Analytics are not relationships

Just read Niall Sclater’s literature review for JISC: Code of practice for learning analytics: A literature review of the ethical and legal issues. The report asks a lot of important questions. And it mentions, albeit in passing in the “Rationale” section, what for me is the key issue: “Greater trust and a better relationship with the people you collect information about.”

But that word “relationship” masks the hard human issue about education and learning that no amount of data will resolve. Ultimately “authentic” relationship is between embodied (or formerly embodied, in the case of dead writers) individual humans. I don’t want to get all Bakhtinian about it, but while analytics may help ask questions, they will not provide the solutions.

A problem we uncover when surveying students (either “failing” students, or students on “failing” courses) is that they do not feel that their teachers know them or care about them. I do not think these students will be impressed if the response is to fix the broken relationship with an algorithm.

At best analytics can help start a conversation. People have to be willing to take the conversation on. That is: people, not institutions. Analytics may help pinpoint areas where hard work needs to be done, but are not likely to make that work any easier.

Management wants “the” answer to achieving particular mandated targets in order to protect or augment resources (or consolidate and preserve “power”). People (learners and teachers) are not trusted to do this “consistently” (as if they ever could!). So it is hoped that algorithms will: a) discover the right answer and then b) enforce a solution in line with targets and outcomes (which shift with the political wind).

We must not let loss of trust be simply collateral damage.

Other important contributions to the discussion

University learning? A thousand-mile question (for discussion Tuesday, 09/12/2014, 1700)

Here is an advanced draft of the paper I was to have been giving today (9 December 2014) at Oxford Brookes University School of Education.

Abstract

As well as providing locations of learning and teaching, higher education is an important focus of much political debate. This paper sets out through an open epistemological narrative inquiry to problematise an underpinning framework for good educational development practice and offers places where evidence might challenge these underpinnings.  I suggest it may be a human universal that we come with ‘frameworks’ (Popper 1996): call them contexts or identities and communities as you will; we come with a need to be useful, even if only to ourselves. To be useful requires having some power as a builder: physical, virtual or social. We co-construct our frameworks, our contexts, our “learning environments” in both physical and abstract spaces with other people. These constructions are acts of enclosure. And all acts of enclosure require force, power or violence. The conclusions I reach are that means and ends cannot be uncoupled; that the coupling of means and ends must be in part through narratives that reveal the question of purpose; and that purpose is value laden. Therefore the values argument must remain in the light and proxy arguments, illuminated. Narrative epistemology is an epistemology of openness, and is an epistemology of self-respect.

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Diversity in Higher Education

At a recent workshop, we were asked to reflect on how we experienced diversity through the PCTHE. This is a contribution to that discussion.

I observe that on this course for new lecturers in higher education, diversity is governed by employment, but that shouldn’t deter our engagement with equality, diversity, accessibility: values we assert. We assert that we practice equality, diversity and accesibility through inclusivity. I do not want to call out those whose physiognomy might mark them as “Other”. We are all “Other”. But despite good intentions, we appear not to be all that diverse. Gender is balanced, but “colour” is not. And I use that term, colour as possibly less problematicaly marked than race or ethnicity. We could argue that the PCTHE should be extra enabling of individual diversity but we appear to follow rather than lead. (As an aside, the University has recently signed up to implement the Race Equality Charter Mark.)

In the workshop, we were asked to write a story related to diversity: short, true and relevant.

Mine arises  from three observations of exchanges I had. One with a participant in a wheelchair. She was very engaged, a scientist, and advocate for accessibility. I am a cyclist. I like a good set of wheels. So, I remarked that she had a nice set of carbon fiber, aerodynamic wheels on the chair. “Nice wheels, ” I said. Her reaction got me thinking. “All you guys see is the wheels!” She said a lot more, as well about commenting on clothing and looks. I apologised. I had hoped I had found a space – a third space? – that we could connect on, that could expose one point of difference and get beyond it in both our particularities. But it is complicated being embodied. On another occasion, at a committee meeting I assumed a black man had a role supporting BME participation. He supports all student representation. The third, personally, has to do with my beard. I grew it last February. After 6 weeks or so, men began to comment on my appearance, Men don’t do this. (Do they?) Beards appear to license men to be kind to one another.

