robertogreco + learninggardens   2

Gnamma #5 - Some Lessons from Learning Gardens
"The Learning Gardens [http://learning-gardens.co/ ] Slack, which has been, emergently, the "home" of the initiative, is shutting down in two months. This is a decision by me, Éd, and Morgane to encourage decentralization and distributed ownership of the idea. You could see whiffs of this coming in my earlier newsletter [https://tinyletter.com/gnamma/letters/gnamma-2-to-grow-a-garden ].

The goal returns to the kernel of the initiative in the first place: encouraging people to make spaces to take on [learning] initiatives they believe in. A Slack may re-emerge, things may decentralize, circle around tools like Are.na and Twitter and Discord, one-off forums, group texts, email newsletters, IRL groups and meeting spaces. Or perhaps the whole thing will fizzle for a while until some future moment. We, the janitors, generally tried to keep our moderation and assertiveness minimal, but this represents a strong-armed push to catalyze something new.

With this change forthcoming, I'm asking myself, what have we learned over 2.5 years of Learning Gardens as a public concept?

If someone came to me today saying, "I want to start a group of people to study X together!" some of my first questions would be: Is X well-defined enough to rally a group behind it? If X is vague, is the group well-defined enough to organize? Do you have the bandwidth to deal with not only organizing "content" for the group, but also managing a social landscape or making the conditions such that it can self-manage?

Let me clarify: X here doesn't need to be a "topic." It can also be a "mode of organizing." The medium can be the message, here, and a lot of the value in Learning Gardens has been in bearing witness to a variety of organizational schemes. (But I do recommend either a well-defined topic, well-defined group of people, or well-defined structure!)

This comes as NO surprise to anyone who has run groups or shared spaces: good management takes a lot of energy. It takes either a lot of active management & conversation, or a lot of lead time to build a substrate of mutual trust such that self-management works. To keep people aligned in logistics, to keep momentum, to upkeep a value set that people connect with, to generate ideas of where to go next. If your group is one organized around discrete "events" (in-person meet-ups, skype-in conversations, workshops, publications, etc), it's important to remember that the bulk of the work happens around these things, too: in the preparation and post-facto follow-up. You, organizing, should prepare for this and think of it as a way to invite others to participate (rather than feeling like you need to take on the "extra-curricular" work by yourself).

Redundancy in information-sharing is necessary. I've learned this lesson repeatedly, given a general desire to be a bit terse in what I put up online. Oversharing is necessary to get the point across, to get people to see it twice, to get them to come back.

Online, even in a semi-closed gardens of the sort that Slack groups emerged to be, the line between "being there" and "not" is thin. We have a term for riding this line: "lurking." Lurking in its internet-native form can be quite positive. (If you "lurk" in real life spaces, you're creepy.) It allows for exploratory observations of new interests, for following along without the commitment of joining the room, for feeling a connection even when formal participation might be difficult or contentious.

Learning Gardens is about learning, however, and one thing I strongly believe is that you do not learn passively. I don't want LG to be a loose social space: there is enough of that already. I want LG to be about communities formed through action. Latent in my thoughts around the decision to retire the Slack is the desire to see people turn a lurking tendency into an organizing (or participating) one. Trust is necessary for the vulnerability and confidence that breeds effective learning experiences, and trust is easiest to build when you know who else is in the room.

Thanks to everyone who has made the Slack interesting and dynamic over these years. I am looking forward to what is next! Please drop me a line if you are in the Bay Area."
lukaswinklerprins  2019  learning  unschooling  deschooling  learninggardens  gardens  education  self-directed  self-directedlearning  mutualaid  trust  community  howwelearn  redundancy  momentum  slack  social  action  sharing  éduordurcades  morganesantos 
february 2019 by robertogreco
Learning Gardens
[See also: https://www.are.na/blog/case%20study/2016/11/16/learning-gardens.html
https://www.are.na/edouard-u/learning-gardens ]

"Learning Gardens is a meta-organization to support grassroots non-institutional learning, exploration, and community-building.

At its simplest, this means we want to help you start and run your own learning group.

At its best, we hope you and your friends achieve nirvana."



