Saturday, March 24, 2012

When we surf, what surfaces: "Turn arounds" in teaching and learning in online spaces

Ive been enjoying the challenge of engaging internationally through the networked learning conference pre conference nings.

There's's a nice link above (i have yet to watch it...such trust on my part...but its here so i have ease of access later ) associated with the video is Alan Levine's turn around on "what surfaces when we go online"
==>so when we surf, what surfaces.

What has surfaced for me:
Lankshear and Knowbel on digital literaces ask for consideration of the values that shift when the activities of learning shift with a read and write web ( means of production of knowledge shifts).

My own use of email and #nlc that created its own turnaround on doctorial consortium organisation

Some firming up of some of my own nascent beliefs on teaching and learning:
Here's an excerpt from the paper i will be presenting:

Fox (2002) identifies learning as something that happens naturally, incidentally, pervasively & situated within everyday life yet much of our theorizing of learning develops in institutionalized settings. The result is a privileging of practice as it occurs in the formal education sector over the informal and the privileging knowledge of networked learning that involves particular groups of people, and the ways these people relate. To use the eloquent words of Fenwick and Edwards (2010) and with acknowledgement to Pickering (1993) this concurrently risks effacing the fascinating mangling of context that generates particular practices that do not fit the picture of formal educational settings. Researching networks in the wild contributes in redressing this imbalance.

And scary surfacing is do i put it in a post doc paper, or add it to the thesis that is too long ...
and also, now i contend with digital traces and potentials of accusations of plagiarizing myself or resubmitting what i have written elsewhere i also go through contortions of altering what i leave behind in this space.

And in answer to Jeffrey's twitter question about where nlc leaves me; not confused :)
A little more confidence in my understandings of learning and teaching whether online or otherwise.
And regarding identity: more confidant in my readings of Latour (hybrids), de Beauvoir (women being made not born) Haraway (cyborg) and Foucault
More confidant in myself as created in association and in my associations.
Empowered even.
But i am aware that this remains a contentious way of being in the world for many.

Note also the imagery and a Tsunamis identity:
Great Wave off the Coast of Kanagawa, by Hokusai, a famous late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Japanese artist. Part of The Thirty-Six Views of Fuji series (1823-29), this print, although often used a graphic in tsunami literature, is somewhat misleading in that context because tsunamis do not always manifest themselves as the huge breaking waves depicted in the print.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Reflections on progressing doctoral work as a work in progress

This blog post was precipitated by responses i made over on silence and voice on Jeffrey Keefers blog.
The void in form is a beautiful haiku on how we are shaped in association, this blog expand on this further in considering how the phd thesis is extended through associations, particularly via presenting.
(Acknowledging Lennie, I. (2003). Managing metaphorically. In S. Linstead (Ed.), Text/work : representing organization and organizing representation (pp. 41-56). London, England: Routledge.
whose article introduced me to the haiku above)

My first writings to my supervisor came back with an email subject line saying "all good", made me want to open the email :)
This was an unbelievable experience: to have a supervisor with a positive orientation toward the formation of ideas. My previous experience as a student was a supervisor who saw his role as critical and shredding; in the line of what doesnt kill you makes you stronger (this by the way is a patently rubbish approach, even though at the time i thought it was good for me *sigh* ). Has taught me so much about supervision and encouragement.

My first two conferences, really got me nothing beyond my own clarity in writing better, thinking better. feedback zilch.
But still extremely useful as my own clarity was invaluable.

Most conferences treat my subject as a voyeuristic oddity. Slightly annoying but at least tells me my subject is still new knowledge.

My fourth conference provided someone with an opportunity just to pass judgement on young people/peer counselling as suspect. Yes there are some people as just want to make themselves look grand. Didnt work. Looking back it just feeds one of my current conclusions regarding violence against young people and their living in a world lacking in trust and where weaknesses rather than strengths are made larger than life. At the time i thought nothing of it. I presented with a broken foot, all other pain paled into insignificance. I really didnt care much about it at the time, but the niggle is still there. Learning to share: Please do not grandstage at conference presentations.

