fish ‘n’ chips and thoughts at the seaside down South #ECEL2011 #CMC11

playfulness exposed

playfulness exposed

This is Brighton where I attended and presented at the 10th European Conference of e-Learning. Not sure why we keep using the e- or distinguish between e- and non-e since it is, or should be considered, now part of normal learning. But what is normal learning? We seem to have lost and forgotten all about the playfulness of learning. The fun we have or used to have when we were jounger, when learning through play was and still is a reality and accepted.

  • What stops us from having fun in learning when we are adults?
  • Why do we stop having fun as adult learners?
  • Why do we stop playing when while learning?
  • What stops us from having fun when we are teaching othes and learn with others?
  • Why is it wrong to have fun and learn through play when we are adult learners and especially when we are in a university?

I would love to hear what others think about the above. So, please feel free to comment if you are reading this.

If Prof. Maggi Savin-Baden is right when she said during the ECEL2011 conference (paper by Savin-Baden, S. , Tombs C. and Wimpenny, K. Implementing and Evaluating Problem-based 3D Virtual Learning Scenarios) that playing with learning is important, as well as playing with and playing around and that

“We need to stop seeing the curriculum as a predictable, ordered and manageable space, but instead review it as an important site of transformation characterised by risk and uncertainty”

– why do we keep replicating what was always there, what we were always doing? Prof. Anne Boddington in her keynote “Designing Education and Reshaping Learning” provides her answer to these questions perhaps by saying that 

“we forget to question the structures we inherited, the frameworks within which we sit need to change.”

Anne also passionately noted that learning is an adventure but also a social activity and that we need to move away from ‘me’-learning towards ‘we’-learning and asked us all what universities are for. And if would agree with Prof. Grainne Conole’s keynote “Trajectories of learning – new approaches and directions” who stated that content and expertise is freely available now, what does this really mean for universities and what are universities really for? Anne defined universities as a place and a space to

  • sustain conversations
  • shape the future of human life
  • stimulate innovation
  • shape new structures of and for learning
  • shape new pedagogies
some food for thought

some food for thought

Learning, teaching and researching in parternship, in one community as Anne suggested?

And if this is indeed the way forward, how can we make this happen?

Play ‘n’ learn to spice up teaching in HE – please vote #CMC11 MOOC @pgcap

Celebrating your creativity!

Celebrating your creativity!

Hello and thank you for stopping by,

Stage 3 of our mixed reality game ‘Sell your bargains’ is now officially completed.

First of all I would like to thank all our teachers at the University of Salford who participated in this game with such passion and for their creative energy to spice up their teaching.

Today, we are inviting you to vote for your favourite digital story presented here and created by teachers in Higher Education who are currently studying towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at the University of Salford (UK).

Teachers participated in a mixed-reality game (a mix of problem-based learning, game-based learning and experiential learning to explain threshold concepts using creative problem finding and collaborative creative problem solving techniques and possibility thinking) which took place in real and virtual spaces.

(Stage 1) The task was to think about a session they are going to deliver and try and foresee a difficulty explaining something that students really need to grasp.

The players then worked together in pairs to discuss ideas and possible solutions (Stage 2) and identify a prop while in Manchester City Centre that could be used in their session to make this difficult or threshold concept accessible and understandable to their students.

(Stage 3) Their ideas were then developed further into digital stories (using photographs and videos taken during stage 2 to aid reflection and the further development of their idea) that are now available as Open Educational Resources.

Please access the participating stories by clicking the links below, study them carefully and then vote for your favourite one by ticking the box next to the name of the player. You are also invited to leave your comments in the online spaces where the stories are captured and engage in a conversation about the interventions.

– Innovative use of a prop
– Rich and deep reflection
– Creative digital storytelling

Participating stories
1. Neil at

2. Frances at

3. Fabrizio at (our winner: added on the 27th of November)

4. Kirsty at at

5. Deaglan at

6. John at

7. Fiona at

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED. The winner has been announced.

Thank you very much for providing your comments and voting for your favourite story. The overall winner of the mixed-reality game “Sell your bargains” will be announced on Twitter. The deadline to submit your vote is Wednesday the 2nd of November 11, midnight GMT.

The prize is the wonderful book by David Gauntlett “Making is connecting” ( A complimentary copy was provided free of charge by the publisher Wiley (

Please feel free to forward the link to the form to others.

Chrissi (Nerantzi) the game organiser
Twitter: @pgcap
University of Salford

ps. If you would like to adapt and organise such a mixed-reality CPD game for your programme team to spice up teaching and learning at the University of Salford, please get in touch with Chrissi at c.nerantzi @ (without the spaces)

pps. If you would like to find out more about this game from the organiser and the players, join us on the 8th of December at 4pm (GMT) during a webinar organised by the Creativity and Multicultural Communication MOOC. We have been invited to share our experiences and first findings then with a wider audience. More info about this webinar and the #CMC11 MOOC at Please note, the ‘Sell your bargains’ game will also feature in a game-based learning book published next year.

webinaring with fellow MOOCers and disconnected throughts to connect #cmc11

Will I make it?