These incidents, cause me to reflect on my often unexamined underpinnings that are still not sufficiently touched by training and profession of values: to respect individual learners and diverse learning communities, to promote participation and equality of opportunity in HE, and to acknowledge the wider contexts within which higher education operates. I am more reticent now. Less inclined to remark on elements of diversity embraced within the law and to focus on diversity of epistemology as being the main thing of relevance to education. But we have to note that one’s embodied cultural identity cannot help but to affect one’s epistemology. We know what we know as who we are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Design 4 Learning 2014

Semi live , late blogging from the Design for Learning Conference, 27 November 2014, The Open University, Milton Keynes.

Dr Tessa Eysink, University of Twente, Keynote “Learner performance in inquiry learning environments”

Work in progress comparing Inquiry learning with expository instruction. The research was focused on the design and use of small Learning Objects in Psychology: 60 of them. The topic “Classical conditioning”, “used world-wide” was chosen for the trial. The underlying issue to be addressed was that learners find it hard to generate hypotheses interpret data, collect data, and so on. Therefore, learning must be supported.

What other processes are there? Tessa outlined four approaches all of which were purported to improve learning. (Some do. Some don’t.) All appeared very cognitivist in their underlying epistemology.

  • Inquiry Learning
  • Hypermedia Learning
  • Observational Learning
  • Exploratory Learning

The trial models were all implemented in the same VLE and “Only the instructional method differed.” This, to me is questionable. The implementations all looked the same at arm’s length, though each was described as a separate environment. Learners were described as of high, middle and low ability. This categorisation was presented as unproblematic. The “High ability” learner was the norm. The other two differed in degree to which they resiled from the norm.

“Inquiry Learning” was “Problem-based Learning” “Hypermedia Learning” was expository or didactic, content-led learning: read all about it, where “reading” may be replaced by consume hypermedia. “Observational learning” was, in essence, apprenticeship or knowledge engineering. Learning comes from observing (or watching a video of…) an expert and emulating or decoding the practice. “Exploratory learning” appeared little different from Inquiry learning. PBL without the problem; self-directed hypermedia learning (?).

A few lessons were presented.

  • In the trials Inquiry learning was the most effective and efficient. No surprises, there. While I agree with the lesson, nevertheless it was annoying to see the exposition of a foregone conclusion.
  • Generating the subject matter by the students (Learner-led curriculum) leads to learning gain. This was interesting, but if supported by evidence, I did not notice it.
  • It appeared that the trials were focussed on providing tailored instruction for high ability learners: opens the way to complex, abstract assignments. But questions inclusivity?
  • Modelling practice is a helpful adjunct to PBL. But this session modelled expository practice, not inquiry learning.

At the end of the conference, key contributors were asked for three things: a hunch, a wish, and a prediction. My hunch, wish and prediction:

  • Hunch: what is needed to design instruction is not so much research (leading to the formulation of a grand narrative)  but sensitive observation in the the learning context (petits receipts): in the classroom, action learning, etc
  • Wish: educators would learn that everyone is equally remarkable, wonderful and wise to the ways  of their world.
  • Prediction: Performance monitoring dashboards will not improve learning.

Reading Emma Mulqueeny: epistemology narrative and truth

I have been reading Emma Mulqueeny, known to me through Twitter as @hubmum, who does fabulous things with young people and computers and politics. I have not always felt I agreed with Hubmum’s politics, but heck, the state is her big client so you probably wouldn’t bite down on the feeding hand and what do I care, if kids are doing something cool and clever? Besides we all know that one is not entirely safe from anonymity on this here interweb.

So it has been a delight to stumble on a series of posts about the demographic Emma calls the 97ers, and which she has helpfully pulled together here. And before I go off on my usual paroxysms of spluttering that there is no such thing as a digital native I should say that the  quality of the writing had me suspending disbelief and quickly eating out of her hand. That, and the fact that she exposed her underpinnings. People who read me know that I am into frameworks for interpretation and understanding. People who know me better, know me better. I like to assert that each and every element of my framework is derived from solid research. But sometimes it might be possible that the elements of the framework are really only validated through frequent repetition. Chickering and Gamson? Oh I have HEARD that was based on a whole LOAD of actual RESEARCH  once upon a time. And, Vygotsky. All you have to do is mention the name. Everyone is anxious about running into someone who might actually have read something he wrote that we nod sagely and pass over the citable fact that whatever we might attribute to Vygotsky actually comes from Engestrom and we trust he might actually have read Vygotsky and Vygotsky might have kept a lab notebook somewhere, who the hell knows?

