Sunday, 8 June 2014

Learning to knit with a domestic knitting machine

Ever since the Brunswick Novices group was established, I've been dithering over the question of basic machine learning.
As a recovering school teacher, I am not anxious to reprise that role. I was very happy to have the opportunity to take some lessons from experienced knitters and instructors, but I have noticed that not everyone responds well to that style of passing on the craft. Some are anxious to charge on at breakneck speed, and others would like lots more time to become familiar with just one part of the material presented, and others still are hoping that something else would have been covered.

Last week, I heard something on the radio that crystallised my thinking on the subject and inspired me to work out how knowledge could be passed along in a way I could be comfortable with. I heard about the work of Sugata Mitra,  Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University in the UK. I met the concept of a Self Organising Learning Environment.
Have a look at this TED clip. It seems to me that a Self Organising Learning Environment, is an ideal model to use with adult would be machine knitters.

I picture creating an environment, with access to a variety of resources.
1. One or more knitters familiar with the particular process under consideration.
2. A large TV connected to an iPad to show YouTube clips or other online demonstrations.   
3. Another electronic device with e books and /or access to online resources..
4. Dead tree books with information on the process
5. Any relevant notes
6. Enough machines for each participant to try the process hands on.

Each participant can draw on all or any of the sources to take what is needed.
We'll give it a try and see how it goes.

Edited to add, This could be seen as just a souped up and labelled plan, very close to the experience to be had at Elaine's East Malvern weekends, and the Lancefield live in weekend of knitting. Both of these are regular and and successful MKAV events.