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Mark Narayn

Mark Narayn WQ7

Personal Information; Mark’s LinkedIn Profile and a blog on my website that I will be setting up later in the year.

My background has been in the music industry as a performer, manager, musical director and recording engineer. I have also run my own business. During my spare time while working for the BBC in 1989, I tried some teaching “for fun” one day a week, and loved it.  This was a totally unexpected epiphany.  Over the last 23 years I have become more and more involved in education and it has developed into a deep passion and my career.

I believe that there are serious, fundamental problems within the current educational system, and wish to contribute to the development of ways in which learning systems can become more relevant to the 21st century, and the current revolutions in communication, communities, and participation.  I believe that any significant change will need to come from the ground up. These are likely to be self-organising groups of learners using free resources.  I call this “disruptive education” because I see it working in a similar way to Clayton Christensen’s “disruptive innovation”, in that much of it is inherently “disruptive” to mainstream education.  I see myself as a catalyst in starting these off within my local community.

WikiQuals Aim;

To set up disruptive education initiatives in my hometown (Norwich, Norfolk), which will explore learning spaces and different approaches to learning and funding, and make the journey and findings as accessible as possible.  The detail of how this will be done is unknown – this is a voyage of exploration, without a defined end point, and will involve a lot of improvising, learning by taking risks and trying things.

I am not a researcher, I am a practitioner and communicator…. my ability is in taking theories and ideas, and opening them up to as many people as possible.  I intend to use as many communication channels as I can to do this – I want it to be a dialogue which allows people access to other possibilities in education, beyond the current mainstream.  I will use a synthesis of ideas from a wide range of disciplines – everything will be on the table to try.

This will be a work in progress, and follow-up reports will detail what seems to work in practice (in this context) and what doesn’t – these will act as an open resource.  The idea is to allow others to build learning spaces in their own communities, by looking at what is achieved here and then adapting anything that they may find useful, to their own situation.  So, rather than create an organisation that will become large and hierarchical, I want to become part of a developing collective of organisations that are independent, open and part of a forward thinking community.

In particular, I want to find ways of engaging and encouraging those who are most remote from these ideas, to take control of their own learning journeys.  A bit of a hippie agenda perhaps, but with business and political savvy, mixed with intellectual rigor and experience!

WikiQuals Activity;

Research into:-  alternative ways of funding; learning spaces; education and learning; communities of practice; internet tools and platforms; etc.  In addition, adapting ideas and approaches in other disciplines and industries.

Use a wide range of communication channels, (face-to-face, written word, moving/still images, sound, etc) to make this accessible, and allow the wider community to engage with it and use the bits that suit them.

To learn from this and feedback to the community.

WikiQuals Publications;

Ongoing blog; book; video; photos; audio; and any other media that is workable for this.

Wiki Quals Support;

The WikiQuals community; the “Everything Unplugged” community; colleagues in other disciplines/industries; ongoing interviews with others who may have useful perspectives.

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Designing for Discontinuities « WikiQuals

  2. Last Friday (7th Sept) was the first meetup of the Everything Unplugged East group in Norwich. Getting this group going has helped with my WikiQual in two ways – Contacts made there have led onto two other avenues that will help me build the community education project that will form the basis of my WikiQual, and secondly, it acted as a major motivating push – especially thanks to the support of Fred, Tony, Ian and Lucy, who made it into a very special day for me. I have been investigating structures for the learning project, and now have a clear idea of where I’m heading. Keeping the meetup going every week is an essential part of my overall pathway. Here is the lovely slideshare that Fred organised for our first EUE meet:

  3. When trying to explain the value of the Everything Unplugged meet-up to people who have never attended, I have recently had replies like
    “so it’s just a bit of socialising – a chat with no point?!”
    “How is it different from meeting up and having a gossip with friends” and
    “if there’s no teacher, or presenter, or project outcome, what’s the point?”

    I decided to put together a little FAQ to help get across the enormous value I have found in Everything Unplugged, to use for those enquiring about EU East…….

    The idea behind our Everything Unplugged East meet-up is to allow constructive, cross-boundary dialogues, that are loosely looking at education, learning and society. In particular, there is a focus on learning outside of institutions and the way new technologies are shaping the social landscape. Before each meet-up, we post a topic. One person leads on that topic to start the meeting off, but the ethos is that of informal, spontaneous development with no over-arching agenda. So conversations can evolve in any direction they wish, either with the whole group or breakaway groups. Out of this lack of structure and occasional chaos, can come amazing ideas for development, networking contacts, and a deep level of informal learning.

    FAQs for the “Everything Unplugged East” Meet-Ups:

    – What’s the point?
    To create a space for informal learning and idea generation, by gathering a group of people from different disciplines together, to break bread and have dialogue. Rather like the British coffeehouses that started in Oxford in the 17th Century, and were part of the trigger for the Enlightenment.
    The Greeks developed the tradition of the Symposium for more than just letting a group of blokes get pissed! They understood that learning is a social activity that is often most productive in a relaxed atmosphere.

    – What’s the agenda?
    There is no overall agenda or political motive. Each meeting will have a topic for discussion that will be posted in advance with one person leading on it to start with, but it will be up to the group to decide how much or little of it to follow, as the meeting progresses.

    – So you don’t actually get anything practical done…. You just have a chat!?
    Yes…. That’s the point. This is the stage before the one where groups assemble to run a project. It is the space for the intellectual playing that triggers ideas, for the creation of networks and for learning across discipline boundaries. It is an oasis for social, face-to-face dialogue which is not ruled by hierarchy, outcome objectives or political agendas. Its value lies within the people who are there, and their ability to listen, contribute, wonder and challenge constructively.

    – So you can’t guarantee that every meet-up will be amazing or thought-provoking or informative?
    No, we can’t! It’s a risk. Some of the meet-ups will be better than others. But remember that you are a part of any meet-up you attend, and you have the same responsibility as everyone else to make it into an amazing, thought-provoking session.

    – What’s the structure?
    We meet as a single group and one of the members will lead on the initial topic for discussion, explaining what they’ve found out. This is to get things going and give an initial focus, but it is just a starting point. From this, discussions and topics develop, and they can be centralised or split into ever-changing breakaway groups. This all happens spontaneously, at the time.
    Most importantly, at least one of us is always there every week, and this gives continuity.

    – But I want an expert to teach me about something – a lecture or presentation.
    Then our meet-up is not for you. There are plenty of online resources for this, with many amazing speakers.
    We all come from different disciplines and areas of expertise, and the learning lies in the informal pooling of our experiences, knowledge and ideas, through dialogue within a relaxed atmosphere.

    – Informal meet-ups are messy and chaotic. Why don’t you have a structured agenda with different people leading on each point, and a moderator or chair to control the agenda?
    Creative activities usually start off as messy and chaotic – we like that! Our meet-ups are just the first stage in a process. When we leave the meet-up, each person can use their new knowledge and contacts, for their own projects. We are not here to “lead” you. We are here to supply the environment and trigger points for ideas to be born – how they subsequently grow and evolve happens after the meet-up.

  4. Can we meet for coffee? I’m Part of the ipro founding team and we are keen to chat with you- your blog fascinates me- best wishes Anne


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