The definition of Learning Technology can be described as the ‘study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technological processes and resources’ Richey, R.C. (2008).
On Tuesday I visited the Learning Technologies Next Generation fishbowl discussion. This gave me a chance to catch up with a few friends, and watch and engage with a conversation topic of interest, using a conversational technology I enjoy.
Typically a fishbowl discussion is set up as shown in the diagram above, in the round with a panel in the centre. In an open fishbowl – one of the centre seats is vacant and at any point in the discussion, that seat can be filled by an audience member. Traditionally, when the empty seat is filled, one of the existing panel members moves to the audience. This way, there is always a space to be filled, should anyone wish to do so.
I chose to sketchnote the event. I’d not made a sketchnote in a while and wanted to practice, to see how I got on. Notwithstanding that I couldn’t capture as much detail through this method, I enjoyed listening, and creating an interpretation of what I heard.
Something that interested me was how little technology itself featured in the conversation, despite often being contained in the questions. It wasn’t absent – people referenced certain apps with their pros and cons, the acceptance that technology has and is improving and can have really useful applications, to aid planning for example. However, most of the exchanges were about:
- taking responsibility
- getting started
- start small
- keep it simple
- getting out of the way – managers take note!
I enjoyed being at the event. Afterwards, one thing I reflected on about the structure, was that on this occasion, the panel stayed put, and the one empty seat was occupied and vacated by different audience members at various points in the conversation. My personal preference is for the panel members to self select out of the centre as the empty seat is occupied as described above. This means the make up of the panel can and often does change completely, and that can create really interesting shifts in the discussion. That said, I really enjoyed listening to the exchange of thoughts and ideas.
If anyone who was at the fishbowl is reading this, please let me know what I missed. And given this session was a precursor to the 2018 Learning Technologies conference in London today and tomorrow, I wonder how many of these themes will also feature there?