Journal

 

Tuesday, November 1st 2011.

Questions of how appear to be a central concern in the creation of an explanatory animation. For example:

How does it work? (Satellites)

How does it change? (Frequency in Stringed Instruments)

How does it grow? (How does hair grow?)

 

Wednesday, November 2nd 2011.

The tendency for cognitive scientists to equate concepts with categories (according to the "International Handbook of Research on Conceptual Change (2008)) really does bewilder me. We already have a perfectly good word for category, i.e. "category."

 

Thursday, November 3rd 2011 (Storyboard session 12).

I shared a simplified summary of the following table today with the children to show how their projects illustrate various aspects my overall project and thesis. This is a recontextualisation of the children's animation creation experiences based on the multiple methods QUAL-qual design of the Storyboard project.

Topic

Example

How does hair grow?

Defining what a concept is

Molecular naming conventions

Naming is arbitrary.  Representation is functional

Stadium design

Scope and sequence

Satellites

Eliminate non-essentials

Electromagnetic fields

Gestalt theory

Solar panels

“Building” the imagery

Stringed instruments

Pedagogical values

Sol Feige

Evidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 4th 2011.

During session 10 I noted how the children often needed help recollecting their thoughts to record their student reflections. During session 12 I saw this assistance as scaffolding where I was directing the director's commentary. This only happens when the student in struggling to communicate their ideas as I am much more interested in hearing their own original thoughts.

 

Saturday, November 5th 2011.

Is education becoming too child focused? It would seem outrageous to even ask this in today's child-centred era with personalisation of the curriculum exemplifying quality teaching and learning. My point is that the curriculum will often change to reflect different emphases in society. Are we in danger of neglecting content by only focusing on what has educational currency?

 

Sunday, November 6th 2011.

Sometimes progress with explanatory animation creation has nothing to do with movement or animation. The Grade 5 boy who is studying "Electromagnetic fields" has separated his voice-over script into paragraphs which will help him visualise his animation as a series of scenes which is a big step towards completion.

 

Monday, November 7th 2011.

I've been reading up on solar cells and "electron holes" which I'm finding very complicated. I really feel that this needs to be sorted out before the next session for the "Solar panels" student to avoid getting too far behind.

 

Tuesday, November 8th 2011.

Animation is very useful for representing what you can't see with the naked eye. For the "electron holes" in solar cells we are struggling with how to do this. There is analogy that I read for electron holes on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_hole (accessed 081111) about a vacant seat at a sports stadium but the story about that is quite long and it only explains the electron hole, not the solar cell.

 

Wednesday, November 9th 2011.

Am I doing too much? I have spent most of tonight researching the children's topics to be able to give them strategic guidance tomorrow. They are the ones who are supposed to be answering these questions...

 

Thursday, November 10th 2011 (Storyboard session 13).

The Grade 5 children had sex education which was organised without regard to our Storyboard sessions. I didn't actually mind as having a small class (i.e. 4 students) is ideal and this was my original plan in terms of group size. Rather than mark the Grade 5 students absent I will try to organise a make-up session early next week which will be equally small and productive.

 

Friday, November 11th 2011.

I have changed the structure of the lesson plans back to where I give individual feedback individually. It seemed right to share these guidelines as a group for the last 7 weeks but now it seems appropriate to revert back due to the growing complexity of the children's decision making processes.

 

Saturday, November 12th 2011.

I have now concluded that my "system with at least one variable" definition for concept is a distinct part of the emerging contribution from this research and not just a preamble to the thesis.

 

Sunday, November 13th 2011.

A final word on categorisation is that it is valid to have a "category of one." Looking at each concept as unique will yield deeper insights that seeking to homogenise concepts according to their similarities. Of course recognising similarities is a core learning process but this shouldn't be the starting point for investigating new concepts.

 

Monday, November 14th 2011.

Is there a pattern in the way the students progress through the conceptual consolidation rubric? After looking through the rubrics thus far a consistent pattern is emerging which shows progression across the rubrics starting with the same categories stated in the first three rows. Each child first displayed growth in their use of correct terminology. This precision of descriptive language eventually led to the identification of relevant variables and ultimately to an understanding of the relationships between the variables.

This pattern might appear to be contrived as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" as the rubric was designed to document conceptual consolidation. The whole Storyboard project was designed to facilitate and document conceptual consolidation so this is a positive but expected outcome. What wasn't expected or known prior to this study was how this occurs. Today I believe I have found this.

 

Tuesday, November 15th 2011.

I am considering removing macroconcepts from the conceptual consolidation rubric. They are important but not essential to this study.

 

Wednesday, November 16th 2011.

Today was a "make up" class with just one student (Solar panels). One is probably too small as the children also need some space to think.

Also, I did end up removing macroconcepts from the conceptual consolidation rubric.

 

Thursday, November 17th 2011 (Storyboard session 14).

