I-MELT registration and accommodation open

I-MELT is the International conference on Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching, designed for fluid thinking about issues important to you and your students.

Conversations will be framed around the Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching, and these models share broad parameters and are as varied in purpose and applications as:

I-MELT runs 11-13 December 2017 and you can now register at early bird rates.

If you are coming from overseas or interstate, I suggest booking accommodation early because it is a busy time of year. We have some good rates available from the registration page.

Short papers will be accepted from 1 May, so consider readying your practice with or research on MELT. See the website for Keynote Speakers, draft program, conference themes and registration details.

John for the I-MELT organising committee

MELT-TED on Toast

Sylvia Tiala sent me this link to a TED talk about making toast. https://www.ted.com/talks/tom_wujec_got_a_wicked_problem_first_tell_me_how_you_make_toast#t-311716

The presenter, Tom Wujec, is concerned with processes for solving wicked problems, which I think includes formal education, and starts with toast making as his simple example.

Tom notes ‘Systems theorists tell us that the ease with which we can change a representation correlates to our willingness to improve the model.’

The penny dropped for me- that’s why the pentagon version of the RSD seems to energise people, whereas framework versions are of interest, but sometimes paralysing in detail. People can and do readily change aspects of the pentagon. That’s also a reason why we went for the more general name MELT (Models of Engaged Learning and Teaching)- people feel at liberty to change the name too, so that it describes the complex thinking processes that they are most interested in.

Then it occurred to me something similar happened to me about a year ago at a conference presentation-when I paid attention to Harvard University’s ‘thinking routines’. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=

Thinking routines provide a frame for student thinking, and in initial use may be quite trivial, but when repeated in many contexts and where they become a routine, they can grow in rigour and sophistication applied. One example is ‘I used to think and now I think’ to help students with more sophisticated reflection on learning. This routine scaffold student thinking in a way that values change in thinking rather than confirming one’s own biases. The TED on toast provides another thinking routine for solving wicked problems. Start simple eg with toast making, and let the routine grow in different contexts and in sophistication applied.

I came to think of MELT as an appropriate thinking routine across formal education, which helped me to understand some of the ways that MELT could be helpful. When I mention thinking routines in workshops now, quite a few people have commented on the idea and taken up its terminology.

These are all ways of understanding the MELT and their use retrospectively, meaning we can better understand why they work when they work.

DO you know of some other concepts that may shed light on why MELT can work for people and/or on limitations to the models?

Reply to this post (scroll down) with a concept (existing or new idea) that could help us understand MELT better. You may explain this, provide a link or both.

What is out there to help us prospectively improve or consolidate MELT and its implementation? This is where diversity of the blog readership will help greatly- to get very divergent thinking going which could really improve MELT.

I am really looking forward to some amazing new insights.