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In this post I am updating the work we did in Learning in the Age of Anger  and would like to offer four links that will be brought together in this post in preparation for World Heutagogy Day (#wHday17) on 26th September 2017.

1. World Heutagogy Day

2.The Author’s introduction to “The Age of Anger”

3. introduction  to Futurability: the Age of Impotence and the horizon of possibility

4. Learning in the Age of Anger, blog from Fred Garnett and Nigel Ecclesfield

This post is being written to encourage readers of this blog to participate in World Heutagogy Day on 26th September as we continue to believe that learning is central to the development of a social Architecture of Participation. Not through the types of learning or education systems being championed in England, the USA or Australia, nor through learning that promotes authoritarian models of teaching and immutable truths of a religious or political nature.
Two recent studies about our world draw attention to the issues faced by the vast majority of the world’s peoples. These are (more…)


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Taking Graeber’s analysis from “The Utopia of Rules” to heart, I think he is right to emphasise that despite the rhetoric of reducing administration through a freeing of resources by the privatisation of administrative and bureaucratic processes and outsourcing those services, what happens, in reality, is that we are all further embroiled in filling forms and that much of activity generated by the Internet and the use of Open Source software is focused on forms, administration and data handling. “Meanwhile, in the few areas in which free, imaginative creativity actually is fostered, such as in open source Internet software development, it is ultimately marshalled in order to create even more, and even more effective, platforms for the filling out of forms. This is what I mean by “bureaucratic technologies”: administrative imperatives have become not the means, but the end of technological development.” (Graeber 2015 p142) Following on from my previous post, it seems to me that Lea, and Moore, to a lesser extent premised their view of public sector work and “public value” on the idea of public sector employees being at the heart of policy formation and influencing the direction of policy through their embeddedness in those services and their regular contact with service users and local politicians. (more…)

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“Notwithstanding the increasing global interconnectivity of human existence, life is lived – culturally, politically and socially – at precise points of interconnection. Globalisation is experienced not as an airy abstraction, but as a located reality.” Nixon J “Foreward”  in (Gornall et al 2014 pxiii).

The book from which this quote was taken looked at the experience of work in Welsh further and higher education in the period 2000 – 2010 and noted that while much attention is given to the “visible aspects of academic performance – teaching hours, exam scripts marked, candidates credentialised, funds secured, research as published units – surprisingly little attention is given to the manner and methods by which academics actually do their work.” (Gornall et al 2014 p1) (continue reading tag here?)

What Gornall and her collaborators identified was that much working practice in colleges and universities descried by them as “how I work” (ibid p1) has been hidden because it was seen as unimportant. In our terms the how I work is defined by a constrained set of performance outcomes/performance indicators which mean that the individual teacher’s work (although we would prefer to use the term “practitioner” to capture the wider sense of what individuals do both inside and outside of classrooms, workshops and lecture theatres) in terms of their activity and the duration of that work has been unobserved as much of this activity is carried out in private both at work and at home. “From what I can see a lot of work appears to be carried out, and very methodically, especially … in the mornings and in the evening. These are before and after the main ‘office’ (campus) day.” Partner of a practitioner (ibid p2)


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9 Key Findings in the Executive Summary

In February 2013 the final report of the public inquiry into the management and poor practices within the Mid-Staffordshire Health Trust was published; consisting of an Executive Summary and three volumes of more than 1000 pages. The reason for the size of this report was the intense public and political interest into the way in which the operations of a public body, the healthcare trust, had failed to promote patient care and had seemed to create a climate where abuse and neglect of patients, particularly the elderly, was commonplace under a management that was more focused on financial performance and the status of the organisation than supporting and sustaining a culture of professional care. The background to the setting up of the inquiry can be found here on WikiPedia  and there is a huge range of commentary and resources which can be found by using the search terms “Francis Report” and “Mid Staffordshire Health Authority Inquiry”. One year on from the publication of the report there is much literature on what has changed as a result of the inquiry and now seems a good time to review the main findings and the recommendations of the committee of inquiry from the perspectives being developed in this blog. After this overview the next post will look at “progress” one year on from the publication of the report and how this exemplifies the issues discussed below.

The key to the Francis report was the disconnect between a managerial focus on finance and organisational status and the public expectation of professional and ethical care for all patients. This latter was overlooked, and sometimes suppressed, in an environment focused on organisational efficiency in order to achieve “Foundation Trust” status. Both the nature of this status and the Mid-Staffordshire Trust’s concern to gain this status are well described in the report, and the key issues clearly elucidated in the Executive Summary.

Francis’ 9 key concerns with the running of the Mid-Staffordshire Health Trust are summarised below. (more…)

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It’s taken us some time to get round to posting something about this review, which was led by Estelle Morris, former Secretary of State for Education and as been published by DIUS, now BIS(http://www.dius.gov.uk/news_and_speeches/press_releases/~/media/publications/I/ict_user_skills).  The report has generated a wide range of media coverage and opens up the debate about the role and purpose of ICT skills beyond those considered by the Leitch Report and gives particular attention to what are called “digital life skills” characterised by the report as being “a set of basic ICT skills an individual requires use a computer to safely enter, access and communicate information on-line.” p 8 Other areas of skill identified by Digital Britain are digital work skills and digital economy skills and all three categories are seen as overlapping and sharing core competences. (more…)

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Over the last two weeks, the publication of the final report and associated papers from the Inquiry into the future of lifelong learning has drawn attention to the term public value again. This has followed an interesting trajectory using the term to describe potential savings that can be made in one area if there is investment in something else e.g. savings to be made if public initiatives lead to reductions in crime and other anti-social behaviour. Copies of the main report and the public value papers can be accessed from the Inquiry into the future of lifelong learning website and then using the link to the Supplementary Papers. (more…)

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Following the note last week we would like to share the concluding paragraphs of the architecture of participation paper.

“Some interim conclusions

So our concern was how to develop an organisational architecture of participation that will enable organisations to adapt and prosper in turbulent times and we have concluded with an outline of the ‘adaptive institution working in collaborative networks’ based on principles of e-maturity and public value.

E-maturity, the enabling of all institutional processes in order that effective learning can be delivered in a technology-enhanced context, provides a lever for the institution to ensure strategic control over its ever present need to ‘adapt’. Using e-maturity frameworks as a developmental tool will enable institutions to improve their flexibility, work across self-defined partner networks and become ‘adaptive’ and responsive to learner and user demand. (more…)

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