I remember hearing an explanation about how a joke actually functions which has some resonance with the system quality in my concept definition. During the telling of a joke the audience is following a story which ends with an unexpected and humorous twist. My concept definition doesn't have any twists but the similarity is that the teller of a joke needs to outline the system and introduce the variables.

 

Friday, November 18th 2011.

Now that some students have finished their voice-over scripts, I have decided to use distinguish this with blue text in each child's page. This is simply to show the reader that they don't have to read it again as it is now finalised. The voice-over script transcript box in the table for the new week is simply merged with the previous week so the voice-over script is not restated.

 

Saturday, November 19th 2011.

It occurs to me that the student reflections could also be seen as a way for the students to annotate their own work. Because their animations are multimodal texts, any annotations are also multimodal.

 

Sunday, November 20th 2011.

Writing my Researcher's reflection for "Sol Feige" today helped refine my own understanding of this topic. I thought I already understood this topic being a music teacher but I asked my wife her opinion about it, as she is a highly skilled and trained opera singer. She doesn't see it as just helping with the major scale as it can be used for any scale including minor key signatures. I sort of knew this but I always focussed on the major scale and diatonic harmony. I will now encourage the Grade 5 girl who is studying this topic to see it more as a naming convention.

 

Monday, November 21st 2011.

Another observation that I've made when editing the children's student reflections is that they often lower the volume of their speaking voice when they aren't confident about what they're saying. In a sense this reluctance is just human nature. Part of my task when editing the audio is to make it easy to hear and I always aim to have the loudest signal at - 6dB. This means that the lower volume of the children in these instances is counteracted and "corrected" so I mention the issue of volume and confidence here instead.

 

Tuesday, November 22nd 2011.

I'm wondering whether I need to have a sub-heading in the Literature review about analogies and metaphors. When people use an analogy there is a danger of taking it too far. Scaffolding is one such case when people speak of "closing the gap" in the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). In such instances one model is placed upon another. The gap doesn't ever close. There will always be a ZPD so long as we are surrounded by more capable people.  Sometimes we need to move on to learn from more knowledgeable or experienced teachers or mentors.

I need to be cautious of this myself when I use concretising as a metaphor for understanding concepts. I have already expanded the metaphor into the process of concrete "setting" but have stopped short of incorporating allegorical details such as air pockets, foundations and aggregate.

 

Wednesday, November 23rd 2011.

I have cancelled tomorrow's Storyboard session to attend a funeral. We should never get so busy that we can't be there for our friends in need.

 

Thursday, November 24th 2011 (no Storyboard session).

After more reading and research into solar panels, I think I've identified the stumbling block that was halting our progress. This insight is that an NP junction is easier to understand in context. Viewing the N (negative) and P (positive) plates in isolation was confusing as we were breaking the system down too far.  The junction effect which creates the voltage is only functioning when the two plates are brought together into a junction. It's almost like trying to understand human reproduction by analysing the properties of sperm and ova without investigating what happens when they combine.

 

Friday, November 25th 2011.

In addition to the current Storyboard subtitle: "Primary school students and designing and making explanatory animations" I'm considering having another one at the top of the Table of Contents:

Explanatory animation creation as a catalyst for the author's conceptual consolidation.

 

Saturday, November 26th 2011.

If I do use another subtitle it will be amended slightly from yesterday's version:

Catalyst: "A substance that without undergoing change itself aids a chemical change in other bodies." (OED)

Vehicle: "Thing, person, used as a medium for thought or feeling or action." (OED)

Explanatory animation creation as a vehicle for the author's conceptual consolidation.

 

Sunday, November 27th 2011.

I've given some thought to how I might assist my supervisors with the task of proofreading a digital thesis. A list of HTML pages could be ticked off as each page is read. Corrections could be written onto a hard copy or dictated into a voice-recorder.

 

Monday, November 28th 2011.

A further reflection about the digital thesis is that you can print the text but a hard copy will lose it's functionality as a multicontextual document. Not only is the multimedia omitted but the ability to recontextualise it is also lost. I haven't really expanded on the multicontextual side of it yet but that will come when the rest of the media is generated such as the completed animations and director's commentaries.

 

Tuesday, November 29th 2011.

I've just remembered that I had originally conceptualised there being two director's commentaries, one from the perspective of an animator with technical and design considerations and one as a teacher discussing content and pedagogy. I recorded examples of both in 2009 as a preliminary exercise:

Apostrophes animation
Apostrophes (Educator's commentary)
Apostrophes (Animator's commentary)

I don't think this is necessary any more as design issues can also be pedagogical.

 

Wednesday, November 30th 2011.

I may never get around to implementing the idea of having 3 different versions of the Storyboard thesis (scholar, teacher, child). If I was to do this a logical place to begin would be to have 3 different versions of the abstract followed by 3 different Tables of contents.

 

 

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