Journal

 

Monday, August 1st 2011.

An ethical consideration arose during my transcriptions from the second week of the Storyboard project. The Grade 5 boy who is studying "Magnetic fields" said that "Now I know that nail files can get pulled in by a magnet which creates a magnetic field." After the recording I explained that the iron filings moved because of a magnetic field and that they are iron filings rather than nail files which is an apparatus used mostly by ladies to shape their nails. He wanted to re-record his commentary so I allowed him to amend it.

I received an email from my supervisor Nick asking for details of my progress. He also named a possible additional supervisor names Susan who has been newly appointed to head the Arts faculty.

 

Tuesday, August 2nd 2011.

Four of the eight prior knowledge videos have now been transcribed and uploaded to a new page called "Prior knowledge videos".

 

Wednesday, August 3rd 2011.

(Written from the Alfred hospital as my son came off his bike and was knocked unconscious, broken teeth, etc.!)

I found a nice quote in Research Methods in the Social Sciences regarding research diaries which will justify my decision to keep it off-line initially and then to publish it later rather than uploading it like a blog. "The privacy of the diary makes it easier to disregard consideration of style and punctuation. Self-censorship disturbs the free flow of thoughts; editing comes later if the results are to be published." (Altrichter & Holly 2005:26)

 

Thursday, August 4th 2011.

(Still in Alfred hospital)

I have now set up separate pages for each participant in the Storyboard project unlike the 2010 trial when all of the student data was listed together. I see this current study as 8 mini case studies. In this sense the best context for the data is the unfolding journey of conceptual consolidation that each child encounters. Some media like the director's commentaries will also be available from a separate page for easier comparison.

 

Friday, August 5th 2011.

I've started a slide show called "Forks in the road" with a separate slide for each chapter of this thesis. This is in case I decide to show the various decisions that I've made about scope and focus of this project.

 

Saturday, August 6th 2011.

Whilst editing the children's director's commentaries today I reflected on how questions of ethics are part of this process. "Who am I trying to make look good?" The example is from a Grade 5 boy who said something much better the second time. If I include the first version it will eventually make me look better when he ends up exceeding his earlier views. If I use the second version it makes him look better. Of course I used the second version so it wasn't really a difficult decision but one that is worth mentioning as we are all human.

 

Sunday, August 7th 2011.

Much of my journal writing is in dot points knowing that I will revisit and proofread the entries at a later date. I've been reflecting on the "chore" of writing and how ideally I would be happy to spend the time now expanding the entries. Until that becomes my preference I'll continue my current practice. Maybe it's the "joy" of writing that I'm saving for later...

 

Monday, August 8th 2011.

Today I emailed my supervisor Nick the following progress report"

You were asking how I will be analysing the data.  It appears that the umbrella for the whole study is conceptual consolidation itself.  I have now set up a page for each child (concept) to better track the evolution of their thoughts.  If you keep an eye on my data page you’ll see how this is unfolding.

My methods chapter (which I plan to send you by the end of this term) is developing the notions of “evolution of thought” and “moments in time.”  I have also expanded the data collection from 9 sources to 12.

The new sources are:

  1. Lessons plans. The majority of the Storyboard sessions consist of free time for the students to work on their animations. The initial focus session from me is responsive to the needs of the children as they arise so a basic dot-point description of these sessions outlines the actual session development.
  2. Debriefing session with all 8 participants. This will be a transcribed audio recording conducted during the final session. It is envisioned that this session might provide additional insights into the process of conceptual consolidation including the children's self-assessment about the project. The Explanatory Animation Framework will also be critiqued for possible refinement.
  1. Concept maps allow key words and linkages to develop during the sessions. I will contribute freely to the development of each child’s concept map as it is still up to the students to determine the appropriate chronology for their storyboard. Having a separate slide for organising this information will also help reduce cognitive load for the children.

Vector-based learning

There is also an analogy which I plan to use for my whole thesis as it addresses the epistemological question of “what is knowledge?”  The analogy is that of vector-based graphics.

With your ICT background, I’m sure you are familiar with this but I’ll explain it here to ensure that you see the point that I wish to make.  Knowledge is often viewed as information and learning as the acquisition of information.  Learners then “file away” the information that they acquire for future use much like bit map images provide specific information as pixels on a screen or dots on a page.

Vector-based images are a beautiful depiction of constructionism.  I am suggesting that every concept has a particular “shape” depending on the key components and how they relate to one another.  Conceptual consolidation allows conceptual knowledge to be transferred to other settings (where appropriate) without distortion as the interrelationships are the most important information.

This also brings my whole concrete / abstract notion full circle as consolidated understandings can be abstracted with full clarity much like vector graphics.

 

Tuesday, August 9th 2011.

My supervisor Nick emailed me a link to:

Buckingham, D. (ed.) (2008). Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

I also started the lesson plans page. This page has a retrospective column as I'm open to modification of these plans during each session.

 

Wednesday, August 10th 2011.

I've noted from my readings today that Storyboard is an action research "project" as it has a beginning and an end.

 

Thursday, August 11th 2011 (Storyboard session 3).

Today was the first time all participants were present. I was pleased to learn that the students were already familiar with concept maps.

 

Friday, August 12th 2011.

I borrowed a textbook from a school colleague today on child psychology. I've been reading about Piaget's enrichment theory and the differentiation theory of Gibson (1969, 1991, 1992)

 

Saturday, August 13th 2011.

Does conceptual consolidation follow the same phases as cognitive development? At this point in time I'm thinking that conceptual consolidation is best seen on a case-by-case or rather a concept-by-concept basis.

