our Play book with @alisonrjames and many many others is now in production

We have received notification that our edited book with Prof. Alison James is now in production. Alison and I have, and also all contributors, worked on this for a long time now and it is amazing that we are almost there now. We even have a flyer!!! See below 😉

The Power of Play in Higher Education_flyer

It all started when I first met Alison back in 2013 at the annual SEDA conference and our love for playful learning united us. We stayed in touch and our professional relationship developed into a deeper friendship. We created opportunities to do some work together over the years and got the opportunity to co-edit a Creative Academic Magazine issue thanks to Prof. Norman Jackson who entrusted us to explore the use of play in higher education. We couldn’t believe how many people contacted us and how many contributions we received… so many that we decided to publish the issue in 2 parts…

creative_academic_magazine

Nerantzi, C. & James, A. (eds.) (2015) Exploring Play in Higher Education, Creative Academic Magazine, Issue 2b, June 2015, available at http://www.creativeacademic.uk/magazine.html

Nerantzi, C. & James, A. (eds.) (2015) Exploring Play in Higher Education, Creative Academic Magazine, Issue 2a,  June 2015, available at http://www.creativeacademic.uk/magazine.html

These earlier explorations into play and our own practices in this area, generated ideas for an edited book at the time where play as a concept in the context of learning and teaching in higher education was still very new.

Prof. Sally Brown kindly supported us putting a book proposal together and after some time we secured a book contract with Palgrave. Thank you so much Sally for all your valuable advice and guidance. Alison and I were delighted when we got the offer but knew the hard work was all ahead of us. At that time, I was still working on my doctoral thesis… but this didn’t stop us. Our plans were ambitious and we worked systematically on the book project to bring it to fruition. We were hoping to get contributions from practitioners from different disciplines and professional areas as well as from different parts of the world. We did and we are grateful to all colleagues who came forward and contributed to this book and made it such a rich collection. We have learnt so much through your stories.

There is still some work that needs to be done on the book. But it is now in production. We will be delighted to share the book with our contributors and the wider academic community.

LSPbook_coverOur openly licensed booklet around the use of LEGO in Higher Education will follow and there is still the opportunity to contribute to a special issue around the use of LEGO (IJMAR). See the open call here.

The Play book was a big and complex collaborative effort!

A big thank you to all contributors, Prof. Sally Brown for her valuable support with the book proposal, Prof. Bill Lucas who wrote the foreword, all colleagues who read the book and provided testimonials (they will be added to the back cover of the book) and Alison, of course, for working on this exciting book project together. It has been a joy. I loved our long Skype conversations and still do 😉

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Almost there now… new #open booklet in preparation #legoseriousplay #LSPHE #opened #creativecommons

The first full draft is ready (22,000 words). I have decided to share co-authorship with Alison James (@alisonrjames). Together we have done interesting work in the area of playful learning and LEGO. Bringing Alison in will enrich the booklet further as we will be able to incorporate her voice and perspective.

What it is? A booklet about using LEGO(R) SERIOUS PLAY(R) (LSP) in Higher Education (HE).

I have been using LEGO(R) since 2010 before discovering LSP when writing up some related research. Using LEGO(R) came natural to me as I have always been playful and experimental and tried new things as a learner, in my practice as a teacher, translator and academic developer but also in my life more generally. I still do. My curiosity and the novel opportunities problems present seem to be my driving force. In 2013 I completed my LSP facilitator training with Robert Rasmussen. The journey has been fascinating so far. LSP opened my eyes and mind to new ideas and possibilities that have extended my repertoire and toolkit as a facilitator aiming to create stimulating and meaningful learning experiences that help us understand ourselves, others and the world around us better and make valuable discoveries through playful making and shared reflection. I have created a range of LSP workshops and courses and am often invited to work with colleagues and their students to develop tailor-made LSP provision and courses for staff development. LSP  is such a versatile method and the potential to use in diverse HE settings is there and waiting to be explored further.

LSPbook_coverSo, what is in the booklet? After an introduction into the LSP method and its potential uses in higher education, a series of short LSP stories follows. These stories showcase how specific practitioners from a range of disciplines and professional areas currently use LSP in an higher education context. I would like to thank the following colleagues for making the time to contribute their LSP story to the collection:  Dr Stephen Powell, Neil Withnell, Sue Watling, Prof. Alison James, Graham Barton, Lesley Raven, Prof. Dr Tobias Seibl, Dr Thanassis Spyriadis, Dr Sean McCusker, Lisa Higgings, Haleh Moravej, Prof. Rebecca Lawthom and Dr Catherine Hayes. Also a big thank you to Alison Laithwaite, Dr Gayle Impey, Dr Maren Deepwell and Tom Palmer for commenting on specific LSP activity sets.

The basic structure of the LSP in HE booklet is the following:

  • Part 1 Method
  • Part 2 Stories
  • Part 3 Activity prompts
  • Part 4 Variations
  • Part 5 Final remarks

Within part 3, a selection of practical activities, quite a lot of them, have been designed and added, arranged as you can see as activity sets. These are intended to support LSP workshop design and planning activities in a wide range of HE contexts.

