At the Edge of learning

It seems there is a lot of interest in Edgeryders experiences and views on learning. This week alone I have recieved two separate requests for the community to contribute it’s view on learning in general and education in particular. Rather than speak for the community, I think it is much more interesting and in line with the spirit in which we do things to pass them on to Edgeryders to collaborate on.

  1. Following #lote we have been asked to make an addition to a report that reponds to this motion:

In response to the motion, we have been asked to contribute to a paper that while it acknowledges the challenges faced by young people, is focused on putting forward creative solutions to existing problems. Our contribution to the report should be maximum 5 pages long and contain as they put it “out-of-the-box ideas and innovative solutions” put forward in Edgeryders discussions- both on the platform and during the conference. I’d suggest working out of a shared document so anyone can follow it as it progresses and also contribute to it- anyone who does will be included as co-authors. There is 500 Euros on the table for the person who wants to drive the process and take responsibility for making sure that the end output is of high enough quality that the community would be proud to be associated with it :slight_smile:

The Deadline for the final report is August 20.

  1. We recieved an invitation to contribute to The London Festival of Education on the 17th of November 2012. Participation is on volunteer basis- I asked whether they could cover cost of travel for people coming from outside the UK and the organisers have promised to check and get back to us…

"The London Festival of Education is being held at the Institute of Education in Central London on the 17th November 2012.  We’ve been asked by a team at TES and the Institute to organise a festival for an audience of over 1200.  We are designing a festival in the true sense, with a great line up, including headliners, interactive sessions, entertainment, debate, discussions and fantastic food and drink.  The festival is for everyone who is passionate about education in all its forms.  We expect a dynamic mix of teachers, academics, policy makers, parents, young people and more.  Keri Facer, who is on the steering group for the festival, recommended we get in touch with you about being involved in the event. We would love it if Edgeryders were interested in being involved in the event as a contributor. 


Some more event Info:


We have great contributors confirmed including David Puttnam (House of Lords), Camila Batmanghelidjh (Kids Company), Pasi Sahlberg (Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation, Finland), Guy Claxton (University of Winchester) and many more… Here’s the website which has just gone live and is being updated regularly as more participants are confirmed.  @LFE2012 #LFE2012


Our three themes for the event are:


* What does an educated person look like?

* Is it worth going to University? and

* What makes great teaching?

So we’d like each session to respond to one of these themes.



Just now the way it can work is pretty open.  We have the entire IOE for the day and therefore access to lots of different spaces, our thinking is that our contributors will run 1 or more sessions during the day and they should respond to one of the themes/questions I outlined above.  So for example we could have a room with 20 participants doing a physical Warhorse puppetry workshop run by the National Theatre responding to ‘What makes great teaching?’ and we could have 300 participants in other  space having a Q&A session in response to an initial talk from say Lord Puttnam on the importance of digital…'In relation to ‘What does an educated person look like?’.


We want this festival to really engage the audience, and be less passive than a lot of education events so it’d be great to get your steer on what you would like to do and with what size audience."


What do you think? Would you be up for taking a lead on putting together a document synthesising the Edgeryders view on learning and education? One that highlights the experiences, insights, and solutions proposed through the discussions in the community? Obviously it would be open for everyne who wants to contribute to it to be able to do so, but in my experience someone needs to lead this process. Let us know what you think via the comments so we can get this party started!


question abt report on the doc u’ve posted

You reckon something similar in style to what Ben&Gaya are doing for the ER Network Analysis?

We can make a multidisciplinary report tied to this document. I suggest we go qualitative, because it might better to tie to the possible solutions.

First thing which I thought of is differences and similarities> or reembedding and disembedding forces in Europe.

-Similar “bad’ statistics do not mean that causes for problems are similar. Therefore the solutions have to be developed locally. So it might be a good idea to identify few differences.

And this is very tricky, because it has to be addressed on the supranational level.

-When associating problems mentioned in the doc with the economic recession there is a risk of generalisation. At the same time, not only Europe, but the rest of the world is subject to convergence, so the doom and gloom over Europe for the past couple of years seem to be a part of the pan european discourse.