My point is that it does not appear to matter. Or does it? You can adopt a framework and apply it without knowing exactly why it makes sense to use it. Activity theory is very useful to a consultant in this regard. Very quickly you can talk about individuals acting in communities in accordance with explicit and implicit rules and norms to achieve socially and politically and economically sanctioned ends. Activity theory supplies a number (about seven) of headings that might as well be the headings of the next report you have to write. Bring in Giddins, mention structure and that demands post structuralism and any framework will do. If you want to spin off from that, each of the headings has its own activity network (Engeström 2001) behind it: Community (Lave & Wenger 1990 and Wenger 1998), Roles, Rules (Foucault 1977), Tools. You can elaborate Activity Theory into an epistemology (Salomon 1993). I like Activity Theory. I found it useful. But, calling myself to account, how is this in any way different from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) or Landmark Seminars or Learning Styles Theory or Digital Natives? Things that bring me out in splutterings again. Ultimately it is an act of faith. I put faith in Activity Theory and from that in Frameworks themselves. Even this one that I am yet again building, here. So I forgive the use of frameworks.

So what’s that got to do with Emma, then? Her framework is built on the writings of Ivan Illich and echoes strongly the writings of two other seminal female thinkers about the Internet: dana boyd and Josie Fraser. I could list others maybe back to Haraway (1991) or even Ada Lovelace. I feel this growing into an Ada’s Day post, though that was not my intention.

Learners are connected and the knowledge is largely in the connections. Peer learning: dialogic, authentic participatory learning informed by a complex understanding of literacy, community and identity is effective (and may be all there really is, anyway). Emma’s framework is woven against a background of biographical narrative, of storytelling, of her story, where storytelling quality is an important part of any truth test. Storytelling is both epistmological (having to do with the nature of how we know stuff) and ontological (having to do with the existence and qualities of stuff itself). Storytelling describes stuff, teaches others about stuff, and even brings stuff into existence. Storytelling is a big part of any measure of the elusive authenticity. And, Emma has data to back up her assertions. Yes, that data is in narrative form, but it is no less empirical for that. I like a writer who walks her own talk. She concludes with the important question: “Can you verify your story”. Or at least can one verify as much as they have told, and can I/we sort out the parts we have filled in?

I should admit at this point that my children were born in 2007 and 2010. So my “digital natives” are 10 years younger than her digital natives. At the moment the seven year old is hugely into books (boastful parent alert!) and likes his bicycle, scooter and walking off piste in wild areas. Mummy and Daddy set bad examples with their laptops, phones and tablets when we are hanging in family time before bed. But I am beginning to wonder if all that digital stuff is just boring grown-up stuff to my kids and real life in their eyes is for proper, f&*k-the-parents, I am going to climb a dangerous tree over a fence and into no-man’s-land kind of kids? My goodness all this reverse psychology that parenting gets you into. But never doubt for an instant that they, the children, the next generation, are not hip to the game even when as 2 year olds they are complying – or not. They know the “real story” from a very early age. Narrative epistemology is an epistemology of openness, and is an epistemology of self-respect. This hit me last week and I tweeted it here. We must trust ourselves to like ourselves and like ourselves to trust ourselves.

Does it go wrong? Yes, of course. The undercover policing story or Pleb-gate is all the far you have to know to know that not every credible story is true and not every incredible one is false.

Emma gets you thinking like that.

 

 

 

References

Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133 –156.

Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. (A. Sheridan, Trans.). London: Allen Lane, Penguin.

Haraway, D. (1991). A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century. In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (pp. 149–181). New York: Routledge. Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/Haraway/CyborgManifesto.html

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1990). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Salomon, G. (Ed.). (1993). Distributed cognitions: psychological and educational considerations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

Reasons to be cheerful

I am starting to experiment with Ben Werdmuller’s new creation, Known. Ben is well known around UK higher education as the co-author of Elgg.

