Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reflection on reflections - a look in the mirror?

From time to time something makes you stop and have a look at what you've been doing and makes you ask the usual questions beloved of systems analysts ... the where, why, who, how, which and when type questions; and that is where I find myself as I type and, ironically (or is it), concerning what I'm actually doing now.

At the moment one of the large questions looming is 'where'. Should a reflective journal of this nature, i.e. where I brain dump, be in the 'public domain'? To what extent is this blog public? Hmmm. I'm not hiding it from the 'public' but neither have I advertised its presence. Anyone who has visited in the past and finds some entertainment, empathy for or synergy with my thoughts may perhaps be a continuing reader ... but would anyone come looking for my views? Does this matter? Should this curtail my thoughts? Should I stop writing with a natural flow and edit my reflections?

How would the situation differ if my journal was of the Noodle variety? Would that be more or less public? I would feel that my writings were more public since Noodle areas are a focus for a learning community whereas I think it unlikely that the majority of learners would venture this way. I would feel self conscious and moderated and then the whole notion of reflexivity would be lost as I became a writer for a community view rather than a writer for my own development. So why not keep it all to myself? Simple ... I would't feel a responsibility to my self, the motivation would decrease ... and as I write I can't think why.

I've got a bit bogged down here and my five minutes of brain dump must have run out some time back. I've got a few meetings to attend/orchestrate/drink caffeine for and so I will come back to this train of thought later.

And I guess that tells myself that I haven't convinced myslef not to continue with this blog! Hummm!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Revisiting the Module Handbook and refining ideas

Yesterday I started to put together some reflective thoughts on the kiwi activity, with much of the first section leading me to question whether or not the activity was an 'epistemic game'. I visited David Schaffer via Spotlight and watched the 'movie'. There was an emphasis on fun within learning and motivational design which, within the context of our kiwi activity, has somehow eluded me. A couple of us discussed this further courtesy of Facebook and concluded that the kiwi activity in itself did not fit with our understanding of the concept of 'epistemic games' therefore either we need to better said understanding or revisit the activity as planned by the course team.

This morning I revisited the Module handbook and found that the wording on page 7 opens the original design of the activity to include 'innovative technologies such as wiki'. There was such an emphasis on the use of the wiki from within our noodle community that the wording in the activity descriptor was lost. It might be interesting to revisit the community and try to establish where exactly we lost the emphasis ... I know I certainly did ... and this loss had an impact on instrinsic motivation potentially due to a percieved imbalance in symmetries of knowledge (Dillenbourg, 1999).

OK - so .... if we are looking at 'innovative technologies such as wiki', could the activity be described to engage participants in a way such that there was fun and some aspects of motivation. I guess the answer has to be partially. The focus on the wiki was a demotivator (for me) but I worked in a group whose core comprised two peers with whom I had enjoyed considerable interaction through social networking media and in whom I had (and have) considerable trust ... and I looked forward to engaging with them academically ...that aspect was motivating. We chose a topic which would benefit ourselves (motivating) but did not have adequate time to address the development of the topic fully (potentially demotivating), and had to request an extended availability of the kiwi so that we can continue to develop content (motivating). Skype was fun. We made progress and had a laugh. Sundays will never be quite the same (thank you John)!

We took roles ... Debbie was a very able Chair and kept us in order (and in a permanent state of surprise at the speed of her typing), Justin and Barry were brilliant resources and John a catalyst (making us think differently and more deeply). So what role did I play? Hmmm. That's a harder one and requires a little more thought perhaps....

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A post Christmas update

The meeting due to take place on 17th didn't happen ... and due to the very aspects cited in my last blog post, I suspect. There has now been a complete breakdown in communication through that channel and it will be necessary to work to develop alternative channels or to reconstruct the original. How to do the latter beats me almost entirely at this point in time ... and I guess, since it wasn't from our end that the cancellation of the meeting occurred, it must be supported by all parties - in principle at least.

Preparation for Christmas was hectic though enjoyable - made all the more so by doing the preparatory 'work' both co-operatively and collaboratively ... though there are always aspects to these things that have their tricky sociocultural aspects. Nuff said. Unfortunately exhaustion of a type hit soon after the last 'official' Xmas visit and laid me low for a few days. This has really been the first day that I've had any inclination to be reflective or even creative from an academic perspective. This too is likely to be hijacked as 'famerlee' matters take over from tomorrow for a couple of days. So I guess I need to make the most of today.

Am going to start on my report today. I was telling two of my colleagues about the potential structure of the report (as I have conceptualised it so far), one on FB and the other on Skype ... and the discourse helps, though I am having trouble with the 'so what' factor here - how exactly did it help; what was the nature of the help; how did it add value to my thought process? Maybe it didn't help. Maybe it just provided me with a platform to vocalise my intentions which in return made them more concrete and less conceptual. Hmmm. Food for thought.

Going now ... back later.