My third conference, a tiny little one, a seminar would be more accurate, this was more informal and positive, but the methodology (narrative) was sideways to my own, but their interest and encouragement was great, particularly a willingness to entertain that a thesis could contain imagery. I was really unwell at this one, probably undiagnosed swine flu in the days preceding.

An online presentation in a MOOC was grand, shared space with an excellent researcher and thinker Frances Bell. Again what i learned of my own thinking and of shared presentation was probably more important than feedback gained, but this felt like a learning curve on a new area of thinking that i think i will be mulling post doc as well.

My presentation to workplace seminar: I think they wondered on what planet this could be called research. Nothing constructive here except i felt pressured to put actor-network theory into modes of thinking they might recognize as valid such as discourse analysis or psychoanalytical thinking. Retrospectively this taught me of how pressured we are to make sociological excuses for doing sociology. Taught me to stay true to form.

A three minute thesis competition precipitated me into thinking conclusions, useful as I changed gear in my thinking, even though those conclusions are less important than the ones i have now.

Presentation back to my site of study. Really good opportunity to share findings, had learned from previous presentations, these people didnt get side tracked with the voyeurism. They precipitated their own "so what" ways of thinking on what was shared. the heart and purpose of an ANT analysis though i dont think i recognized this at the time. I was surprizingly nervous on this one. I knew they knew if i would be talking sense or not.

Presentations on work in progress to own phd group always invaluable= Feel the support. These people experience the journey and speak with heart. This also helped with reframing of what felt like wicked problems that got me past periods of crisis.

I am looking forward to my next conference; again topic a bit sideways, more of a teaching learning focus; but at least method might be understood. Am looking forward to what others do using the method also as this is a rarity for me.
I have also never been to a conference with a doctoral consortium before or with people i have 'met online' but not in real life.

Other challenges to my thinking included some chapter writing and text book and journal editing. Again useful in clarifying the thinking. Occassionally distracting, a sideways movement to my thesis writing but linked. Problem has been when i know i have written it but word searching the thesis doesnt find it...because it was elsewhere. Some of this i still wonder about shifting across but word counts make this difficult. Other option is to cite myself :)

Ive also playfully presented what i am studying using other media just to see how it shifts the thoughts; haiku, the twitter 140 word challenge, plain language statements...
My biggest challenge has been a research question that writhes. which part of this monster do i elect to stay with., how to tame it into a jar of 1000,000 words.
During phases of my writing i have blogged for feedback, but actually this is more often a repository of thoughts as they coagulate. However, its also been a space where others have sometimes engaged with me. There are authors who respond when mentioned, who are happy to expand their own thinking as well as that of others in this joyous thinking exercise... an Ive had moments of stained glass and sunshine in blogging where I engaged with Prof Tom Baker, replicating the classic Rollo May/ Carl Rogers argument on goodness/badness.
His response of Fur Elise brought tears to my eyes. Writing this thesis has been breathtaking at times. truly honouring. now to finish it. honouring all those that have helped it on its way.

What have been your experiences of what progressed your Phd in presenting your work to others?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

keeping "in touch" with a mobile phone

aww shucks, whispering sweet nothings really is possible on a sensory level. Fabian Hemmert has prototypes developed. Where to sex?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Me and my significant other (PhD)

Spicing up my relationship with my thesis
OK you dont want to do the research i did to get here, googling this is seedy. But here's the list i managed:

Make a date
Do it somewhere else (cafe writing)
Focus on what brought you together, reminisce on the highlights
Dont focus on the big O... make the journey pleasurable
Get a book about new positions... (read as new ways to approach that chapter)
Have time alone and time together (will i ever come back if i spend time alone)
Dont come to it tired
Experiment: clothe it differently - talk/write in a different voice, role play...
Fantasize the future; practice introducing yourself as Dr....plan a honeymoon .... the graduation party... play dressups Find out what your regalia will be, imagine self appropriately attired.

