Faculty Learning Commmunity: Agenda and Notes (November 2, 2009)
Steven Lindell, "Real-Time Collaboration Tools for Digital Ink"
Lunch served in Dorothy Vernon Room of Haffner Dining Hall
Plan for 11/5/09
any group-keeping items? Who's our note-taker? What are our plans for Nov. 16 mtg?
two weeks ago, we reviewed the history of the "hard science" of educational research,
looking @ how it remade itself from what was largely a humanistic field into a "scientistic" one:
its increasingly narrow definition of itself, as it refined its instruments of measurement
to exclude or define as problematic (for example) the social elements of the classroom,
which might more usefully be seen as virtues and variables in the educational process.
When Steve asked why education is not simply called "the science of learning,"
Howard said that it actually mostly involves the "science of teaching."
That's one question I bring back today: do we think that teaching is a science?
When we are teaching (whether we are teaching science or not), are we engaged
in a scientific activity? Are we running experiments, gathering and organizing
our data, reporting on it in order to get feedback, then re-test what we think about it?
Are we engaged in "an imaginative resistance to authority"?
In acts of "empirically based, socially created scepticism"?
It also struck me that we're not limited to where education has been; we can look
forward together to where it might go. What innovations might help us help our
students learn white-water rafting, to successfully navigate all the unfamiliar
environments they are going to encounter in their lives?
III. Turning from the past to the present:
Steve's supplied us with a paper about using various forms of "digital ink":
different software and hardware that doesn't quite succeed, yet, in supplying
what is needed in successful problem-solving: either the real-time collaboration
or the long-term persistence of paper. What technological aides might help students
acquire deixis: demonstrating (remotely?) an idea by simultaneously speaking about it
and pointing to it?
One thought: that in answering this question, communication might more usefully
be defined NOT just as the "transmission" or "transfer" of information, but rather
as EXCHANGE: i.e.: a two-way mode of conversation in which something CHANGES.
A second thought: how might we revise this paper to make it more "scientific"?
Re-running the experiment Steve describes here to gather more data, and draw on
those findings to perform an intervention in this kind of teaching? Where's the
skepticism? The imaginative resistance to authority?
Might each of us be facing a similar challenge in our classrooms,
around which we could design a similar (or strikingly different) experiment?