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Network Drawing - A Meta-Learning Tool?

Annual Learning & Teaching Conference, July 12th 2013, University of Brighton

claire scanlon

on 12 January 2018

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Transcript of Network Drawing - A Meta-Learning Tool?

Network Drawing
A Meta-Learning Tool?

What is Network Drawing?
Research Methods
Potential Applications:
Social Sciences - Organisational Studies
Creativity & Flow
cloud based, group sourced, open network of participant researchers using social media to feed back, document, record and critically reflect on practice
rules rules rules - frameworks and freedom

1. More than one participant
2. Drawing tools maintain contact with drawing surface
3. Participants attempt to draw in straight lines
4. Participants draw straight across the surface in any direction (away from their position is usual) until their line meets an edge or the end of another line, at which point direction is changed and the line continued
5. Participants then continue to draw lines to create or join existing intersections as they emerge
6. The game ends when all participants stop drawing
7. The rules may be broken or adapted as required

The number of participants is likely to inform decisions about the size of the drawing surface. Having learnt that cheap, thin paper is easily ripped in the activity we have used large rolls of Fabriano or cheaper (and less wide) wall-paper lining rolls for prepared ‘workshop’ sessions.

However, for many more spontaneous drawings we have simply used materials to hand. We’ve made drawing with four people on a beer mat, with a dozen on a paper tablecloth, and with eight or more on an opened out A4 envelope.

Similarly, drawing tools may be pre-determined or left to chance - but be warned, Sharpies can leave indelible marks on tables!
The provision of varied coloured pens offers choice and allows differentiation in individual’s contributions.
With large groups, participants may circulate around the drawing area.
The game may be played in silence, though in our experience participants like to talk about their understanding of the activity in the process.

Participants may need to be reassured that no drawing skills are required to successfully participate.

Pedagogy - Meta-Learning
Borgatti, S. The Network Paradigm in Organisational Research: A Review & Typology, in Journal of Management 2003, 29(6) 991-1013
Network Paradigm
Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost."
I have been using the network drawing as the start to my training
sessions. In a corporate environment I have found it doesn't work as a
group energiser or 'ice breaker' but more as something which calms people
and brings a focus to the group. That is why I found it most successful
at the start of a session. People are always responsive however I am
nearly always doing it with people who have little to no experience of
anything like it. So there are a lot of questions about rules and people
are usually (to begin with) quite worried about doing the wrong thing or
making it look bad. Or being the weak link. If we all use the same colour
pen people find this reassuring. Like they can be experimental but it
will be camouflaged. I have done it with different coloured pens per
person too it didn't look as good and highlighted individual performance
more, which I wasn't so keen on. So there are a lot of hang ups about it
not 'looking like art' and so on. But thats not really a surprise I
suppose. I find myself saying 'do what you like' a lot which is good and
people like the liberation and freedom that instruction offers. Generally
it is a good focal point and I tend to put it up on the wall for the
remainder of the session.

Andy Venner - Call Centre Trainer
I recently used network drawing as an activity in a Digital Studies class
I was teaching at The Art Academy, London. The component was on ³The
Internet & Digital Publishing² and the network drawing was a practical
starting point to the development of a group project. Working on a big
roll of Fabriano paper the drawing was completed by about 14 individuals
and was made over two tabletops. When the network drawing was completed
it was hung on the wall and photographed. I then used the photograph of
the network drawing to give a demonstration to the students on how to
resize and edit a photograph on photoshop (the drawing was inverted so
the background became black and the lines white) in order to easily
distribute it on the Internet.
The next part of the lesson was a talk by myself on copyright and image
use on the Internet. What was really interesting for me was that everyone
in the room contributed to this image/work of art, rather than using just
one piece of artwork by one person. I informed the students that they all
had ³ownership² of the image and went forth to describe the issue of
copyright of images circulated around the web. With the network drawing
as the example the students all felt a sense of authorship over the work
and so made the demonstration more meaningful and (hopefully) easier to
The rest of the component was based around the creation of a digital
book, the tutors and students all submitted images and the content was
edited in class. The network drawing was used for the front and back
cover of this publication.
For me, the concept of a network drawing worked as a tool for
collaborative work and hence ownership, as a simple and powerful
³image-maker² and equally to lend a simple practical element to quite an
academically heavy course component.

