Journal

 

Thursday, December 1st 2011 (Storyboard session 15).

After today's session I decided to timetable 3 Storyboard sessions next week. Each participant will still only be required for one hour but by spreading them out they will be more productive:

Tuesday (6/12): Solar cell efficiency.

Wednesday (7/12): How does hair grow?, Electromagnetic fields, Sol Feige.

Thursday (8/12): Molecular naming conventions, Satellites, Stadium design, Stringed instruments.

 

Friday, December 2nd 2011.

I've introduced the idea of a reference slide. Because the video player which I've embedded in the HTML pages (written by my computer engineer brother) concludes a video by freezing on the final frame, there is an opportunity to display reference material on this final frame. This won't always be relevant but for some animations like Stringed instruments it will provide the opportunity to lists the units of measurement for length, tension and mass without having to include them in the voice-over script. For other animations like Molecular naming conventions it can retain important information which was in the voice-over script such as "Hill's rule". This would be very useful in a classroom situation where a teacher might wish to revise the essential information.

 

Saturday, December 3rd 2011.

Today I added two new entries to the glossary:

 

Word

Definition

Issues

Multicontextual media

Media which is a component part of other media.

An example of multicontextual media is an image which is a single frame of an animation.

Recontextualise

Presenting or viewing something in a new context.

Context is normally taken to be fixed for historical events or variable when participating in new events. A common example is the semantic range of language depending on the context. A digital thesis can recontextualise data in two ways:

  1. Data can be used in multiple contexts. e.g. Animation footage can be seen in the original animation or in a director's commentary.
  2. The viewer can follow the suggested order as listed in the Table of contents or they can navigate their own path through the various HTML pages. This could present data in a different order. This is like reading the end of novel first and then finding out how the story reached its conclusion.

 

 

Sunday, December 4th 2011.

I've concluded that commentaries are at the heart of the QUAL-qual research design. This applies to all forms of commentary including basic annotations and not just director's commentaries.

 

Monday, December 5th 2011.

Today I added a new section called "Save as" is a practical example of archiving and creativity to the Implications section of this thesis.

 

Tuesday, December 6th 2011.

Today I added another section to the conclusion: Explanatory animation design and conceptual consolidation are parallel processes.

 

Wednesday, December 7th 2011.

One of my main take aways from the Storyboard project in terms of what I would say to colleagues at school is "Work on digital projects and you'll have plenty of documentation and artefacts."

 

Thursday, December 8th 2011 (Storyboard session 16).

I've made a voice-over script / imagery table as a checklist in preparation for finishing of the animation. This is proving to be really helpful as the children can see if they are missing any imagery for each sentence of their voice-over script. These tables are printed out and physically ticked off.

 

Friday, December 9th 2011.

The first explanatory animation has been completed which is from the Grade 5 girl who was studying "Sol Feige". I have made a schedule for completing the remaining 7 animations by next Thursday. It is basically to do one every week day and two on each day of the weekend.

 

Saturday, December 10th 2011.

The following image is behind the scenes imagery for the Grade 6 boy who is studying "Stadium design." He delegated finishing this off to me during the last session as we are now out of time. The circle and the horizontal line are used to ensure a smooth swing of the pendulum. They are then deleted. It's a shame he couldn't be here for this as it is additional learning for geometry and spatial intelligence.

Newton's construction imagery

 

Sunday, December 11th 2011.

I already have a section 9.2 in Implications called "1 to 1 teaching implications for integration aides." It occurs to me that the same proximity enjoyed by integration aides would also apply to the home schooling environment. I don't intend to make an additional entry in Implications about home schooling so I mention it here instead.

 

Monday, December 12th 2011.

I found the following web page from the University of New South Wales to be very helpful for visualising "Electromagnetic fields." It uses on-screen text rather than a voice-over. The animation is in Flash so it gives the user the ability to play certain segments. http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/electricmotors.html#mandg (accessed 12/12/11).

 

Tuesday, December 13th 2011.

Working on the "Solar cell efficiency" animation brought me to the realisation that analogies are not always explicit. An implicit analogy makes a connection without spelling it out. e.g. "Band gap energy". I'm sure more will be said about this during the analysis of his animation in the Solar cell efficiency review.

 

Wednesday, December 14th 2011.

All of the animations are now finished. Tomorrow is the final session and there's a lot to fit in such as interviews, debriefing session and the final director's commentaries.

 

Thursday, December 15th 2011 (Storyboard session 17).

Today was the final session which was also the debriefing session. We didn't have enough time for individual interviews but some of the children's comments could be edited into separate sections for each child. Only 6 out of 8 participants were there today so I'll have to meet with the other 2 children next week.

Of most interest to me was a conversation I had with Ingrid during the recording of her director's commentrary.  She had just said that "The formula itself is quite complicated but once you understand it and you've read over it a few times it's actually quite simple".  I asked Ingrid if she thought she understood the formula and she said that she did. I questioned her about this further and asked her if she knew what the square root symbol meant (I just pointed at the symbol without naming it). She could not answer. I then told her the name of the symbol. Ingrid claimed to have heard of it but could not remember what it meant. She could offer no answer when I asked her if she knew the square root of 25. I concluded the discussion by reassuring her that understanding the actual effect of these variables on the pitch of stringed instruments was sufficient for our purposes. Ingrid then proceeded to record the final sentence of her commentary in a more cautious and measured tone; "I realised it was a complicated formula but the variables are quite easy to understand".

 

Friday, December 16th 2011.