I use several platforms: 2 WordPress sites, Twitter, Facebook and very occasionally Google+. In the old days – oh, about 2 or 3 years ago I used Posterous and Tweetdeck to manage my random collection of thoughts across several platforms  But Twitter killed both these lovely applications. I also use Oxford Brookes University’s learning environment: Moodle and another Moodle running on OpenBrookes.net. I am wondering if Known and Known for Education might help pull all this together. I buy what Ben says about multiple audiences and the blurring of boundaries between social media platforms. Some people are on Twitter only. Many more on Facebook only. But some people are in several places at once. And these people may be different audiences: work colleagues, friend friends, political activists, poets, family. If I only post to Facebook, I get some of these. G+ tried to make this work through “circles” but the asymmetry was too much for my poor brain. So let’s see what I can make happen, here, with Known.

Reposted from Reasons to be cheerful, posted in Known

Lasting change?

I have been at the SEDA conference and will be contributing to Helen Beetham’s “flipped keynote” today.

Helen has asked me to consider what lasting changes technology enhanced learning have left on me. Helen has suggested that the digital in education (and culturally, more widely) can be characterised by porosity and a persistent simultaneity. That is, once an utterance goes digital we are no longer completely in control of where it is used, who might see it and so on: our digital utterances and digital “spaces” are “leaky” or porous. And, as well as leaking beyond their original or intended audiences our utterances leave traces that persist and which might be recalled at any moment.

Now, I am not sure if these are unique to the digital. Certainly more people leave more traces that are persistently visible to more people than they have been. Is this merely quantitative or has the volume produced a shift in quality too? My suspicion is that it has, and this suspicion that there has been a qualitative change is how I read Helen’s illumination of the “post digital”.

So, for me, I will mention two lasting changes: one has to do with identity and the other has to do with language.

One lasting change for me is that traces of my life are leaky and persistent. This goes beyond the sphere of formal learning and reaches into my domestic and social spheres.

Was I a “late early adopters” or “e-pioneer” or “early majority” user of the internet? I had a Compuserve account in about ’94 or ’95 and remember my first dial-up modem and the exciting US Robotics Sportster “smart modem” that ran at a blinding 14.4 kbps. I ran IRC chatrooms for professional education in the energy industry in 1998 or thereabouts. Stuff like that. But what was significant was that I and many others thought that BBS and IRC and email would usher in an era of identity play and available anonymity. On the Internet no one knew you were a dog. A child could pretend to be an adult and an adult a child with all (apparent) innocence. I thought my life could be compartmentalised. If I embarrassed myself in one sphere the others could remain unaffected. There was the professional me, the political me, the poetical me and the domestic me and these four spheres of identity, I believed, were separate and the Internet facilitated this separation.

Clearly I no longer believe this. While there are other factors in play beyond the Internet, the development of the internet as we know it now has facilitated (or forced) the collapse of boundaries between parts of my identity. Nothing is private online. Deal with it. But let’s not underestimate the scale. This has become a huge power issue with Facebook, Google, GCHQ, NSA, Wikileaks and the subsequent projects to TIA. Cyber-security and Cyber-war and Cyber-colonialism and imperialism are very real phenomena and we do not need to wear tin-foil hats to appreciate this. (Ref Code Red and the Software sorted society links to come).

The other lasting change for me has been a widening of my understanding of modes of communication. I did my MA in Education at the Open University between 1997 and 2001. As a part of the degree I took “H802″ Which had a title like “Application of the Internet to Open and Distance Learning”. While I had used Compuserve BBS and IRC I had never been invited to consider these as being genres of language. Through H802 I came to understand that digital literacy had many forms and some of these were new. There was moral outrage abroad at txt speak. H802 valorised this as just one new mode. I learned that forums were not chat, were not essays, and no more or less than any of these things, just different. And these genres and registers of communication refracted power and identity differently than letters, journalism or academic essays.

So for me the porosity and simultaneity do not have to do with my daily digital practices or the tools I use at any moment. They are deeper and broader than Diigo or Posterous. They embrace a domain of one’s own and BYOD.

 

The Values Argument for Educational Development in Higher Education

This summarises a paper I will be giving for the Oxford Brookes University, School of Education Research series this semester.

As well as providing locations of learning and teaching, higher education is an important focus of much political debate. Aldridge has set out the terms of the debate here (Aldridge 2014).

