We have made it to Kunming.
Travelogue of the trip is here in.lits.gen.nz
Click on China Blog.
We have made it to Kunming.
Travelogue of the trip is here in.lits.gen.nz
Click on China Blog.
GE331 at Otago University runs a really cool class activity.
See it here: seifenoper.wikispaces.com/
Fictional Blogging. An interesting use of blogs, a little outside of my direct experieince. I did hear Angela Thomas in 2005:
Fictional Blogging and the Narrative Identities of Adolescent Girls – Angela Thomas -University of Sydney
Abstract: This paper explores the emergence of fictional blogging such as blog novels and the diaries of fictional characters as a new form of narrative construction. A typology of blog fiction is first presented to outline the scope of this emergent genre. The paper then introduces a case study of two fictional diaries kept by adolescent girls who use the diaries as one of the means to co-construct and add depth to their crossover and alternate universe fan fiction based on the fantasy worlds of Middle Earth and Star Wars. The case study examines the range of discursive and social practices used by the girls in their collaborative narratives using a combination of narrative theory and post-structural feminist theory. The paper also explores the ways in which these practices embedded in fiction also reflect aspects of the girls’ real identities.
From Blogtalk downuner: incsub.org/blogtalk/?page_id=109
Wiki details: akowiki.canterbury.ac.nz/index.php/Chuxiong_Visit
And my own emergent summary: akowiki.canterbury.ac.nz/index.php/Physics_Education_research
Still deciding where to exist online. Probably eventually Wikieducator.com
There have been some quite remarkable educational discoveries (if that is the right way to phrase it) in Physics Education. The ‘Golden Age” was the 1990′s. Now (in my opinion) it is the Grunt stage: putting it into practice.
One little snippet from William J. Leonard, William J. Gerace, and Robert J. Dufresne, Department of Physics & Astronomy and Scientific Reasoning Research Institute University of Massachusetts. Not available on the net anywhere (that I can find). But there is an article at umperg.physics.umass.edu/library/Gerace_1999cbp/download
This may seem boring, but believe me, for a physics class, it can be transfomational. Everything except mere telling.
Eleven instructional modes, with short statements of purpose for each mode.
1. Use multiple representations
to enrich students understanding of concepts, and to provide alternative ways to solve problems.
2. Make forward and backward references
to help students to interconnect their knowledge store.
3. Explore extended contexts
to avoid oversimplified generalizations, and to help students abstract concepts
4. Compare and contrast
to sensitise students to those categories and features useful for analysis.
5. Classify and categorize
to make students aware of useful categories, and to increase the sophistication of ideas used to classify.
6. Predict & show (inadequacy of old model)
to help students become self-aware and self-invested, to give them practice in applying their models to new situations, and to confront other peoples’ models.
7. Explain (summarize, describe, discuss, define, etc)
to become aware of features used for analysis and problem solving and to practice using and modifying one’s model.
8. Generate multiple solutions
to encourage students to develop Strategic Knowledge elements, and to help them prioritize knowledge elements and organisational schemes.
9. Plan, justify and strategize
to develop a deeper understanding of physics concepts and their role in
problem solving, and to develop Strategic Knowledge.
10. Reflect (evaluate, integrate, extend, generalize etc)
to solidify the results of other activities and increase the likelihood that long-term change has occurred, and to help students make the knowledge they acquire useful and accessible to them at a later time.
to motivate students, to help students become self-invested, to address learning issues, and to improve communication.
I intend to touch on each of these in the Chuxiong Workshop. Have some fun. Stimulate some brain cells. I still remember with a little bit of horror the Workshop in 1999 where we were discussing misconceptions. There in front of everyone a some of us showed our own misconceptions . . .
Also from Gerace et al:
I have not worked with these ideas for a while. Some literature searching shows some new applications of these ideas. But it really all comes back to Donald Simanek’s quote:
Nothing works unless the students work.
Just had an e-mail from some of my buddies at cpsquare announcing a January workshop on Community Platforms. Great Idea. I’ve been mulling around possible futures for Interact – maybe spin it off as a slightly narrowed aim (not have to worry about all the quiz, gradebook stuff, and concentrate on core business: learning community support). Still thinking about Moodle as a platform. It is true: “Community needs a place”. Why are we taking soi long to get our online platforms sorted?
Dan Randow made a passing comment last week:
Why don’t you just take on a community support role for Interact, and leave the development to others? Just make sure you have the role of code management sorted somewhere (ie what becomes part of the codebase). . ?
