Journal

 

Friday, July 1st 2011.

Today is the last day of Term 2. Although the first Storyboard session is not until next term, in my mind the project has begun because the official paperwork has gone out into the school community.

 

Saturday, July 2nd 2011.

I made some web site changes today such as 2010 attendance roll being relegated to the appendices section.

 

Sunday, July 3rd 2011.

I need to give some thought to how I will present some of the basic instructions such as data collection so we have a shared understanding from Session 1 onwards.

 

Monday, July 4th 2011.

Today I made an appointment to have the first meeting with my new supervisor Nick next Monday.

 

Tuesday, July 5th 2011.

My Literature review is my focus at the moment as I need to increase the emphasis on conceptual consolidation.

 

Wednesday, July 6th 2011.

Today I created a new page for the 2011 attendance roll.

 

Thursday, July 7th 2011.

I was reflecting today about how time can vary amongst different modes of communication. Video often shows real time whereas reading text can take longer as the author might choose to elaborate a situation with additional descriptions and figurative language. Animation the way we use it in the Storyboard project is a condensed mode where economy of words is important to reduce the length of the animation.

 

Friday, July 8th 2011.

I've compiled a small table to show some of the contrasts between paper and digital PhD theses:

Paper

Digital

Traditional

Interactive

Text

Hypertext

Footnotes / endnotes

Links

 

Saturday, July 9th 2011.

I revisited some of my notes from my second and final confirmation seminar. I had written in capital letters:

PURPOSE: TO DOCUMENT CONCEPTUAL CONSOLIDATION.

 

Sunday, July 10th 2011.

I have always been uncertain about where the Explanatory Animation Framework fits into my thesis. I originally referred to this as Literature review B as it references other literature about animation construction guidelines. It also informs the research methodology section as it is a method for animation construction. At this stage it seems appropriate to keep it as a stand alone section and the list it between the Literature review and Research methodology sections.

 

Monday, July 11th 2011.

I had my first meeting today with my supervisor Nick and we went over some the basics about PhD thesis sections. I also mentioned that it has always been my intention to construct this thesis as a digital thesis although we both conceded that this might not be possible.

 

Tuesday, July 12th 2011.

My PhD document has now been broken down into separate Word files for each chapter.

 

Wednesday, July 13th 2011.

Although one feature of the Storyboard methodology involves saving date-based file names at various stages of progression, for the thesis itself this is probably unnecessary. To back these Word documents up I create a zip file of the whole folder and upload it to Google docs.

 

Thursday, July 14th 2011.

Today I downloaded "End note" software as my supervisor Nick recommended it to me earlier in the week.

 

Friday, July 15th 2011.

I've started developing the idea of cognitive growth plates being "Metaphorical room for growth in conceptual consolidation." At first this might appear to resemble scaffolding as one of the boundaries is the current understanding of a student.  The difference is that scaffolding represents potential learning with assistance but cognitive growth plates are the seeds of further learning already existent in the student’s musings about their topic (i.e. their director’s commentary).

 

Saturday, July 16th 2011.

In the data analysis section I've made a distinction between data which was a "Moment in time" and that which demonstrates "Evolution of thought."  

 

Sunday, July 17th 2011.

Today I created an "End note" compatible file using coded tags for my bibliography entries.

 

Monday, July 18th 2011.

Today was the first day back at school for Term 3. Only some of the Storyboard consent forms have been returned.

 

Tuesday, July 19th 2011.

It has just occurred to me that my ethics approval from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) has not been updated since Storyboard 2010. I immediately composed the following letter and emailed it to my contact from last year:

Hi Kathleen,

It's been 6 months since our last email as I've had a change of supervision at Melbourne University due to the retirement of one supervisor and relocation of the other.  During this I also held a successful confirmation seminar which included some refinements suggested by the panel.

My PhD research topic is about conceptual consolidation through the creation of explanatory animations.  It's still called "Storyboard" but the subtitle is now "Primary school students authoring explanatory animations."  The research question has been amended to "In what ways can storyboarding and explanatory animation creation enable primary school students to articulate and consolidate their conceptual understanding?"

You sent me a one page Final report document which I have not completed as the University of Melbourne has suggested and approved another round of data collection using the same conditions and "Minimal risk" classification.

The two differences between last year and the remainder of 2011 in terms of data collection are:

1/ My previous focus was on showing each child's conceptual growth by contrasting their prior knowledge video with their completed explanatory animation which had too much emphasis on the finished product.  The idea now is to document the process in more detail by contrasting each development and weekly version of the animations as they progress.

2/ Due to the more demanding nature of this new research design, my animation class is planned to consist of only 8 students rather than last year when there were 18 participants.

This has been approved by the University and Melbourne and the Elwood Primary School Council so please advise me if you need any additional information before the completion of this project on December 15th 2011.

Regards,
Brendan Jacobs
ICT Coordinator
Elwood Primary School.

 

Wednesday, July 20th 2011.

I received a prompt and positive response from DEECD regarding ethics approval.

Only 4 out of 8 of the Storyboard participants have returned their paperwork so I have issued additional copies. One participant (Grade 5 girl doing "Sol Feige") will be absent for the first session as she is currently in France.

 

Thursday, July 21st 2011 (Storyboard session 1) .

The first animation session commenced today. I could have spent the whole session going through the aims and methods of the project but I knew the children would be keen to get started and I needed to reserve time for recording the prior knowledge videos and their first directors' commentaries. Reading through their voice-over scripts, it appears that many children think that the voice-over script is simply a transcript of their prior knowledge video.

 

Friday, July 22nd 2011.

Today I captured the prior knowledge videos and director's commentaries onto a computer to begin the editing process. Editing is a time consuming process that I will need to keep up with each week. Other weeks will be easier as the prior knowledge videos are only recorded once.

I'm also thinking about a new take on cognitive load. It's basically that representations, either visual or textual allow people to unload their minds thus reducing cognitive load and the demands on short-term memory.

 

Saturday, July 23rd 2011.

I was reading an abstract today for a book called "Getting To "Got It!" by Betty K. Garner.http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107024/chapters/Cognitive-Structures@-What-They-Are-and-Why-They-Matter.aspx It talks about "cognitive structures" which is how I found it but it seems to delve too much into memorisation and classification for my needs right now.

 

Sunday, July 24th 2011.

Today I found more about conceptual structures (http://conceptualstructures.org), this time from John Sowa. By listing this here in my journal I might come back to it but for now it seems like a tangent.

 

Monday, July 25th 2011.

I've started developing another analogy for learning called "Vector-based learning" which is based on vector-based graphics. I believe this has great potential so I've started a new heading in my Literature review to cover this.

 

Tuesday, July 26th 2011.

I have rearranged the Music Room so that everyone is together. This way they can hear instructions etc. together. The group last year was very chatty so I used all available space but this year is much smoother with a smaller class size of 8 as opposed to 18.

 

Wednesday, July 27th 2011.

Today I transcribed all of the first directors' commentaries because tomorrow I record new ones and I don't want to get behind.

 

Thursday, July 28th 2011 (Storyboard session 2).

The student who was absent last week was there today so I now have all of the prior knowledge videos recorded.

 

Friday, July 29th 2011.

Some psychology terminology I have been reading about includes "enrichment" and "discrimination." The relevance of this is not clear to me at the moment.

 

Saturday, July 30th 2011.

I've just concluded that the prior knowledge videos will also have to be transcribed as they will become part of the written document (thesis) too.

 

Sunday, July 31st 2011.

I've looked up dictionary definitions of important words in my developing Vector-based learning analogy. To summarise:

Vector: Magnitude and direction.

Scale: Relative dimensions.

 

 

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