The pressing educational debates of the moment tend not, in fact, to be debates about the most effective way to achieve a particular outcome (although they are often portrayed that way), so much as debates between competing understandings of what we are trying to achieve through the educational endeavour.

In educational improvement initiatives in higher education, as an educational developer, I find myself facing a conundrum. Why, when I believe I know what good learning is and, arguably, how to create curricula, courses and events which are designed for good learning, do I continue to experience ambiguity and anxiety in myself, colleagues and society about not only individual roles, institutions and curricula but the purpose of higher education?

The paper sets out to problematise an underpinning framework for good educational development practice and offers places where the evidence might test (prove?) these underpinnings.

I suggest it may be a human universal that we come with ‘frameworks’ (Popper 1996): call them contexts or identities and communities as you will; we come with a need to be useful, even if only to ourselves. And, we co-construct our frameworks, our contexts, our ‘learning environments’: in both physical and abstract spaces with other people.

The conclusions I reach are that means and ends cannot be uncoupled; that the coupling of means and ends must be through the question of purpose; and that purpose is value laden. Therefore the values argument must remain in the light and proxy arguments, illuminated.

References

The full paper cites and is synthesised from the following

Aldridge, David. 2014. “What Is Education For?” Zu Den Sachen. http://davealdridge.brookesblogs.net/2014/09/18/what-is-education-for/.

Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Translated by Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 2002. Society under Siege. Cambridge: Polity.

Bhabha, Homi. 2004. The Location of Culture. Routledge Classics. Abingdon: Routledge.

Chickering, A., and Zelda Gamson. 1987. “The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education.” American Association for HE Bulletin, no. March 1987 (and frequently reprinted): 3–7.

Dewey. 1916. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Macmillan.

Draper, S. W. (2011, January 25). Peer Assisted Learning. Retrieved May 9, 2012, from http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/localed/pal.html

Engeström, Yrjö. 2001. “Expansive Learning at Work: Toward an Activity Theoretical Reconceptualization.” Journal of Education and Work 14 (1): 133–56.

Fairclough, Norman. 2001. Language and Power, Second Edition. Vol. 2. Harlow: Pearson.

Foucault, Michel. 1984. “Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias.” foucault.info. http://foucault.info/documents/heterotopia/foucault.heterotopia.en.html accessed 13/04/2014

Francis, Richard, and John Raftery. 2005. “Blended Learning Landscapes.”Brookes Electronic Journal of Learning and Teaching (BeJLT) 1 (3).http://bejlt.brookes.ac.uk/articles/blended-learning-landscapes/ accessed 13/04/2014

Francis, Richard, and George Roberts. 2014. “Where Is the New Blended Learning? Whispering Corners of the Forum.” Brookes Electronic Journal of Learning and Teaching (BeJLT) 6 (1). http://bejlt.brookes.ac.uk/paper/where-is-the-new-blended-learning-whispering-corners-of-the-forum/

Guasch, Tresa. 2014. “Unravelling the Feedback Process on Collaborative Writing in Online Learning Environments.” In Giving Feedback to Writers Online. International and Virtual Conference. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University. http://openbrookes.net/writing/giving-feedback-to-writers-online-international-and-virtual-conference-26th-june-2014/

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential Learning: experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching, 2nd edition. London: Routledge Falmer.

Levitas, Ruth. 1999. “Defining and Measuring Social Exclusion: A Critical Overview of Current Proposals.” Radical Statistics 71. http://www.radstats.org.uk/no071/article2.htm.

Marshall, George. 2014. “Breaking News: North Korea Poisoning Atmosphere to Destroy American Weather.” Climate Change Denial. http://climatedenial.org/2014/09/28/breaking-news-north-korea-poisoning-atmosphere-to-destroy-american-weather/ accessed 06/10/2014

Messy Reality. 2014. “I Represent a Dangerous Element That’s Growing in Society: Glasgow Emcee Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey Talks about the Referendum, Recovery and the Making of a Soon-to-Be Era Defining Album.” Messy Reality. Accessed October 6. http://messyreality.net/2014/10/05/i-represent-a-dangerous-element/

Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. 2003. “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines”. Edinburgh: Universities of Edinburgh, Coventry and Durham. ETLreport4.pdf accessed from http://bit.ly/Q3JI8L accessed 13/04/2014

Mezirow, Jack, 1997. “Transformative Learning: Theory to Practice.” New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, no. 74: 5.

