Everyday language Everyday Literacies Conference

Helen Manchester writes: The Centre for the study of Literacies At the University of Sheffield has just announced their keynote speakers for their ’boutique’ conference this summer.


Many of the keynotes are people we already work with (such as Ola Erstad at Oslo University) or those we would love to invite down to work with us.

I presented at this conference last year and found it to be a great small conference where you could chat to everyone and where keynotes were top quality and discussion in depth.

Abstracts need to be in by end of March so get writing!


Informal/Formal learning and MOOCs

Sarah Eagle writes: I’ve joined the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten course Learning Creative Learning  which is my first experience of a MOOC (massively open online course). Several strands of this course are likely to interest others in the Learning Lives theme.

A screenshot of the home page of the course

Mitch Resnick and a lot of lego: the homepage for the Learning Creative Learning online course

During week 2 (the syllabus is here) informal/formal learning is a topic for discussion, and in the online seminar a brother and sister, Joi and Mimi Ito, who have followed very different paths, discuss their experiences. Mimi Ito is an academic at the University of California, Irvine. Joi (her brother) says:

I think it’s fair to say that the most important thing that I learned in my formal education was touch typing in junior high school and possibly the importance of camaraderie and athletics during high school wrestling. Despite my completely dysfunctional relationship with formal learning, I’ve been able to learn enough to run companies, give talks and be allowed to go to some of the same conferences as my sister.

Each week, the course participants are given a set of readings, video clips, an online seminar and an activity. In week 2 we were asked to think about informal learning in our own lives, and the activity was to read Seymour Papert’s essay on the “Gears of My Childhood” and write about an object from your childhood that interested and influenced you.

Following the emerging traditions of interacting with other students on a MOOC, I’ve tweeted and posted my response online. I’m interested in watching the way a MOOC works (or doesn’t) and would be pleased to hear from others in the Learning Lives theme who share this interest.

Learning Lives Research

The Learning Lives research group in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Bristol (UK) examine the lives of people who are involved in learning; from the teaching practitioner to the student, parent and the professional. All have lives, each of which have been shaped by particular kinds of learning opportunities, interactions and trajectories.

In Learning Lives we ask questions such as:

  • How and in what ways do our lives change, as we encounter different kinds of institutions and opportunities?
  • Can we create learning encounters that give rise to meaningful and empowered learning lives?
  • What stories do learners tell about their lives, and can we use these to help realise individual capabilities, and which also contribute to the different communities in which we move?

To explore these questions and the issues they generate, those of us working in this theme draw upon a range of different disciplines and approaches to research. Most of all, too, we believe that if we are to transform learning lives through the research we do, we must remain closely connected to those individuals and communities in which we research, and the policymakers and practitioners whose decisions and interventions matter and that they can make a difference.

Our blog is intended to be a space for us to share our research and thinking with each other and with a wider audience of potential collaborators, interested observers and like minded folk.

We are committed to sharing our thinking with wider audiences but are mostly passionate about entering into dialogue with anyone who comes across this site – either serendipitously (a word we love) or by design (another word we quite like).