The Early Years Summit is an annual online CPD event for Early Years Practitioners. Each year the summit provides in-depth training in the fundamental skills, that is required when working in Early Years settings, through interviews and presentations with leading experts and practitioners. Access is free until March 31st but a lifetime access pass can be purchased for £25. There are quite a few videos uploaded each day that can last up to 1 hour, therefore, it may be difficult to watch and retain the information in the short timeframe that the access is given for FREE. Intrigued by the online CPD opportunity, I registered for the free access and membership and was instantaneously delighted at the first video available; Sally Goddard Blythe on Improving Personal, Social and Emotional Well-Being Through Physical Development. Now this interview of what looked like a recorded Skype chat was fascinating and I found the conversation extremely valuable in regard to my Early Years classes and projects. The content was an in-depth discussion of academic research and findings and although I found this easy to follow and put into context I had to consider the relevance to Early Year practitioners or assistants that I come across on a weekly basis. Their approach is less academic and they are hands on with the children. The content may be valuable but the information that is disseminated through video and an ‘in the mind’ learning approach may be problematic as the visualisation of the knowledge may be difficult to transfer into the day to day approach within the Early Year setting. Although a wonderful initiative it falls back to how and when learning happens. Is it enough to just listen to a conversation? Should one be a part of that conversation to allow full understanding? Is listening the only form of learning and should visual representation or examples be available? How can the learners then take the information gained and put it into practise which will solidify learning and allow retention?
In this TED Talk Wayne McGregor shows us his passion for dance and through creativity he speaks of the process in which one discovers their physical and cognitive habits. Dance provides an ability to express ones own voice. His language brings forwards a wonderful point of view that describes technology of the body and that it is the most technologically literate thing that we have. The body provides a means to communicate, it’s a process of physical thinking and a collaboration of both mind and body. We are experts in regard to proprioception and don’t really think about it until something goes wrong or we unable to use our abilities in regards to dimensions, space, technology or as a means to communicate and read an environment. What I would like to explore is how can we use kinaesthetic intelligence in regard to online education? When learning is assumed to be a process that takes place in the mind can we enhance experience through muscle memory and spacial awareness?
In an e-mail from Coursera there are definitely algorithms at play as I am sent a list of recommended courses. The selection of courses have a connection with my current MOOC ‘The Brain and Space’ but I am not in a position to take on another course. I consider browsing the list and even read a few in depth before coming to my senses. I can’t help but feel tempted and wonder if Coursera are putting pressure on me to expand my education? Is it for my benefit or a marketing strategy to increase course numbers and financial gain? I then start to consider the algorithms that may influence student course choices and career pathway. Do students find themselves being led down the garden path where they are navigated to a course that may not be suitable or necessary. Are algorithms making choices and narrowing a selection of courses that will shape ones career and life direction?
Beer, D. (2016). The social power of algorithms. Information, Communication & Society, 20(1), 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/1369118x.2016.1216147
Knox, J., 2014. Active Algorithms: Sociomaterial Spaces in the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC. Campus Virtuales, 3(1), pp.42–55.
Liked on YouTube: Scottish Ballet Health & Fitness Episode 5: Wee Fitness
This online Health & Fitness episode covers the population that are classed as ‘wee mice’ and their parents that wish to explore Scottish Ballet’s online educational department. The video encourages developmental movement play and encourages the parent to create new ideas to play and dance with their toddler.
Now this episode of Health & Fitness for me is delightful to watch. The video led by the lovely Preston encourages the older generation to move and gain physical mobility by following the instructions and demonstrations by the elegant members of the Scottish Ballets ‘Elders’ class. When working with 55+ its apparent that it is not just about the physical activity but that there is also a social aspect. Like all community classes there is a need to feel part of a group and for many a dance session can provide this. Whether an individual can make it to the class or not, having a session available online will encourage the participant to fit in the weekly session from the comfort of their own home. I just hope that technology will allow us to create a virtual class where participants can interact with each other whilst taking part, capturing a sense of community and inclusion.
Scottish Ballet have a stream of Health and Fitness Episodes which allow participants to follow a class in the comfort of their own home. The online videos provide access to a variety of sessions that help build strength, lengthen and tone the body whilst moving with dancers form the company. The dancers provide inspiration while the carefully planned class provides a challenging workout. The videos help to include members of the public to join class despite logistics such as geographic and financial issues. Technology allows us to interact with our favourite companies, organisations or mentors online. However, the teacher is not able to provide corrections and unless the participant is an experienced dancer or movement practitioner, safety and injury prevention becomes problematic.
Scottish Ballet along with other National Companies are creating educational videos to demonstrate class or tutorials. They also have live webcasts which enable the public to have a behind the scenes vital experience where the company can discuss their current work, open up their rehearsals, and allow viewers a tour of their studios whilst providing a discussion with the Artistic Director, dancers and Educationalists. Schools can access the footage which can support their topic within the arts as well as engage and encourage pupils to embrace the dance world.
Scottish Ballet are even in on the current phase of ‘Makeup Tutorials’ where the online culture shares tips, process and techniques that allows the viewer to achieve the perfect look. Here they provide an insight to the wardrobe of the witch in their christmas production of Hansel & Gretel. The education department not only understanding their clientel but are keeping their website updated with the latest online trends.