What I learned from swapping urban living, international keynotes and software development for a hillside & sheep farming deep in deepest Mayo. Lashed by Atlantic storms and revisiting the same the paths each day – going back to the parish and digitally repeasanting.
4 Key Takeaways:
- S&N subtlety and nuance > with Juno the sheepdog
- Seasons as reboots > how to embrace them
- Slow goals >Hay> the meditation of repetition
- Valuing human contact the story of Sawubona
About John Davitt:
John was a technology specialist with a particular expertise in the effective, practical application of new technologies. He is the author of the book New Tools for Learning a guide to how to make the technology fit the learning need and the WordRoot CD an interactive guide to words and their origins.
He invented & developed the Learning Event Generator (2014) a software toolset & iPhone app that builds on the idea of using physical challenge and mobile tools to get beyond the inertia of daily practice. It is currently in use in schools and workplaces around the world.
Returning from the UK to live and work the family farm in Glenhest near Newport County Mayo in 2012, he now divides his time between sheep-farming, software development, mountain trekking (with the Newport Nephin Begers) and poetry writing – his first volume Rewilding (2018) is due to be published Autumn 2018.
Contacting John Davitt:
By John Davitt.
Six years ago I left the UK and headed for the west or Ireland. After years of living a dual existence of UK writer/keynote speaker & developer versus Irish peasant farmer – I chose the latter and decided to give it a full-time shot. The location was dramatic – five miles from the Atlantic up in the foothills of a coastal mountain range. What could go wrong?
Since then I have built a small flock of sheep and a house, swapped my data projector for a chainsaw, my tweet for a dog-whistle and my laptop for a poly-tunnel. I have learned more than I ever thought possible and have climbed every mountain I can see from the front door. At times I wondered “how could I switch off so easily from the cut and thrust of technology and innovation – that I had clearly loved in a past life?
As I walked I kept mulling over six key principles for technology adoption going around in my head – and in the last six years I have refined them in the light of new experiences. So I have developed these six principles of practice into a workshop – partly inspired by advice at Cong17 –The Sheep Farmer’s Secret Guide >
The Learning Curve
Everyone has their own unique learning trajectory with new tools. This principle shows how to take ownership and annotate your own curve.
subtlety and nuance! When you first learn a new language you tend to shout “BONJOUR” It takes a while to settle down and whisper. We are still SHOUTING with technology. Perhaps we are still taking the easy wins and not driving it deeper and more subtle. There is still too much screen and my sheepdog is still teaching me about this principle.
Ebb & Flow – the road more travelled
From hand to head and back again. Work needs to flow from paper to screen and back again – perhaps a lot more than it does. We need to learn more how to live powerfully in both worlds. See more on paper prototyping & notebooking
Sensory Matrix – walk the whole envelope
Too many workplace situations still depend on show and tell – whiteboards have made it worse at times. For many this is a Bermuda triangle from which no learning emerges. Show and tell is just the postage stamp – it’s time to walk the whole envelope. Fitbit stories of years on the hillside.
Active -Passive axis
The media industry want savvy but passive consumers – deeper learning lives at the other end of the spectrum in the make and do. This principle shows how to nudge all learners further down the active axis.
Difference Bingo –
Celebrate difference and acknowledges that when the learning is new and difficult we will each walk a different path towards understanding. Play this game in the pub, on the train or bus to prove the principle – look at the three people nearest you and see how they are getting their learning.