Archive for the ‘*Future’ Category

Political rebelliousness: what we can learn

I’ve finished my Masters this semester. Done. Full stop. Phew. I had one subject to complete this semester and I followed on from last semester and did Education for Social Change 2. The key text for the subject was Michael Newman’s Teaching Defiance (2006). Michael’s inspiration for writing the book was the need to do something about the state of the world, in particular, the Iraq War and the so-called “coalition of the willing” – remember that catch cry? How can we forget!

Now I’m inspired to write about a current event, the asylum seekers onboard the Oceanic Viking. This event is a prime example of the subject’s content.

Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers Launch Hunger Strike

Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers Launch Hunger Strike. October 15, 2009 - Photo by Oscar Siagian/Getty Images AsiaPac

In the flavour of Newman’s book, a text for the activist teacher, the story of the asylum seekers and refugees onboard the Oceanic Viking are a clear and poetic case of resistance. Amongst the rhetoric of the Rudd government, the fear mongering of the Opposition, and the general malaise of the media circling once more like vultures around yet another sensational account of boat people, there’s some definitive action. Action taken by the asylum seekers themselves. A global show of resistance, rebelling against what seems for so many a hopeless, desperate and uncontrollable situation. We extend our sympathy, our pity, our dismay, but beyond that we really don’t know how these people feel, but can only imagine.

Who better to resist the unpalatable than those who directly face it? Newman (2006, pp. 21-23) describes political rebelliousness through the famous story of Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. It was this sole and simple act of rebelliousness that turned the civil rights movement around. Rosa’s story became the symbol of the movement, a powerful story through which to engage the common person enough to propel them into action.

Her action was premised on her personal story, her years as a quiet and determined activist, her informed beliefs, her friendships, and her experience at Highlander [where she attended a workshop on education for social change, some weeks prior to her action on the bus] (p. 23).

The asylum seekers have refused to disembark from the Oceanic Viking, not wanting to reside in an Indonesian detention centre (regardless of it being funded by Australia). This simple act of refusal has shown that asylum seekers need not be pawns in this political game of “border protection”, nor need they be slaves to the smugglers that bring them to our waters. They are humans. They are taking back control of their situation. They are saying enough is enough. They want to be listened to. They want change in these convoluted processes. They are tired of all of this, of their unfortunate circumstances that bring them here in the first place. They want a new life and they want it now.

What this act has done is expose the cracks in the armour of the Australian government’s border protection approach, particularly the time taken to process refugees and asylum seekers. It has uncovered the ludicrous bureaucracy that asylum seekers have to contend with and do so in little more than concrete blocks surrounded by barbed wire fencing. It exposes the fact that processing can be done in a timely manner – for all – not simply a select few (as in this case, where 20 odd refugees have since agreed to disembark in order to be processed). Surely this means the Australian govt can no longer hide behind rhetoric and must extend this approach to others still in detention on Australian soil and on neighbouring islands such as Christmas Is.

But it takes more than this one act of protest by the asylum seekers for this to happen. Newman believes that such an act can extend to an uprising especially if the coordinated effort is focused, and the momentum continues forward. How can we capitalise on this now to achieve better outcomes for asylum seekers now and into the future? In recounting Ghandi’s acts of rebellion-come-revolution, Newman says that what is “important above all else [is] to adopt a stance of dynamic, continuous, and generative rebelliousness” (2006, p. 37). Others now have a story to tell and retell about the Sri Lankan refugees and asylum seekers who refused detention. Perhaps the journey now begins here.

References and relevant links

ABC, 2009, Asylum seekers disembark Oceanic Viking, AM online, 14 Nov 2009, viewed 15 November 2009,

Allard, T. 2009, Sri Lankan asylum seekers ‘refuse to leave boat’, 28 October 2009, viewed 15 November 2009,

Newman, M. 2006, Teaching Defiance, Josey-Bass, San Francisco CA.