Morrison, Marlene. 2014. “Educational Administration, Ethnography and Education Research: Countering Methodological Stagnation. Provocative Tales from an Ethnographer.” In EdD Colloquium, 28 June. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University.

Popper, Karl. 1996. The Myth of the Framework: In Defence of Science and Rationality. London: Routledge.

Roberts, George. 2014. “Something of a Synthesis.” rWorld2. Accessed October 6. http://rworld2.brookesblogs.net/2014/06/28/something-of-a-synthesis/ .

Schön, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith.

Sharpe, Rhona, Greg Benfield, George Roberts, and Richard Francis. 2006. “The Undergraduate Experience of Blended E-Learning: A Review of    UK Literature and Practice”. Higher Education Academy. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/projects/detail/litreview/lr_2006_sharpe accessed 13/04/2014

Stuart-Buttle, Ros. 2014. “Online Journal Writing , Reflective Dialogue & Professional Learning.” In Giving Feedback to Writers Online. International and Virtual Conference. Oxford: Oxford Brookes University. http://openbrookes.net/writing/giving-feedback-to-writers-online-international-and-virtual-conference-26th-june-2014/

Wenger, Etienne. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Vygotsky, Lev. 1962. Thinking and Speaking (first Published as Thought and Language). Edited by Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar. Lev Vygotsky Archive transcribed by Andy Blunden. Cambridge MA: MIT Press. http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/words/index.htm

 

 

 

 

Something of a synthesis

I attended and wrote about four professional development events this week.

And I gave a keynote at the Solstice Conference at Edge Hill University on 5 June 2014. Slides are here.

In this post I begin to instrumentalise my synthesis of critical educational development points, which I suggest are underpinned by and support the themes (possibly threshold concepts)  that emerged from the events above. There is strong empirical evidence for the benefits of dialogic: epistemic and suggestive feedback. Deliberative reflection arises from and is a skill for distributed collaboration. Peer writing, co-authoring towards shared understanding, is participatory, dialogic, epistemic and may be suggestive. Through interior dialogue and the essentially dialogic nature of literacies  we have dialogue with the past: teachers, writers, memories, culture. Curricula, too, are participatory, evaluative, dialogic, social and self-determined. The convener, participants and curriculum are in tension in an environment of ambiguity, concern, community, power and politics. Methodologically, critical ethnographies provide the essential richer picture and learning needs stewardship (“teachers”).

I use a problem-posing, critical-interpretive framework: asking questions that arise. This could be a semi-structured interview guide, an evaluation checklist or a design tool. I am making a card-sort and conversation menu learning activity from this. Such an activity can be used to group people semi randomly and initiate discussion leading to shared, authentic, practice-based examples that can be creatively appropriated into other contexts.

In each section that follows, I state the principle and then pose the questions, mostly in a “How do you …” style; “Have you considered …?”

Learning is active

Learning is active, an aggregation of multiple individual and unique actions and interactions of people with knowledge, tools and contexts. How do you:

  • incorporate activity into any learning design?
  • decide what activity is useful?
  • engage “micro” activity patterns (e.g. 20 minute cycles) with wider (session, course, life-course) activity patterns?
  • select appropriate tools?
  • use frameworks (approaches, templates, learning plans, etc.) to support activity design and implementation?

Learning is dialogic

Learning is dialogic: individuals share, negotiate, discuss and contend with texts (multimedia), self and others (peers, hierarchies). How do you:

  • facilitate conversation and collaboration with and between students (student-tutor and student-student contact) face-to-face or at distance; one-to-one and in groups?
  • develop academic discourse (multimedia/multimodal, writing/producing) and give feedback for learning in all modes?
  • encourage interior dialogue?

People are different

People are different (diverse identities) in many ways: demographically (age, sex, national origin, etc), as well as culturally and epistemologically (education tradition, world view, doer/reflector, multiple intelligence, multiliteracy, learning preferences, etc). How do you accommodate learner and learning diversity?

  • Demographic (legal, language, social, accessible)?
  • Epistemological (orientation to knowledge and learning)?
  • Identity and community?
  • Goal orientation?

