I am always looking out for learning opportunities. I have a fascination with the language in academia - new public management (NPM) type speak and its newly slightly evolved step-sibling new innovation management (NIM - I made that up). The word innovation follows me around. With 40 possible definitions, it feels somehow that innovation is expected to be innate, that is escapes the need of defintion, it-just-is-something-we-all-must-do-be-and-teach.
Creativity is another. Creative innovation. Create, innovate, create innovate.
Like the word bubbles that seem to pervade every presentation which deals with institutional development for the new times we are in, the four Ds, the three Cs, the five Fs. The graphs and word bubbles which declare the ever so straightforward acronyms which might help us make it more simple.
It always strikes me how these presentations usually are utterly devoid of innovation. Or creativity. They usually promote a novel graph or chart which the keynote has produced in their book or blog or next publication coming soon to a paywall near you. Some in the lecture theatre take notes, scratch heads, cough. Questions at the end and only the most secure in their tenure raise doubts about the very ethos of MOOCs, and the capacity for the targeted audience (young. knows what a meme is) to extend their (already mentioned earlier in the lecture) ten minutes of attention span to the giddy length of the new paradigm being promoted - lifelong. From ten minutes to life-long. All by academics learning the three Cs the three Fs and the three Ds. One cannot help being slightly cynical, but accepting, that yes, this is the new era, this is how it is going to be. We shall be able to track how long a student has spent staring at a screen, engaging with course content online, with multiple choice, polls and interaction. The software is snazzy. I like it. I am going to use it, I can see its use. However.
I feel if there is a new paradigm coming, and if you are being paid to present this, it must be done with reflexivity. It must be done within the new paradigm itself. Basically, if you are hocking something, be sure and use it yourself. If you are going to give a presentation on creativity and learning, innovation and new tech, death by powerpoint is not the way to do it. Complex multi font graphs and anecdotal tales of familial rejection of your very premis doesn't seem the way forward. Three times asserting swivel chairs in lecture theatres as a soloution to collaborative innovation, while I am sure there is a research paper backing it up, just seems to me to be clutching at something, I am not 100% sure what. As Annouchka Bayley points out "it is perhaps neccessary to venture much further than simply believing that importing new digital technologies into a classroom will 'do the job' adequately or that re-arranging student classroom furniture will fundamentally draw out and speak with the myriad flows of human and non-human knowledge making that is increasingly characterising our 21st century worlds' (1)
It is all very worrying. This worries me. That those at the very helm of these new changes, the institutional push for innovation and creativity just seem full of word bubbles, acronyms and charts. Word salad.
I feel this is education at its least performative. That the performance is being squeezed out. Those advocating it seem to be refusing to perform, or performing badly in order to justify the squeezing out of performance. As an element of practice I am considering using the notion of performative pedagogy within the new digital paradigms which are being touted as the future. I wonder can the two come together: can digital learning be performed?
Next I must get hold of a licence for the newly learned software and begin to design performative digital pedagogy... not even in an ironic sense but to see can it be used as a creative media.. can I use the digital platforms to sculpt some sort of outcome which produces something which is creative, not in the innovative economical sense, but in the creative sense. Looking at performative lectures, and indeed giving some performative lectures, I plainly should progress, just as I am being told pedagogy is progressing, education must now be blended, not like paint. Can I sculpt digital learning platforms and perform critical pedagogy using them? and if I can why would I want to??????
(1) Bayley, A. (2018). Posthuman pedagogies in practice: arts based approaches for developing participatory futures. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.