I updated the abstract today. I don't really want to delete the previous version so I'll list both versions here:

Previous abstract:

The guiding rationale for this research project is that the process of designing an explanatory animation provides a rich context for primary school students to consolidate their own learning.  My claim here is that explanatory animations can be cognitive models.  When students are brought into the learning by teaching process with an explicit pedagogical awareness and consideration, their logic flow can be both the means and the ends to cognitive development through conceptual consolidation.  This research project uses mixed methods where qualitative data generated by the students is used for multiple levels of analysis to obtain different perspectives on the same phenomena.

New abstract:

Storyboard is a practitioner action research project involving 8 students from an inner Melbourne Primary School who created explanatory animations in 2011. This study introduces the director’s commentary as a unique genre of research data which requires the author to articulate and often reorganise their own thinking. The children's voices as multimedia authors are present in these director’s commentaries where you hear the rationale behind the numerous decisions that the children make in their own words.  My claim here is that explanatory animations can be cognitive models. These models are intrinsically preserved as digital evidence of the children's evolving thoughts and representations. Storyboard provides a clear chronology of the children's conceptual consolidation. 

The process of explanatory animation creation is well documented as the evolving creations of the students are uploaded and hyperlinked as primary sources of data. The Storyboard project used a multiple methods (QUAL-qual) design where the multimodal data generated by the students is presented in varying levels of detail and recontextualised for multiple levels of analysis.

 

Saturday, December 17th 2011.

I originally had no intention of listing each student's complete explanatory animation on their main data page which is accessed through the data collection section. This was because I wanted it to be in the review section which is accessed from data analysis. Today I decided to list it in both places. Rather than list it at the bottom of the page (which would be the chronological order), I've put it under the prior knowledge video. This utilises the top-left corner of the screen.

 

Sunday, December 18th 2011.

I added margins of 50 pixels (top, bottom, left and right) to every page in this thesis. This seems like a minor point but it makes a big difference to readability.

 

Monday, December 19th 2011.

Video editing for an educational project is filled with pedagogical decisions. Sometimes I'll edit something out that could have referential value at a later date. In such instances I need to save these omissions carefully so they can be logically archived.

 

Tuesday, December 20th 2011.

I had an interesting talk with the Grade 6 boy who studied "Stadium design." I'll be detailing this in the "Stadium design review." It was basically along the lines of when you tell someone something you can't take it back or "untell" them.

 

Wednesday, December 21st 2011.

I was watching "The Simpsons" tonight and saw Milhouse accidentally break Bart's toy thinking that it was a transformer. He had pulled it apart thinking that it was designed to be pulled apart. He was apologetic but added in his defence: "Nothing's just one thing anymore!" I list this incident as I immediately thought of the word I started using recently which is "recontextualise" (see December 3rd). Transformer toys can be recontextualised which would more commonly be referred to a reconfigured.

 

Thursday, December 22nd 2011.

Today was the last day of the school year and so data collection has now ceased. I did manage to video the two Storyboard participants who were absent during the original debriefing session.

 

Friday, December 23rd 2011.

Today I completed my 100 word summary of finding for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development:

Each of the children in this study generated a variety of digital data which painted a detailed and progressive account of their conceptual consolidation for their chosen topic.  There was a clear pattern which emerged between the children’s use of correct terminology and their subsequent identification of relevant variables.   Understanding the dynamic relationships between these variables proved to be the final step for the children in their quest to achieve conceptual consolidation. 

Director’s commentaries from the children revealed both moments in time and evolution of thought.  They also make the children’s metacognitive reasoning accessible for further analysis.

 

Saturday, December 24th 2011.

For a few years now I have been meaning to address or at least look into reductionism. There seems to be some resonance here with Storyboard due to the idea of systems and component parts. I'll copy this entry to my "to do list" as I'm still busy editing the director's commentary audio and debriefing session footage.

 

Sunday, December 25th 2011.

Today I completed the "Electromagnetic fields" director's commentary.

 

Monday, December 26th 2011.

I have also completed the "Sol feige" director's commentary.

In my previous discussion about the QUAL-qual design I have usually used the example of video from a completed explanatory animation being recontextualised into a final director's commentary. There have also been cases of imagery from the student's animations being used in my researcher's commentaries during the project in the student pages (e.g. Stadium design). Today I started using text from the researcher's reflections (from the student pages) and/or the reflexive journal in the children's review pages.

 

Tuesday, December 27th 2011.

Today I completed the "Molecular naming conventions" director's commentary. I did this following the precedent set by the Storyboard 2010 pilot where some of the imagery was sped up to avoid lengthy gaps without any audio.

 

Wednesday, December 28th 2011.

Today I completed the "How does hair grow?", "Satellites" and "Solar cell efficiency" director's commentaries.

I also changed one of the 12 data sources from "Interviews" to "Voice-over script / imagery table" and created a separate Final director's commentaries page.

 

Thursday, December 29th 2011.

Now that the final director's commentaries have been completed, I was able to go back and to the audio editing and transcriptions for the last audio director's commentaries from session 16. This means that all digital media is now edited except for the debriefing session.

 

Friday, December 30th 2011.

The debriefing session has now been edited down to 21 minutes. The audio still requires mastering but of greater concern is that even in flash format, this video will be around 97MB which is a lot bigger than I had anticipated. I'm planning to break it into 4 or 5 chapters.

 

Saturday, December 31st 2011.

I'm revaluating whether the director's commentaries really have a future component to them as they mostly started with "Today..." Maybe the future direction is not as important as the overall picture that emerged when they are viewed together. The debriefing session had some relevant comments where most of the children saw them as a "recap."

 

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