Block 3. Week 9. Governing: Daydreams

This data visualisation represents the time I spent daydreaming during the time I set aside to study. It doesn’t represent every daydream, focusing simply on those daydreams about what I’d do with my blog had I more (1) technical skill and (2) time. [See the postscript below for details.] Each daydream is represented by a shape that could be interpreted either as a little fluffy cloud or a thought-bubble. I’ve intentionally left this ambiguity unresolved to show how the same visualisation can be interpreted in more than one way.

This visualisation could be used to provoke a discussion about the complexity of the relationship between creativity, measurement, performance and productivity, and innovation in education. There is next to no ‘performance’ data on these daydreams: not one has been implemented. Williamson [2017: 75] observes that ‘performativity makes the question of what counts as a worthwhile activity in education in to the question of what can be counted and of what account can be given for it’. By these lights, we might wonder whether daydreaming is a worthwhile activity – especially since it’s not the case that daydreaming ‘behaviour’ is public, and, therefore, not observable or measurable. Neither is there yet any ‘evidence that proves [the] effectiveness’ [Williamson, 2017: 75] of daydreams. However, daydreaming is also associated with creativity, innovation and motivation. When we daydream about what might be possible, we imagine ways the world might be, often by visualization or simulation. Such simulations are often precursors to innovation which is a significant driver of productivity. Ironically, it may be the case that daydreaming, sometimes regarded as an unproductive, unworthwhile activity because it is hard to measure, may in fact play an essential part in the process of innovation, one of the central drivers of productivity. Policy-making in education that fixates on measuring productivity, may, paradoxically, have the unintended consequence of undermining it.


The daydreams represented in the visualisation include (1) a link (or something like that) from my blog to a virtual reality dinosaur visit for our class to attend together; (2) inspired by this: developing the virtual reality platform so that it afforded us experiences of smells as well as sights and sounds to appreciate the sheer stinkiness of dinosaurs (and also to appreciate smell as a modality in digital education – it’s mostly ignored in favour of the visual and auditory); (3) developing a bot – Dinobot — that helps children apply measurements. (For more details about Dinobot ask James and Huw; he was described in detail on my IDEL blog); (4) a link to our own Minecraft garden party (or perhaps a rave?); (5) class trip a Berliner Philharmoniker digital concert; (6) any one of these virtual tours. And of course we could then study the data collected by some of these platforms and think through the implications of each data gathering together.

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