Learning is experiential

Learning is experiential, it draws on everyone’s experience. How do you incorporate:

  • Work-based learning?
  • Life-wide learning?
  • Transitions?

Learning is reflective

Learning is reflective. Reflection happens in cycles (dialogue with self and others): student life-cycles, action learning cycles, assessment and feedback cycles. How do you:

  • Incorporate reflection, individually and in groups (professional, academic, ad hoc)?
  • Help students have a voice for their experience and outcomes?
  • Acquire peer and colleague contribution and feedback?
  • Include practice and theory?

Learning takes place in communities

Learning takes place in communities or groups of people (institutions, disciplines), settings (classrooms, work-places, online, etc) have community development aspects where there are roles (teacher, student, admin), and rules (tacit and explicit). How do you:

  • involve prior learners, disciplinary colleagues and trans-disciplinarity in programmes of study?
  • Incorporate wider notions of identity and citizenship, and shared (or examined) values?
  • Include core texts and narratives of the community of inquiry?
  • Develop role-based competencies?

Learning is participatory

Learning is participatory: Everyone is learning. How do you:

  • Encourage differential participation: peripheral, core, guest, “lurker”?
  • Acknowledge your own and your students’ memory, feelings and opinions?
  • Ensure authenticity to learners points of origin, disciplinary knowledge base, and practice as it is in the field?

Learning is outcomes-led

Learning is outcomes-led. There are curricula (No curriculum is a curriculum.) Many curricula are underpinned by wider professional and regulatory frameworks codified in law and customary practice. Outcomes are assessed and evaluated, often by other agencies. There may, of course be many “unintended outcomes”, many of which may well be beneficial, though not necessarily expressed in the curriculum. How do you:

  • Refer to benchmarks and standards; codes of practice?
  • Assess your learners?
  • Engage learners with criteria?
  • Develop communities of assessment practice?

 

EdD Colloquium: National and International Perspectives on Education

More semi live blogging

Oxford Brookes University EdD colloquium. Saturday 28 June 2014. Mary Wild welcomes us and we introduce ourselves to people we do not know well. I met three first year EdD students and one third year, from Hawaii

Mary praises research colleagues who foster learning based on peer support, inquiry, learning from looking, explaining, leadership.

Linet introduces Prof Emeritus Marlene Morrison (Oxford Brookes), who gives a radical barnstorming keynote challenge: “Educational administration, ethnography and education research: countering methodological stagnation. Provocative tales from an ethnographer.”

Big title. I am reminded of Richard Francis’ observation that ethnography might be an antidote to “big data.” Morrison believes that research has become banal, constrained by orthodoxies based in power. Neglecting power impoverishes and emaciates research and leadership itself. Much research but much of it is emaciated. She is challenging to the students who are engaged in methodologically reductionist studies of leadership, neglecting power and context. These have a cumulative approach to evidence: 20 small-scale studies does not necessarily equal large-scale research). The main tool of this research is interview. In such studies, often discourse is homogenised. The dark side of leadership is avoided. Critical policy analysis sits alongside and is not embedded in the studies. This can be illustrated through the discourse of “internationalisation”. She suggests that an ethnographic approach might provide some triangulation, which could meliorate the proliferation of short-run small-scale research. Can ethnography be compressed? Maybe it always has been. Ethnography allows you to get to parts of the reality that interviewing alone will not reach. Negotiation is part of the process, because often leadership research is aimed at subtle, politicised and power-based aspects of contexts. Outputs are based in continuous change and hence may threaten or problematise status quo. Exemplifies this with a case of widespread homophobic prejudice in Ireland. Ethnographic research offers resistance to the view that there is “no problem” here: epistemological and methodological challenges. We need a new “wicked” research agenda against pressure upon leaders and those whose needs are supposed to be met (but often are not) by that leadership.

Juliet Bostwick (MSC, BSC, RGN, 2nd year EdD, Oxford Brookes University) “Graduateness”.