Zimbio, 2009, Sri Lankan Asylum seekers Launch Hunger Strike, Zimbio, viewed 15 November 2009,


Business of learning and learning futures

I have a presentation lined up next week and have been reviewing my thinking on flexible learning and learning futures generally.

So far, I’ve returned to two slideshows I loaded to Flickr some time earlier this year and will likely focus my thinking on ideas from these for my presentation.

1. Quality through personalised learning

2. The business of learning (or, 21st century learning)

I think I’ll focus on learning futures and how flexible learning is defined and can be promoted through this thinking. Some of the key themes I’d like to draw out include:

  • learner as teacher
  • business IS learning
  • the learning design process is a collaborative one with the learner

I’ll start with that and see where I head – shall post an update soon! What do you reckon?

The Game Learner – are you game?

My colleague, Colin, has struck out with a new blog focusing on games based approaches to learning. This from his ‘about’ page:

…my particular interest is computer based games but it includes everything from roleplays to quizzes and puzzles and much much more. Games can motivate learners by engaging their imaginations, giving them control over their experiences, challenging them, enabling them to experience authentic and relevant activities and providing multimedia stimulation. I’ve been exploring the use of games in learning for a couple of years now in my work with the Flexible Learning team at the Canberra Institute of Technology…

The Game Learner » About

[image: margoconnell]

What Colin didn’t mention was the fact that he has been researching games through his Masters study; and this blog is, I think, a useful and necessary addition to the edubloggersphere!

Onya Col – will add to my feeds! 🙂

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I'll take a Thingamy and 2 whatisits, hold the doodaa

All of these eportfolio template products we’ve looked at exist in a Thingamajig mindset. Rather than let students use tools that have a broad application outside the boundaries of our college, they push the student to think of eportfolios as dependent on institution-specific technology. They keep the student in an unempowered mindset. They force the student to see technology in the wrong way.

Mike Caulfield » Blog Archive » The Parable of the Thingamajig

A little thought from Mike Caulfield. As I’m thinking of ways to tell e-learning ‘stories’ to management, Mike parables current thinking around e-portfolios. Parables make for powerful stories!

…and there I shall leave this Friday!

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Change: into the next phase

Catching up on my feeds and landed on Dave Pollard’s blog once again – if there’s anything I read up close it’s Dave’s blog.

# THE FIRST KEY TO CHANGE: Relate: You form a new, emotional relationship with a person or community that inspires and sustains hope. If you face a situation that a reasonable person would consider “hopeless,” you need the influence of seemingly “unreasonable” people to restore your hope–to make you believe that you can change and expect that you will change. This is an act of persuasion–really, it’s “selling.” The leader or community has to sell you on yourself and make you believe you have the ability to change. They have to sell you on themselves as your partners, mentors, role models, or sources of newknowledge. And they have to sell you on the specific methods or strategies that they employ.
# THE SECOND KEY TO CHANGE: Repeat: The new relationship helps you learn, practice, and master the new habits and skills that you’ll need. It takes a lot of repetition over time before new patterns of behavior become automatic and seem natural–until you act the new way without even thinking about it. It helps tremendously to have a good teacher, coach, or mentor to give you guidance, encouragement, and direction along the way. Change doesn’t involve just “selling”; it requires “training.”
# THE THIRD KEY TO CHANGE: Reframe: The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life. Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn’t have made any sense before you changed.

How to Save the World

I’m not sure where I’d be (in my head, that is) if Dave wasn’t around to offer some points of focus!

Change is imminent in my workplace – the path is now set, and the time for transition is upon us. Dave has proffered these timely points regarding change management, which I’m blogging here as a reminder for myself, should I feel lost along the way! These points above remind me again of the notion of emergence, or emergent design. Following this, Dave posted a conversation he had with Rob Paterson about the future of education, which I’m now going off to listen to.

I’ll post more in response to this shortly :o)

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