Saturday, June 4th 2011.
This reflexive journal will replace my regular journal until the data collection phase of the Storyboard project is complete at the end of 2011.
Sunday, June 5th 2011.
I have committed myself to the practice of making a journal entry each and every day until the data collection phase of this study is completed. Yesterday I bought 8 USB memory sticks so that each participant will have their own storage device to back-up their work.
Monday, June 6th 2011.
Last week I introduced the Storyboard project to the grade 5 and 6 students as a brief overview during their regular Performing Arts sessions with me. Many of the children showed an initial interest so I explained that the 8 positions will be chosen depending on the viability of their chosen topics. I also explained that these topics must be conceptual and not to commence any initial research into these areas as this initial data and prior knowledge needs to be captured as part of the data collection.
Tuesday, June 7th 2011.
Today I saw some of the same children who I had mentioned the Storyboard project to the previous week. Some initial expressions of interest and possible conceptual topics are:
Wednesday, June 8th 2011.
Much of my reading concerning data collection deals with coding but this doesn't appear to be necessary with this project. The chronology of the file names and visual nature of much of the data makes it very easy to find what I'm looking for.
Thursday, June 9th 2011.
Another student has proposed doing "Volcanoes" or "Waves" as his animation topic.
Friday, June 10th 2011.
Today I confirmed that the next School Council meeting is at 7:00 pm on Thursday 16th June. Just like in 2010, I will need to attend one of these meetings and explain the Storyboard proposal. This is not a requirement from the ethics committee but it is a good way to keep everyone informed. I then can add the phrase "This project has University of Melbourne, DEECD and School Council approval" in the documentation that goes home to parents. I also like opportunities to explain the project as it helps refine my ideas.
Saturday, June 11th 2011.
I need to give some thought to the actual computers which the 8 participants will use. Each grade 5 and 6 classroom has 10 laptop computers. Last year the majority of the children brought these laptops to the Music Room where the sessions were held. Sometimes there were network disruptions where the children were even able to log on to their computers. There are also 3 desktops in the Music Room which are not networked. The best computer in the whole school is deliberately left off the network and Internet as it is set up for video editing for our Film Festivals. Now that the project is reduced to 8 participants, if I bring my 2 laptops from home we would have minimal reliance on the network. It will depend on how much Internet access the children need to research their topics.
Sunday, June 12th 2011.
An issue about knowledge construction which I've been pondering today is whether knowledge goes from general to specific or specific to general? My view is that it goes general to specific. I have analogies for this as follows:
Music: When writing a song, the composer normally comes up with an idea for one part of a song. The other parts are then written later to fill in the gaps. A symphony would never be written where every instrument is conceived for bar 1 and then bar 2 etc. A theme is embellished and orchestrated.
Visual Arts: I can't imagine an artist choosing a small part of their canvas and then completing this section. More typically, a broad outline is sketched and then further detail is added.
This all seemed obvious until I mentioned it to my principal. I also used a writing analogy saying that an author would normally conceived chapters and then fill in the details. He has just written his first book and he had the opposite approach of finishing each part first.
Monday, June 13th 2011.
What, if anything, won't I be sharing with the children? There are no secrets in this project but I don't want to overload the children with information. Some issues might be left until later in the project such as video editing. Other issues might not need to be raised at any stage.
Tuesday, June 14th 2011.
I have now received confirmation of a 5 minute presentation at the next School Council meeting.
Wednesday, June 15th 2011.
All documents for parents have now been printed in preparation for the School Council meeting.
Thursday, June 16th 2011.
Tonight I had the School Council presentation which seemed to go very well. I decided not to use a computer to show any of the animations from 2010 as I preferred to just mention the animation process and how it can benefit conceptual consolidation. It seemed to be common sense.
One of the parents has a child who participated last year and then pulled out after 3 weeks claiming it was too difficult. I accepted her recommendation to keep an eye out for children who struggle with the technology although I don't recall that being the issue. I remember her daughter not being too excited about the topic she had chosen ("Speech marks") and not having any of her closest friends in the class.
Friday, June 17th 2011.
Just like last year, I will refer to the students in this project by their chosen topics and not by their real names.
Saturday, June 18th 2011.
I investigated the difference between reflexive and reflective and came across an interesting article by Ian Darling. (http://www.lupinworks.com/ar/Schon/Paper6.html) "Although reflection influenced the development of reflexive practice, there are profound differences. Reflexivity is pro active as its focus is on providing practitioners with a tool that will simultaneously improve their communication and help make them aware of assumptions and priorities that shape their interaction with others" (Darling, 1998, para. 6).
Sunday, June 19th 2011.
I have been reconsidering the issue of how much of this thesis to put online. At the moment my thoughts are:
Monday, June 20th 2011.
I will see all of the Grade 5 and 6 children on Thursday. I'm planning to speak to each prospective participant individually, make a decision later that day and then hand out the paperwork during the following week as that will be the final week of term 2.
Tuesday, June 21st 2011.
I'm wondering how we will negotiate the partial explanation dynamic. I concluded during the 2010 trial that a partial explanation is appropriate for a complex topic but that a simplistic explanation is not. I suppose it will depend on how complex the 2011 topics turn out to be.
Wednesday, June 22nd 2011.
The short listing process is well underway. I have those grades again tomorrow so I can confirm which children are still interested. One child has suggested researching the acoustics of stadium design. This seems like a really promising topic. I like the way that it is inherently scientific, due to acoustics, and yet quite accessible as stadiums are frequented by multitudes of people.
Thursday, June 23rd 2011.
The successful applicants are:
Friday, June 24th 2011.
The Thursday time slot that I proposed for the Storyboard sessions between 2:30 and 3:30 pm has been approved and included in the new Term 3 timetable.
Saturday, June 25th 2011.
Our school has two Grade 6 classes, two Grade 5 classes and one composite 5/6 class. Only three of the possible five grades are involved which actually makes the project easier to organise.
Sunday, June 26th 2011.
I was talking to a friend last night and Storyboard came up. I am really saying that this research is demystifying conceptual consolidation or is there more to it than that?
Monday, June 27th 2011.
I informed the successful applicants today in person. The Grade 6 boy who was doing the "Internal combustion engine" has changed his topic to "Satellites." The topics are now:
Tuesday, June 28th 2011.
The Grade 5 boy who was doing "Lightning" has decided not to be involved. I've now offered his spot to another of the applicants and she has accepted. She is in Grade 6 and her topic is "How does hair grow?" The Grade 6 girl who was doing "Molecular biology" has now amended her topic to "Cell duplication." The Grade 5 boy who was doing "Magnetism" has amended his topic to "Magnetic fields." The topics are now:
Wednesday, June 29th 2011.
In thinking about the Grade 6 girl who is doing "How does hair grow" I've wondered if there is any difference between a topic which is a concept and a conceptual topic? If her topic was simply "Hair" then it would not be conceptual as it would lack the system qualities. I try to think about other hypothetical topics like "Dog." A dog is not conceptual but the system qualities could be found in other dog related topics such as "Life cycles of dogs", "Instincts and behaviour of dogs", "Breeding patterns of dogs" and so on.
I have also revised the paperwork and printed it for distribution tomorrow.
Thursday, June 30th 2011.
The paperwork has been distributed to all 8 participants.