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.
Happenchance is for anyone who wants to do things better: creative people, adventurers, travelers, wanderers, and dreamers. Anyone who won’t settle for the status quo, who wants to rise above mediocrity and conformity, and do something exciting, amazing, or engaging.
This site is for people with an open and relaxed attitude towards life.
People whose passion and interests take them in new and unexpected directions.
People who don’t mind trying new things.
People who aren’t afraid of failing.
People willing to embrace chance and serendipity.
I believe that by making our own luck, embracing chance, and working hard, we all have the opportunity to make our lives richer, more satisfying, and more fun.
By happenchance, I have come across a rich seam of ideas of late prompted by the mob at myfastestmile. Through them, I have been introduced to the remarkable Sporticus.
I thought it was an outstanding reflection on the conversations stimulated by the recent #relearn meeting in Marlow hosted by myfastestmile.
In his post, Sporticus discusses a conversation with a former pupil, Josh, on a train. Josh played rugby for Sporticus’s school and was coached by him. Josh’s story told by Sporticus includes this:
Josh finished by saying that he stopped playing because he no longer wanted to play my game. MY GAME. We shook hands and parted at Paddington, but that train journey made me start to question many of my approaches I had to both teaching and coaching. I no longer wanted it to be MY GAME, I wanted to ensure it was their game. I wanted to see if there was another way, one that didn’t make children fall out of love with THEIR GAME.
This is a great story to share. I have been thinking all day about how as a meddler-in-the-middle I might be part of a process of building OUR GAME as a teacher and a coach.
This does involve a concerted attempt to engage in meta-learning (learning about learning). I think storytelling is a great way to do this. I see the creation of OUR GAME as a wonderful co-operative venture.
As a teacher and coach, I aspire to have a compelling story to share. The older I become (and perhaps more experienced in life matters), the more I want to be part of the co-creation of the game that is inclusive, exciting and sensitive to personal differences.
It has an OURNESS about it.
In the late 1980s, I was completing my PhD in Physical Education. I decided to craft my thesis as a collection of stories about five teachers in two schools.
I was fortunate that at that time John van Maanen was writing about writing in anthropology. One observer wrote of John van Maanen’s approach:
His goal is not to establish one true way to write ethnography, but rather to make ethnographers of all varieties examine their assumptions about what constitutes a truthful cultural portrait and select consciously and carefully the voice most appropriate for their tales.
Sporticus’s story of Josh and the reflection prompted by their meeting is a great example of John van Maanen’s confessional tale. I have been fascinated how this kind of approach has produced autoethnographic accounts in the last thirty years.
Sporticus ends his post with these two sentences:
The start of that journey started with a story. What’s yours?
My response is to share a story that helped me think about OUR GAME.
This story created a significantly long conversation in my PhD viva voce examination. My examiner wanted to know if this was a fictional account. I produced my fieldwork diary for the lesson and the storm passed.
It is a lesson enabled by an expert pedagogue. Anush is one of the pupils in the lesson.
This is the introduction to it:
The story appeared in print in 1992. The reference is:
Lyons, K. (1992). Telling stories from the field? A discussion of an ethnographic approach to researching the teaching of physical education. Research in physical education and sport: Exploring alternative visions, 248-270.
Bob helped me understand how the craft of teaching could create a most wonderful world of learning. His clarity enabled all his mixed ability classes to flourish.
Just after I received Sporticus’s tweet, I noticed an alert from Jay Cross about Real Learning. I think his video (3 minutes) might be a good way to end this post about stories and OUR GAME.
Al, Andrew and Mark at myfastest mile and Sporticus have made my day by nudging me towards my own reflection on learning. I am hopeful that my sense of learning resonates with them and has affinities with Jay’s views.
Peter Berger, in his invitation to sociology (1963), wrote about “the curiosity that grips any sociologist in front of a closed door behind which there are human voices”. I have been fascinated by learning about these voices in education and in sport.
In pre-Internet days, I enjoyed reading about the lives (voices) of teachers and pupils in books like Philip Jackson’s Life in Classrooms and Ivor Goodson’s Studying Teachers’ Lives. Ivor’s advocacy and use of life history methods struck a strong chord with me and informed my ethnographic approach to the study of physical education in schools.
With the Internet, we have ever-increasing opportunities to learn about and share voices. I believe strongly that the thick description available to us through multi-media content raises important issues about and opportunities for authentic learning.
When we had initial discussions (in 2000) about the format of the proposed International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, one of my suggestions was to enable agnostic content (text, audio, video, data) to be shared and to do so as an open educational resource in any language.
If I had the same conversation today, I would support strongly the produsage of performance analysis accounts from the diverse social media available to us. I would be mindful of the conventions in using these resources. In October this year, Chelsea Lee wrote:
As a student produser, I would treat these secondary sources with the same rigour as if I were reading a journal paper or a book chapter. Their digital provenance should enable me to make informed decisions about their authenticity.
I do think Adam’s post is a must-read for anyone involved in or thinking about becoming involved in performance analysis.
I am mindful that Adam’s post appears in the Visual Performance Analysis blog. As a reader I am mindful that overreliance on one source is an issue to be addressed through personal judgement. However, I do think this is the same kind of vigilance i would have if I was citing a number of papers from one journal.
My aim in writing this post is to support those authors who are keen to transform the public and scholarly narratives about performance analysis in sport.
I have been through the 1980s discussions of the validity of qualitative research. I am hopeful that just as qualitative research is acknowledge as a valid and reliable approach to gathering and telling stories, the emerging digital literacies (with all the required safeguards) will be seen as acceptable too … in a much shorter time frame.
I do hope that if there are any inaccuracies in this post they will be pointed out to me. This seems an essential characteristic of open publishing … an interested (supportive or antithetical) readership becomes co-authors.
If we use established rules of evidence, the rich digital assets available to us become vibrant, authentic resources. We can do this with our close or loose connections to each other.