Ok, none of those quite did it for me (today)
So its PhD tough love time:
set the parameters
check in every day
make a compulsory 20 mins together with no distraction commitment

Please, keep it seemly, but if you have further suggestions, please add them here, i need them.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

analysis paralysis or lost on the dark side of the moon

Its not totally incapacitating, i can analyze my results, my problem is what to spend time analyzing, what to put in, what to take out.
The data i collected reminds me of a prism that defracts white light into pretty much infinite layers of colour. One path in into this but many multitude of paths out...which i attend to? Which are pretty, shortest route, best journey, best companions... distracting, lead nowhere, are already well travelled?

I wasnt expecting this.
The research process says formulate the question, do the data capture, immerse in the data and the answers fall out.
Yeah, right.

And then i went a bit postmodern, whose answers matter? Whose answers matter most?
I tell myself in my sternest voice: Take a punt, its certification you want, and not in the sense of a being certified.
But I'm still stuck, I've written several concluding segments, and there could be many more, but a word count doesn't allow for all of these, so just choose!

But which one! i am behaving like a recalcitrant child, too many lollies in th elolly shop...but thats not it either. If i choose a 'wrong' lolly it doesnt matter, theres not several years hanging on it.

And i tell myself, just answer the question ...but i'm back on a mobius strip, the question turns.

So im lost in space, somewhere on the dark side of the moon, best i can come up with is make the choices, justify them, and leave the other data to my post doc life...

Taking further advice from astrobites

I now know how i got here.
I started a phd with what felt like unlimited words and close to unlimited potential.
I had a question, i folded it in half and in half and in half again, each time i narrowed it down, and i wrote to each aspect narrowing it further, coming closer to a point of completion, but this method is never ending, and apparently it has a name:

“Zeno’s Paper,” that twist on the well-known Greek paradox that states that first you write half of the paper, then you write half of what’s left, then half of that, and so on. You are spoiled for choice as to where to end your paper, and without a clear place to stop or an external pressure such as an obvious threat of being scooped, your brain can’t pick where to put it down and call it done.
Analysis paralysis is a serious threat, and one that can ensnare anyone. Any situation that presents a large number of options with no clearly superior choice can cause it, and it can lead to getting scooped, not publishing anything, or, in the worst case, inability to complete a thesis.

So what to do:
write the possibilities,
make a list,
delete at least half the list,
remind oneself that one only has to overwhelm the small space, a phd is not about everything on a topic
Then slash the list:
Write your question, possibly write a smaller question, or even a new question and justify the shift,
Colour code the options for importance, for relevance,
Allocate the ones on the list that are important but not to be addressed here,
allocate the proportion of words allowed
allocate the mumber of days left
work to the plan

And here's where i got another insight, i never work to the plan, i work to the contingent relationships...
whats topical, whats addressing the question (the new question) those involved...and inside of a time frame and a word limit...

It will never address everything, nor everything perfectly, it is but one enactment out of many possibilities.

So i understand my predicament a bit better, i'm not spinning anymore, but i notice im still here, not there...
Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who.
Up and down.
But in the end it's only round and round.

"There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark."
Not a pessimist really: just over being postmodern.

And so i tell myself yet again, the question doesnt get answered, i write this in my thesis, might as well give the ammunition to the other side...or enter the dark side of thesis writing...
I write the question wasnt bad.
I writie this research surprises me. I set out to investigate how technology was shaping counselling, and shaping us. I end with how we should treat our young better.

This is not because I have a bad question. It is not because I am unable to maintain a focus. Instead, in staying close to how we relate with our technologies I have learned more of how people relate not only with their technologies, but with each other.

In investigating the relationship between what people think about change and what they do to enact it, I have studied how practice changes by talking with, working with, and followed actors involved in their working lives at Youthline. A short answer to this question would be that the relationship is complex. Individuals both do and don’t effect change, and they do this both deliberately and incidentally, and that change happens whether or not there is awareness of what is occurring.

Such an answer is not useful as practical guidance for implementing change in any organization. No advice is given as to how others might implement text counselling in another situation. No list of recommendations forthcoming. The question was ambitious, but it was not too big. There is no answer because the question does not end. Instead a challenge evolves. For there is an answer of sorts: change is shown as being constituted in relationships. What we think and do are deeply embedded in relationships, constituted as well as constitutive.

Accepting that change is constituted in relating, how we might then care to relate is the ongoing matter of concern.