 

Sunday, August 14th 2011.

I've been transcribing the children's director's commentaries verbatim without fixing grammatical errors rather than adding (sic.). This seems to be appropriate although I have been editing out excessive "ums" and extra long pauses.

 

Monday, August 15th 2011.

The conceptual consolidation rubric has now been inserted into each child's html page.

 

Tuesday, August 16th 2011.

I have been exceeding the traditional width of the web page layout for the children's pages. This means that as well as scrolling down, you need to scroll across. This was all of the data can fit on together and traditional web layout and scrolling itself is changing now with iPads and other tablets which facilitate moving across a screen.

 

Wednesday, August 17th 2011.

Today I made my first conceptual consolidation rubric assessments which basically just involves shading the appropriate boxes.

 

Thursday, August 18th 2011 (Storyboard session 4).

I'm looking into the term "Functional representations" as the children's representations can be seen as cognitive models.

 

Friday, August 19th 2011.

How much help and assistance I give each give is a delicate dynamic which I am very conscious of. It seems appropriate for me to make suggestions but I will refrain from generating any imagery. I am interested in how each student constructs their representations at every stage of the process.

 

Saturday, August 20th 2011.

I have swapped the first two rows of the conceptual consolidation rubric as follows:

Uses correct terminology With assistance Simplified terminology Some correct terminology Actual terminology

Identifies relevant variables

Not apparent With assistance Basic understanding

Deep understanding

Identifies relationships between variables Not apparent With assistance Basic understanding Deep understanding
Identifies macroconcepts Not applicable With assistance Some relevant macroconcepts Multiple relevant macroconcepts
Not apparent
Self assessment. Does the student think that they understand their topic? No Not really Basic understanding Yes

 

 

Sunday, August 21st 2011.

I sent my current Table of Contents to my supervisor Nick for the PhD document:

Abstract
Declaration
Acknowledgements     
List of Tables
List of Figures

Chapter 1. Introduction

            1.1 The problem
            1.2 The research question
            1.3 Background to the problem
            1.4 The research report

Chapter 2. Cognition and conceptual consolidation
           
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Vector based learning
2.3 Constructionism
2.4 Revaluating the concrete
2.5 Learning by teaching
2.6 Conceptual consolidation
2.7 Knowledge representation and animation       
2.8 Director’s commentaries as data collection

Chapter 3. The technology environment of the study

3.1 Variant graphics     
3.2 Explanatory animation framework

Chapter 4. Methods

4.1 Practitioner action research
4.2 Mixed methods
4.3 Case study
4.4 Assumptions
4.5 Limitations
4.6 Data collection         

Chapter 5. Data

5.1 Introduction to data collection
5.2 Moments in time
5.3 Evolution of thought

Chapter 6. Analysis

6.1 Data analysis tools
6.2 Triangulation and crystallisation
6.3 Prognosis as a metaphor for assessment

Chapter 7. Conclusion

7.1 Conceptual consolidation
7.2 Metacognition and reflection
7.3 Intrinsically metacognitive tasks
7.4 Student engagement
7.5 Practical ways to reduce cognitive load

Chapter 8. Implications

8.1 Partial versus simplistic explanations
8.2 Decision making requires practice
8.3 Paradoxically - more is less

References

Appendix 1. Conceptual consolidation rubric
Appendix 2. Transcriptions of interviews with participants
Appendix 3. Researcher’s reflexive journal
Appendix 4. Digital data archive

 

Monday, August 22nd 2011.

It occurs to me that I need a definition of education which encompasses all that actually occurs in an educational setting rather than just my own ideals.

 

Tuesday, August 23rd 2011.

I'm been playing with the term "Dynamic representation". My renewed focus on definitions is an outcome of trying to pin down the theoretical space which surrounds this project.

 

Wednesday, August 24th 2011.

I've also been expanding the paraphrasing analogy as the children are encouraged to look at something from other angles. I am hypothesising that when they are able to reconstitute the essential variables they have achieved conceptual consolidation. As a Music teacher I deal with concepts every day and I find myself explaining the same things in different ways to enable more people to catch on. If I had a shallow understanding of the subject matter then I wouldn't be able to do that.

 

Thursday, August 25th 2011 (Storyboard session 5).

During today's session I promised the children who didn't have internet access that I would arrange different computers for them from now on.

I received an email from my supervisor in response to my suggestion of a meeting. He asked me to develop my theoretical space. At this moment I would define it as follows:

My theoretical space is defined by focusing on conceptual consolidation, documentation and interpretation.

 

Friday, August 26th 2011.

Functional representations can be catalysts for conceptual consolidation. Visual paraphrase is another term that I'm looking at. This might be a dead end because some people are already using this phrase in the context of poetry and the sort of imagery that poetry can evoke which is not really relevant for my purposes.

 

Saturday, August 27th 2011.

Representational paraphrase? Just because you like two words doesn't mean that they belong together.

 

Sunday, August 28th 2011.

I'm now wondering how much of my theoretical stance can be counted as research?

 

Monday, August 29th 2011.

I'm considering the notion of paraphrase as an analogy for conceptual consolidation and as a theme for this entire thesis.

 

Tuesday, August 30th 2011.

I've just looked up the definitions of literal and figurative to confirm that I'm using these terms correctly. How can something be "literal" (non-metaphorical) and "figurative" (metaphorical)? This representational paradox is possible because the ideas are literal but the imagery is not.

 

Wednesday, August 31st 2011.

I've now changed all references to "voice-over text" to "voice-over script."

 

 

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