#becomingeducational W13: Happy new year and all that

So we started with our quiz – and that led on to discussing the what, why and how of the Research Report (1000 words – due in W20), the forthcoming PERFORMANCE weeks and assessment. Oh – we handed work back also!

Qualitative Research

You gave some great replies to the opening question: What are the advantages of qualitative research? Qualitative research allows the gathering of the feelings and experiences of those who have lived the phenomenon that you are investigating. It is interpretist – as opposed to Quantitative Research – which is positivist. Postivism suggests that things, including people, can be fixed and knowable – interpretism suggests more fluidity – and therefore hints that change is possible. We argued that a qualitative approach is more suitable when investigating people’s experiences of social phenomena and that includes their experiences of the various educational forms and processes that you/we are investigating.

The Research Report

This led to a discussion of the forthcoming Research Report where you demonstrated that you knew that:

Findings: is where you summarise the key themes that you identified in the data that you collect from your participants.

Discussion: is where you discuss your themes – against the key ideas that you had discussed in your Literature Review.

Conclusion: is where you summarise the key themes discussed… and

Recommendations: is where you might suggest actions to be taken – by staff or students – in response to what you have discovered.

We noted that in a longer research project, like a dissertation, the production of interesting data might reveal that the Literature Review was not as useful as it might have been – that it offered no relevant ideas to use. In that case a good tip is to engage in more reading – and to improve the Literature Review… This shows that a good dissertation emerges from a cycle of reading – acting – reflecting – reading some more… Oh – just like any successful essay or report process, then!

Pixton2

The PERFORMANCES

We took some time to get into embryonic groups and to discuss ideas for your performances in weeks 23, 24, 25 and 26. YES – they are starting a bit earlier than we said in the module handbook – and we are having one more group this year. (If you missed the class – do find a group to join!)

The performance is where you take over the class – and it’s your opportunity to be really creative around the notions of teaching, learning or assessment. It can be a literal performance – we would love to see a LondonMet focussed version of Educating Rita – or you can design a session or a series of activities that make us think about education in new ways. It is up to you… and we hope that you have a great time – that you enjoy the challenge – that you surprise and delight us and each other. This can be something to reflect on in your portfolio and/or in the final essay – but much more than that – it is your time to shine!

 

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Assessment: why oh why?

We moved on to consider the role of assessment in the life of a student… part discussion – part lecture.

What is Assessment?

Assessment of learning: designed to be a measure of what the student has achieved – against the course Aims and Learning Outcomes – and any specific Assessment Criteria for a task. Links to positivism in that it suggests that it is possible to achieve one accurate measurement – and that how, in society, one measurement can often be used to define a person: their ability, their IQ and often there worth as a human being.

Assessment for learning: designed to prompt students to actually take steps to learn the material with which they are engaging. We linked this to the opening quiz – and the fact that the quiz did indeed prompt people to revise their notes and to look up new terms and learn them. Although an extrinsic motivator for learning (in that it comes from outside of the learner) – once students see for themselves that such revision works, it can lead us to more active learning.

Assessment as learning: where assessment activities are seen as part of the learning process: that actively preparing an assignment means that people engage with the ideas and make sense of them for themselves – especially as they struggle to communicate effectively. Seeing assessment as process and as learning can help us to embrace the potential of the activities in which we engage – rather than just been focussed on the grade and the mark… It should help us see that one grade is not the measure of who and what we are!

Why do we assess?

Well – bodies that award qualifications that are portable and seen as valid and reliable require evidence upon which to base their awards – that is the function of assessment at the institutional level.

How do we assess?

Through portfolios, essays, reports, projects, dissertations, exams, presentations … each one has its own genre ‘rules’: its what/why/how – and these should be thought about when preparing an assignment. Tip: when we are preparing for the assignment itself it helps to consider the task – the question – the module aims and learning outcomes – and the rules of the genre with which we are engaging. All this can help us make the most of the assessment opportunity. As Tom says: it is the opportunity to show just how clever we are!

All of the thoughts on assessment we hope are useful to you now as students – and in your future roles of educationalists… not least we hope that you reflect on the different ways that you may want to assess your future students.

