Minimal Viable Learning
Minimalism is for us a departure point to make space for other possible forms of technologically mediated learning. (…) Important for us is to understand how minimal technologies can maximise a learning experience.
In the last months, learning, with all its communal and convivial aspects, turned into an online-only endeavour. This sudden transition didn’t leave much room to make a judicious choice of modes of interaction, communication tools, utilised services and platforms. Within educational organisations, we witness a double movement: on the one hand, a centralisation of all activities by means of the software suite (e.g. Microsoft Teams); on the other hand, the standardisation of a maximalist mode of communication meant to replicate class interactions (e.g. Zoom meetings).
Both aspects deserve scrutiny: are we sure that activity centralisation is a good idea in the long run, letting others decide how digital tools shape our educational environments? And are we fully convinced that the video call mode is the best mode of exchange, to foster the relationships of the class setting? In both cases, technological maximalism takes over: more is more.
We believe that minimal, frugal solutions can prove more effective than hi-tech, hi-bandwidth, baroque ones. The latter can be an opportunity to renegotiate online presence through the principles of calm technology and minimal computing, which accommodate different rhythms of engagement.
Minimalism can be a departure point to make space for other possible forms of technologically mediated learning.
- How can minimal technologies maximise a learning experience?
- What could ‘minimum’ ‘viable’ ‘learning’ be?
To unpack some of this questions and others, we prepared a reading session, a moment to explore minimal viable forms of learning with Etherpad. Etherpad is a collaborative text editor that is often used within the practices of Varia members and their peer networks.
With a focus on exploring and rediscovering the principles of calm technology and minimal computing, and accommodate different rhythms of engagement through the Etherpad — we stretched both the tool and our understandings of what online pedagogical places could be. Please follow this link to find traces, thoughts, welcome rituals, warming up & cooling down exercises, padtiquettes, __MAGICWORDS__ and more.