temporary solution

it works for now

it works for now


We managed to sort out the problem with listening to the mp3 files. Well, it is a temporary solution until we really get to the root of the problem (I suspect an issue with the browser but am not sure what can be done, use another browser? there is probably a compatibility issue). I have decided to email the mp3s to make them accessible to both participating students and have received confirmation that this works? Great! So some comments will be on its way very soon.

In my mind are the 7 questions and how best to get the data. I have to admit that I wasn’t very clear from the beginning. Well, that is not true. I had created these mini booklets, yes, real booklets, that I gave to participating students. However, we lost one of the original participants and a new one joined us who missed the face-to-face session and didn’t get that magic booklet. I think if both had the magic booklet, there wouldn’t be an issue, or the issue wouldn’t surface during the project. Now that one has the booklet and the other one doesn’t, it makes it a bit more complicated with getting the data. Not that it can’t be managed but I need to keep track of how everything is recorded and most importantly if it is recorded. Am I policing?

I suggested to the student who doesn’t have the booklet to add the data directly to the MoRe space and that seems to work. If they would be directly linked to the audio reflections that would make things a bit easier. Easier? I am a bit concerned that I will make a mess of the data, that is all. So, I decided to create a speadsheet where I have recorded what has happened so far. It is a quantitative approach and more about numbers but still I can see some really interesting stuff imerging. Now the problem is that the data that will be in the magic booklet is missing. I know that I will get it in the end, but I am now thinking that it would actually be quite useful to get the data immediately after each posting. Yes, I have a dilemma. Should I, or should I not ask the student to suddenly provide the data in another way? I have changed so many things already… but is this a bad thing? Well, it might be too much. My speed of change is not necessarily somebody elses and I wouldn’t like to upset anybody. No, I think, I am going to wait for the booklet to keep some normality going and not check everything, all the time. I can learn from that and develop a better way of collecting these specific information if I run a similar project in the future.

What I could do? Well, I think I would go with adding the 7 questions and answers as a comment to each audio reflection so that they are there, and directly linked to the file. Having them online and in public, will also allow participating students to check each others and engage in thinking and conversation, probably around the data, which is another bonus, I feel at the moment. I dediced, at that moment in time, to go with the above (I might change my mind…) instead of the booklet that I used and creating a survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com (both these option wouldn’t enable an immediate exchange of information, but I still can see advantages if I would, so I might be wrong…

I am going with my initial plan, magic booklet for the student who has one, and copying answers into the MoRe space.

well…

boat

the journey


… yes, we finally managed to have a skype chat, all 3 of us and it went well ;o) I feel more positive now about my latest changes (the skeleton etc.) and talking it through helped to clarify the new approach. I now start feeling that I did the right thing by introducting the skeleton and more structured approach because the first evidence suggest that it does help students keep more focused. There was a misunderstanding about keeping audio reflections short. Maybe I wasn’t clear about it but it is now resolved and I have encouraged participating students to talk as much or as little as they want to.

Participating students had the opportunity for the very first time (we are in week 3 of the MoRe pilot) to talk to each other directly and the conversation was fascinating. I wish I had recorded it. After the initial getting to know each other part, the discussion moved to art and the exchange of ideas and thoughts became richer and richer. Really good stuff! I just wish we had the opportunity to do that earlier and face-to-face but I can’t change the past, I can’t turn the clock back… what will happen though next week is that participating students will meet face-to-face and that is a very positive development because I can sense that there is mutual interest in a professional dialogue.

Back to our skype meeting. Participating students stated that they enjoy the MoRe pilot so far and find the audio reflections a natural way of expressing themselves and learning from their experiences. Below you will find some of the comments they made.

“I get it off my chest.”

“I response better, really enjoy it. It is a tool I can use all the time. It is a natural way and I learn from it.”

“This approach is a natural way, I can listen back and have another chance to filter, what I can take away from the learning process.”

One of the students has currently a problem with listening to the mp3s and this needs to be resolved as quickly as possible (technology again!!!). It is important that we will all be able to listen to each other’s audio reflections and comment and respond. I wouldn’t like to see personal audio reflections as a monologue but have encouraged participating students to turn them into a dialogue and a starting point for further explorations. It was good that one of the students supported this approach strongly and felt that this should be the next step. We are humans and humans are social beings and we do love social learning too. Learning with and from each other. Getting some feedback on what we do and giving feedback to others, recognising own and each other’s strengths and being constructive and positive and encourage further learning.

What also came out of the conversation was that audio reflections, the way we are doing them, recording without editing the mp3 files, capture raw thinking, messy and unstructured and unpolished. It would be really interesting to investigate if there are similarities and differences in the ‘messy-ness’ in reflective writing and reflective talking. Is reflective writing a more polished approach in which reflective thoughts are blended into each other, melted together, and overwritten by consecutive thinking that can alter/do alter the content and context of reflection that occured in a very specific moment in time? Is reflective writing closer to the definition of a product (even if it is not an end-product) and reflective talking really raw and un-edited thinking. And if that is the case, does it make a difference that these reflective talks are actually shared with a wider or even global community and that there is an audience out there which we don’t really know?