James Jarrett - Art Tutor
Feedback on playing network drawing game

Pete Venner: not really sure what i can say that will be helpful and not immediately obvious, although thinking back to the very first one we did i remember moving about the table in a less prescriptive manner (ducking under a few arms and dwelling for a while here and there) when compared to the most recent one in the pub which had something of follow my leader round the table about it, no one attempted to move against the other or indeed not to step round the table. maybe the size difference dictates the type of move or perhaps it says something about group behaviour and familiarity (with each other and the 'rules').
June 16 at 6:07pm · LikeUnlike
Claire Scanlon: thanks Pete, that is interesting (useful) Is it that repetition develops what they call 'common attitude formation' in organisational research, so the tension between agency and structure diminishes as the group develops 'flow'? you don't have to answer that! i'm just thinking out loud having read this dry stuff:
June 17 at 12:21am · LikeUnlike
Pete Venner: That seems to work with what I was getting at. Common attitude formation, I'll remember that.

Jon Carritt what interests me is that the 'rules' can not be followed at the beginning. You first have to arbitrarily plot some points which allow the rules to exist.

(like oatmeal laid our for slime mould)

Developing Guidelines for Reflection:

We propose a critically different approach from other learning inventory-style meta-learning tools (RoLI, Belbin, VARK). Our approach is adapted from ANT (Actor Network Theory) which suggests that explanation or diagnosis may itself be a problem and instead proposes that what is needed is a good or "thick" description for insight to become available to knowledge.

To enable this 'description' we offer an initial set of key words to help focus reflection. We will be engaging participant researchers in assessing and modifying these prompts.

is this my beginning...?
Selected Bibliography:

Biggs, J. (1985) ‘The role of meta-learning in study processes’,
in British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 55, No. 2

Cain, P. (2010) Drawing: The Enactive Evolution of the Practitioner, Bristol, Intellect

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996) Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention,
New York, Harper Perennial

Jackson, N. (2004) ‘Developing the concept of metalearning’,
in Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 41:4, 391-403

Latour, B. (2005) Reassembling the Social - An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory,
Oxford, OUP

Meyer, JHF.
various eg: http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/iree/v8n1/meyer.pdf

Rogers, A. (2008) Drawing Encounters: A practice-led investigation into collaborative drawing as a means of revealing tacit elements of one-to-one social encounter.
PhD thesis, UAL

Rogers, A. (2010) ’Drawing the spaces between us: Using drawing encounters to explore social interaction’
in Martin, P. (ed) (2010) Making Space for Creativity. Brighton, University of Brighton. Online.
http://www.brighton.ac.uk/creativity/ 33-39

Waugh, C & Fredrickson, B. (2006) Nice to know you: Positive emotions, self–other overlap, and complex understanding in the formation of a new relationship, in
Journal of Positive Psychology Vol 1 Issue 2
A visual metaphor for the space of inter-personal encounters
Rogers, A (2008) Drawing Encounters
PhD Thesis, UAL
Aim: to investigate the potential use of Network Drawing as a visually orientated meta-learning tool, offering a flexible, responsive and 'negotiated' framework for participants to engage with and reflect upon in order to better understand their attitudes and approaches to group work.
inter-disciplinary literature review
the bricolage approach drawn from Kincheloe & Berry (2004)

action research combining workshop practice and reflection in formal and informal contexts

Participant Researchers' feedback:
Emotional state has also been considered to have a direct relationship with cognitive appraisal and how artwork is perceived and evaluated with affective states influencing the way an artwork is perceived and processed. This results in more holistic processing when the perceiver is in a positive mood, and more analytical processing when in a negative state.

Spendlove, D. (2007) ‘A Conceptualisation of Emotion within Art and Design Education: A Creative, Learning and Product-Orientated Triadic Schema.’ International Journal of Art and Design Education 26(2) pp155-166.
Education - a meta-learning tool for group work, induction activity
Therapeutic - Care/Social Work
Creative Practices - Artists/Craftspeople/Programmers
Business - team-building exercise, change management
Csikszentmihalyi, M (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper and Row
Waugh, C & Fredrickson, B. (2006) Nice to know you: Positive emotions, self–other overlap, and complex understanding in the formation of a new relationship, in
Journal of Positive Psychology Vol 1 Issue 2

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Scanlon&Grivell 2013
Keyword feedback prompt completed by
participant at workshop during University
of Brighton Learning &Teaching Conference
July 2013

Additional/recent reading:

Kincheloe, J & Berry, S. (2004) Rigour and Complexity in Educational Research,
Maidenhead, OUP

Noe, A. (2009) Out Of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other
Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness, new York, Hill & Wang

Petherbridge, D. (2011) The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice,
New Haven, Yale University Press

Shusterman, R. (2012) Thinking Through The Body: Essays in Somaesthetics,
New York, Cambridge University Press
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