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Abstracts

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Learners Re-conceptualising Education: Widening Participation through Creative Engagement.

Anna Craft
Peter Twining
Kerry Chappell

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This paper will argue that engaging imaginatively with ways in which statutory and further education is provided and expanding the repertoire of possible transitions into higher education, is necessary for providers both in higher education and in the contexts and phases which precede study at this level. Fostering dispositions for creativity in dynamic engagement with educational technology together with the consideration of pedagogy, learning objects, inclusion, policy and the management of change, requires innovative provision to span the spaces between school, home, work and higher education learning. Reporting on The ASPIRE Pilot, a NESTA-funded initiative at The Open University, the paper will offer a theoretical frame for considering learning, learners and learning systems in the information age prioritizing learner agency. It will report emergent empirical findings from this inter-disciplinary project, with a significant e-dimension, which seeks to foster the creativity of 13-19 year olds in considering future learning systems, developing provocations for others to explore creative but grounded possibilities. It will explore implications arising from this project for pedagogy, learning and other practices and approaches that may facilitate imaginative approaches to widening participation in higher education.

Author Bio(s)

Anna Craft
Anna Craft is currently Reader in Education at the Open University, where she established The Open Creativity Centre in 2002. She also holds a visiting appointment at Harvard University. She is Founding Co-Convenor of the BERA SIG, Creativity in Education, and Founding Co-Editor of the international journal, Thinking Skills and Creativity. She researches and writes about creativity in education and is particularly drawn to capturing perspectives of learners, teachers and others in fostering and exercising creativity. She combines philosophically-based conceptual work with empirical traditions of enquiry from social science enabling her to build theory through inductive engagement with situated data, using a grounded theory approach to analysis. Her empirical work is thus interpretivist, informed by constructivist and socio-cultural views of learning, and angled ultimately toward seeking impact on practice and policy, by improving the learning offer. From January 2007 she will be taking up a Chair in Education at the University of Exeter.

Peter Twining
Peter Twining is a Senior Lecturer in Education in the Centre for Curriculum and Teaching Studies (CATS) at the Open University. He specializes in the areas of pedagogy, educational transformation and new technology. Peter has a long-standing interest in the ways in which new technologies potentially impact on education. The main focus of Peter’s current research is on schome (not school – not home – schome – the education system for the Information Age). The Schome Group is researching the design and development of an education system that meets the needs of society and individuals within the 21st Century (see http://www.schome.ac.uk)

Kerry Chappell
Kerry Chappell is Project Officer at the Open University, working on the ASPIRE Pilot project, having recently completed her AHRC-funded PhD at LABAN on creativity in late primary age dance education. Alongside and since her PhD, Kerry has carried out a combination of contracted research, evaluation, project management and lecturing. Kerry is also a Project Supervisor for NESTA. Prior to her PhD, Kerry worked as Projects Manager in the Laban Education and Community Programme and as a freelance dance artist and street performer. Kerry also writes professionally for the arts education press (Dance Theatre Journal, Dance Matters, Inkpellet), specialising in performance work for children, and education and community dance initiatives.