Thursday, September 29, 2011

Edge effect

Probably this is another area with a massive literature I know nothing about (although it was evading me in scopus and scirus :(
But it struck me the other day and today the penny finally dropped. I was in a class of students who were learning about the role of a clinical teacher, one of whom, a Mental Health nurse, stated that they were enjoying the 'edge effects' of a clinical and education-based role. I asked for some clarification and apparently this idea was from ecology, permaculture in particular - wikipedia is worth quoting here actually:

The edge effect in ecology is the effect of the juxtaposition or placing side by side of contrasting environments on an ecosystem. Permaculturists maintain that, where vastly differing systems meet, there is an intense area of productivity and useful connections
I'm not sure I can live up to the 'intense productivity' side of things, but I do think I enjoy the 'edge effect' of useful connections through working in a School of Nursing and Midwifery but also within Higher Education and being into learning technology, or IT in some form or another. I have observed that if you spend all your time in learning technology circles, it can have a very detrimental effect upon your vision for learning technology, in terms of making assumptions about how well or not people are likely to engage with your 'grand designs'.
I like the term 'edge effect' so much that I think I'll use it for tweeting from conferences and learning technology stuff when I think it's going to get particularly busy over on my original account. So, if that is a version of me you'd like to follow, I'm at!/edgeeffect
There are probably 'not so beneficial' edge effects though... one of those is the difficulty of being spread too thinly to get anywhere near a credible research profile. Ah well... just got to keep plugging away at the nlc2012 paper.
What are the implications for networked learning about the whole concept of the 'edge effect'?

No comments: