The flowers are exultant, they sit in flamboyant disarray beside me, an exuberance tinged with feathers, a madness of colour and form – just perfect
Have much enjoyed an early morning conversation talking about how we might scaffold “knowledge building” through ict experiences for students, - exploring the cognitive tools and contexts, assessing the cognitive sog and sag and all that.
Then rushed across town to spend time hunched over a long black coffee “watching people watching people” at the airport.
Human cargo streamed from small cigar shaped cans across the concourse and into a landscape of multiple moments of meeting and greeting. Found myself thinking about the meeting and greeting stuff in relation to Schneiderman’s ideas on human needs and computer technologies.
“The old computing was about what computers could do; the new computing is about what users can do. Successful technologies are those that are in harmony with users’ needs. They must support relationships and activities that enrich the users’ experiences.” Schneiderman, B. (2003). Leonardo’s laptop: human needs and the new computing technologies. MIT Pres: Cambridge, Massachusetts. (page 2).
Think Schneiderman has not quite captured the significant issue here. “Learning through ict” has to be more than Taylors 1980’s “tool” analogy - but I do not think that a flip to “what users can do” is the right reading of this.
A focus on “what users can do” allows educators to reiterate existing practice using ICT - To use a classroom space to integrate ICT into existing pedagogies of curriculum delivery – is missing the significant possibilities here.
Want to use an idea that I have always loved - Yi-Fu Tuan’s work on “Space and Place. - The Perspective of Experience” Space becomes place as more and more landmarks are identified and the subject gains confidence in movement. It finally becomes a place when the space consists of familiar landmarks and paths.
The meeting and greeting at the airport was the same kind of thing …. People entered the arrivals hall space bewildered, isolated, disconnected and alone. A wave, a cry, a gesture or in one instance a small form catapulting across the grey vinyl – the introduction of the familiar person changed the sense of the space into a place. You could see place making happening as you watched people watching people.
Am thinking that this is what betrays Schneiderman’s thinking as being too limited in its imaginings.
We need to develop classrooms where ICT is used by students to make landmarks and pathways for their own thinking; where students can make informed decisions over issues that concern them, to help them “construct new learning”. We need to ensure that students are engaged in building knowledge rather than simply retrieving existing knowledge.
In terms of meeting and greeting, and finding identity through belonging, undersanding the airport interaction that changed a space to a place …. means we
need to modify an“e-learning space” which integrates ICT (the inquiry process of retrieval and judging of knowledge) into a “e-learning place” where learning through ICT changes students’ cognition, changes the way they know themselves, changes the way they belong to the world.
Am looking at “knowledge building” in e-learning environments – happened upon a list of some of the common barriers to knowledge building
They cover most everything I have ever struck when working in schools – a litany of eduspeak excuse.
Am going to monitor myself, my friends and the teachers I work with for utterances that might be aligned to any of the following …
….. and have some fences left over from a plastic farmyard set that I can use to make a “Barriers Trophy” for the most determined detractor of “initiative that might make learning more fun for kids”.
Suspect that it will be a weekly prize.
Will offer up the farm animals that still have all their legs to anyone who comes up with a barrier that is not on the list
"They’re too young..."
"They’re too old... [to do such and such]."
"This may be fine for people who are highly motivated, but for the average [student, worker]...."
Aptitude and learning style barriers:
"This is only for the gifted... creative... well-educated...."--for special types of learners, for special types of intelligences, not.....
"This is only for certain classes of people, not..."
"This may work in [Toronto, noncompetitive cultures, different societies] but not in..."
Difficulty and complexity barriers:
"It’s too hard..." "Beyond their level."
"I don’t fully understand it myself."
Regulations and accountability barriers:
"I’d like to, but we’re required by [our board, the public, my boss]..."
"This doesn’t fit with the guidelines."
"Knowledge building is valuable, but we have to give first priority to
[skills, meeting deadlines, mastering essential content, etc.]"
