22 SES 12 D, The Landscapes of Learning in a Conceptual Age
The current social and economic uncertainties have posed particular challenges for students and lecturers in contemporary HE. Universities have responded to the challenges by reconceptualising what learning and teaching encompasses. This has resulted in a shift from the primary focus on knowledge acquisition within a subject discipline towards a curriculum that incorporates breadth, depth and towards understanding. This shift in focus has necessitated a change in approach towards embracing multiple literacies that are conceptual, digital and visual. In part, this solution, is necessitated by students having different study patterns and modes of study to suit their personal circumstances. There is also the drive towards preparing the learner for work through graduate skills and attributes. This has resulted in a complex learning environment, necessitating lecturers and students to rethink what teaching and learning is and how best to structure the curriculum for the twenty-first century. Recognising this and what Pink (2005) refers to as 'the Conceptual Age', compels the academic to reconsider curriculum design and this, we consider, can most effectively be done through the application of other subject disciplinary lenses.
In an attempt to generate new ways of seeing, Berger (1972), academic colleagues from the Schools of Education and Design, at the University of Dundee, recognising that these issues are not subject specific but, generalisable across disciplinary boundaries. Therefore, using our interdisciplinary lenses we explored ideas, issues, challenges and potential solutions for the lecturer in relation to curriculum design and the student in relation to seeing the 'big picture' in their programme of study. As part of the learning conversation the question arose: how is learning conceptualised by the learner at the initial stages of their studies? Both lecturers in Education and Design had noticed that students didn't understand many of the programme or module aims and that this appeared to inhibit their learning and often confidence. Embracing the concept of a whole new mind, Pink (2005), we co-created a learning method designed to empower students in the early stages of study through visualising their learning goals through a form of concept mapping of specific aspects of the learning journey. This proposed a practice of drawing as a thinking tool, Robertson (2012), and of promoting the use of visual learning through metaphorical or analogous journey mapping.
David Sibbet (2010) exemplifies in his use of journey metaphors that position goals within sight in a visual landscape. He proposes that a landscape exhibits activity, challenge and opportunity. In Game Storming Grey et al.,(2010) highlight an objective of context mapping is to show external factors, trends and forces in a systemic view. They contend,‘We don’t truly have a good grasp of a situation until we see it in a fuller context’, then we are equipped to respond proactively to that landscape.
This practice led us to conceptualise landscapes of learning as a pedagogical approach to meet the needs of a diverse student body.
J,Berger et al.,(1972) Ways of Seeing, Penguin, London, UK. D,Gray, S.Brown & J,Macanufo (2010) Gamestorming-A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers. O’Reilly, Sebastopol, USA. Kress, G (2008) “Social, Educational and Semiotic Change: Learning in a World marked by Provisionality” podcast and conference paper from the Media in Everyday life Conference, the International Ringvorlesung Medienforschung and Medienkultur Media, Culture series [online] http://www.uni-kassel.de/upress/online/frei/978-3-89958-410-3.volltext.frei.pdf [accessed] 31st of January 2013 D,H Pink (2005) A Whole New Mind–why right brainers will rule the world, Marshall Cavendish Business, Croydon, UK E,Roberston (2012) Keynote presenter Loughborough University, Drawing Research Network Conference. [online] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p23-6KA-Yno [accessed] 31st January 2013 D, Sibbet (2010) Visual Meetings How Graphics, Sticky Notes & Idea Mapping can Transform Group activity, John Wiley & Son, Hoboken, USA D, Sibbet (2011) Visual Teams-Graphic Tools for commitment, Innovation, & High Performance, John Wiley & Son, Hoboken, USA Stokes,S (2002) Visual Literacy in Teaching and Learning : A Literature Perspective Electronic Journal for the Integration of Technology in Education, vol. 1, no. 1 [online] http://ejite.isu.edu/Volume1No1/stokes.html [accessed]31st of January 2013
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