What I also find fascinating is that both students have started using blogs in their own teaching. This demonstrates that modelling the use of an approach or tool to educators in a student context really can work.

I am really happy with the conversation and what we have achieved so far. All three of us are committed to this little project.

We talked about 1 hour but it didn’t feel that long.

week 3 and still a long way to go

a long way

a long way


The MoRe pilot is in my mind quite a lot these days. I am now not sure anymore if the recent structural changes will help… Should I just left it in a more organic way… as we started? I will never know. Too late now. However, I have encouraged the students to check the new additions out and do as they wish. I will be happy if they go organic or not. I could sense that the changes were not very welcome…

The interesting thing is that suddenly a very minimalistic audio reflection was recorded and I am sure that was after my latest comments. Did I interfere at the wrong time? I know that less can be more but I somehow felt that if I provide some guidance on how to, this would enable participating students to use their time more effectively to develop reflective skills. Is it though better to speed up the process by making/causing interventions that wouldn’t happen? So many times we hear and read that we learn so much from our own mistakes, our own experiences. Did I just disable this feature? I have to admit that I am confused and while I wanted to do good, I am not sure if what I did will be bad…

We tried to meet online but it was not possible last week. I just hope we can get together this week to clarify the above and anything else.

I will have to do some reading as well and start shaping the report and the presentation. Well, I have actually started both but there is still a lot of meat missing.

a skeleton

framework

framework


I spent the past few days thinking again a bit more and a bit deeper about the MoRe pilot and decided that a skeleton or framework, a bit less organic, would be good for everybody involved.

As a result of all that thinking and reflecting and evaluating, a weekly calendar was introduced and I added a few new pages so that we all could check what would happen when and in what way. There is some help there now about what reflection is how to do it, useful links and I am going to ask participants to make comments about each other’s reflections and then evaluate themselves as well. All the materials can be found at http://morepilot.wordpress.com and are located within the MoRe pages section in the right column.

What else? Well, participants will also be able to use a template to stimulate their reflection and the plan is to start using it in week 3 and establish if this template makes a difference and does indeed stimulate reflective thinking and talking in our case ;o)

I just hope that the new skeleton won’t feel too restrictive and that participants will still be keen to explore and experiment and continue with the project which will last until the end of March.

We are in week 2 currently and there is still a lot to do, but it is all good stuff… well, we will see what the participating students think.

Discovered that the materials presented within the MoRe space are very much text-based and am in the process of changing this too at the moment.

we are on our way ;o)

together

together


We completed our first week of MoRe or audio reflections and I have to say that I am impressed by the commitment of participating students. It is a very small group, actually 2 but I think this makes it all more manageable to explore and investigate and support the development of reflective practice. The Programme Leader of a local university has decided to introduce this approach within his Secondary Georgraphy Education Programmes and we are currently implementing it. Really good news!

I was thinking about how I could track and analyse phlog contributions beyond the little tracking booklets that participants (hopefully) complete after each phlog (do you?). Analysing contributions when they are fresh and are coming in, is much better, than waiting to collect them all and then start putting the puzzle pieces together. Also, I feel, if it happens at the end, we might have lost the opportunity for interventions to enhance reflective skills during the project.

So, how am I going to track what is said by participating students? Well, I decided to use the monthly calendar in Outlook. I have printed 2 monthly copies, 1 for each student and have started recording quantitative and some very basic qualitative data which will enable me to see the bigger picture and contract and compare. Also, I have created phlog sheets on which I record characteristics of each phlog entry, which I then will use to provide feedback to both students.

So far I decided to record frequency, length and content. Regarding content I look at what is been said, what are the main characteristics of the content? Are there any emotions? Evidence of reflection in any shape or form? Changes happening in reflections recorded throughout the pilot.

All very paper-based at the moment. But I need to collect the raw data in some way and then make sense of it all and share the findings with participating students and record them in writing in my report.

While I was reading the last phlogs published yesterday morning, I was really happily surprised by the invitation made to me to provide audio feedback on published phlogs within the MoRe space. I was already adding some very basic and general written comments, I have to admit, but am very happy to add audio comments as suggested.

I wasn’t sure if that would be good or not and the main reason why I didn’t think that it would be good, was that I didn’t want to ‘overpower’ the MoRe space and let participating students and their contributions be the focus.

Within this pilot I wanted to explore the peer support model more than a teacher-centred approach and I am going to remind students to listen and comment on each others contributions so that it is not just me providing feedback. Doe this make sense?

That a student asked me to be there on the MoRe space confirms how important it is to create an open dialogue during the learning process to acknowledge progress, achievement, make interventions and assist students in their learning and be supportive throughout. Learning is, or should be, a two-way process after all!!!

The official starting date of the MoRe project is the 1st of February 2010 and we will be together until the 31st of March.