Creative embodied learning experiences; making the move online

Barr, Anna (2021) Creative embodied learning experiences; making the move online.


The move to remote teaching, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, created a challenge for delivering the creative module Music, Movement, Art and Drama on the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) degree programme at National College of Ireland (NCI). In response, I adjusted the format of the face-to-face creative workshops to suit a virtual learning environment while still maintaining the integrity of the module teaching and learning strategies: opportunities to try creative techniques, and promote participation, and engagement.

The adjustment involved making the move to planning individual hands-on art activities with materials easily accessible in learners’ homes. The strategies to support learner engagement and participation in the process involved selecting an appropriate blend of asynchronous and synchronous elements. Providing pre-recorded time-lapse virtual art demonstrations, to be accessed asynchronously, prepared and gave flexibility to learners to work at their own pace. The synchronous element involved both learners and myself participating simultaneously as a community, with microphones ‘on’ to facilitate conversation as part of a playful and creative embodied experience, and my web camera positioned overhead to show my process. The final part of the community dynamic was for myself and the learners to share photos of our creations and explorations through an online notice board.

The online workshops resulted in a range of creative responses to experimenting with household and natural objects as shared embodied experiences (Duffy, 2006). These playful and creative responses to making homemade paintbrushes and lightboxes suggest that the learners were problem-solving and engaging in flexible thinking as they found new ways to use familiar materials (Duffy, 2006). When viewed through the lens of Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry framework, there is evidence of three interdependent elements necessary for encouraging meaningful inquiry and collaborative learning: teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence.


Duffy, B. (2006). Supporting Creativity And Imagination In The Early Years (Supporting Early Learning). 2nd Ed. Open University Press: Buckingham

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105. Doi: 10.1016/S1096-7516(00)00016-6

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