Taking time to notice…blue

How many times in a day do we see the colour blue? Other than sky, there really isn’t much in nature that is inherently a vibrant blue. It’s not a colour that you instantly notice. That is certainly because rather amazingly blue is a relatively new colour.

Until relatively recently in human history, “blue” didn’t exist, not in the way we think of it.

The first society to have a word for the colour blue was the Egyptians. From then, it seems that awareness of the colour spread throughout the modern world.

Is it that people did not see it? or is it that they didn’t look closely enough to  the different contrasts in colours? I suppose what I am talking about is looking at details in your surroundings. Slowing down and really thinking about the similarities, differences, meanings, changes etc.

This is pretty similar to the journey of Paul Salopek, who is currently taking part in a slow walk called Out of Eden. Paul is taking time to slow down and notice the meanings, the changes, the trends.


I recently completed a course from Project Zero about Making Learning Visible and I am discovering that through careful observation and documenting learning can change the nature of that learning.

Silvia Tolisano who has written lots about documenting for, as and of learning  states that

when we make documentation part of our learning process, we become more aware of details and nuances, we reflect deeper, we learn more about ourselves as learners and make thinking and learning visible that otherwise would have been hidden under the surface. This is not done as an add-on, but becomes deeply ingrained in the learning process.

Documentation can serve different purposes during different stages of learning and context. It not constant but changes depending upon the particular context it is used in. One thing that is constant is that it prompts questions and conversations. It also adds a deeper level of complexity to deepen and extend learning for learners and educators.

There are a number of things to consider when documenting:

  1. Documentation is guided with a specific question that guides the process.
  2. Documentation involves interpreting and evaluating observations or recordings (video, photographs)
  3. Documentation makes learning visible.
  4. Documentation is not only retrospective, it is also prospective. It shapes the design of future contexts for learning.

As mentioned above a way of documenting is through images. Silvia Tolisano shared a great idea in trying out documenting with her 1-Day Blue Photo Challenge.  

The challenge is relatively simple with greater layers added into it with the reflection element of what has been captured.

For one day notice all the blue in the world around you. Taking as many photographs throughout the day. At the end of the day choose one image that you feel represents blue. Then amplify your documentation by sharing it on social media ( Instagram/ Twitter) with the hashtag #documenting4learningblue. Finally reflect on what you have posted by writing a comment explaining your thinking.

Here is my photograph, of a piece of art in my school, that captured my thinking at the end of 24 hours. It not only has many shades of blue that I liked but when reflecting I felt the waves added extra layers to the blue. Bringing new meaning and complexity each time that they come crashing in…a little like the sea itself.

#documenting4learningblue Photograph CC 2017 J.Bevans
Photograph CC 2017 J.Bevans

Documenting Blue

I was amazed at how much blue there was around me. It was everywhere. When I switched on to the lens of focusing on one colour it was hard to see anything other than blue. Talking a walk through school at lunchtime I took photo after photo. Time and time again I stopped and took a quick picture, capturing the blue all around me. Would I have noticed this with out the lens/focus ?

Reflecting further it was intersting to see the many varieties of blue, light blue, sky blue, dark blue, royal blue, petrol blue. You name it I saw it. Like Tina Zita in her blog post I began to question if “this shade qualifies as blue”. I think that this comes back to the point about slowing down to notice these things and also giving yourself time to process and think about these questions. Learning to look with a clear focus in mind also sharpens the thinking and documentation.

Blue has always been my favourite colour. It is the colour of my football team, it is one of the colours that I wear the most. I like the colour blue but this challenge allowed me to think and look about blue in a different light. It re-focused my thinking and my observations.

Documenting with a clear focus has allowed me to observe more and think more about the colour blue.

What could documentation do in the classroom?  

One thought on “Taking time to notice…blue

  1. This is the information I am looking for. This article is clear and easy to understand. I’m learning more about this. Hope you bring more things related to it. Thanks a lot!


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