Friday, March 20, 2009

historical foundations - observations

This morning I decided to do some reading. Chose the biggest book I could find and started on page 1. I have reviewed this book actually, which is why I have a copy ;-) but reading it for the sake of it should be something I do more often.... I'm not a very fast reader though, so many thoughts come together it's cruel. Here I take the trouble to note them, for myself as much as anything...

Molenda, M., 2007. Historical Foundations. In J. M. Spector et al., eds. Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology. New York: Routledge, pp. 3-20.
"The history of organized education and training can be viewed as a long struggle to extend opportunities to more people and to devise a means of helping those people learn better than through the events of everyday life" p5
My comment: It is a real challenge in nursing education, particularly in the theory element, to compete with the richness of clinical experience.
"In classical Athens, the Sophists thought provocative, often relativistic, notions of epistemology. The works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in organising philosophical thought can be seen as a reaction against the Sophists' position that a good argument is one that prevails, if only through rhetorical manipulation, regardless of truth value." p5
My comment: The Sophists are alive and well in learning technology today
"Knowlton and Tilton (1929) study the use of these history films in seventh grade classrooms. One of their major conclusions was that the educational value of such films lay not only in the quality of the materials but also in how well teachers use them." P7
My comment: As Molenda, and probably many others before him, points out, these authors may have been the first to draw this conclusion but they certainly weren't the last! We will always need the pedagogue. Later on on page 7 he notes that there was "considerable resistance to sound films", adding that, "Some methodologists felt that the practice of having a classroom teacher add narration to silent films added a level of customisation and personalisation to film showings". here is the pedagogue who has adapted to the affordances of the technology, only to find the ground shifting beneath them. The technology was helping to promote connections, now that learning conduit is threatened by something that superficially looks superior - an "enhancement". Molenda adds that, "Administrators worried about their installed base, the large investment they had made in silent film projectors". by the 1930s we had a nice little standards war for projectors. What a waste of effort! just think how proficient educators would be and how much money would have been saved over the years if we had stuck with silent film! However, note:
"Producers generally chose subjects that were visual in nature" p7
My comment: no technology is a learning panacea, especially not a new technology. These "producers chose subjects that were visual in nature", and when considering the ergonomics of knowledge work we should not be surprised if video is not top of the list in preference to words-especially 'printed' words.
"The operations that prospered were the ones in which radio played an integral part in the university's mission" p8
My comment: right, everyone read Goodyear 2001 NOW!

Had been reading this chapter for a while when I suddenly realised that there was hardly a single ref to Russian research... sorry - that was a dealbreaker.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My first (proper) conference paper

This was as the Networked Learning Conference 2008. The paper is freely available, with all the others, at:

It felt very much like a side-show at the time, but now it's there, online... This is useful as I try to build on that with some qualitative research (with the 2010 conference very much in mind).

Chris Jones mentioned to me that theory building takes time. Let's do something, even if only a fraction of my time can go towards it, worth the effort - far too much of the other sort around in e-learning. I see this recent (good) paper, in JAN by Wilkinson, While and Roberts, as a commentary on the state of things in the literature

My first book chapter

I am rather ambivalent about this, but my dissertation became a book chapter in 2008. The sheer price of the book and the amount of titles pumped out by this publisher is unnerving... I've reviewed a couple from them for BJET but tend to avoid them now... unless the title really gets under my skin...
The call for chapters came out just as I was finishing my dissertation in 2006, so the timing had that ring of 'providence' about it. I'm very grateful for this though, as publishing anything when there's so much else to do is not easy. I'm particularly grateful to Terry Kidd who argued strongly for my chapter to be included.

Johnson, M. (2008) Investigating & encouraging student nurses’ ICT engagement in Chen & Kidd Eds. (2008) Social Information Technology: Connecting Society and Cultural Issues, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, Inc.