Feedback!!

You cannot have a discussion on assessment without some discussion on the role of feedback. Good feedback is designed to show where we have done well in a particular assignment – and where we have not perhaps done so well. Errors range from practical things like not referencing properly – to deeper issues like missing out on key parts of the question – not reading the ‘right’ sources – not understanding or writing in sufficient depth. The best thing to do is to reflect on both our strengths – so we repeat them in other assignments – and our weaknesses – so we do something about them. Although feedback can provoke profound emotional responses (oh how we cried!); usually the tutor is not trying to destroy us – but is rather hoping that we notice their comments – and that we then do something about them.

Feedback is particularly useful in an iterative (repetitive) education system:  where we visit information in lectures or workshops – discuss in seminars and through our coursework – and then develop further to discuss again via synoptic exam answers. This is why examinations are so popular in some circles… although they are typically not enjoyed by students.

Ta daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

And after all that preamble – work was handed back – grades were focussed upon (!!!) – but we also had the opportunity to speak with people to discuss what they had done well – what they could do differently next time…

Well done everybody!!

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#becomingeducational W24 blog: Analyse this – write that: Visual Data!

This week we moved from analysing raw written data – to analysing raw visual data.
The process: we opened the session with an Image Mediated Dialogue (IMD) session – to ‘answer’ the questions:
• What does ‘feedback’ mean to you?
• What does ‘assignment’ mean to you?
• What is your big ‘sticking point’ with assignments?
We had to choose just one picture from a range of rich pictures that for us answered the questions… We had to write a DESCRIPTION of our picture – and move on to an ANALYSIS: the picture answers the question for me because… Following on from the writing – we moved into dialogic triads – where each person in turn presented and discussed their picture.
After a reflection on IMD as a way to start a lesson – begin an assignment – and as a research method – we moved on to analyse a collage produced by a group of staff – on the same assessment-focussed topics. Again – we had to engage in those first messy noticing steps – then gather ideas into arguments – discussion – conclusion and recommendations. And again – the point was not to get to the ‘right answer’ – but to engage in enough of this process so that we would know what to do with our own data – and how to start making sense of it for our own research reports.
If you want to have a go – analyse this picture in re attitudes to feedback and assessment:

A, A, Artefact Mooc December 2010 050

AND FINALLY – given that we conducted our IMD and our collage analysis on the topic of assessment – here’s a bonus activity: a Podcast on Kindness and Assessment:
http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/columns/podcast-episodes/assessment/

Week 8: Analytical and Critical Thinking

Becoming an Educationalist is designed to get you exploring what it means to be an emancipatory, creative and inspiring educationalist for the 21st Century

An educationalist:

  • Helps you think for yourself
  • We are becoming… educationalists (see Deleuze).

This week

  • Simulations: 25 Moral dilemmas: read; draw; resolve; digitise
  • Notes: what, why, how
  • Academic writing: what, why, how
  • Practical writing – answering the mini-question
  • Peer mentor led activity

Embodied learning: Simulation#25 moral dilemmas: http://psychopixi.com/misc/25-moral-dilemmas/

Simulations and role plays invite whole-body learning. For this week’s simulation we shared out some of the 25 moral dilemmas collected by the Team.  We were asked to read our dilemma – then think it through via a drawing first and then discussion. We were also given links to various open source online resources so that we could represent our problem and our solution via an animation or some other more visual – or more audio – representation:

Voicethread: http://voicethread.com
Storify: http://storify.com/
Xtranormal: http://www.xtranormal.com/
Pixton: http://pixton.com/uk/
Issuu: http://issuu.com/
Storybird: http://storybird.com/
Weebly: http://www.weebly.com/
Animoto: http://animoto.com/
Prezi: http://prezi.com
GoAnimate: http://goanimate.com/
More ideas: ‘50+ web 2.0 ways to tell a story’: http://50ways.wikispaces.com/

We were shown one of Sandra’s Go-Animates as an example. This is a reflective ‘log’ on #edcmooc: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfx1_fVZbyI

De-brief

One pair were brave enough to show their drawings and discuss their dilemma in the de-brief:

