I already referenced on the bava how much I loved the amazing Ama-Zine session at OER19 run by Amy Burvall and Bryan Mathers. Thankfully Bryan wrote it up recently provides links to all the resources they used/created for the session, and it really is something others should consider integrating into their conference because it was so good. I could go on about it ad nauseam, but I’ll spare you the pain. One pleasant surprise for me was Bryan used a video wherein I jokingly use my best “like and subscribe Youtuber octave” to narrate my Zine, which, in the end, I was very fond of. In fact, it was Amy’s cut-out prompts that were so evocative and compelling that what I first thought of as a throw-away exercise quickly became something I was truly excited about and oddly proud of. What better sign of an awesome workshop?
The zine was meant to be a play on a schtick Brian Lamb and I have been joyfully re-hashing since 2016 when we did our co-facilitated residency at Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab. The gag was I was Brian’s therapist and he was in my constant care, I planned on doing my zine around that conceit but once I got hold of the prompts and images I went almost entirely cut-out and used a more impressionistic, abstract idea of my therapy so it could be more broadly applied beyond Brian 🙂
Anyway, that was the vibe for me at OER19, not only serious, critical, and probing (cause it was all that for sure), but also a lot of fun with some amazingly creative people. I want more!
I’ve been thinking so much about this session. I was really absorbed in watching how different people responded differently to the instructions, and how gradually everyone — wherever they began on the bafflement continuum — seemed to sink into the activity and become kind of thrilled by making such a simple thing. It’s a version of Csíkszentmihályi’s idea of flow, and what’s striking is that it came upon us so easily. So one thing I learned is that the threshold of getting started was very low.
But when I compare it with other things that I become absorbed in (gardening, say), what struck me is that it also wasn’t effortful to continue. It was really easy and gentle–just enough to enable self-forgetting in a crowd of strangers. This is potentially very important for introvert learners.
I want to incorporate an activity like this into teaching, so I’m just thinking about what needs to be in place for it to work safely. Lovely to read this reminder of such a happy time.