I am working with colleagues in Canada on a SSHRC (Canadian Social Science Research Council) funded project about the non-formal learning sector, The YouthSites project examines the creative arts sector for youth from socially excluded backgrounds in Vancouver, Toronto and London over the last 25 years. We map the youth participation in out-of-school arts learning and investigate the structural relationship between the development of this sector and the changing role and meaning of creative education, as training for employment in the creative and cultural industries has become a priority across the sector.
The project website is here.
The book is now published. It is part of a new series at New York University Press and can be found on the publisher’s website, on Amazon and in bookshops. The free open access version can be found here.
There is a blog about the series here and more about the book itself can and will be found here and here.
In this article, my co-author Ola Erstad and I revisit the history of our interest in the term, ‘learning lives’ in order to explicate the meaning(s) of the phrase and to set up a series of challenges for research into young people’s learning. We suggest that a learning lives perspective depends on three areas for investigation. First of all is the challenge of how to capture, theorise and describe the travel and trajectories if researchers are truly to ‘follow’ learners through, around and in their learning across everyday life. Secondly, it means refusing what seems to be the most apparent levers of change, namely media and technology. And thirdly, learning lives approaches need to address the pedagogicization of everyday life and the schooled society. Learning lives approaches help us see the changing place of the meaning of education and institutional pedagogies across all the nooks and crannies of everyday life.
The full article can be found here. 50 free copies can be downloaded here.
Blogpost on TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies
I have just spent the week visiting the TUMO Centre for Creative Technologies in Yerevan, Armenia. I was asked by the Asian Development Bank to design an evaluation of TUMO’s work with a view to measuring its impact on learning, economic growth and society in general. TUMO is an extraordinary achievement offering a mixture of online self-directed learning programs and production workshops in filmmaking, web design, games production and animation but also offering courses and workshops in drawing, music and robotics amongst many other creative opportunities. It reaches about 7000 young people per week and has already set up satellite centres in three other places across Armenia. Its Facebook page gives a hint of its range of activities and energy.
I spent the week watching the centre at work and meeting staff, young people and other stakeholders. In the context of a challenging post-Soviet economy and education system and in a small country – albeit with a large and active diaspora – TUMO represents an extraordinary beacon for change.
I gave a public lecture on Learning, Technology and Democracy and an interview for a local web-based media outlet which can be seen here or on Youtube here.
Talking about The Class to teachers
I have co-authored a white paper outlining the context and research questions behind a Europe-wide project investigating young children, digital technologies and changing literacies. It can be downloaded here.
I have helped write a Manifesto for Playing with Learning as part of my work at The Playful Learning Centre in Helsinki. It can be downloaded here.
I gave this talk at The Playful Learning Centre in Helsinki, Finland. I argued that although play has always had a role in many theories of education and child-rearing, we now seem to live in an era where playfulness, especially in the form of games, penetrate many aspects of domestic, civil and social life. Perhaps because of this, play in schools is now a highly serious and formal demand which has found its way into the range of digital toys now being bought by parents for their children. I tried to mock why we take play so seriously in education and argued that educators need to find a way to constantly stay close to the edge in a world becoming more hidebound, controlled and constrained.
This co-authored book exploring the learning lives at home, at school and with friends of a class of London 13-14 year olds is now in production. It can be found here on the publishers website. It will be published free online at the same time as it is available in book format. It is the result of a year’s fieldwork 2011-2012.