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Digital Creativity and Independent Learning

'Surfing in the Shallows' or 'Creative Bricolage': Students' Online Behaviours. UCW HE Conference

Raphael Hallett

on 7 September 2017

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Transcript of Digital Creativity and Independent Learning

University Centre Weston
HE Conference


Dr Raphael Hallett

Director, Leeds Institute for Teaching Excellence
Student Behaviours Online


Collection, Curation & Display
Collective Knowledge
Creativity (posting, re-posting)

Followers, tags, likes, and notes' = impact of identity

Originality = re-mix, re-assembly, adaptation and (sometimes) novelty

Students as 'Bricoleurs'

Scholars, intellectuals, and bricoleurs
Stephen Papson
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education published online 20 May 2013

"bricolage is a functional response to both
the increasing velocities of information flows and the breakdown of cultural hierarchies"

"Bricolage allows for a creative playfulness. Through incongruous juxtaposition it constantly extends itself beyond boundaries."

"it is not the act of bricolage that is an issue,
but whether or not the bricoleur has the intellectual depth to produce a meaningful sophisticated whole"

"This contingency concept – adapting one’s techniques and methods to the situation at hand – is probably more fruitful than an approach that mposes one particular solution for all possible situations"
(Verjans, 2003, p 15).

If one calls
the necessity of borrowing one's concept from the text of a heritage which is more or less coherent or ruined, it must be said that every discourse is

Jacques Derrida, "Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences"
Writing and Difference
, 278-294

Bricolage as a way of life – improvisation and
irony in information systems
Steven Verjans

Bricolage defined as a research method since 90s (using Levi-Strauss' original metaphor), emphasising the use of diverse 'tools-at-hand' to gather and mix knowledge and methods from different contexts and disciplines. It implies flexibility, interdisciplinarity but also a context-based convenience of using what is ready to hand, rather than specialising in particular silos of knowledge or sticking to conventional research 'schools' and methods.

Are students adopting this research method as they prepare for University?

"Our students are certainly more adept bricoleurs than we are. They are creative assemblers. They learn by appropriating culture, dismantling and putting it back together... teens are comfortable sampling, ripping, mashing, and remixing as well as multitasking."

"Authors remix. The text is an
intertext or a hypertext or just a never-ending process. The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0 proclaims, ‘‘process is the new god; not product’’ (Presner et al.,

Intelligence is defined as a collective entity spread across the web and inhabiting the electronic

Bricolage allows for a creative playfulness. Through incongruous juxtaposition it constantly extends
itself beyond boundaries. Loose allusions open up channels of interpretation limited by more 'rigorous' analysis...

Perhaps it is not the act of bricolage that is an issue, but whether or not the bricoleur has the intellectual depth to produce a meaningful sophisticated whole

Bricolage, as
a mode of inquiry and a production practice, correlates neatly with the power of
the digital to reproduce, de-contextualize, and remix into new forms
Changing habits: Lone Scholar to Digital 'Bricoleur'
A damaged culture of student scholarship?
The Point? Digital Curation and Critique
Do we need an Assessment Revolution?
The Online Curator. The Student Creator. The Digital Scholar.
Multi-Platform Study & Research
A method of using available tools and 'tinkering' with diverse resources, information and methods to produce outputs.
"Our students are certainly more adept 'bricoleurs' than we are.

They are creative assemblers. They learn by appropriating culture, dismantling and putting it back together... students are comfortable sampling, ripping, mashing, and remixing as well as multitasking"

Papson, S.,
Intellectuals, Scholars, Bricoleurs
Arts and Humanities in Higher Education October 2014 (vol. 13 no. 4)

A new student epistemology:
the hyper-visualisation of
knowledge, ideas, arguments
A culture of online assembly and exhibition,
produced knowledge.

Students as co-creators of research
Claude Levi-Strauss (1966)
Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari (1970s)

1990s and 2000s:
Formalised as a research method:
Denvir & Lincoln; Kincheloe
"When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning"
Nicholas Carr,
The Shallows: what the internet is doing to our brains
Online discussion
Online Project outputs
Collaborative digital work
Public engagement through
online fora
Creating the the 'digitally adept' Student Scholar
Prof David Platten, Pro-Dean for Student Education,
Faculty of Arts, University of Leeds
Dr Adam Cathcart, Lecturer in Chinese History, University of Leeds
But how should we
our students to read in a digit
al age?
and then what else...
Our responsibility:
To stimulate a new digital
Digital Literacy For All!
Studying in a Digital Age
University of Leeds
Introduces University's digital platforms

Nurtures digital research &
discipline-based online tasks

Heightens awareness of digital identity and presence
Academic resistance to 'skills' teaching

Erratic phases of online student engagement

, hesitation,
institutional conventions

academic champions, discipline 'leads'

Light-touch assessment of 1000s

digital 'Play' with academic 'Rigour'
How do we trace and influence student use of
digital resources?

Digital Creativity and
Independent Learning
Nurturing Digital Literacies
a digital curriculum pathway
In this approach, the student tinkers his way – using words, sketches, guided trial and error and computer modeling into an iterative exploration of complex visual tasks

James Clayson; Radical bricolage (2008)
A new student
as (anxious, frenetic, competetive?) co-creator of knowledge
Should programme and curriculum designers police, mimic or promote this activity?
Multiple research
pathways, options
Knowledge remediated,
reading practices
Wellcome Trust
Digitisation of
UK Medical Heritage Library
Research Culture is changing:
power of
But is the interpretation / engagement any better?
You've earned it

‘The act of curating at its most basic is
simply about connecting
… the task of curating is to create junctions, to allow different elements to touch’

(Obrist 2015)
concrete and virtual cabinets
taxonomies and dendrograms
From Google to Gutenberg: memory theatres and sunbursts
Students as (digital) Curators
Rethinking the 'materiality' of research for a new generation:
‘...a transaction in which
the student has the pedagogical space
to develop her own voice’
(Barnett 2000, 160)
Object-based learning is an effective way of realizing two key conditions of effective learning: turning learning from an
to a

...broadening the focus from cognitive activity alone to a wider range of skills and competencies
(Chatterjee, Hannan & Thomson, 2015)

a new digital materiality of knowedge?
Group Discussion / Task (15 minutes)
Student co-production, legacy and inheritance
1. Identify the ways in which you currently encourage your students to '
create', 'curate' or 'assemble'
research materials

2. How
digital platforms and tools help them do this?
digital platforms and tools help this process?

3. As part of the process, are your students able to:
strongly in the materials they co-create?
- achieve any kind of
legacy or visibility
with their outputs
pass on their outputs
to other audiences / peers?

(and could 'digital curation' help with any of this?)

Please add comments or examples on Padlet at:

Winter Gardens
Refreshed Learning Spaces
A Space for
Digital Scholarship

Shaping Student Scholarship Online
Good Luck!
Physical and
Virtual Collaboration
Learning Pods
Winter Gardens
...and fresh
Learning Spaces
The rise of the screen-clad library space
Transformed study behaviours
Return of a Pre-text aesthetic?
a new space of fascination / 'wonder'
Full transcript