"Our Mission

It's difficult to carve out time for focused study. We support learning groups in any discipline to overcome this inertia and build their own lessons, community, and learning styles.
If we succeed in our mission, participating groups should feel empowered and free of institutional shackles.

Community-based learning — free, with friends, using public resources — is simply a more sustainable and distributed form of learning for the 21st century. Peer-oriented and interest-driven study often fosters the best learning anyway.

Learning Gardens is an internet-native organization. As such, we seek to embrace transparency, decentralization, and multiple access points."



"Joining

Joining us largely means joining our slack. Say hello!

If you own or participate in your own learning group, we additionally encourage you to message us for further information.

Organization

We try to use tools that are free, open, and relatively transparent.

Slack to communicate and chat.
Github and Google Drive to build public learning resources.

You're welcome to join and assemble with us on Are.na, which we use to find and collect research materials. In a way, Learning Gardens was born from this network.

We also use Notion and Dropbox internally."



"Our lovely learning groups:

Mondays [http://mondays.nyc/ ]
Mondays is a casual discussion group for creative thinkers from all disciplines. Its simple aim is to encourage knowledge-sharing and self-learning by providing a space for the commingling of ideas, for reflective conversations that might otherwise not be had.

Pixel Lab [http://morgane.com/pixel-lab ]
A community of indie game devs and weird web artists — we're here to learn from each other and provide feedback and support for our digital side projects.

Emulating Intelligence [https://github.com/learning-gardens/_emulating_intelligence ]
EI is a learning group organized around the design, implementation, and implications of artificial intelligence as it is increasingly deployed throughout our lives. We'll weave together the theoretical, the practical, and the social aspects of the field and link it up to current events, anxieties, and discussions. To tie it all together, we'll experiment with tools for integrating AI into our own processes and practices.

Cybernetics Club [https://github.com/learning-gardens/cybernetics-club ]
Cybernetics Club is a learning group organized around the legacy of cybernetics and all the fields it has touched. What is the relevance of cybernetics today? Can it provide us the tools to make sense of the world today? Better yet, can it give us a direction for improving things?

Pedagogy Play Lab [http://ryancan.build/pedagogy-play-lab/ ]
A reading club about play, pedagogy, and learning meeting biweekly starting soon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

[http://millennialfocusgroup.info/ ]
monthly irl discussion. 4 reading, collaborating, presenting, critiquing, and hanging vaguely identity-oriented, creatively-inclined, internet-aware, structurally-experimental networked thinking <<<>>> intersectional thinking

Utopia School [http://www.utopiaschool.org/ ]
Utopia School is an ongoing project that shares information about both failed and successful utopian projects and work towards new ones. For us, utopias are those spaces and initiatives that re-imagine the world in some crucial way. The school engages and connects people through urgent conversations, with the goal of exploring, archiving and distributing collective knowledge throughout this multi-city project.

A Pattern Language [https://github.com/learning-gardens/pattern_language ]
Biweekly reading group on A Pattern Language, attempting to reinterpret the book for the current-day."

[See also: "Getting Started with Learning Gardens: An introduction of sorts"
http://learning-gardens.co/2016/08/13/getting_started.html

"Hi, welcome to this place.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering where to start! Try sifting through some links on our site, especially our resources, Github Organization, and Google Drive.

If you’re tired of reading docs and this website in general, we’d highly recommend you join our lively community in real time chat. We’re using Slack for this. It’s great.

When you enter the chat, you’ll be dumped in a channel called #_landing_pad. This channel is muted by default so that any channels you join feel fully voluntary.

We’ve recently started a system where we append any ”Learning Gardens”-related channels with an underscore (_), so it’s easy to tell which channels are meta (e.g. #_help), and which are related to actual learning groups (e.g. #cybernetics).

Everything is up for revision." ]
education  learninggardens  learningnetworks  networks  slack  aldgdp  artschools  learning  howwlearn  sfsh  self-directed  self-directedlearning  empowerment  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  transparency  accessibility  bookclubs  readinggroups  utopiaschool  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  pedagogy  pedagogyplaylab  cyberneticsclub  emulatingintelligence  pixellab  games  gaming  videogames  mondays  creativity  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  ai  artificialintelligence  distributed  online  web  socialmedia  édouardurcades  artschool 
december 2016 by robertogreco

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