This was a new thought to me. There is one guy who has said he’s be interested in a role in working with Interact. I actually have little idea of what the interest is out there – I think there is a need for something.
Today Marilyn Leask passed on this link: www.communities.idea.gov.uk/home.do
”You can apply for your own workspace on www.communities.idea.gov.uk if you are working with a group to support local governnmet improvement ie work in schools and local authorities and communities. If you are not employed in local government then it would help to get a sponsor.
Yet another community platform, quite a nice experieince logging in, (Yet Another Username And Password @#$%).
On another matter: institutions have a life of their own. Set up a project, kill off a community. Sad. Communities need to be “for the communities”.
We helped start a blog with an academic group last semester. One person in particular posted some neat stuff, even with 70 posts tagged controversy. He must have done something wrong. The blog owner (or at least the one with admin powers) dropped by in and no iffs or buts: deleted every post.
It’s hard not to feel “What did we do wrong in our work with these guys?” Always a danger with institutional blogs etc.
I wonder what the moral of the story is?
I met David in March, and now he is helping with translation for my workshop. He has compiled quite a neat course: “Learning to Learn”. The message for students is “Take control of your learning”. The message for teachers is “Let go”. I was really impressed actually. He uses a learning style analysis – VAK. Here is one reference at random:
Learning styles can be broken into three modes: Visual, Auditory (also called Aural or Audio) and Kinesthetic, i.e. V-A-K. Most people have a preferred mode of learning, but we use all three to some extent. Some people can use more than one mode equally as well, and are referred to as Multimodal.
David uses this with his classes in an effort to develop autonomy. Really cool!!
There is still a lot of interest in wikis around here. Ran a short presentation last month, “Now you’ve got your wiki, what now?” looking at ways to introduce their use to a group.
Odd how little connections can somehow open whole new doors. John Fountain’s sister Renee spoke recently at a wiki conference in Canada, something I hadn’t discovered even with a bit of last minute Googling to prepare for the workshop. Instead I discovered this through a quick note from John.
No Ordinary Conference: WikiSym is the only international scientific conference dedicated to wikis. It brings together wiki researchers, practitioners, and users. The goal of the symposium is to explore and extend our growing community. It has a rigorously reviewed research paper track as well as plenty of space for practitioner reports, demonstrations, and open discussions. Anyone who is involved in using, researching, or developing wikis was invited to WikiSym 2007.
We recognize that the online world is always evolving, and therefore made a special effort to welcome people interested in other online media consistent with the wiki philosophy of being open, organic and participatory.
I Googled Renee some more to find she has written an e-book thingy on wikis. A Little old now, but a fascinating background.
There are some nice papers in the WikiSym proceedings. One of these is Wiki-based Process Framework for Blended Learning – Marija Cubric – University of Hertfordshire, UK (a PDF) Here is her first comment on “Tips” for use . . .
Provide necessary “scaffolding”
Many reports on the use of wikis have concluded that less scaffolding” results in better quality of the created content . However, we believe that some guidance on the content is essential, but the amount of scaffolding depends on various factors, such as: the study level (e.g. postgraduates or undergraduates), group composition (“digital natives” vs. “digital immigrants” , local vs. international students) etc.
Reference 16 is Will Richardson’s book: Richardson W. Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other powerful web tools for the classroom. Corwin Press, 2006. Reference 15 is Mark Prentsky. (Who else?)
This is a good paper and is worth a read. [Another of Marija's papers is here] When wikis and education is under discussion, this question of providing structure or not often emerges as a theme.
I tried to find a few of Will Richardson’s comments online, but was unsuccessful. I have a hunch Will may have brought a little extra to the classroom: he is an innovative and engaging teacher, and this presence may have provided the ‘scaffolding’ needed, and hence is view “less scaffolding is better” may be missing what was actually going on. I hear many presentations and stories where teacher presence is basically an unrepeatable variable. In my search, I discovered Ulises Mejías’s blog (out of Mexico). He posts on a “social literacy” the environment of the wiki. ideant.typepad.com/ideant/2005/03/social_literaci.html
A small quote:
Thus, social literacy (as I am using the term) is not a metaphorical extension of the concept and does not refer to the skills necessary to perform in society, but to the use of the resource of writing in social contexts. Social literacy amounts to the textual practices not (as has been true so far) of a single author, but of multiple and simultaneous authors. Wikis make social literacy apparent by allowing us to witness the evolution of text in time, and evolution that reflects the decisions not of a single individual, but of a community.