Domain and context barriers:
"This may work in... [science, health care, schools, our design department] but not in... [history, customer service, sales]...
"Our work is fast-paced. We’re too busy with more urgent matters to
deal with knowledge building."
"We are doing fine with our current methods. We just need to tweak those a bit."
"We need to get our scores and production up first, and then we will be ready for something new"
"Let’s stick with the tried-and-true and wait for more data before we make changes."
Doing versus thinking barriers.
"We are not the idea/design people, we are the producers."
Have been unwinding after too much template thinking by playing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” on repeat and letting my mind drift and shift – have been wondering if I have ever walked alone
Was fearful that technology has distorted our sense of geographical and familial location. That technology has torn from us our sense of position in space, our sense of connection with place. Can we ever walk alone when we have tracking breadcrumbs, virtual identities, data capture utilities, keystroke loggers, pervasive surveillance technologies?
But then I began to wonder what would happen if the line that divides me from others, the line that allows me to be alone somewhere in my mind was a virgule/solidus/diagonal/slant/slash.
If I view the slash/slant/solidus/virgule as a technology for making meaning then I think I may be able to continue to walk alone - I can play with the sense that this mobile isolationist slash can represents different things to different people.
Leaving out the obvious uses in file names URL’s and meeting dates the slash/slant/solidus/virgule can represent
The slash with its differing interpretations is an analogy for how each of us might be alone; an analogy for how each of us might be “me myself I” alone in our imaginings.
Had such fun today exploring landscapes for thinking through ICT with a group of primary and secondary teachers at WAEC – Well we started with landscapes for thinking through ICT based around the Best Evidence Synthesis, but the session derailed early on into some deliciously wayward landscapes for thinking
My favourite were those framed through wild and unruly dancing with bells; though determining the gender of a male guinea-pig, sandpit politics and the marketing of conversational starters for new principals, relief teachers - for that matter anyone trapped in "atmospheres of indifference" in school staffrooms at morning tea, - allowed us to laugh till we cried.
Seems we were harbouring a failed Morris Dancer as well as a Mole in the group. The Mole and the Morris Dancer – great title for a novel.
Before the day ends tomorrow, I intend for them to dance. I have always worried that there is just not enough dancing in the computer suites of professional learning centres across the country.
Am re-reading some stuff about the links between ICT and gifted education whilst re-watching Red Dwarf DVD’s and it strikes me that Lister and Rimmer are engaged in design mode thinking. The script tracking a knowledge building conversation on Lister’s plan to put a farm on Fiji, which is now 3ft under water.
As for ICT ….well
“ICT has certainly enhanced our ability to access a wider range of activity structures, games, learning objects and collaborative projects. ICT provides mechanisms to assist in thinking such as visual thinking organizers and interactive knowledge building programmes. ICT has provided clear mental models through pre-created learning objects and through generative models such as scientific visualization. Opportunities to reflect upon, to remake and to recreate the work (audio/visual and text) of others are facilitated through ICT. Furthermore ICT affords the social conditions that promote learning dialogue be it through discussion or text, ”
I am often intrigued by how my thinking/ ideas shift over time. But using ICT as an environment for interactive knowledge building continues to fascinate me. Especially when you use “construction” in a sense that does not necessarily mean "things" but could be “the ideas constructed from thinking about the ideas.”
