31 May 2007

Had the tutorial this morning, and very helpful it was too. What emerges is a landscape.

It would seem that I have four key concepts – assessment, learning, policy and technology. Each of these informs the landscape. We talked about the need to paint this landscape and then draw out the salient features of it that inform my research questions. In the foreground of all of this is the learner perception/construct of their learning in ICT and the way in which it is assessed. Lurking over the landscape like some cloud is the thorny question – what is ICT anyway. This provides another theme which filters the light and colours the landscape.

Maybe I need to paint a picture.

We also talked about what the research is not about, and how that needs to be explained in my writing. In particular e-assessment – while a hot topic, it is not something that is especially relevant to my aims and less relevant still to the students I’ll be researching into as they won’t have had any e-assessment (probably).

Then there is the nature of ICT (the cloud above) and of assessment itself. We talked a lot about the so-called problem of ICT assessment at 16 being too easy in that it just assesses what people know rather than what was learnt in school. Actually I don’t see this as a problem. I think we need to look at our assessment and accreditation system to ensure it is fit for purpose (and valid). Why shouldn’t we give accreditation students who can demonstrate the four pillars of knowledge, understanding, attributes and skills at the appropriate level. Does it have to be only accreditation of the value added by schools.

This then led to another picture – a continuum going from the individual at one end, through family, friends, peers, teachers, schools to the education system itself. Each of my four features might have dimensions in each of these.

And the landscape metaphor has broken down… no picture needed perhaps!

14000 words

29 May 2007

I’m  minded of the thermometers you get outside churches, promoting their tower repair funds. You know the ones that show how much has been raised by a red blob creeping up a scale in the style of old style temperature measuring devices.

I’ve a tutorial this week and so felt obliged to get my literature review into some semblance of order. Currently there are 14 000 words. Unlike the fund raising gauge, though, I suspect this will fall before long as I cut out the bits that are not contributing to the thesis. 

Still it is good to look at that little word count at the bottom of Word and see six digits.

One thing that is taking shape is the concept map – now turned into chapter titles.

1.    Personal reflections
2.    Students’ construction of their learning
3.    Policy
4.    Technologies for learning
5.    Assessment
6.    Learning

These are how they emerged. I guess a better sequence might be

1.   Learning
2.    Assessment
3.    Policy
4.    Technologies for learning
5.    Students’ construction of their learning
6.    Personal reflections

This way the story builds up to chapter 5. After this will come the definitive statement of research questions and then the primary research with the students themselves. So far three schools have come on board and would be willing to have me interview students in the next academic year.

Once this is all done (!) I see the thesis structure to be developing like this

1.     Introduction, rationale etc
2.    Learning
3.    Assessment
4.    Policy
5.    Technologies for learning
6.    Students’ construction of their learning
7.    Statment of research questions
8.    Methodology
9.    Methods
10.  Analysis of data
11.   Findings
12.  Conclusion: the thesis
13.   Personal reflections

This will give me something to talk about on Thursday at the tutorial!