Friday, December 08, 2006

The Garden of Learning

Here they are at last - the first photos of the Garden of Learning - click on the image below to see more.

I am building the garden as a way to begin the exploration of second life as an extension of our teaching. So far I have had an excellent response from other people on EduIsland and it is on the list for the University of Oregon's tour. Eventually there will be various activities here I hope - not just places to sit and talk. I intend to replace many of the trees with NZ natives (but the saplings are in the greenhouse at the moment!) and to replace the American bird calls with tuis, kokako and the like (but I am just persuading them to sing for the microphone!).

Back to the wheelbarrow - heaps to do! In the meantime here is a copy of the welcome note that visitors to the garden recieve...

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Nelson, New Zealand

In real life, NMIT is a polytechnic in Nelson, at the top of the South Island of New Zealand/Aotearoa. We teach all the usual kinds of things in the usual kinds of ways but we have an increasing number of students who are studying from a distance. So we use all the usual kinds of resources for distance learning - except this one!

One of things that we know is that distance students find the lack of contact with others isolating - and one of the things that we all value is the chance to sit around and chat with others, try out new thoughts and ideas and just chill out. Learning and studying is often pressured and stressful for everyone - that's why, to start with at least, we are building a garden rather than classrooms.

We hope that this garden will become a place where people feel free to come and hang out, meet others and talk about their work, their study, their ideas, their dreams, their lives..... We believe that quiet reflection, interesting, stimulating conversations and ideas exchanged with passion and an open mind, are fundamental to deep learning and those things tend not to happen in a lecture hall or a class room.

We hope that our Garden of Learning will provide an environment in which all the visitors to and workers on EduIsland will feel welcome, energised and refreshed.

1 comment:

Isa Goodman said...

Hey there Arwenna. Thought you might find this useful. A large collection of NZ bird calls.