My Project

Back in June 2008, I started writing this WordPress blog (link). I had written on other blogs before and had first dipped my toes with Geocities in the late 1990s.

In 2008, I was emboldened by CCK08 (link) to explore thoughts openly about learning in a digital world. I had not considered that what I wrote would be of interest to any other reader. It was framed by the delight of thinking out loud.

This delight in thinking out loud led me to explore many ways to share openly through emerging cloud resources. Many of these accounts remain and include wikis, talks, slides, documents and data. I was even naive enough to start Facebook pages for some of my units.

Another preoccupation of mine has been the linking of ideas about learning, coaching and performing enriched by my formative experiences of social sciences, teacher education, human movement studies, performance analysis and analytics. This has led me to think deeply about how ideas are formed in social contexts. Many of my posts are about how performance analysts and their collaborators emerged at particular times and particular places and constructed knowledge.

My blog at Clyde Street continues to be my platform for this sharing. I hope to add many more posts to the 1800 produced already. My new guide is the R community that is providing exciting ways to share openly and my old guide, the ever inspiring, Stephen Downes (link).

It has been fascinating how this project has emerged and changed.

Photo Credit

Blue sky thinking (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)


Squid boats anchored in Paita, a port city in northern Peru. Humboldt squid support a massive artisanal fishery in this region.

This post started with a Luke Bornn tweet (link). He shared a link to Rocio Joo and her colleagues’ (2019) paper, Navigating through the R packages for movement (link).

In the paper, Rocio and her colleagues review 57 packages in R that are used to process, analyse and visualise tracking data. They note:

The advent of miniaturized biologging devices has provided ecologists with unparalleled opportunities to record animal movement across scales,and led to the collection of ever-increasing quantities of tracking data

I thought this paper would provide some fascinating background insights for tracking in sport contexts. Their review focussed on tracking data that had “at least 2-dimensional coordinates (x, y) and a time index (t), and can be seen as the geometric representation (the trajectory) of an individual’s path”(2019:2). I was very interested in their report of combined accelerometry, magnetometry and GPS data pre-processing (2019:7).

The paper prompted me to look in more detail at Rocio’s work and to contemplate what sport might learn from ecologists. To my great delight, I found reference to her PhD thesis submitted at the University of Montpellier in December 2013 (link). The title was A behavioral ecology of fishermen: hidden stories from trajectory data in the Northern Humboldt Current System.

The abstract of the thesis starts with:

This work proposes an original contribution to the understanding of fishermen spatial behavior, based on the behavioral ecology and movement ecology paradigms. Through the analysis of Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data, we characterized the spatial behavior of Peruvian anchovy fishermen at different scales: (1) the behavioral modes within fishing trips (i.e., searching, fishing and cruising); (2) the behavioral patterns among fishing trips; (3) the behavioral patterns by fishing season conditioned by ecosystem scenarios; and (4) the computation of maps of anchovy presence proxy from the spatial patterns of behavioral mode positions.

What struck me about the thesis and its applicability to sport was the reference to ‘behavioural modes‘ associated with the tracks. The thesis is available as a pdf. I have downloaded it to examine it in detail.

Discovering Rocio’s work reminded me of a thesis I found many years ago, that changed my thoughts about how to share research stories. It was written by Jeanne Favret-Saada and had the delightful title Deadly words : witchcraft in the Bocage (1980).

Thanks to Luke, Rocio met Jeanne in this post. Both underscore how important it is that we step outside our comfort zone to explore ideas that can contribute to our practice and the ways in which we theorise about that practice.

Photo Credit

Squid boats anchored in Paita (Allison Guy)


Rocio and her colleagues’ (2018) have also published a recent paper (December) that looks at Metrics for describing dyadic movement (link).

Share, Exchange, (Re)Create

One of my colleagues at the University of Canberra, Peter Copeman, has introduced me to the concept of Ganma from the Yolngu people of Arnhem Land.


describes a situation in which a river of water from the sea (western knowledge) and a river of water from the land (Aboriginal knowledge) mutually engulf each other upon flowing into a common lagoon and becoming one. (Timothy Pyrch & Maria Castillo, 2001:380)

As the waters mix, “foam is created at the surface so that lines of foam mark the process of Ganma … the foam represents a new kind of knowledge”. In this sense of the word, “Ganma is a place where knowledge is (re)created”. (Timothy Pyrch & Maria Castillo, 2001:380)

Dr Marika, a Yolngu leader has observed:

Water like knowledge has memory. When two different waters meet to create Ganma, they diffuse into each other, but they do not forget who they are or where they come from.

In October, I am participating in a Knowledge Exchange conference in Dublin (HPX 2017). To my delight Waterville is to the south west of the conference venue … and the National Acquatic Centre is not far away. The hosts, the Institute of Sport, have since 2013 sought to:

to create and stage compelling knowledge exchange events in order to create a debate on current concepts of world class practice while building relationships in order to enhance multi-disciplinary teamwork in the field.

Conference presenters in 2017 are coming from all over the world to exchange and share.

Two posts this week have connected Arnhem Land and Dublin for me.

The first is by Leigh Blackall. He discussed a decision to install a new content management system (CMS) in his university. His post starts with this observation:

the process for selecting that new CMS was appalling, and the process for implementing it has been just as disappointing. Through the now typical pseudo-consultation events of cafe-style workshops where people with varying levels of ability and experience gather around butchers’ paper, getting a “facilitated” 5 minutes in a noisy room to try to channel through a scribe any competing idea into coherent hand written sentences, that are then randomly selected to create single keywords to stick on a wall, all in some strange gesture toward crowd sourced, sticky-note wisdom.

He concludes with this summary:

What I’ve witnessed in the new CMS is a massive refocusing on a single point, at the expense of all other concerns to do with teaching and learning. Many new people have been employed centrally, overwhelmingly configured to develop that managerial dashboard. This redistribution of resources ultimately comes at the expense of teachers badly in need of employment certainty and more agency in what they do – the time to understand what they’re doing.

All of which brought me to reflect on how organisations can be like water with a sensitivity to difference and an understanding of what can be co- and re-created.

The second post was titled The New Class of Digital Leaders. In it Pierre Peladeau, Mathias Herzog, and Olaf Acker discuss how organisations are addressing digital transformation. They point out:

When it comes to implementing a digital strategy, the new class of chief digital officers (CDOs) often encounter several key obstacles upon assuming their role: ad hoc digital initiatives spread throughout a large organization, lacking central oversight; a traditional culture that resists change; a gap in the talent required; and legacy systems and structures that threaten to derail their ambitions.

The Ganma concept has a great deal to offer these organisations as an epistemological foundation for engaging with the meeting of different experiences. It provides a fascinating opportunity for an ecological balance in leading and following in organisations that can aspire to share, exchange and re-create.

Photo Credits

Rock painting Near 7 Spears (C Steele, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Desmond, Arnhem Land (Rusty Stewart, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)