Graduate entry to nursing is still quite new. Sharing findings from lit review. HEC (1992) defines graduateness. Barrie (2006) and Bowden (2000): Skills, attributes and values. Jones (2009) insists on retaining disciplinary context linked to critical thinking and meta epistemologies. Juliet seeks the view of the room on: “what it means to be a graduate”; and gets: Critical, changing, independent, qualified, knowledgeable, reflective, acknowledged. Literature emphasises Employability. Holmes (2013) takes a realist approach. Challenges reductionist taxonomies. Advocates for a relational approach to graduate “identity”. Uses four-quadrant, two axis (Boston consulting) matrix. Very much like Neimeyer and Rareshide (1991). Steur et al (2012) have a model placing reflective thinking above scholarship, moral citizenship, and lifelong learning. Suggests transformation as a graduate attribute. Kreber (2014) Barnett and Rosen, too: Authenticity set within existential (strangeness) , critical (emancipatory) and communitarian (purposeful action) perspectives. The conversation focuses on vocational (calling) aspects of a career.

Spoke to Juliet and Marlene at the break. It struck me that you could take the term “graduateness” and slot it into Marlene’s talk, in place of “Leadership” and run the same argument to the same end. We need ethnographies of graduateness.

Maxine introduces Alyson Kaneshiro (SEN teacher; University of Hawaii): “A developmental evaluation of response to intervention implementation.”

Cites Stephen Covey, “Involve people to solve problems together.” Michael Quinpatten coined “developmental evaluation”. Summative or formative: are you a restaurant critic or a mentor chef? Developmental approach asks “should we make something new? Challenges the “Wait to fail” model of intervention into SEN. Uses universal screening assessments and provides continuous progress monitoring empowering educators to make timely decisions based on high quality data. Effective intervention must respond promptly when students do not learn. Takes on the role of a developmental evaluator, gathering data in real time in the context of ongoing development. She notes a fear of “data icky data”. But, is this just a narrow view of what data is (or what counts as data)? Questions get to this issue.

Vanessa Cottle (University of Derby): “An exploration into the influence an MA in Education has on identity” . Personal and professional interests (identity: third space).

She recounts her vocational background as a short-hand typist who went to work teaching typing at an FE college and found herself surrounded by people with degrees. Eventually became responsible for teacher education in FE and then university lecturer. Nonetheless, a sense of Impostorship  remains. Became interested in self esteem and what it means to develop an academic identity. Students are diverse in MA in Education programmes. Typically they are teachers but not exclusively. Even in the category “teacher” there is a lot of diversity: FE, HE, School, NHS, University, Police, Local Government, etc. There are also dimensions such as time in practice; status in practice; undergraduate education; or “equivalent” (direct entry to MA without level 6 qual);  full time/part time, flexible study. Starts by defining MA level from QAA documentation: academic and professional characteristics and expands: dynamic, caring, evidence informed; knowledge, communication, ethics, behaviour management, adherence to British values; focus on learners’ achievements and own behaviours. There is transferability between professional and academic identity. Uses Illeris (2003) model of identity (see also Newell Jones 2006).  And used Jones (?) self-esteem inventory

Adrian Twissell, Ross Thompson (Oxford Brookes University), “Exploring goal orientation and philosophical identity: two doctoral students reflect upon their learning journeys and emerging research intentions.”

How has goal orientation changed as identities changed? Traveled from a positivist perspective at the start of the journey. Later, engaged in the social nature of teaching an interpretive perspective emerged. (See Scott and Morrisson and Wisker). Professional doctorates are different from conventional PhDs, and therefore the nature of knowledge discovered/created through the EdD is different. School inculcated a positivist (fixed reality) perspective. MA study started to challenge this. Post modernism emerged in doctoral study. Draw on Schön and Flannigan and Bruner. Moved from positivism to a more interpretivist/pragmatic perspective involving social mediation and negotiation leading to goal modification. (See Berger and Luckmann, 1984). Tangible evidence will manifest in final interpretive inquiry.

 

Reference

Illeris, K. (2003), The Three Dimensions of Learning. Fredericksberg, DK: Roskilde University Press

Neimeyer, Greg J., and Margaret B. Rareshide. 1991. “Personal Memories and Personal Identity: The Impact of Ego Identity Development on Autobiographical Memory Recall.” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 60 (4): p562–569.

Newell Jones, Katy. 2006. “Small Beginnings of a Community of Practice with a Global Focus.” The Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching 1 (4). http://bejlt.brookes.ac.uk/paper/small-beginnings-of-a-community-of-practice-with-a-global-focus/.