Thursday, June 27, 2013

Living libraries: Embodiment and transformation in the context of e-learning (Conference paper abstract)

A few hours in the air between Adelaide and Sydney gave me time to put together a potential paper for the Learning and Teaching Theology Conference: The Way Ahead. It is being held in Sydney, September 27th- 28th, 2013. It looks a really worthwhile attempt to keep theological colleges thinking about theological education. Since I’ve been involved in a review of distance education here at Uniting College, which has caused me to think theologically about distance education, I scratched together the following abstract.

Living libraries: Embodiment and transformation in the context of e-learning

This paper, in considering the way ahead for Australian theological education, will apply the theological motif of transformation to the task of e-learning, using the notion of “living libraries” as a conceptual bridging strategy.

Recent research by the Transforming Theology project cited the Adelaide College of Divinity (ACD) Bachelor of Ministry as an example of good practice in curriculum design for transformative learning. “The innovative Bachelor of Ministry of Adelaide College of Divinity quite intentionally included a number of such independent and supervised Guided Studies in the final year … In these units an attempt is made to model the process of transformative integration.”

This paper will use a practical theology methodology. It will begin with a case study from recent ACD activity, the participation through video conferencing of a New Zealand church leader in a supervised Guided study “Church Re-think” class.

This moment will be brought into conversation with “living libraries,” an approach to learning that began in Denmark in 2000. Rather than produce a written resource, a youth movement provided people to libraries who had experienced violence. Rather than borrow a book, the community could book a person, and through conversation explore the perspective of another. An independent audit has recorded benefits including new learning and improved levels of community cohesion and engagement.

Returning to the case study, the potential of “living libraries” for new learning in theological education will be analysed under headings of context, lecturer and learner.

This will allow a three fold argument. First, that “living libraries” provide a fruitful way to understand selected pedagogical factors in transformation. Second that “living libraries” provide a way to foreground theologies of embodiment. Third that “living libraries” provide a way bring an explicit theology to bear in regard to pedagogy and digital technologies.

Rev Dr Steve Taylor
Principal, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology

Posted by steve at 07:37 PM

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