… 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.