Introducing the IDL Network

Photograph of windfarm, moorland and loch.

A guest blog post by the IDL Network.

This month saw the launch of the IDL Network, an interdisciplinary learning network, led by The University of Edinburgh’s Colin Graham, Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow, Nick Hood, Senior Teaching Fellow in Secondary Education, and William Hardie, Royal Society of Edinburgh.  The Network has been developed in response to the feedback received following the RSE’s conference, Interdisciplinary Learning: Creative Thinking for a Complex World.  

Interdisciplinary learning (IDL) is a way of thinking and learning in which learners draw on knowledge, understanding and skills from two or more subjects in order to solve a problem or advance our understanding of a concept or idea that extends beyond the scope of any one subject.

Aimed at teachers and educators, the Network is a national online forum for professional dialogue and the sharing of practical ideas, approaches and high quality IDL resources, including a wide range of interdisciplinary learning OERs from Open.Ed. The Network includes a Slack Forum to enable members to initiate and participate in IDL discussion.

The website covers:

Home: Posts about IDL and disciplinary Learning; Why IDL is important; Work, learning and community.

About: The IDL Network, with a guide to joining, subscribing, engaging, and contributing to management, contributing ideas and resources.

Resources: Introduction and links to a wide range of resources and articles about IDL

Forum: This is our Teacher Forum. The Slack channel is the discussion forum where questions, ideas and discussions are shared amongst our new community of practice.

Get in touch: How to contact the Network and join the Forum

Get Involved

The Network are encouraging teachers and educators to share images that capture an interdisciplinary theme or challenge, and welcome other ideas and suggestions for content and discussions.

Two starter questions have been posed in the Slack discussion space to which Forum members (teachers, educators and researchers) are invited to respond.  These initial discussion questions are:

  • How are schools conceiving, developing and implementing IDL?
  • What have been the impacts on young people’s learning and attainment of the introduction and development of IDL?

The Network are keen to hear from colleagues who would be willing to act as moderators, editors and contributors for the discussion forum. This is expected to be light touch and to take up little time, but it will be important in ensuring the smooth running of the Network, building a lively discussion forum, and the ongoing improvement and refreshment of the Network’s content, ideas and presentation. The Network will only be as engaging and successful as the contributions teachers and educators make to our community of practice.

The Network invites colleagues to sign-up as members of the Forum, to engage in Forum discussions, to share experiences, ideas and resources, and to let us know whether and how you might be able to contribute to its development and management. You can get in touch with the IDL Network here: Contact the IDL Network.

Featured image: Whitelee’s wind farm with Arran in the background, by Bjmullen, CC BY SA, on Wikimedia Commons.