LSP warm-up activity prompts

  • LSP activity prompts for learning and teaching
  • LSP activity prompts for recognition of teaching (HEA)
  • LSP activity prompts for academic development (SEDA)
  • LSP activity prompts for use of learning technologies (ALT)
  • LSP activity prompts for coaching and mentoring
  • LSP activity prompts for research

These LSP activities included in this booklet can be used and adapted by practitioners in their everyday practice. The booklet concludes with the introduction of LSP variations. These have been tested and used in HE settings and provide food for thought for other practitioners to consider tailoring the standard LSP method to their needs were needed and/or mixing with other pedagogical methods, frameworks or models.

January 2018 update: Prof. Alison James has joined as a co-author. We will be working on finalising the draft of the booklet soon. 

September 2018: Final edits. The booklet will be shared with 2 colleagues to read and add a prologue and an epilogue.

Oh and by the way, the LSP in HE booklet will be openly available online under a Creative Commons license so that we can all use it and further develop it, together as practice diversifies and related research grows.

Chrissi @chrissinerantzi


If you are new to LSP in HE, the below might be a useful starting point:

  1. In this clip colleagues share their LSP experience through an LSP course I led at Manchester Met.

2. An example of how we have used LSP with a colleague in an undergraduate module at Manchester Met is the following. This has been written with the colleague and one of her students: Nerantzi, C., Moravej, H. & Johnson, F. (2015) Play brings openness or using a creative approach to evaluate an undergraduate unit and move forward together, JPAAP, Vol 3, No. 2, pp. 82-91, available at http://jpaap.napier.ac.uk/index.php/JPAAP/article/view/141

apple pizza didn’t work

light up there

light up there


Months later and I am still were I was months ago… the illustrator did disappear… unfortunately. So, there is no progress with the book project. Initial conversations were captured at

https://chrissinerantzi.wordpress.com/category/book-project/>

and I really thought that this was leading somewhere. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

I might have to do the illustrations myself… as the publisher suggested anyway but I am just not in the right mood at the moment. After many years of not-drawing, I started again when I had my eldest and I needed something to fill my sleepless nights creatively and keep my brain fit. Now, almost 9 years later, and after a painful experience with a publisher, I have given up and haven’t really been in the mood to illustrate. Should I force myself? Not sure how the process and product would look like.

I have over 15 stories for kids ready, various lengths, various levels and some of the stories could be used for language learning too and have integrated activities as well.

So, searching for a new illustrator again. What would I like to see? Work that stands out, that is creative and enables creative thinking on many different levels… I think that is what I think… any illustrator out there who would like to give it a go???

“apple pizza”

apple pizza

apple pizza by Chrissi

Did you ever had one? This was the second time I made apple pizza and surprise surprise I didn’t really stick to any recipe… not really a surprise if you know me… I am not very disciplined when it comes to cooking (or anything else…) always keen to try new things and experiment with mainly what I have in the house. But it worked and I did improve the second version by adding crumble at the top and some home-made rasberry jam at the bottom. I guess it tasted ok.

Yes, we, the illustrator, I (and my husband joined us too which was a big surprise for me) discussed details over the apple pizza. It was exciting and strange at the same time. The process was about discoveries and included mainly me showing things I like to the illustrator. Was it too much information? Again, I am not sure. Did it feel restrictive or prescriptive? Mmm, not sure about this one… the idea was to gain an insight into my little world. I don’t expect the book to be a representation of what I like and polarise the process and end-product. As mentioned in previous post, it is a collaborative project and it should really have things from both worlds combined and they need to be balanced something if that is possible.

For me it is important to create a joined ownership of this project, to bring out creative spirits, curiosity, experimentation and bring something unique to live. Can we achieve it?

thinking and collecting

white

blank canvas, by photoshop ;o)

I am seeing the illustrator tomorrow to discuss the new project. We will focus on visualising one of the mini stories and it will rain cats and dogs and grannies.

Will it work?

I have started collecting things I like. In a way it will help him (yes, it is a he) – well, hopefully it will, to get an insight into my little world and how things look like. Scary? Not really. But ever changing. Is this important to ‘see’ what I ‘see’? Well, I think it is.

Then again, could it be confusing at the same time? I always say that I don’t like boxes and boxed thinking and now what am I doing? Actually placing myself and the illustrator in a box, in my box… this is not really what I want to do.

However, I feel that we need to find a common starting point on this journey and then give our ideas wings. Yes, I am saying our ideas. It is not about the writer anymore, it is now working together and finding a way to interprete the text in such a way that it pleases both, as well as the reader and learner. To co-create something new and of value. And it should really go beyond creating something that pleases somebody or manybodies. It should be something exciting that gives the reader and learner wings and allows a rich, stimulating and engaging experience.

It is a blank canvas at the moment but not for long… Yes, we are going to create a learning resource/learning resources together. Yes, plural, if the experiment works ;o)

new project is taking off

Our family, by Odysseas (5)

Our family, by Odysseas (5)


I am really excited and feel that something really creative will start happening very soon.

We were two but now a third person is entering the pack and we can start. It is all linked to an idea, exploring possibilities, options and turn an idea into a reality.

Going through a co-creative process and a journey that will enrich us all with the added bonus of creating something that others will find useful and enjoy.

Yes, it is a collaborative book projects and the idea is to capture the process within this blog and beyond and hopefully exchange ideas and thoughts and create something special.