The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Posts Tagged ‘making stuff’

Planet makes stuff together

Posted by Janet Finlay on July 8, 2008

I had the rather rare but very welcome opportunity of acting as non-participant observer in yesterday’s “Making Stuff Together” Planet workshop at LKL. As we had started the day with a Planet project meeting we had a full complement of “staff” for the workshop so some of us stepped back to operate recording equipment and observe proceedings.

The theme for the day was “Making stuff together”, the aim to consider submitted case studies of teaching and learning in collaborative environments and tease out the elements that were successful in order to seed patterns. We had representatives from a couple of other Emerge projects on the day (APSTAIRS and MOOSE) as well as colleagues from elsewhere. It was a mixed group – some with particular interest in patterns and pattern capture, some with little knowledge of patterns but an interest in making things in MUVEs, others with interests in creative online collaboration tools. The potential for not finding commonality seemed high!

However we should not have worried. From the explanation of the first case study (of using Flashmeeting to support collaborative design activity) the group were engaged and animated, picking up connections relating to collaboration across a range of applications from World of Warcraft to Google! By lunchtime we had half a dozen potential “seed patterns” which were then taken up enthusiastically by the group in the afternoon and developed further. There is still work to do on these but the outputs of these labours can be found on the Planet wiki pattern page and feedback and comments are welcome from all (check the Created on 7th July ones – though comments are welcome on them all!).

As an observer it was also very interesting to see how the process worked and I can see some potential patterns emerging here as well. Group formation was certainly an issue both here and in our online workshop at the June Emerge event. Facilitation needs to carefully balance team and participant engagement and it is important to establish common ground in advance. Interestingly all of these were also highlighted in the discussions of making stuff together suggesting much similarity whether we are dealing with Second Life, face to face workshops, Elluminate or Google Docs. It is the human activity of collaboration which is critical, not the technology.

Thanks to all the participants for a really stimulating day – and to Yishay, Steve and Jim for facilitating it. Our next workshop is scheduled for July 21st in Leeds and is focused on one of our user groups, the multi-institutional CETL on Active Learning in Computing. We will be looking at experiences in assessment, project work, learning spaces and Web 2.0. Although primarily for this user group, other participants are welcome. Full details will be posted here as soon as possible but in the meantime if you are interested in coming along just let me know –

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