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Building confidence in using online forums
Building confidence in using online forums

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4.3 Playing with images

Words are only one material you can play with on forum conversations. An interesting discussion, which makes different links and makes meanings richer, can often stem from the most unlikely places!

In many learning situations, you are introduced to a new idea or concept. Sometimes the words that go with that concept or idea are completely new and hold no other real-world meaning. But sometimes there are different connections to be made (see Box 1).

Box 1 Taking on different meanings

Consider, for example, the term ‘behaviour’. For new teachers, ‘behaviour’ is often thought about in terms of ‘bad behaviour’ in classrooms and how to manage it. However, ‘behaviour’ has many other real-world meanings which can be used to deepen how you consider the word.

Two female lions sat in Savanna grasslands. Another lion is in the background standing facing away from the camera.
Figure 5 Lions in their natural habitat

Does Figure 5 conjure up any different meanings and associations of the word ‘behaviour’? Here, behaviour has associations with survival, hunting, family groups as security, and interactions with the plants and animals in the environment. Here, behaviour isn’t associated with misbehaviour but with how the animals successfully live.

Using the image of the lions has helped to provoke a different way of thinking about the concept of ‘behaviour’ for new teachers.

You can now try this yourself.

Activity 6 Using images to ‘see’ concepts or ideas in different ways

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes
  1. If you can, choose a key concept or idea from a course you are studying or related to your work, a hobby or an interest you have. If you are struggling for ideas, use the term ‘improvisation’.
    • a.Enter your key term into your preferred search engine and click to see ‘Images’.
    • b.Spend 5 minutes choosing three different images that are closely linked to your term but portray it in a different way.
    • c.For each image, identify three or four words that come to mind.
    • d.Look through your words and gauge which terms have pushed you to consider the term in different ways from your initial understanding.
  2. Draft a forum post in the box below which you could post alongside two of the images you have found and which you think would spark a discussion about the meaning of the term. Then, if you are already participating in an online learning forum, why not post what you have written with the images you have chosen and see what kind of response you get?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

You will now look at playing with your own experiences on forums.