recorded this ‘daisy’ as a prelude to our symposium, ‘Networked learning and phenomenology: a found chord’, and note it is published one month before the start of the 13th International Conference on Networked Learning.

Mike Johnson, speaking without notes, about speaking.

I promised that I would follow Greta’s recording, however, it was always, following the daisy chain metaphor, going to involve some violence to what she did, in order to ‘attach’ this recording to her’s. Indeed, I felt torn between Greta’s brilliant scholarship and erudition, that she read it out, [even more terrifying for me now is that Greta later informed me that she wasn’t reciting!!!! I am scrabbling at the foot of Greta’s Eiger-like scholarship, but anyway…] and something that Gadamer (2014) discusses concerning recitation:

Reciting is the opposite of speaking. When we recite, we already know what is coming, and the possible advantage of a sudden inspiration is precluded.

(Gadamer 2014, p552, in the Afterword)

Thus, for my recording, I felt compelled to try and speak without notes. Just 10 minutes after all… Should be easy! No. Apart from exposing the huge gulf between my ‘beginner’ level scholarship in phenomenology and Greta’s astonishing expertise, and the danger of my sliding into waffle, part of the dread of this recording is my own reluctance to foist more verbiage into an already cluttered world. You might be able to sense the awkwardness in my voice. So I don’t have a verbatim transcript for you but will add the following…

I wished to link this post with Steve Fuller‘s 2014 argument in his keynote, ‘The Lecture 2.0’, at NLC2014 (watch on YouTube and hear Nina in the questions at the end!), that brand-conscious/savvy Universities ought to only put out content by the ‘best’ performers. That was a provocation, and sat alongside other notable points which I take up here:

  • The lecture is not mainly about the faithful conveyance of knowledge to the next generation. I am bored of the classic medieval image, as can be seen in Wikipedia’s Lecture entry, of some authority figure at the front reading from the only book and students having to write it down to have their own copy of the book. Steve points out that, even then, there was more going on…
  • The lecture, in the enlightenment sense, is someone exemplifying ‘daring to know’ (after Kant). Academic freedom was a ‘guild right’; the academic is someone whose broad horizon can review much, and make discriminating judgements about the field, and improvise upon that, to ‘riff’ off their notes, to think in public, straying from the script, somewhat like a jazz performance.
  • The text is still vital, spoken improvisation is on the basis of text.
  • The student in this setting is training for freedom, in that academic sense of freedom to critique, based on broad/deep scholarship. It is something that maybe only happens formally in viva exams but has many practical and practice-based applications, such as in healthcare within multi-disciplinary team meetings or giving an introduction to a musical performance (I’ve enjoyed Jonathan James (Twitter) doing this for the BBC, here more reciting, here more improvised ).
  • Merely dealing in orthodoxy within lectures strangles the enlightenment ideal of growing the capacity to think for yourself and compete (and win) an argument. Adept at this, I cant be a ventriloquist – I have to take responsibility, weigh, measure, understand the audience and adapt the speech. I’ve explored this with staff in a seminar around ‘learning to think in public’ – mindmap here.

And then… I must also link these ideas with our Networked Learning Conference Symposium paper is that, in our analysis, a zoom breakout room, a virtual meeting, thins out self-revelation, the truth of the person that we cannot filter so well when in-person. Nothing but in-person speaking obliges ‘unplugged’ students to stand behind their words.

Where do spoken words arise from? Is there not something uncanny in the unscripted spoken word?

References

Recorded using Audacity. Photo on Flickr.

‘Get the spirit and do it’ – Greg & Jean

Having moved to an online event, abandoning the Petcha Kutcha session that was to begin day two, there was no reason why we could not continue to gather VLOGs. We are very conscious that networked learning draws mainly from North America, Europe and Australasia. So I was delighted when my tentative email to Jean and Greg in South Africa was met with such enthusiasm. Jean’s article (2020), ‘Living in the age of the embodied screen’, in the Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology (https://doi.org/10.1080/20797222.2021.1876895 ) had drawn Mike’s attention when we were looking for potential contributors, and the insights, building upon Merleau-Ponty, really chimed with the article we’re developing around learners’ experiences of Zoom Breakout Rooms. Indeed, there seem to be many positive points of connection with networked learning and we hope to continue to explore and grow this in future. But perhaps the highlight for me was Jean and Greg’s reply to my hopelessly broad question about learning technology and phenomenology. They recommended not going overboard on covering the canonical phenomenological writers. Spend time getting the hang of the gist/spirit of phenomenology and then getting on with doing phenomenology, which wonderfully encapsulates the main message of the ‘Lleisiau o’r Afon‘ (Voices from the River) series. Thank you so much Jean and Greg!

Great day! #hNL21 is full!

Looking at it pre-event, we can say that the hanfod.NL initiative has been a success, even though there are many alluring aims still in view, as Nina shared the other day. But today we celebrate a new challenge – being on the brink of oversubscribed for hNL21! The event is a workshop and this means we have to limit numbers to assure quality and feasibility of good facilitation.

Participants’ interests are wonderfully diverse. Some are new to phenomenology, others have taken the course with Cathy in Alberta. Some are young postgrads, others are academics of many years’ good standing. Some can trace a direct link with networked learning research, others are coming more for the methodology refresh with far flung research questions – this can only increase the chances of expanding everyone’s horizons!

A number of participants have so encouraged us with words expressing their delight at finding us, perhaps because they have felt isolated. Mutual encouragement is a big reason of we are here! Someone was moved enough to become our first GoFundMe donor (apart from Felicity and myself!)!

AND our dear friend Stig (University profile page) has provided us with a superb example of ‘insight cultivation’ in a VLOG that touches on Hd’s concept of ‘dwelling’ with reference to networked learning. This is exclusively available to event registrants. The VLOG is entitled, ‘Heidegger, Illich and networks: A short tale of how deictic discourse turned up on my social media.’ You can find out more through Stig’s new book, Philosophers of Technology.

Stig Børsen Hansen. Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Sadly, we are unable to accept further registrations. We had considered over-offering or operating a waiting list but neither of these appeal at our scale. Nevertheless, our mission is ongoing and if you are interested in collaborating with us at the conference (where we hope to run a symposium and a workshop) and beyond, please do get in touch.

Gadamer on experience

Many seek to investigate experience(s). Experience is one of the keywords that demarcates qualitative from quantitative research. However, if we will attempt to investigate it and represent it for others, we must ask, ‘what is experience’? I fear that many never pause to consider this but ways ought to be found to trouble the surface of our assumptions before we default to techniques and methods, such as slicing and dicing interview transcripts.

Gadamer notes that in the continuity of experience, just as music is more than the notes, but also the motifs which they support, experience as a whole, “…is not an act (a becoming conscious) and a content (that of which one is conscious). It is, rather, indivisible consciousness. Even to say that experience is of something is to make too great a division.” (p226 2013ed)

In the very act of observation, experience is already fractured.

Shattered

Photo credit: CC Michael J