Will I make it?

Rushed home to login and participate in this first webinar. I couldn’t believe it when I had difficulties loggin into Blackboard Collaborate… I thought I would miss it! In the end I didn’t…

I have to admit, I expected… the masses when I arrived. I thought finally, I will understand why a MOOC is called a MOOC and what this is all about.

Yes, I am still wondering why these open courses have been baptised MOOCs. If anybody is reading this and can explain this to me that would be fantastic. So, no masses tonight. I was actually thinking that more people would engage in a synchronous way than asynchronously since this would be a one-off per week but then of course asynchronous communication and collaboration might be more convenient because it can happen anytime, anyhow, anywhere if you have the technology in your pocket or bag. But is it effective for everything? I have heard and experienced many times how slow it can be (too slow? Too slow for what?) How could we use effectively synchronous communication and collaboration? Think about lectures and how these are usually delivered. Tutor and learners are there but who speaks most and why? If tutors are there for the learners, why don’t we let them lead us? And if this is possible and we should be doing this, how would this look like in a webinar? The asynchronous form to communicate and collaborate online has indeed moved away from being a tutor driven activity. Self-directed learners experience this as a paradise. How can non-self-directed learner learn how to thrive in such environments?

Is it just a problem with all the different timezones? Are people signing up without participating? How many are just lurking? How many are just accessing the resources and participate elsewhere, perhaps within existing online communities? And what would make them participate (more)? How do you form online communities? How do we form online communities? How can disconnected blog entries become conversations among individuals and enable them to get together. Do we spend more time searching for such opportunities? Or is it too early yet and I want it to happen now? Am I impatient? If we want to be part of a community we can’t expect that others will find us and come to us, I think. What role do we play, or could we play in the formation of such communities?

I am still clouded about all this and have many questions in my head (loads more than I have included here). However, I have started making some connections and I no longer feel on my own. Some meaningful exchange is happening and I am thinking about this course frequenty during the day. Maybe this is because we just started developing our own open course. I wouldn’t call ours a MOOC at this stage but I guess since it will be open access, we should prepare ourselves that it might become a MOOC. But how would we prepare ourselves?

Let’s focus a bit on the webinar itself. The orientation today was very useful and it is definitely something we will also offer in our own little open course. We might use additional features of Blackboard Collaborate doing this such as

  • the video and photographs of the tutors/facilitators
  • design activities during which learners can participate on the whiteboard and polls
  • if the group is small, introductions and why everybody is there, would help to give a more group feel
  • demo site features by using the desktop sharing or weblink to make it more dynamic, live and responsive
  • integrate questions into the session throughout which would enable participants to respond
  • encourage individuals to take the microphone (this might be problematic if not a community)
  • also less is more on slides, we would keep more empty room in the slides to enable adding of thoughts and ideas expressed during the webinar (this could be done by a moderators)
  • Using emoticons can also add to the webinar experience and enable participation and responding in different ways.

Then again we are also keen to explore the use of the BigBlueButton since it is an open access web-conferencing tool.  At the moment we are discussing options and try to identify the best way forward. But it would be great to use an open source tool for an open course… If you are reading this and have any ideas and would like to help us, please get in touch.

Am I focusing too much on the process than on the content of this course? Is this normal at this stage? Was this the point of the orientation tour? Just checking.

Beyond what I have already included, I have two terms zooming around in my head since they first appeared on one of the pages this evening. Multiculturalism and Interculturalism, as an ex-translator and a non-native English speaker, I try to understand the differences between these terms so that I can distinguish between them, add them first to my passive vocabulary but also my active one, if or when needed. After a brief visit to wikipedia, this is how I think I understood it and I am going to share my thinking visually in a very simplistic way. I would really like some thoughts on this, if you are reading this so that it can help me understand better.

snack happy love mix

multiculturalism: loving and celebrating variety

interculturalism: mixing

interculturalism: loving mixing ingredients

Will stop here for now and think a bit more about what I externalised and captured here. I am sure some of the questions will die and new questions will be born.

Has it started yet? #cmc11

dressed for the occasion

CMC11 MOOC day is approaching. Dressed and ready to go!


Excited! This is how I feel at the mo!

the blueberry paradise

The journey begins, what will it bring?


Fireworks of ideas everywhere.

upside down

Surprise and be surprised!

colourful nature

Make new discoveries... open your mind!

just made

Get together and share, taste, feel... learn, un-learn, re-learn and learn again, be playful!


Unlock your creativity! Don't delay!


Are you joining us today?

Yes, the Creativity and Multicultural Communication MOOC starts in September 2011!

Open to us all.

More info here.

Also started experimenting with video and created the clip  below with the above material. I also added Clara Schumann’s music which reminded me of the time when I was translating Peter Härtling’s book “Schumanns Schatten” into Greek.