About wheels and poems


image source here

I am very excited as we have just started the development of the wheels app thanks to our CELT intern Stuart Bennett and Laurie Cooper from Digital Labs at MMU. Our first meeting was fruitful and started revealing the complexities of developing an app and the analytical skills needed but also the ability to seeing connections quickly as they emerge and making the links before they disappear again from our minds.


Laurie and Stuart and our Alice on paper 😉

We used A3 sheets of paper and an online platform to capture our discussion (guess, what, we lost what we entered there… as the connection wasn’t working properly). I wish I had taken some coloured pencils with me… next time. Laurie suggested to develop the app in our heads and on paper, based on an end user. This was Alice. Stuart and Laurie had baptised her before I arrived.

During the meeting we made good progress linked to how Alice would create wheel templates that she can use to add data or just store on her device for different uses, including printing these out. Next week we are going to continue with the process of entering data and this is where all the complexity will be. I suspect… as we have to imagine the whole process and there is nothing there to compare it with in real life.


Sam and Ellie, image source here

After leaving our meeting, we had our Greenhouse happening with Dr Sam Illingworth who immersed us into poetry. I re-discovered my love for list poems (see the one I wrote during the Greenhouse below) and can see how they can be powerful reflective tools. I just wish I had this idea when I started my PhD as it would tell a fascinating story, I think… anyway. As I am four years into this, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to start this now. Then again I thought I could have captured the data analysis that way, but again, I am in the middle of this already… what a shame.

This was my list poem contribution.

Will I?















very slowly






I must get there

I will get there…

will I?

Then I started thinking about our app project and I would really like to trial the use of list poems to capture a reflective journey or process. As the app is a collaborative process, I feel that it would be fascinating to capture our individual and collective journey over the next six months. Will this work? Will this be of value? There is only one way to find out. I hope Stuart and Laurie will say yes to this little experiment. I think they will 😉

Calling all playful HE practitioners to join exciting book project

Dear colleagues

We would like to invite you to take part in our project to bring together global, scholarly examples of play in Higher Education.


Is play exclusively for children? image source

Play in Higher Education is currently largely unsung, but now creeping to the fore of the attention of the tertiary sector. We have done already some work with Prof. Norman Jackson and the Creative Academic online magazine which illustrates this well. In addition  we noticed that a number of conferences on Play in HE are being held this year – surely a sign of the zeitgeist?

So do please join us in building understanding of the contribution play makes to all disciplines in the tertiary sector and circulate to your colleagues worldwide so we can make this collection truly global.


… of all ages, image source

If you have any questions about the project do please get in touch with us and consider joining the Play in HE community at  https://plus.google.com/communities/103994615424006154336 .

For further info about this exciting project, please click here


All best

Dr Alison James & Chrissi Nerantzi

back home after #digifest16…


Thank you to Sarah, Heather, Ian and John for their help with the balloons. They had no idea what would happen.

… and posting a  quick note to thank you for your kind tweets and thoughts this morning. I am delighted that my contribution made (some of) you think and hopefully consider playful approaches for your practice.

A special thank you goes to the organisers and all the Jisc team behind the scenes who made this event such a rich experience. Especially Dicky and Claire.

The slides used are below… together with some first pics and comments thanks to your tweets.

Chris Jobling kindly created a storify with the #www16 hashtag. Thank you so much.

…  the related interview can be found here.

All #digifest16 resources can be accessed here.

Eric Stoller (@ericstoller) kindly mentioned this contribution in his #digifest16 article for INSIDE HigherEd.

p.s.: Hopefully I will get some sleep tonight.
p.p.s: Wonderful to see so many friends during #digifest16, some for the first time outside the digital jungle.

If you would like to experience playful learning in a different way and have a bit of time next week, keep reading…

55a6f7f744985babbfe65fd209b47b1d_13During Open Education Week, we will be offering #creativeHE over 5-days, as an informal collaboration among colleagues from MMU, London Metropolitan University, Hull University, the University of Macedonia, Creative Academic and Lifewide Education around Creativity for Learning in Higher Education.

If you would like to join us, you just need to access our #creativeHE community in Google plus. Preparatory tasks and readings for the week ahead are already there. All you need to do is click here and you are there.

The initiative is also listed as an Open Education Week initiative.

What are you waiting for? Join us and share this open invitation further.

Chrissi, Sue, Sandra, Nikos and Norman, the #creativeHE team