I think start with the solutions…

There is already so much analysis out there. I think what we can contribute is examples of initiatives, approaches, projects, environements and processes that seem promising. And then understanding what challenges each one of them is facing…and seeing from there what ties them together or differentiates them and what might help them overcome those obstacles or lower thresholds for others to be able to adopt them.

I think it is good to have constraints with something like this. I would suggest that the framework is: 1) assume that money is not available and 2) Assume that in order for any change to happen it has to start with the people within the community around or close to the initiatives doing something with the skills or resources available to them.

Makes sense?

I’ll be speaking on this

Hello, I’ve offered already to speak at the London Festival of Education, basically saying that the educated person of the future will look like an Edgeryder. That means, someone who is:

Emotionally resilient and self-reliant

Able to diffuse conflict (constructive depolarisation)

Able to learn rapidly, (by immersion, by multimodal literacy, by paragogy, and by playful experiment)

Able to flip dilemmas

Able to make and mend, including rapid prototyping

Able to generate biosphere capital (mainly through rewilding and food growing)

Able to empathise with other species and learn from and mimic biological systems

Able to create commons

I’m going to outline how educational systems might need to change to bring about these capacities by describing some projects or situations where people do learn/change rapidly. The most effective projects or situations for rapid learning are ones where there is enough intimacy/comfort and enough challenge, both rubbing together. The more challenge we face, the more intimacy and support we need to give learners.

I’m happy to collate views from Edgeryders and to report them, or to share a platform with others. I haven’t yet filled in the contributors form to detail what I want to do so there is time.


I like the point about commons

If so many problems are associated with the economic recession there are two options> boost the economic growth and stay hooked up on it till the next recession, or commons as the part of the longer term answer.

Examples of small local initiatives which work often include the concept of commons. Can we include some concrete practices for creating commons in our report?

Being specific or general

Regarding this report for “Young Europeans: an urgent educational challenge”: I agree with fellow Edgeryder k that it’s difficult to disseminate symtoms and causes for the youth’s challenges. The Edgeryders could put something together to do so, but somehow I doubt we’d be good at it: what we’re really good at is finding creative solutions to individual sets of challenges; but not necessarily at analysizing the national or super-national level of these problems.

However, if I got that right, the report wants us to contribute examples of our off-center solutions to the challenges of young people, while they will do the generalizations themselves?

As for my involvement: I’m interested in contributing something as time permits. (You’d need to put me on some e-mail list, or to post in this thread so I get the updates for this report thing.) I could contribute some densely written paragraphs to the report document and maybe also orchestrate all the chunks of content into a readable text. (But somebody more communicative should take the lead about organizing the report creation process probably :D)


So you reckon, focus less on causes, and level but rather on the out of the box solutions?

good point

My guess is that one of the challenges with dealing with the problems mentionned in the doc is that that solutions sometimes turn to be so '‘top-down’ that no one pays attention to them.

What should we share in our 5 pages report? Uniquely personal experience and solutions or the trends we see of what is working and why?

I agree. its the alternatives and solutions that are interesting

…the question is how do Edgeryders do learning and how might this help others in their own journeys through transition and the precarity that goes with it? How might the approaches that seem promising be spread further or better contributed to? How might Edgeryders better support one another?

Should we make an editable doc or a pad> so that we edit the content from this thread straight away, and stick to 5 pages, and then brush it up?

ERs with different experience and with the expertise from different field can edit the part which they find the most interesting and personal.


I’m definitely in favour of an editable pad - not sure how much I can contribute personally, but would very much like to be able to follow thoughts&processes as the document develops and have ability to make small edits&additions where I can.


yes, you’re actually written it in the first place, soz…


You reckon, focus less on causes, and level but rather on the out of the box solutions? How should we organise the paper?

So we have a document with: all these things: drugs, suicide, self harm, bullying, unemployment, moral decay in the same bad soup, and the soup is called educational challenge.

My question was: should we separate the soup into its’ ingredients or deal with it as it is?

