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Shakespeare and shutting doors

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Today being Shakespeare’s birthday, it seemed appropriate to review the Bard’s impact on our modern, Western culture and how his words create a structure that echoes throughout our designs. At least some of it does. But what is amazing is how much of it still resonates, or at least educates, this mobile world. 

“Men shut their doors against a setting sun.”

Now this is essentially in reference to death, but the applications abound everywhere. It is a death of sorts, the setting sun, whimsically casting us into darkness each night. And the myriad of emotions we greet this little death with are revealing as well. Melancholy? Despair? Captivation? Frenzy? I suppose it all depends on your relationship with the light. 

But the application of this quote is critical for learning, especially learning from both mistakes and inescapable closure. Learning stages are entered into, learning structures (universities, classes, new jobs, careers, even relationships), and then exited. We all need exits from these structures and we need to stare down that setting sun with open hearts and humility. It is the emotional resonance of the familiar, those relationshiops and structures that oftentimes prevents this. Not that this is a bad thing. I find this unwillingness to depart a testament to the veracity and joy of these relationships, both their utlitarian purpose and their ability to soothe tattered souls. This all good. It just can’ thwart progress. We are meant to be in motion. 

That is all; to thine own self be true and all that. 

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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