There is a language of “the currently unchallengeable” in the lands of eduspeak. For instance for a time it was “inclusion” and “higher order thinking” and currently we “wax effluent” over ”constructivist pedagogies”
Arghhh … “Constructivist pedagogies” – surely an absurdity in that we conflate an outcome of thinking with a teaching method – never fail to be impressed by the way in which a process takes on the character of a thing/ a commodity in the lands of eduspeak; by the way that reification rocks in the landscapes of eduspeak …lol
I would rather look at how we might create ICT learning environments that would facilitate knowledge construction thinking processes – for example the free online collaborative environment of a wiki like Seedwiki or my most recent discovery an online collaborative concept map - CmapTools program
Check out how Cmaps allows you to "construct, navigate, share and criticize knowledge models represented as concept maps. It allows users to, among many other features, construct their Cmaps in their personal computer, share them on servers (CmapServers) anywhere on the Internet, link their Cmaps to other Cmaps on servers, automatically create web pages of their concept maps on servers, edit their maps synchronously (at the same time) with other users on the Internet, and search the web for information relevant to a concept map."
Must try harder to find someone to play with this idea with me ...
“If I can feel the sun in my eyes and the rain on my face why can't I feel” excited about power, passion, promise and practice. I was struck down with melancholia, mourn-filled to the marrow of me, before morning tea.
I have been attending an ict conference that promised power, passion, promise and practice of learning through ICT. Don’t know if it was the power, the passion, the promise or the practice that did it, but by the time the muffins hit the tables I was struggling to keep the artifice of conference bonhomie on the screen – that disconnected connectedness required to greet and meet and greet again was lost to me -
Found myself playing on repeat “I wanna be by myself/ I came in this world alone/ Me myself I”
Cheered up by the end of the day, some unusual keynotes and an adventure with a lost cellphone, a taxi driver and a laptop bag full of immigration papers lifted my despond - and tomorrow, tomorrow just has to be better. For tomorrow there will be dancing, and "with dancing I could really move. Really move. I could really dance. Really dance."
I want to start the indecorous dance early with a challenge from Scardamalia and Bereiter
“Nobody wants to use technology to recreate education as it is, yet there is not much to distinguish what goes on in most computer-supported versus traditional classrooms. Alan Kay (1991) suggests that the phenomenon of reframing innovations to recreate the familiar is itself commonplace. Thus one sees all manner of powerful technology used to conduct shopworn school activities: copying material from one resource into another and following step-by-step procedures With new technologies, student-generated collages and reproductions appear more inventive and sophisticated - with impressive displays of sound, video, and typography - but from a cognitive perspective, it is not clear what if any knowledge content has been processed by the students.”
Source: Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1994). Computer support for knowledge-building communities. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 3(3), 265-283.
Am continuing to look at the conference presentations tomorrow through a filter of what distinguishes the teaching and learning that goes on in the digital classroom from the traditional classroom, but the funny thing is that I think I have found an answer of sorts in something on the web.
Who needs conferences to learn power, passion, promise stuff? Have something that cuts through the rhetoric of ict eduspeak, like a glance can isolate an individual from a crowded room - an interactive online concept mapping initiative. Just need to find someone with a server who will let me dance with this.
Close your eyes … relax ….
Breathe slowly in and out … in and out…..
Imagine yourself floating, floating backwards in time.
Travel back 300 years or so to a time when Newton played with his prisms as the plague swept London, to when Chrysanthemums reached Europe from Japan; to a time when croissants were first baked in Vienna and young girls ergot hallucinated in Salem. Float back to a time when the last of the dodo's was being clubbed to death and Louis the Sun King banned all religions except Catholicism, causing half a million Huguenots to flee France…..
OK let us go back a little further say 220 million years ago when New Zealand existed only as a massive trough deep, deep, deep beneath the ocean. To a time when New Zealand existed only as a geosyncline off Gondwanaland, and sediments from the grinding friction between the Indo Australian and the Pacific plates accumulated, forcing us even deeper down. Feel the pressure, the darkness, the depth.
I need you to go further still ….
Float backwards to a time when every creature was made of a single cell …. say 3.8 billion years ago.
Imagine you are a single cell - feel that taut membrane, indulge that cytoplasm.
Imagine yourself feeding, respiring, excreting and ….. reproducing.
