Supporting playfulness

Yesterday was a delight day for me. It was bounded by two great examples of playfulness.

The first was at 7.00 am on a cold and windy morning at the Braidwood swimming pool. It was my grandaughter Ivy’s first morning with the swim squad. Ten young swimmers and the coach got the pool ready for the start of the session.

It was the kind of morning no one wants to be first in the water and so all ten jumped in together. They set up the lane ropes as a group with older swimmers helping younger swimmers.

The session got underway with some organisational directions from the coach and then she was able to make observations 1:1 throughout the session. What struck me about the session was the wonderful technical, personal observations the coach was able to make to bring about behavioural modifications but also the joy the eleven participants had on what was a cold, windy morning.

The hour’s session flew by and ended with a mixed-ability relay that the coach managed to equalise perfectly through her choice of swim teams. It was Ivy’s first day, she swam further than she had ever swam in our 18 metre pool. Her only regret was she has to wait five days for the next squad meet up.

The second playful jolt came from a report of a community football team in Sydney in an SBS news report. Dunbar Rovers are a “grassroots club which pioneers fee free football for youngsters” and has a “no-pay-for-play credo despite escalating registration fees”.

One of the club members observed “we have no full time paid staff with people magically doing things. It’s about all working for the common good”. The club has 600 members who have the opportunity to play in one of the 18 senior teams or in one of the 18 junior teams.

Braidwood swimming squad and Dunbar Rovers are 300 kms apart but are very closely connected in playfulness. I think they exemplify the hopes Mark Upton expressed in a recent post. Both clubs do “co-create ways to help people be more human through sport – living and working in fellowship”.

Photo Credit

Dunbar Rovers Juniors full of smiles (Eastern Suburbs Football Association)

A Fra Mauro kind of week

Fra Mauro was a cartographer. He lived in the Republic of Venice in the fifteenth century.

I found out about him in James Cowan’s (1997) A Mapmaker’s Dream. In that account, Fra Mauro welcomed visitors from all over the world in his monastery and used their news to develop his map of the world.

I loved the idea that he could be in Venice and yet be connected with voyages of discovery and established trade routes.

I had a Fra Mauro feeling this week in rural New South Wales. Social media, particularly Twitter, brought me news of adventures elsewhere.

Jacquie Tran was on her way to a Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand conference:

Javier Fernandez was at a conference:

Mark Upton was writing about returning ‘home’ in South Australia after all his travels. In his discussion of living in fellowship he wrote “We DO need to balance and share power by exploring the dynamic interaction of leadership and followship” (original emphasis).

By serendipity, I met Jo Gibson, who lives just 50 kms away. Jo is researching leadership and followership in the dynamic way that Mark advocates. I have the good fortune to be her PhD supervisor.

I ended my week, delighted in reading a quote from Albert Mundet far away in Spain: “We compete in the short term, but we may cooperate at longer term”.

From a Fra Mauro perspective, this sharing is immensely powerful.

For many years, I have hoped that open sharing is the new competitive edge and that through sharing we transform sport in the ways that about which Mark Upton and his colleagues write so eloquently and has been demonstrated so well in New Zealand and Spain this week.

Photo Credit

Venezia (Roberto Defilipi, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

#EL30 Graphing

Week 3 of Stephen Downes’ E-Learning 3.0 course is looking at Graphs.

Stephen recommended some resources for this topic. These included:

Vaidehi Joshi’s (2017) gentle introduction to graph theory. In her discussion of graphs, Vaidehi observes “in mathematics, graphs are a way to formally represent a network, which is basically just a collection of objects that are all interconnected”.  She distinguishes between directed graphs and undirected graphs and explains the ways edges connect nodes in these kind of graphs. An example of the former is Twitter (each edge created represents a one-way relationship), and of the latter Facebook (its edges are unordered pairs).

Vaidehi suggests a number of resources to provide details about graphs, one of them is Jonathan Cohen’s slide show Graph Traversal. He defines a graph as a “general structure for representing positions with an arbitrary connectivity structure” that has a collection of vertices (nodes) and edges (arcs). An edge connects two vertices and makes them adjacent.

A second resource shared by Stephen is Fjodor Van Veen’s (2016) Neural Network Zoo. In his post Fjodor shares a “mostly complete chart of Neural Networks’ and includes a detailed list of references to support his visualisation of the networks.

A third resource continues the visualisation theme. Vishakha Jha (2017) uses this diagram to inform the discussion of machine learning:

A fourth resource recommendation is Graph Data Structure and Algorithms (2017). This article aggregates a large number of links to graph topics. It includes this explanation:

One of the E-Learning 3.0 course members, Aras Bozkurt, exemplified this theme in this tweet and in doing so underscored the skills available within self-organising networks :

It was a great way to end and start conversations about graphs.

Photo Credits

Title image is from Gonçalves B, Coutinho D, Santos S, Lago-Penas C, Jiménez S, Sampaio J (2017) Exploring Team Passing Networks and Player Movement Dynamics in Youth Association Football. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0171156. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0171156

Other images are frame grabs for the resources cited in this post.