What is the purpose of a wiki? merely gathering links, data and ideas? (You can then get the mess described by Graham Wegner: (Will’s blog post, see the comments)
I used a wiki as a basis for a Problem Based Learning program with 4 middle school classes last term on a unit on Australian Identity. I’m not sure that it will make anyone go “Wow” but it certainly demonstrated Messy Learning in action. How I set it up isn’t the way it eventually unfolded and you might be appalled at the cut’n’paste slabs, the links that are dead etc. but this ended up as a worksite, an area for experimentation and the first attempts at digital collaboration for these kids. Like a lot of worksites, there’s a bit of litter and abandoned clutter about but the learning was amazing as the kids unpacked what being an Aussie meant in terms of our country’s culture, achievements and history. There is heaps in the aftermath for re-visiting that could cover the topics of fair use, publishing, plagiarism, what is actual research,citation and copyright (and has been covered, by the way.) This led to the students creating digital stories that celebrated aspects of Australian life and ultimately they would have been great to share online with a wider audience but the conflicting aspects of copyright images being used (fair use in a school setting but not publishable on the web) while the difficulties in accessing suitable and interesting public domain and CC images when sites like Flickr are blocked by our education system’s filters meant that we couldn’t produce anything shareable beyond the school community. But the wiki was an excellent tool for the housing of snippets of information, distilling of ideas and the planning of the solution to the posed problem, “What does it mean to be Australian?”
I’ll stop there.
The research on wikis is yet young. To provide structure or not? How to do it, for example by modelling, by setting up pages . . ?? What’s it like for different ones of us in a genuinely collaborative wiki environment? Identity – who are we in a wiki? I’m just poised to delve into wikieducator.com, but I really want to start the page with “Derek’s Project”. I think tjhis breaks the paradigm.
If you live close and would let me eaves drop in a class of students with a wiki, eventually letting me chat to them to see a little bit in their minds – let me know. Ethics approval, formal stuff and all that.
I’ve wondered seriously whether I need to declare online bankrupcy. Laurence Lessig did it for e-mail. E-mail is not quite my problem. Just a bit too much online stuff, too many frontiers. But I decided it is just the end of year run up to Christmas, I was tired – plus, there has been a lot on the go in the last month.
We are being restructured again, 366 days from the last time, and really only part of the way along the curve of our last restructure. In the last month I’ve oscillated from consiracy theory to “there is no master plan”.
I formally moved over to the UCTL on 5th December 2006. On 6th December 2007 we will find out a new structure for UCTL with the merger of 15 staff from the Student Learning Centre here. This follows a month of work by a guest consultant, Mark McGinn of PeopleFit. I’ve found it a bit hard having no forum to talk over ideas and thoughts around the integration process. This has meant a lot of “Business as Usual” has been put on the back burner. Things like planning for next year, and finishing off plans from this year.
Stephen Covey (in an oft quoted statement, I cannot find out which of his books it has come from) said (I think)
People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value
I have wondered about my core. In some respects I have had to face this question again this year. New location, new role, new team. Just exactly who am I?
I went to an ASDUNZ UNconference last year at Canterbury (ASDUNZ – the Association of Staff Developers of New Zealand). I stayed as long as I actually felt welcomed. (40 minutes). At that stage I was figuring out things. Could I wear the hat of “Staff Developer”? I was actually in the “Flexible Learning Group” at UCTL, not the other “Academic Development Group”.
I was able to go to Auckland this year for the ASDUNZ conference. It was great. I’ll post more on it soon, but suffice to say I felt quite different this year: “Yes, I can wear the Staff Developer hat”. Every discipline of course has their academic journal.
The International Journal for Academic Development. Most of the articles (3/4) in the latest edition have a touch of angst. Who are we? What exactly is our role? What exactly do we contribute? This was part of the tone of the conference. I felt right at home. But they also knew about Appreciative Inquiry: and there was some marvellous postive comment and forward looking interaction.
I am off to China next week, primarily for a visit to my sister who has been there for 10 years, but also to present a two day Physics Education workshop at Chuxiong Normal University. Back to my roots really: I have not done a physics workshop or talk or presentation or even talked about Newton’s Law for five years, when I did the 40 hour teaching study at the old College of Education.
It will be fun.