The report can be anything: should we pick some sort of structure to it and write different parts?

We should stick to actionables otherwise our 5 pages ends up as a soup of buzzwords.

What kind of structure the report should have? How do we organise the actionables?

Report organization

My personal proposal would be to indeed take their soup as it is. They believe (for their report) that lack of education is the key to fixing the other stuff, so to be constructive and make our point be heard, let’s say it is so.

Though I believe it is not: better education (even in its broadest sense) is not the only measure to take. It is sufficient as the only goal (thought experiment: everybody wakes up tomorrow morning with the perfectly educated mindset and the best values on earth … we’d not have suicide etc. problems, not even need police and neither government). But to arrive at best education, it needs more than directly implementing it via schools etc.: we can’t program people by uploading some data, instead only immerse them in great healthy environments for long times and hope it helps. So, we need not just schools, but also something against bullying etc… (And probably, we should avoid schools!)

So maybe focus on education / empowerment / value aquisition, including “provising healthy environments” for that. And see what Edgeryders have come up with for that. I’m thinking of James Wallbank and Access Space for example.

I agree about avoiding buzzword soup (by all means). Instead of recommending action directly, I would propose a collection of 20 real-world off-center solution examples form Edgeryders, and then a short section that derives trends and action recommendations from that. I know policy documents always indulge in generic terms, and that’s why they are so powerless in my view :smiley: So I’d have no issue with an out-of-the-box form that focuses on Edgeryders examples instead.

Just my 2c worth of proposals of course!

sounds like a good stucture.

  • solutions examples from ER community.

  • trends section: it also might shine some light on why some of the existing strategies fail.

  • recommendations: if deriverd from real world actionables will be also realistic.

got link to the doc you’re using?

Hi K!

Have you set up a shared doc for the paper you guus are discussing? I can help push it aroud the internets…

Thanx, not yet.

Education and (self) power

During recent times, particularly considering democracy (work place and otherwise) and the organising/admin work in the projects I work on I became very interested in participation, why people do or don’t participate.

I’ve often found myself fustrated that people either don’t want to participate, or say they do but then don’t actually do it…  It appears either they don’t feel confident, don’t feel they have the skills, the time, the energy (the power?) - or they don’t care enough? (when speaking to some of them about things it appears they really do care though.)

People appear more than happy to give up their power (agency) for an ‘easy’ life.  Is this why representative democracy appears has become considered the way to organise the planet??

I’ve often wondered about this.  Is it human nature - or something to do with our societies.

I’m sure that rights/benefits and responsibilities should come into this somewhere - if you want the benefits, want things to be better, you should take on the responsibilites to make things happen.

Anyway last year someone in the Open Source Ecology Europe network visited an unusual village in Spain, the mayor said he was interested to provide work space for OSE type work.  A link to this blog post got posted to describe the village (I had read about the village before).  That blog post is long, but interesting and thought provoking.

Looking through that blog I saw this blog post about a school (there is a second part to it).  I guess that this blog post could be a bit biased/utopian (pun intended) - but it has really stuck with me and often comes back to me when people talk about education.  Giving children power, not treating them as inferior or trying to command them, appears to instill them with crazy amounts of responsibility and the willigness to sort things out for themselves.  I often think I should look into all this more but, to date, have not.

just … wow

Your link to this story about the Marinaleda village … just wow! Many thanks. Have included it on my list of places to visit when my truck project is ready to start travelling. Defintely have to see that place.

Is it still an active candidate for an OSE Europe location actually?


As far as I know there is interest.  Possibly from some people already in the village, I not quite sure.  The mayor wanted some people to come and give a good presentation about what was being proposed (in Spanish).  There is some discussion in the OSE-Europe google group about it - was a man and woman made the initial contact.  The man has been in America at Factor E Farm (The main OSE site).  The woman was trying to push things forward but most other OSE-E people are currently a bit tied up in other projects.  I’m going down to the OpenELand camp beginging of next month -  I’ll make sure I find out what has been going on with Marinaleda.