Ahhh imagine reproducing yourself - that swelling, swelling, swelling until rupture, that tearing apart, that splitting in two. And then visualize each new cell swelling again, and again, and again, and again, and again and …
You were effectively immortal. Death is a fairly recent invention.
As Dr Karl explains it was not until the arrival of the multicellular organism one billion years ago that we first experienced death
The arrival of the multicellular organism allowed us that Galenic felt body – of word, gesture, tone, stance and rhythm, that we struggle to represent through statistics and data surfaces. The irony is that it was only through losing immortality that we became conscious of notions of identity and death.
What is identity?
Illich would have it that only a second person “ a Thou” can give orientation to an “I”.
When we allow ourselves, (the I), to be partitioned from the “Thou” we run into problems with identity.
When we allow ourselves to be partitioned through a statistical profile “a chimera of numbered chances” , a digital information surface, a composite of data, an e-portfolio narrative of identity, a “technogenic datum profile” where does it leave belonging?
Where does it leave friendship?
I want to play with Jay Gould’s ideas here –
"We live in a world of enormous complexity in organic design and diversity—a world where some features of organisms evolved by an algorithmic form of natural selection, some by an equally algorithmic theory of unselected neutrality, some by the vagaries of history's contingency, and some as byproducts of other processes. Why should such a complex and various world yield to one narrowly construed cause?"
Why do we pretend in education that the biological result of such complexity, an individual's identity, can be represented by data, profiles, statistical assemblages, symbols, numbers?
Perhaps a technogenic narrative of identity, is like Gould and Lewontin’s “spandrel” – fabulous word - perhaps it arises from non adaptive origins and has possible later utility.
I believe that the current affection for electronic student management systems is obscuring the fact that an identity based on technogenic data can only form one element of the “complex and various worlds” of identity within an educational context. We have been captured by the form of the data.
The irony is perhaps that to obscure is to reveal. The smoke and mirrors influence of SMS reveals perhaps what society requires that we LOSE from school.
Our educational predilection for partitions "between I and Thou", our recent fascination for a digitized narrative of identity, has not only encouraged us to neglect the identity of friendship, it has encouraged us to ignore the "Belonging" of identity.
Nuances of death next …
Looking out and looking in,
The MoE positional spin is that a Curriculum review includes an analysis of what a nation wants its citizens to GAIN from school and the nature, characteristics and needs of society. Think that a Curriculum review might be more effective if it also included an analysis of what the nation wants its citizens to LOSE from school.
Have been reading Helen Barrett in preparation for the ULearn05 power, passion, promise and practice conference in Auckland next week – An exploration of e-portfolios, Helen Barrett and metaphor Barrett’s exploration of metaphors for e portfolios is an interesting irritant for new thinking, and might help us understand what the nation wants its citizens to LOSE from school.
E-Portfolios it seems have multiple purposes – and Barrett claims metaphors like; mirror, map, sonnet, theoretical act, story, journey, laboratory, test, financial portfolio, campfires around which we tell our stories, digital clone, work companion, butler, dashboard, planner and IPR management assistant, toothbrush, caterpillar, acorn, seed, kaleidoscope and a window in a student’s head, help us “build a shared understanding” of these purposes. Her ppt presentations include a last slide using the e-portfolio metaphor - a celebration of learning across the lifespan
Any one struggling to make meaning, and to build a shared understanding about what our New Zealand schools are about will have met the map, the journey and the narrative/story metaphors many times before.
There is nothing new in this - when we look at enduring themes in powerful art, poignant literature and potent music we find recurring representations of “life as a map” “life as a journey”, “life as a labyrinth”, “life as a maze”, and “life as a game”.
