I have experienced a week where my online and physical life are intertwined in the most wonderful and hectic way. I have found it difficult to record my daily activity on the blog due to time restraints and felt myself having to expand time through multitasking. I started the week celebrating a digital dance season at Scottish Ballet with colleagues and have experienced an explosion of interest in 360 degree video projects and therefore prepared myself for future viewing and experience. I came across an article on dance algorithms and another on how resources are creating movement and dance for film. I caught the end of this weeks tweetorial assignment and witnessed the transition of the EDC’s group development to the ‘norming’ stage. I’ve been providing pastoral care and guidance to my pupils preparing for exams, providing online communication via e-mail due to technological restrictions. I took part in a phenomenal workshop where we looked at promoting dance to communities affected by health conditions either in a dance studio or online. I created a Thinglink of my data findings (TBC) of the learning analytics connected to the communication, exam prep and exam results of Higher Dance. Then I was left disheartened at the promotion of hyperextension and the online culture of videos created and uploaded online by anyone with an interest in dance despite knowledge and experience. These videos are unfortunately freely available to young dancers desperate to find quick fix solutions for technique and flexibility. My use of tools were limited and I only managed to utilise Blog posts, Twitter and Facebook . I feel frustrated that life has been in the way of progression and hope to expand on tools and links over the next few weeks.
There is a new trend in dance where everyone seems obsessed with achieving the splits in a short period of time (some youtube videos state that it is achievable in a day) or contort their body as a measure of ‘talent’. The instantaneous unrealistic results can cause high risk of injury and the individuals uploading demos are doing so without considering the long term health risk of young dancers. Youtube and blogs allow anyone to disseminate tips and offer advice which is freely available to young people. Information is provided by individuals with no requirement of training or knowledge. Digital education is changing the dissemination of knowledge, as dancers no longer learn from a teacher who is considered an expert and holder of all knowledge in that subject. The access to social media creates an environment where a competitive culture is created and there is no vetting of technical abilities, knowledge and understanding. Particular TV shows like ‘Dance Moms’ celebrate hyper mobility, tricks, and contortion alongside dramatic and unhealthy environments which puts a lot of pressure on the young dancer. The young dancers health and wellbeing is out under strain as they try everything possible to resemble their online idols. Thus in turn puts pressure on dance schools and teachers to deliver similar results. Dance schools providing technique in various styles feel pressurised from a business point of view to keep their dancers happy by offering class that may stretch their capabilities. However, If they don’t get the provision in the safety of the tutor led environment then dancers unfortunately turn to Youtube where the teacher or young vlogger can not correct, provide feedback or ensure safety. Now while I welcome online education and the open access to knowledge which overcomes boundaries for individuals that may not have the privilege, the change from education to ‘learnification’ takes away some of the learning from the expert or educator that can guarantee quality.
Biesta, G. (2012) Giving teaching back to education: responding to the disappearance of the teacher. Phenomenology & Practice. 6(2), pp.35-49.
As a freelance educator I find it difficult to meet the needs of the pupils when only present within a school two days out of the week. Responsible for several year groups and no official access to online files or systems such as ‘show my homework’ I find the timeframes challenging. A pupil’s lack of attendance means that individuals can fall behind with work and timeframes can pass quickly; meaning information can be missed or simply ignored. I have recently found the idea of a flipped classroom appealing as it would free up more time for the pupils to become constructive and productive in regard to progression due to the knowledge available out with the classroom. It is common for pupils to watch videos and learn material in the studio only to struggle with the analysis and reflection when alone at home. A flipped classroom can tackle this issue and allow the teacher to track and assess the pupils critical thinking if conversations were to take place as a class discussion. Self-directed learning is unfortunately a major role in the flipped classroom and dependent on the pupils motivation. Therefore this would only work if the material was digested and pupils were proactive. I have found ways to overcome boundaries that affect classroom learning and in certain locations, information, links and communication can be dispersed through the likes of Facebook groups. However, High schools and local authorities are still in resistance to the positive and beneficial aspects of technology and online forums. Although a helpful and successful tool with one group of Higher Education pupils within another organisation, I am still restricted to communication via e-mail with particular High Schools and their pupils. Despite being harder to track and assess the learning analytics, I have kept a record of the individuals that are proactive in seeking feedback or further knowledge and understanding. I plan to create a visual demonstration from a precious year on the data collected that compares pupils engagement with coursework, engagement within the classroom, attempts to communicate via e-mail and exam results. The locations, organisations, schools, pupils and year of data collection will be withheld due to ethics and the ad-hoc monitoring of students will focus on, target setting, feedback, methods of communication and outcomes.
Selwyn, N. (2014). Data entry: Towards the critical study of digital data and education. Learning, Media and Technology, 40(1), 64-82. DOI: 10.1080/17439884.2014.921628
This weeks assignment was to take part in a Tweetorial over a two day period. Due to work commitments I couldn’t take part and I joined the group over the last few hours. I have to admit that I found the conversations confusing and spent a good hour trying to make sense of the tweets. Whilst reading conversations on Tweetdeck I began to realise that the group was in a phase of ‘norming’. Bruce Tuckman identifies five stages of group development: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Throughout the first few weeks our group came together online and our digital presence was characterised by anxiety and uncertainty. We were cautious with each and our behaviour was driven by the need for the EDC group acceptance. The avoidance of conflict, controversy and personal opinion meant that no real conversation took place. We then entered the storming phase by week 5 where we had a general feel for group members and the dynamics of the group. Dominant individuals emerged and opinions and competition began to arise. This week, however, the group seems to have moved through to the norming stage where we seem to be a cohesive group with high morale. An online community is now established where we are flexible, interdependent and information now flows and is uninhibited……I’m looking forward to the final few weeks when we hit the performance stage with our assignments!!
This weekend the content of the ‘Brain and Space’ MOOC from my autoethnography came in particularly useful when participating in a workshop aimed at dance teachers and movement practitioners with a focus on working with communities influenced by Alzheimers, Parkinson’s and MS. Knowledge of how our brain knows where things are and the body and mind connection was necessary whilst utilising critical thinking skills. The workshop questioned our methodology, expectations and our perception of dance. Dance is a creative activity that should be available to everyone. It is a medium for personal growth, freedom of exploration and expression. It is a form of language that can be communicated with emotion and empathy. The communication can be with oneself or with another. Dance allows us to move with people with health conditions, not work with the health condition. Dance can provide a social community and a sense of connection with others through touch, eye contact and a sense of welcoming rather than an insular environment which unfortunately a majority of individual suffer from a life-changing health condition. Inclusion is important, for some it may mean life or death. A dance session can relive a participant with Parkinson’s of their symptom for 5 hours to possibly 5 days. Providing opportunity to move can motivate some to transfer the movement skills into everyday life. Although class environment is important there has been discussions on providing ‘livestream’ classes to individuals at home to increase their access to a class and encourage daily movement. Can we create a community online that expands communication of the benefits of dance in wellbeing?
Kozinets, R. V. (2010) Chapter 2 ‘Understanding Culture Online’, Netnography: doing ethnographic research online. London: Sage. pp. 21-40.
— Linzi McLagan (@LinziMclagan) March 18, 2017