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This is a classic image of visual ambiguity.

Ambiguity can be called creative paradox - seemingly unresolvable tensions between two ways of seeing things, which either flip from one state or perspective to the other, or seem to be simultaneously the case. Ambiguity is interesting and challenging, and provokes thought and creativity. Too much ambiguity is likely to be just confusing, and too little could be quite uninteresting.

The interesting parts of science, and research, are always in the ambiguous zones of the field - where you know quite a lot, but where it starts to unravel, and becomes more and more uncertain. And contrariwise, teaching is often focused on the areas of certainty, particularly in core elements of a subject. The question is: Is it possible, and desirable, to try to bridge this gap, and if so, how?

Examples of ambiguity:

1. Light. Light has for many years been seen to behave as a wave or a particle, and more recently it seems, both, simultaneously. There is also the classic thought experiment of Shroedinger's cat, which must be considered to be both dead and alive at the same time, see here.

2. MOOCs - how 'open' is 'open"?
In response to discussion on the edcMOOC, about whether MOOCs are about freedom, and if so, how free is free? - I pointed out two paradoxes, which should prompt us to explore whether spending time and money on new media initiatives is worthwhile or not (in terms of promoting 'freedom' and 'openness'), ' or not, or remains tantalisingly ambiguous:

2.1 Sharing learning materials (in MOOCs). This may concentrate power and status of elite institutions, and staff reputation, effectively marginalising non-elite institutions, staff and students.
2.2 Making wonderful television programmes, to boot-strap the education of children in marginalised communities (like Sesame Street). This may benefit middle-class kids much more than kids in marginalised communities, who may not have the time/ facilities/ access within the family to watch these programmes.

3. The rabbit and the family
This example is courtesy of Peter (and no, no pun on the rabbit) ...
It's a simple mind experiment: Is my daughter's soft-toy rabbit part of the family or not? The answer is yes and no. It depends on who you ask, what context (participating in a family meal, or a family outing to the beach, etc), when you ask my daughter (now, or in five years time), etc. Come to think about it, 'membership' of families is a very slippery business, very unstable, and very challenging to describe.

Describing the changing dynamics of design, facilitation and learning experience - of the 'same' event is as challenging. And as in the example of Peter's daughter's rabbit, your description of the rabbit's status will always be influenced by your own position in, and perspective on, the 'family' and what its 'for'.