Pebbles That Become Bo(u)lders



This is a follow up post to two recent Clyde Street posts: Coach Education and Development: Beyond the Social Web and Social Presence.
It is a celebration of a remarkable group of coach educators, resource developers and designers at British Swimming.
I mention them here with their permission: Lucy Stone, Ian Freeman, Tanya Kesterton, James Blackburn, Rob Matthews, Vicki Taylor and Rajan Tuit.
I met the group whilst I was in England recently following an invitation from Ian Freeman.


I met the group in the cafe at the Loughborough Sport Park. All seven members were at the meeting.
I was struck immediately by the talents of the group. I thought the Loughborough team had remarkable insights and experiences to share. I was very impressed by the connectedness of the team and their telepathic understanding of each other’s work.
I think this video, Educators at the core of lifelong learning prepared by the team to share their work showcases their creativity.


In an essay written in 2009, Charles Leadbeater wrote:

If the culture that the web is creating were to be reduced to a single, simple design principle it would be the principle of With. The web invites us to think and act with people, rather than for them, on their behalf or even doing things to them. The web is an invitation to connect with other people with whom we can share, exchange and create new knowledge and ideas through a process of structured lateral, free association of people and ideas. The principle underlying the web is the idea of endless, lateral connection.

He added:

All the new media and cultural organizations, created from now on, will be pebble businesses. (Every minute millions of people come to the beach to drop their own little pebble: a blog post, a YouTube video, a picture on Flickr, an update on Twitter. A bewildering array of pebbles in different sizes, shapes and colours are being laid down the whole time, in no particular order, as people feel like it.)

My meeting with Ian, Lucy and their colleagues brought me back to these ideas. The trigger was the team’s use of PebblePad for personal learning. There is a case study of British swimming’s adoption of PebblePad here. Their experience has encouraged other sports to become involved too.
Throughout the day I was thinking about the synergies between a learning organisation’s commitment to personal, dynamic learning spaces and the ‘with-ness’ of Charles’s 2009 essay.

Becoming Bolder

My day with Lucy and Ian flew by. I was staggered by what they had achieved in developing their learning spaces.
I do think that their practice is exemplary. I left hoping that their work would be highly valued by British Swimming.
I thought too about how national governing bodies might become bolder in support of the meta-learning activities that support a vibrant learning organisation. This requires investment in creative teams and an explicit acknowledgement of their value.
I am keen to share my experience of the day as I think, as with the story of Darrell and Adam at Cardiff Met, there is so much to admire in the Loughborough team’s approach.

Photo Credits

Pebbles in Tafoni (Dawn Endico, CC BY-SA 2.0)
Rialto Beach Pebble Sunset (Peter Prehn, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)



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