The first insight comes from looking for discrepancies. Representing “school/ e-portfolios as a game’ and/or “school/ e-portfolios as a labyrinth/maze” are metaphors unlikely to catch on in the highlands of eduspeak. But anyone who works in the lowlands and swamplands of eduspeak will have no trouble making the connection with games and labyrinths. Might well be a good place to start looking for what the nation wants its citizens to LOSE from school. [but is not ready to acknowledge]
The second insight comes from looking for commonality and simplification across the e-portfolio metaphors offered by Barrett. I suspect that each in some way each can be represented by CHANGE THROUGH TIME – and each can be represented by an exploration of “I am not here thinking”
The “Who I Am, Who I Was, and Who I Might Be,” constructed through “self” and “other” thinking.
I reckon that E-portfolios (and for that matter Education and a Curriculum review) could be framed around a metaphor based upon “construction of identity”, a construction process that never finishes.
An uber representation of what an identity e-portfolio might look like when many contribute (collective identity) to the construction, and when that construction never finishes (lifelong learning) might be Wikipedia.
Check out John Udell’s screencast of how the identity of the heavy metal umlaut was established online - how cool is this? Just imagine what might result if an individual’s e-Portfolio was constructed from open access learning contributions and reflections of both the individual and significant others (e.g. family, whanau, peers, educators, friends).
In time our e-portfolio record of learning might develop into a massive “learning identity construction” digitized database “A real celebration of learning across a lifetime” that would make today's efforts seem mute, silent screen versions in comparison.
The tension in this extrapolation is that it is not unlike the “consumer identity construction” information databases that can already reveal our predilection for hanging out in wine bars and txting lovers at the end of the day.
The e-portfolio might be likened to "wiki for data from a security camera, VISA card statement and mobile phone bill", in that both allow the construction of digital identity.
And both might misprepresent the complexity of what it is to be human through representing identity as data.
Wonder if we are in danger of losing the …. But something touched me deep inside …. of identity in schools, education and learning? And if we are, if this is purposeful .... what the nation wants its citizens to LOSE from school.
The MoE is onto the Al Pacino/ Julie Andrew dilemma of education system outcomes. If you could read the MoE Key Competency ppt. slide on the characteristics of successful school leavers below,
That "Has a positive sense of identity (ies)" allows for all sorts of dissociative identity disorder play.
For instance I have been thinking along the lines of Julie Andrews all week. Have been accommodating of others, have picked up and put away, have cleaned the shower, have visited the accountant, have followed up on the invoices, have phoned my sister, have taken Grandpa to the doctor, have posted my cluster reflections to the Interact site, have arranged Vodaphone roaming, travel insurance, and Vanuatu board short shopping for #4 child, been interviewed about growing up in the 60’s by #3 son and his friend, have…. have begun to sound like my mother
I suspect that I have become entrapped, ensnared if you like, in my own personal version of Hardin's(1968)“Tragedy of the Commons”. A box sits in the middle of my life with $50.00 play money. 3 players surround the box, I am one of them, I am two of them, I am three of them, I am all of them . The rules of the game require each player to get as much money as he or she individually can. The three players cannot communicate with each other.
At the beginning of each turn they privately write down how much they are going to take out of the pot, either $0, $5, $10 or $20. When everyone is done writing they reveal their numbers and take that amount from the box. Between turns the amount of money left in the box doubles.
The game lasts twelve turns.
I wonder how long will it last if I am playing as Al Pacino and Julie Andrews, and I also play as Artichoke.
am curious about parameters,
the shifting boundaries of ;
in and out,
hard and soft,
rigid and malleable,
rough and smooth,
moist and arid,
yes and no.
want to explore
the borders of resistance,
and the boundaries marking
the restless hinterlands of yield.
i can sense flexible frontiers,
a blurring that might allow,
a tentative tasting tracing,
of liminal zones.
Am making a retrospective exhibit, a GANTT chart* for understanding historical joy.
Am tracking the tasks undertaken, the working sequence, the "let's draw a veil over them" interplays.
Am evaluating how long each task of connection took to complete.
Am placing these actions on to the GANTT chart.
Am organising the start and end times.
And indulging for a moment,
In my newfound status.
* The mistress of the template would understand.