In 1842, a ship struck an iceberg and more than 30 survivors were crowded into a lifeboat intended to hold 7. As a storm threatened, it became obvious that the lifeboat would have to be lightened if anyone were to survive. The captain reasoned that the right thing to do in this situation was to force some individuals to go over the side and drown. Such an action, he reasoned, was not unjust to those thrown overboard, for they would have drowned anyway. If he did nothing, however, he would be responsible for the deaths of those whom he could have saved. Some people opposed the captain’s decision. They claimed that if nothing were done and everyone died as a result, no one would be responsible for these deaths. On the other hand, if the captain attempted to save some, he could do so only by killing others and their deaths would be his responsibility; this would be worse than doing nothing and letting all die. The captain rejected this reasoning. Since the only possibility for rescue required great efforts of rowing, the captain decided that the weakest would have to be sacrificed. In this situation it would be absurd, he thought, to decide by drawing lots who should be thrown overboard. As it turned out, after days of hard rowing, the survivors were rescued and the captain was tried for his action.

If you had been on the jury, how would you have decided?

They decided that the captain and the remaining crew were guilty of murder – not least because the captain had a duty of care to *all* his passengers and crew… It was interesting that discussing this allowed us to explore to what extent our solutions were context-dependent, and typically influenced by our emotions as well as our values; and how far they are dependent on our over-arching moral or ethical codes, and thus are more philosophical and independent of context.

Image

This relates back to issues that we discussed W2: Kant and the moral imperative and Bentham and Utilitarianism. It also seeded thoughts about how far our perceived understanding of our ‘role’ in particular situations legitimises actions that in other circumstances would be counter to ourselves as *human* beings. For example, the prison guard and the prisoner, those that torture suspected terrorists… And given that we are becoming educationalists – how do we see ourselves in an educational role? This led on to discussion of the behaviour experiments of the late 20Cth:  Rosenthal and Jacobson and the self-fulfilling prophecy; the blue eye/brown eye class room experiment; the electric shock experiment…

In the Workshop

The workshops diverged slightly this week – one at least went on to continue discussing the moral dilemmas in  detail – and linking that to the way we need to use argument and evidence in our academic writing.

The others seems to have spent some time looking at active notemaking – and how that also prepares us to engage with ideas: to have a dialogue with the theories, concepts and case studies that we study – and come to our own conclusions…  See: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/studyhub/note.html Much was made of just how active we have to be to make our ideas memorable.

The workshops all covered Academic writing in a more formal way than in our first introductory Writing Workshop – that introduced us to free writing – and to Winnicott (1971)!!

The Essay: What; Why; How

…  with real writing:

To what extent is the response to the moral dilemma a question of values? To what extent does it rely on analytical and critical thinking?

We looked at the essay as the formal, discursive and more theoretical form of academic writing. It is the space where we wrestle with ideas – and struggle with them – and write to learn – as we organise our own thoughts – and discover what we think. See: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/studyhub/writing.html

We did think that essays were about finding our own voice – but obviously there is the dark side of academic writing! We write and it is measured, assessed and judged. Philosophically we may accept that any system that offers certification will measure and stamp progress… But awareness of being judged can inhibit our thinking and engagement.

We also thought of different ways to assess – by presentation and by the production of digital artefacts that ‘reflect’ on a part of a course. In #edcmooc (E-learning and Digital Cultures), assessment includes the production of a digital artefact PLUS the peer review of three other artefacts.

Here’s a Prezi Poster Presentation on Academic writing – critiquing institutional over-emphasis on ‘skills’ rather than ideas and knowledge-construction: http://prezi.com/essebcrx47jr/not-a-key-thought/

Talking of – #edcmooc: Just for the heck of it…

Here are a couple of blogpost reflections on learning from fellow students of ours from #edcmooc:

Glidden’s post reflecting on learning itself: http://morethanjustcontent.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/what-does-my-learning-look-like-octel/

And another on what it is to be human – which relates to our early discussions on our values and ethical behaviour: http://morethanjustcontent.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/what-is-a-human-edcmooc/