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Learning on the go

Walk1_2_11_06_1_1 The iDC list has had some great conversations (still going on at the moment!) about conferences and such recently, discussing alternative formats the problematics of bringing people together to share ideas, develop tactics and strategies, network and learn from each other in general. In a lot of ways, it seems that the whole point of conferences is to extend the traditional space of the classroom and other learning environments into more professional and specialized spaces. Of course, i'm speaking in a completely idealistic and non-cynical manner here.
But i think a lot of innovations that can be applied to educational settings can also be considered in relation to professional conferences if we want to take them as seriously and assume that they are indeed more than lines on a resume.
i was considering this while following a new course here at UIUC being taught by my colleague Kevin Hamilton, library science (& more) researcher Piotr Adamczyk and visiting artists Laurie Long and M.Simon Levin based on a larger series of events. The class, titled Mobile Mapping for Everyday Spaces, involves students from various disciplines (including art, dance, computer science and landscape architecture) in the study and creation of cartographic technologies based on walking. Without going too much into it, one great thing that i gather is going on from my limited involvement in the course is the focused back-and-forth between discursive exploration and shared problem solving. In other words, they read/view and discuss others' works related to a topic and then work on specific problems in collaborative groups, which is then fed back into discussion.

While this is extremely simple (my description, not the class), i wonder if conferences and the like could benefit from this kind of discursive workshop model. How can conference sessions actually organize response mechanisms (i.e. focused on the feedback) rather than the delivery of singular "vanguard" positions?

09:53 PM | Permalink

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