While I was wrestling the L300 van through the “high wind warnings” gusts on the Auckland Harbour Bridge last night, the moon entered the Earth's shadow. I was too sharply focused on staying within my paint marked lane lines to even imagine what was happening in the night sky above.
But once I got home, unpacked the laptop and re-settled my mind, the moon had entered the darkest part of the shadow – the Earth's umbra and I allowed my focus on the world to shift upwards.
The dust in the atmosphere ensured this upward gaze was a Rilke “Dance the orange” moment. The moon’s surface was cast in such an unusual colour - it allowed many new wild and wondrous imaginings.
Hold it...that's tasty. . .already out the door.
. . .a touch of music. . .a beating. . .a hum -;
You warm girls, you quiet girls - come
dance the taste of the fruits you savor!
Dance the orange. Who can forget it?. . .
nearly self-drowned in its own sweetness,
yet it overcomes. You have possessed it;
become its own luscious completeness.
Dance the orange. Fling the sultry climate
far from you, permitting it to shine
in its own native breezes. Glowingly reveal
bouquet upon bouquet. Your own concordat
create with the pure, recalcitrant rind
and the ebullient juice beneath the peel!
Extract from The Sonnets to Orpheus
by Rainer Maria Rilke
Which is why I laughed when I read Professor Mike Dopita’s take on my “Dance the orange” moment in the Herald this morning.
"The moon gets this sometimes quite blood red colour and it's quite an interesting sight to see, although it is of no astronomical importance at all."
Determining what is important is the focus for much of our thinking in education. Sometimes the environment we are thinking in in schools is so blustery we are reduced to focusing on the tarmac surface between the road markings. Other times we can widen and lift our gaze to look at those Lucychilean “Dance the orange” eclipse type questions about “How can we help students to see the threads processes and patterns in our society which are making decisions on our own behalf?”
So is your point to define what proficiency means in the use of these tools?
It is a good question and I love Mike’s attempt to look at generic proficiency in the use of tools like del.icio.us across SOLO – reckon it will be useful to do this with every ICT application commonly used in our schools.
- Prestructural: Student uses del.icio.us like Google. Executes sequential searches, retrieves docs, reads.
- Uni- and Multi-strcutural: Student starts to navigate del.icio.us with intuitive sense that a) reputation matters, b) examining a person's terms helps one to refine, c) you want to alternate between seeing what a person points to, and what people point to an item, and d) you learn more from looking at the small number of people pointing to an esoteric item than you do from a large number of people pointing to popular item.
- Relational: Basically the above, but understanding the fuller context: That we find people through common interest, then expand our range by looking at the other things these people like.
- Extended abstract: student can articulate how such things have always been true in the physical world -- one is attracted to friends because of shared like of a musical artist, which leads to trying out other artists that person likes. Student can see how del.icio.us is similar to MySpace and Facebook, and how it is different. Student can identify potential pitfalls (group think? cultism?) of networked reference sites, and develop strategies that work across multiple domains.
However, I hadn’t been thinking about proficiency of use in isolation so I guess my answer Mike is no and yes -
I was trying to combine your ideas about proficiency and potentially powerful learning experience in the one blank space – but after your question I can see how identifying proficiency first will help teachers
I spend a lot of time helping teachers do cargo cult thinking about “how to learn” - identifying what students need to learn for themselves is valuable - that creating an environment for learning with the fires along the sides of the runways, a wooden hut for a man to sit in, and the -coconut shell headsets counts. But when it comes to shifting student gaze, from the tarmac to the heavens, those “what is powerful to learn” conversations – I reckon we need more than the predictive power of those coconut shell headsets
Cargo cult thinking alone won’t do it. We need Alan Kay's universals or Lucychili's powerful ideas
I guess what I want is to find ways in which the “how to learn” (proficiency in the use of tools is one part of this) conversations AND the “what to learn” (powerful ideas) conversations can run together.
I was hoping the table would help this happen - To look at the proficiency in the use of tools like how to compare, how to evaluate, and how to use blogs, podcasting or social bookmarking BUT also to help teachers plan learning experiences that do more than focus on the tarmac. To help students self assess the depth of their understanding and the depth of their proficiency in tool use.
In our experience SOLO clarifies what deeper understanding entails and should (when you are proficient in Web2.0 tool use) allow teachers to better utilise the potential of Web2.0. applications than they currently do. I am really thinking of the limited ways I see podcasting being used in schools when I make this claim.
I had thought of the table as helping teachers plan learning experiences that move student thinking from simply bringing in (or simply broadcasting/ publishing content) to relational and extended abstract thinking through using Web2.0 applications for “collaboration and potential multiple discourse”
For example if we wanted to build learning experiences around last night’s lunar eclipse for school students and we wanted to use del.icio.us we could step it out like this
- Bring in facts and information about lunar eclipses (unistructural and multistuctural learning outcomes). [Using del.icio.us to search for reliable and valid information to describe a lunar eclipse]
- Linking facts and information about lunar eclipses through classifying different types of eclipses, sequencing the stages in an eclipse, comparison of similarities and differences between lunar and solar eclipses, or what a person on the moon would see during a lunar eclipse compared to a person on earth, or a lunar eclipse described by a poet and a lunar eclipse described by an astronomer, or how different cultures have interpreted a lunar eclipse. Determining the historical, economic and political effects/ consequences of a named lunar eclipse. Analyse the conditions required for a lunar eclipse and the consequence if they are not present – why we don’t have a lunar eclipse once a month?, what would happen if the earth had no atmosphere?. Once you understand the thinking that builds relational learning outcomes the list is endless. [Using del.icio.us to allow different perspectives and contexts for understanding/ explaining an eclipse]
- Take these new linked understandings about lunar eclipses into another context through reflection, generalisation, evaluation, imagining, and prediction to discuss why we continue to have such a powerful human response to a lunar eclipse, etc [Using del.icio.us to work across multiple domains]
To attempt to understand why we reserve special attention for the seemingly unpredictable and improbable events in our world?
In this way the Web2.0 SOLO chart allows teachers (and students) to plan for powerful ideas AND to choose to integrate a Web2.0 application in ways that make the collaboration and engagement in multiple discourses needed for these ideas to be built. I sense that it would be easier to represent this as a drill down database rather than a chart.
But after your look at proficiencies in del.icio.us Mike - I am backtracking a bit so that teachers can understand the generic potential of the tool first.